The Pensmith
Notes for vintage pen buyers

  • We restore vintage pens to the condition we believe they were in when new, save for the nib.  Part of the fascination of vintage pens is the nib and its characteristics fashioned over time by a previous owner or owners.  Unless we state otherwise in our description of a vintage pen, we warrant that the nib is of a quality that can be used. 
  • Give the nib time to settle down.  Often, this takes two or three refills of the pen.  What may look like simple 'plastic' components are in fact hard rubber components which have been cleaned.  The process of cleaning hard rubber often disturbs the 'surface tension' characteristics of important components of the pen.  Sometimes, a little time to re-establish the match between ink and components is required.  Part of the magic of vintage pens is the interaction of good ink with the hard rubber section and feed of a pen.  Always use good quality ink.  Under no circumstances should drawing inks be used in pens regardless of attractive colours!  In our experience, Diamine and KWZ inks produce good results in most pens.  There is nothing wrong with Parker's "Quink" inks so long as they are manufactured in Britain, France or the USA.
  • We 'leak test' (with water) every vintage pen we sell.  We use water so as not to contaminate (with an ink colour) a new sac or filling system fitted to a pen.  We then dip test the pen for writing ability and nib smoothness.  But, we often find that our hand differs from yours!  What we think is an acceptable writing standard for a nib, may not agree with you.  If that is the case, we ask you to contact us and if necessary, return the pen to us in order that we can smooth or re-grind the nib or, sort out the problem to suit you.  Please note that some nibs cannot be re-ground and many have limitations in terms of re-grinding.  We do not re-grind nibs to an entirely different style.  That is the work of nib specialists we can refer you to.
  • If a pen needs to be returned to us, we are happy to do whatever reasonably needs to be done to satisfy your wishes but, please do not expect us to bear the costs of freight – either from you or, on return to you.  If you need to return a pen to us for any reason, please empty it of ink, flush it with water and let it dry thoroughly before sending it to us.  See our Packing Instructions in our Repair/Restoration page.  Please do not send a pen in original packaging to us.  Place little trust in postal services or other couriers in terms of care of small packages.  Thus, insure it – both ways!  We do not insure pens in transit.  That responsibility is entirely yours.
  • Unless fittings are of solid gold (which we will specifically state), they will generally be gold plated.  Over time, gold plating will wear.  For that reason, we often use a light coating of shellac to protect the plating on the clips (and sometimes the levers) of vintage pens.  Don't incessantly polish a vintage pen and particularly, do not use metal polish, methylated spirits or a petroleum based product on any part of a pen.  We do not generally polish vintage pens prior to sale – polishing removes important imprints and plating and, no matter how much care is taken, eventually destroys the character and patina of a fine writing instrument. 
  • If treated properly, vintage pens will last 'another lifetime' but, they must be treated carefully to ensure they retain both their value and appearance. We are happy to provide recommendations as to suitable, practical, leather (or other) cases that suit your particular needs.  Please, don't post the cap on vintage pens when writing with them.  Regardless of the quality of a vintage pen, one way or another, a posted cap when writing will eventually, permanently mark the top of the barrel.  If you have queries or questions, please contact us.

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