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Old 11-06-2004, 03:55 PM
According to Pliny According to Pliny is offline
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How do the vanes work in a pen?

Take for instance this pen tip http://tinypic.com/k5j06

Clearly some of the vanes have ink inbetween them, but most don't.

How does that help anything?

And why don't they all fill up with ink, or conversely all become free of ink?
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Old 11-06-2004, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by According to Pliny
And why don't they all fill up with ink, or conversely all become free of ink?
I'll make a WAG that that's exactly the point. They act as a baffle to help ensure the tip is neither flooded or starved of ink
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Old 11-06-2004, 05:00 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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"Vanes"? What vanes?
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Old 11-06-2004, 05:06 PM
ParentalAdvisory ParentalAdvisory is offline
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Look at the pen, see the vertical lines?
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Old 11-06-2004, 05:21 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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The Master Speaks: What are the "fins" on a fountain pen for?
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Old 11-06-2004, 05:25 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParentalAdvisory
Look at the pen, see the vertical lines?
Sure. They look like the finger-grip. Aren't they concentric circles, or fractions of such, around the pen's axis? It's a ball-point pen, right? Why would the gripping surface have any effect on ink properties?

Looking closer, the rings don't seem to be indented much. Could they just be a cosmetic enhancement?
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Old 11-06-2004, 06:12 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Northern Piper, did you look at the link to the pen in question? It looks like a ball-point, not a fountain pen, so Cecil's essay would not apply.

Besides, Cecil is completely wrong (something I never thought I would say in my lifetime!) about fountain pens' "fins," at least for the ones that I have dissected. On the 1970's Esterbrook, fill-thru-the-tip pens, there is a tiny channel that runs from the tip of the pen, thru the plastic tip assembly, and to the ink reservoir, a rubber bulb. In normal use, the ink flows from the reservoir thru the channel, to the round hole in the metal pen tip, then down the crack in the metal tip to the tip of the nib to the paper.

I say this from separating pen parts, cutting into them, modifying & rebuilding them and using them for music copying. In the 1970's, we copyists did this much like bassoonists make their own reeds. We also mixed our own ink using magical formulas.

The "fins" in a fountain pen have no purpose that I can detect other than cosmetics or possibly physical strength enhancement. I always cut them off from the pen nib body, often to avoid physical conflicts with straightedge devices, and the pen performance was either not affected or improved. The only time ink ever touched them was if I dipped the pen point in an inkwell or if I squeezed the bulb so hard that it made a mess on everything on the desk. The fins were normally dry from one refill to the next.

Of course, if other pens than the ones I have experience with have a different design, Cecil's article might apply to them. The Esterbrooks were considered top of the line in the 70's and a favorite of copyists in Hollywood. I do not know if their design was typical, but other brands that I ventured upon certainly looked quite similar.

In case anyone cares, the Esterbrook pen points I am referring to are models 2312 and the hardier 9312 and 9XXX series. In these models, THERE IS NO PHYSICAL INK FLOW CONNECTION TO THE FINS.

If anyone doubts my assertions, and I get a formal request from the Perfect Master, I could take macro photos of the nibs in exploded form, as I have them stored in my basement. Assuming I can get close enough, you could probably observe what I am describing here. But if these pens are not typical, it would be a moot point.
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Old 11-06-2004, 08:17 PM
TellMeI'mNotCrazy TellMeI'mNotCrazy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat
Sure. They look like the finger-grip. Aren't they concentric circles, or fractions of such, around the pen's axis? It's a ball-point pen, right? Why would the gripping surface have any effect on ink properties?

Looking closer, the rings don't seem to be indented much. Could they just be a cosmetic enhancement?

It might be hard to discern from the picture, but the ridges shown there are inside the barrel, not on the outside.

I looked at Sanford's Uni-ball site, since these are among my favorite "everyday" pens. It says that there is a "free ink reservoir system to control the flow of the liquid, water based ink". So it would appear that is indeed a baffle system, meant to help regulate the flow.
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