If, like most people nowadays, you are doing most of your writing via a
keyboard, and adopt a pen only for cards and signatures, you will probably
find your fountain pen, and even good old Rotring, need cleaning out every
time you want to use them. You may find, as I have, that good old fashioned
dip pens with a good selection of nibs, and a range of small bottles of
coloured inks, are actually more convenient and fun to write with. They
only need a wipe with a tissue between uses. A dip mapping pen is still
excellent for fine lines too.
Try it: you will like it. Sadly, I used to use Rotring and similar pens all
the time, as I never could find a biro that wrote fine enough and where the
ink didn't stay tacky and leave blobs everywhere. As the fine writing
problem is now mostly resolved via Excel and Word tables and diagrams, my
Rotrings are always dried up solid when I would like to use them, and the
little wires inside tend to break off in the cleaning. The dip mapping pen
is a fair substitute.
Whilst not wishing to spoil the enthusiastic discussion of the properties
and prices of IPA - which is less flammable than meths, and to me used to be
cheaper than chips as I used to pump it into 25L drums, as a general cleaner
in the print trade - I should point out that, as ballpoint ink is *oil
based*, readers probably already have a cheaper cleaner in their cupboard
already: white spirit. I think the preference for IPA in 'the trade' is as
much for its quick evaporation as anything. It does dissolve both polar and
non polar substances, but I doubt if it is as effective, for an oil based
(non-polar) ink, as a non polar solvent (white spirit, paraffin, petrol etc)
would be. As I've noted before, every DIYer should keep a selection of the
various types of solvent to hand, so you can always find the right 'tool'
for the job.
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