Calligraphy: A Scribe's Notes Art Blog
Although I try very hard not to leave my calligraphy nibs lying around with stuff caked all over them, it happens. Practices for keeping metal nibs clean, range from wiping them off with spit to buying commercially available cleaners. Brushes and pens can get expensive so keeping them clean will extend their performance and save money. I found this "recipe" in a calligraphy guild newsletter, sorry I don't know which one and it works so well I had to share it. This cleaning solution is ideal for cleaning metal pen nibs that are caked with lacquer based permanent ink, waterproof ink, gouache, masking fluid and pretty much anything else. It will also work on fountain pen nibs (not gold plated ones), technical pens and nylon brushes. It will dry out natural bristle brushes so don't try. This recipe makes a lot so you may want to halve it. In a jar with a lid, mix, 3-1/4 cups water, 1 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 tsp. dish washing liquid. All dish liquids are not created equal, Dawn and Sunlight work better, really. Drop nibs, pen parts etc. that need cleaning into the jar, close the lid and swish it around gently. Let the contents soak for an hour and swish it again. You will see the junk collecting in the bottom of the jar. If the crud is really bad you can leave it overnight but not much longer or things will start to rust. I pour the contents out through a small strainer so the nibs don't go down the drain. Catch the used cleaner in a cup or something, you can use it again. Rinse well. Then each one is scrubbed with an old toothbrush. I can't say this enough, dry thoroughly. Nylon brushes can be soaked, being careful to let only the bristles contact the solution. You can "hang" brushes over the mouth of a jar if it's tall enough. Give the brushes a good swish and soak for an hour then rinse really well, shape and dry. If anyone has any other make-at-home recipes for cleaners, let me know.