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gel pens


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Feb 27 2004 - 09:54:23 PST

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526
******************************************* whoever was asking about gel pens. I deleted your message question
finally yesterday because I hadn't heard back from my source. Well...I just
got a response from Sakura..probably one of the better-known, better-pens
company. I had written to Sharon Silver who's site I had my kids visit
(she's from CA, natch and lives close to me though I only know her through
email). ANYWAY...not to make a long story longer, she directed my questions
to Sakara and here's what I got back about 5 minutes ago. Maybe some of this
will help you though not a lot of "definites". Below is part of our exchange
of info between Sharon, Sakura and me. Toodles....Bunki
>from Sakura
>Sharon Silver passed on your concerns re: our pens. Sorry about the delay in
>getting back to you.

>Below is a cut & paste from our website FAQs. I should add that I've seen many
>people's written explanations on how to get gel pens to work, Sharon among
>them. Sharon's is probably one of the better ones. Whatever you do, don't tap
>the pens on the top or bottom, because this may cause the gel pen's ink and
>writing mechanism to fail. I've seen some people suggest that and that's
>totally the wrong thing to recommend.

>Also, it could be the age of the pens. They're guaranteed for 2 years and I've
>seen pens stop writing pretty close to passing that timeframe.

>Sharon is also correct about the porosity of the paper you're using, or
>thickness, of the construction paper. I have an 8 yr. old myself and have seen
>every destructive force my daughter can muster on gel ink pens and have been
>surprised at how the pens have continued working.

from Sakura's website...
How do I start up a dry Gelly Roll pen? How do I keep my Gelly Rolls from
drying out?
A The best way to see if a Gelly Roll pen can be revived is to start
scribbling in circles. The motion makes the tip (ball) roll and causes the
gel ink to be pulled into the ball tip chamber. It might take a few tries,
but this might work. There is no guarantee though that this will start it

It is very important to put the cap on the pen between uses because unlike
regular ballpoint pen ink, gel inks need to be kept sealed away from air.
Prolonged exposure to air will cause the gel ink to dry-out in the tip/ball
chamber. There is a tiny silicone ball in the cap that "closes" or touches
the tip and prevents any air from drying out the gel in the ball chamber
when the cap is on.
>I hope this helps. Any other questions, send me an e-mail.
>John Crook
>Sakura Mktg.
From: Sharon Silver []
Can you find someone to respond to Ms. Kramer re: pens not flowing? I have a
feeling that part of it is that on construction paper, the pens don't
perform as well. I, too, have had problems in the past with pens skipping or
appearing to be dried up once the ink level reaches the half way point. What
I usually do at that point is to retire the pen from artwork to an extra
note taking pen....but I'd rather not go there. The newer the pen is, the
juicier, and the same with smooth paper...the performance is better. But,
perhaps you have someone there who has a secret about improving the pens'

from Bunki Kramer
Hi. Thanks again for the reply. I shared the tip about about rubbing it on
the thumb with the kids and it worked for a couple of kids...if the pen was
skipping. Those that had pens with NO ink flowing still could not get it to
work. I put a couple of pens standing up in an inch of water over-night and
that didn't work either. Please...if you hear anything more, let me know.
We're still frustrated.
from Sharon
The deal about cleaning the tip of the pen....whether it's on the thumb or
forefinger of the opposite hand (which sometimes is out of pure laziness for
me) or on a kleenex or paper towel....I think the key is to remove any
sediment or dried up ink from the tip using any kind of a soft, porous
surface. Try that. I'm hoping to hear from the marketing folks at Sakura for
an answer, but haven't heard from them yet. Hang in there.

As far as the paper, I've used black construction paper, but if you can get
a local printing company to get some samples of some smooth, black text or
cover stock for you (high quality printing papers)....and I'm drawing a
blank now & don't have time to look up particular brands....anyway, that
surface would be denser and friendlier than the construction paper surface.

Keeping the surface of the paper as clean as possible (no sticky or greasy
hands or fingers while using the pens works for me) will help the ink flow.
I'd advise students to make sure they don't have any kind of lotion, grease,
salt, lunch residue, etc. on their hands prior to handling the paper.