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Refill shelf life help

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by Sentinel-14, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. Sentinel-14

    Sentinel-14 Loaded Pockets

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    I have a number of pens stashed about so that one is always nearby when needed: a spare Zebra F-402 in my EDC pack, a 402 and a 701 in my truck bag (one blue, one black), a cup full of various pens on my desk at home... all see use, but infrequently and I'm worried about them drying up and not working when I need them. My father's Cross Century Classic still writes, if weakly, with it's original 70s-era cartridge. My 90's Fisher Cap-o-matic still writes weakly on it's original cartridge as well. A newer (5 years or so) no-name pen with a Fisher refill still writes quite boldly even after being run over by a car in the parking lot where I found it.

    However, I bought a Parker Frontier ballpoint about 6.5 years ago but never really used it. Recently, I needed a Parker refill for my Bastion Bolt pen so I grabbed the Frontier's refill since it was essentially unused, and it wrote well for about a month but now I cannot write the date without it failing, so I assume it's dried up. I've read that Parker refills have a shelf life of about two years, but I'm hoping to find something that can store more long-term so that my pens will work when I need them.

    I'd like to stock up some Zebra and Parker refills (my two most common), and I'm looking for two things:
    1. What suggestions do you have for pen refills with a long shelf life?
    2. What suggestions do you have for storing refills to maximize their shelf life?
     
  2. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    Zebra and Parker are both widely used pens. Parker refills (in the generic sense) are widely used by many pen makers. Plus Schmidt refills are available that are essentially the same in terms of size and shape....

    Given the ready availability, why stockpile these? I don't know where you live, but such refills are generally available at many stores; definitely available readily on-line.

    I'm just scratching my head about this....

    Am Yisrael Chai!

    Moshe ben David
     
    ecksdog likes this.
  3. Sentinel-14

    Sentinel-14 Loaded Pockets

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    The general reaction I expect to get is "why stockpile? just go to the store and get new ones when you need them."

    I know both refill types are readily available, even locally to me at places like WalMart or Staples. Availability isn't the concern, necessarily: I do not like living with this 'just-in-time' supply structure. I want to have things on hand the moment I need them.

    Stockpile might be inappropriate: I just want to have 2-4 refills of each type on hand and know they're going to work when I open them rather than be dried up and useless. The fact that my Parker Frontier's cartridge is useless though essentially unused is just aggravating: it's money wasted.

    I've read that ballpoints have an approximate 2-year shelf life. I don't use any single pen everywhere all the time, so I'll never use any single pen before the 2-year time limit is up and they (potentially) dry up. This is why Im asking here for suggestions on refills with a long shelf life, and steps I can take to prolong that shelf life.

    Batteries dont last forever in storage, but it's well-known that Lithium batteries store longer than old Alkaline cells. That's what I'm looking for here; the Lithium-Ion of pen refills.


    postscript: the best for storage would be a fountain pen, sure, and I have one. But no fountain pen is as pocket-friendly as my Machine Era original or as convenient as my Bastion.
     
    #3 Sentinel-14, Feb 18, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
  4. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    Yup. When you were writing about a 'stockpile' I didn't picture just one or two refills on hand. So I revise my suggestion. Even for myself, I keep a couple of refills of each type on hand; not counting the ones installed in other pens of the same type in my collection... Haven't had any real issues with them drying out.

    You could also I guess switch over to Fisher refills; next time you're in say a Staples or even on Amazon, take a look; these are blister packed with a little end adapter so that they fit and work very well with Parker type mechanisms. The Fisher don't seem to dry out even in extreme conditions; if you get the F tip you won't experience any blobbing etc either.

    Good luck.

    Moshe ben David