Refilling a Kaweco with a syringe

With the Kaweco giveaway deadline fast approaching, I thought I would share my technique for refilling my Kaweco with ink. I don’t like being limited to just the cartridge ink colors available. Kaweco has a nice variety for cartridges but there are SO many other ink colors available that its nice to have an option for playing into your own whims.

First step is to collect the necessary supplies:

  • a pen in need of a little inky love (in my case, Kawecos as they are cartridge-only)
  • a long syringe (with about a 1.5″ long needle, approx 1mm in diameter. I got mine from Goulet Pens but if you know someone in the medical profession, they might be able to find something comparable for you)
  • an empty cartridge, cleaned and dry
  • ink (sample vials or a great big bottle will work equally well)

I save used cartridges just for this purpose. Since most Kawecos come with one cartridge, you’ll have one right away. I am not sure how many times this trick can be done before the cartridges get too loose but I’ve reused the same cartridges at least a half a dozen times with no ill effects.

Gather the empty cartridge you want to fill, your ink and your syringe. I lay a little waste paper down on my table, just in case but so far, this is a fairly tidy process.

Uncap your ink and insert the syringe. Carefully and slowly, pull the syringe plunger until you have a LITTLE bit of ink in the syringe.

No need to fill the syringe completely. My syringe has measurements on the side and I tend to fill to about 1cc to 1.5cc.

Then slowly fill the cartridge. I usually have a little bit of ink left in the syringe so I just push it back into the original container.

I only fill the cartridge to just below the ridge so it does not overflow. Then just stick the nib unit onto the cartridge while holding the cartridge upright. Push firmly. Then twist the body back on and you’re done.

Then you’ll need to clean out the syringe. I get a small glass of cold water and drop the dirty cartridge in it. I draw water up into the syringe and then plunge it to cycle any ink remnants out. I do several cycles of water until the syringe is clear. This will sometimes require pouring the water out and refilling it with clean water. Once completed, the needle can be twisted off at the yellow part and stored inside the plunger for safe keeping.

The same technique for filling a cartridge with ink can also be used to clean out a used cartridge. Just fill with water using the syringe and then suck out the dirty water. Repeat until water in cartridge is clear. Then let it dry out overnight.

Ink used is Noodler’s Turquoise American Eel purchased from Goulet Pens. Pen is a Kaweco Sport in white with an F nib from JetPens.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I get my syringes in the livestock first aid section of the feed store. It is normal and legal to give animals their immunizations, so the syringes are the same as physicians use. For folks who don’t have a feed store handy, I recommend consulting a friend or family member who is diabetic. U100 syringes are smaller and the needles shorter and finer. They are good “starter” units for people who aren’t used to handling the equipment.

    The biggest issue is really cleaning out the syringe so that you don’t cross contaminate your ink bottles. The little plastic cartridges are plentiful and not that expensive. Whole bottles of ink are another matter. If you draw up too much ink for one cartridge, do not put the remainder back in the bottle. Put it in a second empty cartridge and cover the open end with some clear tape to prevent drying out. It won’t last forever, but it will definitely buy you the time to use up the other cartridge without wasting your favorite ink.

    Hope this info is helpful 🙂

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