How To Use Fountain Pen Ink In Your Retro51 Tornado™
*Note from Retro51: While we are thrilled to share inspiring ideas with our pen and writing community, we must emphasize that we cannot officially endorse or recommend the content ahead, which may involve alterations to the original functionality of your Retro51 products. Any decision to explore the following tips or suggestions are entirely at your own risk and discretion. Retro51 is not responsible for any damage on any product or personal item. Without further ado, an article written by Hayley J - Retro51 Fan...
Have you ever wished that you could color match a specific ink color to your Tornado? Do you want to keep one refill going for a long time? The answer to all these questions is to pop off the back of your Retro 51 refill cartridge and put some fountain pen ink in it. This hack was introduced by Goldspot and Pen Boy Roy in 2019, and I would like to give more attention to it. To do this hack you need a Retro 51 or Schmidt P8126 refill, needlenose pliers, tweezers, painters or electrical tape, an eyedropper or syringe, and the fountain pen ink of your choice. You’ll also need a paper towel and gloves (or saran wrap) if you don’t want ink on your fingers.
To start you need to remove the refill from your Retro 51, setting aside the spring for safekeeping. Next you take your pliers and carefully remove the plastic plug from the back of the refill. It’s easy to chew up the plug with the pliers, so this is best done with a narrow and thin rubber band. If you don’t get enough leverage with the rubber band, some painters tape wrapped around the pliers will work as well. The directions given by Goldspot include the rubber band, but I haven’t been able to make it work with a rubber band.
Once the plug is off, take your tweezers to remove the wick from your Tornado. The wick is soft foam wrapped in plastic. Now it’s time to rinse the rest of the ink out of the wick under cold water. Don’t stop rinsing until the wick is completely white; the plastic can handle squeezing and light rolling in your fingers.
Next, dry off the wick with a paper towel. Once the wick is completely dry, open up your ink bottle, put on your gloves, and hold the wick vertically. If you don’t have any gloves, plastic wrap over your hand works as well. Fill up the eyedropper or syringe and slowly add ink to the wick until it’s fully saturated . It’s best to do this over a sink or a paper towel as ink might drip from the bottom of the wick. If you’ve added too much ink, simply dab the bottom of the wick with a paper towel or a q-tip.
The penultimate step is to insert the wick back in the refill and put the plug back in. Sometimes ink can come out of the rollerball tip when adding the plug, so you may want to hold a paper towel over the tip for this step. The final step of course is to add the refill to your Retro 51 Tornado and write with it. Depending on how full your refill was before doing this hack, it may take quite a bit of scribbling for the rest of the old ink to come out of the tiny feed. For me, it took about a page and a half of scribbling on A5 paper to get all of the blue out.
I’ve done this hack twice now, and the flow is a bit dryer than with the factory ink. I’ve used Birmingham Pen Co’s Jade Inferno, and Pilot Iroshizuku Yama Budo. It’s not recommended to try this with a shimmering ink, or even a pigmented ink, as the particulates can clog up the refill. While doing this hack for this post, I didn’t quite add enough ink to my wick, so I took out the refill, added a little more ink, and the inkflow was more in line with a stock refill. As is always the case with pen-modifications, your mileage may vary.
About the Author: Hayley J. is a Retro51 Fan and a stationery blogger at Left Hook Pens, reviewing different styles of pens, inks, and paper from a left handed perspective. You can follow Hayley on Instagram.
*Reminder from Retro51: It is important to note and understand that we do not officially endorse or recommend the content ahead, which may involve alterations to the original functionality of your Retro51 products. Any decision to explore the following tips or suggestions are entirely at your own risk and discretion. Retro51 is not responsible for any damage on any product or personal item.