How-To: Lubricate a Pelikan Piston

Richard Binder's Pure Silicone Grease Offering

Richard Binder’s Pure Silicone Grease Offering

I find that lubricating a Pelikan piston results in confusion for a lot of neophytes to the brand and is frequently a topic of discussion on the forums. Today I will try to dispel any questions by discussing the theory behind this procedure as well as the technique.  Once you know, it is really quite a simple procedure that anyone can do in just a few minutes time.  While this operation is tried and true and incredibly simple, I must stress that any issues that arise during this operation fall squarely on the operator’s shoulders and I’ll assume no liability for any mishaps.


What You’ll Need:

  1. 100% Silicone Grease
  2. Cotton Swab or Toothpick


  1. Empty the pen of ink and dry out the reservoir as best as possible before application.
  2. Unscrew the nib from the section.  Be careful if there is dried ink or the nib does not unscrew easily.  See my FAQ for tips on removing a nib.
  3. Apply a very small amount of silicone (roughly equal in size to 1/2 of a grain of rice) to the cotton swab.
  4. With the piston retracted, run the swab along the inside of the barrel as close to the piston seal as possible. 
  5. Work the piston up and down a few times.
  6. If the mechanism is now working smoothly, replace the nib and resume regular use.


Over time, a Pelikan’s piston can become stiff and tight, even to the point that one might fear damaging the mechanism.  Depending on the ink used (heavily saturated inks have been implicated) or the frequency of flushing (especially with either dish soap or ammonia), some pens will need re-lubing more frequently than others.  In my experience, a rule of thumb with standard pen care is that many Pelikan’s will need a re-lubing on an average of once every 3 years give or take (your mileage may vary of course).  It should be noted that the above procedure is directed towards synthetic seals and not the older cork seals.  It cannot be stressed enough that 100% silicone grease should be used.  This is not the area to cut corners.  My preferred grease is that which is packaged with the TWSBI pens but good grease is available from many online specialty pen retailers as well as good dive shops.  It’s a $5 investment that will likely last you your lifetime.  If there is any concern about the purity of the silicone, don’t use it.  Silicone comes in many formulations, some of which can harm a pen’s components.  I also stress using a small amount of grease as too much grease can gum up the works and cause flow issues.  Finally, there is absolutely no need to remove a piston from the pen to re-lube it.  Doing so can damage a pen and is strongly discouraged unless carried out by a trained professional.  Feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly if you have any further questions, comments, or suggestions.

10 responses

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  4. Hi,
    In your “how to lubricate a piston” article you say to do this with the piston retracted. Please explain retracted. Thanks


  5. First time on this site. Thank you so much for all the info. Just bought a 800 from an estate sale and don’t think it has ever been used–could not “soak any ink out” Beautiful pen, I like it better than the 1000 I have. Can’t wait to give the 1000 a complete cleaning as you suggest. Also picked up a Montblock 146 which seemed to be the one being used but in perfect order. First tim to find quality pens at estate sales and think the economy kept people from paying the price ask. I did get them both on last day mark down for $300 including a Parker 21 & Sheaffer Vac both in perfect order. Any way keep up the good work Joshua.


    • Welcome to The Perch Larry. I’m glad that you have enjoyed the site and found some of the content useful. Sounds like you got a great deal on some very nice pens at that estate sale. You certainly got your money’s worth. Enjoy them!


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