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Make Your Fountain Pens Happy

04/02/2019

Fountain pens can be finicky, troublesome, evil tools – or not. It only takes a few simple tips to make that “or not” into a reality.

  • For ease of care, choose inks that are medium or lighter in color saturation or intensity. They are less likely to solidify and clog your pen.
  • When using deep, intense colors, clean your pen often and use it regularly. Both actions will keep a pen functioning well.
  • Write with your pen at least two or three times a week if only to draw some doodles on scrap paper. Doing so will keep the ink flowing. In low humidity conditions, ink may evaporate quickly necessitating more frequent use and refilling.
  • Partially filling a converter will satisfy most pens and allow you to see how well you like the color before committing to a full load. If your pen does not write consistent lines with a partial fill, then load it fully.
  • Do not put ink back into the bottle as it risks contamination, mold growth and damage to your pens. Toss unused ink. Even a full converter holds only a few drops so the waste is minimal.
  • Especially if your pen gets infrequent or intermittent use, clean it between fills. Gently suck up and expel room temperature water repeatedly until the flow is clear or nearly so. If reusing the pen, just fill it with ink after cleaning. If storing the pen, rinse out any leftover ink. Then stand it nib down in a cup with a wad of paper towel at the bottom. Any fluid remaining in the nib will flow into the paper leaving behind a pen that can be stored safely for years. This trick can also be used to empty ink from a pen before cleaning.

Current ink trends favor highly saturated colors as well as dual colors and metallic sheen. Many of these inks have a greater risk for clogging without regular use and frequent cleaning. There will be exceptions, but my observations and recommendations are intended to make fountain pens easy and uncomplicated to use.

Tip: Clean a pen just before it runs out of ink. Lines that become pale are the most obvious indicators though with some ink and pen combinations, there is virtually no warning. The pen will clean more easily if rinsed immediately than if you wait until it is empty and the ink has dried in the nib. If that does happen, it will take a lot more pumping water in and out to achieve a reasonably clean pen.

If you don’t want to waste even a smidge of ink, write until there is no more color coming from the nib. Then clean it as soon as possible. Writing in a restaurant? Ask for an extra glass of water and use it to suck up and expel enough water to rinse most of the ink from your pen. Your server may think you are eccentric, but that’s okay. Your happy pen is worth the effort.

Tip: The fewer pens filled, the easier it is to practice good pen maintenance. Before I had a pen collection, one or two at a time met my needs. I wrote them dry and cleaned them immediately. The few I owned were very well used and perfectly maintained. Even today with a hundred pens on hand, only one or two at a time is all I keep inked unless I need more for reviews.

Happy pens provide the best writing experience. They start immediately, flow without a hiccup, work beautifully with a variety of inks, and come clean without ado.

If you want some suggestions for low maintenance, colorful inks, check out my Short List of Easy Inks.

Pilot Kakuno

6 comments

  1. I’ve been mistreating my nibbed babies so much lately. Pretty much breaking all those “rules.” Shame shame.

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    • You are not alone. Bet they’ll forgive you after a good cleaning and some fresh ink. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


      • 😁 I hope so. That’s a good task for this week.

        Like


        • You will be a hero to your pens. 😀

          Liked by 2 people


  2. […] Make Your Fountain Pens Happy | An Inkophile’s Blog […]

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  3. […] Inkophile: Make Your Fountain Pens Happy Inkophile hat ein paar Tipps für „Füller-Wellness“ zusammengestellt. Derartige Beiträge lassen sich nur selten finden. Dieses How To ist definitiv lesenswert. […]

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