Writing with a fountain pen is a great experience that will last for years to come. You'll get pleasure from it for many years, even generations. It's important to take care of a fountain pen so your writing experience will last for years to come. Revealing the best ways to maintain your fountain pen is not a particularly difficult process or one that requires much effort. With tips offered by our writers, you'll be able to see how easy it is to take care of your writing instrument and keep it running smoothly for years to come.
Why clean a fountain pen?
Capillary action drives the flow of water through a fountain pen. This is a physical process in which liquid builds up the walls of a narrow tube using surface tension and then flows down the channel in the feed and the slit in the nib to the paper.
Dust, paper fibers, and dried ink flakes are the primary culprits that cause poor ink flow. If you can see the white ink flowing in your pen, but it is not writing smoothly, the problem may be due to a buildup of dust and debris inside the pen.
When do you need to clean a fountain pen?
To maintain your fountain pen, ink should be changed and rinsed every four to eight weeks. Fountain pen inks are based on pigments, which are not meant to mix together. Mixing ink can create muddy colors as well as increase the risk of them writing poorly with one another.
Why do fountain pens dry out?
A fountain pen is a writing instrument made to produce a fine and even line of ink. These are usually filled through an eyedropper, which dips into the ink and then feeds it to the nib. A fountain pen can dry out if the ink evaporates too quickly, if it's not used for a long time, or if the climate is too dry.
Cleaning your fountain pen
Inevitably, pens clogged with ink will dry out. To avoid the problem, we recommend that you clean your fountain pen at least once every four months. Perhaps more regularly if your pen isn't used often. Better still, flush your pen every time you put it away. To flush it properly:
- Remove the ink cartridge from the pen and turn the pen over in your hand. Gently wet the nib and feed with warm water.
- Once the water has cleared and the ink has soaked in a mug for a minimum of 2 hours (or overnight), you can try to clean it. This will help to loosen any dried and hardened ink particles.
- Remove any excess moisture from your fountain pen and wipe the nib with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Once your pen has dried completely, you should be able to use it again. This process will take an hour or two, depending on how much ink is in the pen. If you have concerns about this, leave it to dry overnight in a kitchen roll; we recommend wrapping it with the paper if you want to absorb as much water as possible.
1 - Remove the pen tip from the nib section.
2 - The pen is a ballpoint pen that has a removable tip. With the tip removed, fill it with water and let it sit. The ink will flow out of the pen.
- If the pen uses a cartridge/cartridge, a beaker or other container of clean water will be needed to soak the nib section overnight.
- The ink should be completely submerged in the water.
- Always use room temperature water when filling your fountain pen. Use bottled distilled water for best results or tap water that has not been heated as it may contain minerals that will clog the feed. Do not use hot or warm water as this will expand the inner workings of the pen. Alcohol, on the other hand, will damage the feed and other parts of the pen.
- Let the nib soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then dry. If the pen needs more time, let it soak longer or overnight.
3 - Wash your pen every week or whenever you change its ink color.
Using your fountain pen
- Excessively pressing the nib of a fountain pen will cause damage to it. A good fountain pen should slide over the paper without excessive pressure.
- Use fresh ink. While it is not generally a good idea to use ink that is more than a year old, it is an excellent idea to use ink that looks freshly bottled. Cylinders of ink should always be examined for any growths on the surface before being used. Then the ink should be stirred to make sure that there are no lumps or sediment on the bottom. Thinner ink cartridges, like Waterman, Sheaffer or Pelikan, are less likely to solidify than thicker cartridges. Also, to maintain your fountain pen checking the ink level of the cartridge is important. Keeping a bottle of ink nearby can be helpful. If the ink has not been used for several weeks, it is best to shake the ink bottle before filling the pen.
- Black ink contains gum arabic, which is a natural polymer used to absorb moisture. If you allow black ink to dry inside of the nib, it may cause permanent damage. To prevent this, clean your fountain pen before the ink has dried.
- Avoid direct sunlight, and store ink bottles in a cool, dark location.
- Use non-treated or recycled paper for the best results. Paper that has been treated with chemicals will not absorb ink, and ink will collect in the nib. If your pen skips after using chemically treated paper, clean the nib with a lint-free cloth. If this does not work, wash the pen out with water.
- When traveling by plane, we recommend that you fill your converter with ink before takeoff. If you overfill the pen, there is a risk of leakage, so always keep your pen upright in flight. You can hold the pen upside down for takeoff and landing, but once the plane has taken off, you should place the pen upright in its case.
- Do not lend your pen to anyone. The nib will adapt to your writing style, i.e., how hard you press and the angle at which you write.
- If your pen doesn't "start" right away (i.e., after not being used for a couple of weeks), you should probably wash the pen and dry it. If that doesn't work, try soaking the pen in a bowl of warm soapy water for a few minutes. If that still doesn't work, send the pen to a professional where they will probably take it apart and clean it.
Storing your fountain pen
To maintain your fountain pen and keep them working for longer, care for them regularly. Whether you clean your pen once a month or once a week, it's less likely to break down later in the writing experience and you'll have a friendlier pen that lasts longer.
A fountain pen should be stored with the cap on to prevent ink from drying in the pen nib. The ink should never collect in the reservoir of a filled fountain pen. While plastic pen cases are intended to store pens that have been completely emptied and cleaned of ink, they should never be used to store filled fountain pens.
For pens that are rarely used, remove ink from the pen and clean pens after use. Similarly, if the pen will be unused for over a week, remove the ink and thoroughly dry the pen before storage. The pen itself and the nib should be allowed to dry completely before storage.
1 - If you are not planning on using this pen for a long period of time, in order to maintain your fountain pen, it is recommended to clean it thoroughly before storing away.
2 - When not in use, the pen should be stored upright. In order to prevent ink from settling in the nib, a pen should never be allowed to hang at an angle.
Caring for your fountain pen
Writing with a fountain pen will give you many years of enjoyment. For generations, fountain pens have been cherished by lovers of fine writing. It is a practical tool that has a long life, and if you take care of it properly, you can expect it to last for many years. It is not difficult to maintain your fountain pen, so please follow these tips to maintain your fountain pen and keep your writing instrument in top condition.
Maintain your fountain pen, it requires basic care and cleaning. The following hints can help you keep your favorite writing tool in good condition:
- Don't allow ink to dry out in the nib, and don't keep your pen tip at too high an angle. This will reduce the amount of ink flow and eventually reduce the amount of ink left in the pen.
- Wash the pen thoroughly after every use. When the ink cartridge has been removed, hold the pen under running water and wipe it clean with a dry paper tissue.
- Use Paper European size ink cartridges.
- Never use waterproof or pigmented inks on your pens. These types of inks will clog up your pens if you use them.
- Don't drop or knock your pen against a flat surface. You can avoid accidental damage by storing your pen in its storage case.
- Never allow the nib of a fountain pen to point downwards.
Solutions and advice to ensure the flow of ink in the Manuscript Fountain Pen from the Manuscript range:
- Make sure the ink cartridge is inserted completely.
- To encourage the ink to come down to the nib, hold the pen vertically with the tip of the nib pointing down onto a scrap piece of paper and tap the tip of the nib repeatedly on the paper. Do this for as long as necessary until the ink starts dripping through.
- If the pen does not dispense ink after this step, you can also try twisting the cartridge gently and carefully over scrap paper until the ink comes out of the nib. If that doesn't work, you can also gently and carefully pull along the leads in the cartridge to get the ink out. If you do make a blotch on your paper, you can put the nib into some fresh ink to encourage flow.
Preparing a fountain pen for first use
If you are the first person to use a fountain pen, fill the ink reservoir with ink. With the converter attached, slowly unscrew the tip from the nib. Then slowly twist the body of the nib counter-clockwise to create a little space between it and the converter. Let some ink flow out of the tip and then screw the body back into place. This ensures that the pen's feed is completely filled with ink.
If the pen won't write, try to thoroughly clean the nib. Then rub the tip gently with tissue until you can see a little pink on the tissue. Shake the pen vigorously to get more ink onto the tissue. Don't use anything rough, like paper towels or tissues, as that could damage the nib. It is important to have a proper hold of your pen when using it for the first time.
Just as your car needs its oil changed, to maintain your fountain pen, it needs internal cleaning. This will keep the ink flowing smoothly and prevent dried ink from clogging the feed. We recommend rinsing the nib and feed of your fountain pen with one part household ammonia and two parts water. To remove the solid residue from an ink pen, you should first fill the pen with ink and then empty it. After that, you should flush the pen with water three or four times to dissolve the solids accumulation. If you want to use a cartridge exclusively, you should flush the ink out of the pen with water three or four more times after discarding the cartridge.
Even if you only use tap water to flush it a couple of times a month, it's unlikely that you'll experience any clogging problems.
*Important note: never use ammonia with steel pens, or with any other pen that contains aluminum parts. The ammonia will eat away the aluminum and cause rust. Also, do not soak steel nibs in ammonia for any length of time. It can discolor the plastic.
If you own a fountain pen, you should not allow ink to accumulate inside the barrel. In extreme cases, ink can easily pool inside the pen and cause the mechanism to seize up. If you are able to see dried ink in the transparent part of the pen, it is possible that this problem has occurred and you can take remedial action on your own.
Cartridge/converter pens are just as prone to collecting ink residue and dirt as other pens. Because they don't use replaceable components, they are also more prone to leaking or other problems. When using a cartridge/converter pen, it's essential that the nib and ink reservoir be cleaned consistently. However, it's equally easy to maintain both types of fountain pens. To clean out the ink, you can use the converter only. And the price for this converter is almost as low as a single pen refill.
FYI: An inexpensive "de-soldering bulb" available at Radio Shack makes a great flushing tool. Remove the plastic cap on the bulb and slide the bulb over the back of the connector. Pump away with a vacuum pump or by inserting an ear syringe. The ammonia can be used to remove stubborn ink from pens.
If your ink cartridge needs service or cleaning, we can send it in for us to clean. Our specially designed tools and cleaning solutions will get even the worst of the worst out of your cartridge. Although the problem may manifest itself in this way, we could also be informed of a dried-out or skipped feed. We can then add to the cost in order to have the pen cleaned out. In this scenario, it is usually that the nib is not able to function and has started skipping or drying out.
Inks Dos-and Dont's
We receive a lot of questions about ink colors and colors not to use. First of all, it is important to note that if you do not clean your fountain pen after each use, you risk damaging the nib and making it less enjoyable to write with. India ink and waterproof drafting ink tend to make your nibs difficult to clean. Many inks will not dissolve easily or at all with water. Some ink reservoirs have a tendency to clog. Sometimes the ink itself can act as a blocking agent when it is left on the feed tube of an inkjet printer. Cleaning your fountain pen can get a bit messy, you could get ink in your skin or clothes but don’t worry there are a series of household products and methods to help you remove these undesired ink stains.
What is the safest way to write with a fountain pen? First of all, stick with inks that are formulated specifically for fountain pens. Water-based inks are safer than those derived from alcohol since alcohol inks can evaporate and carry contaminants into the body of the pen. Carbon and pigment-based inks are usually safe for use with fountain pens, though experimentation is always advised. And whatever ink you use, regular cleaning will help ensure your pen's feed system will have a long and happy life.
The Plugged Feed Problem
Here are three examples of feed channels that have unfortunately been clogged. All show signs of having had a bath in the ultrasonic cleaner, but because the feeds have so much ink trapped in them, they do not clear completely even after ultrasonic cleaners. In this case, the Waterford, on top, stopped writing after a few lines. Because the feed channel was not completely plugged, some ink came down. However, when air and ink can't find their way back to fill the reservoir, the vacuum develops. This is a common problem with modern pens; in fact, one of its most famous features is how the pen fills with air from the reservoir. The same complaint can be found in the feed on the bottom – see how much ink and air has been collected by the collection fins.
Thankfully, thorough cleaning restored all three of these feeds to full working condition. But, even with regular cleaning, these pens might have been in danger of needing extensive repairs — if not taken care of immediately.
How to Take Care of Your Pens
When you buy a pen that writes smoothly, looks sleek, and is sturdy enough to last you forever, the last thing you want is for it to be scratched. It's easy to damage a pen. No matter what we do, our pens will be accidentally scuffed or cracked. There are lots of ways to protect your pens from being damaged.
#1 Keep them safe
The best way to take care of your pen is always to know where it is. Keeping them close to your hand will make sure your pen won't get lost in a cluttered drawer. Small but perfectly formed, a Large Pen Holder can keep pens close to hand.
#2 Remember to treat the nib with care
Pressure is applied when you touch the tip of your fountain pen to the paper. This is a common mistake, especially among new fountain pen users. If the ink doesn't flow freely across the page, then there's pressure. Try using a sheet of blotter paper in between your pen and the paper to ensure that no pressure is being applied to your pen nib. Applying unnecessary pressure can cause damage to the nib both aesthetically but also internally. So, avoid having to buy lots of nibs by writing leisurely and without force.
#3 Use Fresh ink
Pen ink can become clogged and cause your pen to be clogged and unusable. For a smooth writing experience, use bottled fountain pen ink. When filling your fountain pen with bottled ink, stir the ink three times prior to filtering it into your fountain pen. This will ensure that there are no clumps and the ink flows out of the nib undisturbed. Be sure to store your ink in a well-ventilated place without any direct sunlight and ensure that your pens or pencils are stored with the nib pointing upwards. This will prevent them from drying out and losing some of the brilliant color pigment. Try keeping your pens in a pen case so that you can see which one you have selected to use at the time of writing; this will also help stop them from drying out.
#4 Use your pen often
The more you use your favorite pen, the more comfortable it'll become. If you don't use your pen for a while, be sure to remove the nib and refill the ink well with new ink. This will mean that you can write with your pen for years to come. If you plan to store it won't get used right away or forever, be sure to care for your pen properly. To prevent ink from clogging your pen, we recommend decanting the ink out of the pen to make sure there isn't any ink inside the barrel. This will ensure that your pen works smoothly regardless of how often you use it. We also recommend protecting your pen in a safe place like a drawer.
#5 Keep them protected
The best pen case is one that protects the shape and appearance of a pen. If you're prone to losing pens, our genuine leather pen case will keep your writing instruments safe. No more will you lose or damage your pens when they fall out of your bag and get crushed by books and paper. This practical little case keeps your favorite pen in pristine condition, enabling you to keep them looking as good as the day you first bought them. By protecting and properly storing your pen whilst traveling you can ensure that it is not scuffed or broken easily and looks as good as the day you first bought it.