I have several abused fountain pens on my desk! Capped for weeks. Full of ink. Left like out of vogue toys thrown from of a child’s pram. It got me thinking. With guilt... Remind myself that each and every pen is special and deserves to be kept as so.
I can think of a hundred dos and don’ts for a better kept fountain pen. But here are ten strategies to get you started. A fountain pen should be like a best friend. Don't be like me. Treat your friends well.
1. Don’t press when you write.
Years of ballpoint pen use gives you a heavy hand. Perhaps you’re new to fountain pens. Listen up: Don’t press! A fountain pen nib is a work of art designed to deliver ink on paper using the capillary action created by the gap between the tines and the reservoir of ink. This means seamless delivery of ink to paper without the need for pressure. Touch the nib down lightly and you’ll be writing. Less stress, no aching wrist. And the biggest benefit is a long life for your pen!
2. Store your pen with the nib pointing up.
Ever wondered why the Pilot Vanishing Point has the clip on the wrong end of the pen? It’s so that your nib will be pointing up when stored in a pocket. Great advice! Not only do you stop the potential of nasty leaks (watch the movie Sean of the Dead for a reference about red ink) but storing the nib pointing up can also stop clogs.
3. Keep your pen clean!
Don’t be lazy. Every time you refill your pen give it a good wash out. There is nothing like using a clean pen! It’s fantastic! Grab a glass of wine of an evening and follow our guide on how to clean your fountain pen. Make it a task to enjoy!
4. Be mindful of rolling.
Did you ever put your favourite Montblanc on a table only to find it shattered on the floor after you take your eyes off it for a couple of seconds? Fountain pens don’t have the equivalent of biro heaven you know! When you put your pen down even for a second consider re-capping it or posting the cap on the end of the pen. The clip might save your pen from the dreaded roll of death!
5. Write with the cap posted if you’re accident prone.
Following on from suggestion number four ... write with the cap on? I generally don’t write with a cap posted but it’s good advice for those with an oopsy nature. One day in the dim distant future you may well drop your pen. If you write posted then the heavier end might just hit the ground first and save your precious nib!
6. My pen won’t start.
Sometimes a pen can be a little finicky to get started. This is true of rarely used pens as well as particular nibs. It can be frustrating and we’ve had customers pressing down hard on the nib when faced with the problem. The result is, well, a bent nib! Just a drop of water on the nib can get the capillary action started without the need for a heavy hand. If you have a gunked up nib then clean your pen to remove grime. Never press again!
7. Keep an unused pen empty.
I should do this! When not using a pen, give it a good clean and keep it empty. It’ll stop dried out ink, clogging and potential degradation of the nib. And when you pick up the pen weeks later it'll be like you're holding a new pen. Pure bliss!
8. Flying with a pen.
Best be safe when flying with a pen to limit any potential messes due to a change in air pressure. Be sure to empty your pen entirely or fill it to the top with ink! This should eliminate any leaky problems that need cleaning up at the airport.
9. Replace the cap... nib up!
Recommended by fountain pen aficionados! Replace the cap on your pen with the nib pointing upwards. Not only does it look classy, but the air pocket created by the cap seal will force ink back into the nib. Good for leaks and good for nib longevity.
10. Use your fountain pen every day.
Above all, using your fountain pen every day will keep you happy and your pen happy! Don't let a fantastic fountain pen be relegated to the draw. Enjoy every moment with it!
Do you have any tips for fountain pen happiness?