Troubleshooting: Why is My Fountain Pen Not Flowing Well?
fountain pen not flowing well

The pen is mightier than the sword, they say. But what good is a mighty pen when it doesn’t write? If your fountain pen isn’t flowing well, we’ll help you fix it!

This blog post discusses some possible reasons why your fountain pen might not be working correctly and provides some tips on fixing the issue and getting your pen writing smoothly again.

What is a Fountain Pen?

fountain pen not flowing well

A fountain pen is a writing instrument that uses liquid ink to produce written text on a piece of paper. It is different from a typical ballpoint pen because the ink is stored in a reservoir inside the pen and is drawn out by a nib (the metal tip at the end of the pen) and transferred to paper.

Fountain pens are typically refillable, so you can replace the ink as it runs out. You’ll want to check if your pen requires proprietary cartridges or can use standard international ink cartridges, as you’ll need this information when it’s time to refill it.

Unlike everyday ballpoint pens, fountain pens also have a soft grip and are lightweight. They also come with quite a range of color options since they are water-based, unlike typical ballpoint pens which are oil-based.

Why is my Fountain Pen Not Flowing Well?

There are several reasons why your fountain pen might not be flowing well, and we’ve discussed the most common ones below.

Ink is Clogging the Nib

One of the most common reasons for a fountain pen not flowing well is that the ink has clogged the nib. This can be caused by various factors, such as using the wrong type of ink color or letting the pen sit unused for an extended period.

If this is the case, you’ll need to clean the pen out with water and flush the ink from it.

Ink is Too Thick

Another reason why your fountain pen might not be flowing well is that it’s using a type of ink that is too thick or dense for its design. You can solve this problem by refilling your pen with thinner ink or diluting the thicker one with distilled water (if possible).

Nib is Bent

If your fountain pen’s nib has become bent, it might not be able to lay down smooth lines of ink on paper. You’ll need to straighten out the nib for it to work correctly again!

Blocked Air Hole

If there is a blockage in the air hole – usually caused by lint, dust, or other debris – your fountain pen might not be able to suck up ink from the reservoir. This can be fixed by using a needle or paper clip to clear the obstruction.

The Nib is Worn Out

If your fountain pen’s nib has worn out, it might not produce smooth lines of ink on paper. You can fix this by replacing the nib with a new one in good condition.

The Feed is Damaged or Bent

If the feed – which is the part of the pen that helps control the ink flow – is damaged or bent, it can cause your fountain pen not to write correctly. You’ll need to replace the feed (or have it repaired if possible) for your pen to work smoothly again.

Pen Needs a New Ink Cartridge

If your pen isn’t writing because it’s out of ink, you’ll need to replace the cartridge. Fountain pens typically use proprietary or standard international ink cartridges, so make sure you have the correct type before purchasing a new one.

Pen Not Inserted Correctly

If your fountain pen isn’t writing because it’s not inserted correctly, you’ll need to reinsert it. Check that the cap is off and there are no obstructions when inserting a cartridge or converter (if using).

How to Fix a Fountain Pen That Won’t Write?

expensicve nountain pen

If your fountain pen isn’t writing, you can do a few things to fix the issue. Below we’ve listed some of the most common solutions.

Dried or Old Ink

If your pen hasn’t been used in a while, the ink may have dried inside the feed. To fix this issue, you can try soaking the nib and feeding your pen in water for a few minutes.

Once soaked, wipe off any excess water, put it back together, and give it another try. If the pen is still not writing, it may be time to replace the ink cartridge.

Clogged Nib

If your fountain pen has been used frequently and you’re having trouble getting it to write, the issue may be that the ink is clogging up the nib, causing poor ink flow.

To fix this, try to clear out the ink using a syringe or pipette filled with water to flush it through the nib. You can also try shaking the pen gently or immersing it in water to dislodge the clog.

If the nib is still clogged with ink, try soaking it in an ammonia-based cleaning solution for a few minutes, then wipe off any excess before putting it back together and trying again.

Damaged Nib 

The last possible cause of your pen not writing may be that the nib has been damaged somehow. This could be from a fall, being dropped, or even biting the pen. If this is the case, you’ll need to replace the nib unit entirely.

Thick Ink 

If your ink is too thick, you can dilute it with distilled water (if possible). If you’re using a standard international ink cartridge, make sure it’s the right type for your fountain pen.

Bent Nib 

If the nib is bent, you can try to straighten it out by gently bending it back into place. You might also need to replace the nib if it’s too damaged.

Dirty Nib 

If the nib is dirty, you can clean it with a tissue or paper towel. You can also use a small amount of water to help loosen any dried ink.


All in all, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot and hopefully fix your fountain pen when it’s not flowing well.

If you’ve tried all of the methods listed and your pen is still not working properly, it might be time to take it in for repairs or even buy a new one.

We hope you found this post helpful and learned how to get your fountain pen flowing smoothly again. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!


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