Mistakes To Avoid When Using A Fountain Pen

Using a fountain pen for the first time can be challenging. You may have looked at calligraphy online and even watched a few videos. However, your writing doesn’t turn out how you imagined it to. 

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Don’t worry; you’re not alone! Using a fountain pen does take a little bit of getting used to. To help, we’ll take a look at some of the mistakes you need to avoid when using a fountain pen. 

Choosing the cheapest ink you can find 

When you first start out, you may believe that all ink is created equal and that the cheapest option will work just as well. But that’s not the case! 

Always use specially-designed fountain pen ink for your fountain pen. Why? They basically have a unique chemical makeup that works well for fountain pens. 

Your fountain pen will become clogged if you use something that is too thick and dries too rapidly. This will demand continuous cleaning. 

The great thing about fountain pen ink is that it comes in hundreds of different colors. It’s a terrific way of expressing your personality through your ink.

It’s likely that the ink on the inside of your fountain pen will dry if you don’t use it frequently. If this happens, the pen won’t start when you need it to write. 

If that is you, I advise looking for an ink that is intended to dry more slowly so you won’t have to clean your pen as often. Plus, it will be more dependable when you do use it.

Pressing down on the nib too hard

You can press holes into your paper if you’re too firm, whether you use a standard ballpoint pen or a rollerball. 

With a fountain pen, you may increase the pressure, and the wider your pen stroke will become. That can look pretty great for a signature or if you want to write in a calligraphy style. 

However, as the nibs are split down the middle to allow ink to reach the paper, you need to be a little more careful while using them. If you press too firmly, you risk breaking or damaging the nib, which would require replacement.

Also, if you push too hard, the paper will become scratched, your hand will become fatigued, and it will be difficult on both the paper and the pen. 

I believe a softer touch is preferable in general. It helps to have a pen that is just a little bit heavier but not too heavy if you want to write long letters because then you can write without having to press down extremely hard.

Using unsuitable paper

More ink is applied to the paper as a result of the nib and the ink feed. Considering that normal paper is typically thin and occasionally weak, you may experience bleeding when using a fountain pen. 

Basically, the ink simply bleeds into the paper, creating a very smudged line that doesn’t look as lovely as it would if you used the same fountain pen on thicker paper that would better absorb the ink.

Instead, choose somewhat thicker cardstock or fountain pen paper, which is barely more expensive but produced specifically for ink from fountain pens. 

If you don’t care about the type of paper you use, I advise getting an extra fine or fine nib. They leave less ink on the paper and look good on any type of paper. 

Having said that, sending someone a handwritten message on heavier cardstock or even cotton paper makes them feel extra special. 

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Using acetone or rubbing alcohol to clean your fountain pen

Rubbing alcohol can damage the plastic in your pens, so it’s better to avoid using it even though you may believe it will make your pen sparkle and shine or help you get rid of some ink residue. 

Some people have decided to clean their plastic pens by leaving them in rubbing alcohol for an entire night, which has meant some pens have been damaged, and others have totally melted. 

Try some pen flush first if the ink stain is really difficult to remove. If that doesn’t work, some bleach that has been heavily diluted ought to do the job. 

Leave the rubbing alcohol where it belongs—in the medicine cabinet!

Not cleaning your fountain pen at all

Not only is using rubbing alcohol a mistake, but we’ve seen a lot of people make the error of failing to clean their fountain pens altogether. 

Even though it might seem like a hassle, cleaning your pen is definitely worthwhile. You will be able to eradicate hard starts, ensure you don’t encounter any skipping problems, and avoid a variety of other pen complaints by using a little water or a pen flush. 

This is especially crucial if you frequently change your ink, as you could unintentionally create a mixture of unfavorable chemicals in your pen. 

There are many ways to make this task less taxing, including the use of a bulb syringe.

Airplane ink explosions 

Think carefully about how to prevent your fountain pen from leaking ink all over your luggage if you intend to bring it on a plane. 

A fountain pen can behave strangely due to fluctuations in cabin pressure! 

The pressure inside your pen is higher than the pressure outside of it as you take off because the cabin pressure decreases. Your pen releases air through the nib as the pressure equalizes. If the ink is in the way, it also lets it out, resulting in a leaky pen.

The easiest strategy to prevent ink explosions while on an aircraft is to thoroughly empty and clean your pen before flying. Another option is to keep it as fully filled with ink as you can. 

The likelihood of an ink chamber leakage decreases with the amount of air present.

Avoid these mistakes when using a fountain pen to ensure the best results 

So there you have it: some of the main mistakes you need to avoid when using your fountain pen. If you can avoid the errors we have mentioned above, you’ll give yourself the best chance of writing beautifully and ensuring your pens work effectively for years to come. 


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