If you’re like us, you might have a few different fountain pens in your collection. And if you do, you probably know there are times when they don’t work as well as they should. However, you might get them to write after a bit of coaxing.
But what’s the cause of these little malfunctions? And how can you fix them?
Your new fountain pen won’t work if the ink cartridge isn’t inserted correctly. You should also ensure there is enough ink in the cartridge. A fountain pen will write more smoothly if it has enough ink. Moreover, you must flush your feed if you see any sediments clogging up your ink cartridge.
This article will explain how to make your favorite fountain pen ready for action again.
How to Fix a Brand New Fountain Pen?
Fountain pens have a timeless elegance and simplicity that makes them truly unique. They’re relics of the past that have found their way into the hearts of modern consumers. But what happens when you get one that doesn’t write?
Here are eight things to try if your new fountain pen isn’t writing:
1. Fill the Empty Cartridge With Ink
A new fountain pen won’t work if you don’t have an ink cartridge or if the ink is low in the reservoir. So make sure you have inserted an ink cartridge compatible with your pen.
If you have a converter-style fountain pen, fill the reservoir with ink.
2. Reinsert the Cartridge
If you’re having trouble with your fountain pen, the cartridge may not be fully seated on the feed. This imbalance can happen if you’re not careful when changing cartridges. So it’s always a good idea to check before writing.
To fix this, simply remove the cartridge and reinsert it so that you can see that it’s fully engaged with the feed. If it still doesn’t work at first, give it a gentle push if necessary to make sure it’s secure. After that, you should be good to go!
The seal is designed to prevent the liquid from leaking out and drying in the barrel of your pen. However, if you’re using a new cartridge, the seal may not have been broken yet. So your fountain pen won’t work if the ink cartridge remains unsealed.
The ink cartridge has a clear seal around its base that should be punctured to release ink into the feed.
3. Flush the Feed With Warm Water
That’s the easiest, most straightforward thing you can do to fix a converter fountain pen that isn’t writing. The feed, the part of the pen where ink flows from the cartridge into the nib, can get clogged with dried ink or other debris.
If there’s any build-up in the feed, it can prevent ink from flowing properly. In addition, new pens may have some sediments in the pen. Flushing the feed with warm water will usually clear it up quickly and easily.
4. Prime the Pen
You have probably noticed that your new pen doesn’t write as smoothly and consistently as you’d like it to. You may have even tried shaking it or tapping the tip on a hard surface to dislodge any air bubbles that could be disrupting ink flow.
But what if none of these things worked? What if your pen is still skipping and stuttering? Don’t worry!
Fountain pens are made up of different parts that work together to create a reliable writing experience. But when you first start using one, those parts haven’t had time to settle into their final positions.
We have an easy-peasy fix: prime the pen.
Priming means pushing the ink out of the ink reservoir. Just squeeze the fountain pen cartridge a few times until you see some ink come out, and then try writing again!
If you have a converter fountain pen, twist the converter anti-clockwise to force some ink from the nib.
You can also put a tissue on the nib and shake your pen vigorously for a while. This trick will force some ink into the nib and help you start writing sooner.
5. Change the Ink
You may think the problem is with the pen, but that’s not always true. Sometimes the issue is most likely your ink. The quality of the ink can have a huge effect on how well your fountain pen works.
If you’re using a high-quality pen and low-quality ink, you might realize you need to change the ink for a smooth writing performance.
Inks come in a wide range of colors, thicknesses, and viscosities. So if you’re having trouble with your new fountain pen, change your ink and see if it works better in that pen.
Before deciding on the ink, determine the kind of fountain pen you have. For those who don’t know, there are three types of fountain pens:
- Cartridge fountain pen
- Converter fountain pen
- Piston-filler fountain pen
If your pen uses cartridges, insert one into the barrel and gently push until it’s firmly in place. For a converter pen, fill the converter with ink and screw it onto the barrel of the pen.
And if you have a piston-filler pen, unscrew the knob at the end of the barrel and dip the nib in ink. After you’ve filled the pen with ink, screw the knob back on and give it a few good twists to ensure it’s tight.
You should always use fresh ink in your fountain pen to keep it performing optimally. Fountain pens require a certain amount of lubrication, and dried-out ink can cause the ink flow to clog up, slowing down your writing process.
Warning: Using Indian ink or Carbon inks in fountain pens is not safe. Since these inks are too thick and slow-drying, they’ll clog up your pen’s feed and cause damage.
6. Hold Your New Fountain Pen Correctly
Hold the pen like a pencil with your thumb and index finger. This way is most common to hold a fountain pen, and it works well for simple handwriting or drawing.
Grasp the pen with your dominant hand. Your fingers should be comfortably positioned around the barrel and grip section, with your thumb resting on the grip section.
The best way to hold a fountain pen is at a 45-degree angle. This sweet spot gives you the most control over your writing.
The sweet spot lets the ink flow smoothly from the pen onto paper. So if you hold the pen in any other position, it may not write as smoothly or evenly.
Moreover, keep your elbow close to your body while you write. This trick will keep your arm from getting tired or sore.
Your grip should be loose but firm. You don’t want the pen slipping out of your hand, so your fingers should wrap around it lightly but firmly enough to hold onto it without any trouble.
The key here is balance: if you grip too tightly, you’ll hurt yourself but if you don’t hold on with enough force, the pen will slip out of your hands. So find that sweet spot where the pen feels comfortable in your hand, and then keep practicing until you get it right!
7. Get the Smooth Paper
The kind of paper you use can greatly impact how well your fountain pen works. For example, suppose you’re using a cheap notebook or printer paper that hasn’t been specially treated for fountain pen use.
In that case, your pen may get scratchy because it’s not meant for fountain pens and doesn’t have enough absorbency.
A smooth surface is important because it will help reduce the friction between the writing instrument and the paper. When friction is reduced, there’s less resistance to movement, meaning the pen glides more easily across your paper.
Rough paper can damage your pen’s nib and prevent the ink from flowing properly.
So if you’re having trouble getting your fountain pen to work, ensure you’re using smooth, high-quality paper with less texture.
The ink flows out of the nib onto the paper. Paper with too much texture or roughness can make it harder for your pen to grip onto the surface and glide easily.
8. Fix the Bent Nib
Check that your nib isn’t damaged from previous use or shipping error (if applicable). If it appears bent or cracked, gently straighten it back into shape by holding your thumb on one side of the nib and pressing gently toward yourself with your other hand until it straightens out again.
Be careful not to press too hard or bend too much at once — you could break off part of your nib!
Make sure that your nib is clean and free from old ink residue! If there’s some dried ink from an earlier writing session, use cotton swabs or a damp paper towel to get rid of it.
After your pen starts working again, don’t forget to keep it clean. Even if you’re using fresh ink, dirt and dust can build up in your pen’s nib and feed.
How to Clean Your Fountain Pen?
A fountain pen requires regular maintenance to keep it functioning at its best. This process includes cleaning the nib, flushing the pen, and changing your ink once it gets too old.
To clean the nib:
- Remove the cap from the pen and unscrew the fountain tip by twisting it counterclockwise.
- Place the nib into the warm water for two hours. The water will flow through any debris, paper fibers, and dried ink accumulated on the nib and flush it out. You can also use this time to inspect your nib for damage or wear—if there is any visible damage, you may want to replace it with a new one before using your fountain pen again!
- Dry off any excess moisture with a paper towel or soft cloth before putting the cap on top of your fountain tip.
To clean the feed:
- Take out the converter and flush water through the ink reservoir until all of the old ink is gone. You can use warm or cold water with a drop or two of dish soap to help remove any residual ink that might still be clinging to the inside of the converter.
- Remove all remaining ink from your pen by flushing it with warm water until no more ink comes out of the nib or reservoir. If you have a piston-filler, open up the barrel cap and flush out any remaining ink by pushing down on the piston rod several times until there’s nothing left there.
- Wipe off any remaining residue from your pen with a damp cloth or paper towel. Then let it dry overnight before writing again! If you use your pen immediately after a clean-up, the ink will come out darker than usual.
You should follow these instructions every time you swap ink color or brand. Otherwise, you may experience strange color combos or clogged nibs.
Plus, keep the cap on when your fountain pen is not in use! This way, you won’t get any nasty dust into the nib.
Fountain pens are an exciting alternative to ballpoint and rollerball pens, but they can be intimidating if you’re not used to them.
If your new fountain pen stops writing suddenly, check and ensure enough ink is in the reservoir. If there isn’t, add more ink or replace the fountain pen ink cartridge.
You should also clean out any gunk build-up in the fountain pen nib area or around the feeder channel for a quality writing experience.
Lastly, perform a deep cleaning on your pen by gently flushing out its parts with distilled water, then drying thoroughly before filling up with fresh ink.
It may seem counterintuitive to clean something before using it for the first time, but sometimes this trick can get your pen back up and running.
It’s normal for new pens to take some getting used to. But, with these tips, you’ll write like a pro in no time.