Fountain pen maintenance: some simple but important tips

The use of the fountain pen guarantees a unique fluidity and expressiveness of the stroke, but also requires particular care and attention in cleaning and maintenance. For this reason, it is important to follow a few basic rules that allow an optimal functioning and long life of the pen.

Love and cleanliness: two fundamental elements for the fountain pen

The two essential elements for taking care of your fountain pen and ensure optimum performance and long life are: love and cleanliness. Love because the fountain pen is the means by which we transfer our thoughts, ideas and emotions to paper. Cleanliness because like any elegant and refined instrument it needs care and maintenance to perform at its best. As for the emotional connection, it is obviously difficult to give advice and each person is free to become attached to their fountain pen as they see fit. For its cleaning however there are some simple but important rules that are essential to follow.

Cleaning the fountain pen: important rules to follow

Let’s start with an important premise: the unique ink transmission mechanism of the fountain pen guarantees an elegant and expressive fluid stroke, but it also requires special care and attention to function optimally.

The first fundamental rule is to remove the ink or the cartridge if the fountain pen is not used for an extended period of time, as the ink could dry out and create encrustations in the feeder, thus preventing the pen from writing.

For cleaning, we recommend using only cold water, avoiding other products or solvents that could damage the fountain pen. If the pen is a plunger type or uses other direct filling methods, the operation consists of loading and unloading the ink chamber, until the water comes out completely clean. On the other hand, if the pen uses a cartridge, you can let the water flow directly from the tap. In any case, if it is not possible to remove all the build up, then it is advisable to let it “soak” as long as necessary. Naturally if the pen has metal parts, it is not advisable to leave it in water too long.

If the “do it yourself” cleaning operations do not have the desired effect (and the pen continues to work poorly), our advice is to contact a specialized center that can perform professional cleaning and also check if the problem is due to other factors. A misalignment of the nib, for example, could be the cause of the malfunction.

Some simple tricks for taking care of your fountain pen

The best position in which to rest the pen is to hold it vertically, with the nib facing upwards. When you refill a plunger or converter fountain pen, after having taken it out of the ink well, a useful tip is to let out 4/6 drops before using it.

It’s important to ensure the thorough drying of the nib after using the feeder (conductor) preferably with a cotton cloth or a sheet of absorbent paper. The models with a reinforced nib deserve particular attention: in these cases the excess ink may not be seen because it is present inside the barrel. It is therefore necessary to put the pen vertically and let the ink flow out before drying it.

Finally, one of the most common mistakes – and one to be absolutely avoided – is to attempt to straighten or repair the stylus yourself if it is damaged by a bump or a fall. In fact, repairing a nib is a delicate operation and for this you need to rely on a professional and avoid doing it yourself, as you could cause further damage!