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Most people take the same path towards a fountain pen. It starts with really nice handwriting and wanting to make the most of your skills or, as in our case, with a love of beautiful paper. Either way, as soon as you first use a fountain pen there is this sense of regret, as in 'Why did i wait so long?' They're so responsive and the best tool to exploit your handwriting skills. Or, if you're not a master scribe, you'll simply fall in love with how smooth they are and how much nicer your writing looks. Colourful, shaded, interesting and personal...not a generic pale blue scratch! Don't be scared either - fountain pens are centuries old and very easy to maintain. Check out some tips and pointers
Fountain Pen Care & Use
Fountain Pens! Surely the apogee of personal expression, style and smooth writing. A good fountain pen is a lifelong companion if you show it some care, so remember:
- Fountain pens love regular use! If you use it daily you will avoid a lot of potential problems.
- Always 'flush' your pen each time you are about to refill, whether with a cartridge or bottled ink. Fully immerse the nib (don't be shy!) in cool water, drawing it up into the pen and then expelling it until the expelled water is nice and clear.
- If your pen has not been used in a while and is very clogged, you can soak it as above in a glass of cool water for a couple of hours. Cool water will not hurt your pen.
- Do not store your pen lying down as this will draw ink to the nib feeder and may clog it. Store it upright with the nib pointing up.
- Fountain pens should not be trusted when travelling. The changes in air pressure may cause the pen to leak. Be sure to store/carry it in an upright position with the nib facing up. Keep the pen either completely full or completely empty so there are no air pockets to push ink out of the pen. If in doubt, carry them in a sealed plastic bag with the above precautions in mind.
- Write on really nice paper. If you use poor quality paper, small fibres can accumulate and clog the nib and ink feeder, leading to problems. Liquid ink may also 'bleed' or 'feather' on poor quality paper. Grab some Rhodia paper and you'll be fine!
- Try some different Inks! There's a great pallet of colour out there so find your favourite. Water-based inks are safer than pigmented inks as they are less likely to clog the pen. Try J Herbin - beautiful inks made in France. Visit notemaker.com.au/jherbin
- Bottled Ink is a really economical way to fill your fountain pen and a barrel worth of bottled ink is cheaper than those awful disposable pens! Visit notemaker.com.au/inkbottle to see the great range of colours available
- 'Steer' your fountain pen, don't 'drive'…in other words, you don't need to put pressure on the pen like when using a ballpoint pen…the ink wants to come out of the pen, so just guide it. Relax your fingers and enjoy the super smooth writing!
- Enjoy it! It's really easy to care for your pen with regular use and regular flushing. Try some new colours, grab some great paper and get to know your hand! A fountain pen is a great investment - nice work!
Above: Kaweco Al Sport Fountain Pen
What to look for with your first fountain pen?
For your first pen, choose something robust, inexpensive and reliable. We have plenty of such pens. The LAMY ABC was designed in collaboration with educational experts to encourage proper writing technique. The Lamy Safari is consistent has a moulded grip section which encourages a proper angle when writing. It's poor form to 'claw' at a fountain pen like it's a ballpoint pen and the Safari makes you hold the pen correctly for smooth, consistent flowing ink. We recommend the following pens to get you started:
How to write with a fountain pen?
If you have a great pen like the ones above, just relax, trust the pen's design and use the rest spots for your fingers. Don't press down firmly when writing...the ink wants to flow out of the pen and doesn't need extra pressure, so just lightly guide it over your paper.
Which fountain pen for experienced writers?
If you've already got a great collection of fountain pens, you may wish to check out some of our favourite choices for experienced writers. Diplomat pens are really beautiful and represent the best value for money on the pen market. Made in Germany since 1921, Diplomat pens use multi lacquered brass bodies and reliable, indeed brilliant, steel or gold nibs. No matter your experience or collection, a Diplomat pen will impress! For a different, though equally impressive experience, check out the Tombow oom 101 made of lightweight tough carbon or any of the truly exquisite Omas pens. Their quality is beyond description! We recommend some of the following pens for a luxury fountain pen experience:
- Diplomat Excellence A Rhombus Fountain Pen - Gold Nib
- Diplomat Excellence A Marakesh Gold Fountain Pen
- Tombow Zoom 101 Carbon Fountain Pen
- Omas 360 Medea Black Fountain Pen