Fountain pens are amazing writing instruments, and as pen enthusiasts, we know that a good pen can be a powerful tool. But with great power comes great responsibility. You have to take good care of your pen, be kind to it, treat it well. If you do, it will in return give you years of writing joy. But if you’re mean to it, the retaliation can be swift and merciless: ink leaks, scratchy nibs, bad ink flow and much more. Here are ten things you should NOT do to your pen if you want to avoid those things:
1. Shake it
In contrast to ballpoint pens and several other types of pens, it can be a little risky to shake your fountain pen. If you do, ink might splatter out from you pen and unto your table, your papers and your clothing. If you shake it with the cap on, ink can be trapped inside the cap, and get on the pen grip, or spill out as soon as you take the cap off. Don’t use your fountain pen as a maraca, please!
2. Press it hard against the paper
If you press the nib too hard against the paper, you can spring the nib, and ruin it. You can write with a much lighter pressure with a fountain pen than with a ballpoint. If it’s a well-adjusted nib, it should write under just the weight of the pen, so you just need to hold it up, not push it down. Also: don’t push harder in frustration if the pen doesn’t write. It’s not gonna help!
3. Fill it with ink that’s unsuitable for fountain pens
I beg you: don’t fill your fountain pen with india ink! It’s much thicker than fountain pen ink, and will clog up your pen faster than you can say “why isn’t this pen working?”. It’s also virtually impossible to properly clean out afterwards. Most ink bottles have information on them about what utensils you can use them with. And if you’re not sure, it’s better to err on the side of caution and use a different ink.
4. Drop it on the floor
Fountain pens are often made of materials that are a little more brittle or vulnerable than your typical ballpoint pens. Many fountain pens will not withstand a drop from the table to the floor without damage. You risk cracks in the pen body, and if it’s not capped, the nib can easily be bent out of shape. It also doesn’t help that fountain pens are often heavier in the nib-end, and therefore have a tendency to hit the floor nib-first.
5. Chew on it
For some reason, a lot of people like to chew on their pencils or pens, but don’t do that to your fountain pens, please! It’s too nice for that kind of treatment. Sometimes, fountain pens kan be made from materials that you don’t really want to ingest as well. Also, some of the materials kan crack much easier than the injection-molded plastic you usually see in cheap ballpoint pens, or the pencil wood. Worst case scenario: your incessant munching causes the pen to crack, and ink to start leaking out. Find something else to put in your mouth, if you absolutely need to.
6. Don’t clean it
If you have an inked-up fountain pen, and never clean it, it will sooner or later mess up your ink flow, clog up, and stop writing. Ink that dries up inside the pen can discolor it, which is especially annoying if you have a clear demonstrator pen. Old and dried ink can also stain the nib, and on some extreme occasions make it rust. Although, to get that effect, it has to stay uncleaned for years.
7. Use hot water for cleaning
Some pens can take hot water just fine, but others are made of materials that can be discolored or even lose their shape if confronted with hot water. It’s not always easy to be sure about the limits for your exact pen, so the safe thing to do is to just use cold water, or at least never go hotter than body temperature. In most cases you also won’t need any detergent.
8. Use it to drum on your table
Again: don’t expose your pen to unnecessary impacts and hits. If you use it as a drum stick, you’re begging for it to crack and bend, and might render it completely useless.
9. Stab yourself on the nib
Be careful when you’re fiddling with your pen, so you don’t stab yourself on the (surprisingly sharp) nib. I did this once, with an old pen I was restoring. I tried to get the nib and feed out of the grip section, and all of a sudden it just shot right into my finger. Not a very pleasant experience, and not something I would recommend. It’s bad for the nib, it’s bad for your finger, and I can’t imagine that it’s particularly healthy either to get old crusty ink, rust and other dirt and grime into your bloodstream.
10. Leaving it unused
The absolute worst thing you can do to a fountain pen, is to never use it! There’s something sad about a fountain pen laying unused in a drawer year after year. Ink it up, and write with it as often as you can! Your pen will pay you back for your love and care, with dividends!
Can you think of more things to not do to your fountain pen? Please leave a comment down below!