Fountain Pen Guide Series, Session 3: How to Maintain Your Pens

CONTENTS
OVERVIEW  |  GENERAL MAINTENANCE  |  FLOW FIXERS  |  NIB GRINDING/SMOOTHNESS

MAINTENANCE STEPS: FIXING FLOW

These steps may alter your pen, so don’t perform them in excess. You should take care when altering any part of your pen, as they are not designed to withstand excessive force. These steps are pretty easy to do, so don’t be afraid, just be careful!

 


1. Spreading/Closing the Nib Tines

This procedure is fairly simple, and yields significant results. Often a pen nib is “choked”, where ink simply can’t travel to the tip, resulting in a dry flow. Other times, the nib tines are too far apart, leading to too high a flow, or zero flow if the ink can’t travel all the way to the tip. Closing the tines will usually reverse the opening process, and vice versa.

Fountain Pen Guide Session 3 Opening Flow Photo

Tools Checklist

  • Notepad
  • Towel (to clean your fingers of ink)
  • 5-10 minutes time

Steps

1. Position your pen so the nib is pointing to the ceiling, with the top side of the nib facing you. You can try holding it between your legs if you like (when seated), or between something else that won’t damage your pen. You can also do this with the nib separate from the pen (Safari nibs, for example, require this).

2. Pinch each side of the nib between your thumb and a finger, slipping the nails of your fingers into the grooves between the nib and feed on the left and right sides.

3a. If opening the flow, pull back with your fingers to bend the sides of the nib towards you (as shown above). Think of it as “flattening” the nib out. Do this gently, and only once or twice.

3b. If closing the flow, do the opposite. Push gently with your thumbs to bend the nib away from you. Again only do this once or twice.

4. Test the pen on the paper. If the flow is good, then stop! If not, repeat Step 3.

5. Clean your fingers and the pen if any ink came out. You’re done! Maybe check for alignment issues.

 


 

2. Reseating the Nib

This process involves pulling out the nib and correctly putting it back into the pen so contact with the feed is optimal.

Fountain Pen Guide Session 3 Slit Alignment Photo

Tools Checklist

  • Towel (to clean your fingers of ink)
  • 5-10 minutes time

Steps

1. Take apart the nib and feed as per the instructions.

2. Place the nib on the feed separately from the pen. Make sure that the nib fits on the feed and it slots into any grooves if present.

3. Once properly seated, pinch the top of the nib and the bottom of the feed together and insert them both together into the pen again, making sure they go all the way in as intended.

4. Take a look at the area under the nib where it makes contact with the feed. If there is a gap, maybe it shifted as you were inserting it. Go back to Step 2. If reseating doesn’t fix the gap, then you may need to heat-set the feed or bend the nib, which is explained further down. Also make sure the feed slit lines up with the nib slit, as in the photo above.

5. Ensure the pen functions properly. Try Step 2 again if the problem isn’t fixed.


3. Heat-setting the Nib

This process involves pulling out the feed, heating it up to make it pliable, and bending it so it makes better contact with the nib. Just be careful because some feeds are very easily broken. This works best with EBONITE or other, non-plastic feeds that bend under heat. If you aren’t sure of your feed material, it is probably plastic. PLASTIC FEEDS could be ruined by this procedure!!

gap

Tools Checklist

  • Towel (to clean your fingers of ink)
  • Embossing heat gun or Hairdryer
  • 10-15 minutes time

Steps

1. Take apart the nib and feed

2. Wash the feed to get rid of any ink. You don’t want this drying into the feed.

3. Grab your heat gun and begin heating up the area of the feed that sticks out of the pen and makes contact with the nib. Heat for around 10 seconds, until the feed is bendable. Older pens have feeds that bend easier.

4. VERY carefully bend the feed whilst it is still warm. If the feed is bent too low to touch the nib, bend it back up. If it pushes the nib up off the feed, bend it down. You can place the nib onto the feed and press them together to help shape the feed to the nib’s shape. The key is to make sure the nib is in a fairly straight shape, or slightly curved up/down. Don’t create sudden kinks in your feed.

5. Wait around 10 minutes for the feed to cool down and harden up again separately from the pen and nib.

6. Put the pen back together, ensuring the feed is properly seated.

7. Test the pen, if you can see any gap between the nib and feed OR if the feed presses against the nib and separates the tines outward, repeat steps 3-6. Otherwise, you’re finished!

CONTENTS
OVERVIEW  |  GENERAL MAINTENANCE  |  FLOW FIXERS  |  NIB GRINDING/SMOOTHNESS