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Fountain pens float effortlessly over the paper when everything is working as it should. That is one of the reasons why people who prefer fountain pens really like them. But they can be difficult when something is not as it should be. They can be scratchy. Ink flows poorly or not at all. And, they may put out too much ink, even in the form of a sudden blob of ink that runs over a document and onto clothing. These problems are not inherent to all fountain pens, but occur in pens needing a little tender care to keep them in sound working condition. Fortunately, all of this is much easier than a person would think.

The pen shown is from a Classic American kit sold by Woodcraft.  The pen is reminiscent of a Parker Duofold from the late 1920's and early 1930's.  The color pattern is very similar to one used on Duofold pens. 


Step 1: Making it flow if dried out

A couple of Instructables advise soaking the nib and feeder (the section) in cool water for a day or so to remove old dried ink from the ink flow path or capillary system. Actually, a good flushing of the capillary system like this is advised every month. Another good practice is to add a little moisture to ink held in the nib and feeder that may be partially evaporated after a few days of non-use. Get a drop of water on your fingertip and touch it to the slit between the nib's tines.  If the pen has been sitting unused for more than a few days, add two or three drops of water,  Let it soak in. If you do not write with the pen immediately, the water can mix with the ink under the nib more thoroughly. Do this once a week and as necessary.

In more severe cases, as when ink has been left in a pen during several weeks of non-use, cup your hand under a faucet and fill it with water. Quickly dip the whole section into the water in your hand and remove it. Cap the pen and carry it in your pocket for an hour or so before using. If the writing is light in color, touch a facial tissue to the nib and feeder a few times to remove excess water or watery ink.

Fountain pens like to be used regularly.  If you are not going to use a pen for a while, empty the ink from it and flush the pen with water until no discoloration from ink appears.

Do not mix inks from different manufacturers.  They sometimes react with each other and form chunky, gelatinous material that clogs the ink passageways.   Use fresh ink that has been tightly capped or fresh cartridges.  Purists fill the air space in an ink bottle with an inert gas like nitrogen before putting the cap onto the bottle.  They do this to keep the ink from oxidizing.
<p>I have Parker Fountatin Pen ink and I use it for my Luxor Fountain Pen. The problem is that the ink is too 'watery' type not too dark. Does anyone know how to make ink darker??</p>
I am also having the same problem
<p>I bought a HERO 901 Fountain Pen Medium Nib that came with 6 cartridges on eBay. This is the very first fountain pen I've bought. After installing the cartridge, like what a video I found online said, I waited for around 30 seconds to 1 full minute until the ink reached the feed. Slightly applying pressure to the cartridge for the process to speed up for a bit (a tip received by the video). I waited yet still no ink came out, applying light pressure once again ink had been produced but rather, it came out of the feed, or as I've heard it been called 'breather.' I was wondering if I did something wrong, any advice on how I can get it to work?</p>
<p>I found <a href="http://penhabit.com/2015/01/14/pen-review-hero-901/">http://penhabit.com/2015/01/14/pen-review-hero-901/</a> in regard to a review on your pen. It says the HERO 901 nib quality and adjustment varies quite a lot, and provides lots of opportunity for someone who wants to learn to fine tune a nib to do just that. All I can say is that you will need to work through my Instructable and check each aspect of how a nib should be on a pen. Pay special attention to the fit of th nib to the feed, and make corrections as necessary.<br><br>An an expensive pen like a Mont Blanc gets lots of testing before it leaves the factory. A HERO is very inexpensive and does not. The author of the review said he has seen HERO pens with the tines too tightly pressed against one another for ink to flow. </p><p>He does have additional videos. Search for HERO 901 nib adjustment videos.</p>
My Parker victor pen won't open at all <br>What shall I do???
You probably mean Parker Vector pen. I assume you mean you cannot unscrew the front (section) from the barrel behind it. Someone probably over tightened it. Get some soft rubber pieces like are used to open stubborn jars. Grasp the two parts as firmly as possible and unscrew. You could use a pliers or two with the soft rubber, but the teeth may press through the rubber to leave scratch marks. The Vector I have can and does crack on the end of the plastic parts. Unless yours is a fancier Vector, those are not expensive and can be replaced, unless there is sentimental value.
The bottom right is what appears to be where the ink/cartridge should be, right?
<p>The item at the bottom right is a converter. It can be used in place of a cartridge if you have bottled ink available. In my experience, converters of this type hold less ink than a cartridge and tend to leak. I am not a fan. </p><p>The item at the lower left is the front section with the nib and the feed. The cartridge goes into the back end of this. Screwing the pen together with a cartridge inserted into the back end of the front section will puncture the cartridge end and ink should begin to flow in a few minutes. </p><p>Your pen most likely uses a universal or Mont Blanc cartridge. These are widely available. Howeve, fountain pens are not enjoying popularity right now, and you may need to go to a pen store or a luggage and gift store where good pens are also sold. They come with ink sealed inside them. You can usually get them in blue or black. On a special order you can get colors, like red or green. You will need to flush the pen if you want to change colors. </p>
Ok, thank-you! I really appreciate it.:)
I was just given a Diyuewen 68 Fountain Pen and I'm unsure I it needs ink or not. If so, where can I purchase ink/cartridge and how would I install it in to the pen?
<p>see my answer to your other question. </p>
The bottom right is what appears to be where the ink/cartridge should be, right?
<p>Hello. I just bought a new Smithsonian fountain pen ( <a href="http://www.smithsonianstore.com/smithsonian-celtic-design-pens-78250.html?&search=fountain%20pen" rel="nofollow">http://www.smithsonianstore.com/smithsonian-celtic-design-pens-78250.html?&amp;search=fountain%20pen</a> )</p><p>After loading the standard ink cartridge in it, the ink will not flow down. I've ensured the ink cartridge was pushed down hard enough so that it was punctured. I've let it sit facing downward overnight. Nothing. Still no ink flowing. </p><p>This was a nice pen given to me as a gift. How can I get it to flow? Is it the pen? Is it a bad ink cartridge? Help!</p>
Remove the cartridge. Put your mouth where the cartridge was. Can you blow through the pen at all? Put a few drops of water where your mouth was? Can you push water through the pen? If not, you may need to wiggle the feed and nib from the front section and check for a blockage in the ink capillary, but that is a last resort. Read my Instructable and check things on your pen as you go. Remember 95% of pen problems are due to a poor fit between the nib and the feed. That is possible on a new pen, although someone should have tested the pen for ink flow.
<p>Hello. I am new to using fountain pens for everyday writing. I have a habit of wanting to use different colors throughout the day. My question is can you remove ink cartridges once you start using them? I don't want the ink to leak out or dry up. I may end up buying another pen to use a different color. Thanks in advance.</p>
Fountain pens are a joy to use. In a way, they are like a paint spray system in that you need to flush and clean them before changing colors. The easiest way to do what you propose would be to carry multiple pens, each loaded with a different color. <br><br>I have been thinking about a way to seal a cartridge once it has been opened or refilled with an eye dropper. But, I have not yet decided how to make it work.
<p>Thank you, Much appreciated.</p>
<p>Hi. Every time I buy a new (albeit cheap) fountain pen, they never work when I uncap them. I currently have an inexpensive Schaeffer. I love the way it writes, when it works. If I stop writing, for even a minute, I have to shake the pen or scribble for awhile before ink comes out. I just want to uncap and write. Is this normal for any fountain pen, regardless of price? Am I doing something wrong? Thank you!</p>
You should be having a much better experience. How much ink have you put through the pen? Sometimes it takes oils that may remain from making the pen a while to flush out of the pen, or so I am told. I do not remember having that problem. Check the fit between the feed and the nib, which is about step 8 in my Instructable. Check the alignment on the tines. Is the ink old and granular? Does the pen need to be flushed with water and thoroughly cleaned? <br><br>A blue/black Parker pen shown in one of the photos has always skipped a little, especially when crossing &quot;T&quot;s. The times were made to be tight and flex when writing for a calligraphy effect. I do not use that much pressure when writing. Recently I finally got the tines to relax so I have a much better writing experience.
<p>Thank you, Phil! I am going to invest in a better quality fountain pen for Christmas, hopefully that helps as well. I will look at your instructables, but any suggestions for good quality pen?</p>
I am not familiar with pens available currently. Some pens fit my hand comfortably and some do not. It would be good if you could try the fit in a store. Then decide how much you can spend. Some nibs flex for more expressive writing. Some are more rigid. For my style the rigid works better. See if the pen shop will let you exchange the pen if it does not work out in actual use.
<p>Hi. Every time I buy a new (albeit cheap) fountain pen, they never work when I uncap them. I currently have an inexpensive Schaeffer. I love the way it writes, when it works. If I stop writing, for even a minute, I have to shake the pen or scribble for awhile before ink comes out. I just want to uncap and write. Is this normal for any fountain pen, regardless of price? Am I doing something wrong? Thank you!</p>
<p>Hi. Every time I buy a new (albeit cheap) fountain pen, they never work when I uncap them. I currently have an inexpensive Schaeffer. I love the way it writes, when it works. If I stop writing, for even a minute, I have to shake the pen or scribble for awhile before ink comes out. I just want to uncap and write. Is this normal for any fountain pen, regardless of price? Am I doing something wrong? Thank you!</p>
<p>I just recently bought a beginners calligraphy pen from Michaels and just opened it, assembled it and it's not working. I've tried almost everything and it still won't work. I took the cartridge out and squeezed a small ink drop from it and the ink is fine, it just won't come out when I screw the pen portion of it back on. Is there anything I can do or did I just get a faulty pen?</p>
The pen is probably in working order, even though you are having problems. It takes a few minutes for the ink to move through the passageways when new. There may even be some oils or shavings from the manufacturing process that inhibit ink flow. The ink moves through the pen by capillary action rather than by actually flowing. That takes a few minutes to start. It would be handy if you had a bottle of the same ink so you could dip the pen's point or nib in ink to fill the passageways faster. Also, look at the cartridges. Do they appear only partially full? Although the ink cartridges are plastic, water molecules pass through the walls, leaving thicker ink behind over time. You may need to get some water back into the cartridges with a syringe or an eye dropper, and then shake them. But, do not open a cartridge until you are ready to use it.
I think theres a piece kf small paper stuck in my nib and I cant get it out, but I also lost my pen for a while after buying it so that might be why its not working properly, any ideas?
<p>is the small piece of paper between the feed and the nib, or between the two tines? I expect you mean between the two tines. I have a set of feeler gauges used by mechanics, and the 0.003&quot; blade usually fits in the slot between the times. Although the end of the feeler gauge blade is rounded, it can be useful for clearing paper fibers that may have accumulated from writing on rough paper. Or, you may be able to wiggle the nib and feeder from the front section. That gives you a clear access to slide a piece of copy paper into the slot to clear it. If the pen was lost, it probably had ink in the passageways that dried out before it was found. Soaking in water for a day or two will eventually remove dried ink. </p>
Sometimes if i hold my zebra fountain pen at a slight angle when writing helps it flow. Though ever since I replaced the cartrige its been skipping
How old is the cartridge? Water molecules do pass through the walls of plastic cartridges, leaving ink that is thicker than that for which the pen was designed. You could try removing the cartridge and injecting a few drops of water into the cartridge. Or, just buy some new cartridges. You might clean the pen first with water to clear the passageways for the ink.
<p>Hi. I have a pen which I have rinsed through many times but when i fill it and start to write, after a few minutes the flow of ink stops. Very frustrating. Any suggestions?</p>
Some estimate 95% of all fountain pen problems are due to poor or improper clearance between the feed and the nib. What you describe certainly is typical of that problem. Go back to my Instructable and take a look at that procedure. If you get it wrong the first time, do it again. No permanent damage is done,
Worked a treat. Many thanks
<p>Thank you for the report on your results. Feeds sometimes shrink or otherwise move because plastic hardens, and so on. Do not be afraid to repeat the procedure again, if ever needed.</p>
Hey phil so my pen isnt scratchy but wites hard i tried all steps it wont solve the prblem
<p>I am not sure what &quot;writes hard&quot; means. I assume that means there is little or no ink flow in normal writing situations. The cause could be a number of things from ink that has turned gelatinous or granular to an obstruction in the ink passageway to tines that are too close together or too far apart to improper clearance between the feed and the nib.</p>
Phil should I send its pictures<br>
<p>I have a Rotring that I bought in Europe back in 1999. I just recently found it again. I am able to get ink when I run paper over the slit when it is turned upside down. Then I am able to write with he nib upside down, then the pen will write correctly UNTIL I stop writing. Then nothing. What should I do?</p>
Was it flushed with water to remove all ink before you put it away? I expect it was not. Remove the cartridge and soak the nib in water at room temperature for a couple of days. Change the water when it becomes clouded with ink billows or discolored. You can get a lot of the waters out with a tissue. Put in a fresh ink cartridge. Wait for the ink to move through the capillary passageway and see how it goes. If you have a bottle of the same ink, try dipping the nib in the bottle to help get it flowing more quickly. This may not solve your problem, but probably will.
We flushed it for a few days after it was found. It gets ink at the top of the split, but doesn't draw ink to tip. So, I put the nib in some pilot ink and it wrote beautifully until the ink cartridge ink started to come out. (They were slightly different colors). Then it stopped writing. Do you think it is the ink type?
<p>if the ink passageway is clear of blockages like it should be, you should be able to remove the cartridge from the back end of the front section (nib, feed, and section or front part of the barrel) and put a few drops of water where the front of the cartridge would fit. Blow on it and you should be able to force water out near the tip of the nib. If not, there is a blockage. If you can either pull the feed and nib out of the front section, or unscrew them, you should be able to separate the nib from the feed to see the ink passageway. That also allows it to clean up better when soaking. I still think you have something blocking the ink passageway. Dried ink would be the likelihood.</p>
<p>My Pilot Vanishing point only writes from the back side (if you hold the shirt clip on the bottom. If you hold it normal it will not work. Any ideas as to what is causing this? Who can I send it to for repair? </p>
Thank you for including the photos. I can see from the one on the right what your exact problem is, and you can fix it yourself. Look at my Instructable and pay attention to the section on burnishing the nib after someone has put too much pressure on it and spread or splayed the tines. You need a round metal rod, like a Phillip's screwdriver. In 15 minutes or less your pen will be fine again.
<p>You're the best! Thank you so much!</p>
<p>Cassie,</p><p>Thank you for the update. I hope it means your pen is working properly again. </p>
<p>It is a tad scratchy but much better. </p>
<p>scratchy is relatively easy. See the early part of the Instructable. Use a magnifying lens and look at the end of the nib straight on. One time is probably lower or higher than the other. Try to make them even with each other. Fingernails will usually do the trick,</p>
<p>I've got a custom made high-end fountain pen that uses a Schmidt ink pump. I have zero clue how to use this. I filled the pump with ink and installed it, gave it a turn to get ink flowing, but the ink just seems to sit in the upper tip and won't flow down to the tip. Anywhere I can go to learn how to use this?</p>
Your ink pump is what is often called a converter. Empty it back into the bottle. Attach the pump to the pen. Submerse the nib end of the pen in the bottle of ink. Turn the screw mechanism on the pump to draw ink up through the nib of the pen and into the pump. <br><br>I hope your converter is better than most. Those I have used of this style hold very little ink and often seep ink that leaks out on my fingers. I did an Instructable on refilling cartridges and another on elongating a cartridge to hold more ink. I added a thin brass tube to an eye dropper to make a refilling device. If you have a friend who works in medicine, the friend may be able to get a syringe for you. If you can avoid scratching yourself, a syringe is great for refilling an ink cartridge.
Phil,<br><br>Thank you so much. Unfortunately it's a custom made pen (maybe I should say &quot;fortunately&quot;, I dunno) and as such it didn't come with an instruction set.<br><br>I really appreciate you taking the time to elucidate this for me.<br><br>Have a great day :-)<br><br>Bart
Bart, <br><br>If you have no cartridges for your pen, they are universal or Mont Blanc cartridges. Waterman cartridges fit, too, but may be too long. I cut and sealed a Waterman cartridge to get more ink capacity for one of my pens. Your cartridges are widely available. Enjoy your pen.

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