Introduction: Fountain Pen Care!

About: I'm interested in CNC, laser cutting, 3D printing and blow glass in my spare time.
First off let me say that I love fountain pens and that their a great thing to collect. They are beautiful and write so much better than any ballpoint pen(Besides mont blanc) I will be covering the history of fountain pens, types, and finally how to care and use a one properly.

If you haven't used one yet I recommend going out and buying a cheap disposable one to see how they really are.

I only own two pens but hope to acquire more. They are a MUJI and a Jinhao pewter Dragon's Descendant. The Muji is in the second and third picture and the Dragon's Descendant is the fourth and fifth.

Step 1: History

The first fountain pen
The first fountain pen was made in In 953, Ma'ād al-Mu'izz, the caliph of Egypt, demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes, and was provided with a pen which held ink in a reservoir and delivered it to the nib via gravity and capillary action.

The nib of the fountain pen was introduced by the German inventor Friedrich Soennecken. Today, the nib is usually made of stainless steel or gold, with the most popular gold content being 14 karat and 18 karat. Gold is considered the optimum metal for its flexibility and its resistance to corrosion, since fountain pen inks tend to be somewhat acidic or alkaline. Gold nibs are tipped with a hard, wear-resistant alloy that typically uses metals from the platinum group. The tipping material is often called "iridium", but there are only a few penmakers that still use this metal in their nibs. Steel nibs may also have harder tips; those with un-tipped steel points will wear more rapidly due to abrasion by the paper. The nib will adjust itself more readily to the user's style as it wears down.

Fountain Pens Today
Despite the perceived heightened prices in the modern niche, good quality steel and gold pens are available inexpensively today, particularly in Europe and China, and there are even some "disposable" fountain pens available. There are many fountain pen users around the world, even today. The main reasons people seek fountain pens in recent times are for: effortless writing and comfort (some sufferers of arthritis are unable to use ballpoint pens, but can use fountain pens), expressive penmanship and calligraphy, longevity (fountain pens are known to last several lifetimes, whereas ballpoints are disposable), professional art/design, wide range of ink colours available, recreational collecting (history and heritage), and academic benefits. Many users also mention that fountain pens retain a sense of timeless elegance, personalization and sentimentality that computers and ballpoint pens seem to lack , and often state that once they start using fountain pens, ballpoints become awkward to use due to the extra motor effort needed and lack of expressiveness.

Thanks wikipedia :P

Step 2: The Diffrent Types

The types of fountain pens by material


Celluloid is flammable, half transparent plastic material which is made by mixing nitric-cellulose (sulfuric acid and nitric acid are added to cellulose), camphor and alcohol. When colored it is splendid. It softens by 90 degrees Celcius and hardens when cooled. As it is easy to cast and carve and also produce in a variety of colors and patterns, most pen barrels were made of this material in the past. However, as it must be dried more than 6 months to prevent from deforming and twisting it has been recognized as a difficult material. Recently it has become popular again with those who pursue antique designs.

Briarwood is a deciduous tree of heath family, called Arca�EArboria, originating in the Mediterranean coast. It is very hard and very heat-resistant and is also used for making pipes. A burl of a 25-100 years old tree is used for fountain pen manufacturing. Popular for its woodgrain, it will be became even more lustrous with long time usage. It would surely be a treasure in any collection.
The photographshows the material of Briarwood (root portion).
Briarwood laid down at the shelf, is a process of drying.

Ebonite is difficult to process and requires high expertise in manufacturing. Ebonite for handmade arts and crafts is very elastic and has a special feel which is loved by many people. a weak point is that they are prone to breakage after long time usage.

"Wine barrel"
The material (oak) being used for the barrel of the wine in the famous winery for a long time is brought down, and a shaft is being cast.
How do you take grain? Various handles appear (Is it vertical or a side-glance?)
Because it is natural material, there is no same handle.
It (Urushi) lacquers a surface for the finishing. The way of seeing grain and the unevenness degree on the surface are varying according to that number of times and the quantity.

Strong against acid, durable, beautiful and easy to process. Resin, abs resin, acrylic fibers are commonly used.

"Canvas Micarta"
The barrel is made from Canvas Micarta.
Canvas Micarta is solidified material composed of about 2 cm width phenol resin and four- layer piled canvas.
This material was developed an American maker for applying to the grip of guns, and now it has become quite popular for the handles of knives due to it's a various peculiarities, such as lightness, durability and skid resistance, as well as it's resistance to water & impact.
It is interesting that stripes like wood trunk appears when this material is lathed, and at the finishing stage of the barrel, its anti- skid quality increases due to the texture.

Easy to process and design, metal can be designed very fashionable by plating. Aluminum, stainless steel, brass are commonly used.

By nib

Broad Nib

The oldest type of nib is the broad nib which is rigid and has a flat edge with which lettering such as Uncial or Gothic is created. The thicks and thins of strokes are created by varying the angle at which the ink is applied to the writing surface with the nib.

Pointed Nib

The second type of nib is the pointed nib which originated in the 17th century and has a sharp point rather than a broad edge. These nibs were first created by hand from quills in a similar fashion to broad edge nibs; however, during the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century a high demand for nibs coupled with manufacturing processes in steel led to the production of the steel nib.

Thick and thin strokes are achieved by varying the pressure the nib is pushed against the paper. Thick lines are created on down strokes by using harder pressure causing the nib tines to widen and allowing more ink to come into contact with the writing surface. Thin or hairline strokes are created on the upstrokes and sideways strokes; lighter pressure causes the tines to narrow and even close creating very fine hairline strokes. Due to the shape of the pointed nib thick lines can only be produced on down strokes; if pressure is added to the pen on an upstroke the nib tines are likely to dig in to the paper.

These flexible quills and later steel nibs were what led to the styles of penmanship such as Copperplate and then Spencerian. However, pointed nibs are not just used for the purpose of writing; pointed pens have been utilized by many artists such Leonardo da Vinci for sketching and pen drawing. Although any pointed steel nib can be used for drawing, nibs that resemble flexible nibs but are much more rigid have been produced for pen drawing.

By nib material


There is evidence of reed pens with nibs consisting of a split, tines and breathing hole existing in ancient Egypt and similar such pens existing in the far east. Reed pens are skillfully created by cutting the shape of the nib point out of the end of a piece of reed or bamboo. The reed or bamboo can then be cut to a suitable length and held and used very much like a more modern pen. However reed pens are not very durable and can wear making the tip blunt and hard to use.


The quill eventually replaced the reed pen and was very common place during the medieval era. They were fashioned by cutting a nib in to the end of a suitable feather obtained from a fairly large bird such as a Crow, but more often a Goose. A quill has the advantage of being a lot more durable than reed pens, more flexible and it can retain ink in the hollow shaft of the calamus giving more time to write without dipping the pen for more ink. The quill was used for writing until the 19th century with the advent of the metal nib.


The metal nib is believed to have its origins as far back as ancient Egypt and has been created from metals such as copper and bronze; however the quality of writing that could be achieved was inferior to that of reed pens. It was not until 1822 when John Mitchell set up a factory in the city of Birmingham in the United Kingdom to manufacture steel nibs that their popularity took off. Although the best steel nibs are not as good in quality as quills for writing they have several major advantages. The metal nib does not wear out easily so it retains a sharp point or edge; this contrasts with a quill which wears out more quickly and requires a lot of skill to sharpen. Steel nibs can also be easily manufactured to have different properties for different purposes such as being broad edged, pointed, stiff or flexible. This, coupled with the fact that metal nibs are removable from a holder, means that many different types of nib can be attached and removed and used in a short period of time.

Step 3: How to Care for One

Taking care of your fountain pen[s] is not very difficult. First, simply follow the instructions the manufacturer gave you for the maintenance of your pen.

A pen loves to be used! Ink in a fountain pen will flow most smoothly when the pen is used on a regular basis.

When writing, use a constant pressure on the nib avoiding pressing dow hard or excessively as that may damage the nib.

Often, a problem with writing may just be due to the fact that the pen needs to be cleaned and refiled.

Cleaning you pen is simple: Empty the ink using your converter or buil-in filling mechanism to fill and flush the pen with cool water, repeating this process several times until the water runs clear. Wipe excess water from the nib using a soft cloth to dry it.

If the pen is very clogged, fill the pen with cool water, leave the uncapped pen soaking overnight in a glass of cool water with the nib facing downwards and entirely submerging the nnib in water.

When not using your fountain pen, store it in an upright position with the nib facing up. Remove the ink and clean the pen with cool water as noted above if you will not be using this pen for a week or two. Make sure your fountain pen is capped when not in use so that the ink will not evaporate or become thicker.

Make sure you use good quality paper when writing with a fountain pen as paper that is too coated will not absorb the ink well and if too fibrous may actually clog your pen.

Travelling with your favorite fountain pen is only a small challenge. You can either completely fill you ink resevoir [making sure not air is trapped] and cap it securing or empty the resevoir entirely.

Step 4: Were to Buy

Fountain pens aren't found very often instore. You can find some probably at your local office store but they will probably be over priced. A craft store may carry some cheap models too. I bought my first fountain pen at one. It was a plastic sheaffer one for $3. Someone stole it at school and dumped ink every where :(

The best place is the Internet. There are many sites but one of my favorites is I sell pens They carry many pens at a good price. A quick google search should find you some too.

That's it for this instructable and hope you are inspired to go out and try a fountain pen out!