Writing with a fountain pen is an opportunity to communicate with personality and style. Different types of fountain pens work better for different hands. How often and how much you write will also influence your choice of pen. Here are some thoughts on what to look for in a fountain pen.
Size and Weight
Writing well with a fountain pen requires an instrument that feels balanced and comfortable in your hand. Larger hands need larger pens, while smaller hands require a lighter-weight pen. You must also consider the barrel size. A big barrel may hold more ink or allow the writer to stash a spare ink cartridge in the barrel when the one in use becomes exhausted. If you don’t like the look of a fatter, thicker pen, you’ll want to choose a barrel with a smaller diameter.
Materials and Price
Premium fountain pens come in many different materials, including ebonite hard rubber, resin, fiberglass polycarbonate, lacquered metal, or sterling silver. Obviously, the material affects the price. Quality pens are available at very reasonable prices. Although disposable fountain pens exist, most fountain pens are made to last. Look for a fountain pen that pleases your eye, your hand, and your budget.
Ink cartridges make refilling a fountain pen much more convenient and far less messy than the eyedroppers some pen enthusiasts still use. Yet, if you love a variety of colors in your ink, you may want a cartridge converter pen that allows you to use ink from a bottle. Piston or vacuum filled pens don’t use cartridges, but hold more ink and allow for the variety of bottled ink colors.
Choice of Nibs
Your handwriting may determine the type of nib you want to choose. Small handwriting works best with a fine nib, while big, bold strokes may require a medium to large nib. If you use your pen for calligraphy, you may need an italic nib, which allows for different stroke widths.
Nibs may be made of stainless steel, gold, or palladium. Stainless steel nibs are more economical, while gold and palladium nibs are more finely crafted. Some gold nibs are softer than stainless steel and often begin to conform to your writing style over time.
If you want to carry your fountain pen with you wherever you go, consider the type of pen case you will use for your instrument. Also, beware of plane travel. Pens can sometimes leak in flight, due to the alteration in air pressure. If you intend to carry it on a plane, store your pen empty or completely full, with the nib up.
By Some Folks at EndlessPens