Few things are as enjoyable as writing with the smooth nib of a fountain pen. There is an almost glassy feeling that one feels as the nib glides across the paper. Some fountain pens also have a little bit of feedback that makes the writing experience more tactile yet just as enjoyable.
That being said, a dry or clogged fountain pen is every writing enthusiast’s worst nightmare. This often happens when pens are left to sit for too long with ink inside. The ink dries out and causes particles to get stuck in your pen components. If you’re writing with a fountain pen only to be greeted by hard starts, skips, or completely nothing coming out of the pen, you may be wondering how your pen can be salvaged. Fortunately, there are a few steps that you can take to fix your clogged fountain pen.
1. Set up and disassemble the pen
First, set up your working area. If you’re working by a sink, you may opt to cover the edges with some towels or some cloth that you don’t mind staining. This is to prevent ink splatters on your countertops. You can also lay down some paper towels instead.
Next, disassemble your pen. Remove the cap and unscrew the grip section from the barrel.
2. Check the cartridge converter
If you’re using a cartridge-converter style fountain pen, you can try to jumpstart the flow of ink by gently squeezing the cartridge. The ink may drop out of the nib if your pen isn’t badly clogged. Similarly, you can twist the knob of your converter and see if ink flows through the nib.
3. Flush your fountain pen
If the above step doesn’t work, then it might be time to flush your fountain pen. This is one way of cleaning your fountain pen that can force out any clogs. First, remove your cartridge or converter from the section. Then, using the faucet, pour room temperature water into the open end of the section so that it flushes out ink and other debris from the feed and nib.
You can also use something like the Kaweco cleaning syringe so that water flows through the section with more pressure, forcing any deep seated clogs out.
4. Clean the nib and feed
If the previous steps have not worked and your pen is still clogged, it may mean that ink and other materials have hardened in the nib reservoir. This makes it difficult for wet ink to flow through the feed and down into the nib. You may also have some particles such as shimmer clogged between the feed and the nib itself.
To remedy this, disassemble your pen further, removing the feed and the nib from the section. Take a stiff paintbrush or a soft bristled toothbrush, dip it in water, and scrub any residue off the feed and the nib. It’s important to be thorough but also gentle as you do not want to distort the feed or the nib.
Once the nib and feed are clean, rinse with room temperature water and pat dry with a paper towel or a lint-free cloth. Try inserting a fresh cartridge or inked converter to check if ink is flowing freely. If this doesn’t work, soak the nib and the feed overnight.
And there you have it! Unclogging a pen can be done with a thorough cleaning using the materials you have in your home. Some brands like Sailor also carry cleaning kits with more specialized tools to clean your fountain pen with. By remembering not to leave your pens inked for too long and following a regular pen maintenance regimen, you can avoid clogs in your pens.
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting