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Caring for Handcrafted Pens

Caring for a Wooden Pen

Pens constructed from wood, like any fine timber product, must be properly cared for.

Do not expose to extremes of temperature or moisture. The interior of a car can quickly become so hot that damage to a pen is inevitable.

The finish used on your pen is very hardwearing but will benefit from the application of a light wax designed for wood to restore its shine if necessary. Do not use any abrasive cleaners or solvents that may damage the finish.

To replace refills unscrew the assembly carefully and replace with the specified replacement part as identified on the "story card" that was provided with your pen.

Try to avoid dropping your pen by, wherever practicable, using pen trays or stands on your desk. This is particularly important with pens that have a separate cap that is not designed to be "posted", or where the user prefers not to post the pen as the pocket-clip does not prevent it rolling.

If your pen has a removable cap, carefully align the threads when replacing to avoid cross threading the pen.

Caring for Resin body Pens

The resins used in our pens are man made products and more tolerant to extremes of heat and cold than timber. However, as discussed above, take all practical measures to ensure the pen is not dropped. Resins are more brittle and are more likely to crack or chip if dropped.

Use a good quality plastic polish to revive the shine if required. A quality rubbing compound can also be used to buff out light scratches.

Fountain Pens

Use only especially formulated fountain pen ink in a fountain pen. Other inks and fluids, eg. 'India Ink' will damage a fountain pen as these fluids contain finely ground pigments that are still in the solid state. These fluids can cause blockages that may prove very hard to clear and/or contain solvents which damage the delicate feeder mechanism of the pen.

There are two basic ways of supplying ink to the nib of your fountain pen, ie. a Cartridge or a Converter.

Cartridges for Fountain Pens

A cartridge is a usually plastic disposable container of ink designed to push on to the rear of the nib and feed assembly. Pushing the cartridge onto the nipple in the back of the nib and feed assembly punctures the cartridge. It will be necessary to prime the pen by gently squeezing the cartridge until ink reaches the nib. You can then clean any excess ink from the nib using a tissue and begin using the pen. Cartridges are a convenient form of ink supply and most major manufacturers of quality fountain pen ink offer their products in this format.

Fountain Pen Converters

Converter Pumps have the same designed end as a cartridge to facilitate connection to the nib and feed assembly. Your pen will have the converter fitted at the time of purchase. Be aware that it is a simple push on/pull off connection.

One type of converter has a screw type piston filling system. To fill this type, the piston is screwed all the way down and the nib dipped into ink, the screw is then slowly turned back causing ink to be drawn into the converter. Repeat this action as necessary to completely fill the converter.

Clean the nib with a tissue and the pen is ready for use.

It is perfectly acceptable to remove the converter from the nib and feed assembly and dip the converter into the ink bottle to fill it. This in fact is my preferred method. However, because the nib has not been dipped, you will have to prime the pen by screwing down the piston to push the first flow of ink down to the nib.

Another type, known as a vacuum converter, consists of a bladder in a metal housing. The bladder is visible though an opening in the wall of the converter which enables the bladder to be compressed with a finger, and then released once the converter, or nib if still attached, is dipped into the ink bottle. The vacuum created draws ink into the bladder.

Care and Maintenance of a Fountain Pen

Expect that the more you use your pen, the better it will feel and operate. A fountain pen nib gradually becomes attuned to your style of writing and the way you hold it. Using someone else's fountain pen will never provide the satisfaction that comes from the use of one's own "tuned" fountain pen.

You do not need to press the nib firmly to paper. Ink flows by capillary action and should only need to be in light contact with the paper. Pressing firmly on the nib is more likely to damage the instrument that generate a flow of ink.

If the pen will not write or skips, you may have dried ink on the nib. This is commonly caused by not using the pen for several days. The remedy is to run a small stream of warm water over the tip of the nib for a second or two and this should fix the problem. Do not use hot water.

If the pen has not been used for an extended period of time, you may have to use a stronger stream of water and for a longer period. It is also possible that you may have to remove the ink container and flush the ink out of the nib entirely and re-prime the pen.

The quality of the paper being used is also important. Poor quality paper will tend to cause fibres to collect on the nib causing the ink to bleed.

When not in use the best way to store a fountain pen is in the horizontal position. Obviously too, it can be carried nib upright in a shirt or jacket pocket without affecting the performance.


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