Fountain pens are delicate writing instruments that require more maintenance and attention than other types of pens though the process is not difficult and will result in a more pleasurable writing experience and longer pen life. A fountain pen has several components: a nib, which is the decorative writing point; a feed, which is the ribbed component beneath the nib that transfers the ink to the nib through a capillary action when the pen is pressed to paper; and an ink supply which is in the body of the pen.The pens we handcraft come with both an ink cartridge and a piston cartridge so the purchaser can select either option. A fountain pen works in a much more complicated manner than either a ballpoint or roller ball pen. Ink is carried from the container in the pen body through a hole into the feed. When the nib touches paper, capillary action draws the ink through the feed ribs to the nib. As more ink is used on the paper more ink is drawn into the feed from the ink container.
Ink Cartridge: If one selects to use the ink cartridge – by far the simplest option – one simply pushes the cartridge onto the hollow nipple at the piece facing the pen barrel. The pen must be primed before use which feeds the ink to the wings of the feed. This is done by squeezing the ink cartridge until a bit of ink comes out of the nib.
Piston Cartridge: Place the open end of the pump onto the hollow nipple. Turn the black piece at the other end until the piston is at the bottom of the tube. Place the nib into a bottle of ink (never use Indigo ink!) and rotate the black knob in the opposite direction drawing the ink through the nib and into the tube. This process automatically primes the pen.
Cleaning the Nib: Keeping the pen nib and feed clean is important to maintaining optimal performance. It is recommended that it be cleaned every third cartridge change or filling. To clean, unscrew the nib from the pen body and remove the ink cartridge. Hold the nib under a faucet of cold running water to flush out the ink. NEVER use hot water as it can damage the feed. Once the water running through the nib is clear cover the nib with a soft cloth and shake it a few times and let it dry overnight.
Care and Storage: A fountain pen is a more fragile type of pen but if used and stored with care it will provide many years of writing enjoyment. Never store your pen lying down as the ink can pool, dry and damage the feed. Rather, store it in a vertical position with the nib at the top. If the pen is not going to be used for a long period of time it is recommended to remove the ink cartridge and clean the nib so it is ready for its next use.