You have your first modern or vintage pen, but you have no idea what to do with it. Many of us have been there, if we didn’t have a fellow fountain pen-connoisseur to take us under their wing. Here are a few things you can do to get up and running — basic starter steps you can go through.
The first thing you can do is flush your fountain pen with cool water – it doesn’t have to be icy, but not hot either. You can add a drop of dish washing liquid to your mixture so you have a dilute soap and water mixture. The soap helps to remove any machining oils that may be left on the feed, nib, and in the pen. You can leave it to dry so that the feed will not have water in it, which may dilute your ink, but you can also ink it right away – any dilution will likely be marginal. This is not always the case, and it’s not always necessary, but it is a step that can help eliminate trouble shooting later.
Select an ink for your pen – such as a Waterman ink, and ink your pen using the pen’s filling system. Ink should flow once you touch the pen to paper. Don’t apply too much pressure to the nib, just a light touch should be sufficient for the paper to draw ink from the nib and start the flow (using capillary action).
If your nib is flexible, don’t apply too much pressure until you practice how to use it without damaging it. Whether your’s is a vintage pen or a modern pen, maintainance and care will help prolong its lifespan. Clean it regularly, treat both the body and the nib/feed with care and, in general, avoid exposure to direct sunlight as this can discolor the material over time.
What was your first fountain pen?