A prized Fountain Pen, like a marquee wrist-watch, can be passed down as a family heirloom for generations. So choose to maintain it well, and it gives you greater writing pleasure for years. A few simple tips are all it takes to keep your writing instrument as good as new.
First off, never lend it! A fountain pen nib starts getting used to the way you write, and quietly and unobtrusively, adjusts itself to your hand and style. Lending it to someone else for a signature is fine, but if the person wants to borrow it for an extended period, hand them a ball point instead!
Cleaning your writing instrument
The nib of your pen is rather delicate and hard-working and needs to be cleaned regularly for maximum writing pleasure. Ensure that you rinse your nib and section at least once a month with cold water, until the water runs clear. Remember never to use hot water, as it could damage the delicate workings of your pen’s feed.
If your fountain pen is excessively dirty, or hasn’t been used in a while and has collected dust and dirt internally, you can use an ammonia-based window cleaner to help break up dry ink and dirt, before you flush the nib section with water.
To get an even more effective flush, use a syringe for a jet of water.
Cleaning the body depends on what finish and material your pen has been fashioned from. For silver or silver – plated pens, use a silver polish with a soft polishing cloth. For hard to clean patterns and intricate finishes, use a liquid polish with a soft brush to get the tarnish out of any crevices. Silver will take on a patina and will show scratches and even small dents, so this material requires extra care.
For harder metals like platinum, stainless steel and chrome, a soft cloth is generally enough to remove fingerprints and dirt. These finishes generally do not tarnish and remain "mirror like".
If your pen is crafted with lacquer, use only soft cloths and never any abrasive cleaners or chemical compounds. As with any painted or lacquered item, surface chips may occur if the pen strikes a hard/sharp surface
Handle Your Pen With Care
When you’re writing, always ensure your cap is posted. If you accidentally drop your pen, hopefully the heavier end will reach the floor first, and your nib will be saved contact.
Once you are finished with writing, always replace the cap with your nib pointed upwards. Like magic, the air pocket will force excess ink back into the pen.
If you're flying with your fountain pen, keep it either full or empty. At altitude, and with cabin pressure, even a little air could expand and force out some ink.
Storing Your Pen
Never store your fountain pen lying down. The ink will coagulate and dry in the nib section and make it difficult for the ink to flow. Keep your pen capped with the nib pointed up in a pen holder.
However, if you do not plan on using your pen for a period of time, wash and empty it out, to prevent clogging and dirt build-up – and then store these empty pens in pen cases, where they can rest flat.
And lastly, if you are using your pen after a long period of time, it may not function right away because of clogged ink and dirt. Please resist the common urge to press down hard on the nib, to get it started. Instead, wet the point of the nib with water or ink of the same colour, or wash the pen out.
They say a pen is like a spouse: take care of it with care, and you can live happily ever after with it.
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