Thursday, February 4, 2010
I often hear from people about how a particular fountain pen isn't performing the way they would like. Here are several things to consider before ditching that pen:
If it's a new pen and it's writing thin, did you flush the pen before inking it for the first time? I'm one of those people that inks a pen without flushing and I've definitely noticed a "break-in" period in this situation. My Pelikan M200 is the perfect example. It was a super dry, thin writer until I worked through a number of pages with it.
If you are using an ink converter in your pen and it's writing dry, try twisting the converter a wee bit until you see ink appear at the feed. This is known as "priming." I notice that this often happens as the ink starts to run low in the pen.
Consider your ink. Now that I've had the opportunity to try about a hundred different bottles of ink, I've noticed that some flow more freely than others and that some even have a lubricating quality about them. Sailor Jentle inks (though a bit on the smelly side) are very lubricating and seem to make most any pen write smoother. If you don't want to spend a fortune buying bottles of ink that you may not like, I suggest trying Pear Tree Pens Ink Sampling System.
Consider your paper. Some paper is more absorbent than others, period. The more absorbent the paper, the greater the chance it will pull more ink from your nib and make it appear to be writing wider than normal. Clairefontaine 90g paper products seem to be the least prone to this "spreading." It might not be a bad investment to try a small tablet of Clairefontaine to use as a baseline for testing pens and inks.
Send it to a nibmeister. Yes, there are people that specialize in getting your fountain pen nibs to flow to your liking. Richard Binder is probably one of the best known, but there are many others out there.
Some pen companies nibs just ARE thinner/wider than others. Consider before purchasing - Japanese pen nibs are typically thinner than those of Western manufacturers. Lamy nibs are known to run a little wide.
Try the Fountain Pen Network. If all else fails, try posting on the FPN with questions, or if you've really just had enough, offer the pen for sale or trade in their Marketplace.