Step 1Making it flow if dried out
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A couple of Instructables advise soaking the nib and feeder (the section) in cool water for a day or so to remove old dried ink from the ink flow path or capillary system. Actually, a good flushing of the capillary system like this is advised every month. Another good practice is to add a little moisture to ink held in the nib and feederthat may be partially evaporated after a few days of non-use. Get a drop of water on your fingertip and touch it to the slit between the nib's tines. If the pen has been sitting unused for more than a few days, add two or three drops of water, Let it soak in. If you do not write with the pen immediately, the water can mix with the ink under the nib more thoroughly. Do this once a week and asnecessary.
In more severe cases, as when ink has been left in a pen during several weeks of non-use, cup your hand under a faucet and fill it with water. Quickly dip the whole section into the water in your hand and remove it. Cap the pen and carry it in your pocket for an hour or so before using. If the writing is light in color, touch a facial tissue to the nib and feeder a few times to removeexcess water or watery ink.
Fountain pens like to be used regularly. If you are not going to use a pen for a while, empty the ink from it and flush the pen with water until no discoloration from ink appears.
Do not mix inks from different manufacturers. They sometimes react with each other and form chunky, gelatinous material that clogs the ink passageways. Use fresh ink that has beentightly capped or fresh cartridges. Purists fill the air space in an ink bottle with an inert gas like nitrogen before putting the cap onto the bottle. They do this to keep the ink from oxidizing.
Step 2Smooth a Scratchy Pen
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A magnifying glass of about 3x to 5x is a big help when tuning up a fountain pen. The drawings below are a little out of proportion for the sake ofillustration. They show a fountain pen as viewed from the end of the nib. The left portion shows a pen with properly aligned tines. The two halves of the iridium ball are aligned and the pen will write smoothly. The pen on the right may have been dropped or mishandled. For whatever reason, the halves of the iridium ball at the tip of the nib are out of alignment. The pen will scratch as it movesacross the paper. With your fingernails press down on the high side and upward on the low side. Check your progress often with your magnifying glass. If the nib is stamped from steel, it should respond well to pressure from your fingernails. If it is a springy steel, it is designed to flex with varying pressures from your hand and add expression to the varying width of your strokes. Springy steel isalso more difficult to press into a new shape. (The blue center is ink waiting to flow.)
Any fountain pen will write more smoothly as you use it and the nib becomes more polished through contact with the paper, as well as wearing in to the pattern of your hand and your writing. Exceptions are attempts to write on poor paper ill suited for a fountain pen and some cheap pens with poorlyconstructed nibs.
If the pen is hard to start writing and needs extra pressure, but then writes pretty well with normal pressure, the problem may be that the slit between the tines is uniform until the area at the iridium ball. If the nib is bent so the tines spread from one another at the ball, ink is not available to the paper where the ball touches the paper. Examine closely with a magnifyingglass. Carefully squeeze the two halves of the ball with a thin nose pliers until the slot between the tines is uniform again.
Step 3Space between the Tines
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This Waterman pen let too little ink flow. One day I put my finger on the upper side of the nib and pressed down against a hard surface a bit. It was just enough to spread the slit between the nib tines a little and...
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