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Fountain Pen Care

LADA PEN COMPANY - www.ladapenco.com
Impeccable Handcrafted Fine Writing Instruments

Fountain Pen Care - View PDF Version -
https://www.ladapenco.com/Fountain-Pen-Care.html

Your Fountain Pen is a delicate Fine Writing Instrument. It will bring you many years of enjoyment when properly used and maintained. Here is some helpful information and tips on understanding, using, maintaining, cleaning, and storing your Fountain Pen.

Fountain Pen Terminology/Info
Main terms to know: Nib, Fine, Medium, Broad, Iridium, Tines, Breather Hole, Tipping Material, Feed, Section, Coupler, Barrel, Cap, Ink Cartridge, Ink Converter

Your Fountain Pen has a Nib. The Nib can be made from steel, gold, platinum, titanium, or other metal alloys. Higher valued materials do not mean better writing, they are just different materials. Nibs have two Tines separated by a slit that is about 1/1000th of an inch wide! The metals and Tine design vary to provide writing that varies from firm to flexible. At the end of the Nib's slit is a Breather Hole. The Breather Hole aids in the flow of ink, although not all nibs have them. Each end of the Tines have a Tipping Material. That Tipping Material is typically the infamous “Iridium” a highly durable, rust resistant material. Iridium is rumored to originate in Germany from a meteor that landed there millions of years ago. Germany is where significant nibs are manufactured from nib giants JoWo and Bock. The overall width of the Tine's end in conjunction with the Tipping Material are what determines whether the Nib is classified as Fine, Medium, or Broad. However, the widths vary from company to company, and is not well standardized. The Nib rests on a (ribbed ink) Feed. The Feed helps draw ink to the Nib. Together they are pressed into a Section. Depending on the style of Fountain pen, the Section will either screw directly into the Pen's Barrel, or into a Coupler first, which then screws into the Pen's Barrel. LPC pens have a Nib, Feed, Section, and Coupler. The Coupler (assembly) is screwed into the Pen's Barrel. LPC Pens use either an Ink Cartridge, or Ink Converter, the latter of which can be filled with any of your Fountain Pen inks. To access the the Ink Cartridge, or Ink Converter, simply unscrew the Coupler from the Pen's Barrel. The Pen's Cap covers the Fountain Pen's Nib when not in use.

Fountain Pen Writing
Engravings on the nib should face up. Lightly press the Nib to the paper. Let the Nib do the work and begin writing on the paper. The ink will flow. Each Nib has its own characteristics, between firm or flex. As you get accustomed to your fountain pen, the Nib will become “conditioned” to your writing style. As your writing style is unique to you, it's suggested that you do not to share your fountain pen with others.

Using Ink Cartridges and Ink Converters
Unscrew the Coupler from the Pen's Barrel. Note: Do not unscrew the Section from the Coupler and be careful not to squeeze or bend the Nib Tines. Once removed, you'll see the Section end has a nipple onto which your Ink Cartridge or Ink Converter will attach. LPC Pens are per-installed with either a Schmidt, Montiverde or Shaeffer Ink Converter.

Using Ink Cartridges
The end of an Ink Cartridge is typically universal in size. Otherwise, inks from various manufacturers would be useless. When you attached your Ink Cartridge, it should feel snug. To attach, hold the Nib to the left, and the gently press the Ink Cartridge onto the Section with a gentle counter clockwise twist until seated. Twisting counter clockwise is recommended, so the Section and Coupler do not loosen. Then squeeze the cartridge lightly until a small drop of ink appears on the Nib. Replace the Coupler, with attached Ink Cartridge, back onto the Pen's Barrel. Your pen is ready to write with. When your pen not in use, place the Cap onto your Pen's Barrel.

Using an Ink Converter
When you attach your Ink Converter, it should feel snug. To attach, hold the Nib to the left, and the gently press the Ink Converter onto the Section with a gentle counter clockwise twist until seated. Twisting counter clockwise is recommended, so the Section and Coupler do not loosen. Then twist the Ink Converter's knob until the piston reaches the bottom of the converter. Place the Nib Tines and Feed into a bottle of fountain pen ink ensuring the Section/Coupler do not enter the ink. Twist the converter's knob in the opposite direction drawing ink into the converter. Remove/dab away excess ink from the Nib with a lint-free cloth. Be cautious using tissues or paper towels as these have fibers that may embed into the Nib Tines (which you don't want). Once the Ink Converter is filled, replace the Coupler, with attached Ink Converter, back onto the Pen's Barrel. Your pen is ready to write with. When your pen not in use, place the Cap onto your Pen's Barrel.

Hint: Sometimes ink doesn’t totally draw up into the Ink Converter leaving air inside. To remove air: Point the Nib Tines up. Place a lint free cloth against Nib so expelled ink will absorb into it and not onto your hands. Twist Ink Converter piston up to expel all visible air and a bit of ink. Then tap/flick side of Ink Converter with finger. This is to dislodge any air/air bubbles in the converter. If you see any additional air in converter, turn piston up again to expel all visible air and a bit of ink. Then draw up more ink. The Ink Converter should now fill fully with ink. If necessary, repeat procedure again until your Ink Converter is full.


Choosing the Right Inks and Pape
Use Fountain Pen inks only! These inks are typically water base and will not damage your pen. Do not use India Inks or Calligraphy Inks because this type of ink will damage your Nib. The paper that you use will effect how the ink in your Fountain Pen appears on the paper. The smoothness and weight (gsm) of the paper are important. Brands to consider are are Clairefontaine (France), Rhodia (by Clairefontaine), Tomoe River, Life Stationery Comfort Notebook (Japan), Fabriano Boutique EcoQua, Kokuyo Campus High Grade MIO, and Quo Vadis. These papers reduce, or eliminate feathering, show-through, and bleed through. LPC evaluated notebook distributors several years ago. As we handcraft Ballpoints, Rollerballs, and Fountain Pens, we wanted an “all-purpose” notebook we could re-sell. Field Notes Brand notebooks were chosen. We have found their “generic” and Limited Edition notebooks perform well with many Fountain Pen inks. Others have also contested that they have good luck with them for use with their Fountain Pens. Please see our Field Note selection.


Cleaning
Your fountain pen should be cleaned once every month or so, if the ink gets clogged, writing diminishes, or anytime you change ink colors. Note: Extra care is needed when cleaning. Inks stain mostly everything they come in contact with! Ensure you're over a (stainless steel) sink or have a junk towel down. Unscrew the Coupler from the Pen's Barrel. Remove either the Ink Cartridge or the Ink Converter by gently twisting it off the Section (inside the Coupler). Now, unscrew the Section from the Coupler. Rinse the Nib, Feed, Section, and Coupler (if dirty) in cool or room temperature water until ink residue is clear. If Nib, Feed, or Ink Converter is heavily clogged, soak them in room temperature water overnight, then rinse again. Do not use warm/hot water or any solvents as this may damage the components. For Ink Cartridges, replace or dispose of, as desired. If you're replacing the Ink Converter's ink, twist knob to expel any left over ink. Fill a glass or “Solo” cup with clean cool water. Draw water into the cartridge, then empty "colored" water into sink or extra Solo cup. Repeat process until expelled water is clear. Hint: When water is in converter, cover end with a finger, and gently shake the converter to get “hidden” ink out. 


Storing your Fountain Pen
Try to store your fountain pen with the nib in the upright position, if possible, with the Cap on. Otherwise, lay pen horizontally. Hint: If you are not going to use your fountain pen for a while, empty the ink out of your pen and clean out your pen. Never empty your ink back into your bottle of ink.

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