This page contains all the references to the articles that deal with the best practices for a correct maintenance of a fountain pen. This should allow good operations for a long time and postpone or avoid the reading of the repair section.
Cleaning a fountain pen is very important, especially when you have to store it, or when you have found it unused for a long time. For this reason, it should be washed to remove ink residues. The same applies when you want to change the colour of the ink and do not want to have a toning effect due to the remains of the previous ink. For this purpose, some instructions are available, which indicate progressively more sophisticated and deep cleaning methods; it is advisable to start from the first of those indicated below, and then move on to the next only in case of unsatisfactory results:
- Washing: a series of considerations related to ordinary washing, sufficient in 99% of cases.
- Cleaning the feed system: how to proceed in case of obstructions on the feeder.
- Hydrodynamic cleaner with controlled flow: how to build a do-it-yourself washing machine at no cost.
- Ultrasonic bath: to be tried only if everything else fails, never for routine maintenance.
In a nutshell: tap water is sufficient and adequate. If you want to exaggerate, in the previous links you can find a series of additional information and in the forum you can read the discussions about the experiences on a bit more energetic cleansers, also reported in the external links at the bottom of the page.
Store the pen
Maintenance for a fountain pen when it is not used for writing can be a source of perplexity and questions. A first distinction can be made based on the length of time a fountain pen is not used.
For short periods - of a few days or weeks - all fountain pen manufacturers have traditionally recommended that the filled pen be placed upright with the nib facing upwards. Lying down allows the ink to remain in contact with the feeder: in a couple of days it can become saturated, generating probable leaks in the cap.
When a period of inactivity of months or years is expected, it is necessary to store the pen unfilled and dry, so that when it "wakes up" it can be ready to be charged as when it leaves the factory. So, even in this case, you can proceed with a normal washing, not different from what you do for a change of color of the ink.
To completely eliminate ink residues, you can use the washing machine, a tool specially designed by the some of the editors of the technology portal of the forum just to escape from this kind of paranoia.
Once the washing has been carried out, before the long term rest, it is advisable to let the pen dry completely. Because the task of the feeder is to retain the ink, and therefore a short drying period could cause the incomplete evaporation of the washing water.
Some caps are also airtight, i.e. not ventilated. They are very effective in daily use not to dry the ink, but also very harmful if the airtightness is maintained for many months: the water vapor trapped can cause corrosion of the metal parts inside the cap, including the nib if it's not gold.
It is therefore necessary to leave the pen open with the nib up for a couple of weeks, so that the water has plenty of time to evaporate. Initially, it can be accelerated by placing the tip of the nib on a sheet of absorbent paper.
Other topics to consider:
- leave or not water in the plunger if this is made of cork? I would say no. Maybe glycerine ? Who knows?
- non airtight box for celluloid
- evaluate the effect of any volatile compounds released by plastic and/or leather containers on pens
- store in the dark (only for ebonite and silver?)