7 Tips for Getting Back Into Fountain Pens
Do you have a fountain pen that's just gathering dust? Did you try one and found yourself a bit lost? If it's been a while and you want to get back into fountain pens, we've got you covered. Our goal in this video and blog is to give you the confidence to pull out those old fountain pens, get them writing again and get back into using fountain pens!
If you have old pens start here. If you're not in that situation, you can go ahead and skip to tip 3!
1. Figure out what you have
Gather up all your pens. Ask relatives/friends for any info on the pens if you're missing them (brand, model, etc). Fountain pens have been around for well over a century, with thousands of manufacturers all over the world. The more you learn about the specific pens you're trying to revive, the better success you'll have.
Modern pens made in the last 10-20 years should easier to get information on, as the retailers and manufacturers who sold them are likely still around and know them.
If you have vintage pens, check out Richard Binder's site at Richardspens.com (no affiliation) as it's a wealth of information on pen history, terminology, and identifying vintage pens. Knowing what pens you have is important for getting back into them.
2. Clean up and repair
This is the toughest part and where most people get discouraged when getting back into fountain pens. If you've left a pen with ink in it for a while, it's going to need a good cleaning. An ammonia-based cleaner like our Goulet Pen Flush will help; that's what it's made for. Any dried ink has to be cleaned out to allow new ink to flow properly. That might take anywhere from overnight to a week or more of soaking, flushing, and flushing some more to get it all clean. If you're still seeing color while you flush the pen with water, there's still ink in the pen and you need to keep cleaning it.
There's a chance you'll need a deeper clean than what you can do at home, or there might be some damage to the pen. If you need repair information we recommend Pentiques.com (no affiliation). Additionally, there are a number of enthusiasts who focus on repairing specific models that have a loyal fanbase so you might be able to track down someone who specializes in specific pens.
3. Get familiar with the process of using fountain pens again
We have some great resources in Fountain Pen 101. There are a lot of videos, articles, and other information online about using fountain pens. What'll be key is understanding the process of inking up, writing with, and cleaning the specific pen you're using. You need 3 things to write with a fountain pen: fountain pen, fountain pen ink, and fountain pen-friendly paper. Make sure you have all the proper supplies so you can enjoy the experience.
4. Pick 1-3 pens to use and stick with those for a while
Once you get yourself comfortable with fountain pens again, you're likely to get pretty excited and want to fall back down the rabbit hole. There's something to be said for keeping things simple when you're just getting back into fountain pens. By getting more familiar with a few pens at first, you're keeping the variables down which gives you less to troubleshoot if there are issues. There can be a temptation to chase a new pen or ink with something you're hoping to gain before you've really learned to use what you have, so just keep that in mind and pace yourself….just enjoy the journey.
5. Check for ink, and clean them regularly
This might sound a bit obvious, but you'd be surprised how often people forget to do things like check if there's ink in the pen or clean it when getting back into pens. It's not something you've been in the habit of doing when you're writing with ballpoints and rollerballs, so if it's not writing, the first thing you check is your ink level. If it has ink in it, think about when you last cleaned the pen. Cleaning every 2-4 weeks or every time you change ink colors is good practice. However, anytime you have flow issues, cleaning the pen is always the first thing to try.
6. Set aside some time to play and practice
Once you feel comfortable with your pens, try to make some regular time to use them. One common concern we hear from people is that "they don't have good handwriting". Maybe your handwriting sucks, but you know what'll help? Writing more! Making some time to practice is important. You'd be surprised how much it can help your handwriting and thus your enjoyment. One of the best ways to get back into fountain pens is to use them regularly.
Check out 5 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting with Fountain Pens if you want some ideas!
7. Reach out for help as you need it
Using fountain pens is an incredibly rewarding hobby. There's a lifetime of enjoyment available to any fountain pen enthusiast who is using them as a part of their regular life. The number one thing that attracts people to the hobby is the passion for using fountain pens. There's a learning curve for everyone, and we've all felt lost at times and been helped by others in the pen community in one way or another, so don't hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you get stuck.
You can find a lot of content and pen friends on social channels like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram… you name it! Fountain pen people are friendly and very enthusiastic. You'll find there's a lot of willingness to share experiences in the pen community.
We hope this is helpful to all of you who have felt that urge to pick up some old pens and get back into them. You're in good company, and when it comes to using fountain pens, the journey is the reward.The Goulet Pen Team