More and more people are starting to make the switch over to using a fountain pen for their daily writing and as with most things, when there is a sudden influx of new people to doing something, there is a corresponding influx of people asking questions about common problems. Fountain pens are no different and we have noticed a spike in people reaching out reporting that their fountain pen is too wet when writing while looking for ways to control their ink flow.
In addition to the questions from people new to using a fountain pen, we also see a number of more experienced fountain pen users reaching out with the same question after switching from one brand of fountain pen to another. Due to this, we have decided to publish this article to go over a number of different ways that you are able to dry out the writing experience of a fountain pen that writes wet.
Please note that although most of these can be done at home and have a high success rate, some of the problems that can end up causing a fountain pen to write wet may require professional assistance. Thankfully though, this is extremely rare and most issues should not require this.
Additionally, we have our table of contents below to try and help any of our readers who may be having issues with a wet fountain pen skip to the section of the article that they feel they require. That said though, if you are new to using a fountain pen then taking the time to read over the whole article may be the best option as there may be a number of reasons that your pen is writing wet.
How Do You Fix A Wet Fountain Pen?
Below we have our fixes for a wet fountain pen in descending order of most common to least common. We have structured out article in this way as it gives out readers the best possible chance of finding the issue with their pen without actually having to read the whole article and prevents you from having to waste time.
Check The Ink That You Are Using
Without a doubt, the main issue that people new to using a fountain pen end up having issues with their nib writing wet is due to the ink that they are using. Many people will use a cheaper ink with their pen or a speciallist ink that has been formulated to be wetter than normal when writing. Thankfully though, this is a quick and easy fix and a decent, dry flowing ink such as Rohrer & Klingner is cheap and easy to source.
Making the simple switch over to a dry flowing ink can often be enough to prevent any issues with a wet fountain pen from continuing. In addition to this, using a dry flowing ink will often prevent issues with feathering, ghosting, bleed, smudging, and smearing without any further steps being taken. Using a dry flowing ink is also a godsend if you are left-handed and write quickly too.
Check Your Paper Quality
Although this may sound obvious to a more experienced fountain pen user, many of our readers are new to using a fountain pen so we want to cover all bases. Another common reason that a fountain pen may seem to be a wet writer and have issued with ink flow, feathering, bleeding, and ghosting is due to you writing on cheaper paper that has a low GSM rating.
This is very common as many notebooks and paper reams are made for used with ballpoint pens, rollerball pens, gel pens, and computer printers. Thankfully, just like with the type of ink, issues caused by low GSM paper are also quick and easy to fix as you can pick up decent 120 GSM notebooks and paper much cheaper than you used to be able to and due to sites like Amazon, you can often have them delivered the very next day.
We go into this in more detail in our article covering if fountain pens need special paper for optimal performance but the short answer is a higher GSM paper will almost always result in a better writing experience for you. Depending on your pen brand, nib size, and ink type, switching over to a higher GSM paper can also help to prevent some issues that can result in wet ink when writing too.
Try To Dilute Your Ink
In our opinion, simply switching over to a high-quality dry flowing ink that has an excellent reputation amongst the community such as Rohrer & Klingner Ink will always be the best option. That said though, we know that some people fall in love with a specific ink color or shade that other brands simply do not offer.
The common recommendation for a wet ink that’s color or shade is not available in a dry flowing ink type is to try and dilute your ink. That said though, we usually don’t recommend this to our readers as it can end up causing issues with your fountain pen if you do not dilute the ink correctly. If you are using a higher price point fountain pen then we would just recommend that you go with a dry flowing ink instead as they have been formulated for use with fountain pen nibs and work perfectly.
One of the most common substances to add to wet fountain pen inks is Glycerin as it is able to thicken the ink up and prevent your fountain pen from writing wet. As we touched on earlier though, if you add too much glycerin then you may end up blocking the feed or nib and causing more serious issues with your pen. As different inks have different formulas, there is no set ratio of ink to glycerin either so unless you are willing to risk your ink, we would recommend that you just go with a dry writing ink instead.
Does Your Fountain Have A Wet Writing Nib?
Another thing that we see amongst people new to using a fountain pen is that they do not realize that some brands intentionally design wet writing nibs for their pens as many people actually prefer a wet writing fountain pen over a standard or dry pen. For example, the Visconti Homo Sapiens tends to be one of the wettest writers on the market right now but people who like to use a wet writing nib tend to love it.
Depending on the specific fountain pen model that you are using, you may be able to find yourself a standard or dry writing replacement nib. Unfortunately though, if you have purchased a more expensive fountain pen and used it then the store may not accept it bad for a full refund as they have to clean the pen and it will likely only have a secondhand resale value. This is an issue that many people new to using fountain pens fall victim too and it is simply due to a lack of research on their part prior to purchasing their pen.
Narrow The Gap Between The Tines
This is a very common issue for fountain pen users with all levels of experience as there are a number of causes of mis-aligned tines on your fountain pen nib with some of them being unavoidable. For example, something as simple as taking your fountain pen on a plane with you or storing your pen in an area of your home that gets particularly cold at night can end up causing issues with its tines. On top of this, there are general issues with some pen models that have an increased chance of the tines being mis-aligned right out of the factory.
You can usually check the nib and look at the tines on either side of the nib to see if they are misaligned. If they are, they will allow more ink than required to flow from the feed resulting in a wetter than normal writing experience. Although re-alining your nib tines can be tricky, you are often able to correct the issue in the comfort of your own home.
Although we do touch on the process in our articles on how to make your fountain pen write smoothly and how to fix inconsistent ink flow in a fountain pen, the video below clearly shows one of the quickest, and easiest ways to correct misaligned tines on your fountain pen nib to stop it from writing wet.
How To Stop A Fountain Pen Leaking Into Its Cap
Although this is not strictly due to a fountain pen writing wet, we do often see a large number of people who are new to using fountain pens have issues with their fountain pen leaking into its cap. This is almost always due to how they store their fountain pen and our article on how to store pens may be helpful. The other common reason that your fountain pen may leak into its cap is due to the nib being damaged but a visual inspection of the nib will usually be able to confirm this for you.
Seek Out The Help Of A Nibmeister
Unfortunately, accidents occur and some of these accidents result in damage to your fountain pens nib, feed, piston filler, or cartridge convertor that may cause the pen to write wetter than normal. Although some of these issues may be fixable at home, if you are using a more expensive fountain pen then we would always recommend that you seek out the assistance of a professional nibmeister.
Not only will they have the experience and speciallist equipment required to increase the chances of being able to actually fix your pen and prevent it from writing wet but many will also offer a guarantee for their work. Most large cities and some large towns have pen stores and some large stationary chains will have a traveling nibmeister that will be in their store once or twice per month.
Having a professional nibmeister fix your pen is usually cheaper than most people think as their work has to be cheaper than simply purchasing a replacement nib for your pen. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may be able to get repairs for as little as $20 to $30 so it is well worth taking the time to at least get an estimate.
Check The Pens Feed
Although most modern fountain pens have an excellent feed system, some of the older ones do tend to give out and lose control of the ink levels they are supplying to the nib. Due to different designs of fountain pen feeds as well as many of them being inside colored resin it can be a pain to check if there is an issue with a pen feed. One way of checking is to shake the pen gently and if you can hear the ink swooshing around in the feed then it may have issues but this is not a certain way to confirm faults.
Depending on the condition of the fountain pen feed, you may have to visit a nibmeister to have them fix it or simply replace the fountain pen depending on its price point. Thankfully though, this is rare these days and a damaged feed is one of the less common causes of a wet fountain pen.
Check The Piston Filler Or Cartridge Convertor
Similar to issues with the fountain pens feed above, another rare cause of a wet fountain pen is damage to the ink mechanism. Although this is less common with fountain pens that use a piston filler system, some cartridge convertors are unfortunately low quality and can end up having issues resulting in the pen writing wetter than normal. Another common issue with cartridge convertors is that people accidentally place the wrong sized ink cartridge in the convertor pushing more ink into the feed and nib.
A visual inspection of your piston filler or cartridge convertor is usually enough to let you know if there are any issues with them as there will often be ink leaking in the barrel of the pen. If the issue is down to you using a larger cartridge than the convertor needs then simply switch to the correct cartridge, otherwise it is almost always going to be a job for a nibmeister or a replacement pen but thankfully this is a rare problem.
That brings our article on how to fix a fountain pen that is too wet to a close. We hope that we have been able to help you identify the issue with your pen and workout why it is writing wetter than you initially thought it would. As we mentioned above, most of the common causes of a wet fountain pen are easy, quick, and cheap to fix without needing any speciallist equipment so hopfully, it was a simply issue like that. If it is a more serious issue then seeking out a professional or ordering a new pen may be the only alternative option.