With more and more people taking the plunge and making the switch from a ballpoint, rollerball or gel pen to a fountain pen, we are seeing more and more people reaching out and asking questions along the lines of “how to make a fountain pen write smoothly?” each month. It doesn’t matter if you have made the switch to an entry-level fountain pen, an intermediate price point fountain pen or a premium price point fountain pen, there are almost always steps that you can take to help the fountain pen write smoothly and improve the writing experience.
Although there are a number of different steps that you are able to take to smooth out the writing experience for a new or old fountain pen, the majority of them are very beginner friendly and easy to get to grips with. This allows you to go through the various steps required in the comfort of your own home without having to take a trip to your local pen store to have an expert use speciallist equipment on your pen to make it write smoothly.
As we are going to be covering a number of different topics relating to getting your fountain pen to write smoothly in this article, we have added a table of contents below. This should help you navigate the article to quickly get to the specific sections that you require without having to waste any time. If you are new to using a fountain pen though and are having issues with smoothing it out then reading the whole article is probably the best options.
- How To Make A Fountain Pen Write Smoothly!
- Do Fountain Pen Nibs Get Smoother With Use?
- How Do You Lubricate A Fountain Pen Correctly?
- How Can I Make My Fountain Pen Ink Flow Better?
How To Make A Fountain Pen Write Smoothly!
Below we are going to be going over the seven most common issues that can prevent your fountain pen from writing smoothly. The majority of them are easy to fix but some of them may require a speciallist tool depending on how bad the issue is and if the problem is particularly bad, you may have to pay a visit to your local pen store to have the issue corrected by a professional.
Dip Your Nib In An Acidic Solution
One of the main issues that will stop a fountain pen from writing smoothly is dried ink in the nib and feed making it difficult for fresh ink to actually reach the nib to allow you to write. This results in skipping when trying to write as well as inconsistant ink flow potentially ruining your work when using your fountain pen. Thankfully, though, this is a quick and easy fix and you should be able to correct the issue with the nib at home.
In our opinion, the best way to deal with dried ink in the nib of your fountain pen is to use a cheap fountain pen flush kit that allows you to clean the nib without risking its future performance. As the liquid cleaning solutions in these kits have been specifically designed for use with fountain pen nibs that have dried ink in them, there is minimal risk to the stainless steel or gold in the pen nib having a reaction to the solution and causing further issues.
If you are desperate for a quick fix then you can use household items such as vinegar, lime juice, and orange juice to try and clean the dried ink from the nib. Although many people do use this, we tend not to recommend it as it can be hard to dilute the aciding liquid correctly to ensure that it won’t react with the metal in your fountain pen nib and cause problems in the future.
Clean Out The Ink Reservoir
Similar to having dried ink in the nib of your fountain pen as covered above, another common problem that will prevent your fountain pen from writing smoothly and cause it to skip is a build up of ink in the ink reservoir and section. Thankfully, the same cheap fountain pen flush kit that you can use to clean dried ink out of your fountain pen nib can be used for the pens section and ink reservoir too.
Similar to the points raised above, we would recommend that you use an actual flush kit designed for use with fountain pens over vinegar or some other acidic solution to reduce the chances of it having a reaction with the section, feed or reservoir of your pen. If your fountain pen of choice uses a piston filler system rather than a cartridge convertor system then we would recommend that you only ever use a flush kit to clean it and avoid substances like vinegar altogether.
Upgrade Your Paper Quality
Sometimes your fountain pen can be in perfect working order and still end up skipping and having problems with writing smoothly due to the quality of the paper that you are using. This is very common for the cheaper, lower GSM paper on the market that is common for normal notebooks. Thankfully though, higher quality, high GSM paper is much cheaper than it used to be allowing the majority of people to upgrade the quality of the paper they write on without issue.
Ideally, you will be wanting to use a paper with a GSM rating of at least 100 for medium or broad nibbed fountain pens. If you are using a fine or extra fine nib on your fountain pen then we would usually recommend that you try to use a paper with a GSM rating of at least 120 to prevent scratching when writing. It is surprising how much of an effect upgrading the quality of paper that you write on can actually make when it comes to getting your fountain pen to write smoothly.
Use A Better Quality Of Ink
Similar to the quality of paper covered above, the quality of ink is another common problem that can cause your fountain pen to either skip or not write smoothly. So many people shell out for an expensive fountain pen only to fill it with the cheapest ink that they can find and totally ruin their writing experience. Although most premium price point fountain pen brands recommend that you only use their own brand of ink with their pens, this is usually just a marketing ploy.
In our experience, you are able to use a cheap, popular ink like Noodlers and get excellent results without having to break the bank. Noodlers ink has an excellent reputation amongst the fountain pen user community due to its low price, great performance, and a vast range of colors and we would highly recommend that you give it a try.
Brush Or Grind The Nib And Feed
Sometimes the tip of your fountain pen may end up getting damaged slightly during or from an accident requiring some brushing or grinding to fix the issue. Depending on the price tag for a replacement nib, this may not be worth doing as the chance of success can be lower if you are new to grinding your own fountain pen nibs as you can damage the nib in other ways during the process.
That said though, you can use something like micromesh or a Arkansas stone depending on how bad the issue is to try and fix it yourself at home. If you are using a more expensive fountain pen with an expensive nib then we would highly recommend that you pick up a cheap loupe prior to grinding the nib to try and make it as easy as possible.
Chances are that if you are using a more expensive nib then it will often be much easier and cheaper to just take your pen to your local pen store to have them grind it for you. They will have better equipment available then you can have in your home and will probably have gone through the nib grinding process hundreds if not thousands of times before too.
Check For A Baby Bottom On The Nib
A relatively common issue that can prevent your fountain pen from writing smoothly is the nib having issues with a baby bottom forming at the tip of the nib. This one can be a total pain to fix yourself depending on how bad the issue is but we have a dedicated article on how to fix a baby bottom on your fountain pen that may be helpful. Although you may be able to fix the issue at home, it often requires specialist equipment and skillsets that the majority of our readers will probably lack needing you to pop down to your local pen store to have the issue fixed.
Check The Tines On The Nib
Over time, the tines on your fountain pens nibs may end up becoming misaligned preventing the pen from writing smoothly and increasing the chance of it skipping during use. Thankfully, this is a quick and easy fix and you can usually follow along with the process in the video below and have the issue fixed in a matter of minutes.
Do Fountain Pen Nibs Get Smoother With Use?
One mistake that people new to using fountain pens can often make is thinking that their is an issue with their pen nib preventing the pen from writing smoothly. This is rarely the case and can just be due to the nib needing to be worn in as well as the initial ink transfer from the ink reservoir to the feed to the nib needing to complete. If you fountain pen is brand new but not writing smoothly then we would highly recommend that you take some time to simply draw figure eights on some scrap paper for a few minutes.
This should be able to wear the nib in a little and ensure that the initial ink transfer completes to allow a smooth and even flow of ink throughout the fountain pen. Although you may feel a little silly drawing figure eights, it can be a quick and easy fix for brand new fountain pens where there is no actual fault present on the pen.
How Do You Lubricate A Fountain Pen Correctly?
Although rare, a lack of lubrication can prevent a fountain pen from writing correctly depending on the type of fountain pen that you are using. This can be common with older piston filled fountain pens but thankfully, it is a quick and easy fix and doing a quick run through with some Noodlers Eel ink is usually enough to relubricate the piston and get the ink flowing smoothly.
Please note that Noodlers Eel ink is specially formulated to assist in lubricating the piston in piston filled fountain pens. It is a different ink formula to the standard Noodlers ink that we touched on earlier in the article. The two are not interchangeable and their standard ink does not have the increased lubrication properties that their Eel ink does so please don’t try re-lubricating your fountain pen piston with their normal ink.
How Can I Make My Fountain Pen Ink Flow Better?
Although having an inconsistent ink flow in your fountain pen is usually slightly different to your pen not writing smoothly, the two do sometimes go hand in hand with some crossover on their common causes. We have our article on how to fix inconsistent ink flow in fountain pens that may be helpful to you if you feel that this is a potential cause of your pen not writing smoothly for you though.
That brings our article going over how to make a fountain pen write smoothly to an end. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to help you clear the fault that is preventing your pen from writing as smoothly as it should. As we have touched on throughout the article, some of the common causes can be fixed at home but some of them may required a trip to a speciallist pen store if the problem is serious to have a professional fix the issue.