Congratulations on purchasing your first fountain pen. It may be your first, but it probably won’t be your last. Once the bug bites, you’ll become a fountain pen addict forever.
We created this guide to help you refill a fountain pen for the first time. Our helpful guide will show you tips for using a cartridge converter and even the popular piston converter.
You’ll never have to ask how to fill a fountain pen again. So, uncap that pen, and let’s get started.
Writer, Know Thy Pen
As any experienced fountain pen master will tell you, the fountain pen comes with a series of interconnected parts that you won’t find on an ordinary ballpoint pen. The parts make our fountain pen a versatile instrument that can use a variety of inks.
Before you fill your pen with ink, we first need to identify the four parts that make it up.
Your pen consists of the cap, the barrel, the ink reservoir, and last but not least, the nib.
Fountain Pen Cap
The cap plays a vital role in keeping your fountain pen from drying out, making a messy ink spill, and protecting the sensitive nib from getting damaged.
Fountain Pen Barrel
The barrel is another vital element of your pen that can come in a variety of styles. From thick and thin to tall and short, every pen contains an ink reservoir inside the barrel that houses the converter.
Today, the most common ink reservoir type is the self-contained cartridge converter. A cartridge fits snugly in the barrel of the pen and can quickly be swapped out with a new one when your system runs dry.
As an alternative to cartridges, you get piston converters and ink bladders. Both the converter and the ink bladder require that you use an ink bottle. They are slightly more complicated than the ink cartridges but you should learn your way around them, especially if you plan on using older pens.
Fountain Pen Nib
The nib is the tip of your fountain pen. Nibs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and even different material options. The most common nibs tend to be made from stainless steel, while some of the best luxury tips are made from soft gold.
How To Refill Your Fountain Pen
Now that you are more familiar with your new writing instrument, it’s time to look at some straightforward ways to refill it with ink.
We’ll start with the most common and probably the most convenient refilling mechanism: the modern cartridge mechanism.
How To Refill A Fountain Pen Using A New Ink Cartridge
Step One: Open Your Pen
Uncap your pen and open the barrel by turning it gently counterclockwise.
Step Two: Remove The Old Cartridge
To remove the old ink cartridge from your pen, simply grip it firmly and pull it out of the barrel.
Step Three: Inserting A New Cartridge
Insert the new cartridge with the stopper first into the barrel of the pen. If you feel some resistance, gently push it forward until you hear a soft pop or clicking sound. This tells you that the stopper has been punctured and ink can now flow freely to the nib.
Step Four: Wrapping It Up
Now replace the barrel by screwing it back onto the pen. Once it’s tightly screwed into place, balance your pen against something to stand it upright, with the nib pointing down. We suggest using a glass to let the pen stand in a glass to help balance it.
Let the pen stand still for 5 to 10 minutes as it needs to saturate the nib with ink.
Piston or Bladder Converter
Step One: Open Up Your Pen
Follow the same steps as above to uncap your pen and unscrew the barrel.
Opening the pen up will reveal the bladder or piston mechanism inside the pen.
Step Two: Submerge The Tip In Ink
Place the nib of the pen in a bottle of ink. It’s crucial that the nib is fully submerged, or you may risk letting bubbles form inside the mechanism which will obstruct the flow of ink and will make it difficult to write.
Step Three: Using The Converter Mechanism
Our next step is slightly more complicated, but don’t be afraid. You’ll quickly master this method.
If you use a converter with a piston, you only need to twist the pen counterclockwise, keeping the nib submerged in ink.
This twisting motion moves a plunger inside the mechanism up and down, gradually drawing ink up into the reservoir. Continue this motion until the reservoir has been filled with ink.
If you’re using a bladder or squeeze converter, filling up your new pen is just as simple. While keeping the tip submerged in ink, gently squeeze the side of the ink. You need to squeeze it until you see some bubbles forming in the inkpot.
Now slowly release your grip, allowing the bladder’s suction to draw up the ink into the reservoir. Repeat this process several times until there aren’t any bubbles that appear in the ink when you squeeze the bladder.
Step Four: Cleaning
To clean your fountain pen from excess ink, use a soft rag or paper towel to wipe ink from the pen and the nib gently. Finally, screw the pen back together.
Some Final, Essential Tips For New Writers
There are plenty of different fountain pen brands out there. Each pen comes with different types of systems for filling it up with ink.
The fountain pen is a prestigious writing instrument. Yet, this worthy writing instrument requires a bit more maintenance and care to ensure a long, pleasurable writing experience.
- Never let your pen run completely out of ink. This makes refilling your fountain pen more time-consuming and complicated.
- Always cap your pen when you aren’t using it. The cap protects the nib. If the tip gets damaged, your pen will scratch and tear paper and the ink won’t flow well.
- Keep your pen clean. This is particularly important after you’ve just refilled it.
These are some simple rules to remember. By following them, you’ll ensure that your pen will last for years to come.
It’s well worth the time invested in mastering this instrument. You’ll fall in love with the fountain pen with its graceful lines. Soon you’ll want to find every excuse possible to write with it.