Hey everyone, today we will be taking a look at a couple of things not to do when you are first getting into the hobby of fountain pens, this is going to be based primarily off of my own experience so opinions may differ on the next few things that I outline in this blog. This list is not going to be in any particular order of importance or anything like that because one issue may be more important for me than it is for you. Without further ado let's get started with the first issue which pertains to actually buying pens.
Don't Go Too Big Too Fast- The fountain pen hobby is one that is on a massive spectrum in terms of price and it's important to not let this influence you when it comes to your first few pens. This price gap becomes abundantly apparent as soon as you step foot into a pen store where you can buy a $5 pen and $15,000 pen at the same time. You will also hear the words "Grail Pen" thrown around quite a bit and its fine to set your eyes on one but don't feel like you should be in a rush to get your first one because they should feel meaningful when you are finally able to purchase one, at least that's how I looked at it. Anyways, just don't feel pressured to spend too much money when you are first getting started, there are tons of good pens that can be purchased without breaking the bank!
Not Cleaning Your Pens Often- This rule applies more to people who enjoy using shimmer or permanent inks because those are notorious for clogging up pens, especially finer points. Leaving ink in a pen Long term can do some damage like crust up in the barrel or converter which could mean you need to purchase a new converter or if its in a piston pen it could cause things like the piston to freeze up or ink flow to stop entirely rendering the pen useless. I would suggest doing a nice deep clean once a month or whenever you switch or empty out the ink, that way you can have the satisfaction of a clean pen and the peace of mind that comes with knowing your pen is safe from damage.
Not Capping Your Pen When Not In Use- This one is more of a habit that is good to form in order to minimize potential damage from things like pens rolling off desks. Even if I stop writing for a minute I cap the pen I'm using before I set it down and when I set it down its usually on a soft surface like a pen case that is in the middle of my desk so it has no chance of falling or incurring any damage. There are some pens where its easier and faster to do this like the Vanishing Point but even though it may feel a little inconvenient at first, just get used to making it a habit and I promise your pens will thank you.
Using the Wrong Ink- If you had to choose one of these rules to follow I think this is the one that is one of the most important because if you don't follow this it could render your pen almost instantly useless. What I mean by the wrong ink is pretty much anything that is not advertised as being fountain pen ink or fountain pen friendly, the main culprit is India ink which is poison to fountain pens. India ink is sticky, gummy, viscous and just doesn't work coming out of the nib of a fountain pen because it gums it up and then dries and is very hard to clean after that, stick to FP inks!
Getting a Bad Case- The best thing that you can do to preserve the finish and outside of your pen is to get a nice, high quality case for your pen. A lot of the less expensive pen cases won't have any sort of divider for your pens which leaves them to rub against each other which leads to scratching and is really not good when it comes to more expensive materials like urushi or celluloid. I would suggest spending a little more money on a case that is made of a soft, high quality material (my personal favorite is Rickshaw's pen sleeves) and that keeps each pen in it's own little sleeve which just gives me that extra peace of mind that I'm doing all of the things possible to prevent my pens scratching.