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How To Fill A Fountain Pen

If you’ve just bought a fountain pen, you will need to know how to fill it with ink. You can choose to use liquid ink or ink cartridges for your fountain pen; neither is necessarily better than the other - cartridges are probably easiest to use but converters give you a larger selection of ink colours. The choice of ink filling system often comes down to personal preference. Below you will a guide on how to replace your cartridge and how to use a fountain pen converter.

Just a quick note before we get into the filling instructions, if you do want to use liquid ink you may need to buy a fountain pen converter. Check to see if your pen comes with one first. Certain fountain pens will have specific cartridges or converters so always check for compatibility before purchasing.

How To Change a Fountain Pen Cartridge

If you want to use an ink cartridge for your fountain pen, you will first need to check what cartridge size your pen requires. You might notice ‘standard size’ or ‘international size’ available for purchase; these cartridges do fit a few different types of pen, but they won’t fit every fountain pen. Always check the type and size of cartridge that your fountain pen allows.

Once you’ve got your ink cartridge sorted, you will need to disassemble your fountain pen. This is not as difficult as it sounds, and only involves pulling apart a few components. Remove the cap from the pen and then unscrew the barrel (the part of the pen you hold in your hand). Check there’s nothing in the barrel before you put that to one side. Sometimes pens include a cartridge with them when you buy them – these cartridges won’t already be installed, they will just sit inside the barrel. You would need to connect them when you’re ready to start using your pen.

Once you’ve opened your pen pick up the section or the grip, this will have a plastic tube inside. Gently push the cartridge into the plastic inner tube, you will hear a click when its connected. This plastic tube will pierce the cartridge ready for your ink to flow. You can then put your fountain pen back together. If there is additional space in the barrel you could also store a spare cartridge in there for easy changeover when your pen runs out. Screw the barrel back on the pen and you’re ready to write.

If your fountain pen doesn’t write immediately that’s normal and there’s no need to worry. It can take a bit of time for the ink to first come through. Hold the pen vertically with the nib pointing downwards. This will get the ink flowing.

What Is A Fountain Pen Converter?

A converter allows you to use liquid ink for your fountain pen. It’s essentially a cartridge that has a mechanism connected to it, that allows you to draw ink inside from the bottle. A converter attaches to your fountain pen just like a cartridge but it allows you to use a wider range of ink colours. Ink cartridges are disposable and once you’ve used up your ink, you simply throw them away. A pen converter can be reused multiple times, although you will have to clean it properly before using a different ink.

As fountain pen converters attach in the same way as cartridges, you can use either of them interchangeably, depending on your preference. To make sure your converter fits your pen shop by your fountain pen brand when purchasing one. You also have a choice between push and screw fit, although this choice might be determined by what your chosen pen brand stocks.

How To Use A Fountain Pen Converter

There are two types of fountain pen converter you should be aware of before attempting to fill with liquid ink. Essentially both converters look the same and act the same. The key difference is a piston converter involves a rotating mechanism to draw up the ink, and a squeeze converter works by releasing the vacuum when absorbing the ink. The rest of instructions are the same but we will cover both in the guide below.

Start by taking the pen apart. Just as you would when inserting a cartridge, remove the grip from the barrel. Attach the converter to your pen grip – how you do this will depend on the pen and converter you have. Some push into the grip and some screw in. Once attached, draw any air out of the cartridge. You can either do this by turning the top of the piston anti-clockwise or by squeezing the vacuum. It’s important to remove the air as this will dry the ink out quicker and possibly clog up your feed.

After you’ve removed the air, open your bottled ink of choice and insert the fountain pen nib inside. When you insert the nib into the ink, make sure you completely cover the breathing hole on your fountain pen with the ink.

If you have a squeeze fountain pen converter keep squeezing the cartridge until the nib is emerged in ink. Then let go once and your cartridge will start filing ink.

If you have a piston converter, you will need to start rotating the end of the converter clockwise. This will start filling up the cartridge inside the converter. Once you’ve filled the converter about half way, stop and point your nib towards the ceiling. Turn the converter anti-clockwise to force any air out of the ink. You might notice a few bubbles escape. Once done, insert the nib back into the ink and repeat until the ink is full. Make sure to release any air again after you’ve finished.

Your converter sits inside the barrel like a cartridge does so once you’ve got the ink stored, put your fountain pen back together and you’re ready to write.