As with anything you may own – from a pair of jeans to a Mercedes – maintenance is key. If you’re investing money into an object, it’s important to know how best to care for it. In a world that prioritizes single-use and fast fashion, it can sometimes be hard to embrace the little bit of work needed to extend the life of an object. This is especially true of luxury pens, when the more economical counterpart of the industry makes their margins on single-use pens that are thrown away.
Instead, we want you to keep the pens you have and enjoy them for years to come. The pens you own today will be a cherished heirloom for your children and grandchildren tomorrow. It takes a little bit of time, but once you get into the rhythm of maintaining your fountain pens, you’ll soon find that you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the items you buy and use on a regular basis.
Many newbies to fountain pens, or other luxury writing objects, are in the schoolboy habit of throwing their pen directly into their bag and going along with their day. While this is fine for a cheaper pen, if you’re investing in something a little nicer, you may want to reconsider. The best approach is to use a pen pouch or case. This will add a bit of cushioning in case you drop your bag, which is key to making sure that the pen, if it’s acrylic, doesn’t crack or for a nib to bend.
Inks can leave residual debris within a nib and feed that can begin to deteriorate the function of the pen. The best way to avoid this is with a regular rinsing. If your pen is in regular use, rinsing with water or a pen wash will extend the life of the pen and make it work as good as new with prolonged use.
Avoid Certain Inks
Some inks just don’t mix well with various nibs. Most modern-day inks are fairly safe for use, but doing a bit of research on vintage pen and inks may be a good idea to avoid any unpleasant reactions. As the pen industry continues to bring new options to the market, such as Esterbrook’s colored nibs, the microceramic coating may also have a negative reaction to certain inks that are otherwise safe for pens. Goulet does a good job of breaking inks here.
Rotate Through Your Pens
If you own multiple pens (and let’s be honest – we know you do!), then making sure your pens don’t collect dust and sit in a case is also key. Like anything else, regular use will keep the mechanisms working and help you identify any issues as they arise instead of waiting until the next time you pick up the pen years from now. You don’t have to rotate your pens every week – maybe just every few months with a good cleaning and polish to keep your prized possessions looking (and working) their best.