No new out-of-the-box pen should skip or be hesitant when writing. Unfortunately,
some do. And, as has been noted several times in the news group, there are limits
to what can be done to stop a pen from skipping.
There are various opinions as to what to do and how to stop it, but they almost
always end in some requirement that the nib or feed be adjusted or worked on in
some other way.
When I purchase a pen which skips (usually on the beginning of the first downstroke),
I first try flushing the pen out with ink several times. I keep a few bottles
of Quink on hand just for that purpose. Since I will be using ink in the pen (not
Formula 409 or dish washing soap), I flush the pen with ink twice and then just
sit it on a table with cap on for 5 minutes or so. I repeat this exercise two
or three times. Then I flush the pen with water and fill it with my ìcurrent
favoriteî ink (which is, at the moment, Waterman blue-black... but that
will probably change this month back to some shade of blue).
Here are some other useful tips from the net (if the attribution is wrong,
tell me immediately at email@example.com)
23.1.1 Arthur Twydle - Tuning a Fountain Pen
Several contributors made reference to the page at http://184.108.40.206/index.html
where there appears to be a wealth of information on nib tuning.
23.1.2 firstname.lastname@example.org (Xander
Before even starting to write, wash all new pens thoroughly with clean, cold
water, and all used pens with cold water and a drop of dishwashing detergent.
Dry with a cloth on the outside and numerous piston inhales and exhales, followed
by a good shake, for the inside. Ink the pen, fully expel the ink, re-ink the
pen and expel three drops. Holding the pen upright, turn the piston or converter
to its fullest inhale position. Clean the nib with a good rag that won't leave
bits of fiber or paper behind (no toilet paper or kleenex). Check that touching
the pen to a piece of paper towel will emit a spot. Use the pen regularly on good
paper with a high cotton content (not cheap xerox or legal pads) for three days.
If flow is poor, exhale the ink thoroughly, clean as above, and re-fill with a
different brand of ink.
I'll offer another little trick which seemed to help sometimes (although it
could be a placebo effect). I have heard discussed a number of places that "writing"
(while rolling the nib back and forth evenly over the galls surface) with a new
pen on an ink bottle can somtimes smooth the writing experience of a new pen which
writes unexpectedly roughly. My understanding is that the ink bottle effectively
acts as ultrafine sand paper. My understanding as well is that a nib that is badly
screwed up will not benefit from such a treatment, but at east such a treament
falls under the "do no harm" heading that I think we would want to bear
in mind for all such tricks.
Frank, please correct me if I'm wrong, but it was my understanding that from
time to time during the process of making a nib, metal particles are not always
completely removed, and cutting oil may be left behind. This may cause a brand
new fountain pen to skip, and in this case using an ultrasonic cleaner should
take care of the problem.
23.1.4 email@example.com (Frank
On some hard rubber feeds there may be oils if the feed was cut in a milling
machine, but I've never seen this problem except on some extremely cheaply made
Chinese pens, and in a few hours the ink washes any oil away. Although sometimes
with rubber it may take a week or so for the feed to thoroughly get "wet."
All rubber feeds are cleaned at the factory before installing in a pen and are
or should be treated in a wetting bath to perform instantly.
NO pen new or old should skip. Assuming the ink and paper are OK and the pen
is otherwise adjusted properly and well "wet" which may take a week
or so NO pen should ever skip. If its new and still skips on downstroke most likely
the nib is improperly ground. I've covered this many times, here, in Da Book and
on line. Probably half of all expensive (i.e Gold nib) pens have poorly ground
nibs and many of these have the excessive roundness that causes skipping. Sometimes
it can be fixed by regrinding, but more often the nib has to be changed.
Flush your new pen with a mixture of distilled water and dishwashing liquid
(1:10 ratio). This will help remove any oils that might remain from manufacturing
of the these components.
Gently pull a piece of mylar through the tines of the nib, switching the direction
of the abrasive side on the second pass. (I've done this on a few nibs to remove
strange burrs and get the flow going properly.)