How to use a Fountain Pen - Step by Step Instructions for using Cartridges and Ink Converters

Instructions for using a fountain pen

To get your pen ready to write, you'll need to use a cartridge or a bottle of ink. 

FIRST (all fountain pens)
1. Pull the lid (cap) off of the pen (usually in a straight (not twisting) motion).
2. Then unscrew the two ends of the pen (they separate at the centre of the pen).
Now follow the instructions below for either cartridges or ink converters.

If your pen comes with a removable ink converter inserted, you will need to remove the ink converter (just pull it out). You don’t need the ink converter when you use cartridges so you can set it aside. Then push an ink cartridge quite firmly onto the pen. Tip: Ensure that the seal of the cartridge is broken (take it off the pen and look at the cartridge it to check if not sure) – it can sometimes take reasonable amount of pressure of pushing it onto the pen to break the seal on the cartridge.

With a new pen, the ink can take quite a long time to flow out of the nib the first time it is used. With the cartridge inserted, keep drawing lines on a piece of paper (even though there won’t be any ink coming out to start with). If you repeat the action of dragging the nib across the paper enough times then eventually the ink should come out. This can require up to 200 repetitions – often much patience is required!

Hint: if the ink is taking a long time to appear, lay the pen flat, go have a cup of tea and come back to it later and it will most probably work! This gives the ink more time to slowly move towards the nib.

Ink Converters:
If you want to use bottled ink, you will need to use an ink converter to suck up and retain the ink in its chamber. Some converters have a small ball or metal spring inside the chamber. This is a design feature on some converters that is intended to improve the flow of ink.

Ink converters come in 3 main types. Here’s instructions for each:

FOR ALL CONVERTERS: You insert the ink converter firmly onto the pen, where a cartridge would usually go. (Note: your converter may already be in place).

With the ink converter attached to the pen, submerge the pen’s nib in your ink bottle and keep it there while you do one of the following depending on your converter type:

For Twist type ink converters:
Twist the end part of the ink converter to create a vacuum to draw in the ink. It can be hard to figure out which part twists and which parts stay in place but it’s usually the part right at the end of the converter that rotates.

Squeeze type ink converters:
Push / release your finger or thumb against the metal strip that covers the ink reservoir to create a vacuum that will suck up the ink.

Slide type ink converters:
Your converter may have a plastic ‘tooth’ that slides up and down. Place nib in ink bottle and slide tooth down & up to create a vacuum to fill the converter.

Now screw the pen back together. You’re good to go! Happy writing!

Useful tip: If pen dries up after not being used for ages, soak uncapped pen in water for 30mins. This will loosen up any dried out ink.

If you need any further help either before or after purchase, please read our Fountain Pen FAQ or send us a message, we're happy to assist!

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