Protecting Fountain Pen Nibs
Choose Solid Gold Nibs
Unlike inexpensive steel nibs, which easily bend or corrode and are often impossible or impractical to repair, solid gold fountain pen nibs are generally durable and reliable and can provide for a lifetime's worth of use. But there are some basic steps you can take to maximize the health of your favorite solid gold nib.
Cap Your Pens - Or Use Pen Pillows or Racks
The greatest potential for nib damage, of course, results from dropping a pen, particularly when it is uncapped. Cap your pens when not in use, and if using a clipless pen such as the Nakaya Cigar-style pens, consider using a pen pillow or rack as added insurance that your pen will not wander off the table on its own. We can usually repair gold nibs damaged in a fall - consult our services and repairs images pages for more details.
Use A Light Touch While Writing
The next greatest danger to a nib is the use of excessive pressure while writing. Most fountain pens require only a light touch, and bearing down too heavily can spread tines and lead to other forms of damage as well. You don't need to have a feather-light touch to use a fountain pen, but remembering to ease up on the pressure can help avoid a trip to the nib doctor.
Use Safe Inks
Use conventionally formulated fountain pen inks, such as those we sell and recommend ourselves, and clean your pen regularly, especially if using pigmented or carbon inks. Avoid non-conventional inks that have a tendency to leak, clog, or corrode - in general, if there is a lot of controversy about whether a particular ink or brand is safe to use, you might be well-advised to stay with a safer choice.
Use Quality Papers and Notebooks
Avoid abrasive surfaces for writing, and use quality papers and notebooks, such as those from Clairefontaine and Rhodia, which will not clog a nib with fibers or residue. Never use sandpaper on a nib, as even the finest grade will prove too coarse and damage the point. And don't use paper towels to blot a nib after filling, as paper towels have fibers that can actually scratch the surface of a nib.
Caution To Do-It-Yourselfers
Perhaps the most important advice we can offer is not to attempt nib repairs yourself if you are not already an experienced fountain pen repair person - mishandled repairs can not only damage a nib beyond repair, but can also lead to problems with the feed and gripping section as well. See our Pen Maintenance page for some simple tasks you can do yourself, but contact us first if your problems go beyond simple ink flow issues.