March 24, 2018

The Fountain Pen Experiment /2

Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen close-up of nib

Using the Pen

It’s been about three or four weeks since I got my first fountain pen, a Kaweco Sport Classic, and I thought I would share some of my thoughts and experiences thus far. Below you’ll find a bit on what it’s like to use a fountain pen day-to-day.

First off, let’s go over what I’ve been using my pen for. Being a pocket pen, this pen comes with me pretty much everywhere I go. That means I’ve been bringing it with me to work nearly every day, and I’ve used it to take notes from calls, keep track of my projects, or take notes during meetings. I’ve also been using the pen to keep up a simple bullet journal. I’l likely write a bit about the bullet journal sometime in the near future. As someone who never kept a journal growing up, it’s been an interesting experiment, and have been pleasantly surprised with how useful and enjoyable it’s been so far.

Anyways, back to the pen. It’s pretty awesome! There’s really no writing experience quite like writing with a fountain pen. Even with pretty significant “baby’s bottom” the Kaweco writes so much nicer than any ballpoint or gel ink pen I’ve used.

This does not mean, however, that using a fountain pen as a daily driver (writer?) doesn’t have its cons. In fact, if having to think about the pen you’re writing with sounds like a pain to you, then I would not recommend using one as a daily driver.

For one, at least due to the nib of my particular pen, hard starts-getting ink flowing after not using the pen for a while-can get very annoying, particularly when in a meeting or on a phone call where time is limited. If you frequently need to get up and writing quickly and without warning, then a fountain pen might not be the best option for your needs. If you do choose to get one, though, then at least look for one with a quality nib that you won’t need to fiddle with each time.

Along those lines, the Kaweco Sport has a screw-on type cap. This is very helpful being a pocket pen, as it means there’s less chance of anything getting in my clothing if a leak occurs (which hasn’t happened so far). Because a fountain pen dries out if it is not used and the cap is left off, that means I am screwing the cap on and off frequently throughout the day. For quick notes or phone calls, this can get tedious and the time really adds up.

Now, let’s talk about maintenance. One of the main reasons many people shy away from fountain pens is due to the extra maintenance required over a simple ballpoint. A fountain pen needs to be well maintained to keep writing in that smooth, pleasant manner you expect. This mean regular cleaning. So far, for my pen, I simply clean the pen with tap water whenever it’s time for new ink. There are plenty of videos out there about how to clean your particular fountain pen, and it really only takes a few minutes to get a pen pretty clean. Given the simplicity and frequency at which a pen really needs cleaning, it hasn’t been an issue whatsoever.

Another important thing to note is adding ink to the pen. For now, I’m using cartridges, which get the pen up and running in no time, but I did purchase a converter, and will be trying that out soon. That has the potential to be much messier.

Taking care of the nib of your pen is also very important, as a lot can go wrong with it, and if it’s not just right, the writing experience suffers greatly. JetPens has some great info on nibs. Though, if something ever happens to mine, I may just send it in and pay a professional to get it just right.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with how things are going. And I can say that getting a fountain pen has motivated me to do exactly what I was hoping it would: write. Because these pens should be used daily, it is helping me to at least put that pen to paper once a day. After all, I did write this post using my new favorite pen as well.

© Chris Colvin 2019