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Frequently Asked Questions about Pens:
Do the ink brand and the fountain pen brand have to match?
Fountain pen manufacturers do develop their inks to work with their particular fountain pens feed systems. If you are having trouble with the ink flow on a fountain pen, the first thing you should try is cleaning it and then filling it with the manufacturer’s recommended ink. Many inks may work well in a variety of fountain pens, but to be in the safe side we recommend the manufacturer’s ink.
How often should I clean my fountain pens?
Fountain pens should be cleaned every 5-8 fills. Fountain pens that are not going to be used for a time should be emptied and cleaned before storing.
How do I clean my fountain pens?
For routine maintenance, simply flushing your fountain pen with cool (never warm or hot) water should be enough. Repeatedly flush it as if you were filling and emptying the pen. Rinse the fountain pen with cool water and dry. Before filling your fountain pen again, make sure that all the water has evaporated from it.
What size nib should I choose?
The size nib that best suites you depends on multiple factors, such as if you draw, take notes constantly, or work with numbers.  Generally, a fine or medium nib will do just fine. For everyday writing, a medium nib is recommended. Broad nibs are made for signatures and bold writing.  Some tend to prefer one nib or another for various personal reasons. There are no standards among manufactures.  Each sizes their nibs slightly differently. A brief look at the Pelikan nib size chart may help. Be sure about your choice!  Once a fountain pen is filled with ink, it is considered used and  consequently non-returnable.
What are oblique nibs?
Oblique nibs are usually medium or broad nibs that are slanted at the tip to assist in natural handwriting.  All nibs, especially those made from gold, will form to an individual’s handwriting. Oblique nibs assist with a more extreme slant. Oblique nibs are made for right hand users, unless it specifically indicates “left-oblique.”
What is the difference between ball pen ink and roller ball ink?
Ball point pen ink is an oil-based ink in the form of a paste.  Lately, some brands are coming up with a new gel based ink that makes the ball pen behave, more like a roller ball pen.  Roller ball ink is liquid and similar to fountain pen ink.  This is why ball point pen refills write longer than roller ball refills but are not as smooth.
Is a gold nib important?
Gold nibs are favored because they are usually more flexible, so they adapt to a handwriting style more easily. Most gold nibs now have rhodium or some other metal at the tip and therefore remain durable for a longer period of time.
Do refills have a shelf life?
Ball pen refills have a shelf life of many years because they are oil based. Roller ball refills have a shorter shelf life, so we recommend that you purchase no more than a 6 month supply. Pencil lead can last in storage for generations, but erasers harden with time. Bottled ink and cartridges will store indefinitely, as long as the bottle has not been opened or the cartridge punctured. After a bottle is opened, it is best to use it within a year or so.
Cartridges, once punctured, should be used. All inks and refills should be stored in a cool, dry place and keep out of direct sunlight.
If you have a Question
If you happen to have a concern that it is not covered here, please do not hesitate to fax or email us.  We will do our best to provide you with an answer.  To email us, please click here.

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THE INK FLOW 2013
Updated 01/30/2013
1999-2015 The Ink Flow All rights reserved.

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