Category Archives: The Basics

Fountain Pen Cleaning & Maintenance – Some General Advice

We often get asked about what sort of maintenance a fountain pen requires. I think the idea of paying relatively so much for a pen (compared to disposable ballpoint) and then having to do work to keep your fountain pen writing can sometimes be a bit daunting, but the good news is that there’s really not much to it!

There’s a lot of stuff out there showing how to take apart your pens and using pen cleaning solutions and ultrasonic baths and q-tips and bleach, and this is helpful stuff, especially if you get something really sticky trapped in there, but for the most part, it doesn’t always have to be quite so complicated, because…

The golden rule of keeping your fountain pens flowing magnificently is to use them all the time.*

In fact, you could stop reading now, and if you follow this general rule and use your pen all the time, I’d be fairly confident you’d be okay for the lifetime of the pen. Pens were made to be used!

Fountain Pen Cleaning and Maintenance Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada How to Take Care of your fountain pen

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Kaweco Fountain Pen Nib Sizes

Also known as: What Kaweco Nib Size Should I Get?

Happy Friday! Even though the weekend is usually busier and more hectic than our weekdays, running the bricks & mortar, I guess remnants from when I was in the “real workforce” mean that I still get the Friday freedom jitters.

Spring is basically here, or rather, it’s so close to around the corner that the snow we had yesterday doesn’t count. I seem to always have brown in my pens, but one of these days, I’m going to switch them all out for Diamine Meadow or J. Herbin Bleu Azur. Lots is still to come over the next few weeks, but I thought it was time to get a few close-ups of some nibs that we’ve been carrying for a while.

Kaweco pens are some of our most popular pens, both because of their great looking, often vintage inspired design, and, of course, their nibs.

Kaweco nibs are made in Germany for Kaweco by Bock. They’re specific to Kaweco, so you won’t be able to easily swap these nibs out with other companies, but these Kaweco spare nibs are available for purchase widely.

If this is your first pen or you’re getting a Kaweco for someone as a gift, I would say go for a fine or medium. Fine if you have smallish handwriting or you’re writing on lower quality paper, medium if you have largish handwriting or you know you just like a wetter line. You can’t go wrong with either.

I would say Kaweco nibs are fairly similar to Lamy. The extra fine on Kaweco may be just ever so slightly finer than the extra fine on Lamy, but the difference is pretty negligible.

These writing samples were done with Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan, on Rhodia paper 80gsm paper.

Kaweco Fountain Pen Nib Sizes - Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Double Broad

Kaweco Fountain Pen Nib Sizes – Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Double Broad

Kaweco Fountain Pen Nib Sizes - Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Double Broad

Kaweco Extra Fine Fountain Pen Nib

Kaweco Fountain Pen Nib Sizes - Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Double Broad Writing Sample

Kaweco Extra Fine and Fine Fountain Pen Nib Writing Sample

Kaweco Fountain Pen Nib Sizes - Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Double Broad Writing Sample

Kaweco Medium Fountain Pen Nib Writing Sample

Kaweco Fountain Pen Nib Sizes - Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Double Broad Writing Sample

Kaweco Broad and Double Broad Fountain Pen Nib Writing Sample

Kaweco Fountain Pen Nib Sizes - Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Double Broad Writing Sample

Kaweco Double Broad Fountain Pen Nib Writing Sample

Remember that it’s always tough to be very precise with exactly how broad your nib will write. Many factors can be at play, including the type of paper and ink you’re using, how much pressure you’re putting on it, whether the ink has just been filled and the feed is very saturated or if it’s running near the end of its tank. That’s not to say that your Extra Fine should be as wide as a Broad, but just keep in mind that some small variation may still happen.

I find usually the biggest factor is the type of paper you’re using – more absorbent paper will suck up the ink and spread it out, like on a paper towel, which dramatically affects how crisp your line looks.

I think it’s always helpful to give your pen a quick flush with water if it’s not writing as it should be. You should also consider giving any brand new pen a flush with water, or water with a drop of dish soap, just in case of any residual machining oil or dried ink from testing, although you can usually get away without.

You can also check out how the Kaweco italic nibs write, and as well some helpful hints on switching your Kaweco nibs around.

Fountain Pens for Kids

Usually around September we get a few parents coming by looking for fountain pens for their kids. Often these are parents whose children are in Montessori or private schools, and a fountain pen is on the school supply list provided. Many of these schools teach cursive writing and want their students to have proper tools for this experience.

Of course, hand in hand with running a fountain pen shop is treasuring hand writing, and I know many of my former students loved writing with fountain pens, although part of it may have been the novelty.

I know September has come and gone, but I figure with the holiday season around the corner, a few ideas may help with the gift-giving.

Fountain Pens for Kids, Fountain Pens for Children

Aside from the debate of whether or not cursive writing should be taught in schools, I think no one can argue with kids practising and building on their fine motor skills in writing, and fountain pens can be part of the fun of it.

Here are some fountain pens for kids:

1. For the kid that has never used a fountain pen, and just wants to have fun: the Platinum Preppy.

These are inexpensive pens that come in different colours and have large capacity cartridges. Because they’re so inexpensive, you don’t need to worry about the nib breaking or the barrel cracking, or if it’s left under the couch for two months before the vacuum finds it.

Platinum Preppy

Platinum Preppy

The pen is available in a rainbow of colours, with cartridges to match, so kids can pick their favourite colours, or one of each. This is great for kids to learn how to write with fountain pens, and they’re fun enough to make writing and drawing exciting.

2. For the kid that is ready to take care of a pen and use it regularly: the Lamy ABC.
Also, for the kid that is ready to take writing seriously.

This is one of my favourite pens, maybe because I am a former teacher. It’s available with a red or blue cap, and even comes with name label. The pen has a softer grip section than the Lamy Safari, but it still has some shape to help ensure proper grip. It comes with an “A” nib, which is between a fine and medium and slightly rounder, so good for kids to write with. Later on, you can swap these out for another nib size or a calligraphy nib as well.

Lamy ABC Fountain Pen

Lamy ABC Fountain Pen

Lamy cartridges for these guys are also quite large, so you don’t have to worry about fiddling around with cartridges as often. However, a big advantage is that this a pen for a kid to “grow into”  – you can also get a converter and teach your kid to fill it with bottled ink when he or she is ready.

3. For the kid who may step on, drop, throw around or sit on their pen: the Kaweco Sport.

These Kaweco Sports are super. They’re on the smaller size (portable), so kid hands don’t have to wield a jumbo sword, and they fit nicely into pencil cases or tuck into pockets. The plastic on this is pretty hard to break, and the cap is a twist on, so you don’t have to worry about the cap popping off or the barrel cracking at the bottom of a backpack.

Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen

Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen

They take standard international cartridges, which are easy to find anywhere, and are available in a multitude of colours. The pen itself is available in a bunch of colours too – black, green, blue, burgundy, clear, and this new mint. You can get any nib from extra fine to double broad, or even italic nibs, but I would recommend a medium nib to get started.

4. For the creative, artsy kid that likes using bottled ink: the Pilot 78G (medium nib).

Most of the time, parents or adults who come in are pretty confident that they want to get a pen that takes cartridges. As someone who runs a pen store, I can say that a spilled bottle of ink is no fun. However, every once in a while, there is a young artist, a very responsible young artist, who would love a bottle of ink. The very notion of a fountain pen and a bottle of ink is too romantic to pass up (don’t we all know this…).

The Pilot 78G is a Japanese pen available in fine or medium, and I would recommend getting a medium nib because the fine is very fine. It comes with a converter, so you can use bottled ink. The 78G is a bit of a cult classic pen, and we get it straight from Japan. Available in black, teal, green, red. It also has a bit of a vintage flair.

Pilot 78G

Pilot 78G

On a side note, I didn’t think of this when I took the picture (which features a bottle of Rohrer & Klingner), but if you’re getting this pen and ink for a kid, I would probably recommend a bottle of J. Herbin ink to go with it. Not only are their bottles pretty and available in pretty colours, more importantly they have a wide base and are difficult to tip over.

For grandparents hoping to exchange letters with grandchildren, parents hoping their kids will develop master penmanship, or kids who just like to write and draw. Also, fun stocking stuffers!