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Part 4 of Enjoying Your PILOT Fountain Pen

Keep Your Fountain Pen Flowing: A Beginner's Guide to Troubleshooting

Struggling with a stubborn fountain pen? In this quick beginner-friendly blog post, we'll explore four common culprits behind skipping, hard starts, and dry flow with some simple solutions to get your pen flowing smoothly again.

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Sophia Le

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Few experiences surpass the pleasure of gliding a fine fountain pen across smooth paper, each stroke leaving a trail of elegance and precision. However, even the most esteemed writing instruments can occasionally encounter challenges!

If your fountain pen is betraying your expectations with inconsistent ink flow, hard starts, or skipping strokes, fret not. Such occurrences, while infrequent, can be addressed with troubleshooting. Together, let’s explore some simple yet effective solutions to ensure you continue enjoying your cherished PILOT.

1. Ink Cartridge / Converter Installation

  • Possible cause: The PILOT Ink Cartridge or Converter isn't fully inserted, creating a poor seal and hindering ink flow.

  • Solution: Firmly push and twist to ensure a proper seal and optimal ink flow. If using a cartridge, we recommend you encourage ink movement with a gentle squeeze. For more detail, see our general Refilling Step-By-Step or our PILOT Capless Guide.

2. Ink Compatibility

  • Possible cause: You're using a non-PILOT fountain pen ink that may be on the dry side.

  • Solution: First, try the PILOT Ink Cartridge that came with the pen to confirm if ink compatibility is the issue. If so, explore our Signature and iroshizuku ink range or other wetter inks on the market.

Wet inks flow generously for smooth, saturated writing and often offer good shading. Dry inks flow lightly, leaving less ink on the page and dry quicker.

3. Manufacturing Residue

  • Possible cause: Oil residue from the manufacturing process is interfering with ink flow.

  • Solution: Soak the nib unit in warm water with a drop of dishwashing liquid for a while, then flush it with warm running water to remove the residue. Our Cleaning and Maintenance guide will help you through this meditative process!

4. Clogged Feed or Dried Ink

  • Possible cause: With regular use, paper fibres or particles have blocked the ink flow passage. Or ink has hardened inside the pen due to lack of use.

  • Solution: A good clean typically removes the blockage and restores smooth writing. Similarly, we recommend you checking out our Cleaning and Maintenance guide!

CUSTOM 823 Vacuum Filler

  • Possible cause: Many new users of vacuum filler fountain pens unintentionally impede ink flow by leaving the end cap screwed on while writing.

  • Solution: Unscrew the cap a tiny bit (about 2mm) to create a space for the ink to travel from its chamber to the feed. When you're finished writing, screw the cap back on securely, but be gentle – overtightening can lead to damage or stress on the pen!

Still having problems?

If none of these solutions resolve your issues, please contact us for further assistance. Our Customer Service team will be happy to organise an assessment of your PILOT fountain pen.

About Author

Sophia Le

Resident Fountain Pen Fanatic at Pilot Pen Australia.
Capless Collector. Staffy Lover. Casual Gamer and Maker.
Currently a Citizen of Super Earth after vacationing in Baldur’s Gate and Hyrule.

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