You have a fountain pen that you love. You’ve worn the nib in to achieve the ideal level of flexibility, and you’ve grown accustomed to the feel of the pen in your hand, perfectly well-balanced when you post the cap on the end. When you have a fountain pen that you love, you want to use it all the time, which is why we often hear the question asked, “Can I use my fountain pen as a dip pen?”
We get it. Maximizing the chances to use the perfect writing implement is important to you. Unfortunately, the short answer to this question is, “No,” not without risking damage to your beloved fountain pen. Here’s why.
The Risk of Nib Damage
You may be questioning if you can use your fountain pen as a dip pen if you’re choosing to use permanent or acrylic inks. Since these types of inks should not be used with an ink converter, you may think you’re making a safe choice by using your fountain pen as a dip pen—bypassing the converter and the risk of a permanent clog. Unfortunately, you’re still risking serious damage to your nib if you choose to use your fountain pen as a dip pen.
The cause for concern is the risk of fully coating the exterior of your fountain pen nib in ink. Fountain pen nibs are designed to have more crevices and details, making it difficult—or nearly impossible depending on the ink used—to fully clean the ink off when you’re done.
Calligraphy pen nibs are designed to better accommodate being submerged in ink. They are generally more streamlined, and designed without crevices or detailing, making it easier to fully clean the nib and prepare it for future use.
Even if your ink dries on your dip pen, and you’re not able to wipe or wash it off fully, a dip pen nib’s smooth surface and more sturdy design can withstand the scraping of a pallet knife or sandpaper to remove the dried ink.
Another time fountain pen users question whether they can use their fountain pen as a dip pen, is when they want to introduce another color to their writing or sketching without cleaning and refilling a pen, or keeping a second pen full of ink and on hand. If you’re tempted to dip your fountain pen that’s full of one ink color, into a second color just to add some details or notes to your piece, know that mixing inks could be problematic to the inner workings of your fountain pen. The same capillary action that pulls ink out from a fountain pen cartridge into your nib, will try to draw ink up into your pen. If this happens, you’ll risk mixing inks together, which, depending on the brands and varieties, may result in a mess inside your fountain pen.
If your creative project requires the use of dip inks, you’re better off investing in even an inexpensive dip pen, and saving your fountain pen for its intended use, rather than risk damaging your favorite writing tool.