Survey fountain pen lovers to ask them what they love the most, and you’re likely to hear a common theme: “I love the flow of the ink and how smoothly the pen writes across the page.” When this serene gliding sensation is interrupted by a pen haltingly skipping across the page, it can ruin your flow and your glow. If you’ve been the victim of a skipping fountain pen and want to know why, and what you can do to prevent it in the future, read on.
What is “Skipping?”
Relative to fountain pen use, the term skipping refers to a fountain pen that writes with missing, or partial ink lines. You may write a sentence, for example, and partial words or letters are missing due to the stoppage of your ink flow while you write.
What Causes Fountain Pen Skipping?
There are several factors that can put a skip in your writing:
The feed isn’t able to supply enough ink to the nib to keep up with your writing.
The issue could be that your nib is dirty, or clogged. Try to clean the nib to see if that resolves the issue. An adjustment to the feed channels may also speed the consistent flow of ink, or depending on the pen, you can try to loosen the fit of the point against the feed.
Remnant debris from the manufacturing process
If your fountain pen is new and you are experiencing skipping, it may be because some grit or oil still remains in the nib feed from the manufacturing process. A thorough soak and flushing should help to clean out the feed. As a best practice, we recommend cleaning all of your fountain pens, and flushing the feeds, before first use.
Poor quality ink
Not all fountain pen inks are created equal. Your skipping may be caused by an ink that is too thin. For a reliably smooth and trustworthy writing experience, we recommend consistent use of J. Herbin or Noodler’s Inks.
There is a clog in the feed channel.
The clog could be caused by a fleck of dried ink, some paper fiber, or any other type of debris. Again, try giving your pen a thorough cleaning to see if that gets things flowing.
Your ink is too dry.
If it’s been awhile since you last used your fountain pen and you’re writing with ink that had been sitting inside the converter for some time, the ink may be starting to thicken and dry out. Try emptying the existing ink, cleaning the pen, and replacing with newer ink.
The nib is improperly ground.
If your fountain pen nib is too rounded, or “improperly ground,” it may not smoothly glide across the surface of the paper, causing skipping. While you can grind the nib yourself, we’d recommend leaving that type of advanced maintenance to a nibmeister.
Tines of the fountain pen nib are misaligned. If damaged tines are the root of the issue, again, you’re best working with a nibmeister to repair the hardware.