Penn State Fountain Pens

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Jan 5, 2013
Chicago, IL
I'm very disappointed in the Penn State fountain pens I've received. Not the kits themselve's, but the ink refills and nibs. If you don't constantly use the pens, the nibs dry out, clog, and are essentially useless (to me). Paid good money for an Apollo Infinity fountain pen some time ago and used it maybe 2 or 3 times. I had to completely flush the pen parts under water to make them usable again. Not a week later, the nib was clogged again. Any suggestions to extend the life here?


Mar 13, 2010
Saratoga Springs, NY
I'm a fountain pen user as well as an occasional turner. I'm not super enamored with Penn State fountain pen kits. But my concerns are of a different sort - I prefer a screw cap rather than a snap cap, and I don't like designs that leave raw end-grain wood exposed at the bottom of the cap. I have two kit pens that I am very pleased with - a Penn State Big Ben (I don't think the FP version is available any longer) and an El Grande with a screw cap. I have two Penn State 'Traditional' FPs that are OK, but not exciting.

But to your problem - - - the symptoms you report (nib rapidly drying out of the pen isn't used frequently) probably represents a combination of a dry nib and a dry ink. The dry nib problem can be fixed by fine tuning the nib - for that, you need the services of a 'nibmeister' who can adjust the ink flow in the nib. Yes, you can do that yourself, but there is a learning curve, and you could easily destroy a few nibs before you acquire the skill required.

The problem of a dry ink (or more correctly, an ink that dries very rapidly) can be addressed by using a different ink. Frankly, I don't use the cartridges that come with Penn State kits. Instead, I use a converter and bottled ink, and I choose inks that have a reputation for being 'wet' (ie, slow drying).

My suggestion is that before you try tinkering with the nib, switch to a converter with a bottled ink with a reputation for being 'wet'. That may be all that you need to solve the problem.

By the way, if you find that the nib has dried out betwee uses, there are a couple of quick fixes that you can try:
- if you are using a converter, you can try pumping the converter a bit by twisting the knob a few degrees to force ink into the feed. Do this over a piece of paper towel, watching the nib carefully. You will see a bit of ink flow into the feed - stop before a drop forms and falls to the paper towel. Obviously, you don't want to do this in a room with a white carpet (DAMHIKT).
- if you aren't using a converter, you can try holding the pen under running warm water for a couple of seconds. That's often enough to dissolve any dried ink in the feed and start the ink flowing again.
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