In the next few days we will post a few "How-to"s for newbees to help them get a rewarding performance from their pens.
Let's start with pens that write dry.
There may be several causes that make a pen write dry.
In this post we will look at tine geometry.
Ink flows to the nib by capillary action: that is, it travels (even against gravity!) from a wider portion of the ink channel to a narrower portion. It will not go in the opposite direction!
So, if you look at your nib and the space between the tines is wider at the tip than it is further back, close to the vent hole,ink will not flow towards the tip. This example is an extreme case: I have actually never seen in over 40 years of collecting pens a NEW pen with such a problem (old pens, with damaged and badly repaired nibs are another matter...). What is often seen, however, is a nib that, seen from the front with a 30x loupe, shows a wider gap at the bottom of the iridium tip (the part that touches the paper) than at the top of the iridium pellet. This makes the ink go to the top of the nib and not where the nib touches the paper! This is a very frequent cause of pens that are reluctant or slow starters...after the nib is pressed against the paper, ink will eventually flow to the bottom of the tip, but ink flow will be irregular and intermittent. What to do to remedy this situation?
If your nib is an expensive gold nib: send it to an expert! Gold nibs are more delicate than steel nibs and are easily ruined. If it is a cheap steel nib (and these are the more likely to present this problem) gently squeeze the sides of the nib at the "wings" with your thumbs, increasing slightly the camber or curvature of the nib and making the two sides at the bottom of the iridium pellet marginally closer together than at the top. This should restore proper flow, but, by making the tines a little closer together, it may also reduce the wetness of the ink trace! How do we make our nib, now that it starts OK and without hesitation, lay down a wetter line? This, my newbee friends, we will cover in my next post.
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