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Sharing Tips: Learning New Pens

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Ink

I came across the following information as the pinned comment on Liane Likes‘ video Part 1: My Fountain Pen Journey, Conversation with seemownay. The comment was posted by Iron Mic; unfortunately, I don’t have any further information about them. I copied and pasted the information directly from the comment, but I added a couple of paragraph breaks to make it easier to read.

I’ll give you a tip. I tell this to every newbie, and I have written as a comment so many times, I wish I could get paid for it. You mentioned inking a pen with a reliable ink. To get to know a nib or pen, I would suggest using the same ink and running it through every pen. This way you can get to know the nib with one constant, that being the ink, and you can compare how each nib writes vs other nibs within the same brand or across nib sizes. I like to use Waterman Serenity Blue.

First, it’s quite famous in the fountain pen community as a great testing ink. If you ever have a problem use Serenity Blue, because it is said that if you’re using Serenity Blue, the problem is with the nib not the ink.

Second, it’s not too wet nor too dry, so you really get an idea of how wet/dry a nib is.

Third, it has both shading and sheening characteristics, so you’ll be able to see if the nib will do either. For example, I have a Bock EF that is on the dry side. Very smooth, but dry. I have a Pelikan EF, that writes like an EF, but interestingly shows some shading, but shows sheen, which is quite unusual for an EF nib. Another example; I have a Conklin 1.1 stub which shows good shading, but no sheen, while a TWSBI 1.1 stub is so saturated that it creates a halo effect.

Forth, Serenity Blue cleans out very well, and is well lubricated.

Fifth, everyone carries it. You can even get the cartridges at Staples, but the bottle is better, and is cheap, so it makes for a perfect ink to use a lot. It is part of my tool kit.

I call it an ink’s ink, and when I get a new pen, I always do the following:

  1. Flush it out with a drop of dish soap and water, then rinse it out.
  2. Check the nib under a loupe to make sure the tines and feed are okay
  3. Dry write to check for smoothness and any scratchiness.
  4. Dip test the nib with Serenity Blue. If everything checks out, now I will keep the pen, because once you fill it, you keep it.
  5. Run Serenity Blue through and conduct my own 11 point test.

And, depending on the nib, it dispels the ‘boring blue’ stigma. If it’s a dry nib, the blue will look washed out. If it’s a wet nib, the blue is rich, vibrant and amazing. Hope this helps.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you find this information useful. Remember, I didn’t write this, I’m just sharing it with you.

Do you do anything like this? Do you have any related suggestions? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you.

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