We’re often asked how to use a pen and ensure it’s in top condition, but what about how to keep it at its best when not in use? Read on to find our top tips on pen storage.
When stored for any length of time, gravity takes hold of the ink in your pen and pulls it around. This can cause all manner of issues.
If you store your pen tip down, you’re opening yourself up to leakages. With a fountain pen this can also cause nib blockages when ink dries in the nib and feed.
If you store your pen tip up, the tip can dry because the ink has been pulled down away from it. This can cause issues when you try to start writing again as there won’t be a ready supply of ink.
We recommend storing your pen flat on a desk or table where possible. This helps alleviate both issues mentioned above. If you do need to slip your pen in your pocket or bag to take with you, try and store it tip up. Better a dry pen than ink everywhere.
When you’re taking your pen out with you, keep it in a case or pouch to protect it from scratches. You’ll have a pen that’ll look like new for much longer this way.
It can be tempting to carry a pen in your pocket or bag for ease, but really you should use a pocket or bag protector if you’re doing this. No pen is 100% leak proof and accidents can happen, especially if you’ve been in a hurry and have not capped your pen properly.
It’s always best to secure your pen in a small compartment or pocket if you’re putting it into a larger bag; even if you’ve put it in a protective case. Having your pen loose in a large pocket opens it to be knocked about and potentially breaking smaller fragile parts.
Writing a journal of your travels is a great way to capture the experience, but make sure you prep your pen beforehand, as travel can play havoc with the ink.
The lower air pressure at high altitudes equalises with the higher pressure air inside the pen, forcing the ink out. This is why fountain pens are so prone to leaking when on planes. We always recommend removing any ink from your fountain pen before flying. Insert a new cartridge when you land.
If you’d like to write whilst in the air, putting a new ink cartridge in or fully refilling your converter before you fly (so there’s no air; only ink inside) can help prevent leaks.
Temperature, like many other things, has a marked effect on pens; especially those with a water based ink like fountains and rollerballs.
Cold weather can cause freezing of the ink, which expands, and then cracks the pen itself. This can lead to usage issues down the line or leakage when the pen heats up again. Low temperatures can also cause separation of some fountain pen inks; creating blockages from solid particles getting into your nib and feed.
Very hot temperatures generally make your ink flow greater, causing the nib to seem like its leaking or very wet when writing. If you like a drier nib this can be very frustrating. It will also mean you use ink a lot faster than usual.
Pen Heaven recommends keeping your pens at a comfortable room temperature if possible (around 18°C), but being able to store your pen at a constant temperature and avoiding extremes will suffice to keep your pen safe.
Got your own pen storage tips? We’d love to hear them.