Desiderata Flex Pen User Manual
Purpose. I designed this pen to be a writing instrument:
- Capable of giving outstanding flex performance
- Adaptable to a wide range of writing styles. (This pen was designed to accommodate the majority of flex pen users, who do primarily writing (94%), not drawing (6%). Artists have used this pen to great success, but it sometimes required experimentation and practice to find the best combination of ink choice and drawing speed to suit their personal styles.)
- Cheaper than vintage pens or other modern flex pen incarnations of comparable performance
- That works. Every time.
What you can expect/Things you need to know
- This is not a typical, modern fountain pen. It is a writing instrument capable of holding flexible, steel dip nibs as well as stainless, firm nibs.
- You'll have to clean your steel flex nibs before using them for the first time. This is a video which can help. You'll also want to clean or flush your pen as well.
- These pens were meant to work with no user modification. They can’t support modification. Please don’t modify them! Speaking as the person who designed these pens, here is my worst-case scenario: A user ignores my instruction, opens the box, fills the pen, pushes it too fast, too hard, too soon, and gets unsatisfactory results, then they scream “LIES! I’d better–put it through the paces that I would a xxxxxxx’s pen”, and then he/she spends hours doing all kinds of fancy adjustments and modifications, cutting this, shaving that and putting the pen into every other conceivable configuration EXCEPT the one in which the pen arrived, and get nowhere. Then I get an exasperated email (or a bad review) where they’re ready to give up on the pen, and I [have to] ask: “Did you follow the directions?”
- While this pen uses fountain pen ink only, and will theoretically accept any fountain pen ink, every fountain pen ink will not give identical performance. Assuming good pen hygiene, it is a fact that some inks will allow more flex without railroading than others. For a few notes on customer usage, please see the FAQ.
- An unclean nib, especially between the tines and on the underside is the number one cause of poor flow and railroading. A different ink and a clean nib go a long way.
- The internal parts of these pens are necessarily machined to very close tolerances. Be careful with your adjustments. 1/32” matters.
- When at rest, the nib tines need to touch at the tip for proper flow. Click here for pictures of any unfamiliar part names.
- Silicone Grease is often used to seal joints and I refer to it throughout the course of this document. You want to get silicone grease for sealing, not silicone "grease" designed for lubrication. It should look thick, like petroleum jelly, not viscous like honey or syrup. That stuff won't form a good seal. It'll flow out slowly, and cause results that will drive you mad.
Tuning. This is not a typical, modern fountain pen. It is a writing instrument capable of holding flexible, steel dip nibs as well as stainless, firm nibs. Again, ink choice matters. Having good paper matters. Think of this pen like a musical instrument–you have to work with the instrument for best results. Every piece of music won’t sound good on every piano with every pianist.
Once you get it, or when its time to be serviced, you need to learn how to tune it for optimum performance; To fulfill its purpose, it needs to be cleaned/tuned on a regular schedule dictated by its use and level of daily care. More information on that subject is in the manual under the section: Getting the maximum life out of your non-stainless steel flex nib.
Handling. Being a pen capable of flexing, and flexing easily, ink demands on the nib can be high, and to accommodate them, this pen was designed with a hand-cut feed capable of delivering enough ink to keep the pen from running dry or “railroading”. Thus, this is a “wet fountain pen”, as opposed to a dry one. Though all fountain pens are “controlled leaks”–utensils whereby capillary action draws ink from a reservoir to a writing substrate in a constant manner–some pens allow more ink to be drawn from the reservoir than others, and though not usually a problem, a wet pen is, de facto, more apt to leak ink than a dry one. This pen is not fragile, but it’s also not like a ballpoint pen that one can abuse with impunity. This pen needs a lot of ink, so if you shake or jostle it, ink may come out the nib's vent hole. When I carry one around with me I try to keep the nib (point) up, and I keep it capped. When it’s on my desk and being unused, I cap it so if it falls off, I won’t damage the nib or make a mess.
Use good sense with a pen like this. I love a good flex pen, but when I’m working in my workshop, I don’t need flex. Board room? Sure. Busy restaurant kitchen? Probably not. Job interview? Maybe. Taking boring lecture notes? Probably.
General Quick Start Guide
(More detail on any of the points covered in this section can be found below in the Table of Contents.)
- Steel flex nib users: On first use, see the user manual if necessary, take the pen apart and clean it with soap and water, and if you have one, a used toothbrush to thoroughly clean out the feed. (The feed is the cylindrical part that goes behind the metal nib and holds it into the grip section of the pen.)
- Steel flex nib users: Clean the nib as per the directions further down in the User Manual, or as described in the Quick Start video. For more detailed assistance, please refer to this manual.
- Steel flex nib users: In your fingers, position the nib and feed so that the ink channel is directly underneath the nib vent hole, and the feed’s curvature approximately matches the nib curvature.
- Steel flex nib users: Insert the nib/feed apparatus into the pen until snug, or about 31/32” of nib point is protruding past the lip of the grip section/nib unit. See the Desiderata Pen Company Pinterest page (Troubleshooting) for more pictures.
- Find filling instructions for your specific pen in the manual, and fill the pen with ink. (Non-flex users, you're ready to go!)
- Steel flex nib users: Give the pen a chance, and carefully start the pen writing for the first time! If you’ve never done this kind of thing before, feel free to follow my example in the Quick Start video.
- Steel flex nib users: When you’re finished using it, have a look at the “Getting the maximum life out of your non-stainless steel flex nib” section of the User Manual.
Table of Contents
- Cleaning and Tuning a Steel Flex Nib
- Filling Instructions
- My personal practice for a new steel flex nib
- Sac Installation
- Railroading or intermittent flow
- Pooling of ink behind the nib during normal writing
- I forgot and left the nib in there with ink in the pen, and now everything is stuck and immovable!
- When I shake the pen, ink shoots out!
- Blurting out ink when flexing
- Stuck nib?
- I have a sample vial, and I want to fill this pen with it, but there isn't enough ink in there.
- Blurting out ink often/continuously/bleeding/drooling
- I changed the nib and all hell broke loose!
- Variations on: I dropped my feed down the drain!/My dog ate my feed!/My cat destroyed my feed!
- Final Thoughts
Cleaning and Tuning a Steel Flex Nib
A clean nib is essential in getting your pen to write properly. Simply put, if there's any reason for ink to fail to get to the tip of the nib and off the paper, your pen either won't work or, more frustratingly, it will work poorly. Oil (packing and finger) is the most common problem. See this video for help.
This procedure is for people who have never cleaned a dip nib before, but if you're experienced at this, feel free to use your preferred method. I prefer this one because it entails the least risk.
You'll need: toothpaste with some abrasive (the cheap stuff, not gel toothpaste), something to scrub the nib with (a cotton-tipped applicator (Q tip) is great, a clean old toothbrush, or a melamine-based abrasive scrubbing sponge (Magic Eraser ®) would all work fine), your bottle of ink, water, a napkin or paper towel, clean cloth, tweezers or forceps (optional). Estimated time: 2-10 minutes.
Cleaning. Make sure the nib can be fitted into the pen properly with correct tine alignment (detailed in the below section). If you've got a bad nib, there's no sense wasting the time to clean it. (These instructions may seem involved, but once you've done it once, you'll see it's pretty simple.)
Hold the new nib by the tweezers or forceps (only because it's easier than using your fingers) and dip it (fully) into the bottle of ink. Remove it and have a look. Notice how the ink falls right off? How it doesn't stick? That's because of the packing protectant. Take note. Rinse it off.
Holding the nib with your fingers, take whatever you're using to scrub the nib, apply a bead of toothpaste to it and scrub the nib clean on the underside and its top to get the oil off. You should feel the tactile feedback of your buffing change after you clear the layer of wax.
Rinse it off well with your water and toothbrush, then dampen a napkin with saliva and wipe the nib clean and dry. Repeat step 2. If you've done a complete cleaning, the ink should stick to the nib. Sticking is not beading. This is shown in the video. If ink beads up on the nib, rinse it off and repeat steps 2 and 3, checking with step 1 until the ink forms a thin, uniform layer over the surface of the nib. (You'll get better with practice.)
Wet the cotton-tipped applicator (Q tip) with saliva and, holding the nib between your thumb, middle and ring fingers, bend one tine back (in the direction it would flex) so that you can see the inside edge of the tine. Rub the entire length of the tine with the Q tip until it's clean. (You should feel the feedback change.) Switch hands, repeat the process with your other hand and the other tine. After you're done, the tines may want to lay on top of one another. If they do, pop the tines back in place by gently flicking the tip with the Q tip. Using the clean cloth, wipe any cotton fibers out of the nib tines.
Scrub the nib off with water and the toothbrush (get between the tines too). Moisten with saliva once its in the pen if desired, or if necessary.
Tuning. This is where many problems of user error occur. Please read this entire section. Place the nib on the feed so that the ink channel is situated directly underneath the slit, and insert the nib/feed into the section making sure that the end of the ink channel (the rectangular groove that comes to a closed end on one end of the feed) is at or just beyond (approximately 1/32”) the tip-most end of the vent hole of the nib. You’ll need a strong light for this.
Zebra G. You have to push the nib/feed to the point of snugness. This will require something between a firm push to a very slight amount of brute force. A thick cloth or thick piece of rubber can help to protect your fingers. The tip of the nib usually protrudes from the section about 20-24.5mm or less, but if the pen was shipped to you already assembled/tested, measure or eyeball it first and use that distance for the future. If you have the nib/feed in and it bleeds from the neck (the joint between the nib/feed and the section):
Make sure the nib and feed are aligned properly.
Push the nib/feed in a little more– to the point of snugness, usually a little less than 1mm at a time–and try again.
Rub a little silicone grease around the nib/feed and reinsert. That will make it harder for ink to escape, but this is a last resort. Usually, pushing the assembly further in does the trick. If you tried adjusting the nib/feed alignment, and you have to do this because it bleeds from the neck after you fill it, and you've established that it's into the section snugly, and the protruding length is correct, put the pen down, and email me with a description of the problem and put "Felonious Monk" in the subject line. You'll get to the top of the queue.
If you’re having trouble getting the tines to close, after each adjustment, flick the tines slightly with your fingernail to ensure they’re truly at rest. Sometimes the tines can overlap slightly, or get caught up on something, and appear unable to close. Adjust the placement on the feed. If the tines don't touch, the pen won't write properly. It's possible you may have a bad nib. Replace if necessary.
Once you have the nib and feed inserted, fill the pen!
All pens require bottled ink!
1st Generation Daedalus (Sac, no breather tube)
Holding the section by the part covered with the clear ink sac with one hand, submerge the nib and the front end of the section.
Quickly, and with some force, squeeze the ink sac with the other hand, and release it, expelling air, and allowing the sac to fill with when you release it. Bubbles from the escaping air in the ink sac should bubble through the ink. Once you see that, you know you’re going to fill the pen.
Repeat the above steps as necessary, until the pen is as full as you want it to be.
Set the assembly down on something ink-safe like a disposable paper towel.
PUT THE CAP BACK ON THE BOTTLE.
Dry the leftover ink from the section/nib.
Screw the section into the barrel.
Eyedropper filling pens
Using that 100% silicone grease I mentioned at the beginning, grease the threads connecting the section to the ink reservoir. (Don't use petroleum jelly. That can melt plastic.)
Using your favorite method, pour some ink through the section back into the ink bottle so that the whole feed is saturated with ink. This will speed the time it takes for ink to get from the reservoir to the nib.
Pour some ink into the reservoir. (I use a pipet or a syringe. Actual eyedroppers are a bit slow for me, but if you have the time, that's fine.)
Screw the section onto the reservoir. Upend it over the ink bottle or a paper towel in case of momentary ink spillage. (Despite being a closed, sealed system, sometimes an air bubble gets in there and forces ink out of the pen right when you fill it.)
- Assemble the pen.
- Unscrew the section from the barrel.
- Immerse the section in ink until the nib and front end of the section are completely submerged.
- Unscrew the convertor knob (anti-clockwise) to dispel air.
- Screw the convertor knob (clockwise) to draw up ink.
- To get a complete fill, only fill the convertor part way with ink, withdraw the entire filling apparatus, and pointing it nib up, screw the convertor knob (clockwise) to pull the ink from the nib/feed area to the back of the pen, where the convertor is. It may take some practice, but you can work the ink to the back of the pen so that you can fill up the entire volume of the convertor and the section. Repeat this process until the pen is full.
Aerometric fillers (Icarus)
Holding the section by the part covered with the clear ink sac with one hand, submerge the nib and the front end of the section.
Quickly squeeze the ink sac with the other hand, kicking air out of the reservoir and releasing it. You want bubbles to fly out from the nib.
Repeat this until the reservoir fills to the desired level.
Set the assembly down on a towel.
PUT THE CAP BACK ON THE BOTTLE.
Dry the leftover ink from the section/nib.
- Screw the section into the barrel.
- Unscrew the blind cap.
Immerse the nib end of the pen in ink up to and covering the front of the section so no air can sneak into the pen's bore while you're trying to fill it.
Quickly depress (full stroke) and release the button, "kicking" air out the front end of the pen. You should see bubbles shooting out when you do this.
Repeat until no further bubbles appear.
PUT THE CAP ON THE INK BOTTLE.
Wipe off the end of the pen and replace the blind cap.
Remove the blind cap and, if necessary, the barrel to expose both the nib and filling knob.
Submerge the nib up to the section in ink.
Twist the knob counterclockwise to "wring" out the sac. Do not allow the knob to withdraw more than about 2 mm with your twisting. If you unscrew too far, you may disengage the sac from the knob.
As the sac is wrung out, the internal sac is evacuated. Twist the knob in the other direction until it reinflates, and ink will flow into the sac. You're done!
Note: In a single go, the pen will only fill about 70% of the way at best. For a complete fill, proceed as above, but only withdraw a small amount of ink (maybe 30%), upend the pen, and–this takes practice–tap it gently to force the ink to slide to the back of the pen. Then, with the pen upended, repeat the process, turning the knob and wringing out the sac until ink just barely starts to come out of the nib/feed (experience will teach you how to burst air bubbles without creating a mess, and how to distinguish between an air bubble and actual ink), submerge the nib in ink, and then twist the knob back to its home position.
To clean, you can fill and unfill with water, but for a faster cleaning, I just unscrew the section, or pull out the nib and feed, and squirt water into the reservoir until it runs clear. A long stemmed cotton swab can get all the way up in there to wipe down the inside walls of the sac should the need arise.
My personal practice for a new steel flex nib
Some of these steps probably aren't necessary, but I do them because I know they help, and when I'm doing this, I want to get the process over quickly.
Once it’s ready to be used, I wipe the tip of the nib with a clean cloth to make sure I didn’t accidentally sully it without realizing it.
Lick the tip. Saliva starts capillary action exceedingly well, and your nib NEEDS capillary action.
Ensure the paper I’m about to use is clean, and doesn’t have hand oils all over it. These are great pens, but they’re not miracle workers; oils inhibit capillary action.
Hold the pen up to a strong light and ensure there’s no gap between the tines. A gap there can cause this pen to turn into a nightmare. I try it first, and if necessary (it usually isn't) reseat the nib a hair or two in one direction or the other. (Toward the pen for more flow, away for less.)
After filling, I give it a moment to get flow started. If there aren’t any air bubbles in the way, you can actually see the ink begin to flow inside the Zebra G vent hole. Once it does, it will work. Seeing that level will also enable you to gauge how fast the ink flow is keeping up with your use, and, by getting used to the visible ink levels indicated there, and how quickly the feed delivers ink, you can avoid railroading. Test out the pen by doing some slow doodles and light flexing to get the flow going.
CHECK: Make sure it doesn’t bleed from the neck. It may flow a little wet at the beginning. That’s normal. Use a cloth to absorb any ink that may leak out. A drop or two is ok. Uncontrollable drips are not normal. Check the back of the nib for any huge pools of ink forming. As necessary, go through the steps of tuning (outlined above) if the pen doesn’t write properly yet. The key is for the pen to write properly without leaking, regardless of the nib/feed/section appearance. If you've tried tuning it again, and are still having problems, put the pen aside, send me an email with "Felonious Monk" in the subject, and I'll help you straight away.
Your pen shouldn't need to have its sac replaced for a long time, but if you think it needs it, email me, and I can do it for you for the cost of the sac and shipping, but if you want to try it yourself, this is how.
Helpful tools: ruler, scissors, a table to work on with strong light, replacement sac, silicone grease (makes the process go much smoother).
Cut ink sac to the correct length from the closed, round end. You want it to be as long as possible without bumping into the back of the barrel when the section is fully screwed in. You may have to measure the depth and length of the barrel with something long and thin.
Grease the end of the section a little (if desired) and slide the sac over the smooth end of the section. (On an Icarus, this might take a little patience.)
If you can, ensure the sac is straight on the section, and not coming off at an angle.
Getting maximum life from a steel flex nib
If you've purchased a flex pen, you probably already have an idea on how you plan to use it, so your method of maintaining it is very dependent upon what you plan to do.
If you purchased this pen for use with a disposable dip nib, such as the Zebra G, remember that these nibs are disposable, and were never designed for permanent use. For the longest possible nib life, you must remove and clean the nib after every use. You will eventually have to replace it.
The dip nibs with which my pens are compatible were chosen for their price, durability, availability, and/or their performance. They will wear out eventually. If you keep the nib in your pen continuously, without cleaning, the wear and degradation manifests itself as a loss of the finer aspects of the nib’s highest performance; scratchiness, poor flex, bad hairlines, etc.
Drain the pen of ink, rinse it out, pull the nib and feed out, and let all the parts air dry.
Best method. Maximum lifespan. Least convenient.
Simply leave the pen filled with ink, capped and set it nib up for storage.
Worst method. Shortest lifespan. Most convenient.
Upend the pen, tap it so that any ink lodged in the pen can drain away from the nib, wipe the nib dry, and let it air dry.
Slightly better than 2.
What do I do? I unscrew the section, rinse it out, use a paper towel to wick all remaining water out of the nib/feed, and store the pen capped, open barrel upright, and leave the section near it, to air dry.
- The nib lifespan is almost as good as 1, but it's still pretty inconvenient. This saves you the trouble of losing your nib/feed alignment, and getting finger oils all over the nib, however.
When I know the pen will be getting a lot of use, like at a show, I use "method" 2 or 3 and an ink I know from experience to not attack the nib too harshly. If it's my pen I use for flex writing at home, and I'm in no hurry, I use method 1.
Simply grab the nib and feed, twist and pull it out. (A piece of rubber or leather can help with grip.) If it's too hard to get that way, unscrew the section (of an empty pen) and push it out from the back end.
Handling and general care of wooden pens
- For wooden pens with glossy acrylic finishes, just wipe the wood clean if it gets dirty. No waxes or polishes are necessary. Try to avoid getting ink on the wood. It’s sealed and most ink spills aren’t a problem, but be careful; if it gets cracked, all it takes is one drop of ink in the right place and the wood is that color forever.
- If your pen has a "natural" or matte finish, from time to time wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth, apply your favorite wood wax or oil; Johnson's Paste Wax, Renaissance Wax, Jojoba Oil, orange oil, mineral oil–any of these (or equivalent) can do the job. Once the wax is dry or absorbed, buff back to the original sheen with a soft cloth. These pens are even less resistant to staining. Be aware.
- Only tighten the cap to the point of gentle snugness. Some pens don't have positive stops and ratcheting the cap down with all your might can damage it.
- Since wood was once alive, in the final product, there is sometimes evidence of its past life; worm holes, some chips, color inconsistencies, spalting, etc. are all part of the experience of having a solid (as opposed to veneered) wooden pen. This is normal.
Don't forget to see the company Pinterest page for more help and pictures.
Railroading or intermittent flow
Railroading/Intermittent flow. If your pen railroads, and it’s not because of alignment, there are a few possible reasons:
Are both tines in contact with the paper? Is the nib worn, slightly sprung or dirty? Clean it or replace it. Adjust writing angle. If the tines don’t meet at the tip when the nib is at rest, and you've tried all you can, replace the nib.
Is the nib clean between the tines, too? The tell-tale sign of a nib that isn't 100% ready is seeing the ink puddling in the vent hole, but no flow. Start slow to try to establish flow. Wipe it with some saliva on a paper towel. That’s a dirty nib problem, guaranteed.
The paper is oily, and causes the line to run out at the same general region. Get some clean paper. Try not to get your greasy mitts everywhere.
The pen is running low on ink. Refill it. Flex pens can use a lot of ink. Some inks run well right up until the moment when they run completely out, and some inks will give you some "warning trouble" when you're getting low.
If this happens when you first start using the nib, make sure:
The nib, feed and section are all spotlessly clean. Even still, take few moments to get flow established the first time. Sometimes there's a "break-in" period for a nib. It shouldn't take but a minute or two. Have a look at how I do it in the Quick Start Video around 14:45. It took a little while, but you will see that flow is a little stunted at first, then gets better.
The ink channel (or air channel in the feed) isn’t blocked, pointing in the wrong direction, or otherwise in the wrong orientation.
Are you flexing like flex is going out of style? If so, I understand your excitement, but unlike Apple, I haven’t yet succeeded in building a product with actual working magical parts yet, so there are limits. Experiment with different inks and adjust your writing style to accommodate it. This is not a fountain pen, this is a writing instrument. And like musical instruments, you have to work with the instrument for best results–every piece of music won’t sound good on every piano with every pianist.
Pooling of ink behind the nib during normal writing
If your pen starts to create a big pool of ink behind the tines that looks like its in danger of blobbing out, don’t panic, just take a clean napkin and wick away the ink behind the nib. One or more of the following could apply:
The pen is either mostly empty and there are air bubbles in the section interrupting the flow
The air behind the ink is expanding from heat. Try filling it completely full first. This pen is designed with modern materials using old technology, and this feed has a “vintage” design where the occasionally pooling ink is held to the CLEAN nib through surface tension alone. You need this generous ink flow for flexing “to the max” (approximately 3 mm) without railroading. This is normal. Scary, but normal.
You've got a super "wet" ink. Be strong, and give it a little while. Let me know what you find. Send me an email with "Felonious Monk" in the subject line and tell me what happened.
I forgot and left the nib in there with ink in the pen, and now everything is stuck and immovable!
Unscrew the section
Pull off any sacs or breather tubes from the back of the feed
Get a long, hard object that can fit into the bore (about 3/16" in diameter should do it)
Push the whole apparatus out. (This will require delicately applied brute force. Be careful. If you aren't confident doing this, don't! Email me with "Felonious Monk" in the subject line, and we can arrange for you to send it to me, and I can get it out for you. A nominal fee may be charged.)
Carefully pry the rusted nib off, throw it away and then soak the feed in some warm soapy water with a little ammonia in it for…a while.
Scrub the feed clean with a Scotch Brite® scouring pad or equivalent.
Don't do that again!
Though it can stain a different color with a strong ink, the silicone sac included with your pen will not melt or become damaged through holding any ink. I have used Noodler’s Inks including Baystate Blue, Private Reserve inks, and several fountain pen friendly iron gall inks in these sacs, and the sac was fine.
If you disassemble the pen and rinse it, once the water is 100% clear, you can be sure the remaining color in the sac is purely discoloration of the sac and not ink residue. If you just like the sac to be colorless, fill it with bleach water and wipe it down with a cotton swab, and you should be fine.
When I shake the pen, ink shoots out!
Don’t shake a fountain pen! A fountain pen is a controlled leak, and shaking–what amounts to an ink-filled container with a hole in it–is gambling at best and lunacy at worst. Play it safe, and try not to drop it or jostle it.
Blurting out ink when flexing
Are you sure it’s not burping because it’s almost empty? Top it off. Eyedropper filling pens do this more than everybody else. If you're still having trouble, email me with your problem, and I’ll see if we can’t work it out. Put “Felonious Monk” in the subject line.
- Try using a strip of thick rubber (inner tube, thick rubber band, anything you can think of) or leather to get a better grip on the nib and feed and, holding the section with your other hand, twist to get the nib/feed out.
- Or, pull off the sac/ink reservoir, and get something to get behind the feed/section to push it out–A paintbrush handle, bamboo skewer, drill blank–whatever you have that can make disassembly a “pushing” game, rather than a “pulling” one. Anything you can do to push or twist the nib/feed out is better than straight squeezing and pulling. That’s a losing battle.
I have a sample vial, and I want to fill this pen with it, but there isn’t enough ink there.
Can you unscrew the section and pour the ink into the pen directly?
You were sent a pen with a clean, new nib. If you’re using good quality, smooth paper, and the pen is set up correctly, and you’re still getting scratchiness, I need to talk with you and see how you’re using it. Most often, this is one of two types of user error:
If your pen holding position and writing style is the problem, I can ‘point’ (!) you in the right direction to improve your experience. If you hold a pen too steeply (where the pen is pointed straight at the ceiling) you're going to have splattering on your upstrokes and scratching. If you're holding it at a shallower angle, but you're applying too much pressure to the pen on the upstrokes, you're going to dig into the paper.
You went through all that trouble to clean the nib so that the ink will apply itself to the paper with no pressure at all. The weight of the pen on the paper should be more than enough to get flow on an upstroke. If you're doing all of this right, and you're still not getting flow on your upstrokes, email me with "Felonioius Monk" in the subject line and tell me what you did and what's happening. No flow on downstrokes is covered in the "Intermittent flow" section.
If you’re used to iridium tipped, gold nibs that have been tuned by a nibmeister, and you’ve never used a dip nib before, I can give you a pep talk about trying new things. Email me. This type of nib is a totally different animal than those, but I can assure you, once you get used to what you can do with steel flex nibs, it may be hard to go back.
Now, if you've contacted me and we've determined it's not user error, I may have to send you a new nib. Let's talk.
Blurting out ink often/continuously/bleeding/drooling
This is where ink is slowly pouring itself out of the pen. Not normal.
If you’re having trouble with your pen blurting out a drop or so of ink a lot/often, make sure the pen is full, the nib tines are touching at the tip when the pen is at rest and check again. (If the tines are spread when the nib is at rest, you might get drooling. You may have a "sprung" nib, and if so, that's a candidate for replacement.) Are you shaking this pen? Are you temperature cycling an eyedropper-filled pen?
If it doesn’t blurt ink from the outset (in the first 2 minutes or so), once it’s full, it shouldn’t blurt while in use. If it does, send me an email with subject: “Felonious Monk”.
If it does bleed ink early on, make sure the joint is snug (and hard to remove by accident) but if the nib/feed won’t go any further into the section with reasonable force, and the pen is filled, and the nib is good, and it still won’t stop bleeding ink, and all other issues have been addressed, you may have a defective feed or section. Send me an email with subject: “Felonious Monk”. I can't remember the last time this happened, but anything is possible.
I changed the nib and all hell broke loose!
If you've been doing fine, and suddenly when you changed the nib this time, the pen doesn't want to cooperate, and you haven't changed anything else, the problem probably lies with your nib. Inspect it. You're going to get good at discerning a nib that can work versus a nib that can't.
Most likely you've done everything exactly as you have before, same filling regimen, same nib cleaning/preparation, same inks, but if only now the issue appears, you can pretty well isolate it to the change.
Nib tines not aligned well. (Either grab the nib and bend them back into place, or get a different nib.)
Maybe it got coated twice at the factory, and there's more anti-rust coating than before or more than you're used to on that particular nib. (Test it by dipping it in ink to ensure adhesion, and if necessary, clean it again or between the tines with a cotton swab.)
If that doesn't work out, let me know via email with "Felonius Monk" in the subject heading.
Variations on: I dropped my feed down the drain!/My dog ate my feed!/My cat destroyed my feed!
I'm really sorry to hear that, but you are out of luck. I can't sell you a spare feed. If you insist, you can send me an email, but I'll probably send you back a form letter giving you a big, long speech about cost vs. value. The short story: It's better for both of us if you just buy a new pen. Again, if you want to know why, email me, and I'll send you the requisite form letter.
All that matters is that the pen works, not how the parts look when they’re seated together. If you have it set up so that the flow is how you like it, and it runs smoothly, but to your eyes, the tines look wonky, or the feed looks awkward, or the nib/feed aren’t as far and snug into the section as you think they should be, that doesn’t matter. The key is to test it out and tune the apparatus so that it works smoothly for you. Then, have fun. And after you've gotten used to the pen, please fill out my User Feedback Survey so I can continue to improve and bring you better products.
If you have problems that aren't covered here, have a look at the Desiderata Pen Company media outlets on the bottom of the "About" page, including the YouTube channel, or email me.
I want you to enjoy using your pen. If you're not:
- Tell me what happened.
- Let me know what you want.
- Watch me turn it around.