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I recently purchased a Waterman Phileas fountain pen. I was always curious about fountain pens and thought this would be a good introduction to them. I don't know if pen collecting is in the future but I am enjoying it so far.

Now I have a couple of questions such as maintenance and care. I am sure there are forum members that may know a thing or two about this and would like some insight. I have checked out the fountainpennetwork.com site and find it very informative but still I want to know as much as possible.

Another question is stationary. I have noticed that depending on the texture and thickness of the paper the ink reacts differently. As I was enjoying my pen at the office today I went about and tested the pen on different grades of paper and saw the ink bled allot in the paper or bled very little. So I was wondering what are some of your recommendations for stationary that are fountain pen friendly.

Thank you in advance.
 

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Another question is stationary. I have noticed that depending on the texture and thickness of the paper the ink reacts differently. As I was enjoying my pen at the office today I went about and tested the pen on different grades of paper and saw the ink bled allot in the paper or bled very little. So I was wondering what are some of your recommendations for stationary that are fountain pen friendly.

Thank you in advance.
Get in touch with the New York chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers. They will be able to advise you on where and with whom you can study paper making. Trust me, there is no substitute for thank you notes written on paper you have made yourself which contains your own water mark. It is not as difficult as it may seem. You can also learn to make your own inks, but they will probably not work well in commercial fountain pens...something about the ox gall and the ebonite...but you can attain virtually any color you can imagine. Writing with a steel nib crow-quill pen isn't so very hard to learn and can be quite stunning.

Buzz
 

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Just a random tip:
The little baby-snot bulbs are a great thing for fountain pen maintenance. You use it to blow air through the nib in the direction the ink flows. I had a pen that was clogged once and stopped by Artlite in Atlanta and that was how they fixed it. I bought one that week.
 

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An important point to maintenance is to prevent ink from sludging things up. If you use the pen often, every month or so rinse it out with tap water until you get almost clear water coming out (draw the water in just like you're loading it with ink, then expel it - repeat a few times). If you use it sporadically, rinse all of the ink out before storing it and leave it empty.
For paper, I think 100% cotton is considered best. Generally any of the better quality stationery papers will work fine. Crane is a good name.
 

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Another question is stationary. I have noticed that depending on the texture and thickness of the paper the ink reacts differently. As I was enjoying my pen at the office today I went about and tested the pen on different grades of paper and saw the ink bled allot in the paper or bled very little. So I was wondering what are some of your recommendations for stationary that are fountain pen friendly.
First, a small gripe - "stationary" means it doesn't move. "Stationery" is what one gets from a stationer.

(The Saks Fifth Avenue in Atlanta used to have a stationery department, with an elegant sign spelled "Stationary." Unfortunately, it moved. ;))

I prefer 100% cotton paper. Crane is made in the United States and has been since 1801. They make novelty paper out of unbleached cotton denim, which is a pale blue, and from old U.S. Currency (which they also make the paper for), which is pale green.

Cotton paper should absorb the ink cleanly; if it splotches, it could be that you're writing too slow, or the paper is too rough. A blotter is useful as well, particularly if you're left-handed like I am and you drag your hand across what you've just written.
 

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Congratulations on your FP purchase. The Phileas is a great fountain pen. It writes well and is fairly robust. It will give you a good idea of whether or not you like FPs. If you do, the sky's the limit, as far as it goes.

As far as maintenance goes, the main thing is to rinse out the nib and section (the part that the cartridge or converter plugs into) every few times you fill your pen. If you use cartridges, remove the cartridge and run water through the nib and section until clear. If you use the converter, you can draw water into and out of the nib and into the converter until clear. If you don't plan on using it for a few weeks, it should be cleaned and stored empty.

Stationery is a matter of personal preference. The smoothness of the paper will have an effect on how fine or thick your line is, whether it bleeds and how long the ink takes to dry. All these things are a matter of personal preference. My suggestion is to experiment and see what you like. Using a converter with your pen is fun too, because it allows you to try different inks. Inks can really vary in their saturation, bleeding times and drying characteristics.

The Fountain Pen Network is an excellent resource. Good luck and enjoy. If you have any specific questions, feel free to e-mail or PM me offline.

Joel
 
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