A few peripheral fountain pen accessories.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our fountain pen hobby could be condensed down to a single pen, a bottle of ink and one current journal? There is an attraction to a more minimal, less wasteful lifestyle as we grow older. Perhaps it is also a subconscious desire to rediscover our ten-year old selves.

However a glance around my writing space reveals that this is not where I am at, at least not yet. Over the years of acquiring fountain pens and blogging about them, I find myself surrounded by a host of extra items, more or less related to the use and enjoyment of the pens themselves. Here is a quick A-Z of some which spring to mind.

1. Apps.

These do not take up any space, other than on my phone. I use one called Memento Database to keep a virtual card-index record of my fountain pens, with dates of purchase and price, nib details and a record of when they were inked and with what. The records can easily be sorted alphabetically by brand or in order of dates of purchase. I use ColorNote, a long-term favourite, to make lists and sort them. This could be of writing prompts, memories of something or someone sorted by key words, or just a list of points such as for this blog post. Also, a Magnifier app can be very useful to inspect pen nibs and also has a camera facility.

2. Book stand.

If you aspire to transcribing a book by fountain pen, it is useful to have a means to prop it up and hold it open. I bought one when I decided to tackle Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, inspired by Kimberly of @allthehobbies on Instagram.

3. Bulb blower.

This device was purchased originally to blow dust off camera lenses, but has since been re-purposed as a means of flushing nib sections with warm water.

4. Brass shims.

Thin sheets of brass, in various thicknesses, used to floss the tines of a nib to clean out accumulated paper fibres and dried ink. Also useful if widening tines to improve ink flow.

5. Craft knife.

The next step, when you become frustrated that the brass shim flossing is not widening the tine gap and decide that more extreme action is called for. Sometimes inserting a blade from the breather-hole end and lowering it into the tine gap and giving it a gentle wiggle, is what is needed.

6. Dremel 3000.

Ok, this is stretching it a bit, to list under fountain pen accessories. This is a rotary, power tool used for drilling, grinding, cutting, or polishing and lots more. Mine was bought in an extreme case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome with the intention of smoothing the rough end of the deliberately broken-off pocket clip on my Pilot Capless. I have not yet dared attempt it though as I will very likely damage the surrounding area of the pen body.

7. Ferrero Rocher chocolate boxes.

The square, clear plastic lidded boxes are very handy for keeping fountain pens if not in current circulation. Someone does need to eat the chocolates first.

8. Glass nib dip pens.

Excellent for sampling a number of inks in quick succession. A quick dip in water and a wipe with a tissue and it is ready for the next ink. I have two: one is an all-glass design with a long slender glass handle: the other has a plastic body and screw cap meaning it is easy to transport.

9. Grippy material.

A sheet of rubbery material, sometimes sold to help unscrew jars, but which can be useful when pulling out a friction-fit nib and feed from a section, for cleaning or maintenance.

10. Ink bottles.

Empty bottles can be useful. The tall, square Aurora bottles are good to hold the barrel of an eye-dropper pen, for filling.

11. Kitchen roll.

For drying nibs and other parts of a pen after cleaning. The absorbent paper wicks away the moisture from the nib and feed. Alternatively you may wrap the whole section in several layers of paper and give it a few deft shakes to get the water out by centrifugal force (pro tip learned from Brad of the Pen Addict). Large rolls of blue paper from hardware stores, are cheap and last for ages.

12. Loupe.

A powerful magnifier, to closely examine a nib before attempting adjustment. My favourite is an “Eschenbach Mobilux 7x28D 60” with an LED light. Lives permanently on my desk and is used frequently.

13. Magnifying glass.

I have lost count of how many I have bought now, in all shapes and sizes. The newest, called Fancii, has a huge, 130mm diameter lens in lightweight plastic, an LED light and a powerful x10 lens in the handle. It can be used to hold in one hand, while you write with the other, to observe the exquisite sensation of glistening wet ink and shading on the page. Unfortunately it suffers from pin-cushion distortion in the centre area, which makes you want to smooth-down a bulge in the paper which is not really there.

Fancii magnifying glass. 130mm diameter lens.

14. Micro-mesh craft kit.

A box of grinding pads of assorted grades, used for smoothing nibs.

15. Pen cases and pouches.

Mine range from zippered faux-leather cases holding 24 pens to leather pouches to carry one, two or three pens. I use a Waterman two-pen pouch mostly.

16. Pen cups.

I keep a couple of these, in stiff cardboard, each divided into four quadrants, on my writing desk – just for the inked fountain pens. All other writing implements have their own cups.

Pen cups for the currently inked.

17. Pen rest.

An essential desk accessory in which to place an uncapped pen so that it will not roll off the table. Mine are handmade from the blocks of black squashy sponge material that come with certain ink bottles – Pelikan Edelstein I think.

18. Pen roll.

A rolled up pen storage pouch, to hold around 6 – 10 pens. Good for pen club meet-ups.

19. Pen tray inserts.

These are moulded plastic trays, with a sort of felty surface, in which to keep pens apart when in storage (eg in a Ferrero Rocher box as above). They can be cut to size.

20. Pipette.

A handy “eye-dropper” type device to transfer ink from a bottle, directly into the barrel of an eye-dropper pen.

21. Portable photo-studio.

A white plastic foldable box with one open side, and a ring of LED lights in the top, usually powered by a USB charge pack and so can be used away from a mains power socket. Great for small product photography such as pens, at any time of day or night when you need a stable light source for photos.

22. Self-seal clear plastic envelopes.

Small clear envelopes to keep tiny bits and pieces, such as fountain pen converters, cartridge adaptors, spare nibs etc.

23. Silicone grease.

A grease to lubricate a piston, in a piston-filling pen such as a TWSBI or Lamy 2000. Purchased from a diving shop.

24. Storage chest.

A chest of drawers, as a storage solution for pens, bottles of inks and even the note-book stash. Mine is a plastic tower unit of four, deep drawers. The bottom two are ink.

25. Travelling ink well.

A means of transporting a smallish quantify of ink. Mine is a Pineider, and holds up to 10cc of ink. Useful to fill a pen on the go if you do not wish to carry a whole bottle. Visconti also make one.

26. Weighing scales.

Digital scales to weigh pens, for descriptive and comparative purposes in blog posts. Bought from a kitchen supply shop.

So it can be seen, that the pen that you bought yourself as a present, itself needs a present, and so it goes on. There are no doubt many more accessories that I have missed in this quick round up. Let me know some of your favourites in the comments!

10 thoughts on “A few peripheral fountain pen accessories.

  1. If you want an on line way of recording, I use PC -https://www.fountainpencompanion.com/dashboard – though just for my inks, past and present. I can highly recommend it.

    Oh and +1 for those with Dremel who do not want to risk even sacrificial pens 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loupes are unsung heroes. That new pen you waited so long for may not be a scratchy writer at all—the tines may simply be misaligned. And sometimes tines get misaligned for no apparent reason. Fountain pen instruction booklets should include the admonition: buy a loupe!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With great excitement it came to the moment to ink my first new pens just arrived through the post. Decided to adopt Rupert’s practice of having kitchen roll available. Was so glad there was an overflow. Just a small one.

    I also now have a pen cup. So am very grateful for your post Rupert.

    Liked by 1 person

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