Ballpoint pens use viscous, oil-based inks. They’re made by dissolving dyes in a mixture of alcohols and fatty acids. Alcohols promote smooth ink flow, while fatty acids lubricate the tip of the pen. Because the ink is so thick, ballpoints work well on low-quality papers with little to no bleedthrough. However, they do require more pressure to write. This can be tiring over long periods of time, but some find these pens easier to control. Ballpoint inks are usually smudge resistant, quick drying, and waterproof.
Some ballpoints use hybrid or low-viscosity ink. This refers to an ink formulation that is enhanced with lubricants, making the ball at the tip rotate smoothly. They combine the best of the gel and ballpoint pen worlds. Hybrid ballpoints have the smooth flow and vibrance of a gel pen and the quick-drying ability and waterproofness of a ballpoint.
General note-taking, color-coded writing
A gel pens ink consists of pigment suspended in a water-based gel. This particular formulation makes gel pens precise and vibrant. Very few other pens come in tip sizes as small as 0.28 mm--or as many colors. The smooth ink flow makes it much easier to write for long periods of time with less pressure, so you won’t get hand cramps as easily. However, gel pens tend to skip more than ballpoints or rollerballs. This is because their tips are not as evenly coated with the thinner, water-based ink. Gel pens also have longer dry times, so they can smudge if you’re not careful.
Prevents heavy writing, alleviate hand cramps
A rollerball pen uses liquid ink consisting of dyes dissolved in water--similar to what’s commonly used with fountain pens. The ink flows freely in comparison to ballpoint and gel pens, so a rollerball requires less pressure to write. This helps to reduce hand strain and keeps you comfortable for long missives or note-taking sessions. However, using a liquid ink does mean that paper choice is important, as it will bleed through lower-quality papers. Rollerball pens often have more feedback (a tactile sensation where you “feel” the paper through the pen’s tip) due to the thinness of the ink. For those who prefer the smooth writing experience of other pens, broader tips and wetter writers deliver a more lubricated feel.
Arguably the most elegant and defining writing instrument.
A fountain pen is a nib pen that contains an internal reservoir of liquid ink. The pen draws ink from the reservoir through a feed to the nib and deposits it on paper via a combination of gravity and capillary action.
Although the most common nibs end in a round point of various sizes (extra fine, fine, medium, broad), various other nib shapes are available. Examples of this are:
Reservoir or Filling Systems
The reservoir is the cavity inside the fountain pen that holds the ink. Here are the most common reservoir or filling systems you’ll find in our fountain pens.
This is the most common type of reservoir in fountain pens today. A cartridge is a small, sealed disposable plastic tube that holds the fountain pen ink. When a cartridge runs out of ink, you simply remove the old cartridge and put in a new one. The main benefit of cartridge reservoirs is the convenience.
If you don’t like the idea of having to buy new cartridges every time you run out of ink, consider buying a cartridge converter for your fountain pen. A cartridge converter looks pretty much like a cartridge and can fit most cartridge pens, but it has a filling mechanism that allows you to refill it with ink whenever you run out.
Caring for your fountain pen
Keep the cap on when the pen is not in use.
This prevents the ink on your nib from drying up and protects the nib from damage. If you do happen to leave your pen uncapped and find that the ink has dried up, you’ll need to remove the dried ink that’s blocking the flow. Soaking the nib with water can often do the trick. If that doesn’t work, consider doing a complete flush of your pen — repeatedly filling it and emptying it with cool water.
Don’t let others borrow your pen.
As you use your pen, the nib will adapt to your writing style. If you let someone else borrow it for extended periods and apply their own style to it, the nib can be altered, and it will take a while before it feels like it did before. If they just need to sign something, let them borrow it; it’s a nice gesture otherwise, lend them a ballpoint or roller ball pen you carry with you for just such an occasion.
Give your pen a regular flush
It’s recommended that you give your fountain pen a flush once a month. It ensures proper ink flow by removing any build-up in the nib or feed.
In addition to flushing, you might consider soaking your nib in a cup of cool water overnight to remove any stubborn ink build-up.