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June 24, 2011 - Posted by Elizabeth to Fountain Pens

We have an updated version of this article. To read it, please click here.

Though ink cartridges are a convenient and easy way to refill your fountain pen, using a converter opens the door to a whole new world of color. There are hundreds of bottled ink colors that are not available in cartridges. This tutorial shows you how to refill your fountain pen using a fountain pen converter.



What you need: A fountain pen, converter and a bottle of ink.
(For our example, we used a Lamy Fountain Pen - Safari Model - Fine Nib - Aquamarine Blue Body, Lamy Fountain Pen Z 24 Converter and the J. Herbin Scented Fountain Pen Ink - 30 ml Bottle - Violet Purple.)

A fountain pen converter is essentially a suction tool that allows you to fill your fountain pen with ink. It has the same size opening as an ink cartridge and plugs into your fountain pen nib. There are different size fountain pen converters available that usually are only compatible for their corresponding fountain pen brands or models, so be sure to pick one that fits your pen. This LAMY piston-style converter has a knob on the top. Just turn the knob counterclockwise to force air out of the converter, and turn it clockwise to suck in ink.

How To: First, disassemble your fountain pen. You can install the converter in the same manner as a new ink cartridge, by pressing the open end into the inner nib area.


Push out all the air of the piston converter by turning it counterclockwise.



Submerge the nib and a portion of the section of the fountain pen into the bottle of ink and SLOWLY turn the converter clockwise to suction up ink.





Next, you will want to hold the pen with the nib facing upwards and SLOWLY turn the converter knob counterclockwise to force air out of the converter. By doing so you will force air bubbles out of the converter and maximize the amount of ink drawn into the fountain pen. (It is a good idea to use a tissue for this step and cover the nib, to catch any ink drops.)


Submerge the entire nib area and a portion of the fountain pen into the ink bottle once more, and SLOWLY turn the converter clockwise again to fill it with more ink.

This time around, you should not see much empty air space, if any at all.

Reassemble your fountain pen with the converter inside. Briefly and gently wrap the nib and pen section with an unscented tissue or soft paper towel to wipe off residual ink. Also, wipe off any ink creeping from the nib.


Now you're all set to go! You should be able to write until the ink is depleted and then refill your fountain pen again.


A few tips for this project:

- If you are worried about getting ink on your hands, you might want to use some rubber or latex gloves during this process. (If you look closely at the photo above, you will see a little purple stain on my index finger. Oops!)

- We advise to do this over a non-porous, easy to clean surface. It may also be a good idea to put down some scratch paper to catch any ink spills and prevent your surface from staining.

- Always clean your fountain pen and converter thoroughly before using a different bottled ink. Not only do you want to avoid contaminating any of the bottled inks you have, but a thorough cleaning will help keep the ink writing in the proper color when you switch inks.


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