Shopping Guides

by John Potito

Helpful Tips

Here are some helpful hints that we have listed in order to help you with your writing experience

Most Common Types of Pens:

Use this guide to help determine what type of pen you have or may want. Refills are not interchangeable, so if you have a ballpoint pen, you will need a ballpoint refill, and so on.

Ballpoint Pens - Most ballpoint pens are either a twist-style pen, meaning that the pen operates by twisting it open and close in order to write. Another variation is a click pen, in which there is a clicker on top of the pen that pushes up and down in order to write.

Rollerball Pens - Rollerball pens usually have a cap that stays on the pen when not in use. When you are ready to write with the pen, the cap needs to be taken off.

Fountain Pens - Fountain pens have a calligraphy-style nib that uses a wide range of filling systems and offer a wide range of inks and colors. These pens take some time to learn how to use, but once you catch on, they are addictive.

Most Common Types of Pens

Types of Ink:

Standard Ballpoint Ink - Ballpoint pen ink contains an oil-based solvent and pigment for color. The ink flows from a thin tube or canister in the pen and through a small ball in the tip of the pen when you apply pressure to the ball. Standard colors for ballpoint ink are black, blue, red, and green but are available in many other colors. Ballpoint pen ink dries almost instantly as it touches paper, but because it is oil-based, it can smear

Rollerball Ink (water-based) - Water-based ink for rollerball requires less pressure on the rollerball tip to write. Water-based ink is less viscous than oil-based ink and deeply saturates the paper, resulting in a dark color. Water-based ink comes in a variety of colors, but Black, Blue, and Red are the most common. Water-based inks dry much quicker and will not smudge

Gel Ink - (available for rollerball and ballpoint pens in most cases) - Gel pen ink contains colorful pigment suspended in a thick, water-based gel. The high viscosity of the gel supports more pigment than standard gel ink and also accommodates different types of pigments such as copper and iron oxides. Gel pen ink is thick and opaque and available in almost every color. Gel inks are usually very smooth and require little pressure to write. They are also slower to dry and can smudge if not dried.

Types of Ink

Refill Storage:

Most pen refills will last many years. They must be kept away from humidity and heat, and we suggest storing unused refills in a dry, cool place. A drawer in your bedroom is a bad place to store refills. Rollerball pen refills (water-based) will usually last 1 year and are the quickest to dry out because they are water-based, and the water will eventually evaporate.

Refill Storage

Cleaning a Fountain Pen:

There are too many ways to list on how to properly clean a fountain pen. We recommend using the care guide the manufacturers provide or utilize their website for proper cleaning. Pens should be cleaned often and most importantly, when changing ink colors or manufacturers. Improperly cleaning a fountain pen can lead to damage and voiding a warranty.