Below I'll list the products you'll need for maintaining your pens. You really don't need hundreds of tools to maintain your pens, but it's really nice to have a couple of items in stock for simple maintenance jobs. I've used all of these items myself and can recommend them wholly.
The three things I recommend that everyone gets for maintaining their fountain pens are:
- Bulb syringe (check price on Amazon) - makes cleaning your pens a lot easier.
- Syringes (check on Amazon) - for filling eyedropper pens or ink cartridges.
- Jewelers loupe (check most popular on Amazon) - for inspecting your nib tine alignment and adjustments.
Below I'll go over specific tools and supplies for cleaning your pen, converting it to an eyedropper, and adjusting and maintaining your nibs.
Pen flushing and cleaning
If you want to buy a simple one-and-done cleaning kit, I recommend the pen cleaning kit by Koh-I-Noor (check price on Amazon). It comes with their famous pen flush and a good bulb syringe.
On a budget
If you're on a budget, you can be done for under $10 by creating your own pen flush and buying universal bulb syringes.
- Bulb syringe (check price on Amazon) - for flushing out pens quickly. This was a tip from Brian Goulet and really helps to ease your pen maintenance. No more endless twisting! Tip: simply cut off the snout of the bulb to fit your pen sections sizes.
- Koh-I-Noor Rapido Eze Pen Cleaner (check on Amazon) - the most well-known pen cleaner. It has been around for decades and will reliably remove any ink without damaging your pen, and will flush out with just 2-3 flushes. Alternatively, you could also use your homemade $2 pen flush, which is also good and a lot cheaper.
Nib adjustment and maintenance
- Micro-Mesh sheets (check price on Amazon) - for polishing and grinding nibs. Use the 3200 grit and above.
- Jewelers loupe (check most popular on Amazon) - for inspecting tine alignment and adjustments.
- Diamond stone (check price on Amazon) - for grinding new nibs, like italics, I really like this DC3 diamond/ceramic whetstone. It's a great size for nibs, pocket knives, and small kitchen knives too. It's incredibly durable and easy to use, and you use it dry. Takes up absolutely no space - really a great find. The ceramic side is 15 micron or 1200 grit, the diamond side is 25 micron or 700 grit - which makes it great for quickly grinding a new edge to any material.
- Safety razors (check on Amazon) - for widening or deepening the air channel or ink channel of your (ebonite) feed.
Creating italic and stub nibs
- Side cutter (check on Amazon) - for clipping nibs to create a stub nib. Make sure to smooth down the nibs' edge on the DC3 and micro-mesh afterward.
- Silicone grease (check price on Amazon) - for sealing thread connections and prevent your pen from leaking. Make sure to get plumbers silicone, which is clear and safe for pens (non-acidic).
- O-rings (check price on Amazon) - for sealing thread connections between body and section. This assortment contains a lot of smaller sizes which will cover most fountain pen diameters.
- Syringes (check on Amazon) - for filling eyedropper pens or ink cartridges. I really like these because they can be used one-handed and you can use the needles on some fountain pen converters as well.
- Eyedropper (check most popular on Amazon) - for filling eyedropper pens or ink cartridges. These are easy to clean since the rubber back comes off.
Random handy products
Universal cleaning products that are good to have lying around (all links go to Amazon):
- Q-Tips (check on Amazon)
- Paper towels or an old cloth for wiping ink
- I have a large glass jar or vase in my office to collect dirty flush water. This way, I won't have to walk to the sink during large cleaning sessions.