Fountain Pen Newbie Questions

I'm thinking of buying some ink (that didn't take long!) for my new fountain pens and I have a few questions:
1. Has anyone used Levenger ink? I like the "Slightly wild" ink collection and am thinking of ordering that.
2. How messy/complicated is it to change inks? My pens (a Lamy Safari and a Pilot Knight) came with cartridges, but I also ordered the converters. As I have two pens, I can load two different colors, but knowing me I'll want to change fairly often.
3. Can anyone recommend a good, inexpensive pen ($20-50) that takes standard cartridges? There are some nice cartridge collections available, especially from Private Reserve, but my pens don't take them.
4. Can you change colors with cartridges before the cartridge is empty?
5. Is there any hope for me, now that I'm hooked on fountain pens?



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I can't help you...

... but I know who can! can answer all your questions about fountain pens!

Don't do it !!

I have never used Levenger ink but would recommend Noodlers. It is very good.

Once the pen is empty just wash it out with clean tap water and dry thoroughly on kitchen towel (paper). Once dry, dip the nib in the ink and turn the convertor to suck ink into the pen. Wipe of any residue with another piece of kitchen towel. Cap the ink and put the pen back together. It's really important to clean the pen between inks if you are changing colours, but not vital if you are using the same colours.

Parker sell the Profile in the UK. I think that it might be the IM in other parts of the world. It looks better than the Lamy Safari. People have mistaken it for a good quality pen at first glimpse! They are very reliable, but so are the Lamys. I don't know what a standard cartridge is. I always get a convertor.

You can change cartridges before they are empty, but t is a waste of ink and you will get mixed inks and odd colours until you get the full flow through of the new ink.

A year ago I had a Cross fountain pen. I have now got a few more .... erm... ... 17 more - oops. There are still more that I would like so I would say stick to the 2 you have!

Andy Hayes

FP questions


Welcome to the addiction... uh, club. ;)

I second JediGamer's recommendation of They are a very helpful bunch and very very knowledgeable.

My answers to your questions are:

1. I have Levenger's Amethyst and think it's a beautiful purple. It's been a long time since I've used it (too many newer inks!) but I recall liking it just fine. From posts on FPN, some say they've found the Cobalt takes a tad long to dry, but I haven't used it myself so can't verify that. There are a LOT of inks out there - just remember to only use ones that are for fountain pens. (For instance, Calligraphy Inks are usually NOT fountain pen safe, though a few may use them sometimes. Those inks tend to have lacquer in them which can really mess up your pens.)

Noodler's is my favorite ink supplier. Gorgeous gorgeous colors and many are waterproof. If you're concerned about losing your words to a spilled cup of tea or something, then the waterproof inks are a perfect choice. Private Reserve has some stunning colors, too, so if waterproofness isn't an issue, enjoy those as well. (Note that not all Noodler's inks are waterproof.)

2. Not too messy, but remember to do it over a sink. Even when it looks like there's no ink in the pen, there usually is. Once rinsed with water (don't use hot water and don't use any heavy detergents, etc.) and let dry, just do what andyhayes said about loading your converter (yes, you load it through the pen, not by itself, though it won't hurt if you do fill it alone. If you do that, though, it will take time for the ink to trickle down into the nib).

3. I'm sure there are some, but I don't know of any off-hand, sorry. Some Chinese pens do, I think, and they don't usually cost very much. For a list of those that do, go over to Pendemonium's site, click on "ink and refills" and at the top is a box that starts out "Standard short international cartridges", in the second sentence is a link to a list of pens brands that use them. (Sorry, but Pendemonium's site doesn't have direct URLs for me to give you.)

4. What andyhayes said - you can, but it wastes ink. In other words, you can't save leftover ink in a cartridge (at least not easily, though I've heard of someone trying that Press 'n' Seal stuff, but it sounds like a mess in the making to me). If you have a small syringe of some sort, you can add ink to an empty cartridge and reuse it. Rinse it out and let it dry first if you're changing colors.

5. Nope. :D (And just wait til you find the perfect match of pen, ink, and paper - you'll end up writing just for the sake of how wonderful it is!)

Enjoy yourself. Don't worry about all the fancy pens out there, just have fun with what you have.

(Btw, I have 59 fountain pens at last count and six of them are Lamys (Safaris, Vistas, and Al-Stars - all the same body style but different materials). Sorry for the long post, but you can tell I do love my fountain pens!)

FP newbie

Hi, I had an answer all typed out this afternoon and the online connection went kaplooey! Grrrr!
Anyway, you've gotten some good answers.

I've never tried Levenger Ink, so I'll leave that alone.

Changing inks is a simple, not very messy process once you get the hang of it. But there are always times a spill, hopefully a small one, will occur. ;o)

Don''t throw out the carts that came with the pens you have. They can be rinsed and refilled with a syringe. I got a sryinge for a quarter at our Pharmacy. Remember to ask for their most blunt tip.

There s no going back now that you're hooked on fountain pens!!!

Dear Nanette, Sounds like

Dear Nanette,

Sounds like you've gotten some excellent advice already. Here's some good general information about inks., there's a link to Glenn's Inks of Choice, which is very informative.

I use Waterman's Florida Blue in most of my pens, which are mainly vintage pens. I also like Private Reserve's American Blue, and I used to use Aurora Blue. You can tell that dark, rich blue was my favorite color.

Most European pens will take the "short international cartridge." These are available from Pelikan, Waterman, Private Reserve, etc. Some Waterman pens will only take the long international cartridge, like the Phileas. Japanese pens tend to have unique cartridges, like Namiki, Sailor, and Platinum. has a large selection of inks, including a special Swisher waterproof ink made by Noodler's. Noodler's is the only company I know of making a variety of waterproof fountain pen inks.

Private Reserve and Noodler's has an especially large selection of colors. has an ink chart you can view or print out.

Have fun. One of the great things about fountain pens is the tremendous variety of inks you can use in them. Use the ink that fits your mood!


Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
B. Banzai

Just wanted to say that,

Just wanted to say that, from following your posts about fountain pens, I went out and bought a couple Pilot Varsity fountain pens. I am quite liking them...probably too much. I'm already researching which more expensive pen I want to buy. Frightening how quickly addicition is setting in.

Where, please ?

Where did you find them ?
I've checked my local Staples and Office Depot and did not find them.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

local store

I found mine at a local independent art store. My girlfriend tells me that she has seen them at Borders though. Might be worth calling them to see if they have any.


I did not think of Border's, but they have a lot of writing instruments and such.

I'll try them tonight.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


I can throw ya some links to online retailers if you need 'em... just let me know :)

my artwork | my blog

Free shipping ?

Only if they offer free shipping.
I refuse to pay $8 shipping on a $2 pen :P

I'll keep trying local retailers for now.
Thanks for the offer.

You're sweet, despite being a bit klinko :)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

hehe klinko r us

are you lucky enough to have a DickBlick near you? link appears they have a whole set :)

$5.00 shipping: HERE

Can't really say what yours would be ... but mine would be like $5 bucks for a dozen: HERE

or you could always look at EBAY: HERE

my artwork | my blog

OK, but...

they charge $8 shipping (and $17 for the pens)

I found it here for $16 + 4.25 shipping

I still wanna see if I can find one local. Thanks. I know you are thinking of me.

Am I lucky enough to have a WHAT ?
Sara, you deliver some of the greatest straight lines I have ever seen. Pity I cannot respond to them as I'd like. I could have such fun with that one. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaa !
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


LoL you crack me up. Too bad DickBlick wouldn't be laughin as hard ;P

my artwork | my blog

With a name like that...

... a sense of humor is a must.

Like Tim Allen. Did you know his full name is Tim Alan Dick ?

Okay—I'm a Dick. Yes. I am a Dick. My closest friends know I’m a Dick. In fact, my brothers are Dicks, my cousins are Dicks, and my sister—before she was married—a Dick. My dad? One incredible Dick, and the Dick responsible for me being a Dick. Timothy Alan Dick. Some of us are just born lucky."

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


I've used all the Levenger's inks, enjoyed them, and had no problem with them. As many people have mentioned, Noodler's and Private Reserve are nice, too.

On ebay you can often find inexpensive fountain pens, as well as cartridges in bulk. Also Pelikan makes some fountain pens for under $20.00 (pelikano and pelikano junior) for those who want to try out using a fountain pen without investing a lot. I've also heard good things about 2 inexpensive Japanese pens: Ohto fine and the Ohto Tasche, but I'm not sure which cartridges they take. As near as I can tell, they're distributed by one on-line company here in the states. Just search for the names, and they'll pop up.

(I try not to count how many fountain pens I have. But if given the choice, that's all I use! But I don't pay a lot for mine because then I'd have to worry about losing them.)



Fountain Pens Are Nice

I have a Waterman, and I like it. I have only changed cartridges, but someday plan on using my converter. I'm a bit of a klutz, so I'm in no hurry to try. I hope you have fun with your pens.


I am a klutz too, but I

I am a klutz too, but I absolutely love my converter. Very easy to use!