How does a Fountain Pen Nib Works

How does a Fountain Pen Nib Works

Buying your first fountain pen can be a daunting task. A fountain pen is made of many different parts which may be unfamiliar to you. Among the parts of a fountain pen, the nib is one which frequently confuses newcomers. Insufficient knowledge and understanding of what a nib is could lead to a regretful purchasing decision.

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The nib is made of several components – tines, the ink channel, the tip, and the breather hole. This article will identify and discuss the function of each of the them. The right nib that suits your writing style, combined with a good foundation of knowing how to write with a fountain pen, will motivate you to write more and get better at waging a fountain pen.


The tines are located at the bottom half of the nib. The purpose of the tines is to help convey the ink to the tip. The flow of ink can be changed by altering the space between the tines. If the tines are misaligned this can cause your writing to become scratchy, leading to an unpleasant writing experience.

Ink Channel

The ink channel, or the slit is the space created by the gap between the tines. The slit creates a path for the ink to travel down to the tip of the nib using capillary action. Capillary action occurs through the very act of writing. Ink is drawn down to the tip as you write by gravity and air is pushed into the reservoir to take the place of the ink. This air also helps the ink move towards the nib. Adjusting the width of the slit affects the rate of ink flow, a wider slit would mean a higher ink flow. This is important to keep in mind if the ink you are using is a little ‘dry.’


The tip is the part of the nib that is in contact with the paper when you are writing. It is made of a harder metal compared to the rest of the nib. This is the most important part of the nib since if the tip is damaged or inferior, this can cause poor writing performance. Make sure the tip has a smooth and even surface. Visually inspect the tip using a magnifying glass to making sure there are no protruding sharp parts that will cut the paper. You may need a professional to sand it smooth if there is.

Breather Hole

The breather hole, also called the vent hole is located above the ink channel. The breather hole conveys air back into the reservoir to replace the ink that is being consumed when the pen is being used for writing. This is an important part of the pen. If the breather hole become blocked this can cause pressure to build in the reservoir, resulting in ink shooting out from the end of the nib. The nib of the pen can be cleaned by rinsing with water until the water runs clear.

We hope we have helped and that you now have a better picture of how the nib works!

Ink and Paperie

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