Your handmade pen is just like any other quality instrument, it needs occasional cleaning and maintenance. A pen is a bit unique, it gets handled every day, tossed, tucked away, bumped around and generally used (and occasionally abused) on a regular basis. So, how do you keep your handmade pen in tip-top shape?
A pen is a natural target of abuse. The oils from our hands eat at the finishes on the pen body and hardware. Dirt and other abrasives come into constant contact with the pen, which can lightly scratch the surfaces of the pen. These fine scratches are what causes a pen to become duller over time. The dirt and oils on the pen itself causes it to become dull. Oils tend to hide fine details in the body of the pen. The good news, it isn't hard to keep your pen looking and working like new.
But, since a Handcrafted Pen is a delicate writing instrument, it should be kept out of extreme environments. Do not leave your pen in the car during the summer when it can get very hot or in the winter when it can get very cold. These temperature changes can cause the ink to dry out prematurely, cause the wood, acrylic, TruStone or other body material to expand or shrink, and potentially cause finish problems. Some woods (Pink Ivory, Ebony, Snakewood and other exotic burls) are very susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Please take care not to drop your pen as the materials can chip or break, especially TruStone pens.
Treat your pen with respect and it will last a long time.
Pens should be used, not stored away in a drawer. Enjoy your pen. Treasure your pen. But, please use your pen. This is especially true for rollerball and fountain pen whose ink will dry out over time if not used. By using your pen regularly, you will continue to enjoy years of use. Please note that fountain pens should generally not be shared with others, as the nib wears according to your personal pattern and style of writing.
If your pen is made of TruStone, Resins, or Acrylics, then to clean your pen (and remove any fine scratches) you only need to use a fine automotive or plastic polish. Rub a little on the pen, let it haze over and polish with a fine cloth. It's that simple.
If your pen is made of wood and has a natural finish, then use a good quality wood furniture paste wax. This will keep the shine looking nice and remove fine scratches as well. Treat the pen like you would a piece of furniture, as it has the same type of finish, care and handling instructions. If your wood pen has a clear topcoat (looks like the wood is under glass), the you can use a fine plastic polish, or automotive polish or Renaissance Wax to keep it in good condition.
New nibs have residual oils left behind by the manufacturing process. This can cause the ink to not flow properly.
To remove the oils, try the following:
Soak the nib/feed/front section in room temperature water (distilled water if you have hard water), with a drop of clear, liquid soap.
Additionally, you can use an old soft toothbrush to gently scrub the feed, and then rinse with clear room temp water.