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Frequently asked questions

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Shipping Information

We ship our pens worldwide from the United States. We pay the shipping for:

  • Domestic orders above $75
  • Canada and Mexico above $125
  • International orders above $150

We try to ship all orders as quickly as possible. If we are out of stock, we will contact you to see if you want a partial order sent with the back order to follow, or you want us to hold the order for completion. 

We provide tracking on all shipments.

When we ship an order out of the United States, we depend on the postal system of the transit and receiving countries. Some countries run a better postal system than others. If you have concerns about your country's postal system, you can make arrangements with us for an alternative carrier or ask us to send your order to a business address. Businesses usually get better treatment from postal systems. 

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You can return anything purchased from us for any reason or no reason up to one month after purchase. All returned items must be in resalable condition. There can be no cracks, marks, mars or other signs of use and wear. You can fill the pen with ink or paint to try it out, but you must clean the pen thoroughly before returning it to us. When we receive a "wet pen", we put it aside for the time when we can clean it, and that might take several weeks. 

If you want to return something after one month, you need a reason. We try to be flexible. 

If you damaged part of your pen, you can order replacements parts. 

Please provide proof of purchase when you send your return. We need your name at the least and your correct address, and any order number if you still have the records. 

What type of ink of paint do I need?

You can use any ink or paint in our pens that is provided as a drawing liquid. All of our pens are configured to hold and deliver a wide range of inks and paints that are commonly used for drawing and writing. We can modify our pens for less popular media, such as lacquer and alcohol, but most people don't use those for drawing and writing. 

For example, if you use enamel and lacquer, which are on the thick end of the spectrum, they will flow for a minute or two and then stop. If you're using our Pump Pen, you can get them to flow a bit longer, but sooner or later these thick paints will slow to a crawl, and you'll spend time cleaning them out of the pen. If you use alcohol-based inks, which are on the thin end, they can flow quickly out of the pen into a puddle and make a mess. 

It's better to view your choices from the range of liquid media that is offered for commercial sale, which can be divided into three categories:

  • Fountain pen inks
  • Drawing inks including calligraphy inks
  • Drawing paints

Fountain Pen Inks

These inks are designed to be used in traditional fountain pens. They usually run thin, and when you draw with them, the line tends to disappear over time. Most fountain pens are designed with narrow channels that modulate the flow so you get a nice steady line with no fluctuations. The ink must be thinner so it can flow through the tight spaces without clogging. 

There have been lots of recent improvements to fountain pen inks, especially with the discovery of aniline dies. Since most fountain pens are used for writing, and writing is the most popular activity done with a pen, this is the largest category of liquid media. It is also the least interesting to the majority of our users who prefer inks and paints that leave a strong mark and designed to remain visible for 100 years or more.

There are hundreds of brands for this type of ink since it is so popular, although some brands are identical and just rebranded.  

Drawing Inks

Drawing inks are thicker than traditional fountain pen inks and include India ink. The thickness is derived from two sources: the material the comprises the ink and additives that help the material particles disperse and adhere to the substrate or surface, such as paper. Ink material varies. Traditional India ink contains particles of carbon that remain dark black for a long time. Additives include shellac and gum arabic among designed to bind and adhere the dried ink to the substrate.

Manufacturers include Winsor & Newton, Higgins, Speedball, Dr Ph. Martin's, Noodler's and Ziller among many others. You will find these brands in well-stocked art and craft stores.  

Drawing Paints

Drawing paints consist of acrylic paints and other liquid polymer combinations. The term "acrylic" derives from "acryl", short for acrolein acid. It is a glassy thermoplastic that can be produced as a solid or liquid. Acrylic paints are usually thicker than drawing inks, but you can find acrylic paints ready to use for fountain pens, such as Golden Hi-Flow Acrylic. The terms "acrylic paint" and "liquid polymer combinations" are used interchangeably. 

Because acrylics are also used for painting, you have a much larger selection of choices. You can add various types of thinners to acrylic and polymer paints so they flow more easily, and you can add thickeners that slow down the flow. This category includes lacquer and enamel, so if you thin them a bit, you can use them in our pens.

Manufacturers include Golden, Daler-Rowney, and Liquitex among others. 

The Choice is Yours 

You should feel free to use the ink or paint in our pens that you want to use. It's fun to experiment with all your choices. Inks and paints are colorful and individual, and new combinations are appearing all the time. 

Cleaning Inks and Paints

No matter what you use, you should keep your pen clean. Some inks and paints are easier to clean than others. We claim nothing will plug up our Fountain Pens or Pump Pens, and that remains true, but we mean "plug it up permanently". Inks and paints can dry out and stick to the inside wall of the pen, but you can always clean them off even if it takes a bit of scrubbing. 

You don't have to clean our pen every time you use it. You can set it down for an hour, a day, even a week, then pick it up and continue. The ink or paint might ooze out depending on how you store the pen. The longer you let the pen sit containing thick ink or paint, the gummier it will get, but you can usually clean that off with one swipe of a cloth or towel. 

The basic rule is that the cleaner you keep the pen, the better it will work for you.

How do I fill my fountain or pump pen?

Filling your Ackerman pen is easy:

  1. Unscrew the pen in the middle so you can see the reservoir.
  2. Remove the reservoir.
  3. Fill the reservoir with ink or paint.
  4. Insert the reservoir back into the front of the pen.
  5. Screw the pen back together.

If you have trouble filling the reservoir, here are a couple of tricks:

  • When you remove the reservoir, wiggle it first to dislodge the mouth of the reservoir from the seal. Ink and paint can dry out and make the reservoir stick.
  • Take care where you lay pen after removing the reservoir. The pen still contains ink or paint, which can leak out. If you leave the pen horizontal, for example lying flat on a desk, you might have enough time to fill the reservoir and re-insert it before any ink or paint leaks out.
  • When you fill the reservoir, don't fill it to the top. Leave a quarter inch of free space. If the pen is full of ink, the burp might come out of the front end.
  • When you insert the reservoir back into the pen, twist the reservoir to seat it. You should feel the reservoir stop snugly inside the pen.

Make sure you replace the back cap and seat that correctly.

Shake the pen a couple of times to get the flow going. Tilting the pen back and forth can also work. Sometimes have to have to flick your wrist.

Keep a backup reservoir filled and ready. We provide two reservoirs with every new pen, one inside the pen and an extra covered with a cap. Fill the capped reservoir with the ink and paint you want to use. This way, when your pen runs out, you can remove the old reservoir and insert the new quickly. Switch the cap from the new reservoir to the old reservoir so the old reservoir doesn't leak.

How do I clean my fountain or pump pen?

Our Fountain Pens and Pump Pens are easy to clean. Just open them up, flush them out, and put them back together.

If you've used permanent media, such as India ink and acrylic paint, that has dried inside the pen and plugged it up, you need to do a little more work. No need to worry. Nothing will stick inside the pen permanently. 

1. Remove the nib and feed from the front of the pen or the adaptor and clean all parts.

2. Unscrew the front from the back of the pen, remove the reservoir and clean.

3. Flush water through the pen parts. If water does not run freely, you have more work to do.

5. Hold the pen up to a light so you can see through it. Try to discern if there is a partial obstruction. Try to flush it out with more water.

6. If that doesn't work, stick a stick, such as a chop stick, into the pen part until you feel the obstruction, then wiggle the rod until you free the obstruction. Poke out the obstruction or flush it out with water.

7. If that doesn't work, soak the plugged pen part in warm, soapy water overnight.

8. If that doesn't work, try a stronger solution, such as a household cleaning liquid like 409.

9. If nothing works, return the pen to us, we'll clean it for you.

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