FP101- Storing Fountain Pens

I get asked a lot about the ‘proper’ way to store your fountain pens, particularly the orientation of the pen’s nib. The honest truth is that you can store them however you want, it’s really up to you. There are some loose guidelines I’ve learned, so I’ll pass along what I know.

Generally speaking, there are 3 ways to store your pens:

  1. Nib pointing up
  2. Nib pointing sideways (horizontal)
  3. Nib pointing down
Me personally, I store all my pens horizontally, in leather pen cases or in pen rolls. But that’s me. I find storing pens horizontally keeps the nibs wet enough to start writing right away, without leaking into the cap. When I take pens with me in my pocket or laptop case, I’ll store them nib up, usually, so that ink doesn’t leak down into the cap like it would if they were nib down. I don’t store anything nib down, but I would if I had a pen that tended to dry out a lot when left sitting. 
You can store your pens in the boxes/cases they come in, but that’s usually not practical if you’re going to use them often. I like leather cases because they’re durable, portable, and can hold a lot of pens. I know some people who have wood cases, though not as many people as I would suspect. 
Even after several years in the pen business, I haven’t found one particular way that everyone prefers to store their pens, it really varies a lot by individual, and I’ve seen some really creative ways of storage! How do you store your pens? 

See the other Fountain Pen 101 videos here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T13:45:52+00:00 May 25th, 2012|Fountain Pen 101|28 Comments
  • Jamie Grossman

    Brian, thank you for this post. I tend to store mine nibs up, but after reading your post, I think I'm going to change that for the harder-to-start pens and see if it helps to store them other ways.Β 

  • Me too, I'm usually a nib up person. I may play around with it and see if I don't like something better.

    Love seeing all your goodies Brian! And love the fight club shirt πŸ˜‰

  • A lot of people do nib up, but that never seemed good for me. I've been a 'horizontal' guy since I first started using pens, and it's worked well for me. It's worth trying it out πŸ™‚Β 

  • Try some other ways, I think storage is something a lot of us either just do the way we do 'because', or we don't really think about it. I'm glad you liked my very impromptu video too….honestly, I had two other much more comprehensive/complicated topics chosen for today, but just didn't have the time to see them through. Rachel and I are moving next week and we're pretty crazy busy, so I'm going to have some 'lighter' FP101 topics the next couple of weeks ; )

  • I store my pens at home in a home-made pen-case, horizontally. The one I'm currently using is just laying on the desk (also horizontally). However, the pen I use at work daily spends most of its time (i.e. when I'm not at work) nib-up in my vest pocket. The pen currently in that role, an aerometric Parker "51", is occasionally slow to start when stored nib up.

    The other time I always store the pen nib-up is when flying, both commercially and when flying for fun in a small plane.

  • Nicky

    Your desk reminds me a lot of my own, right down to the Mac with the USB cable sticking out. And is that one of those egg timers with the gel that slowly oozes down? Because I have one just like it.Β 

    As for pens, I store mine in a similar fashion. Most of them are in a pen roll in my desk drawer, with a small handful in their boxes in the cupboard. I've usually stored my pens horizontally, though I dabbled in nib down once or twice. Nib up has never worked for me.Β 

    I really enjoyed this video.Β 

  • Is that an Aurora Ipsilon??

  • Right now my pens are stored in a cotton roll that used to hold my cold chisels. It works, until the silk roll being made for me is ready. I like the cigar box idea too. But my pens are always horizontal, I find they start easier that way.

  • Neels Kriek

    Horizontally. Either in a pen cabinet or a pen case (Aston). Β In my bag they will go nib up. Β 

    It is very important to store the nibs pointed to magnetic north, as this aligns the ions in the metal nibs and gives you better ink flow.*Cough*

    OK. For newbies, please don't take that seriously. πŸ™‚

  • Yes, when flying, you always want to go nib up : ) I forgot to mention that! Really though, flying with a pen deserves its own separate blog post…

  • I don't know that the ooze thing is a timer of any sort, I bought it I think when I was in middle school at a store that sells random science-y stuff….I love it! They had two sizes, one small and one large…I got the small one because that's all I could afford, but I wish I'd gotten the bigger one now! I love that thing.

  • It is! We don't carry any Aurora pens regularly, only their inks (for now). But I wanted to get an idea what the Ipsilon was like, since I hear about it from time to time.Β 

  • Haha…see if you posted than on FPN, it would be taken seriously! πŸ˜‰Β 

  • Mike Smukula

    I store my pens on my desk, nib up in a pen stand. However, I just recently purchased my first pen wrap and put 4 pens in it and it has been laying on it's side for approx. 2 weeks. In that time I have not noticed any difference in how those pens start or how they write. Now with all that I have said here, I am still an "old school" guy and prefer my pens to be nib up when they can be.

  • JamieWG

    Well, since reading this post, I've tried storing some of my pens horizontally. I can honestly say, if you do eyedropper conversions on your Kaweco fountain pens, you'd best store them tip up! (Yep, even if you use silicone grease on the threads.) Fortunately, I never had a problem with getting these to start, even when stored tip up.

  • Thanks for the tip (pun!) πŸ˜‰Β 

  • Yeah, like I mentioned in the video, I don't know how big of a difference it really makes, it'll depend on the pens.

  • Hi – just came across this video, very nice, thanks! One thing that I have learned through painful experience is not to store pens for any length of time when they are inked. I have a folder for my inked pens, but a more permanent "facility" for pens I'm not using, and I always make sure to clean them out before putting them in there. FWIW.

  • Oh definitely. I need to practice more of what I preach here, but you shouldn't keep most pens inked longer than a month if you're not using them regularly. I often keep mine inked longer, and I often have to work harder to clean them out πŸ˜›

  • Wendy

    I store my fountain pens horizontally in a double-decker leather box with velvet trays. It was an inexpensive "find" at a second hand store. I keep my uninked pens in the bottom tray and my inked ones on the top. The box stays on my home office desk. My one "on the go" fountain pen is stored in a leather sleeve nib up in my writing bag.

  • Wendy

    I store my fountain pens horizontally in a double-decker leather box with velvet trays. It was an inexpensive “find” at a second hand store. I keep my uninked pens in the bottom tray and my inked ones on the top. The box stays on my home office desk. My one “on the go” fountain pen is stored in a leather sleeve nib up in my writing bag.

  • Sashineb

    For pens that I use regularly, I store them standing up, nib pointed down. Otherwise, I find the feed dries too much and I have to fuss with the pen to get the ink moving through to the nib again. For pens that I am not using, I stand them upright, nib pointing up.

  • Tracy HaHa

    I’ve always stored my pens horizontally ..

  • Alex Povolotski

    May I add that storing your pen in a pocket or during air travel is best nib up to prevent leaks.

  • Sparky Catkid

    I let my Esterbrook stay in any position. There’s no preference. Also, what nibs fit in an Esterbrook? I want to expand my one-city “empire”

  • Amanda Wong

    I have a Lamy Joy pen, and I was wondering if it was okay to leave a diamine shimmer ink inside the converter barrel for, say, a week or two, with sporadic use, how should I store my pen?

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      That should be fine, Amanda. πŸ™‚ Just make sure you don’t let the shimmer ink dry up in there. I would store it nib up so the shimmer particles don’t settle in the feed and clog it. Give the pen a little swirl before you start writing after it’s been sitting to stir the shimmer up again.

  • Sam Merritt

    OK, I know this is going to be controversial . . . but I have several fountain pens including a very nice PFM that my Dad got brand new in the late 50s or early 60s. Trouble is, I don’t write much anymore and they just sit unused for years at a time until I decide to clean them, fill them, write with them for about 30 seconds, then clean them and store them again. Even though I know to flush the ink out now, I still worry about the rubber seals getting dry. Here’s my idea, why don’t I just fill the pens with some armor all (for rubber on the inside) and then store the whole pen in a glass filled with armor all (for the rubber on the outside)? The armor all would seem to protect everything, plastic, rubber, metal. And, other than cleaning up the mess later, it wouldn’t seem to do any harm . . . right?