Fountain pens are very versatile, but they are notoriously fussy about inks. Not all inks can be used in fountain pens due to the way ink is stored in and fed through fountain pen mechanisms. The problem is, fountain pen ink can be expensive and is not readily available in some parts of the world. For this reason, some people look for alternative inks that can be used in fountain pens. This leads many to wonder, can you use stamp ink ina fountain pen?
Most stamp ink is not safe for use in a fountain pen. There are some stamp inks that are water-based that may be safe, but most stamp inks are heavily pigmented or use thickeners like gum arabic. Thick, heavily pigmented ink will ruin a fountain pen.
The versatility of fountain pens makes them very useful, but finding the right ink for a fountain pen may prove to be difficult, especially if you are looking for ink in a specific color other than black. This leads many to experiment with alternative inks, but this may lead to problems if not done correctly. Let’s look at whether or not stamp ink can be used in a fountain pen if the ink will damage the pen, and what the differences are between fountain pen ink and stamp ink.
Can You Use Stamp Ink In A Fountain Pen?
Fountain pens usually require ink that is specifically designed for them, as these pens do not work in the same way as traditional inking methods.
Dip pens, ink brushes, and stamps can use almost any ink, as long as the implement can properly take up the ink and transfer it to paper.
This is not true for fountain pens. Fountain pens need ink that is water-soluble and ink that is free-flowing enough to properly travel through the feed of the pen to the nib.
The ink that is used in fountain pens must also be stable, as it is kept in the pen for a time before it is used, so it should not dry out easily or become clumpy within the chamber of the pen.
This means that fountain pens have very specific criteria for ink, and not any ink can be used safely for them.
Stamp ink is not the same as fountain pen ink and therefore is not usually safe for fountain pens.
Stamp ink is thick, heavily pigmented, often waterproof, and it is relatively sticky in order to be taken up easily by the stamp and not drip off on the way to the stamping area.
This is a recipe for disaster for a fountain pen.
However, in the modern world, there are thousands of inks and ink types, so it is impossible to say that every stamp ink will be unsuitable for a fountain pen.
Some modern stamp inks are indeed water-based and water-soluble. Some of them do not use suspended pigments but rather use dyes. These links are fine to use in a fountain pen.
The stamp inks that are suitable for fountain pens are usually very difficult to come by, and they usually only come in black, but if the ink can be dissolved in water and has no suspended particles, it is safe to use in a fountain pen.
Will Stamp Ink Damage A Fountain Pen?
The damage that stamp ink may cause to a fountain pen entirely depends on the composition of the stamp ink.
The reason why stamp is usually not used for fountain pens is that most stamp inks are potentially damaging for fountain pens.
Most stamp inks are made will very heavy pigments suspended in them, which makes them more permanent and waterproof.
The pigment suspended in the ink is dangerous for fountain pens, as fountain pens feed the ink from the ink chamber through to the nib of the pen with capillary action.
There are no pumps and no pressure within the pen to force the ink to the nib, so if the feed within the pen becomes clogged, it will no longer feed ink to the nib of the pen.
The heavy suspended pigment in most stamp inks will clog a fountain pen feed easily.
The waterproof nature of these stamp inks is also unsuitable for fountain pens, as the mechanism within fountain pens must be cleaned out regularly using only water.
If the ink can not be cleaned out using only water, the pen will be damaged while cleaning, or the ink will clog the mechanism over time, even if the pen is flushed with water.
Another detrimental characteristic of stamp inks when used in fountain pens is the viscosity of the ink.
Many stamp inks use thickening agents such as gum arabic to make the ink thicker to work more effectively on a stamp.
This is a big issue for fountain pens, as thickening agents will render a fountain pen useless in a matter of days or even hours.
Modern stamp inks that do not have suspended pigment particles and are water-soluble are safe for use in fountain pens, as long as the pen is thoroughly cleaned out after using the ink.
Can any Stamp Inks Be Safely Used In A Fountain Pen?
When it comes to fountain pens, the safest ink to use is fountain pen ink. It is highly unrecommended to use stamp ink or any other non fountain pen ink in a fountain pen, but if there are no alternatives, there are some ways to safely use certain stamp ink in a fountain pen.
If you have to use stamp ink in a fountain pen, try to get your hands on the thinnest possible stamp ink, and preferably a type that is water-based or at least water-soluble.
Even if the ink is water-based, water-soluble, and very thin, it is still stamp ink. This means that it is made to be transferred to paper with a stamp, and so it will be more sticky than the ink that is made for fountain pens.
This means that you will have to dilute the ink to get it to the correct viscosity for a fountain pen and to help make it safer for use in a fountain pen.
Mix a small amount of water into the ink, and mix it. Repeat this process until the ink is free-flowing and does not stick to itself.
At this point, the ink will be much safer for use in a fountain pen.
It is very important to disassemble the fountain pen and flush it out well when the pen is not in use if stamp ink has been used in the pen.
Diluting the stamp ink may potentially degrade the ink, and the ink will not be as dark as it was initially, but it is worth it for the sake of your fountain pen.
The extra water in the ink may separate from the ink in the bottle if it is left to sit still, so be sure to shake the ink well before loading it into the fountain pen.
What Is The Difference Between Stamp Ink And Fountain Pen Ink?
The main differences between fountain pen ink and stamp ink are the use of pigment, the viscosity of the inks, and the intensity of the ink.
Stamp ink is much darker and much more saturated than fountain pen ink, which is one reason why this link is often considered for fountain pens.
The darkness and richness of stamp ink are due to the fact that most of them have suspended pigment particles and are very heavily saturated with pigment. They also usually have thickening agents such as gum arabic in them.
Fountain pen ink seems comparatively thinner and less rich because it must be thin, water-based, use dyes rather than suspended pigment, and the ink must be water-soluble.
These key differences are why stamp ink is usually not safe for fountain pens.
Stamp ink should not be used in fountain pens unless it is very thin, uses dye rather than suspended pigment, and is water-soluble.
Even if the stamp ink does meet these criteria, it should still be diluted with water when used and washed out of the fountain pen after user rather than being left to sit in the chamber or nib of the pen.
Fountain pens should only be used with fountain pen ink, if possible. The ink that is made for fountain pens is made to be free-flowing and easily washed out of the pen.
If stamp ink is used in a fountain pen, it should be washed out immediately after use in order to prevent the ink from clogging the fountain pen feeder or the nib of the pen.
It is best to use fountain pen safe ink at all times when using a fountain pen, but if you have no other option but to use stamp ink, dilute the ink, and take extra good care of your fountain pen!