Using our overfeeds

Our overfeeds are designed to extend the width and range of your drawn lines to help you create more expressive drawings. Overfeeds are devices that rest on top of the nib, store additional ink between the nib and overfeed, and then feed that ink to the tip of the flexible nib when the nib bends up and back. They are called "overfeeds" because they feed ink to the top side of the nib. This distinguishes overfeeds from underfeeds, also called just "feeds", which feed ink to the nib from the bottom. 

A bit of history

Overfeeds were more popular during the golden age of fountain pens 100 years ago. Those overfeeds were fixed permanently into the pen. There are a lot of different designs - some made from rubber, others from metal, using a variety of shapes that changed their performance. 

Nibs were very flexible in the beginning but got stiffer over time, so overfeeds went out of fashion. We're trying to bring them back as we are with so many other wonderful pen gadgets. Overfeeds can be a very useful tool when you draw or write with a flexible nib. Here's why. 

How overfeeds work

When you draw with a flexible nib and press down on the nib, the two sides of the nib start to bend up and back, and your line gets wider. If you exercise good hand control, you can make your drawn lines vary in thickness by varying the pressure you apply to the nib. As long as you're careful, the flow should continue. Surface tension keeps the flow going from the feed to the nib, and to both sides of the nib. 

At some point, and usually sooner than you like, the distance of the nib from the feed, and the distance of the two sides of the nib, exceeds the surface tension, and the ink bridge snaps. This is when the flow stops and you make scratches on the paper, or you get what's called a "laddering" effect making two separate splotchy ink lines. You do not want this to happen.

This is when you need an overfeed. The tip of the overfeed slides between the two sides of the nib and bridges the gap keeping a steady flow of ink traveling to the tips of both sides. The two sides of the nib can travel up either side of the overfeed still being fed by the ink flow. Additional ink stored between the top of the nib and the overeed now compensates for the lack of flow from below, which extends the length of your drawn line.

Overfeed pens are configured for overfeeds

We must configure our pens for overfeeds. You cannot use our overfeeds in pens that have not been configured for them.

If you purchase one of our pens configured with an overfeed, but you do not want to use the overfeed, you can remove the overfeed and replace it with a spacer until you want to switch back to the overfeed.

Nibs you can use with our overfeeds

We provide overfeeds for the following nibs:

  • Brause Rose
  • Manga G Nikko
  • Manga G Tachikawa
  • Manga G Zebra
  • Our Sketch nib

Inserting overfeeds

All our overfeed pens are delivered with the overfeed installed. You can remove overfeeds to clean and adjust them, then reinsert them into the pen. You can insert our overfeeds two ways: together with the nib and feed or separately.

To insert the overfeed with the nib and ink feed, collect the three pieces, place the feed under the nib, then press the nib and feed into the ovefeed, then press the overfeed into the front of the pen. The fit is tight, so be careful. You can wiggle the pieces to drive them further into the pen. Make sure they slide in all the way. You can feel when they seat in place. Test the overfeed separately and see if you can press that in further. Once the overfeed is in as far as it can go, tou can slide the nib back and forth to make sure the tip of the nib extends slightly beyond the tip of the overfeed. 

To insert the overfeed separately, first insert the nib and feed into the pen, then slide the overfeed over the nib and feed and press it into the pen. Again, adjust the nib so the tip extends beyond the overfeed slightly. 

Adjusting nib position

Since our overfeed fits several diferent nibs, and each nib has a diferent length, the position of the overfeed depends on the nib you’re using. The wide end of the overfeed will be flush with the back end of the Manga G and Sketch nibs. When you use the Brause Rose nib, which is longer, the nib should extend in further than the overfeed. If the overfeed moves out of position, slide it back into position.  

Drawing with a new overfeed

When drawing with a new overfeed, be careful that you don’t plug the air hole in the nib, otherwise the ink flow will stop. Try to position the hole in the overfeed over the air hole in the nib. If you’re working with a new overfeed, you should make sure the tip is bent down slightly. This is the way we configure our overfeed pens before we ship them, but the overfeed might flatten over time. You might find the overfeed works better with more flex. Just bend the overfeed slightly with your fingers. The arch also helps more store more ink. 

Removing overfeeds

If you want to remove the overfeed temporarily, pull out the nib, feed and overfeed, and replace the overfeed with the spacer. Just push the nib and feed into the spacer. Now insert the three pieces into the front of the pen, and your pen will behave just like a standard Classic Fountain Pen or Classic Pump Pen. When you want to use the overfeed, remove the space and replace it with the overfeed. 

Still need help?

If you don't understand everything described here, or you need more information, feel free to contact Technical Support and ask your questions.