Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Problematic Pen: Stabilo Colorgel 0.4mm

I would like to show you a writing sample of the Stabilo Colorgel.  Unfortunately, I am unable to do so.  The problem?  The pen doesn't work.

Let's start at the beginning.  I bought this pen a couple months ago, at the university bookstore.  I tried it out in the store; the line seemed a bit fatter than 0.4mm, but it wrote fairly smoothly and the ink was a nice dark green colour.  I brought it home, and wrote with it off and on over the next couple of weeks or so.  A couple problems soon appeared.  The first was that the Stabilo Colorgel was not consistent in its writing ability - sometimes it wrote smoothly, sometimes the ink flow became much slower and the pen felt much scratchier.  The other problem was that the cap gradually became looser and looser until eventually it didn't fit at all and fell off if I turned the pen upside down.  The cap still posted on the back of the pen, not that it did me much good.

The semester ended, and I headed back home for the summer.  The pen sat unused for a couple of weeks.  When I pulled it out again, intending to review it, it didn't work.  I suspect that the loose-fitting cap may have contributed to the problem by allowing the pen to dry out, but given the pen's earlier inconsistency, it may not have.

Apart from these issues, the Stabilo Colorgel is not that bad of a pen.  A bit longer than usual, the barrel has a rather appealing swirl design.  The grip is, however, useless to me, as no part of my hand actually touches the grip when I am holding the pen (but maybe I just hold my pens in a weird way).  At this point, though, I really don't care about any of this since I can't even write with the thing.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can get this pen to write again?  It is a gel pen, there's plenty of ink left in the barrel, and I can usually get a small amount of ink to come out of the pen when I first touch it to the page, although this quickly dries up as I continue to try to write with it.  Ideas, anyone?

Related review: The Pen Addict.


  1. In this day and age, if a pen stops writing I would simply toss it and never buy that particular model or brand again. Perhaps the ball-point if faulty or the ink has died out.

  2. I sometimes have luck getting a pen's ink to flow again by holding the tip of the pen in the flame of a lighter for a quick moment. Does not damage the tip and will hopefully work for you! Good luck :)

  3. I'm with B2-kun here - if a pen can't write nowadays then I have no time for the model.

  4. take out the cartridge, and blow down the top end (not the nib), this should push out the ink towards the nib.

    replace the components in the correct places, and now you have a pen put back together.

    after you have done that, place the nib end slightly into your open mouth, do not clamp down, and blow hot air onto the nib. this should make the ink expand and push down the nib.

    good luck!

    1. Thanks for the tip, Georgia! I have tried blowing into the non-nib end of the cartridge before - that sometimes works or provides some momentary relief - but I have not tried the hot air on the nib before. I actually no longer own this particular pen, but I shall keep your tips in mind for future problematic pens!


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