Sheaffer Ink Sampling

Three Sheaffer bottle stylesWhile I’ve managed to accumulate a large number of Sheaffer pens, I’ve never really used Sheaffer ink beyond the occasional cartridge received with a new fountain pen. Somewhere along the line I picked up two bottle of Sheaffer Red and a bottle of Blue-Black. That all changed recently.

While browsing eBay for all things Sheaffer I came across some old Sheaffer ink for sale. It was ink in the burgundy boxes and and inkwells in the bottle. The ink ships from an old Sheaffer factory in Wisconsin (according to the listing). The ink is offered by eBay user abolt among other Sheaffer items. (There’s still some ink available, although shipping prices has gone up on the 12 ml bottles.) This seems to be from the last ink Sheaffer made in Wisconsin. I had to buy a few bottles.

For reference, here’s a FPN post that shows six different bottle types from Sheaffer history.

Even though turquoise isn’t among the colors I like I had to give Peacock Blue a try since it’s a legendary Sheaffer fan favorite. Supposedly the modern turquoise was an attempt to match the Peacock Blue with a modern formulation. I see a slight difference when they’re side by side, but viewed apart I can’t tell the difference.

For the older inks there were two bottle sizes. There’s a full size 2 oz. (60 ml) bottle which is what the Peacock Blue and Grey inks came in. This bottle has a built in inkwell. The other ink was in smaller 12 ml. bottles that came in two-bottle blister packs marked “For Calligraphers.” The modern inks come in 50 ml. cone shaped bottles.

Gallery with Swabs and Writing Samples

Swabs labelled “12 ml” are the small calligraphy ink bottles. The swab labelled “burgundy label” are the old 2 oz bottle. The rest are the modern inks.

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Sunday Notes and Links

photo of the uncapped Pelikan M101N Lizard uncappedMy favorite pen & ink combo this past week was the Pelikan M101N “Lizard” with Montblanc Permanent Grey, mainly because it was the only pen that got significant use. I haven’t done much writing since Wednesday (although a lot on Wednesday and before) so even though there’s some life left in it there’s no ink visible in the window.

Anderson Pens tweeted the news that A.T. Cross is buying Sheaffer.

I had flushed it from my brain that the plastic disposable products (ballpoint pens, cigarette lights, razors. etc…) company owned my beloved Sheaffer. For some reason Waterman, Parker, Rotring and others being owned by the same conglomerate that owns Rubbermaid didn’t bother me as much.

Actually, Clarion Capital Partners is buying Sheaffer and adding it to A.T. Cross which they purchased last year. I guess it’s a good thing. While Sheaffer and Cross seem to compete at similar price levels both are well known brands so I doubt they would completely eliminate either one. Hopefully Sheaffer can keep their distinctive pens. Clarion seems to own a bunch of divergent stuff and only Cross is pen related. There’s been so much contraction and cost cutting by both companies that it’s likely the pens and ink are already made in the same factories. The one scary part is that no company buys another just to keep the status quo. So will it be growth through investment, or profits through contraction?

Some Links of Interest…

Lamy is more than just Safari and 2000…

Sunday Notes and Links

Pilot Bung Box [thé] Capless –

Vintage Pen Review: Parker Duofold Senior – The Pen Habit

I Have The BAT-PEN! (Aka the Monteverde Invincia Stylus) – Fountain of Pens

Visconti Rembrandt – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Now… A Millionaire’s Pen that You can Afford to Carry: 1930s & 40s Parker Pen Ads – All Things Stationery

Pilot Lucina Fountain Pen Review — The Pen Addict

My Favourite Fountain Pen Inks – A Penchant for Paper

Muji Kraft Stationery Review — Modern Stationer

Review: Pelikan Souverän Red M600 Fountain Pen – BB – Gourmet Pens

Pelikan Twist – inklode

OMASaturday – Ecclectitbits

Traveling and stationery – East…West…Everywhere

Looking Forward to the 2015 Hobonichi Techo by Looking Back at the 2014 – Pen Paper Ink Letter

TWSBI Vac 700 Fountain Pen Review – I Laike Pens

Ink Reviews

Ink Review – Diamine Poppy Red – Fountain Pen Physicist

Diamine Claret Ink Review — The Finer Point

Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji ink review – Pens! Paper! Pencils!

Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji Ink Review / Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji Mürekkep İncelemesi – Write to Me Often

Review: Noodler’s Upper Ganges Blue — Alt. Haven

Caran d’Ache Electric Orange ~ Inkdependence!

Ink Review: Sailor Yama-Dori — The Gentleman Stationer

review: private reserve cadillac green – ink between the teeth

Noodler’s Tiananmen – Ink Review – Stationary Journey

Ink Notes: Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue

GvFc Cobalt Blue BottleGraf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue is my fifth review of the new Graf von Faber-Castell (GvFC) ink line. Blue would be near the bottom of my list if I was to rank my color preferences. I decided to give it a chance anyway. I had the other five inks and I have a compulsion to complete sets, so I decided to give this one a try.

Since I rarely use blue inks I don’t have much to compare with this ink. It’s color is what I consider a true blue. It is a dark blue ink, but I still consider it a vivid blue, not a blue-black. Based on the color on the box I expected some hints of violet, but there’s none that I can see. There’s a bit of sheen to the ink.

When used in my wet Omas nib or in a broad nib there’s some shading. Drying times ranged from very good to very long. My extra fine nib dried fast enough to be smudge free on all the papers I used. The longest it took was four seconds on Rhodia paper. Other nibs took considerably longer on Rhodia paper (drying times are in the writing samples). On the other hand, all nibs, even the wide and wet ones, dried quickly on generic Staples copy paper. Although those quick dry times on the Staple paper came at the expense of bleed-through and feathering.

This is a dark ink so some show through was expected, but it was a bit more than I expected, especially on the copy paper. There was heavy show-through and some minor bleed-through on the copy paper with the wetter nibs and the feathering was noticeable. The feathering wasn’t noticeable to me on the Doane or Rhodia paper unless I looked closely so I could call it light feathering. The Cobalt Blue definitely has more bleed-through and feathering than the other four GvFC inks I’ve used.

I’d stop short of calling the ink waterproof, but it is very water-resistant. The ink color ran, but the writing was clearly visible after the water test. Graf von Faber-Castell does classify this ink as document proof and permanent.

The ink cleaned easily from my pens, although it wasn’t in any of them for more than a week. It also cleaned easily from my hands after an unplanned inky fingers test. It washed off easily after being on my hand for about 30 minutes. Just soap, water, a washcloth and a small bit of scrubbing were all that was needed.

Pens Used

I used the ink in the Omas 360 Vintage LE which has a custom Mike Masuyama fine nib. It’s a very wet writing nib, certainly my wettest fine and among my wettest nibs of any grind. There weren’t any flow problems or skipping. This pen is finicky with some inks but the GvFC Cobalt Blue wrote great with the pen. I used it as my primary writer for a couple of problem free days.

I also used the Vac 700 with an extra fine nib for a day. Again, no flow problems or skipping. I used the pen for note taking during a smug free day.

The Retro 51 with a wet, medium nib and the TWSBI Vac 700 with the 1.1 mm nib were only used for the writing samples.

Wrapping Up

Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue is a nice blue ink. I don’t want a lot of blue inks and since the GvFC Cobalt Blue is a well-behaved ink and a pleasing blue it can fill the blue slot.

Additional Reding

Reviewed on FPN


Currently Inked – August 19, 2014

August is half over and there’s been some changes in the ink that’s in my fountain pens, although not to much changed in the pens themselves. Contrary to my typical practice I’ve kept a couple pens in the rotation but changed out the ink.

The Esterbrooks were inked because the nibs are for upcoming reviews, one of which went up yesterday. Three of the pens are still inked with recently reviewed ink – the Ivanhoe, Pelikan and Franklin-Christoph. I like the ink so don’t want to flush any of it, but the pens never seem to get much use due to the competition.

The Edison Menlo and Pilot Custom 823 both went dry late last week. I plan to re-ink them but I’m still debating what ink they get next.

The writing samples are in the same order as the pens, except for the Esterbrook Dip-less which isn’t in the picture. Follow the link if you want to see pictures of it. As usual, links are to my reviews of the pen or ink if they exist.

This Week's Ink Pens for Aug. 19, 2014

Writing samples for this week's ink

Esterbrook Dip-less (#7555 firm extra fine) – Sheaffer Red // Franklin-Christoph Model 66 (extra fine)R&K Blau-Schwarz LE // Omas 360 Vintage (fine) – De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes // Pelikan M101 Lizard (extra fine) – Montblanc 90 Years Permanent Grey // Sheaffer Crest (extra fine) – Sheaffer Peacock Blue // Caran d’Ache Ivanhoe (fine) – Pelikan Edelstein Rub cartridge // Pelikan M620 Piazza Navone (broad stub) – Graf von Faber-Castell Hazelnut Brown // Sheaffer Balance Jr (fine stub) – Montblanc Alfred Hitchcock // Franklin-Christoph Model 29 (fine) – Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine cartridge // Esterbrook J (#9550 Firm Extra Fine) – Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun // Esterbrook J (#9555 Firm Extra Fine Gregg Shorthand) – Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun // Esterbrook J (#9556 Firm Fine) – Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun

Nib Notes: Esterbrook #9550 Firm Extra Fine

Esterbrook #9550 nibNext stop for the Esterbrook nib train is my Esterbrook #9550 Firm Extra Fine nib. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite three nib related words are firm, extra and fine, preferably in that order. So this nib has a lot of promise.

Like other 9xxx series nibs the #9550 is osmiridium tipped and part of their Master DuraCrome Point line.

My particular nib has quite a bit of feedback, especially when writing on paper that’s not smooth. I say not smooth, rather than rough or coarse, because I don’t consider Doane Writing Pads to be coarse or rough paper. But the feedback on this paper makes the writing experience less than enjoyable. The line put down on Doane paper, at least the writing pads, is much thinner and I have to press harder to get a good solid line.

On the other hand, writing on smooth paper is a much more pleasant experience. It’s still a dry writing pen on smooth paper but a light touch can be used and the line is consistent. No skipping, but not an abundance of ink either.

There’s not much more to say about this nib, It’s name covers everything you need to know – Esterbrook #9550 Firm Extra Fine. I enjoy the nib on smooth paper but it’s not enjoyable on the types of paper I typically use during the day. It’s just too thin. Next time I ink it up I may try a more lubricated ink to see if it helps smooth the writing a bit. But I’m not hopeful. The Esterbrook #9550 Firm Extra Fine, at least the one I have, doesn’t live up to the potential of its great name.

Additional Reading

This FPN thread mentions some smooth 9550s

Grandmia Pens shows an Esterbrook with the #9550 nib on YouTube. The nib is unveiled at the 4:48 mark.


Sunday Notes and Links

Esterbrook #407 inkwell viewed from the topThis week’s favorite pen was the Esterbrook Dip-less which I Reviewed on Monday. I finished cleaning a #407 inkwell and dumped in a bottle of Sheaffer Red to match to pen.

I did a lot of writing this past week and emptied several pens. In a break from past habits I’ve been switching inks but not pens.

Some links of interest…

A couple 2014 DC Pen Show recaps:

The Commonwealth Pen Show is coming to Somerville, MA, (near Boston). It’s not the same place or organizer as last year’s New England Pen Show. I missed DC but it looks like I’ll be able to make this show since it’s a relatively short drive and hotel parking is free. It Sunday Sept. 28th only.

I enjoy seeing what other people pick as favorites or what they have currently inked:

2014 LE Glenmont Group Buy! – Edison Pen Company // The Edison Group by for this year is open. Both pens are beautiful although I’m trying to have enough willpower to pass this year. I have to hold out until Sept. 5th.

UPDATE: Seven Seas “Writers” Notebook – THE PENVENTORY // I started using one of these a couple of weeks ago and I’m liking it

Kaweco Elite – Pen Review – My Pen Needs Ink

Matching (XIV) – Crónicas Estilográficas

[Guest Post] The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Limited Edition Fountain Pen Review –

Paper Review – Leuchtturm Large Hard Cover, Lined – Fountain Pen Physicist

The Pen Addict Podcast Is Back! — The Pen Addict // A new episode will be released Monday

Lamy Scala – Thepencilcaseblog

review: pilot 78g – ink between the teeth

Pen Review: Franklin-Christoph 02 Intrinsic – The Pen Habit

Maruman Mnemosyne Inspiration Pad review – Pens! Paper! Pencils!

Muji High Quality Easy-Open Notebook Review — Modern Stationer

Staples Gold Series Legal Pad – Pen Pursuit

Schweizer Handmade Fountain Pen – Hey there! SBREBrown // Stephen Brown, of YouTube fame finally has his own website.

Waterman Emerald Green Patrician – My Antique Pens

A Notebook review (Tomoe -row starts today!) – Ecclectitbits

Pilot Bung Box [thé] Capless –

2 things I don’t like about Diamine Syrah – Peninkcillin

Review: Diamine Rustic Brown — Alt. Haven

J. Herbin Verte Réséda Ink Review — The Pen Addict

Noodler’s Midnight Blue Review – The Pen Enthusiast

Inktronics Blog Reviews Diamine Ancient Copper Fountain Pen Ink – Inktronics

Noodler’s La Reine Mauve – Stationary Journey

Swabbing 10 Year Old Ink

My ink drawer, two ink drawers actually, are overflowing and it was time to clear out some ink. What better place to start than with my oldest ink bottles to see if they’re still good. That would be Private Reserve and Noodler’s inks. Much of my stock of these inks dates back to 2003 and 2004. I actually dated some of the bottles and I made a note of when I got the bottle if I knew the date. Some of the Private Reserve ink is recent enough to be in the newer bottles, namely the two Fast Dry inks and Cadillac Green.

I ended up doing a swab of each ink on a Maruman Mnemosyne Word Card and then doing a writing sample on both Doane Writing Pad paper and Rhodia Dotpad paper. I used my Esterbrook Dip-Less #7550 Firm Extra Fine nib for the writing sample. It was a great excuse to use the pen.

I tried to be consistent with the swabs. A cotton swab was used and the top line on the card was a single pass with the new dipped swab. The larger ink area is just the ink painted onto the card with the swab. The writing on the card is with a glass dip pen.

Most of the ink held up well over the years. There wasn’t any mold. A couple of the colors definitely changed for the worse. Private Reserve Copper Burst and Orange Crush now share a similar washed out yellowish brown color. Fiesta Red seems to have a little little more pink than I remember and when compared to swabs I find online. The rest of the inks seems to have held up well. The inks were stored in a dark drawer at room temperature which didn’t always include air conditioning in the summer.

Private Reserve was my first bottled ink brand after Waterman and I liked the choice of colors and I really haven’t had any interest in the brand for years. So, since most of the ink is still good I now need to figure out what I want to do with it.