Ink Notes: Montblanc Jonathan Swift Seaweed Green

photo of the box and botleMontblanc is one of my favorite ink brands as it makes up three of my five favorite inks. Montblanc Jonathan Swift Seaweed Green is a limited edition ink which means it sells at a premium price. Prices vary considerably since availability is limited but I found mine for $17 for a 35 ml bottle. At 49 cents per ml this puts it solidly in the luxury ink category and about twice the proce as the standard Montblanc inks.

The ink color immediately reminded me of Montblanc Racing Green, #3 on my favorite inks list. When swabbed the ink is a little lighter than Racing Green, but when used from a fountain pen it’s a fairly close color, just a little less saturated.

Seaweed Green is not a wet, free-flowing ink. But like other Montblanc inks it’s consistent and puts down a nice line. The ink has enough water resistance so that it can still be read after having water spilled on it. Dry time was very good. I didn’t experience any feathering or bleed-through.

The color does vary quit a bit depending on the nib and paper. In my thin wet nibs the ink was noticeably darker. With drier nibs or nibs where the ink spread out more, like my broad stub the ink had more of a khaki color. I like the variety in the way the ink performs.

There was some nice line variation with both the stub nibs. There was some nice shading with the wetter nibs, when there was enough ink put down to actually shade.

Pens Used

I tested this ink a bit differently this time, skipping the TWSBI Vac 700 opting to use four different pens.

Sheaffer PFM I with a fine nib – the ink was at it’s best in this pen. While it’s a fine nib it’s the wettest nib of the bunch that I used. The ink when onto the paper with a nice dark color. Because of this the ink took as long to dry when using this pen as it did when I used the broad nib. No signs of feathering. I liked this pen/ink combo so much that it’s been my daily writer.

Esterbrook J with 1 #2442 Fine Stub – a nice consistent flow without any skipping or other problems. The ink was drier with this nob but still problem free. Drying time was less than 5 seconds.

Caran d’ Ache Geneve with a medium nib – this was the only convertor fill pen of the bunch and was a problem pen. It’s been a long time since I used the pen but it’s always been a good writer. I had flow problems mainly from the ink clinging to the convertor, but it was inconsistent from the beginning. I’ve yet to try another ink in the pen, but this was so unlike the other pens I used I’m blaming the pen. You’ll see some smudges on the Rhodia sample. This was when I had just forced ink into the feed because it was stuck in the convertor.

Pelikan M620 Shanghai with a custom broad stub – while the widest nib used, it was ground and tuned by Mike Masuyama to write on the dry side. So dry times were comparable to the PFM I fine nib.

Wrapping Up

It’s a well behaved ink with a color I like. Is it worth the premium? I bought mine at the low end of prices I’ve seen. It’s a well behaved ink with a fast drying time and pretty good water resistance so I don’t regret buying the bottle. I also like that the color varies depending on the nib used.

Additional Reading

Review on FPN

FPGeeks Inkcyclopedia

Reviewed at Inked Up and Happy

At Glenn’s Pens




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Nib Notes: Esterbrook #2442 Fine Stub

Esterbrook #2442 nib

I first wrote about the Esterbrook #2442 Fine Stub nib back in July 2013 when it was one of seven Esterbrook nibs inked up at the time. Things have changed a bit since then but it’s still an enjoyable nib. If anything, it’s become more enjoyable to use.

I previously had issues getting the writing angle just right. Maybe I’m more used to stub nibs now but I haven’t had any problems. Yes, if I get careless I can encounter skips but that usually when I’m reaching around a computer or cup of coffee to jot a quick note. Contrary to my earlier experience, the nib wrote on all the papers I used without any skipping or hard starts. It’s become common for me to empty the pen once I’m done experimenting with the nib and I’ve written the nib notes. In this case I’ll kept the ink in the pen and will write it dry.

I’d also previously thought that the term “falcon” referred to the type of stub. After more research I’ve concluded the term falcon refers to the overall nib design which is based on the older Esterbrook dip pens and not the grind of the nib. (Although there’s plenty of contradictory info in the internet.) The #2442 is also listed as “backhand writing” which means for lefties. The #2442 nib is a left oblique stub cut at an angle similar to the toes on a left foot. Like other 2xxx series nibs, it’s a steel nib without any tipping material. To get the most variation the nib has to be rotated a bit due to this angle, at least us righties need to rotate it.

The nib is currently in stock at Anderson Pens for $25 and available from several eBay sellers with BIN prices starting at $18.

side view of the Esterbrook 2442 fine stubThis nib is one of my favorite Esterbrooks, make that favorite of any nib. Despite my earlier problems, this time around the nib has been smooth and reliable. The 2314-F is still my preference as it puts down a slightly thinner line, at least with the nibs I have.

Some additional information from the Fountain Pens of Esterbrook book by Paul Hoban.

  • The 2442 nib is based upon the earlier 442 steel pen nib with was called a “Jackson Stub”. The book calls the 2442 a Falcon Stub.
  • It was one of 12 nib styles available for the Dollar pen in 1935 and cost 25 cents.
  • Based on my nib’s feed and the references in the book my particular nib was made in 1950, or later.

Additional Reading

The Well-Appointed Desk


Review: Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber

Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber photoOne look at my pen accumulation shows I have a fondness for Sheaffer pens. With 19 Sheaffers I can probably call it a collection rather than an accumulation. I also find it hard to resist a carbon fiber pen, at least until I see the price. So it was inevitable that the reasonably priced Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber would be added to my accumulation. The Intensity is available in a variety of colors although I couldn’t find any retailers that still had my specific version in stock (Carbon fiber cap and body). I did find my version listed on eBay for about $70.

Why I Bought It

  1. Sheaffer
  2. Carbon Fiber at a reasonable price
  3. Silver (not gold) trim making it a sharp looking pen

What I Got

I ordered the Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber with a fine steel nib from Anderson Pens in November 2013. The pen I received is the version with the carbon fiber, not chrome, cap. Two black cartridges and a convertor where included with the pen. The Intensity uses Sheaffer’s proprietary filling system so the cartridges and convertor aren’t interchangeable with other fountain pens.

closeup photo of the capThe clip bears the signature Sheaffer white dot. This no longer signifies a lifetime warranty but the Intensity does have a three year warranty. The clip isn’t spring loaded but does flex a bit to allow it to grip pocket material. “Sheaffer” is engraved on the cap band. The chrome trim complements the black carbon fiber nicely, giving the Intensity an elegant look. The carbon fiber is covered by a clear material (plastic or epoxy?). The material has held up well and doesn’t show any scratches or other wear.

closeup photo of the nibI’ve always liked Sheaffer nibs, both in the way they look and the way they write. But I find this nib rather plain looking and doesn’t add anything to the look if the pen. The plain chrome is a good choice for this pen but it’s downhill from there. In my opinion the nib is too short and the feed is too fat. They detract from the look of the pen, at least in my opinion. “SHEAFFER” is engraved across the nib, with the elongated “S”. But without the trailing and elongated “‘S” it looks rather lopsided. Looks are subjective and don’t affect performance so the one redeeming quality of the nib is how smooth it writes. And really, that’s all that counts. I’ve read reviews that complained of rough nibs but I’ve no complaints with my pen and wouldn’t consider any adjustments.

The pen appears to be constructed on a metal tube and this gives it some weight, especially with the cap attached. It also has a metal (chrome) section which could be a show stopper for some people. The section has a very slight hourglass shape to it. I didn’t find it slippery but more on this in the “Using the Pen” section.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped:  5.3895″  136.89 mm
  • Length Uncapped:  4.7480″  120.60 mm
  • Length Posted:  6.375″  161.925 mm
  • Section Length:  0.9565″  24.29 mm
  • Section Diameter (near nib):  0.3540″  8.99 mm
  • Section Diameter (below threads):  0.3750″  9.52 mm
  • Section Diameter (mid-section):  0.3450″  8.77 mm
  • Cap Diameter:  0.5050″  12.83 mm
  • Barrel Diameter:  0.4450″  11.30 mm
  • Weight:  1.2 oz  34g
  • Weight (body only):  .7 oz  20g

 Using the Pen

I picked the included black cartridge as the first ink for this pen. The “spike” that the cartridge (or convertor) attaches to sticks up above the feed. It always concerned me that I’d be careless and snap this off, but I haven’t yet nor have I heard of others doing this. But this does mean pushing the cartridge down on the spike risks bending it. So I slide the cartridge into the barrel and screwed the feed assembly onto it. This aligned the cartridge and pierced it perfectly. The ink reached the nib quickly and I was ready to write.

Posting the Sheaffer Intensity results in a pen that’s a bit top heavy unless it’s held above the section. The cap posts securely although doing so makes it a heavy pen and much of that weight at the back of the pen, making it top heavy when writing. This doesn’t bother me since I don’t post my pens but if you must post your pens be prepared for a heavy and unbalanced pen.

The cartridge holds a lot of ink so I would expect it to lat awhile, especially with the thin nib. But I was surprised when I didn’t write the pen dry until three months later. I thought I was using the pen a lot and never considered flushing it during those three months. During those three months there was only one hard start and no skipping. But in looking back, I did use the pen often, but only for quick notes, never for a longer writing session.

When it came time to write this review and I consciously used the pen for extended periods I came to realize why the ink lasted so long. While the pen isn’t uncomfortable, it’s not comfortable either. The metal lacks texture and while it wasn’t slippery I found I gripped the pen tighter than most other pens. The pen was neither annoying or pleasurable to write with. With other pens available I would simply pick one with more personality.

My only real complaint (other than my subjective opinion on the looks of the nib) is that the cap needs a little extra pressure at the end to close it securely. If I just twist it close, stopping as soon as there’s resistance, the pen would open as I carried it. It needs a little extra force at the end to get the threads to grip.

Cleaning the Pen

The pen flushes easily. My bulb syringe fits easily over the spike on the feed so I can force water through. Alternately, the convertor works too, it just takes longer. No extra effort was needed to clean it, even after having the Sheaffer Black ink in it for three months.

Inks Used

Sheaffer Black ink cartridge – this was the standard ink when I used the pen. It seems like this pen should use a black ink. Flow was good without any skipping. The only hard start was when the pen went unused for about a week. A little scribbling was needed to get the ink flowing.

Rohrer & Klingner Verdura was used in the convertor. This also had good flow and was easy to flush from the pen. No hard starts or skipping.

Wrapping Up

I want to like this pen. My brain tells me I like this pen. But when it comes down to it I usually reach for another pen when I’m picking one to write with. There’s nothing about this pen that makes it a bad pen My knock against the looks of the nib is subjective. Since the pens can be found on eBay for around $70 it’s hard to not recommend the Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber at this price. But for me, with other pens to choose from, it will go unused for extended periods of time

Additional Reading

Reviewed at Inktronics


Sunday Notes and Links

I’ve been reviewing my Favorite 5 lists to see what may have changed. I was also deciding pens to ink up now that the inked pen count was getting low. That’s when I decided I have too many fountain pens. While I could argue it’s not possible to have too many pens in theory, in practice I do have too many. I bought each of these pens to use and with a pen count approaching 150 there’s no chance I’d use each pen at least once a year. Especially if I define “use” as writing a pen dry and not simply flushing it after a set number of days. So it’s time to thin the herd. I prefer removing the band-aid slowly so there will probably be a few more each week.

I’m tempted to pick a number and get down to that number but for now I’ll just work on making it easier to get all my pens in one picture.

photo of most of my accumulation

Almost all of my uninked pens


Some links I found interesting…..

The Writing Arsenal celebrated National Pencil Day with some videos

The Unroyal Warrant reviews the Baron Fig The Confidant Notebook

The Franklin-Christoph Model 27 Collegia fountain pen is reviewed by Pens! Paper! Pencils!

The Pelikan 400 Tortoise Shell Fountain Pen is reviewed by Write to me Often. Great photos.

A Fool with a Pen reviews the Franklin-Christoph Model 03 with a Mike Masuyama Needlepoint nib, I want one!

The Well-Appointed Desk compares brush pens.

From the Pen Cup loves the Pelikan M205 and Levenger Shiraz Ink.

Ink Reviews

Noodler’s Bad Green Gator at the Well-Appointed Desk

Parker Quink Blue-Black is review by The Pen Addict

Crónicas Estilográficas looks at the 1971 Pilot Capless.

Currently Inked: April 6, 2014

It’s been nearly a month since my last “This Week’s Ink” post so I finally acknowledged the obvious and changed the post title. My inked pens dropped to seven during the past week so it was time to ink some up. I had a dearth of vintage pens so I rectified that first by inking a Sheaffer PFM I and a Parker Vacumatic Maxima. Both got inks that were new for me. The Pilot Blue-Black ink is also new to me.

photo of pens currently inked

writing samples of pens currently inked