Sunday Notes and Links

Esterbrook Dip-less in an empty #407 inkwell

This week’s favorite fountain pen and ink combination was my Esterbrook Dip-less with Montblanc Corn Poppy ink. I have to admit it won by default. Most of my writing this week was done direct to keyboard. The convenience of this pen meant I used it whenever I was at my desk and not banging on the keyboard.

Some links of interest…

VISCONTI HOMO SAPIENS STEEL REVIEW – The Pencilcase Blog // I’ve always liked the look of these pens but could never justify the price in my mind, and that was before the price increase.

Review: Pilot Penmanship With Ergo Grip EF nib — Johnny Anypen // At the other end of the price spectrum from the Visconti Home Sapien

The finer (and extra finer) things in life. – Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb. // Why I love fine (and extra fine) nibs.

New Coffee Journal with Hütte Paper Works Notebook — Three Staples

Fountain Pen Review: Edison Collier, TWSBI 580AL, Sailor Pro Gear – Rants of The Archer // Three orange (or nearly orange) pens.

How Much Must We Spend For A Great Nib – – My Pen Needs Ink // Good article and explains why I now typically buy pens from someone who will tune the nib before sending it to me, at least for pens over $100.

Pilot Kakuno – Fine Nib – Black Body / Light Green Cap – No Pen Intended

The TWSBI 580 AL Orange, With A Twist — The Pen Addict // Orange pens seemed to be a theme this week.

Parker 75 Cisele – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Parker 100 Cobalt Black GT – mycoffeepot.org

Check out all of this week’s links at Fountain Pen Links. If you’re looking for information about a specific pen or ink be sure to visit Pennquod.

Sunday Notes and Links

My most frequent pen carry this week

Parker Vacumatic and Pelikan M805 in a Nock Fodderstack XL

I didn’t have a favorite fountain pen and ink combination this week. I didn’t do as much writing as usual. The two pens I typically carried were my Parker Vacumatic Maxima with Montblanc Bordeaux ink and my Pelikan M805 Stresemann with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink.

Some links of interest…

Franklin-Christoph Model 19 “1901” in Smoke and Cinnamaroon: A Review — The Pen Addict // I regret getting my Model 19 before this acrylic was available.

Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter Organiser and Notebook Cover Review – Pens! Paper! Pencils! // Read this at your own peril. This review put me over the edge. I ended up giving in to the favorable exchange rate and ordered one.

Ink Review: Callifolio Oliphants – The Well-Appointed Desk // I stopped linking to ink reviews some time ago, there were just so many. But I decided to break the rule for and ink brand I never heard of. Plus, I like the color. A second rule I have is to only link once to a site.

Ink Mixing: Putting Unused Colors to Work — The Gentleman Stationer // A way to put all that ink to use and have some fun.

If the pen is the body, the nib is the mind. – Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb. // I know she’s written something, but I keep getting distracted by the photos and I’ve yet to read the article.

5 months in with the Hobonichi Techo — The Finer Point // I’ve also been using the Techo this year and I’m enjoying it.

Pilot Kakuno Review – All Things Stationery

Review: BamaPens Cigar Box Pen & Ink Storage — the desk of lori

Pen Review: OMAS Milord – The Pen Habit

Check out all of this week’s links at Fountain Pen Links. If you’re looking for information about a specific pen or ink be sure to visit Pennquod.

Review: Namisu Nexus Minimal Fountain Pen

Namisu Nexux Minimal with a fine nib The Namisu Nexus Minimal fountain pen was a Kickstarter campaign launched during the last days of July 2014. I backed it at the early bird level which was the lowest pledge amount. I picked the Matt Black finish (that’s the way they spelled “Matt”, but I’ll use “Matte” from now on). I debated dropping out before the deadline because they had never done a pen before and a November 2014 delivery date was clearly too aggressive. As their stretch goals kicked in the project became even more complicated since the stretch goals were really just add-ons at additional cost requiring even more management and procurement of unique products. But it was less than $40 to get it to my door (23 GBP plus shipping) so I stayed in.

I’m glad I stayed in, although the pen was in fact several months late, arriving in late February. I’ve had it inked since arrival and it’s still on its first ink. (Well, technically that’s not true but it’s true in spirit. More on that later.) The ink has lasted over two months because I just keep reaching over this pen to pick up another. When I do use it I like it since there is a lot to like about this pen.

Why I Got It

It was a nice looking pen at a reasonable price. I wanted to support an original fountain pen on Kickstarter. It’s a simple design which I like and it’s available in black which I also like.

What I Got

Namisu Nexus Minimal Matte BlackA matte black fountain pen with an aluminum body and a Bock fine nib. There’s no clip or other furniture on the pen. The pen feels very comfortable in my hand. There’s no traditional gripping section but the grooves in the pen help provide a secure grip.

I’m not sure what the aluminum barrel is coated with but it doesn’t have the cold feel of aluminum. It’s not slippery like some metal pens either. It’s very comfortable to hold.

They say the cap doesn’t post, but it does. Although the threads may scratch the barrel with repeated posting. So while it may be able to post, they may say it doesn’t because it’s not recommended. Besides, posting adds very little to the length of the pen.

The nib is a mass produced Bock nib unit. Mine is a fine nib. This isn’t necessarily bad but for me it’s the weakest part of the fountain pen. More on this in the section on writing with the pen. I suspect there’s some variation between the nibs that were used. I think they took the nibs as delivered and didn’t tune them. This is a inexpensive pen after all.

The black matte finish has held up well. I’m neither overly protective or abusive to my fountain pens. I don’t put them in my pocket with coins or keys (except a couple pens that are enhanced by this) but it will roll around a desk or table. There’s a couple blemishes that are noticeable upon close inspection. There’s no noticeable wear from me gripping the pen or cap. (I fiddle with the cap in my left hand as I write with my right.)

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 5.5730″ (141.56 mm)
  • Length Uncapped: 5.3345″ (135.49 mm)
  • Cap Diameter: 0.5050″ (12.83 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter (near nib): 0.5165″ (13.12 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter (widest): 0.5530″ (14.04 mm)
  • Weight (with ink): 26 g
  • Weight (body only/with ink): 22 g

Writing With The Pen

Namisu Nexux Minimal fine nib with Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire ink cartridgeI did not order a converter with the pen and the supplied cartridge broke during shipment. I did have to clean the pen before use to get the ink off so this would also have removed any manufacturing residue. I picked a Diamine Prussian Blue cartridge for this pen’s first ink. The ink flowed right through the pen, literally, and filled the cap. After cleaning this mess, and the pen, I picked a Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire long international ink cartridge. There weren’t any signs of leaking and the ink didn’t fill the cap.

The threads are sharp but I hold the pen well above the threads so this isn’t a problem. The pen isn’t designed to be held on the threads but if you typically hold the pen close to the nib this may bother you.

The Nexus is a wet writer. The Bock nib is a standard size for a western fine, which means it’s a bit wide for my tastes. The Edelstein ink is a little on the dry side so that helps.

I’ve had some annoying skipping with the pen. And by annoying I mean it’s frequent enough to affect the flow of my writing. A close inspection shows that the tines are slightly misaligned. Once I’m done with the review I may try aligning and smoothing the nib. I can limit the skipping if I concentrate on the pen angle and keep the nib’s very small sweet spot in contact with the paper. But I find this more fatiguing than regular writing so it doesn’t last long.

Speaking of fatigue I find the Nexus Minimal to be comfortable to write with and can go about 45 minutes before feeling any fatigue at all, but that means having to deal with the skipping.

Cleaning The Pen

The nib unit does unscrew if you want to remove it for cleaning. But I’d prefer not to and the pen is easily cleaned with just a converter or a bulb syringe to force water through.

Inks Used

As mentioned, the Diamine Prussian Blue flowed right through the pen. A second pen, my Sheaffer VFM, was loaded at the same time and didn’t have a problem. I haven’t heard of any similar problems and my second ink was fine, so this may be an isolated incident.

Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire in a long international cartridge was loaded next and is still in the pen. Flow is good, almost too good for my tastes. As I mentioned there’s a lot of skipping but I blame the nib and not the ink for this.

Wrapping Up

The Namisu Nexus Minimal fountain pen is a very nice pen. Its weakest piece is the nib, unfortunately that’s kind of crucial for a fountain pen. There’s only a couple of places to buy nibs in relatively small quantities and for a pen at this price point, so it’s hard to complain about the choice. Bock is a trusted manufacturer and I’ve no doubt many pens were delivered with aligned nibs and perform better than mine, but there’s always going to be variation in the mass produced nibs. Even a company such as TWSBI has had their own nib problems forcing them to change suppliers at one point1.

While aligning and smoothing a nib isn’t hard it isn’t something a first time fountain pen buyer wants to do with their one fountain pen. Eventually I’ll align the nib, but until then I’ll continue to pick up the pen next to the Nexus. At least until a rainy weekend when I decide to tune several pens.

With a little nib work the Namisu Nexus Minimal fountain pen is a keeper, but until the nib is fixed the Nexus Minimal won’t be inked again.

Additional Reading

Namisu Website

Kickstarter Campaign Page (now closed)

Reviewed on FPN

Gallery

 

 

  1. If I remember correctly, they changed from Bock to JoWo nibs on their Vac 700.

Favorite 5: Inks

It’s been over a year and a half since I last listed my Favorite 5 inks, so it’s time for an update. This was much harder than picking favorite pens, which is one reason I kept putting it off. Three of the inks from October 2013 remain on the list.

I also ended up with four Montblanc inks on this list. I would have said it’s my favorite brand overall, if I was forced to pick just one, but going into this I wouldn’t have expected it to dominate the list and I looked for inks to replace one or two of them. But I kept the list as-is since I do think these inks give me a nice spread across the spectrum of ink colors I like to use the most.

1. Montblanc Bordeaux

Photo of a bottle of Montblanc Bordeaux ink

Montblanc Bordeaux Ink

Easily my number 1 ink. This is always in one of my inked pens, at least since I decided to stop hoarding it and actually use it. I did pick up another bottle from eBay to replace one I recently finished. So now I’m back up to four bottles (minus one pen fill). Montblanc Bordeaux ink notes.

2. Rohrer and Klingner Blau-Schwarz

Photo of a Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz bottle

I’m not a fan of blue or even blue-black inks, yet this blue-black is a favorite and even moved up the list a couple of slots. Unfortunately it’s a limited edition ink. This ink is a regular in at least one of my pens. Ink Notes

3. Montblanc Permanent Grey

Sheaffer Balance Aspen LE medium nib with Montblanc Permanent Grey ink bottle

A new addition to my list but I’ve grown to really like this ink despite its potential for boredom. It’s a regular in my favorite modern fountain pen which has a nib that brings out the best in this ink. Despite its relatively high cost I bought a second bottle to have on hand. No review yet.

4. Montblanc Toffee Brown

Bottle of Montblanc Toffee Brown Fountain Pen InkI like brown inks and this is my current favorite. I don’t have much to add other than my Edison Menlo is my favorite choice for this ink, although mainly because it’s color coordinated. Montblanc Toffee Brown Ink Notes

5. Montblanc Irish Green

Photo of an open Montblanc Irish Green bottle

Whenever I want a true green ink I keep reaching for this bright green. Ink Notes

Wrapping Up

I obviously have a preference for Montblanc inks, despite not having any of their pens. It just turned out this way. It helps that I trust their ink for my vintage or hard to clean pens since Montblanc intends them for use it their own expensive pens.

The last two inks, Toffee Brown and Irish Green are the most likely to vanish from this list since they aren’t inks I always have inked up. But the first three inks on the list are always in a pen and were easy choices as favorites.

What are your favorite inks?

 

For Sale – Three Pilot Vanishing Point Barrels

These have been sold.

Time to thin the accumulation a bit. While I like Vanishing Points I really love the Maplewood and the metal VPs aren’t getting much use. So I’m selling off some of the barrels. The nib units are not included. Converters, boxes, and cartridge covers are NOT included either, just the barrel. Nib units are available from retailers such as Goulet Pens.

Shipping in the U.S. is $6 per order (any number of pens in one shipment) and includes tracking and insurance. US addresses only, no international shipping for these pens. I found that USPS has been geographically challenged on my last two international shipments and I don’t want to take the risk at this time. Sorry.

You can use the contact form on the For Sale page or email me at ray [at] fpquest.com. A firm “I want it” along with your email address and I’ll send a Paypal invoice and then will send the pen(s) within 2 days of receiving payment. I’ll also take Square Cash on request.

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black barrel only – This is in good condition with minor signs of wear – Sold

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black for salePilot Vanishing Point Chrome barrel only – In good condition with minor signs of wear – sold

Pilot Vanishing Point Chrome for salePilot Vanishing Point Gunmetal w/black trim barrel only – In good condition with minor signs of wear – Sold

Pilot Vanishing Point Gunmetal for sale

Ink and Pen Notes: Sheaffer PFM I and J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage

Sheaffer PFM I with J. Herbin Lierre SauvageI recently wrote about the Sheaffer PFM I as the pen that made me feel stupid. Since then it had been filled with J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage ink. I was filled on April 9th and I did use the pen quit a lot until I wrote it dry by May 1st (I’m a little slow getting these notes published). While three weeks is a considerable length of time I would have expected longer with such a large pen and a fine nib so I still may not have gotten a complete fill.

The J. Herbin ink and the PFM performed well on a wide variety of papers except for some cheap copy paper where there was some feathering, even with the thin nib.

It’s a bright green but I like the color better in the bottle than on paper. The color seems a bit muted to me when it’s on paper. There was a little line variation with the fine nib which was nice. It also dried rather quickly so I didn’t have any accidental smudges.

I prefer the green of Montblanc Irish Green over Lierre Sauvage but I have fewer accidental smudges with Lierre Sauvage.

Favorite 5: Vintage Fountain Pens

It’s been just over six months since I last updated my Favorite 5 Vintage Fountain Pens. As I mentioned when I updated my Favorite 5 Modern Fountain Pens, I have instituted a new rule – to be considered the pen must have been used since I last published my favorite five list. In this case this made picking the pens a non-event, I only used 5 vintage pens since October. I do group my Esterbrook J’s and nibs together which does reduce the overall number. A vintage pen is any pen manufactured before I was born. Here’s my current list.

1. Parker Vacumatic Maxima (1942) Silver Pearl with Nickel Trim

Parker Vacumatic Maxima (1942) Pearl GreyThis moves all the way up from the fifth position six months ago. I love this particular finish, it seems I’m attracted to black and gray finishes, and even though the finish is worn through use, that merely enhances its beauty.

The nib is very nail-like but that’s what I like. It’s performance never disappoints me.

2. Esterbrook J (any of them)

Esterbrook J with 8440 nibThis is certainly my most used vintage model. It’s a rare day when at least one Esterbrook isn’t inked. I’d prefer a bigger pen but like my modern KarasKustoms Ink this pen makes the list thanks to its variety. No real review of the pen but the nibs are indexed here with links to their reviews.

3. Esterbrook Dip-Less with #7550 nib

Esterbrook Dip-less in an empty #407 inkwell

Esterbrook Dip-less in an empty #407 inkwell

This has been inked, so to speak, since August 2014 and I use it almost every day, at least for a few words. Part of the attraction is that the pen is different. But I do enjoy writing with it. Review

4. Sheaffer PFM I

Photo of a Sheaffer PFM I on a mirrorThis is borderline vintage. Since most were sold before my birth I choose to believe my specific pens were manufactured before I was born. This is the low end trim for the PFM line but it works well for me. The photo and the review are of my first PFM which was blue. I bought a second PFM I in green which is my color preference. The pens are identical in every way except color. Even the nib performance is identical, at least as much as I can tell. Review

5. Parker Duofold Senior c1928 “Big Red”

Parker Duofold Senior This has always been the classic fountain for me so this makes the list based strictly on emotion, and the fact that is was one of only five vintage pens I used since October. This pen has a tendency to leak a bit from the nib into the cap when being bounced around in my bag, so it tends to stick around the house. While it’s never actually leaked I also hesitate to carry it in my shirt pocket since it is one of the few vintage pens I have where I am paranoid about it leaking. Review

Wrapping Up

I was a little surprised that I only used five vintage fountain pens in the last six months. I have a couple that could have challenged these if I had used them. The Duofold certainly has the a tenuous grip on the list which is no surprise since it’s been on the list and then dropped in the past.

What’s your favorite vintage pen?