Ink & Pen Notes: Sheaffer Snorkel with Extra Fine Nib and Waterman Red

Sheaffer Snorkel extra fine nib with Waterman Red inkI inked up my burgundy Sheaffer Snorkel with Waterman Red ink with the intent that it would be refilled with the same red ink and kept inked up for months. This is because the snorkel filling system has to be the hardest one to clean out. Since the snorkel bypasses the feed when filling the pen the water also bypasses the feed when flushing the pen. I picked Waterman Red since it’s a safe ink to be kept in a pen for a long, long time.

Well, the pen was inked for four months, but that was just one fill. I just didn’t use the pen that much. I typically picked the Esterbrook Dip-Less when I wanted red ink while sitting on my desk and I just didn’t carry the Snorkel when I went out. The nail in the coffin was when I inked up my Kaweco AL Sport with red ink. Since it’s a small pen I do carry it more.

I didn’t have any problems with the pen. It wrote immediately whenever I uncapped it and didn’t skip at all.

As expected, cleaning the pen is a pain. I fill and flush the pen to clear and remaining ink out of the sac then go to work on the feed. I fill the barrel with water and shake the water through the feed multiple times. I also hold the nib/feed in a ultrasonic cleaner (UC) to help force the ink out. Once the pen seems clean I leave it sitting in a tissue for a day to try and wick out any remaining ink. These seems to work despite being a very long process. It has become shorter since I added the UC.

The four months with the ink didn’t cause any additional problems with cleaning. There wasn’t any noticeable staining.

I like the pen although it’s too thin for me to use for long writing sessions. Since I usually use red for marking up documents or other short notes red was an ideal color for the pen. Plus it matches the fountain pen. It will probably be a long time before I ink this pen up again, yet I did like the combination.

When taking the photos I noticed that the nib is slightly misaligned with the feed. This didn’t affect the pen performance at all so while the aesthetics bugs me, I left it as-is.

Sunday Notes and Links

Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood with XXXF nib and Pilot Black cartridgesThis week’s favorite fountain pen and ink combination was another Pilot Vanishing Point. This time it was the Pilot Maplewood Vanishing Point with a XXXF nib that was purchased from Richard Binder. It has a Pilot Black ink cartridge which is dark enough for the thin line the nib puts down. I did a lot of note taking and writing in Field Notes so the thin nib was ideal. This weekend I’ll probably swap the nibs between my Cherry Bamboo and Maplewood VPs so I spend more time with my new Cherry Bamboo. Another reason I like the VPs, ease of nib swaps without having to empty the pen.

No comments, just my favorite links published this week..

Delfonics Rollbahn Notebook with Suica’s Penguin — Three Staples

The Swan Plug Filler. – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Papers of Montreal – Calligraphy Nut

Loadout For Five Weeks In Europe – THE UNROYAL WARRANT

A Guide to Buying Pelikan – The Pelikan’s Perch

New Write More Letters Page here on MPNI – My Pen Needs Ink

Staples Perforated Writing Pads – The Frugal Fountain Pen

Review: Platinum Carbon Pen – The Well-Appointed Desk

Pilot Custom Heritage 92 Fountain Pen – Pete Denison

Carolina Pen Company Custom Pens –

Pen Review: OMAS Ogiva Alba – 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.

Sunday Notes and Links

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo on my Roterfaden TaschenbegleiterThis week’s favorite fountain pen and ink combination is driven by the pen, and also that I like new things. The Pilot Cherry Bamboo Vanishing Point with a left oblique nib and a Pilot Blue cartridge is my choice. The blue ink is riding the coattails on the pen. I like the properties of the ink, but blue has never been a ink I liked. My first impressions of the Cherry Bamboo are here.

Don’t miss the mid-year giveaway, you have less than two weeks to enter.

I still have two fountain pens left for sale. I’m considering dropping the price of the Kaweco AC Sport to $80. Mention this and you can have the pen and leather sleeve for $80 plus shipping, even if I haven’t officially dropped the price yet. The price on the remaining VP is firm although I’ll take another $10 off if you take buy the AC Sport and the Vanishing Point.

Some links of interest…

Review: Lamy Scala Blue Black with 14K EF Nib AND Lamy Dialog 3 with 14K F Nib – The Well-Appointed Desk // A nice pen. Luckily I see enough things I don’t particularly like so I can say no.

ERO – canetas e coisas // I like this pen material although I think over time I’d grow to consider it ugly. Yet my first reaction was “Nice!”

Marlen Rainbow Over Hong Kong Fountain Pen Review – THE UNROYAL WARRANT // Weird

“Sheaffer’s take on Steel vs Gold nibs. 1982.” – edisonpenco on Twitter // More fodder for the gold vs. steel argument. As for me, if there is a choice I always pick steel.

Fountain Pen Aesthetics (Part 1) — Fountain Pen Economics // The first is a series of 5 posts, be sure to read them all. I haven’t read the entire series yet but it should make for some pleasant Sunday reading.

Pen Review: Delta Fusion 82 – The Pen Habit // I probably wouldn’t have bought this pen anyway, but the marketing on the nib turns me off completely and I couldn’t bring myself to buy it no matter how nice the rest of the pen is. And it is a nice looking pen.

Pilot Lady White Momiji Maple Fountain Pen – Write to Me Often // I never heard of this pen and was surprised to read it was picked up on a trip to America.

Three Everyday Old Pens – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Carried Away! book review – My Pen Needs Ink

Two Cute Fountain Pens (~$3 and below) – On Fountain Pens

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.

Ink & Pen Notes: Nexus Minimal with Medium Nib and Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite

Namisu Nexux Minimal fine nib with Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire ink cartridgeI reviewed the Nexus Minimal fountain pen back in May so I won’t repeat what I wrote about the writing experience. The pen skips so I kept it inked at the time, planning to smooth the nib. Instead I wrote it dry. Well actually, there was a little writing and a lot of evaporation.

While I did use the pen occasionally and didn’t check the ink level I’m convinced there was significant evaporation as there was close to half a cartridge left when I did the review.

I won’t be re-inking the Nexus Minimal fountain pen until I’m ready to smooth the nib.

This Just In: Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo and Left Oblique Nib

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo on my Roterfaden TaschenbegleiterWhile not the only reason, I’ve been selling off my accumulation to fund some new purchases. While I like the metal Pilot Vanishing Points the metal feels cold and impersonal. This really became apparent to me the more I used the Maple Wood Vanishing Point. So when Pilot released two more models made of wood the only question was which one I would add to my accumulation first.

The two new models are Cherry Bamboo and Black Bamboo, both have rhodium trim. Both finishes called out to me. My last addition was a dark pen, the Stresemann, so this time I decided to go with a little color and picked the Cherry Bamboo. Besides, I do like red and black together and while mostly red this does have black in it.

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo closeup

Cherry Bamboo closeup

Despite the Bamboo name the pens are made of Birch Wood. While several sites say it’s Bamboo, enough say they’re made of birch wood that I’m convinced it’s birch wood. While it could be the varnish on the Retro 51 and the dye on the VP, my Bamboo Retro 51 feels and looks a lot smoother with less wood grain than the VP.

The pen is pricey and it’s not for everyone. But it is for me and since I sold enough of my accumulation to pay for the pen I went ahead and took the plunge.

I have plenty of VP factory nibs. I sold most of my VPs as empty barrels and have five nibs for two pens, so I ordered the pen from Classic Fountain Pens. This way I could have John Mottishaw grind the factory medium nib to a left oblique. More on the nib later.

The pen is even better looking in real life than in pictures. I’m really glad I picked the Cherry Bamboo. It arrived in a Russian Nesting Doll of boxes. The outer white cardboard sleeve covered a heavy cardboard black box. Inside that was a hinged presentation box for the pen, also black. Removing the presentation box revealed the paperwork and an ink cartridge. The pen sat in a bed of thin cloth and the Pilot name is embossed on the cushioned cover. Nice, but not overboard.

While I’ve been selling off my metal Vanishing Points barrels I’ve been keeping many of the nibs. I’ve been considering getting one of the medium nibs ground to a left oblique or stub. The left oblique fits the way I hold the pen perfectly, at least my Esterbrook left obliques do. The little rotation it needs is the way I want to hold the pen normally and one reason I have a harder time with italic or even stubs.

I was slightly concerned that the clip might prevent me from holding the pen comfortably with the right angle for the nib. Because of this I had intended to have one of my medium nibs ground at a future pen show so I could test it while it was ground.

Ordering the VP without a nib wasn’t an option and another factory nib was unneeded. I spent some time comparing my Esterbrook left oblique with the way I held the Vanishing Point. I was confident it would work for me and I went for the left oblique ground by John Mottishaw.

Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique NibI was extremely happy when the pen arrived. The left oblique, which is about 15° in this case, seems perfect for the Vanishing Point. The clip, which can bother some people, and the nib combine to give me a near perfect writing experience.

Since I naturally grip the pen correctly for the nib I can use this pen for notes since I don’t really need to concentrate on my writing. Still, this nib is more for sit down, longer form writing sessions such as the draft to this article.

I inked it up with the included blue cartridge rather than waste the cartridge. I like Pilot ink and I usually use cartridges in the VPs, although blue is rarely my color of choice. But why waste a cartridge. I’ll probably use the converter with this nib so I can pick inks that appreciate the left oblique nib.

The nib isn’t very wide (not a complaint, it’s my preference) so the line variation is subtle. But it’s noticeable and I like it.

I’m glad to have another wood Vanishing Point and I’m very happy to have the Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo in my accumulation.

Mid-year Fountain Pen Giveaway

I’m really working to thin out the accumulation. I started with selling 10 fountain pens and now it’s time to give away a fountain pen. The winner will be picked at the half-way point of the year and chose one of three available fountain pens.

The Rules:
1. Leave a comment on this post and to prove you read it, indicate the pen you want. If you win you’ll be able to change your pick, put your comment must include one of the three pens offered as a selection. I’m not looking for exact names so duplicating what I wrote as the name isn’t required and having a typo won’t disqualify you. Picking a Visioneer would disqualify you since there’s no universe where that’s a typo or a good choice.
2. One entry per person.
3. This is open internationally as long as USPS will ship there. Prizes will be declared as a gift but I am required to indicate a value. While this value will be relatively small you will be responsible for any customs fees or taxes.
4. I can’t (won’t) replace any prizes that may be lost or delayed in transit. I use the lowest cost method with no insurance and often no tracking outside the US. After many years of problem free shipping my recent history has some international deliveries taking over 30 days while touring the customs house in multiple countries only to be sent back. This applies to U.S winners too, but it’s mainly been an issue internationally.
5. Please leave your email address in the appropriate comment field. It will not be made public and I won’t add it to any mailing list or share it with others. This will allow me to contact you directly if you win. I will also post the winning comment here on the fountain pen quest but the email will prevent someone from impersonating you to claim the prize.
6. You have until noon eastern U.S. time on July 1st, 2015 to post your entry. This is mid-year in my part of the world.
7. Comments will be numbered in the order received and a winning number will be picked at
8. The winner has 7 days to contact me after I post the winner. If the prize hasn’t been claimed by then I’ll pick another winner.

The Pens:

Pens for the giveaway - capped Pens for the giveaway - uncappedThese pens are the ones I can’t (or shouldn’t) sell because I didn’t pay for them. None of them include boxes or paperwork but they all include the appropriate converter.

Sheaffer 300 Metallic Gray This pen was provided by Goulet Pens for review purposes. You can read the review here. Of the three pens this is the hardest for me to part with. As I said in the review, I love this pen. Yet, among all my Sheaffers this gets lost so it needs a better home with someone who will use it. My one caveat is that if you must post your pens you may find this top heavy. The pen has a fine nib.

Taccia Staccato Black I won this pen in the Pen Addict’s 100th episode giveaway. I reviewed it here. The pen is nice but the broad nib and gold trim aren’t for me. I find it comfortable and considered having the nib ground more to my liking. But the gold trim is also a turn off for me.

Monteverde Impressa Pearl Silver This pen was provided by Pen Chalet for review purposes. You can read the review here. Others have liked this pen but reviews have been mixed. This one had issues so if you pick this one expect to fiddle with it. This has a fine nib, but it’s very wet.

So pick your pen: Sheaffer 300, Monteverde Imressa, or the Taccia Staccato. Leave your choice in a comment by noon eastern US time on July 1, 2015. The winner will be posted as soon as I can after that.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) with a Medium Nib and Sheaffer Emerald Green Ink

Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) medium nib with Sheaffer Emerald GreenThis fill of Sheaffer Emerald Green ink in my Jade Green Sheaffer Balance II was jinxed from the beginning. I did have high hopes based on my first experience with this combination. This time I started off by spilling the ink while filling the pen.

It’s a small, 12ml bottle of ink that Sheaffer packages as calligraphy ink. It’s from the maroon label era of Sheaffer inks, probably around 2000, give or take a couple if years. Because it’s a small bottle I filled the converter directly and clipped the rim of the bottle with the converter, I did clean the converter so this wasn’t the cause of my future problems.

It took what seemed like forever to get the ink to the nib so I ended up manually saturating the feed by twisting the converter. The pen was fine while I wrote a couple pages. I stored the pen in my Dudek “The Stand” overnight, which means it was nib up. In the morning it was hard starting and once it did start it was just a bit skippy. This was a theme with this pen, hard start and just a bit of a skip at times. While not annoying enough to flush the pen early this was a big difference from my initial experience from the pen, which made it feel worse than it was since my expectations weren’t being met.

Then on Saturday, after being unused for about a week, the pen wrote immediately. Much to my surprise it continued to write great for about a page. It wrote great right up to the point it did’t write at all. I knew the pen wasn’t empty so I opened it up, planning to saturate the feed. What I found was ink all over the inside of the barrel and the outside of the converter. The converter was secure so this was either a hole in the converter (that I can’t find) or ink creep.

Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) ink in the barrel and on the converter

Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) ink in the barrel and on the converter

So that was it for this pen and it was time to clean and flush the pen, with the emphasis on clean. Because these pens have a reputation of being brittle and prone to crack I skipped the ultrasonic cleaner for the barrel and stuck with water and a long cotton swab. The barrel liner seems to be metal (brass?). I am a little concerned about the moisture causing rust or corrosion so the pen will sit out a long while to make sure the moisture evaporates before I close it up.

Ink leak aside, the writing experience with the pen and ink this time wasn’t up to the expectations set by my first experience with them. In fact, based on that first experience I bought two bottles of old Sheaffer Emerald Green (yellow label) ink on eBay. While this experience wasn’t downright bad, I probably wouldn’t have bought additional ink based on this experience.

So with two full 2 oz. unopened bottles and another fill or so left after the spill I’ll certainly be using the ink. It will be back in this pen, but first the Sheaffer Balance II needs to dry out and I need to wipe this experience from my brain.