Review: Platinum 3776 Ribbed Fountain Pen

photo of the Platinum 3776 RibbedI have several Platinum fountain pens and have always enjoyed their nibs, including the inexpensive Plaisir and Preppy. The Platinum 3776 Ribbed is my latest addition although it wasn’t the pen design that I targeted, rather, I wanted the ultra extra fine nib and this was the pen I picked for the nib.

Why I Bought It

nib on the Platinum 3776 RibbedAs I mentioned, I mainly bought the nib and the pen was attached. I already have a couple regular Platinum 3776 pens so I wanted a little variation. The black w/gold trim version was readily available but I prefer something other than gold trim so I looked around a bit. I also found mention of a red version but it was at least $50 more and from unknown sellers. Plus it still had gold trim. So I opted for black w/gold trim and ordered it from nibs.com (Classic Fountain Pens) so that UEF nib would be tuned before it was sent to me. When collecting links for this post I noticed that the pen is no longer available from nibs.com and appears to be discontinued by Platinum but may still be around from other retailers and eBay.

What I Got

The pen is basic black with gold trim. The ribbed design adds some character. In theory, the ribs help dissipate the heat from the hand so it doesn’t warm the ink. Assuming the gold bands are separators they separate the ribs into a “3776″ pattern. Three on the cap above the band, then 14 (7 + 7) between the two bands, then six after the second band. My fingers never touch the bands so they don’t impact my grip although they provide a nice tactile feel when uncapping the pen. The ribs started out just being different but I’ve grown to actually like the look of the pen.

It’s a click on cap yet for some reason, even after several months of use, I still want to unscrew the cap. The 14k gold nib is solid gold in color which complements the trim color.

The pen is made of plastic and although it doesn’t feel cheap and there’s no visible seams. But it does feel like plastic. This has the benefit of making the pen nice and light.

The pen uses Platinum’s proprietary cartridges and converter. (A converter and one black cartridge were included.) There is a platinum to international adapter available although I’ve never used it.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped:  5.6015″  (142.28 mm)
  • Length Uncapped:  4.99″  (126.74 mm)
  • Length Posted:  6.5″  (165.1 mm)
  • Section Length:  0.8710″  (22.12 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near nib):  0.3865″  (9.82 mm)
  • Section Diameter (below first rib):  0.4650″  (11.81 mm)
  • Section Diameter (mid-section):  0.4025″  (10.22 mm)
  • Cap Diameter:  0.5645″  (14.34 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter (at gold band):  0.5130″  (13.02 mm)
  • Weight:  .8 oz  (22 g)
  • Weight (body only):  .5 oz  (14 g)

Using the Pen

At 5″ in length the pen fits comfortably in my hand unposted and is so light that fatigue seems nearly impossible. The pen does post securely and the cap is light so the pen is still well balanced when posted, but I prefer to not post my pens.

The first ink for this pen was the included Platinum black ink cartridge. It took about 20 minutes for the ink to reach the nib, without any added help other than keeping the nib pointing down. But that was the only time I had to wait for ink. When I replaced the cartridges there was still water in the feed so I suspect that helped the new ink reach the nib faster. The Platinum cartridges have a metal ball inside to help the ink flow. This can cause some noise as the pen moves, which can be distracting at times.

As the name implies, the ultra extra fine nib puts down a nice thin line. A light touch is all that’s needed since the ink flows well. The 14K gold nib is a bit of a contradiction. It has some spring (not flex) under pressure, but when I write normally it feels like a nail. But I like my thin nibs to imitate nails as they put down a consistent line, so I’m very happy with the nib. For such a thin nib it’s extremely smooth. I couldn’t say it’s this way out of the box or because it was tuned by John Mottishaw.

Ink flow using the converter was also very good and problem free. The large opening allows plenty of ink to reach the feed. Leaving the pen to sit unused for over a week did result in a dry nib when it was uncapped but the ink did reach the nib quickly without needing to be forced.

Due to the thin line I plan on sticking with darker inks with this pen. I have a small cache of Platinum Black and Platinum Carbon black ink cartridges so those will probably be the ink of choice for this pen in the foreseeable future.

Below is a recent writing sample comparing it to two fine nibs.

writing sample comparison

Cleaning the Pen

There’s not much to say here. The pen cleans easily. Just a couple flushes with the bulb syringe and it’s clean.

Inks Used

I used both the Platinum Black cartridge included with the pen and a Platinum Carbon Black cartridge that I already had. Both inks put down a consistently thin, dark line. The Carbon Black is a pigment based ink and didn’t have a problem with the thin nib.

I also used Rohrer & Klingner Salix in the converter. Like the other inks it was also problem free.

Wrapping Up

I’m extremely pleased with the nib and I’m glad it’s part of my accumulation. The pen has been inked since I got it in January and used regularly. It’s never failed to please me. There hasn’t been any skipping and the only hard start was after it sat unused for about 10 days. The hard start was quickly resolved as the ink reached the nib on its own. The ribbed design gives the pen some character which I like. I’d prefer silver trim but the gold is growing on me. Bottom line, this pen is a keeper.

Addtional Reading

The Pen Addict reviews the UEF nib on the regular 3776 pen.

Video at Goulet Pens reviews several Platinum nibs.

Gallery

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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

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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

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Nib Notes: Esterbrook #2314-M Relief Medium Stub

Photo of the Esterbrook 2314M nib on a penNext up on my Esterbrook nib list is the Esterbrook #2314M. I don’t have a #1555, #2284 or a #2312 and I already looked at the Esterbrook #2314-F. So that brings me to the Esterbrook 2314M Relief Medium Stub.

My particular Esterbrook 2314M arrived without a box or a pen. There were some signs of use but it appeared to be in good shape. The nib is referred to as a “Relief Medium Stub” or just a “Medium Stub”. Like other nibs in the 2xxx series there’s no tipping material.

My particular nib is a little rough. If I use smooth paper and keep the nib at a proper angle it’s pretty smooth, but a slight variation would cause the nib to stab the paper. Not bad for a 50 year old nib. A closer look at the nib showed a slight mis-alignment of the tines. Things improved after they were aligned although the nib is not buttery smooth, there is still some tooth to the nib.

I was surprised at the difference in line size between this nib and it’s 2314F sibling as shown in the comparison done on the writing sample. Even though things improved after the tines were aligned the nib still had a small sweet spot to get the best performance.

My personal preference is for the thinner Esterbrook #2314-F so the Esterbrook 2314-M probably won’t get much use. In fact, I decided to flush it out as I was cleaning other pens rather than wait until I write it dry.

My nib may not be the best representation of this nib, especially when compared to a new old stock (NOS) example. But it’s not a nib that I’d use very often even if medium nibs were my preference.

The Esterbrook #2314-M is $25 from Anderson Pens and is listed as in stock. There’s currently a couple eBay listings with Buy It Now prices of about $38.

Gallery and Writing Sample

No box photos this time since  don’t have one.

Review: Monteverde Impressa

Monteverde Impressa cappedThe Impressa was a recently released by Monteverde and is available in four colors. Monteverde pens always caught my eye as a good value yet my only Monteverde is a Regatta I bought about 10 years ago. I was recently contacted by Ron at Pen Chalet who offered to provide a pen for review. (Thanks Ron!) I picked the Monteverde Impressa and let Ron pick the color.

Why I Got It

The pen was provided free for review by Pen Chalet so price was taken out of the equation. I was allowed to pick the pen I wanted to review and chose the Impressa due to its new, and rather unique design. There were four colors available and the Gun Metal & Red intrigued me but seemed just a little too subdued in the pictures. So I decided to let Ron pick the color but I did request a fine nib.

I did see the complete line at the Long Island Pen Show and the pens were shinier and better looking live than in the photos. There wasn’t a design I didn’t like.

What I Got

I received the Pearl Silver with Blue Trim model. It’s much shinier than the pictures and I really like it. This is even though blue is not a color I particularly like. But it works well with the white pen. The nib is a fine steel nib engraved with the Monteverde logo and name.

Monteverde Impressa packagingThe pen is an interesting design and one that’s unique in my accumulation. The top of the cap starts off square and becomes round as it reaches the body. The clip is built into the top of the cap where it’s hinged and has a spring action which allows it to open wide and still close tight. It does easily open and slide over material so it’s not the most secure clip. The pen is not about to fall out of my pocket but it will slide out easily if it catches on something. This does make it easy to slide in and out of a shirt pocket or a pen case. The clip does have a little lateral wiggle to it so it doesn’t always appear perfectly straight against the pen. It doesn’t feel poorly made, just that the tolerances of a $40 pen are not the same as a $400 pen. But it’s one of those things that I didn’t notice right away, but once I noticed I couldn’t unnotice. It hasn’t gotten any looser after a week of use in both my pockets and pen case.

The pen appears to be made of metal although I haven’t seen any official confirmation of that. The pen does have significant weight too it, especially when compared to the pens I typically use. it’s not so heavy that it’s uncomfortable, but it probably wouldn’t be my choice for a day log writing session.

The cap snaps on but does snap on securely. When posted the cap is help in place with friction.

The pen still has good balance when posted. Although that comes from someone who prefers to use pens unposted.

The step between the barrel and the section is very pronounced, especially since the cap threads are there. I can hold the pen naturally without the threads bothering me but if you hold the pen higher up it may bother you.

The nib is a standard #6 nib and can be swapped with most other Monteverde nibs or standard #6 nibs, It’s a nib only exchange, not the entire nib unit.

I really liked the look and design of this pen. It was also a good size which I thought would be comfortable to write with.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped:  5.5055″  139.83 mm
  • Length Uncapped:  5.0585″  128.49 mm
  • Length Posted:  6.0640″  154.02 mm
  • Section Length:  0.7285″  18.50 mm  (from below the threads to the top of the ridge protecting the nib)
  • Section Diameter (near nib):  0.3640″  9.24 mm
  • Section Diameter (below the threads):  0.4195″  10.66 mm
  • Cap Diameter:  0.4995″  12.68 mm
  • Weight:  1.4 oz  40 g

Using The Pen

Before inking the pen I flushed it out with a solution of water and a couple drops of dish soap to remove any manufacturing oils or residue. I’m glad I did this as it removed one possible cause of the terrible writing experience when I first inked the pen.

Monteverde Impressa nib closeupThe pen comes with both a black and a blue cartridge along with the convertor. As is my current practice I used one of the included cartridges, starting off with blue. I didn’t force the ink into the nib and it took about 15 minutes for the ink to get to the nib. Even with the ink flowing the writing experience was terrible. The flow would be good for a sentence or two then there would be terrible skipping. Then writing would be OK for a bit but good writing and skipping would alternate.

Things got so frustrating I removed the cartridge and again flushed the pen. Next up was the convertor filled with Sailor Kiwa Guro Nano Black. Even though the ink was black, night turned to day as they say. Flow was good although some skipping remained. But this time the skipping was on one stroke and immediately recovered. The ink did cling to the convertor so as the level became low I had to force the ink into the feed. I have the same problem with some other convertors so this didn’t annoy me.

Once I wrote the pen dry of the Sailor ink I tried a cartridge of Visconti Red. While it wasn’t as bad as the original blue cartridge the line would often be thin which was unpleasant so I flushed the ink and put Waterman Blue-Black in the convertor.

The Waterman Blue-Black wrote well. The skipping remained and it also clung to the convertor. By this time I decided to check the nib under a loupe and sure enough the tines were misaligned and was most likely the cause of the remaining skipping. So I aligned them. This more or less eliminated the skipping problem. More because it wrote great with the convertor until the level got low, less because cartridges didn’t have good flow and the ink still clung to the convertor which reduced flow at times.

Monteverde ink writing sample

Writing sample using the convertor

I didn’t need to do any nib smoothing, just a tine alignment. At that point the nib was very smooth. If it was aligned when it arrived I’d have considered it a very nice steel nib. Also on the subject of performance, I should mention I also removed the feed and nib to give them a thorough check and cleaning before writing this review. The performance didn’t change after this. You’ll also find a link to The Pen Habit under additional reading and he picks a medium nib’d Impressa as one of his five favorite pens.

None of the four cartridges I used provided acceptable performance. All had flow problems although the later cartridges did better. None were consistent enough to use until empty. On the other hand, the convertor has worked well. There aren’t any flow issues until most of the ink is used and I have to force the last bits into the feed. This isn’t an insignificant amount of ink as there is several pages of writing left. These are covered under ink used.

The pen is a wet writer, even though I have a fine nib. I’d say it’s one of my wettest fine nibs, if not the wettest. Sixth months ago I wouldn’t have liked this but I’ve begun looking at wetter nibs to provide some variation in my accumulation. The Montverde Impressa ended up being a nice writer, although the frustration adds to the $40 price.

Cleaning

I haven’t had the pen long enough to worry about clogging or staining, but it was easy enough to flush the ink out with regular water. The included convertor also disassembles to make it easy to clean.

Inks Used

As I mentioned, the cartridges didn’t work well at all. The performance ranged from absolutely terrible to just a frustratingly thin line. The convertor was used between each cartridge and didn’t have the same problems. Cartridges used were the included Monteverde Blue and Black ink which were the worst performing inks. The Visconti Red alternated between a nice line and a weak red line. The J. Herbin Perle Noire wrote well for a while then the feed would run dry and I’d have to force ink into it. This pen just doesn’t seem to like cartridges.

Things were much better when using the convertor. All the inks wrote well but had a tendency to cling to the convertor, not something unique to this pen. All the inks wrote well until the ink level became low enough to starve the feed. There was still a lot of ink stuck in the convertor so forcing it into the feed resulted in several more pages of writing. Inks used include Waterman Blue-Black, Sailor Kiwa Guro Nano black, and Visconti Bordeaux.

Wrapping Up

This is a tough one. I love the look and design of the pen but the performance left a lot to be desired. I really want to love this pen. If this pen had been a purchase I think I would have been justified in exchanging it, especially if I preferred cartridges. On the other hand it’s a $40 pen and the chance to experiment was hard to resist. There really were two problems – the first being the mis-aligned nib which was relatively easy to fix. The second problem is harder to identify. If both cartridges and the convertor had the same problem I’d say it was a feed problem. But inks in the convertor write fine, downright wet. While cartridges put down a weak line at best. To top it off I alternated between cartridges and convertor so it’s not likely one on the flushes removed some previously unseen residue or oils.

The mis-aligned nib is a little more forgivable although I have to say I’ve been impressed by a lot of inexpensive nibs these days.

Thanks to Pen Chalet for providing the pen for review. The Monteverde Impressa is currently $40 from Pen Chalet. They are also running a giveaway of a $50 and a $25 gift card ending about April 13th. Get complete giveaway details here. You can also use the coupon code FPQUEST for 10% off a purchase from them.

Additional Reading and Viewing

The Pen Habit reviewed the pen and selected it as one of his top 5 pens.

Gallery