Sunday Notes and Links

Esterbrook #8440 Superfine nib and Pelikan Blue-BlackThis week’s favorite fountain pen and ink combination was another vintage pen. It’s an Esterbrook J with a #8440 Superfine (aka Cartography) nib and Pelikan Blue-Back ink. I can’t really use the nib for fast writing since it’s so thin. If I’m careless I can stab the paper, so I pay attention and write a little slower when I use the nib, But it’s worth it.

Some links of interest…

#InCoWriMo Letters: Yes We Scan Them @dowdyism And A Bit More - Gorgeous.Ink // A new blog that has some great ink reviews, so browse around the site after reading this article.

Internal Architecture — Fountain Pen Economics // Another relatively new blog that provides an original view of the fountain pen world

The Palomino Collection Pack: Start Here – Write Analog // A good overview of the sampler.

An Interview with Linda Shrewsbury of CursiveLogic – Pens! Paper! Pencils! // If you haven’t backed the project yet please read this article and consider backing it.

OMAS Arte Italiana Milord Fountain Pen Review – Hey there! SBREBrown // Video review

Fountain pens and Colour pencils Sketches – Francis THEO // I love these sketches

Father and Son Pencil Ranking, Part II. – Pencil Revolution // A fun read

Big Announcement – Scholarship Fund Raising – And those Scholarships! – Newton Pens // Shawn Newton will be making pens full time. Check out the scholarship fund too.

Epic ink test: R3, M1 – Fountain Pen Physicist

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.

Bad Pen Giveaway

The current giveaway itemsI’m trying to thin my accumulation and one of the first pens to go is a truly bad fountain pen. I also found some extra pen adjustment supplies that might help the winner revive the pen. This giveaway is open worldwide. Included in the giveaway is:

  • Conklin Ohio (Blue) with a really terrible 14K gold nib. Misaligned tines and scratchy. The pen also has flow problems. Converter included but no box.
  • “Fountain Pens – The Complete Guide to Repair & Restoration” aka “Da Book” by Frank Dubiel
  • Two 3-way buff sticks
  • Nib smoothing kit with two abrasive sheets (green and white sheets in the photo) and a brass shim
  • One 10X loupe (used)

The giveaway has the usual rules:

  1. Leave a comment on this post by noon eastern US time on Saturday February 21, 2015. Include the line “I want the bad pen.” to prove you read this post. Entries without those five words will be discarded. You can add anything else, just include that line.
  2. One entry (comment) per person.
  3. Previous commenter bonus: If you’ve left one or more published comments on this blog in the past you’ll receive an extra entry. (Even if the comment was another giveaway entry) You do need to leave a valid comment (see rule 1) and you need to use the same screen name as you’ve used in the past. You also need to use the same email address (which is never published or shared) so I’m sure no one is hijacking your name. Using an account such as WordPress, Google, or any other that the WordPress commenting system supports works too. Do not leave a second comment, I will add the additional entries.
  4. The comments will be listed in a spreadsheet in the order received and then the previous-commenter bonus entries will be added to the list. The winning row number will be selected using
  5. The email address for the comment is a required field but does not need to be valid, although your should remember it to confirm you are the rightful winner. I will publish the winner on the blog and they will have one week to contact me and provide a shipping address. (I will try to contact you using the email address provided if it seems valid.) Email addresses will never be shared or published.

Good luck!

Ink and Pen Notes: KarasKustoms Ink Broad Nib with Iroshizuku Yu-yake

KarasKustoms Ink broad nib with Iroshizuku Yu-Yake - pen and bottle

Another broad nib bites the dust, or more accurately gets flushed out. This particular KarasKustoms Ink is one of the more recent arrivals so it was inked up to give it a try. I got the broad nib to be complete and have some variety. Since I have five Inks I decided to include a broad nib even though they really aren’t for me.

KarasKustoms Ink broad nib with Iroshizuku Yu-Yake - feedUnlike the other KarasKustoms Inks (which are fine and medium nibs) the feed on this one is slightly misaligned as can be seen in the photo. This didn’t affect it’s writing and I didn’t notice it until the photos were taken. Although if properly aligned the pen might be even wetter.

It’s a Schmidt nib so it’s a western broad nib, wider than my recently reviewed Sailor broad nib.

I flushed the pen early, it wasn’t even close to written dry. The broad nib doesn’t fit my writing style. And while I could use the Sailor broad nib enough to empty the pen and write a review this broad nib is just too wet and wide for me. I reviewed the KarasKustoms Ink here, although I didn’t have the broad nib at the time. I really like the Ink, which is obvious from the review, so I’ll probably get this nib ground into something with a little more character, although it may be awhile before that happens.

I like the Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-yake ink. Like all Iroshizuku inks it’s well behaved and I really like the orange color. Unfortunately for me, it really needs a wide or wet nib to shine, and those are nibs I tend to avoid.

I inked the pen up back on December 9th. There was still plenty of ink in the converter. Considering how much ink the nib puts down it just goes to show how little I used the pen.


Ink and Pen Notes: Sailor 1911M Broad Nib With Waterman Purple

Sailor 1911M Broad nib with Waterman Purple bottleI just reviewed my nearly 10 year old Sailor 1911M with a broad nib. Since it’s a broad nib I probably would have flushed the pen after the review, but as it turned out I wrote the pen dry while writing the review.

There’s not much to say about this pen and ink. Broad nibs aren’t for me so it’s not a pen I’d reach for a lot if I wasn’t doing a review. The nib is nice and smooth with a good flow, a little on the wet side. While it is a broad nib, it’s a narrow broad when compared to Pelikan or Schmidt nibs. But still too wide for my tastes.

The Waterman ink is, well, Waterman ink. It’s well behaved and looks good. Waterman was my first bottled ink so I’ve been using it a long time. It kind of fell from use for me, probably because I viewed it as a “starter” ink and wanted to move on to other options. I’ve started using it again and I’m reminded of what I’ve been missing.


Review: Sailor 1911M

Sailor 1911M posted shown on mirrorNext up for review is my Sailor 1911M in yellow with a broad nib. I had already decided the pen isn’t a keeper and sold it off. Unfortunately it came back to me with flow issues. After I confirmed the problem, but couldn’t see a cause, I pulled the nib and feed (simple friction fit) and scrubbed them clean (or more accurately, ultrasoniced them clean). I inked it up to give it a test, so I might as well review it.

The main reason I decided to sell this pen is the broad nib. Broad nibs aren’t for me so I’ve been either grinding them to something else or selling them off.

Why I Got It

I purchased the Sailor 1911M in October of 2005 from Fountain Pen Hospital. I already had a couple of full size 1911s and loved the 21kt nibs on them. The 1911M nib isn’t 21kt, it’s 14kt gold but I figured I’d give the broad nib a try. At the time I was still exploring nibs.

What I Got

The Sailor 1911M is a cartridge/converter pen using Sailor’s proprietary cartridges and converters. It’s a bright yellow pen with gold trim and black accents. I really like the look of the pen. At the time it was probably my most colorful pen. The gold cap band is engraved “SAILOR JAPAN FOUNDED 1911”.

The pen has a 14kt gold broad nib. Even though the nib is engraved “H-B” for hard broad, there’s a little spring to the nib which is a solid gold color. It’s certainly not flex. It’s less springy than my Pilot Custom 823 nib but springier than my Lamy 2000 nib. The Sailor logo and “14K” are engraved on the nib.

I don’t remember the packaging, but a converter and cartridge were certainly included.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 5.3030″ (134.70 mm)
  • Length Uncapped: 4.5915″ (116.62 mm)
  • Length Posted: 5.8205″ (147.84 mm)
  • Section Length: 0.6095″ (15.48 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near nib): 0.3760″ (9.55 mm)
  • Section Diameter (below threads): 0.4130″ (10.49 mm)
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): 0.3935″ (9.99 mm)
  • Cap Diameter (at cap band): 0.5820″ (14.78 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter: 0.4820″ (12.24 mm)
  • Weight (w/converter and ink): 20 grams
  • Weight (w/converter and ink): 12 grams

Writing With The Pen

Sailor 1911M broad nibSailor uses a proprietary cartridge which has a larger capacity than the standard short international cartridge but seem to be about the same as the long international cartridges. The converters seem to have about the same capacity as most standard converters although I haven’t done any measurements. The opening to the feed is larger than a standard international which seems to help the flow. I’ve never had a flow problem with a Sailor pen and this is one probably one reason why that is. The broad nib also keeps plenty of ink moving during fast writing. Well, no problem until I sold the pen and it came back to me with flow problems.

Uncapping the pen takes about 1 3/4 full turns to remove the cap and get the pen ready for writing. The cap does post securely, although held in place only with friction. The cap band should help prevent cracking from repeated posting. I don’t post my pens but the pen feels well balanced when posted. This isn’t surprising since the plastic cap is very light.

The Sailor 1911M is a light pen that didn’t cause fatigue in a long writing session. It’s also has a comfortable shape and size that fits my hand well.

The broad nib is nice and smooth with a good ink flow. I consider it a wet writer although I tend to like nibs on the drier side so others may argue with the “wet” description. It’s not a gusher. Broad nibs aren’t for me so this isn’t a pen I would reach for if I wasn’t writing this review. But there’s nothing technically wrong with the nib. Even though it’s wider than I like, my Pelikan broad nibs were wider (as are many other western broad nibs), although drier. This is one of my more pleasing standard broad nibs since it’s relatively thin when compared to other broad nibs that I’ve used.

The writing sample shows that I can easily write along the narrow lines with the broad nib and still read each letter. In comparison, the Schmidt broad nib in the KarasKustoms ink turns the circular letters into blobs.

Ink likes to spread out on the nib. Not so much “nib creep” which I consider ink spreading from the slit between the tines, but ink splattered on the nib. There’s also a lot of ink splatter in the cap. It’s not dripping out o the cap, but when I posted the cap it left a drop of ink on the barrel which I had to rub off. Likewise ink has stained the threads a bit. This has been a problem with the pen since I got it and doesn’t seem related to any one ink. I embrace the creep and like a nib that looks well used so this doesn’t bother me too much.

Inks Used

Sailor 1911M with Waterman Purple bottleI used Waterman Purple when I inked the pen up for this review. Flow was good and there wasn’t any skipping. Maybe it was that the nib puts down more ink than I’m used to, but I wrote this pen dry faster than I expected which makes me wonder if ink evaporated as the pen sat around. If I had to estimate, I figure I write the equivalent of 10 full size pages with the pen. I could pause for several minutes and the nib would remain wet, so it wasn’t quick to evaporate off the nib.

I don’t remember what other inks I used in the pen. Certainly Waterman inks based on when I got the pen. I’ve never had any performance problems with any ink. Although as I already mentioned ink splatter was common among all inks.

Cleaning the Pen

The pen is easy to clean. Although the flow issue my have been due to some careless cleaning before storing the pen. It takes a couple flushes of the bulb syringe to remove traces of the ink from the feed. The nib and feed are friction fit so they can easily be removed for a thorough cleaning.

The converter also comes apart easily for cleaning. The converter does seem well made and it should hold up well after dis-assembly. I did have to disassemble it to get the Waterman Purple from around the piston. This is only abut the second time I had to dis-assemble the converter.

Almost all the stains on the threads and the ink from inside the cap did wash away although some of the stains didn’t go away until they spent some time in the ultrasonic cleaner.

Wrapping Up

The Sailor is a well built pen with the classic cigar shape. The Sailor nib is also free of complaints. Yet, the Sailor 1911M comes across as an average pen. Nothing stands out to recommend it as a “must have.” The nib is too wet for my tastes. The pen currently retails for about $156 which does seem like a fair price for the pen since it’s solidly built and has a gold nib that was smooth and aligned.

I have been regrinding some of my broad nibs since they aren’t suited to my writing style. But I won’t be doing that with the Sailor 1911M. Nothing about it stands out when compared to other fountain pens in my accumulation. After using this pen again it made me reconsider my decision to sell the pen. It’s a nice writer and there are times where I want a broad nib and this one isn’t so wide as to be unusable for me. I will probably offer the pen for sale again because it’s really not one I would pick up over others in my accumulation. So I’d have to say it’s not a keeper.


Sunday Notes and Links

Parker Duofold c.1926 FIne Nib with Aurora Black bottleThis week’s favorite fountain pen and ink combination was easily my Parker Duofold c.1928 with Aurora Black ink. It’s been far too long since I last inked up the Parker (over a year according to my records) and it’s been a joy to write with. It’s been mostly long form writing (several full pages as opposed to short notes) and the pen is very comfortable and the nib is smooth. It’s fine nib is a little wet but I’m growing to like that more and more.

Some links of interest…

Turn a Blank Notebook into a Lined Notebook – The Well-Appointed Desk // Ana updated her guide sheets. I don’t use guide sheets (maybe I should) but this is a great resource.
Nakaya Portable Cigar Ao-tamenuri Fountain Pen Review — The Pen Addict // The best part of the review is that he takes the pen out in addition to sharing it with others.
My Note Book Workflow — Alt. Haven
An Often Unknown Influence – Mr. Thomas Hall — The Clicky Post
Feature on Fox8! – Edison Pen Co // Fox8 feature on Edison Pen (video)
When in Doubt, Make A List – Scott Berkun via lifehacker
For the next company that wants to revive a beloved pen brand. – Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb // Repeating a link I mentioned here
Citrusy! The Faber-Castell Lime LOOM Fountain Pen – From the Pen Cup
Kaweco Skyline Mint Fountain Pen — The Finer Point
Pelikan M600 Souverain: The Right Choice? — The Gentleman Stationer
Rotring Core Fountain Pen – Write to Me Often
Always a gentleman: A review of Waterman blue-black ink – A fool with a pen // A stalwart ink I don’t appreciate enough
Noodler’s Bernanke Black Ink Review – Stationary Journey
Cursive – cursed again? – Pete Denison
Keeping Track Of Ink And Pens – An Inkophile’s Blog

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 and Pen Notes: KarasKustoms Ink with Medium Nib and J. Herbin Vert Empire Cartridge

KarasKustoms Ink with medium nib and J Herbin Vert Empire pen and inkI just reviewed J. Herbin Vert Empire cartridges and this KarasKustoms Ink with a medium nib was the primary pen for the review. It’s the Tumbled Raw Aluminum version with an aluminum griping section. I didn’t write the pen dry and wasted about 1/2 a cartridge. While the ink performed well the color just wasn’t for me. I kept the pen inked after the review with the intention of writing it dry, but I always passed it over. Of the twelve pens I currently have inked it was debatable whether this would be my 11th or 12th choice if I ranked the pens.

I did review the KarasKustoms Ink although this Tumbled Raw Aluminum version wasn’t part of the review since it’s a recent addition. The specific nib is also new to me but I did review a different medium nib and this one is consistent with the earlier nib, It’s always good when pen manufacturing is consistent.

The pen was inked up back on January 19th. I have no complaints about the performance. The flow was consistent and there wasn’t any skipping or hard starts. My dislike of the ink is purely aesthetic.

There’s a complete lack of any nib creep or splattering so the nib seems nice and clean even though I don’t clean them before the photos.