Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Akkerman #10 Ijzer-Galnoten

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with Akkerman IG Ink BottleThis is one of my newer pens, acquired in mid-July. As for the P.W. Akkerman #10 Ijzer-Galnoten ink, it’s new to me and this is the first pen I’ve used it in. As you may deduce from the name, if you know Akkerman is a Dutch brand, this is an iron gall based ink.

The ink has been in my fountain pen for just a little over two weeks and I am flushing it out early. While I don’t like leaving iron gall inks in the pen too long that’s only a minor reason I’m flushing it early. Separately, I love the pen and the ink is nice enough (until it came time to clean it, but I didn’t know that yet). But the sum of them together (1 + 1) was less than two. I was bored with the combination.

Because it was an iron gall ink and I wanted to use the pen at least once a day it was always the first pen I picked up each day. Because I was writing less it was often the only pen I picked up on a day. This contributed to the boredom with the ink.

The very first time I wrote with the pen it but down a weak blue line which I didn’t like at all. It did darken as it dried, but I dislike true-blues so it was a bad first impression. While the paper does matter the ink has become more blue-black, even when it first hits the paper so it’s more to my liking. It also darkens a bit as it dries. Still, this was a step down, in my opinion, from the previous fill of the R & K Blau-Schwarz LE which is also a blue-black ink.

The ink level in the converter barely seemed to be lowering which I attributed to the very thin nib. Yet when I emptied the pen I found very little ink left in the converter, most of the ink coated the sides of the converter making it appear mostly full. This was the first indication that cleaning might be a problem. Flushing the pen itself was problem free and relatively quick. But because of the problems with the converter I did give the nib unit a short bath in the UC just to be safe.

I have to disassemble the Sailor converter to clean it up. Repeated fill and flush just did not clear the ink so I had to get in there with q-tips and tissue. Even that wasn’t enough. There was one small stain that stuck around until I soaked it in some pen flush then put it in the UC. I was quit surprised this ink as such a hassle to clean after just two weeks.

I’ll be re-inking the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe within a day or two. It’s new enough to still be a favorite, although I do think it will keep that favorite tag for years. I really like the pen and want to keep it inked up. As for the Akkerman Ijzer-Galnoten ink, the problematic cleanup has really turned me off for an ink that failed to stand out.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with R&K Blau-Schwarz LEThe Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe is another new pen for me. It arrived in mid-July and I immediately inked it up. I wrote it dry yesterday. It took just under four weeks for this which is a little quicker than average for me. This nib is thinner, and therefore more miserly with ink, than my average nib so this was a little quicker than I expected.

My Sailor Pro Gear Regency Strip has a extra fine nib which means it’s thin, as is typical with Japanese nibs. My Pelikan M805 extra fine nib feels like a broad nib in comparison. The Pro Gear’s nib has a little bit of softness. It’s not as springy as the nib on my Pilot Custom 823 so I wouldn’t say it’s springy. The one adjective I’m sure of is great. I love this nib.

The Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink is one of my favorite inks, just behind Montblanc Bordeaux. Performance in this fountain pen was fantastic – great flow, no hard starts or skipping. I could pause my writing for a couple of minutes and the pen would immediately write when the nib touched the paper again.

The ink was easily flushed from the pen with a bulb syringe. It actually took longer to clean the traces of the ink from the converter. It would have been easier if I took the converter apart but I dislike doing this as a matter of routine so I didn’t even try.

The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Strip is a great fit for my hand, combined with the nib this makes it a joy to write with. I also love the R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink. I’m tempted to refill the pen with the same ink since it’s not currently in any of my other pens. But since the pen is new I’ll probably opt for variety and pick something else. I will be re-inking the pen sometime over the weekend, I’m just not sure which Ink I’ll use.

This Just In: Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe

Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe outer boxThe Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe has the distinction of being on my wanted pens longer than any other fountain pen. It was just about three years ago, sometime in July 2012, when I first saw pictures of the pen. I never bought the pen for various reasons (but mostly because of the price), but I also didn’t delete the pen from the list.

I recently saw the pen in Brad’s (The Pen Addict) June carry post. Then, while catching up on Anderson Pen’s podcasts, Brian showed the pen and mentioned that Sailor was discontinuing the Regency Stripe. Yikes! It was getting some attention and it was discontinued.

The pen seemed to be still in stock at the usual places but it wasn’t on Sailor’s website. It was time to make a decision on the Regency Stripe. Obviously I decided to buy it.

I already have a Sailor fine nib in my Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black pen and really like it but I didn’t want another fine nib. I wanted to go even slimmer and get an extra fine nib. Unfortunately the extra fine nib isn’t offered with the Regency Stripe and a fine is the thinnest offering. This meant finding one second-hand to save money was impossible. I could buy a wider nib and have Mike Masuyama grind it to an extra fine which would be close to a Sailor nib (Mike worked for Sailor). I did find one recent sale for a price where this would make sense, but nothing was available and that one sold pen was the only sale that I found when looking through past sales. So I gave in to my fear of missing out and decided to buy a new one now.

I ordered the pen from Classic Fountain Pens (John Mottishaw) so I could get it with a official Sailor extra fine nib at no additional cost or hassle. So while the pen is expensive, at least I got exactly what I wanted without any hassle.

Every time I hear about a Sailor Professional Gear (or Pro Gear) gear pen my initial reaction is to think of a big pen and a piston filler. Whenever I see a picture I also think it’s a big pen at first, unless the photo includes something to provide scale. But the brain synapses quickly trigger the memory that this is more of a normal sized pen and it’s not a piston filler (only the Realo variants are piston fillers. The proportions make it look big but the pen is a little short which creates the illusion.

This pen is heavier than most Sailor pens which seems to have contributed to its demise. The pen is made of resin but has barley corn engraved metal stripes on the barrel which add to the weight. The pen is 35 grams (all weights and measures in this post are from the CFP website) which gives it some nice heft, although it’s no where near the weight of a KarasKustoms Ink. I don’t post my pens so it’s not 35 grams when I use it, but since the cap is all resin (except for the clip) most of that 35 grams is in the barrels. (The battery in my scale is dead so I can’t weigh it myself.)

The section width is .41 inches which is a good size for me. It’s shorter than many of my pens, especially the ones I use for long writing sessions. But it is long enough for me to use comfortably without posting the cap which is my preference.

For my first ink I picked a favorite – Rohrer & Klinger Blau-Schwarz LE. A dignified ink for a dignified fountain pen. I’ve had the pen less than 24 hours and only used it to write a few pages but the ink flow is great (as expected with this ink). It’s a nice very thin line that’s true to the nib size. Flow is good so it’s easy to see and read.

I didn’t expect the extra fine nib to be so smooth. Not because I have a low opinion of Sailor nibs but because it’s so thin and nibs so thin are never buttery smooth. While this one isn’t buttery smooth there’s just a touch of feedback (which I really like) on Doane paper. There’s no feedback to speak of on Tomoe River Paper. John Mottishaw would have tuned the nib before shipping the pen so I can’t say whether this is due to his tuning or due to Sailor’s nib factory.

I’ve had the Sailor Professional gear Regency Stripe less than 24 hours but it appears to have been worth the three year wait. I haven’t had the pen long enough to know if it was worth the price and I’m less certain about that.

Photo Gallery

 

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.

Gallery

Ink Notes: Sailor Jentle Epinard

Sailor Epinard ink bottle with TWSBI Vac 700 fountain pen

[Updated Pens Used on Oct 16, 2013]

According to Google, “epinard” is French for “spinach” and that seems like a fairly good description of the color. Although for some reason every time I think “Sailor Jentle Epinard” I think “bright green” until I see it. For some reason those brain cells never update and the process repeats next time. Hopefully those brain cells will update after this review.

Of the greens I’ve used, Epinard reminds me most of Montblanc Racing Green. It’s not an exact match but close, especially in typical office lighting. This helps explain why I like it. The samples have a comparison.

The ink bottle is interesting. It’s 50ml and on the short, fat side. There’s an insert to hold the ink to help fill the pen when ink is low. Invert the bottle (before opening of course) and the insert fills. Do this slowly to avoid bubbles.

This caused me problems with the Vac 700 I use to test inks. The nib is big and the breather hole is way up at the section so the nib must be fully immersed. The insert just didn’t cut it and I had to remove it which was a bit messy. Other nibs worked fine with the insert.

The ink was well behaved and I didn’t have any real problems. No noticeable feathering, even on office copy paper. There wasn’t any show through or bleed through with my typical thin nibs or dryish nibs. With a wet nib, such as my medium Omas there was significant show through on Doane and cheaper paper. It looked like it really want to bleed-through but stopped short of actually doing it. Papers such a Rhodia and Clairfontaine didn’t have the show-through issues with any nibs.

The ink is a relatively fast drier. While not waterproof the writing was still legible after the water test.

There’s really no line variation to speak of. Someone proficient with flex nibs or italic writing might get some shading from the ink, but I didn’t. If I enlarge the sample photos or use a loupe I can see some variation, but I don’t notice any unassisted.

The ink is slow to dry off the nib so I could pause for a couple minutes without having a hard start or needing to cover the nib. This, combined with the fast drying and hint of water resistance make this ink suitable as a note taker for me. Whether or not the color is suitable is a different question. Personally I like the color.

While the ink only sat in the pens for a couple of days it was easy to flush out and there wasn’t any staining.

Pens Used

I used the TWSBI Vac 700 with extra fine, fine, medium, broad and 1.1mm nibs for the writing samples. No false starts or hesitation with any of the nibs. I used the extra fine as my writer for a day and it was problem free.

I used the Omas 360 which has a wet medium nib. The pen is new to me so I don’t have any frame of reference from other inks. There was some ink in the cap when I cleaned the pen. It wasn’t actually noticeable through the cap but when I flushed it the water came out green. There wasn’t any shading or line variation.

[Oct 16, 2013] Franklin-Christoph Model 40 Pocket with a Needlepoint Nib. This ink worked well in the pen except with the paper in a Doane Utility notebook. Other Doane paper was fine, but this notebook was prone to excessive skipping to the point of being unusable.

Samples

Sailor Clear Candy Fountain Pen

Sailor Clear CandyBoth pens with Montblanc Bordeaux in them went dry on Sunday which left me wanting a new red ink in the mix. I decided to remedy that situation with the Sailor Clear Candy fountain pen and a Clear Candy Reddish Brown cartridge.

The Clear Candy is only distributed by Sailor in Japan but it leaks into other markets, I bought mine from JetPens where is currently sells for $16.50 so it qualifies as a low cost pen. Sailor also has ink cartridges marketed as “Clear Candy” which JetPens sells at $1.65 per pair.

The Clear Candy pens come in 18 different colors, or color variations. All have fine nibs. They’re Japanese fines so a bit on the thin side compared to Lamy (for example). There’s eight different ink cartridge colors under the Clear Candy name. At least that’s what’s available on the JetPens website. I picked the clear black body. Despite “clear” in the name, only two of the pens are actually clear, one with black trim and the other is gold trim. The rest are bright colors. The pen came with a black cartridge (or maybe blue-black). It will take any standard cartridge and Sailor convertors work. I don’t really like the look of a convertor in a demonstrator, but the ink cartridge adds a nice splash of color.

I picked the clear one because of the demonstrator look and black because it looks much better than gold. I had hoped it might take to an eyedropper conversion. There’s no metal inside the pen so it might be possible to seal it up, but that seems far to hard and risky. The end cap plugs into a hole in the pen. I filled the pen with water and while it doesn’t pour out I left the pen in a glass overnight and there were traces of water in the cup by morning.

The pen is a basic plastic pen, nothing fancy. The colors do make it look sharp and not quit so cheap. It would make a good starter pen and is probably marketed to kids as a school pen. I have two minor complaints  The cap had a sticker that was a pain to get off and left behind a bunch of goo that had to be removed. Second, Sailor has a logo screened into the cap. I’d prefer a completely free view of the nib inside. It might be removable with some careful polishing but it hardly seems worth the effort.

I picked reddish brown ink for the first cartridge, I like the way it looks in the pen. It’s dark in the cartridge but is more red than brown on the paper.

The nib is a little scratchy. It’s not as smooth as the Pilot Metropolitan (medium nib) or Lamy Safari nibs (XF, F). It’s not bad, just some noticeable friction. Until the problem I mention in the next paragraph it was a consistent writer with a thin line that’s my preference. The red (despite the name) ink is OK. It’s a subdued brownish red.

I used the pen as my primary note taker since Monday and it wrote well and was problem free. That is, until Thursday afternoon. After lunch it started skipping and hesitating, a lot. I’m not sure what changed. It’s the same paper, I even went back to previous pages and encountered skipping. The one difference is today it’s a bit more humid. Until today I was in the office, which is air conditioned, so it was fairly dry. Then today I worked from home with open windows rather than air conditioning and it’s a little more humid, but not bad and not uncomfortable, just not dry office air. I should mention the replacement pen wrote just fine and the Clear Candy had problems with all paper types I tried.

[Update: I flushed the nib on Friday and the pen wrote fine after that using the same ink cartridge. There must have been something affecting the flow that I missed when flossing the nib.]

I’m not sure I’d pick this pen over a Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy or other low cost pen, even if I didn’t have the problems of Thursday. But if you’re looking for a brightly colored starter pen it might be a good choice, assuming my Thursday writing problems can be fixed with a cleaning.