This week’s ink is the same as last week’s ink. This was partly due to less writing and larger capacity pens. But mainly it was because the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 has been my pen of choice when I’m home. So this week’s picture and list is the same as a week ago.
I’ve had the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Desk Pen since July, although I didn’t ink it up until late August. It was my first Franklin-Christoph pen although I’ve since added 3 other F-C models.
Why I Bought It
It’s a unique pen for my accumulation. It’s my first clip-less pen and my first desk pen (although there’s no actual desk pen holder). I also wanted to try a Franklin-Christoph pen. Finally, I liked the simple design of this large pen.
Where I Bought It
I purchased it directly from Franklin-Christoph. The price was $169.50 for a steel nib. The pen shipped about a week after I ordered it. I assume it had to be prepared since the other pieces of my order (a pen case) shipped the same day. Also, future F-C pen orders shipped quickly.
There are 8 nib sizes available, in either steel or 21kt gold. While this pen has a factory extra fine nib, the specialty nibs are ground by Michael Masuyama. Most extra fine nibs are the specialty nibs but this pen uses a factory extra fine nib. There’s no price difference for specialty nibs, gold nibs do cost more.
How I use It
I mainly use the pen for longer writing sessions, such as the first draft of this review.
I did use if for a little while at the office, where I tend to write short, one or two sentence notes. It wasn’t well suited for this due to its tendency to roll.
I ordered the extra fine steel nib. The line is wider than I expected, more a fine to me. It’s wider than my Pilot fine nibs. Once I got a F-C fine nib and compared it to this nib I found they put down a similar line. Still, I find the line is a good width for how I ended up using this pen.
The nib is extremely smooth. It writes consistently without skipping or startup hesitation. The pen is a pleasure to write with.
In a sense, calling this a big piece of plastic with a nib on the end wouldn’t be wrong. These pens basically started out as tester pens so people could try out the Franklin-Christoph nibs at pen shows. Maybe it’s because these pens were designed to highlight the nibs, but writing with this pen is a joy.
The threads on the barrel are at the end of the grip, near the nib. So my fingers don’t touch the threads while writing. This means the threads are deep inside the cap, rather than at the end. F-C says this limits the air in the cap and prevents dry-out. I haven’t had a dried out nib, but the pen rarely goes a day without use.
The pen is a simple design. The grip is tapered, making it easy to hold. The long pen barrel is also tapered, but with a flat side on the barrel which has “Franklin-Christoph Model 66” engraved on it. Personally, I think the pen is both elegant and cool.
The flat side is intended to prevent the pen from rolling. I didn’t find this to be very effective. Usually when my pen stopped rolling it was on the round not the flat side and it stopped when the momentum ran out. Even when I put it carefully on the flat side it rolled if the desk or pad it was on was just nudged. This was the main reason I stopped using it at work. I typically lay the pen on my pad between uses and I would often nudge the pad when working at the desk. It is a clip-less pen so I can’t really complain since I knew what I was getting.
The pen is a cartridge/convertor and case also be used as an eye dropper fill. It accepts long international cartridges, not just the short international.
Writing With The Pen
Writing with the pen is a joy (did I mention that?). The nib is smooth and despite the large size the pen is light and comfortable to hold. It feels like I could write forever.
I typically don’t post my pens so this is easily the longest pen when I’m writing with it. The pen is postable although I have some concerned in that area, I have this fear that continued posting will mar the finish. On this pen the posted cap is a little loose unless really pushed down. When writing with it posted I did have some cases where the posted cap came off as I was moving things around. Not while writing, but (for example) when reaching for a paper with my pen hand. It’s not a concern for me since I don’t post. When posted the balance wasn’t affected since the cap is small and light.
Odd & Ends
At 6.3″ the pen is long and may be too long for some pouches and cases. It does fit the ones I use, which also happen to be Franklin-Christoph products. Other pouches I have, freebies with other pens, are too short. This really isn’t a pen designed to be carried around.
Franklin-Christoph offers a lifetime warranty on all their pens. The warranty is transferrable and no proof of purchase is required. It doesn’t get much simpler than this. I’ve never had to use Franklin-Christoph’s warranty or customer service myself so I can’t comment on it’s quality. But what few comments I found speak highly of them.
Cleaning The Pen
The pen is easy to clean. I’ve only used it with the convertor.) The ear syringe I have fits well and cleans away all traces of the ink with only a couple flushes. Overall it took about 3 minutes to flush the pen and convertor.
Did I mention I love this pen? I’m considering getting additional nibs to add some variety.
I do think the pen is a good value, unless I think about it too much. Like I say at the beginning, the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 could be described as a piece of plastic with a nib attached. But the subtle touches show the thought and effort that went into the pen. Everything about it seems just right.
My only complaint is it’s tendency to roll, but that’s a side-effect of what makes this pen so nice to use. Any solution to the tendency to roll would ruin the pen.
I haven’t used Montblanc Racing Green ink in years. I have memories of liking it, and the fact that I have two bottles seemed to back that up. But after inking up my fine nib’d Vanishing Point and writing with it I began to wonder why.
It’s a very dark green, more a black-green and a fine nib doesn’t really show it in the best light. It looks almost grey, with no shading. It’s a dry writer with the fine nib but the flow is good and consistent.
After being disappointed with the ink from a fine nib I inked up a broad nib’d Vanishing Point. This was much better. The ink was wetter going onto the paper although not so wet that there would be bleed-through.
With the broad nib it takes about 15 seconds to dry on Rhodia paper and about half that on Doane paper. The fine nibs dries in a couple seconds.
The ink definitely has a black look to it, in most room light it looks more black than green, the green hidden until under direct light. The ink flows well and dries quickly. It’s better with a wider nib. I wouldn’t put this in my top ink list. It’s been discontinued by Montblanc, but my two bottles are probably a lifetime supply for me.
On the plus side it’s a very well behaved ink. It flows well and hasn’t shown any bleed through on the paper I’ve used. There is some show through on Field Notes memo books but it’s less than most inks I use.
Pilot Vanishing Point Fine Nib – I’m not impressed with the color on the thin line this pen lays down. On the other hand it’s a well behaved ink that writes consistently well and dries in about 2 seconds on most paper.
Pilot Vanishing Point Broad Nib – There’s more color with the wider nib. Drying time is about 15 seconds on Rhodia paper and about 8 seconds on Doane paper.
It’s Sunday, so time to pick the pens for the week ahead and ink them up.
Two pens were dropped from my daily carry and replaced by two others. So from left to right the pens are:
- Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver – A new addition to the daily carry. It hasn’t been inked in months. Now its medium nib is ready with J Herbin 1670 Rogue Hematite. This is the first time I’ve used this ink.
- Caran D Ache Ivanhoe – A holdover from last week. It has a fine 18kt gold, rhodium plated nib and is still filled with J. Herbin Violette Pensee ink. I just don’t use a lot of purple ink.
- Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic – Another holdover from last week. It’s got a medium italic nib and Waterman blue-black ink.
- Stipula Model T. – It’s still filled with Montblanc Bordeaux.
- Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage – It’s filled with Diamine Ancient Copper and has a medium nib.
- Gate City New Dunn Pen – A new addition to my daily carry. It’s large ink cavity is filled with Noodler’s Apache Sunset. I inked it last week and liked it so much I had to add it to this week’s carry.
- Pilot Vanishing Point Charcoal Marble 2012 LE – With a fine 18k gold, rhodium plated nib. It’s filled with Mont Blanc Racing Green ink. This is my pocket pen.
These are my daily carries but I’ve got some additional pens inked up too, the complete list is below.
One of my first jobs was as a computer network tech and one customer was Sikorsky, the helicopter maker. It was cool walking down the factory floor watching the helicopters come together in my own backyard. While fountain pens can be made in smaller factories I still have an affinity for ones made in my home country. There’s not a lot to choose from but I like the options.
While several pen companies are U.S. based or have a U.S. headquarters only a few manufacture here. These are the U.S. made pens I’ve accumulated.
Bexley Pen (www.bexleypen.com)
Bexley is oftern described as the last U.S. manufacturer of fountain pens. As we’ll see, that’s not entirely true, although they may be the only one that can be described as a major manufacturer.
I bought my first Bexley pen in October of 2005, a orange Bexley Submariner. Unfortunately it’s one of two fountain pen I’ve ever lost (The other being a Lamy Safari). At the time I lost it, it was my favorite pen and it always had ink in it.
The Bexley Imperial I added in July is the fifth Bexley in my current accumulation. I like most of the Bexley designs and the pens have held up well. Three of them are ebonite/hard rubber pens which is a particular weakness of mine. I have two of the 2007 owner’s club pens (both hard rubber), in addition to an ebonite Imperial, an Intrepid and a Poseidon.
While their website doesn’t specifically say all their pens are made in the U.S., the ones I’ve accumulated have been. They also have a manufacturing facility in Houston, TX according to their website.
While I just learned of F-C this year, I’ve already added four of their pens to my accumulation. The workmanship has been great and they feel solidly built. But with less than six months experience I can’t speak to their long term durability, but my expectations are high. Especially since they offer a lifetime warranty.
Edison Pen Co. (edisonpen.com)
Edison is another brand that is new to me this year. It’s a one man operation, but since the guy is in Ohio they are certainly American made. Like the other pens I’ve mentioned, the workmanship and quality is great. I haven’t had them long enough to know their durability, but my expectations are high. I have the Collier, Herald, Nouveau Premiere and a Pearl.
Gate City Pen
Gate City Pen is a brand created by Richard Binder. Their tagline is “Modern Pens, Vintage Flair”. The three Gate City pens I have were clearly made by Bexley although the designs were unique (I assume Richard does all the design and Bexley manufactures). I have the New Dunn Pen, the New Postal Senior, and the Belmont. All Gate City Pens have unique fill systems. Well, unique to modern pens since they’ve vintage inspired.
It’s nice to see quality pens made in my home country. I’ve no complaints about the quality and don’t regret any of the acquisitions. But that last sentence can also be said about many non-US made pens.
Any other American manufacturers out there? Anyone else have an affinity for fountain pens made in their home country?
I like brown inks and the first time I saw J. Herbin Lie De The ink I thought it was destined to become my standard brown ink and one of my overall favorites, even though Google translate says the name is “Dregs of Tea” in english. The ink hasn’t met this expectations in my own use.
The ink doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. The color varied widely across the two pens I used and different types of paper. Sometimes the ink looks like yellow mud and other times it’s a nice brown. Some uses may benefit from the variation (drawing, calligraphy) but not the standard writing that I do.
With my preference for fine nibs I don’t expect a lot of shading in the line. While I do get variation, it’s not shading. The variation is in the color the ink decides to be at the time. Even though I’ve been disappointed so far I did get a full bottle after using up the sample. Part of me hopes I had a bad sample or matched it with a poor choice of pens. Or screwed up some other way. I will say in the short time I’ve used the ink from the bottle it has been consistent.
So far I used the ink on two pens, both with fine nibs.
Edison Collier w/fine nib: Wrote a thin line that was more yellow that I like. Also frequently wrote a thin line that looked like thin yellow mud, which wasn’t easy or pleasant to read. Other times it was a good looking brown ink. I’m not sure why there was a difference since the paper type was often the same. Maybe room temperature or humidity affected it. This pen used an ink sample which may explain the differences between this pen and the others, which were from a full bottle.
Franklin-Christoph Model 29 w/fine nib: The ink has been consistent within paper brands. Unlike the Edison Collier, this pen was consistent on each type of paper. It did vary across paper. The ink has a very yellow tinge on Rhodia paper and is more brown on Field Notes and Doane paper. Nothing exciting, but no complaints either.
The ink may grow on me if it can avoid the look of mud. I’m looking forward to trying the ink in some wider nibs where the ink may get to show off its shading.
The Pen Addict (Great drawings with the ink)