First Impressions: TWSBI Vac 700

TWSBI Vac700 capped
click photo for full size version

Earlier this week Mike left a comment asking what I thought ove the Vac 700. I hadn’t used it very much at the time but generally liked it. I’ve been using it as my primary work pen for the last couple of days. While I haven’t changed my generally favorable impression I now have more questions and concerns which made me realize that I won’t be able to do a complete review anytime soon. Too many questions.

My pen is the clear demonstrator model with a extra fine nib. The Vac 700 line has been sold with nibs from Bock and Jowo. My pen has a Jowo nib and based on what I read the switch to Jowo was complete before the Demonstrator was released so they all have Jowo nibs.

First the good – the pen is very comfortable to write with. It’s plastic but feels solidly built. There’s a slight taper to the pen which is nice. The extra fine nib is a smooth writer (more on this later). I haven’t had any false starts or skipping. My thumb and fingers do brush against the threads but they aren’t sharp and it doesn’t bother me,

The primary reason I bought the pen was the Vacuum filling system. I’m not a fan of cartridge/convertor demonstrator pens but I am a sucker for pens where I can watch the ink slosh around inside. None of my other pens are vacuum fillers. No regrets here.

Now for the questions and concerns.

I knowingly committed the sin of using a brand new ink (for me) in a brand new pen. While flow is consistant it is a dry writer. I’ve yet to try the ink in another extra fine nib, but the ink is consistently wetter in the fine and wider nibs I’ve used. Not an ink I’d call dry. My gut is that this is a dry nib but I’ll have to try another ink to know for sure.

The vacuum filling system is easy to use as far as filling the pen goes. It easily fills to about 1.5mm. Goulet Pens has a video on how to get a complete fill, about 2 ml. although getting a complete fill might be messy. The real complications arose when writing with the pen.

The pen has a shut off valve with the filling system. When closed the pen still has several pages of ink left in the feed, at least with the EF nib. I’ve gone about two and a half pages without a noticeable difference in the ink flow. For longer writing sessions the filler nob is turned to lift the plunger and open the seal. And that’s where my questions begin.

I left the seal open during the day of taking notes but would cap the pen. I did notice some ink drops inside the cap. I can’t really say if they appeared from carrying to and from work, with the seal closed, or while it was unsealed during the day. But I didn’t notice them until the end of the workday. I also wonder what would happen if I forget to seal it up and put it in my pocket or pen case. Will ink leak into the cap or out the now loose filler cap?

TWSBI Vac 700 capped
click photo for full size version

Call it careless, but one time when I was opening the seal I slipped and moved the plunger a little too much, forcing a large drop of ink onto my desk.

It’s an expensive ink, Diamine Strauss, in there now so I’ll be emptying most of what’s left back into the bottle. I’ll fill it with water a jostle it around a bit with the seal and filler cap open to see if any leaks out. Then I’ll fill it with a ink I already know. I usually end up with Waterman Florida Blue after committing the new ink/new pen sin, but I really want a nice red or green ink sloshing around in there.

Lastly, I like that TWSBI makes pens that anybody (meaning me) can take apart and service. They include some silicone grease, a couple extra o-rings and a wrench to help disassemble the pen. Although I’ve yet to take apart this pen.

There are replacement nibs available so if the extra fine nib is still too dry with other inks I can always swap it out if I like the pen. I’m just wondering if the vacuum filling system makes the pen too high maintenance for someone who’s likely to forget to seal it back up before putting it in my pocket or carelessly squirt ink on the desk. Eventually I’ll get answers to these questions and write a more complete review. But at this point I consider it well worth the $80. The real expense is getting to know the pen.

6 thoughts on “First Impressions: TWSBI Vac 700

  1. I have the same TWSBI vac pen & my ink dries too when writing.I have spilled ink when trying to wet the seal.Bob Goulet in a new video on using the TWSBI ink well with the 700 says to make sure the feeds get wet by allowing ink to come up through the nib & feeds.My mini works well now.I did wet the feed in the 700 & it is much smoother.I have the JHerbin Lie De The’ ink.My mini has the Australian Roses.

    • Good point about saturating the feed. I did fill through the nib and while it is dry, I never had any skipping or hesitation problems. I like a dry(ish) nib in most of my daily writer pens so the ink itself dries faster. Although many like a nice wet line. I’m considering this as my ink testing pens since the nibs are easily swapped, but I don’t see how filling from a sample vial would work for the reason you mentioned. At least I can syringe fill a convertor and force a little ink back trough the feed if needed. I don’t think it’s possible to force “a little ink” back down into the feed with this pen.

      I’m a fan of the Lie De The’ also, haven’t tried the Australian Roses.


      • Thanks Ray.AS far as “forcing” ink through the feed.Bob Goulet in his TWSBI ink well video & the 700 Vac just pushed ink through the feed using the piston.I always spill too much ink when doing this.Bob has it down to an exact amount.

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