Ink Notes: Montblanc Burgundy Red

Montblanc Burgundy Red Bottle

[Updated pens used on Oct 16, 2013]

Montblanc Bordeaux is one of my favorite inks, if not my absolute favorite. When Montblanc discontinued Bordeaux I was prepared to hate it’s replacement, Montblanc Burgundy Red, as a usurper to the crown. Since I had stocked up on Bordeaux I was in no hurry to replace it and ignored Burgundy Red. I finally broke down and bought a bottle at the Long Island Pen Show once I saw the swabs in person.

I like the Burgundy Red. There’s enough pop from the red in the ink, but it’s not a neon red. The ink is a quick drier, especially in my thin nibs. It’s relatively easy to flush from the pen. It’s not water resistant but there was enough left behind so I could still read my words after the water test. Although I wouldn’t use the ink to address envelopes or write checks.

One thing I have noticed is the ink seems to darken a bit after it’s been in the pen awhile. At first I thought it was my Esterbrook writing darker, but then realized the ink had been in the pen much longer than others (and was refilled without flushing) so checked some other pens and sure enough, it had darkened a bit, looking more like the Bordeaux.

Montblanc Burgundy Red  will be a regular in my pens although I’m still partial to Bordeaux. I’m glad I bought the bottle.

Pens Used

Opened Montblanc Burgundy Red bottle

TWSBI Vac 700 with 5 different nibs – EF, F, M, B, 1.1 mm  Stub. This pen was used for the writing samples in the gallery. The extra fine nib was used as my primary writer for a day and then on and off after that. I didn’t have any hesitation or hard starts and cleaning was easy.

Esterbrook $1 Bandless with a #9555 Fine nib – I first noticed the ink was darker when using this pen. The ink has been in this pen longer than any other and it was not flushed when it was refilled with the same ink. I’ve since revisited my writing with the Vac 700 and it too has gotten slightly darker. Flushing the pen was easy and there wasn’t any sign of staining despite the ink being used (with a refill) in this pen for about a month.

Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver with a Medium Nib – I just filled this pen in order to write the draft of this review since my Esterbrook went dry and it was time time to flush it. Writing has been smooth and consistent, without any hard starts.

[Oct. 16, 2013] Franklin-Christoph Model 40 Pocket with a Needlepoint nib – the line got a little thin when I wrote fast, although never actually skipped. No problems with any paper and easy to clean from the pen.

My First Nib Adjustments

Pens selected for nib tuning

Fresh off the motivating Tweaks for Geeks on nib tuning I did my first nib adjustments tonight. The hard part was picking the pen to be the first guinea pig. I had put aside two Conklins since they were such horrible writers (which explained why they were dirt cheap). But they have gold nibs which seemed like a bad choice to be first. Other pens I had issues with were also gold nibs.

I finally found a Parker that seemed to have mis-aligned tines. I don’t think I ever used the pen so I put in cartridge to giver it a try. It was pretty bad, making it the perfect choice.

I watched the video again over dinner then went at it. Once tine was lowered but wouldn’t seem to go any lower. So the other tine was raised. A little too much so it was lowered. There was a little more back and forth but I eventually got them aligned. A writing test showed a vast improvement. Good flow and no skipping.

Next was the lapping film for the smoothing. First the courser green then the finer white as shown in the video. Even smoother when I got done.

Based on that success I decided to tackle the gold nibbed Conklin. The pen had serious flow issues due to the notorious feed and converter and I didn’t expect to change that. But even when the nib was saturated the pen skipped terribly, mostly on the down-stroke.

Again the tines were misaligned so I started there. I had a harder time with this one, a lot more back and forth with the tines. I just couldn’t seem to get them aligned but eventually it worked out. Like the Parker, there was significant improvement once the tines were aligned.

This time I used the buff stick for the smoothing although still finished with the white lapping film. This improved the feel of the nib a bit more. I expect the flow problems to return but I’ve written two frustration-free pages using the pen.

Now I almost want to find a scratchy nib. It’s a fun way to relax after work.

Sunday Notes and Links

Last Thursday was a busy day for my mailman, delivering 4 packages of pens and paraphernalia. In addition to the Parker Vacumatic Maxima I also bought some knocked about Esterbrooks so I can start learning re-sacing and restoration. Along those lines I stocked up on repair supplies from Anderson Pens. Since I was ordering anyway I added in a pen and a few ink samples. I would have been wrong not to get pen and ink. My Esterbrook nib collection also grew. The photo below shows good stuff.

Photo of Thursday's deliveries

On the bottom is a 48 pen case from Anderson Pens. Nice case, double loops for the pens. Then clockwise from the top left – A Merlin 33, Esterbrook #2668 nib, the Parker Vacumatic Maxima, 4 ink samples, the latest Field Notes, and the Esterbrook’s for my training. An Esterbrook #2314F nib also arrived yesterday. The Esterbrook’s are multiplying.

Last week I mentioned my Franklin-Christoph Model 66 went missing in the chaos of the water pipe break. It surfaced again as I was going through more boxes. After being unused for nearly a month it wrote immediately. I love that pen. But the Vacumatic is a challenger for the top spot.

Now for the links…

FPGeeks had their first “Tweaks for Geeks” yesterday. Brian Grey did a nib smoothing session. It was great. Now I have no excuse not to tweak some of my problem nibs.

Fountain Pen Network was down for an extended period of time this week. Peaceable Writer has some thoughts on pen forums and a list of additional forums.

Gourmet Pens has a review of the Pilot 78G which seems like another inexpensive but nice fountain pen from Pilot.

I’ve been doing a lot of Esterbrook related reading. These are links that I’ll keep handy.

FPN member Chiro75 has a step-by-step Esterbrook re-sacing tutorial.

FPN member maynes32 has put together a Esterbrook Repair Index.

And of course, there the Esterbrook forum on FPN.

Brian Anderson, of Anderson Pens, mains where there’s a wealth of information.

Richard Binder has a some Esterbrook reference pages on his site, covering nibs, the Dollar Pen, and the Model J.

Finally, an online Esterbrook nib chart.

This Week’s Ink: April 27, 2013

This week brings another drop in inked pens from last week. The Parker Vacumatic Maxima is a new pen for me and will no doubt be my primary writer for the week. So there was no point replacing pens that went dry. The Pro Gear did get re-inked so that I could have one pen with a business appropriate ink.

On to the pens…

Photo of pens inked for the week ahead

1942 Parker Vacumatic Maxima (Fine)Montblanc Bordeaux // / Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black – Iroshizuku Foyu-syogun // Esterbrook $1 Bandless (#9555) – Montblanc Burgundy Red // Platinum 3776 Century (fine) – Platinum Brown Cartridge // Edison Huron Grande (extra fine) – Montblanc Irish Green

Writing samples for this week's ink

This Just In: Parker Vacumatic Maxima

Photo of the Parker Vacumatic  Maxima Silver Pearl

My latest acquisition is another vintage pen and new fountain pen territory for me. The Vacumatics caught my eye at the Long Island pen show, especially the ones I later learned were the “pearl” colors. I didn’t get one in LI because didn’t know much about them (and onsite research was overwhelming) and I didn’t find one that was just right.

I was especially drawn to the wear pattern and the amber tint that some of them had. It was only this week that I learned from the Pen Addict podcast that the amber tinting is shunned by Vacumatic collectors, or if not shunned, it lowers the value to a collector.

I was browsing eBay last Sunday when I came across this pen, a 1942 Parker Vacumatic Maxima. It was perfect. A silver Pearl finish with nickel (not gold) trim and a fine nib. It didn’t seem to have any amber tinting from the pictures or description. While I didn’t know the meaning behind the tinting at the time, I knew I didn’t want it with this particular pen since it would clash with the silver and black.

The downside was that the pen would be pricey (IMO) and I would be buying it sight unseen. The seller had a good rep as a seller and fountain pen restorer so I took a risk.

Photo of the Parker Vacumatic  Maxima Silver Pearl

The pen arrived today and it’s every bit as nice as I hoped it would be. If I look closely, in the right light, I can see some amber tinting in the clear areas. But it doesn’t show in normal light or distance and the view of the ink is excellent. I love the way the silver striping has worn away from use. Too bad it’s not my use that created the wear pattern.

For its first ink I picked Montblanc Bordeaux, which is my favorite. I’ll probably stick with Bordeaux until I run out then decide whether I should switch to Montblanc Burgundy or something completely different. The ink just seems right for the pen. I was a little leery of going with a red ink but Bordeaux has always treated me well.

I’ve only had the pen for a couple hours and I’m still on the “new pen” high (new to me at least) but this pen seems destined to be one of my favorites, if not my favorite.

Photo of the Parker Vacumatic  Maxima Silver Pearl