Inked Up

Happy Thanksgiving to all the U.S. readers and any others who just want an excuse to eat and drink a lot.

Just a quick post to show what I’ve got currently inked. It’s changed a lot since my last update. I had been doing a good job keeping the number of inked pens down to a manageable number but all restraint vanished this week.

So just a quick look at the 15 pens currently inked.

Tray of currently inkled pens
Currently inked writing sample page 1
Currently inked writing sample page 2

Review: Edison Nouveau Premiere LE 2012

Goulet Pens recently announced this year’s Edison Nouveau Premier LE ebonite pen. Edison and ebonite push the right buttons for me and my reflex was to click the order button right then and there. I already had the 2012 edition, Cherry Cordial ebonite and it had been awhile since I used it. So rather than order the new Macassar ebonite I pulled the Cherry Cordial pen from the pen case and inked it up. Would this convince me to order this year’s version or satisfy my ebonite appetite?

Why I Got It

Edison and ebonite for less than a Signature Line price. Plus I like the cigar shaped design, even though the ends are much sharper than the traditional cigar shape.

What I Got

The Edison Nouveau Premiere I received was #69 of 100 in Cherry Cordial ebonite. I received the pen in August 2012.

I chose the fine steel nib with a two-tone finish. Given a choice I would typically choose the single-tone silver finish but I thought the gold looked good with cherry cordial.

The pen is a cartridge/converter fill and takes short international cartridges.

It’s a long pen. The tapering makes it look shorter and much thinner, but it’s actually a pretty big pen. Rather than a simple tapered section, the pen has a concave section which makes it easy to hold. Like most Edison pens it’s a light pen despite it’s size.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped:   5.959″  (151.26 mm)
  • Length Uncapped:   5.071″  (128.81 mm)
  • Length Posted:   6.875″  (174.625 mm)
  • Section Length:   0.606″  (15.41 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near nib):   0.401″  (10.19 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near threads):   0.427″  (10.86 mm)
  • Section Diameter (middle):   0.360″  (9.16 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter:   0.505″  (12.83 mm)
  • Cap Diameter:   0.556″  (14.12 mm)

Using The Pen

Edison Nouveau Encore LE 2012 nib

The pen is long and with the concave section is fits comfortably in my hand when I’m writing and the ebonite has a nice warm feel. When I scan the pens in the case I see it a thin pen and figure it will be uncomfortable for me so it often stays there. But it’s a normal size pen, other than the length and quit comfortable.

The extra fine Edison nib just glides along the paper and is a joy to use. It’s a light pen and no pressure is needed to keep the ink flowing. Long writing sessions are fatigue free.

The pen is light, and if I hold the pen at the end a drag it along the paper it does write a consistent line under its own weight if held at a high angle.

There’s not much else to say. In the year I’ve had the pen I can’t remember it ever skipping or having a dry nib when I uncapped it. The pen is comfortable to hold and I can write all day without getting fatigued. The concave section also adds another level of comfort.

The pen is long and I don’t post my pens anyway, but while the cap does technically post it would have to be pushed down quit hard and I’d be concerned about marring the pen over time. Even then it doesn’t seem very secure and works its way loose if I move my hand around a lot.

Cleaning the Pen

The pen is easy to clean. I use a bulb syringe and it’s quick and easy. But even without the syringe the section can be flushed and then the converter can be used to flush out the section. It’s not as fast but it’s as effective with this pen.

Inks Used

I’ve used several brands and colors without a problem and all performed well. To re-acquaint myself with the pen I used Montblanc Irish Green prior to the review. I don’t have any inks noted as not being friendly with this pen.

Wrapping Up

So, did I decide to buy the 2013 edition? No. But only because I already have one and prefer the cherry cordial color. If I didn’t have one, or had lost it, I would be seriously considering the 2013 as a replacement. It’s only drawback is it looks so thin that it often gets overlooked.

TWSBI Vac 700 Oil & Lube

TWSI Vac 700
Disassembled with the TWSBI wrench and silicon grease.

I use my TWSBI Vac 700 for my ink sampling and with all the different inks, and multiple nib changes for each ink, the pen gets filled and emptied a lot. The Vac mechanism has easily gone through over 100 cycles even without considering pen cleaning. The filling rod was getting very stiff and sticking. I was afraid I’d break the pen or slip and send an ink bottle across the table or crush a nib.

I had put the pen aside until I had proper time to tackle the issue. In retrospect it wasn’t such a big issue. But it was the first time and I was hesitant.

First issue, what happens if I get the silicone grease in the pen? In a round about way it came to me that nothing would happen. A recent Goulet Q&A included a question about why metal pens couldn’t be converted to an eye drop filler yet the Vac 700 had a metal filler rod. I’d never though about it myself and basically the answer was what I expected. The metal used is picked to not react with the ink. What’s this got to do with silicone grease? Well, a bell went off and I realized silicone grease is used exactly because it’s inert when mixed with ink. While I wouldn’t want to shove it into the feed, or pour it over the metal rod there wouldn’t be a problem with just enough to loosen things up.

I used the included silicone grease and applied a little to the rod and worked the mechanism without taking the pen apart and that helped greatly, but it still stuck a little. So I opened the pen with the included wrench and applied a little silicone grease below the rear cap and worked the mechanism a few more times. The included silicone grease (from TWSBI, received with the pen) was in a dropper bottle so it was easy to just apply a little.

The only catch is to extend the plunger about half way and insert the seal into the pen before screwing on the rear cap. I screwed on the cap with the seal right against it and the seal was wedged into the top of the pen. No sense having to force it.

Insert the seal into the pen body before screwing on the rear cap

Ink Notes: Diamine Salamander

Diamine Salamander ink bottle and Vac 700

Diamine Salamander is the newest ink from Diamine. It’s a dark green so it immediately reminded me of Montblanc Racing Green. The gallery includes a swab comparison between Diamine Salamander, MB Racing Green, and the only other Diamine green that I have – Diamine Evergreen.

In the bottle, and in the Vac 700 the ink looks downright black. The ink also looks black when first swabbed or when using a wet nib and then turns greener as it dries. The color also varies a bit depending on the ink quantity, light and paper used. There’s a sheen to the ink, even after it dries that gives some depth to the ink where it’s heavy that doesn’t show up in the pictures. On most of the papers I used the ink dries to a dark green with some line variation from how much ink the nib puts down. Where there’s more ink it’s darker, almost black when the ink is heavy to hints of yellow or brown in the lighter areas. The paper color has more effect where the ink is lighter.

I used my Sailor 1911 Sterling with a factory medium nib that been stubbed by Richard Binder. It’s a thin stub but provides some nice variation with the right ink. I was pleased with the way Salamander performed with the pen, it gave the writing just a bit of variation. It did have some flow issues on my Staples Sustainable Earth Notebook (sugar cane) paper. That nib has written OK on the paper with other inks. Post-It note paper also caused problems although I can’t say I remember if I used that nib for Post-It notes in the past.

The ink also seemed to struggle to keep up with wider or wetter nibs when fast writing. It never really got to skipping, but the line was getting drier and drier. Overall, this wasn’t one of the freer flowing inks I’ve used. Especially when compared to other Diamine inks I’ve used which tend to be much freer flowing.

I didn’t experience any noticeable feathering with any of the papers I used. I also didn’t experience any bleed-through, even with 3 passes of the Pilot Parallel 6mm nib. (Blatantly lifted from Stephen Brown ink reviews.)

The ink flushed easily from the TWSBI nibs and the Vac 700, although it was only in them briefly. It also flushed easily from the Sailor 1911, where it spent a week.

While the spill test didn’t actually wipe away all the ink, I wouldn’t want to count on being able to read what was written if the paper gets drenched.

Pens Used

My TWSBI Vac 700 with extra fine, fine, medium, broad and 1.1mm nib was used for the writing samples..These nibs tend write a bit dry and the ink had the most problems with the medium nib. it would skip at times with fast writing and I’d have to prime the feed. The 1.1mm nib also had a bit of trouble keeping up but didn’t actually skip.

My Sailor 1911 Sterling with a factory medium nib stubbed by Richard Binder was used as my daily writer for a couple days and on-and-off for about a week. Performance was good except for the previously mentioned sugarcane paper and Post-It notes.

Wrapping Up

I rather link the ink color. There’s some variation in the color, depending upon the paper and nib. Montblanc Racing Green is still my first choice for a dark green so that remains a clear first choice. I also find the flow to be a bit finicky. The borderline flow problems are also a concern but that could be my choice of pens. Still, I think this will find its way into my pens from time to time.

Additional Reading

The Pen Addict’s Review

A review on FPN which had a different experience with the ink flow than I had and also saw some bleed through.