Review: Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber

Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber photo

One look at my pen accumulation shows I have a fondness for Sheaffer pens. With 19 Sheaffers I can probably call it a collection rather than an accumulation. I also find it hard to resist a carbon fiber pen, at least until I see the price. So it was inevitable that the reasonably priced Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber would be added to my accumulation. The Intensity is available in a variety of colors although I couldn’t find any retailers that still had my specific version in stock (Carbon fiber cap and body). I did find my version listed on eBay for about $70.

Why I Bought It

  1. Sheaffer
  2. Carbon Fiber at a reasonable price
  3. Silver (not gold) trim making it a sharp looking pen

What I Got

closeup photo of the cap
closeup photo of the nib

I ordered the Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber with a fine steel nib from Anderson Pens in November 2013. The pen I received is the version with the carbon fiber, not chrome, cap. Two black cartridges and a convertor where included with the pen. The Intensity uses Sheaffer’s proprietary filling system so the cartridges and convertor aren’t interchangeable with other fountain pens.
The clip bears the signature Sheaffer white dot. This no longer signifies a lifetime warranty but the Intensity does have a three year warranty. The clip isn’t spring loaded but does flex a bit to allow it to grip pocket material. “Sheaffer” is engraved on the cap band. The chrome trim complements the black carbon fiber nicely, giving the Intensity an elegant look. The carbon fiber is covered by a clear material (plastic or epoxy?). The material has held up well and doesn’t show any scratches or other wear.
I’ve always liked Sheaffer nibs, both in the way they look and the way they write. But I find this nib rather plain looking and doesn’t add anything to the look if the pen. The plain chrome is a good choice for this pen but it’s downhill from there. In my opinion the nib is too short and the feed is too fat. They detract from the look of the pen, at least in my opinion. “SHEAFFER” is engraved across the nib, with the elongated “S”. But without the trailing and elongated “‘S” it looks rather lopsided. Looks are subjective and don’t affect performance so the one redeeming quality of the nib is how smooth it writes. And really, that’s all that counts. I’ve read reviews that complained of rough nibs but I’ve no complaints with my pen and wouldn’t consider any adjustments.
The pen appears to be constructed on a metal tube and this gives it some weight, especially with the cap attached. It also has a metal (chrome) section which could be a show stopper for some people. The section has a very slight hourglass shape to it. I didn’t find it slippery but more on this in the “Using the Pen” section.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped:  5.3895″  136.89 mm
  • Length Uncapped:  4.7480″  120.60 mm
  • Length Posted:  6.375″  161.925 mm
  • Section Length:  0.9565″  24.29 mm
  • Section Diameter (near nib):  0.3540″  8.99 mm
  • Section Diameter (below threads):  0.3750″  9.52 mm
  • Section Diameter (mid-section):  0.3450″  8.77 mm
  • Cap Diameter:  0.5050″  12.83 mm
  • Barrel Diameter:  0.4450″  11.30 mm
  • Weight:  1.2 oz  34g
  • Weight (body only):  .7 oz  20g

 Using the Pen

I picked the included black cartridge as the first ink for this pen. The “spike” that the cartridge (or convertor) attaches to sticks up above the feed. It always concerned me that I’d be careless and snap this off, but I haven’t yet nor have I heard of others doing this. But this does mean pushing the cartridge down on the spike risks bending it. So I slide the cartridge into the barrel and screwed the feed assembly onto it. This aligned the cartridge and pierced it perfectly. The ink reached the nib quickly and I was ready to write.
Posting the Sheaffer Intensity results in a pen that’s a bit top heavy unless it’s held above the section. The cap posts securely although doing so makes it a heavy pen and much of that weight at the back of the pen, making it top heavy when writing. This doesn’t bother me since I don’t post my pens but if you must post your pens be prepared for a heavy and unbalanced pen.
The cartridge holds a lot of ink so I would expect it to lat awhile, especially with the thin nib. But I was surprised when I didn’t write the pen dry until three months later. I thought I was using the pen a lot and never considered flushing it during those three months. During those three months there was only one hard start and no skipping. But in looking back, I did use the pen often, but only for quick notes, never for a longer writing session.
When it came time to write this review and I consciously used the pen for extended periods I came to realize why the ink lasted so long. While the pen isn’t uncomfortable, it’s not comfortable either. The metal lacks texture and while it wasn’t slippery I found I gripped the pen tighter than most other pens. The pen was neither annoying or pleasurable to write with. With other pens available I would simply pick one with more personality.
My only real complaint (other than my subjective opinion on the looks of the nib) is that the cap needs a little extra pressure at the end to close it securely. If I just twist it close, stopping as soon as there’s resistance, the pen would open as I carried it. It needs a little extra force at the end to get the threads to grip.

Cleaning the Pen

The pen flushes easily. My bulb syringe fits easily over the spike on the feed so I can force water through. Alternately, the convertor works too, it just takes longer. No extra effort was needed to clean it, even after having the Sheaffer Black ink in it for three months.

Inks Used

Sheaffer Black ink cartridge – this was the standard ink when I used the pen. It seems like this pen should use a black ink. Flow was good without any skipping. The only hard start was when the pen went unused for about a week. A little scribbling was needed to get the ink flowing.
Rohrer & Klingner Verdura was used in the convertor. This also had good flow and was easy to flush from the pen. No hard starts or skipping.

Wrapping Up

I want to like this pen. My brain tells me I like this pen. But when it comes down to it I usually reach for another pen when I’m picking one to write with. There’s nothing about this pen that makes it a bad pen My knock against the looks of the nib is subjective. Since the pens can be found on eBay for around $70 it’s hard to not recommend the Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber at this price. But for me, with other pens to choose from, it will go unused for extended periods of time

Additional Reading

Reviewed at Inktronics

4 thoughts on “Review: Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber

  1. Very thorough review, keep up the good work. According to your review this pen would not to me be worth (in my world) a significant amount. Thanks for the implied advice.

    • Thanks Shirley. Glad you found the review useful. And I would agree that if $70 is a significant bite in your pen budget I wouldn’t recommend this pen. The exception would be if you actually use it and find you keep wanting to use it.

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  3. I got one of the Intensity Sheaffer Ferrari models. Found the grip section to be able to double as a torturing device. One of the least comfortable pens to hold I own. Sadly, cause the Fine nib worked well on crappy office paper and the yellow finish looked nice. Even as a bargain, as I did, I would suggest that people keep looking elsewhere in that price range.

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