Review: Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood SE

Pilot Vanishing Point Maple Wood 2013 Limited Edition presentation boxPilot celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Vanishing Point (aka Capless) by issuing a limited edition of Vanishing Points made of maple wood.

I acquired my First Pilot Vanishing Point in 2003 and if I remember correctly it was sold under the Namiki brand, although the pen itself says Pilot. I liked it so much I soon bought a second one. They’re practical for me and the design doesn’t bother me at all. Having the clip near the nib ruins this pen for some people, but not me. But my tastes have changed over time. The metal of the VP doesn’t actually bother me the but cold metal doesn’t pull me in. I use the VPs for their practicality but they stopped being picked when I wanted a “writer”. So I was immediately intrigued by a Vanishing Point made of wood.

Why I Got It

I like the Vanishing Point and was hoping the warmer maple wood would make the pen comfortable for long writing sessions and would be one I’d be reaching for. (spoiler: Mission Accomplished!)

There were also a good reason not to get it, namely the cost, which is about three times a regular metal Pilot Vanishing Point. That price difference is clearly due to more than the material and I’d be paying for the premium packaging and a limited edition fee. There were 900 pens world-wide. The matching wood presentation box is easily the most impressive of all my pen boxes, although not any more useful than the others. The box is a keeper, but the pen hasn’t been back to it.

I didn’t pre-order the pen and figured it would sell out and make my decision for me. But it didn’t sell out and I ordered it after some early reviews. This would imply it wasn’t a hot seller, at least not hot enough to sell out with pre-orders or on day one. I see some being offered at astronomical prices on eBay although actual sales seem to be in line with the retail street price.

What I Got

Pilot Vanishing Point Maple Wood 2013 Limited Edition engravingI ordered the pen with the included 18kt gold medium nib. This is the only nib that comes from the factory in this pen although most Pilot retailers would substitute other Pilot nibs. I decided to keep the medium since I already had fines and extra fines and didn’t have a medium.

Even though I could use any of my VP nibs in this pen I’ve stuck with the medium nib through all three fills. I ordered the pen from Goulet Pens so the nib was not tuned and I hoped the LE nature of the pen meant it would be inspected. Inspected or not, the nib arrived in superb condition.

The pen itself is gorgeous. I received number 720 of the 900. The wood, which the included pamphlet says is Itoya Maple, is silky smooth but doesn’t feel like it’s coated with any lacquer or sealant. But the smoothness and sheen does make it seem like there’s a thin coating of lacquer. The gold furniture complements the maple wood nicely. The grain on both halves of the barrel also match up which enhances the pen. The rest of the pen shows the same build quality and attention to detail giving it a solid feel. I haven’t tested the durability of the wood. It seems soft enough to be gouged if enough force is used. (I don’t plan on testing this.) But it’s held up well with a few months of normal use.

My Vanishing Point came with two Con-50 converters and five Pilot Blue cartridges.

The Numbers

  • Length Retracted:  5.5360″  (140.61 mm)
  • Length Barrel Only):  4.7270″  (120.06 mm)
  • Section Length: n/a
  • Barrel Diameter (near nib, above gold trim: 0.4765″  (12.10 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter (near band):  0.5240″  (13.31 mm)
  • Weight:  0.9 oz (26g)

Using the Pen

Pilot Vanishing Point Maple Wood 2013 Limited Edition extendedI did immediately notice that the Maple Wood Vanishing Point feels both bigger and lighter than my metal Vanishing Points. It’s about 5 grams lighter and about 1 mm wider near the nib where I grip the pen. The difference seems minor, and maybe the wood enhances the effect, but the pen feels more solid and substantial when I write with it. It is truly a nice pen to hold, assuming the clip doesn’t bother you.

I stuck with Pilot cartridges since getting the pen since they provide the greatest ink capacity. I used Pilot Blue for the first ink.

The pen has a warm feel to it, unlike the metal Vanishing Points, and it’s lighter than it’s metal siblings. This is my first Pilot Vanishing Point medium nib. It puts down a lot of ink, at least compared to my typical thin nibs, and is a wet writer. I’ve kept the nib through several refills and while I prefer a thinner nib this nib has a good feel to it and makes for a nice change of pace. I have to stick to pads and paper where I can write larger, which for me means long form writing rather than notes or marking up a document.

I use the metal VPs for their practicality, the Maple Wood LE is one I use for the enjoyment of writing with it. The extra heft, even though only 1 mm, adds to the comfort when I hold the pen since I tend to prefer larger pens.

Cleaning the Pen

Like all Vanishing Points the pen is easy to clean. Remove the nib unit and flush water through it.

Inks Used

I stuck with Pilot ink cartridges. I used a couple blue cartridges and a black cartridge. Ink flow was consistently good with the medium nib. There weren’t any hard starts or skipping.

Wrapping Up

Once I used the pen any regrets I had about the price vanished (pun intended). This is one of my most expensive pens but it combines the practicality of a Pilot Vanishing Point with a very nice writing experience which makes the Pilot Vanishing Point Maple Wood 2013 Limited Edition a keeper.

Additional Reading

Reviewed on FPN

Gallery

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5 thoughts on “Review: Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood SE

  1. Indeed a very nice pen, whose beauty is further enhanced by the lovely green glass bubbles you picked as the background of your photographs! I picked up a used VP myself to see what the hype was all about (F nib, early raden version) and have to say that it’s a very versatile, travel-friendly writer. Loved how the words “Limited Edition” are actually etched into the pen—I wouldn’t have noticed that without the closeup photos. Here’s to hoping you’ll keep your investment for a long time to come. 🙂

    • Hi Penny. Glad you like the marbles, generally green is my favorite color so the background is usually the green marbles or my green ink (stained) cloth. I really was impressed, and surprised, by the thought and quality that went into this pen.

      Thanks,
      Ray

  2. Love VPs, Gorgeous wood is a great idea, gold furniture ruins it for me. I’d love to see it in maple with matte black furniture.

  3. Pingback: New Pilot Capless Wooden fountain pens

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