Nib Notes: Esterbrook #9450 Extra Firm Posting

Esterbrook #9450 top view
Esterbrook #9450 writing sample

Next up on the Esterbrook nib list is the Esterbrook #9450 Firm Extra FIne nib. At least that’s what it’s usually called by everone except Exterbrook (so it seems). I would consider it an accurate description of the nib. The box refers to it as a “Extra Firm Posting” nib, once with a hyphen, and once without. Both a 1955 and 1959 nib chart list the nib in the Extra Fine section and defines its use as “Posting 1–2–3”.
While I seen several definitions for a nib called “Posting”, the one that makes the most sense to me is that it’s for posting journal entries, as in accounting. The thin, consistent line would be perfect for that. I have no idea what the “1–2–3” refers to unless it also indicates accounting (as in counting). Anyone know?
I was beginning to despair that many of my 9xxx series nibs wouldn’t be any better than the 1xxx or 2xxx series equivalent. These nibs were called Master DuraCrome by Esterbrook and were tipped with an alloy Esterbrook called Osmiridium. The 1xxx and 2xxx series nibs were just rolled over steel. I guess I hit a bad patch where some of my 9xxx nibs were a little rough and the earlier nibs were smoother. This #9450 is very smooth. There’s hardly any friction on smooth paper and the feedback on more fiberous paper comes from the thin nib and not the roughness in the nib.
When I took the pictures for this post I noticed the feed wasn’t aligned. It looks worse in the close-up photo, but it’s definitely misaligned. I had written with it for several problem-free days so I left it alone. The flow is consistent, without any skipping. As the nib’s name implies, it’s stiff as a nail. The nib quickly jumped into the favorite category.
The nib does well with a light touch, although it performs better with a little more pressure than I’m used to. Although it’s not so much pressure that it’s uncomfortable to use. My normal light touch resulted in a thinner, lighter line. In some cases this might be OK, but it made a weak line in my opinion.
The Esterbrook #9450 has “Esterbrook” and “9450” are engraved lengthwise along the nib. Each gets its own line.
The nib is on eBay with buy it now prices from $18 to $33.
The Esterbrook #9450 is a nice nib for those of us who like their nibs to be nails. My particular nib has held up well over the years (looked liked New Old Stock) when I got it although the box was very worn.

Sunday Notes and Links

SBRE Brown’s latest video review is the Retro 51 Tornado Lincoln fountain pen. One of my favorite finishes although the medium nib is too wet for me.

Be sure to check out Stephen’s YouTube channel for more reviews.
All this 5 year old wants for his birthday is some b-day cards. You know what to do. – FPGeeks
TWSBI Micarta V2 – inklode // The Micarta has been discontinued so will become harder to get. I like the material on my first gen Micarta but my nib/feed has been more problematic.
Review: Sheaffer Balance — Alt. Haven // Better looking than my Sheaffer Balance Junior but seems to match one of my favorites in every other way. (#1 on my Favorite Vintage list
Two Vanishing Point reviews this week:

Sterling Plastic #526 Roll Top Pencil Box – My Supply Room // This brought back memories. I’ve no idea if mine was the same brand but I had one just like it back in elementary school.
How much does your ink cost? – The Fountain Pen Blog //Nice chart of ink costs
Esterbrook SJ Fountain Pen Review — The Pen Addict
A caped crusader…Italian style – And All Other Tasks
Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Fountain Pen w/ FA Nib Review – FPGeeks
Kaweco AC-Sport fountain pen review – Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Music Evolution – Crónicas Estilográficas
Sheaffer Targa Gold Plated Chequered Classic – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // I just got a Targa (different and later model) and I’m liking it so far. A little on the thin side for me but still a nice writer.

Ink Reviews

Color Change for Black Swan in Australian Roses – Ink Nouveau
Ink Review: Iroshizuku Yama-Budo — The Gentleman Stationer
Sailor Nioi-Sumire – Inkdependence! // Be sure to read the other recent reviews of the new Sailor inks on the site
Review: Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green – The Well-Appointed Desk

Review: Sheaffer 300 Fountain Pen

Sheaffer 300 uncapped on mirror

It’s no secret that I’m a Sheaffer fan. Although most are vintage, the Sheaffer 300 is the 31st 21st in my Sheaffer accumulation. The 300 is a modern Sheaffer at a reasonable price (about $80).

Why I Got It

I’d like to thank Rachel Goulet from Goulet Pens for sending this Sheaffer 300 along for review. While the Sheaffer 300 was one of the pens I expressed an interest in, along with a fine nib, I left the finish up to Rachel. The metallic grey with chrome trim would have been my first choice, The 300 is available in a variety of colors, some have gold trim while others have chrome trim.

What I Got

Sheaffer 300 box and contents

A metallic grey Sheaffer 300 with chrome trim and a fine steel nib. The pen gets just about everything right, both in looks and performance. The pen arrived in the typical Sheaffer presentation box that looks kind of classy. A converter was included along with both a black and blue cartridge.
The pen has a classic shape with a slight taper to the cap and a more tapered barrel. There’s a lot of chrome trim but it complements the metallic grey so it isn’t overwhelming.
The clip design is also a classic throwback, with the same profile as my Sheaffer PFMs. Unlike the PFMs the clip is hinged, but the hinge is built into the flat top of the cap, giving it the PFM clip profile. The open end of the clip is tapered so it can easily slide over material. The clip is spring loaded and securely holds the pen in place. The cutout in the clip gives it more character than a solid piece of metal. Naturally the Sheaffer white dot is at the top of the clip. “SHEAFFERS” is engraved on the front of the chrome cap band, just below the clip.
Not only does the slip on cap look great, it snaps onto the pen with a reassuring click. It’s a clutch cap but clips solidly onto the barrel. There’s no play at all in the cap. I’ve only had the pen for a month so even though it’s been used constantly I can’t comment on the durability other than to say it looks and feels solid.
The cap also fits firmly on the other end of the pen. The end of the barrel has a chrome nub that is both decorative and functional. There’s a ridge that snaps into the inner cap to hold the posted cap securely in place. Even though I don’t post my pens it’s the little things like this that gives the feeling that Sheaffer put a lot of thought into the Sheaffer 300 pen design. The pen does feel top heavy to me, but that’s from someone who doesn’t post his pens.
The pen is a cartridge/converter using Sheaffer’s proprietary system. There’s a collar where the converter (or cartridge) fits into the feed. This gives the converter a solid feel when it’s in the pen. This is unlike the Sheaffer Intensity where I’m paranoid that a careless twist will snap off the spike that holds the converter.
The nib is my least favorite part of the pen design. It looks nice enough, but in my opinion it’s to short and stubby, at least for the pen it’s on. The looks don’t remind me of the classic Sheaffer nibs I’m fond of. So to remind me, the nib has the classic “SHEAFFERS” engraved across it with the classic elongated “S” at each end.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 5.5540″ (141.07 mm)
  • Length Uncapped: 4.7470″ (120.57 mm)
  • Length Posted: 6.0640″ (154.02 mm)
  • Section Length: 0.8150″ (20.69 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near nib): 0.3445″ (8.75 mm)
  • Section Diameter (below barrel): 0.4555″ (11.56 mm)
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): 0.3970″ (10.08 mm)
  • Cap Diameter: 0.5170″ (13.13 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter: 0.5140″ (13.05 mm)
  • Weight: 1.6 oz. (44 g)
  • Weight (body only): 0.8 oz. (22 g)

Writing With The Pen

Sheaffer 300 - uncapped on stand

So, the pen has classic good looks. How does it write? I was in a hurry to use the pen, so I skipped the initial flush and went immediately for the included Sheaffer black cartridge. The ink had reached the nib by the time I closed up the pen and grabbed a pad of paper.
The pen is bigger than it looks, at least I thought so,although it’s not a huge pen. It fits comfortably in my hand without posting. The section is a comfortable size for me. The step between the section and barrel is smooth so it doesn’t bother me even though my fingers rest on it.
The nib is smooth with just a hint of friction that let’s me know the nib is on the paper. I wouldn’t call it buttery smooth, but there’s nothing to complain about.
The cap does add significant weight to the pen so if you post your pens I would consider the 300 to be on the heavy side. Personally, if I posted my pens the 300 would be uncomfortably heavy for me. Without the cap posted the pen is a comfortable weight.
Even though the section is not metal (it’s plastic) it can still be slick, especially on a hot humid day like today. It’s still not as bad as a metal section, but I’m pushing for something to criticize about this pen. I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I had the air conditioning on.
While it depends on the ink, the nib had no problem staying wet and ready to write after being uncapped and unused for over 10 minutes. (Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun ink). I couldn’t bring myself to let this pen sit unused for 5 days like I usually do, so I can’t say how it would do if neglected for a few days. But I never had a hard start.
The pen is comfortable even for long writing sessions. I used it as my daily driver on more than one occasion which involved writing sessions of an hour or more. The best endorsement if the Sheaffer 300 is that it was the pen I reflexively reached for when I wanted to write, and it’s the pen that I always carried with me whenever possible. I used the pen so much it jumped the review queue having originally been planned for next week.
There wasn’t any skipping or false starts. The nib is also very forgiving of the writing angle. I often contort my hand when trying to write a quick note while reaching across things on my desk and the 300 handled it fine. I’m not a fan of using nibs upside down, but this one puts down a thin but consistent thin line, and it is scratchy. It’s a steel nib so there’s no flex to it. It’s a firm, fine nib which is what I like.

Inks Used

As I mentioned, the included Sheaffer black cartridge was the first ink in the pen. Then I switched to the converter with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. Both inks wrote flawlessly. The black flushed easily from the pen. The Fuyu-syogun still has a few drops left so I haven’t cleaned it out yet, but I don’t expect a problem.

Wrapping Up

Sheaffer 300 - uncapped on mirror

Again, I’d like to thank Goulet Pens for providing the pen for review. That doesn’t affect my opinion of the Sheaffer 300. Although, I am a Sheaffer fan and I have to admit that this may be effecting my opinion. I’m probably a little more positive than most people because I’m so happy to see such a nice modern Sheaffer at a reasonable price point. I love this pen!
While $80 is a little steep for a first fountain pen, the out of the box experience would be great for a first time user. If you’re looking at pens at this price point (or more) then I’d highly recommend this pen. The one caveat is if you must post your pens you may find it too top heavy.
The Sheaffer 300 is a solid keeper.

Additional Reading & Viewing

sbrebrown video review
FPN Review
My Pen Needs Ink

Ink Notes: Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine Cartridge

Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine cartridge tin

This review is a little different in that I used cartridges for the review rather than bottled ink or a sample. I wanted to try some Pelikan Edelstein inks, but I didn’t want more bottles of ink but wanted more than a sample. So when the cartridges became available I took advantage of the opportunity. Cartridges cost more per milliliter but are less money out of pocket. Cartridges will also dry out over time, unlike bottled ink (at least ink in glass bottles). I picked Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine as my first cartridge since I’ve been itching to try a new green ink.
The Edelstein cartridges are long international so at 3 ml per cartridge that works out to about $0.44/ml. The six cartridges come in a nice tin and are protected by tissue paper inside the tin.
Aventurine is a nice bright green that has enough saturation to stand out with my preferred thin nibs. With wider or wetter nibs there’s some very nice shading. Pelikan is known for dry writing inks but Aventurine has good flow and I wouldn’t consider it a dry writing ink.
The ink is pleasant to use. I didn’t encounter any noticeable feathering or bleed-through with my common nibs and paper. With the wet Retro 51 medium nib I did encounter some feathering with cheap copy paper. There was also some show through with this nib and paper but no bleed-through.
The ink also dries fast. Considering how wet the ink looked when it hit the paper I was surprised it dried so fast. It was especially fast on Doane Paper (Jotter and writing pads) which is great for me since that’s what I use most. Drying time was longer, but very acceptable, on Rhodia paper.
I did notice that the ink as noticeably darker every morning when I first used the pen. The color returned to normal after a sentence or two. It remained darker even after the ink dried. Normally the ink brightens up just a bit as it dries.
I realize green ink is a negative is some countries and green isn’t a business ink. Despite that, I find the ink pleasing to look at when writing all day and used it as my daily driver for several days. I quickly ran through about 3/4 of the cartridge in my Franklin-Christoph Model 25 with a medium stub nib.
The ink barely leaves a trace after the water test, but it did leave a trace. But if you spilled a beer on your plan to make millions you could probably read enough to make about half that.
I show some swab comparisons in the gallery. While not an exact color match, I would use this ink the same way I would use Montblanc Irish Green. MB Irish Green is my bright green of choice although Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine would replace it if I didn’t already have a bottle of MB Irish Green. I don’t like it so much more that I would buy a bottle before the Irish Green is gone. I’ll have no problem using the cartrisges before they dry up.

Pens Used

The Franklin-Christoph Model 25 with a medium (0.9 mm) stub nib was inked up for a couple of weeks and was used as my daily writer for several days during that time. Except for the previously mentioned starting off dark each morning the ink was problem free. There wasn’t any skipping or false starts. I didn’t have any problems flushing this pen when I was done. This is one of the fastest and easiest ink flushes I’ve had in a long time.
The other pens shown in the writing samples were inked only long enough to do the writing samples. I moved the cartridge from pen to pen and gave the ink about 5 minutes to reach the nib. The Retro 51 was the only one that needed a little more time but it found the nib with just gravity.
Since there was still a little ink in the cartridge I decided to move it to my Franklin-Christoph Model 29 with a fine nib rather than waste the ink. Like the other pens flow and color depth is good.

Wrapping Up

Like I said, if I didn’t already have a bottle of MB Irish Green then Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine would be my bright green ink of choice. I like the colors equally but the Aventurine wins based on drying speed and shading.

Additional Reading

Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine – Handwritten Ink Review |
Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine – The Fountain Pen Network
Pelikan Edelstein Fountain Pen Ink – Office Supply Geek
Ink Review: Pelikan Edelstein Overview Ink – Goulet Pens Video overview of six Edelstein inks. Aventurine is shown at 7:40


Nib Notes: Esterbrook #9314-M Relief Medium Stub

Esterbrook #9314-M nib

Continuing through my 9xxx series Esterbrook nibs I’m up to my Esterbrook #9314 Relief Medium Stub. Like other Esterbrook Relief Stubs this is a left oblique stub.
Like all 9xxx series nibs this one is tipped with an alloy Esterbrook called Osmiridium. “Esterbrook” is engraved lengthwise on the nib and “9314-M” is engraved lengthwise next to it. I prefer the lengthwise engraving over the typical engraving since it’s different. On some days I prefer the clean look of these nibs over the sunburst nibs.
My particular nib is fairly smooth but has some noticeable tooth to it, but it is smoother than the Esterbrook #2314-M nib that I have. The #2314-M is the same Relief Medium Stub but without any tipping material. Both nibs were rougher than I expected so this may not be a fair comparison. The #9314-M isn’t unpleasant to write with although I do prefer thinner nibs.
I picked up my Esterbrook #9314-M nib at last years Washington D.C. show. A search of the usual places don’t have any of these currently available for sale. Recent eBay sales completed for $28 to $36 and Anderson Pens has it listed for $30 but it’s out of stock.