I picked up the Edison Menlo Pump Filler at the 2013 Washington DC Pen Show and it’s been a favorite since then. Montblanc Toffee Brown, also a favorite ink, has been the most common inked picked for this pen so it was an obvious choice when I inked it up again. This pen and ink have always gone well together. I inked the pen up way back on November 26th so it was just over two months ago. I did have a rare skipping problem, the only one I can remember, in early January. The pen had been used the day before and stored overnight, nib up, in the pen stand. A very common occurrence, yet this time the pen needed some help getting ink to the feed the next morning. Other then that one incident this ink and pen were a joy to use. The nib has a good flow but it is an extra fine and the Menlo holds a lot of ink, so the pen lasts a long, long time. Because this is a pump filler (think old style Parker Vacumatic this pen is a pain to clean). There’s a thin tub attached to the feed so ink tends to stay in there. Plus, there’s just not a lot of pressure when the water is pumped out. So when I’m cleaning the pen for storage I unscrew the nib & feed to give the pen a good cleaning. An ultrasonic cleaner also saves time with the feed. It does mean applying a little silicone grease when replacing the nib, but is saves so much time. Of course, it’s saves even more time to just re-ink the pen and keep it going. But I bit the bullet this time and cleaned it out for storage. This way I’m more likely to use my other pens. The Edison Menlo has such a large ink capacity and is such a nice writer I always want to reach for it.
I recently had a reader question about permanent inks. I thought FPQuest readers may be able to add some answers and comment on my answer.
Question: I’m interested in a fountain pen with an extra fine nib that uses waterproof, archival ink. I have heard that DeAtrementis is that such ink, but am having difficulty finding much info on it. Do you know: 1. Is there a non-clogging waterproof ink for fountain pens? 2. If so, do you have recommendations? 3. If so, do you have a great extra fine pen for sale per the above requirements, or a recommendation for some?
My Answer: I typically use Montblanc Permanent inks (Blue or Black) for permanence. I’ve left these in a extra fine and fine nib pens for over a month, close to two, without any clogging or other adverse affects. Unfortunately they’re more expensive than regular MB inks.
I also like Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa along with Diamine Registrar’s although they are iron gall based. While mild compared to older formulas I don’t like to leave them in my pens for more than a couple of weeks, although I gone about a month a times. Flow has never been a problem but the iron gall could corrode the nib over time.
If you need real archival (as in centuries) and don’t want the iron gall inks I think the sailor Nano-Carbon inks (KiwaGuro Black and Sei-Boku Blue) or Platinum pigmented inks are the best choice. I’ve use the black from each brand and find them to flow well in extra fine and fine nibs, even my Platinum ultra extra fine nib. I do have to use the pen every couple days or so otherwise they are hard to start. Other than that the flow is good.
I don’t have any experience with De Atramentis document inks. Noodler’s also has a few options but I’ve never used them.
As for pens, I like Platinum’s ultra extra fine nib which I have in a 3776 pen. Platinum also has a desk pen which sells for about $15 (or less) which they say is designed for their carbon inks and has an extra fine nib. I did find the desk pen can go longer without use so there may be something to their claim. Platinum has their own proprietary cartridges/converters which have a wide opening which helps the flow. I also like Pilot nibs which seem to be universally better than their price point. I’m also partial to older Sheaffer gold nib pens. They can be found reasonably priced.
Any additions or suggestions, let me know in the comments.
I have too much ink. There, I said it. Although, I really don’t believe it. But I do have so much ink that it scares me and I’ve been sticking to my well known inks lately. To get a handle on things, I spent a couple nights listing all my inks in a spreadsheet. I did exclude all the inks I’ve decided to never use again (I’ve been giving it away but still have some put aside). I probably have a few miscellaneous ink cartridges in various nooks, crannies or couch cushions but this should be any ink that counts. I also avoided including my ink samples. I ended up with 146 different colors. While that total count didn’t surprise me (after all, I have two overflowing drawers full of ink bottles), the breakdown of the numbers was surprising, even to me. I have more Montblanc ink colors than any other brand. With 19 colors, all of which are bottles. Montblanc is my favorite ink brand, but that number surprised me. Especially since I have multiple bottles for several of those colors, giving me 25 Montblanc bottles in all. Montblanc Bordeaux leads all inks with four bottles, although one of those is nearly empty. That was no surprise since it’s my favorite ink and I hoarded it when it was discontinued. Pilot is second in the brand count, with 14 colors. Five in the “Pilot” line and nine in the “Iroshizuku” line. Third place among the brands is Diamine with 13 different colors, although two of them are sold as a Cult Pens brand.
The breakdown by color family also brought its own surprises. No surprise that Blacks and Greens topped the list. While black may be a pretty basic color I do like variety. Green is also a favorite color even though I don’t use it much. I don’t use green as much as black so it was a bit of surprise that I have as many green options as I do black options. On the other hand, I rarely meet a green ink I’m not willing to buy. I went through a recent sepia buying binge recently so I wasn’t surprise by having so many brown options. The problem here (for me) is that Montblanc Toffee Brown is my typical brown choice.
I need to expand my ink horizons. It’s not enough to set a goal to use each ink at least once in 2015. While I may pick some inks just because I want to use them, I’ll use the new list to pick my inks. I’ll just generate a random number and use the ink on that row. I can always filter by color family if I want and exclude inks I’ve already used. There’s no guarantee I’ll use every ink this year, but at least there will be variety. Although I imagine Montblanc Bordeaux will always be in a pen as will R&K Blau-Schwarz and I’m sure other favorite inks will be used multiple times, just because I want to use them. Leaving myself at completely at the mercy of chance would be crazy. Do you have a few standard inks? If not, and you have many inks, how do you rotate through them?