I wrote the Maplewood Pilot Vanishing Point dry faster than I expected, it was just over a month ago that I inked it up. These days my pens tend to stay inked longer than that. Especially considering the XXXF nib is miserly and puts down a ultra thin line so the ink lasts a long time. The Black ink cartridge is the option with the largest ink capacity for the Vanishing Point. (Although the con–20 aerometric converter can equal it if it gets a maximum fill.)
Despite the ultra fine nib this pen never had any hard starts or skipping. The Pilot black ink was dark enough to put down an easily visible line. The nib is thin so smooth is a relative term. I’m not sure any XXXF nib could be called smooth but I actually like the feed back I get from this nib and enjoy the writing experience it provides. I use the nib on a variety of paper that I encounter during the day and rarely have a problem. Some cheap or course paper can cause problems, such as fiber getting stuck in the nib, but luckily this is rare. Cheap paper doesn’t mean copy/printer paper, which this nib handles just fine.
I can use the nib in any pocket notebook no matter what the paper is since bleed and show through aren’t a problem with such a fine line. A thin line also means the ink dries quickly, so no smudging when I close the notebook right after writing the note.
While I don’t mind a little nib creep and even enjoy some ink splatter on the nib, this pen experience serious nib creep as can be seen in the photo. I noticed this when I went to swap the nib with my Cherry Bamboo VP and ended up with ink all over my fingers. (I ended up not swapping to avoid getting ink inside both pens.) This was my one complaint about this pen, although I didn’t flush out the pen because of it.
Vanishing points are super easy to clean since the nib unit is removable. I used a bulb syringe to force water through to clean the inside and cleaned the ink off the outside of the nib unit in short order. There was ink inside the barrel in this case, thanks to the creep, which I cleaned with cotton swabs. I hesitate to use water or pen flush inside the VP for fear of rusting or corroding the trap door assembly. I’ll modify that policy if dried ink does eventually clogs the VPs trap door.
The functionality of the Pilot Vanishing Point is well served with this nib and ink. It’s very utilitarian and works consistently all the time. I tend to use the pen for notes, often quick one-sentence notes. With this pen and a notebook in my shirt pocket I’m less likely to reach for my phone to take quick notes since it’s faster.
I also use the pen for longer note taking sessions such as in meetings or training classes. As it happens, this combo is usually used when I’m emphasizing speed over almost everything else. My writing also happens to be generally smaller in these case, or maybe that’s because of the nib. While I do have a light touch with the nib, a trait that helps with ultra thin nibs, I sometimes find myself pressing a little harder when I’m concentrating on the subject of my notes rather than the writing itself. This nib also handles that without a problem.
I tend to not use this XXXF nib for pure writing sessions, such as the draft for blog articles or other long form writing. But I did try it out and found that it performed well and was comfortable for what turned out to be about a hour long writing session. Some of this is just because I used the VP a lot during the day and want to use a different pen. But while the line is very thin and immensely practical, it’s not very exciting.
This fountain pen, ink and nib combination is nearly perfect for what I use it for. In this case it’s less the pen barrel than the nib and ink, but I’ve grown to really prefer the wooden Vanishing Points over the metal barrels. The Maplewood is comfortable to hold and has a nice warm feel to it.
Despite being nearly perfect I decided not to immediately ink it up again. Mainly because I want to give my other pens a chance. I have two new pens due this week, one of which should be a very thin nib such as this one. While it won’t be as quick to action, it will serve much the same purpose.
I reviewed the Maplewood VP, but with medium nib, here. The nib is a custom grind from Richard Binder and has not been reviewed.