There really isn’t anything about the Sheaffer Balance IIs that I don’t like. The acrylics are lovely,the nibs are great and they fit well in my hand. This one is a Jade Green Balance II with a medium 18ct gold nib that Sheaffer branded as Feather Touch. I inked it up back on March 13th and was surprised to see it had been uninked for over nine months. In my head I had used it recently.
The last time I used this pen it ended up with ink all over the inside of the barrel, either from a leak or ink creep. This time around it was uneventful from first fill to the last drop.
A bright green pen demands a bright green ink. This time around it was Omas Green. I’ve liked other Omas inks but this was my first time with green. I liked the ink so much that I picked up a second bottle before it vanishes from store shelves. The ink has a little line variation, giving it some character, while also being saturated enough to give it a nice bold color that pops off the paper. While not an exact color match, the character of the ink makes it a rival for my favorite green – Montblanc Irish Green. The ink was easily cleaned from the pen.
I did get a reminder as to why this pen went unused for so long. It still has a tendency to skip, although never bad enough to be put down. So this is another pen that gets added to the list for a nib tuning at the DC pen show. I really want it to write as well as the Balance Aspen that I have. It has such a nice soft gold nib. I don’t think I trust myself to smooth it out myself without making it worse. While it’s officially a medium it’s more a medium-fine so it works well for me.
Omas Green will make it into another pen soon enough, although I do have several other greens that are new to me and seem rather nice. The Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) will probably remain unused until I get the nib tuned.
I inked up my Pelikan M805 Stresemann as 2015 came to a close. I finally wrote it dry this past weekend. This fill used Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black ink which is the first time for this pen & ink combination.
The pen and ink work well together. The ink is a little on the dry side while the nib is often too wet for my taste. They combine to put down a nice line on any paper without any skipping or hard starts. I still can’t write as small as with other extra fine,s but it doesn’t require a significant change on my part and it is a nice writing experience.
I did have one problem, or maybe two. I seemed to be rotating the pen more than usual while writing. I do have a tendency to do this, but it was worse than usual with this pen, even when I was consciously trying to avoid it. I’ve never been completely happy with the nib and planned to get it slimmed at a pen show. But this time around I was thinking left oblique would be a good choice and put it on my list for the DC show. Then on Sunday the nib unit fell out while I was writing. So now I wonder if the nib unit was loose and rotating itself rather than me rotating the pen. I’ll be using the pen more before the DC show and I’ll pay more attention and make sure the nib unit stays secure.
I don’t routinely take pens apart just to clean them and I’ve never removed the nib from this one. No damage done since the nib was already in contact with my desk when it slipped out. Plus the pen was just about dry so the mess was minimal, just some ink from the nib unit hitting the paper and rolling a bit. Plus, no leaking ink leading up to the separation leaving the inside of the cap ink free.
Cleaning the pen was easy. The ink flushed right out despite being in the pen nearly four months. Although, since the nib unit had just fallen out I didn’t see a reason to not keep it off while I cleaned the pen, making cleaning even easier than normal.
I have my usual complaints about this nib. It’s to wide for an extra fine. It was already on my list to be ground down a bit and that’s still the plan, probably at the D.C. show.
With a nib more to my liking this pen could see a return to my top 5 modern pens list. Even with the current nib it’s close to breaking into that top 5. For now it will get some time off, but not for too long.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that are enjoyable. This week’s favorite was my Platinum Carbon Pen with Platinum Carbon Black ink. It’s a cheap plastic pen, and feels it, plus it’s a little on the thin & light side for long writing sessions. Still, this week it got a lot of use and that thin nib was enjoyable to use. I reached for it not just for convenience, but also because I wanted to use it.
While I haven’t seen any official announcement of dates (or a website update) for the Washington DC pen show this FPGeeks forum thread alerted me that it’s August 4–7, so I made my hotel reservations. The group rate ($119/night) is in effect for those days at the hotel. Cancellation policy for the group rate requires cancellation a couple days before the check-in day in order to be fully refundable. Unlike some shows, I couldn’t find any cheaper rates that were also fully refundable.
I didn’t get a chance to use fountain pens very often this past week. So they aren’t really favorites but the convenience of the Vanishing Point made it the most used and I did use the Omas 360 enough to write it dry of Montblanc Golden Yellow ink and give it a refill.
What Others Are Using & Doing
Aziza went to the Cologne Pen Show and wrote about it at Gourmet Pens.
The “new Estertook” pen company re-appeared again just long enough to remind us that Robert Rosenberg hasn’t learned anything and hasn’t changed. Read Festercrook, the Modern Esterbrook by Phil Olin for more info. I don’t follow Massdrop, but I have to believe the new Esterbrook joins a fairly exclusive club of products that have been pulled from a drop.
Speaking of Esterbrook, I ordered my own “new” Esterbrook recently. Well, not really a Esterbrook, but a custom pen designed to take Esterbrook nibs. The Esterbrook J’s are just too slim for me these days and I miss using the nibs. Definitely a better choice than the “new” Esterbrooks. More expensive when counting dollars, but a far better value.
The Goulet Pens Ink Drop is a victim of its own success and will be retired after 5 1/2 years. I subscribed awhile back and it was a great way to discover inks, but I soon had more ink than I could reasonably use.
The next pen show in the U.S. is this coming weekend. The Atlanta Pen Show runs from April 15 – 17th and it will be a Pen Addict Party as Myke will be jumping over from the UK.
The Katowice Poland pen show is this weekend. If you’re reading this when it posts Sunday morning and are near Katowice you can still make it there.