A couple vendor announcements I missed initially, so in case you did too they’re here. Plus a couple articles I enjoyed.
According to a blog post at Goulet Pens, Lamy will only be distributing extra fine nibs in Germany and Asia. So unless you’re in those areas you better get them while you can. Well, assuming you match my preference for extra fine nibs. This is only for the steel nibs. Gold nibs, such as on the Lamy 2000 are unaffected.
Nock Co. will be raising their minimum order for free domestic (US) shipping from $50 to $75. You have through June 4th to get your order in under the old minimum. I recently re-ordered some paper stock from them and upped my order a bit to get the free shipping (it’s not like I won’t use the paper). I remember thinking their cases are both more expensive and lighter than the paper products and it seemed like a good deal since $50 gets a lot of paper. Getting to $75 will mean even more paper, but like I said, it will get used. Maybe their paper products will join their cases at some retailers.
I thought this post from Goodwriter’s Pens about Sheaffer pretty much summed up my view of older Sheaffers, and disappointment with modern Sheaffers. Although she’s much more knowledgable about the quality and operating mechanics of their filling systems. I love their vintage material and nibs, along with some of the older, but still modern materials and nibs.
I also enjoyed this post about using index cards. I make use of a lot of index cards (and the previously mentioned Nock Co order including restock on the “good” cards. I don’t have anywhere near the system described. They’re mostly for short term notes/planning/brainstorming and end up in the trash after a few days.
Fair warning – I’m calling this a This Just In Post even though it’s completely out of character for this type of post. It’s not exactly “just in”, arriving back on March 9th. Plus, I didn’t use the pen to write the draft of this post since it was already written dry. So while this is a bit more than a first impression I haven’t had the Visconti Brunelleschi long enough to do a full review.
I was enamored with the Visconti Brunelleschi from the moment I saw the first photos of it. It triggered a buying spree of terra cotta themed inks. It’s a pricey pen and I had some faint hope that the ink would satiate my desire for the pen. When it comes to limited edition pens, which this is, I find the ones I want the most are the ones that aren’t hugely popular for one reason or another. So I didn’t pre-order the pen, preferring to wait and see if the initial pen lust subsided. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t talk myself out of the fountain pen and I placed on order when it became available at Goulet Pens. (Brian also showed it in a Q&A video.) The pen is still available, although specific nibs may be harder to find.
While this is a limited edition (of 388 numbered pens) I did find that the pen, or at least one that’s very similar, was available as a Fountain Pen Network member pen. This actually made me feel a little better about the pen. I don’t really care about the exclusivity of a pen but I was concerned that this was a new material and therefore could have some issues. The fact that a pen using this material has been in use did alleviate my concern a bit.
The pen is inspired by the Brunelleschi Cathedral. While I like a pen with a story, this particular story didn’t move me to buy the pen (but it didn’t need to). The story of the dome is interesting and I did learn something as I ventured down a rathole reading about it.
The Brunelleschi is very similar to the Homo Sapien Bronze Age, which is among my favorite fountain pens. While the material and aesthetics are different, the pen size, weight and nib are nearly identical. Only the cap is noticeably different with the Homo Sapien being slightly fatter. The difference is enough to make the Homo Sapien too wide for one of my pen sleeves, while the Brunelleschi slides right in. This similarity was both good and bad. On the negative side it’s a lot to pay for a pen which handles like one I already have. On the positive side it’s a pen I know will be perfect for my hand. At this price I wanted a fountain pen that would break into my rotation and stay there, but I didn’t want it to replace the Homo Sapien. So I decided that a medium nib, added to the aesthetics, would make it different enough so that both could coexist. I’ve enjoyed medium nibs a bit more in the last year or so, and I made a point to try a few medium nibs before I ordered the pen. I decided it would be good choice and did order the pen with a medium nib.
Rose Gold trim is also typically a negative for me, especially since there’s a lot of trim on this pen. But the more I looked at pictures the more I agreed that rose gold is the perfect complement to the terra cotta material. While I did say there’s a lot of trim on this pen it’s not overdone or gaudy in my opinion.
Since the Visconti Brunelleschi was delayed from it’s initial release date I had plenty of time to work through my doubts and concerns and was eager to order once it became available.
As you can tell from the pictures the Brunelleschi arrived with more than just the fountain pen, so I might as well start with everything that’s not the pen.
The packaging is elaborate, described as “luxury eco-leather” although that term has no formal meaning, it has a multitude of implied meaning. It looks nice and adds to the impression that this is an elegant and quality product. But it adds no value to the actual fountain pen. It’s main benefit is that it keeps all the extras from bouncing around during shipping. The box did arrive in a cloth drawstring bag with the Visconti logo on it.
A bottle of ink was also included, although the bottle could be described as an inkwell. There’s no mention what the included ink is. If this was a custom or limited edition ink I’m sure Visconti would have promoted that fact. So I think it’s safe to guess that this is Visconti Brown ink (which I’ve also seen called Sepia), although I don’t have any Visconti Brown/Sepia to compare it to. It’s in a custom bottle, although the cap seems to be the standard Visconti plastic screw-on cap that identifies the color. The bottle is wide and shallow. I expect it will be hard to fill the Brunelleschi once the ink level drops a little.
A Visconti Traveling Inkwell is also included which could solve the filling problem. The inkwell is made of the same material as the pen. Unlike their standard traveling inkwell it doesn’t include a nib cleaning pad (cloth?) hidden in the cap. The inkwell has a gold finial similar to the pen. I’ve yet to use the inkwell because I’ve been unable to commit to an ink. I find the decision significantly harder than picking an ink for a pen. Plus it seems like a power filler pen, such as the Brunelleschi, could turn the inkwell into a weapon that’s even more accurate (and messy) than a champagne cork. Brian Goulet does have a video on how to use the Traveling Inkwell with various types of pens.
An eyedropper for filling the inkwell is also included along with a “Brunelleschi” decorative plaque and a information booklet.
I received Brunelleschi #143/388 As I mentioned, the Visconti Brunelleschi is nearly the same size and weight as my Homo Sapien. So I expected it to be perfect for my hand. And it was. It’s a faceted pen, with 8 sides. I don’t really notice the facets when writing. I’m not bothered by the corners at all since they are subtle. The material has a nice feel to it. Like the lava in the Homo Sapien, the terra cotta is blended in with the resin. It’s slightly smoother than the Homo Sapien but that could be since the pen is newer. It’s supposed to have the terra cotta’s resistance to damage and fading but not it’s tendency to shatter. While the Homo Sapien has developed a patina over time the terra cotta is supposed to resistant an patina or other signs of age. It’s been less than three months, but the pen still looks new. I haven’t tested it’s resistance to shattering or scratches beyond normal use. No drop tests yet, either accidental or on purpose.
I’ve heard complaints about Visconti’s lack of quality control related to their nibs. This is only my second Visconti, but like the Homo Sapien’s extra fine nib, this nib is perfect as far as I’m concerned. Unlike other pens at this price level I didn’t buy from a seller that will tune the nib, or at least test it, prior to shipment.
Medium nibs aren’t really in my wheelhouse and I’ve tended to avoid them until recently. But I’m trying to expand my horizons and this nib presents medium nibs in a good light. It’s not a nib I’ll use for note taking, I’ll stick to extra fines or fines for that, but I really like it for longer sit-down writing sessions.
The longest session with this pen was about 90 minutes, with a short break midway through. The break was more to stretch my legs and back as my hand wasn’t fatigued at all. The pen is one of my heavier pens, at 27 grams unposted. The weight is well distributed so I don’t need to grip the pen hard or fight with it when I’m writing.
The Visconti Brunelleschi is a nice companion to my Visconti Homo Sapien. I won’t have any problem having them both inked at the same time. My main problem will be do I give them each the same ink or different inks? I’m very happy about the Brunelleschi and my choice of a medium nib. I’ve avoided re-inking it until I empty a couple more currently inked pens. I have to say it’s killing me to not have this pen inked, both because I really like it and also because it’s my newest fountain pen. I may be forced to flush out one or two pens early to give me an excuse to ink it up.
I wrote this post over a month ago but then forgot to publish it. So you may already have noticed these changes.
Let’s start with a few links…
A reader submitted a link to a nice list of calligraphy resources at Beaucoup. Calligraphy is one of those things I say I want to learn, but then I realize I don’t really want to since I’d never commit to the time necessary to learn it.
The Pen Show Page has been updated with some more 2017 dates. Noticeably absent is the Washington D.C. pen show. The word is that there will be a new venue this year but it hasn’t been finalized. They say it will be in the northern Va. area during the first or second week of August. I wasn’t planning to attend this year, but if I was then the lack of a firm date at this late point would make me reconsider. I wonder how many attendees and vendors will pass on the show this year? I missed the LI show too, hopefully I can make the Boston Pen show so I’ll get to at least one show this year.
I’ve also updated the links page. There are so many pen blogs now that I split them into two sections. The first is “Enthusiastic Users” which are the folks who talk about their pen & stationery use. They generally don’t accept a lot of pens and ink for free or at a discount in exchange for a review. Doing that’s OK, but I prefer reading about what people use because they like the item (or think they will) and are spending their own time and money. Unfortunately I think that as pens and stationery become more popular some bloggers may experience events such as The Purl Bug which tends to take the fun out of it.
Of course, “ enthusiast” is open to interpretation. I have no doubt that someone who reviews a pen every week is enthusiastic. So I decided to limit the list to 24 sites and I’ll adjust it at times, and maybe reduce the number. As for my definition of an enthusiast site, as Justice Potter Stewart (any many others) said, “I’ll know it when I see it”. In short, I figure they are sites that readers of this site will also like, focused on stationery items & pens the writer buys and uses.
If you have site that’s not on the links page please let me know. Also let me know if you write about fountain pens (or any stationery) as part of a general, personal site and I’ll add it to the list.
I’m way behind on posts to this site so I haven’t written much about the Visconti Brunelleschi. I hope to have my This Jus In post for it up later this week, so I’ll skip my initial impressions about the fountain pen for now. The Brunelleschi arrived the second week of March and I immediately inked it up with the included Visconti Brown ink. At least that’s what I think the ink is. The Visconti packaging and marketing literature doesn’t get specific about the ink and never mentions a color. It’s a brown ink and if it was a special formulation I’m sure Visconti would have promoted that fact. So I assume it’s the standard Visconti Brown, which I’ve never used.
The Visconti Brunelleschi is similar to my Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze age. The size and weights are nearly identical. The Brunelleschi has a faceted barrel (8 sides) while the Homo Sapien is round. The nibs are also the same 23 kt Palladium Dreamtouch nib, although my Brunelleschi is a medium while my Homo Sapien is a extra fine. The only obvious difference is the material (and the color of the materials).
I wrote the pen dry in early May, so the fill lasted about two months. My overall fountain pen usage was way down overall. Plus, I don’t usually pick a medium nib for general note taking. I wasn’t passing over this fountain pen in favor of others. I used it whenever a medium nib was appropriate, unfortunately that wasn’t often enough. There was never any hard starts, even after the pen sat unused for a week or more. There also weren’t any indications that ink was evaporating from the pen.
The ink and nib provided a consistent and ideal flow, never a trace of hesitation, hard starts or skipping.
I liked the Visconti Brown ink, although I didn’t love it. I like Montblanc Toffee Brown better. The Visconti Brown dried fast enough to avoid accidental smudges, even with the medium nib. It was well behaved, no feathering or bleeding. The ink is nice enough and I’ll occasionally use the ink I have, but I won’t be buying another bottle. This is especially true since Visconti ink is on the expensive side of the price spectrum.
Visconti Power Fillers are always tedious to clean (as are all vac fillers). So with that caveat I’ll say Visconti Brown was easy to flush from the pen.
I will be refilling the Visconti Brunelleschi soon, I’m just waiting for my fountain pen usage to return to normal and I begin writing more pens dry. I’ll probably fill it with one of my newer terra cotta themed inks.
I’m late getting this post out, with the month being half over. But not much has changed since the first. My fountain pen usage is at the lowest point in memory. Not because I don’t like them or make them my first choice when reaching for a pen, but my daily writing is at a low point. The truth is the draft of this post is the first time I’ve written more than a page in one sitting.
You’ll notice a couple rollerballs in the list. Sacrilege, I know. But with my fountain pen usage way down the Retro 51’s hold a larger percentage of use. Especially since most of my writing has been notes on the go which is where the Retro 51’s fit in.
I haven’t inked up any new pens since the April post and one was written dry. I’ve been hesitant to ink up anything new since my usage is so low.
Fodderstack XL Carry
The Fodderstack XL spends a lot of time traveling around with me, mostly in my shirt pocket. It’s easy to grab and go, and I’m sure I have a notebook, a rollerball I can use in any situation, and a fountain pen with me. It showing some scuffs and stains from use but it’s all just cosmetic, it’s still as solid as the day I got it over two years ago.
The Retro 51 Terabyte Tornado (Anderson Pens LE) and the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe live in the Nock Co. Fodderstack XL, which travels in my shirt pocket. I’ve given into the convenience of the Retro 51 and use it for notes while I’m moving about which is a step up from carrying it as the pen I can lend to others. I typically swap the refill with a fine point Schmidt P8126 refill but this pen still has the original Retro 51 refill. I’ve been trying to waste less and throwing out the original refill would be wasteful. I haven’t hated the stock refill although I’d probably swap it if I used the pen for anything more than quick notes.
The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe only gets occasional use these days. If I’m going to sit down and write some notes I may use it. The Fodderstack is usually on my desk if I’m home so the Regency Stripe is more likely to get used at my desk than when I traveling about, but even then it’s just short writing sessions.
A Nock Co. Dot Dash pocket notebook also travels in the Fodderstack. The notebook is bound at the top which is my preference for a notebook I carry for quick notes.
I’ve given in to the Retro 51 being easier to use in a rush. I can pull it from the Fodderstack and get it ready to use with just one hand, unlike the Sailor. I could swap the Sailor for a Vanishing Point, and I may once the Sailor goes dry.
The Newton Eastman has been inked up a long time. It holds a lot of ink, (5 ml) so it takes a long time to run dry. I’ve gotten used to the ink splatter in the cap and no longer obsessively clean it out. The pen has begun to burp on a regular basis now that there’s all that air in the mostly empty barrel. I remove the cap and wrap my hand around the barrel to warm it up a bit before I use it. This does help a little and I can usually see the ink glistening before it drops so I can dab it off. But it still catches me at times. This makes me use the pen less than I would like since it’s high maintenance. I also haven’t been swapping the nib as much as I expected. Actually, I’ve only swapped the nib once. Part of it is because I really like the Esterbrook #2442 Falcon Stub but the other part is simply that I’m lazy.
The Franklin-Christoph Model 66 is eye dropper filled with Akkerman Dutch Masters 09 “Red Stone” and the performance of the ink is much improved over the Aurora Optima where it was annoying.
The rest of the pens got intermittent use since I didn’t do much writing.
The Visconti Brunelleschi was written dry after two months. I haven’t written anything about the pen yet, but I do like it. I’ve yet to clean it out but I do plan to re-ink it relatively soon.