During the past week, I made my desk more analog friendly. It used to have my laptop computer, wired to a large monitor, external keyboard and an external drive. Plus, my iPad was there too, on a stand. All that remains is the iPad on the stand and the keyboard which is now attached to the iPad. That leaves plenty of room for writing and spreading out. Assuming I can keep the clutter off my desk. It’s only been a few days, yet my desk pens are getting a lot more use.
I wrote the Kaweco Brass Sport dry this past week but immediately reloaded it with another cartridge of Montblanc Petite Prince Red Fox. Another pen went dry this past week, the Platinum 3776 Ribbed, with its UEF nib. I can’t say I wrote it dry because it seemed to go dry more through evaporation than use. I immediately returned it to active use, but this time with a Platinum Black ink cartridge this time.
On Wednesdays in March I’ve been posting Goodbye articles about pens that I sold off the week before. Usually, it’s been a pen that I felt I should like, or did like at one time, but its history of non-use made it evident that it wouldn’t find a place in my regular rotation. I had to force the logical side of my brain to take control and let the pen go..
No such problem with the four pens sold last week. The three Franklin-Christophs were long-unused, but unlike some other Franklin-Christophe I didn’t feel the slightest urge to ink them up. The same with the Kaweco Sport, although that was more because it was one of three Sports, and I liked the other two more.
The three F-C pens had a combined 16 1/2 years in my accumulation, yet had only been used a total of 8 times. It’s no surprise that most of those uses were when the pens were new(ish).
I had two Model 20 pens and decided to keep one. But that was mainly because it has a history of some leaking, I didn’t want to troubleshoot the leaks, or use the pen enough to confirm it no longer leaked, so it stayed, and the other one went. I certainly don’t need both pens.
The Model 19 (my review)was another failed attempt at exploring nibs outside my comfort zone. The nib was too wide to get any regular use by me. While a new nib or a nib grind was certainly an option, the pen didn’t excite me.
The Model 29 had the distinction of kicking off what became a F-C addiction. Unfortunately, the newer Franklin-Christoph pens pushed it far out of the rotation.
While it was easy to say goodbye to these three Franklin-Christoph pens, I have a bunch of Model 02 and Model 03 pens (they are similar). I inked one up to test it, before selling, and decided I didn’t want to sell it. Eventually I’ll sell one or two of them, but for now, I can’t decide which pens or nibs to keep. I’ll put off the decision until I’ve further reduced my fountain pens and figure out which on fits into the reduced accumulation.
This week it’s a couple long unused Platinum 3776 fountain pens up for sale. The photos in this post and the writing samples are all current. Feel free to contact me with any questions, although the first firm “I want it” gets the pen.
If you’re interested, reach me using [ray [@] fpquest.com] or contact form here.
U.S. shipping is $7, although free if you buy both pens at the same time. International shipping is available but very expensive. You can contact me for the cost, but even the low cost countries start above $27.
Click any image for full-size photo. All writing samples and photos in this post are recent.
Platinum 3776 Century, Bourgogne, 14K Gold Fine Nib – $65 (SOLD)
Excellent condition. No box or paperwork. Includes a converter.
Platinum 3776 Century. Chartres Blue, 14K Gold Extra Fine nib – $65 (SOLD)
Excellent condition. This is a thin Japanese extra fine nib that I find to be a little dry. Includes a converter.
Both pens are being sold because I haven’t used them in years.
If you’re interested you can reach me using [ray [@] fpquest.com] or the contact form here.
My first Sheaffer Balance II was the limited edition Aspen. I fell in love, despite some early problems. It joined my accumulation over 5 years ago, and it’s been filled at least 10 times since then. I say “at least” because I’m not consistent in recording when I refill a pen with the same ink. I liked it so much that I added two more Balance IIs within four months, the Jade Green and the Crimson Glow. All three pens have the same 18K gold two-tone Feather Touch nib.
The Aspen was released in 1999, while both the Crimson Glow and the Jade Green were part of the original regular product launch in 1998. There were some earlier limited editions in 1997.
The Aspen was know to have some flow issues when it was new, and mine had those issues when it arrived. It would write for about a page, then stop completely until the feed was primed. I sent it off to Mike Masuyama for adjustment and it’s been perfect since then. The Jade Green and Crimson Glow have both been fine from the start.
Officially, the nibs are all mediums, but they are much closer to a medium/fine. I’ve had western fine nibs that are wider (as was a Pelikan extra fine). I’m not typically a fan of two-tone nibs but I adore these nibs. Their look reminds me of vintage nibs, and there’s a lot of detail in the engraving.
The acrylic used for all three of these pens has a reputation of easily, and spontaneously, cracking. Mine are all in great shape (knock on wood). From what I read, it’s compressed acrylic with a lot of fractures that can cause cracking for no apparent reason. I buy my pens to use, and these are no different. I do handle them carefully. I don’t post the caps, which isn’t a problem since I don’t typically post my pens. I carry and store them in a slotted, cushioned, fully enclosed Visconti case. I never use the clips. I try to avoid my usual habit of fiddling with the cap in my left hand while I write.
The solid color versions of the Balance IIs don’t share the reputation for cracking, but they aren’t nearly as beautiful.
Based simply on the number of pens in my accumulation, Sheaffer is my favorite brand and these are among my favorite Sheaffer. The Aspen topped my favorite pen list in November 2015, although it dropped off a year later since I hadn’t used the pen that entire year. If I was to redo the list today (and it’s long overdue) I would put all three Balance IIs on the list, to share one of the top 5 slots.
I tend to use brown or gray inks in the Aspen. Although a couple other colors have found their way into the pen. Montblanc Permanent Grey is the ink I’ve used the most in this pen. All the inks have worked great. I don’t experiment with this pen, so it only gets ink I already know have good behavior.
A expected, the Crimson Glow often gets red ink, although the most used ink was Sheaffer Peacock Blue, from the days of inkwell bottles and maroon boxes. While I don’t usually like blue inks, I like the idea of using a classic Sheaffer ink in these pens. The turquoise ink has grown on me and the contrast with the red pen is nice.
The Jade Green Balance II has been used exclusively with green inks. Sheaffer Emerald Green is the most used ink while Montblanc Irish Green is the only other ink to be used more than once.
The Aspen is my clear favorite among the three pens. It has been pulled from the pen case and filled far more often than either of the other two.
In difference to their brittle nature, the Sheaffer Balance II fountain pens are not used for note taking, but only when I sit down for the sole purpose of writing. This is to limit the the number of times I uncap and cap the pens. Plus, when taking work notes I can be somewhat absent minded and be a little rougher with the pens, such as laying them on top of the ring binders in a notebook,being a little rough when putting it on my desk, or absently knocking it out of my way. Because of this, they can go a long time without being used. Occasionally I may need to hold the pen nib down to get the ink flowing, or even prime the nib, but they mostly start writing without any hesitation.
The Sheaffer Balance II Aspen, Jade green and Crimson Glow are among my favorite fountain pens. They look great and are terrific writers. What’s not to like? Well, their fragility mainly. It’s what keeps me from using them more. Even though I’m working to trim the accumulation these pens will be staying with me, despite breaking the rule to avoid keeping pens that are similar in every way, except the acrylic.
I was less consistent in using my pens this past week. I only journaled 4 out of the 7 days, and those were short half-page entries. The drafts of the articles that will post this week used more ink than those journal entries. A little note taking rounded out my pen usage.
I did finally write a pen dry, two actually. The Fisher of Pens Hermes and Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze both went dry yesterday. While my impulse is to simply refill them, I have a lot of pens inked and I want to work through some others. So, they’ll go back into the pen case once they’re cleaned.
With the good weather coming (hopefully), I stopped carrying the Fodderstack XL in my shirt pocket. Winter shirts have bigger pockets and thicker material to hold it in place. I still carry the notebook, but now my Kaweco pocket pen will get more use. It will often be the only pen I have on me. This also comes with me finishing off the Nock Co. Pocket notebook that I carried in it. The notebook went into the shredder. New new notebook will be in my pocket, sans-case.