Three Pieces of Silver

Photo of my three sterling silver pens, and their current inksI had pulled out three Sheaffers, fully intending to fill them as replacements for my previously emptied Sheaffers. Then some tarnished Sailor silver caught my eye, and I grabbed a polishing cloth. But, if I’m going start polishing silver, I might as well polish all of it. So, I grabbed my two pieces of silver by Pilot (Namiki) and settled in for some polishing. And once they were polished, I had no choice but to ink them up. If I put them back in the pen case, they would tarnish again before I used them, making all that time wasted. So it was on to ink them up.

Keeping with the theme of three, I picked the three Iroshizuku inks that were closest at hand. The Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver was fed Iroshizuku Yama-guru. The ink level in the bottled betrayed that I had used the ink quite a bit, yet I couldn’t remember what it looked like on paper. I like brown ink, and it was a beautiful dark brown in the bottle.

photo of the Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver

Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver

The Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver came with a 21kt medium nib. I bought the pen in 2004 and had Richard Binder stub the nib at the 2013 D.C. pen show. The pen has seen infrequent use since them. One reason is that it tarnishes quickly, and polishing it up is a significant speed bump before inking it up. The pen hasn’t been used at all in the last two years and only three times since having the nib stubbed.

One of the end pieces, I forget which one, popped off, and I had to superglue it back on. It’s been solid since then, but I do hold my breath whenever I polish the pen.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 writing sample

Sailor 1911 writing sample

Photo of the Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk uncapped

Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk

The first of my Namiki fountain pens to get ink was the Hawk. I picked Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. (FYI – Namiki is a sub-brand of Pilot, just like Iroshizuku.) The pen has an 18kt gold inlaid fine nib. The grey ink can sometimes get lost on some paper when using a thin nib. If I had been thinking or paying attention, I wouldn’t have filled the thinnest nib of the trio with grey ink. I’m writing the draft of this post on Doane Paper, which has a blue grid pattern. The ink flow is enough to put a line down that’s consistent and dark enough to stand out from the grid. I do like the look of the inlaid nib as I use the pen. The pen was purchased in 2003 but rarely used. It was last used nearly 4 years ago.

The pen barrel has what appears to be a small circle with a dot in it. It faces me when I write with the pen and is out of place. Now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. There are a couple other small blemishes that didn’t come out with the polishing cloth. They probably just need slightly more aggressive polishing.

While there are several Namiki Sterling designs available as new, it appears the Hawk has been discontinued.

Photo of the Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon uncapped

Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon

The final piece of silver is the Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon. I purchased the Dragon in April 2004. Like the Hawk, it’s rarely used and not used at all in the last four years. The Dragon has an 18kt medium gold inlaid nib. I loaded the pen with Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku (autocorrect is killing me on the ink names, hopefully my corrections are “re-corrected”). The nib puts down a nice wet line, with “wet” defined by someone who likes nibs tuned to the dry side.

Both Namiki pens are using the discontinued Con-20 aerometric converter (squeeze sac). I’m pretty sure they’re the ones that came with the pen 15+ years ago. New models include the Con-40. The Con-20 is Pilot branded, and they refer to it as a “Press Plate” converter. The Con-20 was discontinued as 2017 began. The Con-20 is my favorite Pilot converter (which isn’t saying much). Even though I can’t see the ink level, I find that it’s the only Pilot converter that rivals the ink capacity of a Pilot cartridge in real-world use. (I don’t use the Con-70 which probably does hold more.)

Despite being metal pens, the Namiki Sterling Silver pens don’t feel heavy at all. They are certainly lighter than the Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver that does have some heft to it. The 1911 is also slightly bigger when capped. Uncapped and unposted, which is how I use my fountain pens, all three pens are the same size. All three pens are comfortable in my hand. They are postable, but I don’t post them. I did notice some hand fatigue after using the 1911 for a short time. This was most unexpected and may have been more to do with it being late in the day, and I’ve been using my hands a lot today (cleaning, scrubbing, moving stuff, but unfortunately not using pens). I didn’t use the Namiki pens until the next day. There was no fatigue when using them.

None of these pens are among my core pens, although the Sailor 1911 managed to make my Hangers-On list. Since it’s been unused as long as the Namiki Sterling so it shouldn’t have even made that list. Despite their dormancy, I probably won’t put them up for sale. All are excellent writers, and they’re probably worth more to me than someone else would pay for them. While none have been beyond writing the draft of this post, all have reminded me that they are trustworthy writers and enjoyable fountain pens.

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