Ink & Pen Notes: Newton Eastman (#2314-F & #2442) with Montblanc Irish Green

Newton Pens Eastman (Esterbrook) with Montblanc Irish Green bottleI could be wrong, but I think the Newton Eastman with Montblanc Irish Green ink holds the record for longest time to write dry without a refill. This is mainly due to it’s huge 5 ml capacity. It’s also a pen that doesn’t travel well, so it’s homebound which does limit its use.

The Newton Eastman is a custom fountain pen by Shawn Newton which was built to use vintage Esterbrook nibs that are interchangeable. The pen started with the #2314-F Fine Stub when it was inked on November 2nd of last year. A month later I swapped it for the #2442 which is also a fine stub nib. I had planned to continue swapping nibs every month or so, but this one remained until the pen went dry on June 12th. I liked it.

As expected, the pen has a petulant streak to it. There’s a lot of ink in there, which switches to a lot of air as the pen is used. Plus, these are vintage nibs that were never intended to have so much ink trying to gush through them. While the amount may vary between specific nibs, the ink drips into the cap if it’s bouncing around in my bag. Or rolls off my desk. Or falls off my pen stand. Or any number of other causes. At first I was constantly cleaning out the cap as the splatter in that shiny clear acrylic bothered me. But eventually I grew tired of dealing with it and eventually grew to even like it. My experience with Montblanc Irish Green gave me the confidence that staining wouldn’t be a problem.

The Eastman also has a tendency to burp (drip ink from the nib) while writing once the the ink level dropped to about 3/4 full. This was mostly controllable by uncapping the pen then wrapping my hand around the barrel to warm it up before using the pen. But as the ink level dropped to about 1/4 the burping became more frequent and I had to watch for any ink accumulation on the nib and wipe it off before it dripped or repeat the warming process to let air out as I wrote.

Technically, I didn’t write the pen dry. There was a page or two of ink left but the burping became a real problem once the ink level didn’t even reach the barrel so I flushed the pen.

Despite its petulance I really enjoy using the Eastman. The pen is large but light. There’s no metal (well, just the steel nib), there’s not even a converter to add weight. The large pen is comfortable in my hand and I can use it for extended writing sessions without getting fatigued.

The pen was easy to clean despite being inked over seven months. The only ink that remained after a quick pass under running water was the ink that had worked it’s way into the cap & barrel threads. A quick bath in the ultrasonic cleaner and a q-tip got the ink out of the threads with little effort.

The Newton Eastman will get a bit of a break. I have 11 pens recently inked so there’s a lot of ink I need to run through. Adding another 5 ml would overwhelm me. Montblanc Irish Green has been a favorite green ink for a long time, although it has some recent competition so it may be awhile before it returns to a pen.

Newton Eastman (2314-F) with Montblanc Irish Green Writing Sample

Newton Eastman (2442) with Montblanc Irish Green Writing Sample

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This Just In: Nock Co. Lanier

Nock Co LanierNock Co. started life on Kickstarter with a series of pen (or pencil) cases over three years ago. They recently returned with a new Nock Co. product category, a briefcase. I backed it at the early bird level ($80) in late September and it arrived in May. It missed the April estimated delivery by a few days, which qualifies as on time for Kickstarter.

When Nock Co. started they made all their cases in-house. Now the Lanier, and many other cases are made by other manufacturers (still in the U.S.). Brad and Jeff still oversee production and quality control. All my original cases are still in fine shape and I expected the same quality in the Lanier even if it wasn’t technically manufactured in-house. I do expect the Lanier to take more abuse than my other cases.

What attracted me to the Lanier was its light weight and simplicity. It seemed perfect as a way to carry my supplies for the day. My current day bag is the Staad Attaché by Waterfield Designs. While I do love that bag it’s mad of woven canvas and leather which makes it on the heavy side. It also has a lot of room, which can actually be a negative, since I have a tendency to put things in it just because I can and I might need it. This makes the bag even heavier. So besides using lighter material the Lanier should provide some constraints so I don’t carry stuff just because I can.

When the Lanier first launched on Kickstarter there were numerous requests for a shoulder strap along with a couple requests for more padding. Both of these would have ruined it for me. It would duplicate the Staad and add bulk that I’m looking to avoid. I quickly backed the project but made a note to check back before it funded so I could cancel my pledge if these changes were made. But it soon became clear, both in the backer comments and Brad’s comments on the Pen Addict podcast that the design was pretty well locked in, and these changes wouldn’t happen. Not only would this keep the bag design what I wanted, but it would (hopefully) avoid any delays due to last minute design changes.

I picked the green version, which is an olive exterior and a lime interior. The exterior is water repellent (via a coating) 1000D Cordura. The interior is 400D pack cloth. There’s also 1/8″ interior foam padding. Full specs are on the Nock Co. website where the Lanier is now available.

A matching A5 pouch is included. The pouch fits in the front pocket of the Lanier. The pouch has two pocket notebook sized interior pockets.

Nock Co Lanier A5 Pouch contents

First Impressions

The first thing I noticed is how comfortable the nylon handles are. My Staad Attaché has leather handles. The stiffness of these handles, along with the seam location, can make the bag uncomfortable to carry for anything more than a short time. While nylon can be uncomfortable that’s not the case here. The handles are 1″ wide nylon and are stitched to the bag so that there’s an arc to them and they are flat in my hand when I’m carrying the bag. My hand doesn’t get tired carrying the bag around. While I’m sure the lighter weight is a factor, I consider the strap design the main reason that the Lanier is comfortable to carry. The straps are a subtle design element that Nock Co. got right.

The Lanier is exactly what I hoped it would be. Some folks complained the color didn’t match the photos on Kickstarter. I didn’t pay that much attention. I figure between differences among monitors along with dye/variances between prototype and production I wouldn’t be surprised by some differences. The bottom line – I really like the color. I like green in general and I really like both the olive and lime greens used in this case. No complaints about the color from me.

I bought the case for my 12“ iPad Pro along with my analog tools. My 13” MacBook Pro also fits but other than to check the fit it hasn’t been in the Lanier.

My Typical carry includes the iPad Pro, a large notebook, a Franklin-Christoph Penvelope 6 and my Travelers Notebook in the main compartment. The notebook is a large notebook of 8 1/2“ X 11” Staples sugarcane paper, although the wire binding and thick covers adds about an inch to those dimensions. A Kindle also fits although it’s usually in the front zipper pocket.

Nock Co Lanier contents - Staples Sugarcane Notebook, iPad pro, Travelers Notebook, A5 Pouch

The front zipper pocket doesn’t have any straps or pockets of its own. What it does have is a matching A5 sized zippered pouch that fits inside. The A5 pouch has two inside pockets appropriately sized for pocket notebooks. The pockets are a bit loose and won’t hold items securely. This isn’t a problem for larger items like pocket notebooks, but smaller items may work their way out of the pocket while being carried. Personally, I would have liked a couple pen slots but I admit this would go against the flexibility designed into the Lanier. Three-pen cases do fit in the pocket, at least all the ones that I have. Nock Co’s own Sinclair, Lookout, Hightower and Fodderstacks (regular and XL) all fit. My Visconti 3 pen case is the tallest case that I have and it just barely fits. I can close the zipper when the case is in the pocket, but just barely. The fit is fine if I don’t put it in the pocket. The Visconti case is about 6 1/4″ high. It would be nice to have the Nock Co cases in matching colors.

The pouch is curved on one corner to make it easier to get in and out of the Lanier’s front pocket. Right now I’m carrying miscellaneous items in the pouch. A portable battery charger (and associated cables), a Retro 51, a couple mechanical pencils, corded headphones, screen/glasses wipes and usually a granola or snack bar. The pouch is big enough for my Seven Seas Writer (or Crossfield) although I don’t have any need to carry those notebooks when I travel. While the pens do clip to the pocket, they do work loose.

Nock Co Lanier with A5 Pouch

The biggest complaint from people may be the lack of a shoulder strap. My Staad Attaché does have a removable should strap and I kept it attached all the time. It’s main benefit was that I could carry the bag and have both hands free. That bag was bulky and heavy(ish) so it was difficult to juggle the bag with just the handles. It was also slightly more comfortable than the handles for an extended carry. The Lanier is lighter and less cumbersome so I can juggle it with other items when I have to. I haven’t missed the shoulder strap.

The padding provides enough protection for my needs. It’s not going to protect my iPad from crushing abuse but it’s enough protection for my daily carry. I wouldn’t carry the bag on an overnight trip, but I would pack it in whatever bag I did use, then use it once I arrived.

The material does have a tendency to attract some dust, which can be seen in the photos, but it can be easily cleaned off.

Summary

I’ve been using the Nock Co. Lanier for about a month. It’s what I use when I need a bag or briefcase when I head out. The A5 pouch works well for the items I always want to have with me such as headphones and some writing implements. The simplicity of the bag makes it easy to quickly pack the other items I need for the day. The light weight makes it easy to carry.

The bag provides a lot of flexibility while also limiting my ability to pack everything except the kitchen sink. The bag is designed to be an easy carry during the days activities and suits that purpose well.

Nock Co Lanier with A5 Pouch 2

Ink & Pen Notes: Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) and Montblanc Bordeaux Ink

Montblanc Meisterstuck Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) with Montblanc Bordeaux bottleMontblanc Bordeaux is the only ink I’ve used in my Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand fountain pen with its oblique medium nib. This time around it took me over four months to write the pen dry. The long duration was due more to a drought in my writing than any dislike of the pen & ink. The pen is better suited, at least for me, to sit at the desk and just write sessions than taking notes. There just hasn’t been much of that prior to June.

Because of this the Ultra Black spent a lot of time sitting unused on my desk, or nib up in a pen case. Yet it wrote perfectly when I did uncap it for use. There wasn’t a hit of a hard start, ever, and it was completely skip-free.

The oblique nib is at a good angle for my typical writing posture. Medium nibs are a bit wider than my typical choice, but I’ve grown to like them more as I’ve used them. This isn’t a pen I use to take notes while holding a pocket notebook, but it’s a solid writer when I’m at a desk or table.

There’s really not much else for me to say. The pen is a piston filler so cleaning is tedious as expected, but it was relatively fast. It was time to give the pen a cleaning, but I didn’t obsess over it since it will soon be refilled with the same ink.

The Montblanc Ultra Black LeGrand and Montblanc Bordeaux will again be paired and soon return to the rotation.

Montblanc Meisterstuck Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) with Montblanc Bordeaux writing sample

Ink and Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Callifolio Aurora

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Callifolio AuroraSure enough, as I predicted in my currently inked post, the Sailor Pro Gear KOP with Callifolio Aurora had about one and a half pages of ink left this month and it went dry on it’s first outing of the month.

The Sailor King of Pen with it’s nice medium nib is my go to pen for trying new inks. It’s also a big, comfortable pen I use for longish writing sessions at a desk or table. For me, the medium nib is also wider than my usual choice which means I tend to be more deliberate when I’m using the pen. All this means I tend to use the KOP with good paper. The worst paper I use it on is probably a Doane Writing Pad and that paper is pretty good.

The wide nib and dark ink did result in some annoying show-through on some thin Staples sugarcane paper that I use. This show-through is hardly unique with this combination and it’s more common than I would like with this paper.

The ink is made by (or for) l’Artisan Pastellier in France. The ink doesn’t claim to be waterproof although I didn’t test that trait, either by accident or on purpose. The ink has some nice shading to it, at least with this nib. I’ve seen the ink described as having a dry flow. I like inks/nibs less than wet (ok, dry) so I didn’t consider this a dry ink, it had a nice consistent flow to it. Dry time was fast enough to avoid accidental smudges. There wasn’t any bleed-through or noticeable feathering.

Distribution in the U.S. seems to be limited. I got my 40ml bottle from Vanness Pens which also has it in 50ml pouches along with ink samples. The pouch is the best value but you’ll either need to decant the ink or use an eye dropper to fill a pen. JetPens also has the 40ml bottles. The bottle is a nice wedge shape which is the same bottle as the Diamine Anniversary inks which forms a circle when placed side-to-side. This does point to Diamine being the manufacturer of the ink.

I really, really like the color of this ink and it’s well behaved. I bought it when I went on a terra cotta themed ink buying binge that coincided with the announcement of the Visconti Brunelleschi. So the next fountain pen for the Callifolio Aurora will be the Brunelleschi. I have a second Callifolio ink that is still unopened, so it will be next for the Sailor King of Pen. It’ll be a week or more since I want to write a couple more pens dry before I ink up anything new.

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Callifolio Aurora

Additional Reading

Callifolio Aurora Ink: A Review — The Pen Addict

Currently Inked – June 2017

There’s no changes since my last Currently Inked post since that one wasn’t done until mid-May. But I’m a creature of habit and like consistency, so I wanted to get back to having this post up as the month begins. It’s the same seven fountain pens as my May 18th post.

Currently Inked Capped Pens - June 2017

Fodderstack XL Carry

The Fodderstack XL still has my Sailor Regency Stripe and Retro 51 Terabyte Tornado although neither has gotten much use, although the Retro 51 probably got used a bit more than the Regency Stripe. The ink level in the Regency Stripe is slowly dropping. It’s now below the collar that holds the cartridge in place. Still, at the rate I’m going it will easily survive the month.

The Other Pens

Currently Inked Uncapped Pens - June 2017

The Newton Eastman is getting to the end of its massive ink supply. I doubt it will survive the month. It’s low enough that I’d flush it out if the burping became a real problem, but I rather like the look of the remaining ink splattered around the barrel so I plan to use it to the last drop. The #2442 Esterbrook nib remains a fixture on the pen.

The Sheaffer Balance II Aspen doesn’t get a lot of use by me which is a bit strange, because it’s a great looking and writing fountain pen. I can explain part of it because it’s a fragile pen and I keep it in it’s own protective single-pen case so the actual pen is out of sight. There’s still half a converter of ink in it.

The Montblanc Ultra Black LeGrand also has a lot of ink left in it, although the level is finally visible in the ink window. The oblique medium nib is one of the wider nibs I have currently inked and the Montblanc Bordeaux is a ink favorite, so it may not survive the month.

The Pilot Custom 823 has barely been used. The only reason the ink level seems low is because I didn’t even try to get a full load of ink when I inked it up.

The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen is nearly empty. There’s probably one or two pages worth of Bookbinders Red-Belly Black Callifolio Aurora ink left in it. I like the ink a lot and I’m considering changing my habit of cycling different inks through the KOP, rather than re-inking the same ink.

The Franklin-Christoph Model 66, while desk bound, has gotten a lot of use. It sits right in front of me on my desk so it’s always top of mind and easy to pick up and use. While the Newton Eastman is right next to it the Eastman is a bit finicky so the 66 is usually my choice.

The NASA/Space Retro 51 didn’t go dry, but I haven’t been using it. I put it in my new Lanier so I always have a pen when I carry it. But it’s more a security blanket than a needed pen since I always pack additional pens or have the Fodderstack XL in my pocket.

[June 2, 2017] This is embarrassing. I have the wrong ink listed for the Sailor King of Pen. It’s Callifolio Aurora. Should have been obvious when I thought – gee, I thought red-belly black was black, not red. Too many inks.

Currently Inked Writing Sample - June 2017

 

In Case You Missed It…

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.

This Just In: Visconti Brunelleschi

Visconti Brunelleschi Limited Edition box contentsFair 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.

Visconti Brunelleschi Limited Edition box top viewThe 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.

Visconti Brunelleschi Limited Edition pen and ink wellA 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.

Visconti Brunelleschi Limited Edition pen and inkI received Brunelleschi #148/388 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.

Visconti Brunelleschi with Visconti Brown writing sample