I ended July with some heavy fountain pen usage and wrote five pens dry in the final days of the month.
The pens written dry were:
Visconti Brunelleschi (medium) with Callifolio Aurora
Fisher of Pens Hermes (F) with P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen
Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (EF) with Sailor Nano Sei-Boku (Blue-Black)
Sheaffer Balance Aspen (F/M) with Montblanc Permanent Grey
Visconti Homo Sapien (EF) with P.W. Akkerman #12 Mauritshuis Magenta
I inked up two fountain pens to bring me up to nine inked fountain pens as August begins. The Washington D.C. Pen Show is this weekend. I won’t be attending this year so I’ll probably ink up several of my pens over the next few days and have a mini pen show of my own.
The first newly inked pen is the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 “Marietta” in Vintage Green acrylic and a medium stub nib. I picked Kaweco Purple in a cartridge this time around. This is a pen that has leaked in the past, although never while actually using it. I intended to treat it gingerly the last time I inked it up but forgot and it did a lot of traveling in my bag before I remembered and there was already a lot of ink it the cap. This time it’s not in the case and I’ll give it a couple weeks of light use to see if it leaks. Then I’ll add it back to my case to see if it just handles jostling far worse than other pens. Or maybe it was my ink choice since it hasn’t leaked every time. I promised myself that if it does leak this time I’ll try to fix the issue rather than putting it aside to tackle later.
The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen also returned to the rotation in it’s now familiar role of testing new inks. Well, inks that are new to me. I find that its medium nib is ideal for bringing out the best in an ink while not being too wide for me to use regularly. This time it gets Callifolio Téodora ink. It’s a green ink and my first impression is: Nice!
August 2017 starts with the following pens and inks:
Pen & Ink Pairing: July ’17 – Hand Over That Pen
My favorite pen, the Visconti Homo Sapient Bronze Age was filled with P.W. Akkerman #12 Mauritshuis Magenta ink back on June 12th. It lasted about six weeks, which is about normal these days. (I’m late getting these notes out.)
The ink performed well in this pen, no skipping or hard starts. It’s a little slow to dry so I did have one or two accidental smudges. The ink was easy enough to clean out of the power filler (similar or identical to a vacuum filler). Cleaning this pen is always tedious, but the time needed to flush this ink was normal. The ink doesn’t even pretend to be water resistant which does help in the cleaning.
The extra fine nib didn’t provide any noticeable shading or line variation and the ink wasn’t as vibrant as it was with a medium nib. There was enough pop to make Mauritshuis Magenta and an extra fine nib the perfect combination for marking up documents.
While I don’t think any ink should be banned from the workplace, I have to admit I probably wouldn’t use this pen/ink combo for long work related documents to be read by others. (Although these days anything that meets that definition is almost certainly electronic.). While I like the color a page full of this ink from an extra fine nib is neon bright and can be a bit off-putting. While a medium nib provides enough shading and line variation to provide some character and a full page of writing would feel less like an assault on the eyes.
The Visconti Homo Sapient Bronze Age will certainly return to the rotation very soon. It’s still my all-around favorite fountain pen but I am giving it some breaks these days. I really like the color of the Akkerman Mauritshuis Magenta, and since I don’t have too many magenta inks I’m sure it will be back. The color makes it ideal for highlighting documents and making notes that stand out. Unfortunately, it’s slowish dry time hurts it in these roles.
I inked up my Sheaffer Balance Aspen (a.k.a. Sheaffer Balance II Aspen) with its usual Montblanc Permanent Grey ink way back on February 13th. So it’s been inked up for a few months. Despite infrequent use over those months there was never any skipping or hard starts.
There’s nothing new for me to say about this pen & ink combination, it’s a favorite pen and ink pairing.
While I’m not usually paranoid about damage to my fountain pens this one is an exception. I’m actively paranoid about damaging this pen which limits my use of it. I keep it ensconced in a Visconti single pen case so it’s out of site and therefore out of mind. I only use the Aspen when writing is my main focus which means the pen will stay in my hand and not be waved around a lot. I never use it while taking notes doing research where the pen might get put down or need constant capping/uncapping, so it’s excluded from a considerable amount of my writing these days. Plus, I always said I would never buy a pen that I wouldn’t take out and about with me, but I have to admit that while this pen has left the house, it’s a really rare occurrence and an honest appraisal says this pen breaks that rule.
The pen was extremely easy to clean, despite having a permanent ink in it for 5 months. Part of that may be because the grey ink is easy to dilute in water so it appears perfectly clean much faster than a bright ink.
The Sheaffer Balance Aspen and Montblanc Permanent Grey will both get a rest. When they return it will almost certainly be together.
The Visconti Brunelleschi is the fountain pen that triggered my terra cotta themed ink buying binge that Callifolio Aurora was swept up in. It was my first Callifolio ink and it made a good first impression. It uses the same wedge shaped 40ml bottle as the Diamine Anniversary inks, so the ink may be manufactured by Diamine, or they may just share bottles.
The Brunelleschi has a smooth medium nib and has a nice consistent ink flow. There’s no real shading or line variation with this combination but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I do like the color and the medium nib does a good job of showing it off. While not fast drying, it dries fast enough to prevent my accidental smudges.
Callifolio Aurora performed well enough to earn a return to this rotation, although it probably won’t be in this pen, at least not right away. I’ll pick another terra cotta themed ink when the Visconti Brunelleschi returns to the rotation, which will be soon.
The Fisher of Pens Hermes is a fountain pen that I picked up at last year’s Washington D.C. Pen Show. I love the vintage celluloid material that was used. While simple, or maybe because it’s simple, I’m also really drawn to the design. That said, the Hermes has a temperament that makes it hard to like.
This time out I picked another green ink for the pen. I filled it with P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen which is beginning to rival Montblanc Irish Green as my favorite green ink. It’s performance in this pen didn’t help it’s cause. (While not as bad, Irish Green wasn’t great in this pen either.)
First, I’ll say that writing performance was good. There wasn’t any skipping or hard starts until the very end when I had to force the remaining couple of pages worth of ink into the feed.
So the problem? Nib creep and a lot of ink in the cap which made it to the section. The pen did bounce around in my bag but other pens in the same case faired much better. Enough ink would work its way to the section that while unnoticeable it would get on my fingers and I would occasionally then smudge it onto the page.
With such free-flowing ink I expected the pen to be easy to clean. I can’t remember the last time a cartridge/converter pen was such a PITA the clean. The cap needed to be swabbed out to get all traces of the ink out. Flushing the pen required repeated flushes with a bulb syringe, then a ultrasonic bath, then some more bulb syringe flushes. It was more tedious and time consuming than the vac filler I cleaned at the same time.
I accept that this pen will drip more ink into the cap than most of my other pens and I can live with that. But the Akkerman #28 ink’s tendency to creep means it won’t be back in this pen. I’ve had enough good experiences with this pen to know this was an anomaly and it performs well in most pens, so it will eventually return in another pen.
Even though I seem to have a complaint about the Fisher of Pens Hermes each time I use it I still really like the pen and it’s capable of being a good writer. It will return to the rotation with a new ink as I continue my quest to find the perfect ink for this temperamental fountain pen.
My Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with its extra fine nib and Sailor Nano Sei-boku blue-black ink is a holdover from last year, having been inked up in early December. That’s a long time to have a pigment ink, even a nano pigment ink, in any pen. This one is a thin Japanese extra fine nib which, on the surface, seems like a bad combination. In the 7+ months that the pen was inked the combination was completely problem free. No hard starts and no skipping, just smooth writing.
Ever since the original converter leaked a full load into the barrel of this pen I’ve stuck to cartridges. Since I prefer a dark ink with this thin nib this hasn’t been a problem since I do like the Sailor ink. It was a cartridge again this time out.
The Regency Stripe spent most of its time in my Nock Co. Fodderstack XL which travels in my shirt pocket. Any fountain pen in this roll gets limited use and the Regency Stripe got even less use. As a screw-cap pen, and one that needs about two complete rotations to uncap, it isn’t quick to use and I would often pick the Retro 51 that was next to it for any quick note. But it did get used occasionally when I sat down to write. I did like having a very thin nib always available to me. In July I moved it to my Penvelope 6 and it got frequent use during the month. The nib has a nice firmness to it with just a little spring and the ink flow is consistently good.
It was about a week before I got around to flushing out the dry pen. Again, not something I like to do with a pigment ink but in this case the pen was easy to clean out. I cleaned two other pens with it and this was the easiest and quickest by far.
I’m already missing the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe from my rotation. I keep having this internal debate about sticking with pens I like or going with a variety. I think this one will return to the rotation in August, but this time it will be in my pen case where I’ll use it regularly.
I’ve been working to reduce the clutter around the apartment. I finally got to my box (well, one of them) of pocket notebooks. I decided to put a few that were still in the shrink wrap up on eBay. Even without these I’ll still have far more than I’ll ever use. All are still in the original shrink wrap. Follow the link to the eBay listing for full details.
Standard shipping in the U.S. is free although expedited shipping is a added-cost option. International shipping is available to most countries but it will probably be expensive. The price is set by eBay and will vary by destination.
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