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.

Currently Inked – March 13, 2020

It’s Friday the 13th and COVID-19 is taking hold here in the States. So, might as well think happy thoughts and play with pens. I inked a few to replace pens that were recently written dry, then kept on going. I ended up with 11 inked fountain pens. Expected 12, but the Pilot Custom 823 didn’t have enough ink for the writing sample.

It’s been awhile, so as a reminder, the writing samples are in the same order, top to bottom, as the pens in the tray, from left to right.

Photo of writing samples of all my inked pens
Photo of my currently inked pens (capped)
All my currently inked fountain pens (capped)
Photo of my currently ink pens (nib view)
Photo of all my currently inked fountain pens (uncapped)

Currently Inked – November 2018

As November was starting up my fountain pens were running dry. So, it was time to ink up some pens. Obviously, it’s no longer the beginning of November. It’s taken me a while to get this post up.

For some reason, more whim than reason, I decided not to use converters. I’d use cartridges or piston fillers. I inked up eight new fountain pens to join my four carry-overs.

The four pens being carried over are:

Edison Huron Grande with an extra-fine nib, used as an eyedropper fill with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. A nice big pen that’s comfortable in my hand. The ink was a top five favorite not too long ago. It spent some time on hiatus, but it’s back and reminding me why it’s a favorite. The size of this pen, plus the lack of a clip (or a roll stop) makes the pen a finicky traveler, so it’s a homebody.

Newton Eastman with an Esterbrook #9788 Flexible Medium nib with a barrel full of Montblanc Psychedelic Purple “The Beatles” ink. “Flexible” in the name is more aspirational than reality, but I do really like the nib. This is another homebody pen. Also large and clip-less, but added to that is a tendency to splatter ink into the cap if it’s jostled a lot.

TWSBI Go Sapphire with a broad nib and Monteverde Emotion Wisdom Purple ink. I really like the TWSBI GO pens. But broad nibs aren’t my wheelhouse, so this pen doesn’t get much use. It will be inked for a long time.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with an extra-fine nib, and a Sailor Kiwa-Guro pigmented ink cartridge. This Japanese extra-fine nib puts down one of the thinnest lines of any of my nibs, short of needlepoints. It’s also one of my smoothest nibs. This is the pen that’s been traveling in my Nock Co Foddertack XL, paired with the Retro 51 Corona rollerball.

The newly inked pens are:

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with a medium nib and a cartridge of Pilot Sepia ink.

Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche with an XXXF nib and a Pilot Red cartridge. For some reason, this black pens attracts red or black inks. The XXXF nib calls for a red ink suitable for marking up documents, something this retractable fountain pen is well-suited to do.

Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood with an oblique medium nib and a cartridge of Pilot Black ink. The angle of the nib is perfect for the way the pen sits in my hand.

Kaweco Brass Sport with an extra fine nib and a Montblanc Petite Prince Red Fox ink cartridge. The brass is heavily tarnished, just from sitting in the pen case. Typically I’d polish it up a bit before using it, but this time I decided to go as-is and see if using it changes what looks like corrosion to something that resembles a nice patina.

Aurora Optima Nero Perla with a medium nib and Aurora Black ink. I like this pen more than I thought I would. For some reason, I felt like matching this pen with Aurora Black ink.

Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand with an Oblique Medium nib and Montblanc Bordeaux ink. My favorite ink in my favorite nib for long writing sessions.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with an extra-fine nib. I filled it with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. OK, I have to admit that I forgot this ink was still in the Edison Huron Grande. I do like the ink, but I would have preferred some variety. Even the nib size is the same.

Visconti Brunelleschi with a medium nib and Diamine Terra-cotta ink. This pen has been writing dryer than I expected. It’s a bit dry, even for me. If I hadn’t filled it through the feed, I would have thought there were some flow issues. It has gotten a little better, although that’s more because I’ve gotten used to it.

Naturally, my fountain pen usage dropped soon after inking those new pens (well, freshly added to the rotation), but it’s beginning to pick up.

Currently Inked – August 28, 2018

I haven’t done one of these currently inked roundups since March. I inked up a total of 15 pens at the end of April and covered those in a Trail Log. It took me all this time to write them dry. I did add one to try a new ink, and that one is still going.

I haven’t used my large, clip-less pens in a long time so I inked up all three. These are too big for a pocket. While the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 can squeeze into some pen cases, the others are too big for any pen case that can hold them securely. These are desk-bound pens which I sometimes skip over for that reason. All three are eyedropper fills, so there’s a lot of ink.

The Newton Eastman is a custom pen designed for my vintage Esterbrook nibs. This time out I fitted it with a [#9788 Flexible Medium nib](https://fpquest.com/2014/10/14/nib-notes-esterbrook-9788-flexible-medium/ “Jump to the nib notes”). The ink is Montblanc Psychedelic Purple (The Beatles). I was shocked to see the Eastman has bee unused for over a year.

It’s been two years since my Edison Huron Grande has been inked. Another Shocker. I filled it with Iroshizuko Fuyu-Syogun ink. This ink was a favorite a long time ago, and I recently started using it again. The bottle is almost empty, so an eyedropper fill is ideal. With its extra large ink capacity and extra-fine nib, this will be in the rotation for a long time.

The third, and last, eyedropper filler is my Franklin-Christoph Model 66 with my favorite blue-black ink, R&K Blau-Schwarz LE. Another nearly empty bottle, but with a new bottle ready to open. The Model 66 is the smallest of my Big 3, but it will still last a long time with its extra fine nib.

My next choices were two Sailor Pens. The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe has a very thin Japanese extra fine nib. This one got a cartridge of Sailor Kiwa-Guro pigmented black ink.

The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen received its 13th ink. While not much to look at, it’s become my favorite pen to use. It also received a cartridge, this time it is Sailor Sei-Boku pigmented blue-black ink.

When I did the writing samples and started writing the draft of this post I had two holdover fountain pens. But that dropped to one when the Caran d’Ache Ivanhoe went dry on the first page of the draft for this post. So the only holdover is the Karas Kustoms Ink with a Montblanc Petit Prince Red Fox ink cartridge. This pen wasn’t part of the “April 15”. It was inked in June so I could try the new ink.

Photo of Pens currently iked on August 27, 2018 (capped)
Photo of Pens currently iked on August 27, 2018 (uncapped)
Photo of the writing samples for Pens currently iked on August 27, 2018

Currently Inked – March 2018

Currently Inked Group Shot - March 2018

A little different format to the Currently Inked post this month. I’m not sure if I like it, but it’s worth a try. Click any photo for the full-size version.)

I’ll start with the pens that live on my desk in a Dudek/Karas pen stand. The Cube holds nine pens, all of which are disposable fountain pens. These keep me from having to figure out the right mix of color and nibs to have inked up. The only time I need a color, or multiple colors, is when I’m taking notes or marking up a document. These pens all fill that role nicely and don’t evaporate over time. The Pilot Varsity pens are all medium nibs, while the Thornton’s are all fine nibs. While there are more Pilots than Thorton’s in the pen stand, I actually like the Thornton’s a bit better. (Although I hate the name since the apostrophe appears to be part of the proper name, making writing about it a pain.) The nib is a bit thinner, while the pen itself has a bit more girth, which makes it more comfortable for me. That said, I haven’t used the Thornton’s enough to give an unequivocal recommendation over the Pilots.

Next up are my carry pens. I pair a rollerball and a fountain pen in my Fodderstack XL. With winter ending (I hope) and pitchers and catchers reporting, I’ve swapped my Ugly Seater Retro 51 for the Play Ball version. The Ugly Sweater is still my favorite Retro 51. If memory serves, the official name of the pen is Montana. How boring. The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe remains in the Fodderstack. It has a sweet extra fine nib and Montblanc Albert Einstein ink. A Nock pocket notebook joins the pens.

The Fodderstack is usually in my shirt pocket, but when it’s not, I still have a Kaweco Brass Sport in my pants pocket (trouser pocket for you Brits). It has an extra fine nib and a Kawaco Black ink cartridge. Despite both being EF nibs, the Sailor is much thinner.

There’s another Dudek pen stand on my desk which hold my remaining pens. There are the three themed pens along with a couple of misfits.

The themed pens are what I use when I “sit down to write.” This time around the pens and ink theme is “favorites”, which is a bit of a cheat, but accurate.

The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age just returned from having its bent extra fine nib straightened by Dan Smith (The Nib Smith). This pen used to be my clear favorite, but in picking these pens, I realized it has some stiff competition. I think part of its decline is that I have so many extra fine nibs another pen can challenge its claim by having a unique (at least in my accumulation) nib. It’s still a favorite, just not the favorite.

Ranked right up there with the Homo Sapien is my Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen. While there are flashier models of the KOP, the black and rhodium pen is a bullseye for the aesthetic I like. While it’s well made, it is just a resin (plastic) pen which makes it hard to justify the price. The pen is a joy to use, and the price is more than justified as far as I’m concerned. It’s medium nib, and superb writing experience made it my go-to pen for trying new inks. This time I picked and ink that I have used enough to be a favorite already, although challenged by Montblanc Toffee Brown. The KOP is filled with Athena Sepia.

The final fountain pen in the favorites theme is the Montblanc Meisterstück Le Grand Ultra Black (a lot of words in that name). In addition to being ideally sized for my hand, it has an oblique medium nib that I love to use. It’s filled with the only ink that’s ever been in this pen, Montblanc Bordeaux. MB Bordeaux is far and away my favorite ink.

I called the remaining two pens misfits, although that’s probably not fair. They just stuck around after they served their purpose.

The Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche with it’s Richard Binder XXXF nib has a Pilot Red Cartridge in it. It started out as a pen dedicated for use in my Hobonichi Weeks. It stopped using the Weeks but kept the pen around. It’s just so damn convenient.

The final pen is the Retro 51 Coffee rollerball. I have too many Retro 51 pens, and they’re everywhere. I could not find the Play Ball and went searching through bags and pen cases. I had forgotten all about the Coffee Retro 51 when I came across it in a bag. I liked it and decided to keep it handy. (FYI: It has the same refill as the Play Ball, so there’s no writing sample.)

Speaking or writing samples, here they are:

Currently Inked Writing Samples - March 2018