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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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

Ink & Pen Notes: Visconti Brunelleschi (M) with Visconti Brown

Visconti Brunelleschi Limited Edition pen and inkI’m way behind on posts to this site so I haven’t written much about the Visconti Brunelleschi. I hope to have my This Jus In post for it up later this week, so I’ll skip my initial impressions about the fountain pen for now. The Brunelleschi arrived the second week of March and I immediately inked it up with the included Visconti Brown ink. At least that’s what I think the ink is. The Visconti packaging and marketing literature doesn’t get specific about the ink and never mentions a color. It’s a brown ink and if it was a special formulation I’m sure Visconti would have promoted that fact. So I assume it’s the standard Visconti Brown, which I’ve never used.

The Visconti Brunelleschi is similar to my Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze age. The size and weights are nearly identical. The Brunelleschi has a faceted barrel (8 sides) while the Homo Sapien is round. The nibs are also the same 23 kt Palladium Dreamtouch nib, although my Brunelleschi is a medium while my Homo Sapien is a extra fine. The only obvious difference is the material (and the color of the materials).

I wrote the pen dry in early May, so the fill lasted about two months. My overall fountain pen usage was way down overall. Plus, I don’t usually pick a medium nib for general note taking. I wasn’t passing over this fountain pen in favor of others. I used it whenever a medium nib was appropriate, unfortunately that wasn’t often enough. There was never any hard starts, even after the pen sat unused for a week or more. There also weren’t any indications that ink was evaporating from the pen.

The ink and nib provided a consistent and ideal flow, never a trace of hesitation, hard starts or skipping.

I liked the Visconti Brown ink, although I didn’t love it. I like Montblanc Toffee Brown better. The Visconti Brown dried fast enough to avoid accidental smudges, even with the medium nib. It was well behaved, no feathering or bleeding. The ink is nice enough and I’ll occasionally use the ink I have, but I won’t be buying another bottle. This is especially true since Visconti ink is on the expensive side of the price spectrum.

Visconti Power Fillers are always tedious to clean (as are all vac fillers). So with that caveat I’ll say Visconti Brown was easy to flush from the pen.

I will be refilling the Visconti Brunelleschi soon, I’m just waiting for my fountain pen usage to return to normal and I begin writing more pens dry. I’ll probably fill it with one of my newer terra cotta themed inks.

Visconti Brunelleschi with Visconti Brown writing sample

Additional Reading

A review of Visconti Brown ink from Alt. Haven

Ink & Pen Notes: Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Monteverde Burgundy

Visconti Homo Sapient Bronze Age with Monteverde BurgundyI filled one of my favorite fountain pens, the Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with an extra fine nib, with Monteverde Burgundy back on February 12th and wrote it dry on April 5th. I’m a little slow getting these notes out even though there’s not much to say.

The ink & pen both performed nicely. This is Monteverde’s older Burgundy ink, now replaced by Napa Burgundy. I like the color of Napa Burgundy a little better, but the performance is similar. The flow was good and problem free. Dry time was on the long side of normal for most inks, meaning it was a little slow for my taste and I did have a few accidental smudges. But it wasn’t a bad experience and I wouldn’t avoid using this ink in the future, although not in a wide or free-flowing nib. The color is a little muted, which I sometimes like, and sometimes don’t.

The inked cleaned as well as any other ink from this Visconti. It’s a tedious process. Plus, ink has a tendency to collect where the feed meets the section. Normal flushing doesn’t clear this ink and I admit to letting it build up a bit and only dealing with in every two or three cleanings. It was time. This process has me hold the nib/section in the ultrasonic cleaner. Then fill the pen with water, wrap the nib in tissue and put it in a tall shot glass to wick the ink out overnight. This time around I repeated the process a couple more times. I can’t clam complete success since there’s was still ink on the tissue even after the third time. But I decided it was enough since the water was clear when it came out of the pen and I use safe, pen friendly inks in this pen. The Visconti Homo Sapien material likes to soak in the ink.

Normally the Visconti Homo Sapien would already be back in the rotation, but I want to write a couple more pens dry. While I won’t avoid the Monteverde Burgundy in the future, nothing about the ink makes me eager to pick it over other inks.

Visconti Homo Sapient Bronze Age with Monteverde Burgundy writing sample

Additional Read

Reviewed on Fountain Pen Network

Vintage Heartbreak

Broken Sheaffer Balance Oversize

It’s been a bad few weeks for me and my vintage Sheaffer Balance Oversize fountain pens. First my pearl grey Oversize wouldn’t fill, probably a pinhole in the sac. At least that’s within my ability to fix, as long as I don’t crack the pen removing the sac. But then things went downhill fast at the end of March. I inked up my Marine Green Balance Oversize and had been using is sporadically during the month. While nice, the big stub isn’t suited to my writing style so I just used it when I wanted a little variation. Plus it’s a gorgeous pen. Unfortunately when I went to pick it up the other day the cap came off and the pen stayed behind. I soon saw it wasn’t because the cap was simply loose, but it had sheared off above the cap band.

I can’t say I know how it happened. Because the pen isn’t suited to me it doesn’t travel out of the house. There isn’t any point since it’s extremely unlikely I’d use it. It lived in my Visconti 3-Pen Case most of the time where it’s well protected, or occasionally in a Dudek Modern Goods pen stand where it’s stored cap up, and the cap is completely above the stand.

I suppose I could have hit the pen and not noticed, but this seems unlikely. What I have noticed is that when I pick up a pen to use and twist the cap off (or on) I usually twist it from the top. I imagine this puts some stress on the cap as I twist it. So I’ll be changing my habit and start twisting the cap from down at it’s base by the cap band.

This damage is well beyond my ability to fix, and I may eventually see if I can send it off to be repaired. I’m conflicted about that decision. The pen is gorgeous, one of my favorites based strictly on looks. Yet, the nib just isn’t well suited to my writing style so I don’t use the pen very much.

The Sheaffer Balance Oversize was inked with Diamine 150th Anniversary Terracotta. I liked the ink and the wide stub nib provided some subtle shading.

Ink & Pen Notes: Aurora Optima Nero Perla (M) with Akkerman Dutch Masters 09 Steenrood van Vermeer

Aurora Optima Nero Perla with Akkerman Steenrood Vermeer BottleInk names seem to be getting longer these days, especially when the english translation is included in it. The P.W. Akkerman Dutch Masters line is relatively new and they come in oversized 120ml bottles. So they’re an investment of both ink and money. I picked the Akkerman Dutch Masters 09 Steenrood “Red Stone” Vermeer to give the line a try. I’ve been on a terra cotta streak lately and this ink fits the profile.

I’ve been enjoying new inks in my medium nib pens, a slightly wider than usual nib for me, but one that can show off an inks properties. I picked the Aurora Optima Nero Perla to inaugurate this ink. I love the nice warm brown color of the ink, but the performance has been disappointing. I didn’t flush the ink from the pen and wrote it dry in a month despite having several other good pen choices. So I guess the pluses out-weighed the minuses.

Ink starvation was a frequent problem. Unless the pen spent the night nib down I would have to put if nib down for several minutes before the ink would reach the nib. For the first couple of weeks the pen was fine all day after it spent a couple minutes nib down. But then it became worse. After using the pen awhile it would eventually begin to write a progressively drier line until I had to prime the feed. The first time this happened I instinctively (and carelessly) thought the pen was empty and worked the piston to release the reserve reservoir. There was still plenty of ink so I created a bit of a mess. Luckily the nib was pointed up and my hands were below so they caught the ink. I guess that’s another reason it went dry in a month.

This is only the third ink for the Aurora Optima Perla, but it’s the first with any sort of a problem. The other two inks were Aurora’s own Black ink and Akkerman #12 Magenta from their regular ink line.

I really enjoy using the Aurora Optima so it will be back with another ink soon enough. With about 118 ml of Akkerman Dutch Masters #09 Steenrood Vermeer left I certainly better use it so I’ll be trying it in another fountain pen. Hopefully it just didn’t get along with the Aurora and will take to a different pen.

My apologies but no writing sample. The photo was terrible and I didn’t notice until I was finishing up this post. I’ll try to retake it and update this post, although the review link below has a good sample.

Additional Reading

Pen Review: The Aurora Optima Nero Perla — The Gentleman Stationer

Akkerman Hollandse Meesters #9 Steenrood Van Vermeer (Red) – Ink Reviews – The Fountain Pen Network