Ink & Pen Notes: Visconti Homo Sapien (EF) with P.W. Akkerman #12 Mauritshuis Magenta

Visconti Homo Sapien (EF) with Akkerman #28 Mauritshuis Magenta ink bottleMy 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.

Visconti Homo Sapien (EF) with Akkerman #28 Mauritshuis Magenta writing sample

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Ink & Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance Aspen (F/M) with Montblanc Permanent Grey

Sheaffer Balance II Aspen (M) with Montblanc Permanent Grey ink bottleI 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.

Sheaffer Balance II Aspen (M) with Montblanc Permanent Grey writing sample

Ink & Pen Notes: Visconti Brunelleschi (M) with Callifolio Aurora

Visconti Brunelleschi (M) with Callifolio Aurora ink bottleThe 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.

Visconti Brunelleschi (M) with Callifolio Aurora writing sample

Ink & Pen Notes: Fisher of Pens Hermes (F) with P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen

Fisher of Pens Hermes (EF) with Akkerman Hofkwartier Grown 28 ink bottleThe 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.

Fisher of Pens Hermes (EF) with Akkerman Hofkwartier Grown 28 writing sample

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (EF) with Sailor Nano Sei-Boku (Blue-Black)

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (EF) with Sailor Blue-Black (pigment) cartridgesMy 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.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (EF) with Sailor Blue-Black (pigment) writing sample

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

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