Ink and Pen Notes: Parker Duofold Senior c.1928

Parker Duofold c.1926 FIne Nib with Aurora Black bottle

When I reviewed my Parker Duofold Senior I said that for me it was the classic fountain pen. So when I say I love this pen I admit to sentimental bias. The pen isn’t perfect. For one thing, it doesn’t travel well. If it bounces around in my briefcase or computer bag, even in a pen case, there’s always a lot of ink splattered in the cap. So this time it was pretty much home bound. I did carry it gently in my shirt pocket a couple of times. But I admit that, unlike other vintage pens I have, I am paranoid about it leaking. For the record, it has never leaked.

The pen was inked with Aurora Black back on February 2nd, so it lasted just over a month. Aurora is a deep, dark black. It’s also a wet flowing ink, at least with this nib which is also on the wet side. I rarely use a true black ink but I do like the Aurora Black. If I’m going to use a black ink it might as well be a classic black.

This combination is a little freer flowing than I like for my everyday writing during the day. So I generally used it for longer writing sessions of paper that dries fast (i.e. not Rhodia). This was usually Doane Paper. Even though it’s an extra fine nib I ended up writing bigger than normal with this pen. Not uncomfortably larger, but not within the small lines on the Doane paper.

Cleaning this pen was a tedious pain. For a pen that won’t write anymore it takes a long time to remove all traces of ink from this pen. I got tired of flushing and shaking so I relented and held the nib in the ultrasonic cleaner for about five minutes. But I really did like the combination so this is a small price to pay and I wouldn’t think twice about using Aurora Black in this pen again.

Ink and Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance Aspen and Montblanc Permanent Grey

Sheaffer Balance Aspen LE medium nib with Montblanc Permanent Grey ink bottle

The Sheaffer Balance Aspen SE tops my favorite 5 fountain pens list. I picked it up for a writing session today and it immediately skipped. No, not a pen problem, it had been written dry. I actually noticed yesterday but had forgotten when I picked up the pen. I wanted to use it so I immediately refilled it with the same Montblanc Permanent Grey ink. Officially it’s called Montblanc Meisterstück 90 Years Permanent Grey ink. I’ve seen the word “anniversary” thrown in there but it’s doesn’t appear on the box or bottle.

The pen’s reputation as being fragile has me keep it in it’s own personal single pen case and I rarely take it out of the house. It’s the only pen that gets such treatment. No doubt my continued use will cause some damage but I can’t bring myself to not use this pen so I’ll settle for putting it off as long as possible.

The ink is also a favorite and I bought a second and third bottle even though this is a more expensive limited edition ink. I was surprised to find that I’ve yet to publish a review of this ink. Short review: I like it a lot.

This pen has had this inked constantly since Sept 27th. I usually don’t go that long between real cleaning, usually flushing every second fill even if the ink stays the same. I was so intent on using the pen today I never even considered that. Plus, the pen has been problem free. The nib was tuned by Mike Masuyama so I’m not surprised to say it has been both hard start and skip free. It’s a Montblanc ink so I’m not overly concerned that it’s been so long between flushes although I did make a mental note to flush it the next time it goes dry.

I wouldn’t have thought a medium nib would stay inked for so long because it’s a favorite instead of staying inked because I don’t use it. But I really love this nib. It’s not a pen I use for notes, marking up documents, or quick writing but when I’m using it for longer writing sessions I don’t want to stop. This usage works well with the ink which isn’t fast drying. The nib is just wide enough to start showing off the saturation and shading of the ink.

Ink and Pen Notes: Sheaffer Crest with an Extra Fine Nib and Monthblanc Poppy Red Ink

Sheaffer Crest uncapped on a mirror

I inked up my Nova Red Sheaffer Crest back on January 19th, so it lasted just over a month. It’s extra fine nib uses ink sparingly so this isn’t surprising.
Montblanc Corn Poppy Red is a relatively new ink and this is the first pen I’ve used with the ink. I’ll be reviewing the ink soon and this is the pen I used as my daily writer for the review.
Performance was good. There weren’t any hard starts or skipping problems. The line put down was true the the nib size. Dry time was OK, I did have some careless smudging problems on slicker paper (Rhodia, Tomoe River).
While the pen was almost empty I did flush it out early due to a problem I had. The barrel came loose yesterday and I noticed a little red ink on the threads which is the wrong side of the nib for ink. When I removed the barrel I noticed ink had crept up from the feed opening. It’s a squeeze converter but it was obvious the ink had come from the area of feed opening and not from a hole in the sac. The converter seemed to be securely in place so the cause is still a mystery. It’s a new event for the pen but I’m not willing to blame the ink. At least not yet.

Sheaffer Crest Nova Red with Montblanc Corn Poppy Red leaked around the converter
Oops, a little Corn Poppy Red loose in the barrel

Others have said they had some nib creep with this ink but I didn’t experience any significant nib creep. While there was some ink on the nib the pen did bounce around my computer bag several times. That big spot on the gold section of the nib (in the above photo) came from the pen rolling onto the ink that was on the paper or my fingers since it wasn’t there when I uncapped the pen.
Unfortunately I lost the photos I took of this pen inked up and didn’t notice until I flushed the pen. So no gallery, just the messy converter photo and an older file photo. The review, a day or two away, will have writing samples.

Ink and Pen Notes: Esterbrook Dip-Less with #7550 nib and Sheaffer Red

Esterbrook Dip-Less #7550 nib and Sheaffer Red bottle

I poured the full bottle of Sheaffer Red ink into the Esterbrook 407 Inkwell back in August of last year. It went dry yesterday, just a bit over six months later, and I cleaned it out today. I’ll be refilling it tomorrow, again with the same Sheaffer Red, but I wanted to clean it out before I did. Removing the stopper was a bit messy, some ink splattered when it came loose, but it stayed within the sink. Other than that it was easy to clean out.
No doubt some of the ink was lost due to evaporation, but I did do a lot of writing with the pen.
The nib photos show the ink drying and crusting up where the pen rests in the inkwell. I would clean that off every couple of months although it didn’t affect the writing. It cleaned off easily and there wasn’t any staining.
The nib has a lot of ink when it’s pulled from the inkwell and in most cases it was enough for what I needed to write at the time. Towards the end the ink began to have more of a burgundy look to it. I gave both the Esterbrook Dip-Less and the Sheaffer Red Ink full reviews.

Ink and Pen Notes: KarasKustoms Ink Broad Nib with Iroshizuku Yu-yake

KarasKustoms Ink broad nib with Iroshizuku Yu-Yake - pen and bottle
KarasKustoms Ink broad nib with Iroshizuku Yu-Yake - feed

Another broad nib bites the dust, or more accurately gets flushed out. This particular KarasKustoms Ink is one of the more recent arrivals so it was inked up to give it a try. I got the broad nib to be complete and have some variety. Since I have five Inks I decided to include a broad nib even though they really aren’t for me.
Unlike the other KarasKustoms Inks (which are fine and medium nibs) the feed on this one is slightly misaligned as can be seen in the photo. This didn’t affect it’s writing and I didn’t notice it until the photos were taken. Although if properly aligned the pen might be even wetter.
It’s a Schmidt nib so it’s a western broad nib, wider than my recently reviewed Sailor broad nib.
I flushed the pen early, it wasn’t even close to written dry. The broad nib doesn’t fit my writing style. And while I could use the Sailor broad nib enough to empty the pen and write a review this broad nib is just too wet and wide for me. I reviewed the KarasKustoms Ink here, although I didn’t have the broad nib at the time. I really like the Ink, which is obvious from the review, so I’ll probably get this nib ground into something with a little more character, although it may be awhile before that happens.
I like the Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-yake ink. Like all Iroshizuku inks it’s well behaved and I really like the orange color. Unfortunately for me, it really needs a wide or wet nib to shine, and those are nibs I tend to avoid.
I inked the pen up back on December 9th. There was still plenty of ink in the converter. Considering how much ink the nib puts down it just goes to show how little I used the pen.