Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with Bookbinders Red-Belly Black

Sailor KOP with Bookbinders Red-Belly Black ink bottle

I inked up my Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Bookbinders Red-Belly Black ink back on January 30th. I wrote it dry the evening of February 28th. Yes, I know it was in my March 1st currently inked post, but that’s what happens when I write posts on the weekend and schedule them for during the week. It was March 1st in some parts of the world.

Continuing my current practice, the Sailor KOP was my inaugural pen for this ink. The ink was a bit clingy as I filled the pen, forming a film on the nib and section that was harder than usual to wipe off. But once it was in the pen it behaved well. I expected a little nib creep or ink clinging to the converter, but neither happened. The ink was also easy to flush from the pen. The ink and pen were well behaved from fill to finish.

Bookbinders Red-Belly Black puts down a wet, thick, dark black line. Dry time was about normal and I didn’t have any accidental smudges while using the pen. Others have mentioned a red sheen in the ink, but I didn’t notice any during regular use of the pen. There was a little hint of red in places where the ink was heavier than normal, such as making two passes when writing, or with a swab.It will probably show more red color in a wetter or flex nib.

Bookbinders Red-Belly Black is a nice black ink that I wouldn’t hesitate to use again, but at the same time I’m not rushing to get it into another pen. As for the Sailor King of Pen, it continues to show why I like it so much. It’s already been filled with another new (to me) ink.

Sailor KOP (medium) with Bookbinders Red-Belly Black writing sample

Additional Reading

Reviewed on FPN

Ink & Pen Notes: Sheaffer PFM I with Montblanc Lucky Orange

Sheaffer PFM I (capped) with Montblanc Lucky Orange

It’s been awhile since I flushed a fountain pen of ink before I’ve written it dry. I’ve been writing them dry unless they become annoying to use. My vintage Sheaffer PFM I with its fine nib and Montblanc’s new Lucky Orange ink became that annoying pen and ink combination.

Other reviewers have mentioned that Lucky Orange has a tendency to dry out on the nib but it did OK in my Sailor King of Pen so I decided to give it a try in a thinner nib. The PFM I would be dry after spending the night stored nib up. But then gravity would quickly bring ink to the tip and the pen would write perfectly the rest of the day. So it wasn’t annoying or especially unusual.

The Sheaffer PFM I was in use for a couple of weeks, during which I enjoyed using it. The find nib and bright line meant it got used every day, even if it wasn’t a lot of use. Typically short notes or marking up a document. Then it spent a couple days flat on my desk and needed more than gravity to get going.

Sheaffer PFM I (extra fine) with dried Montblanc Lucky Orange
Dried ink clogging the feed

I could see the dried, crusty ink between the nib and the feed. A dry towel wasn’t enough to get things going. A little water would have fixed it, I’m sure. But I put the pen aside and picked another. When I did bring the pen to water it was to flush it out. I have little patience for finicky fountain pens these days. A problem that makes me get up from my desk to resolve is unforgivable.

As expected, cleaning the pen was a pain. This pen is a pain to clean even with the easiest to flush ink. In this case it was made worse because there was still plenty of ink in the pen. Staining wasn’t a problem and the crusty ink washed away quickly. But the orange dye remained, and remained. Once I got most of the ink out I started filling it with water and leaving it nib down in a tissue for several hours, then repeating whenever I get around to it.

I like the Montblanc Lucky Orange ink and will use it in another pen, although I’ll pick one that’s easy to clean and has a wet nib. The Sheaffer PFM I remains a favorite writer. The nib and size are ideal for me. I’ll stick to known well-behaved inks.

Sheaffer PFM I (extra fine) with Montblanc Lucky Orange writing sample
Sheaffer PFM I (extra fine) uncapped with Montblanc Lucky Orange

Ink & Pen Notes: Aurora Optima Nero Perla (M) with P.W. Akkerman #12 Mauritshuis Magenta

Aurora Optima Nero Perla (M) with Akkerman #12 bottle

I inked my Aurora Optima with this purple(ish) ink the same day I inked the Homo Sapien with another purple ink. While the Homo Sapien/Montblanc Lavender Purple was a disappointment, the Mauritshuis Magenta was a delight. The wider medium nib of the Optima does a good job of showing off the pinkish-purple color of the ink. It pops off the page. I haven’t been overly impressed with the P.W. Akkerman inks that I’ve used, until now. This ink will probably be in more pens than any other Akkerman ink I’ve used.

I love the color of this ink and the performance was great. Well, except for the dry time which was a little slower than I prefer. The line stays true to the nib size. There’s a little line variation, which is nice. I really like the pinkish look to the ink.

The Aurora Optima was inked for nearly two months which is a little longer than expected, since I like the ink so much. That’s due to the large capacity of the piston fill Aurora plus the medium nib. I prefer thin nibs, so while the Aurora’s nib is great, it is a medium. As I mentioned the ink is a little slow to dry. So between the slow dry time and wide(ish) nib I never picked this pen for notes which tends to be most of my fountain pen usage.

Cleaning wasn’t a problem. I expected the purple dyes in this pen to complicate cleaning but I was wrong. I don’t like taking fountain pens apart just for cleaning and it wasn’t necessary in this case. The pen was cleaned by working the piston for about 10 minutes, then spending the evening nib down in a tissue to wick away a little remaining ink.

In my This Just In post for this pen I wrote that I considered the reserve reservoir an unnecessary complication, calling it a negative. The Aurora got its revenge and proved me wrong. I had started a checklist with the pen and it was over two pages long when the pen went dry. Now, I was home and I could easily refill the pen. Instead I released the reserve ink and barely missed a beat in my work. It was enough to get me through the rest of my work. I’ve been put in my place.

The Aurora Optima Nero Perla is already back in the rotation with a new ink. The P.W. Akkerman #12 Mauritshuis Magenta will be back in the rotation, but I’ll probably stick to medium or the occasional broad nib.

Aurora Optima Nero Perla (M) with Akkerman #12 writing sample

Ink & Pen Notes: Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Montblanc Lavender Purple

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Montblanc Lavender Purple bottle

I inked up the Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc Lavender Purple back on December 8th and was immediately disappointed. One thing I’ve liked about most Montblanc inks was their ability to have a little “pop” along with line variation, even in my fine and extra fine nibs. Not so for this Montblanc ink, at least in this pen with this extra fine nib.

The line put down was more of a dark blue-black than purple, with no line variation. Then to make matters worse it’s slow to dry, leading to many accidental smudges. Those smudges do bring out the purple in the ink, so at least there’s that. If I use white paper in good light I can call that thin line purple. I’ll give the ink a try in a medium nib. There are those who love the ink so I have no doubt the right nib will improve the color, although it will probably lead to even longer drying times.

There was heavy show through, especially considering the thin nib, in the Write Notepads wire bound notebooks I use for much of my business note taking. There wasn’t any actual bleed-through.

There was some rumors of a reformulation when the ink was unavailable at retailers a couple of years ago. This was a recent purchase, so if there was a reformulation I certainly have the reformulation, not an older bottle.

The Homo Sapien has a power filler, like a vac filler, and does not come apart for cleaning. I wouldn’t normally make this a first pen for any new ink, especially a purple which has a reputation of being a harder to clean color, but Montblanc inks have always been easy to clean (waterproof inks aside). So I gave it a try since I wanted to try this ink and keep the pen in the rotation. This was easily the most tedious of my inks to clean from this pen. After 15 minutes of filling and flushing I gave in and held the nib in the ultrasonic cleaner for another 15 minutes or so. After this and a couple more flushes and shakes into a tissue the water seemed to run clean. I filled the pen with water, wrapped it in a tissue, and left it nib down in a shot glass overnight. In the morning the tissue was caked with ink, mostly from where the feed inserts into the section. Lots of ink in those nooks and crannies. So some more flushing and it’s back in the shot glass tonight. If there’s still signs of ink I’ll give up and just fill the pen to get it back in the rotation.

Except for drying slower than I would like the ink performed great. Flow was excellent and problem free. I plan to give the ink a try in a medium nib next, I suspect it will look a lot better. I’ll also pick a converter pen to make cleaning easy. It may be awhile, but the ink has potential so I will give it another try.

The Visconti Homo Sapient Bronze Age is a favorite, so it will be back in the rotation later today, although I haven’t picked the ink yet.

The Homo Sapien Bronze Age is long overdue for a full review, but there’s more information and pictures in my year old This Just In post.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Montblanc Lavender Purple writing sample

Ink & Pen Notes: Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) with Montblanc Bordeaux

Montblanc Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) with Montblanc Bordeaux bottle

I matched this fountain pen and ink back on November 25th, when the pen first arrived (This Just In post with my first impressions). It seemed only fitting to pair the new Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand with my absolute favorite ink, Montblanc Bordeaux.

It took a long time to write this pen dry, over two months. This is much longer than I would have estimated. Even though it’s a large capacity piston filler taking two months to write dry gives the impression that I didn’t like the combination. That would be the wrong impression.

Montblanc Ultra Black Fountain Pen oblique medium nib front view

The oblique medium nib is a factory nib, not a custom grind. The pen fits my hand well and the oblique nib meets the paper perfectly with my natural grip. But it’s a finicky nib. If my writing position isn’t stable it will skip a lot. I often write on a lap desk, or on the unstable left side of an open notebook. In these situations I often have to work too hard for the writing experience to be enjoyable. My note taking can also be a little haphazard so I avoid the pen for that too. I’m writing the draft of this article at my desk, on a sturdy Doane Paper writing pad and it’s a great experience.

I already refilled the Montblanc Ultra Black with the same Montblanc Bordeaux ink. Curiosity may drive me to try another ink in this pen, but I think these two will have a long-term relationship. I still have three unopened bottles of the long-discontinued Bordeaux (ink, not wine). I did mention that it’s my favorite ink, didn’t I?

It’s a great fountain pen and nib for the times I want to just sit down and write (at a sturdy desk or table).

Montblanc Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) with Montblanc Bordeaux writing sample