Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log #2: September Edition

The Trail Log is where I recap the past month , provide any updates to previous posts, and cover anything that didn’t make it into a post of its own.

Pen Reviews

Picture of the Pilot Vanishing Point Black Matte nib

There were a couple pen reviews this month. The first was for the Matte Black Pilot Vanishing Point. My Franklin-Chistoph Model 66 review was near the end of the month. The Model 66 remains inked and used almost every day. The Matte Black Vanishing Point has been dry for a couple of weeks.

New Pens

Photo of the Stipula Model T on a mirror

There were 3 pens added to my accumulation in September. Two Franklin-Christoph models, the Model 25 Eclipse and the Model 02 Intrinsic. The Stipula Model T rounded out this months acquisitions. It’s been tough deciding which of these pens to use.

Inks

Photo of a Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz bottle

My favorite new ink (at least new to me) was Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz. I’m not a fan of blue, or blue-black. These inks rarely catch my attention. But this is one I really liked. Maybe since it was a rather expensive limited edition ink I’m sublimely biased towards liking it. Whatever the reason, I do like it and expect it to be in one of my pens until the day I run out.

Noodler’s Apache Sunset and Diamine Ancient Copper are other “new to me” inks that will see more time in my pens.

Some links and additional reading that I found interesting.

  • The Pen & Design blog has a two-part interview with Scott Franklin of Franklin-Christoph pens. I just learned of F-C this year and their pens been a bit of an obsession since then.
  • November 2, 2012 is Fountain Pen Day.
  • Brandon Hollingshead finished up his 5 part series: Lamy 2000 and the Origins of Lamy Design.
  • Vintage Pen News has been investigating and writing about fake vintage pens coming out of Korea on eBay.

This Week’s Ink – Sept. 30, 2012

Photo of the pens in this week's daily carry
The pens in this week’s daily carry

This week’s ink is the same as last week’s ink. This was partly due to less writing and larger capacity pens. But mainly it was because the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 has been my pen of choice when I’m home. So this week’s picture and list is the same as a week ago.

Photo of this week's ink list
Pen and ink ready for the week

Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Desk Pen

photo of the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Fountain Pen
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Fountain Pen

I’ve had the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Desk Pen since July, although I didn’t ink it up until late August. It was my first Franklin-Christoph pen although I’ve since added 3 other F-C models.

Why I Bought It

It’s a unique pen for my accumulation. It’s my first clip-less pen and my first desk pen (although there’s no actual desk pen holder). I also wanted to try a Franklin-Christoph pen. Finally, I liked the simple design of this large pen.

Where I Bought It

I purchased it directly from Franklin-Christoph. The price was $169.50 for a steel nib. The pen shipped about a week after I ordered it. I assume it had to be prepared since the other pieces of my order (a pen case) shipped the same day. Also, future F-C pen orders shipped quickly.

There are 8 nib sizes available, in either steel or 21kt gold. While this pen has a factory extra fine nib, the specialty nibs are ground by Michael Masuyama. Most extra fine nibs are the specialty nibs but this pen uses a factory extra fine nib. There’s no price difference for specialty nibs, gold nibs do cost more.

How I use It

I mainly use the pen for longer writing sessions, such as the first draft of this review.

I did use if for a little while at the office, where I tend to write short, one or two sentence notes. It wasn’t well suited for this due to its tendency to roll.

The Review

Franklin-Christoph Model 66 extra fine nib photo
Model 66 EF nib

I ordered the extra fine steel nib. The line is wider than I expected, more a fine to me. It’s wider than my Pilot fine nibs. Once I got a F-C fine nib and compared it to this nib I found they put down a similar line. Still, I find the line is a good width for how I ended up using this pen.

The nib is extremely smooth. It writes consistently without skipping or startup hesitation. The pen is a pleasure to write with.

The Design

In a sense, calling this a big piece of plastic with a nib on the end wouldn’t be wrong. These pens basically started out as tester pens so people could try out the Franklin-Christoph nibs at pen shows. Maybe it’s because these pens were designed to highlight the nibs, but writing with this pen is a joy.

The threads on the barrel are at the end of the grip, near the nib. So my fingers don’t touch the threads while writing. This means the threads are deep inside the cap, rather than at the end. F-C says this limits the air in the cap and prevents dry-out. I haven’t had a dried out nib, but the pen rarely goes a day without use.

The pen is a simple design. The grip is tapered, making it easy to hold. The long pen barrel is also tapered, but with a flat side on the barrel which has “Franklin-Christoph Model 66” engraved on it. Personally, I think the pen is both elegant and cool.

The flat side is intended to prevent the pen from rolling. I didn’t find this to be very effective. Usually when my pen stopped rolling it was on the round not the flat side and it stopped when the momentum ran out. Even when I put it carefully on the flat side it rolled if the desk or pad it was on was just nudged. This was the main reason I stopped using it at work. I typically lay the pen on my pad between uses and I would often nudge the pad when working at the desk. It is a clip-less pen so I can’t really complain since I knew what I was getting.

The pen is a cartridge/convertor and case also be used as an eye dropper fill. It accepts long international cartridges, not just the short international.

Writing With The Pen

Writing with the pen is a joy (did I mention that?). The nib is smooth and despite the large size the pen is light and comfortable to hold. It feels like I could write forever.

I typically don’t post my pens so this is easily the longest pen when I’m writing with it. The pen is postable although I have some concerned in that area, I have this fear that continued posting will mar the finish. On this pen the posted cap is a little loose unless really pushed down. When writing with it posted I did have some cases where the posted cap came off as I was moving things around. Not while writing, but (for example) when reaching for a paper with my pen hand. It’s not a concern for me since I don’t post. When posted the balance wasn’t affected since the cap is small and  light.

Odd & Ends

At 6.3″ the pen is long and may be too long for some pouches and cases. It does fit the ones I use, which also happen to be Franklin-Christoph products. Other pouches I have, freebies with other pens, are too short. This really isn’t a pen designed to be carried around.

Franklin-Christoph offers a lifetime warranty on all their pens. The warranty is transferrable and no proof of purchase is required. It doesn’t get much simpler than this. I’ve never had to use Franklin-Christoph’s warranty or customer service myself so I can’t comment on it’s quality. But what few comments I found speak highly of them.

Cleaning The Pen

The pen is easy to clean. I’ve only used it with the convertor.) The ear syringe I have fits well and cleans away all traces of the ink with only a couple flushes. Overall it took about 3 minutes to flush the pen and convertor.

Wrapping Up

Did I mention I love this pen? I’m considering getting additional nibs to add some variety.

I do think the pen is a good value, unless I think about it too much. Like I say at the beginning, the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 could be described as a piece of plastic with a nib attached. But the subtle touches show the thought and effort that went into the pen. Everything about it seems just right.

My only complaint is it’s tendency to roll, but that’s a side-effect of what makes this pen so nice to use. Any solution to the tendency to roll would ruin the pen.

photo of the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 engraving
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 engraving

Additional Reading Viewing

Stephen Brown’s video review

Ink Notes: Montblanc Racing Green

photo of a bottle of Montblanc Racing Green ink
Montblanc Racing Green bottle

I haven’t used Montblanc Racing Green ink in years. I have memories of liking it, and the fact that I have two bottles seemed to back that up. But after inking up my fine nib’d Vanishing Point and writing with it I began to wonder why.

It’s a very dark green, more a black-green and a fine nib doesn’t really show it in the best light. It looks almost grey, with no shading. It’s a dry writer with the fine nib but the flow is good and consistent.

After being disappointed with the ink from a fine nib I inked up a broad nib’d Vanishing Point. This was much better. The ink was wetter going onto the paper although not so wet that there would be bleed-through.

With the broad nib it takes about 15 seconds to dry on Rhodia paper and about half that on Doane paper. The fine nibs dries in a couple seconds.

The ink definitely has a black look to it, in most room light it looks more black than green, the green hidden until under direct light. The ink flows well and dries quickly. It’s better with a wider nib. I wouldn’t put this in my top ink list. It’s been discontinued by Montblanc, but my two bottles are probably a lifetime supply for me.

On the plus side it’s a very well behaved ink. It flows well and hasn’t shown any bleed through on the paper I’ve used. There is some show through on Field Notes memo books but it’s less than most inks I use.

Pens Used

Pilot Vanishing Point Fine Nib – I’m not impressed with the color on the thin line this pen lays down. On the other hand it’s a well behaved ink that writes consistently well and dries in about 2 seconds on most paper.

Pilot Vanishing Point Broad Nib – There’s more color with the wider nib. Drying time is about 15 seconds on Rhodia paper and about 8 seconds on Doane paper.

Additional Reading

Everyday Correspondence Ink Review

FPN User Review

Shined and Fixed: Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver

This weekend’s mini-project was to fix and polish my Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver pen. It hasn’t been used in about a year, ever since the crown on the top of the cap popped off. I didn’t lose it, and it was an easy fix, but I never got around to fixing it. That is until Saturday.

That is when I got out the polishing cloth and shined it up. Then it was a little superglue to attach the end-caps at each end of the pen.

As I writing test I filled it up with J. Herbin Rouge Hematite 1670 Anniversary ink. The 21kt medium nib writes as well as I remember. It’s a medium nib, but a thin medium so I like it for everyday writing.

Click on any of the thumbnails below to open the galley.