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

Sheaffer PFM I (capped) with Montblanc Lucky OrangeIt’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


Sunday Notes and Links – February 19, 2017

Currently Inked - February 19, 2017

Currently Inked

It was an interesting week with fountain pens, at least when compared to other recent weeks. Early in the week I decided I wanted some variety but didn’t want to flush any pens. So I inked up six fountain pens to bring me to 12. It ended up being a messy day. No actual spilled ink but I had more ink on my fingers than anytime else in recent memory. I had more of a problem getting ink into the pens than on my fingers. But the problems didn’t end there.

The Sheaffer Balance Oversize from the DC show didn’t take in any ink, which I noticed the next day as the feed went dry. After experimenting with plain water I moved the pen to the repair queue. There must be a hole in the sac or a similar problem. Was I too aggressive cleaning it last time?

The second problem was with my Sheaffer PFM I with Montblanc Lucky Orange ink. The nib had been dry after spending the night nib up but flow would quickly returned after a few nib down moments. Then I left the pen flat on my desk for a day or two. The feed was all dry and crusty and more than gravity was needed to get it going. Rather than just wetting the nib to get it going I flushed it instead. I have a low tolerance for finicky pens these days. So inked pens quickly dropped to the 11 shown above.

Now I have to start using them.

Currently Inked Writing Samples - February 19, 2017

Currently Inked Writing Samples

On to the links…

Pen Shows & Clubs

The Los Angeles pen show is going on this weekend. The show is open to the public from 10am to 5pm today (Feb 19th).

Appleton Pen Club – Spring Cleaning – // March 16th at 7 PM in Appleton, WI

What Others Are Using and Doing

Ink Swatches | East…West…Everywhere // I’ve pretty much stopped doing swatches. But others are just starting.

InCoWriMo Toolkit — The Finer Point

Misc Links

Retro fountain pens push for placement in digital world – Kitchener-Waterloo – CBC News // Another mainstream press fountain pen piece. Nothing new here (prices are up, volume down, luxury item, etc… ) except a brick & mortar pen store is mentioned.

Tale from a Vandal Scribbler: Poetry As Uniting Force | Peaceable Writer // Not fountain pen focused, but a good read

Letter Writing Call To Arms! – The Well-Appointed Desk // Looking for a reason ti use those fountain pens?

Thoughts On Organizing Your Journals – Recording Thoughts // I’ve never considered doing any organization (there than by date) since I have no reason to do so. But if you have a reason (or don’t, but want organization anyway) here are some ideas.

The Chronoswiss Styloscope by Pelikan « The Pelikan’s Perch // beautiful dark green. I also find it interesting that an extra nib was sold with the pen and that the carry case had a a way to properly carry the extra along with the pen and a small note pad.

Parker Premier Luxury Brown PGT | // As much as I’ve wanted it to, Parker pens never pulled me into their realm. But I do enjoy reading about them when the writer is a fan of the brand.

Pelikan m805 Stressman | Wondernaut in the world of stationery wonders // One of my favorite pens but it’s not for everyone. I was lucky enough to try the various Pelikan sizes at a pen show so I knew it worked for me. Wondernaut was able to borrow one a found that it wasn’t.

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

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

Sunday Notes and Links – February 12, 2017

Currently Inked Pens and New Ink - Feb 12, 2017

Currently Inked Pens and New Ink

My fountain pen usage stayed about steady with the previous week. Which means it was about normal for me. I did write two pens dry on Saturday. The Visconti Homo Sapien and the Aurora Optima. Neither one has been replaced. A new bottle of ink (Akkerman Dutch Masters 09 Steenrood “Red Stone” van Vermeer) made it’s way to me once the snow was cleared. I’m debating which pen to put it in.

Pen Shows & Clubs

The Los Angeles pen show is at the end of this week, from February 16th to 19th. (I wrote the same sentence last week, but this week it’s true.)

What Others Are Using

Scribbles and Stationery – My 2016 – scribbles and stationery

Misc Links

Pen Buying Flowchart – The Well-Appointed Desk // Yup

Review: Montblanc Irish Green — Alt. Haven // A long-time favorite ink of mine.

Pen Review: Visconti Homo Sapiens Dark Ages — The Gentleman Stationer // My least favorite Homo Sapien finish, but that’s totally subjective.

Please Write! Confessions of a Lousy Pen Pal | From the Pen Cup

Nib Novice, Part 8: Platinum Preppy Conversion | Pens and Junk

Vintage Pen News: A hidden nib imprint

Penn State Industries Pen Kit Review – My Pen Needs InkMy Pen Needs Ink

Crónicas Estilográficas: Anonymous

Fountain Pen Review: Kaweco Classic Sport Red | Rants of The Archer

Parker Duofold Norman Rockwell LE |

KMPN: Pilot Custom Urushi (2016)

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

Montblanc Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) with Montblanc Bordeaux bottleI 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 viewThe 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

Sunday Notes and Links – February 5, 2017

Currently Inked - February 5, 2017My fountain pen usage was up a bit this week. I journaled at least one page each night and returned to a normal level of work related note taking. InCoWriMo has been a complete failure for me. While I didn’t expect to write a letter or postcard every day I had intended to catch up on correspondence and I haven’t even started that.

My Montblanc Ultra Black (OM) when dry right after I published my Currently Inked post, as expected. I gave it a quick flush and returned it to the rotation with the same Montblanc Bordeaux.

Pen Shows & Clubs

The Los Angeles pen show is at the end of this week, from February 16th to 19th.

Appleton Pen Club – Pen Lovers Playdate – // February 9, 2017 at 7pm in Appleton, WI USA

What Others Are Using

Tale of a Vandal Pen User: Nibs Part 3 Revisiting Japanese Favorites | Peaceable Writer

January Stationery Usage — The Finer Point

The art of resistance. | Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb.

Misc Links

Eversharp Skylines and an Aurora – Inktronics // I’ve always liked the looks of Skylines but I could never bring myself to buy one.

Crónicas Estilográficas: Family Portrait (VIII). Myu-25 at al.

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze EF – The Clumsy Penman’s InKfusion Site // One of my favorite, if not the favorite, fountain pen.

Pen Review: Pelikan M800 Souverain Burnt Orange Special Edition — The Gentleman Stationer // While I can’t bring myself to add a second M80X to my collection (despite being a great pen), every time I see this pen my resistance weakens.

Fountain Pen Sales Are Surging, Despite Flat Luxury Global Sales – Bloomberg // More mainstream news about fountain pens although I think it calls me peculiar: “The fountain pen has not gone the way of the horse and buggy. Rather, the correct analogy is with the horse itself: It would be peculiar to use one as your only mode of transportation, but it’s a privilege to trot one out on special occasions.”