Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF with Pilot Black

Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF Nib with Pilot Black ink cartridgesI inked up my Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF nib way back on Mach 11th, loading it with a Pilot black ink cartridge. The nib unit started in the Cherry Bamboo barrel and then moved to the Maplewood barrel after I inked up the left oblique nib.

The XXXF nib is a custom grind done by Richard Binder a couple of years ago. The nib is extremely thin, making it stingy with ink. It’s about as smooth as such a thin nib can be. It’s great on Rhodia or Tomoe River paper but I also use it a lot on “regular” paper too. It will catch a bit on coarse or fibrous paper.

A Vanishing Point with this nib used to be a regular carry in my shirt pocket, but this became less useful to me so now the pen is just part of my regular rotation.

Pilot Black is an ink I like a lot for everyday use and it’s dark enough for this thin nib. As usual it was problem free and easy to flush from the fountain pen.

There’s not much else to say about this fountain pen and ink combination. The Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF nib combined with Pilot Black ink to provide a consistently pleasant writing experience.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique with Montblanc Bordeaux

Cherry Bamboo Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique nib with Montblanc Bordeaux ink bottleI inked up my Pilot Vanishing Point left oblique nib with Montblanc Bordeaux ink back on April 29th and refilled it once since then. One of the things I like about the Vanishing Points is that it’s super easy to swap the nib (filled with ink) between barrels. This one spent most of its time in the Cherry Bamboo barrel, but it did spend a couple days in each of my other Vanishing Point barrels.

While the click-action Vanishing Point is well-suited for quick notes, the left oblique nib is not. At least not for me. While the left oblique nib is perfect for my Vanishing Point grip, it does require a consistent writing angle. So the nib mainly gets used for longer writing sessions at a desk or table. The nib is a custom grind, of a factory medium, done by John Mottishaw.

There’s not much to say about Montblanc Bordeaux. It sits solidly atop my Favorite 5 inks list and will soon return in another fountain pen.

As for the Vanishing Point left oblique nib, it will be a regular visitor to my rotation but will take some time off.

Ink & Pen Notes: Edison Extended Mina with Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Edison Extended Mina #27 extra fine with Sheaffer Peacock Blue ink bottleThe Edison Extended Mina is my newest fountain pen. It was the Edison Pens group buy for 2015 and I received #23 in Blue Denim with an extra fine nib. I filled it with Sheaffer Peacock Blue when the pen arrived in March. There have been a couple refills since then, but this in the only ink that’s been used in the Mina.

My thoughts about this fountain pen vary wildly, depending on the day and my mood. I also tend to like it more when using it after a break of a few days. It becomes less liked after extended use.

I like the look of the pen. The blue denim ebonite is at its best in good lighting, in indirect lighting it’s a little drab. I do like the feel of the ebonite. The nib design is new, at least for Edison Pens. It’s a steel nib that’s all silver. I do like silver nibs more than gold colored nibs and I was drawn to the unique design of the nib, but that’s worn off a bit. The nib writes great, but aesthetically I’d prefer a nice big, traditional nib.

It’s a clip-less pen with a slightly conical shape in both the cap and barrel. Like the nib, I was initially attracted to the uniqueness of the design (at least unique in my accumulation). The design, including the lack of a clip, took some getting used to so that I could tell the cap apart from the body with touch alone. Eventually I did get used to it and stopped starting to unscrew the barrel from the section. Although I would have to relearn the feel of the cap if the pen went unused for a week or so. Since the Limited Edition number is engraved on the top of the cap it’s easy to visually tell which way is up so it’s not a complete crap shoot.

The cap can’t be posted, which doesn’t bother me. While I’ve begun to post a few pens I do use most pens unposted. The pen is very comfortable in my hand. It’s a good size for me and the ebonite has a nice warm feel to it. The extra fine steel nib is smooth and flows well. I didn’t experience any skips. The only hard starts were after storing the pen nib up for several days and those were quickly resolved by just holding the pen nib down for a few moments.

Being clip-less, the cap and pen can easily roll away. This isn’t usually a problem because I often hold the cap in my left hand while I write with my right. But in this case the conical shape of the cap felt weird to me and I never really got used to it. When I’m at my desk I can safely put the cap down and not worry about it rolling away, but when I’m out and about it’s more difficult and not something I want to worry about. So even though the pen fits in all my pen cases it rarely leaves the house.

Despite my dislike of turquoise inks (they’re too blue) I do really like Sheaffer Peacock Blue. Even with the Mina’s extra fine nib there’s some nice line variation and I just like the way the ink writes.

It would be incorrect, and a little harsh, to say I’m disappointed with the Edison Extended Mina, but I don’t think it has a future in my rotation. The Mina has several unique design features and I expected to really enjoy it. But the reality is I have two other desk pens I enjoy more (F-C Model 66 and Edison Huron Grande) and another that’s more functional (Platinum Carbon Pen). The Extended Mina is less desk bound than those fountain pens since it fits in all my cases, but it’s still too much trouble for me when I take it on the road. So while it will be difficult so soon after arrival, I think it’s another fountain pen that will go up for sale in preparation for the DC Pen Show.

Despite being a turquoise ink the Sheaffer Peacock Blue will return to a fountain pen in the not too distant future.

Ink and Pen Notes: Rotring 600 Lava with Noodler’s Plymouth Wilderness

Rotring 600 Lava medium nib with Noodler's Plymouth Wilderness ink bottleI’ve had the Rotring 600 Lava for over two years, yet this is only the second time I’ve inked it up. I loaded it up with Noodler’s Plymouth Wilderness back on April 29th. Plymouth Wilderness was a special edition for the Boston Pen Show. A converter fill lasted me about a month with is pretty normal for me.

I did experience a little skipping. While I thought this might be from a small sweet spot, a look through a loupe shows the tines are just slightly out of alignment. My aged eyes can’t see the misalignment without the loupe. The nib is extremely smooth and the skipping wasn’t bad enough to be very annoying.

The steel medium nib is extremely smooth. It’s too smooth for my tastes when I use it on smooth paper such as Rhodia or Tomoe River. So I tend to use it on “regular” paper.

The Rotring 600 is too thin for me to use comfortably for long writing sessions. I knew this when I bought the pen but hoped the weight would help a bit. I really love the look of the Rotring 600 Lava. The weight does help a bit, but like other thin pens I tend to grip it too tightly and it becomes uncomfortable after 10 or 15 minutes of continuous writing.

I like green inks and the Plymouth Wilderness is one I like. I hesitate to call it a favorite, since that word gets overused, but a rough guess would put it in the top 25% of the greens I’ve tried.

I really love the look of the Rotring 600 Lava but functionally it’s just not for me. The medium nib, while nice, is wider than I want for an everyday nib and it’s too smooth for my tastes. I have to avoid using it on Tomoe River paper, which is in a couple of my current notebooks. I dislike having to match pen to paper.

So the Rotring 600 Lava will go into the stack of pens to sell off before the Washington DC Pen Show. The Noodler’s Plymouth Wilderness ink will get used in the future.

Currently Inked – June 2016

As usual I’ll recap what I have inked up as the month begins. But since my regular Sunday Notes and Links post is on hiatus I’ve linked to what others are using down at the bottom. Since you’re reading this post I figure you’ll like reading those as much as I do.
I began May with ten inked up fountain pens and I’ll be starting June with the same number. Three of the pen/ink combinations were changed since May. I did ink up a couple of pens for testing and playing during the month but they were flushed out after a couple of days use. But they did eat int the time I would have given my other pens and that time was less than I would have liked during May.

The Platinum Carbon Pen is nearly empty. Because of the ink and the fact that it’s been in there since January I will flush it out when it’s dry. But I’ll quickly re-ink it with the same stuff since I’ve grown to like having it in a pen stand on my desk. It gives me quick access to a waterproof ink along with a thin line for writing in my Hobonichi.

The Kaweco Brass Sport earned it’s spot thanks to one day in May. I somehow packed up my bag without including my pen case, while also forgetting a pen for my shirt pocket. The Kaweco lives in my pants pocket (that’s trouser pocket for those in the UK) so I had that to use while I was out and about. The pen went dry as the June began but I immediately popped in a new cartridge of the same ink.

The Visconti Homo Sapien, Pilot Custom 823 and Sailor Pro Gear are all pens I’ve been missing from the rotation. The Visconti got Lamy Dark Lilac ink because I want to use a different ink in this pen after every cleaning. Even though the Lamy Safari already had this ink in it, I wanted to see it in this pen.

I’ve been sticking to cartridges in the Sailor Pro Gear ever since the converter debacle. The thin nib needs a dark ink and I do have the Sailor cartridges for it, so I might as well use them. I decided to try a blue-black ink for this pen. It’s the first time I used this particular ink. My first impression in this pen is “meh”, but I’ll give it time. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not a great choice for such a thin nib.

The Pilot Custom 823 is a pen I love to write with even though I don’t like it aesthetically. It is a Fav 5 so I obviously picked function over looks. Keeping with the theme I gave it an ink color I merely tolerate, but one that performs well. While blue is far from a favorite color of mine it provides a bit of variation from my other inked up pens. While I don’t usually match pen and ink brands, or some reason my brain is convinced that this pen must use Pilot inks even though there’s no good reason for it. I do like Pilot (Namiki) inks as a good workhorse ink for everyday writing, so this may be my subconscious getting them into the rotation.

You’ll notice the false start above the Kaweco Sport in the writing samples. That’s the Pilot Vanishing Point with the XXXF showing impeccable timing in going dry as the month closes. I had carried it in my shirt pocket (usually in the Fodderstack XL) based on the theory that it’s easy to remove, click and the write. The theory is valid although the reality is that I rarely used it this way. I’ve been using it just like any other pen, not for quick notes on the run. So it won’t get an immediate refill.

It’s time for the pens. As usual the writing samples are in the same order as the pens In the photos and the links are to a review if it exists.

Currrently Inked Tray for June 2016

Currrently Inked Tray (uncapped) for June 2016

Currently Inked writing samples - June 2016

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (extra fine) – Lamy Dark Lilac // Edison Menlo Pump Filler (extra fine) – Athena Sepia // Pilot Custom 823 (fine)Namiki Blue // Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (extra fine) – Sailor Nano Sei-boku // Franklin-Christoph Model 02 (extra fine) – Sheaffer Green // Lamy Safari Dark Lilac (medium) – Lamy Dark Lilac // Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo (left oblique)Montblanc Bordeaux // Kaweco Brass Sport (extra fine) – Kaweco Black cartridge // Platinum Carbon Pen (super fine) – Platinum Carbon Black cartridge // Edison Extended Mina (extra fine) – Sheaffer Peacock Blue

What Others Are Using

Monthly Load Out: June 2016 — Gorgeous.Ink

Currently Inked: June 2016 — Pendora’s Box

What’s inked? ~ Inkdependence!

My May Favourites — The Finer Point

Favorite 5: Modern Fountain Pens

It’s been six months since my Favorite 5 Modern Fountain Pens list was updated. I consider a modern pen to be one that was manufactured after I was born, it doesn’t mean they are currently manufactured. The other rule is that I have to have used to pen since I last updated the list, so since November 2015. These are my personal favorites which is completely subjective.

My “must have used” rule means the Sheaffer Balance Aspen was dropped from the list, which surprised me. And now I’m itching to ink it up again so expect it to return on the next update.

1. Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age EF with Pelikan Blue-Black bottleThis has been my favorite since I got it in December. That new pen glow has faded and I still love the pen. It’s one of the few pens I have that I pick up to use simply for the pleasure of using it, even if I don’t need to write anything. It hasn’t been constantly inked because I want to give other pens a chance. And I do miss it when it’s not inked. I’m still enjoying using a different ink each time I ink it up.

2. Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with R&K Blau-Schwarz LEThis was number 5 on my list in November. I like it a little more each time I use it and now it has a solid hold on the number 2 spot. The extra fine nib is one of my thinnest nibs and I love it. The looks of the pen only enhance the experience.

3. Pilot Custom 823

Pilot Custom 823 fine nib with Pilot Blue-Black InkThis is far from my favorite looking pen but it’s a great writer and perfect for my hand and holds a what seems like a bottle of ink. Between the comfort, the nib, and the ink quantity it seems like I could write forever with it.

4. Pilot Vanishing Point (Cherry Bamboo) with Left Oblique Nib

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with medium left oblique nib and Pilot Blue ink (cartridge, not the bottle shown)This is the only pen on my list that doesn’t have a factory nib. It’s a factory medium that’s been ground to a left oblique. It sits on the paper perfectly when the pen is in my hand. Because it does require proper (or at least consistent) form to use it I don’t often use it for notes or as a daily carry if I’m mobile. But it does get used for longer writing sessions.

I like the wooden Vanishing Points much more than the metal ones and find them much more comfortable to hold and use. The Cherry Bamboo finish (that’s not actually bamboo) is my favorite.

5. Pelikan M805 Stresemann

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann extra fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux writing sampleThe number 5 slot was hard to pick as there are several pens I could put here. I picked the Pelikan M805 Stresemann because of all the pens not currently inked up this is the one I miss the most.

The nib does bother me a bit, which I’ve mentioned. I’m getting more used to it so it bothers me less and less each time I use it. It in fact may have helped the pen make the list since it’s not just another extra fine nib, it does provide a different writing experience.

Wrapping Up

I also started using a Lamy Safari again. While I wouldn’t trade it for one of the top 5, I really do enjoy using the pen. It once held the spot as the most recommended pen for new fountain pen users, although has a lot of competition these days. But it’s still my favorite budget pen. While the grip may bother some I find it very comfortable.

There were a lot or runners up (or contenders for the number 5 spot). The Franklin-Christoph Model 66 and Edison Huron Grande are past list members, but I haven’t been in the mood for large desk pens recently. The Franklin-Christoph Model 02 with a stub nib and Model 02 with a needlepoint nib were also contenders but I want to ink the M805 more than either of these.

Ink and Pen Notes: Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk with Pelikan Brilliant Green

Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk with Pelikan Brilliant Green bottleIn late March I had the urge to ink up three sterling silver fountain pens. The last to be written dry is the Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk with it fine nib and Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Green fountain pen ink.

Like its Dragon sibling, the Hawk hasn’t been used in years. The sterling silver does tarnish over time and the need to polish it up added just enough friction to keep it in the pen case. All three were inked at once because if I polish one I might as well polish them all. And if I polish them, I might as well ink them up. This provided an impromptu comparison. While this pen’s fine nib could be used to explain why it was the last to be written dry, I have to admit this was my least favorite combination. (The other two were a Sailor 1911 with Visconti Bordeaux and the Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon with R&K Smaradgün). I would have expected this to be my favorite because of the fine nib, but the Pelikan Brilliant Green ink, while not bad, didn’t add anything to the experience.

The Pelikan Brilliant Green ink is new to me. It was an passable ink. I liked the color, but it wasn’t what I expected from an ink named “Brilliant”. In a pen, especially a thin nib, the ink is much more muted than a swab. It’s rather dull, not brilliant. So that was disappointing.

The ink was fairly easy to flush from the pen. The feed does still hold a lot of ink when the pen has been written dry so it takes a little longer to flush than many c/c pens.

The Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk fits my hand nicely and the fine nib is firm and smooth. And as I said with the Dragon, the pen is technically a great writer, yet it doesn’t excite me. I won’t miss it when I return it to the pen case.

The Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Green ink is nice enough but it’s lower on my list of green inks, and it’ll be awhile before it returns to a fountain pen. It may do better in a wider, wetter nib, but that’s not my nib of choice.