Long Term Review: Fisher of Pens Hermes

Fisher of Pens Hermes with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE bottleMy Fisher of Pens Hermes was a 2016 Washington D.C. Pen Show purchase. I wrote about my first impressions here. Fisher of Pens is Carl Fisher’s brand for the custom pens that he makes. In this case, while it’s a custom pen, I bought it off the shelf (actually a table).

It’s the pen color that caught my eye. It was a dark pen that stood out among all the bright green pens on the table. I love the color. The base color is a deep, dark black. An olive green web covers the pen, giving it a vintage look. The celluloid is called vintage web green, which is an appropriate name. An yes, I did say the material is celluloid, making this my only modern celluloid fountain pen.

While the bulk of the pen is celluloid, the finials on each end, along with the section, are black ebonite. I’ve used eight different inks in the pen, one of which made two visits. Early on I had some hard starts and flow issues. Carl did contact me and offered to have the pens sent back for an adjustment. I declined the offer.

Other than flushing out any manufacturing residue, I never believed fountain pens needed to be broken in. If this had been my first fountain pen, I’d probably believe that they did. It’s gotten better and better with continued use.

The problems were never severe, just annoying. Increasing the ink flow is within my capabilities, but I was reluctant to make changes since the pen wrote great most of the time. I like my fountains a bit on the dry side, so I let things go and resisted the urge to tinker and adjust. Now, the Hermes is an enjoyable writer. If it has been unused for a week or more, it may need a little help getting started. That trait is shared by several other of my thin nibs.

This pen highlighted one of my fountain pen quirks. I have this aversion to changing a fountain pen once I get it unless I got it with the intent to make a change.  I can sometimes bring myself to make changes, such as getting a new nib grind or fixing an obvious problem such as consistent skipping due to a misaligned nib. I also like to use a pen for a while before I make any changes, such as a nib grind. That was undoubtedly a factor in my hesitation in making any changes to this pen. The annoyances were more than offset by the writing enjoyment the pen usually provided. I was concerned fixing the annoyances would ruin some of the pleasure of using the pen. My patience was rewarded.

The Hermes is a straight rod, without any taper. The cap screws flush to the body. Thanks to the web pattern, it’s hard to see the seam between the cap and the body. The fit is perfect. It’s a long pen, which means it looks thinner than it actually is. I find thin pens uncomfortable, while this one has plenty of girth for comfort. It’s also a relatively light pen, considering its size. The only metal on the pen is the nib and clip. Since the cap doesn’t post, the clip doesn’t add any weight when writing. I can use the pen for very long writing sessions without my hand getting fatigued.

Since it’s such a long pen, it’s not a pocket carry. The cap requires two full rotations to remove or replace, so the Hermes isn’t suitable for quick notes. I typically.keep the Fisher of Pens Hermes in a two or three pen case. Currently, that’s the Nock Co. Tallulah. My Visconti 3-pen case has been used in the past. The Hermes fits comfortably in the Tallulah, with just enough clearance for the zipper (there’s a protection strip of material between the pen and zipper). It needs to use the middle slot on the Visconti, otherwise the pen will press against the zipper. While I do use it at my desk, it’s mostly used when I’m working somewhere else. This is mainly because it’s in a pen case that stays in my briefcase, so it’s ready when I head out. Once a pen enters the case it’s there until I’m motivated to swap it. It’s a pen I only use when sitting at a desk or table, it’s too unwieldy to use while standing or on the move. So while it may be used infrequently, when i use it, it’s for a more extended writing session.

It’s a fact of life when carrying pens in my briefcase or computer bag, the jostling results in extra ink loose inside the cap. While hardly unique to the Hermes, the Hermes seemed to result in more ink inside the cap than usual. Because the pen is a dry writer, this surprised me.

Inks Used

The inaugural ink for this pen was KWZ Green #2. It was a little dry, even for my taste. Both the pen and the ink were new to me, so I attributed the dryness to manufacturing residue. I filled the pen at the pen show and didn’t clean it first.

After giving the pen a good cleaning, I picked a familiar ink, Montblanc Irish Green for its next fill. It was fine until I let the pen sit for a week, then I had to resort to some water to get the ink flowing again.

Next up was another new to me ink, KWZ IG Green #2, the iron gall version of the first ink. This one performed well, probably helped by the fact that the pen was used nearly every day. Although I did need to prime the feed a couple of times, I never had to find some water.

Waterman Red was used next, breaking the string of greens. After 3 or 4 days the Waterman Red turned a darker red, more like Diamine Ancient Copper. The ink was fine, just darker. I did need to prime the feed if the pen was stored nib up for a few days.

It was time for my favorite ink, so next up was R&K Blau-Schwartz LE. As expected it performed well. No hard starts or skipping.

P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen was the worst ink in this pen. Nib creep was an issue, and a lot of ink found its way into the cap. The ink & pen performed well, with manageable nib creep, until near the end. Then it became messy with ink working its way to the section. It was also tedious to clean out of the pen. This is the one ink that will never return to this pen.

To recover from the Groen ink, I picked Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku, a well behaved green ink. This ink performed well and returned to the pen in a few months. Although, I admit its return was more because I forgot it had been in the pen and didn’t check the ink history first.

I used Omas Green between the two Shin-Ryoku fills. The ink performed well except for when the pen sat unused for over a week (maybe closer to two). Again, water was needed to get the ink flowing. Unfortunately, while trying to wet the nib I was clumsy and got the cap slightly wet and dirty, so I decided to clean, flush, and completely dry the pen.

The last ink and the one used to write the draft of this review was Sheaffer Emerald Green, from back in the days of the yellow boxes and inkwell bottle. It’s performed well so far.

Conclusion

In reviewing my older blog posts about this pen, I see I may have been a bit harsh. When I really like a pen (or anything), I have higher expectations, and the negatives stand out to me more. What I didn’t mention enough is how much I enjoy using the Fisher of Pens Hermes, and it brings a smile to my face when I use it.

The Fisher of Pens Hermes has been a finicky pen. It just doesn’t like being ignored. I’ve no doubt that a little tweaking could increase the ink flow, but I’m thrilled with its current performance. I’ve found I like my pens to be drier than what most people prefer. I’m glad I didn’t fix the pen. It’s broken-in quit nicely.

Advertisements

Ink & Pen Notes: Fisher of Pens Hermes (F) with P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen

Fisher of Pens Hermes (EF) with Akkerman Hofkwartier Grown 28 ink bottleThe Fisher of Pens Hermes is a fountain pen that I picked up at last year’s Washington D.C. Pen Show. I love the vintage celluloid material that was used. While simple, or maybe because it’s simple, I’m also really drawn to the design. That said, the Hermes has a temperament that makes it hard to like.

This time out I picked another green ink for the pen. I filled it with P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen which is beginning to rival Montblanc Irish Green as my favorite green ink. It’s performance in this pen didn’t help it’s cause. (While not as bad, Irish Green wasn’t great in this pen either.)

First, I’ll say that writing performance was good. There wasn’t any skipping or hard starts until the very end when I had to force the remaining couple of pages worth of ink into the feed.

So the problem? Nib creep and a lot of ink in the cap which made it to the section. The pen did bounce around in my bag but other pens in the same case faired much better. Enough ink would work its way to the section that while unnoticeable it would get on my fingers and I would occasionally then smudge it onto the page.

With such free-flowing ink I expected the pen to be easy to clean. I can’t remember the last time a cartridge/converter pen was such a PITA the clean. The cap needed to be swabbed out to get all traces of the ink out. Flushing the pen required repeated flushes with a bulb syringe, then a ultrasonic bath, then some more bulb syringe flushes. It was more tedious and time consuming than the vac filler I cleaned at the same time.

I accept that this pen will drip more ink into the cap than most of my other pens and I can live with that. But the Akkerman #28 ink’s tendency to creep means it won’t be back in this pen. I’ve had enough good experiences with this pen to know this was an anomaly and it performs well in most pens, so it will eventually return in another pen.

Even though I seem to have a complaint about the Fisher of Pens Hermes each time I use it I still really like the pen and it’s capable of being a good writer. It will return to the rotation with a new ink as I continue my quest to find the perfect ink for this temperamental fountain pen.

Fisher of Pens Hermes (EF) with Akkerman Hofkwartier Grown 28 writing sample

Ink & Pen Notes: Fisher of Pens Hermes with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE

Fisher of Pens Hermes with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE bottleRohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink is my perfect blue-black ink. It’s been a perfect performer in every fountain pen that I picked for it. This time out I loaded it into my Fisher of Pens Hermes fountain pen with its fine nib. The Hermes is a dry writer and a bit finicky. I put up with it more than I would with other pens because I love the look, and as long as ink flows to the nib it’s a great writer.

The R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink didn’t disappoint. The combination wrote perfectly from the first to the last drop. There ink lasted just under a month in the pen. While seemingly a long time, it was the only pen I wrote dry during that time period. (And once it was dry I used another enough to write it dry too.)

There was a lot of ink in the cap. It wasn’t dripping wet, but enough to add a lot of color to the water when I rinsed it out. I did carry it out and about a lot, in a pen case carried in my bag, so it probably got jostled a lot. This is the closest I have to a complaint, and it’s really just life with a fountain pen.

As expected, the ink was easy to flush from the pen.

I was tempted to re-ink the Fisher of Pens with the R&K Blau-Schwarz LE and keep right on going. But I’m at the end of my first bottle of this Limited Edition ink, with only one bottle left. Plus I have a lot of other pens inked up ready to use. Both the ink and pen will return to the rotation, probably sooner rather than later.

Fisher of Pens Hermes with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE writing sample

This Just In: Fisher of Pens Hermes

Fisher of Pens Hermes - capped on pen stand

The photo doesn’t do it justice, this pen is hard to photograph.

I spent some time on Friday talking to custom pen maker Carl Fisher of Fisher of Pens. I liked his designs and had pretty much decided to save some of my pen budget for a pen order after the show. During all this time, and future passes by his table, I never noticed this pen. If I had, I would have gotten it on Friday. On Sunday Carl posted a photo of his green pens grouped together. All that green caught my attention and I headed back to his table. While the photo was of mostly bright green pens that just weren’t quit right for me, this one was tucked in the back of the photo. It’s black celluloid with an olive green web running through it. It’s called vintage web green celluloid.

I looked at the bright green ones first, after all they were bright and shiny. But then I picked up this one. It wasn’t exactly bright and shiny, but I loved the look. Naturally the material made it more expensive than the bright green acrylic pens. Plus it was an oversize pen which seems to be my preference these days. The more I looked at the celluloid pattern the more I liked it and I made sure I didn’t put it down, fearing someone else would get it. It didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted this pen. The only change was to swap a two-tone nib for a polished silver fine nib. The pen already had a silver clip.

While I call this a green pen, the base color is a deep dark black with an olive green web running through it. It’s a long pen that’s a perfect cylinder and the cap is flush with the body. The finials are black and while I didn’t ask, the finials and griping section feel like ebonite. The Fisher of Pens brand is engraved into the body. Most fountain pens have branding, although it’s usually on the clip or band. I have mixed feelings about engraving the brand into the body, especially when it’s a different color than the material. In this case the logo is white and does stand out, but it’s restrained and subtle and is also in line with the silver furniture of the pen. So I’m OK with it. I’m even beginning to convince myself that it helps highlight the darker colors of the pen. The material is hard to photograph, at least with my abilities, and I hope to get better photos when the sun returns and I can use natural light to photograph the pen.

It has a fine JoWo nib that’s nice and smooth. I picked KWZ Green #2 as the first ink for this pen. I have had a couple hard starts when the pen has been nib up for several hours, but once I start writing there’s no skipping. I can also pause for a extended period of time or put the pen down flat for an hour or more without any hard start. The ink is new to me so I can’t say how much the ink contributes to this.

It’s a cartridge/converter pen that accepts standard international cartridges and converters. I could be wrong, but I don’t think celluloid pens can be converted to eyedropper fill as the ink could degrade/discolor the celluloid. So the pen will remain a converter fill.

I don’t know what’s included with pens that are shipped, but I picked a cloth pen sleeve for the pen. There’s no box or ink cartridge. I would have thrown both out so didn’t even ask if they were available. (Many vendors don’t bring bulky boxes to the show.)

The bottom line – I am really happy with the Fisher of Pens Hermes in web green celluloid. The nib might need some tuning, but that’s minor.

Fisher of Pens Hermes - uncapped on pen stand

Fisher of Pens Hermes writing sample with KWZ Green #2 ink