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

Rotring 600 Lava medium nib with Noodler's Plymouth Wilderness ink bottle

I’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.

Ink and Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance II and Noodler’s Berning Red

Sheaffer Balance II Crimson Glow with Noodler's Berning Red bottle

This is the second Sheaffer Balance II to be written dry this week, it’s the one with the bright Crimson Glow acrylic which finally got filled with a red ink. Sheaffer Peacock Blue was the exclusive ink for this pen until March 13th which is when I filled it with Noodler’s Berning Red.

The ink is named after Bernie Sanders, the US Senator and Presidential aspirant. Nathan Tardiff has always been opinionated about his ink names but this seems to take it to a new level. The introduction video goes on for over 20 minutes before the ink makes an appearance. Noodler’s Berning Red is formulated to be a quick drying ink and Nathan says it’s a ink for lefties which is also word play for Sander’s politics. The quick dry property is achieved by fast absorption into the paper.

I have mixed opinions about the ink. It’s a nice enough red color and I like it. So that’s a positive. Another positive is that the quick drying ability let’s me use the ink to mark up documents or emphasize notes with little concern about smudging. But the quick drying, since it’s from fast absorption, has its drawbacks. The line put down is consistently wider than the nib and prone to feathering. Since it’s absorbed by the paper show-through was a problem, although I never experienced actual bleed-through to the next page. The ink was easily flushed from the pen with no signs of staining.

As I mentioned before I really like the Sheaffer Balance IIs. They look great, the nib is a joy to write with, and they fit my hand well. Like it’s Jade Green sibling the nib could benefit from a little tuning. I’m afraid I’ll ruin it ,so it too has been added to the list to get some attention at the Washington DC Pen Show in August.

The Sheaffer Balance II and Noodler’s Berning Red are a nice enough combination, but not great, so I didn’t consider a refill. I’d pick Sheaffer Red or Montblanc Corn Poppy Red over this ink unless I specifically wanted it’s quick drying benefits. I’ll use it, but the bottle will last a long time. The pen will probably remain in storage until the nib gets tuned in August.

Long Island Pen Show

Saturday brought a quick visit to the Long Island Pen Show. It was more crowded and congested than I remember from other years. The layout was the same as I remember so they didn’t seem to be squeezing in extra tables, meaning the congestion was from attendees which is a good things. I’m terrible at estimating and the table setup didn’t make it easy to count (no count one row and multiply) so I won’t try to estimate either the number of vendors or people. There seemed to be more nib workers there than in past shows, even though Richard Binder skipped this show.

There were more vendors selling new pens than in past years (based on my possibly faulty memory) but there were certainly more vintage dealers than new pen dealers. Although between Anderson Pens, Fountain Pen Hospital and Kenro Industries there was certainly a wide variety of new pen brands even before considering the smaller dealers.

I did see a Visconti Homo Sapien Dark Age. While a very nice pen I like my Bronze Age better and the tenuous hold the Dark Age had in my want list was lost. There was a time I would have preferred the all black design but these days I like either a very conservative all black without shading and little or no trim, or a pen with some contrast to it. Other window shopping was mainly vintage pens. A lot of interesting stuff, even if most were unfamiliar to me.

I did pick up some inks. They were a pre-order so this may not count as a pen show purchase, but here they are:

Three Long Island Pen Show Inks and their first pens,
The three pen show inks and the first pens I selected for them.

With Omas winding down I picked up Omas Green. This has been on my want list for awhile since I like green. I have Omas Black and Turquoise inks and while I’m not a fan of turquoise as a color I like the Omas Black and the turquoise performs well. My first impression of the Omas Green – very nice color, I like it. I haven’t used it enough to judge performance but if it’s anything like the other Omas inks I may have to buy a second bottle before it vanishes.

I also picked up another green ink, this one P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen. This is my third Akkerman ink. These inks were all the rage a couple years ago but I skipped them at that time. I’ve since picked up a couple, after they changed to the smaller bottles. The inks are fine but they aren’t close to being favorites for either of the colors that I’ve tried. I haven’t used this one enough to form an opinion. I can’t complain about the color since I knew what I was getting. It’s different than my other greens (more a yellow-green) which is why I got it, but there’s a reason it’s taken me awhile to add this shade of green. So it will probably be used less-frequently than other greens. They have the nicest ink bottle out there and the only built-in filling system that work flawlessly with all my pens.

Lastly, Noodler’s Berning Red. It’s a fast drying ink intended for lefties, which I’m not. I often use red to mark up documents so quick drying will help me avoid the occasional smudge. My concern here was bleed-through, since the fast drying is due to fast absorption. My initial test on Staples (cheap) copy paper is that it is fine (although close in spots of heavy ink), even with a medium nib. I don’t follow Noodler’s ink all that much, but this seems to be one of Nathan Tardiff’s more blatant (some may say extreme) political inks. The target is a current candidate so probably not surprising. If you watch the video it will take about 20 minutes to get to the ink (and even then there’s discussion about the pen he’s using, just no more politics).

Fountain Pen Hospital was one of the show sponsors so they were offering a $10 gift card at the door. They also offered their parts bags. The gift card required a $50 purchase and the parts pens were $50 per bag. So naturally I had to pick one up. I selected a bag of Parkers. All are missing nibs (well, one has a mangled nib) but this seems to be a good selection for learning how they are but together. I can tackle learning vacumatic repair with these and not worry about ruining a usable or even repairable pen.

Parker parts from the Long Island Pen Show

Overall, a good show that was worth the trip, even if most of it was window shopping.

Ink & Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Noodler’s King Philip Requiem

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 medium nib with Noodler's King Philip Requeim

I continue to enjoy using my Franklin-Christoph Model 20s with the Noodler’s ink I picked up at the Commonwealth Pen Show. This time it’s my Tiger Red Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with a medium nib and Noodler’s King Philip Requiem that I wrote dry. The fountain pen was inked for a month before I wrote it dry which is about normal for me.

This Model 20 has a medium nib which isn’t my typical choice. It’s nice to change things up every once in a while, but it does mean the pen isn’t a daily driver for me, it’s just to wide for me to use throughout the day. This is the main reason the pen lasted so long.

I love the color of the Noodler’s King Philip Requiem ink. Like the medium nib, it’s not a color family I often use, another nice change. The ink and nib combine to provide a very slow drying line which means I did cause some careless smudging, especially on Tomoe River paper. Because I used this for leisure writing (as opposed to work notes) the Tomoe River paper was often used as it’s in my Seven Seas Writer journal and Hobonichi Planner.

The Franklin-Christoph Model 20 is new so I’ll be inking it again fairly soon. But since this was only the second ink for the pen, I’ll pick something other than the Noodler’s King Philip Requiem for its next ink.

Ink & Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Noodler’s Plymouth Wilderness

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Noodler's Plymouth Wilderness bottle

Noodler’s Plymouth Wilderness is one of the two inks I picked up at the Commonwealth Pen Show. I picked the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with it’s matching vintage green acrylic and a medium stub nib for its inaugural run. I picked the wide (for me) nib because I expected it to do a good job showing off the ink.

Things started off well. The fountain pen and ink performed well and provided a nice writing experience. There was some line variation and shading and the line width was true to the stub nib’s width, depending on the stroke direction. I did use the Model 20 frequently during the first nine days it was inked up.

Things changed on the tenth day. I picked it as my first pen to use that day and immediately noticed green ink on my fingers. Further inspection revealed a lot of ink in the cap and some on the section. The ink seemed to be leaking either through the feed or from around the feed. Not all the ink had leaked into the cap, there was still a lot left in the converter. But since it was so messy I decided to flush and clean the pen.

I like both the ink and the pen so I’ll be giving them another try once I write some more pens dry. I’ll use a different pen for the ink and a known good ink for the pen to see if the problem follows one or the other. Or maybe it was just a fluke.

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Noodler's Plymouth Wilderness writing sample