In 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.
I inked up my Pelikan M805 Stresemann as 2015 came to a close. I finally wrote it dry this past weekend. This fill used Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black ink which is the first time for this pen & ink combination.
The pen and ink work well together. The ink is a little on the dry side while the nib is often too wet for my taste. They combine to put down a nice line on any paper without any skipping or hard starts. I still can’t write as small as with other extra fine,s but it doesn’t require a significant change on my part and it is a nice writing experience.
I did have one problem, or maybe two. I seemed to be rotating the pen more than usual while writing. I do have a tendency to do this, but it was worse than usual with this pen, even when I was consciously trying to avoid it. I’ve never been completely happy with the nib and planned to get it slimmed at a pen show. But this time around I was thinking left oblique would be a good choice and put it on my list for the DC show. Then on Sunday the nib unit fell out while I was writing. So now I wonder if the nib unit was loose and rotating itself rather than me rotating the pen. I’ll be using the pen more before the DC show and I’ll pay more attention and make sure the nib unit stays secure.
I don’t routinely take pens apart just to clean them and I’ve never removed the nib from this one. No damage done since the nib was already in contact with my desk when it slipped out. Plus the pen was just about dry so the mess was minimal, just some ink from the nib unit hitting the paper and rolling a bit. Plus, no leaking ink leading up to the separation leaving the inside of the cap ink free.
Cleaning the pen was easy. The ink flushed right out despite being in the pen nearly four months. Although, since the nib unit had just fallen out I didn’t see a reason to not keep it off while I cleaned the pen, making cleaning even easier than normal.
I have my usual complaints about this nib. It’s to wide for an extra fine. It was already on my list to be ground down a bit and that’s still the plan, probably at the D.C. show.
With a nib more to my liking this pen could see a return to my top 5 modern pens list. Even with the current nib it’s close to breaking into that top 5. For now it will get some time off, but not for too long.
This will be short since I just wrote about my Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age. But I’m a bit of a completist – since I’m cleaning ink from a pen I need to publish some ink and pen notes. This fountain pen has been my first choice since I got it. I picked Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black ink for its inaugural use. I wrote the pen dry twice over 10 days. I preferred the ink in this pen over the Pilot Custom 823 I’d previously filled with it. The nib was wetter and the European extra fine is wider than the Japanese fine of the Custom 823. The combination provided a flow that is nearly perfect for me. But after two fills I decided to switch inks since it is a new pen, so the Pelikan Blue-Black has been flushed out.
I did get a glimpse into why so many people really love this ink.
My Pilot Custom 823 (review), with its fine nib, was inked up back on Sept. 19th and went dry on Dec 2nd (yes, I’m slow in getting this posted). A run of 70 days on a full tank of ink. I picked Pelikan Blue-Black (the 4001 line, not Edelstein) rather than my typical choice of Pilot ink for this fountain pen.
I’m conflicted about the Custom 823. It’s a terrific writer and very comfortable in my hand. It’s great for long writing sessions. Yet, nothing about the aesthetics appeals to me. It’s a colored plastic demonstrator which I don’t like, although it’s brown which I do like. It’s got gold trim which I don’t like, but it works with the brown color. I don’t think it’s a ugly fountain pen, but it doesn’t catch my eye. And this helps explain why such a great writer took 70 days to write dry, it just doesn’t catch my eye.
I like the Pelikan Blue-Black ink. I’m not a enamored with it as many people are. I like dry writing ink, although I used to like them more in the past. My tastes are changing and I prefer a little more flow these days, at least when I’m writing long form (as opposed to notes and lists). The Pilot nib is a good writer but not a wet writer, so the combination is on the dry side. It never skipped, or even felt like skipping. The ink isn’t available in the Unites States (I believe this applies to Canada and Mexico too since the distributer is in the US). It uses a chemical that’s not on the right EPA list. Technically it’s not banned, just not tested and that testing would cost money.
Despite spending 70 days in the pen the Pelikan Blue-Black was easily flushed out. I did cheat a bit. I wrote the pen dry Wednesday morning. Rather than let it sit until the weekend I quickly flushed it a couple times to remove most of the ink, then left it filled with water until I cleaned it on Sunday. The remaining ink was easily and quickly flushed from the pen. The Pelikan ink has a reputation of being super easy to clean, so this soaking may not have had any effect.
The Pilot Custom 823 will be returning to the pen case for storage. It will be back, no doubt about that. The Pelikan Blue-Black is nice enough but I don’t foresee it returning to this pen but it’s already in another of my fountain pens.
The Esterbrook #8440 Calligraphy nib is my thinnest Esterbrook nib and one of my thinnest nibs overall. It puts down a very thin line. Because of this it needs a ink with a solid color. For some reason Pelikan Blue-Black is one of their 4001 series inks and isn’t available in the U.S. and I ordered mine from Cult Pens sometime last year.
Pelikan Blue-Black is a fairly dry writing ink which is to my preference but I was concerned since the #8440 nib is so thin, but it performed admirably.
I inked the pen up back on February 2nd so it took me awhile to run through the ink but I did finally write it dry. This nib is so thin, and also the most expensive Esterbrook nib that I have, so I find myself being a bit timid when it comes to using this nib. I pick it primarily for note taking and marking up document, not for longer writing sessions. I also avoid using the nib on course or fibrous paper. It’s especially nice on Tomoe River and Rhodia paper. I tend to concentrate more on my writing with this pen, which isn’t a bad thing, so that I don’t damage the pen.
I immediately refilled the Esterbrook J with Pelikan Blue-Black ink since it fills a nice spot in my writing arsenal, even though ink doesn’t flow through it as fast as some of my other fountain pens. [Update May 3, 2014] In this case I must have been careless filling it up and it was written dry by the weekend. This time I flushed and cleaned it out.