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

Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF Nib with Pilot Black ink cartridges

I 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 and Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point with Pilot Black

Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood XXXF nib

This pen and ink combo is a quiet but consistent worker for me. Actually, it’s the Vanishing Point XXXF nib and Pilot black ink (in a cartridge) that’s quiet and consistent. The barrel is interchangeable. It was inked up back on September 18th and I wrote it dry on Sunday. So it was just shy of four months of use. While it started and ended in the Maplewood barrel it did spend some time in the Red Bamboo barrel for variety. It’s one of the things I like about the Vanishing Points, the nibs are easily (and cleanly) swapped while inked.

I like using cartridges in the Vanishing Points since they have more capacity than the converters and are easy to handle. Since I’m not a fan of re-using cartridges this means I use Pilot ink. I like Pilot ink so this isn’t a problem at all. The black ink shows up nicely with the thin XXXF nib.

The pen performed perfectly over the four months it was in the pen. No skipping or hard starts. It was mainly a shirt pocket carry and was used for quick notes which explains the four months of use.

Even after four months there wasn’t any staining and the pen was easily flushed.

I’ve done this combination before so the pictures are repeats since my schedule and the weather didn’t cooperate for natural light photos.

Ink & Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 02 with Pilot Black Ink

Franklin-Christoph Model 02 w/needlepoint nib and Pilot Black ink bottle

The Franklin-Christoph Model 02 with its needlepoint nib is new to me. I picked Pilot Black as its first ink. Its an ink that’s always behaved well, plus it’s nice and dark for the thin nib.

The ink performed well. The full converter lasted about 3 1/2 weeks. Considering that the nib is stingy with ink this is a good indication that I liked the pen/ink and used it more than other available choices.

But the experience wasn’t aggravation free, much to my surprise. The aggravation started when it came time to clean the Model 02. Pilot inks have always been pen friendly and easy to clean. This ink didn’t sit unused in the pen and 3 weeks is short for me so I didn’t expect problems. Some ink had splattered in the cap. Some drops had been in the cap for awhile and these were probably the spots that were the stubborn ones. Most of the ink washed away with water and a little scrubbing, but some were stubborn as was ink in the threads, which are midway down the cap. This ink needed some time in the ultrasonic cleaner, a little pen flush and more scrubbing with a q-tip.

The cap finial unscrews, making it easy to swap. The dip in the UC loosened it a bit so I removed it so any water trapped in there could dry out. I really like the way the Franklin-Christoph Model 02 feels in my hand and the needlepoint nib is considerably smoother than I expected. I have too many pens inked at the moment so the Model 02 will get a break, and it probably won’t see Pilot Black ink again. Luckily I didn’t fill it as a eye dropper, and I’ll use the converter next time too.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Custom 823 and Pilot Blue-Black Ink

Pilot Custom 823 fine nib with Pilot Blue-Black Ink

The Pilot Custom 823 has been one of my favorite fountain pens since I got it. It;s currently number two on my Favorite 5 Modern Fountain Pens list. For some reason I’ve grown accustomed to using Pilots own inks in the pen, and I’m not talking about their Iroshizuku line of inks. Pilot Blue-Black was my most recent choice.

I filled the pen with Pilot Blue-Black ink way back on April 5th, so the ink has been in the pen a long, long time. Even though I truly like this pen & ink I often reach past it for another fountain pen. This, combined with the large ink capacity is why it took so long to write this pen dry.

The Custom 823 and Pilot Blue-Black ink combine to provide a pleasing writing experience, although it does lack excitement. The pen is very comfortable in my hand and it’s a light pen despite its size. I can write endlessly without my hand getting fatigued.

Despite the ink being in the pen for over four months the there wasn’t any staining. The vacuum filling system can make this a tedious process, but this time around it was quicker than I expected. Less than 10 minutes to get all traces of the ink out.

I’ll probably ink the pen up again in the next few days. I may go for an ink that’s slightly more exiting than a blue-black. On the other hand, based on my history, I’ll want an ink that can safely stay on the pen for months.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique and Pilot Blue Ink

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with medium left oblique nib and Pilot Blue ink (cartridge, not the bottle shown)

I purchased the Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo back in early June and had the stock medium nib ground to a left oblique at the same time. I’ve only had them about 8 weeks but the Cherry Bamboo has easily become my favorite Vanishing Point body and the left oblique is my favorite Vanishing Point nib. While swapping nibs between VP bodies is easy, even when inked, these two seem made for one another. (Although no doubt I will be swapping them around sometime in the future.)

Even though the photo shows Pilot Blue ink in a bottle I actually used the blue cartridge that came with the pen. Blue is not a favorite color of mine (the bottle came with a pen) but I do like Pilot ink (sometimes sold as Namiki branded ink). I expected to be pulling the cartridge early and use a more exciting color. But the flow was excellent, skip free and no hard starts, so I left the cartridge in until I wrote the pen dry. It took just under 8 weeks which surprised me, I thought I was using the pen quit a bit and it wouldn’t have lasted this long since it puts down more ink than my typical thin nib.

In retrospect, since I don’t use the pen for note taking, my most common pen usage by far, I shouldn’t have been surprised in lasted so long. I’d often use it to write one or two sentences, mainly because I enjoyed using it and I didn’t want it to go unused for an entire day.

I especially liked the way it wrote on the Tomoe River paper in my Nanami Seven Seas Writer Journal. Since it puts down more ink than I’m used to it does take longer to dry, especially on this fountain pen friendly paper. Since this isn’t a pen I use for notes or quick writing this wasn’t a problem for me. I just had to remember to pause a bit before turning a page.

I cleaned out the pen and will let it dry a bit before I refill it. As expected, the pen was a breeze to clean. The Vanishing Point nib units are quickly flushed out with a bulb syringe and the R&K ink is easy to clean. It’s actually not the drying that I’m waiting for, I’m still undecided on which ink to use next. I typically use cartridges in my Vanishing Points. They’re convenient and hold more ink than the converter options so they are a good fit for the utility of the Vanishing Point. But with this nib I want an ink with more character. Once I pick the ink I’ll put the pen back in the rotation.

My complaint about the pen? I’ve been wanting to ink up different fountain pens just for the variety. I like this pen Cherry Bamboo Vanishing Point with the Left Oblique nib too much. It won’t be making room for a different fountain pen. I guess that’s not really a complaint.