Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point with R&K Scabiosa

Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique Nib with R&K Scabiosa ink bottleI fitted my Cherry Bamboo Pilot Vanishing Point with a left oblique nib with the intent to use it to write the postcard replies to the contest entrants. I picked Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa as the ink. Being an Iron Gall ink means it’s waterproof which is ideal for the postcards.

The ink and pen are great, my choice of postcards was fountain pen hostile. I couldn’t find any postcards locally, at least none that I liked and were reasonably priced so I ordered some postcards from Amazon. The postcards were fine (Connecticut themed) but it wasn’t completely unexpected that they were coated and glossy. As shown in the photos the coating was attracted to the nib and clumped up a bit. Cleaning the nib while writing was required as it would affect the flow. Plus, neither the ink or nib were able to highlight their character on the coating.

I used a Con–50 converter that has the agitator inside, so it doesn’t hold much ink. Despite this I was surprised when I actually wrote the pen dry. I used the pen last night, with the intent of cleaning it when I finished, empty or not. I inked it up back on November 24 and three weeks was long enough for an iron gall ink. Instead it went dry. I must have used it more than I remember in the week before the Visconti Bronze Age arrived since I haven’t used it much since then.

The Vanishing Point is an easy pen to clean since the nib unit is removable and the Scabiosa ink was easily flushed from the pen.

A nib and ink that I like. For the postcards I’ll pick a more basic waterproof ink and a run-of-the-mill easy to clean (and harder to clog) medium nib. (I already have better postcards, but will use these up first) The left oblique Vanishing Point nib and the R&K Scabiosa ink are both worth frequent visits to my rotation and will return. I wrote about the Cherry Bamboo Vanishing Point and Left Oblique nib here.

As is my practice, the nib is photographed after using it for awhile. So in most of the photos you can see the coating that accumulated from the postcards, although in the last two I cleaned the nib off a bit.

Pen & Ink Notes: Pilot Custom 823 with Pelikan Blue-Black

Pilot Custom 823 fine nib with Pelikan Blue-Black ink bottleMy 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.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with P.W. Akkerman Oranje Boven

Pilot Vanishing Point Red Bamboo with Akkermann Oranje BovenBoth the Cherry Bamboo Vanishing Point and the Left Oblique nib are relatively new, arriving in June. P.W. Akkerman Oranje Boven is only the second ink for this pen and nib. I like the color orange, but it seems like orange fountain pen inks never live up to my expectations. I’ve also never tried an Akkerman ink so picking Oranje Boven as my first Akkerman ink was a leap of faith.

I picked the left oblique nib for this ink because I figured the bright color would benefit from the wide, at least for me, nib and the line variation would go well with any shading. Well, there wasn’t any shading to speak of. Other than that I found it to be a nice ink. There was just a bit of feathering on some paper and the line wasn’t always true to the nib size. The nice bright color made up for these minor deficiencies.

Still, this ink & pen combo never really grabbed my attention. I inked it up back on August 10th. I took about six weeks for me to write the pen dry (I’m a little slow getting these notes posted). Considering that the capacity of the con–20 converter is relatively small this tells that I wasn’t enamored by this nib and ink.

I currently have over a dozen pens inked so the Vanishing Point and the left oblique nib will get a bit of a rest. I do like the nib and the pen so it will be back in the rotation soon enough.

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

Pilot Custom 823 fine nib with Pilot Blue-Black InkThe 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.