Ink and Pen Notes: Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Platinum Carbon Black Ink

Platinum Carbon Pen in HolderI filled the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Platinum Carbon Black ink (in a cartridge) back on January 26th. InCoWriMo was about to begin and I figured the waterproof ink would be perfect for addressing envelopes and postcards. As it turned out, I used this pen for nearly all my postcards. Only the first few were written with another pen/ink combo. Without knowing any better I picked coated postcards and only this pen/ink combination really worked on them. I did need to clean the nib occasionally as the coating accumulated on it.

The nib is a “superfine” although I’m pretty sure this is the same as the “extra fine” nib I also see offered. The nib is similar to my other Japanese extra fine nibs and a bit wider than some, such as my Sailor extra fine.

It’s a thin and light fountain pen, which isn’t normally to my liking. I use this pen for short writing sessions – a postcard, an envelope address, or a quick note. I have the desk stand (which costs more than this sub-$15 fountain pen) so the pen is always available for a quick note. I’ve come to appreciate having a pen on my desk that’s ready to “grab and go”, no uncapping needed.

The ink is a pigment based ink and the feed in this pen has slightly wider channels to account for the particles in the ink. Five months is probably a little long to keep this type of ink in the pen. But, I didn’t have any hard starts or skipping so I didn’t see the need for an early flushing. The pen was used frequently in February, it was used less frequently after that but still a couple times a week. The ink was easy enough to clean from the pen, but it did take a little longer than I expected. I suspect the ink had dried a bit in the feed and was coming loose as I flushed the pen.

The Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Platinum Carbon Black ink was due for a bath by the time I wrote it dry. After it was refreshed I popped in another cartridge and the pen is back in its place on my desk.

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Ink & Pen Notes: Platinum Plaisir with R&K Alt-Goldrün

Platinum Plaisir with a fine nib and R&K Alt-Goldrün ink bottle

Platinum Plaisir with a fine nib and R&K Alt-Goldrün ink bottle

In my notes about this pen & ink combo I wrote:

Too light a shade and too dry a writer

I actually said in was too dry. I’d have thought that was impossible. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’ve been trying to keep my pens in my rotation until I’ve either written them dry or their performance is annoying. This pen has been neither written dry (far from it) and it’s not annoying, at least not in the ways that would make me consider flushing a pen, such as skipping and hard starts. The pen and ink are still writing great and there’s no objective reason to criticize either the Platinum Plaisir (fine nib) or the Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldrün ink.

So why take it out of the rotation? Like I said, to light a shade and too dry a writer. Those two attributes together create a greater annoyance than either would individually. One plus one equal seven on the annoyance meter.

The ink is a color of green that’s hard to describe, and none of those descriptions describe colors that are considered popular. Seaweed and swamp water come to mind. I really want to like this color, after all, it is green. I don’t actually dislike the color, but the ink is thin and watery which encourages the swamp water analogy. If the ink had more saturation I’d probably like it better. No matter how hard I try I just can’t bring myself to like this ink.

My real problem with this pen & ink combo is that I just didn’t enjoy writing with it. The thin ink, combined with the dry flow had me subconsciously thinking the nib was about to skip. I found myself griping the pen tightly and also pressing down on the nib. This made using the pen a very fatiguing experience. The Plaisir isn’t a thin pen, but it had the same effect on me as a thin pen. In the past, with other inks, the Plaisir has been great and doesn’t play mind games with me. Clearly the Alt-Goldrün is a bad influence.

Technically I’m not flushing it. But it is out of the rotation and out of mind. I’ll put it in my desk drawer to test the Platinum Plaisir’s claim to prevent evaporation for a year. I added a reminder to check the pen in 3 months since I probably will forget about it.

I actually like the Platinum Plaisir itself. I like the color and it’s a well built sub-$20 pen. I also like that the nib color matches the pen and the ink is visible in the feed. I have a second one in red. The nib is nice and smooth even if it is uninspiring.

I’ve already picked it’s replacement. I need a green ink and I’ll be returning to my Sheaffer Balance II in Jade Green and I’ll fill it with Sheaffer Emerald Green ink. This may seem repetitive, because it is. That combo was used in April.

Review: Platinum 3776 Ribbed Fountain Pen

photo of the Platinum 3776 RibbedI have several Platinum fountain pens and have always enjoyed their nibs, including the inexpensive Plaisir and Preppy. The Platinum 3776 Ribbed is my latest addition although it wasn’t the pen design that I targeted, rather, I wanted the ultra extra fine nib and this was the pen I picked for the nib.

Why I Bought It

nib on the Platinum 3776 RibbedAs I mentioned, I mainly bought the nib and the pen was attached. I already have a couple regular Platinum 3776 pens so I wanted a little variation. The black w/gold trim version was readily available but I prefer something other than gold trim so I looked around a bit. I also found mention of a red version but it was at least $50 more and from unknown sellers. Plus it still had gold trim. So I opted for black w/gold trim and ordered it from nibs.com (Classic Fountain Pens) so that UEF nib would be tuned before it was sent to me. When collecting links for this post I noticed that the pen is no longer available from nibs.com and appears to be discontinued by Platinum but may still be around from other retailers and eBay.

What I Got

The pen is basic black with gold trim. The ribbed design adds some character. In theory, the ribs help dissipate the heat from the hand so it doesn’t warm the ink. Assuming the gold bands are separators they separate the ribs into a “3776” pattern. Three on the cap above the band, then 14 (7 + 7) between the two bands, then six after the second band. My fingers never touch the bands so they don’t impact my grip although they provide a nice tactile feel when uncapping the pen. The ribs started out just being different but I’ve grown to actually like the look of the pen.

It’s a click on cap yet for some reason, even after several months of use, I still want to unscrew the cap. The 14k gold nib is solid gold in color which complements the trim color.

The pen is made of plastic and although it doesn’t feel cheap and there’s no visible seams. But it does feel like plastic. This has the benefit of making the pen nice and light.

The pen uses Platinum’s proprietary cartridges and converter. (A converter and one black cartridge were included.) There is a platinum to international adapter available although I’ve never used it.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped:  5.6015″  (142.28 mm)
  • Length Uncapped:  4.99″  (126.74 mm)
  • Length Posted:  6.5″  (165.1 mm)
  • Section Length:  0.8710″  (22.12 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near nib):  0.3865″  (9.82 mm)
  • Section Diameter (below first rib):  0.4650″  (11.81 mm)
  • Section Diameter (mid-section):  0.4025″  (10.22 mm)
  • Cap Diameter:  0.5645″  (14.34 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter (at gold band):  0.5130″  (13.02 mm)
  • Weight:  .8 oz  (22 g)
  • Weight (body only):  .5 oz  (14 g)

Using the Pen

At 5″ in length the pen fits comfortably in my hand unposted and is so light that fatigue seems nearly impossible. The pen does post securely and the cap is light so the pen is still well balanced when posted, but I prefer to not post my pens.

The first ink for this pen was the included Platinum black ink cartridge. It took about 20 minutes for the ink to reach the nib, without any added help other than keeping the nib pointing down. But that was the only time I had to wait for ink. When I replaced the cartridges there was still water in the feed so I suspect that helped the new ink reach the nib faster. The Platinum cartridges have a metal ball inside to help the ink flow. This can cause some noise as the pen moves, which can be distracting at times.

As the name implies, the ultra extra fine nib puts down a nice thin line. A light touch is all that’s needed since the ink flows well. The 14K gold nib is a bit of a contradiction. It has some spring (not flex) under pressure, but when I write normally it feels like a nail. But I like my thin nibs to imitate nails as they put down a consistent line, so I’m very happy with the nib. For such a thin nib it’s extremely smooth. I couldn’t say it’s this way out of the box or because it was tuned by John Mottishaw.

Ink flow using the converter was also very good and problem free. The large opening allows plenty of ink to reach the feed. Leaving the pen to sit unused for over a week did result in a dry nib when it was uncapped but the ink did reach the nib quickly without needing to be forced.

Due to the thin line I plan on sticking with darker inks with this pen. I have a small cache of Platinum Black and Platinum Carbon black ink cartridges so those will probably be the ink of choice for this pen in the foreseeable future.

Below is a recent writing sample comparing it to two fine nibs.

writing sample comparison

Cleaning the Pen

There’s not much to say here. The pen cleans easily. Just a couple flushes with the bulb syringe and it’s clean.

Inks Used

I used both the Platinum Black cartridge included with the pen and a Platinum Carbon Black cartridge that I already had. Both inks put down a consistently thin, dark line. The Carbon Black is a pigment based ink and didn’t have a problem with the thin nib.

I also used Rohrer & Klingner Salix in the converter. Like the other inks it was also problem free.

Wrapping Up

I’m extremely pleased with the nib and I’m glad it’s part of my accumulation. The pen has been inked since I got it in January and used regularly. It’s never failed to please me. There hasn’t been any skipping and the only hard start was after it sat unused for about 10 days. The hard start was quickly resolved as the ink reached the nib on its own. The ribbed design gives the pen some character which I like. I’d prefer silver trim but the gold is growing on me. Bottom line, this pen is a keeper.

Addtional Reading

The Pen Addict reviews the UEF nib on the regular 3776 pen.

Video at Goulet Pens reviews several Platinum nibs.

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This Week’s Ink: January 13, 2014

I flushed several pens but inked up a even more so I’ve still got 15 pens inked. With four pens always inked I’m less concerned with having specific ink colors in my weekly carry. So I’ll focus on a good mix of pens for the six available slots in the case.

I’m obviously in a Sheaffer mood and haven’t had a vintage pen inked in a while. So I started with a vintage Sheaffer. Since I couldn’t decide on one I’ll go through them alphabetically as they appear in my Evernote notebook inventory. So it’s the Sheaffer Balance Full Size in Carmine Red with a fine nib. A vintage pen deserves Bordeaux so the ink choice was easy.

My newest pen, the Platinum 3776 Ribbed, arrived last week so it’s ultra fine nib needs to be inked up. Continuing a recent practice its first ink is the cartridge that came with the pen.

I want to keep working through my Esterbrook nibs and the next number is #1461. It gets Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun which is one of my favorites.

The Pelikan Lizard and Sheaffer Intensity are holdovers from my previously inked pens.

The Pens

Pens inked for the week aheadPelikan M101N Lizard (extra fine) – Sailor Kiwa Guro Nano Black // Sheaffer Balance Fill Size (fine) – Montblanc Bordeaux // Sheaffer Intensity (fine) – Sheaffer Black cartridge // Esterbrook Dollar (#1461 rigid fine) – Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun // Platinum 3776 Ribbed (UEF) – Platinum Black cartridge

Writing Sample

Writing samples of this week's ink

Ink Notes: Platinum Brown

This is the first time I’ve done ink notes for a cartridge only ink. Not only is Platinum Brown only available in cartridges it’s a proprietary cartridge no less. I bought a cartridge two-pack after adding several Platinum fountain pens to my accumulation.

Platinum Brown is a reddish brown, with a emphasis on the “red”. Once I starting using it, as opposed to letting it sit in the pen to test the “slip & seal” cap, I used it to mark up pages or notes where I’d normally use red or another bright ink. I do like the color and it stands out on the page. The ink looks brown in the cartridge and the package says “brown”, but once it’s on the paper I’d call it a red. There is some shading and line variation, even with the thin nibs.

I like the behavior of the ink. It dries quickly and I didn’t experience any bleed through or noticeable feathering. I did use thin nibs, the widest being a medium. The ink flow was great, keeping up even with fast writing in the extra fine nib.

The ink passed the water test with flying colors. I let the ink dry for 24 hours then poured water on it, let it sit a bit, then wiped it up. I could still easily read what was written and much of the color remained.

While the ink was only in the pen for a few hours, it was easy to clean from the pen. (I moved the cartridge to a new pen and flushed the old pen.)

Platinum cartridges have a metal ball that moves around in the ink to help the ink flow. If the pen is quiet, or the pen is near my ear, I can hear the ball moving around in the cartridge.

Even though I prefer bottled ink, I like this ink and might buy another cartridge 2-pack to keep them around. I leave a couple cheap pens (well, relatively cheap) in my office desk and use cartridges in them to avoid the risk of ink bottles in the office. I could see a couple Platinum’s, the Plasir for example, with the slip & seal cap replacing my Lamys. With the Lamys I typically lose more ink through evaporation than I actually use.

Pens Used

Platinum #3776 Century with a 14K fine nib. The ink was great in this pen. It’s the only ink I’ve ever had in the pen, and it’s been there all year as a test of the “slip and seal” cap. It writes as soon as the nib touches paper, every time. I review the pen here.

Platinum Plasir with a steel medium nib. This pen did not write well with the ink. I was able to get the writing sample but I had to press down harder than normal. This did seem to be the pen as another ink had an issue.

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with a extra fine steel nib. Being a Asian extra fine it’s a needlepoint by some standards.The pen has a wider than usual channel for the ink in order to accommodate Platinum’s Carbon ink which is a waterproof pigment ink. The ink flow was also great in this pen. Despite the thin nib a nicely saturated line was put down.

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