Ink & Pen Notes: Edison Extended Mina with Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Edison Extended Mina #27 extra fine with Sheaffer Peacock Blue ink bottleThe Edison Extended Mina is my newest fountain pen. It was the Edison Pens group buy for 2015 and I received #23 in Blue Denim with an extra fine nib. I filled it with Sheaffer Peacock Blue when the pen arrived in March. There have been a couple refills since then, but this in the only ink that’s been used in the Mina.

My thoughts about this fountain pen vary wildly, depending on the day and my mood. I also tend to like it more when using it after a break of a few days. It becomes less liked after extended use.

I like the look of the pen. The blue denim ebonite is at its best in good lighting, in indirect lighting it’s a little drab. I do like the feel of the ebonite. The nib design is new, at least for Edison Pens. It’s a steel nib that’s all silver. I do like silver nibs more than gold colored nibs and I was drawn to the unique design of the nib, but that’s worn off a bit. The nib writes great, but aesthetically I’d prefer a nice big, traditional nib.

It’s a clip-less pen with a slightly conical shape in both the cap and barrel. Like the nib, I was initially attracted to the uniqueness of the design (at least unique in my accumulation). The design, including the lack of a clip, took some getting used to so that I could tell the cap apart from the body with touch alone. Eventually I did get used to it and stopped starting to unscrew the barrel from the section. Although I would have to relearn the feel of the cap if the pen went unused for a week or so. Since the Limited Edition number is engraved on the top of the cap it’s easy to visually tell which way is up so it’s not a complete crap shoot.

The cap can’t be posted, which doesn’t bother me. While I’ve begun to post a few pens I do use most pens unposted. The pen is very comfortable in my hand. It’s a good size for me and the ebonite has a nice warm feel to it. The extra fine steel nib is smooth and flows well. I didn’t experience any skips. The only hard starts were after storing the pen nib up for several days and those were quickly resolved by just holding the pen nib down for a few moments.

Being clip-less, the cap and pen can easily roll away. This isn’t usually a problem because I often hold the cap in my left hand while I write with my right. But in this case the conical shape of the cap felt weird to me and I never really got used to it. When I’m at my desk I can safely put the cap down and not worry about it rolling away, but when I’m out and about it’s more difficult and not something I want to worry about. So even though the pen fits in all my pen cases it rarely leaves the house.

Despite my dislike of turquoise inks (they’re too blue) I do really like Sheaffer Peacock Blue. Even with the Mina’s extra fine nib there’s some nice line variation and I just like the way the ink writes.

It would be incorrect, and a little harsh, to say I’m disappointed with the Edison Extended Mina, but I don’t think it has a future in my rotation. The Mina has several unique design features and I expected to really enjoy it. But the reality is I have two other desk pens I enjoy more (F-C Model 66 and Edison Huron Grande) and another that’s more functional (Platinum Carbon Pen). The Extended Mina is less desk bound than those fountain pens since it fits in all my cases, but it’s still too much trouble for me when I take it on the road. So while it will be difficult so soon after arrival, I think it’s another fountain pen that will go up for sale in preparation for the DC Pen Show.

Despite being a turquoise ink the Sheaffer Peacock Blue will return to a fountain pen in the not too distant future.

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Ink & Pen Notes: Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage with Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage with a medium stub nib and Sheaffer Peacock Blue ink bottleI just reviewed the Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage but in my compulsion to be complete I’ll still do an ink & pen note for its time with Sheaffer Peacock Blue.

Sheaffer Peacock Blue is no longer made and my bottle dates back to the final days of Sheaffer Ink production in Wisconsin. I’m not a fan of blue inks and this is a very blue turquoise. Despite this I do like the ink and it’s helping me warm up to blues. Peacock Blue flows well and the ink pools to provide some nice shading and line variation. Because of this the ink is more suited for a wider nib and really excels with the medium stub of the Conway Stewart.

As mentioned in my review, this is a custom stub grind of the factory medium nib. The Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage is a comfortable ebonite fountain pen that’s a good size for my hand. It has a very small capacity so it was refilled several times since it entered the rotation on December 18th. Unfortunately, the lever broke when I finally decided to flush it out, so it won’t be back for awhile. The Sheaffer Peacock Blue will be back sooner.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance Aspen and Sailor Skrip Gray

Sheaffer Balance Aspen with Sheaffer Skrip Gray Ink BottleThe Sheaffer Balance Aspen sits solidly atop my favorite 5 modern fountain pens list. The pen has been inked up nearly every day since I got it. Well, more truthfully, every day since I had the feed problem fixed by Mike Masuyama.

Montblanc Permanent Grey is typically my ink of choice for this pen but I decided to change it up a bit this time. I picked Sheaffer Skrip Gray (the old Burgundy bottle version) back on September 19th. It did take awhile to write it dry this time.

I didn’t like the Sheaffer Skrip Gray anywhere near as much as the Montblanc Permanent Grey. I do like gray ink in general and the color of Sheaffer Gray is fine. It’s not great, it doesn’t have much character, but it’s fine. The performance varied based on the paper. It performed really well on Tomoe River paper and provided a very nice writing experience. It was less enjoyable on Doane Paper which is what I typically use. The ink seemed to provide less lubrication and the nib seemed to drag on the paper. This explains why it took so long to write dry, it wasn’t a good choice for my most common paper.

This pen also lasts longer because it’s the one fountain pen I have that I won’t carry out of the house. It’s a beautiful pen but has a reputation of being fragile. So I use it around the house. Even there I keep in in a single pen case that has hard sides.

I do plan to ink the Sheaffer Balance Aspen up again very soon but I did decide to clean it out which was fast and easy. I’m undecided on the next ink but will be one of my favorites I may return to Montblanc Permanent Gray or may switch to Montblanc Bordeaux.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance II with Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Sheaffer Balance II (Crimson Glow) with Sheaffer Peacock Blue bottleTurquoise inks are near the bottom of my ink rankings, yet I really like Sheaffer’s Peacock Blue. It seems perfect for the bright red Crimson Glow acrylic of the Sheaffer Balance II. It’s the last of the old Sheaffer inks made in Wisconsin and sold in the burgundy bottles, so nostalgia probably colors my opinion.

The Balance II’s nib is officially a medium, but it’s on the thin side, so more of a fine medium. This puts in closer to my preference for thin nibs and I use it more than my other, wider, medium nibs. The nib and ink combine to provide some nice line cariation, which also endears this ink to me, despite being turquoise. I like this pen & ink combination so much that it’s the only ink that’s been in the pen.

As usual with my Sheaffer pens and ink, the performance was nearly perfect. There was an occasional skip, very rare, and usually when I picked up the pen for the first time that day. I wrote the pen dry in about 10 days which is quick for me. I did use the pen a lot, but I there must have been some significant evaporation this time which could explain some of the skipping.

With so many pens still inked I’ll put this one aside for a little time. But I suspect this Sheaffer Balance II will return to the rotation with Sheaffer Peacock Blue.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) with a Medium Nib and Sheaffer Emerald Green Ink

Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) medium nib with Sheaffer Emerald GreenThis fill of Sheaffer Emerald Green ink in my Jade Green Sheaffer Balance II was jinxed from the beginning. I did have high hopes based on my first experience with this combination. This time I started off by spilling the ink while filling the pen.

It’s a small, 12ml bottle of ink that Sheaffer packages as calligraphy ink. It’s from the maroon label era of Sheaffer inks, probably around 2000, give or take a couple if years. Because it’s a small bottle I filled the converter directly and clipped the rim of the bottle with the converter, I did clean the converter so this wasn’t the cause of my future problems.

It took what seemed like forever to get the ink to the nib so I ended up manually saturating the feed by twisting the converter. The pen was fine while I wrote a couple pages. I stored the pen in my Dudek “The Stand” overnight, which means it was nib up. In the morning it was hard starting and once it did start it was just a bit skippy. This was a theme with this pen, hard start and just a bit of a skip at times. While not annoying enough to flush the pen early this was a big difference from my initial experience from the pen, which made it feel worse than it was since my expectations weren’t being met.

Then on Saturday, after being unused for about a week, the pen wrote immediately. Much to my surprise it continued to write great for about a page. It wrote great right up to the point it did’t write at all. I knew the pen wasn’t empty so I opened it up, planning to saturate the feed. What I found was ink all over the inside of the barrel and the outside of the converter. The converter was secure so this was either a hole in the converter (that I can’t find) or ink creep.

Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) ink in the barrel and on the converter

Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) ink in the barrel and on the converter

So that was it for this pen and it was time to clean and flush the pen, with the emphasis on clean. Because these pens have a reputation of being brittle and prone to crack I skipped the ultrasonic cleaner for the barrel and stuck with water and a long cotton swab. The barrel liner seems to be metal (brass?). I am a little concerned about the moisture causing rust or corrosion so the pen will sit out a long while to make sure the moisture evaporates before I close it up.

Ink leak aside, the writing experience with the pen and ink this time wasn’t up to the expectations set by my first experience with them. In fact, based on that first experience I bought two bottles of old Sheaffer Emerald Green (yellow label) ink on eBay. While this experience wasn’t downright bad, I probably wouldn’t have bought additional ink based on this experience.

So with two full 2 oz. unopened bottles and another fill or so left after the spill I’ll certainly be using the ink. It will be back in this pen, but first the Sheaffer Balance II needs to dry out and I need to wipe this experience from my brain.