The Good, The Bad, And The Rest06/13/2013
Most often, pens, inks, and paper are great fun to use. Other times they can be stinkers. Almost as bad are the ones that are unpredictable or unreliable. Such is the case with a few of the products often mentioned on Inkophile and now is the time to put out some caveats.
YMMV hasn’t been attached to every post or comment but perhaps it should. For now this entry will suffice, but it will also earn a permanent presence in the sidebar. Any updates will appear as a post first with relevant info added to “The Good, The Bad, And The Rest” listed in the Pages section.
- Fountain pen nibs are so easy to get wrong with just the tiniest manufacturing error. Some retailers check the nibs before sending pens off to new homes. That can be helpful, but I don’t always want a pen to flow as generously as other users. So that doesn’t always work for me. If you want to tweak a nib to get the perfect tip and ink flow, find a nibmeister who understands exactly what you want. You might want to put him/her to the test with a pen of no importance first or with one that has a replaceable nib should you be less than enamored with the modified one. If this is the right person for you, then send a pricey, special pen. However, any modification carries with it the potential for damage, but if you want a special nib, it might be worth the gamble.
- Lamy 1.1mm nibs are inconsistent. The flow can be perfect, stingy, or anywhere in between. Perhaps because the nibs can be swapped, they slip into position incorrectly causing erratic flow. Be prepared to adjust the nib should you encounter a stinky one. Note that the fine nibs in my collection have flowed well without adjustments.
- Levenger True Writer – rings, nibs, collars. The decorative cap ring has come loose on my older TW fountain pens but can be reattached with a spot of glue. More recent models have that issue less often. There was a time when some of the nibs were inconsistent. A new pen like that should be returned to Levenger. Another option is to send it off to a nibmeister and have it modified. I did that with a disappointing broad nib and now have a terrific stub. My biggest frustration with TWs is that too many of the collars have cracked. That is the part that holds the nib in place. If it is loose, the nib wobbles and that makes for a less than satisfying writing experience. At some point the collar may break entirely resulting in a leaky, useless pen. At least three of my TWs have hairline cracks so I am a bit jaded on this issue. I will continue to buy this model because the size, weight, and looks are just right for me but I will treat them gingerly in hopes they will last forever.
- Pelikan piston fillers. In my experience, these are high maintenance pens because the piston mechanism can stop working. Then it’s off to the shop for a tune-up. Meh.
- Apica 6A10 – mild feathering along some fibers like Moleskine paper produces and significant feathering on some pages. For me it is worth using because the texture is soft and soothing to my fatigued hand, plus the color is not light-reflective even under bright lights.
- Staples Sustainable Earth Sugarcane paper. This is an inconsistent paper that I use regardless. Sometimes ink spreads far beyond the letter outlines but with the right ink and a fine nib, it’s good stuff.
- Private Reserve ink and that sour odor. The smell is very off-putting but it doesn’t come with all colors. None of my other inks have this problem so I’m placing the target on PR alone.
- Any fountain pen ink can spoil or grow mold. Always check before filling.
- Ink stains from Namiki Blue and Iroshizuku syo-ro on Esterbrook barrels, and from Private Reserve Arabian Rose on a Levenger converter. I use all three inks more carefully now.
- Photos and scans lie. So do monitors. Take all color rendering as approximate or at best, relative. Even things that are black can be misrepresented as gray.
There is one other thing worth mentioning. In my experience BlogSpot/Blogger is horrible for posting comments. I can only do it anonymously and at that there are issues. So if your blog is hosted there, please don’t think I am ignoring you. It’s the platform and nothing more.