Archive for the ‘Fountain Pens’ Category

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Sunday Reads: Lotsa Pen Stuff Plus Extra Credit Questions

04/07/2019

This post started out as exclusively pen and ink links but the “Extra Credit Questions” piece begged to be included. I couldn’t resist.

From the archives

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Make Your Fountain Pens Happy

04/02/2019

Fountain pens can be finicky, troublesome, evil tools – or not. It only takes a few simple tips to make that “or not” into a reality.

  • For ease of care, choose inks that are medium or lighter in color saturation or intensity. They are less likely to solidify and clog your pen.
  • When using deep, intense colors, clean your pen often and use it regularly. Both actions will keep a pen functioning well.
  • Write with your pen at least two or three times a week if only to draw some doodles on scrap paper. Doing so will keep the ink flowing. In low humidity conditions, ink may evaporate quickly necessitating more frequent use and refilling.
  • Partially filling a converter will satisfy most pens and allow you to see how well you like the color before committing to a full load. If your pen does not write consistent lines with a partial fill, then load it fully.
  • Do not put ink back into the bottle as it risks contamination, mold growth and damage to your pens. Toss unused ink. Even a full converter holds only a few drops so the waste is minimal.
  • Especially if your pen gets infrequent or intermittent use, clean it between fills. Gently suck up and expel room temperature water repeatedly until the flow is clear or nearly so. If reusing the pen, just fill it with ink after cleaning. If storing the pen, rinse out any leftover ink. Then stand it nib down in a cup with a wad of paper towel at the bottom. Any fluid remaining in the nib will flow into the paper leaving behind a pen that can be stored safely for years. This trick can also be used to empty ink from a pen before cleaning.

Current ink trends favor highly saturated colors as well as dual colors and metallic sheen. Many of these inks have a greater risk for clogging without regular use and frequent cleaning. There will be exceptions, but my observations and recommendations are intended to make fountain pens easy and uncomplicated to use.

Tip: Clean a pen just before it runs out of ink. Lines that become pale are the most obvious indicators though with some ink and pen combinations, there is virtually no warning. The pen will clean more easily if rinsed immediately than if you wait until it is empty and the ink has dried in the nib. If that does happen, it will take a lot more pumping water in and out to achieve a reasonably clean pen.

If you don’t want to waste even a smidge of ink, write until there is no more color coming from the nib. Then clean it as soon as possible. Writing in a restaurant? Ask for an extra glass of water and use it to suck up and expel enough water to rinse most of the ink from your pen. Your server may think you are eccentric, but that’s okay. Your happy pen is worth the effort.

Tip: The fewer pens filled, the easier it is to practice good pen maintenance. Before I had a pen collection, one or two at a time met my needs. I wrote them dry and cleaned them immediately. The few I owned were very well used and perfectly maintained. Even today with a hundred pens on hand, only one or two at a time is all I keep inked unless I need more for reviews.

Happy pens provide the best writing experience. They start immediately, flow without a hiccup, work beautifully with a variety of inks, and come clean without ado.

If you want some suggestions for low maintenance, colorful inks, check out my Short List of Easy Inks.

Pilot Kakuno

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A Short List Of Easy Inks

04/01/2019

Want to keep things really simple? Fill only a few pens and use inks that make cleaning easy. Enjoyable pen use is sure to follow.

With hundreds of inks on the market, where should you start? Sheaffer, Waterman and Parker Quink inks are quite safe and easy to find. My favorites are Waterman’s Inspired Blue, Serenity Blue, and Mysterious Blue. They are comfortable colors that suit personal correspondence as well as business use, rinse easily from a nib, and work well in any pen. In addition, they are very reasonably priced so there is that to recommend them as well.

Another well-behaved ink is Pilot Blue-Black. The color is subdued but the other characteristics more than compensate for the understated color. Several years ago it became my alternate to Waterman Mysterious Blue for testing pens. That is high praise from an inkophile.

Initially, my ink purchases were from companies that also sold pens. This was based on the assumption that a pen manufacturer would be unlikely to offer ink that would cause damage. Eventually, Waterman and Quink colors seemed too limited so I sought advice from Sam and Frank at Pendemonium. It wasn’t long before well-behaved inks from Diamine and J. Herbin joined my collection including

  • Diamine Emerald
  • Diamine Sepia
  • Diamine Violet
  • Diamine Mediterranean Blue
  • Diamine Dark Brown
  • Diamine Wild Strawberry
  • Herbin Lie de The
  • Herbin Orange Indien
  • Herbin Poussiere de Lune
  • Herbin Perle Noir

This group of colors cleaned easily and was perfect for a novice. For water-resistant ink, I turned to Noodler’s Black or Lexington Gray. They are slightly higher maintenance but only marginally so.

My list of inks is always changing since new brands and colors arrive every year. Among those new releases are certain to be at least a few that will be low maintenance. In my experience, blacks, blues and greens rinse out more easily than other colors. And if it’s easy to clean, you are more likely to do it frequently, right?

If you want to try Pilot Blue-Black but your preferred retailer doesn’t offer the brand, it can be found at Amazon in three sizes, 30ml, 70ml, and a humongous 350ml bottle for around $22. The latter comes in a tall, thin container that is unsuitable for pen filling. However, a thoroughly cleaned, empty ink bottle would make a nice home for a more practical amount of ink. A benefit to decanting is that the ink remaining in the larger bottle is less likely to become contaminated. Store the bottle in a dark place where moldy little beasties won’t thrive and color won’t degrade, and that Pilot BBk should last a very long time.

All of these inks continue to rotate through my pens and that is the best recommendation. However, my list is not definitive. Is there an ink you would add?

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Sunday Links: Ink, Books, And Scooby-Doo

03/03/2019

You have probably seen Nick Stewart’s ink and bleach swatches. If you like them, his tutorials might give you just the right amount of encouragement and technique to venture into this intriguing use of fountain pen ink. Both successes and failures could make unique greeting cards. No sense letting an ink splotch go to waste…

From LuxuryBrandsUSA.com

 

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Sunday Links: The Perfect Pizza, A Sausage, And Ink

02/24/2019

A group of links that have nothing to do with one another, but might offer a little something for everyone…

 

 

 

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Flex Nibs And Ink Characteristics

02/10/2019

When it comes to ink, color grabs us first. Whether the jewel-toned dual colors that have emerged in recent years or the traditional single colored inks that have been around forever, it is the property we prize the most. But what else does fountain pen ink have to offer?

Prior to the introduction of inks that sheen and shimmer, more subtle characteristics like shading and outlining (sometimes called haloing) received the attention and praise of aficionados. They are natural properties of some inks that can lend the written word a very unique look.

Shading happens when ink pools usually at the bottom of a letter. The higher concentration of ink produces a deeper shade than the upper portion. Outlining is a thin, dark line around a letter and is less common than shading. Flex nibs produce it best though wide nibs can do it, too.

Writing examples that illustrate shading and outlining.

Noodler’s Standard Flex and Apache Sunset

Platinum Century FF and Iroshizuku fuyu-syogun

Namiki Falcon SF and Diamine Mediterranean Blue

Noodler’s Standard Flex and Australian Roses

Noodler’s Konrad and Blue Nose Bear

Namiki Falcon SF and Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan

Noodler’s Dostoyevsky

Esterbrook 9128 with Namiki Blue

Platinum Music Nib and Diamine Sepia

 

Diamine Sepia will outline well, but paper may matter more with it than the other inks.

There are too many inks on the market these days to test them all so my list is rather short. You may find inks you already own will outline when used with a soft or flexible nib. There are a few relatively inexpensive fountain pens that would be up to the task of testing ink, but in that category, I only have experience with Noodler’s Standard Flex Pen. It might be better called a soft nib, but it will, with a little practice, produce enough line variation to tease an outline from an ink that is so inclined.

A thread at FPN offers more suggestions. I have used a few of the inks mentioned but have experienced different results or at least less dramatic results. Diamine Wild Strawberry is a case in point. It is excellent in my Platinum Century Nice medium nib with good performance all around. Though it produces crisp edges, the outlines are so close in color to the ink, that they are only discernable under magnification. Thus it outlines but not in a meaningful way. Some of the other inks mentioned in the FPN thread look promising and several are truly dazzling especially those from Robert Oster and Blackstone.

Does outlining appeal to you? Let me know if you discover an ink that does it well. Not that my ink collection needs to be expanded, but for outlining, I could make an exception or two.

 

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Lots Of Pens On Sale

02/07/2019

May I enable you? iPenStore has a bunch of pens on sale in case you are in need of a new fountain pen. And really, who doesn’t need/want another fountain pen?

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