Posts Tagged ‘levenger true writer’

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Modern Pilot Fountain Pens

05/19/2016

That is my collection of Pilot/Namiki fountain pens. Nice variety to it, but they seldom get inked. In comparison to other pen makers, I’ve experienced more flow issues with their modern pens than any other brand. While the fine nibs can be temperamental, the wider nibs and flexy ones are the most frustrating.

With more than thirty Pilots having passed through here in the last few years, I am certain their feeds and nibs are not created equal. The nibs write well enough but the flow is not able to keep up. The pens are too often hard starting and skip mid-word even failing for a full word or occasionally even several. This has never happened with my Sailor and Platinum pens. It has been a rare issue with a vintage Western pen but that could be attributed to careless handling by a former owner. My Lamy, Waterman, and Levenger True Writers have had very rare flow issues though matching ink to pen has helped in a few cases.

Pilot Elite pocket pens from the 1970’s are not so quirky though some of the Script nibs write dry and especially narrow. The ink flow keeps up nicely maintaining an even line. The pretty, decorated ones have had a higher than acceptable rate of cracked barrels so that’s a different kind of warning. However, my Socrates, Isaac Newton, and Black Striped models have been especially good writers and aren’t at all picky about brands of ink. That sort of versatility puts them on my list of favorite fountain pens.

This doesn’t mean all of their pens have flow issues. However, this post can be considered a caveat to my previous pen recommendations from the Pilot Custom 742 to the Custom 74 to the lower end Prera and 78G and the bottom of the line Plumix. Even the Namiki Falcon Soft Broad (SB) nib unlike the Soft Fine (SF) has a flow that is inadequate for the amount of ink that should be laid down. A nib adjustment might help though I’ve experienced mixed results on that score.

A free-flowing ink can improve performance a notch. Pilot Iroshizuku ink is a good match though some Diamine and J. Herbin inks have proven up to the task as well. Waterman Blue-Black is my standard test ink and one that can bring out the best in a multitude of pens so that’s a good one to have on hand. Unfortunately, ink won’t fix a pen but it can improve one that is borderline.

This isn’t meant to dissuade you from buying a Pilot or Namiki fountain pen but it is a warning. Your sleek, new pen may need tweaking to be the best it can be. Or it may only take finding the right ink and paper combination to bring out its most charming qualities. Even better, you could get a pen that is perfect from the start. Shouldn’t they all arrive that way?

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Making The Weekend Fountain Pen Friendly

08/01/2015

Giving the rotation a little exercise…

Do you have a weekend pen ritual? Mine includes giving the kids exercise and baths if needed. The Pelikan M215 ran out of ink before it could write a second line so it’s the perfect time for a cleaning along with five other pens I pulled out of rotation. Three will return to duty after inks are selected making a dozen ready for the paper tests ahead. Won’t that be a good way to begin the week?

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Stipula Verde Muschiato Is On My List

07/09/2015

Sometimes a favorite ink gets overlooked for the sexy new bottle on the shelf. With hundreds of inks on hand, it happens all too often here. Fifteen are inked at the moment and many are getting far too little use. Not good for the pens when evaporation uses more ink than putting pen to paper.

Recently while scouring my collection for the best of the old-timers, Stipula Calamo Verde Muschiato earned a slot in my rotation and wound up in two pens. That’s something that never happens, but in this case, it was a valuable reminder of how well Verde Muschiato performs and that it belongs on my list of top twenty inks.

Actually it fell into disuse when its best mate, a Pilot Elite Manifold Pocket Pen, got sold and its second best mate, a True Writer Masuyama Stub, broke. Both were wet writers so it was a surprise to see the even better performance and shading with a dry cursive italic nib, also a  Mink (brown) True Writer modified by Mike Masuyama. This TW has made a lot of friends in the brown family of inks, but Verde Muschiato is the best of the lot though it is more green than brown. No matter. Not every ink and pen need be matchy-matchy. It counts more that the writing looks good which is certainly the case here.

 

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Fountain Pens To Excess

06/14/2015

Is there a ten-step program for people who ink too many pens at one time? My current rotation is ridiculously out of control. Or maybe not…

Top row:

  • Mink Levenger True Writer
  • Amber Conklin Duragraph
  • Clementine Retro 51
  • Raspberry Lamy AL-Star
  • Green Lamy AL-Star
  • Green Levenger True Writer
  • Cracked Ice Conklin Duragraph
  • Noodler’s Creaper Demo
  • Platinum Century Nice Pur
  • Platinum Century Nice

Bottom row:

  • Platinum Century Chartres Blue
  • Platinum #3776 music nib
  • Namiki Falcon SF
  • Sailor Sapporo
  • Pelikan M-215 Rings

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A Rohrer & Klingner Cassia Ink Review

11/26/2013

Recently, Jet Pens offered the opportunity to review Rohrer & Klingner Cassia. Several R&K inks make it into my rotation on a regular basis, but not even so much as a sample of Cassia has landed on my desk before now. Would it be as memorable as its better-known siblings Alt-Goldgrun and Verdigris?

At the price point and volume of $12.50 for 50ml, R&K is good value on the ink market. The quality and color range make it an Inkophile favorite. Solferino gets the pink slot and Morinda the red in my rotation more often than other inks. Neither has met a pen it didn’t like and that makes them especially easy to use.

Rohrer & Klingner Cassia and Waterman Purple

Then there is Cassia. It is vaguely violet under artificial light, but decidedly purple in sunlight. Waterman Purple is quite similar but doesn’t shade as well. It is not a muted color, but neither does it demand attention. This is an all-purpose purple should you only allow one or two in your collection.

Flow is good, but not lubricated enough to glide like some of the Iroshizuku inks. Paper texture communicates through the nib which is a normal part of the fountain pen experience. In my test, pens with copious flow produced feathering or at least uneven outlines. It won’t tame that beast, but will prove a good match for an average to slightly free-flowing pen.

Rohrer & Klingner Cassia Writing Sample

Mild shading and outlining with the Namiki Falcon were unexpected treats. Cassia reduced the flow of the Pilot Elite Pocket Pen to a neat fine line, and produced bold color with the Levenger True Writer medium nib. The stronger the flow, the more violet the color.

There was some show-through on Rhodia with a couple of minor dots of bleed-through from more free-flowing nibs. There were no issues on Apica 6A10 journal paper. Performance on Moleskine Volant paper was typical with feathering, irregular outlines and bleed-through. Look elsewhere if Moleskine is your vice.

I like it best with the True Writer medium nib, but then I am fond of a wider nib. The color is useful and attractive for sketching when black or brown would be too sedate. It may seem quirky, but for sketching I do prefer inks that let the paper texture participate rather than inks that make nibs skate over the surface. Cassia does not tend to glide so it works well at providing a tiny bit of feedback.

Rohrer & Klingner Cassia has made friends with the three test pens, but has yet to find her soul mate. The Pelikan M215 with the fetching silver rings and a custom italic nib is promising, but for now otherwise engaged. When he becomes available, he might be just the one to charm pretty Cassia into a lasting relationship. We shall see…

Rohrer & Klingner Cassia Water Test

Water reveals the red violet component in Cassia.

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Heads up! Levenger fountain pens on sale!

06/25/2013

Levenger is offering a 15% discount on orders of $100 or more through 7/11/2013. The promotion code on my catalog is 3CDB06C. In addition to that enticing offer, True Writer pens are on sale along with select Circa products and assorted other items. Interested?

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The Good, The Bad, And The Rest

06/13/2013

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.

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