Posts Tagged ‘Pilot fountain pen’

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Sunday Reads: Fountain Pens, Paper, and One Very Lucky Dog

08/27/2017

Gobsmacked by the first link. Mother Nature is a very confused lady…

Japanese Flex Nibs

From left to right, Platinum #3776 Century Fine Flex (FF), Pilot Custom 742 Falcon (FA), and the Namiki Falcon Soft Fine (SF). None of the nibs are damaged but they do have little touches of ink here and there.

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Reads: Handwriting, Pens And A Puppy

01/29/2017

The six-second smash down brought smiles from everyone but Macy who did not get the joke. Some dogs just don’t see things the way their humans do…

 

 

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Big, Bad Nibs – One Year On

09/06/2016

Sometimes it is useful to compare what works now to what worked in the past. An image of my wide nibs from a year ago turned up quite by accident and I realized how few of these pens were currently inked. Does that mean the others have fallen out of favor or they just aren’t good enough to remain in use?

The truth is that I’m fickle. Plus I’ve come to appreciate the reduced maintenance that attends a smaller rotation.

Consequently, only the TWSBI 580 1.1 stub, the Platinum #3776 Music Nib, and the Platinum Nice Pur Broad remain active. It’s an interesting group because both the nibs and pen sizes are varied. All to the good for writing and comfort.

But do these pens have the same tastes in ink? The TWSBI has been filled with Diamine Violet all year. The Platinum music nib is more likely to switch partners, but is especially suited to Diamine Sepia. The Nice Pur takes all inks well, though Platinum Pigment Rose Red might top its list with Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses coming in a close second. Glad to see the pens getting along so well with some of my favorite inks.

Now that I look at it, my rotation has only two recently acquired pens, a Pilot Kakuno M with Diamine Mediterranean and a Pilot Metropolitan M with Pilot BBk. The lone older model is a 1970’s Pilot Elite Pocket Pen loaded with Noodler’s Black, the little black dress in my ink wardrobe.

A six pen rotation is all I need for personal use and it provides enough variety to make writing colorful and entertaining.

If something in my rotation appeals to you, check out the links below. The Platinum music nib at the link is the newer Century model since my smaller #3776 has become difficult to find.

The Pilot Elite ‘Isaac Newton’ can be found from time to time on eBay for roughly $100 to $150. One word of warning. Some of the Elites can have brittle plastic sections and crack easily just by inserting a converter. Otherwise, it’s a good model if you like the pocket pen form.

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Namiki Falcon And J. Herbin Meet Clairefontaine

07/19/2016

A Namiki (Pilot) Falcon sporting a soft fine nib makes a lovely bridge between J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir and Clairefontaine French-Ruled paper. This isn’t calligraphy, but rather whimsical, swirly lettering that suits the way the nib likes to dance over the smooth surface of the paper. The ink provides proof that the pen and paper came together.

If you want the trio, Writer’s Bloc carries the pen, paper and ink. Nibs.com carries the pen and will modify it in amazing ways. John Mottishaw is their nibmeister and he may well be the best at his craft.

If you want to experiment with a flex nib but not tax your budget, Noodler’s makes fountain pens that will give you a sense of what it’s like to achieve thick and thin in the same stroke. Amazon offers the range in various colors though my clear Standard Flex is hard to beat when it comes to showing off ink to its best advantage.

 

So go have some flex fun filling lots and lots of pages, but don’t be surprised if it becomes an addiction. It’s a fat-free, guilt-free one and will even keep your hand out of the cookie jar while you doodle away. Cool, eh?

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What’s Your Opinion Of Pen Brands

09/02/2014

You already know pens are not created equal. Those of us who write about them can only comment on the brands with which we have experience and that can be a limited pool given the number of pen manufacturers. If your favorite brand never gets mentioned at Inkophile, it is because I have never used a pen from that line so it would be helpful to hear your opinions to see what my collection might be missing.

Contemporary pens get frequent posts because readers can purchase the same model easily. Vintage pens get less attention because they are more difficult to acquire and have unknown backgrounds. Some have been well maintained or fine tuned by a nibmeister. Others have been abused if not mauled. Even a NOS (new old stock) pen may have been stored in inclement conditions causing stress to plastic bits and rubber sacs. But if there is consistency amongst multiple pens, remarks are in order.

With the exceptions of some obscure manufacturers with discontinued models, this is my list of pen brands.

Contemporary:

  • Platinum – Very good build quality. Nibs are consistently excellent in the #3776 line. The music nib is tops in my book both for shape and flow.
  • Pilot – Very good build quality. Nibs are good and offered in a substantial variety of sizes and shapes. I do not recommend the Custom 742FA due to significant flow issues. The resin Pilot (Namiki) Falcon is a mainstay in my rotation, but it does need use to achieve a reasonable degree of softness. Quite worth the effort in my opinion.
  • Sailor – Excellent build quality. Feels very solid. Nibs are very firm and come in few choices. A bit overpriced, but I’ve never owned a bad one.
  • Pelikan – Excellent build quality. Very smooth nibs. The piston filler is easy to maintain. This is my favorite European pen.
  • Waterman – Good build quality. Limited nib choices but solidly built.
  • Rotring – Very sturdy.
  • Sheaffer – Good build quality with limited nib choices.
  • Levenger True Writer – Disappointing build quality. Half my collection shows damage with only ordinary use. Some nibs are very good. Others not so much.
  • Lamy – Very sturdy. Some of the nibs are outstanding.
  • Kaweco – Good build quality. I can only comment on the medium nib which is smooth and flows well.
  • Retro 1951 – Good build quality. Very rigid nib that flows well.
  • Noodler’s – Build quality in line with price. Nibs are good to very good. The flex improves with use.
  • Jinhao – Disappointing build quality. Nib is decent.
  • Baoer – Good build quality especially at the price. Nib and flow are acceptable. This is the best of the Chinese pens I’ve tested.
  • Hero – Decent build quality. The nibs I have are fairly good but the ink flow is erratic requiring adjustment to be useful.

Vintage:

  • Waterman – Endures the test of time admirably. The pre-WWII flex nibs are the best available.
  • Pilot – Some very attractive pens. Elite short/long pens are risky as the plastic sections even NOS can develop fractures. The fine nibs can be scratchy.
  • Sheaffer – My experience is with the Touchdown model. Excellent build and nibs.
  • Parker – Vacumatic and ’51’ models are outstanding. Nibs are very good.
  • Pelikan – Have owned a dozen of the M200 to M400 models as well as a few others. Excellent build. Well-cared for nibs can be superb.
  • Reform – Average build quality. Can’t comment on the nibs since mine have been modified.
  • Montblanc – Disappointing build quality. Mine fell apart. The nib is fabulous – smooth and loaded with iridium.
  • Esterbrook – Some have held up well while others have not. The 9000 series nibs are good with the finer ones being scratchy.
  • Wahl-Eversharp – Good build except the levers which can become loose defying repair. The stub nibs are especially sweet.

These are general observations and individual pens may perform better or worse. I’ve used too many brands to remember them all, but these are the ones in my current collection as well as a few I have sold or given away.

Vintage pens are a chancy lot so no recommendations. However, the Parker ’51’ carries less risk due to its workhorse construction. I’ve owned a number of them and only one had a stinky nib that was in all likelihood greatly abused by a former owner. Pelikan piston-fillers can need a tune-up so look for ones have been repaired recently or are functioning well at purchase. That makes Waterman, Parker and Pelikan my top three vintage brands. If you want a truly wonderful experience, buy from someone who specializes in the pen you want. That doesn’t exclude eBay where guys like Rob Morrison sell fantastic pens at auction. Just look for a depth of knowledge and rave reviews. You’ll pay more but won’t have a pricey repair just to get enjoyment out of your new/old pen.

Contemporary pens are easier to recommend – or not. The Japanese pens are consistent winners as are the Pelikan and Waterman. I only have experience with one new Sheaffer, so am a little reluctant to give it a wholehearted recommendation though I found nothing wanting in the one Sheaffer sent for review. If you can work with the grip, the Lamy is good though the calligraphy nibs can be flow challenged. Noodler’s can be good, but the flex nibs need time to reach full potential.

So that’s my list. Consider it opinion to be tossed out if it doesn’t mirror your experiences.

Now what is your favorite brand of pen and how would you evaluate its build and nib?

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