Posts Tagged ‘Pilot Metropolitan’

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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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Fountain Pens Are Cool

11/02/2018

Last week, HisNibs.com shared a link to a Bloomberg article about fountain pen ink that stated, “Worldwide, fountain pen sales are forecast to total $1.15 billion this year, up 3 percent from 2017 and almost 31 percent from a decade ago, according to market-research company Euromonitor International.” Yes, fountain pens are cool and so is ink.

An inkophile needs a stable of pens to test and compare several colors at the same time. A five-pen rotation works well for me and for a reasonable investment, these are some of my favorite models.

  • Pilot Metropolitan – My three are good writers, but might seem slender in a large hand.
  • Pilot Kakuno – Mine has a good nib and adds virtually no weight to my kit.
  • Platinum Plaisir – Good nibs and attractive colors. Slightly larger than the Metropolitan.
  • Kaweco Sport – Modern pocket pen works well in small spaces. Nibs can be swapped.
  • TWSBI Eco – Small nib and simple design, but folks swear by the Eco. The Diamond 580 is my preferred model.
  • Lamy Safari – Sturdy build, but the grip is awkward for some users. Nibs can be good if finicky about ink. The Studio is my preferred model for an everyday pen.
  • Nemosine Singularity – Good build for the price. My italics work best with well-lubricated inks.
  • Conklin Duragraph – The stub nibs are smooth and juicy. I liked the design and performance well enough to purchase two.

Although I have owned a few inexpensive Chinese pens that wrote well enough, most brands have been too inconsistent to recommend. However, for the modest investment, they could be worth the gamble. Amazon and eBay offer quite a few, but you might have better luck at His Nibs.

The Pilot Metropolitan has emerged as my favorite fountain pen for ink testing because it cleans easily and flows well with every ink. The Duragraph with its wide nib is good for general writing so it will often get filled with an ink I would use for a journal or correspondence. The Kakuno or the Singularity come out to play when aqua ink is on the menu. The Nova Orange Plaisir is happy with orange ink or sometimes a fill of Noodler’s Lexington Gray. Either way, it makes my desk look cheerful.

My current pen rotation for testing ink includes

  • Silver Pilot Metropolitan – green ink
  • Aqua Pilot Metropolitan, Kakuno, or Nemosine Singularity – blue/aqua ink
  • Plaisir – red/orange ink
  • TWSBI – purple/burgundy ink
  • Duragraph – black/brown ink

That makes five pens for under $150. Or a mix of Metropolitans and Plasirs could be put together for less than $75. Add a selection of ink samples and you are on your way to being a collector. Now wasn’t that easy!

Though I have never needed to make a return, do purchase where that would be easy. Low-end pens can be imperfect by some accounts though I suspect that is less common with the pens on my list.

Most of the links are to Amazon from which Inkophile receives a tiny commission when you buy within 24 hours of clicking the link. Thank you for your support.

 

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Sunday Reads: Ink, Pens And Paper

10/21/2018

A few on-topic links…

From the archives:

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A DIY Journal With Tomoe River Paper

03/02/2018

It is always satisfying to assemble a DIY journal for a new year. For 2018, I discovered a leather passport case that will accommodate two Traveler’s Notebooks. It makes a small and lightweight companion that takes up little space, but looks great and offers enough pages to keep the writer in me creative and content.

The notebooks come in diary, blank, grid and lined editions all with fountain pen friendly paper. I prefer the Traveler’s #005 with Tomoe River paper that Leigh Reyes introduced me to a few years ago. Tomoe takes fountain pen ink like a champ, but also holds up to a light watercolor application which makes it fine for small sketches or to add extra color to written pages.

The Sea Green (more teal than turquoise) cover from Banuce is eye-catching and just the right size for the Traveler’s Notebook. It has lots of slots for credit cards, stickers, and other bits and pieces. Another passport-sized cahier might fit, but the Moleskine does not. I might purchase the coral to house all those lists and task notes that clutter my desk. Two notebooks doesn’t seem excessive when it comes to being organized, does it?

The leather is smooth to the touch, but firm enough to give the journal a solid writing surface. Either a writing board or a piece of blotting paper will protect lower sheets, but Tomoe has rarely bled through in my experience. The cover folds back easily for notes on the go.

The snap clasp will keep everything firmly inside. The corners are slightly round, and the stitching consistent. The black edging offsets the striking color and gives the journal a finished look.

The only drawback is the over-sized stamp of the manufacturer’s name. It would have been more subtle centered on the lower edge of the back cover.

This is not a pricey item and durability is hard to predict, but it should last through the coming year. It arrived attractively packaged should you want to give it as a gift. Add a Traveler’s Notebook and any writer would be happy to fill the pages. For less than $15, the cover and notebook make quite the bargain.

Banuce passport covers here and here. Traveler’s Notebook with Tomoe River paper. J. Herbin Blotter Paper. Taroko Design Pencil Board. All links are to Amazon. When you purchase through my links, I get a tiny commission but every penny helps keep this Inkophile supplied with new items to review.

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The Best On My Desk Winners For 2017

01/12/2018

Whether penned on the back of an envelope, a scrap of napkin or in a classic journal, a list is my favorite organizational tool. The end of the year is the perfect time to make such a list, one that summarizes and compares my ever-changing pen, ink, and other tool preferences.

Rather than new faves, the focus for my 2017 list was which tools were used the most, those that rarely if ever left my desk. Products that arrived late in the year didn’t qualify even if they were noteworthy. The handsome journal from Central Crafts and two inks from Noodler’s will have to wait for the 2018 list.

(Links are to retailers and in some cases Amazon from which I receive a tiny commission should you make a purchase. Every little bit helps keep Inkophile alive!)

Tools for 2017

Pens

Pelikan M400 Fine – This pen has been in my collection for a number of years. The flow was increased by Chartpak to accommodate hand issues and proved to be a brilliant pen for my worst days.

Platinum Century Nice Pur Medium – Using different grip widths relaxes my hand while a smooth nib makes short work of any written task. The Plat provided provided both and was a good alternative to the Pel. Besides, what’s not to like about a clear barrel that shows off colorful ink?

Platinum #3776 Music Nib – Sometimes a wide nib gives me a little extra support when my hand is tired and at those times a music nib fits my needs very well. It also adds a little flair to the written word without catching on paper as an italic might and that makes writing more enjoyable.

Pilot Metropolitan Medium – When out and about, I carry a pen that can easily be replaced, but still writes well and looks sharp. The turquoise Met meets all those requirements.

TWSBI Diamond 580 Stub – This pen won the slot for a nib with line variation. It also added a pen to my rotation with a slightly wider grip circumference than the other pens. You already know what I think of a clear barrel and this design makes colorful ink sparkle.

Lamy Studio Fine – It is on the list but last due to its unpleasantly sharp cap and barrel edge. However, the nib and flow make using it worth the risk so long as I remember to grasp it gently. Unfortunately, this one has disappeared and missed the photo shoot. Phooey.

Ink

Waterman Florida Blue is mated to the Pel M400. The flow is perfect for the nib and though I may experiment with other inks, WFB always wins out.

Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan makes a luscious line with the #3776 and the shading can be quite dynamic.

Diamine Violet has been the choice of the TWSBI Diamond 580 stub and with good reason. Eye candy to be sure.

Platinum Mixable Aqua Blue suits the turquoise Met perfectly. My samples are now depleted, so it’s time for a full bottle. In the interim, Rohrer & Klingner Blu Mare will do.

Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu was my dark green ink which was well suited to a silver Met. It isn’t Montblanc Racing Green, but it does have excellent flow as well as other charming properties.

Platinum Classic Lavender Black is a newcomer that made a splash in the Platinum Century Nice Pur. Color and performance made this an excellent choice for my everyday ink.

Paper

Clairefontaine, Stillman & Birn, Staples Arc and anything made with Tomoe River paper. Enough said.

Watercolor Paint

Artist quality: Sennelier, Daniel Smith, American Journey, and Da Vinci are mainstays along with a couple of Winsor & Newton colors on occasion.

Student grade: Sennelier La Petit Aquarelle and Daler-Rowney Aquafine are about as good as student quality gets. They are not as saturated or lightfast as artist grade paints, but fine in a journal and are packaged conveniently for outdoor sketching. When I empty a palette of student paint, it gets refilled with artist quality paint.

Watercolor Paper

Arches 140# for paintings and Canson Watercolor 140# for color swatches. The best paper is 100% cotton. It will yield the truest colors and survive the longest. Arches is cotton and readily available. It is pricey but worth it.

Watercolor Brushes

SAA Gold Round #10 This was my favorite brush last year and easily got the most use.

Silver Brush Black Velvet Round #8

Escoda Versatil Rigger #2

Daniel Smith Platinum Angle 1/2″ (sable and taklon)

Isabey Petit Gris 6234 Quill Mop #0

Other writing and drawing tools

Pentel Pocket brush pen

Autopoint mechanical pencil

Pentel Sign Touch Pen

New Stuff

Noodler’s Legal Blue and Polar Purple

Romano Handmade Recycled Leather Wrap Large Journal (Paper is not friendly with all fountain pen inks. Handsome leather cover.)

What’s on your list? Use the comments to post your faves as well as most used tools for 2017. Or submit a link if you’ve already shared such a list elsewhere.

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What Prompts You To Journal?

01/18/2017

What prompts you to write in your journal? Many of us start a new one in January which makes this a good month to examine and strengthen what works.

Fountain pen people may do it just for the joy of using a favorite pen or a pretty new ink. Sometimes it’s the luxurious feel of a perfectly tuned nib sliding across velvety paper. A touch of the hedonist may drive us to such pursuits, but it is good, clean fun.

It doesn’t have to be just words that make it on paper. A doodler can use a glyph or squiggle to fill lines and spaces. Watercolor may come into play, but glued on bits of ephemera count as well. Stickers, tickets and postage stamps can inspire lengthy entries or at least make the pages look satisfyingly full.

But what prompts the writer, the serious writer, to put pen to paper? What inspires that flow of words? An experience of the day, something in the news, an errant thought? Do you have a book of prompts or a theme to explore? Really, how do you do it and what do you do it with?

Writing in my journal can bring out the minimalist in me. I like using a light to medium weight pen with an ink to match the subject or something very neutral that won’t detract. Recently, four pens have graced my long sessions: two Pilot Metropolitan Mediums, a Lamy Studio Fine, and a Platinum Nice Medium. The Lamy is a little heavy for more than four or five pages, but the others are good for miles of adventure. Current inks are Iroshizuku ama-iro, Pilot Blue-Black, J. Herbin Terre de Feu and Sailor Tokiwa-matsu in the second Pilot Metro.

Today my journals include one from Paper for Fountain Pens with Tomoe River Paper, Staples Arc, a new Muji notebook and a (Midori) Traveler’s Notebook, most often a #013.

Any of these tools can prompt me to journal. Four pens, inks and journals would seem like enough variety for an inkophile. Or maybe not. The Stillman & Birn Epsilon, Stipula Verde Muschiato, and the lovely, lovely Platinum #3776 music nib are ready to go. Oh, look at that. Ku-jaku just waved at me with a charming, beauty-queen-riding-in-a-parade gesture. So much for my minimalist rotation. Is this a hopeless addiction or what!

 

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Fountain Pens That Would Make Good Gifts

12/10/2016

This week my list of Favorite Fountain Pens received its annual update. A number of the pens have been inked since they arrived. That is a very good measure of user satisfaction when they go into rotation and remain there for months if not years. Kudos to those manufacturers who have earned my loyalty.

Once the list was set, it struck me that any of them would make a good gift. To make it simple, here is the list with links to Amazon for models that are currently available. Prices fluctuate so do shop around. If you purchase from Amazon, Inkophile earns a tiny commission that will be used towards the purchase of new products to review.

Happy shopping!

 

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