Tag: fountain pen review

Review: Jinhao 159

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Here’s the last Jinhao pen that I tried out last weekend courtesy of Everything Calligraphy. It’s the Jinhao 159, and boy, do they remind me of tictacs. The colors are just so happy! I thought they were so cute!

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Of the three Jinhao pens that I tried last weekend (read the reviews for X750 and X450), this is probably the most colorful and also the biggest. The body is a cigar shape, and it’s all shiny, including the section. It’s made of metal so it’s quite heavy. I like how they designed the trimmings of the pen–they’re much simpler. The cap’s bands are thinner, so are the bands near the end of the barrel. It’s a good idea since the colors are already pretty eye-catching. Large trims will only throw the design off.

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I cannot get over how cute the colors are! My favorite is the apple green. it is such a fun color. 🙂 The pen is large, about 150mm when capped. The cap screws off, unlike the x750 and x450 which pulls off. The nib is also removable, so you can actually replace it with any #6 nib if you want to use something else for it, like a Goulet nib. The weight is about 50g.

The design reminds me of a Montblanc 149, but all the similarities stop with the basic look. The material, the trims, the nib, the ink delivery system (cartridge/converter), everything about it is different. For the price of P599 (about $12), you get a cute pen that writes decently. I say that it’s a good deal for the price.

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I inked the apple green pen with Alt Goldgrun and oh, it’s just so cute. ^_^ It writes moderately wet, and the nib is smooth enough. If you want to improve the performance of the nib, you can always tune it so it writes better, or you can replace it with a different, compatible nib. Overall, a pretty nice pen, especially for the price. 🙂

Review: Jinhao X750

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Here’s another entry-level pen that I tried courtesy of Everything Calligraphy. It’s the Jinhao X750, and it’s at the same price point as the X450. The Jinhao X750 is another nice, simple, affordable, entry-level pen.

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Silver and Matte Black

This pen also has a cigar or torpedo shape, except it doesn’t taper much on both ends. It’s almost cylindrical in shape. The ends of the barrel and the cap are dome-shaped and less pointy than the x450, so I think it looks a bit more low-key.

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Two of my favorite designs. Black and Silver Checkered and Black Constellation.

I don’t think the pen was designed to be posted, and like the x450, posting the x750 makes it top-heavy. It would definitely be better-balanced when used unposted. The section of the pen is made of hard rubber and has no ridges on it. It’s smooth without being slippery. I like that this makes the pen easier to grip, and it’s a plus for those who prefer not to use pens with tripod grips like the x450.

As far as the nib goes, it appears to be the same nib as the x450. The one I got wrote a little bit dryer by comparison (then again, I like my pens to write wetter than they usually do, hence I tune them to fit my preference). That being said, it’s always good to know how to tune your own pens’ nibs. Here a few basic tips to help you with increasing the ink flow on your nib.

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I noticed that this line features more metallic-looking, subdued colors. It’s a good entry-level pen too, and like the x750, some fountain pen users have hacked it into a flex pen using a Zebra nib. Just a reminder before you try this–fiddling with your pen’s nib and feed may break your pen, so fiddle away at your own risk.

Overall, I think the Jinhao X750 would also make a good first pen for those who just want to get their feet wet with this hobby. It’s a very affordable pen that enables you to enjoy the benefits of using a fountain pen without paying too much. It looks pretty good too. 🙂

Review: Jinhao x450

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It’s been a while since I last tried a Jinhao pen. Since Everything Calligraphy is now carrying three kinds of Jinhaos, I thought I’d try them out. First up is the Jinhao X450. I got to check out a few colors before I picked out which one I liked best.

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I think the one on the left is called Blue Sky. The one on the right is the pen I picked–Oriental Red

My first impression of the X450 is that the colors are quite interesting. There’s a lot of variety, lots of different colors to suit your personality. Some may like the vibrant sky blue color, others (like me) may like the more subdued colors like dark red or black. There’s lots of colors to choose from.

It’s interesting how Jinhao can keep these pens cheap considering that they feel heavy, and the designs are good.

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I think the one in the middle is Grey Tortoise, also a pretty nice color. Looks like marble.

I decided on taking the Oriental Red color, which is a translucent red with very subtle spots of gold. I like it because it’s simple, understated, and the gold spots looks a bit like those shimmering ink blots. I think it looks very pretty. Reminds me of a red silk kimono.

This pen is heavy, but not uncomfortably so. I don’t think it’s meant to be posted. You can post the cap but it feels loose. Besides, posting it makes the pen top-heavy, and throws the balance off. I prefer it unposted, and I think the weight is quite comfortable.

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Isn’t it lovely? The pen is shaped like a torpedo or a cigar. It’s not excessively fat and it tapers on both ends. The ends of the pen are black, which is a nice touch to tie up or unify the design. The cap snaps on and off and has steel trimmings.

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I like that Jinhao kept the trimmings of the pen simple so that they don’t look gaudy. Around the cap band is the brand name Jinhao and the model X450. The clip seems sturdy but is not what I would call springy.

The section has a tripod grip made of hard rubber. Some parts of the section are ribbed, but it’s not uncomfortable. It makes the pen easier to hold, at least.

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The pen comes with a converter, and since the body is made of metal, it cannot be converted to an eyedropper.

The pen writes very well. It wrote without hardstarting, I just filled it with a little bit of Rohrer & Klingner’s Alt Bordeaux, put it on paper and off it went! My first Jinhao (which I reviewed last year) took a little fiddling to make into a wet writer, but this one really had no problems with the nib. I was ready to do a little tuning to make it write wet, but I’m glad it turned out that I didn’t need it at all. Check out the writing sample below:

I mentioned earlier that I inked it with a bit of Alt Bordeaux to try out the nib at first, but the ink color just did not feel right to me. I flushed it out, cleaned it, and filled it up with Diamine Oxblood…and all is right with the world again. 🙂

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Overall, my experience with this pen is really positive. For the price of P499, you really get your money’s worth. The nib is smooth and writes wet, it’s so pleasant to use. I don’t really mind whether I’m using a steel or gold nib (some people prefer only gold nibs and I say to them…whatever floats your boat), all I really want is a smooth writing experience. I like this pen a lot. It’s an entry level pen, but it writes better than other entry level pens three, even six times its price.

If you’re in the Philippines and you’re looking into cheap fountain pens that write well, I would highly recommend this. Check out Everything Calligraphy and find out how to order. Yes, they do ship all over the Philippines. 🙂

Tip: Some adventurous fountain pen users have tried to turn their Jinhao x450 into flex pens. Here’s a nifty tutorial on how to do that. Just a reminder, be sure to follow the directions carefully and know that MacGyvering with your pen can break it. So, hack at your own risk. 🙂

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Review: Pilot 78G, Fine

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I love Pilot fountain pens. I think their entry level pens offer the best value for money. I often buy Metropolitans and 78Gs and somehow I still find myself running out of them because I often give them to people who are not yet familiar with fountain pens, to help get them started with the hobby.

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I bought this pen from Everything Calligraphy, and I’m glad they still have black 78Gs because this color is always out of stock whenever I try to buy from other local sources. I think that the appeal of the 78G is that it doesn’t look like an entry level pen. I like the design a lot, especially this color. The black and gold-colored trims look very presentable.

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I like the squarish clip of this pen. The pen is very light in the hand. I prefer the weight of the Metropolitan, but this does make it easier to use for long writing or drawing sessions. The pen uses a proprietary squeeze converter. The cap twists off the barrel and posts comfortably at the end of the pen. This pen, I prefer to use posted just for the added weight of the cap.

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The length is pretty decent too,here it is with a Pilot Vanishing Point. The length is very comfortable in the hand. Even the length of the section is very comfortable. The material of the body is plastic, and of course it doesn’t feel very thick or sturdy. I haven’t dropped any of my 78G’s yet, but I don’t think it will survive a fall. At least your heart will survive if you drop it, it’s not ridiculously expensive.

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The best feature of this pen though is its nib. As always, Pilot’s nibs are just excellent. Even their entry level pens are smooth, wet writers. You would be surprised at how the nib is at par with many of my mid level pens. They tend to be really fine, though (because these are Japanese nibs).

IMG_2791I usually prefer medium nibs for everyday writing, but of course there are times when you need to use fine nibs because of paper quality. Government forms, for example, would not be suitable for medium nibs. I bought this pen for my drawings, though. Here’s an example of a quick sketch. The fine nib of this 78G is not as fine as a Pilot Birdie’s, but it is fine enough to be used for detail work.

Here’s a video of a writing sample below. You can see that even with such a fine nib, it writes smoothly and the flow is so good.

Overall, I think the 78G is one of the best entry level pens that you can buy. The price is very affordable, and the nib is excellent. It’s very light, it doesn’t feel too sturdy, but for its price and nib quality, I would recommend this over other entry level pens. If you’re on a tight budget or if you just want to get your feet wet and see if using fountain pens will work out for you, this pen offers great quality without breaking the bank. It’s also pretty awesome for pen and ink sketches. 🙂

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Faber Castell eMotion, Pilot 78G, small Elias Notebook in a Pentone case.

In this review:
Pen – Pilot 78G, Black, Fine Nib from Everything Calligraphy
Paper – Elias notepad also from Everything Calligraphy
Ink – Diamine Music Set – Vivaldi

Review: Kaweco Liliput, Broad

Review: Kaweco Liliput, Broad

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Here’s another pen that has been on my wishlist for a while. I’ve been waiting for Scribe to have new stocks of this pen because I didn’t want to have to buy it online. I actually prefer the Liliput fireblue, but this one is a close second. The minute I saw it at Scribe last week, I knew that I wanted to add it to my collection. So I bought it even if the nib is broad and I generally prefer medium nibs. Look at that little cutie! It’s seriously no larger than a cigarette, and just a tiny bit longer than my pocket swiss knife.

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It’s only 97mm long when capped and it’s a cylindrical shape, streamlined and minimalist in appearance. There are no clips available for this pen. It was really designed to be diminutive and simple in the way that it looks. I think that Kaweco makes the best pocket pens in the market. I love their ALSport line but I must admit that the Liliput is by far its prettiest pocket pen yet (for me, at least). Since it’s made of brass, it’s also got a comfortable heft to it, much like the AL Sport. It doesn’t feel flimsy at all, and the heft makes it easy to write with. It also will develop a nice patina over time, being hand-machined out of brass. 🙂

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Kaweco Liliput fits Alunsina’s KISLAP perfectly in size and design.

I often just put it in my pocket because it doesn’t seem to be vulnerable to scratches. I put it in a leather pouch and it came out with some faint-looking stains that polished off easily. It’s pretty refreshing to bring a pen that you don’t have to be extremely careful with. So far I’ve tried to shake it to see if it will burp out ink but it remained burp-free.

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Being a pocket pen, it only uses cartridges, no converters. I’m not sure if kaweco’s squeeze converter will fit here, I should give that a try when I visit Scribe this week. The cap screws off the section and screws on at the end of the barrel. I like that it screws off when it posts because sometimes the cap gets pushed off while writing. It’s a very short pen and it would be uncomfortable to use while unposted. Being very small and the ends smooth and rounded, it’s sometimes a challenge to screw the cap at the end when you’re in a hurry. Also, for a small pen, the section is pretty comfortable in length, I like that a lot. I think it’s what makes the pen easy to hold and comfortable to use despite its size.

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I like the little details of the pen. The KAWECO logo, the little etched typography around the cap, even the nib has a bit of scrollwork on it too. It is a pretty nice touch. I’ve always liked Kaweco’s nibs.

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The only problem I had with this pen was that it wouldn’t write properly when I first got it. It’s my first time to encounter a baby’s bottom on a nib. I didn’t want to return it to Scribe because I believe fountain pen users should have a rudimentary knowledge of how to fix pens that just won’t write well out of the box.

Baby’s bottom is when the bottom of the nib is too smooth or too polished that the ink does not properly flow when the nib makes contact with paper. I followed this tutorial to fix the baby’s bottom issue. Please note though that you must proceed with caution because polishing the nib the wrong way can ruin your pen completely. You may polish off the iridium point entirely or make it flat at an odd angle. If you want to follow the tutorial in the link, do so at your own risk and take it slow.

After solving the baby’s bottom issue, I flossed it a bit with acetate to make it write wetter and flushed it with soapy water (then rinsed with water) to get rid of any residual chemicals on the feed. I admit though that it still needs some work because sometimes it hard starts a tiny bit (as you can see on the video). Either that or it needs a wetter ink. Point is, the pen didn’t write well out of the box. If I had not been determined to fix it, I would’ve needed to return the pen and since it’s the last stock at Scribe, I would’ve been disappointed to come home without a replacement. Once I did fix the baby’s bottom issue, though, it writes pretty well (occasional hard-starting notwithstanding).

Here’s a video of the writing sample. Pardon some of the skipping in the writing, I tend to lift my hand sometimes while I write so the nib isn’t really in contact with the paper. It hard-started for a bit but when I got it going, it was writing continuously and consistently.

All in all, I think the Kaweco Liliput is a pretty nice pen if you’re willing to work a bit on the nib. I would’ve appreciated it if it worked fine out of the box, and it’s weird that my friend also had the same experience with her two Kaweco Sports. My other two Kawecos didn’t have baby’s bottom but I did need to floss them to increase the flow. I accept nib adjustments as basically a part of pen ownership, so I don’t mind as much. The pen’s aesthetics is spot on, and I like that it’s heavy and easy to hold even if it is so tiny. Since it is a pocket pen, I don’t expect it to perform like full-sized pens with regards to long writing sessions. However, so far it has held up pretty well when I use it for long journal entries (four pages of closely spaced lines without any hint of the ink varying in thickness).

Despite the initial difficulties in making it write, I must admit that it’s pretty hard to dislike this pen.

In this review:
Kaweco Liliput (brass), Broad nib
Ink – Diamine Green Black (from Elias Notebook’s ink samples)
Paper – Elias notepad from everythingcalligraphy.com

Review: Pelikan M600 Striated Blue, Medium

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A couple of days ago, this pen arrived in the mail. I’ve had it on my wishlist since last year. After I bought my first Pelikan (a Pelikan M200 tradition), I knew that I will want to add another one to my collection soon. I’m not one to want to acquire too many pens. I’ve slowed down my acquisition to the few pens on my (relatively short) wishlist. I was trying to decide between getting an M800 or an M600. I was assuming that the M800 would be better because…well, it’s more expensive and is a newer design.

I went to pen meets to try out M600’s, M800’s and even M1000’s. My pen bestie’s M600 (striated green) seemed like the best fit for me. It’s lighter than the M800 because there’s no metal parts in the piston, but that’s actually preferable because my hand is prone to fatigue when holding heavier pens. Fast forward to a few days ago, I decided it’s time to cross this pen out from my wishlist, and I did find a great deal from a local collector. I was so excited to try it out when I got it.

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Since I already tried my pen bestie’s M600, I already knew that the size and heft is perfect for my hand. The blue striated barrel is really beautiful. I’ve looked at it longingly many times through Scribe’s store window. Everything about this pen exudes class and excellent workmanship.

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Here is a size comparison with my Pelikan M200. Compared with the M200, the M600 is longer and fatter. There’s more pen to this pen. The M200 is light and a lot of fun to use, and since the pen is an old-style Pelikan, the stainless steel nib is really excellent (albeit very simple-looking). I expected nothing less from the M600.

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The design clues on this pen points to a manufacture date of between 1998 to 2003. Not a vintage pen by a long shot. I was really happy to find this particular pen at the price point that I got it because I really wanted the blue striated version. The green striated barrel has been around longer so it’s more often associated with Pelikan pens, but I find the blue barrel to be more my style.

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It is very comfortable to write with, as you can see. I think the M600 is my favorite size among the Souveran line because it’s not so imposing to look at and I can write for hours without feeling any strain.

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The clip, cap and finial are beautiful too. It’s just some of the things that are distinctively Pelikan. The piston is also smooth and tight. It really gives you that well-made feel. Here’s a closer look at the finial:

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It’s a mommy pelican feeding her chicks. Awww.

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The nib is just beautiful. I love the scroll work on it, and of course I love that it writes so well. That two-tone nib is just gorgeous. I got an 18k medium nib which writes wet, without looking like the nib is sprung. It’s such a pleasant nib to write with–has a hint of feedback, and is a bit on the stubbish side. I can write with this pen for hours and not get bored with it! Here is a video of the writing sample:

Overall, I am very pleased with this pen. This is a fitting pen to give myself for my birthday (even if it is a month early). Would I recommend it? Definitely. Especially if you can get it at a good price. Would I recommend it over an M800? It really depends on your preference. It would be great if you can try out the different sizes of the Souveran line first before you purchase one so that you can make a better decision about which size to pick. Some like heavier, bigger pens. I have tried different sizes and this one is perfect for me. Trying it out is part of your research, and oh gosh, that’s one of the fun parts. 🙂

In this review:
Pen – Pelikan M600, Medium
Ink – Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Gao
Paper – Elias Notebooks’ notepad

Review: Faber Castel Emotion, Broad

Review: Faber Castel Emotion, Broad

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I wasn’t very familiar with Faber Castell pens until they became available in the Philippines last year. When I looked them up, I was immediately drawn to the Ondoro because of its imposing size and shape. When I went to try the pens at Scribe Writing Essentials, though, I discovered that I preferred the Emotion’s size and section to the Ondoro’s. The next pen that I liked was the Ambition. The Ondoro’s section was just a tad too short for me. I liked the light brown pearwood finish, but I preferred the dark brown material (which isn’t always in stock). So when a local pen collector put up his almost unused Emotion with a broad nib, in the color that I preferred, I snapped it up.

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I almost always prefer vintage pens, and there were a lot of vintage pens up for sale too, but I’ve always had a soft spot for wood pens. I don’t like pens that look too industrial, like they’re churned out from a factory. Wooden components give you a sense of something earthy, and since wood grain patterns are unique, no two pen barrels are exactly alike.

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My first impression of the pen was very positive. It is very pretty, and the shape is that of a little torpedo. The barrel tapers at the top and bottom, and the end of the barrel is capped with chrome. The chrome parts of the pen are beautifully designed, although they’re really very prone to smudging and that could be a bit bothersome if you’re particular with keeping the shiny parts fingerprint-free.

P8066093It’s an unusual form factor, I think, and it’s certainly very eye-catching. It’s my first pen with this kind of torpedo shape and with a slightly flashy cap. I am used to the classic american vintage design of caps which are simpler and more streamlined. This cap has a lot more flair to it. It reminds me of gothic architectures with the expressive but functional arches and vaulted ceilings. The logo of Faber Castell is tastefully engraved on the cap, beside the clip. That’s a nice touch, I think.

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The clip is both eye-catching and functional. While many vintage fountain pens focus a lot of details on the clip, this one’s pretty plain because there’s no etching or markings on it, but the shape is quite unique.

YP8066102ou can press on it to raise the clip and easily attach it to a shirt pocket or a pen case. The clip is sturdy and it feels solid. It gives you that distinct sense of fine German engineering. Even in a mid-range pen, the clip works as it should work and it doesn’t feel cheap at all. The base of the cap has short vertical lines etched on them which helps in giving you some grip as you turn to open the cap.

P8066109 The pen is a converter filler. It takes about six twists on the barrel for you to disengage it and see the inner parts of the pen. The converter’s piston is so smooth. Even if it’s an ordinary converter, the way it moves is just better than regular converters from other pens. It also has the brand stamped on it. As you can see, I’m almost out of ink in this photo haha.

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The inside of the barrel is chrome. The barrel itself is pretty thick, which accounts for the heft of the pen. It’s not a light pen by any means, but it is very comfortable to hold. It feels substantial without crossing that line to uncomfortably heavy. The cap can be posted at the end of the barrel, and I know that some people will find the weight of the pen while posted as acceptable, even pleasantly hefty. However, I’m very sensitive to the weight of my pens. Posted, it is unacceptably top heavy for me. I don’t mind, though, because I don’t post my pens.

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The section of the pen is shiny chrome. Some people might find this slippery, especially if your hands sweat a lot. I find it okay, and the length of the section is (personally) comfortably long. People who like to hold their pens further up the section might find the step and the threads a bit uncomfortable, but I don’t hold my pen near that area so I’m fine with it.

The nib looks really simple. It has no breather hole and only has the Faber Castell logo and a pattern of small dots on it. The great thing about Faber Castell pens is that their nibs are the same across all models. If you buy their most basic pens, you’ll enjoy the same quality of nib that their high end pens (Ondoro, Emotion, Ambition) have.

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The nib of this pen writes like a dream. Of all my steel-nibbed pens, this is the best. It’s my first broad nib so it took a while getting used to the nib grade, but boy it writes like a dream. It has a hint of feedback, but that’s really so pleasant because the feedback feels and sounds very similar to writing with a hand-sharpened pencil, smooth pencil. Watch the writing sample in the video below:

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound that the nib makes on paper. It’s wonderful!

The pen’s performance is excellent. It doesn’t hard start or skip, it’s wet and even after writing page after page, it lays down the ink consistently. It doesn’t thin out and it doesn’t need priming after several pages. Being a broad nib, it guzzles ink like a thirsty horse, though. That’s alright. It’s a wonderful, wonderful writer. I think I found another favorite pen to add to my daily carry.

Used in this review:
Faber Castell Emotion in dark brown pearwood, Broad Nib
Ink is Diamine Ochre
Pad is from Elias Notebooks
Notebook is Curnow A5 journal with Tomoe River paper from Pengrafik
Leather Notebook is from Alunsina Handbound Books

Review: Cedar Blue Parker 51, F-M

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Last year, I set up an appointment with one of Fountain Pen Network Philippines’ nibmeisters so that I can get my Waterman Hemisphere which I handed to him at a pen meet for flow adjustment. At that time I was anxious about meeting him outside of a big pen meet because I was extremely shy. My husband and I went to Magnum Opus early to get a seat. A few minutes after, JP arrived. He gave me my Waterman Hemisphere which, of course, wrote perfectly after he adjusted the ink flow (it was gushing like a squealing teen in a Justin Bieber concert) and made it write like the wet medium that it was supposed to. Instead of heading home immediately after, I was pleasantly surprised that he brought along some of his vintage pens. He opened up his pen case and showed me each of them, explaining what they were, what era they came from, what materials they were made of, etcetera. It was my first mini pen meet. 🙂

At that time, I was only beginning to discover vintage Parker pens. I had a grey aerometric Parker 51 demi which I adored, but I haven’t seen any other vintage pens yet. Of the lot that he showed me, two stood out as the most beautiful (for me, at least)–a Parker Vacumatic Junior in golden brown and a cedar blue Parker 51. I enjoyed that meet a lot. JP was like a cool uncle showing me wonderful treasures that I previously only read about.

Fast forward to a few months after. These two pens (the brown Vacumatic and the cedar blue 51) are now part of my permanent collection of vintage Parkers. I am a happy camper. 🙂

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The first time I saw this pen, I already thought that it was beautiful. The second look still gave me the butterflies in my stomach. Parker 51s are so understated and classic in their beauty. This one is pretty different from the ones that I have, though, because it has a blue diamond. Design clues tell me that this pen was manufactured in the second quarter of 1946. During that time, the FCC hasn’t yet banned the use of lifetime guarantees for Parker’s pens. That’s what the blue diamond stood for–the commitment of Parker to make pens that will last a lifetime. Since somehow this pen found its way to my hands almost 70 years after and it’s still working perfectly, I’d say that Parker’s guarantee is spot on.

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(L to R) Parker 88 Rialo, 51 aerometric, 21, 51 gold-filled vacumatic, cedar blue 51 vac, 51 special, 75, Vacumatic Major in Azure Blue Pearl, Vacumatic Junior in Golden Brown

This particular generation of Parker 51 is pretty interesting because you can see how it transitioned to a different clip design used by the later 51s.

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(L-R) Vacumatic Azure Blue Pearl, Cedar Blue Parker 51, Parker 51 Vacumatic

As you can see in a photo above, the clip sports the arrow that is reminiscent of the art deco movement. The pen in the middle and the right are both Parker 51s but the clip of the Cedar Blue P51 (middle) is more similar to the clip of the Azure Blue Pearl, which was from a completely different generation of pens.

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These two pens, even if they come from different generations have very similar clip designs. The Parker 51 was transitioning from the era of the blue vacumatic.

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This pen is filled through a vacumatic filling system. In the early 1940s, Parker stopped using metal components in their plungers and instead used celluloid plungers with no metal trims on the threaded collar. Metal was scarce during those times because of the war effort. This pen has a metal thread because by the time it was manufactured, the war was already over.  Continue reading “Review: Cedar Blue Parker 51, F-M”

Review: A Pair of Parker 75s (Fine and Extra Fine)

Yesterday I wrote about a couple of Parker 75s that my friend gave me. The first time I saw them, I was curious about whether I could fix them or whether I can still have my nibmeister friend fix it for me. They were really rough-looking, but no amount of grime and oxidation can hide the classic beauty that is a Parker 75. Read about my restoration efforts here.

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Parker introduced this pen back in 1963. Some design clues point to the production years of 1965-1967 for these specific pens. The sterling silver cisele finish was introduced first in 1965, and so was the all-plastic section. I believe pre-1965 sections had metal threads. The end of the section also still had the “0” inscribed on it as the center marker for the rotating nib, which was discontinued in 1968. The body of the pen looks really classy. I’ve had this pen in my wishlist since I saw it posted on the FPN-P forum. I think the cisele finish is very beautiful and it ages well. As long as it’s not neglected, the patina will look spectacular.

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I’ve seen this same finish in Sonnets too, though the cisele Sonnets felt lighter in my hand. The 75 has some heft to it. It’s very pleasant to hold, not too light and not too heavy either. It is a thin pen, so if you favor fatter pens, you might find this a bit difficult to hold. The size is just perfect for me, though. It sits comfortably in my hand, and I love its balance. The cap posts at the end of the pen, and although it feels good even when unposted, posting it makes the pen feel more solid. The finish does not feel delicate at all, so I don’t mind posting the cap. This is one of the very few pens I prefer to use while posted.

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A quick research of the pen’s history shows the little design changes that the 75 went through over the years. Since this has been in my wishlist for quite some time, I really was hoping to find one in a cisele finish because it looked very classic. I am so grateful for this pleasant surprise. 🙂

My only gripe about a sterling silver pen is that if your hand is sweaty, it tends to make it smell like you’ve been clutching coins. Anyway, I don’t really have sweaty hands so that’s not much of a problem for me.

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I found it fascinating that even in its oxidized and grimy state, the clip still shone, almost untarnished. I must say that this pen cleans up pretty well. There’s still some tarnished spots on it at the moment, but I’m sure they will polish off over time.

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The section of this pen is quite a nifty innovation by Parker. I’m wondering why they discontinued it, it seems very useful. The section has a triangle-shaped grip and the nib can be rotated to a different angle. This is good if you have a very specific way of gripping the pen which makes it hard for you to use a fountain pen. This rotating nib made it easier to write at different angles. I’ve adjusted mine to make it easier to hold even if my grip rotates.

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The “0” at the end of the section indicates the center, if you want the nib positioned like how it normally would be in non-rotating nib/feed units. That’s quite a nice touch, and it’s a shame it’s not available in modern Parker pens anymore.

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The cap has the usual Parker brand and logo on it and an inscription that says it’s Sterling Silver. The details on the arrow clip reminds me of Parker 51 clips except that the quiver of the 75 is shorter.

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I just love vintage Parker clips. Especially the clips of the 51, Vacumatics and 75s. They’re simple but very distinctive. The details are gorgeous. I can’t say the same for modern Parker clips, I’m afraid.

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The filling system is through an aerometric squeeze converter. It’s a good thing the 75’s converter is easily removable and can be replaced with modern converters. One of the pens’ converters already have an ossified sac which fell apart as soon as I opened the pen. The one above is intact, though. The rubber is pliant and has no leaks or holes.

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I was surprised to find that the nibs required very little work, relatively speaking. One of them was virtually unused so all I had to do was to clean up the pen and load it up with ink and it’s good to go. That’s a #65 nib, which is Parker’s nib code for 14k Fine. It writes really well, though there’s feedback I’m not used to because I always use European fine and medium nibs. The other nib is a #63 (14k Extra Fine) and it was previously used and stored while inked so this took a lot of soaking to get rid of the dried ink in the nib and feed. However, once I cleaned it out, it writes perfectly. Not like how an extra fine would write but more like a European fine.

Below is a video of the writing sample of both pens:

Both write really well. Especially the #63. That it still writes perfectly after ink dried up in it for several decades is a testament of just how well-made these vintage Parker pens are.

Overall, I find these pens to be reliable writers. They don’t hard start, they don’t skip and is virtually no-frills. They’re not finicky or high maintenance. They look good and the weight is pleasantly substantial. I even love the tripod grip and the rotating nib unit. I love everything about this pen. That it came from somebody super special to me makes this pen invaluable, irreplaceable.

Used in this review:
Parker 75s (fine and extra fine)
Sailor Jentle Miruai
Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo
Elias Notebook

Review: Parker Vacumatic Junior, Golden Brown

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Eversince I got my first Parker 51 Demi, I’ve developed a hankering for vintage Parker pens. I’m not keen in collecting a whole lot of them, just a few of the pretty colors. My first vacumatic was an Azure Pearl and that was gorgeous. I loved how it wrote and how it looked, I like everything about it. I first saw this very same pen during a pen meet with JP of Pentangeli Pen Spa and Nib Works and fell in love with it. So when he put it up for sale, it was a no-brainer.

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This pen is a gorgeous specimen of a Vacumatic Junior. It’s slightly shorter than a Major and has a pearl-colored jewel on the cap. While the blue vac major has a wide cap band, this one has two slim bands around the cap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis pen also has no blue diamond on it. JP said that this pen was manufactured some time in the 1940’s. The size difference from the Vacumatic Major isn’t really noticeable. Except for the small details you’ll see when you look closer, you’d think they’re the same pens, just with different colors. The weight is pleasant, the section is smooth and it’s a great pen to use for long writing periods.

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I have to say that the celluloid rings on this pen are gorgeous. The golden brown hues have so much depth and character to them. I think this pair needs a emerald colored vac to round it off nicely. 🙂

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As the name implies, it is a vacumatic filler. It has a clear plastic plunger and, since it came from Mr. Pentangeli himself, the sac is healthy and the mechanism is working perfectly well.

The pen’s nib if very pretty. It seems to have wide wings that taper off to a slim point, giving you the feel that it’s almost like you’re writing with a quill. I think that Parker’s vacumatic nibs are elegantly designed and beautiful in their simplicity.

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I was already enjoying myself immensely while turning this beauty over and over in my hand, but the best part was when I inked it. The nib just glides over paper with a wet, fine line. It’s a beautiful writer. Probably one of the best in my collection. Here’s a video of the writing sample below:

Of course, I inked it with a lovely, rich brown ink–Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Guri. It is a perfect match. 🙂 For a seventy-something year old pen, this is in great condition and it writes even better than the modern pens that I have. I’m happy to add it to my collection.