Review: Sailor Professional Gear (Medium Fine nib)

Update 05/15/2017 : We are adding the information that the Turquoise Sailor Pro Gear pictured above was a 2016 limited edition pen release via the Japanese shop, Wancher. Pam purchased this online via the global marketplace, Rakuten. And the Kingfisher finish that Claire is holding below is another Japanese limited edition Sailor Pro Gear. These limited edition finishes are currently unavailable via US retailers. We apologize for not establishing this bit of information. Our main focus for our pen reviews is to show how different pen sizes feel on different hand sizes and we hope that we continue reflecting this point.

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: I love the look of the Pro Gears — the clean lines and squared-off cap just look really classic, but aren’t boring. The one pictured above is Pam’s, and I think the translucent material is gorgeous, and the gold trim, while louder, really makes the green look more rich. I own a Pro Gear in the Keio Atman “Kingfisher” limited edition colors… That’s another upside, no matter what kinds of colors you liked, there’s a Pro Gear out there for you! (It might just not be cheap…)

Pam:  In a previous review, I made terrible analogies comparing my love for the Sailor Pro Gear’s smaller sister, the Progear Slim to the ardent love that Darcy had for Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice fame.  Just like last time, my love for a Sailor is of literary proportions.  I was originally attracted to the Progear Slims as they are only slightly smaller than the Progear, but at a significantly lower price.  That being said, you don’t always get to choose what limited edition you love and must have so my collection expanded to the Progears as well.  Let’s just say I felt remiss for missing out on such a wonderful pen for so long.  The relationship status I I have with my wallet on the other hand is “complicated.”

Claire: Hang with me here, I can wax poetic about the Sailor Pro Gear all day long. This is by far my favorite pen available on the market.  I currently own three Pro Gears and one Realo. I love the way this pen looks, the flat finials pull the pen together in the best possible way. The size and weight is perfect for my hand. If I had to choose one pen to write with for the rest of my life, a Pro Gear would be that pen. I love how many colors are available, especially if you’re willing to do the leg work on Japanese exclusives.

Franz: A turquoise-y disposition! (Yep… that will now be a term and a hashtag, thank you very much!) For the past six months I have come to appreciate Sailor pens more and that’s due to both Katherine and Pam. Largely, Pam is to blame though for she has set out to collect some special/limited edition Pro Gear Slim and Classic pens available. And what’s not to like? It’s a pen that Sailor designed almost 15 years ago so the aesthetic works.

The Professional Gear has been on my “list” of pens to own for the longest time. Just like the three ladies above, the flat ends definitely appeal to my taste. The gold trim blends well with the color of the pen and gives it a warm feel.

In the Hand: Sailor Pro Gear (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Sailor Pro Gear (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Sailor Pro Gear (Kingfisher version) — Claire

The Business End

Katherine: The MF is fun to write with — fine enough for daily use but just wide enough to see the character of one’s ink. My Pro Gear (which I’ve written with more) has a H-F nib, which is extremely fine, but also wet. It’s a magical combination of wet and fine, which leaves me with saturated but very fine lines. Additionally, despite being labeled a “hard” fine, it has some bounce to it. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I can get line variation out of mine. And, at the risk of sounding overly enthusiastic, I also love the feedback on this nib. It’s a nice pencil-y feeling that isn’t too smooth, it’s got character!

Pam: I have had some variability in my experience with the Sailor 21k MF nibs.  I have seen some that are more on the fine and harder end of the spectrum while some are broader and slightly wetter.  Given that the MF nib is broader than the F or EF, the nib is wonderfully smooth and really shows off the ink qualities like shading or sheen really well.  Surprisingly, I didn’t consider grinding the MF down, probably because I paired this turquoise demonstrator Progear with Robert Oster’s Fire and Ice; be still my heart, the sheen!

Claire: The 21k hard fine Sailor nib is my favorite. I love how hard the nib is; though it isn’t too hard. It’s hard to quantify what makes this a Goldilocks nib in my opinion. I love the pencil like feedback that these 21k nibs give so consistently. All three of my fine nibs have given me the same lovely out of the box performance.  The only qualm I have with this pen is the converter isn’t the best. Sailor converters don’t hold very much ink and are notorious for having issues. Typically when I get a new Sailor converter I open it up and put silicone grease on the threads and piston.  That so far has saved me from running into any of the issues I’ve heard others to have.

Franz: In my experience, Sailor nibs are well tuned out of the box. And this H-MF is no exception at all. I enjoyed writing with this nib for hours. (I have held it hostage from Pam for a while now) And like Katherine, I found the feedback to be pleasant like writing with a pencil.

Sailor Pro Gear 21-karat H-MF (Hard, Medium-Fine) nib

Write It Up

Katherine: This pen surprised me with how small it is for the not “slim” version. And it’s a wonderful size for my small hands. Both this and the Pro Gear Slim are comfortable for me to use for extended periods of time, but I do prefer this to its smaller sibling (Which is unfortunate for my wallet. And there are slightly fewer limited/store editions available in the Pro Gear). This pen isn’t too narrow, it’s well balanced and the nibs are a delight to write with — I regularly toy with the idea of collecting on in each nib size, but haven’t quite convinced myself not to stick to my pen limit.

Pam:  As all pen addicts know, the smallest differences can make all the differences turning a good pen to a great pen.  Fortunately, going between the Progear Slim and the Progear isn’t such a large difference that it’s an issue.  In my hand, the Progear is a bit longer, equally well balanced and slightly girthier than the Slim.  The extra girth is great for longer writing sessions in my opinion.  Even in more petite hands, the Progear is comfortable and well balanced, capped or uncapped.  Honestly, if the Slim is comfortable for you, the Progear would be equally comfortable.  If the Slim is slightly uncomfortable for you, the Progear will be just right.  All I can say is, beware of picking up a Progear, you won’t want to put it down.

Claire: I can write with a Pro Gear all day long without running into any hand fatigue. Many times when I’m taking notes for school I’m switching between Pro Gears so I can have a variation in ink color. The way the section tapers fits my hand perfectly. The section on the Pro Gear is really what makes the pen.  The more I write, the more I want to find more to write.  I really can’t write enough about how much I enjoy writing with this pen.

Franz: The Pro Gear is slightly bigger in girth and length compared to the Pro Gear Slim. Because it is larger, it’s more comfortable to journal with. And I wrote blissfully for a good ten minutes. I even got to finish a letter for a friend with it. But once I unposted the cap, it became a bit tiresome even after only five minutes of writing. So definitely for my large paws, I gotta have it posted for longer writing sessions.

EDC-ness

Katherine: This is a great EDC pen — not terribly expensive, not too small, not too big, fantastic nib, durable plastic body, what’s not to like? The clip is solid too! Plus, because the converter is mediocre… even if everything goes wrong, you’ll never get lots of ink on your clothes! (Honestly, because the F I have is so fine, I get plenty of writing out of one converter, so capacity isn’t an issue for me EDC-ing this pen, as long as I remember to check my ink level regularly)

Pam:  I have at least one Progear or Progear Slim in my rotation at all times.  The nibs can’t be beat and the finer nibs (EF in 14k or F in 21k) performs admirably on cheap office paper for work.  The clips are secure without being overly tight and the pens do tolerate being in white coat pocket easily and well.  Additionally, depending on what colorway you choose, the pen can be subtle, professional and classic looking or bold, loud and modern.  For those in the office setting, this pen can be like a tie, the pop of color or a small, subtle way to show off some personality.

Claire: If I had a job where a fountain pen would be useful in day to day work, this would be the pen I would bring with me every single day. The Pro Gear is often the first pen I reach for when taking notes for class. When I graduate and move to a desk job, you can bet this will be one of the pens I carry with me on a day to day basis.  At home, this is almost always the first and only pen I reach for for my evening journaling.

Franz: I once again echo the three ladies above and agree that the Pro Gear is a nice pen to use on a daily basis for my workplace. The pen was clipped securely onto my dress shirt and was always ready to write. You do need to rotate the cap twice to deploy the pen but I just accepted this since it gives me happiness to use the pen. With signing my name multiple times at work, I didn’t feel the need to post the cap and the medium-fine nib was perfect for the copy paper used in the office.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: I really like this pen. It comes in so many colors and I’ve been very tempted to collect quite a few. But, alas, my pen limit has prevented me from doing that and instead I only own one Pro Gear, but it’s a solid pen and I love writing with it. It’s a very comfortable pen and a very solid one. I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s thinking of purchasing — and it’s fun (and frustrating…) to hunt down crazy colors and limited editions to find the perfect one (or ten).

Pam:  My love for Sailor Progear or Progear Slim has been effusive to say the least.  However, once you pick up one of these pens, you will understand.  The pen is well made, the nib is beautifully crafted, the shape is elegant and the color ways can be unique.  (Speaking of nibs, Sailor makes some amazing specialty nibs like the zoom nib.) Like the Lamy 2000, everyone should at least try this pen, and I would surmise that it’s pretty inevitable that you will own one.  Additionally, if it’s a limited edition Progear, I am sure one of us would be happy to “insure” the purchase…

Claire: The size of this pen is perfect, it’s just long enough to fit perfectly in my hand. The balance is exactly what I look for in a pen. The tapered section allows the pen to be comfortable to write with without adding additional weight to the pen. I only have one gripe with this pen: the converter. While I haven’t run into any of the glaring issues I’ve heard of with this converter, I really wish it could hold more ink.

Franz: Sailor has done right with the Professional Gear design. Proportions are great and the build quality is awesome. And just in case you still aren’t sure what my thoughts are, this pen is awesome. It is perfect for me posted, and “okay” unposted. I seem to have always hesitated to buy this pen due to its size in my hand. But after spending some time with Pam’s Pro Gear, I may just get one myself when I find a finish that attracts me.

In closing, every serious pen user should pick up and write with a Sailor Professional Gear. You never know, this pen may just appeal to you and change your mind as it did mine.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Platinum 3776, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Sailor Professional Gear*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Platinum 3776, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Sailor Professional Gear*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Platinum 3776, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Sailor Professional Gear*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

Sailor Professional Gear Comparisons (Left to right: Pro Gear Slim, Pro Gear Classic, and Pro Gear King of Pen)

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

9 Comments

Pen & Ink Pairing: April ’17

Katherine: It’s still March as I write this — I’m picking a little early since I’ll be out of town for a lot of April. But, even though it’s March, I have no doubt I’ll keep this pen inked through April. 🙂 My pairing for the month is my new Newton Pens Prospector and Montblanc Tolstoy. I chose BSea’s Galaxy Trek resin, which reminds me of the deep ocean. It’s a dark, almost black, blue in many areas with swirls of lighter blue and even white and an occasional brown. I had to pair it with a blue ink, and I chose Tolstoy. There could be lots of reasons for this pairing… blue and blue, reminders of my childhood (swimming off islands in the Philippines and wondering what lurked in the dark waters… and my numerous failed attempts at reading War and peace as a 13 year old), but really it’s just because that’s the blue ink I had on hand when I ripped open the Prospector’s box a few days ago. I only had the presence of mind to record an unboxing video because my boyfriend, Shamiq, suggested it. Then I grabbed the bottle of ink on my desk, filled the pen and proceeded to oooh and aaah over the pen and the shiro nib. And, because I can see into the future, I’m sure I’ll still be ooohing and aaahing over this pen in a couple weeks.

 

Pam:  Spring is in the air!  The air is still crisp and a breeze is still about.  We still get the occasional rain this season, which just makes me want to curl up with a *mug* of coffee and a good book.  In lieu of that possibility, I chose Pelikan M200 Cafè Créme to be paired with Robert Oster Caffè Crema!  This particular pen has a wonderful architect nib done by Dan Smith of the Nib Smith fame. It shows off the subtle shades of this pen quite well and keeping a crisp line.

I considered this combination for more of an autumn month, but my love for coffee, Robert Oster inks and Pelikan flocks is year round.

 

Franz: April’s pairing for me is the Pelikan M800 Grand Place Special Edition release, and the newly released Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz which is their Ink of the Year for 2017.

Now I’ve got quite a few.. ahem.. a lot of inked up pens especially after March’s 6 Pen Challenge so this month’s pairing is a true winner at the moment. The ink is definitely a very nice brown which matches the creamy swirls of the pen. The nib of the M800 is a juicy fine cursive italic nib ground by Dan Smith (The NibSmith), and that generous flow creates spots in my writing wherein the ink pools to an almost black. So far, I’ve got only bought the ne bottle of this ink to test it out but I think a second bottle will be in my inventory sooner than later.

While writing with the M800 Grand Place, I catch myself sometimes just pausing admiring the chatoyant swirls of the pen. It’s almost hypnotic.

 

Writing Samples (click to enlarge)

 

Thanks for your time, and keep enjoying your pens. And please tell us what new ink pairings you’ve discovered recently.

2 Comments

Review: Montblanc Diplomat 149 (Medium Cursive Italic)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The 149, like its little brother the 146, is a very classic style. As I mentioned in our review of the 146, I find the design inoffensive but a little boring.

Pamela: I am not a huge fan of cigar shaped pens.  Despite my appreciation of the 146 proportion and finish, I found the 149 to be “too much.”  It’s a BIG pen! It’s has a great classic, vintage feel, just not my cup of tea.

Franz: Oversize pen alert! Here’s a big one. The Montblanc Diplomat 149 is a simple black pen and is quite pleasant to hold. The resin is smooth, and scratch resistant. Its iconic torpedo shape speaks to me. I’ve been aware of this pen ever since I started using fountain pens but I’ve only seen and held one in person two years into the hobby. I had to have it!

Carrying over from our review of the Montblanc 146, the Montblanc Diplomat 149 is part of the Meisterstück line (Masterpiece) and was first introduced in 1952. It is a piston-filled pen which contains a large ink capacity. The number of the pen meant that: 1 – Meisterstück Line, 4 – Piston-filler system, and 9 – nib size.

In the Hand: Montblanc 149 (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Montblanc 149 (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

The Business End

Katherine: The nib on Franz’s specimen, like the other Montblanc nibs I’ve tried, is fantastic. It gets the job done smoothly and flawlessly. The pen is smooth without being glassy, with just enough character not to be boring. I suppose having a grind by Masuyama-san doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

Pamela:  Montblanc and Masuyama?  Yes please!  The nib is a joy to write with and as always, smooth.

Franz: The medium 14K nib of this 149 was a very smooth and juicy when I bought it in January 2015. This was the third Montblanc nib I have written with and so far Montblanc is 3 for 3 in terms of nib quality. I loved the nib’s springiness which gives the writing some character. At the 2015 LA Pen Show, I had Mr. Masuyama turn this nib into a cursive italic and it has been one of my favorite nibs ever since.

Franz’s writing sample on a Rhodia Weekly Planner

Write It Up

Katherine: While the nib on this pen poses no problems… the size of the pen does. This pen is quite the monster for me. It’s a little too long and a little too girthy to be comfortable. Small hands, huge pen… just ain’t a fit. 146, please!

Pamela:  The pen is really unbalanced for me due to my grip and the length of the pen.  I felt that my hand fatigued more easily using the larger 149.  This pen gave me hand muscle quite the work out.

Franz: During my journaling, the 149 was comfortable for me for the first ten minutes. As I wrote longer with it, my hand felt a bit fatigued. The grip section is about 13 millimeters and it’s one of my wider pens. Lengthwise, I prefer to write with the cap posted but it’s not as secure as I want it to. There was a moment when the cap came loose.

EDC-ness

(Daily use at work/home, at least a day or two)

Katherine: Honestly, I didn’t even try. I borrowed Franz’s pen for a week, but found that it never left my desk. It’s just barely comfortable for me to use, but certainly isn’t a size that I’m comfortable putting in my pocket. Not to mention, it doesn’t fit any of my pen cases. Womp.

Pamela:  The pen is not a shy one.  It’s also far too large for me to carry around without being stopped for brandishing a weapon.  This pen stayed in my backpack as I transported it around, however, it was bit too heavy and large to be an EDC for me.

Franz: I’ve used the 149 in rotation at work for quite a while now, and it’s great for quick notes and perfect for signatures. I appreciate the quick uncapping with just one rotation of the cap, as well as the medium cursive italic nib that writes well on the office copy paper.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: This feels like a pretty short review for me. Take everything I loved about the 146… and resize it to be too big for my hands. Sadness. The 146 is a perfect size and weight for me, versus the 149 feels like I’m out to club someone. Maybe some baby seal stationary. (That’s gotta exist, right?)

Pamela:  I agree with Katherine that my review of the 149 is shorter than usual.  The 149 is a great pen for those who love GREAT (big) pens, enjoys the quality of Montblanc nibs and has the “paws” proportional enough to use larger pens comfortably.

Franz: Talk about iconic! Yep, the Montblanc 149 is one of the most recognizable fountain pens. As evidenced from both ladies above, this pen isn’t for everyone. But one should at least write with it for a period of time and decide for themselves. The 149 fits right at home in my bear paw. Even though it can get tiring for my journaling/letter writing, I love it for quick notes during meetings, and perfect for signatures.

There are quite a few oversize pens comparable to the Montblanc 149. Photos were taken below for comparison. I honestly prefer the size of a Pelikan M805 as it’s almost the same length uncapped, but a little bit thinner and allows me to grip the pen better.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, Platinum 3776, *Montblanc 149*, Lamy 2000, Lamy Safari, and Pelikan M200
Posted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, Platinum 3776, *Montblanc 149*, Lamy 2000, Lamy Safari, and Pelikan M200
Unposted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, Platinum 3776, *Montblanc 149*, Lamy 2000, Lamy Safari, and Pelikan M200

Oversize Pen Comparisons

Oversize closed pens from left to right: Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear, Pelikan M805, Pelikan M1000, *Montblanc 149*, Montblanc 146, and Pilot Custom 823
Oversize posted pens from left to right: Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear, Pelikan M805, Pelikan M1000, *Montblanc 149*, Montblanc 146, and Pilot Custom 823
Oversize unposted pens from left to right: Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear, Pelikan M805, Pelikan M1000, *Montblanc 149*, Montblanc 146, and Pilot Custom 823

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

2 Comments

Review: Kaweco Sport (AL & Skyline)

This is our first post with a guest! Claire, a friend of ours from the SF Pen Posse. She has more “average” sized hands than the extremes that the three of us represent. Also, she makes and sells pen wraps on Etsy. Check them out! (Review to come!)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Pam:  My first Kaweco was a Skyline in the minty green color.  I had no hesitations to the size of the pen, and the color was spot on! The Kaweco has a very unique design going from a cute and sturdy pocket pen to a “regular” length pen with a post of the cap.  Given the portability, durability and assortment of colorways, I can see why the Kaweco is so highly recommended and appreciated by so many in the pen community.

Katherine: I love small pens and faceted pens… so the Kaweco Sport is right down my alley. I also love bright colors… so it’s taken quite a bit of self-control to not collect a rainbow of these. Grumble pen limit grumble. Anyway, I really enjoy the design of this pen — a little quirky, but not too weird. Unique and functional! And if you prefer clips, you can add a clip — they come in both silver and gold.

I own a white Sport (which will soon be doused in urushi) and a Rose Gold AL (pictured below). The Rose Gold was a special edition to Eslite, a chain of bookstores in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. To my knowledge, it’s sold out but may show up used here and there.

Claire: This is a pen I avoided purchasing for a while simply because I thought the facets of the cap make the cylindrical-ness of the barrel stick out in an awkwardly.  That being said, now that I’ve owned one for a few months the overall aesthetic of the pen has grown on me.  This is a sturdy little pen has stood up to everything I’ve thrown at it. I purchased an orange Ice Sport in November and have enjoyed having a decent pen to throw in my pocket.  My mum gave me an AC Sport late last year since I wouldn’t shut up about the pen after seeing it on the Pen Addict’s Instagram #blamebrad.

Franz: Hello Kaweco! =) What else can I really say about the appearance of the Kaweco Sport that the ladies above have not mentioned? It really is a pocket pen with such a distinctive and unique design. Before we reviewed the Sport, I never knew how many different styles this pen has available in the market. The two models we are featuring/reviewing here are the AL Sport (aluminum body), and the Skyline Sport (acrylic body/silver trim). There are 5 more styles that this pen can be purchased as: Classic Sport (acrylic body/gold plated trim), ICE Sport (acrylic transparent body), AC Sport (aluminum body with carbon inlays), AL Stonewashed (aluminum body with weathered effect), and Brass Sport (brass body).

The Sport Series was introduced by Kaweco in the year 1911 as a short, safety pocket pen. In the beginning, the pen was called Safety Pen 616 for Sportsmen.  They eventually changed it to the Sport-Series. Kaweco updated the pen’s filling system into a piston-filler pen in the 1930s, and then to a cartridge-filler in the 1970s as we know how it is filled today. Of course, you can fill the pen like they did in 1911 and choose to eye-dropper the pen as well. Just be careful when you unscrew the pen. Eyedropper-filled isn’t my preferred method for getting ink into my pens though.

Kaweco Sport history source: www.kaweco-pen.com

In The Hand: Kaweco AL Sport (posted) – from left to right: Claire, Pam, Katherine, and Franz
In The Hand: Kaweco AL Sport (unposted) – from left to right: Claire, Pam, Katherine, and Franz

The Business End

Pam:  Disclaimer, the EF of my Kaweco was too broad for my taste.  Given that, it was still a good nib for daily use.  I used the pen on cheap office paper and it performed admirably.  I didn’t find the nib to be too dry, given my choice of paper at work.  The nib writes more true to size on Tomoe River paper, unsurprisingly.  I very much enjoy it when I am in the mood for a “bolder” EF line to show off the ink color in my hobonichi.  This German EF nib does require me to change the size of my handwriting, ever so slightly, to accommodate the “bolder” line, which results ins a “bubblier” handwriting for me.

I was really surprised how much I enjoyed the 1.1 stub.  It’s probably my favorite of all the Kaweco nibs that I have tried.  Its a great nib that has the right amount of ink flow so that the line remains relatively crisp and shows off a decent amount of shading in the ink color.  If I had to choose between an EF or the 1.1 stub, I would choose the 1.1 stub.  My ongoing taste change in nib sizes is very likely due to Franz-fluence (Franz’s influence for those who are pun adverse.)

Katherine: I’ve owned a handful of Kaweco Sport nibs and had a decent out of the box experience with all of them. My Fine and BB ran a bit dry, and my 1.1 “Calligraphy” nib wasn’t too wet, but all in all, they’ve all been very usable. However, I think I’ve been lucky — I have seen quite a few reports of Kawecos with baby’s bottom. None of them will win awards for being my (or, I suspect, anyone’s) favorite nib, but they get the job done and write without fuss.

Claire: Out of the box, the nib on my fine Kaweco AC Sport was great.  The extra fine on the Ice Sport required a quick tine alignment; which I don’t mind on a sub $30 pen.  Both nibs have been utilitarian; being a tad on the dry side, better for paper of questionable quality.  I am thoroughly enjoying the 1.1 stub I’m borrowing from Katherine (I might forget to return it the next time I see her).  Typically, fine and extra fine nibs are the way to my heart, so I’m surprised to enjoy the 1.1 so much.

Franz: To echo the sentiments above, Kaweco’s nibs write out of the box. A friend gifted me the black Skyline Sport below and it has a fine nib that just wrote smoothly after I placed the cartridge into the pen. Granted, the nib isn’t as wet as I want it to be but it isn’t scratchy and it wrote nicely. I also got to use Katherine’s 1.1mm nib on her AL Sport and it was also a pleasant experience. Yay for Kaweco! Their business end means business.

1.1mm stub nib on Katherine’s AL Sport
Fine nib on a Skyline Sport

 

Write It Up

Pam:  I prefer to write with the Kaweco Skyline posted given how light it is.  I much prefer the weight of the Kaweco AL over the Sport.  I find the plastic body to be too light and unpleasant to hold for prolonged periods of time.  I find myself gripping the pen harder because it feels so unsubstantial.  (No, the plastic body did not crack under my iron grip.)

The Kaweco AL is comfortable with or without the cab and relatively well balanced for me either way.  The weight is more comfortable and “sits” in my grip well.  The Kaweco AL is wonderful when paired with the 1.1 stub nib aka Katherine’s Kaweco, which I had a really hard time giving back.

Katherine: This pen makes it obvious how much smaller my hands are. I can and do use my Kawecos unposted, both my plastic Sport (which was my only work pen for about six months) and my AL. I prefer the plastic Sport when posted though — it gives the pen a little more heft and makes it more comfortable to hold. But, my tiny hands prefer the Sport AL unposted — it feels more balanced to me. All in all, both are very usable for me, both posted and unposted. I don’t own a Sport in Brass, but I’ve tried one and found that it was usable, but heavy and my hand felt the fatigue (especially if it was posted and top heavy) after a bit of writing — usable, but I wouldn’t buy one.

Claire: For quick notes, I don’t feel the need to post the pen. That changes if I’m going to write more than a few sentences (which is the majority of my writing), then I feel the need to post the it to avoid hand fatigue.  I prefer the weight and balance of the AL Sport over the Ice Sport. Though, after eyedroppering the Ice Sport is a more comfortable weight.  Even posted, this is not a pen I can write for a long time without noticing some discomfort. But as a pocket pen, it isn’t intended for hours upon hours of writing at one time.

Franz: May I just skip this part? Kidding, kidding! Okay, so I took both the AL, and the Skyline Sport on a test drive. I wrote with both of them posted for about 10 minutes each. Please understand that this Sport is a little too short unposted for my bear paw to write more than 5 words so I just kept the cap posted as I wrote on my journal. Because of the narrow 9.4mm section, my hand cramped up and I noticed my hand gripping the pen tighter than usual. The Skyline Sport is a very light pen and I didn’t enjoy writing with it. The AL Sport however, has a nice weight to it and my hand was a little bit more comfortable. The length of the Sport when posted was fairly comfortable for me.

EDC-ness

Pam:  The Kaweco is a great pocket pen, especially the Kaweco Sport, for it’s petite/cute size and lightweightedness.  It’s also a great way for me to lose this pen into my many pockets or not notice it before throwing my pants into the laundry.  I didn’t try to EDC carry Katherine’s AL, but I would be really interested in purchasing one, and I am pretty sure I will be less likely to lose it or toss it with my dirty laundry.

Katherine: The plastic Sport was my EDC for a few months before I jumped off the deep end and started exploring vintage pens. I had a mint green, Fine nib Sport that I stuck in my pocket, threw in my backpack and generally manhandled. It did great. I ended up gifting it to a friend I was living with for a week (Hi Tatsie! Thanks for letting me stay with you in Singapore!) but I eventually picked up another one, used, to be a project pen (hello urushi, meet my faceted friend). I’ve used my Rose Gold AL on and off as an EDC, and it’s held up similarly — durable, very little (if any) leaking into the cap (perhaps because the nibs are dryish to start with?) and easy to write with quickly. However, I’m a little worried about damaging the finish, so I don’t carry it as often (it was a gift from a cousin).

Claire: The Ice Sport lived in my pocket for several months. About a month ago, I accidentally ran it through the washing machine. No ink leaked out of the pen (no stains on my clothing phew!) and the pen was no worse for the wear. Some ink snuck behind the cap insert, but that’s to be expected.  I carried this pen at work quite frequently, though in my line of work a ballpoint or a permanent marker is more suitable. I have since put a different nib on the pen and don’t carry it as lackadaisically.

Franz: Even though I do not use my Skyline Sport for my journaling, or letter-writing needs, it practically lives in my bag ready to be written with. For me, this pen can be used as like a backup when you need to fill out a quick note. In the spirit of the Hand Over That Pen review process, I made it a point to use this pen at my workplace for a day. Let’s just say that it didn’t really impress me as an everyday carry pen. This is mainly because for my larger hands, I need to unscrew and post the cap each time I have to write notes or sign my name. Even though the cap only needs one and a quarter turn to uncap, it was still a bit inconvenient for me. The fine nib performed well as I wrote on the copier paper from our office.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Pam:  I would highly recommend the Kaweco Sport for those who enjoy a small/portable pen and a reliable German nib.  For those who enjoy the durability and heft of the aluminium, the Kaweco is a good, solid upgrade.  The Sport is a great starter pen, but for fans of the Kaweco Sport, the AL is an obvious choice to have to try out.  You won’t regret it.

Katherine: If you like small pens (and I mean small), the Kaweco Sport is fantastic. For the money, I think the plastic Sport is a great pen — durable, neat looking and a solid writer. The AL isn’t a bad pen at all, but at it’s price point, unless you really like the way it looks, it does seem a bit expensive for what it is. Price aside though, I prefer the AL. The pen feels more substantial, nib units are unscrewable (instead of friction fit in the plastic Sport) and the finish can show wear and tear — and I’m a sucker for pens that tell a story.

Claire: The section of this pen is just a little bit narrow for my taste. As such this is never going to be the pen I reach for to take notes in class.  Narrow sections are especially uncomfortable for me thanks to an old fracture in one of my fingers so your mileage may vary. That being said, this is a pen I thoroughly enjoy;  another one may be heading my way as soon as the stainless steel version becomes available.

Franz: I’m gonna go with what Claire said above and echo that the Kaweco Sport is a little too small for my use. If you have big hands, this may not be a pen for a daily user but try one out when you can. It is a cool pen to have in the bag/collection and they’ve got very nice finishes of this pen in the different styles I mentioned in the beginning of this review. I actually want to get the AL Sport Night Edition just because it’s all decked out stealthily with a nice carbon black nib too. But that’s the pen collector in me who wants to have all the stealth pens. Haha!

Cheers!

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Parker 75, Pelikan M200, Platinum 3776, Pilot Prera, *Kaweco Skyline Sport*, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Pelikan M200, Platinum 3776, Pilot Prera, *Kaweco Skyline Sport*, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Pelikan M200, Platinum 3776, Pilot Prera, *Kaweco Skyline Sport*, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
A few Kaweco Sports from left to right: Skyline Sport, ICE Sport, AL Sport, and Classic Sport

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

4 Comments

Pen & Ink Pairing: Mar ’17

Pam:  I can’t take credit for this pairing; it was serendipity, actually.  Robert Oster has made a stunning and wonderful ink that has caught the fancy of many pen lovers. In the meantime, I was drooling over the turquoise Sailor from Wancher.  They happen to arrive around the same time so ta da! Perfect match!

Robert Oster’s Fire and Ice  is a beautiful dark turquoise with a great red sheen and is aptly named.  The MF nib of the Sailor pen is a bit wetter and broader than my usual preference, but with this ink, I wouldn’t want it any other way.  It’s the perfect nib for ALL THE SHEEN! I am working on enlarging my microscopic penmanship to do justice for such a perfect OTP (one true pairing).

 

 

Katherine: I picked this month’s pairing based on what I’ll be using the most — a custom faceted pen by Romulus Pens and Pilot Ku-jaku. John of Romulus pens made this pen as a proof of concept (Possibly because I couldn’t shut up about how much I loved facets while I was hunting for a Nakaya Decapod Mini) and sent it to me to test drive. I have a custom one on order and hope to see it in the next few weeks (hint hint).

When the pen arrived, I was almost afraid to ink it up, the clear body its nine facets were so pretty — they reminded me of a prism. But, a pen is a pen and it’s meant to be used — so I picked Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku. I wanted a bright ink since I’d see it sloshing around, but I also wanted something I’d be able to use at work without getting too many weird looks — so a bright blue it is! I’ve swapped a Franklin-Christoph Masuyama Needlepoint nib into it and it’s a joy to use… but I predict that I’ll be writing with this pen for a long time before I write it dry.

 

 


Franz: I have chosen my vintage Eversharp Skyline pen, and the Sailor Four Seasons Oku-Yama ink as my pairing for March. This Skyline is a Standard size and had an unmarked fine-medium gold nib. The Skyline is one of my favorite vintage pen models and they were produced from 1941 until it was discontinued in 1948. I am not sure as to when this pen was exactly made though. This pen is part of my six pens for the ongoing #6PenChallenge17 for March. Here’s a link if you don’t know what I’m talking about https://www.handoverthatpen.com/2017/02/26/6penchallenge/

The Sailor Oku-Yama is such a perfect match for this pen because of the red/burgundy color and the nice gold sheen. This ink echoes the red and gold color of the pen quite nicely. Also at the 2016 SF Pen Show, I had Mr. Mike Masuyama turn the nib into a smooth Cursive Italic so it has been a usual pen in rotation for me. It’s got some nice springiness as well.

 

What are your recent pen and ink pairings?

 

Writing Samples (click to enlarge)

1 Comment

Review: Montblanc LeGrand 146 (0.4mm Cursive Italic)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The 146 (and its bigger sibling the 149) are the classic black cigar-shaped pen. The shape is boring to some, but timeless and classy to many others. Personally, I find the shape a bit boring, and while many buy the pen for the “prestige” that comes with such a recognizable brand, I found that unappealing. As I’ll discuss in later sections, I loved the innards of the pen, but I much prefer using pens that aren’t as obviously branded, especially at work. All in all though, the “look” of the 146 is inoffensive to me, if I didn’t have a self-imposed 15 pen limit, I’d likely still own one.

Pam:  The 146 is a classic pen with a very classic shape. Typically, I would find the Montblanc 146 with gold trim to be another snoozer or write it off as “another typical pen.”  I don’t usually like the cigar shape in a pen, like the Platinum 3776 or the Sailor 1911.  That said, Montblanc created a very well proportioned cigar shape pen.  It looks streamlined rather than chunky and sleek rather than boring.  Maybe it’s the more dramatic taper at the end of the body and cap or it’s the custom ruthenium trim or I enjoyed writing with this pen so much that a “another typical pen” has much more appeal now.

Franz: The LeGrand 146 is such a nice, simple-looking pen. I love the timeless shape of the 146 and that may be the reason why a lot of pens have copied its appearance. The pointed ends are different from the usual pens I own.

So here’s a bit of historical information about this pen. In mid-1948, Montblanc came out with the Masterpiece/Meisterstück 140 Series and the three models introduced were the 142, 144, and the 146. All three were introduced as a piston-filler and until now, the 146 is offered as a piston-filler pen. Over time, the 144 changed to a cartridge/converter filler pen. The Meisterstück 140 Series was a refresh of the Meisterstück 130 Series introduced in the mid 1930’s.

According to Montblanc’s numbering system adopted in the 1930’s, 146 meant that 1 (part of the Meisterstück/Masterpiece line), 4 (piston filler system but it was a 3 in the 130 Series), and 6 (denotes the nib size).

*Please note that this historical information was taken from Mr. Andreas Lambrou’s “Fountain Pens of the World” book. If I have misquoted, or given incorrect information, please let me know. Thanks!

In The Hand: Montblanc LeGrand 146 (posted) – from left to right: Franz, Pam, and Katherine
In The Hand: Montblanc LeGrand 146 (unposted) – from left to right: Franz, Pam, and Katherine

The Business End

Katherine: I love well-adjusted Montblanc nibs. I’ve used Franz’s (pictured in this review) and love the delightful CI that Dan Smith put on it. But I also, for a few months, owned my own 146 — an early 90s French specimen with an uncommon 18k nib. That was one of the most delightfully smooth (but not glassy) nibs I had ever used. Given my current experiences with MB nibs, I would never hesitate to recommend one to a friend, even out of the box.

Pam:  Montblanc nibs are juicy with some springy-ness to them, based on my time with them at the Montblanc store (which may be longer than I care to admit). I really enjoyed the Montblanc B and BB nibs as they created a stub-like line for me.  Therefore, what other “improvement” could you make to a well done nib from Montblanc?  Well, someone had the genius idea to send the pen to Dan Smith for a 0.4mm CI grind.  I (not so) jokingly told Franz that the 0.4mm  is the perfect CI width and I may be forever ruined for all other CI grinds.  CI grinds tend to run a bit dry, but this nib is well tuned and provides a consistent, well saturated, beautifully crisp line.  Again, ruined… I am, ruined (or forever spoiled.)

Franz: Springy nib… check! Cursive Italic… check! Juicy ink flow… check! Smooth sweet spot… check! Running out of checkboxes here! What can I say? It’s a beautifully tuned nib! Kudos to Dan Smith on this one. As for straight from the factory experience, I have used another 146 nib which was a stock medium and it was a smooth well tuned nib as well. So far, I’ve been pleased with the quality of Montblanc’s nibs.

 

The 0.4mm cursive italic nib by Mr. Dan “NibSmith” Smith
Franz’s writing sample of the Montblanc 146 on a Rhodia Weekly Planner

Write It Up

(20-minute writing experience)

Katherine: The 146 is very comfortable for me — it has a good weight and is comfortable in hand, even when writing for extended periods of time. I prefer it unposted — when posted I find it a bit too top-heavy and my hand gets tired faster.

Pam:  I have enjoyed the 146 both posted and unposted in the traditional tripod grip, preferably posted for me.  The 146 can be a bit top heavy in my “iron grip.”  Given the CI grind, I primarily used this pen in the tripod grip and had no issues with the width of the pen.  The girth of the pen at the section is within the usual limits and comfortable to hold for an extended period of time.

Franz: I may have been waxing poetic about this pen but admittedly, the LeGrand 146 size is just a smidge small for my bear paw. Please don’t get me wrong for when the cap is posted, I wrote with it comfortably and I absolutely had no complaints. I loved journaling with it for about 10 minutes but when I unposted the cap, my grip adjusted towards the nib and the pen felt small and unpleasant. I actually felt my hand cramping after writing for five minutes. Please refer to the pen in hand photos above to see how awkwardly small the unposted 146 is in my hand.

So yeah, mixed results on this one for me and just like Pam, I prefer the 146 posted.

EDC-ness

Katherine: This is weird to say since I EDC my Nakayas… but I didn’t like carrying around my 146. While the clip was good, it uncapped decently and was great to write with, I just wasn’t comfortable using a pen that everyone around me identified as “Katherine is using an expensive pen”. Funnily enough, Nakaya and Danitrio are much less recognizable to the layman than my 146 was.

Pam:  This pen is a be a great EDC pen as it is a sturdy, well made pen with a secure clip and threaded cap.  I didn’t carry this pen around daily as it’s not my pen to damage or lose, but also because would be distracting in my interactions with my colleagues and patients.  I am not that comfortable in letting the world know/assume the “cost” of my beloved pen hobby.  (Or maybe that’s the SF bay area hipster in me.) Montblanc is such an iconic brand that people will notice this pen very readily.  Granted, it’s also a beautiful, classy pen with a very unique ruthenium trim.

Franz: I used the 146 at work and out and about on a weekend and I had no qualms of being able to use this pen as an Everyday Carry pen. The cap unscrews after about 1 and 1/4 turn. Pretty fast deployment there and on the flip-side, the pen never uncapped itself in my pocket. The ink capacity of this piston-filled pen allows one to just keep on writing for a period of time. The subtle ink window above the section threads definitely helped me figure out if I’d need to refill the pen or not. I didn’t really care about the “perceived prestige” that the white star on the cap instills or what other people would think because well, I just don’t. Haha! =) As long as it’s a functional pen with a look that appeals to me, I’ll keep on using it.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: Overall, I really love writing with 146s — they’re comfortable, balanced and have great nibs. But I found that I was uncomfortable with the obvious and easily recognizable branding. The moment my boss said, “Oh! You’re using a Montblanc!” the idea of keeping a Montblanc around for normal use went out the window.

Pam:  After spending time with the 146, I can see why this pen is such a popular flagship pen.  It’s a great size pen that suits many hands, has a classic (albeit “boring”) aesthetic from a historical and iconic brand that backs up it’s name with great nibs and performance.  This pen has taught me and made me question a lot about my own pen preferences in terms of shape, nibs and writing style.

I would recommend this pen to anyone looking for a solid performing pen and isn’t wary of being seen with such a recognizable (and expensive) pen.  Not all settings are optimized for that.  It would be a “must have pen” if it was not so cost prohibitive to have, therefore, it would make a great grail pen to fill the “quintessential classic” slot in any collection.  So if you are like me and this a grail pen, I recommend the 146 as a “must try for yourself” pen.

Franz: The LeGrand 146 design is almost 70 years old and as I said in the beginning of this review, it is timeless. This is a nice pen to have in one’s collection quite frankly. If you are able to, please try to write with a 146 and see if it is a good pen for your hand. The nibs are great and it just writes. I really like it when the cap is posted as I detailed above. The only “con” I would say about this pen is that it’s quite pricey when brand new. However, a thorough search in the secondary market may provide one with a reasonable and more affordable price for the pen.

Just a little background on this specific pen. I saw this exact 146 in early 2015 on Dan Smith’s Instagram feed, @TheNibsmith (@fpgeeks back then). He said that he just finished grinding the 0.4mm cursive italic on it and wished he owned the pen. I dug up info from Dan and the original owner of this pen to find out how he got a ruthenium trim. I planned to send a pen to that person who did the custom ruthenium trim but I never got around to doing it. Fast forward to April 2016, I found this pen offered for sale and I pretty much jumped on it. Needless to say, I love this specific 146 not only for its writing capabilities but its history as well.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Edison Beaumont, Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Montblanc LeGrand 146* , Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Edison Beaumont, Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Montblanc LeGrand 146* , Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Edison Beaumont, Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Montblanc LeGrand 146* , Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

16 Comments

Pen & Ink Pairing: Feb ’17

Pam:  Have you ever bought a pen because you were so blinded by it’s beauty? Well, the Pelikan White Tortoise (with EF nib) was that pen for me.  When I indulged in my “pen binge of 2016” (Thanks Franz!) I had bought the pen at a great deal but was very lost on it’s place in my collection when I received it.  (I didn’t expect to get more than one grail pen within a year, I thought I had more time to consider these things!!)  Most unfortunate was that despite the beauty of the pen, I couldn’t find a pen that compelled me to want to write with it.

I found Rohrer Klingner Alt-Goldrun to be underwhelming in the EF nib despite it matching to the beautiful Pelikan binde.   I didn’t find a brown ink that I liked enough to keep using in this pen.  I didn’t think a blue ink would “compliment” the White Tortie very well.  After almost year of testing pen and ink combinations and long hiatuses of not using the pen, I considered “shelving” the Tortie.  (Couldn’t bring myself to sell the pen either. It’s pen purgatory!)

Instagram and fellow pen lovers to the rescue!!! It was Heidi from Four Fifty Two (I think) who inked up Yama-budo in her White Tortie.  I finally took the plunge and copied the genius combination!  What a pairing!

I find the wetter EF nib to be great with Yama-budo since it provides more ink to the page and thus a more saturated color. (My first foray with this color was in a super DRY nib that led me to believe that this ink was more pink than crimson.) The color itself is beautiful and most importantly, readable.  The color is dark enough for great readability, but is not your usual blue or black, or even purple.  The color is so unique and the gold sheen really clinched this ink for me.

 

Katherine: My pairing for Feb has been my Sailor Sapporo Bung Box Silent Night & KWZ Twilight. Limited editions galore. My Silent Night has a wonderful wet Zoom nib in it — perfect for showing off the varied shades of KWZ Twilight. Additionally, the pen and ink pair thematically to me — the bright to dark teals of KWZ Twilight fade into the dark blue, almost black of the Silent Night. If only KWZ Twilight glittered in its darkest spots. Actually, if I had one wish for this ink, it would be that I had more than a sample. Hence, only the pen is pictured above.

 

Franz: My pen and ink pairing for the month of February are both new to me within the month. It is the Retro 51 Marlin EXT fountain pen, and the Monteverde Capri Blue ink. I have wanted the Marlin pen since last year and when I heard it was being discontinued, I “had” to have it. On the Vanness Pens site (www.vanness1938.com), I found their last one so I purchased it right away as my “birthday” pen. Once I got it, I immediately inked it up with the Monteverde Capri Blue. This was the first pen I’ve inked with the Capri Blue and I’m very happy how it matches the swirls in the barrel of the Marlin. The ink’s color is also usable for my workplace so it’s a pairing I can use both for the home and office.

Now to top this pairing off, I had Mr. Mike Masuyama (www.mikeitwork.com) transform the medium nib into his cursive italic grind at the recently held LA Pen Show. Writing sample in the photo below. So the Marlin has become one of my top favorite pens. The Marlin will be a mainstay in my lineup for the 6 Pen Challenge that I will be participating in the whole month of March.

 

What are your recent pen and ink pairings?

5 Comments

March: The Six Pen Challenge!

For the last couple years, Kata (@kataish) and  Franz (@franzdimson) have run the Six Pen Challenge on Instagram — this year we’re hoping that more people will join us!  This will be the first year that the Hand Over That Pen crew will be doing it together!

This year’s Instagram tag is #6PENCHALLENGE17. And the challenge will begin on March 1, 2017. Even if you start late in March, it’s perfectly fine. It’s all about the fun of it. =)

Tag your Instagram/Twitter posts to show that you’re joining in this fun challenge and to show your progress as well.

There’s only one rule in this challenge: Only six pens inked at a time.

Once you’ve written a pen dry, will you be re-inking it? Or choose another pen to ink up and use? That’s totally up to you!  It’s a great way to appreciate your pens and have a bit more focus and fun in this pen hobby of ours.

Check out #6PenChallenge on Instagram for past photos/posts. The Six Pen Challenge was first ran on October 2014, then May 2015, and the last one was March 2016.

Will you join us? Which are your six pens and inks? Let us know!

Franz: October 2014 #6PenChallenge line up/progress shot
Franz: May 2015 #6PenChallenge line up. Used the same six pens for the whole month of May.
Franz: March 2016 #6PenChallenge line up. Used the same six pens for the month of March.
14 Comments

Review: Conklin Duragraph (Ice Blue, 1.1 mm Stub)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: I had always assumed this pen was more expensive than it is… When Franz suggested we review it and I finally looked it up, I was surprised! The pen is sizable, well made and was quite comfortable unposted. When posted, it was definitely too long and top heavy for me. I also loved some of the little details — the crescent shaped breather hole is unique and a great touch!

Pam:  The Conklin is a sturdy and sizable pen that has a unique style and material.  The traditional shape, blue hash/swirl pattern of the acrylic, and the silver/nickel furnishing gives the pen an eclectic feel of both classic vintage and boldly modern.  I find the pen to be quite long, even unposted.  The pen feels too long and top heavy when posted.  I found the overall weight to be surprisingly robust.  It wasn’t actually too heavy, just had more “density” than I was expecting. (I hope that makes sense.)

Franz: A Blue pen! =) I like the shape and size of the Conklin Duragraph. It fits my hand nicely and that Ice Blue finish is pretty to look at. The striations reminds me of vintage pens (i.e. Parker Televisor) which is a cool finish. The size of the Duragraph is close to the Pelikan M800 which I regard as a perfect size for my bear paw… er… large hands.

The Duragraph is filled via standard international cartridge or converter. Conklin supplies the pen with 2 cartridges (black, and blue), and a converter already installed. That is great!

 

In The Hand: Conklin Duragraph (posted) – from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In The Hand: Conklin Duragraph (unposted) – from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

The Business End

Katherine:  The 1.1 stub is super smooth. On smooth paper like Tomoe River it’s almost too smooth for me. But, at the end of the day, it is usable for me, unlike many Lamy nibs which are just too smooth. The stub also produces good line variation while being rounded enough for easy use without fussing about angles.

Pam:  I found the stub to be a joy to write with and it glided over quality paper (i.e. Midori and Tomoe River) really well.  The stub didn’t require any particular angle or sweet spot.  I found the nib to be pretty wet and it would show shading well.

Franz: To echo the ladies above, I loved writing with this nib. This stub nib is quite smooth and offers a bit of line variation that I’m used to with my other cursive italic nibs. Great job Conklin!

Write It Up

Katherine: This pen was comfortable for long writing sessions, as long as I use it unposted. The stub nib kept things fun. I didn’t have any issues withe cramping or discomfort… So win win!

Pam:  I usually develop a cramp writing in the traditional tripod however, the width of this “sizable” pen made the writing experience pretty comfortable and the cramping to a minimum.  I didn’t have any major issues with the threads and my fingers felt pretty comfortable on the section.  I preferred writing with the pen unposted since the cap makes it too top heavy.

Franz: As I wrote with the Duragraph unposted, I enjoyed my journal time. I did not experience any hand cramping or fatigue. Unfortunately, when the cap is posted it becomes unwieldy because the cap doesn’t post deeply. This made it too long and as Pam already said it’s top heavy.

EDC-ness

Katherine: The clip on this pen is super tight — good for clipping to thin notebook covers, not great for thicker things or soft fabric (pockets). It takes a full rotation to unscrew the cap, which is totally reasonable. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this as a grab and go work pen, but it’s certainly not pocket sized. 🙂

Pam:  The pen is robust with a tight, sturdy clip and durable material.  The acrylic looks like it would age well and take some daily wear.  No comments on accidental drops since I was far too paranoid to ruin Franz’s pen.  (I didn’t drop it, I promise.)  I tend to reach for more snap cap pens at work, just for the ease and convenience.  However, at home, this was an easy go to pen for journaling.

Franz: This was a nice pen to use at work because it unscrewed quickly with just one turn. The clip was a bit tight but it clipped onto my shirt pocket quite easily. Now this could just be due to the ink (Montblanc Blue Hour) but I found the nib to feather and bleed on the copier paper used at work. The flow is perfect on Tomoe River, and Rhodia paper though. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this pen with a medium or fine nib on copier paper.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: I think this is a great deal for the price. I’ve seen them as low as $40 — and I think it’s great value for the money. The stub was fantastic to write with, and it has the looks of a much more expensive pen (though that’s subjective). If you told me this was a $150 pen, I’d believe you and think that was a little steep… but at $40-50, it’s great. I think this is a very viable alternative to the many of the more popular “entry” to “mid” level pens like TWSBIs.

Pam:  The Conklin Duragraph has a unique aesthetic that doesn’t appeal to me personally, however it’s a great “upper entry” level pen for those who enjoy the style.  Given how difficult it is to find pens around the $50 price range that has the same quality material, unique styling, and that “criminally smooth” nib, it’s a great deal.  If you were looking for a pen like the Lamy Safari, Al-Star, TWSBI 580, Kaweco AL Sport, or Pilot Prera but hesitated because they don’t look “corporate” friendly, consider the Conklin Duragraph!

Franz: Okay, final thoughts? Let me share that this was the second Duragraph that I purchased. =) The first one I got was the amber finish and that looks awesome as well. As of today, it has a MSRP of $65 and as Katherine mentioned, you can purchase this pen at a lower price. I definitely recommend this as a nice writer in one’s collection.

I found great value with the Conklin Duragraph along with beautiful aesthetics. To my knowledge, it is offered in four finishes. I’m not saying I’ll complete the set but you never know. ;-P

Thank you!

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Parker 75, Kaweco Sport, Monteverde Prima, TWSBI 540, *Conklin Duragraph*, Pelikan M805, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Kaweco Sport, Monteverde Prima, TWSBI 540, *Conklin Duragraph*, Pelikan M805, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Kaweco Sport, Monteverde Prima, TWSBI 540, *Conklin Duragraph*, Pelikan M805, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

 

2 Comments

Pen & Ink Pairing: Jan ’17

This is a new series of posts for us. Each month we’ll pick a pen an ink pairing and share why we love it. What are your favorite pairings? And please give us feedback — we love comments!

 

Sailor Jentle Yama-Dori and the Lamy 2000

Pam:  I tend to make pen and ink “one true pairings,” as in, once a pen and ink are well paired, they are almost permanently paired for me.  My first OTP was the Lamy 2000, EF nib with Sailor Yama-dori.  The Lamy 2000 didn’t sing, and arguably, a disappointment due to my original ink choice.  I thought the nib was too wide, too wet, and created a “weird” line.  However, once I put in Sailor Yama-dori, thie “too wet” was just right to show off the beautiful red sheen on the perfectly teal ink.  The “too wide” and “weird line” became a semi-architect  because I could actually see the difference between my vertical and horizontal strokes.  I haven’t inked up the Lamy 2000 with any other ink since its second inking.

 

Katherine: If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I got my first Nakaya (unboxing video here). Nibs.com had ONE ao-tamenuri (blue-green) Piccolo left, and I couldn’t resist. When the pen arrived I waffled over what ink to ink it with — something I knew I loved, or a totally new ink? I went with Akkerman #24 Zuiderpark Blauw-Groen, which I suspected would match the blue-green accents on the pen — and I was right! The ink flows well, but is on the dry side and matches the pen perfectly. After reveling in my perfect match, I found out that Franz (who I got my sample of Akkerman #24 from) bought the ink to match his Ao-Tamenuri pen… great minds think alike!

 

Pelikan 4001 Turquoise and Edison Huron

Franz: I’m excited about this post because I know that most pen folk are particular about the inks they use on their pens. I mean, that’s one of the biggest appeal of using fountain pens. It’s the ability of being able to choose your preferred ink, your own nib size/grind, and the perfect size of the pen for your hand. We’re not even tackling paper choices yet. That may be for another kind of blog post. Haha!

So for this month of January, I’d like to feature my pairing of my custom Edison Huron in Flecked Tortoise and the Pelikan 4001 Turquoise. The Pelikan Turquoise has become one of my top 5 favorite inks for the past years and I’ve become accustomed to its properties. The color of this ink is a nice complement to the rich brown tortoiseshell acrylic. The Huron sports a broad cursive italic customized by Mr. Brian Gray and the width of the line shows off the ink’s color and sometimes its sheen. Following Pam’s strategy, this may be my O.T.P. for this pen.

Here’s a writing sample.

 

Don’t forget to let us know what your favorite pairings are! Thank you!

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