It has been about a month since the launch of our blog! It’s high time that we introduce ourselves a little bit more and get to know you all, our awesome readers.
What do you do and how does that affect your pen choices?
Katherine: I work at Sift Science as a Solutions Engineer and team lead. I work pretty closely with many of our customers, so I’m constantly on the phone, in and out of meetings and generally running around. As a result I tend to carry a notebook and prefer pens I can get to easily (not looooong unscrews) so I can jot down quick notes easily. My office is pretty close to paper free, so I bring my own notebooks to work (currently a Travelers Notebook and a Nanami Sevenseas Crossfield) and, of course, supply my own pens and ink.
Franz: I work in a bank as a customer service manager. I am that person who goes around the office to meet a client, or assist a co-worker. And the job requires me to be able to jot down notes or sign my name multiple times in one day. Before I got into fountain pens, I used to be that guy who kept on asking, “Do you have a pen?”. Now, I have a backup pen (or two) just in case I left my main pen of the day on my desk.
As for pen choices, as long as it is comfortable, the cap doesn’t take forever to unscrew, and it writes okay on cr-opy paper. I tend to choose either fine, or medium nibs on my pens as a compromise between Tomoe River paper for personal use and the copy paper used at work.
P.S. Now, I am that guy who tries to spread the joys of writing with a fountain pen (Penvangelism).
Pam: I am a pharmacist at a hospital. I work both in the pharmacy itself and on the patient units. At work, I have been called the “pen pusher.” I have introduced Jetstreams and Pentel Energels to my colleagues in the hospital. Sadly, our supply closet is still filled with generic, gummy, ballpoints.
The only paper available is cheap copier paper. Luckily, I really enjoy EF and F nibs. They work pretty well on the cheap paper and I prefer pens that are really fast to deploy for quick notes given how healthcare can go from 0 to 60 in a couple second flat. A finer and stiff (steel) nib really helps keep my lines consistent due to my small handwriting as well.
What was your first fountain pen?
Katherine: Ha. I had a cheap, bright yellow Sheaffer as a kid. I was about 9 when my mom got it for me, complete with a bottle of Skrip blue with the old-style side pocket to make filling easier. I loved the pen, but generally made a mess. Fast forward many, many years and I rediscovered fountain pens by buying a Pilot Metropolitan off Massdrop. It’s hard to believe, but I bought my Metro and a bottle of Noodler’s HoD because it was CHEAPER than the number of gel pens I was going through.
Franz: It was an onyx Cross Aventura with a medium nib and I still have it. As I wrote with it, I found that the writing was too bold and that it almost bled through the paper. I was a little bit turned off at first but I think I loved the idea of writing with a fountain pen more so I kept on it.
I later found out (probably the next day) that there are different types of paper and more fountain pen friendly paper exists, I also found that writing with a fountain pen does not require bearing down on the pen with pressure like I would on ballpoints. And so the pen addiction began.
Pam: A green/grey Kakuno, F nib (of course). That was soon followed by the Pilot Petit and the Metropolitan.
How do you carry your fountain pens?
Katherine: I typically carry mine in either a zip pouch from Franklin-Christoph or a three-pen sleeve I made out of a piece of fleece. The former gives me more flexibility with pen sizes (it fits ALL of my pens). The latter gives me more protection from leaks, and if I want to bring multiple pens, stops them from rubbing together. Sometimes I’m lazy and just clip my pen to the inside of my notebook and throw it in my backpack… but I’m pretty sure this is how I end up losing a pen and try not to do it too often.
Franz: It has been a while now since I’ve been using a 4 pen leather case to carry my pens to work. I got this from the Andersons’ table at the 2014 LA pen show. This is my go to case and it’s just perfect for me.
More recently though, I’ve been slinging a bag that contains the 4 pen leather case, and a Nock Co. Sinclair. Also in the bag are a couple notebooks, and a planner. I guess I went from carrying four pens to ten (or more). Don’t judge… ;-P
Pam: I have been using the Lihit Lab Smart Fit Actact Open Wide pen case. I also keep pens with my Hobonichi Weeks and Hobonichi Cousin. Interestingly, I have been carrying more pens since meeting Franz and Katherine. Interesting indeed…
Dear reader, answer us this, what was your first fountain pen?
Franz: If I am not mistaken, the TWSBI Eco fountain pen has been in the works since 2013. Fast forward to late 2015, I held an Eco with the black cap and piston turning knob. The pen looked cool and reminded me of the TWSBI mini I had. Actually, the Eco’s nib size is the same as the mini. I really like the design of this pen but for some reason, I never got myself to purchase one.
Pam’s Eco in the clear version is very nice as well. As seen in the photos, it is a piston-filler pen and the capacity is very nice. I really love seeing ink sloshing in the pen as I use it. I’m sure that this is not the first time this was said about certain demonstrator pens but I wish that the plastic liner in the cap was transparent.
Pam: I have had a TWSBI before. The TWSBI Diamond mini with a fine nib was lackluster to me so I gave it to a colleague who would appreciate it better than I could. Nonetheless, I was really curious when I saw the TWSBI Eco. I was very excited when TWSBI released the clear “demonstrator” version of the Eco. It was well worth the wait for this version than the colored versions in my opinion. Given the reasonable price for the look and a decent nib, which I was able to test out at a SF pen posse meet up, I took another leap of faith and bought the pen from Goulet Pens.
The plastic feels better than the plastic from the TWSBI Diamond mini and from what I have heard, less prone to the “defects” of the previous TWSBI models. Unlike other models, the Eco is a piston filler with a friction fit nib. So the nib units from the 580 or diamond mini are not compatible with the Eco
The length is longer than my preferred length, especially posted, but the plastic is light enough that it’s not crazy bothersome. When capping the pen, the plastic-y sound is pretty satisfying and it’s very smooth with each turn. My only complaint for the Eco is that there is only a rubber ring to secure the cap when posting to the back of the pen. It is a cheap but effective way to secure the cap when posting, but it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing and also results in the cap not posting very deeply, leading to a slight imbalance.
Katherine: I love the way this pen looks! I know this isn’t technically a demonstrator, but everyone seems to use the term to mean “pen you can see the insides of”, so I’ll keep doing that. I love demonstrators, and this is a clean looking demonstrator without breaking the bank. My one nit is that the translucent white liner inside the cap is visible — but it is a pen after all, gotta be functional!
The Business End
Franz: From prior TWSBI pens I have owned, their nibs have never been a disappointment for me. This is the first time I’ve written with an extra fine from their lineup and this was no exception. It wrote smoothly and the feedback felt nice. I used the Eco for two weeks and I have not had any negative issues with the nib as it just wrote as it should.
Pam: I wasn’t impressed by my experience with other TWSBI nibs, as they were not the Japanese EF or F that I was looking for. Maybe my taste in nibs are changing, but I find the EF nib on this TWSBI to be a wonderful nib right out the box. It’s more of a Japanese F which works out just fine with me. Inking it up with Franz’s stash of Bungbox Sapphire, the pen provides just enough wetness and line width to enjoy the color and sheen of the ink. I found the nib smooth and really enjoyable to use. I even considered using this nib and feed unit in a custom pen because the pen itself is too long, but I find myself wanting to use the nib more and more.
The nib and ink combination does wonderfully in my Hobonichi and great on Midori paper, however, it feathers on cheap paper.
Katherine: This is a very solid nib on a cheap pen. If I bought the Eco as my first pen (instead I got a Metro), I’m not sure I would have ever ventured out to other pens. It’s a very comfortable, smooth and wet nib on an affordable pen. I’d compare it to my Metro’s Fine in terms of line width — pretty fine, but not the Extra Fine I’d expect from a Japanese pen (which makes sense, since this pen isn’t Japanese…).
Write It Up
(20-minute writing experience)
Franz: I wrote very comfortably with the Eco posted for the first ten minutes, and unposted the next ten minutes. Because of the pleasant nib, and the abundant length of the pen, I did not experience any hand cramps or fatigue. This is a great pen to use for my journal time. If I were to choose, I’d write with the pen unposted because the balance seems better.
Pam: Unsurprisingly, I find the length of the Eco to be too long for me, especially posted. The balance isn’t perfect in my tiny hands, however, maybe if the cap posted deeper? Unposted, the pen is an okay length, but still not ideal. Not to mention, I prefer posting my pens, especially at work, given how easy it is for me to forget anything that isn’t already attached to me. (Just ask my keys, wallet, thermos, other non-fountain pens, etc.)
Overall, the writing experience is comfortable as the plastic is light. In my iron grip, the width of the pen is great. Again, the nib is the best part of the pen and the piston filler filled with ink is beautiful to behold when you are not using the pen.
Katherine: The Eco is a little large for me posted, so I wrote with it unposted. Overall, a comfortable and solid pen. It puts down a fine, wet line that makes it quite comfortable to use, even with more “interesting” inks that sheen. I would have no qualms about this being a pen in my regular journaling or letter writing rotation. An added perk is that it’s fun to watch the ink slosh around and settle as I think about what to write next.
Franz: At work, this pen came in handy as the extra fine nib was actually nice to write on the copy paper we use. Unlike the two ladies, unscrewing the cap did not bother me at all. This may be due to my daily use of a Pelikan M805 at work for the past three years. When a pen uncaps in less than one and a half turn, I am actually pretty happy with it. I actually can see myself use this pen on a daily basis.
Pam: The Eco has been clipped to the pen loop of my Hobonichi specifically for both quick deployment as well as the longer journaling/planning sessions. The cap is on securely enough that I don’t worry about the pen and planner getting tossed around in my backpack. The plastic isn’t the best material to get scratched up, especially if you enjoy watching the ink slosh around without distracting scratches or scuffs. No scratches on this puppy yet, but I wouldn’t chance it by throwing this pen into the same pocket as my house keys.
It is inconvenient for me to use the pen at work due to having to screw the cap on and off. And given that the nib and ink has been feathering, it’s less than ideal for work. This is a great beginner fountain pen and planner companion.
Katherine: I like the Eco at work because it has an easy to see ink capacity (big plus so I don’t run out of ink partway through a meeting before… it’s happened before), it’s cheap (I’ve never lost a pen, but there could be a first!) and it’s comfortable to write with. The one downside is that the cap takes more turns than I’d like to unscrew. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to be pretty stop-and-go with my note taking at work, so being able to quickly uncap and cap a pen is a big plus for me.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Franz: The TWSBI Eco is a nice pen with great, great value. I do recommend this pen for anyone who likes the pen size, and is looking for a large ink capacity. The Eco just writes and there’s really no frills to it. Okay, maybe aside from watching the ink sloshing in the pen. hehehe…
Would I recommend this as a first fountain pen for newbies? I would probably recommend it to be a second or third pen to own. When I started, I got a cartridge/converter as a first fountain pen and I appreciated the fact that I can just insert the supplied cartridge and write. It took me a couple weeks to buy my first ink bottle (Waterman’s Serenity Blue) and filled up my converter with it.
Anyway, I am quite impressed by the TWSBI Eco and I’ll probably purchase one. I just need to decide between the clear or the black version of this pen. Thanks Pam!
Pam: Katherine has a self imposed 15 pen limit where as the Eco convinced me to have a “beginner pen” collection. It’s also my excuse to keep the TWSBI Eco. (There goes those rationalizations again…) This will be, of course, in addition to my “completed” grail pen collection.
I enjoyed the Metropolitan and the Safari, but in terms of performance and aesthetics the Eco is my favorite of the three. A $29 piston filler with such good steel nib beats the Lamy Vista by miles. The comfort and EDC-ness of the Eco has the Metopolitan beat hands down. TWSBI really did hit it out of the park with the Eco. I have finally been converted to a TWSBI fan!
Maybe this nib should go into a custom pen body after all… it’s just too much fun!
Katherine: As previously mentioned, if the Eco was my first fountain pen I may have not ventured further into the world of fountain pens. But, it wasn’t, so instead I’m here blogging… Back to the Eco — it’s a very solid and nice pen for the money. The writing experience doesn’t have a lot of character, but it’s a great workhorse pen. For this review, I borrowed Pam’s Eco, but I’m seriously considering purchasing my own. In the end though, it’s not a pen with a lot of character so I’m not willing to “cut” another pen for it.
Pam: When Will Hodges launched his Kickstarter for the Tactile Turn Gist in late 2015, I was an eager backer. The pen was inspired by the Lamy 2000 as we can see with the polycarbonate material and the shape. One of the things I love about Will’s products is that the product is imbued with his own design sensibility and signature style. Additionally, the Gist can be customized based on different materials for the finial, body, the section and the nib. All in all, that’s hundreds of possibilities!! My Gist was the full polycarbonate body with an extra fine (EF) titanium nib. I bought an extra titanium section for a different writing feel when the mood strikes. Swapping out nibs is a snap between the sections, just unscrew the entire nib/feed unit from section one and screw it into section two. The converter that came with this pen fits snugly and well. No issues as of yet. (I don’t recognize the converter, does anyone else know who manufacturers it?)
It’s hard not to compare the Lamy 2000 and the Gist. The best way for me to enjoy this pen is to NOT compare it to the Lamy 2000 because the 2000 is so iconic, beloved, and well known that it would be an unfair comparison. The entire pen has a great feel in hand. The length of the Gist is closest to a Pelikan M400 which is the perfect length for me, even when capped. My favorite feature of this pen is the texture that Will machined into the polycarbonate material. (His entire line of pens has the same signature design! I swoon!) The clip is tight and well made with no sharp edges. It adds a welcomed weight to the light material.
Franz: Pam alerted me to the Tactile Turn Gist’s Kickstarter campaign that started on October 2015. As Pam had mentioned, there were a lot of choices for this pen but I went with the polycarbonate with a Damascus steel section and finial. Fast forward to May 2016 when I first held the pen and admired it’s ribbed texture. The pen does come with a converter and takes standard international cartridges. The supplied converter is a little shorter and more transparent than the usual standard international converters I’ve seen.
In hand, I really love how the Damascus steel contrasts against the all black polycarbonate. Because of the steel section, the pen feels like there’s a good balance posted, or unposted. It has an overall stealthy feel to it and seems very solid.
Katherine: This pen looks cool, but I prefer the finish on the Lamy 2000. Also, it takes a solid two turns to uncap, which isn’t my favorite design.
The Business End
(Nib design, feel, issues)
Pam: The EF titanium nib is a lot like a medium (M) steel nib as it lays down a wet, saturated line. I actually found the line to be too broad for me and had my Gist sent to Dan Smith of the Nibsmith to turn it into a needlepoint. When the pen was returned to me, I filled it with Sailor Miruai and started writing. The titanium nib is a great “trainer” nib for me because it only requires a feather light touch to lay down a well saturated line, even as a needlepoint. I think I can even see sheen in Miruai, or perhaps my eyes deceive me. As an EF grade, the titanium nib is far too broad with my writing pressure, but as a needlepoint, it’s a really fun nib that provides line variation similar to that of the Plantinum soft fine nib.
Franz: I ordered the Gist with a medium (M) Bock titanium nib because I liked how the grey titanium nib looks with the Damascus steel section. The #6 size of the nib fits the overall size of the pen.
As for the writing experience, I knew how soft the material can be as this was my second titanium nib. There is a feedback to the nib that only titanium nibs seem to have. It isn’t unpleasant though. Since I do write with a light pressure, the spring of the nib was quite nice. The ink flow was quite wet and it just wrote without any hiccups.
Katherine: The titanium nib was a lot of fun — very smooth with an interesting touch of feedback. I’ve heard that’s because titanium absorbs vibrations differently, and I totally believe it. It’s a wide nib, a smidge wider than the Lamy 2000’s EF. Additionally though, it’s a very soft nib — with some pressure it’s very capable of showing line variation. The nib is a little too wet for small lettering with line variation, but for writing bigger, it’s very fun.
Write It Up
(20-minute writing experience)
Pam: I really enjoy handling the pen it self as it is a great length for me and very light weight. It’s really comfortable as the threads are not too sharp and the width is slightly wider than most. The width is likely between a Pilot G2 and a Dr. Grip ball point pen. It’s the nib that makes it harder to journal for a prolonged period of time, especially since I have such a heavy hand. As an EF, I can’t journal as the line is too broad and everything looks messy. As a needlepoint, the titanium is a great compliment to the grind allowing for a well defined and saturated line, which may be difficult to achieve on other needlepoint nibs. If anything, there is enough ink when I push the nib for some line variation, I have to wait a couple of minutes before I can close my notebook due to the ink still being wet.
I have to practice with this pen to get the pressure just “write,” so if I am okay for a relatively long writing session, I use this nib with a “warm up” session before the actual journaling session. It’s a whole new level of mindfulness! (And an answer to Katherine and Franz’s prayers for my excessive writing pressure. Those poor nibs!)
Franz: I wrote with the Gist’s cap posted for the first ten minutes on my journal and I was very happy with it. The balance is perfect and my hands did not cramp up. Even if my fingers landed on the pen’s acme threads, it was not bothersome and did not make any indents at all. For the next ten minutes, I unposted the cap and just wrote with it. My grip slipped down to the middle of the section to make sure it fits my hand. It was okay for me. My hand did not cramp up but it was longing for the posted length.
On a side note, Pam’s writing pressure still shocks me every time I watch her write. So I am thankful that she’s gaining a level of awareness… haha!
Katherine: After writing out a journal entry — this isn’t my favorite nib for journaling. It has an interesting sort of feedback, while still feeling super smooth… It’s a bit reminiscent of nails on a chalkboard, which isn’t a feeling I love when journaling.
(Daily use at work/home, at least a day or two)
Pam: This pen takes longer to uncap than most given that it takes almost 2.5 turns to unscrew so it’s harder to bust out for quick notes. And with the cheap copy paper that I have at work, the wet nib is a no go. The clip is a bit too tight to easily slip in and out of my white coat given how thin the polyester is on my coat. This is likely a pen that I would feel comfortable being thrown into my bag/backpack as it’s a great pen to accompany my Hobonichi. The pen tolerates drops really well, as I can attest to from experience. -.-;;
Franz: At work, the Gist pen performed well for me in terms of writing on copy paper with its medium nib, and in comfort since I can write with it both posted or unposted. However, there are two areas that drew me back a little for my work use. First, as both ladies have mentioned, to deploy the pen you need to unscrew it two and a half times so repetitive quick notes and signatures for me takes a lot of time. (Yes. I do sign my name a lot in one day). Second, the tight clip made it hard for me to clip it in my dress shirt pocket. Actually, the pocket of one of my dress shirts got ruined because I tried to clip the pen a little too fast. No blame to place on the pen of course! It was my fault for sure.
Now the Gist is a perfect daily carry when I am out and about on my days off. After writing, I can quickly clip and secure the pen in my jeans pocket and go on with my day. I’ve been doing that ever since I got this pen.
Katherine: The cap takes two and a half turns to unscrew — which makes it cumbersome for stop-and-go note taking. Additionally the nib is wider than I prefer and we enough that I have to worry about my notes drying before I close up my notebook and run to my next meeting. The upside is that it’s light and solid, so it’s easy to throw into a pocket and the clip feels very reliable.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Pam: I really enjoy the pen body as a whole. Will has done a great job as usual. I am on the fence, however, about the titanium nib. It is a really interesting material, is very springy, which provides for some great line variation but I think I will only be needing ONE titanium nib in my collection. I plan on getting a Franklin Christoph #6 nib at the SF International Pen Show in August to accompany this pen, for those times that I am too lazy to warm up with the titanium nib. (And after I try out the Masuyama needlepoint grind…)
The Tactile Turn pens by Will are the only pens I have actually kept of all the pens I have backed on Kickstarter. (I also backed a previous pen project by Will, the Mover, on Kickstarter.) Will did something wonderful and unique by putting his own spin and design on such an iconic pen. The pen is well constructed, easy to use and easily customized to suit your tastes. My only regret was not buying a metal + polycarbonate version of the pen earlier. Franz’s Damascus steel finial and section + polycarbonate body is soooooo well balanced. Insert wistful sigh here.
Franz: So for the past three months, the Tactile Turn Gist has been inked up and in my pen rotation. It is a very simple and utilitarian kind of pen. I thank Will Hodges of Tactile Turn for creating and designing this pen. It may be an homage to the Lamy 2000 but at the same time it stands on its own.
For my large hands, this medium pen is very nice to write with. It is probably the combination of the ribbed texture, light-weight material, stealthy looks, and lovely nib. When you get a chance, try this pen out for yourself. You may like it enough to buy one.. or two!
Katherine: This pen is surprisingly light (at least the all Polycarbonate version is) — but I found myself thinking of it as a cheaper-feeling Lamy 2000.
I wanted to like this pen much more than I did. A lot of it comes down to the nib — I think if I had this ground to a finer nib, I may really enjoy it. As it stands though, the nib is too wet and too wide for everyday use and while flexy,
Shawn Newton of http://newtonpens.com was kind enough to send us a pen to test out along with one of Liz’s (his wife) pen wraps. The pen featured is a Slim Short Townsend made out of a dark tortoise celluloid and is fitted with a Sailor music nib.
Thank you so much Shawn!!!
Hand Over That Pen, please!
Katherine: I love the design of the Townsend — it’s sleek, but interesting and it posts. I don’t typically post my pens, but I like the option of doing so if I’m worried about losing a cap (hasn’t happened yet, but you never know…). In addition to a design I enjoy, the pen is very well made — there are no seams and no blemishes or scratches on the pen. The threads on this particular pen are a little tight — but I assume they’ll loosen up over time. (I asked Shawn — and he said that the threads will ease up over time and the threads are cut this way because of the material. I’ve tried a handful of other Newton pens and have never noticed this on any of them.)
Franz: The Newton Townsend has a very nice shape. Closed, the diameter from the top of the cap down the barrel slightly becomes thicker until the middle of the pen. And then it tapers nicely down to the end of the barrel. And with this brown tortoise material, it reminded me of that scene when Harry Potter first held his wand at Ollivanders. The pen wrap included was made by his wife, Elizabeth (Liz) Newton, and it was a very colorful 6 pen roll/wrap. It was well-constructed and accommodates long pens.
Pam: Full admission here: I squeal or make noises that are not meant for public ears when excited. I may have squealed when I saw the tortoise acrylic and got subsequently squeakier when I was able to handle the Townsend with the Sailor music nib.
Shawn Newton was first brought to my attention for his unique custom pens and innovative designs, particularly the Shinobi. I can definitely understand why people gravitate towards the Shinobi, but the Townsend deserves some time in the spotlight! When capped, the Townsend has a long elegant shape, practically seamless and has a subtle taper, particularly in this “small size” that makes it a very interesting pen to hold and to visually admire. When posted, the cap remained on pretty securely and I could be confident that the cap would stay on.
I am a great admirer of the tortoise acrylics, particularly since I am very partial to my tortie glasses from a couple years ago. The material itself is beautiful and sturdy with very subtle variations. I had a hard time seeing some of the variation in the material without sunlight or bright lights but when you do see it, it’s mesmerizing. The tortie material provides nuance and visual interest to the pen itself without being distracting. The material tolerated posting and unposting the cap pretty well with no noticeable blemishes on the body or cap.
The Business End
(Nib design, feel, issues)
Katherine: The nib on this particular Townsend is a Sailor Music nib, not a Shawn Newton grind. I find “music nibs” intriguing, but this one doesn’t seem as crazy as some do — this one has a single slit and ends up writing like a fat stub. Fun, but a little too wide for my typical writing. I could see keeping a nib like this around for Christmas cards and ink testing though.
Franz: It was my first time to ever try out Sailor’s music nib. Just like Katherine, I felt that it was basically a stub and it’s something I’m used to writing with. I love the juicy, broad line of this nib and was wonderful on Tomoe River paper. Now I know to get the music nib if I want a stub on a Sailor pen. Of course, the juicy flow of the nib was my issue when I used it on copy paper. My writing spread, and bled on the page. But that is hardly the nib’s fault and I pretty much expected it. Shawn pretty much nailed it when he used the Slim, and Short design to accommodate and fit the fairly small size of this Sailor music nib.
Pam: I really enjoyed playing with the Sailor music nib, if only as a break in my usual F and EF nibs. It was a beautiful nib that laid down a good amount of ink that let the color and qualities of Bungbox Sapphire come through. The ink dried in a relatively reasonable time period on Tomoe River paper. This nib is a FUN nib, but not for journaling or work. It’s such a broad line, that I just wanted to write big and just go wild on the page. I had a hard time keeping my writing neat with this nib when I tried to write my usual (tiny tiny) size. It would be great for calligraphy or cursive, if you have the space to let this nib fly.
Write It Up
(20-minute writing experience)
Katherine: The slim size of the pen is very comfortable for me — I have a Townsend on order with Shawn and now I’m really torn between a normal and a slim. It’s an easy to hold, well balanced pen. Writing with it for twenty minutes was comfortable and fun — though the music nib made it hard for me to journal. (I ended up making lists of all the pens I’d like to own one day. Don’t ask. >_>)
Franz: I wrote with the Townsend for the first ten minutes with the cap posted. My grip was on the pen barrel right before the step down to the section. It was very pleasant to write with and my thoughts flowed on my journal. The next ten minutes, I used it unposted and my fingers gripped the section near the threads. I immediately felt the thinner diameter but I did not find it irksome and I just kept on writing.
Pam: I held the pen via traditional grip due to the music nib and it was wonderfully comfortable. The width of the section reminded me to the width of the Franklin-Christoph Model 45, possibly slightly slimmer. The length of the pen didn’t require me to post the pen and when “flourishing” with this pen, I preferred the pen unposted.
I also tried to hold the pen in my usual “iron grip.” (Maybe for a future pen purchase…) It could be that I am used to shorter pens like the Pilot Prera or the Pelikan M400, but I felt that this pen was a tad too long for me when posted. It could also be the nib which required some adjusting on my grip so it could be used. The pen was more comfortable unposted for me but remained a comfortable weight with or without the cap. The threads when held in this strangle hold didn’t bother me in the slightest.
It’s a really enjoyable pen to write with for a prolonged period of time, no matter which grip I used. It’s also the first pen that I really enjoy using unposted.
(Daily use at work/home, at least a day or two)
Katherine: I only used this at work for a day (versus usually I like to do a couple days at minimum, but I wanted to be able to get this pen back to Shawn in a timely fashion!)… But it was a great day. That being said, the pen in in it’s current form wouldn’t be my pick for an EDC pen. It’s a gorgeous pen that I really enjoyed looking at, but the music nib is impractical for me and, more notably, the threads are a little tight, which makes capping and uncapping slower. Additionally, the lack of a roll stop means I worry it’ll end up on the floor. But, I’d love to own a pen in this shape with a more practical nib and a roll stop. I’m sure I’ll journal with it enough to break in the threading and EDC away!
Franz: I was unable to truly use this pen at my work setting. Mainly because of the nib’s very broad line on cr-opy paper, my writing was illegible. Even though it was clip-less, the pen was long enough for me to store it in my shirt pocket and I did not feel the need to post the cap for quick notes.
Pam: The pen itself was easy to carry around and pretty portable in my pen case. With a clip or even a roll stop (and a normal EF nib), I can easily see this pen clipped to my Hobonichi planner for regular use. The pen is light, sturdy and the cap is secure so I wouldn’t have any qualms bringing it with me as I round in the hospital. The threaded cap does require more time to cap and uncap the pen, but that’s typically not a deal breaker, just a consideration. Given how well constructed this pen, it will handle daily use well. (Bonus on breaking in the threads for an even smoother capping/uncapping.) Additionally, this pen will definitely be unique even among the fountain pen carrying posse I have (enabled) at work.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Katherine: A couple weeks before Shawn asked if we’d like to review a pen I put in an order with him for a Townsend — and I’m so glad I did. It’ll be many, many months before it arrives, and I may flip flop between a slim and normal Townsend a dozen times — but I’m pretty sure I can’t go wrong (I seem to have days where I prefer slightly fatter pens…). The Slim fits my hand wonderfully, and the Short size is well balanced for my hand. Additionally, the fit and finish on this pen is wonderful — it’s a cliche saying, but each of Shawn’s pens is truly a work of art. I’m definitely adding a roll stop to mine though — I cringe at the idea of a pen this meticulously made & finished hitting my floors.
Franz: The Townsend is practically the second Newton Pen model that I’ve spent time using and have written with. The shape of the pen is quite impressive and pleasing to look at. I was able to use this pen both posted and unposted so the length is just right for my large paw. The only thing I would really change is the diameter of the pen. According to Shawn’s website, the slim model has a 10.8mm thick section. The Newton pen that I own is a Small Orville and according to his site has a 12.1mm thick section. I found the small diameter a bit more comfortable than the slim.
The Brown Tortoise material, the Sailor music nib, and the Harry Potter-like wand shape of this Townsend pen are three features that made me quite sad and reluctant as I stood in line in a United States Post Office to mail the pen back to Shawn.
Pam: I may very well follow in Katherine’s footsteps in the next year or so and start on my custom fountain pen collection, especially after handling the Townsend. I really appreciate the ability to post a pen so when the Townsend provides both elegant minimalist design with post-ability, it’s a definite win for me. I have a while to consider which shape, material, and nib I want in a pen, but I will definitely include a Shawn Newton pen into my collection in the future. This pen shows great craftsmanship and care as well as an eye for a well thought out design. For those interested in Shawn’s pens, you should definitely check out his website or his Instagram feed to check on his latest works. (I stalk him on Instagram regularly. Hi Shawn!)
He has great designs and pen sizes to fit ALL hands.
Katherine: I love the finish on this pen. When Pam first told me it was one of her grail pens, I thought it was a little silly. But, seeing the pen in person… I wish I’d ordered one when they were still in stock. I have the cheaper Sailor Pro Color in Winter Sky (same finish!) on order from Engeika… It’ll get here one day.
Compared to the cheaper Sailors I have and have had (Pokemon Little Tales + Sailor Pro Color 500) I like the look of this pen much more. The shape is distinctive and, I think, nicer.
Pam: Like Mr. Darcy, the shape and other colors available for the Sailor Pro Gear Slim were wonderful but “not enough to tempt me.” Until I saw the Elizabeth “Galaxy” Bennett. I really enjoy the shape of the Sailor Pro Gear Slim but it’s really the resin that took my breath away and sets this pen apart. The shape and size is quite reminiscent of the Pilot Prera with it’s flat ends, shorter length and slim profile.
I have Katherine to thank for acquiring this pen. The limited edition pen sold out so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to break the piggy bank for this pen when it was first offered. Katherine alerted me of a very kind soul in Hawaii who was willing to part with this pen at a VERY reasonable price on FPGeeks. (THANK YOU MONTE! Mahalo!)
Franz: Well, hello Starburst Galaxy! The different colored stars are so stunning and I am quite enamored with them. The Sailor Professional Gear pen design has always piqued my interest. The Imperial Black version has been on my list for the longest time now. The flat ends, the distinctive Sailor clip, and the slight taper at the end just looks so cool. Now this is the Pro Gear Slim/Sapporo size which is just a little bit smaller than the one on my pen list. Time to try this pen out!
The Business End
Katherine: It’s a solid nib with that touch of feedback that Sailor is famous for. Despite being an EF, the pen isn’t scratchy and puts down a good saturated line. Compared to my cheaper Sailor pens, I haven’t noticed a big difference in nib or writing quality — but the flow is much better. The Pro Color, which put down a similarly fine line, was just too dry to be very enjoyable — the Pro Gear Slim absolutely nails the balance between a wet, saturated line and an extra fine line.
Pam: Ditto Katherine! The nib itself is beautifully engraved and shows great care in how it was crafted. To borrow a line from Azizah and Dr. Brown, for a small nib, it has some “serious nibbage.” It’s a dream of an EF nib by any standard, laying down a crisp, saturated, almost needlepoint like line. Surprisingly, I am able to detect sheen from inks like Visconti Blue and Bungbox Omaezaki Sea. This EF nib lays down the finest line of all my pens, much to my delight.
Perhaps it’s the perfectly calibrated flow, but this pen leaves more feathering on cheap copy paper than my other pens. Therefore, it’s not a pen I use for work. I prefer it for personal use in my planners.
Franz: I love the adornments of Sailor nibs and this extra fine nib is no exception. As far as I know, Sailor has three different nib sizes and this is their smallest. It complements the size of the pen very well.
The extra fine line of this nib is quite satisfactory to write with. Just like both ladies above, I experienced a well tuned flow, and a smooth contact with the paper. I used Tomoe River paper, and a Rhodia planner.
Write It Up
Katherine: Comfortable enough, and the EF nib is very nice. I also did some drawing with this pen, and the flow was constant and I had no hard starts. In the end though, for a long writing session, I find slightly longer pens a smidge more comfortable and pleasant to write with.
Pam: Based on the positioning of my hands, my fingers are usually on the threads of the pen, so my “iron grip” can leave imprints after longer writing sessions. I don’t usually write full paragraphs with this nib. Instead, I plan with it daily and each weekend, filling in boxes and to-do lists. For this particular use case, it’s ideal. I do journal with this pen, especially if I am in the mood for the finest nib that I own. The toothiness gives way to enjoying the feel of writing on paper, particularly on Midori paper. There are other pens I prefer to use for journaling in my Hobonichi with the Tomoe Rver paper, like the FC model 45 with cursive italic or the Lamy 2000.
Franz: I wrote with the Pro Gear Slim posted during this twenty minute exercise. Surprisingly, even with the small size of the Pro Gear Slim, I did not experience any hand cramps, or fatigue. I grip the pen where the cap and barrel meet which is the thickest part of the pen and it’s quite comfortable for me.
Katherine: It’s a cute pen, and the cap unscrews fairly quickly. However, I found that the nib dried up very, very quickly — which doesn’t do well for the stop-and-go nature of my daily work note taking. I’m unsure if this is due to the ink (Bung Box Omaezaki Azure Sea) or the pen, but this is the fastest I’ve ever had a pen dry out as I’ve used it. The pen dries out quickly enough that if I think for too long between lines, it takes a squiggle or two to get it flowing again.
Pam: I keep the Sailor Galaxy with my planner/hobonichi for it’s portability and EF nib which is more complimentary for my small handwriting and the small monthly boxes in my planner.
Franz: In my work setting, this pen performed okay. On the go, I need to take 1 and 3/4 turns to unscrew the cap, and then post it each time. So for quick signatures, and notes I found it a little annoying. Once I am (rarely) seated on my desk, I found it very nice to write with as I jot down notes.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Katherine: This is a shorter pen than I thought it would be, but given that I know almost nothing about Sailor’s line up… take this with a grain of salt. The length is comfortable in hand for me, even unposted. Honestly, I’m scared of posting it because that may scratch up the plastic and distort the finish.
I want this pen just for the finish. It’s very pretty without being flashy or obvious. It writes great and is a comfortable size as a pocket or purse pen for me — it would be a great work pen if it didn’t dry out so quickly (sometimes I need time to think about what to write!). More science will have to be done to see if it’s the pen or the ink.
Pam: As Darcy once said, “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Yet, I have a hard time putting down exactly why I love this pen into words.
Yes, alot of it as the aesthetics, but the nib is by far one the best gold Japanese EF nibs that I have ever had the pleasure to write with. Correction, it’s the only gold Japanese F or EF nib that I own. Even with my own Pilot VP, I ended up swapping out the F gold nib for the F special alloy (steel) nib with a friend. This pen is portable, beautiful and writes like a dream. I haven’t felt the need to try any other gold EF or F nib since I have had this pen. It fills the niche with exactly what I am looking for in a pen and in my collection overall.
Franz: I did not expect to like this Sailor Pro Gear Slim because it is a smaller pen than what I would prefer, and the nib is an extra fine. But I was so wrong. These reviews with Pam and Katherine are slowly teaching me to not judge a pen by it’s size. Or nib size for that matter.
Anyway, the Sailor Pro Gear Slim Starburst Galaxy is such a fantastic pen and I enjoyed using it. The finish is absolutely beautiful, and the nib is awesome. The only downside to this pen is the fact that I cannot use it unposted, and that this Starburst Galaxy finish is a limited edition of only 500 worldwide. I wish it were available on a standard size Pro Gear.
I leave you with one of my favorite movie lines for this pen’s beautiful finish.
“Second star to the right. And straight on ’til morning.”
– Captain James T. Kirk, Star Trek: Undiscovered Country
P.S. This movie line is also an homage to another well-known character. Anyone know which character it’s from?
Katherine: This pen looks pretty cool. I like the brushed finish of the Makrolon and the hooded nib. I also really like how the pen has an ink window, but it’s pretty subtle. AND it has a slip cap, +10 points for Gryffindor.
Franz: The Lamy 2000 is such a great looking pen that is also an awesome writer. The first feature that attracted me to this pen is the almost invisible line that separates the piston knob and barrel. I love that it looks so solid from afar. And Katherine is right about the brushed finish. It just gives a nice feel to the hand.
Uncapped, there is a contrast between the section and the barrel. I definitely love this feature. Once you cap the Lamy 2000, there is a satisfying click that lets you know it’s secure.
Pam: The Lamy 2000 is the Dr. Who of pens. It is such a classic with it’s minimalist design that the pen appears ageless. You would never guess that the Lamy 2000 is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year! With the clean lines, brushed finish and contrast between the metal and Makrolon, this pen also looks like it belongs in the future. Like Dr. Who, it also has a cult following, is always in style and has a special place in my nerdy heart.
The Business End
Katherine: I’ve tried Lamy 2000s in the past and I’ve never been a fan. I find the Lamy nib way too smooth. I feel like I’m writing with a glass chopstick — but this is totally personal preference, this just isn’t my favorite nib. The Extra Fine nib is a little less smooth, especially on some papers with more texture like Midori’s MD paper. On super-smooth Tomoe River paper though, writing with this nib gives me a weird sense of nails-against-glass feeling. Also, this EF is nothing like a Japanese EF, which I prefer, but it’s usable.
Franz: When I got my Lamy 2000, it was a medium nib. A smooth, juicy, and springy medium nib out of the box and I liked it for what it was. I wrote on a Rhodia Webnotebook for journaling and I found the nib just gliding on the paper. Initially, it does take a conscious effort to make sure that I am holding the pen correctly. If I rotate the pen too much, it may not write as smoothly as it’s supposed to. After continued writing, you do get used to how to grip it and how much rotation you get away with.
I speak of the nib in the past tense because at the first pen show I attended which was the 2014 LA Pen Show, it was made into a cursive italic by Mr. Mike Masuyama. I didn’t just like the nib anymore, I loved it. I find that it’s quite a versatile pen as I use it on Tomoe River paper, Rhodia notepads, my Hobonichi planner, and cheap copy paper from work.
In contrast with Katherine’s experience, the performance of the Lamy 2000’s nib is one of the reasons why I like this pen.
Pam: For someone who loves/prefers Japanese extra fine and fine nibs, I was resigned to the fact that the Lamy EF would be “too broad” for me. I have never been so happy to be WRONG about this nib. The nib is unique in it’s shape. Unlike most nibs where the tipping is round, the tipping on the Lamy 2000 is almost triangular. Maybe it’s just me, but that gives a very specific characteristic to the lines created by this pen. With the way I hold my Lamy 2000, I feel like I get a “stub-like” line variation in my handwriting. (Or maybe that is my imagination.)
My Lamy 2000 is constantly inked up with Sailor Yama-Dori and performs well on all papers. It glides over Tomoe River paper and Rhodia and has some texture when I write on cheap copy paper at work. The nib is springy and responsive enough that you can see the sheen of Yama-Dori come through. Depending on my writing pressure, the nib will even be wet enough to cause the ink to sheen on cheap copy paper. There are few pens that perform as admirably on copy paper as the Lamy 2000. I prefer to use this pen, and it’s “broader” EF nib for editing and auditing while at work.
Write It Up
(20-minute writing experience)
Katherine: Once I’ve got the grip right, it’s a comfortable pen. I use it unposted and, feedback aside, I found it very comfortable. It’s a light pen, so it’s easy to forget that the pen is there. On smoother paper though, the smoothness bugs me. I’d be happy journaling with this pen if my journal wasn’t Tomoe River paper.
Franz: I post the cap and grip the pen a little far back up. My index finger seems to always land right on the “ears” that keep the cap in place. This actually gives me a reference as to how much I’ve rotated the pen.
Needless to say, the 20-minute writing experience was fun and relaxing. As the pen wrote, my thoughts flowed.
Pam: I really can’t get a decent “tripod” or “traditional” grip on the Lamy 2000, so I had a hard time using Franz’s Lamy with a cursive italic grind. With my “iron grip,” or fist like grip, the width of the pen being wider than most other pens is more comfortable for longer writing sessions. The non-FP equivalent of this pen is like the Dr. Grip pens where the width is part of the comfort. I prefer to write with the pen posted. The slightly added weight is just enough for me to enjoy the weight of the pen in hand and prevent me from losing the cap while at work.
The Lamy 2000 is great for quick notes at work, but the pen shines with lengthier writing times. I get entranced with the lines from the EF nib and the sheen from Yama-Dori. (Or perhaps I am easily entertained.) I prefer the pen/ink combo with Tomoe River paper. I typically find myself looking for an excuse to write with this pen or I find myself missing the writing experience if I don’t use this pen for a journaling session at least once a week.
Katherine: Writing experience aside, I really enjoy this pen as a work pen. I love that it is a clean, classic looking pen that my coworkers don’t bat an eye at. And, the snap cap makes it very convenient for jotting down quick notes.
Franz: I love this pen’s ease of use. Snap cap for fast deployment, spring clip for the shirt pocket, and the awesome nib to write whatever is required. This is definitely a pen I’d use everyday at work. On my days off, I seem to always clip this in my shirt pocket and have it as a knockabout pen.
Pam: To echo Katherine and Franz, the pen is VERY work friendly. The clip is great whether it is clipped to the pocket of my white coat or clipped to my hobonichi cover. It’s not the tightest of clips, but that’s perfectly alright with me given my use case. The Lamy 2000’s clip is secure and will glide in and out of pockets.
This was also the pen I recommended to a colleague who asked for a fountain pen that would tolerate being dropped. (A happy ending for my colleague: No Pelikans have since been harmed with the use of the Lamy 2000, sparing the Pelikans a tragic and heartbreaking fate of cracked bindes and weeks of repairs.) I have been thanked for this recommendation for the last year and a half. It’s often his favorite fountain pen within his collection.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Katherine: I was surprised at how light this pen is. It’s a fairly comfortable pen when I hold it correctly, but because of the hooded nib and the way the pen looks (no obvious “up”) sometimes I pick it up funny and end up trying to write at a silly angle. The pen is long enough that I didn’t even think of posting it. Was I supposed to post it?
I really enjoy the look of this pen — so slick and modern! But, the nib on this pen is a deal breaker for me. I’d consider buying one used perhaps in a Fine or Medium nib and having it ground.
Franz: The Lamy 2000 is a nice sized pen and I do recommend this for almost every hand size. My large paw does not get uncomfortable journaling with this pen as long as it’s posted. Unposted, it is still comfortable for quick notes and signatures. I love the ink capacity of piston-filled pens and this isn’t any different. I can go for days, or even a full week without refilling.
This is a solid choice for pen enthusiasts or even just for a person who wants a fountain pen for utility. The pen’s shape, the brushed black makrolon material, and the nice nib section, are just a few features that for me makes it an “iconic” pen. Iconic is a subjective term so let me define what it means to myself. For me, an iconic pen means it is a well-known, great quality pen that is recommended for one to have in their collection. I may get some flak for saying this but in my humble opinion, I think that the Lamy 2000 can be called a modern-day Parker 51 because of how utilitarian and iconic of a pen it’s been. There. I said it.
If you have never held, or written with this pen before, give it a try and you just might like it. It’s been a pen model manufactured by Lamy since the mid-1960’s. I think they’ve done something right.
Pam: Many state that this pen is a great “first gold nib” pen or “upgraded $100+ pen.” For me, this was THE pen. Not only was it a simply beautiful and classic design, but the material is unique, the finish is immaculate and did I mention the hooded nib that is wonderfully smooth and consistent? I have since accumulated other “grail” pens, but the Lamy 2000 is a special kind of favorite, no matter what else is in my collection. (You can’t really choose a favorite child… or can you?)
Pamela: The Model 45 is a sexy panther of a pen. The lines of the pen are soft, curvy and sleek. The shape and the size reminds me a lot of the Pilot Prera, which is one of my favorite pens to use.
Katherine: It’s a clean, sleek pen. It’s not too flashy, but it looks like someone put some thought into designing it. I know a lot of people wanted to wait and see what others colors came out post-IPO, but of the prototypes I saw, the only one I liked more than the black was the Bronze. So, I got the black. (And at $110, it’s a pretty good deal!) One nit (which is hopefully uncommon) is that my pen showed up with a pretty scuffed nib. There’s an obvious scuff between the slit and the logo, and about half the gold-coloring on the nib is gone. I’m guessing this is a remnant of the nib being hand-ground, but it was a little disappointing anyway. Thankfully, it doesn’t affect writing quality at all — just gives me pen a little more “character”.
Franz: The Franklin-Christoph Model 45 XLV may be a simple looking pen but it has some elegance and the term aerodynamics come to mind. There are a number of different color acrylic prototypes of this pen floating around from the past few pen shows, but similar to Katherine, the black features the shape well.
The Business End
Pamela: It’s a Mike Masuyama nib. Need I say more?
The nib alone is well worth the price of the pen. Not only are cursive italic nibs typically only available after a custom grind from a nibmeister, this is a cursive italic grind completed by one of the best nibmeisters available. The CI nib is smooth and crisp. I have read that CI is usually less forgiving when it comes to finding and maintain a “sweet spot” but I don’t find that to be case with this particular nib.
Katherine: As Pam mentioned, it’s a crisp and smooth nib. But, magically, its very forgiving and I’ve never caught paper with it. It does run a little drier than I’d prefer — but that makes it great on cheap paper.
Franz: The Model 45 sports a No. 5 size nib which for me seems small, but it works out in the design and for the pen’s small size. Similar to the ladies above, I found the fine cursive italic nib quite smooth and seemed to have a wider sweet spot than I expected. The supplied blue ink cartridge may have been the issue but I found that the flow was too dry for my liking. I think that if I used a better flowing ink, I would have been happier with it.
Write It Up (20-minute writing experience)
Pamela: Posted, the pen is well balanced and rests perfectly in my pixie size hands. The girth of the pen is just wide enough for the traditional tripod grip to be comfortable for a relatively long writing session. I am not used to the traditional grip so my hand tends to cramp up with any pen with a stub or CI nib. I experience fatigue with this pen, but taking a quick break to shake it off is easy enough.
Due to the nature of the grip (the traditional tripod grip) and the nib, my writing speed is decreased to ensure that the CI nib really shines through with it’s crisp, clean lines and edges.
The results from the pen is well worth the extra time and effort.
Franz: I had to write with this pen posted the whole time and it was fairly comfortable. Journaling with it’s cursive italic nib was very nice and pleasing but after an A5 size page of writing, the pen’s size made my hand tired. The longer I wrote with it, my hand seemed to squeeze on the pen tighter.
Katherine: For longer writing sessions, I tend to prefer this pen posted. It stays comfortable in the hand and I like to think the cursive italic helps me keep my hand writing even and (marginally) nice looking. Additionally, putting the threads on the end of pen is an awesome touch — even if I move my grip around (my lazy hand cramps sometimes) I don’t worry about holding threads.
Pamela: I don’t use the model 45 at work since I have other pens that are better suited for the quick deployment like the Pilot VP. I also don’t feel comfortable carrying this in my white coat without a clip or using it on the patient units without a roll stop. On the flip side, it’s a great opportunity to get creative and customize this pen.
I reserve the Model 45 for the reflective/contemplative writing sessions. Using this pen is almost meditative for me as I slow my pace and be more intentional with my writing. Watching this pen in action brings me a sense of joy and ease as I practice a little slice of mindfulness.
Katherine: The 45 uncaps quickly, which is nice for jotting down quick notes. And the dry nib makes taking notes on mediocre work paper a possibility. Perhaps because of the dryness of the pen, it doesn’t seem to spit into its cap as I drop it and throw it in my backpack or pocket. The only downside is the lack of a cap or rollstop — so if I’m not careful with where I put it, the 45 can easily roll away.
Franz: I brought this pen to work for one day and it was actually very good for writing quick notes. Just like Katherine, I appreciated the quick uncapping capability. However, being a clipless pen made it difficult to store in my jacket pocket, or even in my shirt pocket. I found that I was having to “fish” it out of the pocket each time I needed it. So, it just stayed on my desk and only used it when I got to sit down.
Pamela: I was initially apprehensive about the Model 45 given how small it is that it would feel too insubstantial and well, plastic-y. I am pleasantly surprised that the material is sturdy and has great acoustics. Yes, acoustics. The sound of the cap separating and meeting the body of the pen is satisfying and even enjoyable for me. (It’s really the little things in life right?) It takes less than a full turn for me to get the cap off the pen for fast and easy deployment when needed.
Posted, the pen is the perfect length for comfort and is well balanced. Despite the small size of the pen, it’s really comfortable for me to hold in the traditional tripod position for the optimal use of the wonderful CI nib. Writing a couple sentences with it is easy, breezy and beautiful.
I can’t think of a better way to express my appreciation for a pen than with a purchase! The review is was a very convenient rationale. I know, the sacrifices we have to make…
Just be aware that between both our pens, our fine CI nibs were on the dry side out of the box. My writing pressure is significantly heavier than Katherine so a small tweak was all it took for me.
Katherine: I tried Dan’s (hello Dan! Do you have a website?) 45 before purchasing my own — I was wow’d by how comfortable it was to hold, posted or unposted, and by how smooth the F CI nib is. So I got my own, and it hasn’t disappointed. I tend to use it unposted (I’m that lazy), but it’s equally comfortable either way for me.
Overall, I think this pen is great value for $110 (we’ll see what the post-IPO price looks like!). It’s a small pen (it easily fits in my skinny jeans’ pockets) that is comfortable to write with even for long durations. It’s a solidly built writer with an interesting nib that transitions well from my workday to my before-bedtime journaling.
Franz: I feel that the Model 45 is a very good pen for people with small to average sized hands. With my larger hands, I can say that the 45 is not for me. I was only able to use the pen posted unlike Pam and Katherine. This is coming from a person who owns and enjoys writing with a Franklin-Christoph Model 66. But that’s probably reserved for another review.
Since pens are a very personal and tactile experience, I do recommend everyone interested to try out and hold this pen to see if it’s right for them.
Large hands notwithstanding, I do like the pen’s appearance, build quality, and nib variety. I also feel that it’s a very good value for the money. Thanks for letting me use your pen Katherine!
Katherine: The pen is made of some sort of dark red translucent plastic with gold trim, and I really like it. It’s translucent enough to have depth, but solid enough to have some mystery. Overall I’m not a big fan of gold trim, but the trim makes the red look really rich and warm. I’m a fan!
Franz: I have always admired the Platinum 3776 Century Bourgogne, and Chartres Blue’s translucent material. With the right lighting, the pen just seems to glow. The cigar shape is quite nice and gives it a balanced look that I find very pleasing.
Pamela: I was unimpressed when I saw the picture of this pen on the internet since the color and the shape of the pen doesn’t appeal to me. However, upon handling the pen, the material feels substantial. Although I am not a fan of the yellow gold, the red is deep and rich in color. As Katherine says, the yellow gold is the best compliment to the red.
The cigar shape and the gold trim provides the pen a classic and traditional aesthetic, which is not my cup of tea, but is worthy of consideration for anyone who enjoys the aesthetic.
Katherine: I’ve seen a couple reviews of this pen saying it’s a little small unposted — I think it’s perfect. I prefer it unposted, but do post it when I’m worried about losing the cap. It’s a solid and well-balanced pen.
Franz: Sorry Katherine, but in my hand, this pen needs to be posted to be comfortable for I grip it far back near the threads. The pen is still usable when unposted but I need to place my fingers closer to the nib and I have to be conscious in doing so.
The resin material is well made and sturdy. It’s probably just me, but the pen warms up in my hand almost like how an ebonite pen feels. I believe it takes one and a quarter turn to cap/uncap the pen. As you cap the pen, the final quarter turn gives a secure feeling as the inner cap actuates the Slip and Seal mechanism.
Pamela: I prefer my pens to be posted when I write with them. Unposted, the length is perfect and is noticeably lighter. However, given my preference, the cap provides slightly additional heft to the pen that I typically prefer in the hand feel. Please note, I am also the type of person who enjoys the heftier VP over the slimmer and lighter Decimo model.
The Business End
Katherine: I love this nib. It writes with a touch of feedback and quite a bit of springiness (since this is a Soft Fine). Writing with this pen makes me feel alive. However, if I want to keep writing with visible line variation, this pen isn’t by any means semi-flex and it can get pretty tiring.
Franz: Yep, the nib on this pen means business. It just… writes. For a Japanese Fine nib, it is smooth but lets me know that it is writing. I generally prefer to write with western medium/broad nibs but with this nib, I don’t mind it at all. As Katherine mentioned, there is just a little bit of spring to the nib and it feels nice.
And let’s not forget the nib’s awesome heart-shaped breather hole!
Pamela: This nib is out of this world and seems to defy the law of physics. I can’t believe that this is a “stock nib” from Platinum. It provides some bite when writing, particularly with my heavy hand, but nib still provides an acceptable fine line with regular writing. If desired, the “softness” of the nib can be used to add a flourish with the added line variation. The softness is best used with moderation since it actually takes quite a bit of concerted effort make a large line variation.
How did Platinum make a gold nib that is stiff enough to produce a wonderfully fine line yet perfectly springy enough to provide a great line variation? Some nibs just have it all.
Write It Up
(20-minute writing experience)
Katherine: This pen is comfortable and I have no qualms writing with it for long periods of time. (I quite enjoy it, actually!)
Franz: For the first fifteen minutes of writing I posted the 3776 and it was fantastic! The pen seemed to meld into my hand and made my journaling an enjoyable experience. I was gripping the pen high up and the threads were resting on my middle finger. It did not bother me at all.
For the last five minutes of my journaling, I wrote with it unposted. My fingers slid down closer to the lip of the section. I felt a tighter grip and gave me a tense feeling. A total 180-degree experience from earlier. So, I will only use the pen unposted when I need to write a word or two.
Pamela: Writing with this pen is a joy. I find that the small amount of “bite” to be so satisfying because you can feel the words be put into the paper whether it is from a strong punctuation at the end of a sentence or the smooth sweep of cursive. If I am not mindful, I can start gripping the pen on the threads and tight enough to feel the step down bite into my hand. Otherwise, I have little complaints to size of the pen.
Katherine: I jot down a lot of notes at work — unscrewing the cap every time is okay, but not optimal. Additionally, this pen seems to like spitting ink into its cap while it’s in my backpack. The nib is huge and pretty — but almost always has a glob or two of ink on it. Not my favorite bring-to-work-pen.
Franz: I found this pen to be acceptable for use at my work setting. For signatures and quick notes, the screw cap did not bother me at all. I signed my name about 14 times in one day and I liked it (posted, of course!). Fortunately, I have not experienced any nib/feed issues unlike both of my colleagues.
Pamela: Ditto on all of Katherine’s points. As much as I enjoy the nib, I didn’t find it particularly work friendly with the screw on cap. I, too, noticed spurts of ink after this pen was in my backpack. And at one point, the flow of the ink seemed to be pretty inconsistent. The pen would start writing just fine for about 3-5 words then it would appear that the feed was running out of ink despite an almost full converter.
Katherine: I think this is one of my favorite pens for the value ($83 dollars?! That’s a steal!)– I love the way it writes and it doesn’t look bad. Actually, I like this pen so much I have two, the other being a limited edition Sai with a Fine nib. I really love the way it writes and it’s a very comfortable size unposted.
Franz: The Platinum 3776 Century is a great pen to have and I would recommend it for anyone looking for a medium sized pen. I most probably will own a Chartres Blue with rhodium trim in the near future. (Thanks Katherine!)
Pamela: Due to the aesthetics of the pen, I wouldn’t buy it for the listed price. However, I am willing to pay for this pen just for the nib alone. Luckily, Nakaya uses Platinum nibs. If (or when) I am fortunate enough to be able to afford my own Nakaya, I will definitely be choosing the soft fine nib. It’s a unique and wonderful nib, worthy of a dream/grail pen.
This is our first post — the only people who will likely read it at first are Pam & Franz as they see their WordPress invites and go “what the heck is Katherine doing?!”
The goal of this blog is for us to review and share our opinions on fountain pens & associated things. I’ve found that my hands are MUCH smaller than average and many pen reviews call pens I think are totally normal “small” and pens that I can’t use comfortably “perfectly sized”. So here we are, I figure I can’t be the only one — and I’ve dragged two friends into it!
So welcome to my (our, because everything is better with friends) corner of the internet. And, bring on any & all feedback!