June 2018 Pen & Ink Pairing

Katherine: I didn’t have a pen and ink pairing for June — I had 30! I kept up with the #30inks30days challenge on Instagram and had quite a lot of fun.I repurposed the (empty) June page from my 2017 Hobonichi to track my progress. I own more ink samples than I’d care to admit, and I had a lot of fun trying new ones and revisiting old favorites. I also own more pens than I can use regularly, and this gave me a chance to get some of them inked up and writing!

 

Pam: As luck would have it, ’tis the season to reveal an ink in my stash that I have been hoarding.  It has patiently waited for a pen-mate.  Thankfully, my minty dreams have come true with the Vanness edition of the Franklin Christoph Model 45 which is the perfect color match to Papier de Plume’s Lake Michigan Summer. The minty color sings of happy summer days as well as the soothing waters of a lake shore in both ink and pen.

I have typically avoided minty inks due to the a possible brightness that detracts from the readability of an ink.  I don’t have any problem with this ink.  It’s dark and well saturated to make reading a breeze. The comfort of the model 45 rivals that of my Pilot Prera which is practically a daily carry at work.  Not only is the ink and pen pairing a dream come true for me; I can’t imagine a better color than the minty Vanness edition Model 45.

 

Franz: Hellooo BLUE-tiful! I have had this M800 Blue o’ blue for a while now and figured to ink it up just for practicing and improving my novice italic calligraphy skills. The Blue o’ blue (Blue over blue) was a Special Edition pen by Pelikan in 2010 and I was fortunate to have gotten this pen early in my collecting days. The translucency of this material never ceases to amaze me. #ilovebluepens

I also inked up the M800 Blue o’ blue to match with the Maruzen Athena Eternal Blue ink that I have been growing to like. The Eternal Blue ink has shading that mimics the Blue o’ blue’s material. The double broad italic nib is a fitting nib for this ink because it helps bring out the shading even more.

 

Pam’s writing sample
Franz’s writing sample
2 Comments

Review: Ryan Krusac Studios Legend L-16 (Cocobolo, Broad Cursive Italic)

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: I love the materials and finish of this pen. The warm, rich wood paired with a turquoise finial is a beautifully organic pairing! However, I think the pens proportions are a weeee bit off? The barrel looks a little too long to me. But, I do tend to prefer stubbier pens.

Pam: This is one big pen.  Even for someone who loves the Pelikan M800 and the Sailor King of Pen.  The craftsmanship on this pen is obvious. From the warm and super smooth finish of the wood, the subtly engraved Ryan Krusac logo, and the turquoise inset, you can see the care that has been put into this pen. It’s a work of art.

Franz: The Legend L-16 is quite impressive in the hand as it is the largest in Ryan Krusac’s Legend pen line. The L-16 denotes that the barrel’s diameter is 16mm and then another size is the L-14 which is 14mm. Ryan had also announced the L-15 size (15mm) but that is still unavailable at the time of this review. The Legend pen can either be ordered from his website or at any pen show that he attends. I happen to have snagged this Legend in Cocobolo from Ryan at the 2017 Atlanta Pen Show. The dark Cocobolo finish is complemented by the turquoise inlays on the cap and barrel.

Being a wood pen, the Legend gets warmer while writing as well as the ebonite section. I must mention that Ryan pays attention to details with each pen he creates. When you are writing with the Legend, the best looking grain of the wood faces you as you write and also, the cap and barrel aligns perfectly each time. Smart move to make it a single thread!

In the Hand: RKS Legend L-16 (posted) – from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: RKS Legend L-16 (unposted) – from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
Detail: Turquoise inlays on the cap and barrel

 

The Business End

Katherine: The pen fits a Jowo #6 nib. The nib on this one had a nice BCI, unlike many of Franz’s other BCIs, this one had a little bit of tooth. It’s unlike most of the Masuyama grinds I’ve used, but it was a perfectly usable nib with some character. Would borrow (from Franz) again!

Pam: It’s a great CI.  I find the nib to be crisp and wet. It is pretty toothy, but I greatly appreciate the feedback.  It makes for a unique writing experience.  It did show off the sheen of Pelikan Turquoise fantastically.

Franz: When you buy a pen from Ryan, you have a choice of steel nibs or 18-karat gold nibs. I opted for a broad steel nib with the intention of having it ground by Mr. Mike Masuyama at the same pen show. Needless to say, the juicy broad nib was transformed into a crisp, juicy cursive italic. The broad nib can go through ink quite fast but the included standard international cartridge/converter does its job as it should. Also, I really love Ryan’s logo on the nib as it makes a “generic” Jowo nib match the pen.

Franz’ writing sample on a Rhodia 6.5 x 8.25 Meeting Book

 

Write It Up

Katherine: This pen is quite long for me… but surprisingly light. As a result, it’s a very comfortable pen for me to write with despite its size.

Pam: I am surprised how comfortable I found this pen.  The length and width/girth of the pen is similar to the Sailor King of Pen.  The Krusac is lighter for me. Due to the width of the pen, it’s quite comfortable to hold in the tripod grip.  However, for those with the iron fist grip, the step and the threads are right below where I would place my thumb.  No thread imprints for the win.

Franz: The Legend fits my hand very well and my journaling of about 15 minutes was very enjoyable. We may have taken a hand comparison photo of the pen with the cap posted but neither of us wrote in that mode. Reason being? I don’t believe this pen was made to be posted as the cap threads can mar the wood finish. Also, the cap only touches less than half an inch of the barrel which makes for a very long unwieldy pen, and the cap is unsecured and can wiggle off while writing. Unposted, this pen is plenty long even for my bear paw.

 

EDC-ness

Katherine: The lack of a clip or rollstop makes this one a bit of a danger to EDC… I imagine it doesn’t do well when hitting the ground. (Don’t worry Franz, I didn’t test that!) Additionally, it takes a full three turns to uncap — so I found this pen was a suboptimal EDC. But a lovely home desk-living pen!

Pam:  Honestly, it didn’t occur to me to try out the EDC-ness of this pen other than have it live in the Nock Sinclair.  My hesitation was that it didn’t have a clip and I can’t imagine dropping this pen out of my coat pocket, especially since it’s not mine to drop.  This is a “savor the journaling moment” pen where one would enjoy the finer things and slower moments in life.  Keep it at the desk or in a case is my recommendation.

Franz: I do echo the ladies above that the Legend pen being clipless is a risk for ROFY. (Rolling-On-Floor-Yikes!) So I’m a bit more conscious when I am using this pen at work and avoid walking around with it. I do enjoy writing with it while I’m at my desk during a call or something else that doesn’t require me to move around.

And because the pen is single-threaded to maintain the cap and barrel alignment, the trade-off is taking 3 full turns to uncap for use. Not really the best for on-the-go purposes.

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: If the proportions of this pen were a little bit different, I think this would be love. But, thankfully for my wallet, they’re not, and while it’s a nice pen, it’s not aesthetically balanced to me. Despite that though, it’s very usable even for my small hands — light and comfortable!

Pam:  If you appreciate the craftsmanship and the beauty of natural materials like wood, I would highly recommend this pen to you. For many, it’s a worthy grail pen to covet.  If this pen is too big for you, the good news is that Ryan Krusac has other sizes available!  Be sure to check Ryan Krusac out at your nearest pen show to see what works best for you.

Franz: As I started my review above, the Legend L-16 is an impressive pen — size-wise as well as aesthetics-wise. Anyone who is interested in this pen must try it out and see if it’s for you. Ryan is currently based in Georgia so he will always be at the Atlanta pen show but he travels to several U.S. pen shows including the Los Angeles pen show, and the San Francisco pen show.

One of the best parts of buying a pen from Ryan is that you get a handmade pen sleeve by his two daughters, Zoe and Sylvia. They even have their own handmade brand, zoia.co. The grey and black pen sleeve pictured above was included when I got the Legend in Atlanta.

What else can I say about the Legend L-16? I like it… a lot! So much that when Cary (Fountain Pen Day), and Ryan collaborated on a pen to raise funds for Shawn Newton, I jumped on the opportunity to get the FPD Legend pen in the L-16 size as well. The limited edition pen is made with Gaboon Ebony wood (pictures below).

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Sailor Pro Gear Slim, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pilot Custom 823, TWSBI Eco, *RKS Legend L-16*, Pelikan M1000, Lamy 2000. Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Sailor Pro Gear Slim, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pilot Custom 823, TWSBI Eco, *RKS Legend L-16*, Pelikan M1000, Lamy 2000. Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Sailor Pro Gear Slim, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pilot Custom 823, TWSBI Eco, *RKS Legend L-16*, Pelikan M1000, Lamy 2000. Lamy Safari

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

7 Comments

Review: Sailor Professional Gear King of Pen (Sky, Broad Cursive Italic Nib)

 

Happy 2018 folks! Thank you for your continued readership and we are looking forward to provide you with more reviews, and other interesting content. And for our first pen review of the year, here’s a blue pen from Sailor.

Also, just in case you’re wondering, the notebook the pen is resting on is a Musubi handmade diary just arrived from Singapore. We may review this notebook after some use. We are not affiliated in any way. They were quite popular at the San Francisco Pen Show in 2017 and they’re friendly people as well.

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: Ahhhhhh. I want a sky. They look so cool. Even the converter showing looks cool!

Pam: I am totally biased given that I own a Sailor Sky in the Progear Slim size.  The blue material is the same, however, there are more metal parts to the King of Pen which adds to the weight and hand feel. (More on that later.)

Franz: “Blue Sky smilin’ at me, nothing but blue Sky… do I see…”. Ever had a pen make you just wanna sing? Well, this King of Pen (KoP) Sky did it for me and I got Sinatra’s voice in my head.

It shouldn’t come as a shock to a lot of people that I just adore the blue finish of the pen and the shape of the Pro Gear is a great aesthetic as well. I’d say that in my hand, the Pro Gear KoP size is in between a Pelikan M800 and Pelikan M1000. A pen of substance if you will.

In the Hand: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (posted) – from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (unposted) – from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

 

The Business End

Katherine: Being one of Franz’s, this pen sports a wonderful BCI. The nib is quite large, but a joy to write with. Smooth, juicy without being sloppy and capable of crispy line variation.

Pam: Sailor has one of the most beautiful and consistent nibs on the market.  The KOP nib is no exception.  The cursive italic was expertly ground and the slight springiness of the nib allows for a great ink flow.

Franz: Mirroring what Pam said, Sailor nibs are well tuned with a hint of feedback out of the box . I’ve purchased a couple Sailor pens in 2017 and it wrote oh so perfectly for me without any adjustment. I got this pen second hand via a well-known auction site for a great price but when I got it, I found that the tines were a bit misaligned and almost too far apart. I inked it up and found that the flow was too much. So what do you do in this situation? You wait for the next pen show and ask Mr. Mike Masuyama to take care of it! Which is what I did and I also asked Masuyamasan to transform the Broad nib into a crisp cursive italic. Been loving the nib ever since.

Franz’ writing sample on a Rhodia 6.5 x 8.25 Meeting Book

 

Write It Up

Katherine: The KOP Pro Gear is a little bigger than I’d prefer, but still very comfortable and usable. I had no fatigue using it for extended periods, but do prefer the standard sized Pro Gear overall (better for my wallet, I suppose).

Pam: This size reminds me of the Pelikan M800 where it appears to be intimidating to those with pixie hands but is surprisingly comfortable. I find that the girth of the pen to be comfortable to hold for long periods of time.  The weight of the pen doesn’t seem to bother me at all as it’s a well balanced pen when unposted.  It does get long and more unwieldy for me when posted.

Franz: As I mentioned in the beginning, the Pro Gear KoP’s size is between the Pelikan M800 and M1000. These are two pens that I’m very happy to write with so this pen definitely fills my hand well. I wrote with the Sky in both posted and unposted modes at 10 minutes each and found that I’m comfortable either way. I lean more towards writing with cap unposted because it’s just a little bit more balanced that way. The cap band does place a bit more weight when posted but it wasn’t top heavy at all.

EDC-ness

Katherine: Works just fine as an EDC. The clip is strong and it takes 2 cap turns to uncap, which isn’t crazy, but feels extra secure.

Pam:  This would be a pretty good EDC pen.  The only down side is that this beauty maybe a bit too eye catching.

Franz: I use the KoP Sky at my workplace quite regularly and found it very useful as a daily carry pen. The broad cursive italic was just perfect for the copier paper we use as well as on my Rhodia meeting book. The clip like every other Sailor is very secure on my dress shirt pocket and the 2 turns to uncap isn’t too bad at all. It does fill either via cartridge/converter so I found myself refilling the converter after 3-4 days of use.

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: As mentioned earlier, I prefer the non-KOP Pro Gear more. But, I do love the way the KOP Pro Gear looks — it’s like a chubbier cuter (but larger) version of the Pro Gear! And a solidly awesome pen to boot. Alas, I can’t justify the price point (I can barely justify the price point on most Pro Gears these days…)

Pam: The Sailor KOP is a fantastic pen for those who enjoy the Sailor Progear but want something with a bit more heft and solid feel in hand.  It could easily become a daily carry pen or “the” pen that is constantly inked.  If there was a KOP in the right color (combination), it would easily make it to my grail pen list. As much as I love the Sailor Progear Slim and Sailor Progear, the KOP is an easy yes for me.  Too bad my wallet says no alot more than I do.

Franz: Four words. Bear paws are happy! The Pro Gear King of Pen is definitely for medium to large sized hands (but Pam who has the smallest hand among the 3 loves it) and I truly prefer this against the Classic size of the Pro Gear pens. In the photos below, the Pro Gear size comparisons dramatically show the big step up in size between the Classic and the King of Pen. Another key difference of a King of Pen is its nib. It is springier than a Classic or Slim size Pro Gear and provides flair to my writing that I appreciate very much.

Because of the price point of the King of Pen, it does dig into your wallet a bit..er..a lot. But it’s all a question of value. I would like to repeat that I won this second hand pen via an auction for a great price and I’m very happy about it. Would I purchase a brand new KoP Sky if this one didn’t come along? **cough** I would **cough**. I’ve wanted one ever since I saw Pam’s Pro Gear Slim Sky.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Pelikan M205, Pilot Prera, Pilot Vanishing Point, Platinum 3776, *Sailor Professional Gear King of Pen*, Pelikan M800, Lamy 2000. Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Pelikan M205, Pilot Prera, Pilot Vanishing Point, Platinum 3776, *Sailor Professional Gear King of Pen*, Pelikan M800, Lamy 2000. Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Pelikan M205, Pilot Prera, Pilot Vanishing Point, Platinum 3776, *Sailor Professional Gear King of Pen*, Pelikan M800, Lamy 2000. 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)

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Review: Edison Beaumont (0.9mm cursive italic nib)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The Edison Beaumont comes in a variety of materials, but at it’s heart, it’s a slim pen with a very distinct flat-top cap. Overall, it strikes me as an updated version of very vintage styling (I guess flat-tops just do that for me), which I don’t mind, but I don’t love.

Pam: The Beaumont is relatively slim in width but a good length (may be too lengthy) for the pen.  The material reminded me of ebonite ripples which is an acquired taste that I am currently lacking.  Generally speaking, the pen’s proportions didn’t appeal to me.  I find the cap to be too chunky for such a slim pen.  That being said, it’s a well made pen and would work well for those in a business setting or going for a more classic and formal look.  The ripple material brings some interest, but not overly loud.  Not to mention, there are options for different materials.

Franz: This is an Edison Beaumont in Briar Swirl ebonite which I purchased very early at the start of my pen collecting. The Beaumont definitely has a vintage shape to it and reminds me of something like a vintage Parker Duofold Streamline pen. I really love how the black cap-top and barrel finial frames the creamy amber swirls of the ebonite.

In November 2012, it was the first ever celebration of Fountain Pen Day. This awesome day is celebrated annually on the first Friday of November. So for Fountain Pen Day, Edison Pen Co. was offering free nib grinds along with a purchase. I got this Beaumont from their “Current Inventory” and asked to get my first ever cursive italic grind. Working with Brian, and Andrea Gray was seamless and I got my pen within a couple days.

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

The Business End

Katherine: The Beaumont I’ve been using has a MCI, ground by Brian Gray of Edison Pen Co. It’s a very comfortable nib with dramatic line variation, as one would expect of an MCI. It’s decently smooth, without being buttery or too wet, which I like. Overall, I really like the nib!

Pam:  The nib is my favorite part of the pen! I had no issues with the nib, it flowed well and provides just the right amount of feedbacky-ness. The cursive italic is well done and provides a great writing experience.  Bravo!

Franz: The 0.9mm cursive italic is such a dream to write with. This was the first custom ground nib I had and it’s got perfect flow for my light pressure, with crisp line variation. And that light bulb nib logo of Edison on the Jowo nib is just so cool too!

 

Write It Up

Katherine: This pen is a taaaad bit on the slim side, but ultimately still comfortable for me to write with for long periods of time, but I’m surprised that Franz can! The pen is light and comfortable, and the nib is complaint-free.

Pam:  The pen is very comfortable and light to use.  I didn’t have an issue with the slimness of the pen in both hand grips- tripod or “iron grip”.  In my weird “iron grip,” I did find the pen to be slightly top heavy or unbalanced when posted.  Hence why I felt that the initial design of this pen is just too lengthy for me, particularly since most of my usual grip is closer towards the nib end.

Franz: The Edison Beaumont is one of the smaller pen models in their offering. As shown on the “In The Hand” photos above, the Beaumont is a bit small in my hands especially when unposted. I do prefer writing with the cap posted and my grip is above the barrel threads for a thicker grip. The concave grip section is quite small for me and causes my hand to cramp up.

For about 15 minutes, I wrote with the cap posted and it was a comfortable journaling session with a nice balance.

Franz’ writing sample on Rhodia Dot pad

 

EDC-ness (Every Day Carry)

Katherine: There’s something about the way the cap and the cap threads are designed that’s a little… strange. I found that if I cap the pen and twist, sometimes it doesn’t catch — it gets caught on a lip or something, and I have to wiggle to get the threads started. This is kind of annoying for me, since usually, if I want to cap a pen… I want to cap it. Other than that, it’s a small, light pen that seems durable and clips securely to pockets. I ran some errands with it clipped in my poncho pocket, and it held on securely! (Edit: Since writing this, Franz has informed me that the weird threading was a design flaw with the initial Beaumont, but it has since been fixed! Hurray!)

Pam: It’s a great pen for EDC and the clip did just fine in my white coat pocket.  The cap took a little more than 1 full rotation so it wasn’t too bothersome for me to carry around and use for quick jots.

Franz: I’ve used the Beaumont at work for a good amount of time and because of the cursive italic grind, it became a pen specifically for signatures. The 0.9mm line was a nice width for the copier paper used in my office. The length of the pen was perfect for my dress shirt pocket and it clips easily onto my shirt.

This Beaumont is filled via cartridge/converter and using this daily at work makes me need to re-ink it after 2-3 days. Not a very big deal but it is something I have to keep on checking daily. That’s due to being spoiled by my piston-filled pens. The pen can be eye-dropper filled as well but I’ve never done that (yet).

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: All in all, the Beaumont is a nice pen. It’s comfortable, solidly made and writes well. However, it’s on the slimmer/smaller side and it feels a touch overpriced. I think I’m conflating flat-tops in my head, but I’d flip and the Conklin Duragraph in terms of price points… and all would be what I expect.

Pam:  The pen is great for those who enjoy a modern take to the vintage aesthetic and can appreciate the workmanship that is guaranteed by the Edison pen company.  Again, I see this pen doing great in a business or formal setting, or for those who have more vintage fountain pens than modern ones.  This one would be a great addition to your collection.

It wouldn’t be my first pen to recommend to someone due to the price point but it’s not a fair comparison in terms of price point with giants like Lamy or Pilot to the personal service and workmanship of Brian Gray.  Amongst the “custom” pen makers, this is a pretty good price point.  Alternatively, I would also consider a Franklin-Christoph if you are looking for an American company with great service and a bit more modern/unique design aesthetic.

Franz: As I was starting my pen collecting, the Edison Beaumont was my most-expensive pen. This pen we reviewed in the Briar Swirl ebonite finish was part of their Signature Line and as of June 2017, they are currently priced at $250. There are Production Line Edison Beaumont pens that can be purchased currently for $149 and I think that is such a great value. If you want to have a more unique pen with all different materials Brian has, paying the $100 premium is worth it as well.

Even though the Beaumont is smaller than what I prefer, I still enjoy writing with it especially with the custom ground 0.9mm CI nib. If size is the only category to consider, my large hands prefer the Edison Glenmont, and the Pelikan M805 which are included in the pen comparisons section below.

I recommend this Edison Beaumont for more smaller, or medium size hands and as I said above, the Edison Pen Co.’s Production Line Beaumont provides bang for your buck.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Kaweco Sport, Edison Glenmont, Platinum 3776, Franklin-Christoph Model 03, *Edison Beaumont*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Kaweco Sport, Edison Glenmont, Platinum 3776, Franklin-Christoph Model 03, *Edison Beaumont*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Kaweco Sport, Edison Glenmont, Platinum 3776, Franklin-Christoph Model 03, *Edison Beaumont*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

 

No Comments

Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 66 (14k Medium Cursive Italic, Italian Ice)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: This pen looks SO cool. Franz has the Italian Ice version (a special edition-ish material F-C makes some pens in) with a 14k gold Medium Masuyama CI. To me there are two elements to this pen — the Italian ice material and the shape. Realistically, both are pretty darned cool looking to me. I love the rounded shape of the 66 and the flat side means I don’t have to worry about it rolling away. I also love the Italian Ice material, the purple hues are subtle but give the material complexity. I think this is an unpopular opinion — but I like the Italian Ice more then I like the Antique Glass. Yep, I said it.

Pam:  Franklin-Christoph knows how to tease!  This material is pretty unique as its mysteries are revealed with some sunlight.  The clear to purple tint is like a wonderful little insider secret to those fortunate enough to have seen the pen in the sun.  The Original Ice, Italian Ice or Antique glass material greatly compliments the shape and aesthetics of the model 66.  The Original and Italian Ice reminds me of a frosty glass and icicles for the upcoming winter season, respectively.  The Antique Glass reminds me of the glass apothecary/pharmacy bottles of yore, filled with ingredients and medicines.  All three materials would really show off the beauty of sloshing ink if filled as an eye dropper.  The Model 66 is almost seamless when capped and post-able when it’s not, aka, practically perfect!  The flat surface lends unique design and provides the added bonus of an un-rolling feature.  I really appreciate the subtlety that F-C employs in branding their pens.  The etching is light and unobtrusive to the eye or touch, but in the right angle, easily found.  Honestly, with materials and design like this pen, F-C doesn’t need much overt advertisement.

Franz: The Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis has been a pen that I’ve always been intrigued with ever since I held them at pen shows. They use the Model 66 to allow their customers to test their available multiple nib choices. I got this Italian Ice Model 66 at the 2016 LA Pen Show and it fills my large hands very well. Under even indoor lighting, the pen really just looks like a clear material (as pictured above). But if the pen is under diffused semi-directional daylight, it has a very interesting purple tint to it. It is quite difficult to photograph the correct color of the tint and unfortunately my photos below are more blueish than what you see in person.

The F-C Model 66 may be inked up using a standard international ink cartridge, or converter. But if you detach the converter, it can also be used as an eyedropper filled pen. Just make sure to use a little bit of  100% silicone grease on the section-barrel threads, and the threads of the nib unit to prevent any leakage.

 

In the Hand: Franklin-Christoph Model 66 (posted) — from left to right: Katherine, Pam, and Franz
In the Hand: Franklin-Christoph Model 66 (unposted) — from left to right: Katherine, Pam, and Franz

The Business End

Katherine: The Model 66 takes #6 nibs — so it’s interchangeable with many nibs from F-C. This particular nib was a surprisingly fine, but still crisp medium CI by Mike Masuyama. It’s smooth, has a little bit of spring and was overall a delight to use. I think this particular nib is finer than most Medium CIs, since I have a hard time writing with most MCIs, but had no problems with this one. The only thing worth noting is that while I do enjoy the slight spring of the 14k nib more than the steel, it’s not worth the price difference to me. All my F-Cs have and have had (a couple have been rehomed) steel nibs.

Pam:  The medium cursive italic nib was wonderfully crisp and provided a well defined, crisp line.  It’s a joy to write with and really shines with the Franklin-Christoph Tenebris Purpuratum, a dark and well saturated black/purple ink.  This is one of the most pleasant CI nibs I have written with.  This is just a great lesson that you should have your nib tuned by Jim Rouse whenever you have the chance.

Franz: I asked Jim of Franklin-Christoph for a 14k medium cursive italic nib because their 14k is a little bit springier than the 18k. As Katherine mentioned, this medium CI is finer than the usual ones they have. Because I have a very light touch, I enjoyed the line width and variation this nib laid down. As long as I have it aligned to the sweet spot, it’s a smooth writer.

f-c-m66-17

Write It Up

Katherine: Can I skip writing and just ogle this pen? No. Dang it. The Model 66 is comfortable for me — but a touch long. I personally think it looks a little ridiculous in my hand. And, if I post the pen… it feels like I’m writing with a a slightly too-long pen with a weight at the end. This pen is usable, but when writing, I prefer shorter pens. (The p66 is PERFECT for me. But that’s for another review…)

Pam:  Tiny hands handle pens alike!  I, too, found the Model 66 to be slightly too long, even unposted.  The length was more tolerable in the traditional tripod grip.  When the pen was posted, it felt unbalanced and top heavy, especially with my “iron fist” grip; it felt like the cap would fall off in this particular grip.  This is a great pen for those with hands/paws of the normal to larger persuasion or for those with smaller hands who don’t mind the added length.  For the tripod grip with the CI nib, I actually prefer the length of the FC model 45 or shorter pocket models.  However, the girth of the model 66 was pretty comfortable in any grip/fist formation.

Franz: I wrote with this pen unposted as I found its length very well balanced and posting the cap seemed unnecessary. The cap when posted seems wobbly at first and if I try to secure it, I have visions that the cap lip might crack. Don’t worry, I think it’s durable enough and it’s probably just me.

Anyway, I wrote in my journal for a good 20 minutes and my hand was quite comfortable using it. I grip the pen on the barrel right above where it meets the section. I found this very enjoyable and my thoughts just flowed as I journalled and also wrote the lyrics of a Bossa nova song.

EDC-ness

Katherine: Franklin-Christoph calls this a desk pen, and a desk pen it should be. It’s a fairly long clip-less pen with a cap that can roll away (even if the body doesn’t)… Not my favorite combination on strange meeting tables.

Pam:  I enjoy the pen for the specific setting of sitting-at-my-desk-with-a-hot-cup-of-tea/coffee-to-journal/memory keep.  Due to the lack of a clip and somewhat wobbly cap, I wouldn’t feel comfortable throwing this into my white coat.  Knowing me, I would scratch up the material if I accidentally threw it in with my keys or crack the beautiful material from throwing it around too much or lose the cap…

Franz: Yes. The Model 66 is a desk pen for sure but I still gave it a go and used it at work while not at my desk. I placed the pen in my jacket’s inner pocket to make it discrete. The length definitely made the pen stick out the pocket but it also allowed me to quickly grab it when I needed it. The cap unscrews with just half a turn and is quick to deploy. Half a turn! hehe..

The downside of using this clipless pen as an EDC pen is it’s more prone to roll away and fall if you set it down. And in that one day of using it at work, it almost fell once (yipes!). Also, because of it’s length, the pen sticks out of my shirt pocket unsecured which makes it prone to falling out while I’m moving around. As long as I transport the pen in a case to my office desk and use it there, it’s a great pen to use at work.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: Ultimately, this pen isn’t for me. I love the way it looks, but found the length a tad unwieldy both for long writing sessions and as a work pen. I much prefer the size of the Pocket 66, which is very similar, but much shorter. The nib on this pen, as with every F-C nib I’ve tried, is superb. In the end… would I like to own this pen? Yes! It’s gorgeous. Would I use it? Probably not (so… I don’t own it).

Pam:  The Model 66 was probably the first design from Franklin-Christoph that caught my attention.  The Original Ice was the first material by Franklin-Christoph that had me stalking their website like a hyena on the Serengeti. Of course F-C has been teasing great material for the last 2 years and the Italian Ice is not exception.  All in all, this is a great pen that is not only functional, but absolutely beautiful and unique in both design and material.

As this pen and the Ice materials by F-C remind me of the winter season, I find myself wanting to add the pocket 66 to my wishlist for Santa (aka boyfriend) rather than the full model 66.  The pocket 66 is more my size.  (Actually, almost all of the Franklin-Christoph’s pocket models are more my size…)  One of the largest draws for me is also the material, in which I prefer the Original Ice.  Hint hint “Santa…”

Franz: As seen in the pen comparison photos, the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis is quite a long pen with substantial girth as well. If you like larger pens, this may be for you. For small, and medium hands, try it out first for you might feel the same way as my colleagues do and opt for the pocket sized one. As for the Italian Ice finish I love it and I’m happy I got it.

I will most probably end up designating this pen for work and leave it on my desk each day. This way I’ll always have a fountain pen at work. Thanks for reading our review of this pen!

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Pilot Metropolitan, Pelikan M200, Parker 75, *Franklin-Christoph Model 66*, Pelikan M800, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Pilot Metropolitan, Pelikan M200, Parker 75, *Franklin-Christoph Model 66*, Pelikan M800, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Pilot Metropolitan, Pelikan M200, Parker 75, *Franklin-Christoph Model 66*, Pelikan M800, and Lamy Safari

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

 

 

 

1 Comment

Review: Lamy 2000 (Makrolon)

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Hand Over That Pen, please!

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.

In the Hand: Lamy 2000 (posted) — from left to right: Katherine, Pam and Franz

 

In the Hand: Lamy 2000 (unposted) — from left to right — Franz, Pam & Katherine (we like to mix up the ordering!)

 

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.

Katherine’s EF nib and her writing sample — on Maruman Mnemosyne
Franz’s medium cursive italic nib
Pam’s writing sample of her extra fine nib

 

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.  

 

        EDC-ness

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?)

 

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Closed pen from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Edison Beaumont, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

 

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Posted cap from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Edison Beaumont, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

 

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Unposted/Open from left to right: Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Edison Beaumont, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

 

12 Comments

Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 45 (Fine Cursive Italic)

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Hand Over That Pen, please!

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.

In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (posted)
In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (posted)
In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (unposted)
In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (unposted)

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.

Pam writes like a font. 
Pam writes like a font.
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A writing sample in Katherine’s messy handwriting. (Pilot VP fine for comparison)
The 45 hanging out on a coffee table in Katherine's office. Notice the scuffs on the nib.
The 45 hanging out on a coffee table in Katherine’s office. Notice the scuffs on the nib.

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.

In my small hands, this pen is totally usable unposted, but it feels pretty light. (I have eczema, pls ignore. :<)
It’s a better balanced pen when posted.

EDC-ness

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.

Grip-ping Impressions

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!

 

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Closed pens from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari

 

Posted cap from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari
Posted cap from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari

 

Unposted from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari
Unposted from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari
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