Sunday, 28 October 2012

Did You Know...?

...that with some nibs, maybe all nibs, I don't know, you can write with the nib upside down, and it still works. Only, and this is the good bit, the line you get is about 2-3 'nib-widths' narrower. How cool is that! (Yes, yes, of course you knew - but now I do, too).

The relevance for me is that I can now use my Pelikan with its massive 3B nib to do the crossword. Brilliant! Filling in a crossword with a 3B nib normally results in a big splurge in each square as you'd expect with 'newspaper' paper. But up the other way I get about a Medium nib which is just fine (I mean fine as in perfectly acceptable, not fine as in a 'Fine' knew that). But don't take my word for it, see the evidence;

This is especially useful since my 'Shopping-list and Crosswords' pen, the pocket Yard-o-Led (which really does have a Fine nib), is away having my name engraved on it (remind me to post a picture when it's done).

Anyway, back to bed, I got a stinker of a cold (expressions of sympathy are permitted :-) ).

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Pelikan Nib Experiments

So where was I...? Oh yeah, mucking about with Pelikan nibs.

Well, it was inevitable I guess, having progressed from nib sizes of Medium to Broad, briefly to Fine, and then boldly on to Double-Broad, that I'd be tempted by a Triple-Broad nib.

I think that Pelikan are the only people who make such a nib (edited to add that, of course, Montblanc do a 3B too), and, given that their nibs are easily removed/re-fitted (they simply screw in to the barrel), and the fact that I already had a Pelikan M1000 that I'd dropped and glued back together (so I didn't mind using it as a test-bed), I simply couldn't resist getting hold of one to try out. Though at about half the cost of a whole new pen, they're not cheap!

Here's the photo of the 3B that I've used at the top of the blog (but without the silly writing all over it);

All the nibs in the range are the same physical size as the 3B, i.e. HUGE, compared to most makes, and I love that!

So anyway, I fitted it, what a thick line it lays down (quel surprise). For a comparison with other nibs see below (Ok, so it bleeds and feathers rather, but the paper in this Daycraft notebook is a little on the thin side);

And it's even more impressive with black ink (e.g. Pelikan Edelstein Onyx, or Aurora Black). Makes for high impact writing, though you have to write a bit larger than normal or you end up with joined-up puddles...

The only problem, which is partly paper quality dependant, is that after a few seconds of not writing the ink can withdraw from the very tip of the nib. So if the paper is too smooth and shiny the first thing (e.g. a capital letter) you write after the pause is invisible but straight away the ink's flowing again. However, this doesn't always happen and is a minor quibble that's easily overcome with a quick scribble on the side before starting to write again.

Ok, enough nib stuff for today! Next time I'll do the Pelikan Oblique-Broad (OB) nib I thought I'd try too. So yes, I now have one pen and three nibs to chose from, and if that isn't an indulgence I don't know what is...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Hi From Mike!

Well, I guess I'd better kick this blog off with some kind of explanation...of course, that assumes that you've discovered it and are wondering what it's about...ha, fat chance, but then, you never know.

To be honest, this is really just a place to keep a log of my Pen&Ink experiences (see title), but I thought I'd allow the great unwashed to see it in case somebody actually wanted to take an interest.

Bit of history to start, then. I bought a Pelikan Souveran M1000 with a medium nib back in around 2005 I think. It was the first decent pen I'd ever bought and it was brilliant from the off. Smooth nib, nice to hold, good ink-flow, the works.

Later I saw a Conway Stewart I fancied, a 'Nelson' (which they don't make any more). It was in a lovely swirly red pattern, with gold trim, and had a broad nib. The 'B' nib was tempting as I felt that it would open up my otherwise scrawly handwriting, and up to a point it did (the business of improving one's handwriting will have to wait for a later post...).

However, possibly because I filled it from a Visconti Travelling Inkwell (i.e. under pressure), it became leaky, from both ends of the barrel. Also, it was actually prone to drying up in the middle of a long bit of writing (I was a member of International Pen Friends at that time), and I became disillusioned with it.

But in the end I decided to have Conway Stewart service it, for a reasonable £50, and after that it was fine. And it remains to this day a favourite of mine and is rarely without ink.

After that I was on a roll. I went for a Yard-o-Led Viceroy Pocket pen with the Victorian finish and, unusually, a fine nib. Well straight away I regretted it. The nib was stiff and scratchy, and the ink-flow was very hard to get started but ink still leaked a little from the barrel causing the nib unit to become stained black.

But, after I bashed the nib on my desk whilst shaking it because it had dried up (!) and bent it (!!), I sent it off to Birmingham for a service and repair and when it came back it was great. Still a stiff nib, but good ink flow, no leaking, and great for carrying around in my pocket for important jobs like shopping lists and crosswords in the local cafe.

Then, I went really mad, and ordered a Visconti Opera Master, in black, and with, yes, you guessed it, a double-broad nib. Well, you gotta try these things. Well, it was lovely (just as well, given the price!). Nice to hold (kind of a rounded-off octagonal shape), a bit heavier than the Pelikan, and with the smoothest loveliest nib I'd ever experienced.

I was cock-a-hoop until...the ink started drying up in the middle of a long letter. I was using Visconti Black ink, and indeed, wanted to use black in it. But, I don't know if black inks are generally thicker than coloured one's, but I got the same effect with both Pelikan Brilliant Black and, but to a lesser extent, Pelikan Edelstein Onyx.

The Visconti importers recommended Monte Verde ink which is supposed to have additives that help with the ink flow, but still no luck. to the importers it went to, frankly, be replaced. Well, we'll see...I believe I should have it back in a week or so. I'm sure it'll be fine, though, and I can hardly wait. If it all goes well, I'm sure that it will become my number one pen so far (obviously I have designs on something even better, but not this year!).

Anyway, while the Visconti has been away, I've been mucking about with different nibs for the old Pelikan (there's a clue in the picture behind the blog headline - can you spot what it is, boys and girls?).

And, on that bombshell, I'll sign off, and go have me tea! I'll do all the trials and tribulations of nib changing next time and, if anyone really is reading this drivel, I'll try to include some images, links, and maybe some jokes too!