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!


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