07 May 2013

Noodler's Konrad Rattlesnake and Adrenaline

I had been waiting for some time to try and snag one of the ripple ebonite Konrads from Noodler's.  I have always been impressed with Noodler's Ink.  I am not going to tote them as the perfect brand... because I am not sure one exists.  I have been using their ink for a long time, and I trust it.  I liked the original Nib Creeper pens, and really like the Ahabs.  I was a little disappointed in the original Konrad.  I did not think the fit and finish was there.

I really thought the ebonite Konrad would be a big improvement.  Like anything else, however, I am easily distracted when it comes to pens.  Then I saw a video Nathan (Noodler's CEO, Chief Chemist, etc) posted on you tube about the acrylic Konrads ... The John Mung Konrad.  

I am not a big fan of white pens... The picture below show most of the pens I have at the ready.  I have more in boxes and drawers, but these are the ones that are usually in active rotation.  I think I have a white Lamy somewhere... I am really a fan of blue or black... but the acrylic Konrads are really pretty.

I almost bought the John Mung pen.  The one I kept ogling, however, was this one... the Rattlesnake and Adrenaline acrylic Konrad.  

No, it does not come in a pretty sleeve .. it comes in the same box that all the Noodler's pens have.  I do think the white background really accentuates the chatoyance of the material.  It is somewhat transparent.  You can see a few threads about mid-way up the body of the pen.

The fit and finish is excellent.  There are no stray pieces of plastic, or metal fittings that slip.

I have only had this pen a few weeks, but I have used it quite a bit.  It is really a lovely pen.  I took more pictures than I normally do... simply because it is so hard to express in a photo how pretty it really is.

That is not the stock flex nib on the pen.  I have a Jinhao 159 turned into a desk pen that has a wet medium nib.  It has one of the wetter feeds of all my pens.  I use it at school on my desk to write notes on cheap paper, write discipline referral slips on REALLY cheap paper, and the like.  I wanted a finer nib... and after using the stock nib on this Konrad... I knew what I was going to do.  The desk pen now has a flex nib.  This is the 7th or 8th flex nib I have gotten from Noodler's and I will say it is superior.  I don't know what is so different about it, but it is easier to get it to flex and is far more consistent.

I used the opportunity of getting a new nib to try out Jowo nibs.  I usually get Bock nibs as replacements, but the Goulets have started selling branded Jowo nibs.  It is a nice nib, smooth and stiff... I prefer some give... but I have learned what to expect from modern steel nibs.  The jury is still out as to whether Jowo beats out Bock.  It is a nice nib.  I got a Broad... It fits the pen nicely.

The first inking was Waterman Florida Blue... then Noodler's Black... in the above picture it is filled with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo.  At first I thought a colored ink would mess with the visual balance of the pen, but I find that I really like the bluish tinge that comes through.

If I were to have a complaint with the looks, it would be this little patch of air bubbles that settled in the acrylic.  You can see them in the picture above... just to the right of the ink window.  On the other hand... it almost looks like a batch of scales... it is called Rattlesnake and Adrenaline after all.

It is a comfortable pen... for me.  I thought the original Konrad was a bit small.  This one is comfortable.  I do not post my pens, but because the piston nob is under a blind cap, you can do so without risking turning the piston.

Compared to the other models of Noodler's I have, it is definitely one of the bigger ones.  From left to right: Neponset, Acrylic Konrad, Ahab, Original Konrad, Nib Creeper.

Compared to some of the better known pens, I think it can still be considered a larger pen.  From left to right: MontBlanc 149, Noodler's Neponset, Noodler's Konrad, TWSBI 540, Sheaffer Legacy II, Lamy 2000.

I will buy another acrylic Konrad when more colors come out.  If nothing else, these are a great price for a beautiful pen.  40$ is nothing compared to the money you could spend on an acrylic pen from one of the bigger companies, or to have one custom made.  I think they are very comparable to a pen from one of the major brands, but I think the fit and finish of a custom pen is still superior.

If you have been holding off from getting a Noodler's pen because you got frustrated with an early model Ahab, or have just been waiting for the Noodler's to put out a true "user grade" "works out of the box" pen...  this is your pen.  This is not just a pen for tinkerers... etc... this is a solid, beautiful, functional fountain pen.

I realized that I mentioned the new Jowo nib... here is how broad the broad is:

30 April 2013

Ink Journal Scans Part 1

I have been trying to keep an ink journal for a few months now.  I am now finding that the hardest thing is now making scans that are true to the color of the ink.  The paper is pure white Clairefontaine 90g/sm paper.  The first page has almost too much contrast, and the others, maybe too little, but it will get better as I go along.  The first date is when it was inked, then the ink, then the pen, with nib size, and finally there is a date in parenthesis when I flushed that ink out of that pen.  
(Noodler's Liberty's Elysium, Noodler's Kung Te Cheng, Pharmacist Urkundentinte, MontBlanc Oyster Grey, Pilot Iroshizuku Yama Guri, Waterman Serenity Blue, Iroshizuku Kon Peki, Noodler's Bulletproof Black, Noodler's Green Marine, Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses)

(Diamine Poppy Red, Pharmacist Turkish Night, Iroshizuku Kon Peki, Noodler's Bulletproof Black, Noodler's Kung Te Cheng, Waterman Serenity Blue, Pharmacist Turkish Night Diluted, Noodler's Bulletproof Black, MontBlanc Irish Green, Pharmacist Urkundentinte, MontBlanc Oyster Grey)

(MontBlanc Toffee Brown, Noodler's Bulletproof Black, Iroshizuku Tsuki yo, Noodler's Apache Sunset, Waterman Serenity Blue, Noodler's Polar Black, Noodler's Liberty's Elysium, Waterman Serenity Blue, MontBlanc Irish Green,  Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses, Iroshizuku Kon Peki)

05 April 2013

Sheaffer Legacy 2

I know that I should never walk into a brick and mortar pen shop without an idea of what I am coming to look at... 

Over the Easter weekend (end of March, beginning of April, 2013) my family was in Little Rock.  I have a habit of visiting several places... not least of all, Vanness Pens.  As much as I would like to make a plug for them, the reality is, they still exist because they do what they do so well, and their work speaks for itself.   

Needless to say, there are a handful of pens that I have bought online, but I generally try out the more expensive ones... you never know... there are always little differences even within the same make and model.

I went in with some intention of test driving a sailor pen, trying to talk myself into a Parker Vanishing Point, pondering the Faber-Castell basic, I even thought about the Waterman Exception.  I loved the nibs on the Sailors, not sure about the body... still can't get over the clip placement on the Vanishing Point... the Basic did not sit right with me... and I am still fascinated by the Waterman Exception.

I perused the cases... tried several pens... 

Eventually, I made it to the Sheaffer case.  

I had made an offhand comment to Mike Vanness several months ago about my perceived decline in the quality of Sheaffer products, he told me I shouldn't give up too easily on them, they still had several great products.  Several months ago I tried a Legacy and I wasn't sure.  I liked how it felt, I liked the nib... but I couldn't get over the "modern Sheaffer" hang up.

Shortly after I had tried the Legacy... I acquired a MontBlanc 149.  I did a writeup here... Review of the MontBlanc 149 by a former anti-montblancite

Somewhere in there FPN's jar reminded me of the Legacy and of PFMs... That has stayed on my mind...

So THIS trip, after trying it once before, after writing with a MB 149 for several months... when Mike took the Legacy 2 out of the case... it didn't take much convincing.  I haven't looked back.

I got the black lacquer with gold trim.  I have wondered if I should have gotten one with a silver cap... but when I see pictures of them all together, my eyes are always drawn to this one.

 It is a hefty pen.  Lite pens make my hand cramp.  It is not in any way unbalanced.  I am not in the habit of posting my caps, but I could if I wanted to, and it would not make the pen unwieldy.

I love the inlaid nib.  I went for a medium, and I would say it is fairly true to that.  The section is also very nice.  I would say it has a very similar girth to a Lamy 2000, but it barely tapers.  The cap is held in place by an O-ring on this model.  I have tried several hand holds, and they are all comfortable.  I wrote lesson plans and lecture notes with it and did not have any problems with fingers slipping on the lacquer or finding any annoying bumps, threads, etc.

In my ignorance, I had glossed over the filling mechanism until after I bought it.  I know the pen is a reincarnation of the PFM (Pen for Men) and I am aware of the touchdown filling system... but it really is a treat.  It really works well.  I also like the idea that I can swap out the touchdown adapter with a cartridge.  I don't think I have used a cartridge in close to 15 years... but the adaptability is nice.

I will admit to being mystified by the touchdown filling system.  I understand that it compresses the chamber when you depress the plunger... essentially squeezing the sack inside the converter, and that a small grove in the end of the rod allows air back in, allowing the sack to return to normal and suck in ink... but how does it let air in when you are pulling the plunger out... The only thing I can figure is that the plunger rod tapers ever so slightly at the end...

Also, how difficult are these to repair if something breaks?  I guess there is always the cartridge or squeeze converter options...

Comparing it to other pens... from left to right: Noodler's Nib Creeper, Sheaffer 330, Lamy 2000, Sheaffer Legacy 2, Noodler's Ahab, Lamy Safari, MontBlanc 149.  I thought about throwing a few others in there... but I had a black pen theme going... so I stuck with it.

I am happy with the pen.  If you have been on the fence and can find one... go for it.  I don't know about the Legacy 1 or the Heritage... but I like the Legacy 2...