What’s What 8/13-8/19
Specialty nibs compared, lots of the same ink, and bigger picture thoughts on the collection.
Inked Right Now
Platinum Desk Pen with Sheaffer Purple
Graf von Faber Castell Guilloche with Herbin Lie de The
Sailor Fude de Mannen with FWP Mirror of Moraine
Pilot Custom 912 with Montblanc UNICEF
Montblanc 144R with Montblanc UNICEF
Edison Brockton with Montblanc UNICEF
Franklin-Christoph 20p with Montblanc UNICEF
Seven pens? Four with the same ink? It’s all in the name of science. Maybe just curiosity since I’m neither a scientist nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Briefly, the Desk Pen and Guilloche are settling in from last week’s acquisition, the Fude is providing fun lines, and the 144 is getting down to the end of its UNICEF fill. That approaching endpoint (I say that like it’s somehow terminal) made me want to put UNICEF in other pens to get some live side by side comparisons.
The Pilot 912 was in the “use soon” pile and the moment I wrote with it, I was reminded how well the Waverly nib performs. It is smooth, forgiving, and perfectly precise. It is all these things all the time. Getting such qualities together on a single stock factory nib is uncommon in my experience. The Pilot Waverly is great on all fronts and across myriad papers.
The Edison Brockton is always a great user with is comfortable design and ability to host a Jowo #6. I fitted it with a broad steel architect from Peyton Street Pens that I’ve had for a few years. This nib provides strong line variation, is fun to use, and fits my hand well. That’s usually the rub with architect nib grinds — if the angle at which the nib meets the page doesn’t mesh with your usual angle of holding the pen, then you don’t get the full benefit of the grind. The importance of those intersecting angles can be seen in my experience with…
New & Exciting
The Esterbrook Scribe Nib.
The Scribe nib is a collaboration between Esterbrook and JJ (Josh) Lax, a nibmeister from Brooklyn, New York. The Scribe is what Josh calls his architect grind. It’s one of four nibs Esterbrook offers with specialty grinds from different nibmeisters. You can get the nibs in Esterbrook pens you buy new or you can get them sold separately direct from Esterbrook, which is what I did. I ordered it in the Estie size, which is Esterbrook’s flagship model that takes a Jowo #6.
The interchangeable nature of Jowo #6 nibs is one of the great things about the hobby because you can shop makers and manufacturers for different models and, design permitting, use the same nib across many pens. It’s one of the primary reasons I chose Franklin-Christoph and Edison as my first forays into pens from smaller independent makers. The nib is the part of a pen where you can make the biggest and most direct change to suit your writing, and it costs less to invest in multiple steel nibs than in the same number of handmade acrylic pen bodies.
The Scribe nib from Esterbrook starts out as a Jowo #6 broad steel nib before Josh does his work. The finished product has clean grinds and smooth finish. Sorry the pictures are not as sharp at this zoom level.
Now it was time to fill the pen with UNICEF to match the Edison and put the two architects head-to-head.
You can read the nib comparison in its own separate entry here.
The shopping I did on Stationery Store Day and at Appelboom left me thinking, again, about what I want out of the hobby. What am I after?
Joe at The Gentleman Stationer has a recent article that hits on many of things on my mind related to pen usage and collecting right now. Buying the Scribe nib as a stand alone rather than in a pen, like the very good-looking new Esterbrook Model J, was a choice made to maximize the writing experience across multiple pens instead of adding another whole pen to the drawer.
But I’m still looking around to see what deals are out there on pens in the next tier up from where I sit. Why do I feel the need to go there? Is it because of what Joe talks about with a grail pen to somehow complete a collection? Do I need to own a high end (but not totally ridiculous) Visconti, S.T. Dupont, Nakaya, gold plated vintage Waterman, or whatever else you care to name in order to consider myself serious about pens? To what end? I’ve played this game before in previous hobbies. I know it’s part of how I operate. The game ends when something else takes over my interest and I start from zero in that new place. Is that where I’m headed with fountain pens?
A college professor once noted a paper I wrote for asking too many questions without answering them, like I just did in the last paragraph. They said I had to make sure the reader wouldn’t be cheated by not getting an answer. I suppose in the context of academic work they had a point. Regardless, questions spring forth as a way in which my mind tries to process the situation. I don’t have real and reasoned answers to these questions right now. I hope you don’t feel cheated.
What have you found pushes the desire to keep going, or to stop, with your collection?