FPGeeks ScoreCard TWSBI Vac700

Review Specificaitons

 

Pen Class: Intermediate ($26 to $99)
Street Price:: $85

Body Material: Translucent plastic in Blue, Amber, and Smoke. Clear coming “soon.”
Nib Material: Steel
Nib Size: EF, F, M, B
Cap Type: Screw On/Off
Post-able: Yes
Filling Mechanism: Vacuum-fill
Ink Capacity: 2.1 ml / 0.07 oz
Overall Weight: 32 g / 1.13 oz (empty) // 34 g / 1.20 oz (full)
Cap Weight: 14 g / 0.49 oz
Body Weight: 18 g / 0.64 oz (empty) // 20 g / 0.71 oz (full)
Overall Length Capped: 147.1 mm / 5.8 in
Overall Length Posted: 172.9 mm / 6.81 in
Body Length (not including nib): 110 mm / 4.33 in
Nib Length: 22.9 mm / 0.9 in
Body Length (including nib): 133 mm / 5.23 in
Cap Diameter w/o Clip: 16.3 mm / 0.64 in (measured at capband)
Cap Diameter w/Clip: 18.3 mm / 0.72 in
Body Diameter at Ink Window: 15 mm / 0.59 in
Body Diameter at Blind Cap End: 13 mm / 0.51 in

If this pen were a movie, it would be…

Vacuum Killer (2006)


Review Dealer Prep
TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 Dealer Prep

Dan: 7.5 – The packaging for the TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 is exactly the same as that of the Diamond 540. I loved the packaging for the 540 and I like it here for the 700. The 700 is a Diamond Series pen so it’s to be expected that the packaging would be similar or even identical.

Eric: 7.0 - Yes, the packaging for the v700 is exactly the same as for the 540. It still has the same coolness factor that reminds me of Apple product packaging.

As I said regarding the 540′s packaging, if there’s not going to be wood or leather, then this is absolutely as good as it’s going to get. And it’s terrific.

Review Filler Up

Dan: 9.25 – I’ve been very excited about the Vac 700 for a long time. My excitement stems from TWSBI using a filling system first seen more than 100 years ago in an Onoto and popularized by Sheaffer and Eversharp. Pilot and Visconti have done vacuum fillers too, but no one has been able to do it as affordable as TWSBI.

The advantage to the vacuum filling system is that you can fill 90% of the barrel in as little as two strokes. The actual barrel capacity of the 700 is 2.1mL, so 90% of that is…well, it’s more than I’ll ever need! But, the process isn’t as simple as a piston filler, which is why the Vac 700 didn’t earn a perfect 10. As seen in the video, operating that second stroke has the potential to end in a mess and will definitely take some practice. None of that is needed with a piston. Anyone can operate a piston with zero practice. But, you’re also limited to only half the barrel capacity, so there are pros and cons to both.

TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 writingOne very cool feature that I was not expecting is the ink shut-off valve. When closed, this valve separates the barrel chamber from the feed. Yes, this does mean that if you never open the valve then the feed will run dry. But, I don’t think that will be much of a problem for most people. As you can see from the image to the right, I was able to fill a 5” x 6” sheet of paper with scribbles before the feed ran dry. When I opened the valve it only took 23.4 seconds for ink to reach the tip (yes, I timed it with a stopwatch!). So, if you know you’re going to be doing a lot of writing then open the valve. And have no fear, the cap will post just fine with the filling knob in the open position.

TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 shut-off valve seal

The front, cone-shaped seal is responsible for sealing the barrel from the feed.

So far, this ink valve thingy may seem like just a hassle to some of you. But, it’s actually a very useful feature. By closing off the barrel chamber from the feed it prevents an increase in flow due to air expansion that can be caused by the heat of your hand while holding it or even when stored in a pants pocket. It will also prevent larger messes due to elevation changes, and I’m not just talking about flying. Have you ever taken an elevator up 30 floors? Or driven from Phoenix to Flagstaff? I have and I there was a present in my cap that I really wish I could have returned.

The shut-off valve feature won’t be for everyone and the method required for getting a full barrel of ink will be for even fewer people. For those looking for maximum ink capacity, a pen with a shut-off valve, or an affordable pen that pays homage to a vintage filling system, they will love this pen.

Eric: 9.0 - A vac filling system is something that should excite any Fountain Pen Geek. Put it in a translucent pen so that you can see it in action, and it gets even better. Add a shutoff valve and you have a pen that should at the very least be nominated for the Oscar in whatever category they use for writing instruments these days.

Prior to watching Dan’s video on how to completely fill the v700, the method I used required that I stand on my head while having the widow next door perform the chicken dance. The procedure that Dan shows us seems less strenuous, but since I manage to get 2ml of ink into my pen using my approach, I won’t actually need to try Dan’s way until early 2013.

If pressed, I might confess that I prefer a vac filling system to a piston system. The fact that TWSBI has produced an excellent vac filling system in a less than $100 modern fountain pen is noteworthy, newsworthy and very nearly miraculous. There are many reasons to want a v700 in your collection, but topping that list is the filling system.

Review Test Drive

TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 Test Drive

Dan: 9.5 – The Vac 700 scored so well here because it successfully fulfilled my high expectations. It also wrote amazingly well out of the box. My excitement and hopes for this pen were probably as high as they’ve ever been for a pen. And the Vac 700 didn’t disappoint. I was wondering if I had made the right decision to go with the Sapphire and as soon as I saw it I knew I had. The pen is large and fairly heavy which felt great in my hand. I also had a lot of fun operating the filling mechanism and exploring every inch of the pen.

What I was most worried about, though, was how the nib was going to perform. Considering the horrible experience I had with the two nibs on the Micarta, I was just hoping the Vac would write! Boy, was I in for a surprise. The Vac 700 that I received has one of the smoothest Fine nibs I have used in a long time. The flow started out slightly wet with a saturated feed from being filled, but once the feed ran dry and the shut-off valve was opened the flow became slightly dry. More on this in Performance.

Eric: 8.5 - As is my habit with all new pens, I flushed the v700 with a very dilute solution of dish soap followed by several gallons of water. Perhaps I am exaggerating when I say gallons, but the filling system is so much fun I know I flushed much more than was necessary.

I filled the pen with You Know She’s a Cool Tokyo (iroshizuku tsuki-yo) and took it for a spin. I was not disappointed.

My broad nib was very smooth and the flow was just as I like it, ever so slightly on the wet side. The pen glided on the page and brought an instant smile to my face. I experienced no hard starts, no hesitations, and no skipping.

Being a #6, the nib is on the large size, which puts on a nice show. My fingers complained a bit about the section, threads, and steep step to the barrel, but I decided to ignore this until the Road Trip.

I found the v700 far too top-heavy and un-balanced to be used while posted. This makes no difference to me as I’m not one to generally post. However, if you are in the Must Post camp, be sure you are also a member of the I Love Top Heavy faction.

Review Under the Hood
TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 Under the Hood

Dan: 8 – This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a #6 sized nib in a TWSBI and I sure hope it’s not the last. The stainless steel Bock nib is available in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad sizes with stubs coming sometime in the future. As with all other TWSBI nibs, this one is as stiff as a nail. But, at least it’s smooth.

The nib design is exactly the same as every other TWSBI nib with a large TWSBI logo in the center, their lettering underneath, and the nib size stamped into the left side near where it enters the section. I could really do without the scroll work that follows the profile of the tines because it looks like a cheap afterthought used to fill space. The injection molded feed seems happy below the nib and appears to be doing its job.

Eric: 6.75 - The #6 nib is impressive, especially when compared side-by-side to the #5 of the TWSBI 540. As with other TWSBI nibs, the stamped TWSBI logo looks terrific, as does the TWSBI name. I am unable to garner any affection for the scrollwork found on the nib. I have to believe it is generic (rather than specifically designed to compliment the TWSBI logo and name) and to my eye, it’s out of place.

As with other TWSBI nibs, the width of the nib (in my case, B) is unobtrusively etched on one side. This is very helpful and all too often overlooked.

Just as I noted regarding the TWSBI Diamond 540, the feed of the v700 is beautiful to examine under a 10x loupe.

Review Performance

Dan: 8 – I tested the Vac 700 with several different inks and on multiple types of paper. For the most part, it performed extremely well. But, I did experience problems while using Diamine Black.

The problem was that if I let the pen sit for as little as 2-3 minutes, capped or uncapped, it would have serious hard starting issues. I would have to rub my finger or a paper towel over the breather hole and down the slit to get it to write. Once it was writing it wouldn’t have any hard starting issues. It was only after it sat for a bit, and it didn’t matter what orientation the pen was resting in when not in use. Nib up, nib down, lying on its side – didn’t matter. The only thing that made a difference was changing to a different ink.

When filled with Visconti Black, Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise, Waterman Blue-Black, or Edelstein Sapphire, the pen would write as soon as the tip touched the paper, regardless of how long it sat. Even with the hard starting issues of Diamine Black, the flow with each ink was always consistent. Well, let me clarify that. After the first fill the feed is saturated and the pen would write slightly wet whether the shut-off valve was opened or closed. Once the extra ink in the feed was used up and the feed was no longer saturated, the flow became much drier, like going from a 7 to a 4. This is actually very common with all fountain pens after first filling them, but I don’t think I’ve experienced such a drastic change in flow from any other pen. The change in flow was easily noticeable but it was never so dry that the pen started to skip or have starting issues. As far as the smoothness of the nib goes, it was as smooth as I could hope any Fine nib could be.

Eric: 8.0 - The TWSBI Vac 700 performed very nicely on nearly every paper I had handy. On my daily paper, Rhodia, the v700 was a dream. On HP copy paper, on Clairefontaine, and on G Lalo, the pen was exceptional, providing feedback where I expected it and extreme smoothness where I thought it might.

The only paper that presented a problem was a rather thirsty card stock that I have. I knew beforehand that the paper would literally suck ink from the pen, but wow – it was like a sponge! To its credit, the v700 was only too happy to provide as much ink as the paper requested.

I have yet to experience a skip, a hard start or even a hesitation with the v700. The pen writes every time I touch it to paper, no questions asked.

Review Design Notes

Dan: 7.5 – TWSBI has done an exceptional job designing this pen to be functional. That’s evident in how well the vac filling system works. But, they could have improved things in a couple of areas aesthetically.

One of my favorite design decisions that TWSBI has made is that the barrel is smooth while the cap and filling knob are faceted. To me, this is much more comfortable to hold and looks better than just a faceted barrel like the 540.

I would have liked the clip to be the same polished chrome as the other pen in the Diamond Series. I think it make it easier to recognize as a Diamond Series pen and would probably look better with the other chromed hardware on the pen. I understand why TWSBI made the decisions they did regarding the clip and discuss that in Detailing.

TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 clip detail

The design of the ramp on the underside of the clip makes it easy to slide over a thick seam found on jeans pockets or the v-neck of a polo.

Speaking of the clip, it’s a solid design with a strong spring in the cap to provide good tension but not so much so that it’s cumbersome to use. The shape of the ramp on the underside of the clip really helps with being able to clip the pen with one hand, despite the amount of tension it has.  In daily use over the past few weeks with this pen I’ve felt confident that whatever I clip it to, the pen will stay there until I remove it. That might sound like a basic feature of a clip but you’d be surprised how many poor clips I’ve run into.

One issue I do have with the design of the Vac 700 is the section and its transition to the barrel. The section has a small diameter that doesn’t change. I really think that if the the section increased in diameter as it approached the barrel it would be much more comfortable. There’s also a bit of a step from the threads to the barrel, which definitely doesn’t help in the comfort department. I’m usually pretty tolerant of these things but since I hold this pen near the end of the section / on the threads it’s constantly in my face.

Finally, just so everyone knows, the cap does post. It attaches to the ring at the end of the barrel and not on filling knob. There’s enough space between the filling knob and inner cap that you can open the valve without there being any interference. Whether or not you post this pen is a personal preference, but TWSBI did take it into consideration with their design.

Eric: 8.0 - I find the v700 very pleasing. I like the smoothness of the barrel and the fact that it tapers. The facets on the cap and turning knob ensure I don’t forget I’m using something from the Diamond line.

The v700 scored major points for being completely dismantle-able. With the notable exception of Noodler’s, I can’t think of another pen manufacturer that goes to such great lengths to assure that the end user can service the pen. TWSBI goes so far as to include silicone grease, spare o-rings, and the one tool needed (a wrench) with the pen. This speaks volumes to TWSBI’s commitment to customer satisfaction.

While I appreciate the manufacturing difficulties that led to a sand-blasted clip, I’m still unable to fully embrace the look. The shape and the function of the clip are terrific, but I find the finish to be an eye-sore. I’ve convinced myself to accept the finish by keeping in mind that it matches (sort of) the finish of the text on the cap band.

A review of the v700′s design would not be complete without mentioning the large threads and steep step of the section. Although my fingers find them slightly uncomfortable while writing, I will learn to live with them. But still, there is something unrefined about their shape and size. I like a pen that is just as good looking uncapped as capped, and I think that mark has been missed with the v700′s section.

Review Detailing

Dan: 9 – The detailing on the Vac 700 is absolutely superb! The only trace of the injection molding process I can find is on the section threads where it would be very difficult to remove. Every other piece has been polished to perfection, even the inner cap is without flashing.

TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 cap partsJust like the plastic parts, the metal bits have been plated and polished to a brilliant shine, save the clip. The finish on the clip, love it or hate it, has been applied very well and is uniform over the entirety of the clip’s surface. The clip is forged from beryllium bronze, the only material and method available that could achieve the clip design, including the shape and mechanism structure. To keep the sharp edges of the clip design TWSBI had to skip the polishing process, which would be required for a shiny chrome plating. Instead, TWSBI chose to mediablast the clip to get an even surface roughness, then finished the clip with a rhodium plating. Rhodium gives the clip that attractive silver color and adds to its durability. I would like to thank Speedy for giving us such detailed information about the reasons behind the clip design and would also like to point out that this is a very expensive piece to manufacture. Based on the performance of the clip, I would say it’s worth it.

Having taken the pen apart, I know how many pieces there are, but it feels solid throughout. Tolerances are very tight; there’s no wiggling or play where there shouldn’t be any. It’s really hard to believe that this is an $85 pen.

Eric: 9.5 - In usual TWSBI fashion, the detailing of the v700 is outstanding. Through careful study of the pen with a 10x loupe, I can find only a very slight trace of the manufacturing process on the end of the turning knob.

While the clip’s finish may not be to my liking, there can be no doubt that the clip is extremely well made.

My one complaint – and I believe it belongs here in Detailing – is that the turning knob is much darker in color than the rest of the pen. So much so, in fact, that it looks out of place. I assume it is a question of material thickness and I would have preferred a thinner wall to accommodate color matching even if that would have required a clear insert within the knob for proper function.

Review 21 Minute Road Trip

TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 Detailing

Dan: 7.5 – The TWSBI Vac 700 was a complete joy to use on my Road Trip across three different pads of paper. I fueled up with Visconti Black, one of my favorite inks, and started my journey across a Rhodia No. 13 lined pad. After covering the front and back of one sheet I moved to my  Moleskine Star Wars notebook and filled an entire page alternating between all caps and cursive. For the last leg of the trip I returned to familiar territory: my Rhodia dotPad. The Vac 700 traversed each type of terrain as expected and I couldn’t have asked for a smoother ride.

I extended my Road Trip to a solid 30 minutes and not once did I have to open the shut-off valve to dip into the reserve tank. I wanted to see how far I could make it with a saturated feed and I easily made it through the whole Road Trip without the feed drying up. Even with the slightly wet flow the Fine nib gets great MPG!

TWSBI Diamond Vac 700 step from section to barrel

Some people may not be able to tolerate the massive threads and large step from the section to the barrel.

The round barrel made a big difference for me in that the pen feels much more comfortable. The weight of the cap when posted really helps to settle the pen into my hand and gives it a more preferable balance than writing with it not posted. The one thing that did bother me was the thin section and large step from the section to the barrel. I didn’t really notice how distracting it was until about halfway through the Road Trip. For daily use of quick notes this pen is great, but if I sit down to journal or write a letter, I’ll reach for something different.

Eric: 8.0 - My Road Trip with the v700 was extremely pleasant. The pen is fun and exhibited no inclination toward skipping or hesitant starting.

I almost always accomplish my 21 Minute Road Trips by listening to an audio book and writing sentences as I hear them. One indication of the pen’s performance is whether or not I find myself interesting in the story being told or distracted by pen misbehavior. The v700 behaved so well that I became thoroughly absorbed by what I was hearing, which bodes well for those hoping to use the v700 for note taking in class or in meetings.

Near the end of my Road Trip, my fingers were no longer willing to let me ignore the threads and large step upon which they were perched. My thumb, especially, was uncomfortable.

Within three minutes of completing the Road Trip, my hand felt no fatigue and was actually suggesting that we go back for more.

Review The Checkered Flag

Pros:
˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜
Affordable Vacuum Filler
User Serviceability
Holds a Year’s Supply of Ink
Cons:
˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜
Filling Can be Clunky when going for max fill
May be Top Heavy when Posted
Large Step from Section to Barrel

Famous Last Words:

Dan: The TWSBI Vac 700 has fulfilled every desire I had in a modern, affordable vacuum filling fountain pen. It is a solid piece in TWSBI’s lineup and increases the customer’s options for filling systems. It’s constructed just as well as pens costing hundreds of dollars more, backed by excellent customer service, and is challenged in serviceability by only Noodler’s pens.

Eric: If your pen collection does not yet include a vacuum filler, I highly recommend the v700. If your collection already includes one or more vacuum fillers, I highly recommend the v700.

As much as I like the v700 (and I like it very much), if you made me choose my favorite TWSBI, I think the Diamond 540 would have a slight edge. That’s likely due more to an emotional attachment to the 540 than with any failing of the v700.

Other Reviews:

Tyler Dahl
S.B.R.E. Brown Video Review
Anderson Pens


This pen was provided for review by TWSBI.

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  • peterpen53

    Compliments, gentlemen! That is one heck of a fountain pen review. And multimedia too. That sets expectations, you know. Next time I expect a full-length feature video on the road trip. (Please don’t take this seriously!)
    And kudos to TWSBI for offering a vacuum filler at this price. A vac filling system in a demonstrator really looks like fun.
    One minor comment, though. I’m not sure I agree to the comparison of TWSBI and Apple packaging. I grant you TWSBI’s is TOTALLY functional and very well designed, but whenever I unpack some piece of Apple gear, I always have the feeling I’m unwrapping a present, even with a simple plug-in-the-wall Airport. And that feeling was distinctively absent when I unpacked my 540′s.
    That all said, I will not spend my money on this pen for the foreseeable future. With 6 vac fillers in my collection and another on the way, not surprisingly (for those who know me a little bit) all from the same brand that felt the need to patent a double-reservoir variety, I don’t really feel the need for this pen. And to stand any chance of selling me a steel nib, that would have to an edged one, commonly known as stub or italic. And as far as I know, those are not available (yet).
    But nevertheless, this is a very attractive pen.

    • peterpen53

      And slightly off topic: who designed the lettering for the section heads in your reviews? I really like those.

      And even more off topic: why can’t we edit comments for typos etc.?

      • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

        You can thank Eric for the stylish section headers.

        As far as not being able to edit your comments, that’s not a feature built into WordPress, but we can fix it with a plugin. Just haven’t had time to look. I’ll try to get to that over the weekend.

        • peterpen53

          Wow, Eric, these are really classy!

          And thanks, Dan, this would be much appreciated.

  • blackangus

    Mine came out of the box with an excess of silicone grease in the barrel and an extremely dry nib that skipped and hard-started constantly. It dried out within a minute of not using it. I was extremely disappointed, but decided to talk to TWSBI before trying to return it. I flushed the pen MANY times and that seemed to clear the excess grease. Philip instructed me to press the sides of the nib together and then very gently press down on some paper, like I was trying to get some flex. Doing this a few times utterly transformed the nib into a wet, but not too wet, writer. And with proper ink flow I’m stunned with the smoothness of the nib…it’s nearly as smooth as my Eversharp Skyline, which is the smoothest nib I’ve ever used. QC issues aside, I’m extremely pleased with mine.

  • David

    Excellent review Gentlemen… I’m glad to see both of you have serviceable nibs out-of-the-box. I’m seeing reports of others having dry or no-flow nibs; similar to som of the Micarta reports. TWSBI needs to do something about the nib QC, especially since they claim to test the nibs before shipping.

    I’m not so easy to accept the $85 price tag. The 540 is very similar in build and materials cost yet the 540 price is much lower – where it should be IMO (even though it has been slowly creeping ever higher). For $85 I’d rather look for a nice vintage daily writer with a gold nib.

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      Like you said, it’s similar, but not the same. The clip cost significantly more to produce than the one on the 540 and I’m sure the vacuum filling system added to the cost as well. While I agree that $50 is a heck of a price point, I don’t think we can, or even should, expect that from here on out.

      Personally, I think TWSBI completely undershot the price for the 530/540.

      • peterpen53

        I’m not an engineer, but I think you’re absolutely right about the vacuum filling system adding cost. Giving the differences in pressure, and I can sense those when I’m refilling one of my Visconti power fillers, the barrel would certainly have to be stronger, especially if it has to withstand daily use over time.

        • http://theinkednib.com Lee Smallwood

          I don’t think it’s just the pressure. There is a high grade stainless steel rod that has to be just so both in terms of composition to resist the savages of ink and machining to work with the components. I’m guessing that rod by itself might add a couple dollars to their cost.

  • http://monkeyphotomcr.blogspot.com/ John the Monkey

    Great review, as ever. Very tempted by one of these, but I do have a vintage Sheaffer’s Vac on its way to me now, so maybe I should wait to see if I like the filling system before springing for another example!

  • KrazyIvan

    The next pen I buy is going to be this one.

  • kp

    I always enjoy your reviews because they are so thorough. Thanks so much for the timely review of the vac700 as I’ve been holding off until I get more intel. ;-)

    Just curious, Eric, what audiobook were you listening to when you took your vac700 for a test drive? (I love this type of random information!)

    =)

    • http://fpgeeks.com Eric Schneider

      Oh kp, very good question. Random with the possibility of providing insight.

      It was actually during the v700′s Road Trip (not the Test Drive), and I was listing to:

      Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das

      And yep, I’d recommend it.

      =)

      • kp

        Ah yes, it was the Road Trip. My bad!

        The audiobook sounds very interesting! Thanks for the share.

  • GeekGirl

    Thanks for another thorough and informative review, guys, though I wish there had been video of Eric standing on his head filling his Vac700 with the chicken-dancing widow in the background. =)

  • Danny W.

    Man, you two always harp on the scrollwork on twsbi nibs. Honestly, I actually kind of like it. I think without it, the nib would look somewhat empty. Do you really have to mention it during every twsbi review? I guess if that’s how you feel, then that’s how you feel, it just seems to be made into a bigger deal than it should be. I enjoy your reviews, but that is a point I definitely disagree with you on.

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      I mention it on every pen I review (or try to, at least) because I don’t assume everyone has read every review we’ve done. I try not to blame TWSBI too much because Schmidt and Bock probably have just as much, if not more, responsibility for the scroll work.

      • http://theinkednib.com Lee Smallwood

        Schmidt perhaps. Bock I’m thinking no. The Bock nib is as close a copy as possible to the design of the Schmidt-sourced ones, so that suggests to me TWSBI asked them to give the same artwork and they obliged.

  • Freddy

    A great review, gentlemen, as always. Where we part ways, is the nib. Mine most definitely did not write smoothly right out of the box. It wrote dry and skipped. Because I knew I was sending my pen to Tyler Dahl, almost immediately, for a specialized nib grind, he will be taking care of smoothness and flow issues for me. As I mentioned on Tyler’s review of the pen, as far as I am concerned, any fountain pen at any price point should write out of the box. After all fountain pens are writing instruments and the expectation is that they will write! If the nib doesn’t work then one doesn’t have a writing instrument. This should be automatic with no tweaking of the nib necessary. My $3.30 Pilot Petit 1 and my $23.00 Kaweco Classic Sport both wrote immediately and flawlessly (no hard starts, no skipping, smooth, etc.). Indeed, my TWSBI 540 wrote great out of the box. This does not seem to be true of the Vac 700. I have read a few reviews that mentioned the same problem with the nibs that I had.

    That doesn’t mean that I won’t be happy with the pen. The 540 was such an eye opener for me that I actually purchased gifts of them for friends who also love them. I am sure that with the nib working properly I shall be every bit as happy with Vac 700 as I am with the 540. Now, how long do I have to wait for the Mini?

  • Tamara

    Great review Dan and Eric. Very informative, and it gives me something to compare my Vac 700 experience with. I’ve been trying to find the right ink for my 700, as the first two I tried really emphasized the dryness of the nib (a F nib). Yesterday I took out the brass shim for some adjustments (I prefer a wet flow) and reloaded the pen with Sailor ink. It’s doing much better now. I hadn’t noticed the step from the section to the barrel until I read your review, so I guess it’s not a problem for me. I’d say the shining star of the Vac 700 really is the filling system. I love it! I hope it’s as durable as my vintage vacuum fillers.

    • http://theinkednib.com Lee Smallwood

      It may be madness, but I’m hoping for better durability than my Sheaffer vacuum fillers. It looks to me like I can change out the o-rings that make this pen work, so hopefully it won’t be a pen my grandchild has to send off for some $40 or $50 worth of restoration.

      • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

        Lee, if you saw my disassembly video then you know how easy it would be to replace the seals. The problem will be trying to replace the specially designed seals on the end of the shaft. I’m guessing those aren’t going to be readily available in 10-15+ years.

  • Gordon Tillman

    Hi Eric and Dan,

    Thanks for the review.  I’ve been swamped at work and am just now getting caught-up on all of the new content you have posted.

    After watching/reading your review I immediately place an order with Goulet for a 700 (smoke, fine). 

    Very exciting!

    Regards,

    –gordon

  • Tony Belding

    This is just my own bias but….

    I feel like the two-stroke filling method should really be looked upon as a trick or stunt rather than something for normal everyday usage.  A single stroke takes up well over 1 ml of ink, which is a very healthy amount.  If you urgently need more ink capacity per fill, then probably you should shop for a eyedropper or bulb-filler (although it’s unfortunate that there are no really affordable bulb-fillers now).

    I have mixed feelings about the ink shut-off valve.  People keep telling me it’s a nifty feature, but I keep thinking this problem was solved much better by Sheaffer back in the 1940s.  Their Triumphs had an oversized ink collector and an ink drain-back channel, so they wouldn’t leak (their advertising claimed) as long as you uncapped them with the nib pointed up.  However, TWSBI are limited by their use of commodity C/C type nibs and feeds which aren’t designed to address this problem.

    I still really want a Vac 700 in the clear version.  It should make an eye-catching demonstrator with that ink sloshing around in the barrel!

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  • E. Fineman

    Cracked. Again. Argh!