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Thread: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

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    Default Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    I started doctoral studies a few months ago and for the first time I'm having to deal with pens drying out. As I'm simply using them so infrequently in favor of using a mechanical pencil for the jottings I make. Fountain pens for a long time have been a necessity however not so much anymore. So it did make me wonder about others if they actively have to make a point to use their pens or if its more organic etc?


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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    I look at this hobby as one that has (at least) three parts:

    1. Writing with your fountain pens.
    2. Just collecting them.
    3. Tinker with them. This includes, restoration, repair, modification, custom-making, etc.

    Out of the 3 parts, only one necessitates me to worry about infrequent use of my fountain pens. And I found out that I enjoy the other 2 parts just as much.
    So it may be the time for you to explore part 2 and 3 thus liberating yourself from the worries of part 1.

    Just a thought.
    - Will
    Sketches with restored vintage fountain pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Drying out or running out of ink?


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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    If I need to write, I use a fountain pen. That's about as organic as I get. I try to only have 3 or 4 inked up at a time so they don't dry out.

    I could see some occupations not lending themselves to regular usage of a pen of this type.

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    If your pens are drying out just from infrequently using them, I'm wondering what Pen+Ink combination you are using as that has only ever really happened to me with the cheap Chinese pens where the caps are worse than even a $2 pilot petit1 or Varsity (and those will tay ready to write even if you left them capped for weeks if not months). When I had a bunch of Jinhaos and Heros and similar pens, They worked 'ok' as long as I used them every day, but if I go 2 days without using them, they were either evaporated or had very hard starts due to the ink drying up in the nib/feed.

    If the ink you're using is a decent medium flow one that isn't something like Noodler's bulletproof or known to cause hard starts, and a pen that has a good sealing cap, you should be fine with just refilling when you run out and not have to worry about hard starts.

    All of the pens I currently have inked or keep inked on a regular basis, can just sit there for weeks without a problem and start right up. I may need to refill them (I usually expel what is in the pen, into the vial, shake up the vial with the existing ink, and refill the pen), in order to keep the ink mixture close to it's original (otherwise the water portion evaporates over time if it's very infrequent and can cause the mix to be much more saturated which can be an issue with lubricated or shimmery inks). I'll usually have between 3 to 4 inked up.

    I have one in particular that gets used so extremely infrequently, but still works with only a second or two to get the flow going, and that's a Platinum Preppy 05, inked with Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng (an ink that if the cap isn't sealed real good, will dry and clog hard right on the pen and you'll have to disassemble and ultrasonic the whole thing just to get it going again). It might not get used but once a month, but it'll start writing almost immediately after I uncap it, I mainly use it for waterproof addressing on envelopes I send out for bills/etc.

    Nutshell : More details about what pen, nib, and ink you are using is needed.

    For reference some of the pens that I own that can be left alone for a 2-3 weeks with no problems at all writing right away when uncapped (and the ink typically in them):

    • Lamy 2000 (Noodler's X-Feather, currently Waterman South Blue Seas)
    • Pelikan M640 SE (Waterman South Seas blue usually)
    • Montblanc 14 (1960s, EF/F nib, Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo or Syo-ro)
    • Danitrio Mae West (18K Stub Nib, Usually Emeral of Chivor, South Blue Seas, or Apache Sunset)
    • Pelikan 140 (1950s, 14K Broad Cursive Italic, Diamine Oxblood or Montlanc Irish Green)
    • Pelikan 400NN (1956, 14K Semi-flex EF, R&K Salix or Iroshizuku Syo-ro)
    • Parker 75 Cisele (1970s, 14K '63' EF, Usually Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo or Montblanc Irish Green)
    • Pilot Super 250 (1964, with 1968 14K Falcon nib, Usually Irishizuku Syo-ro, Tsuki-yo, or Waterman South Seas Blue)
    • Aurora Afrika LE (18K EF, Iroshizuku Syo-ro/Tsuki-yo, or Pelikan Ink of the Year Smokey Quartz)
    • The older flex pens [Swan 205/60, Swan #2, Wahl #2] (Smokey Quartz, R&K Salix, R&K Scabiosa, or Montblanc Irish Green)


    In the past that I've had, notable example with most the inks above (including Noodler's Black Eel): Pilot Petit1 (Pilot Blue-Black), Pilot Metropolitan, Parker 45s (really good ink flow and always ready to go, same with Parker 51 vacs), Eversharp Skylines (vintage)

    Longer than 3-4 weeks, I'll usually want to refill with a fresh agitated mix to keep the ink behaving as expected.
    Last edited by KBeezie; November 16th, 2018 at 03:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Good topic.

    In the "golden age of fountain pens" it is hard to imagine a pen going unused for a month, IMHO.


    My work is mostly office based (research), but even there I do not use FPs exclusively, often resorting to a pencil if roughing out plans and whatnot. The diary/scheduler is fountain pens all the way though.

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Throughout my time in college and graduate school I wrote all my notes in fountain pen. Or, if one ran out of ink, a ball pen. Never pencils.

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    I work in government and I find that there isnít a day that I donít use one (or more) of my FPís for jotting down something. I refuse to use the office ballpoints because I find them hideous to use (and if I do use a ballpoint, my Lamy Studio or Lamy Pico gets used instead).

    While I am wanting to get a Lamy 2K fountain, I might just start off the 2K collection with a mechanical pencil instead...


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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    I do use my fountain pens at work for recording data and making some notes, but tend to use mechanical pencils for the kind of notes where you want to be ready to write something down, but don't know if you'll have to or not. Most of my fountain pen use is personal: journals, notebooks, the occasional letter. Since I do write quite a bit at home, there's really no worry about pens drying out.

    My job involves keeping a satellite communications station running, which largely involves sitting in a room with equipment that looks impressive until you're used to it. The rest is dealing with technical problems that arrive just when you're ready for a long coffee break.
    Last edited by Kaputnik; November 17th, 2018 at 06:46 AM.
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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Everything I write for my blogs is handwritten first. I carry a wrap of six pens and they never get the chance to dry out.
    Regards,
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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    I am retired and write in my journals -- stories about my life and happenings in the village where I live. No drying out here. Sometimes I think I may have to put heat sinks on the nibs.
    Written on a real computer and real keyboard with capital letters, punctuation, and everything.

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Being a writer. Even then, I don't know writers that do their work in ink. Pencils or G2s are king. Neil Gaiman wrote all of Stardust using a fountain pen to get a "feel for writing" like it was the 1800s (anachronism of his Lamy 2000 in that context notwithstanding). He wrote the entire book in fountain pen first. IIRC, he now writes all of his stories with a rotation of fountain pens with different ink colors. He uses a different pen each day/time he writes so he can track his progress.

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    ...Sometimes I think I may have to put heat sinks on the nibs.
    That's a great line! Love it!

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    I'm a teacher. I use my FPs for grading, writing my own notes, making my answer key, and when solving problems on paper. I'm actually wanting to add 2 or 3 more pens to what I have now because I use multiple colors.

    My problem is that I still haven't figured out how long my converter can last. There are days where I'm in the middle of my work day and I run out of ink.

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Voyance View Post
    I'm a teacher. I use my FPs for grading, writing my own notes, making my answer key, and when solving problems on paper. I'm actually wanting to add 2 or 3 more pens to what I have now because I use multiple colors.

    My problem is that I still haven't figured out how long my converter can last. There are days where I'm in the middle of my work day and I run out of ink.
    That's why you need to carry at least two pens for each color of ink you use.

    Or keep bottles of ink in your desk at school.
    "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."
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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaputnik View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Voyance View Post
    I'm a teacher. I use my FPs for grading, writing my own notes, making my answer key, and when solving problems on paper. I'm actually wanting to add 2 or 3 more pens to what I have now because I use multiple colors.

    My problem is that I still haven't figured out how long my converter can last. There are days where I'm in the middle of my work day and I run out of ink.
    That's why you need to carry at least two pens for each color of ink you use.

    Or keep bottles of ink in your desk at school.
    That's one of the reasons I have than one inked, either cuz I want more than one color, or more than one nib size.

    Also I personally never fill straight from a bottle (since I tend to have bottles for so long I don't want to risk contaminating them with mold or fungus, they stay stashed away and I top off sample vials with a blunt syringe when they get low, always clean going into the bottle). 5ml sample vials may be easier to keep at a school, especially if you got a little something to hold up the vials while you fill so they don't accidentally knock over as easily.



    I guess if I was in the same boat, and used it a lot in such a setting, and if someone were not afraid of vintage pens (some can be quite sturdy compared to some of the modern cheaper plastic ones), I would use my Pelikan 400NN from 1956, as the vintage 400s (400/400N/400NN) all hold the same 1.9~2.0ml ink capacity more than the modern M1000, as opposed to a average converter's 0.4~0.5ml capacity.

    But likewise I would also be keeping it to a Western Fine or smaller tip (preferably closer to EF), that'll get it thru a while.

    Had an Art History professor get into fountain pens because of me always using them for lecture notes. She went the route of using a Monteverde Intima Glacier Blue, and went with Kaweco pink for the ink mostly. (gave her some vials of other stuff she could try).

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Like Voyance, I'm also a teacher. Between the lecture notes, my daily planner, grading, answer keys, notes to parents, etc., I find myself using an average of 3-5 different ink colors (and therefore pens) a day. The sheer amount of writing I do has made me realize that I'm no longer interested in C/C pens, as they don't hold enough ink. As a result, I'm slowly getting rid of the few C/C pens I have left and replacing them with piston fillers.

    The reminds me - I should really post my last two Sailors on the For Sale forum at some point.

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Tho the piston fillers (modern) donít hold much more unless youíre getting something specific , most are around 1ml (sailor, aurora, lamy, etc), capacity (twice the standard international c/c but not by much). Though if you like twisbi, the eco holds close to 2ml like the 580, and the noodles ahab a bit more (but more of a finicky pen).

    Seems like when you really want to beat the average c/c capacity in most modern pens you have to go vac or eye dropper versus piston. The pistons are nice tho in ease of filling without having to remove anything other than the cap.

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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Quote Originally Posted by KBeezie View Post
    Tho the piston fillers (modern) donít hold much more unless youíre getting something specific , most are around 1ml (sailor, aurora, lamy, etc), capacity (twice the standard international c/c but not by much). Though if you like twisbi, the eco holds close to 2ml like the 580, and the noodles ahab a bit more (but more of a finicky pen).

    Seems like when you really want to beat the average c/c capacity in most modern pens you have to go vac or eye dropper versus piston. The pistons are nice tho in ease of filling without having to remove anything other than the cap.
    So, this is all very interesting to me. I've felt like my C/Cs weren't holding as much ink as my piston pens, but I've never actually verified this. Your post inspired me to do a bit of digging. This is what I currently have in my pen arsenal:

    TWSBI Eco 1.8mL
    Pelikan M205 1.2 mL
    Parker 51 Aeromatic 1.6-1.8mL
    Sailor converter 0.7mL (can get this close to 1.2 if I syringe fill??)
    Lamy converter 0.8mL

    There does appear to be a difference between my piston/aeromatic pens and my C/C pens in terms of ink capacity, but you're right - it seems like I could do even better with a vac or bulkfiller. The regular Conid system comes in over 2mL, as do the Parker Vacs and TWSBI Vacs. Might need to start looking at vacumatics to add to the rotation. I'll have to look into eye-droppers more - that's a whole subset of this hobby that I've had no exposure to.

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jobs / Life Styles conducive to fountain pen use?

    Funny thing though is that a few of my vintage ones (either because they incorrectly used larger sacs in replacement, or that's how they were designed) would regularly hold between 1-2ml. Like I mentioned above my 1956 Pelikan 400NN with a 14k Semi-flex EF (nib which was under $200 so definitely cheaper than say a conid bulk) holes about 1.97ml (versus the M1000's 1.47ml, M800/M600 1.37, and M400/200 1.27), and I think even the huge Montblanc 149 is still only 1.2ml or so. I think now days, Pistons mainly serve as a means of convenience rather than upgrading the capacity.

    The converters (give or take 0.1ml) are like : standard international converter 0.5ml, cartridge 0.4ml, pilot cartridge 0.9ml, pilot con-20 (.2~4ml but can be filled to 0.9ml directly), con-40/50 0.4~0.5, con-70 0.7~0.8, Sailor's converter 0.7~0.8 (and not as likely on syringe fill consider some of the space is consumed by the nipple when installed), Sailor's cartridge 0.9~1.0ml, Platinum converter 0.7~0.8, Platinum cartridge 1.1ml, Long waterman cartridge (standard international fitting) 1.4ml (which I use in my danitrio mae west, syringe filled).

    Then there was some oddities with some of my vintage pens, particularly piston fillers, like my Montblanc 14 and 225 from the 70s seems like they hit 1.5ml pretty easily (likely as the hooded feed resevoir holds a bit too), Parker 51 vacumatics were pretty capable of getting 2ml or so, and the older Vacumatics somewhat around the same if they were the standard size. But what's interesting is all of those pens are about as thin and skinny as your typical c/c pens, yet they hold a fair bit. (a lot of the options like a Parker 51 Vac, or older striated Vacumatic can be had for under 100, I just didn't care for them because they're typically very firm nails for nibs)

    Also Extra-Fine or Fine nibs on the Japanese side (XXF/EF western equiv) is going to let your ink last longer especially on paper that isn't as absorbent (light weight sugarcane, rhodia, tomoe river, etc, I like sugarcane paper, less affected by hand oils like coated paper such as Rhodia).

    Eyedroppers can indeed hold a lot, but it's behavior depends on how the pen is configured and if it has a breather tube installed or not (like when switching a Noodler's Ahab over to an eye dropper configuration can hold around 6ml, the breather tube helps avoid burps and pressure changes). Typically most eye droppers especially the popular Indian made ones now, will run into burping when the barrel is less than 50% full as pressure changes, or if you're coming in from a hot outside, cold inside, or vice versa in the winter. So there are some quirks with those, but I've noticed a Platinum preppy converted to an eye dropper pen doesn't seem to ever suffer from burping but it's more likely because it has a very deep feed/collector and not a wide channel either. On the flip side though, it's a bit more care required in refilling, but if it gets you thru the entire day, you can refill when you go home.

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