New Favorite Pen And Ink

Greetings, everyone! I would like to apologize for my scarcity of late. Simply put, life has interfered. I am alive and well, despite any rumors to the contrary. 

It is no secret that I am a fan of fountain pens. It is also no secret that I pretty much loathe everything Parker that I have ever touched. Brace yourself. 

A few years ago, based on a good friend’s recommendation, I bought three plastic Parker Vectors. I despised them. The fit and finish sucked, even considering the price point. The end where the cap should go when you are using the pen was too small and not tapered, meaning that you had no secure place for your cap while the pen was in use. And, despite a supposed fine nib, they left a LOT of ink on the paper. 

I successfully modified the barrel ends with clear fingernail polish so the cap would post securely. I attempted to modify the nibs to decrease the line width and ink volume, but that didn’t go nearly as well. So, I deemed them work pens, used them regularly, and didn’t care if they got lost or damaged. They were boringly reliable, and thus well-suited for the role. Over time, all three got lost or damaged. 

I’ve been trying to find a replacement since the last one disappeared a few months ago. I tried some of my less-favorite existing Chinese pens. Then I bought a multi-pack of Jinhao 599s, which are a Lamy Safari knockoff. I even risked my genuine Safari. Every single one of the aforementioned pens dried out between uses. Since I am not regularly running machines every day, which requires hourly log sheet entries, I only need a pen a few times per day. None were up to the task. 

I bought a couple of budget models from Fountain Pen Revolution, but they leaked badly with every change of the weather. Or temperature. Or almost anything else. I trashed one and am contemplating the same fate for the other. 

My trusty Nemosine kept unscrewing itself in my pocket, which made a hell of a mess several times. And there’s no way I’m risking my Platinum Century 3776 for work. 

So, I went Vector shopping. I found a “stainless steel” version with a fine nib for eleven federal reserve notes. (I’ll bet a day’s pay that the metal used doesn’t meet even the most liberal definition of Stainless Steel, but it looks the part.) I ordered one. I find it attractive, even elegant in its simplicity. The finish is very similar to my Sonnet, which would be a great pen, but it costs about seven times as much as the Vector and is about seven hundred times less reliable.  

This Vector posts securely, and because of the slight extra heft from the metal, I like the feel better than the plastic ones that used to have.  I inked it with the rest of my Noodler’s Dostoevsky sample. Dostoevsky is a pretty, blue-green (almost turquoise if applied lightly), water-resistant ink that is on the edge of blue enough for professional use. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have full bottles in stock at the moment, at least not at the usual cost of one ounce of silver. I like it, but not enough to pay 20FRN for a bottle. 

As seems to be the norm for Vectors, mine is very wet. If you apply any pressure to the tip or pause for more than two nanoseconds with the nib in contact with the paper, it will bleed through any paper that is not at least Moleskine quality. However, it does write smoothly, and is as reliable as the sun.  As long as you are aware of its quirks and adapt your style to compensate, it is a good choice. 

Yes, I just recommended a Parker pen. The end is nigh!

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