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Not Everyone is Your Friend

Posted by Dirck on 27 September, 2012

We all want to be liked, I think.  Some of us are more anxious than others for universal approval, but we’re all given to seeking external approval now and again.  The flip-side of that, I think we’ve all run into someone who is projecting “please like me” into the world, and when the signal doesn’t carry with it a tremor of clinging neediness or some more sinister undertone, we’re usually willing to make a little effort.  They may not be altogether appealing, but as Bugs Bunny once noted, everyone was someone’s baby once.

But… sometimes, with the best will in the world, we find that liking just can’t be made to flourish.  Their voice, their politics, their turn of phrase, a smell their body exudes or their attempt to disguise it, something that just can’t be overcome which stifles the effort to like.  We’ve all experienced it, usually from both sides, and when it happens, it’s not a good feeling.

And now, I turn my eyes upon the pens on my desk.  Esterbrooks.  I’m sorry… but try as I might, I cannot like you as much as I could wish to.  There’s no blame here, neither of us must say, “Oh, it’s not you, it’s me,” but there is one aspect of you which I an aspect of me simply will not accommodate.  This bothers me more than you can know (since, as inanimate objects, you’re not so very sentient), since I very much like the notion of the Esterbrook pen.  interchangeable points?  Fantastic!  The dip base is undeniable in its reliability, and even as I make this admission of trouble in our relationship I know that, so long as I want a pen with red ink in it, I will never give up on the DipLess pen.

It’s not an issue of attraction, either.  The plastics used in the J Series are amazing to look at, and so resistant to scratches as to be a marvel.  But when one comes to look at performance… there’s a problem.  The tipping in the low end Esterbrook points drives me to distraction.  I can define the problem, too.  Square shoulders.  While something that is spoken of with praise in the human realm, in pen tipping it’s a serious drawback.  In the area of pitch, there’s no issue; from rather steep to very shallow, the pen is as smooth as one could like.  Roll, though… oh, the scraping if there’s a half-minute of roll on the pen!  Terrible!

And there we are.  You cannot change this aspect of yourself, and I seem unable to avoid that little hint of roll when I write.  This is not something that need see a hard break, of course.  There are so many other things about you that I do like, and there are of course the 9000 series points.  There will, however, remain this area of friction between us.  I will remain a well-wisher, Esterbrook, but I don’t know that I can ever be a fan.

Today’s pen (not without foibles): Holland Fount-Filler
Today’s ink: Wancher Asuka


12 Responses to “Not Everyone is Your Friend”

  1. I have a few Esterbrooks, and I feel the same way. They’re very utilitarian, but I don’t really enjoy writing with them.

    Today’s pen: Visconti Art Nouveau with my own ink mix of Pelikan black and Diamine Amazing Amethyst.

    • And yet, on the Fora, they’ve got nearly as many raving fans as Parker “51”s; one starts to feel as if a boat has been missed.

      Interesting ink mix; I may give that a try.

  2. Of course, if you ever wanted to get rid of your Esterbrooks, I’d be happy to take them off of your hands. 😉
    I tend to have a love/hate relationship with mine because the fine point is too pointy and pokes through the paper. If I keep my hand at a certain angle when I write it lays down a gorgeous line, but I have to focus on that or else I get holes in my paper.

    • I find the same problem with the REALLY fine points, and one of my first exercises in tip amendment was trying to introduce some element of non-sharpness to the 1550 points that every Estie I touched for a year seemed to come with. In as much as one can, with some care, turn a leatherworking needle into a tapesty needle, there’s a vague whiff of success, but I still think they’re more suited to the delivery of tattoos than to writing.

  3. “Did the tip amendment work?” See previous for vague sniff of success. It doesn’t instantly dive through the paper all the way to the desk-top on the up-stroke, at least.

  4. Maja said

    Have you tried the 2314/9314 relief (oblique stub) nibs? They are lovely to write with…

  5. Andrew said

    Sorry for the tardy reply to your excellent post.

    For years I thought it was just me. In fact I bought an Esterbrook once and complained to the seller than the tip was extremely scratchy. He promptly sent me another two nibs which were extremely scratchy too. What is one to deduce? Given their almost universal praise I blamed myself for some arcane pen grip or writing angle. My solution came unexpectedly. I got a Venus pen on baymeister and found that the nib swaps perfectly with Esterbrooks! And it is a good, smooth nib. I get the Esterbrook barrel & cap durability, and a pen I can actually use.



    • I’ve tried to address the problem with Osmiroid points, but they bring with them the curse of unwilling feeds. The only Venus point I’ve got on hand is a bit of a long-term point-fixing process; while the rest of the pen is in pretty good shape, the point looks like it was in a front-end collision with a big truck. One day, perhaps….

  6. […] to make me feel like an idiot once again.  It has been just over a fortnight since I declared a cooling towards the tribe of Esterbrook, and then I found this little confection: If I was to get an “icicle”, I’m glad […]

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