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Posts Tagged ‘Eversharp’

Posted by Dirck on 19 August, 2021

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 16 August
  • 17 August
  • 18 August
  • 19 August
  • Submissions and a Sask Writers Guild meeting.
  • Bugger-all writing, and I was late for the meeting.


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A Brisk Walk

Posted by Dirck on 13 August, 2021

There’s been a fair amount of noise recently about stacking starships (which sounds like a deeply unwise version of Jenga). While I’m not a specific proponent of SpaceX, not a Musk-ovite at all, I do like the idea of the current future including (semi)realistic plans for space-faring.

This sort of thing, after all, is what I grew up with as “what to expect from the future!”

I can’t decide if it would be a good idea or not to wave this under the noses of those pushing space currently. The existence of the Segway suggests we might be able to work out more intuitive controls… but the “make mistakes and break stuff” mode of at least one of the parties makes me fear for potential test-pilots.

Today’s pen: Eversharp Skyline
Today’s ink: Monteverde Malibu Blue (which I chose because I happened upon something written on a date I was previously using this ink, but it’s nothing like as vibrant– either I was using something else then, I didn’t clean out the Skyline well last time, or I can still be surprised by how much effect the pen can have on the look of the ink)

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More OMAS, Maybe.

Posted by Dirck on 2 August, 2016

A quick note about an exciting development– a little while ago, I mentioned that OMAS was being shuttered.  I didn’t mention directly that it was being done in a very hostile way, and that there was little hope for the company to emerge from the flames of its destruction.

Well, we hear that there is an egg in the ashes, and that it may be a phoenix.  Over the weekend, there was a post on the FPN from the chap who gave Eversharp a bit of a shove at the end of the previous century and what looks like a more permanent reanimation a couple of years ago, revealing that he had successfully concluded a negotiation with the disgruntled Chinese owners of OMAS for whatever had not yet been irretrievably smashed.

He also noted that to run up some of the necessary capital to refloat OMAS, he’s planning the sale all the unsold finished pens now in his hands, limited editions included, at various discounts running from comfortable up to ridiculous.  Even at a ridiculous discount, my own funds don’t run to OMAS buying but if you’ve got some spare heaps of cash to devote to what is for the pen world an excellent cause, the rebirth of a long-standing pen-maker (and employer of specialized artisans) under benign management, keep an eye on omasoutlet.com; the site isn’t functional yet, but should be soon.  You may get a grail pen in the bargain, which you had thought lost forever!

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 1500 Lifetime
Today’s ink: Skrip black

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Posted by Dirck on 4 February, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 1 February
  • 2 February
  • 3 February
  • 4 February
  • Second draft of  “Final Resting Place”.
  • Ditto.
  • Second draft concluded.
  • Third draft work on “Harmonic Aliasing”.
  • 60 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 45 min.

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Eco-Logical? Eco-Nomical!

Posted by Dirck on 26 January, 2016

I was looking through my personal records for last year, and I find that I got only six new pens.  And two of those were unexpected gifts.  Financial constraints make for less fun.

This year, though… actually, it’s looking only slightly better in the overall sense, and as far as pens go I don’t really expect to do much better.  However, a recent windfall let me indulge curiosity if not greed, and I finally got around to ordering myself a TWSBI Eco.  Here it is:

A clear pen from TWSBI? How unexpected!

For those who find themselves under the shadow of TL;DR, let me give the short opinion: good cheap pen.

Now, let me expand; I was pretty taken with the cost/quality proportions of the Pilot Metropolitan, as I went on about at some length shortly after being introduced.  That sense has continued to the present, to the extent that it very nearly crept into my Desert Island Moderns list with pens costing a order of magnitude more.  Cuddle that for context when I say this– the Eco is, at least at the end of a two-week engagement, possibly an even better bargain.

How’s that for praise?  It’s an honest opinion, though.  We hear, in fountain pen circles, people making noise about the “out of box” performance of various pens, usually in the form of complaints about having to do something to make a pen work properly.  My experience may not be typical, but I literally did nothing to this pen ahead of filling it with ink and writing, and there wasn’t a second’s hesitation from the pen despite the lack of initial rinse.  I got, for reasons too inward to mention, an extra-fine point, and it is as smooth as is in the nature of that size of tipping to be.  Looking at it through the powerful loupe I use when checking out the progress of nib reshaping, I found the tines to be in impeccable alignment.  The piston runs smoothly, without play.

…and that’s a big point.  It has a built-in filler.  The Metropolitan, for all its charms, is a cartridge pen; that has the possibility of convenience, sure, if one has easy access to Pilot cartridges, but even then refilling it requires reducing it to a heap of components.  I do prefer a built-in filler, as prejudiced as that may be, and there sits TWSBI’s rather good expression of the twist-piston in a pen which, depending on where you look, costs the same as or only about ten dollars more than the Pilot.  It is, frankly, a little hard to make out how this thing manages to cost about three-fifths as much as the Diamond without looking very closely.

Well, maybe not THAT closely....

This is why I don’t rely on my device for pictures.  It’s like the camera I used for my old site (shudder).

The packaging is an element of it, being somewhat flimsier than the nice little Sleeping Beauty coffins the other pens come in.  I suppose when viewed in multiples of a thousand, that wrench will show a saving over the flat piece of steel that comes with the company’s higher end units, too, but it will certainly work.  Unlike my other favourite cheap pen, this thing comes with a maintenance kit!

In the pen itself, though, there’s only a couple of cost savings, and one of them is dubious.  The big one is that the body of the pen is cast in a single piece– the clear components are in fact clear component.  That’s bound to save a little on labour as far as putting the thing together.  Also, the point and feed are not set in a little collar to become a removable unit, as is the case with TWSBI’s other pens (and a lot of other, grander pens, too; Edison, Anchora…), but as set into the section individually in a very old-school manner.  This saves a little on materials, but depending on whether TWSBI or the manufacturer is the one cramming things into those collars, I don’t know that it won’t run up the time for assembly slightly.

That’s not my look-out, though, and I’m quite willing to suggest that the fountain pen-curious look in this direction as a good entry to the life of the easy-writing scribbler-about-town.  It’s not perfect, of course, and there’s a couple of things that will bear watching.  Every TWSBI model has a certain number of ghouls attending to it, waiting for reports of plastic failure after the problems with the Diamonds (yes, even mine), so those who listen to the meeping and barking will likely be a little nervous.  My own point of concern is the extraneous o-ring on the tail, which helps to secure the cap during writing– it takes a fair shove to engage the cap with it, and o-rings of their nature do not last forever.

The source of nebulous concern can be seen here. Also to be seen, the usually hidden unmentionables of the piston mecanism.

The source of nebulous concern can be seen here, just inboard of the filling knob. Also to be seen, the usually hidden unmentionables of the piston mechanism.

However, I can put aside that sort of worry.  It’s a piston-filling pen that costs less than US$30, and it at least feels as solid as a low-end Pelikan.  I am toying with the idea of using it as the primary first-draft composition pen for my fictional pursuits, giving that elderly Sheaffer cartridge pen a rest after… gosh, is it two years on station?  Possibly less.  In any event, it may be time to set it aside for a while.  It is, after all, a eyedropper in its current duty, and even more of a problem when reloading time comes around that a cartridge pen.

If I find troubles with the Eco, updates will follow.  For now, though, I’m a happy writer.

Today’s pen: Eversharp Skyline
Today’s ink: Herbin Perle Noire

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The Desert Island, Part 1

Posted by Dirck on 29 December, 2015

With the impending new year, I’m taking a little bit of time off from the creative writing to engage in some non-creative writing.

Wait… I don’t think I said that right.

Anyway, after the great cull of my pen horde in the September, I find myself occasionally turning over the idea of further reductions in the heap of pens that spend much of their time not being written with.  Inconclusive thoughts, certainly, and frequently transforming into more familiar fantasies of what glories a Waterman Edson or an Eversharp Decoband might bear if inserted into my life.  I’m certainly not planning another vast selling off, nor even moving a few things out.   Just… musing about a simplified roster.

So, in the great BBC tradition, I’ve decided to compose a variant of the Desert Island Discs list.  Were I to find myself tossed upon an unknown shore, what would I wish Fate to toss there as well to keep me happy in my Crusoe-like writing down of what the days there hold?  I’m starting with inks rather than pens to put them in, in part because without ink there’s little point to a pen, and in part because I am thinking more seriously about reducing the vast and slightly redundant heap of bottles I ponder over every time the need to refill comes upon me.

These are in ascending order of preference, so if there are any clever people looking at this and saying, “Oh, sure, but what if you could only have X-1 inks rather than X?” they can start lower on the list.

I know that the format of the BBC original allows to eight choices, but I’m not going to go so far.  With inks, I think four is enough to enjoy life well enough, and at the bottom of this short list is Diamine Evergreen.  I look upon this as a fine replacement for Montblanc’s lamented Racing Green, and it just nudges out Vert Empire by dint of its greater weight on the page.  I would hate to have no green ink at all, given its association with barking mad letters to the editor in England– the mental dissolution of the castaway is a well-known phenomenon, and it would be nice to give my eventual raving lunatic self a chance at full expression.

Lie de Thé makes the cut for two reasons.  First, it is far and away my favorite brown ink, with wonderful shading that nothing else on this list really offers.  Second, it is the one ink out of all of these likely to remain most legible after immersion.  I’m not too concerned about this aspect, since I envision my digs on the island being a water-tight palace of bamboo and palm-fronds (the name HOWELL likely visible, pyrographed onto a slab of driftwood above the door, and from the west window of the upper floor one might see a coconut shell and sisal gibbet still holding the remains of Gilligan), but if the notion of banging a note into a bottle ever overcomes me, this would be the ink to apply to the job.

Pelikan black comes along because sometimes one is simply overwhelmed by the urge to write in the most traditional of inks; “inky blackness” doesn’t get quite as much press these days as it once did, but it’s still a cliché for a reason.  Pelikan’s version of it is one of the more generally virtuous blacks, being quite dark and extremely willing to play along with most pens.

Jentle blue-black is an ink that I think I would chose as the last ink on Earth, were such a choice pressed upon me.  The sample doesn’t begin to hint at how well it looks on paper, especially a good paper like Rhodia or that stuff The Professor made out of Gilligan’s spare trousers after the latter stopped needing them.  It has the presence of a strong black, it has the illegitimate nostalgia of a brown, and I have yet to find a pen it doesn’t work in.

That’s it for the inks.  Tomorrow we’ll begin to think about pens.  I should mention that I welcome comments on this and its brother entries even more than is the usual state– I am curious to find what the drop-dead, last-ditch inks my readers would choose might be.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Cartridge (because, due to a distraction at a vital moment, I neglected something more interesting at home and this was waiting for me at work)
Today’s ink: Diamine Prussian Blue

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Posted by Dirck on 15 January, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 12 January
  • 13 January
  • 14 January
  • 15 January
  • First draft of “The Yellow Oracle.”
  • Ditto again.
  • Ah, the climax shines just below the horizon.
  • Yep, and not quite enough time to bring it to a conclusion.  Scriptus Interruptus!
  • Six manuscript pages.
  • Eight pages.
  • Seven pages.
  • Nine pages!
  • 35 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 45 min.

…and I promise I’ll do a little more next week than silently scribble.  But this one is rolling so nicely, I hated to interfere with it.

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Posted by Dirck on 8 January, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 6 January
  • 7 January
  • 8 January
  • First draft of “The Yellow Oracle.”
  • Ditto.
  • It’s shaping up to be one of these slow, stately affairs.
  • Very nearly two manuscript pages.
  • Six pages.
  • Five pages.
  • 20 min. (non-contiguous).
  • 40 min. (unopposed!).
  • About 30 min.

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Grey It Like You Mean It

Posted by Dirck on 8 October, 2013

Yesterday’s unwonted moment of vague hopefulness is past, and I’m returning to the familiar ground of inveighing against things I can’t possibly affect.  I have to apply a context-generating prologue to the matter, though, so bear with me.

When I picked up today’s pen, it pondered for a moment when the last time was that I had used a grey pen.  It has been a while, hasn’t it?

There’s a reason for this, too– I’m not a great fan of grey.  I have a number of grey pens, certainly, but the motivating factor has always lain in the combination of a model I’m anxious to try (or which I think is easily restored) and a price I can manage.  Colour is a consideration only in so far as it might hint at something going wrong with the material.  I don’t choose a grey pen for its greyness, and I don’t think I ever will.  Grey only has a few places in my sphere where it is readily welcomed– at the moment, all I can think of is hats, suits and socks, and that last one is pretty iffy.

Grey is defeat given a place in the visible spectrum.  A black pen, while not necessarily any more exciting to look at, is at least a bold statement.  It has defined edges.  I can aspire to sleekness, and possibly even mystery.  I don’t get the choice of grey, where other choices exist.

I may have been less down on grey in the past, as this increasingly active hostility to the… I’ll allow it “colour”, I guess… isn’t something I recall from even my recent past.  I believe it’s because we’re suffering a plague of grey.  My wife pointed it out to me, a few years back, on a drive through a new neighbourhood to get to a particular shopping destination.  Not only were the houses deeply similar to one another in shape (and each one little more than a vast garage with a hint of accommodation at the back), but they were all painted from the dullest palate imaginable.  Any colour the heart could desire, from ercu to dark putty!  A veritable rainbow of dull!

Yep, that's right pretty, that is.

Yep, that’s right pretty, that is.



Recently, with a strange inclusion in our television watching of home repair shows, we find that this urge to bland has crept indoors as well.  There’s one fellow, whose show I won’t link to, who swings in and does a costly renovation of one room of his victims‘ chosen recipient’s house.  There’s not a word to be said against the workmanship, and the materials are all of highest quality, but it’s always and ever variations on monochrome.  I think after a week with a kitchen involving greige walls, dun marble counters, dove grey cabinets, and stainless appliances, I’d be opening my own arm just to get a splash of colour about the place.  Adding to the bafflement are the persistent cries of the apparently delighted owners of these joints; they call out things like, “Oh, nice!  Grey!  Just what we were hoping for!”

What particularly adds to my confusion over this trend, at least in my neck of the (we have not got any) woods is that we start out here at a substantial colour disadvantage.  New England for example is, I understand, about to revel in a riot of autumn foliage if they’re not at it already.  Not here.  The trees go yellow, somewhat, in an effort to match the pale fields of wheat stubble that stretch to the infinitely flat horizon, and then snow comes.  There’s a few month of slightly greener to mark early summer, and that’s it.  Why we aren’t living in a mad bewilderment of gaily daubed houses to rival anything San Francisco has to offer (and I’m using “gaily” in the older sense, despite the location) is a constant source of amazement to me.

The only thing my wife and I can figure is that people are hung up firmly on the hook of resale.  One dares not do anything daring, like paint a house blue (fetch the smelling salts!), because that would cut out a quantity of potential buyers who don’t like that colour.  If the shows we really shouldn’t be wasting valuable time on tell anything, its that there’s an illimitable ocean of unimagination in the house-buying world.  “Well, it’s in a great neighbourhood, the price is well below my budget, the kids’ school is a block away, and it’s half again as big as we were expecting to be able to afford… but the trim in the bathroom is red.  Yuck.  No sale.”

Our own sweetly pink house showed some signs of this when we bought it.  The kitchen, happily, was the robin’s egg blue that had gone up in 1952, but the living room was not-quite-white.  It was tinted very slightly blue-grey, and the unavoidable association was the membrane one finds around organs.  We both said “yuck”, then looked at the pleasing shapes under that colour, and decided that a day of painting would see it right, and so we got the place for cheaps.  I’m sure one day a future buyer will pass through the door of the place, look about, say, “Butter yellow?! Yuck.  No sale.”  But until that day comes, we have a little armour against the enforced blandness of winter.  Pink on the outside, diverse colours on the inside; it’s a cozy refuge when home, and a welcoming spectacle when returning from a day of trudging over snowdrifts.  Have we considered the resale value?  Nope.  Until we sell it, that’s a far lesser consideration than what it does to buoy us up.  I suspect people driving into their half-million dollar garages don’t get quite the same effect.

Yep.  That's right pretty, that is.

Home is where the Gulag is.

Today’s somewhat uninspiring pen: Eversharp Skyline
Today’s ink chosen for pure irony: Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun

(ps– lest the donors of the ink suspect I’m been putting a glad face on the receipt of the gift; as with most things, a little bit in moderation is a good.  It’s dark enough to at least have some body, and on the page it’s mellow rather than the tedious a whole wall of it would produce)

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Boxed In

Posted by Dirck on 8 August, 2013

I occasionally see debates on the merit of keeping the boxes pens come in appear on the fora, and I don’t get involved because I can see the merits on both sides.  I’m going to externalize my notions on the topic today, as a means of filling some space and celebrating last night’s nearly-decent sleep and the consequent ability to not ramble about flaky crap as I did yesterday.  A side effect of the healing process in my mostly-recovered arms has been broken sleep, since when one is lying quietly in bed there’s fewer sensations to distract one from a slowly-unwinding bruise lodged between radius and ulna, so my judgement might have been a little off on yesterday’s screed.  I’ve had a better time with insomnia than some, so even in this I’m not really complaining.

Let’s start with the foolishness of keeping boxes.  I refer of course to the boxes they leave the factory in rather than the diverse box-like objects that on-line auctions see pens stuffed into; those that are reusable obviously get kept for outbound voyagers.  The manufacturer’s boxes generally fall into two categories, the first of which is useless little pieces of tat.  Mere folds of heavy paper only just able to support the name of card-stock–

Falling to bits even as you look at it!

These things were never meant to be kept, and exist primarily to keep dust off the pens while they await stocking on shelves.  Their one virtue is that they don’t take up too much space, which is exactly the problem with the other category of pen boxes.  Behemoths.  Leviathans.  Devourers of domestic real estate.  Meant as window dressing to assist the sale of the pen that lurks somewhere near their core, they are certainly durable enough to be hung onto, and indeed are apt to be commented upon by archaeologists fifty generations hence, but unless one has an Indiana Jones-style warehouse (complete with bent, patient porter) in which to lodge them, keeping them is an act of madness that fits within the general mental abberation of hoarding.

If you look carefully, you’ll see a pen in there.

To be fair, there is a slender little eyedropper under the pad. That needs plenty of elbow-room.

These are practical, logical considerations, but as many have observed before me, mankind is an impractical and illogical creature.  I incline towards the keeping of these boxes, and while I can give a reason, I’m not sure that the reason can overcome the counter-reason of “you’ll die when the stack of them topples on you.”  True, although for the moment the stack is non-threatening and mostly confined to a bed-side table’s drawers.  The reason has to do with preserving the context of the pen.

You see, while the pen itself has some indications about the aesthetic of its originating time and place, the box has a lot more of that attached to it.  That Hero box at the top, while a little bit of an anachronism, is redolent with the ideas of marketing in China at the time of the pen’s production.  As much as I’m very informal about my collecting of pens, I am likewise a well-meaning but inefficient historian of them.  I keep the boxes, when I get them, because they help to identify, because they expand the sense of the pen’s age, and because they offer a better insight into the similarities and differences of mindset between people as they exist now and as they were over the previous century and a bit.

All of that can be elided into “Well… they’re pretty cool.”  Some of my pen boxes on the tat side of the equation are items of wonderment merely because they have survived for so long; someone else not only gave a damn, but thought others might one day as well:

Tat, but it’s pedalling mighty hard with its little flocked bed.

Well… they may not have given much of a damn, but it’s still a cardboard box with a metal hinge-pin, and it’s been around since the late 1950s

On the more durable side of the equation, I’m sure one day this thing…

…which is the size of a VHS cassette…

…will one day evoke the same sort of tremors of fond nostalgia as these:

Man, that's some fancy digs.

Man, that’s some fancy digs.

Even a little squalid, it’s still pretty

Oh, the splendid mystery!

I’d have taken a picture of the box my Pelikan M600 came in, but I find I can’t stand back far enough from it to get the whole thing in frame.  One day, I’ll rent a helicopter for the job.

Today’s space-age pen: Pelikan M20
Today’s ink: Diamine Prussian Blue

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