Pelikan M200/M400 and Rohrer & Klingner Iron-gall-inks (Salix & Scabiosa) – my ideal combos

Disclaimer: 

Since I wrote the text below I have been made aware of that the inks Salix and Scabiosa have some issues in regard to fading over time and being less resistant to light. I have no further details but urge you to take this in consideration, especially if you are planning to use these inks for journals.

I am not a collector of pens and inks per se, but in order to find the ideal combinations for me, I’ve had to try quite a few. I’ve absolutely no interest in having a lot of fancy pens in the drawer or a lot of bottles on the shelves, but I want that special feeling when I reach for the pen in the shirt pocket and put a trail of ink on the paper and can say: Man, this is classy!

Just recently I think I’ve gathered enough experience to share it with you dear Reader.

Paper is a factor that I cannot completely control. I have to use different kinds of paper qualities from Moleskine and ordinary office paper to G.Lalo ”Velin de France”. The settings in which I write are often far from optimal. I often write in a Moleskine while travelling on commuter trains.

When it comes to pens I’ve decided to go for Pelikan M200s, (and a M400 with friction fit nib unit). Sturdy, reliable, with interchangeable nib-units and they hold a more than decent amount of ink. Pelikan is also a brand with excellent customer service and is a company that you can communicate with, both with the HQ in Germany as well as with your national office, at least in Sweden. You can also buy nib units separately. I also love the Sailor Professional Gear series but the ink capcity is to low for my needs and the Sailor Company is not easy to have a deeper corversation with, at least so for me. Yes, I have a PG Realo that I love and that takes a lot of ink, but I don’t want to have an accident with that nib.

I’m now down to three inks. First Im still using Noodler’s BP Black. Someone called it the ”King of Inks”. Excellent permanency, good flow and a minimal tendency for feathering and bleed-through. But it smears badly even when dried, on paper of decent quality that is. It has costed me some trouble over the years. I’m only using it in my edited diary which I can leave open to dry overnight. When this QV Habana in one of the bigger sizes is finished I plan to say goodbye to this ink. Other inks from Noodler’s just don’t attract me or are not an option for one or another reason. J.Herbin inks are classy with good flow but are bleeding through too much to be usable in, for instance, a Moleskine. Just recently I took the plunge to try iron-gall-inks, Rohrer & Klingner Schreibtinte 40-710 ”Scabiosa” and 40-711 ”Salix” to be more precise. These two inks have blown me off my feet. Fast drying, minimal feathering or bleed-through, waterproof, no smearing and looks classy and a bit antique, and with beautiful shading. I need no other inks besides from these two. Period. The Scabiosa is for letters, signing of documents and ”external communication” in general, and the Salix for everything else.

Pen, Paper, Ink and …Setting

On Fountain Pen Network and other boards you’ll find a lot of discussions on different pens, inks and paper, separately. Some authors though stress the interactions within the triad: pen, ink and paper. That makes real sense to me. What use do you have of a gorgeous and expensive pen if the ink feathers a lot and bleeds through the paper? On the other hand, a cheap Hero could work just fine with a good ink on,  for the ink, good paper. I would also like to add a fourth parameter. I hesistate wether to call it mood, situation or setting. I mean, there is a huge difference between writing a personal letter on G.Lalo “Velin de France” at home a Sunday morning while the rest of the family are asleep, and sitting on a stone in the woods, or on a commuter train, writing in cheap Chinese notebooks. In the first setting I could use my big and expensive Sailor Professional Gear Realo, and on this quality paper I could use just any ink. On the run I have to use small Sailor Sapporos that fit in my shirtpocket and the ink has to be a non-bleeding one , for example J.Herbin “Perle Noire” or Noodler’s BP Black. At work I can’t use pens with screw cap but a Parker 51 will do just fine. Any ink can work for single-sided writing on office paper. (An alternative to a P51 would be a Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point.) When I’m upset or in a hurry I can’t use my italic nibs as the corners of the nibs will dig in to the paper.  I have to be in peace of mind to do the italic nibs justice. On envelopes I use Noodler’s BP Black, but the drying time and smear factor forces me to let the envelope be in peace for a while. An alternative is to use a non-waterproof ink and rub the text with a piece of a candle to waterproof it. As you can see the main thing is to find a combo that will work for you, and in your types of settings, for writing. Comments are appreciated…

Sailor Fountain Pens

Sailor fountain pens, made in Hiroshima, Japan, are among the best available in the world. This is a fact and not an opinion. Emphasis is on the nibs and their writing properties, and Sailor fountain pens are in quality and “out-of-the-box-performance” second to none in the world. The product range is huge from everyday workhorses to very exclusive pens that are manufactured on special orders. Writing with pen, ink and paper, is serious business, both for me and for the Sailor Company of Japan.

From a Sailor catalogue:

A fountain pen in the hand becomes an extension of body and soul and is evidence of a well-developed human culture, with written words not born from a keyboard composition. Raising above the times a fountain pen will forever remain the highest quality means of human self-expression.

  • This blog-post was originally written Dec 2010. During this autumn, 2013, I’m going to edit this post gradually. I have glued it to the top. I’m going to add links and videos etc. I’m also going to stress my own opinions a bit more. This is a work in progress…
  • If you have a comment, please post it in the comments area.
  • If you have a question that you want to put outside the comments area, please e-mail me using the address seen at the bottom of this page.

Disclaimer:

I’m not affiliated with the Sailor Company, or with any of the dealers that are later to be mentioned. I’m just a happy Sailor-user willing to share my experiences, observations and opinions.

Recommendation:

If you are looking for a first serious fountain pen but do not know where to start, look no further:

You can never go wrong with a Sailor Professional Gear Slim (aka. Sailor Sapporo), with H-M nib! It is a medium-sized pen with a perfect 14 K gold nib. If the price seems too high, remember, this pen will last a lifetime. (There are cheaper Sailor fountain pens with steel nibs which are said to be good. I have not tried any of those yet and therefore I’m not going to comment on them.)

Caution:

Do not order any of the specialty nibs, Zoom, Music Stub, Naginata togi etc., unless you know exactly what you are doing, OR are willing to pay the extra money to have the nib exchanged or modified. (I’m absolutely not saying that these nibs are “bad”, but they can be hard to master by a novice, especially if you are writing on non-premium paper as these nibs deliver much ink, which can cause feathering or bleed-through. It is like a Ferrari Testarossa should not be your first car, especially not on bad roads…)

Why you should be very conservative when choosing nib to your first Sailor can be illustrated by this informative video…

In this article I’m going to discuss Sailor fountain pens in the segment $100-500 USD. Above that segment there is nothing making the pen write better, and below that segment you get steel nibs. (I’m not telling that they are inferior in being pens made for writing, but as an investment for life, a nib of gold will give you more satisfaction over the years, at least emotionally.)

Links:

In this post I’m going to show you some of my pens. (If you click this link you’ll find a very beautiful but expensive Sailor that belongs to a colleague of mine in Singapore. Have a look and start drooling! http://ela123a.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/sailor-dragonfly-maki-e-fountain-pen/ )

The first pen is a Professional Gear Ivory with a H-F nib. It’s filled with Noodler’s BP Black and I use it for my edited journal, Quo Vadis Habana.

White Sailor Professional Gear

Sailor PG H-F nib

These two Professional Gear Slim, (also called Sailor Sapporo), one in gold trim and the other in silver/rhodium trim are always in my shirtpocket, filled with J.Herbin “Perle Noire”. Both have H-M nibs. One of them was almost lost some time ago. I had lost it and later found it on the bottom of a paper bag while recycling waste! I think that the Sapporos have the perfect size for wearing in shirt pockets.

My daily companions

When you are flashing with a Sailor Fountain Pen, the admirers will gather!

Here you can see the difference between writing with an italic nib and an ordinary H-F nib:

Sailor Proffesional Gear

Italic nib vs H-F nib

A nice Family picture:

From the left you have first the red Sapporo Mini (Professional Gear Slim Mini) that now is in the hands of a dear friend of mine. Then you have my two Sapporos mentioned above. A couple of 1911M follows. They have Richard Binder italic nibs, ground from Music Stubs. They are filled with J.Herbin “Lie de Thé” and “Perle Noire” respectively. To the right two Professional Gears, the wthite with H-F nib and the black with H-M nib. (Later I have acquired one PG with Naginata-togi NMF nib and one PG Realo Maroon with H-M nib.)

A Happy Family of Sailor Fountain Pens

Pen friends:

The Big and the Portable

The pen and the fly:

My black PG H-M with a domestic fly

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