Reading and writing, two of the best things in life. When you need some inspiration for these two virtues, please visit my friend Mrs. Duffy’s site.
She drinks pints of coffee and writes little observations and ideas for stories with her best fountain pen on the linen-white pages of expensive notebooks. Sometimes, when it’s going badly, she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word is really just a fetish for stationery.The true writer, the born writer, will scribble words on scraps of litter, the back of a bus tickets, on the wall of a cell. Emma is lost on anything less than 120gsm.
From “One Day” by David Nicholls
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, 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.
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.
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.)
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…
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.
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:
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.)
The pen and the fly: