Currently Inked #45 | 1 September 2017

  • Nick Soreen

    Greetings Matt and thank you for the new episode.
    I would like to share some information regarding the wet inks, since I like this type of ink and I kept a record of all the inks I have tested personally.
    I agree with you about Graf von Faber-Castell inks. I found GvFC Moss Green and GvFC Cobalt Blue to be dry and GvFC Garnet Red average to dry.
    Below there is a list of wet inks, according to my experience. The list was actually already prepared and I am just copying it here.

    Wet inks, with the wettest in the top of the list:
    1. De Atramentis Steel Blue
    2. Diamine Asa Blue
    3. Montblanc Toffee Brown
    4. Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo
    5. Iroshizuku Yama Budo
    6. De Atramentis Sapphire Blue
    7. De Atramentis Hyacinth
    8. Montblanc Irish Green
    9. Montblanc Royal Blue

    My best wishes!
    Nick S.

    • Thanks, Nick! A lot of these I’ve never tried.

      • Nick Soreen

        You are most welcome!

  • FaithRobin

    Matt,
    My first comment is for Clay, who needed suggestions for writing activities. Clay, try volunteering at nursing homes by writing letters for residents who are unable to do so. You get to have a writing opportunity and put in some volunteer hours simultaneously. What could be better!

    Now for my second comment. I have a beautiful, lapis blue Conklin All-American that says Made in the USA. The nib writes like butter and it isn’t 14k. I am sure this wasn’t made in China. Care to comment?

    • The fact a nib writes like butter is not indicative of whether or not it was made in China. I am almost certain the nib and feed units weren’t manufactured in the USA. (To the best of my knowledge, there are no nib manufacturers in the US at all.) “Made in the USA” can mean a lot of different things, including that it was assembled in the USA.

      I believe that Yafa (the owner of Conklin) has many of its pen parts manufactured in China, including pen bodies. (There are a lot of similarities between some of the pens I’ve seen from them and inexpensive pens from Chinese manufacturers). I have also heard that some of Conklin’s higher-end pens are being made in Italy by Stipula. But as for the nib I can’t tell you where exactly it is manufactured. In any case, you’ve been quite lucky with your pen if you got such a good-writing nib. Congrats!

      • FaithRobin

        Very true about nibs writing smoothly and coming from China. I have had some very wonderful nibs come from China. As you say, consistency is the issue there.

        Unfortunately, one hopes that when purchasing a fountain pen touted as The All American, which in turn states it was “Made in the USA” on the pen, that in fact it was manufactured in this country, not just assembled here. I will try to be more careful in my future purchases, although the provenance of my pens is not usually at issue.

      • Myroslava Luzina

        “Made in USA” actually cannot mean it was only assembled in the USA. There was a widely publicized situation where FTC made Shinola (a watch manufacturer that _assembles_ watches from imported parts) stop using “Made in USA”, “Where American Is Made” and even “Built in Detroit” – https://www.gq.com/story/shinola-ftc-rulling-made-in-detroit-problem. That said, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Conklin assembled something and slapped “Made in USA” on it before anyone caught them, or they found out they cannot do that.

  • Douglas McGrew

    Thanks Matt for the post and all your videos. After hearing what you said about Conklin being made in China I was surprised. I did some digging around. Brian Goulet mentions the same in his video run down. I am contemplating getting one though as I haven’t used one and the price isn’t to bad.

    I find your thorough videos very help as I’ve recently been bitten by the fountain pen bug after 25+ years of writing them off as not very practical. I grabbed a Kaweco Sport on a whim a month and ahalf ago and suddenly own 5 fountain pens. Anyway, it’s a fun hobby and you are part of that. Thank you!

  • Myroslava Luzina

    As to the wettest/dryest inks, I’d like to contribute my two cents—as I guess the asker of the question will not get a comprehensive rating of inks along those lines, but maybe a collection of miscellaneous observations will help him. I have a Sailor Somiko/Young pen that I bought after watching a review where it was touted as a pen that writes consistently almost without pressure. But the one I got turned out to be very stingy, if I may put it that way. I first inked it with Diamine Sepia, and the pen almost wouldn’t write. After struggling with it for a while, I flushed it out and filled it with Diamine Bilberry that was an incredible gusher in another pen of mine which has a generous flow. The resulting combination was very passable. Sepia and purple weren’t among the colors that the asker mentioned, but purple is actually one of the “classic” ink colors, and sepia would be something one would use to create an Indiana-Jones type faux-olde notebook-of-secrets or something (I’ve since put it into a Pilot Prera with a 1.1 italic). Anyways,
    Diamine Sepia—dry.
    Diamine Bilberry—wet.

    • Dave Danielson

      I like Robert Oster Khaki for that Indiana Jones look.

  • Alex

    I am an enormous fan of Conklin pens with a growing collection. And I almost completely agree with your assessment (with one caveat being that a few pens – the Heritage Series, All American, and Mark Twain Crescent – are made in Italy to my knowledge).

    Conklin and Edison have a lot of potential overlap in customers because both offer beautiful resin pens with #6 size nibs, often with classic designs and shapes. However, as you have said, they depart there. So as a lover of Conklin and (hopefully soon) an owner of Edison soon, I will offer this advice:

    Buy the Conklin if you want a resin pen with a vintage design/style that is well under $100 that you don’t mind or want to adjust and/or swap the nib on.
    If you are going to do an ink flow adjustment/alignment/micromesh to dial in to your tastes anyway, you like a little cushiony softness in the nib, and don’t mind the Fine/Med/1.1 Stub choices (like me), than the stock nib will be just fine. If you need or like a firm nib, or in another size like EF, B, etc., throw in any other #6 sized nib of your choice. And like it was stated, all Conklin/Yafa pens are made abroad in Italy/China and assembled in California on mass-production scale (no matter how many times they inscribe TOLEDO, OHIO on the pen/nib) and have a lot more wiggle room in the QC department than many can tolerate.

    Buy the Edison if you want a $150+ small-scale, domestically produced resin pen with a vintage design/style that is of very high fit and finish, tolerances, and ready out-of-the-box to perform beautifully. (Note: I cannot speak from experience on their use, but they have a high reputation for these traits). You can swap the #6 nib here too, and buy replacement nib units as well if you so choose. You have a greater variety of resins, so they offer different looks. Also, they are a small US company that ACTUALLY makes their pens in Ohio and try their hardest to maintain high standards for QC.

  • Heather Folsom

    Hello Matt! I believe in this episode you mentioned “getting rid” of some inks. What do you do with bottles of ink you no longer want? I have some bottles I’m not crazy about (now I know better and simply get samples first to see if I actually love it), and am wondering how to give them away, trade, or..? I’d hate to just toss them away. I’m so curious what people do with what I can imagine is a common occurrence.

    • For me, if they’re inexpensive or less-desired inks, I usually give them away. (I’m taking a whole bunch to the Pelikan Hub meeting tomorrow, as a matter of fact.) If they’re rarer or more desired inks, I will sell them to my local pen friends for a steep discount. (Usually about half the cost of a full bottle…perhaps a little less depending on how much ink is left.