Yes, it has been frigid here, but thankfully I haven’t seen any reports of any cold weather casualties.
Leaving the office for three days and decided to take yet another Speedy pic. Its natural (Lunar) habitat is visible in the background:
Some friends finally sent me their new addresses. So the Parker 75 and I are writing the last* of the new years cards. It was a gift from my father-in-law. A hand-me-down that due to its emotional attachment it doesn’t get to leave the house very much. But I like to ink it up when I have lots to write and and a nice sherried dram to drink.
Happy New year everyone.
*assuming I don’t receive unexpected cards on the marrow.
Lovely pen! Parkers write beautifully. I was mildly surprised to recall that I no longer own a Parker fountain pen. I will have to address that this year.
Happy New Year from frozen New Hampshire too! Speedy gets a break today, so the SARB017 says, “Hi!” instead.
I haven’t posted about pens for a while, and there’s a reason for that. Looking back through my previous posts, I’m very positive about TWSBI’s, and with good reason - I have several of their pens and they are some of my favourites, I love the vacuum filling mechanism that they are arguably most known for and have, until now not had a problem with them.
My next pen to post was planned to be a TWSBI Vac Mini
However it’s not looking to good right now.
Truth is, it’s looked like that for months now, and I’ve been put off from ever buying the brand again.
TWSBI pens have a reputation for splitting in the screw areas. When they first released their vacuum pens they had a real issue with reports of this. To a one, they all blamed the user, saying that they had overtightened the lid, because the cracks were all in the screw area:
just like mine. However, they would offer a new barrel for a bargain price, so for the most part, people were disgruntled, but their pen worked again so they tended to leave it at a protest of innocence and nothing more said.
However, as some on here know, I have fibromyalgia, and it manifests so often in my hands that I need a tool to screw and unscrew pen caps, something which I used for about a week and stopped bothering with ever since, tightening my pen-caps only a single turn and leaving it at that - meaning that my pen-caps were definitely not over-tightened, something I can say with absolute confidence.
I went through the same conversation with customer service, they sent me a new barrel for a handful of $ (I’m not allowed to tell you how much they asked, they NDA’d the replacement!!!) Oh the pictures above? Yep, that’s the replacement. So I’m done. TWSBI had claimed long before the VAC mini that there were no more cracking barrel issues (despite all cracking barrel issues being user fault), but I have my suspicions, you see, the first one cracked after being left on a south facing windowsill, and the second one after being used outdoors all day. I think TWSBI plastics have a UV problem.
Regardless of the reasons, I have removed this pen from my rotation, I’m not going to buy another. I love the one I have left, shown above, but I am anticipating it’s demise, and keeping it indoors. I’ll put them in the pile of broken pens, but I still want to keep them, because I do love that vacuum mechanism, along with my metropolitan and a cross threaded sheaffer (That one was user error).
Meanwhile, I needed a new pen, that orange - my all time, number 1 ink. I think I’ve said before that the Kon-Peri Blue ink (In the Vac700) was once my favourite, well this is the ink that replaced it:
Pilot Iroshizuku (Responsible for my top two inks, I own two of them…) Yu-Yake or “Sunset”.
Unfortunately, with the whole Christmas thing, I couldn’t really go out and buy an expensive new pen, so instead I went out and bought a cheap pen with a fantastic reputation (Obviously in orange, because I am a terrible person who matches ink and pen colours)
That is a Kaweco Ice Sport (In it’s box) and that behind it… well, that’s an ordinary sized pen box.
This thing is tiny:
Here it is alongside my metropoliton and the vac mini - previously my two shortest pens
For those of you in the UK, unposted, it feels like an Argos pen
Posted though, it feels perfectly usable.
And I have to confess, it feels cheap - which is what every review says, before saying that they’ve used it for x time thrown it around in a bag, without problems. I can confirm it feels cheap - not in a cheap plastic way, it actually feels quite nice, but it’s so light, and thin that it - well an Argos pen is exactly what it feels like in terms of weight.
Anyway, one slight problem is that I didn’t order a cartridge converter to use my bottled ink.
(Slightly Maniacal laughter…) What could possibly go wrong?
Oof. That’s too bad. My condolences. I was contemplating getting one but will hold off now. I like the new one though. Looks fun. How does the Kaweco write?
I just ordered a vac mini. Looks like I’ll have to baby it a bit. Disappointing to see the troubles you had with it. Still, it’s the only demonstrator vac filler I could afford. (Plus it gave me an excuse to order some just-for-fun Noodlers UV ink. TWISBI pens are un-economical to buy here in Japan, plus Noodlers ink doesn’t really have a distributor here. So I ordered both from an American supplier. I guess that’s the trade-off for being able to buy iro-shizuku ink from the store down the street at half the price it’s sold for in the “rest-of-the-world.”)
Have you tried Fuyu-gaki(winter persimmon) ink? It is always hard to choose between the colors in that ink line.
Weird since they are made in Taiwan, you would have thought they would be more expensive in the West
Plenty of people never have the problem, and while it’s only a guess about the UV, I suspect it’s something like that, and as I say, the cost for a replacement barrel is a pittance. I’m still looking into resins which can repair the problem, I’ve spoken to one of those people who will build your games workshop army and paint them for you and he thinks if I find a transparent resin, he can make the crack invisible, so if it works, I’ll let you know.
Anyway, please don’t feel bad about your pen - it’s that nice of a pen that it’s worth the gamble and if it never happens, then you should get to enjoy it! When I’m saying I’m done with TWSBI, it’s not a strop at the company, it’s more because I have two of their pens, and I don’t really need more.
Inks and Bontan Ame, (which are traditional Japanese sweets, citrus flavoured, taste like honey too, in edible wrappers, and hands down the best throat lozenge money can buy!) I pay £30 for 10 packs.
I didn’t get to “try” but I poured over the samples and reviews of both, in the end, I probably could have flipped a coin!
I’ll do a full follow up, mostly because eyedropper conversions show their problems as the ink level recedes - more air in with the ink gives more burbling and spitting, or so I’ve been led to believe. That said, it’s a nice nib, ink delivery is smooth enough, but feels like a size smaller compared to my other pens in terms of scratchiness. It’s not too scratchy, but it feels like using my fine nibs. The tines are perfectly aligned, nothing looks untoward, I think it could benefit from a polish though, with some fine wet and dry paper. It’s drier than most of my other pens too, though again, this may be a consequence of the eyedropper.
I am not a big fountain pen fan–I prefer ceramic-tipped rollerball pens. But, in case you haven’t heard about this site, I highly recommend Jetpens.com. They have an amazing selection of pens of all types, as well as interesting art and office supplies, from the US and Japan. And they send out a pretty good newsletter as well. I have been very pleased with their service and prices.
If you are ever in Los Angeles I also suggest you check out the Little Tokyo branch of the Japanese bookstore chain, Kinokuniya. They have a great but somewhat expensive selection of Japanese pens as well.
My day today:
Driving to Logan International in Boston.
Nice view of some of Boston Harbor’s old defenses.
Connecting in Atlanta.
Evening at Mom’s in Florida.
Flying back home on Tuesday.
Sitting in the office today. Back to the Speedy.
Edit: Wacky photo orientation has been fixed.
Whew! Back from Florida! Aside from a doing a long list of household maintenance chores for my lovely mother, we went to the Mall at Millenia in Orlando last Saturday so mom could get her knives chef-sharpened at Williams-Sonoma. Unsurprisingly, I poked around the high end watch boutiques while we waited. The shops there cater to a fairly ostentatious, nouveau riche clientele, so the Rolex AD had lots of gold, but very little in the way of stainless steel (which I prefer). I didn’t hang around there too long since there are no modern Rolexes I am all that interested in. The Omega and Breitling shops were quite nice, but the Hublot store was like walking into Snoop Dogg’s play house. I left it fairly quickly.
I then went to Mayor who is a Florida and Georgia AD for JLC, IWC, Panerai, Vacheron Constantin, and Patek Philippe. Despite my not being in the market, they were extremely pleasant and attentive. I had a nice watch-related chat with the staff, and tried on a couple of my grail watch Jaeger-Le Coultre Reversos in both steel and rose gold. They had the new Duo Face Reverso in rose gold, which is the best looking watch I have ever seen. I also enjoyed trying on the dark blue IWC Portugiesier chronograph (a superb watch also).
After that I sauntered over to Montblanc, who has some fairly impressive watch offerings now. But I didn’t go there for watches, I wanted to see the Meisterstück fountain pens. I tried a few and was surprised how much I really like Montblanc’s broad-tipped nibs. Excellently wide lines, but so controllable that I was able to do some pretty convincing calligraphy on the test pad. I almost bought one, but reasoned that I could always buy one in New Hampshire where we have no sales tax.
Today I changed Sir Speedy back to his natural bracelet. Oh, how I have missed it! So unspeakably cool!
The no tax sales thing is really nice
We don’t have income tax either.
Good for you!
I’m going to make my first actual watch contribution to this thread. I don’t normally wear a watch and the few watches I own were all gifts, so I apologise in advance for my (I’m sure long-awaited) contributions to this thread being brief. My first watch is a Seiko quartz watch - not a clue about the name of the model. I know quartz watches aren’t prized by collectors, but this is my most prized possession. It belonged to my grandfather, who was my biggest rolemodel, and it’s the only possession of his that I have. I also really like that the dates can be set to English or French. It’s a little thing, but it tickles me.
This is one collector who loves a quartz, and that is a fantastic watch!
Thanks, Will! I have to say, your new picture continues to throw me off. I’ll get used to it.
Addendum: Your new picture is incredible, by the way.