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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekend Reads 1/21/12

Weekend Reads once again! I hope everyone's been enjoying these. As always, please feel free to email suggestions and comments anytime. Your input is highly valued and greatly appreciated!

We've got some great articles this week, including a few reviews, and an excellent interview with Phillip Wang of TWSBI by Fountain Pen Geeks.

Read on for the top articles of the week!

#1: My favorite "Read" this week is not really a read, but hey, it was still great. :) If you like TWSBI as a company, and you love their products like I do, you must listen to this great podcast/interview with Phillip Wang of TWSBI Pen Company. It is very enlightening on how the company started, and what new TWSBI products are in the works. It all gives some very encouraging dates for their new releases!

#2: Another great ink review from Brian Goulet of Goulet Pens - Rohrer and Klinger Magenta, an ink I am very keen on trying soon. Take a look and see for yourself - this is a nice looking purple/magenta ink.

#3: This is a great review by a member of Fountain Pen Network. It compares the extremely popular Diamine Syrah (reviewed by me here) with the very ink it was made to imitate: Binder Burgundy. Mark (the reviewer) also throws in a few other inks into this very well done comparison/review.

Q&A time!
This first question was part of much longer string of questions, all of which were excellent. This one seemed the most commonly asked however, so I thought it'd be the best one to share for now:

Q: Are inner caps just friction fit?  In other words, they’re just pushed into the inside of the cap (which begs the question, ‘what purpose do they serve?’)

A: Yes, inner caps are often friction fit. Some of them actually screw into a clip or jewel atop the cap (Parker 51 for example). Other have ridges on the side to help keep them in. There are even some that have threads on the inner cap itself, and screw in, though these are pretty uncommon.

The purpose they serve is two-fold: 1) To prevent the nib from drying, which ties right into purpose 2) They allow the section to contact and seal against them, thus preventing the pen from screwing in too far (and screwing up the nib) as well as sealing the nib from leakage or drying out.

Q: Hi Tyler,

Here's a question I have about fountain pens.
Is there any way to "fix" a FP which dries up too quickly? And also, what makes some pens dry quickly while others can stay uncapped for
minutes and start writing immediately?


A: This is an excellent question, and really could be answered in a full blog posts. However, I think I can explain it in simple terms here.

First off: yes and no - some pens dry up quickly because there's something wrong with them. Some of them however are just "that way", and nothing can be done about it.

Now, as for what makes some dry up and others not: It is all dependent upon the pen's ink feeding system, and cap.

Take for example the iconic Parker 51: This pen has a rather complex but extremely well insulated ink feeding system. Because of the hooded design, this pen is practically impossible to dry up in normal use. I've left mine with the cap off for 5 minutes easy, without a single hiccup starting up again immediately. The cap is also well made in that it seals nicely.

A pen with a big open nib, and with a poorly designed feeding system (commonly seen as a lack of fins) will dry up very quickly in comparison.

The cap plays an important part in this too. A pen that is not sealed well during storage will be dryer during use. A great example of a sealing cap is the TWSBI 540: being a demonstrator, you can see how the section contacts the inner cap and seals the nib from air. This prevents drying out (along with the nice gasket which seals at the bottom of the cap). Some vintage pens no longer seal well due to age, and often dry out quickly. The same can also apply to poorly designed modern pens.

Overall, it comes down to a combination of these two factors, as well as things like how your specific pen is "set-up", and the ink you're using. 

Lastly, a little preview of what's coming soon to the blog:

Most exciting news would be that I've got two great pens coming in for review soon! I will probably get them in the mail this week, so I may not get a review up till the start of next month. The pens are:
  • The Noodlers Ahab Flex pen! I am pretty ecstatic about getting to try out and review this one. I've heard a lot of hype about it, and have resisting get one for far too long. Finally, I was ordering from the Goulets, and could resist no longer. :)
  • Kaweco Classic Sport! This will be reviewed both alone, and in a direct comparison with my Stipula Passporto. Should be a lot of fun, as these pens are very similar, but come at very different price points.
Along with those I will soon have a review up of the popular Waterman Havana Brown. I've been searching for quite some time now to get the perfect brown ink. Haven't even come close yet, but this ink looks very promising.

I may also do some repair related posts soon, which are always pretty fun and educational.

One another note - I will be holding off on doing videos until I purchase a new camera. Which will hopefully be very soon. Currently, producing videos is extremely difficult for me given the poor setup I have. The videos are also very poor footage quality, making it hard to show detailed things in them. I intend on getting a new camera fairly soon, but until then I will unfortunately have to delay any videos. :( Sorry about that one folks.

Now, that aside, we're pretty much concluded for this Weekend's Reads! I hope you enjoyed everything here, and hopefully there's enough to keep you busy for the weekend, in case you have nothing to do.

Please let me know if you have comments or suggestions via an email, or a comment below. Did you like this weekend's reads? Anything else you'd like to see each week implemented into this?

Don't forget to subscribe to the blog, and/or share this article if you liked it!

Have a good one everybody!

Tyler Dahl

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