Tired from a day’s work

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But the President did well. It kept up with a flurry of note-taking over a day and a half. On one converter fill. (I managed to fill about 2/3 of a Midori passport notebook, so it wasn’t an idle stretch at all.)

When ink, nib and flow are serendipitously matched, you can go a fair distance. Even on a converter. Pistons need not hog all the fun, after all.

 

A benchwarmer finally scores

The words “sport” and “pen” don’t usually occupy the same space. I mean I can’t imagine anyone pulling out a pen in the middle of any game, unless your job is to be that guy. You know the type. The one who is good enough to make the team and wear the colors but will never make it beyond warming the bench. And so he ends up taking down stats for the coach while the First Five cruise to glory.

Recently, Scribe became the Philippine dealer for German brand Kaweco. I had no plans to pick up a new pen, but I did promise to support local shops whenever possible. So in the course of a lazy Saturday afternoon I found myself at their Shang Mall branch, hunched over a display case.

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It’s small enough to be Yoda’s light saber. It looks the part too!

They had several Sport models on display. I really don’t know how they named this model but it is their take on a long-short design. There was a bunch of resin variants flanking a trio of aluminum AL Sport models. I was drawn to one that oozed a bronzed shimmer. It was actually a dark gray AL Sport but the warm lighting of the shop caused the color shift. Neat! I asked for a BB nib, a chrome pocket clip, a six-pack of black carts and moved on to enjoy the rest of my mall adventure.

Later in the evening, I inked the pen and discovered it was hampered by hard starts and skipping. After several flushings, some Google work, two grades of Micromesh and a piece of laminating film, I got the pen to write uninterrupted. It needs a bit of rotation to stay reliable but once you find that spot, it’ll write within the limits of its feed. Normally, I wouldn’t put up with such teething pains. I’d ask a nib wright to sort things out. But there was something so appealing about the package that I wanted to make it work.

The runt has moves. It'll stretch to match an unposted Long Major, if it has to.
The runt has moves. It’ll stretch to match an unposted Long Major, if it has to.

If you’ve visited this blog before, you know that I like my Japanese pens more than anything else. However, I will not dump any of them into my denim pockets or daily totes. The chunky Kaweco actually looks forward to running rough shod in some corner of my Hedgren or Qwistion. Refinement is not its long suit, but it will boldly go where urushi fears to tread.

There are days when even the First Five can’t find their rhythm. Looks like this second stringer just found its game.

Where nibmeisters differ

 

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If you’ve been jonesin’ to get a regrind , then you’ve already checked out a few nibmeisters. Italic mods such as stubs, cursive and formal are often standard on their menu. Tip reduction down to needlepoints are not uncommon, and some even offer the addition of flex to an otherwise rigid nib. But while their service lists appear cloned, each craftsman differs in how they express the work requested.

This is a writing sample of three stubs wrought from Platinum/Nakaya nibs. They all began as identical factory Broads and it is the concerned nibmeister’s work that influenced the final feel and behavior of each nib.

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Shinichi Yoshida is Nakaya’s resident nib wizard. He grinds conservatively, leaving a lot of iridium at the tip. Line variation is the least dramatic of the bunch, but it is there. There is a bit of feedback but nothing disturbing. More like silky reminders of each stroke you make.

John Mottishaw’s nib was spec’d to be slightly narrower than the other two. Despite its trimmer size,  it is the most forgiving of the three. Even a novice will find this nib easy to use and I suspect its wide and radiused sweet spot is what makes this possible.

Mike Masuyama’s stub seems to have the best line variation, but it will stop writing if you stray from its comfort zone. Its smoothness falls between Yoshida’s grind and Mottishaw’s. The sweet spot is wider than Yoshida’s nib as well, but the nib does not tolerate rotation at all.

The Yoshida stub captured here is an off-the-rack cut. It was ground to a safe window, without a particular hand in mind. It is clearly a good nib, but you can tell that a lot of its potential remains throttled. The other two were done to suit a unique user and so the nib wrights had license to be more aggressive in applying cut and polish.

This point underscores what  makes a nib modification stand or fall. It is a tailored service, intended to fit your hand before anyone else’s.  Do your due diligence and research your intended nib wright’s success rate in the work you seek. (Just because he offers a needlepoint grind doesn’t mean it’s his long suit.)

The clearer you are about what you want, the better his chances of getting it right. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Provide vivid details on what you want to achieve and listen well to the recommendations of the craftsman and his reasons for making them.

Take your time in this quest. It is too easy to have a nib buggered by an amateur, and rushing a miracle man makes for bad miracles.

When pens meet

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The pen club I belong to (FPN-Philippines)  celebrated its 5th anniversary today and never has the house been so packed.

Members made new friends and even pens of similar dispositions found time to congregate.

A lot has happened since a handful of pen geeks gathered over coffee at a university professor’s home in 2008. Here’s to many more years of fellowship and fun!