Posts Tagged ‘fountain pen’

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Yellow Cab Edition

November 27th, 2014

My new 1995 Wahl-Eversharp Skyline, Yellow Cab Edition (nope, don’t got the box or tax cab, just the pen). Has a 14K Broad nib on it, which to me write more like a medium, similar to the 14K Medium on my Pelikan M250.

Skyline Capped

This plus a spare #4 14K nib, were a trade for two of my ‘user grade’ vintage pens that were restored to writing condition.

Skyline Uncapped

The pen is certainly interesting to look at. The cap’s construction seems to be nearly identical to how the 40s Skylines are assembled right down to the tight metal insert on the derby cap. The nib was a little annoying at first, had sort of a baby-bottom behavior of not quite getting ink down onto the paper with the first light touch, despite the tipping seeming perfectly symmetrical at all angles under the 60x loupe (a little tuning with micro-mesh and mylar fixed that up after I verified alignment and other factors).

Design-wise I like the look of what appears to be sort of a grapevine engraving around the edge of the nib. For those curious, this is definitely not the same size nib or feed style as used by the 1940s Eversharp Skylines.

Skyline Nib

There is small crack on the barrel, I’ve identified probably why it’s there (the converter pulls out, someone may have thought it twists and forced it to the left against the notch). Hardly noticeable once I got it cleaned in the ultrasonic, which I also did for the nib/feed just in case.

Skyline Disassembled

It will take a long standard international cartridge, the bottom of the cartridge is a little snug in the end cap (mostly from the air compressing when you push it down the end cap). But goes in fine, and when you unscrew the end cap it doesn’t pull the cartridge from the barrel. I doubt it would take any other converter on account of needing that ‘notch’ to keep the converter itself from rotating when filling. It would however be nice to see the ink as it’s filling, it’s not possible to see because only the piston knob is shown when installed. Most other C/C (Cartridge/Converter) pens unscrew between the section and barrel, which allows you to see the converter as you are filling it.

I got it inked up with Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo and wrote on a small #12 Rhodia pad along with some other pens for size comparison.

Write Sample

I still have my Eversharp Skyline Demi with the Army-Navy Wide-band Derby Cap shown here. I used to have a full size Skyline from the 40s, but it was one of the pens I traded for this one.

Eversharp Skyline Demi

Now if I can just get my hands on a post-2013 Skyline.

Review Jinhao 599 (Metal) in Lime Green

July 16th, 2014

Disclaimer : I received this from Pens N’ More (Links to the same pen on their site) as a review sample at no cost to myself and I get to keep the sample. This doesn’t affect how I evaluate the pen, as I still take into consideration how much it would have cost me normally. If I don’t like something I’ll say so.

This particular pen is an early revision of the currently available Jinhao 599A which in appearance is even more Safari-like with an ink window.

I’ve been using this pen since mid-May (2014), so I’ve had some time to test against small things like drying out, or not being used for a week or two.

Appearance

Jinhao 599 - Capped

The pen I received was a bright lime green color painted over metal (possibly brass) cap and barrel with a plastic grip/section. It sort of reminds me of the color of a sour green apple. The body of this particular model does not look quite that close to a Lamy Safari, but the nib is rather close in appearance. The Jinhao 599A keeps the same nib but adds the ink window giving it more of the appearance of the Lamy Safari. There are other revisions that also change the nib somewhat (hooded nib and traditional looking nib), I have not had a chance to try those out.

Jinhao 599 - Uncapped

Around the tapered ends of the barrel you can see a little bit of the brass underneath. With the lime green paint it goes on well.

Jinhao 599 - Barrel

Handling/Weight/Feel:

The pen has a nice feel and length to it. This particular model is mostly brass, so it has a bit more weight to it than a Lamy Safari. The newer 599 models such as revision A are plastic so they should be closer to the weight of an actual Safari. The cap clicks well and securely and is not too tight to remove for normal usage.

Course I’ve never been a fan of the 3-way grip/sections where they’re squared off. The one on the 599 does not feel too bad to me. If you’re in love with those kinds of grips you may be fine with the one on the 599. The section is nearly identical in style to the Safari with the flat sides on top with the rounded bottom. I prefer the grips to be completely rounded.

Jinhao 599 - Section and Cap

Nib/Performance:

Every once in a while I’ll find one of those cheap pens that surprise me, this is one of those pens. The nib on this particular pen is very smooth and flows very well. It puts down a line thickness similar to a western fine, which is about a size down from the nibs you would find on a Jinhao X750, X450, 159, etc.

Jinhao 599 - Nib

It’s not like super-glassy-smooth, but it’s a comfortable smoothness with a tiny bit of feedback and next to no scratch. Private Reserve Spearmint and Caran d’Ache Electric Orange performed wonderfully in it.

I’ve even left the pen sitting for past a week and it starts right up when writing with it again. So for the past couple of months it have actually impressed me for one of Jinhao’s offerings. It flows well, it’s smooth, doesn’t appear to dry out easily, a decent performer.

Filling/Cleaning:

Like most pens made by Jinhao, the pen is a C/C (Cartridge/Converter) system using the standard international fitting. It’s also the first Jinhao pen I got where the converter was designed specifically for the pen. The converter as you can see is styled to look a lot like the Lamy converter.

The section housing extends a bit to wrap around more of the converter with some grooves cut out, perhaps to aid in being used with the newer version of the 599 which has an ink window. However this design does make it a tiny bit more difficult to clean the pen with an aqua bulb. However you can always take a used cartridge and cut off the back to be used with an aqua bulb.

Jinhao 599 - Disassembled

While I have been able to remove the feed from the section (a very long feed), I have not been able to get the nib detached from the feed itself, which makes more rigorous cleaning difficult. As a result if you get ink dried up under the nib you’ll likely have to soak the nib, feed, and section for a while.

A couple weeks ago I had a mishap with the converter in the pen. Would seem that the back end of the converter no longer stayed sealed. This can sometimes happen, but it’s the first time it has happened to me out of the dozen of Jinhao pens I’ve owned. It is also the reason I like to have a spare international converter in my cleaning kit, along with some silicone grease since sometimes you can repair the converter yourself with a little bit of silicone grease on the rings and seals.

599 Converter Mishap

Since this was a one time occurrence, I’m chalking this up as probably a one-in-a-hundred mishap. If it’s of large concern, you can always get an aftermarket converter, one that doesn’t quite look like a Safari clone.

Overall:

The pen is less than 10 USD, it writes wonderfully for the price and easy to pocket. Aside from the converter mishap I have not had a problem with the pen and it flows great. One of the nice things about the 599 line is that like the Safari it clones they come in quite a variety of colors.

Jinhao 599 - Metal

Jinhao 599 – Metal

Jinhao 599 - Plastic

Jinhao 599 – Plastic

Write Samples:

Jinhao 599 w/ Private Reserve Spearmint

Jinhao 599 w/ Private Reserve Spearmint


Jinhao 599 - Comparisons

Jinhao 599 – Comparisons

Review: Jinhao 250 (Steel/Gold)

May 12th, 2014

Disclaimer : I received this from Pens N’ More (Links to the same pen on their site) as a review sample at no cost to myself and I get to keep the sample. This doesn’t affect how I evaluate the pen, as I still take into consideration how much it would have cost me normally. If I don’t like something I’ll say so.

I also like to wait about a week or two before publishing the review so that some of the new-ness wears off, and so that I can append the review with any new occurrences after that time. For example, it may write great out of the box, but how does it perform after being used and carried around for a week?

I was not made aware of which Jinhao sample I was getting until it arrived. The Jinhao 250 is one that I’ve never used before, but have considered. Jinhao pens I do currently have are X450 (rollerball), X750 (3 fountain pens, two with Goulet and Monteverde Nibs), 159 (2 of them, one with Goulet Medium, one with the stock Jinhao Medium) and a Jinhao 599 Metallic version. I used to have more but they were gifted or PIF’d (had seven X750s, two X450s FP, and a Jinhao 611). All of those Jinhaos mentioned other than the 599 were purchased by me.

I don’t like the number system, rather I will try to explain everything the best that I can. I don’t feel that I can give a product something like a 9/10 score if I have not used a wide range of pens, and most of my collection is what some may consider low budget (the most expensive pen I currently have is a Pilot Falcon). A numeric score cannot accurately grade a pen in most cases, compared to such a wide range of products.

Appearance:

Uncapped

Jinhao 250 – Uncapped

The cap and barrel has a nice brushed steel look to it, with a classy looking gold trim on both the barrel and the cap, as well as portions of the nib.

The black jewel on top of the cap is a nice touch compared to just a chrome dome with a trim in between them. They seemed to have balanced what little black accent was there in the top portion of the pen, just below the nib, at the base of the cap, and at the top of the cap. It would have appeared more balance if it was also present at the end of the pen, or just between the barrel or end cap.

I’m not too crazy about the look of the ribbed section, but the 2-tone nib reminds me of most of the Baoer pens with 2-tone treatment (though I’ll probably never know if that’s actually 18K Gold plating on the nib).

The brushed look is nice since it doesn’t have quite that glossy feel to it, and doesn’t appear to show fingerprints easily. The gold trim will in some parts attract fingerprints if you handle them enough, but it’s not a huge part of the pen coverage wise.

Handling/Feel/Weight:

The pens weight is very similar to the likes of the Jinhao X450 and X750, but not as heavy as the 159. So you’re looking at roughly 40-45 grams in weight. It’s not terribly uncomfortable if you’re into heavy writers. The balance is somewhat back heavy. Which means when the cap is posted it’s even more so. It feels best when the cap is not posted. If you prefer the cap to be posted, it will post and it will stay on (unlike the X450 in my experience), but it’s a little too back-heavy for me like that.

The thickness of the pen is almost identical to that of the X750. The 250 however has a slight bow to it in the middle, then gets thinner down towards the end cap, whereas the X750 is pretty straight down to the end cap. It is a little shorter than an X750, both capped and uncapped.

The grip section while it is ribbed doesn’t feel that uncomfortable. The surface is of very smooth feel, so the ribbing actually helps keep a grip on the pen, and the ribs aren’t too deep to be that uncomfortable, they don’t have a sharpness to it, just more of a texture. The grip area is also a little longer than the X750/X450 (those two are shorter, but fatter in diameter).

The step down from barrel to section didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. It’s kind of a sharp cut off but only a portion of my thumb touches the step down, and it’s not as deep as it looks in terms of feeling it. The middle section of the grip seems to be recessed enough that the pressure of my thumb is pretty linear off the step-down to the middle of the grip.

The clip is a bit on the tight side, but not insanely so.

Nib/Performance

Jinhao 250 - Nib

Jinhao 250 – Nib

The nib itself is a little smaller than what I’m used to using on the Jinhao model pens, it appears to be a #5 in size, and it’s an easy to remove friction fit with the feed, so also pretty easy to re-seat, adjust, and clean. (I had a Baoer 507 “8 Horse” pen with nearly identical nib, but I couldn’t get the nib and feed out of that one, PS: I believe Jinhao also makes the Baoer brand).

Like with most of my Jinhao pens with the open nib, the nib itself is pretty smooth on the paper, but it’s a unique kind of smoothness. On some paper like Rhodia it can be a glassy-smooth, some people may be annoyed by it as it can feel like writing on top of a plastic sheet. I prefer my nib to have a tiny bit more feedback. I like to feel the paper, but not to be stopped/resisted by it. On every day notebook paper there’s a little more resistance, but it’s not scratchy. The flow is pretty wet.

Unlike the Baoer 507 I had (I had 3 of them), the flow is plenty wet but not to the point of just bleeding all over the paper, so it’s well controlled. When left sitting overnight the pen starts right up on paper the next afternoon.

While it’s listed as a medium, the smaller nib seems to be closer to a western fine, it’s a little thinner than the Jinhao X450/X750 and 159’s Medium. So it’s probably more like a Japanese Medium. It’s an identical line (using Nemosine Black) width as my Faber-Castell Fine (using Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue), and Pilot Medium (on the Metropolitan using Pilot Black). It’s also thinner than a Jowo-Made Medium Nib (using Monteverde Blue).

Filling/Cleaning

Jinhao 250 - Disassembled

Jinhao 250 – Disassembled

Like most of the Jinhao Pens, they use standard international fitting, and they come with a standard international twist/piston style converter for bottled inks. So filling is pretty easy, and easily replaceable with higher grade converters with the same fitting if there’s a need for it (over time converters can lose their vacuum, but they’re relatively easy to replace and inexpensive to do so as well).

Since the nib and feed are just friction fit, you can clean out the pen rather easily by taking the nib and feed out, and rinsing it out along with the section, rather than having to constantly flush water in and out of the section with the converter or a water bulb.

Overall:

For less than 15 USD the pen feels solid in the hand, the nib performs well without drying out and it has a classy executive look. While not quite as smooth as something like a Pilot Metropolitan or a Jinhao fitted with a $15 nib, it writes quite acceptably and does not dry out easily.

Aftermath (Usage from May 1st to May 12th):

As I mentioned before, I like to give a little waiting period before posting a review. With this particular pen I do not care for the ribbed grip. I’m also not a big fan of Silver+Gold trimming, rather I’m more of a Black+Silver (especially if it’s dark like Rhodium or Pewter).

I ended up giving this pen to my Mother as an early-ish Mother’s Day gift. She keeps in her purse (often times in the gift box, with the loose fitting lid), along with two other pens I have given her. According to her, she loves it and uses it daily to write notes on some Office Max pads, and for addressing envelopes.

I gave it to her on May 1st (It is now May 12th), and thus far has not reported any issues to me. She primarily enjoys it because it’s very smooth for her, and starts right up compared to the other two pens she has (a Baoer 507 8-Horse Design, and a Jinhao X750 in gold. The 507 has a bad habit of evaporating most of the ink pretty quickly). It is still inked with the Nemosine Black I put in it, showing no sign of just evaporating like the Baoer.

So after nearly two weeks of shuffling around in a purse, sounds like it’s still working well.

Write Samples

Mead 5-Star Notebook Paper

Mead 5-Star Notebook Paper

Rhodia No.16 Dotpad - Compared to Other Pens

Rhodia No.16 Dotpad – Compared to Other Pens