In an earlier post I mentioned a couple of pens that I was waiting for. Well, they’re here — with extras.
Primary Manipulation in the flesh
Jonathon Brooks‘s wonderful ‘Primary Manipulation’ resin was what attracted me to this pen, and in the flesh it’s even more impressive than in photos. Yep, it arrived at last, despite the global shipping slowdowns.
Primary Manipulation is a riot of colours and shapes, with each colour band stunningly distinct. Some of the colours are opaque, others translucent, so you end up with a great sense of depth.
The supplied JoWo nib was so-so. I quickly swapped in a Masuyama medium stub that I had from a previous Franklin-Christoph purchase. And I loaded it with Pilot Bishamonten — let’s face it, nearly any colour would match and clash equally with this resin!
The pen is in Jonathon’s Charleston shape, which is a perfect fit for me. It’s generously sized, with a long and broad concave section and pointed ends. The cap spins off in 2.5 turns, which I can live with.
After seeing this resin in my Instagram feed so often, I’m thrilled to finally have it in my pen tray. It’s a keeper, I think.
Bonnie and Clyde
Here’s the Azure Blue Ebonite Torpedo from Duncan at Clyde Pen Co. It has a lot going for it, but sadly for me it has one big deal-breaker: the cap takes four and a quarter turns to remove.
Which is a shame, because it’s a comfortably large pen, well finished in pretty blue ebonite.
The design is classy, with the sleek blue accented by a little brass.
I picked a medium gold-plated nib to go with the rest of the brass. It’s Bock, which in my experience generally perform worse than JoWos, and indeed this one was dry and scratchy. I whipped it into shape with micromesh pads and brass shims and razor blades.
I’m glad I tried this pen — at £130 it’s great value for a one-off, but I am kicking myself about the threads.
Classic for a reason
Sometimes my brain is my worst enemy. This past week it put a few dangerous puzzle pieces together for me, then luck and Roy at Izods finished me off.
It started innocently enough. I observed that I have been using fine nibs a lot more recently, and enjoying it. I remembered that two of my best past EF nibs were from Montblanc, one on a 146, one on a Rouge et Noir. I wondered whether the EFs would be as good on the larger nibs on the 149. I realised that I haven’t owned a 149 for a while. You can see where this is going.
Turns out Roy at Izods had a 149 from the early 70s listed with an EF nib. 14k tritone nib, ebonite feed, single-part body — I haven’t really used older Montblancs and I was curious how different they are from modern ones. I pinged Roy with a couple of questions: how does the nib perform? Is it wet? Etc.
Rather than try to answer them, he offered to send me the pen to see for myself. What a bad, bad man.
The pen arrived yesterday with Izods’ usual fast service and beautiful packaging. The resin is clear and polished, the piston ran smooth, and aside from some missing plating on the clip you could hardly tell it is a pen older than I am.
In other words: oh dear I fell straight in love.
Inked with Bungubox Norwegian Wood, the nib showed off the long, almost architect grind I love in Montblanc’s F and EF nibs.
It has good flow, a bit of bounce, and immediately flattered my writing.
The long tines of the nib are difficult to keep aligned, but when I put the loupe down and just write, it feels great anyway. There is a little tooth but less than most Platinum, Sailor or Aurora pens I’ve used.
And the nib as always is gorgeous.
In all other respects it’s what I expected from a 149: comfortable, competent, classically styled. The platonic ideal of a fountain pen.
So I need to get back to Roy and tell him what I think of the pen and whether I’ll be sending it back. What do you think I should say?