Inky Success

For reasons that will become clear in good time, I’ve been inspired to fix and sort out all sorts of little projects that have been hanging over me. This is partly procrastination for the more important tasks, but hey, I’m getting stuff done.

I like fountain pens. We’re not talking Mont Blanc Meisterstucks here, just your basics. I’ve never had great handwriting, and I find that fountain pens make it a lot better. I had cheap WHSmiths ones at school, and I’ve treated myself to upgrades ever since. The school pens always used the standard blue ink cartridges, which made terrible weapons if you poked a few holes in them with a compass point, then threw them at someone’s shirt.

I recently got a Kaweco Sport from JetPens, which I love. Ii makes me happy, because it was cheap, and it’s nice and smooth to use, and it’s compact, and it uses the international standard ink cartridges. Over the years, I appear to have gathered many of these cartridges, and it makes me very annoyed when I think about how many different cartridge sizes there are. It’s an example of naked selfish greed, to force people to use the cartridges that only fit your brand of pen. Kaweco does the right thing, and uses the international standard. Plus they have that great German thing of making their name from the abbreviations of three words (I think, or is that KaDeWe?).

On an unrelated note (apart from in an office supply obsession sense), also from JetPens I bought a Uni Kuru Toga mechanical pencil, which rotates the lead as you write or scribble or sketch swimlane diagrams. This prevents the classic “hypodermic” sharp point you get. Nice design too.

Cassie bought me a nice Cross Century for Xmas a couple of years back. I was very pleased, and ever since I’ve tried to incorporate it into my daily scrawling arsenal. Sadly though, it never really worked out, because no sooner had I inserted one of the proprietary Cross ink cartridges, the pen would start writing all scratchy and dry out. It wouldn’t last a few hours, and by the next day it was completely dried up. The pen became one of the little things that needed fixing.

A week ago, I was checking out whether it was possible to repair these pens. I found the Cross forum on The Fountain Pen Network, and did some reading. It turns out that Cross ink is notoriously dry, and Cross pens run dry as well. Several people suggested that switching to a refillable cartridge converter and using bottled ink would solve the problem. So I bought a Cross refillable converter, and a bottle of the recommended Aurora black ink, which gets lots of good reviews for being wet and giving good flow in most pens.

Both items arrived on the same day, and I wasted no time in soaking the nib to get all traces of the old ink out, before screwing in the new converter, and sucking up a bunch of ink from the nice little square Aurora bottle. It worked immediately, as would be expected, still being loaded with ink. I set it aside to test later.

The following morning it wrote just as smoothly as any pen I’ve used. Well, almost. The Kaweco I think is still smoother, but that may be because it’s so light in the hand. I was very pleased, because I can now use my nice Cross pen as my “daily writer” ugh did I actually just write that?

It’s at this point in fountain pen articles where I would normally be expected to post photographs of my testing pages. I won’t be doing that; while fountain pens improve my handwriting, they don’t do so to the extent that I want to show you. Legible is good enough.

Bottles of ink? Converters? Maybe I’ll convert my old Parker Vector as well. I feel like I’ve made my first step into a larger world, a world where I will likely end up with ink all over my shirt in the very near future.


Categorized as "Misc"