On Boxing Day [the day after Christmas], I was aimlessly browsing Amazon when this fountain pen appeared before me. It wasn’t on my radar — I’m not even sure it’s a pen I would have been interested in normally. However, the picture and the price appealed to me, and I thought “What the heck?! I’ll give Cross another chance!” I had some bad luck with Cross in the beginning. Love their ink, though. Anyway … it was, what Amazon called, a «lightning deal» 🙂 and it arrived yesterday.
The nib is solid gold 18K on this Cross Forever Pearl Sauvage. The term ‘buttery smooth’ is perhaps getting a little hackneyed, but there is no better way of describing how it writes. I now understand what gold nibs are all about. Mine is an F nib, but it lays down a pretty wet line and I’d compare it to a European F nib, but I knew that already. If there’s anything on the con side, and this is personal, it’s the metal grip section. I’m not a big fan of them … I find them a little slippery.
The ink in the background arrived at the same time. It could very well be the «grail» blue I’ve been looking for, but I won’t say for sure until the Iroshizuku asa-gao arrives from Japan. Graf von Faber-Castell’s inks are so good I have a hard time finding a suitable superlative. I didn’t like the colour of the first one I bought [Cobalt], but then I found out they had a Royal Blue. As much as I disliked the colour of Cobalt, I still used it in very fine-nibbed pens that tended to be scratchy. When I ink them up with GvFC they become smooth as ever. I’ll do a sampling of the ink when the Iroshizuku asa-gao arrives … they’re very close in colour.
It’s been three months since I started this handwriting/fountain pen project. Looked back now, on my posts tagged “fountain pen”, and was pleased to see how much I’ve learnt in such a short amount of time. Only goes to prove it’s easy to learn something you really want to, and that is fun!
When I got that first pen, I had no clue about nib sizes, ink types, paper quality et cetera. That a fine nib from one country could appear as a medium nib to me … that I prefer fine nibs to medium. I’ve learnt that I can fill empty cartridges by using syringes with long needles. I’ve found out that the Cross ink is just as fast-drying as any other inks being advertised as fast-drying (if not faster). This is important as I’m left-handed.
Moreover, I’ve found that the Clairefontaine is the most wonderful type of paper you could ever write on. It feels like pure silk to the touch. Normally, one would think a lot of smudging would be produced on such a smooth paper, but it doesn’t … not one bit. The little stationery shop in Toronto, that I’ve found recently, now also carries letter paper in this brand. It baffles me, though, that it has to take five days for a package to get from Toronto to Saint John.
All of the above reminds me of when I started learning HTML in 1997. I thought that was the funniest thing on wheels … I just wanted to learn MORE all the time, pestering my online buddies with questions. I thought it was just marvellous, that I could put stuff out there … on the Internet. I had one photo that I wanted to put online, so I brought a floppy disk to a company and had them scan it for me. It was of me and my cat Hadassah. Now I have 35,000 pictures in my Flickr albums, and I upload pictures with my phone if I want to. We’ve come far in twenty years.
Just received a bottle of blue ink, that I’d ordered from Amazon. This little glass bottle was delivered by FedEx.
It’s something about FedEx … I always expect it to be at least a box of some sort, not a lightweight envelope. Anyway, it’s here now. I’ve found this Cross ink to be the most fast-drying, even when I write on the extremely, smooth paper in my Clairefontaine notebook. I still write with my hand in the hooked position, so I keep dragging it over the text. Not one sign of smudging!
The other day, I learned something new, from an acquaintance. He’d posted a photo of his new fountain pen on Facebook, and we started talking a little about that. Turns out I can fill up the empty cartridges with regular ink, by using a syringe with a long needle. I had no idea, and wouldn’t have come up with it, myself, either.
This whole thing, with the fountain pen, has been such a delightful experience! Just the fact that I can use one, in spite of being left-handed, plus the fact that at this ripe age, I’m getting a fairly decent handwriting — something I always wished for. Not that I have much to write, but there are people who have thought of that already: 18 things to do with an empty notebook. So now I can make use of, at least some, of my notebooks. Not the Moleskine ones, though — they’re not for fountain pens. I write my three Morning Pages still … I’m up to perhaps eight days now, and I still like it.