Tomoe River Paper

This is probably the most impressive kind of paper on the planet. It is super thin, or can take more or less any ink you throw at it; I think I was pouring ink at it at some point. It is the paper used in the Hobonichi Planner. But the
other side of the impressive capacity to deal with ink without bleeding through or feathering is that the dry time is very long.

I get why some people love it, and it is the kind of paper everyone should try. But I consider it completely unusable for regular use, because it takes too long for the ink to dry.

Fantastic paper, but not for me, my kind of pens and inks I use.

Some thoughts on cleaning fountain pens.

How much and how often you clean your pens are up to you, but I think it is a good idea to do it now and then.

I try to do it myself not every time I refill my pens but every other to every third time. And I only do a full “flush water in and out until its 100% clean” when I change inks. I just flush clean water through the pen a few times before I refill it. Takes less than a minute per pen.

If you are using a cartridge converter type pen, then there is no damage to cleaning it every time you have the opportunity. But the more often you clean a piston filler, the shorter time it is between each time you have to grease the piston.

Like with everything else, there is something that is too much and something that is too little; the trick is to find a place in the middle.

You probably know why, but I am going to explain it anyways. The reason you want to flush water through your fountain pen from time to time is to make sure nothing dries up in the feed of your pen; and that is bad because it blocks the ink from flowing through your pen and onto the page.

If you use a piston or a converter, just suck water in and out a few times, and use a bulb syringe if you use cartridges.

But the most important thing is to do a thorough cleaning when you are switching inks. The first reason should be obvious to everyone, but it is to make sure that you see the proper colour of your new ink and not some weird mix between the old and new. But even more important is to make sure that your pen are completely clean when you start using your new ink, because some inks don’t mix that well. Everything from combinations that actually can damage your pen to combinations that clog up your feed.

When is bad paper a good idea?

Just a short one on bad paper.

They come in two forms, both of them bleed like crazy. That’s what make them bad. But they come in many different thicknesses. Bad thin paper is just horrible; think Moleskine; because you get bleed through on multiple pages at a time.

But. Bad think paper isn’t the worst thing in the world in some ways. Because bad thick paper have the shortest dry time possible. This is because instead of letting the ink dry on top of the paper like you see in the most extreme with Tomoe River, and in lesser degrees on Rhodia and Leuchtturm1917, the ink are just absorbed by the page.

I think it is a good idea when you are learning how to write with a fountain pen; especially if you are a lefty. And if you are in a meeting where you don’t want to stand out as the weirdo with arcane writing instruments and ink all over his fingers.

Lamy 2000 vs the Pilot Vanishing Point

The Lamy 2000 and the Pilot Vanishing Point are probably the two most common “first expensive” fountain pen for many. They are two very different pens, and what makes each of them great is also very different.

What makes both of them great are the fantastic nibs and you get a lot for your money. But there are some good and some bad about both of them.

The Lamy 2000 has a hooded nib, I love it, but it isn’t a good fit for everyone. Some people can never get a hold of how to angle it. And it can be a little bit big for some users. But you get one of the best designed fountain pens, if not the best and a lot of ink in each filling.

The Vanishing Point on the other hand is a cartridge converter pen instead of a piston filler; this means that the ink capacity is much lower. And this pen is also much more right handed friendly than left handed. This is because of the profile and position of the clip. I’m not bothered by it, but a lot of people are.

Both of these pens are something you either have to risk or need to try before you know if it is something for you. It isn’t the biggest risk, because both of them would be fairly easy to sell used without too much of a loss.

You probably want both.

What I love about the Vanishing Point is how quick it is to unretract, write something down and retract the nib again; compared to taking the nib of a regular pen, write and then putting it on again. The thing that drive me nuts about it is how poor the ink capacity is.

What I love about the Lamy 2000 is that the ink almost lasts forever, and the nib is my absolute favourite. And there are nothing I dislike about it, but it is just much faster to use the Vanishing Point.

I would get both again without having to think that much about it, but the Lamy 2000 is without doubt the one I think is the better out of the two. But one of the reasons it is the better, is that the Vanishing Point is a pen design with a lot of constraints that are needed to give it the one killer feature that is the reason we buy it: the only good retractable fountain pen in existence.