Tag Archives: fine

Sailor Desk Fountain Pen (Extra Fine)

8 Apr

Sailor’s desk pen was my first purchase from the old Japanese pen company.  According to the stamp on the metal, this is an EF (extra-fine) nib.  Like most Japanese companies, Sailor is not joking around when they say ‘extra-fine’–this thing is needle-fine.  Behind the Pilot Penmanship, this is the finest-tipped fountain pen I own.  Unlike the Penmanship, however, the desk pen’s tip is not flexible and lays down a very consistant, extra-fine line.

Launch sequence initiated.

You may look at a tip like this and think: scratchy.  After all, fountain pens have no rolling parts at their point to ease contact with the paper.  Here is where I give Sailor the most credit.  The pen does not feel like dragging a hypodermic needle over sandpaper.  Sure, the tip is no broad-nib floater and won’t win any smoothness competitions over a wide, 14k-gold music nib, but I have to tell you that it’s still damn smooth for a nib this size.  Changing direction is a breeze and the Sailor never feels like it is catching on smoother papers.

Uncomfortably pointy.

Now for the unavoidable part of this review.  This is a Sailor desk fountain pen, meaning it was designed to be kept exclusively in those fancy, old-fashioned desk stands that you see on lawyers’ desks.  What does this mean?  Well, the pen is very long and slender.  Combined with the plastic barrel, the pen is featherlight and perfectly balanced for quick writing.  While I do like heavy fountain pens, I tend to lean towards lighter barrels when dealing with a nib of this fineness (tip stays smoother because I am not tempted to apply too much force and dig into the paper). It also doesn’t come with a real cap because the desk stand doubles as a cap.

Sleek and shiny.

Ok so it is a little long if you need to carry it around with you...

At least it comes with some sort of capping-device.

I do not own a fancy-shmancy desk stand.  I have carried this pen around in my backpack and kept it in my desk drawer and the pen has yet to leak on me.  The cap-like piece of plastic that comes with the pen serves very well as a cap even though it does look a bit awkward.  It hasn’t come off on its own or fallen apart.  One thing you cannot do, unfortunately, is post it on the back.

Thin plastic makes the entire pen extremely light.

I have thus far only attempted to use Sailor’s black ink cartridge so I couldn’t speak much about converters or the pen’s performance with other inks.  What I can say is that Sailor’s black ink is no short of incredible.  It is extremely dark, dries very quickly on Rhodia paper, and does not feather or bleed in the slightest.

If you happen to own a desk stand (I’m looking at you, lawyers) or can deal with owning a desk pen without a desk stand, I highly recommend the Sailor desk pen.  It is very inexpensive for such a wonderful writing device.  If, however, you cannot deal with owning something with an awkward shape to carry around, or do not like ultra-light, slender pens, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Stabilo bl@ck Rollerball (fine)

30 Mar

Before I begin this review, I need to get one thing straightened away.  ‘Fine’ does not mean the same thing to German pen manufacturers as it does to Japanese manufacturers.  While both countries are known to produce high-quality products, the Japanese seem to obsess over minute fractions while Germans seem more concerned with sturdiness and overall performance.  If you need an analogy, think about a compact Japanese car versus a compact German car.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people complain that Stabilo products (or other German-made pens) mislabel their tip sizes.  ‘Fine’ is a relative term.  If your definition of fine is a 0.18mm Signo Bit, this pen may seem more like a medium-broad point to you.  Those of you that have experience with fountain pens will recognize this issue as fine-point German nibs are much wider than fine-point Japanese nibs.  No side is right or wrong, it is simply a matter of opinion.

‘Fine' is only four letters put next to each other.

Phew, with that rant out of the way I will get on with this review.  This is an awesome rollerball!  The tip is buttery-smooth across the page, yet still gives a healthy dose of feedback to let your hand know that it is in fact writing something.  This green ink (my personal favorite color and favorite ink color) is simply gorgeous.  It’s a deep, forest-y green with just a touch of blue.  The ink also also leaves shading streaks in your text like a fountain pen ink would, which I think looks beautiful but some people prefer a more uniform color.

Love the shading within strokes.

Stabilo is a company that is known for their devotion to ergonomic designs and the bl@ck is no exception:  the body is perfectly contoured to the shape of my hand and the entire length of the pen is covered with a non-stick rubber.  Stabilo really succeeded with this particular design–I feel that some of their other models force you to conform to their ‘ideal’ position (inserting a pun here would be wrong) which is dictated (must. resist. pun.) by the body or shape of the grip.  Here, the entire pen is rounded and I can hold it comfortably in whatever way I please.

No need to conform to a dictat-...‘suggested' hand position.

The cap snaps onto the front and back of the pen with a nice ‘clunk’ akin to slamming the door shut of a mercedes.  This is an ink-heavy liquid rollerball pen so it will bleed and spread quite a bit on the wrong kind of paper.  For this test I used a Rhodia DotPad and the 80gm French paper soaked the ink in wonderfully and without any trace of bleed or show-through (must…resist…puns…).  If you can let go of your predisposed notions of ‘fine’ tips, you will not be disappointed with this finely-crafted German pen.  It writes wonderfully, comes filled with beautiful green ink, and is very comfortable to use.  I don’t think I’ve ever been let down by a Stabilo design and the company has always fascinated me because they really are a different type of pen manufacturer.  There is something delightfully funky about the way every one of their products look and feel.  Sometime in the future I’ll do a review of the mystifying Exam Grade ballpoint and a personal favorite, the pointVisco.

JetPens carries this pen in multiple colors as well as a wider, ‘medium’ tipped version: Stabilo Bl@ck series