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The New Postal Reservoir Pen, Senior Model


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26 replies to this topic

#1 hari317

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 17:15

A good friend and a fellow pen collector from the US sent me this pen as a surprise gift. I had been curious about this pen ever since it was announced by the manufacturer. So I was quite interested in it when I received it. This one was going to be the first bulb filler that I was going to have.

The pen came to me sans papers and box, so I am unable to comment regarding the stock presentation. My first impression was that the pen is nicely full sized but slim. I have several large sized pens and this one is quite the size that I would prefer.

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Bulb filler exposed:
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First inking:

I got in touch with the manufacturer asking for advice regarding the recommended compatible inks with the pen material and some other queries. Finally I decided to ink the pen up with benign Pelikan Black ink. I had flushed the pen thoroughly with no problems, however as soon as I started the filling operation with the ink, ink started escaping from the seal between the sac and the nipple. Surprised, I contacted the manufacturer as to advice regarding this problem, I was adviced to try and refit the existing sac. I pulled the sac and it just slid out clean, there was no shellac residue on the nipple that I could see. I also noticed that the blind cap was deforming the sac when it was tightened down fully, the sac was 3mm too long. So I trimmed the sac accordingly and shellaced the sac and let it sit for 24 hours. The filler has worked very well since, with no problems to date. I brought my observations to the notice of the manufacturer which was adequately acknowledged.

Writing Performance:

The pen came with the 18K nib unit from JoWo. It is the generic 18K JoWo nib unit modified to attach the breather tube. The pen writes reasonably OK with a fat F width. No skipping. The feeder is plastic.

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Design and engineering features:

Quite Well designed for the first offering by a new pen company. I liked the feature of a groove on the barrel, this provides slight clearance between the cap lip and barrel and prevents scratches at this location.

The Groove:
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I have used this pen quite extensively in the last few weeks in the hot and humid environs of Bombay. I found a lot of condensation on the sac and the walls of the blind cap. I think the Blind cap should have a small breather hole to vent it and keep the sac outside surface dry.

While cleaning the cap, I observed a golden metallic ring inside, I think that the ID of the Standard Bexley roller clip's washer is smaller than the ID of the cap and hence is exposed to ink and ink condensate inside the cap. This might eventually corrode the clip washer.

The engraving on the cap can be improved(maybe by heat stamping?), the present one, probably done by laser is too grainy IMHO.

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I wish this pen had a removable joint between the section and the barrel, this would have enabled me to shut/seal the blind cap and use it as an ED filled pen. Also regarding the cost, it is 340USD with the 18K nib option. It is a bit high IMHO, I think the major component of the cost might be due to the parts being machined out of bar stock, I think major cost cutting might be acheived without compromising the quality by injection molding the parts, moreover since the color scheme for the parts is monochrome rather than swirled/marbled etc.

Finally I present some comparison photos with some other pens that I deem to be of the same size league as the Postal:

From L-R: Duofold Centennial, MB149, Postal Sr., Advocate ED made in India.

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Caps removed:
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Posted view 1:
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Posted View 2:
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Nib size and sections closeup:
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The nib and the section on the Postal Sr. is nearly the same size as that on the Duofold Centennial, In this respect I feel the centennial is its closest cousin.

Overall impression:

It is certainly a good pen and my impression about it is positive, but IMHO, it not the best pen that I own in any aspect in my collection. The strongest positive with this pen is its superb ergonomics, despite being slim, the pen is easy to grip and the pen unposted is so long that it gives me the balance that I get when posting other pens.

Due to the position of the clip, the pen sits deep in my mid sized shirt pockets, the pen is also easy to grip while unclipping it from the pocket. The cap does not have the tendency to come loose while clipped, which is again a big plus.

I hope members find this review/comparison helpful. Comments are welcome.

Cheers!
Hari
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#2 Lloyd

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 18:09

Thanks for the excellent review.
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#3 dannyboy

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 21:51

Thanks for the review. I have the same pen and bought mine at the DC Show from Richard Binder who customized the steel nib. In my opinion the pen was a bargain at roughly $200 plus customization cost. I've had no problems at all with my pen and have filled it with Herbin's 1670 ink. I recommend this pen as a very affordable and functional bulb filler. The red and black combination is quite stunning.

#4 rwilsonedn

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 00:02

Hari:
Thanks for a fascinating and very frank review. This seems like an interesting new brand with great ideas and a lot of room to mature.
ron

#5 Apotheosis

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 00:33

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First inking:

I got in touch with the manufacturer asking for advice regarding the recommended compatible inks with the pen material and some other queries. Finally I decided to ink the pen up with benign Pelikan Black ink. I had flushed the pen thoroughly with no problems, however as soon as I started the filling operation with the ink, ink started escaping from the seal between the sac and the nipple. Surprised, I contacted the manufacturer as to advice regarding this problem, I was adviced to try and refit the existing sac. I pulled the sac and it just slid out clean, there was no shellac residue on the nipple that I could see. I also noticed that the blind cap was deforming the sac when it was tightened down fully, the sac was 3mm too long. So I trimmed the sac accordingly and shellaced the sac and let it sit for 24 hours. The filler has worked very well since, with no problems to date. I brought my observations to the notice of the manufacturer which was adequately acknowledged.

Cheers!
Hari


Hi Hari,
Interesting review. I'm sure the ink leak is most likely an isolated incident but one begs to wonder what would a average joe like me do if I do not have the skills you have and some shellac handy..thats a headache I dont really need. thank goodness for your review tho..its a good pointer if I ever got myself one of these Postal pens.
leo

Edited by Apotheosis, 09 October 2010 - 11:31.

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#6 Enai

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 00:55

Knowing the cost of this pen, it is a bit disappointing to read about the sac issue. I guess this one slipped through the cracks.

Thank you for the review, Hari.
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#7 Lloyd

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 17:29

As I recall, tonybelding had issues with his Postal, too.
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#8 hari317

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 17:40

Thank you all for the comments. I would like to note that but for the initial sac leak, the pen has been trouble free. As I wrote in the review, I passed on my observations to the folks at Gate city pen and I was assured by them: "We will feed the info back to our contract manufacturer so that this problem can't happen again". So I think by now they have this on their QA checklist and future buyers should not have problems.

The other scope of improvement that may be done to the pen in my opinion, I have suggested in this review.

Edited by hari317, 09 October 2010 - 17:41.

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#9 jigesh

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 18:10

Excellent review and nice pictures as always! Thanks.

#10 Aysedasi

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 18:14

Very interesting review Hari, but my immediate reaction was shock at the $340 price tag. I'm struggling to see how that is justified.....

#11 Jimmy James

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 00:12

I think the price on the gold nib is out of whack. It nearly doubles the price of the pen, whereas a gold nib option at Edison is just $100. Then again, I think the gold nibs are technically not a Gate City option -- they're an option Richard Binder (half of the ownership of Gate City as I understand it) offers. That may be the big difference price-wise.

#12 Richard

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 00:26

To answer Hari's points...

The pen came with the 18K nib unit from JoWo. It is the generic 18K JoWo nib unit modified to attach the breather tube.

Actually, this is not the standard JoWo nib unit. We buy the nib without feed or sleeve, and install it into a different feed/sleeve set after adding the breather tube (and doing certain other modification).


While cleaning the cap, I observed a golden metallic ring inside, I think that the ID of the Standard Bexley roller clip's washer is smaller than the ID of the cap and hence is exposed to ink and ink condensate inside the cap. This might eventually corrode the clip washer.

That's not the clip washer, it is a threaded brass sleeve that we use to secure the two parts of the cap together strongly so that there's not a risk of breakage there.


I think major cost cutting might be acheived without compromising the quality by injection molding the parts...

We could do this if we expected to sell 10,000 pens or more, but injection molding has huge setup costs, and it'is not feasible for a production run totaling probably fewer than 250 pens. Also, injection molding is significantly more expensive for acrylic resins than for cellulosics or polystyrenes. We don't want to cheapen the product by using a polystyrene or cellulosic resin because these materials have problems that would cause a serious impact on the overall quality and longevity of the pen. We aren't in business to make a cheap pen, we want our pens to outlive our great grandchildren.

I wish this pen had a removable joint between the section and the barrel, this would have enabled me to shut/seal the blind cap and use it as an ED filled pen.

Why would you want to change it into an ED? The gain in ink capacity would be trivial, you would have emptying/filling problems with the"pocket" that the sealed blind cap would create, and you would lose the convenience of a self filler.

The problems with sac leakage occurred only on our very first production run. They've been addressed, and the sac is being cut shorter and secured in a different way.

Finally, the problem that Tonybelding had was not related to the sac; he didn't like the wetness of the flow, and we had actually done something wrong with his nib. His thread describes what we did to solve his problem, he's since said very positive things about his pen, and you'll forgive me if I believe now that he's an enthusiastic Postal owner. :)
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#13 hari317

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 06:28

Thank you Richard for sharing your insight. I know it is a game of quantity/quality and the price, but, it will be visually appealing to see a Gate city or Postal branded nib, atleast for the 18K version.

Also is it feasible to employ a threaded tapering locking collar to secure the sac to the nipple, thus eliminating use of adhesive?
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#14 Richard

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 10:56

Also is it feasible to employ a threaded tapering locking collar to secure the sac to the nipple, thus eliminating use of adhesive?

Not really. It would be *very* expensive to make the parts, and it doesn't really work well. I've seen it done on pens that have come to me because they leaked... :(

Edited by Richard, 10 October 2010 - 10:56.

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#15 777

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:25

Thanks for the review of this interesting new pen.

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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#16 dhlr14454

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 19:29

Not only a detailed, objective review, but a fascinating thread as well.

#17 Richard

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 11:11

[ I'm sure the ink leak is most likely an isolated incident but one begs to wonder what would a average joe like me do if I do not have the skills you have and some shellac handy.

An average Joe would take advantage of Gate City's warranty. :)

We turn warranty repairs around in roughly three business days.
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#18 Jimmy James

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 23:47

I think I'd opt for the self-shellac route if I bought a pen with a warranty that had to be returned to India. I can hardly blame Hari for fixing it himself, particularly since he is competent to do so.

#19 Garageboy

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 03:02

Any chance for a prettier or plainer nib?

#20 RedSox04

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 20:12

To Mr. Binder,

Has the etching on the pen remained the same? Hari noted it was a bit fuzzy in his review
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