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Modern Conklin Glider


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#1 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 02:27

I. Appearance: 9.5/10
The modern Conklin Glider pays homage to the classic chased pens popular from the early 1900s through the 1930s. The Glider recreates both the general look and feel of chasing as well as some of the design features of Conklin pens from the early 20th century. The pen’s black plastic and wavy chasing recreates the black chased hard rubber popular on a variety of brands, while its see-saw floating clip and general clip shape are derived from the actual vintage Conklin offerings. The two-tone nib is done tastefully and has a certain vintage-style plainness, but the precision of the engraving and style of plating look modern. The overall shape of the pen is similar to many offerings of the 1910s-20s, a slightly tapered flattop style. The pen is much larger than the common offerings of the vintage period, however. The chasing itself is crisp and deep, with each notch considerably larger than the vintage chasing you might find on an old Waterman or Mabie Todd.

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II. Feel In Hand: 8.5/10
This is a medium-large pen, even by modern standards. Compared to vintage pens from the period re-created, it is very large. It is in the same ballpark as a full sized 1920s Duofold, which was a very large pen in the 1920s. The nib is also very large compared to the chased pens of the 1910s and 20s, and is comparable to a full sized 1920s Duofold nib as well. However, because the pen is made of modern plastic and is a hollow shell containing a cartridge or converter, the pen is not very heavy unposted. Posted, the pen takes on noticeable weight, owing to the fact that the inner cap is brass. If you prefer a large but light pen, unposted will work nicely. If you prefer something very hefty, posting is necessary. Be warned that posting may cause scars on the body and chasing with repeated use. The profile of the section is relatively fat, and has an overall shape similar to a Waterman 52, but larger. It is a classic hour-glass type shape. The pen is a comfortable writer, but quite large. The chasing is crisp and deep. It is comfortable for long writing sessions in adult hands, but may be large for people used to something much smaller. If you’re used to a Waterman 52 and are wanting a modern variation on that style, this pen will feel quite large to you. It would get a 9 for capturing the contours of a classic Waterman 52 in the section, but loses a little because it is such a large pen.

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III. Filling: 8.5/10
The pen uses a converter or cartridge. SPECIAL NOTE: the converter that comes with the pen screws into the section. This gives an excellent, tight fit. However, you must UNSCREW; do not attempt to just pull it out as you might on a normal converter. The converter holds an average amount of ink for a converter, but is weak compared to the vintage self-fillers considering the size of this pen. Expect to fill this pen regularly (at least once or twice per week, if not more) if you write with it regularly. The filling is simple using the converter and poses no difficulty. Cartridge is also convenient in a rush. It gets an 8 because of the low capacity, but the screw-on converter has a nice, robust connection so an extra half point for that.

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IV. Writing: Stock- 6.5, as modified- 9
The pen has a modern nib that is non-flexible, but which has much more give than a common manifold. The nib has a spherical tip, common to most modern pens. The feed is a modern, plastic comb with a short tail and big “step” down to the main body of the feed. Flow is accomplished by two parallel slits. I found the slits to be too small stock. The pen was balky and dry. I modified the two slits to be larger. One slit was actually somewhat mal-formed in parts and needed to be opened completely. Once the feed and nib were tuned, the pen wrote with a consistent, smooth, wet line. Flow was consistent with any good, vintage pen.
Bearing down creates a modest line variation, but the nib is by no means flexible. The nib-feet unit screws in similar to a Pelikan unit. The unit can be taken down by gently pulling the nib and feed out of the collar, but this should not be done unless something is wrong. Unscrewing the unit as a whole is sufficient for cleaning.

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V. Durability: 9/10
The pen is modern plastic, which resists fading much better than the old black hard rubber offerings did. The clip has a robust spring under it, but care should be taken to avoid twisting it. The clip is certainly able to handle any normal shirt pocket. The converter screws in and stays tight. The threads holding all the various joints together are sound. The plating shows no defect, but should not be aggressively polished.

Overall, this pen is great if you’re looking for classic chasing without the worry of black hard rubber and with a modern nib feel. Be sure to test it before getting it, to ensure the feed and nib write well. Mine did not and I had to work on it.

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What to look for:
-the pen should come with its converter, box and papers. NOTE: the converter screws in, it is not a “press fit”. It is quite helpful to have the original converter. The converter should not leak or stick.
-the nib should be straight and free of any bends, dents or other defects. Be sure to check the crescent-shaped breather hole for hairline cracks around the edges. This is a sign of an abused nib, or a nib that someone has tried to use as a “flexible writer”.
-the clip should be straight and the snap of it crisp
-the feed should be properly formed, allowing a moderate flow and consistent writing
-the nib should have a spherical tip and be free of defect that prevents the ink from contacting the paper (sometimes called “baby’s bottom”)
-all threads should make good contact and synch up tight

Edited by Ray-Vigo, 29 January 2012 - 02:28.


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#2 jimhughes

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 03:48

Ray:
I got an Orange Glider from Fahrneys about 3 mos ago. It's in my regular rotation. My experience and feelings about the pen are identical to yours with 2 minor variances. Mine wrote surprisingly well out of the box. I'd heard a lot of nib issue reports about Modern Conklins on FPN. I experienced none of this. I didn't have any feed issues as you did, out of the box. If anything mine meets my desire of 7/10 wetness. I do notice if it sets for a day or two, vertical nib up position in the high altitude, low humidity of Albuquerque, that it drys up. A quick dip in my usual cup of coffee sitting on the desk and I'm back in business. Thanks for the review. I missed the screw in nib part first time I messed with the pen. No damage done, but a frustrating moment or two. Not a bad price for a modern pen in a classical Vintage design. Jim

#3 His Nibs

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 04:09

A very nice review Ray.

One addition...

You say "-the nib should have a spherical tip". The pen is also available with a 1.1 mm stub nib. :thumbup:
Regards,

Norman Haase
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#4 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 05:18

Yes, they seem hit or miss regarding nibs and feeds. Mine had an imperfect feed and a "baby's bottom" nib that required work. Once I did that, it was much better. If it works out of the box, all the better. When set up right, they're good writers.

Yes, they do have a stub nib. Of course, if you buy the stub, then you don't get the sphere. ;)

Where they excel is in being able to get the chased look without the worry of color loss like you have in hard rubber. You also get that unique mix of modern writing and convenience, with a very traditional look. One of the great things is that the pen really does look the part of a vintage item. It actually reminds me visually of a Waterman 52 more than anything, owing to the white trim.

Edited by Ray-Vigo, 29 January 2012 - 05:20.


#5 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 03:05

I have been using this as my daily pen for most of the past month or so again. I come back around to pens every so often. The pen is still functioning fairly well, though is still somewhat touchy as to nib contact angle. That said, it's a smooth and generous writer still thanks to the feed and nib work I did shortly after I got it. There's something timeless about nice, black, chased pens. I also have to mention how much I love the silver colored trim touch like you have on the old Waterman 52s.

#6 munirbazzi

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 15:30

Great review! Very detailed. Thank you very much for sharing your analysis.which tool do you use to work on the slits?

#7 nakiana

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 23:27

Mine wrote well straight out of the box.  I prefer larger pens and the Glider is very comfortable for me to write with.  Definitely one of my favorites.



#8 Steven

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 06:25

Thanks for the great review. I thought about getting one of these but you help me decided not to. I just can't bring my self to buy pens that are a craps shoot when it comes to nib quality.


Edited by Steven, 30 January 2014 - 06:27.

Avatar painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 - 1905) titled La leçon difficile (The difficult lesson)







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