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Twsbi Vac 700


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41 replies to this topic

#1 djpyle

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 17:17

I've been waiting for the Vac 700 since Speedy first posted the initial idea/prototypes here on FPN. I was mostly excited about the filling system (I'd never owned a vacuum-filler before) and the #6 nib (I always thought the #5 on my 530, while a great nib, was disproportionately small).

I was originally going to get the pen for Father's Day last year, but the delays obviously made that impossible (which is fine; I'm glad they waited to release the pen until it met their approval). Once they became available, I wanted to hold off on getting one until the clear version came out, but I finally decided I had enough clear demonstrators and bought the amber model instead. When it arrived, my daughters and I opened the package together, and it was a great daddy-daughters experience. For the record, here are their reviews: "Cool!" and "Awesome!"

Here's mine:

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Appearance & Design (8/10)
Capped, I think the pen looks fantastic. I'm a fan of the brushed clip, although I know others don't necessarily like it, and I enjoy the juxtaposition of the smooth barrel and the faceted cap and filler knob. Uncapped, however, the section and step are a little more squared than I would have liked. I don't think it's ugly by any means, but I do think it would have looked nicer if they'd rounded off some of those angles just a hair. And I think a pinched section would have made longer writing sessions more comfortable.

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This is a big pen. Longer than my M1005 capped, only slightly shorter uncapped, and almost exactly the same length posted. It's not as wide as the M1005, but it's still a nice, substantial pen.

The amber is a great, dark-orange color. Almost brownish. I'm one of those (crazy? sane?) people who likes to match inks to pens, so I was very happy to see that I'd be able to use everything from reds and oranges to browns in the pen without offending my color-matching sensibilities.

Construction & Quality (10/10)
Everything about this pen seems extremely sturdy and well assembled. I've only owned it for a day, so I have no idea how it will hold up in the long term, but I have no complaints so far. The clip works well, and both the cap and filler knob screw and unscrew very smoothly. It feels like a pen you could throw across the room and keep using. Not that I plan on doing that anytime ever.

Nib & Performance (10/10)
More like 15/10. This is, by far, the best F nib I've ever received out of the box. Based on some of the reviews I've read, and the fact that I prefer my nibs on the wetter side, I was expecting the flow to be too dry and need some adjusting. But that wasn't the case at all. Maybe I just got extremely lucky, but this nib couldn't possibly have been tuned more to my liking, and I've never been able to say that about a pen that didn't come from a nib meister, and definitely not a F nib. I'm 100% satisfied with the nib and the writing performance.

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Filling System & Maintenance (10/10)
Until yesterday, my filling system preference went (in order): bulb, piston, sac (vac, lever, squeeze), eyedropper, dip, suck ink off a dirty floor and spit it into the barrel, cartridge, converter. But now I've got to figure out where in the list to put the vacuum filler. It's in the top three for sure, and I think probably above piston. I don't think it has supplanted bulb-fillers yet, but it's definitely close. It's such a cool filling system. I got the barrel completely full on the first try using DizzyPen's method. No muss, no fuss. It's actually almost too easy, which is why I think I might still like bulb-fillers more—bulbs give you more time to enjoy the filling process. Regardless, it's an excellent system. A little quirky maybe, but that's what I like about it.

I haven't emptied the pen yet, but I have a feeling the vac system is going to make it extremely easy to clean.

Cost & Value (10/10)
I bought this pen during the Memorial Day weekend sale, along with a 540 (1.1 stub) and an ink bottle (green). TWSBI was giving out free bottles of Pelikan Edelstein ink during the sale, and my bottle was Sapphire. All of this—two pens, an awesome ink bottle, and a bottle of relatively expensive ink—cost me only about $170 with shipping. If that's not the freaking deal of the century, I don't know what is. Even without free Edelstein ink, at $85, the Vac 700 is a steal. For the money, nothing else comes anywhere close.

Conclusion (Final score 58/60—9.7)
As long as the section and the step don't bother you, you have to get one of these pens. I'll almost certainly get another color, and I wouldn't be shocked at all if I end up with all of them. For a long time, the Lamy 2000 was the pen I'd recommend to people looking to spend a little more money on a second-tier (third-tier?) pen, but now I'll be recommending the Vac 700 instead, and wholeheartedly.

Edited by watch_art, 02 March 2013 - 15:53.


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#2 AlejoPlay

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 19:21

I have the same exact pen. I quite love it. And it is a monster. But like a Mr. Snufflapugus monster :)

#3 djpyle

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 20:20

I have the same exact pen. I quite love it. And it is a monster. But like a Mr. Snufflapugus monster :)


Does that mean we should both get a blue 700 so our Snuffies can have Cookie Monsters to keep them company? :thumbup:

#4 watch_art

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 20:40

:roflmho:

Oh lordy.
Sesame Street references.

I love it.

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#5 tonybelding

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 01:12

I got one of these in smoke color, but what I really want now is the clear version. I think that completely smooth-and-clear body with ink sloshing around in it will be a real attention grabber.

#6 AlejoPlay

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 14:21

Forgive me if this has been addressed before, but my Vac sometimes chokes up while writing. I do have the blind cap unscrewed as the instructions suggest. Just wondering if this is a new pen issue and there's some silicone or oils in the feed that need flushing . . . or if my pen is defective.

#7 Koyote

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 14:30

Forgive me if this has been addressed before, but my Vac sometimes chokes up while writing. I do have the blind cap unscrewed as the instructions suggest. Just wondering if this is a new pen issue and there's some silicone or oils in the feed that need flushing . . . or if my pen is defective.


Have you cleaned it properly? I suggest a dilute (1:10) solution of ammonia and water, followed by plenty of flushing with clear water.

TWSBI has solid customer service, so you can always contact them for a replacement.

#8 AlejoPlay

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 14:37

Forgive me if this has been addressed before, but my Vac sometimes chokes up while writing. I do have the blind cap unscrewed as the instructions suggest. Just wondering if this is a new pen issue and there's some silicone or oils in the feed that need flushing . . . or if my pen is defective.


Have you cleaned it properly? I suggest a dilute (1:10) solution of ammonia and water, followed by plenty of flushing with clear water.

TWSBI has solid customer service, so you can always contact them for a replacement.


I have not cleaned. I am assuming it's new pen issues because it's fine 95% of the time. Then it stops writing and I give it a little shake and then it resumes. I will give it a rinse this week and see what happens.

#9 watch_art

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 14:39

A little air bubble between the feed and ink chamber. Does this happen even with the valve open and pulled back an inch?

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#10 AlejoPlay

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 14:42

A little air bubble between the feed and ink chamber. Does this happen even with the valve open and pulled back an inch?


That I've not tried.

#11 AlejoPlay

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 16:49

A little air bubble between the feed and ink chamber. Does this happen even with the valve open and pulled back an inch?


I just tried this and I got very good flow, so no issues.

#12 watch_art

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 16:57

So maybe it wasn't opened up enough before?

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#13 AlejoPlay

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 17:04

So maybe it wasn't opened up enough before?


But it has to be opened up with the rod showing? That seems a bit much and ruins the aesthetics of the pen. I just unscrew the blind cap all the way, which is what I assumed the instructions implied?

#14 tonybelding

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 21:20

If you draw the plunger out too far, it'll block the ink flow. (You can see a warning about this in the instructions, if you can decipher the wordless comic strip.) I think you are supposed to just unscrew the knob until the threads click, not actually pull it out.

#15 crazystan

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 21:31

I too have a smoke Vac 700. Not sure which Sesame Street character that would be, though staying within the muppet family, maybe Sweet-ums?

Anyway, I too had flow problems with the pen. I cleaned it, flushed it with JB's flush, ammonia and water, and just water, still didn't work. Speedy put this video up on youtube: Nib Adjustment

This seems to have done the trick. It's not writing as well as my 540 (smoother but with occasional skips) but it's serviceable at this point. Give it a shot. I contacted Speedy and he offered to work on mine to get it writing right. I think I am going to bite the bullet to get it working right.

#16 myn

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 21:33

Well rats DjPyle now you've gone and done it. :puddle:

This pen is now definitely on my wish list.
"Minds are like parachutes. They only function when open." James Dewar
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#17 djpyle

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 22:13

I too have a smoke Vac 700. Not sure which Sesame Street character that would be, though staying within the muppet family, maybe Sweet-ums?

Anyway, I too had flow problems with the pen. I cleaned it, flushed it with JB's flush, ammonia and water, and just water, still didn't work. Speedy put this video up on youtube: Nib Adjustment

This seems to have done the trick. It's not writing as well as my 540 (smoother but with occasional skips) but it's serviceable at this point. Give it a shot. I contacted Speedy and he offered to work on mine to get it writing right. I think I am going to bite the bullet to get it working right.


I think the smoke would be Oscar's trash can, but maybe that's getting too abstract. :lol:

I had to smooth my 530 nib a bit to get it the way I liked it, but, like I said, my Vac was perfect from the get go. I think it was definitely a lucky case of the perfect pen going to the perfect person. (Yes, that's right, I just called myself perfect! :roflmho: )

#18 XiaoMG

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:10

Congratulations on getting a good nib with yours. I have a bunch of TWSBI nibs, and I just received a vac700 today, and have always ended up with some kind of asymmetry in my extra-fines that annoys the life out of me. I'm going to do some writing tests to see if it's a more aesthetic than tactile flaw, but I'm a little disappointed (again) anyway.
Robert.

#19 AlejoPlay

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 13:59

I just want to say that my skipping has gone away. So it must have been just a little bit of new pen-itis that worked itself out.

My only complaint is I am not getting much shading with Diamine Ancient Copper, which I bought especially for the pen. But minor quibbles for now.

Edited by AlejoPlay, 07 June 2012 - 13:59.


#20 fourseamer

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:46

I'm waiting for the clear models to be in stock again, and I was wondering what the general impression was on these nibs' line width and wetness. I typically like anything between a wet fine to medium-fine. Comparable favorites include Bexley Corona F (6 of 10 by Richard Binder), Lamy Safari F, and *gasp* an unflexed Noodler's Ahab nib. Thoughts and impressions?






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