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Sheaffer Viewpoint Calligraphy Review


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5 replies to this topic

#1 cambookpro

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 22:51

So, wandering back home in the rain I decide to pop into WHSmith and since I had a £10 voucher, I bought something I've never tried before: a calligraphy pen.
Although I do like fountain pens, I don't have a huge collection so this makes a great addition. Here are the key specs:

Make: Sheaffer
Model: Viewpoint Calligraphy
Nib size: Medium (1.3mm)
Price: £7.99
Length: 135mm
Length (Posted): ~155mm

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The Packaging (4/10)
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The packaging is plain and simple and is obviously meant to be thrown away. It displays the fountain pen, disassembled, with the Sheaffer logo prominent.
As you can see however, it isn't very durable, and after a 15 minute walk back home in a plastic bag, the top and bottom seem to be bent.
The back of the packaging simply says what'll be inside the box: 1 Viewpoint pen, 1 medium nib and 2 Skrip ink cartridges. It also provides a space in which you can feel the material of the grip - a black textured rubber.
Verdict: 4/10. Shows off the pen; gap where you can test grip. Card and plastic only; bends easily; not much information provided on it.

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The Pen (7/10)
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Upon opening the packaging, you are presented with: the barrel, with a space down the sides where you can see the cartridge and the ink level; a medium nib; one black Skrip cartridge; one blue Skrip cartridge. I like the choice of colours of ink you get, something I haven't seen with a lot of pens. The barrel is plastic but looks like it would be hard-wearing, however I'm not too sure about the gaps where you can see the ink level - it slightly cheapens the look in my opinion.
The grip is fairly nice to use, not too dissimilar to the Parker Reflex which has the same material and texture, also at roughly the same price even though it isn't a calligraphy pen. It is fairly comfy to hold and is big enough to provide a comfortable area to hold the pen in.
The final part of the pen (bar the nib) is the lid - obviously not much you can say about it, but it has a clip which feels very firmly secured, with the trademark white Sheaffer dot. The top of the lid is sloped and is blue to signify the medium nib. (Green indicates a broad nib and red denotes a fine nib.)
Overall, the pen has a nice design which seems to mix old with a bit of new at the same time.
Verdict: 7/10. Good, comfy grip; firmly attached nib; good overall design; feels robust. Gap to see ink looks cheap; all plastic shell.

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The Nib (6/10)
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The nib on the Sheaffer Viewpoint may be the only one weak spot, however unfortunately it's in the, arguably, most important part of the pen!
The nib is medium and 1.3mm wide, and looks fairly standard. There's a small 'M' and 'Sheaffer' engraved on it, but nothing else.
It writes fairly smoothly, but I do have problems when starting writing after, say, an hour of non-useage. It will eventually get going, but the first centimetre or so will just fail to be drawn.
I have flushed it all out with water, however the problem seems to persist. Otherwise, though, it is fairly good. I haven't experienced and skipping once the ink is running smoothly, however it does make an audible noise when in use. The nib has very good line variation - at it's widest, it's about 1mm, just over; at it's thinnest, it's around a third of that width.
The nib does seem to have a very small 'sweet spot' per se, with the pen failing to write on a couple of occasions if the nib is not at exactly 45 degrees. This may just be me though, as I do not own any other italic nibbed pens and I may simply have to get used to it.
Verdict: 6/10. Good line variation. Pen fails to start straight away; very small 'sweet spot'.

The End Result (8/10)
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(Excuse the slightly messy handwriting - I did my best without lined paper and my first go with a calligraphy pen!)

The end product is quite satisfying - the line variation can produce some very nice results, especially with letters like 'A' and 'S'. I also like the way you can easily write 'diamond' full stops.
I have only used it briefly, but from what I've seen it looks like it's going to be lots of fun to experiment with.
Verdict: 8/10. Good line variation which leads to nice letters.The pen failing to start all the time can be an annoyance.


Overall (25/40)
Overall, I don't think 25/40 is a fair reflection of the pen - who needs the packaging (which lost 6 marks) anyway? The Sheaffer Viewpoint Calligraphy pen fills a gap for entry-level calligraphy pens, and overlooking the problems, for such a small amount of money, should be a must in anyone's fountain pen collection, particularly if you're just starting to experiment with them. I can truly say I'm looking forward to using it, even if it takes a couple of goes to start.
-cambookpro

This is my first review - any comments/suggestions will be much appreciated! Can't wait to do more soon - have a Parker Sonnet on the way, so expect a review of that in the near future!

 Parker 75, Ingenuity, Premier, Sonnet, Urban | Pelikan M400 | TWSBI Diamond 580 | Visconti Rembrandt

 

Currently inked: Diamine Apple Glory (Rembrandt), Pelikan 4001 Turquoise (M400), Lamy Black (Diamond 580)


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#2 AuthorofDarkness

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 02:42

Great review! This was my first ever fountain pen, same one, medium nib. I still have it, and ink it occasionally. Something that helps is to refill the cartridge with Parker Quink ink, it flows better and makes it easier to start.

#3 cambookpro

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 09:19

Great review! This was my first ever fountain pen, same one, medium nib. I still have it, and ink it occasionally. Something that helps is to refill the cartridge with Parker Quink ink, it flows better and makes it easier to start.


Thanks! I'll definitely try it with Quink ink, thanks for the tip.

 Parker 75, Ingenuity, Premier, Sonnet, Urban | Pelikan M400 | TWSBI Diamond 580 | Visconti Rembrandt

 

Currently inked: Diamine Apple Glory (Rembrandt), Pelikan 4001 Turquoise (M400), Lamy Black (Diamond 580)


#4 cambookpro

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 23:33

Well, I tried flushing it out again today, but this time I added a smidgen of washing up liquid. No idea if it was that or some thing else, but lo and behold, it starts straight away now! Really pleased.

 Parker 75, Ingenuity, Premier, Sonnet, Urban | Pelikan M400 | TWSBI Diamond 580 | Visconti Rembrandt

 

Currently inked: Diamine Apple Glory (Rembrandt), Pelikan 4001 Turquoise (M400), Lamy Black (Diamond 580)


#5 AuthorofDarkness

AuthorofDarkness

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 23:34

Well, I tried flushing it out again today, but this time I added a smidgen of washing up liquid. No idea if it was that or some thing else, but lo and behold, it starts straight away now! Really pleased.


I have found this pen to be a bit moody, it works when it wants to. But I'm glad you got it working... :vbg:

#6 arni

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 13:56

I bought the Sheaffer Viewpoint three pen calligraphy set a few months ago. The quality was surprisingly poor.
The 2.0mm nib was badly bent, so that daylight was visible between the tines when viewed from the side. After some work with pliers and fingernail under the loupe I got the tines aligned and it writes quite decently with the included ink cartridges, a variety of Diamine inks and Noodler's black.
The 1.4mm nib was also unusable, with one tine twisted about 15 degrees. Some more work with the pliers and the nib felt OK, but it was a very reluctant starter, wrote dry and skipped frequently. Despite repeated flushing with water, it did not improve.
About to give up on it, rather than throw it away, I removed the nib and feed. This was no easy task involving boiling water and muscle power, it left some of the fins bent (later bent back).
I further cleaned the feed with soap and fine brush. In the main channel of the feed rests a fine bar (don't know what it is called) on one face of it is a very fine channel which I deepend with a scalpel and I took a fine shaving of the opposite face.
This improved the flow and it now writes medium to wet, depending on ink. It still is a reluctant starter, will have a second look at the tines soon.
The .8mm pen I have not used much. Flow is reasonable, line variation minimal, maybe because I write so slowly, but I have not had a close look at it, some reshaping of the nib may help.
Overall the Wiewpiont is a cheap introduction to edged nib writing for the tinkerer. I would not recommend it to those who expect a pen to function straight out of the box.






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