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Desiderata Daedalus Review

pointed pen flex desiderata copperplate

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#1 Lively

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 04:12

I wanted to be able to practise Copperplate without having a bottle of ink and dip pen out, mostly due to having young children who are fascinated by the ink and pen, and always manage to find them if they're not locked away! *The ink and pens, not the children!

 

I bought a Desiderata Daedalus so I would have an easier, less risky way of practising.  Apologies for the poor quality photos, handwriting, and verbosity in this review.

 

Desiderata Daedalus AU$66.06
Postage AU$19.82
Took just under two weeks to arrive.
16 g half full ink, including lid.
Lid 2 g.
 
*ETA - I'm very pleased with this pen, and it satisfies my requirements.  I'm worried this review sounds hyper-critical.
 
The pen arrived in a mailing box, wrapped in a couple of layers of paper.  I would have liked a page of instructions, "Quick Start Guide", web links, or similar.  A sheet of bubble wrap would seem less haphazard packaging than a sheet of newsprint paper.  For the price (I say this from a buyer's perspective, with no knowledge of manufacturing time or cost), it would be nice to have a cloth bag or box or something as well, or even for the pen to be wrapped in a nice piece of cloth for transit.
 
This pen is a plain matt black cylinder.  There is visible evidence of machining although it's perfectly smooth to touch and has a nice satin matt feel to it.  The lid screws on (I think too many turns).  There is some evidence of swarf on thread.  The lid has a little metal bump on it to stop it rolling - I'd prefer if it didn't as I like really plain, unadorned things.  The lid posts, but this makes the pen a bit heavy for me.
 
fpn_1426477334__d06.jpg
 
fpn_1426477351__d10.jpg
 
The feed has a slightly rustic appearance (but this does not matter).  The feed has a channel down its length finishing a mm or two from the front which is about 1.5 mm wide.  The feed is rounded off and so the last cm or so of the nib is not covered by the feed.
 
fpn_1426477381__d14.jpg
 
I found it almost impossible to remove the nib and feed, and not being able to find any pliers, resorted to using my teeth.  When I wanted to re-insert the nib and feed, I found it almost impossible to push it in far enough again, and ended up holding it with a big wad of toilet paper and shoving and turning a bit, with a lot more brute force than I would have liked.
 
The section also screwed in too tightly (probably due to my efforts to get the nib and feed back into place) and I once again had to resort to using my teeth to get it undone when I needed to refill it.  I don't own a vice, or any large pliers (and can't find my small craft ones at the moment), so unfortunately couldn't think of any option other than teeth :(  I now understand why some pens have an unattractive metal ring between the pen body and the section, and I'm thinking of adding something like that to the Daedalus so I don't end up with it stuck again.
 
The pen comes with a Zebra G nib.  I find the Zebra G requires a bit too much pressure to spread the tynes and get a nice thick downstroke, and so I get a sore hand after a few lines.  I like that the Zebra G doesn't catch on the paper very much and doesn't rust as quickly as some other nibs.  Also, it's a very nice looking nib.
 
Filling is done by squeezing the ink sac.  I find rolling the sac down into a spiral works well. The pen stopped writing with approx 1 cm of ink in the sac which was stuck up in the top of the sac and didn't want to shake down.  I am a little bit worried that the ink sac could come lose as it is just slipped onto the section and not secured.  Mine did slide up a mm or two when I was fiddling with it.
 
fpn_1426477367__d12.jpg
 
I have tested this pen with Higgins Eternal and Winsor & Newton Blue Black (blue lid bottle).
 
Ink flow seems to be almost perfect out of the box.  Only takes a couple of words to get wet enough to do downstrokes.  Possibly just a little bit too wet at times - although I'm aware there is a fine balance between too wet and railroading.  Some ink seeps near where nib and feed enter the pen body, initially this was not enough to drip or make a mess, but after disassembling and reassembing the pen it is seeping quite a lot more and I keep getting it all over my fingers.  I'm hoping that it will get clogged up a bit with dried ink and stop making a mess.  I have successfully carried it in my bag (pointing upwards) and there were just a few droplets of ink on the nib when I next went to use it.
 
I'm finding that I need to dip then nib and feed in water to get it started each time I get it out to write with.  I wipe the excess ink off with toilet paper before storing the pen.
 
Pros:
Non-dip,real flex pen!
Works reliably
Portable
Wasn't messy until I pulled the feed out
Practical, no frills design (my preference)
 
Cons:
Moderate ink volume (I think flex nibs use more ink than normal fountain pen nibs)
Very difficult to remove feed and nib
Section screws on too tightly and gets stuck
Possibly restricted to G nib (though I will try it with some others soon)
Messy ink seeping out where the feed inserts
Expensive (for an investment in an item of unknown quality and functionality)
Expensive postage
Not an item of great beauty.
 
fpn_1426477397__dw02.jpg

Edited by Lively, 16 March 2015 - 04:40.


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#2 PrestoTenebroso

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 05:01

Thanks for your review!
 
When the pen was shipped, there should have been an automated email sent with a link to the manual, several videos, the FAQ page, and a user feedback survey. Did you not receive it? 
 

Cribbed from a sample email. 

0. This is the manual.
1. This is a video that shows you how a Desiderata Flex Fountain Pen is filled.
2. Eventually you'll have to replace a nib. This video will show you how.
3. The FAQ page is continually updated.
4. Would you fill out this User Feedback Survey once you've received your product and given it a spin? 

 

Shipping costs can get pretty steep to ship a package from the US. This hilarious thread devolved into a series of rants about shipping and various "pirates" out there charging arms and legs for it. I chime in at some point with my rationale.

 

The instruction manual has suggestions on how to remove a tight-fitting feed. Page 6.
 
The sac is held on with friction, and believe it or not, but it will do a good job of staying on. If you're concerned about leaking, silicone grease on the nipple is fine, but not needed. 
 
The manual "Troubleshooting" section covers what to do if you're getting some ink around the neck. The pen was shipped in the configuration for best flow, and no leaks. You probably want your nib tip to protrude no more than an inch and a sixteenth past the neck. An inch is better.
 
You shouldn't need to dip the nib to get it started. That's the whole point! You can give it a good shake over a paper towel if it doesn't start up after a couple of seconds, but in general, with a dye based ink, my users have usually had pretty good success with fast starts. It depends a lot on the ink, though. Some inks can be like magic in this pen. Some are just okay. Did you see the recommendations on the FAQ?
 
Alternate nibs are discussed on the FAQ and manual. I wanted to do one nib right before I tried getting too fancy and have a bunch of nib options. 
 
You might try doing an eyedropper conversion. Ink will certainly flow faster, if you like it that way.


#3 NinthSphere

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 07:51

I usually pull the sac & push the nib & feed out with a qtip (like Pierre is saying, push, dont pull). I also reinsert with just the section, in case I have to pull the nib again to set things properly. You shouldn't have to struggle with teeth or pliers or whatever.



#4 Polanova

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 20:12

Last week I got exactly the same pen!

 

While it does look like something found in a tool box  :P it feels like it will survive every single FPN member (incl. the kids). It probably won`t even crack if you throw it from the top of the Empire State Building  :D

 

I might write a review of my own eventually, but for now I`d just want to say that the pen works as advertised!!!

Nib flexes from XF to about 2,8 mm!!

Feed keeps up!!!

:notworthy1:

 

 

PS: I shouldn`t have used Pelikan Königsblau for my first filling, as there is zero shading - will use Diamine Amber next!


Edited by Polanova, 17 March 2015 - 20:16.






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