Yes, the twins are here and I love them (Pardon the low quality pictures)!
Here they are,
- Fosfor Sandalwood with a Franklin Christoph HPS #6 Masuyama Needlepoint Nib
- Fosfor Islander in Red Burl with the Franklin Christoph #6 Music Nib
The F-C nibs were a gift from a friend and I was given the freedom of choosing the nibs. My limited experience with EF or F nibs (limited to lower end Indian and Japanese nibs) left me wanting more and I was on the lookout for something that I could use for sketching and quick notes (among a few other things). The music nib was to continue to practice some scripts for calligraphy. I've been wanting wooden pens for a while now and there was no better marriage than the F-C Nibs and the Fosfor body that I could think of in India. I must admit that the F-C website was very tempting and I will probably pick something from their offering pretty soon.
I haven't uploaded more than a single picture as I am not able to do justice to the pens with my shoddy camera skills. Both Fosfor Pens and Franklin Chirstoph have great sample pictures on their own websites for anyone interested.
I'm not good with reviews, but here are my impressions about both the pens and the nibs after a few weeks of usage.
Experience with the seller(s)
- Franklin Christoph: I bought the nib units online and their customer support and sales was great, they have a well oiled process. The nibs units were shipped from their store the day after (or I think the same day given the time zone difference) and they knew the details about shipping, exports, etc. The sales folk at F-C were really helpful about the plethora of questions that I as this was the first time I was getting pen parts shipped into my country. They were always prompt and the whole process of buying the nibs from them was really easy and I did like the little containers that the nib units arrived in. Mike Masuyama's chop on the little card was nice for a first time buyer.
- Fosfor Pens: I've been commenting and reading Manoj's work (Fosfor Pens) here on FPN and wanted to order one for myself and when these nibs arrived, I shipped them off to him for these two beauties. These are my second set of wood pens, I think I'd rank wood higher than ebonite in terms of personal preference, with acrylic a distant third (so far nothing has made me budge on acrylics), and other plastics/resins being a distinct no. Bring on more of those wood pens I say! Manoj was patient with my finicky emails and decision process and helped me narrow down on these two choices for the pen. He updated me through the process and sent me these two lovely pens a few weeks ago. As I've posted in other threads, I'm a sucker for good packaging, and the boxes and the choice for the box material material made it all the more interesting. The small little pouch with the sandalwood shavings that I got was nice touch!
Design, material, build and quality from Fosfor
- Fosfor Sandalwood: It is the understated look of this design that nailed it for me, the shape and the use of the threads on the cap were a great touch to make the pen look lovely. I opted for the unpolished finish for the sandalwood as I wanted to feel the wood when the pen is used. Yes, there are great risks of staining an unpolished wooden pen (I have stained a ball point sandalwood pen with my clumsiness earlier), but we do live dangerously anyway. The use of the red/brown ebonite is lovely (at some later point I might ask Manoj for an ebonite from this lovely colour itself). The natural wood grains on the pen (the swirl and I think one little burn mark from teh turning process or otherwise) add character to the pen. I did opt for this design as will not be posting the cap while writing. My only grouse with the pen being that when the cap is screwed onto the pen, the brown ebonite casing is visible (it does not protrude or create a gap). I'm only guessing that is either a easthatic choice or a utility choice (to insure against wear and tear of the unpolished sharper edges or probably any ink pooling/leaks). It might have been a good bonus if the swirls on the cap and body aligned when the cap was screwed on.
- Fosfor Islander: Most of the pens I own are understated or are discreet in nature, so I thought I'll mix it up a little with the silver trimmings on the Islander. Given the need for the natural look of the wood to be retained, I decided to go with the Red Burl offered by Manoj instead of my personal favourite of the Sheesham (with no trimmings) for the Islander. As you can see, the swirls are lovely, the polished finish is great and the black ebonite section provides a nice contrast for the nib and the clip on the cap. The tapering end could probably be used for posting, but I don't like posting my pens and I'm guessing it could lead to the natural wear and tear. Apart from the slight offset for the trimming at the top of the clip the pen is marvellous. The balance of the pen is great and I do love the fact that even after the polish that my brain tells me I'm using a wooden pen. As stated earlier, the aligning swirls on the body and cap would have been a lovely bonus.
Performance of the nibs from Franklin Christoph
- HPS #6 Masuyama Needlepoint Nib: The technical details and pictures are available on F-C's website. I'm surprised by the performance of such a thinly ground nib. I must admit that I was apprehensive about it's performance but after clariyfing details from their sales team and using it for the last few weeks, I have become a big fan. Being and EF nib that is ground by Mike Masuyama to approx .25mm according to their website. As expected of such a finely ground tip, it has a smaller sweet spot. The performance is great and it is a wonderful writer both forwards and backwards! As a testing ground, I've used the Needlepoint on papers varying from 70gsm to 100gsm (and copier type, handmade, more threaded, etc.) and I am surprised at how well it handled all the paper. Though I guess this type of a nib would be best used on copier type of paper to ensure a longer life and better care. It almost feels like a mechanical pencil when using the nib and very unlike the EF nibs that I am used to. Here are few quick drawing samples,
- Franklin Christoph #6 Music Nib: This nib was offered in both a shadow steel and a polished steel finish. It was greatly tempting to buy the shadow steel finish. The eventual aim for me was to be able to use the nib units in different pens as needed when travelling, etc. Both of the pens I wanted from Fosfor are definitely not the travel with them in your pocket kind which meant that the options for a matching body for the shadow steel nib pen reduces drastically. The horizontal and vertical strokes on this pen are great and it glides over paper. I've tried the nib with a few different inks (locally available Bril, Camlin and Sheaffer Scrip inks) and so far it lays down a consistently wet line. I've had a couple of railroad-like situations (what would you call that for a broad nib?) in about 30 pages of writing/doodling/scribbling which I am attributing to the position/writing angle. The flow keeps up with the nib and my writing speed. Here is a quick 'F' in Old English Engrosser's script,
The twins have given me great pleasure over the last few weeks and I'm a little unsure of where this new hobby of mine is leading me.