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Sheaffer PFM III


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11 replies to this topic

#1 dwmatteson

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 20:08

Going into 2007, I'd created a short-list for myself of pens to get this year. I sold off several pens in order to begin saving the funds for them. One of the highlights of the year was a Sheaffer Pen for Men. I hadn't settled on a model, so I began scouring the boards and the rest of the Internet to see what caught my fancy.

I decided that I preferred the plastic cap models, but I wasn't sure about nib color/materials. It was a toss-up between the PFM I and the PFM III. I ended up choosing the PFM III.

I e-mailed Sherrell Tyree of ink-pen.com in February, and asked for a quote for the PFM I and the PFM III. The PFM III would cost a fair bit more, but I was pretty sure that's what I wanted. Sherrell was very accommodating and was able to identify a few pens she had in stock that she felt sure would meet my requests for nib width.

By early March, I'd gotten the funds together and pulled the trigger. Sherrell accommodated the fact that I was heading out of town for a business trip and timed her shipping so that it would arrive on the day I returned. Sure enough, it was waiting for me when I walked in the door after a long (and unexpected) drive back from Boston, MA.

First Impressions: 5/5
My OOBE (out-of-box experience) with this pen was phenomenal. I came home to find a much larger package than I expected. I opened the box and found a carefully wrapped Sheaffer box tied with a nicely bowed ribbon. Nice touch!

As I went to put the package aside, I was surprised to find that there was still quite a bit of heft. I poked around a little more and found a full bottle of old-school Sheaffer Skrip brown ink as well as an envelope. The envelope contained a payment receipt, filling instructions, and a hand-written note -- written with that pen -- detailing the history of the PFM III. Wonderful additions to the package -- very personal. I was blown away by this point, having not even gotten to the pen!

Inside its box, the pen was wrapped in tissue paper for the trip through the mail. It was obvious that tremendous care went into packing the pen and all of the accompanying materials. On to the pen itself....

Appearance: 4.5/5



Make no bones about it, the PFM III is a snappy pen. The black and gold contrast nicely, and the inlaid nib is a thing of beauty. The faceted knob for the snorkel plunger and the square-topped cap add a bit of character.



The only reason it gets a 4.5 from me is that it was a bit smaller than Iíd expected. As oversized pens go, it seems fairly ordinary-sized to me. Itís comparably sized to the Lamy 2000 and Sensa Meridian, and just a touch shorter than the Sailor 1911. Here, the PFM III suffers more from my expectations than it does from any real flaw.

Design: 5/5
Even though (from what I understand) it didnít sell well in its time, the PFM III has a fantastic design. Itís light, well-balanced (I write without posting the cap) and I can write with it for long stretches without fatigue. It seems like a good bit of thought went into designing the pen to be both attractive and usable.

Nib: 4.5/5
As Iíve mentioned, the inlaid nib is, to me, quite beautiful. It also writes very nicely. Itís not the smoothest nib I own (that honor belongs to a Conway Stewart Shorthand that was tweaked by Richard Binder before it found its way into my possession, so the bar was already set pretty high), but it puts down a smooth and solid line without any hard-starting or skipping.

Filling System: 5/5
The snorkel filling mechanism is pure genius. It is smooth, reliable, and hassle-free. It does take some getting used to, however; I was glad the instructions were included. Itís obviously more complicated than a simple lever-fill, but it holds a good amount of ink and hasnít failed me yet.

Cost and Value 4.5/5
I bought my pen fully restored from Sherrell Tyree, who is generally recognized as one of the premier Sheaffer restorers. I paid more than I would have if Iíd gotten it off eBay or from the Marketplace, but the peace of mind associated with getting a guaranteed good pen was well worth the premium to me.

Total: 28.5/30
Conclusion
As you can tell, I love this pen. Itís become one of my regular daily users. I did find that it was a bit picky about inks. I first inked it with the included Skrip brown, and found it to be a bit of a dry-writer and somewhat toothy. After a flushing and refill with Waterman Blue-Black, I had the same results. I finally gave it a drink of modern Sheaffer Skrip Blue-Black and itís incredibly happy.

Now that the pen has found its soul-mate in ink, itís an absolute joy to use. Iíll be keeping an eye out for other PFM models, thatís for sure! I would also recommend Sherrell Tyree very highly for a fantastic purchasing experience, from the initial communications through the final delivery. Absolutely top-notch!

Review powered by Jonro's way-too-cool database! bunny01.gif

Edited by dwmatteson, 07 May 2007 - 22:16.


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#2 Dean

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 23:44

Pictures... we need pictures drool.gif . Can you tell me some of the differences between the PFM I and the PFM III?

Dean
When I was fourteen years old, I was amazed at how unintelligent my father was. By the time I turned twenty-one, I was astounded how much he had learned in the last seven years.
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#3 meanwhile

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 00:21

Dean -

The standard reference on PFM's is this article:

http://www.penhero.c...SheafferPFM.htm

From that article:

QUOTE
The PFM came in five principal models, varying by cap and trim color:

PFM I - Single color plastic cap and barrel, polished stainless steel clip and cap band, and palladium silver nib. The PFM I is the only model without the White Dot.
PFM II - Frosted stainless steel cap and plastic barrel, polished stainless steel clip and cap band, and palladium silver nib.
PFM III - Single color plastic cap and barrel, gold filled clip and cap band, and 14kt gold nib.
PFM IV - Stainless steel cap and plastic barrel, gold filled clip and plunger cap end plate, and 14kt gold nib.
PFM V - Gold plated cap and plastic barrel, gold filled clip and plunger cap end plate, and 14kt gold nib.





- Jonathan

#4 Keng

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 03:20

Yes, yes, pictures please cool.gif
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
- Cree Indian Proverb

#5 dwmatteson

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 11:21

Okay, I've added a couple of hastily-snapped photos. I'll update them when I have a chance (and possibly some gear) to take some better shots. I'll also try to add a couple of photos of the snorkel-filling mechanism. That would be messy right now since it's full of ink. smile.gif

I should also mention that there were other colors available to me, but I decided on a classic black and gold to start. Black is a fairly common color, so the price was lower than it would have been if I'd been looking for, say, a gray PFM. Also, a fine/medium nib is easier to come by than something like a broad or factory stub, so that kept the cost down as well.

Don

#6 meanwhile

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 12:00

Don -

It looks like a really nice example of a PFM! I think that the plastic capped pens are the best looking. My own is a silver and blue. I'd agree that ideally I would like the pen to be a little larger - about a half an inch longer would be right.
- Jonathan

#7 dcjacobson

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 15:47

Don,

I enjoyed your review. These are great pens--I have several of them: a V blue, a V black set, a IV black set, 2 III sets, a II set in blue, and a black I.

One thing to watch for when you look for another one: The blind caps are susceptible to cracks. Not a big deal if you're looking for a user--the pen will still work; you just don't want to overpay for the pen if the blind cap has a crack or two.

As much as I like these pens, I prefer the Snorkel. To me they are a bit more durable and less expensive. With these pens you have to look for cracks at the clip in plastic-capped models. If the clip is crooked and you don't see a crack, just wait, you soon will.

Good luck,
Don J.

#8 Keng

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 17:57

QUOTE(dcjacobson @ Apr 19 2007, 03:47 PM) View Post
Don,

I enjoyed your review. These are great pens--I have several of them: a V blue, a V black set, a IV black set, 2 III sets, a II set in blue, and a black I.

One thing to watch for when you look for another one: The blind caps are susceptible to cracks. Not a big deal if you're looking for a user--the pen will still work; you just don't want to overpay for the pen if the blind cap has a crack or two.

As much as I like these pens, I prefer the Snorkel. To me they are a bit more durable and less expensive. With these pens you have to look for cracks at the clip in plastic-capped models. If the clip is crooked and you don't see a crack, just wait, you soon will.

Good luck,
Don J.


Thank you for sharing these useful tips, particularly on the crooked clips.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
- Cree Indian Proverb

#9 Maja

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 07:03

Thank you for the great review of a classic fountain pen, dw! I have a PFM I in maroon and I love using it! The balance is just right with the cap posted and it's a nice chunky (I like that word biggrin.gif ) pen. I agree with Don that the Snorkel is a better value if you want a Snorkel-filling pen...but the PFM is a nice, thicker pen.....

(P.S. I also received excellent service from Sherrell when I bought a vintage black Balance from her online---very classy lady!)

Edited by Maja, 21 April 2007 - 07:19.

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#10 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 17:49

Looks like a great pen wink.gif enjoy it.
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#11 fountainpenjunkie

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 19:46

Don,

Great review... nice to hear of such a thoughtful seller!

I fell in love with the PFM the evening I started researching vintage fountain pens. The photo and info on David Nishimura's vintage pens web site....well have you seen the commercial where various people stop and say "wow"?
Yeah, I was one of them that night. Found a PFM III in Canada and made arrangements to buy it. It did have cracks in the blind cap, the mechanism binds a bit during retraction. But it is functional. I also found I preferred chrome and black. So now I have two, the PFM I being my all time favorite pen. They started making that pen the year I was born. Quit production the year my wife was born. A coincidence that I translate into a cosmic indicator.

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience!

Dave
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#12 Nellie

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 18:47

I love mine, too. It's perfect - a green PFM I with a juicy m-nib. wub.gif
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