Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies


Registration on the Fountain Pen Network

Dearest Visitor of the little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,

Due to the enormous influx of spammers, it is no longer possible to handle valditions in the traditional way. For registrations we therefore kindly and respectfully request you to send an email with your request to our especially created email address. This email address is register at fountainpennetwork dot com. Please include your desired user name, and after validation we will send you a return email containing the validation key, normally wiithin a week.

Thank you very much in advance!
The FPN Admin Team






Photo

Adopting My First Estie; Have A Few Questions

esterbrook esties

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Narnian

Narnian

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2015 - 18:04

Having decided that my next pen will be an Esterbrook, I've been doing some online research to narrow it down to the right model. There is a fair (read: overwhelming) amount of good info out there, but input from Estie users and experts would be invaluable to me.

 

Currently, my favorite pen is the Pilot Prera with a fine nib. Its weight, size, and smooth-writing nib are just right. I prefer smaller, lighter pens with a grip section that isn't terribly wide. I've been looking at the J lineup and think that an SJ might fit the bill nicely, but they made a ton of other pens and it's hard to dig up specs on any of them. So, my questions:

 

- Which other Esterbrook models are on the smaller/lighter side? Of the Js, the SJ is obviously a bit shorter and slimmer. The CH and H "purse pen" models are adorable, but I don't like the colors much aside from the gray--would it be hard to find? Others?

- Finest nibs that aren't scratchy? (9550 or 9556 maybe?)

- Reputable sellers online?

- Fair price for an SJ--or whatever else you might recommend--in decent shape and working order?

- How often do the sacs need to be replaced? How long-lived does the lever tend do be? Any other special maintenance/care I should know about going in?

- Do they handle most inks well? Any brands to avoid in an Esterbrook? I mainly use Noodler's Black and Bad Black Moccasin.

 

Anything else you could tell me would be great. Thanks!

 

 

 

 


"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." - C.S. Lewis

 


Sponsored Content

#2 gweimer1

gweimer1

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,470 posts
  • Location:Ohio
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2015 - 18:17

Well, I would start with these considerations.

1. You can also look at the LJ model, which is the slender version of the J.

2. 9550 and 9556 are good all-around nibs, and I'm really partial to the 9461 manifold nib.

3. You should be able to find a good, working, nice-looking pen in the $30 range.

4. How often you change the sac will be a factor of the ink you use. I think your inks will need more frequent care of your pen, and it's advised to stay away from really saturated inks like Private Reserve. I pretty much stick to Waterman's in my pens, although I just got a bottle of Mont Blanc really cheap, and I like that, too.

Edited by gweimer1, 28 December 2015 - 18:19.


#3 Narnian

Narnian

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2015 - 22:03

Thanks for the feedback!

4. How often you change the sac will be a factor of the ink you use. I think your inks will need more frequent care of your pen, and it's advised to stay away from really saturated inks like Private Reserve. I pretty much stick to Waterman's in my pens, although I just got a bottle of Mont Blanc really cheap, and I like that, too.


What might the more saturated inks do to the pen/sac? With regular cleaning, should I expect staining--or worse damage? I love rich blacks, and although I don't think I've tried Waterman yet I haven't been thrilled with many of the other samples I've gone through.

How often would the sac need to be replaced if sticking with a more "safe" ink? And would Aurora black fall into the safe or highly saturated category? (I have some on hand, but don't know much about it.)

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." - C.S. Lewis

 


#4 ac12

ac12

    Museum Piece

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,535 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA - SFO
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2015 - 22:14

As GW said, the LJ is another option. Same diameter as the SJ, just a little longer. I use the LJ myself.

A restored Esterbrook about $40. But price also depends on what nib is in the pen. Some nibs are more expensive than others. Some nibs are more expensive than the pen itself.

You should not need to worry about the lever. However, the lever and J-bar are ferrous metal. If you have an ink leak in the sac, the ink will start to rust the lever and J-bar. If you buy an unrestored Esterbrook, you need to check the J-bar, several of the used Esterbrooks that I have bought had rusted and broken J-bars, which needed to be replaced.

I figure a sac life of approx 10-15 years. But this depends on the ink used. Some inks may shorten the life of the sac. See the notes in the ink paragraph and GW's comment. I recall one person saying that with PR DC Supershow blue, he would change the ink sac every 5 years.

Saturated inks are a PiA to clean out from the pen and nib, if you ever decide to change inks. I speak from first hand experience cleaning out some of these inks. I use saturated inks in pens which are easier to clean out, like cartridge pens. Personally, I would stick to Parker Quink, Sheaffer Skrip, Waterman, Pelikan, and Pilot inks both for sac life and ease of cleaning.

Edited by ac12, 28 December 2015 - 22:15.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com


#5 ac12

ac12

    Museum Piece

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,535 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA - SFO
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2015 - 22:22

 

Thanks for the feedback!


What might the more saturated inks do to the pen/sac? With regular cleaning, should I expect staining--or worse damage? I love rich blacks, and although I don't think I've tried Waterman yet I haven't been thrilled with many of the other samples I've gone through.

How often would the sac need to be replaced if sticking with a more "safe" ink? And would Aurora black fall into the safe or highly saturated category? (I have some on hand, but don't know much about it.)

 

Saturated inks tend to stick to the insides of the pen, and don't wash out easily.
If it stains, you won't see the stain inside the pen, so there is no concern there.
Yes, there are reports that some inks will attack the ink sac and cause it to fail. This is NOT good, as a broken sac = ink on the J-bar and lever = rust = broken J-bar.

Here is my list of black inks that I use, all of which I consider "safe":
- Cross/Pelikan, for wet pens, where I need to slow down the ink flow. I read reports that have Pelikan 4001 black 2nd to Aurora black for blackness.
- Waterman, for dry pens, where I need to increase the ink flow.
- Sheaffer
But note that how wet and wide the pen writes also affects how dark the ink will look. A dry pen will make a lighter ink line than a wet pen.

I would consider Aurora a "safe" ink.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com


#6 Narnian

Narnian

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2015 - 23:09

As GW said, the LJ is another option. Same diameter as the SJ, just a little longer. I use the LJ myself.

A restored Esterbrook about $40. But price also depends on what nib is in the pen. Some nibs are more expensive than others. Some nibs are more expensive than the pen itself.

You should not need to worry about the lever. However, the lever and J-bar are ferrous metal. If you have an ink leak in the sac, the ink will start to rust the lever and J-bar. If you buy an unrestored Esterbrook, you need to check the J-bar, several of the used Esterbrooks that I have bought had rusted and broken J-bars, which needed to be replaced.

I figure a sac life of approx 10-15 years. But this depends on the ink used. Some inks may shorten the life of the sac. See the notes in the ink paragraph and GW's comment. I recall one person saying that with PR DC Supershow blue, he would change the ink sac every 5 years.

Saturated inks are a PiA to clean out from the pen and nib, if you ever decide to change inks. I speak from first hand experience cleaning out some of these inks. I use saturated inks in pens which are easier to clean out, like cartridge pens. Personally, I would stick to Parker Quink, Sheaffer Skrip, Waterman, Pelikan, and Pilot inks both for sac life and ease of cleaning.

 

Very helpful--thank you! Speaking of certain inks being a pain to clean, is there such a thing as cleaning a vintage pen too frequently? Would it cause more wear and tear? Seems it might depend on how you clean it, which means I probably need to do some research on cleaning an Esterbrook. :)

 

Haven't ruled out an LJ, but I do like the slightly shorter and lighter SJ.

 

 

But note that how wet and wide the pen writes also affects how dark the ink will look. A dry pen will make a lighter ink line than a wet pen.

 

 

Good point. And fine nibs and line widths require really saturated blacks to pop, but I will play around with safer inks. Any "safe" inks that are also somewhat water resistant? Parker Quink may be--any others?


"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." - C.S. Lewis

 


#7 pajaro

pajaro

    Amblin along like I had good sense.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,015 posts
  • Location:Tecumseh, MI
  • Flag:

Posted 31 December 2015 - 17:58

I have used several Esti models and they all work with any ink I tried.  I have found SJs and LJs from $15 to $25.  I think $25 is plenty to spend on these, unless you are getting an uncommon nib, like an italic or stub.

 

If you buy one of these, use it enough to decide whether it meets your standards before going hog wild based on what other people think of them.


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#8 inkstainedruth

inkstainedruth

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 18,817 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 31 December 2015 - 23:20

Prices on Esties are all over the map.  Last summer I found a black SJ in the wild with a 9128 (flexible EF nib) for $20.  That's cheaper than the one I picked up on Ebay a couple of years ago -- and that nib needed serious work done it); I've seen the nib alone (no pen) for as much as $75.

Not counting replacement sacs and j-bars, I don't think I've paid more than $35 for any of mine -- and that amount was for a black LJ (which seem to be less common than the other two sizes) with a 9284 nib at DCSS in August.  But then, I refuse to pay more than that....  :rolleyes: 

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#9 pajaro

pajaro

    Amblin along like I had good sense.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,015 posts
  • Location:Tecumseh, MI
  • Flag:

Posted 01 January 2016 - 00:57

All hail to the great exalted bargain hunter.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#10 Runnin_Ute

Runnin_Ute

    Super Pinks member:

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,985 posts
  • Location:Sandy, Utah - Elevation 4509'
  • Flag:

Posted 01 January 2016 - 05:30

Good choice for a first foray into vintage pens!
I started with a green J with 9550 nib. Later got both a 1555 Gregg and a Venus fine. Right now the 9550 is installed. Most recently it was the Venus fine.
Then I picked up a LJ with a 2464 b manifold nib.

Brad
 
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain
 


#11 Narnian

Narnian

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin
  • Flag:

Posted 01 January 2016 - 18:22

If you buy one of these, use it enough to decide whether it meets your standards before going hog wild based on what other people think of them.

Good advice. And that's my plan; I learned the hard way after getting a Kaweco sport (which I ordered with an additional nib) that has never been a pleaser.
 
 

I don't think I've paid more than $35 for any of mine -- and that amount was for a black LJ (which seem to be less common than the other two sizes) with a 9284 nib at DCSS in August.  But then, I refuse to pay more than that....  :rolleyes: 
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

And that seems to be another point in favor of Esterbrooks--they seem to be everywhere, so with patience you can hold out for a good bargain.
 
 

Good choice for a first foray into vintage pens!
I started with a green J with 9550 nib. Later got both a 1555 Gregg and a Venus fine. Right now the 9550 is installed. Most recently it was the Venus fine.
Then I picked up a LJ with a 2464 b manifold nib.

Just ordered an SJ with a 9556 nib. If I like it, I will start hunting for other fine Estie nibs. How do you like the 9550? The Venus? (Does that one have a number? I don't think I've read about it.)

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." - C.S. Lewis

 


#12 Runnin_Ute

Runnin_Ute

    Super Pinks member:

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,985 posts
  • Location:Sandy, Utah - Elevation 4509'
  • Flag:

Posted 01 January 2016 - 22:37

 
Just ordered an SJ with a 9556 nib. If I like it, I will start hunting for other fine Estie nibs. How do you like the 9550? The Venus? (Does that one have a number? I don't think I've read about it.)

 

Venus nibs aren't numbered no. Venus and Esterbrook merged in 1967 from what I can find and became Venus Esterbrook Corporation.


Brad
 
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain
 


#13 crescentfiller

crescentfiller

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 661 posts

Posted 02 January 2016 - 02:48

"And that seems to be another point in favor of Esterbrooks--they seem to be everywhere, so with patience you can hold out for a good bargain."

 

 

 

I agree! I buy Esterbrooks regularly for from $2 to $8 in the wild. I bought a black J with the Bell Telephone imprint just two Saturdays ago for $4. I've paid $10 a couple of times, but that was for Dollar pens. I won't pay more than ten, so I've passed up on a good many. I have two or three I use (a red J, a silver J, and a copper Dollar). I don't collect them, but I will pick them up on the cheap when hunting for other pens. I clean them up, and chuck them in a box. 

I did get a Visu-whatever a while back. A regular here bought it from me. 

 

So they are out there, and they can be had for just a few bucks!



#14 corgicoupe

corgicoupe

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,806 posts
  • Location:east of Atlanta, north of The Rock
  • Flag:

Posted 02 January 2016 - 03:42

Good advice. And that's my plan; I learned the hard way after getting a Kaweco sport (which I ordered with an additional nib) that has never been a pleaser.  And that seems to be another point in favor of Esterbrooks--they seem to be everywhere, so with patience you can hold out for a good bargain.  Just ordered an SJ with a 9556 nib. If I like it, I will start hunting for other fine Estie nibs. How do you like the 9550? The Venus? (Does that one have a number? I don't think I've read about it.)


I have a 2550, which is the low-grade version of the 9550, and I like it especially for keeping notes (writing small).

Baptiste knew how to make a short job long

For love of it. And yet not waste time either.

                                                         Robert Frost






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: esterbrook, esties



Sponsored Content




|