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  1. Brandon McKinney is a collector of Esterbrook's steel dip pens, and he has finally finished his book on the subject. I have corresponded with Brandon for a couple of years now and he has helped me better understand my collection and Esterbrook. Other than that, I have no connection with him, and I am writing this review based on my personal copy of the book which I purchased myself. The book covers several major types of information. 1. Company history, general information 2. The pens and their physical characteristics, especially changes over time, maintenance, grinding vs. stamped grooves, etc... 3. Chronology of the pens and their boxes. The history is a sketch just to set context, and is not meant to be complete nor thorough. There are some interesting pieces of general information including a list of presidents, office locations, and patents and trademarks that are useful. The sections on the pens themselves better show the great care and time Brandon has spent looking at the pens, especially important numbers like the flagship 048 Falcon and the 128 Extra Fine Elastic. For collectors, it's the sections on the chronological dating of nibs and boxes that is the most useful and is not found anywhere else. I have been using this system for dating Esterbrook's steel pens for over a year now with my own collection and research. So far, I've not found any problems with his system. I have found one example of a stamp he does not have, but it's a very rare copper-coated example he and I are still trying to figure out. For 99.9% of all of the examples you will find in the wild, his system of dating to general eras will work perfectly well, and combined with his description of how the earlier differed from some of the later pens, should help you find just what you're looking to add to your collection. Overall, despite a weak area here and there (especially the history, but then the history is my area of interest, so I'm not sure how much would be enough), and I may not agree with every conclusion Brandon has (see the "gravity well" section), and the very rare error (the 314 Relief was made of a brass alloy, not bronze), the book is a highly welcome and useful resource for anyone interested in Esterbrook and their steel pens. You can purchase the book from his Etsy store in either a digital version, or a limited-run physical copy.
  2. Just got my first ever Esterbrook pen. Been reading a lot about the myriad variations of their nibs and how easy it is to replace/ switch them. So after spotting this pen on a local classified ad with the flexible fine 9128 nib, I just couldn't help but jump right into it. The pen body is in a perfect shape with no dents, scratches or any other cosmetically-related issue. The cap is marked by an odd pattern (a press is my closest guess) and has minor rust just where the clip meets the cap body. But the seller kindly offered me another cap in a better condition for free, so on that front am all covered. The sac was replaced recently as per the seller and I'm inclined to believe his word 'cause after the initial flushing, no ink came out off it. The only two issues I've had so far are that the nib is quite scratchy when flexing (unlike my Parker flex 14k gold nib) and that I can't seem to find what pen model this is. It looks quite a lot like a cartridge pen but it has a lever fill mechanism. The other models I've seen (J, Deluxe, Dollar, V-pen, don't resemble the pen that much. Can you help me identify it? Also, does anyone know when Esterbrook manufactured in Mexico and what products did they made here? I've seen a lot of vintage nibs for sale that were locally made.
  3. RCIfan

    Esterbrook J Loose Section

    I just bought an Esterbrook J that's in pretty good condition. Unfortunately, the section is loose from the barrel and is able to spin and be removed without much force at all. None of my other Esties have this problem, so I'm wondering two things. A) Is this fixable? If so, what is the best way to repair this problem?
  4. Tschmid

    Grommet/tassie Replacement

    Hi, everyone. I am very new to Esterbrook repair and have a question. Ive got a J that had a mangled barrel jewel which I removed and found out that it was a threaded jewel. The problems Im having are that the tassie (I think thats the word for the little metal trim ring) is gone and the replacement jewel I have is a press fit. Are there sources for tassies or the grommets that the press fit pens use? Any help is much appreciated. Taylor
  5. TwizzlerNibs

    Relief 3-L

    In anticipation of the San Francisco show I scored a lot containing some beautiful Conway Stewarts, a few Parkers, some smaller makers, and this bad boy. I haven't touched it yet as there are a bunch I need to restore, but this is exciting and will clean up really nicely. A fine example and I wanted to share it.
  6. After having re-read the Jean Esterbrook thread, I was inspired to do some delving of my own back in the Old Country. I reached out to the fine folks at the Liskard History Museum in the town in Cornwall where Richard was from and asked if they had any information. I received a nice note back with some interesting tidbits which I thought I'd compile into what else I've figured out and share it with you all here. The first thing that pops up is that the Esterbrooks really liked "Richard" and "Mary" as names. The Richard Esterbrook who was the founder of the company here in the US, is often called Richard Esterbrook Sr. and his son, who was first to the New World and brought his dad over, is commonly known as Richard Esterbrook Jr. The confusion begins to set in when you realize that there was a Richard Esterbrook before "Sr." and another Richard Esterbrook after "Jr." who was also often called "Jr." So, let's start in Liskeard Cornwall. A small town in Northeast Cornwall, just about a 30 minute drive west of Plymouth. In 1778, the first Richard Esterbrook was born in the parish and married Mary Anne Oliver. At some point he moved just down the road to the small hamlet of St. Austell. It was here that Richard (Sr.) Esterbrook was born in 1813. At some point they moved back to Liskeard where Richard (Sr.) married Mary Date from Travistock in West Devon, (where the Esterbrooks are first found in the 17th-century). By 1841, Richard Esterbrook (Sr.) was running a Bookshop/Stationer at 20 Pike St. in Liskeard. The building, just down from the museum, is currently a travel agency. He was still there in 1851, but gone by the 1861 census, though he still owned the bookshop. In the collection of the museum are posters dated 1844, 1848 and 1850 showing Esterbrook as the printer. This means that Esterbrook was like most stationer/bookshops of the time, he also did printing. He eventually sold the bookshop in 1866, the same year in which he dissolved the original partnership with Cadbury and Bromsgrove, and formed R. Esterbrook & Co. with his son, Richard Jr. who had just turned 30 that year. (Sr. also voted in local Liskeard elections in 1861 and 1863/64. So, he hadn't completed severed ties with this home, despite becoming an American Industrialist.) Speaking of Richard Jr., he was born in Liskeard in 1836. The nice person at the museum found the deed of sale for the shop in 1866 and said that someone, no identification of who or when, had placed a note in along with the deed which says, "Richard junior was apprenticed to a well known pen and nib manufacturer and eventually emigrated to America and set up business on his own account ….with great success.. The firm he founded, still in existence, the Esterbrook Corporation, is a firm of international repute but particularly in the USA of the standing of the Parker Pen and Shaffer Pen companies." The reference and comparison to Parker and Sheaffer tell me that this was a 20th-century, fountain pen reference, perhaps in the 40's? There's no indication where the info on the apprenticeship came from. But it leaves a key question unanswered. Was that Richard (Sr.) who was really a Jr, or Richard Jr. who was really Richard the Third? (can understand why you'd not want to be known as that) If we look at the date, apprenticeships traditionally started when one was 13 or so. That would have been c. 1826 for Richard Sr., or c. 1849 for Richard Jr. My guess is that it was Richard Jr., not Richard Sr. In 1826, the pen industry was in its real infancy in Birmingham. Only a few years earlier, Gillott was tempering his pens in a cast-iron skillet and selling them in boxes he packed personally. It's highly unlikely that someone would have come all the way from Cornwall to do an apprenticeship with a relatively new and small industry way up in Birmingham. But by 1849, the industry is growing tremendously, and it's much more likely for this to happen. This could also help explain why Richard Jr. would have left instead of sticking around to take over the family business. It was not uncommon for apprentices, after finishing their proscribed time, from taking off and seeing other ways of doing the same work, or looking for fresh fields away from where they did their apprenticeship. John Turner, later founder of Turner & Harrison, and possibly one of Richard Esterbrook's skilled workmen from Birmingham, went to France after his apprenticeship. So, Richard Jr., assuming he actually finished his apprenticeship, would have completed his time around 1855. Just in time for him to come to Canada and the US and try and get his father to come over. Fortunately for us, his father left his shop behind, but, prudent man that he was, he didn't sell it right away. He kept a second basket for some of his eggs until it was clear the new venture was going to work after all. By 1858 they had their factory in Camden and offices and warehouses in Philadelphia. The rest is history, that has been told elsewhere. I just wanted to fill in some of the early history that has been so foggy up to now, at least for me. There are still many gaps, like how Richard Sr. ended up with a bookshop, or if Richard Jr. did finish an apprenticeship, and if it may have been some of his friends who were the skilled workmen his father supposedly brought from Birmingham? I always assumed that being in the stationery business, Richard Sr. had contacts in Birmingham, which is how he got the workmen. Now, it's possible that Jr. came to the US to find out how pens were made here, realized that we didn't really know what we were doing, and that there were only a couple of people making pens here, so had the idea to bring Birmingham here and start their own factory along "modern lines." If I find out more, I'll let you know. Andrew
  7. I'm quite fond of using an Esterbrook Dipless inkwell because it ensures that a nice pen will always be at my desk, so I don't have to fish around in my satchel for a fountain pen or remember where I put it. Naturally, the pen holders these inkwells are designed for are designed to accept Esterbrook "renew point" nibs. After I realized that my previous nib was so dry because of nib damage, I swapped it out for a new-in-box one (both 9550). This new one writes wet enough, but is very scratchy. Before I go beyond the paper bag method of polishing the nib, I was thinking of perhaps fitting the pen holder with a different make of nib... say, one from Pelikan. My Pelikan nibs have always been glass-smooth out of the box. Has anyone tried this? What were your results?
  8. tadas

    Why "radio" Nibs?

    I don't use dip pens, but the nibs constantly come up on my eBay searches, as I collect Esterbrook fountain pens. I've been intrigued by the designation "Radio nib" - why a special nib for writing for radio? I did some searching on Google, and found, from the "Esterbrook Project" site, that they were introduced in 1913 and were nickel-plated versions of regular nibs. Where I'm confused is that, in 1913, radio was the bailiwick of scientists, and the turn-of-the-20th version of what we now call "geeks" or "nerds". How did Esterbrook come to name their plated nib line after what was then an obscure technology? If it was the 1920's, I could understand, just like the products from the '50's that had stylized atoms, or '60's "space age" products. Just some idle curiosity on my part....
  9. I just put up a page on my blog listing research resources for Philadelphia, including a ton of links to online Philadelphia Directories. Something I thought y'all might find interesting is a diagram of the Esterbrook factory in Camden, NJ from 1885. It's from a Sanborn map used by insurance companies. The red buildings are made of brick, and the yellow ones are wooden-framed. The location is currently a parking lot across Cooper St. from Camden City School District Office. It was in the middle of the block, along Cooper, between Front and Delaware, on the south side of the street.
  10. I just recently found (as in actually found, more on this later) an Esterbrook pen in surprisingly nice condition. The only issue is that it was missing the cap, but the nib, section, and barrel were all there and in mostly working condition. I decided I wanted to restore it as it's my first lever filler, and have since removed the old sac and fully cleaned its remnants. All that's left is waiting for parts to arrive. From what I can tell, the pen appears to be an Esterbrook dollar pen (*actually most likely a J series, as pajaro pointed out), but without the cap it's difficult to tell. It's also difficult to tell if it's red or copper in colour -- in person, it looks too dark to be copper, but also too dark to be red. The attached pictures make it look noticeably more red than it is in person. I'm also curious where the best locations to buy parts are. I've of course tried ebay, but I haven't seen just a cap yet. On a few of the other sites I've googled, just trying to buy a cap runs you more than the whole pen without even factoring in shipping. I was wondering if there are a few recommended sites or people to buy parts from at a reasonable price? Link to album with pictures: https://imgur.com/a/c6bCn (The pen itself, see linked album for more pictures) As for the "more info", I actually found it during a daily walk around the park. It was just lying in the grass without a cap in a location that's seldom traveled. The sac was completely useless, and definitely hasn't been recently restored. I spent a couple hours looking for the cap but wasn't able to find it, assuming it was even with the pen. The area I live in likely doesn't have many fountain pen users either, and it was obviously not there long -- the whole situation is definitely mysterious.
  11. I've replaced the J-bar of one of my Esterbrook J pens with an 54mm aftermarker J-bar. After doing that I noticed that the lever is loose. While the pen otherwise worked, the rattle of the lever annoyed me enough to pull the pen apart again and try to fix it. Googling for the issue revealed some insight from Brian Anderson here. However I haven't found any information about how best to do this. So I thought I would try on my own and grabbed a couple of pliers and used that to flatten the metal on sides of the J-bar. However it didn't give easily, and I'm not sure if it helped at all. I still can't insert the J-bar in a way in which the lever isn't loose. On one occasion I almost succeeded, but after trying to use the lever 2 or 3 times, it returned to being loose once again. I must admit, I have no idea how to do this properly. Could somebody help with some advice, please?
  12. I got a sample of Sailor Sei-Boku from the Writing Desk. I love how it looks on reviews, so I figured it would be nice to try it. So I filled my Esterbrook J (9550 nib) with it. It did not write, so I thought maybe I forgot to clean that pen. So I pulled out my other Esterbrook J (9461 nib) and filled that. It wrote nicely. But next day when I tried to write with it, I noticed that the nib unit is clogged. It did not write at all. So I emptied the pen and cleaned it thoroughly. Now the pen works, but I'm not sure what to do about Sei-Boku. I have not dared to try it with other pens. What do you guys think? Is it normal for Sei-Boku to clog a pen, or does it just hate Esterbrook Js? What kind of pen would you try Sei-Boku with?
  13. I don't have many Esterbrooks, but I noticed that two of them have their "Esterbrook ® Made in U.S.A." caption completely faded. It is engraved in the pen body, so is still legible, but whatever paint was in it, is long gone. This hasn't really bothered me, but now I have another one (in better condition), and the same caption is painted white on it. So the question is, how can I restore this white caption? Is it even worth to bother with it?
  14. eastonp

    Greetings From Skokie, Il

    Hello! I am an high school English teacher and a modest collector of Esterbrook pens and a fan of Waterman's washable blue. I come to this site primarily to find out more about the Montblanc Hemingway LE pens, as I fell into owning the ballpoint, and was considering passing that on. But I am glad to find a group and a literal font of information. I've been a fan of fountain pens ever since owning my first, a Parker, which was a graduation gift in 1990, and visiting the Pen Hospital in Chicago in the early 90s....a magical place, that. Paul Easton
  15. Hello all! I picked up an Esterbrook fountain pen at an estate sale today, and I am having trouble identifying the model. On the cap are three sets of two angled lines. Hopefully my photos are clear enough. I hope you experts can help me.
  16. I know that there are plenty of threads regarding some issues I'm having with my Estie Lever fill circa '40's (sac not expanding when filling though it's a new one, feed not running properly, etc..), but what I am posting for was some recommendations from you all for an F or EF preferably non-flex nib. I'm already aware that the #1550 (EF) or #1461 (F) can't get the hob done, but a less scratchy EF would be sweet. I've got. Zebra G Comic on it now, but would like to have the option of putting her into my daily carry rotation and I write small so usually carry F/EF. I'd prefer to have an entire unit for her (section, feed, nib). Also, is there a comparable silicone sac that I could fit her with as the silicone had a better fill property because of the former spring of the material over latex)? Andersen Pen for example has listed 14, 15, 17, and 18 1/2 sized silicone sacs, but no 16's... does someone have 16's for an Estie JS? Or can I put a 15 silicone sac on an Estie? I'm sorry if these seem like silly questions. So suggestions for either the nib/unit, silicone sac, and/or sellers would be greatly appreciated and I thank this entire community that helps each other out with rare animosity displayed in the public area. Thank you for your indulgence and I do hope this discussion might be beneficial to many more than just my needs.. I'll edit this with pictures this afternoon because she really is a beauty. S\F, -B
  17. I'll just paste my 'about me' from my profile. I'll not get on the soap box again, thanks to you all already -BIn the second half of my life, I'm using my time while retired/disabled after 23+ years as an Officer of Marines; CWO4 (Marine Gunner) and former Master Sergeant (prior to my Officer lobotomy) I stay busy when not swamped with stuff or just feeling down right horrible as a book reviewer, editor, and still continue analytical work for various people/businesses and occasionally still do consulting work for the Marine Corps and DoD ....... Advocating for Liberty and Veterans who suffer with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Severe Memory Impairment, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumas, and those with Crohn's Disease and Seizure Disorder. Of course too I may muster the courage to begin my Scale Models again but in addition to it all fight pain,tremor, and atrophy caused by neuropathy so bad that it maybe something best to just hang up and sell off. I've lost nearly every enjoyable skill and struggle with the idea of "doing it at all if I can't do so to the ability I once had". My 1965 Galaxie 500 LTD and Harley are gone as a result of the desires and memory issues so that and losing the opportunity of a second careeer sucks big time. I'm most busy with doctors appointments and maintaining my 118 year old house, my shop, ranting, retirement, and sometimes more... I spend most of the day in my library/study and may sometimes blog aside from my other stuff. My blog was begun right before my health, career, and entire life's direction was wildly changed, so though the page is 3+ years old, it is bare boned. My wonderfaul wife and partner of 21 years and I have 3 daughters (23, 20, & 10) and my service/seizure dog 'Reagan' (a Transylvania Hound).I have always insisted upon myself, my Marines, and my girls that their handwriting and deliverables that leave their desks are an example and often a first impression of their own character of professionalism and disciple. If it's your notes or your journal, that's one thinks; but if it is going to be seen by someone else it must be your best. I don't have extremely expensive pens, but what I have are of good quality and they are used extensively with my very rarely using a ball point pen or marker. Of course math/hand-analysis and editing markup is still often done with pencil, but everything aside is ink 'properly. I had to learn to read and write all over again after my brain injury, but I continue my journal that is now beginning it's 27th year and in addition I still write my wife of 21 years a love letter each day. I look forward to learning from each of you and pray I will be of assistance to many as well. I have much experience with different mediums aside from fountain pens to include, dip, technical pens, pastels, pencil, and alcohol pens with a solid background in what works and what doesn't with all brands, mediums, and surfaces while making sure the combination matches the intended purpose.Semper Fidelis, CWO4 Shannon Beaman USMC'Smooth is Fast, Fast is Smooth' Edited for errors only, content not altered. -B
  18. Hello Wise Ones, Has anyone had to repair a loose desk pen base whose ball joint (which holds up the pen) is loose and lays flat? I’m considering buying an Esterbrook desk pen set. The style of desk pen is the ultra flat base with a swiveling ball joint. But the ball joint is loose and the “holster” can’t hold the pen up. The best research info I have is from model and toy enthusiasts who recommend Pledge Future Polish. However, these suggestions assume a disassembly of parts that I may not have the luxury of. Has anyone had experience in this? Thanks in advance!
  19. JDHudson

    Replacement Section For An Sj

    Can anyone direct me to the best place (besides eBay) to find an Esterbrook section for an LJ? I am in the process of restoring my first Estie, and the section cracked on me. I stupidly tried to take it out after removing the nib..... If anyone can help, I would greatly appreciate any guidance. I am also restoring an Esterbrook that resembles an M2, but is a lever fill...it is immaculate, other than needing a new sac and general cleaning.
  20. Hello, I bought a Model J pen recently and it is in transit from the seller. I've attached a photo from the seller. I've just noticed that the cap has the ribbed jewel with no Esterbrook stamp on the clip, which (to my understanding) is an early "transitional-era" cap (1943-1948). The barrel also has a jewel, which comes from the final version of the Model J (1948 and onward). What I've gleaned from Richard Binder's website is that the ribbed cap jewel was gone and replaced by the smooth jewel even before Esterbrook started adding jewels to the barrel end. So my initial thought is that this is a mismatch of two Model J eras. To those more informed than I on this matter, is this a mismatch? Or is this pairing documented somewhere? Thanks in advance for your information!
  21. IndigoFiberCottage

    Replacement Cap For Esterbrook J In Green

    Hello, I recently bought a nice enough Esterbrook J pen body with an intact bottom jewel and a 1554 nib in decent shape. Only trouble is, this pen had no cap. I've been looking on eBay and Etsy for folks that have a cap to sell with no luck. FPN looked like a great place to advertise for said cap, but I'm not allowed to post in classifieds until I'm a Gold Member. So, I'm asking here if anyone has a spare parts cap that they are willing to sell at a fair price. If push comes to shove, I am willing to buy a cap that doesn't match color-wise and just call it a Frankenpen! I just want to have a complete pen in hand some day. I had success with putting a new sac in an Esterbrook desk pen, so with that under my belt, I wanted to also gain experience by putting a new sac in this pen. However, a pen without a cap... Thank you FPN members for any help you can give me.
  22. tonybelding

    Karas Kustoms Fountain-K

    The Karas Kustoms Fountain-K is one of the first pens in a while that has piqued my interest. I wasn't sure if I would find time for a full review, but here we are! First some background: Karas Kustoms (headed by Bill Karas) got their entry into the pen business by machining rollerball and ballpoint pens out of aluminum. The "Ink" was their first venture into fountain pens, and the Fountain-K is their second model. However, the Fountain-K is closely derived from an earlier rollerball design, the Render-K. The Ink is their full-sized fountain pen, and the Fountain-K is the more compact model. Karas Kustoms is a machine shop, and these are machined metal pens. They are available in aluminum, brass and copper. The brass and copper pens are, of course, more costly and much heavier, and they are sold with a bare metal finish that can tarnish and develop a dark patina over time -- attractive to some, and perfectly in line with their industrial style. My personal view is that people new to the pen hobby are often attracted to heavy pens at first but then come to prefer more lightweight pens as they gain experience. (This was definitely true for me.) Thus, I tend to view the copper and brass pens as novelty items to some extent, and I think the aluminum pens will be the real mainstays in the long run. Also, the aluminum pens are available in many anodized colors, or in a "raw" tumbled aluminum finish for that industrial look. Karas Kustoms does not make "custom pens" in the sense of a company like Edison. What they do, however, is offer all the interchangeable parts that can be assembled in many combinations. You can choose your material and color for the pen body, your material and finish for the grip section, and then choose from EF through B nib tip. http://zobeid.zapto.org/image/pens/karas/fountain-k_04.jpg I got my pen with a gold-anodized aluminum body, silver-anodized aluminum section, and a F nib. The price was $75, which is perhaps more than an impulse buy, but still nicely within the sub-$100 affordable category. Even though the Fountain-K looked very attractive to me in pictures, I also had some points of skepticism. Would the pocket clip be too stiff? Would the cap seal well and not dry out? Would the cap come loose in my pocket? This is a product from a relatively new-and-unproven company without a track record in fountain pens. Do they know what they're doing? After having the pen for a while, my conclusion is. . . Yes, they do. Mostly. I did have a few issues to sort out with mine. First there was the burping. Immediately after filling the pen, it burped ink onto the page. It did this with every ink that I tried, and it did it twice in quick succession, and then the ink flow continued to be erratic for a little while, but gradually settled down. I blamed this at first on the nib or feed, but then a FPNer suggested that I try a different converter. I was lucky enough to have an identical spare converter (from Goulet) on hand to try, and it fixed the problem. I can only presume the original converter wasn't making an airtight seal onto the feed nipple. As far as I can tell, this was a freakish problem that few will encounter, and it could happen to any pen that accepts a converter. It's not a Fountain-K issue, as such. The second difficulty was with ink flow. As is all-too-common with new pens, it was a dry writer. Too dry. I pondered a nib swap, but the Fountain-K nib has an unusual profile and doesn't swap easily with other No. 5 nibs. You really need to change out the entire nib-and-feed assembly. However, I noticed it seemed to get a little better as I wrote with it, and I thought, "Maybe it just needs some breaking-in?" I made a series of firm strokes down the back cover of a notebook, flexing it pretty hard. Suddenly the flow was good! Easiest nib adjustment I ever made. Once adjusted, it performs as I expect a contemporary, made in Germany, fine steel nib to perform: firm, smooth and perfectly serviceable. No surprises there. Now, with the pen writing as it should, I could focus on more details of its design and construction. Cosmetically, I agonized a bit over the choice of color and finish, even though (or perhaps because!) they all looked good in the photos. The gold color pen I picked does not disappoint. The anodized aluminum has a satin luster that cannot be mistaken for gold metal, but it does somewhat resemble clean brass. The cap has one tiny "flea bite" ding, but it's only visible when I look closely. The knurled (checkered?) cap, slightly rough edges of the pocket clip, and exposed clip screws all reinforce the industrial styling. It does look good! It's sharp looking without being at all pretentious. In that sense I think it falls into the same stylistic category as a Lamy 2000 or a stainless steel Sheaffer Targa. Nobody's going to take it for a "status" or prestige pen, but nobody's going to see it as shoddy either. This is a very easy pen to carry in a pocket or pen loop. I often wear a canvas vest with a pen slot sewn into the pocket, and the Fountain-K fits very neatly into that space. The tension on the clip is perfect, and it does not snag or chew on the fabric. The knurled portion of the cap makes a perfect handle when pulling out the pen to use it. The smooth profile of the body and cap also allows it to slide in and out easily, and I don't have to worry about wear from the canvas upon the super-tough anodized finish. Portability is a strength of the Fountain-K. The "guts" of this pen are pretty standard. The nib-and-feed assembly is German made, and the converter is a standard Schmidt K5. It's not a screw-in converter, which I would usually prefer (and which might have avoided the problem I had with that first converter), but the pen body is perfectly sized without any extra space for the converter to shift about. The only unusual thing to see here is the very small nib. It's a No. 5 nib, but it's shorter than most and has a very specific profile to fit into a recessed area of the feed. I don't think I've seen a modern fountain pen that puts my fingers this close to the page, and I don't particularly like it. For my money, I would have preferred a more standard No. 5 nib like you'll find in a TWSBI 580, for example. On the other hand. . . If you are accustomed to writing with ballpoints and want a fountain pen you can hold similarly, then you might love writing with the Fountain-K. If you have very small hands, then you might love it. For me it's not going to be the most comfortable for long writing sessions. However, in the context of a "carry" pen that I'll be using away from the house, scribbling down quick notes, signing documents or writing a check -- then it's OK. (And let's not forget, the Karas Kustoms Ink is bigger and has a larger nib!) http://zobeid.zapto.org/image/pens/karas/fountain-k_03.jpg After using the pen lightly for a few days, I encountered another problem. The two tiny screws holding the pocket clip in place came loose! Luckily I caught them before they fell out. The fix for this was easy: use a small screwdriver to remove them, put a tiny dab of threadlock compound on each screw, then put everything back together. It should be good now. However. . . This is not a fault that I can easily dismiss. It would have been very easy to lose those screws, and then my pen would have been out of service until I could get replacements. Not everyone has a tube of threadlock laying about in their toolbox either. Pens have had pocket clips for many decades, and the vast majority have been designed in such a way that the clips won't spontaneously come loose. Even simply applying threadlock when the caps are assembled would probably solve this. Why don't they? http://zobeid.zapto.org/image/pens/karas/fountain-k_05.jpg After carrying and using the Fountain-K for a while, I realized this is no Lamy 2000 and this is no Targa. It's a less expensive, less sophisticated pen. A better comparison might be the good old Esterbrook J. The Fountain-K is actually very close in size to an Esterbrook J, and it shares the traits of toughness, compactness, customization and affordability. If Esterbrook was still in business today -- and was owned by Alcoa -- this is the pen they might give us.
  23. The red and chrome carries a fine nib and seems to be a mix between a deluxe and a cx-100. I didn't smooth and polish the plastic yet, but I have cleaned everything up and replaced the sac. Interestingly enough, it has a 12/64's neck on the section, so I used a size 12 sac. I may replace with a necked 14 that I just picked up. The second is a cleaned and polished LJ (?) that I spent a good bit of time on. I think it turned out pretty good. It has a 2668 firm medium nib, and writes a rather wet line. Both write smooth as silk, the nibs are smooth and do not scratch a bit.
  24. A couple of months ago, I picked up an Esterbrook Model J (Green) at a market. I paid $20 for it, and after a little homework, picked up sac, talc and shellac from Anderson Pens and fixed it up myself. However, the thing came with a 1555 "Gregg" nib, which was the scratchiest nib I have ever experienced in my life. Its feed was also in poor shape (even after lots of soaking in water), so that even if held at the "sweet spot" for writing, it would dry out pretty fast. Instead of doing a whole bunch of nib tuning + ammonia soaking, I decided to try replacing the nib + feed (since Esties have the "renew point" system). I found good advice here, and decided to pick up a Durachrome 9668 (found NOS on eBay for $25, incl. shipping). With the new nib installed, I am in love with this pen! It is not the contrast alone... the new nib is one of the smoothest writing experiences I have had, ever. Currently using it on Tomoe River paper, which is a personal favorite of mine. Anyway, I thought I'd share my positive experience and document it for the possible benefit of other newbies. If you have a scratchy Estie from a flea market, don't give up on it -- instead, take advantage of its "renew point" design. Thanks, -Rahul
  25. Blue-Nose-Bear

    Osmiroid Nibs

    Hello All, I have recently learned that Osmiroid nibs can be used in Esterbrook pens. Despite this, the only nibs I've seen that look like they could fit in an Estie are these, which I don't really trust (I mean, this is a vintage barbie seller!). Is there are particular rarity about them, or am I not looking hard enough?

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