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  1. DaveT

    Twsbi Pens Now At A-D Penworx

    A&D Penworx is excited to now offer TWSBI pens on our website. TWSBI is one of my personal favorites! If you are in the market for a new TWSBI please take a look. http://adpenworx.com/store/index.php/fountain-pens/twsbi-fountain-pens.html?
  2. I bought a Twsbi Vac mini recently, but the stiff steel nib (F) did not quite work for me. So, I decided to purchase a couple of #5.5 flex nibs from Fountain Pen Revolution (FPR). I am aware that these nibs may not be considered true flex, but as the owner of an FPR Indus Demo, I have noticed that its two-tone nib adds a bit of character to my writing. I bought a single- and a two-tone nib, as I was curious to see whether there would be any differences between them. I eagerly waited for their arrival. And waited and waited and waited. Canada Post has been slow lately, and they were taking their sweet time in delivering the goods. After a month of waiting, I decided to go ahead and dismantle my Indus pen to see if its nib would fit the Vac mini. It did fit and wrote wonderfully. The nib does give some feedback when writing but it does not feel scratchy. It lays down a fine wet line that shows variation sometimes. I'm a lefty, so keep this in mind as you read on. Today, six weeks after the happy little Gandharvas and Apsaras from India had shipped them, the nibs finally arrived. They came in a small cardboard envelope that was padded inside. The nibs were placed inside a small plastic baggie, as shown in the following image: I decided to test all three nibs. In the following image, samples A and B were written with the Indus flex nib. I wrote Sample A with Liberty's Elysium. I wrote sample B with a diluted (4:1) version of Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses (old formulation). The results of the single-tone nib are shown on Sample C. The last sample (D) was written with the two-tone nib. My impressions Indus Demo two-tone nib: Wet, flexy, and gives feedback. It writes with a fine line that sometimes borders on the extra fine. Single-tone nib: Stiff and wet. It was much smoother than the Indus nib. I got the impression that it lay down a broader line. Two-tone nib: Flexier than the single tone but slightly less wet. It gave feedback when writing, similar to the Indus pen nib, but it felt more "scratchy". I've been using my Indus pen consistently so perhaps that's why it feels smoother than the new two-tone nib. Summary I would say that there is a difference between the single-tone and the two-tone nibs. The single-tone is smoother and perhaps slightly wetter. The two-tone nib is flexier but it gives feedback, which you may or may not like. Overall, I'm glad that I decided to make the switch. Now I have three beauties to play with. The Twsbi Vac mini has become my favourite pen.
  3. Hello all, I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on a new pen purchase but am having difficulty with choosing what to get. I think I've got my mind on a TWSBI 580AL EF nib, but the problems I hear about from TWSBI got me worried a bit. I've considered going for a more expensive demonstrator like the Custom Heritage 92, but I'm not sure if I want to go and spend that much at the moment. Same goes for the Vanishing Point, I really want one, but thought that I should wait a bit for it as well. My goal for the pen is for it to be something I can carry with me to work, coffee shop, or just use at home. I'm probably going to put a new black ink or blue black into my Lamy 2k and then turn this new pen into the one that carries fun colors (looking for suggestions on a good dark purple or deep blue)
  4. Everybody knows that TWSBI 580 is sporting a #5 nib screw unit, so I'm thinking to make it easy by posting pictures of modified ones, maybe a little explanation as well. So, I have a TWSBI 580 AL and my first modification being with an Inoxcrom golden fine nib from a model that looks like a Parker Vector. The second mod is with Schmidt® PRS rollerball cartridge system, using a bit of duct tape and O-ring:
  5. Aditkamath26

    Twsbi Eco Help

    Hello and greeting to all I recently bought a TWSBI Eco fountain pen from The Goulet Pen Company and I absolutely love it. Except for a problem. The piston is quite stiff and sticks to the barrel and sometimes gets stuck. This wasn't into action before cleaning the pen and removing the piston from the body to wipe out the water of the barrel. Can anyone help me out here?
  6. Hey guys, I just got a TWSBI Al today in Pink (looks lovely!). I twisted the piston to flush the pen with some water and noticed a lot of scratching on the piston rod. Pictures here Is this normal? It seems like it should be lubed and will eventually wear down the rod. This was a pricey purchase for me, so is causing me some stress. Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks!
  7. This is my Vac 700 with a custom section sporting a vintage 14kt Mabie Todd “Swan” no.6 flex italic nib. The Pen Holder: I am sure many of you here have already seen quite a few reviews of the TWSBI Vac 700. Like many others out there I was impressed with the looks and quality of this pen. The clear EF nibed pen I received directly from TWSBI wrote perfectly out of the box, but my personal preference is for flexi nibs so I immediately began searching for an adequate replacement. The Custom Section: After a long tedious search I was unable to source an appropriate nib that could be easily transplanted to the TWSBI section. As such I decided to go custom. I had a fantastic Mabie Todd Swan no.6 nib and feed without a matching body so I thought they would be a great match for this pen. Our own Appleman here on FPN was the gentleman who did the wonderful work shown in the attached photos. The custom section is made out of black ebonite. Appleman did a great job creating a girthy section with a nice curvature which is extremely comfortable to hold. As you can see in the images, there is also less of a step from the barrel to the section when compared to an unmodified Vac 700. This was a huge plus as well! The ebonite feels warm to the touch and due to its solid construction moves the balance of the pen toward the front of the pen which I prefer. I find that if I remove the clip to the pen from the cap then the pen is actually quite reasonably balanced when posted. I am sure the very large chunk of gold at the front end helps as well Although I do not have a Vac 20 yet, I hope that this pen will still be compatible with TWSBI’s Vac inkwell. The Nib: Before this project I had the nib in a Noodler’s Konrad which wrote well. However a nib of this quality needs a pen holder which offers the sense of luxury. So I was not happy with that set up. When it was in this pen body, I had the tip customized to a rather sharp cursive italic by Mr. Pendelton Brown. He did fabulous work. In the TWSBI pen holder the Swan writes an amazing M (western) cursive italic that can easy flex to a glorious 3+mm downstroke. Whether or not this is a “superflex”, “wet noodle” or otherwise is beyond my experience as I have only used a handful of flex nibs. I will say that the force required to flex this pen is small enough that flexing on every letter can be done without fatigue. The cross strokes can be hairline thin when a light hand is used. The nib is very responsive, but the flood of ink that comes with the flexing can sometimes puddle up if the stroke is not followed through on. None-the-less, the full flex writing experience is smooth and quite enjoyable on higher quality papers. The matching vintage Swan ladder feed manages to keep up very well considering how much ink is laid down. After long sessions of flexing the flow does require some time to catch up (as you can see by the time I get to “jumps”), but honestly I am surprised these vintage feeds can supply as much ink as they do. The Rhodia dotpad paper crinkles under the stream of ink… Of full flex writing the pen only manages to write about 5 pages of text (single stroke fill-60%ish full). This is quite surprising considering the Vac 700’s large ink capacity. However I do not anticipate writing pages of flex writing so this is not an issue. Under normal writing conditions the ink supply will last a long time. When writing with a light hand the nib handles with ease. The pen is smooth and flow is generous but not uncontrollable. I would be comfortable using this pen on cheaper printer paper for unflexed writing. On some 30% recycled copier paper the pen writes without feathering, but the line is a more stubish M-B line. Most of my inks are of the Iroshizuku line which to my understanding are quite wet. I will need to try some dryer inks. (any recommendations?). I have been considering some iron-gal inks but am unsure if R&K Salix or Scabiosa will react with the steel plunger rod. If anyone has some experience with these inks and Vac 700’s please let me know. Conclusions: This pen has blown away all my expectations and it is truly going to be my prized pen for many years to come. This mix of vintage and modern has created a sweet spot for me personally. I am left wondering if I will ever need another pen again. The balance of the pen leans toward my preferences, the looks are stunning and eye catching and most importantly the writing experience is heavenly. Thank you all for looking! ~Hanryy
  8. Hi All I currently use an undetermined diamine blue colour (kind of blue black), and as I move the ink around in my VAC700 demonstrator, droplets and smudges are left behind. I know the interaction between barrel material and ink chemistry is complex, so I’ll address my question only to TWSBI owners. Does any TWSBI demonstrator-owner happen to have a blue black or similar colour ink that does not leave such droplets behind? (Does that even exist?) Please share your pictures! Thanks! Bart
  9. Hi all, I just purchased my first decent fountain pen, it's the TWSBI Diamond 580AL in silver with an extra fine nib. I was reading around and noticed that there were a lot of mixed reviews on how scratchy the extra fine nib was, and I was wondering what everyones personal experience was? Also, I read that the 580al is a huge improvement to the previous models as the ones made before the 580al had cracking issues. Is this still an issue with the 580al? How do I go about storing and taking care of the pen? I want to take this to class everyday and I'm wondering if you all could send me recommendations for a case or a holder of some sort? Lastly, is there a big difference between the extra fine and fine nibs for this pen? I've seen written samples for both and I couldn't tell the difference whatsoever and I'm not sure if what I've seen is accurate or even for the right pen. Thanks for your time everyone!
  10. PIF: TWSBI Vac 700 in translucent blue - actually it's a frankenpen, as the nib is a smooth Jinhao medium. The new owner has to order replacement rubber seals (the two rubber thingies at the end of the plunger rod, which are essential for filling the pen and for the shutoff function, keep coming loose), which can be had at postage cost from TWSBI (whatever the problems with their pens, the customer service is exemplary in my experience). I'm going to send the pen on Tuesday, so please send a PM if you are interested by Monday, explaining in brief the reasons for your interest. Please remember to PIF too when you are done with it, not sell it.
  11. pyramus

    Do Twsbi Barrels Crack?

    Just bought my third TWSBI, a Vac 700, at Wonderpens in Toronto: I love my first two so much that I wanted to try the novel filling mechanism (which is delightful to use btw). A sales clerk at another pen store (which doesn't sell TWSBI) was very dismissive of the brand, saying he'd heard that the barrels crack very easily and you have to be careful not to overtighten them or otherwise stress the various connectors. Has anyone else heard of his happening on a more than normal basis? I've had my Diamond 580 for almost two years and my Eco for about eight months, and no problems at all with either of them: they seem exceptionally sturdy and durable, as far as I can tell.
  12. Margana

    How Long Has Your Twsbi Been In Use?

    A TWSBI Diamond 580 1.1 mm stub landed here a year ago and is still going strong after several fills of Diamine Violet. The duo is so pleasing to use that there has been no reason to switch inks. For maintenance, a rinse between every few refills is all it needs. That makes it an easy-keeper as well as good to use and highly unlikely to fall out of my rotation. How long have you had a TWSBI in use? Have you found it easy to maintain?
  13. Hello, I recently got back in to fountain pens and have been conflicted as to my next fountain pen. My first pen was a crappy jinhao, which was quickly followed by some other unknown Chinese knockoff of a lamy, and then shortly by a borrowed blue-gold waterman expert (it's my mom's. I love writing with it but want my own pen because she'll get mad at me if I damage it because it was really expensive at the time and is no longer available). and before anyone says anything, I personally don't like the more inexpensive Lamys, I don't find them to be comfortable. More recently I have also tried out a rOtring 600 (currently discontinued) which I like, however the lack of a knurled grip on the model I have, the cap, and terrible balance when posted are huge put-offs. I have come down to a somewhat wide list and can't decide on what to get: The Noodler's Konrad (probably one of the ebonite or acrylic ones) The Kaweco Sport (basically any of them, but most likely one of the non-metal ones as they cost less) Any of TWSBI's pens (basically all of TWSBI's pens fit my criteria, however I can't pick one over the other) As you can clearly tell these are relatively inexpensive pens. I am a student right now, which is why these pens are all pretty inexpensive. I want to bring the pen around with me to my classes. I walk between all my classes up and down a 3-story building and it's pretty long. I store my pens more diagonally or horizontally when not in use (when they are in my bag, as my backpack rests at a diagonal angle across my back). I like to be able to post my pens, as it means I don't need to keep track of the cap as I don't like holding the cap in my other hand, however most times I post my fountain pens or someone else's I find it to be either unbalanced or just uncomfortable as the edge of the cap irritates the side of my hand (this is especially the case on the Waterman, where when I post it the edge of the cap digs into my hand slightly). in case it matters, I use purple/violet ink, currently I am using the J. Herbin scented Violet ink (I love this stuff), however I am considering switching to something like Waterman's Tender Purple or some other purple/violet ink (suggestions?) I really like the look and design of the Kaweco, but the use of a converter is a bit of a put-off as I would prefer I be able to fill it once and have it last me a while. I like the look and design of the Noodler's a lot too however I worry it may require fidgeting with which is something I really would rather not do (and if I don't like the flex nib I could always replace it with some other nib, but then I need to do that... Again with the fidgeting). And on the topic of the TWSBI pens, they basically all fit my criteria, they appear to be a safe bet but I can't pick one in particular (580 vs classic vs mini vs maybe the vac700 or vac mini) I just can't decide. Help would be very greatly appreciated.
  14. Jgalfano

    Twsbi Mini O-Rings

    Hello all, I have a TWSBI Mini with a Medium nib and, some time ago, lost the o-ring on the piston knob that prevents over-tightening of the cap upon posting. Does anybody know where I can buy a replacement o-ring, or am I just SOL? On the attached image, I marked where the o-ring is normally located in red. - J
  15. McWaterjet

    The Value Of Customer Service

    I have had a TWSBI Eco for a few months now. Using it off and on as a daily writer. In the past month and a half or so, I hadn't used it at all. The ink in it had started misbehaving for some reason so I decided it was high time I cleaned up the pen. I disassembled the pen. While removing the piston assembly, I heard a slight cracking noise. Thinking nothing of it, I proceeded to flush the pen, clean the piston and barrel and then attempted to reassemble it. Everything came together fine except the piston knob. For some reason it wouldn't want to screw back in fully. With the piston fully retracted the knob wouldn't sit flush on the barrel. With the piston deployed, the whole piston assembly came loose. I was sure I had broken my pen. It took me two days to decide to write to TWSBI's customer service to ask for help. I thought I wouldn't hear back from them for a least a couple of days... 20 minutes later Philip Wang had written back, with a very reassuring message that started like: "I am not entirely sure what you did with your pen, but I can guarantee you that it is not broken". He then gave me a couple of tips, pointed me towards a video explaining how to put the pen back together. He also mentioned that, if all else failed, I could mail it to them to have it repaired, free of charge. I watched the video, figured out where I went wrong and was able to bring my Eco back to life. Seriously, TWSBI, congratulations and thank you for such a stellar after sales experience. I didn't expect such a speedy response and such engagement to help me repair my pen. This is the kind of customer experience that makes me want to keep on being a TWSBI customer.
  16. Aditkamath26

    Twsbi Eco Vs Lamy Vista

    I am plannning to buy a demonstrator starting pen- The TWSBI Eco or Lamy vista. How do they compare? TWSBI Eco in medium or fine. How does the medium on TWSBI Eco compare with other mediums? How does the fine compare with others? Lamy Vista in fine or extra fine. How does the fine compare with a Lamy medium? Is there a huge difference between them? Is the extra fine REALLY fine? How do these pens compare with each other on the basis of writing, comfort, durability and looks? Thanks for any help provided. (I need replies as soon as possibe as I have to order it today so as to get it close to my birthday on the 26th) Thanks again.
  17. I've been intending for some time to put up a brief post about the TWSBI Eco as a great pen for nib swapping - but with general busy-ness it's never quite happened, till now. When people started buying the TWSBI Eco, and looking into nib swapping options, two things were immediately apparent: first, that the pen lent itself to this kind of activity, given the ease with which nib and feed can be removed; and second, that TWSBI didn't seem interested in selling nibs to swap in to this pen. What makes this a little maddening is that the Eco nib is quite clearly the same as for the TWSBI Diamond Mini, Vac Mini, and Classic pens - but the nib assemblies for these pens aren't exactly cheap, and the nib and feed are jammed in so tight that the risk of damaging the feed is pretty high. My first thought was to try the nibs I already had on hand, from Fountain Pen Revolution - which are great, smooth, and inexpensive nibs. But there was a problem (in my experience at least): the nibs sat a little proud of the feed, and ink flow was poor to non-existent. Others more enterprising than me have gotten around this by heat setting the nib and feed - but plastic feeds (apparently) aren't as amenable to this as ebonite, and I wasn't game to try it. Besides, that would require me to re-heat-set the feed if I wanted to reinstall the original nib. My second thought was to try some Bock #5 nibs I had lying around - but these, frankly, were too small and very ill-fitting. Enter fpnibs.com, a small Spanish-based company run by Pablo Carrasco and Esther Durán who buy, customise and sell JoWo nibs - including the kind of nibs that TWSBI use in their Eco, Mini etc. For an amazingly low price (~€6), you can buy a plain stainless steel nib that will fit perfectly; for maybe another €0,50 you can buy the same nib with ruthenium coating. Add to that the amazingly low prices on their custom grinds, and suddenly the Eco becomes an exceptionally versatile pen. Here's a snap of my collection - most of it, anyway (note the 4 top nibs are generic JoWos' the bottom 3 are TWSBI nibs for comparison): http://i.imgur.com/wMCtTfW.jpg Here's a close-up of the custom grinds I requested on three of the nibs - two cursive italics and an architect grind: http://i.imgur.com/OHYofyv.jpg A side-on and and an under-side shot of the architect nib, for completeness (please forgive the poor focus): http://i.imgur.com/KFutS0i.jpg http://i.imgur.com/OnMbAqK.jpg I've been extremely impressed with the quality of these nibs - both the stock nibs and the custom grinds. So much so, that I recently ordered two #6 nibs (stainless steel), to add to my collection - plus the rhodium-plated gold B nib for a Diamond 580 that sparked my initial interest in Pablo's workmanship. Standard disclaimer, I've received no freebies of any kind from this company - but am more than happy to recommend them to anyone interested in customising their TWSBI (or other) pens. Feel free to ask any questions - sorry I haven't got any recent photos of these nibs in action, but I've been away on holiday and (two of) my Ecos stayed home...
  18. Out0Mind

    Twsbi 899

    Has anyone heard anything about the TWSBI 899 or is this just another prototype they're testing that we'll never see come to market? It was featured next to a Diamond 580 on Instragram yesterday: https://www.instagram.com/p/BKipSxYjTtr
  19. Deep_Adhikary

    Buying Twsbi From India

    HI Team I have bought a TWSBI Classic from there website. The Cost is $50+$30.22(Shipping). They shipping is Fedex Prority Pak. Any body have any Idea how long it will take. and what will be custom duty. And are there any problem on this pen?
  20. During the weekend I was playing around with Pentax Takumar lenses from the 1960s and 1970s, mounted on a Canon EOS M body. This image was created with a Takumar 85mm f1.9. TWSBI Vac 700, inked with Sailor Jentle miruai, 1.1 mm italic. The image with the lens was shot with the Canon EOS 22mm f2 kit lens.
  21. I'm planning to buy a new pen, in the US$ 40 – 100 range (big range, I know ), and narrowed my options down to these (in no particular order): Faber-Castell LoomSheaffer 300Faber-Castell Ambition BlackTWSBI 580Pelikan Pura Which one would you choose and why? Also, if you can, which one you would not choose and why? Best! Marcelo
  22. Hello Fellow FPN users I want to know where can i buy Kaweco & TWSBI pens in India, especially in Delhi or Mumbai....?? Any help will be really appreciated....?
  23. TWSBI ECO - 1.1 Stub Nib This is the first non Indian pen I am going to review and I hope you all like the review and please leave the comments if you like. The same has been reviewed at my blog and you are welcomed to visit my blog to check the reviews : LINK This pen actually took almost 4 months to come into my hand. Even though I have TWSBI 580 Al Orange but I was more excited about the ECO. This pen was bought from Frank of FONTOPLUMO. It was booked as soon as it was launched and Frank was kind enough to hold the pen for more than a month and he was even kind enough to hand over the order to a visiting friend (Kapil Apashankar) in Netherlands and i must also mention this that the pen was on hold despite me not making the payment. And in the end I bought not just Eco but lot more pens for myself which will be reviewed here slowly. Also let me take this opportunity to thank Kapil for taking all the pain of collecting the pens and sending it across to me from Pune. So this is review about TWSBI ECO. TWSBI ECO DESIGN AND BUILT : 04/05 The pen came in a no nonsense plastic box and the pen and the accessories were well packed. I took the white color model. The pen currently comes in two colors: Black and White. However there are certain other colors being proposed by TWSBI on their blog. It’s a well designed elegant pen and even though it looks chunky when capped. It’s a beautiful pen when inked. TWSBI ECO – Beauty Shot The barrel is clear acrylic which is again of good quality and is circular instead of faceted design of TWSBI 580 or VAC. The grip section is also clear acrylic and you can see the ink flowing to the feed from barrel to section and feed. I kind of love the demonstrators. They actually take the color of the ink you put in. Looks lovely. TWSBI ECO – Capped The pen is actually one piece from grip section to barrel, only knob being different. Some people have not like the cap design but for me it’s just okay and carries the design cues from the faceted design of 580 or Vac. The cap and piston knob both have faceted design. All the trims are chrome silver finish and the centre band of the cap has TWSBI and ECO imprinted on the band. TWSBI ECO – Cap View TWSBI ECO – Cap Clip View TWSBI ECO – Cap and Piston Knob – Faceted TWSBI ECO – Cap Inner View The best thing about the pen is the rubberized O ring at the joint of piston knob and barrel which really helps in secure posting of the Cap. One thing to be noticed here is that apart from the nib and cap clip there is no metal part in the pen. Also like the O ring at the bottom there is one more O ring at the front of barrel which ensures the Cap doesn’t slip of and is securely closed. Below image shows the pen capped and uncapped for comparison. The pen is just tad smaller than TWSBI 580 when it is capped. I love the pen and I believe there is no good quality piston filler demonstrator in this price range. Below are the few images showing the comparison of the pen with others. TWSBI ECO vs Parker Sonnet vs Pelikan M200 Cognac – Capped TWSBI ECO vs Parker Sonnet vs Pelikan M200 Cognac – Uncapped and Posted The pen is similarly prized as Lamy Safari and I believe this is better bet. BALANCE : 05/05 The pen is very well balanced whether the cap is posted at back or not. Its a sizable pen and it is just a tad bit longer than 580 when posted.The pen posts really well and securely but for me its amazing when writing with cap not posted at back, but thats my personal preference. The pen is 139 mm when capped and 168 when cap is posted at back. Below are the images showing the comparison of writing with cap posted and cap unposted. TWSBI ECO – Writing Unposted TWSBI ECO – Writing Posted NIB & INK FILLING MECHANISM: 05/05 The pen I am reviewing comes with friction fit 1.1 Stub nib and boy it writes so amazing. Loved the nib and the ink flow. 1.1 Stub gives you a crisp writing with lovely welcome feedback. I love it. Yes the nib is friction fit and is easily removable. Nib is #5 steel nib and option of EF, F, M, B and 1.1 Stub is available on ECO. TWSBI ECO – Nib Unit Side View TWSBI ECO – Nib Unit Top View TWSBI ECO – Nib Unit Bottom View The ink filling mechanism is via Piston which is the best considered ink filling mechanism. The pen holds almost just less than 2 ml of ink. TWSBI ECO – Piston Filling Mechanism The piston knob is easily removable via plastic wrench that is supplied with the pen. There is also silicone grease supplied with the pen. Below are the images of my handwritten review and the writing sample: TWSBI ECO – Handwritten Review – Page 1 TWSBI ECO – Handwritten Review – Page 2 TWSBI ECO – Handwritten Review – Page 3 CONCLUSION: I am totally in love with this pen and the my iroshizuku ink looks stunning with this pen. The pen actually takes any color you want with the ink you put in the pen. Buy it – thats my advice. Beautiful quality product at surprisingly low price (25 Euros) with TWSBI lifetime warranty. The review has been posted simultaneous at my blog. Kindly visit blog for more detailed reviews here : LINK
  24. PaperQueen

    Twsbi Eco Cap Falling Off

    Well...my adoration for the TWSBI Eco may be waning a bit. In spite of my loving care for both (black and white), the white one refuses to stay posted. The cap feels snug and firm when initially posted, but a moment later, it falls off. Again. And again. Another FPN member shared their video review mentioning the problem, but it was so soon after the Eco release, many of us assumed his pen may have been an anomaly. Now that mine has gone from a perfect poster to one that spits off the cap (less than a month's worth of use), I'm curious as to whether or not other Eco owners are finding the same...? So bummed.
  25. Over time, I observed that the 580 could not find much use, primarily because my writing preferences have graduated towards softer and larger nibs along with time. So here comes the saviour from TWSBI - The Vac 700, with a bigger nib of #6 size, and a vacuum plunger mechanism. Personally, I prefer the concept of an ink shut off valve. If you are looking for a review of the 580, here it is. If you like the blog view along with pictures, just click below: TWSBI VAC 700 with a VAC 20 Review TWSBI TWSBI (pronounced Twiz-Bee) refers to San Wen Tong, i.e TWS spelled backwards and it means ‘Hall of Three Cultures’ and if you wish to know more, the information is available on their website. BI at the end. refers to writing instruments. Ta Shin Precision has manufactured a range of things starting from toy lego parts to high-end writing instruments, for several luxury brands (both American & Japanese) for well over 40 years. So that’s plastic, metal & precision, precisely what’s required to make and sell a good looking writing instrument, under a brand name. Which luxury brands? They don’t reveal those due to privacy agreements. I have reasonable doubt from various reviews that one of them is Levenger. Also, the shaft mechanism inside Pilot Custom 823 seems similar to the one in the Vac 700. TWSBI sources its nibs from JoWo (earlier it was Bock & Schimdt), Germany (same as for Faber-Castell Stock Steel nibs). PRESENTATION Clean, clear and minimal packaging! A transparent pen lying inside a clear plastic case, encased within a brown cardboard box with adequate cushions of foam. There is an instruction sheet on filling & disassembly of the pen, highlighting the pen parts. Below the white pen-holding shelf, you will find the 7mm TWSBI wrench, couple of O-rings for the filler collar and a vial of silicone grease in two push slots. Neat! DESIGN - TAPERED TRANSPARENCY (4/6) The VAC 700 used to come in four transparent colours - Sapphire, Amber, Smoke & Clear. Now TWSBI has retained the production of the clear model only. I was looking for a clear model, since I already have a few other coloured demos. The build of VAC700 is sturdy and it seems that a substantial amount of acrylic has been used. Honestly, it never felt cheap nor does it feel luxurious. I think this pen endorses practical utility rather than art, with which you will probably associate a Visconti. More of an industrial look, for which I like this pen. Plastic & Acrylics economise both cost and weight of fittings. Most of it is visible engineering & the use of a steel plunger rod along with rubber piston and valve seals can be seen from the outside. The barrel and cap are made of thick polycarbonate, with a protective heat treated layer to increase resistance to scratches & abrasions, thus preserving the crystal transparence. The blind cap and the section exhibit translucence with smoky hue and I strongly fill that its takes out some beauty element out of the equation. But then, I wanted the clear one to enjoy the ink colour itself. The cap feels substantial and unscrews with one and a half turn, revealing a nicely sized steel nib. There is a metallic collar for the nib unit, supplying necessary chrome accents for the aesthetics part of it. The smoky translucent blind cap has a rather broad ring making the mark for usage and disassembly. The barrel is smooth and rounded with a decagonally cut blind cap, which fails to prevent the open pen from rolling away. The pen rolls on the broad steel ring below the blind cap. The acrylic orchestrates light well and dazzles the ink inside the barrel. The cap has a widish chrome band carrying a laser engraved TWSBI on one side of it and VAC 700 TAIWAN on the other. The finial carries a vibrant red & silver TWSBI logo of three pillars within a dome of transparent acrylic. The clip has a frosted aluminium feel and finish and is spring-loaded within a visible system with a chrome tassie. The cap has a geometrical decagonal cut, though the clip prevents any rolling away. The frosted look & feel of aluminium and somewhat stands out unevenly compared to the overall dazzling steel chrome trims. The cap is moderately heavy (@13g). You can also see a transparent inner cap, which prevents the nib from drying out. FILLING SYSTEM (4/6) As a plunger filler, it does have a good ink capacity around 1.8~2.3 mL (a full fill which is easy to do from an inverted Vac 20 bottle or repeated air removal filling). The smoky translucent blind cap unscrews with three complete turns. The rod is made of stainless steel and is resistant to most of the commonly used inks. For IG (Iron Gall) and Pigment Inks, care must be taken to clean the pen several times, to prevent clogging or deposit accumulation inside the ink passages. With the usual ink bottle, the pen fills to around two-thirds of its capacity, once the nib is completely dipped in ink and the plunger is pushed back in. This can give a good amount of ink inside with a comfortable volume of 1.5 - 1.8 mL. Sometimes, I have to repeat it several times to create a good vacuum, an issue I never had with the Custom 823 or the Homo Sapiens. The Custom 823 takes only a second vacuum to fill well. But YMMV. Cleaning the pen could be a similar ritual accompanied with some shake and I suggest you do it on a regular basis, for the ink stains if left may look ugly with time, and might require a light ammonia solution to go-off. Else you could just disassemble the shaft mechanism from the barrel and clean the transparent barrel with some a light dishwashing liquid water solution. And as mentioned in the manual, while writing with the pen, you would need to keep the piston-knob slightly unscrewed & pulled to the first stop (at a 4 mm distance) relative to the chrome ring. This will displace the conical valve rubber seal below the piston seal, to allow passage of ink to the feed. Given the high ink capacity of these pens with plunger filling mechanism, it has been introduced to prevent ink-leakage. And this is a nice thing to have, if you intend to carry the pen by air. The feeder hole looks like a channel to enable efficient ink suction. A problem I have landed up with this piece is that while filling it from a VAC 20 bottle, there are some ink drops coming out of the rear end of the filler collar. I emailed TWSBI Customer Service and Philip asked me to replace the filler O-ring with the spare one, which is actually thinner. However, this did not solve the issue completely and Philip was kind enough to have his factory send an immediate replacement of shaft mechanism. We both think that the inner O-ring of the shaft mechanism is the culprit. FILLING WITH THE VAC 20 INKWELL (INDEPENDENT RATING - 5/6) The VAC 20 inkwell comes within a small cardboard box. Unlike the well packaged Diamond 50 bottle, the packaging is pretty plain. It’s made of plastic and weighs around 20 grams without ink. Ink Capacity is 20 mL, of course (Thus VAC 20, but wait, what about VAC 700! ). The below bottle is around two-thirds filled. The bottle used to come in five simple variants - black, orange, red, green & blue top-caps and occupies a fraction of space taken by the Diamond 50 inkwell. The new one however is called VAC 20A and it has an additional insert for the VAC Mini. You have to remove the top cap for filling the VAC 700. The base cap has the threads of the VAC 700 pen inside, so as to fit the pen precisely. And with an inverted configuration you can pull/push the plunger to suck the ink to full capacity of the pen. And there is no need of cleaning the VAC700 after filling ink, as only the feed area is exposed. Cool ! The outer cap has a good sealing tube and I never found any ink leakage from the bottle itself even after keeping it inverted in my backpack for 2 days. Personally, I find it comfortable as a travelling inkwell since the dimensions are minimal and the base bottle offers the height of ink to completely immerse nibs of most pens with standard nib sizes. The only quibble I have is: when you fill ink in any other pen, the base cap (black) has to be unscrewed and it exposes the broader opening of the bottle. The secure bottle acting as a pen stand is now gone. The inner taper of the base cap block sections of most of the similar sized pens (except VAC 700 & a few slimmer ones). Besides it’s priced pretty decent (in US), and you do travel with 20 mL of your favourite ink. DISASSEMBLY (6/6) In cases where the piston has become stiff or there is any leakage of ink from the rear, it would require you to disassemble and self-service the pen. You can find two spare O-rings with the wrench and silicone grease. You can have a look at a 700 disassembly video. I like this one. Make sure you thoroughly flush the pen with water before disassembling it. Rotate the blind cap counter-clockwise, till it rotates freely. Pull out the blind cap till it comes to an end stop. The same thing you do while longer writing sessions. Fit the wrench below the blind cap on the area of the filler collar which has two parallel cuts on the otherwise circular section. Rotate counter-clockwise till the collar comes out of the inner threads. There is an O-ring on the collar (at the end of those threads ideally) that goes inside the barrel, to prevent leakage of ink. (the same ring for which spares are provided) Then you can pull off the shaft mechanism along with the blind cap from the barrel. The nib unit can be easily removed by first unscrewing the grip section from the barrel Since, nib is friction fit, you may remove the nib and feed from the unit, in case there is some heavy cleaning required (in case of a bad flow, sometimes the feed is coated with grease which restricts ink-flow). Make sure you carefully apply adequate amount of silicone grease with a earbud/toothpick to the sides of the conical frustum like rubber piston seal/lip before reassembly. Don't use any grease on the conical valve seal, else the grease may block the section slit, thereby the flow of ink. NIB - ALL THAT MATTERS (6/6) This is a silver accented stainless steel nib from Jowo of size#6. It carries off the TWSBI traditional dagger-like design well. Across four stock widths - EF, F, M, B and two special widths of Stub 1.1 & Stub 1.5, this looks pretty industrial and minimalistic. The nib/feed unit can also be taken out of the sleeve after unscrewing the section. The tail end specifies carries the nib width, while the name TWSBI along with the logo rest above the tail. There is some simple scroll within the symmetry of its tines, reflecting the rather industrial look of the pen. A black plastic feed with a adequate feed channel for ink suction provides the inflow of ink. The thin fins ensure an acceptable buffer capacity, although I have always found better feeds in Pilot & of course the Pelikans. The feeds are said to be a bit brittle. So suggest you take care if you are replacing the nib. These are sourced from JoWo. Earlier, TWSBI used to source its nibs from Schmidt and then Bock, which is incidentally the nib-supplier for Faber-Castell smoothy nibs too. The nib being a medium is a juicy wet delight to write with. And it lays a line which runs a tad thicker than Japanese Medium/European Fine nibs. More of this in the last section with writing sample. PHYSICS OF IT (6/6) – RELATIVELY SPEAKING The pen even without ink, does have a good balance in terms of both weight and length. The pen is not meant to be posted for the likes of me. The grip is quite comfortable for me, with a girth of 1 cm for me. The weight of the pen is mainly due to the steel/aluminium metal parts along with the steel rod used in the shaft mechanism. Uncapped Length ~ 13.2 cmCapped Length ~ 14.4 cmNib Leverage ~ 2.4 cm #6Overall Weight ~ 32 g (Cap Weight ~ 13 g)Max Ink Capacity ~ 2.3 mL Capped and uncapped comparisons with a Pelikan m805 and a Pilot Custom 823, run below for your reference. An uncapped vac 700 along with others. ECONOMIC VALUE (5/6) The VAC700 retails at around Rs 9,500 ($ 141 @ 67 INR/USD) here and I got it from Manoj (of Manoj Pen Mart) at around Rs 4500, in exchange for another sparsely used TWSBI. The pen retails at USD 65, in the US and cheaper in other countries. A major problem with ordering it from TWSBI’s website is the heavy FedEx shipping charges, and also un-calculated duties to be paid for. Thankfully, Pradeep (FPN@Prads) arranged an exchange of the 580 with Mr. Manoj, I had to pay a fraction of the Indian MRP for the Vac 700. I bought it from Mr. Manoj (of Manoj Pen Mart, Fort, Mumbai). OVERALL (5.2/6) This nib is wet and smooth with most of the inks. Since, I am used to a few large pens, I did not find a problem with either the heft or the balance of Vac 700. Many people don't find the heft/weight comfortable. There is no noticeable line variation but the #6 nib does render some spring, which can cushion your writing. The medium nib lays a line which runs a tad thicker than Japanese Medium/European Fine nibs. The pen feels balanced for my hands both with or without pressure and given the tapered profile of the section, it has a good grip. I have used single fills of Waterman Florida Blue & Sailor Yama Budo inks in rotation, and the pen nicely in the case of Sailor ink. Being a wet writer out of the box, the Medium nib puts up a nice juicy line, which takes around 22-25 seconds to dry a Sailor Yama Dori ink on MD Paper. The spring and length of this steel nib reminds me of the fact that a good steel nib can always be of joy. However, if you ask me to compare the Custom 823#15 nib with this steel nib, I would say it’s great but the 823-14k nib wins in terms of cushion, softness and additional spring by a fair margin. REFERENCES TWSBI 580 Diamond Review FPN TWSBI History Disassembly - Removing ink shut off valve (Warranty might be voided) Thank you for going through the review. You can find some more pen and paraphernalia reviews here.





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