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  1. VijayGS

    PLP Pens

    PLP are the initials of Mr. Poona Lakshmi Pathi, An age old name in the handmade pen business from Hyderabad India. He has been OEM for various pen manufacturers across the Indian subcontinent. Currently him along with his son Mr. Satish Kumar has entered into the Indian pen market with their own brand ‘PLP Pens’. My Introduction to the Brand It was during one of my casual surfing in the “Fountain Pen Club India” group in Facebook, I bumped across this pen and the brand. A few user reviews and the pictures posted in the group were enough to convince me to go for this pen. I contacted Mr. Satish Kumar via WhatsApp and received the pictures. After ogling at the selection of pens made by the father Son duo, I decided on procuring a couple of eyedropper pens both with size #35 friction fit Ambitious nibs on ebonite feeders. One was a yellow capsule shaped acrylic and the other was a green bi-flat Indian ebonite costing INR 2200/- and INR 1400/- respectively. The pens were shipped on the promised date and the shipping details were shared on WhatsApp. Overall a hassle free buying experience. First Impressions The pens arrived in a couple of PLP plastic boxes. Though I am a die hard fan of the ebonite eye droppers, it was the acrylic pen that won my heart. The pen was solid built and was perfectly balanced with an impeccable finish. Both the pens came with chrome finish clips with “PLP” engraved at the top. During the side by side comparison of the two pens, the acrylic pen was short by few millimetres compared to its ebonite counterpart. On trying to clip both the pens in the shirt pocket the acrylic pen sat sung compared to the ebonite. Both the pens sported a tapered section with the acrylic pen sporting an additional step up at the end of the section. Overall both the pens were well crafted and were ready to be inked. First Write After drooling over these well crafted beauties, it was zero hour. Time to fill the tank and take the first baby steps on the paper. Though both the pens had a slim variation with regards to the dimensions, both had a barrel capacity of 2.5 ML approx. The choice of ink was a concoction of epitome royal blue and aqua blue which I call “Brilliant” (Named after the brilliance in the hue of the final product). A “juicy imprint” is the apt word to describe these pens first letters on the paper. Both the pens were flawless, wet and well-balanced writers. The acrylic pen was the heavier among the two with a marginal yet significant difference in terms of balance. Both the pens fared well on long writing sessions with the cap posted and unposted. Among the two, my pick was the acrylic pen. The pens did not dry up on overnight storage nor burped on long writing sessions. Final Word At this price point both the pens are in my opinion a true VFM. The finish on these pens are in par with the pen offerings from major players in the Indian pen market for half the price. Though both are excellent writers my pick was the acrylic pen over the ebonite pen for its weight, built and the step up at the nib section providing a sturdy and enjoyable writing experience. Though Mr.PLP has been manufacturing pens and served as an OEM for various pen brands across the Indian subcontinent, it is only in recent times he has started selling his creation under his own banner. We Indians root for the underdog too! The Ebonite pen specifications: Total pen size is 150mm Un-Capped: 135mm Body size: 14mm Cap size: 15.5mm Section size: 12.5mm The Acrylic pen specifications: Total Length: 145mm Uncapped: 130mm Section Dia: 12.5mm Body Dia: 14.5mm Rating Ebonite Pen INR 1400/- Looks - 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Build - 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Nib - 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Value for Money - 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ As an EDC - 👍 Acrylic Pen INR 2200/- Looks - 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Build - 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Nib - 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Value for Money - 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐️ As an EDC - 👍 PLP pens Contact Mr. Satish Kumar +91 96522 76914
  2. Titanium Ti, Atomic number 22 was discovered by William Gregor in 1791, Cornwall, GB. Martin Heinrich Klaproth a Prussian chemist named it Titanium after Titans (a group of 6 Male and 6 Female Pre Olympian Greek Gods). It was in 1932 William Justin Kroll introduced the Kroll process thus making Titanium available for commercial use. As of 2021, the four leading producers of titanium were China (52%), Japan (24%), Russia (16%) and Kazakhstan (7%). Titanium is known for its high strength to weight ratio making it a strong metal with low density and anti corrosive properties. The melting point for Titanium is 1,668 °C making it one of the hardest material to work with for a FP nib. To the best of my knowledge, Parker after multiple unsuccessful attempts in tipping a Titanium nib came up with the Parker T1, The first Titanium nib pens in 1970 and the limited edition Parker 75 sporting Titanium nibs in the following years. The Parker T1 was discontinued in 1971. Bock is currently the leading manufacturer of tipped Titanium nibs but it’s always a pleasure to see Made in India Ti nibs moving up the ladder.
  3. The Legacy of the Parker 51 is unmatched. The name Parker 51 has got its own volume in the pages of fountain pen history. A pen launched in 1941 marking the 51st anniversary of the company, still stands up to its marketing slogan of "the world's most wanted pen". It took eleven years for the development of the pen and sold over 20 million pens between 1941 to 1972 and returning a whopping 400 million dollars in revenue for the company. The pen was designed to resemble a jet fighter with a brand new tubular nib to fit the pen. Turning the pages of worlds history, in last century the iconic Parker 51 was used to sign the surrender of Germany and Japan in World war II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower used 2 Parker 51s to create a symbolic V for victory and the late Queen Elizabeth II preferred choice of pen. The Parker 51 has its own place in the Whitehouse. From the late US President John. F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson to Ronald Reagan, Parker 51 had played its vital, final and firm role in world politics. It would be absolutely apt to call this legend of a writing instrument "The True King of Pens". Parker 51 NG The year was 2021 and the management of Parker woke up from a deep slumber and decided to live upto their legacy i.e. to introduce a pen during a worldwide crisis just like their predecessors did with the launch of Parker Vacumatic during the great depression or the launch of Parker Victory and the 51 during the second world war. Unlike their predecessors who are renowned for their innovations and novelty in launching new products and making it a phenomenal success, the sluggish, average Joe current generation planned on relaunching a neo version of an old legend and the retired legend they chose to resurrect was the Parker 51!. Hearing this I lost my sleep. Owning and using a few of the Vintage 51 myself, the expectations rose sky high. Not an exaggeration but there were so many nights where the thought of this relaunch used to be my sheep count to put me to sleep. The D-day arrived and the pen was officially launched and YouTube was flooded with reviews. Most of the reviews were for the steel nib version and I wouldn't lie, each of those reviews were a punch to the gut. All my imaginations and expectations started crumbling and let the thought of buying the pen pass. Few months later after the on and off use of the vintage 51s, I chose to revisit those YouTube reviews. An odd point stood out. Most of the reviews were steel nib and from my limited decade old experience in using fountain pens, the thought that struck me was each fountain pen has an unique character and a million dollar question of how could a renowned brand like Parker make an absolute blunder with a legend like the Parker 51. With the above justification and reasoning out a thousand times with myself to spend INR 26,500/-, I took the infamous dive down the Rabbit-hole. Placed the order for the plum golden nib through a good friend Mr. Rajesh Pillai and the pen arrived safe and sound. First Impressions The pen arrived in the box of premium standards. The pen sported the precious resin with chisel golden cap and trims. The weight was apt and well balanced pen for my medium sized hand (Glove size 7.5). The breather hole at the bottom or the side as seen with the vintage was absent. The classic cap jewel was replaced with a metal one with a gap!! Not sure if the design is supposed to mimic a propellor of the P-51 fighter jet or a very outdated and unnecessary breather hole. However I couldn't think of any use to the gap in the cap. The major design change was the screw type cap in place of the slip on/push cap and to make matters worse it was metal on resin, popping the question of lifespan of this pen. The classical hooded design was replaced to a semi hood covering half the 18KT gold fine tip nib and a very noticeable gap between the tip of the hood and the nib. The resin threaded barrel again screws up to a metal nipple. On observing this all I could do was keep my fingers crossed and pray that this pen lasts for a considerable amount of time in my hands and my hard earned money that I spent on this pen doesn't go down the drain in the near future. The pan came with a conventional cartridge and a twist convertor. First Write After making the above observations it was zero hour. The time to put the resurrected legend to action. The ink of choice was Montblanc petrol blue and with the first dip and few twists the convertor was filled with a tiny air bubble. The moment of truth. the first stroke of the pen was flawless, nothing less than the vintage Parker 51. It was totally an flabbergasting experience given the thought of negative reviews racing in your head and personally observing and highlighting the flaws in the design. The wetness along with the feedback of the nib, the weight and balance of the pen vanished the fears of flushing the money spent on this pen down the drain. It was pure bliss and joy to write with this pen. Rising up to the challenge With all things said and done, it is the duty of this particular model to stand up to its predecessors glory. This pen according to me had a great challenge to face down the road. The vintage original Parker 51 had two primary objectives. One the aerodynamic design resembling a fighter jet which the 51 NG managed to achieve in its own way with few flaws. The second Himalayan task ahead was the no dry flawless writing with no skips especially on long storage which was a boasting promise of Parker on the original vintage 51. It so happened that after two days of acquiring this pen, I had to leave the country for a week for a conference. Leaving behind the 51, I flew to Japan and on coming back after a week, I could see the 51 staring at me from my pen stand. So with no further ado, I unscrewed the cap and placed the nib on my personal journal, and there was the dot of ink on the paper. The pen started to write with no skips jus like its ancestors from the last century. That was the moment my fears and doubts were completely washed away. There was no drying up issue and the NG had proven itself. I have been using it for a period of two months now, not once has the nib dried up nor had any skips during my long writing sessions. Final word It was a gutsy move from Parker to resurrect a classic successful model and kudos on the effort. Yet it was absolute ignorance, dim-witted boneheadedness to think that they could resurrect a classic from the last century with no proper R&D, using the existing parts, to tag a price that is pompous and wheedle out of the situation. The Parker 51 NG to me is no blast from the past appearance wise, however putting it to use, it is no way less in terms of performance and stands equal to its predecessors. In a profession where people judge you in a jiffy this pen can be an EDC for two reason, One not too flashy for an observer to notice and the second reason being a reliable flawless writer. This pen has been my EDC for the past two months putting my trusted Waterman Hemisphere which has been a loyal companion for a decade to rest. To conclude the vintage/original 51 Is the late Queen Elizabeth II and the 51 NG is King Charles III. I'll leave the interpretation open to the readers. Rating Looks - 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Build - 2/5 ⭐⭐ Nib - 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Value for Money - 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐ As an EDC - 👍
  4. VijayGS

    Butterfly nib

    Non tipped butterfly nibs. The nib shapes were cut out of the metal sheet with the tip sporting a butterfly wing shape which was later folded downwards along the tines, pressed and heated to form a pseudo tip. These nibs provided a wet, smooth writing experience at the cost of durability due to the lack of hard metal tipping. The life span of a steel butterfly nibs were a max of 6 months and that’s one among the reasons for these nibs selling in box containing multiple nibs. Pre Folding. Tipped Vs Non Tipped. Full view of the two nibs. Side view of the folded nib tip. Clear demonstration of the tipping on the left Vs The Non tipped folded butterfly nib.
  5. I have been an exclusive fountain pen user for more than a decade. My first introduction to fountain pens were in my school days with 'N' number of pens being lost or broken or replaced with new launches at the local pen shops. During my college days, it has been an array of ball point pens. It was only during my internship days as a doctor, I shifted back to this exquisite experience of using fountain pens. Since then I have been trying out various brands from across the globe from Parker to Montblanc. Though I was aware of a few Indian fountain pen makers, I have always had this preconceived notion about the quality of Indian pens and have never opted to own one during those times. Finally finishing my post graduation and masters successfully with a steel nib Waterman Hemisphere I took a nose dive into the global fountain pen market accumulating a few more fountain pens to my collection and later dealing with the post purchase guilt. Still my prejudice towards Indian pens was strong and couldn't reason out with myself into buying one. It was in one of those early COVID lockdown days, druing a long phone call with a good two decade old friend Dr. Gautham Srinath, my prejudice was shattered. Though being friend for over two decades we never knew about our mutual interests in fountain pens. It was him who suggested to me about Ranga pens By Mr. M.S. Pandurangan along with his son Mr. M.P. Kandan, A company with over 50 years of experience in making hand rolled fountain pens catering to the needs of fountain pen enthusiasts across the globe. Me being myself, was still reluctant in giving it a shot, came up with various reasons to push aside the group buy offers from Ranga pens put forth by my friend and him being himself got fed up with me and gifted me one. The pen arrived. First Impressions As per the epic Mahabharata Abhimanyu was a young legendary warrior, who with his valiant skills in combat proved to be a worthy opponent to his enemies, the mighty Kauravas. In my view the Ranga Pens Abhimanyu is in its own way a legendary warrior. The pen was made in premium acrylic with a clean flawless polished finish and with no clip. A screw type cap on the barrel enclosing the Schmidt K5 converter. Uncapping the pen, the section along with the barrel reveals an hourglass shaped pen. The nib section came with a Jowo threaded nib unit with a size #35 dual tone Ranga steel nib fine tip with a plastic feeder. A well balanced, aptly weighed pen for my medium sized hands (Glove size 7.5). A closer inspection revealed mild lathe marks on the barrel but over all this pen was an eye candy! and the legendary young warrior from Ranga pens had proven himself worthy. Score:- Abhimanyu vs Me 1-0. First Write After watching the pen over and over again and laughing at my ignorant preconceived notion about the quality of Indian pens, it was zero hour. A dip in the ink bottle and after a few twists and turns of the Schmidt convertor, the chamber was full. The first stroke of the nib on the paper was exquisite. Another couple of my self conceived myth busted, plastic feeds can be tuned to provide wet and flawless writing and Indian steel nibs are in par with their global counterparts. Abhimanyu was winning again. The fine tip was a tad thicker than than the Japanese counterparts but nothing to complain. After draining the ink in the convertor and I decided to take a walk down the memory lane, Eye-dropper. I remember the initial days of my fourth grade when I was first introduced to fountain pens, ink stained fingers were a proud way of showing people that I've started using fountain pens and have grown up. The last time I used an ED was in 9th grade shifting to CC fillers later. So going through some preliminary videos about ED filling on YouTube, I moved forward. Applied the silicon grease and took up a syringe and filled the barrel with ink till the threads, Primed the nib and put the pen to use. Not requiring to ink your pen for a considerable amount of time was definitely a nostalgic experience and NO LEAKS NOR BURPS!! my wish of showing people that I am a fountain pen user was flushed down the drain. Score Abhimanyu vs Me 4-0. Advantage Abhimanyu. Final Word Time to concede defeat. I surrender! Hailing from the state that houses Ranga Pens and being a fountain pen user/enthusiast and not owning one for a long time was a reminder to myself of the saying "Never judge a book by its cover". It was my irrational preconceived notion on Indian pens that had forestalled me in owning this gem of a creation. It is one of the few rare instances in my life where I was glad to be proven wrong. This young legendary warrior Abhimanyu won me over the battle of my preconceived notions on Indian pens. PS: Roll stopper clip from Magna Carta Pens.
  6. Last Sunday afternoon turned to an afternoon of deep cleaning, re-sac and restore a 70 year old Sheaffer Snorkel Crest. An idle and boring afternoon with temperature soaring over 36 degree Celsius and non other place to be, took my thoughts to check on my vintage FP collection. During the casual check ups it was surprising to find the elderly Sheaffer Snorkel crest missing the satisfactory "pffft" of exhaled air during the final phase of the closure of the plunger, and that was the start for one of the most exhilarating and exciting Sunday afternoon in the recent past. After checking and confirming the availability of spares from my beloved workstation, it was time time to dive deep into the process. Disassembly of the Pen - The procedure started with opening the endocarp and extending the plunger and carefully opening the nib section with the extended snorkel. I was fortunate to find the nib section in my pen not glued to the barrel. Nib and feeder removal was a piece of cake as the triumph nib was a screw on on the nib section. After soaking the removed sac protector and the snorkel in lukewarm water for 20 mins, it was easy to remove the sac protector exposing the sac. The Next and final disassembly was the plunger from the end cap. A tiny screw which had been in place for unknown about of time unscrewed with minimal resistance and Thus this elderly 70 year old Sheaffer Snorkel was ready for the overhaul. Problems noticed - Point Gasket, Sac, 'O' ring and the end plate washer were worn out. Mild degree of rust formation was noticed on the spring and end cap nut. Gunk deposits in the cap, plunger tube, barrel and sac protector. Restoration process - The Process started with a deep and through cleaning. All the twelve parts on the pen including the cap was soaked for 45 minutes in lukewarm water with few drops of dish-wash soap. General rub a dab of Colgate tooth paste was applied to all hollow parts excluding the feeder, Nib and the snorkel and was soaked again in lukewarm water for 45 mins. a through run over with an electric toothbrush removed the rust and gunk deposits on the pen parts. All the parts were dried with paper towels. The new Latex Sac was Cut and fitted on the snorkel using shellac and a subsequent wait for 3 hours for the shellac to cure. A gentle coat of silicon grease on the plunger, spring, the sac protector, the threads on the nib section was applied. the final process included the replacement of point gasket, 'O' Ring, and end cap washer. The pen was later reassembled by refitting the plunger to the end cap. Aligning the snorkel along with sac and sac protector, feeder, the triumph nib and the spring and the wedlock between the nib section and barrel. Final Touches - Polishing with turtle wax and chrome polish and the elderly gentle man was back in action good as new. Parts from https://vintagepensacsandparts.com/products/sheaffer-snorkel-tm-sac-repair-kit?_pos=3&_sid=693d85f88&_ss=r
  7. Parker Victory AF Restoration This Parker Victory AF is one among the cherished pens in my vintage collection. I recently noticed the delayed pop on pressing the aluminium filler and that was the indication to replace the old latex sac. Time to get my hands dirty. The process started with removal of the AF filler button on the barrel, a gentle tug and it was out with minimal resistance. The pressure bar was the adamant one and took a while to pull it out with the help of a Victorinox army knife tweezers. After soaking the pen for 45 minutes in lukewarm water the nib section was separated from the barrel. A tap in the knockout block separated the nib and the feeder from the section. With absolutely no clue as to when this pen had a through overhaul in the past, it was time for the long overdue cleaning. A rub a dap of Colgate tooth paste and a gentle run over with my loyal electric tooth brush cleared most of the gunk and dried up ink on the pressure bar, the AF button, the threads and the nib. A gentle wash with running water and further soaking in lukewarm water along with dish-wash soap for an hour cleared the gunk from the rest of the pen. After drying up with some paper towel it was time for reassembly. Owing to the short life span of latex sac, I opted for the silicon sac and the size 15 silicon sacs were a perfect match. After applying shellac and french talc to the sac and letting the shellac cure for a couple of hours. a dab of silicon grease was applies to the threads of the nib section and screwed back into the barrel. Then with due caution the pressure bar was introduced at a 45 degree angle with the flat end of the pressure bar towards the nib section and the narrow end towards the button filler via the rear end of the barrel. A long crochet needle was inserted through the nib section to ensure that the sac is not twisted or squeezed by the pressure bar. The AF button was placed in the AF ring and a gentle push secured it in place. The final step, align the nib with the feed and push it back into the section. After testing the pen for any leaks by immersing it in water and checking for bubbles , A gentle polish with turtle wax and chrome polish for the clip was applied. It was indeed a definite VICTORY. Parts from https://vintagepensacsandparts.com

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