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  1. Hello all, I'll start this post - or thought excersize - with a question: - Do you feel that current fountain pen industry is slowly moving toward re-introduction of proper flexible nibs? It occurred to me, while watching fp reviews online, reading etc - that in each one of them there is at least one segment dedicated to "line variation" (ex. Stephen Brown, Matt ...etc) or "Flexibility". Also, a lot of excitement is raised around any pen/nib claimed to have "that vintage flex feel". As my comment on one Aurora 88 review by sbrebrown on YouTube states: "Maybe I am an idealist with unrealistically positive (maybe hopeful) expectations of future days, maybe I'm noticing some "shifts" or "ripples" in fountain pen manufacturing trends or maybe I'm just imagining and lying to myself - but... it seems to me that more (and more) flexible nibs are on offer. Whether they are quasi-flexible, sort-of-flexible, vintage-wannabe-flexible, or really flexible with "modern" or "vintage" feel - there's new Wahl Eversharp, Franklin Cristophs, Pilot, Platinum, even this Aurora 88... perhaps I can include Romillo (?) and Visconti... maybe even modern M1000 by Pelikan (?? it is soft, F or EF feel flexy)... in any case, it seems like industry is (very) slowly moving in the right direction. Fountain pen sales are up year-on-year, and with more fp users - demand for semi-flex or flex nibs is growing. Aurora is maybe playing on that card, testing the market - whatever they are trying to do - they are doing us (fountain pen users) a favor. And your (Stephen) reviews, with few others here on YouTube or there on the web - are helping this as well. Having that "what about line variation" question drives some people to think about that, want to have that... One of these days (my dream says) I will click on Pelikan's web page and find Pelikan M805 special edition... flexible or Montblanc... Parker... Lamy )))) " What are you thoughts on this? Are there any insider-information or rumors that more flexible nibs are coming? Or I'm not seeing it right.
  2. 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
  3. There are a few reviews of the regular, and kingsized Bulkfillers, but to my knowledge there is little reference to the slimline on the English speaking boards. So below I submit my opinions on this writing instrument: When I first heard that there was a new filling system on the block I was immediately intrigued. The bulkfiller mechanism is reminiscent of the telescoping piston mechanism used in vintage Montblancs. For those that don’t know: The telescoping piston mechanism differs from your modern piston fillers in that the volume of all the moving parts is reduced by having the stroke recess into itself, aka telescoping. A smaller footprint in the barrel results in a higher ink capacity. A true mechanical marvel. These pistons were typically made out of brass giving those pens a very nice heft. Fountainbel has a very nice schematic of this ingenious filler here. In fact, I think that comparison is quite appropriate. In my humble opinion the telescoping piston system was the best engineered ink intake system up until now. Conid’s website has a nice video demonstrating how their filling mechanism works. It is really simple to use. The new Bulkfiller just slightly edges out in front due to the ink shut off valve and double reservoir. My apologies for my bluntness, but I am trying to give really high praise here. The specific model I have is the Slimline. I have never been a fan of huge pens. Posted the Slimline is the perfect size for me. The size is almost identical to a vintage Montblanc 142 with the previously mentioned brass telescoping piston filler. Shown below my gray-green striated celluloid 142. The build quality is top notch. The Delrin plastic truly is a new tactile sensation. Silky is a great way to describe it. The titanium trim is titanium...light and strong. I’m a metallurgist so I’m not as impressed perhaps Titanium is not the most scratch resistant material and difficult to work with. Anodized Aluminum would has a nice matt finish that is quite scratch resistant, but not nearly as sexy sounding. Posting of the cap feels extremely stable and I have no fears of the cap falling off. They sit on the double O-rings on the filler knob. Functional and aesthetically pleasing. I prefer a little more weight toward the front of the pen when posted so all the metal trim throws it off just slightly. But here I am being nitpicky. Anodized tantalum threads in the section would be something that catches my attention and add some quality heft to the front end, but that single modification would probably increase the price of the pen by 50-75%.... The laser etchings of the cap bands and are simple, understated and elegant - although not particularly deep. Production volume of these pens is small and they are made completely from machined parts. I believe that the titanium clip is machined using a wire EDM (electric discharge machining). If you look closely enough you can see the signs of machining on the cap and clip. Not defects, but signs that these are indeed turned individually. You might have noticed that my Slimline does not have a Bock nib. I ordered the pen with both B steel and F titanium plumes. Both nibs wrote beautifully and I would highly recommend both. However like most modern nibs, they lacked the character of vintage gold. Luckily I have a Waterman Ideal no.5 nib that was easily outfitted to the pen (some modification of the feed was required). And now it writes a beautiful XF flex line. The Bock feed does an excellent job keeping the flex nib happy with wet modern inks (iroshizuku inks notably). However the very dry iron gall inks I tend to use (R&K Scabiosa) leave me with railroads on occasion. At the end of the day, I do not actually flex very much so it is not an issue. This set-up does an excellent job! The Slimline is supposed to be a "smaller pen" but besides being ~1cm shorter than a Lamy 2000 or Pilot Vanishing point, it is still a great size. Overall the Conid Slimline Bulkfiller is a fantastic pen: engineered to perfection, completely self-serviceable. Industrial is a good way to describe it. To me at least, pens are tools so I for one can’t imagine higher praise.

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