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A Somewhat Critical View Of The Pilot Custom 823



TheDutchGuy

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TheDutchGuy

^---Up to this point, this discussion is about the pen as it was when delivered (except for a necessary correction of slightly misaligned tines). Now I've started tinkering with it, to tune it to my tastes. Specifically:

1-a slight spreading of the tines to increase flow somewhat

2-used 12k micromesh to make the pen feel less 'pointy' when writing, to smoothen out a few minor rough spots and to make the nature of the pen's feedback more to my personal liking (this sounds like a major operation but it wasn't; it involved very gentle and very brief applications of the micromesh)

 

These two actions made the pen write much more to my personal taste, without changing its general character (we're talking about fine-tuning here, not about making a Pilot write like a Sailor). One thing remained. Even though the flow was just right, the width of the text on paper was fine enough to show the slight wavering of my hand. I thought of some of my other pens as F writers but this is my first exposure to Western EF, and it takes getting used to. I wanted a bit more fluidity in my writing, to increase the tempo of writing and to increase the line width somewhat without altering the pen. To achieve this, I added a touch of glycerine to the ink and instantly everything was just right. Line width is now 2/3rd between a Western EF and a Western F, the extra lubrication allows effortless writing and the overall character/feel of the nib on paper is preserved. Some of you might think: "here he goes again promoting glycerine", but for me, in some pens, it works wonderfully. The trick is to be patient: use an ink syringe to add something like 0.25 mL of glycerine to appr. 30 mL of ink (1:120) and give it a try. If necessary, add more in steps of 0.15 mL. I've never needed more than 0.5 mL per 30 mL of ink (1:60), usually slightly less. Don't waste a whole bottle, just take 20 mL out of it and add proportionally to that.

 

With these alterations, I'm starting to like the pen. It's totally different from all my other pens, which is nice. It adds a new flavour.

 

post-141326-0-64072200-1528630154_thumb.jpeg

 

You can see in the photo that the vertical strokes are comparable in width to those of my MB 146 EF, which has a mild architect grind. The other pens (a Western F and two Japanese M's) write a wider line.

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Thanks for the review, DG. I own a Custom 74, and when I bought it a year or so ago, the reviews were all noting (and showing on the videos) that the F nibs were like western EFs, so I went for the SFM and love it. The Custom 74 is my most expensive pen, so I have never considered a pen in the range of your 823, but I just wanted to comment on the Pilot nib-size reputation and the choice I made. The Pilot SFM is the best nib that I own. It's my only gold nib, but that is not what makes it good (I couldnt care less about gold). The nib width is the right size for me, and the bounce is just right for my writing pressure (I do not seek flex).

 

edit: oops, I forgot: I also own a Pilot Decimo gold nib (fine). That nib is also finer than a western fine, but I would not call it an EF (They make an EF for that pen).

Edited by TSherbs
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TheDutchGuy

The Pilot SFM is the best nib that I own.

^---With hindsight, I probably should have ordered an SFM too. That's the risk if you cannot try before you buy. However, I did some tuning and tinkering and the pen is now much more to my liking. Let's see how I feel about this nib 2 months from now, who knows, I might come to love it.

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^---With hindsight, I probably should have ordered an SFM too. That's the risk if you cannot try before you buy. However, I did some tuning and tinkering and the pen is now much more to my liking. Let's see how I feel about this nib 2 months from now, who knows, I might come to love it.

 

How do you measure such a small amount of glycerine?

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TheDutchGuy

Oh, that's easy. I ordered an ink syringe from The Writing Desk which holds 5 mL and has a scale on the side.

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I love my 823. The fine nib writes only a hair (almost indistinguishable) narrower than the FM nib on my CH92. It definitely doesn't write like a western fine.

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TheDutchGuy

It's definitely growing on me. I'm not yet jumping up and down with excitement, but it's growing on me. Especially in my Paperblank journal book, which has off-white, somewhat old-fashioned paper which is not as smooth as Rhodia etc, the 823 F writes very nice. On Rhodia and similar paper, I still have some trouble exercising control over my writing. And I'm still getting used to the rigidity of the nib.

Edited by TheDutchGuy
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Its nice to know the pen grow on you .. for real the 823 is one of my goto pen and I have it equipped with a EF nib, it sit on my desk almost always , but as an Asian I am fully accustomed to Asian F and EF, yes the feel take getting used to and the nib do require run in ( as almost all such fine nibs goes , no matter where it came from ). Its also funny when I read Pilot Iroshizuku being expensive over your side because similar thing can be said for may European goods this side ..so I guess geographical locale still play a lot in retail

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For me, the fun is in writing, in how a pen feels to me. A pen that makes me want to write, that screams "pick me up!" every time I walk by, that's what it's about for me. A secondary appeal is craftsmanship, how well a pen is designed and made. This is not to be confused with expense: I am just as pleased with the incredible amount of quality Pilot can deliver for 20 bucks in the form of the Metropolitan, then I am with the lasting durability of a Montblanc 146.

 

...

 

I think that is one of the most accurate (and eloquent) summary of why we enjoy this fountain pen hobby. In my case, about 90% of the time, I get those feelings of satisfaction when writing with vintage pens that I found and restored, with the other 10% from modern pens.

 

Have you thought of trying out vintage pens? There is no lacking of interesting and unique pens on the vintage side. Vacuum-fillers, piston-fillers, excellent nibs, nibs that you can't get on modern pens, all at general cost of ownership that is lower than modern pens.

- Will
Restored Pens and Sketches on Instagram @redeempens

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TheDutchGuy

Its also funny when I read Pilot Iroshizuku being expensive over your side because similar thing can be said for may European goods this side ..so I guess geographical locale still play a lot in retail

Definitely! I happen to prefer Japanese pens and inks but I live in Europe, so.... $$$

 

I think that is one of the most accurate (and eloquent) summary of why we enjoy this fountain pen hobby.

Thank you! That's nice to hear.

 

Have you thought of trying out vintage pens? There is no lacking of interesting and unique pens on the vintage side. Vacuum-fillers, piston-fillers, excellent nibs, nibs that you can't get on modern pens, all at general cost of ownership that is lower than modern pens.

I have three, though you might argue at what age a pen becomes 'vintage': a MB 146 with an even older EF nib that's got the 14C label on it (that nib is gorgeous, these nibs are architect nibs), a lovely 1940s celluloid pen with a 14K nib which was made for the Dutch/Belgian market under the brand name 'Boston', and an '80s Sheaffer Targa. I use them a lot, I love them, but for everyday writing I usually grab a newer pen. The Sheaffer and the Boston rarely accompany me to work. Edited by TheDutchGuy
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I got a Custom 823 yesterday and mine is simply perfect. I checked under the loupe, the tines were perfect and the grind is smooth with a whisper of feedback. I cant imagine a nib performing better. The question is, do I need yet another kugel nib...but the pen is phenomenal. And the main thread, man is it perfectly executed.

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I got a Custom 823 yesterday and mine is simply perfect. I checked under the loupe, the tines were perfect and the grind is smooth with a whisper of feedback. I cant imagine a nib performing better. The question is, do I need yet another kugel nib...but the pen is phenomenal. And the main thread, man is it perfectly executed.

What nib size did you get?

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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Medium. It's just that I prefer oblique stubs and italics on fountain pens, but as far as kugel nibs go, this one is just about as perfect as it gets.

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Thanks! I've had REALLY bad experience with Pilot in the past. This is my 6th Pilot pen and only second that writes at all, but it writes really well. I hope you reach satisfaction with yours as well!

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I have two 823s and love both. I ordered both through from Tokyo Quill to get non standard nibs. The black smoke version came with the FA nib and the clear version with the Waverly nib. I also bought a 743 with soft fine nib to interchange with either of this bodies as I prefer some give in the nib.

 

I travel for work via air travel and that’s another reason I like about the filling system, capacity, and ability to close the main ink reservoir from the feed section.

 

Sorry your experience so far has not met your expectations.

 

Hi Duane, I am waiting my the same WA as you have now. What are your thoughts on it? Or if you can point me to your review if you did one....

Thanks. :)

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Duane Pandorf

 

Hi Duane, I am waiting my the same WA as you have now. What are your thoughts on it? Or if you can point me to your review if you did one....

Thanks. :)

 

Hi RPB,

 

I have not done any kind of review of my 823 with Waverly nib. However, it has become a favorite for me right now. It has a tiny bit of feedback and a little bit of give too. Not like their #15 soft fine but it's not a nail either. The pen writes perfectly out of the box due I'm sure to Tokyo Quill ensuring that before shipping. You can write at about any angle that you hold the pen. Of course almost upright you will have a thinner line. In my normal 45 degree position to the paper the pen writes between the Pilot fine and medium nib.

 

Right now I have it loaded with Montblanc Antoine De Sainte-Exupéry Encre Du Desert. (I'm a pilot and love this color)

Duane Pandorf

--------------------

Blog

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I have had bad experience with Pilot 74 sf and b nibs. To justify, I have had equally good experience with 74 ms, bb, sfm and 912sm nibs. I tried 2 sf nibs and they are very scratchy (not feedbacky) I returned both of them at different times. Scratchy is when u see paper fibres being scratched off, feedback is a sensation.

 

Pilot has very different degree of finishing (smoothing) for different nib widths, this is my personal opinion. Of course, generally, finer nibs will almost always have more feedback and need a lighter hand. That I have tried but my hand and the sf nib do not agree more than once. Also, the ink laid by the nib is very pale (please note I did not say 'ink flow' because that might implicate the feed, Pilots have capable feeds, evident in the BB amd MS nibs), it is the nib grind that restricts ink being laid onto paper. One can try spreading the tines using fingers but man, these Pilot gold nibs are not malleable and do not yield to pressure. There are pros and cons, pros: it won't get deformed. Cons: it is almost impossible to spread open the nib tines by my hands. It will always spring back to its original form. This is vastly different from say, Sailor pens. Sailor nibs get deformed very easily, very malleable too and you could bend it if not careful, especially the 21k nibs, they are very difficult to work with. Lamy 2000 too, very soft but not in the springy sense, more in the easily deformed and easily out of alignment sense.

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TheDutchGuy

Pen is still growing on me. I agree about the nib not being malleable, it's quite rigid. It was smooth but toothy, even though I have a very light touch when writing, and the pronounced tooth overshadowed the pleasant feedback. I patiently, slowly, ever so slightly tuned the nib. I barely touched the micromesh, I can't see any change under the microscope, but I can feel it. The toothiness is reduced and the pleasant feedback can now be enjoyed. Inkwise, I put 25% diluted Blackstone Sydney Harbour Blue in it. This is an extremely saturated ink, which is why I diluted it. It's also very wet, and is a good match with this pen. The plan was to use Sailor Jentle Souten in it, but although I adore that ink, somehow the pen and the ink weren't meant to be.

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I really appreciated the (re)view. I bought my wife the Pilot Decimo for her birthday, and now I'm somewhat envious that she has this nice pen! I don't have any Japanese pens, and it seems everytime I see a Goulet pen video he is very positive on the brand. The only question is whether I go straight for the 823, or check out one of the lesser offerings from Pilot or one of their local competitors. The review is a good reminder to keep my expectations in check. As I live in Canada, it is not always possible to check out a pen in person, so various takes on the same pen is very, very helpful.

Edited by Weaveras
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