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Montblanc 149 Calligraphy: break in period?



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@MarttyMB warranty is 2 years IIRC, but of course sooner is better regarding nib problems in my opinion. Definitely don't attempt to perform any sort of "self curing" on this nib (as some people like to do 😀). This is a new pen under warranty, with a nib that is highly technical... 

 

If you really suspect that it is not improving with more use, may I suggest that you contact MB or whichever dealer that you bought from, and let them know that you are experiencing this problem. Then ask them if you should send it in right away, or be allowed some more time to see if the problem will go away with more time and use. You decide what feels right to you. But first do the flush please so you rule out anything trivial.

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One interesting thing I note, by the way, is that when I turn the piston knob a bit to saturate the feed with ink, the skipping more or less vanishes. 
Might this suggest an ink flow issue? 

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1 minute ago, Martty said:

One interesting thing I note, by the way, is that when I turn the piston knob a bit to saturate the feed with ink, the skipping more or less vanishes. 
Might this suggest an ink flow issue? 

That's for Montblanc to find out. In any case you cannot use priming the feed using piston as a long-term solution for a skipping problem.

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invisuu

Midnight Blue is extremely dry ink. It gives me a lot of issues as well.


Can you please try a wet ink? My go-to if-it-skips-with-this-ink-it's-got-a-problem ink is Pilot Iroshizuku Kon Peki. Or Take Sumi. Aurora black or Montblanc Permanent Black (not Mystery Black, though) should also work. I'm not sure which inks you have at home.

 

I had the same issue as you, by the way. For an EEF line, the grind must be narrow, but ink flow must also be relatively low, or the ink itself would widen the line. So they grind the nib like that.

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Frank C

I would also consider that amount of skipping to be excessive. If you purchased your pen in Amsterdam, a trip to the store where you bought it might be useful. I have ordered pens from P. W. Akkerman in the past and they are very helpful.

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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Frank C

I would note that InesF, who knows more about ink chemistry than almost everyone, advises against using household dishwasher soap:

 

InesF

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Posted May 25

   On 5/24/2021 at 1:46 PM,  sansenri said: 

Impressive work.

The measurements on surface tension really do shed a light on some ink's similarities.

 

The Extran seems to be the next best cure for reluctant converters... 

Thank you!

Indeed, i did cure some nasty converters with Extran. Acrylics, most plastic types (including PE, PP, ABS, PS, etc.), steel, precious metals withstand Extran. Unfortunately ebonite does not! That's why I do not recommend to use it in routine cleaning!

However, household dishwasher soap, especially if it is skin friendly or suppresses formation of 'water drops' on glass or such are not the best choice for fountain pen cleaning, as they leave some residues on the surfaces that interact with the ink. Such residues may be responsible for the bad wetability of 'cleaned' converters...

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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26 minutes ago, Frank C said:

I would note that InesF, who knows more about ink chemistry than almost everyone, advises against using household dishwasher soap...

That’s a very good point, @Frank C. Of course. Anything that is outside the cleaning function of the formula is not needed, so any enhanced or additional formula (lubricant ingredients for skin protection etc) is not suitable. Just basic detergent. I don’t believe it would fix the problem, but it would be good to rule it out completely before contacting MB.

 

In any case, if OP has used this pen regularly for several weeks, and there is no sign of improvement (normal ink, no abnormal writing position etc), I would suggest contacting Montblanc or dealer. 
 

The skipping here is really hard starts. It doesn’t occur in the middle of a stroke. It’s likely due to slight over-polishing of nib. Not terrible, but not pleasant to write with like this. 
 

This pen is too good to make compromise.

 

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Frank C

I'm still trying to understand the physics of fountain pens. I guess that skips, in the middle of a stroke, are from a problem with ink not flowing fast enough to the tip of the nib. I have a friend here in Las Vegas who really likes her fountain pens, When she sees a new one of mine, she takes and makes a big circle on a large piece of paper and pronounces whether the "flow" is good or not. I use my my pens for writing, so so big circles don't matter to me. I read somewhere that European pens are more suited to cursive writing because that is what we do. Japanese pens are made for the short strokes that comprise kanji. This does make sense. 

 

Hard starts occur when a pen doesn't start writing as soon as you touch it to the paper. Does over-polishing make the nib so smooth that it slides along the paper before ink comes out?

 

Thank you in advance. I appreciate all of your helpful and friendly posts.

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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1 hour ago, Frank C said:

Hard starts occur when a pen doesn't start writing as soon as you touch it to the paper. Does over-polishing make the nib so smooth that it slides along the paper before ink comes out?

 

Thank you in advance. I appreciate all of your helpful and friendly posts.

@Frank COver-polishing of a nib creates what's called a "baby bottom". If you imagine looking at a nib pointing at you, feed side under, the underside of a nib looks kind of like a W. When the nib is over-polished, the bottom side of the W has a crack, like a smooth baby bottom (hey I didn't invent the name!). So due to the capillary action of the tines, sometimes the ink doesn't touch the paper at the start of a stroke. 

 

The over-polishing is one of the most common problems of an out-of-box fountain pen. It's easy to create a baby bottom when one holds a nib against a polishing wheel. You turn the nib to the left, then middle then right. You know the nib is a flexible thing and it can shift a little bit. So you can polish a crack of a butt out of this nib, like the bottom of a W, when initially the crack was more square with edges.

 

It's not so easy for me to make a baby bottom out of my nib at home, as I don't have a polishing wheel and use micro mesh pads to grind nibs. It's slower but I can check under loupe all I want, no rush. I would have to rotate and grind it on some 8000 or 12000 grade micro mesh for a while in order to get this problem. But the machine turns fast, and oops.

 

The solution is to grind the bottom flat again. You can easily do that if it's a medium or broad nib, with some practice. But not with this Calligraphy nib with all its precision, and not under warranty. You can easily take away one of the most precious things in this nib, a true EF, by grinding the bottom so that the line is now thicker! 

 

Hope it's not boring for you, and sorry to get off the topic. I am not saying that it's the problem of OP's pen, I just suspect it. In any case, if no improvement, MB will take care of it.

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I doubt that this is baby’s bottom, but it is next to impossible to diagnosis a problem with as many possible causes as skipping without handling the pen.

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Dear all,

Thanks to everyone for your very helpful comments. I have learned a great deal from reading all your posts. In the meantime, something rather wonderful has happened. On your advice, I purchased a bottle of MB permanent blue, inked the Calligraphy, and .... a miracle has happened! The pen now writes very smooth, whilst maintaining the thin EEF line. The skipping is virtually gone, with one or two skips per page, but that is very reasonable. How surprising that a "mere" change of ink can make such a huge difference. The inks I previously used (to my dismay) were: MB Midnight Blue, MB Mystery Black, and Pelikan Tanzanite. Esp. the latter is in most of my pens a quite wet ink, but in the EEF and highly engineered Calligraphy this was not the best match ever. So.... I can now finally start to enjoy the Calligraphy! Thanks so much to all of you.

Regards, Marrty

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fpupulin

How happy I am that this wonderful ink solved your issue! Time to enjoy!!

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Frank C
On 6/24/2021 at 12:21 PM, como said:

@Frank COver-polishing of a nib creates what's called a "baby bottom". If you imagine looking at a nib pointing at you, feed side under, the underside of a nib looks kind of like a W. When the nib is over-polished, the bottom side of the W has a crack, like a smooth baby bottom (hey I didn't invent the name!). So due to the capillary action of the tines, sometimes the ink doesn't touch the paper at the start of a stroke. 

 

@como, thanks for explaining this in detail. I've heard of baby's bottom before, but never understood the physics behind it. I've also had some pens that exhibit this behavior. I gather them up, take them to the LA Pen Show, and let Mike Masayama or John Mottishaw work on them for me. In the past, I purchased Micro Mesh and tried my hand at nib smoothing on some Jin Hao pens. I agree with you; if you have a Montblanc pen, especially if it is under warranty, let them make it write properly. 

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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Frank C

@MarttyI'm glad to see that you pen is working as it should. If you go to @InesF's topic I mentioned above, you can see that she (I'm just guessing, based on the name), goes into great detail on the relationship among pen, feed, nib, ink, and paper. If they are all working together, writing with a fountain pen is an absolute pleasure. Users of the Calligraphy 149 have an advantage; much of the trial and error has already been done and the results posted in @fpupulin's topic. 

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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