FiledNotes Leather Case, TWSBI 580 Fountain, Palomino Blackwing Pen Pencil

Unplugging Tim: Answering Michelle’s Question

In her comment to my last post, Michelle asked “which pen(s)/ ink/ paper did you go for?” So, here’s the long answer:

FiledNotes Leather Case, TWSBI 580 Fountain, Palomino Blackwing Pen Pencil
FiledNotes Leather Case, TWSBI 580 Fountain, Palomino Blackwing Pen Pencil

I ordered the Iroshizuku 24 sampler pack and a bottle of Iroshizuku Kon-peki. I have the TWSBI 580 with a fine nib and am trying both the Rhodia and the Clairefontaine papers. Things I really like about the writing experience with this pen, ink, paper combination:

  • I love the smooth glide of the nib with this ink on both of these papers. I really don’t notice any difference in drag or feedback from either paper brand, but I’m a novice.
Pilot Iroshizuyu Kon Peki
Pilot Iroshizuyu Kon Peki
  • I love the ink flow. People seem to refer to the Iroshizuku Kon-peki as a “wet ink” with the TWSBI 580, meaning that plenty of the ink flows smoothly through the pen to the paper, I think. I was a little worried that this might mean it’s messy and takes a long time to dry, but that hasn’t been the case at all.
  • With the fine nib, the ink dries very fast. I only smeered it once, and that was when I was writing on a very lightweight, inexpensive notepad which also had a lot of bleed through.
  • Neither paper brand has had any bleed through or ghosting. In other words, the ink is not coming through to the other side of the paper at all.
  • On the inexpensive notepad, I do get a tiny amount of webbing around the ink lines; however, I don’t get this at all on the better papers. The pen nib is also a little scratchy on the inexpensive paper.

You probably know all of that already! What pens and nib sizes do you have? Don’t I recall you were really great with drawing?!

Yu-Yaki
Pilot Iroshizuyu Yu-Yaki

For Steve’s birthday, I got him a TWSBI 580, also with a fine nib. (He likes writing very small with extremely thin lines.) When he opened it, his first comment was that he would get ink all over himself. I assured him that wouldn’t be the case and that I would fill the fountain pen for him. I got him a bottle of the Iroshizuku Yu-yake ink (a vivid orange color) because he loves bright colors, and this color could be his “Fall” ink color.

He set out addressing the Winter Solstice cards with his new fountain pen. After addressing about 30 of them, he decided to take a break. I unexpectedly heard groans, moans, gurgles, and other ghastly expressions of horror and went rushing into the dining room to find that he had, in some inexplicable way, emptied about half of the pen’s ink all over the glass table top and himself. I was forced to listen to “I told you I would make a mess!” for the remainder of the day.

We cleaned up the ink spill, and, before the sun went down, he managed to finish the remainder of the envelopes without incident. He may, however, go to his grave with vivid orange fingers! For a water-soluble ink, it seems to want to stick around!

I have ordered another TWSBI 580, but this one will have a medium nib. I’m just curious. I heard that the TWSBI 580 is an excellent pen for the money. I can see how this can become a grand and expensive exploration and am trying to limit myself until I’m more knowledgable about the whole fountain pen writing experience.

I like the feel of the TWSBI 580 in my hand. It’s heavy enough without being too heavy. It fits my hand very comfortably. I like the internal piston action which makes it easy to fill/empty/clean/change colors. (Regrettably it also made it easy for Steve to create his big mess! Apparently he started forcing the ink out of the pen by twisting the top and the bottom trying to unscrew the cap from the back of the pen. The cap simply pops on/off the back but swists on/off the nib area. Most people don’t put the cap on the back of the pen while writing as the additional weight makes the pen feel unbalanced in the hand.)

Over time, I’ll explore the full color spectrum offered by Iroshizuku. I like the smoky grey Fuyu-syogun you are using! My problem is going to be that I like almost every one of the colors! Which color to use when?! Though a bit more expensive, this ink brand was highly recommended, and I’m glad I started with it: Fantastic, even colors and an awesome writing experience. Since I really like the pen/ink/paper combination, I’m tempted to stick with it and only explore nib size and other colors.

An aside:

I also got the FieldNotes leather cover. Not only did I love how it looked, once I got it, I double love how it feels. I put the Clarefontaine notepad in it in my back pocket to have with me where ever I go. This combination is the analog equivalent of my phone, which had here-to-for been my goto choice for unexpected notetaking.