Tag Archives: perfect combos

Pilot Custom 823, One of my Favorites

19 Aug

First Impressions

I sought this pen out for its filling system rather than for its looks. Upon first seeing the pen I was struck by its simple elegance. This is a large pen, which really appeals to me.

My first 823 was the Smoke colored 823. I bought it used. The transaction was a bit of a debacle as the seller sold the pen to me with an imperfect nib, and he did not disclose it at the time of sale (big no no). Thankfully, Mike Masuyama was able to fix it for me. So, I have to admit that that experience affected my first impression of the pen.

My Amber 823 was purchased new. It came in a padded presentation box, and a bottle of Pilot Blue ink was included with the pen. The Amber translucent pen is really gorgeous. Pictures do not do the pen justice.

Appearance

Pens of this shape belong to a class  of pens whose shape draws its inspiration from the first cigar-shaped pen, the Sheaffer’s Balance of the 1930s. This design has persisted for so long because it is not only pleasing to the eye, but it is comfortable in the hand.

These pens come in three colors. Smoke, Amber, and Clear. All three are translucent. The Smoke and Clear 823s were imported into the US in very small numbers. They have since sold out. You can, however, get the Amber 823 at most Pilot retailers. If you want the Clear or the Smoke you have to order them from international dealers.

The nibs are 14k gold and the furniture is gold-plated. I usually hate gold plating, but it goes perfectly with the Amber resin. I just wish there had been a rhodium option for the smoke and clear versions.

Design/Size/Weight

This is a large pen at about 1/2 inch wide, 5 5/8 inches capped and 5 1/8 inches uncapped. Posted this pen is 6 3/8 inches. It is very well-balanced whether you write with the cap posted or unposted (I never write with my pens posted.)

In terms of size, this pen can be compared to the Sailor Full Sized 1911, MB 146, Pelikan M800, and the Edison Herald. This is the size pen I prefer.

Like the fountain pens of old, these pens are meant to be used as daily writers. Most of them were are not meant to be on display, and honestly, they aren’t meant for you to change inks constantly (although you certainly can if you want).

Nib

This pen comes with Pilot’s largest nib, the #15 nib. It is made of 14k yellow gold. This nib is soft, but not flexie. Impacts to the page feel cushioned. This pen is only available in Fine, Medium, and Broad.

Originally, I chose the Broad nib size. As I mentioned earlier, this nib was adjusted by Mike M. He did a wonderful job on this pen, it is now very smooth with a touch of tooth. It’s perfect for maintaining control of the pen without making the writing experience uncomfortable. The flow is quite consistent and juicy.

My new Amber 823 came with a medium nib. It is a superb nib right out of the box. Just like its big brother, it is super smooth with a little feedback to help keep the nib under control.

I’ve discovered, that I am very quickly becoming a huge fan of Pilot nibs. Really, it is hard to beat a Pilot nib especially one of their gold nibs. While the broad writes like a western medium, the medium nib writes more like a western fine. There is a considerable difference between the two. I love the broad nib most, but sometimes you just need something a little finer. The medium nib serves that purpose quite readily.

I use these pens a lot and for very long writing sessions. They perform admirably. I’d definitely recommend a Pilot Custom 823 to folks who also do a lot of writing. This is a great pen with a great nib!

Filling System

For me, the plunger system is the reason I originally bought this pen. I love integral filling systems, and the plunger system has to be my favorite of them all. This mechanism is very smooth, and you can add some silicone grease to the barrel to ensure it stays that way. This filling system is simplistic and efficient. With the right technique, these pens can hold a lot of ink.

I made a quick video to demonstrate how it works:

As I mentioned in the video, one depression of the filler yields 1.5ml of ink, but if you use the two-step method, you will get 2.2ml of ink, and the pen will  be filled to capacity.

Now, a word about cleaning these pens. I have heard it said that these pens are difficult to clean. The plunger filler takes in and expels a lot of water to get the barrel clean, and the nib and feed pull out so that you can clean out any ink that gets trapped in there. It is also possible to unscrew the section, but I wouldn’t advise it. If you are too rough with it you can crack the barrel at the section threads. The grease used to lubricate the thread will stain with ink. You will not be able to clean it out unless you disassemble the pen (I would not advise this since you may crack the pen). This little bit of grease staining has only been an aesthetic concern for me. It has never interfered with my ability to use different inks in the pens.

Cost and Value

These pens can be quite expensive. The MSRP is about $360. If I’d had to pay full price, I probably would never have owned one. My pen budget very rarely extends that high. Each of these pens was under $200. If you can find one for around that price, then this pen represents a tremendous value for the money. You get a super smooth 14k nib, an exceptional plunger filler system, and a well-crafted high quality pen. Those qualities rarely meet for $200 or less these days (especially with the skyrocketing price of gold and the depreciation of the US Dollar).

**Hint! Pam at Oscar Braun Pens is going out of business. She has the Amber 823 marked down to $199. Supplies are likely limited.**  Sorry guys. She is sold out!

Conclusion,  (10/10, A+!)

It’s not often that I buy two of any one pen. The fact that I have is a testament to how much I love these pens. The Pilot Custom 823 represents my perfect everyday writer. They are substantial pens with a girth of .5 inches or more, they have an integrated filling systems that work exceptionally well, they have gold nibs (my preference), and the nibs are smooth right out of the box. My smoke 823 has been inked with the same ink (Noodler’s Navy) for over a year now, and I use it just about everyday. The Amber 823 is new, but it is settling in as well. I fully expect it to be in permanent rotation just as soon as I find the right ink for it.

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Noodler’s Navy

30 Jul

[tweetmeme source=”dizzypen” only_single=false https://dizzypen.wordpress.com%5D

This is Noodler’s review 3 of 3 for this week.

I never even planned to try this ink, but that all changed when I received a letter written with it. Now, I’m sure it had something to do with the letter writer’s amazing handwriting, but I really fell for this shade. See, I like blues, but I love them even more if there is a hint of green to them. Noodler’s Navy is just that: Navy. It is a dark blue with a touch of green.

It is very well behaved. I’ve had it in a Pilot Petit 1 for at least 3 weeks straight, and it is still going strong. I carry that little Petit 1 with me everywhere. I use it to sign receipts, jot down quick notes, or anything else that requires a pen. This ink performs admirably even on less than stellar paper.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleed through. Even in poor quality papers.
  • Good flow and even better lubrication.
  • Fast drying at under 5 seconds.
  • There is a little shading depending on the nib, paper, etc.
  • This ink is not waterproof, but it is VERY water resistance. The blue rinses away, but a blackish line remains. It is very easily legible.

(click to enlarge the photo)

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My Arsenal

16 Feb

This is from a post I made on FPN. I’ve been thinking a lot about the pen, paper, and ink products I use. I have such variety that I though why not sit down and think about what are my essentials, my staples, the things I can’t live without. This is what I’ve come up with. I can safely say that, at this point, if any of these things go missing, get broken, or whatever I will be hunting down replacements just as fast as I can say "Charge It!"

My arsenal:

  • Pens- Levenger Plumpster, Pilot VP, Stipula Vedo, and Edison Glenmont bulb filler . I have 14 pens, but these pens represent my workhorse pens. At least one or two are always inked. Should any of the above pens break or be lost they will have to be replaced forthwith! All are fantastic writes and offer different conveniences. The Plumpster is fat, comfortable, and a c/c systems which offers some flexibility when traveling. The VP’s retractable nib makes it the perfect notes pen. The Vedo is a piston filler with good ink capacity, comfortable design, and a great custom nib. The Edison was designed to my specifications which makes it a staple by default. I mostly use it for journaling and letter writing.
  • Inks- Mont Blanc Violet and Visconti Blue. I have 32 bottles of ink and an equal number of samples. This one was hard to nail down, but out of all my inks these are the two that absolutely are never going to be allowed to run out. I have others near this category: Levenger True Teal, Noodler’s Turquoise, Diamine Prussian blue, but MB Violet and Visconti Blue are in a league of their own.
  • Journal- I don’t have a signature journal as yet, but I am very partial to theExacompta Basics Gold Edged journals and Paperchase journals.
  • Stationery- American Stationery Business Monarch. I have several I like and use often including Crane’s 90gsm Pearl White, Rhodia blank pads, and G. Lalo, but I always come back to the Business Monarch. It’s perfect for my needs.
  • Paper for everyday use- Staples Bagasse and HP LaserJet 24lb. These two papers are cheap, abundant, and extremely fp friendly. I have to say the HP LaserJet took me by surprise. It is superbly FP friendly with just about all my pens and inks: No feathering or bleedthrough. It’s surprisingly robust and available at a big box office supply store near you! I love Clairefontaine and Rhodia as well, but they are a bit more expensive than I’d like for everyday mundane writing.
  • Planner- Quo Vadis Septanote(Trinote). This is my perfect planner. It never fails to come through for me and the paper is fantastically FP friendly. It’s in weekly format which is perfect for me as I like to plan by the week. It has ample room for appointments and ample room for notes. There is also a side bar for other important notes. Really, I couldn’t live without it.
  • Misc- Circa Desk Punch, discs, and covers. Ok, this is pending. I’ve already discovered that I LOVE the disc bound system. My punch is coming just as soon as my simply irresistible kit gets off back order! :glare: I’m not shooting blind on this one. I have used the disc bound system before (Clairefontaine Clairing notebooks) and have been longing for a system I could customize. I just had to justify the cost to myself. The disc bound system is just perfection for me. It holds everything securely while allowing for a lot of flexibility since you can easily remove and relocate pages and add pages were need be. My notebooks will be filled primarily with HP LaserJet 24lb paper and Staples Bagasse.

I have no idea what my readership is like (if I have one at all), but if anyone is out there reading this please feel free to let me/us know what is in your arsenal as well.

NB: Many of these items have already been reviewed here and are linked where appropriate. All the others are in the works and will be appearing soon as I can get to them.

PR Orange Crush and The Best Season Change of All

5 Oct

Mento and PROC Card
Originally uploaded by Dizzypen

This is my absolute favorite time of year. Where I live it’s gone from hot and humid 90° weather to about 70° with a chill in the air. I just love this.

I am basically surrounded by trees and they are just beginning to change colors. There is just a bit of yellow and orange beginning to show in the tree leaves. It’s only a matter of time before they turn red and then begin to fall. What other season change is full of such beautiful warm colors and cozy weather?

So, in honor of my love of this time of year, I have inked up a Laban Mento in Autumn flake with Private Reserve Orange Crush. If it’s Autumn outside it might as well be Autumn in my office, right?

Now, about the ink:

The color is a fantastic autumn-y burnt orange. The color does change a bit when it come in contact with air and/or when it sits in the feed for a while. This means that when you first start writing, the ink starts out a bit brown and then changes to the orange-y color as you continue to write. I happen to love this color variance, but I understand that others may not.

PR Orange Crush is very well behaved. I’ve observed no feathering and no bleed through. The flow is generous, but it does give the pen a bit of a dry feel, so the lubrication could be better.

Now one major drawback to this ink is the dry time, it is incredibly slow drying on papers that have a slightly glossy finish ie Clairfontaine, Rhodia, Exacompta, etc. If you are using an absorbent paper, like inkjet paper, the drying time is not bad.

All in all, I really like this ink. If something could be done about the drying time I’d be in love with it. As is, it is a perfect Autumn ink.

Have you switched over to an Autumn ink? If so, what is it?

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Here is a clearer picture of the review card:

PR Orange Crush Card

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