Tuesday, February 3, 2009
While I am quite familiar with using both fountain and calligraphy pens, this was my first time using a glass dip pen.
Much like a calligraphy style dip pen, you dip the nib into the ink, and then draw the nib lightly over the rim of the ink jar to remove any excess. Then you just put the pen to paper and start writing. I was quite surprised at how easy it is to write with this pen. The nib seems to write like a wide medium nib if comparing it to a fountain pen. There is a bit of tooth to the nib, but it was not bothersome to me at all.
I tested it with two different J. Herbin fountain pen inks, a number of their pigmented inks, as well as some Cretacolor brand calligraphy ink.
It seemed no matter the ink tested, the line always starts thicker and then gets thinner as you use the pen. How much you are able to write with the pen before re-dipping seems to depend on the thickness of the ink as well as the size of your handwriting. Sometimes I was able to do a sentence, sometimes several. I notice that when the ink flow starts to slow, if you slightly rotate the pen, you can continue for a few more words.
Written on the side of the box:
"Since 1870, J. HERBIN has crossed the oceans. Glass pens were very trendy in the 17th century Venice. Today, J. HERBIN put them on your desks as ornaments and writing instruments. Thanks to the small grooves on the pen, several lines can be written without dipping. Every glass pen is hand-crafted and therefore unique. When the nib is slightly blunt, do not hesitate to use fine sand paper (grade 400). Rub gently the nib and the pleasure of writing will be renewed."
When testing the pen with fountain pen inks, I noticed that they lay down quite a bit more ink than a regular fountain pen, which can make them appear more saturated than they really are.
If you decide to use a dip pen to test fountain pen inks, I suggest writing with the pen until it's out of ink. Look at the color and saturation at about the point where the line starts to thin out from the initial dip. That seems to give an accurate representation of how the color will look in a fountain pen.
All in all, I found this glass dip pen easy to use for both writing and doodling. I'm not sure I'd have the patience to write an entire letter with it, but I do think I'd like it for drawing.
It's easy to clean and most of the inks rinsed right off, with the exception of the calligraphy ink, which needed just a bit more effort to remove it from the grooves. I have a bottle of India Ink, but have not yet tested it with this pen. I'm guessing that too would need a little encouragement to clean the nib.