I have got to stop looking at these pens 
2005.10.05 15:03 - Toys, Pens
I'm going 'round the bend. I found myself, just a few moments ago, staring a picture of one and thinking, You know, two hundred eighty five dollars is a nice price for that pen ...


Granted, it's a nice pen. But I have nice pens and I really do think that the DaVinci is nearly perfect. I need another pen like I need a hole in my head.

... Even so, I'm buying a matched set of Parker 100s next year. Possibly a set of Pelikan Souverans, but I will need to do some research as to size. And probably one of those Conklin crescent fillers they're selling. And a Lamy 2000 set. Keep shaking your head. I know and completely agree.
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This is probably a terrible idea 
2005.10.03 17:37 - Miscellanea
In days of yore (he's a man), some folks made their ink using, well, squid ink. This stuff was called sepia and, yes, it was brown. (Dictionary.com says cuttlefish, not squid. Whatever.)

So. I'm wondering (a) what's the usual yield per squid (or cuttlefish) of ink, (b) can the ink be harvested with killing said squishy tentacly thing, and (c) what sort of apparatus would be necessary to open a squidfarm?
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Every so often, I think I am the king of too much free time. 
2005.10.03 10:29 - Miscellanea
And then somebody proves me utterly, utterly wrong.

(Link stolen from Peeve Farm.)
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Another Boring Pen Entry 
2005.09.28 08:49 - Toys, Pens

Seriously, I think this design is fantastic and that it could, with some changes, be an excellent foundation for a general-purpose fountain pen. The mechanism is simple, the design is both conservative and attractive, and there are no parts to be lost on a day to day basis.

The DaVinci has a retractable nib that operates on a twist mechanism.It takes about three full revolutions of the barrel to fully expose the nib, which is a fairly traditional design, made of 14-karat gold and given a chrome finish. Trim may actually be silver. The pen is hyooooge. Seriously. Luckily, this turns out to be a comfortable size.

When I ordered this pen, I ordered it in black, instead of the 'cracked ice' material pictured at the link, and with an oblique broad nib (I figured that, if I'm going to spend an unjustifiable amount on the one pen, I might as well get it with all of the pluses), which, you might notice, isn't actually available. I think I got gifted a bug in Giardino Italiano's store system, and they seem to have gone to great lengths to get me what I ordered. They didn't, in fact, come up with an OB nib--what I've got is a 0.9mm italic--but I think they tried everything short of grinding it themselves. Bully for them, and the stub's fine, honestly. The nib is smooth as silk, and sets down a nice, slightly wet line. The clip is adjustable, so that it can clip tightly or loosely to heavier or lighter materials without having to be spring-loaded. The pen is statisfyingly heavy. (Did I mention that it's huge?)

Not that I don't have complaints--would I be me if I did not?
  • I'd really like for the twist mechanism to produce more travel per turn, and to have some positive feedback when the nib is fully exposed or withdrawn. I don't see why it should take more than two turns to expose the nib, and a small click into place would be nice.
  • I am, unfortunately, not real impressed by the elliptical clip design, and would probably prefer something spring-loaded instead. The range of adjustment is relatively small, and it's really meant for heavier fabrics. It'd probably work fine on a suit, but it's much too loose for most of my shirts. I do like being able to push it out of the way while I'm writing, though.
  • When writing, the nib moves just a bit from wiggle in the twist mechanism. I think that might be fixable with tighter tolerances on the machining or a slight design revision.
  • The DaVinci is intended to use international cartridges, and it came with exactly two. They're both short ones. Since it looks to me like there's no reason that the pen couldn't make use of a converter, provided one is scrupulously about cleaning it up after filling (not a problem, actually), a converter should probably have been included. (Actually, I am slightly beefed about the inclusion of exactly two, short cartridges. When I bought a Waterman Serenite a little while back, Waterman included a converter and two boxes of cartridges with the pen.)
  • As a practical writing instrument, it's far too expensive, which is a shame. It really is a terrific writing instrument qua writing instrument.
So. What I'd love to see is a stripped-down, mass-produced, low-budget version of this pen. I imagine it would be smaller (this may be a trick, given the size of the mechanism), with stainless steel nib and trim. As long as we're being pie-in-the-sky, it could incorporate the changes I suggested above: fewer turns, spring-loaded clip, tighter tolerances and a converter in the box. It would be a superb pen in all regards, I think. As-is, it's certainly superb, but it's also too expensive to recommend.
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2005.09.26 23:27 - Site/Meta
Also, I may or may not be unusually quiet here for a while. I sense that I verging on poisonous levels of cynicism, and I really don't wish to expose people to that. Provided I can control myself, I won't be saying much as long as I remain so.
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