Shan from Stationery Studio Sheen in Hong Kong very kindly sent me something that has really got me fired up. A glass nib fountain pen!
We’re all aware of glass dip pens. They’ve been around a lot longer than fountain pens. In fact only recently, I used one of Herbin’s elegant Venetian creations which probably hasn’t changed much in design since the 17th century. So imagine my surprise when this turned up.
All I know about this pen is that it has BAN MI etched on a copper ring on the main barrel. Other than that it’s made of what appears to be acrylic with a glass nib held in position within the unit with four tiny rubber bands. But what’s instantly attractive about this pen is its total transparency! Yes there are transparent pens but the feeds are black and the nibs are metal so they aren’t totally see through! And I’m no pen addict but I know a nice looking pen when I see it and this is one of them. It just looks fabulous!
I know it will work as a dip pen and it looks great BUT, will it actually work as a fountain pen? Well first off, this is an eyedropper pen so with a big syringe to hand I loaded it with a Diamine shimmer sheen and gave it a go. Very quickly, it became apparent that there were clogging issues and so I had to quickly wash that out. Next up was a Diamine heavy sheening ink and that wasn’t much better. Between uses the ink quickly dried in the flukes and stopped flow. So I cleaned that out and tried some Rabbit ink that came with the pen. Now this is quite a thin sepia coloured ink and as a consequence didn’t flow that well at all and burped badly.
At this point, I really did start to wonder whether this was going to work at all. I then loaded the barrel with some of my own Twilight Black ink which is a proper decent standard ink. And it worked! To really make it work well I had to alter my writing style to be more vertical and had to gently rotate the pen until I found the ‘sweet spot’ of the glass tip. And off we went. The pen is very comfortable to hold – much more so than the typical glass dip pen! I did notice that it very very gently burped after writing fifty words or so and this was noticeable by a very slight change in ink intensity which was just about visible on the page.
So how fabulous is that? A glass nib fountain pen that actually works. BUT if I left the ink in overnight, would it work first thing in the morning? Would there be leakage from the nib into the cap? Or leakage where the barrel screws into the unit? I didn’t know what to think. But tomorrow arrived and it worked first time with no leakage! And it worked again this morning. And it’s fun!
I have to say, this is no replacement for a standard fountain pen BUT it does work as a fountain pen with the right kind of ink. I have found this whole experience fascinating. It’s different. I mean really different and fun and lovely. I’m keeping it. In fact I’m going to use it at my next client meeting. I think it’s almost a dead certainty that it will be noticed and become the topic of conversation. So if you’re into showing off – here you go!
With regards to sourcing one and how much it might cost I have no idea but I know a lady who does. You’ll have to message her via her Instagram @stationery_studio.sheen_shan
HEY! If you’re interested to know more about how to use fountain pen inks in more creative ways – whether it’s simply to observe their chromatic behaviours, or, to recreate one of my swatch cards, or, to learn how to use them in watercolour painting, illustration and calligraphy, why not check out my online course or, even better, sign up for a workshop?