Safari colour for 2012 – apple green

I’m calling it “apple green” because, officially, it just seems to be called “green”, which is boring. Actually, no real apple looks like that. It is more like an apple sweet. So, Haribo Apple Green Safari.

The new one is, funnily enough, the green one – I include the others for comparison. The blue there is last year’s Aquamarine, which I rather liked. I’m not entirely sure about this. For the moment it doesn’t seem a very distinctive sort of green. Perhaps it will grow on me.

Bought from The Writing Desk with a free convertor included – it came in a nicer box than usual too, not the usual card sleeve but a proper sliding one with a parallelogrammatical cross-section.

Eyedropper update, and a little about my journalling habits

I posted last year about the Airmail 69L eyedropper – a simple, well made, large capacity pen – and I thought I would write a little follow-up.

Since then my journalling and writing practices have become a bit more regular. There are three pens that I need at any one time to be fully efficient:

  1. A writing pen – this can be almost anything depending on my tastes at the time, as long as it is loaded with some reasonable ink that isn’t red, and I have it with me.

  2. A red editing pen. When I am “processing” my journal I read over previous entries and add tasks based on them, or copy them up. When I do this I write what I have done next to the entry with the date that I did it (e.g. “16/2/2012 tasked”) and, when everything on a page is dealt with, I cross the page number out. I do all this in red. Sometimes I write little comments on the page as well. These are often sarcastic.

  3. A highlighter, optionally, to emphasise things while I am writing them, as immediate editing.

For #3 I use the Pelikan Duo highlighter. That one is a easy choice. There isn’t a lot else that the Duo is actually for.

For #2, I played with a few solutions, but ended up buying another Airmail with a red cap that I fill with Noodler’s Empire Red, slightly diluted. An editing pen needs to have a fine nib, since you may have to fit notes into limited space, and it needs to reliably work regardless of how long it was since you last picked it up, since I edit quite unpredictably. The Airmail works very well for both of these. It doesn’t dry up easily and if it does, it’s very easy to re-prime – just unscrew it a bit, point it downwards, screw it up until a drop of ink appears on the nib, then turn it to point upwards and finish tightening it.

For #1 I use whatever pen I have at hand, but generally I carry a spare in my bag, and that has ended up being the original Airmail most of the time, for similar reasons – it writes reliably whenever I need it, and it’s better to have a spare with a fine nib to cover more possible uses (a pen can be too broad for a purpose, say drawing diagrams, but it’s much rarer that it is too fine).

Increasingly frequently, I think “you know what, I can’t be bothered with another pen, I’m just going to use the Airmail”. I still load it exclusively with Noodler’s Heart of Darkness, which I rarely put in anything else. I have a large bottle of HoD which has an eyedropper built into the cap – this makes it ideal for filling eyedropper pens, but awkward to fill other pens from. (The eyedropper arrangement comes out of the bottle covered with ink, so has to be wiped down or put somewhere impermeable if one is going to fill a pen straight from the bottle, and this always means getting ink all over my fingers.) HoD is an excellent black that suits almost all occasions, being fast drying, dense and permanent. The pen itself has proved to have just as good a nib as I thought initially – fine but smooth, really quite amazing for a sub £10 pen – and the shape and balance make it very easy to write with. It’s really only when I have a fancy to use a new ink in a broad nib as part of some pretentious writerly mood that I use something else.

Perhaps this means I am getting boring, but the Airmail has certainly ended up high on my favourite pen list. I gave it a positive review when I first got it, and a year later I’m glad to see I was right. So, buy one. Or more. I may get some in different colours.

Two broad nibs – Platinum #3776 music, Lamy 2000 B

Platinum #3776 with music nib

One of the few types of nib that I don’t – or didn’t – own and might actually want to use is a music nib. I can’t even read music, let alone write it, but to summarise, a music nib is a type of stub designed to have a particularly regular flow and be usable at odd angles to the paper. Given that these are three qualities I that I am very fond of in nibs, I thought that it was worth buying myself one for my birthday, or at least excusable.

There are a few different companies that make music nibs – looking around at reviews I judged that the Platinum #3776 received the best marks for nib quality, which was after all why I was buying it, so I ordered one from Andy’s Pens.

It is a medium-sized cartridge/convertor pen, traditionally decorated – black with gold trim, pleasant-looking but not particularly unusual when capped. The nib, though, is different enough to surprise even a casual onlooker, mostly because it has three tines. Or two slits. Or in fact both. I have no idea whether this actually makes any real difference over one, well-tuned slit (two tines etc) but it’s certainly good when used at all sorts of angles to the page. I tend to hold pens at a very high angle, and often, italic-ish ones will complain about this and refuse to respond properly unless aligned very carefully with the paper – I’ve had none of this sort of insubordination from the Platinum. It’s also extremely smooth, the ink flow is regular and it’s not too wet. I should try it with some of my “dryer” inks, like the iron galls.

It’s certainly a noticeable stub – there is a writing sample at the end of the above photoset. I’d say that it was around 1.25mm on the downstroke, and, oh, 0.4mm on the side? Something like that anyway; I don’t have the tools to measure this exactly. My main problem in using it is that, while I’ve improved my handwriting recently, I haven’t trained myself with italics, and the broader nibs can be hard to write with in the first place if you’re used to finer pens (which I am). This means that everything I write looks clumsy and irregular. Oh well.

Lamy 2000, broad nib

Seeing as I’m writing about one pen with a broad nib, why not another one? I went through a phase of wanting every type of Lamy 2000 around – now I come to think about it, pretty much exactly a year previous to my buying the Platinum, perhaps it’s some sort of reaction to winter that I have – and one of the models I ended up with was the 2000 with a broad nib.

When I first tried this pen I was stunned, and really quite upset, by how vast the line was. It doesn’t look like a particularly huge nib to the eye but it really is – the line is about as broad as the Platinum on the downstroke but almost the same size horizontally, too. I wondered whether it had been given some sort of freak triple-broad nib by mistake, and considered sending it back as I would obviously be unable to use it for anything at all.

I kept using it though, and found that:

  • It is extremely smooth and responsive, and the nib has pleasant flex (this is generally true of Lamy 2000s);
  • The 2000 design is very nice in the hand for long periods of writing, though this is a matter of preference and there are people who disagree with me;
  • The amount of ink that comes out of the broad nib lubricates it against the paper making it even smoother;
  • Lamy 2000s hold a lot of ink, which is useful when they also put down a lot of ink;
  • Colourful, shading ink always looks nicer coming out of a broad nib – you can see the variations and even lighter colours are readable. This is as opposed to fine nibs, where you really have to use dark colours or black, or you’ll just find it hard to read what you wrote later on.

These things combined make it a terrific pen for writing, as long as you’re not limited by space or amount of paper. When I wrote my NaNoWriMo last year I used this pen at least 75% of the time; you don’t get as many words per page but it encourages you to keep going longer.

It is also good for the sort of scribbles and notes where you’re not limited by space and you’re mostly writing to sort out ideas in your own head. Particularly on A4 – I like using this pen with black ink on an A4 Rhodia pad. Not such a great pen for jotting things in a pocket notebook.

I can’t remember where I got it, now, but I think it was from The Writing Desk.

Back to basics – still use my first Safari

with F nib and Noodler's Black, on a squared Moleskine cahier

Even given all of the pens and inks that I own, which is quite a large quantity of both, when I am working (as opposed to messing about swapping pens) the one that I most often find myself picking up is the one pictured – a Safari with an F nib, filled with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black. I’m fairly sure this was the first Safari that I bought; you can tell it’s an old one since they discontinued models with the black clip a little while ago.

Some people dislike Safaris, but apart from not liking the angled grip (which is fair enough) I can’t quite see the reasons.

  • Safaris are cheap. Well, not cheap-cheap but they’re not very expensive.
  • They’re also quite easily available, though if you want different nibs (see below) you’ll likely have to order over the net.
  • They’re light, yet surprisingly durable. This one is several years old and doesn’t have a single crack, and not even many scratches. Plastic construction doesn’t mean fragility – after all, look at Parker 51s, they have plastic bodies and are regularly in working order after 50+ years. This plus the price mean that they’re good for carrying in almost any circumstance – hiking, warzones etc.
  • They’re large enough to feel good in the hand and not get lost, but not so large that they’re silly.
  • They have slip caps, but the caps actually come off less in my bag than most screw cap pens I own. And if you’re working, and you pick up and put down your pen quite a lot, a slip cap is much more convenient and less annoying than a screw cap.
  • You can swap out the nibs with great ease, and new nibs are cheap, and there are many types – not only EF to B, but also italics from 1.1 to 1.9mm, and you can even get such things as broad and medium obliques. They’re also generally good quality – Lamy use the same nibs for Safaris and also some higher-end pens – although I’ve never been hugely impressed by the EFs.
  • They come in a variety of bright and pleasant colours, but aren’t over-ornamented. This makes it easy to have a selection with different nibs and inks and quickly tell which is which.

If it weren’t for the Safari, I probably wouldn’t have revived my interest in fountain pens at all, which does make me well-disposed to them in general, but if it weren’t for the simple “pick-up-and-write” usability of them I’d just be nostalgic and not a continuing user.

Varuna Gajendra – sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

I recently took possession of what is, basically, the largest pen ever. I’m not entirely sure why I did: I did want to try writing with a really fat pen, as people say that they’re more comfortable, and the Tombow Egg Pen is not available as a fountain pen any more.

I ordered it from Andy’s Pens, which, while it might not look that modern and requires you to email the owner to order rather than having shopping carts and other e-commerce widgets, is a terrific site, with a huge variety of popular and obscure makes at good prices. I got a response to my email (sent in the middle of the night) in the early morning and had completed the transaction within minutes of reading it – the pen arrived the next day. It’s a pity that the design might put off some customers.

I ordered the black model with the “Bakul” finish and the standard Wality nib. I’ve had Wality nibs before, and they’ve been fine, so that didn’t bother me, and I liked the idea of the enormous capacity of the eyedropper chamber to go with the enormous size. The body of the pen is hand-made ebonite, and the Bakul finish is a slightly rough texture that’s given to it which is then polished to be quite smooth to the touch – if you have used a Lamy 2000, it looks and feels a lot like that.

Varuna Gajendra - capped vs some other pens Varuna Gajendra - uncapped vs some other pens

Construction and feel

It really is an enormous pen, mostly due to the huge size of the (screw) cap, which makes up about half the length – it is far larger than it needs to be to protect the nib. This makes it very easy to unscrew the two no matter how cack-handed you are, and very hard to lose the cap, two good aspects as far as I am concerned. It’s very easy to open and close as long as you have two hands free. There is no clip and the only visible feature is a breather hole in the cap – both a minimal and maximal pen.

When open, it isn’t all that much longer than any other largish pen. It is still, of course, a lot fatter. The body is 19mm in diameter, and the finger grip tapers from 14 to 12mm. The size of the body doesn’t matter that much in practice if you have a sensible grip, because all it does is rest against the side of your finger, and I found that the width of the grip was comfortable and probably ergonomic in some sense. (Small hands might have problems with it, I couldn’t say.)

The pen is is surprisingly light in the hand – the site says it is 50g when full, which isn’t much, and that includes the cap, which you won’t have in your hand when writing. It is not easily pocketable unless you have ridiculous clown pockets, but it fits into bags easily enough.

Varuna Gajendra - front section and nib Varuna Gajendra - uncapped, with cap

Nib and performance

This model of the Gajendra is an eyedropper filler, which means that the whole back section is an ink reservoir, which you fill using (traditionally) an eyedropper1, one of which came with the purchase. The reservoir holds 7ml or more of ink. That is a lot of ink and you will not, in practice, run out. For tests I loaded it with good old Noodler’s Bulletproof Black, and have had no trouble with this: the flow is fairly generous but not too wet, I’d say slightly on the wet side of average. It does have a tendency to be a little dryer than normal when starting up after being left for several hours; this is easily dealt with by re-priming the nib (i.e. unscrew it slightly, turn it upside-down and screw it up again – air in the reservoir forces a little bit of ink through the feed) or just by writing with it a bit.

The F Wality nib was smooth out of the “box”, though, being the picky2 sort of person I am, I smoothed it a little with a nail shaper to suit my preferences. It’s the same nib that was in the Airmail 69L that I’ve written about here previously, and that was also good (the one on my Airmail was better actually but stock nibs do vary ever so slightly). Normal people would not have to do this; I didn’t have to with the Airmail at all.

Why would I own this pen?

The most obvious target audience for a pen like this is people who prefer fat pens, either because they just like writing with and holding fat pens, or for some sort of medical reason – and there are a significant number of fountain pen users who fall into the latter category, from arthritis, RSI or whatever. Not only is it a tough and good-sized pen to hold but it is also easy to manipulate in almost every circumstance except filling, and you’d only have to do that every few years.

Even without these reasons, I’ve been using it as a standard writing pen for a few days now and it’s a generally very pleasant thing to write with. It’s much lighter than it looks, it is easy to grab and unscrew even when half asleep, the nib is well balanced in size, it is not going to suddenly run out of ink, and it isn’t going to break if you step on it. You may hurt your foot but the pen will be okay. The whole thing is extremely simple in structure, as is standard for eyedroppers, and there are no fiddly bits which will ever need work; the nib is pretty much all that would ever be likely to need changing.

It isn’t a good pen for people who want to show off, because it’s very subdued in design. At least, the black one I have is; they do come in colours as well, but nothing terribly flashy, and by design there is a complete lack of ornamentation. Despite the size I think it is very elegant. It could be a talking point when used in public, I suppose.

It is also not a terrific pen for people who will want to cap and uncap it to make rapid notes. Not only is it large, the cap screw is quite long. One could certainly use it in a meeting but would not want to fully screw up the cap between periods of writing. This would work. I will try it next time.

Final word because I am awful at finishing blog posts


Addendum (Monday 11 July 2011)

I was wondering whether the large size of this pen would insulate it from Eyedropper Heat-Related Blobbing, which is when heat from your hand or from the sun occasionally causes the air inside the reservoir of any large-capacity pen to expand and force ink out unexpectedly. (This is similar to pens leaking in aeroplanes, though that is caused by the air pressure outside the pen going down rather than the air inside the pen going up.)

The answer to this question is “no”. If you sit in the hot sun writing with it, expect to see the line get wetter and wetter and eventually, some ink blob out onto the page. So don’t do that. I’ve not found it to blob just from the heat of my hand though – the ink level would have to be pretty low for it to do that.

  1. I should really write a page about filling eyedroppers, not that it is hard at all, but it’s not a common mechanism these days and the idea might put people off. 

  2. I am absurdly picky about nibs and the slightest of scratches. This often leads to my ruining nibs because of a tiny imaginary scratching sensation that is probably due to some dust on the paper which I insist on trying to smooth out with unsuitable tools. I don’t advise this as general practice. 

Pelikan M205 Duo Highlighter Fountain Pen

This speciality fountain pen was released by Pelikan last year, but I hadn’t ordered one until now, when I just gave up trying not to. The concept is that it is (a) a demonstrator – i.e. has a transparent outer casing (b) has a BB (double broad) nib and (c) is to be loaded with highlighter ink. Yes, it is a highlighter fountain pen.

It comes in an absolutely lovely display box. This is the nicest packaging that I have seen for a fountain pen – even the fancier ones I have tend to come in little “jewelry boxes” which could contain anything, well, anything long and thin. In contrast, the M205 Duo’s packaging is very specific to the particular pen and suits it perfectly.

Pelikan M205 Duo box - 1 Pelikan M205 Duo box - 3 Pelikan and ink in display box

The pen itself is a standard M205, except that it is a yellow demonstrator. (If you have an M200, which I do, it’s basically the same pen but with silver trim instead of gold.) It’s smaller than it looks in the pictures, but not too small even for those of us with fat fingers, and extremely lightweight. It seems quite orange in the picture below, but it isn’t, really, that orange – that is the light.

The Duo comes with a 30ml bottle of Pelikan radioactive1 fluorescent highlighter ink, and again, we come up against the limits of photography: it is not as green as it looks in the photograph below. Though it does still have a bit of a green tinge.

Pelikan M205 highlighter fountain pen with ink

Here is a scan of some writing with it, which is heavily adjusted to try to make it a bit more obvious the difference in line widths. It’s basically impossible to scan fluorescent ink and have it look like real life. Let me emphasise that it this is just for nib size comparisons. What does the ink look like in practice? Imagine a particularly bright yellow highlighter that has not had a chance to dry out at all, and has been freshly uncapped. When considering the benefits of this sort of pen for use in practice, imagine that it will continue to be like that indefinitely, rather than drying out a bit and being disappointing (which has always happened with ink highlighters that I’ve used) and if it ever starts to run low you can just top it up. This is the benefit of a fountain pen highlighter, the regular flow.

The pen writes very smoothly, and if you are after a BB nib for other purposes apart from highlighting, an M205 BB nib unit will likely please you. The line is certainly thinner than you would normally get from a normal highlighter, which means that it is best for underlining and circling, but you can colour in larger sections if you really want to, and the size gives the advantage that you can also write short notes with it.

I was asked when showing this off whether you could use another ink and the answer is of course yes – it’s a piston filler and you can load it with any ink you fancy. You can also change the nib for a narrower one; I bought mine from Pelikan Pens, and they offer nib replacements pre-order, or you could buy another nib later on (Pelikans are very easy to change nibs with, the units just screw out and in again).

Why would you buy this?

The question is a fair one. I bought mine because… all right, I can’t really explain it, I just loved the idea. I don’t even do much highlighting, though I will be making an effort to do more.

You might buy it if

  1. you just love the idea;
  2. you do a lot of highlighting, have some disposable income, and want something high-quality to highlight with. This isn’t just a novelty item, it really is a good highlighting pen. The ink flow is regular and the nib, while broad, is still a lot more precise than a squishy felt tip. I couldn’t honestly tell you that it would save any money, but it would be a more effective tool.
  3. you want to buy a present for somebody who does a lot of highlighting, and likes pens. The box really is lovely. Do you have any academics, lawyers, students or other people who review a lot of paper papers in your life? Is it their birthday soon? Are you sure they wouldn’t rather have a case of wine? Bear in mind that you can buy this as well as a case of wine. Go on, they deserve it. It’s only money. You can’t take it with you.

  1. Ink may not actually be radioactive. 

Airmail 69L eyedropper fountain pen

I promised myself that I would not buy any more stationery until I had reviewed all of the items I had already bought, which is to be honest a ridiculous requirement, and the consequence is that I have just ordered some more. Perhaps this will teach me not to set myself such impossible goals to which I know I will not keep. I am therefore modifying the promise to be “at least one-in-one-out”. With this in mind, I have to review two items now, and the first might as well be the Airmail 69L eyedropper which I’ve been using for a couple of weeks now so can reasonably comment on.

Airmail 69L uncapped

The 69L is made in India – I understand that the company has two main lines, the Wality (I have a couple of these too) which is designed for export, and the Airmail, which isn’t, despite the name. I purchased mine from the seller ashishwakhlu via a sales post on Fountain Pen Network for a very reasonable sum, and at time of writing there are three left, but I understand that they are also for sale on eBay.

Airmail 69L eyedropper pen vs cartridges

You’ll see that it is pretty big – it might be a bit much if you have teeny tiny hands, though I didn’t find it too bad even though I mostly prefer smaller pens. You will also see that it holds a lot of ink. Some readers might not be familiar with the “eyedropper” filling mechanism – this is one of the earliest and simplest systems. Instead of inserting cartridges, or putting the nib into a bottle of ink and sucking some up with a piston or a squeezy sac, one just unscrews the top of the pen and pours ink into the reservoir. (The name “eyedropper” refers to the common use of an eyedropper to do this, and some antique ink bottles had integral eyedroppers in the caps. Some – e.g. the 4.5oz bottles of Noodler’s inks – still do, but otherwise you will need your own eyedropper, or syringe, or very small funnel, or miniature squid, or other).

Eyedroppers have their issues – they’re a bit awkward to fill on the move, they can be messy to fill, and when they are low on ink the heat from your hand can make the air in the reservoir expand slightly which results in the odd blob coming out of the nib. They do, however, excel in terms of simplicity (there’s simply nothing to be broken) and capacity. There is no filling mechanism to take up space inside the barrel and so the whole thing can be filled with ink. The Airmail holds about 4.5ml of ink, which is around 3 times as much as a piston-filler or gel pen, and you can easily see how much is left and top it up, say, before a trip or exam.

Airmail 69L writing sample

The nib is a fine one1, and of good quality – smooth and a comfortable writer. Combined with the huge capacity this means that you’re even less likely to run out of ink. I’ve not had any issues with starting or writing; flow seems good and regular. The pen feels tough and secure when held – thick plastic with a screw-on cap – but it is not heavy, and the balance is good, not too biased in any particular direction (I’ve not written with it posted, nor would I want to, but the cap is not too heavy). In terms of looks, I’m not a fan of showy pens, but I find the swirly purple colour attractive and not distracting – in any case it balances the simplicity of the transparent barrel.

Overall, I’m very happy with the Airmail. I have it loaded with Noodler’s Heart Of Darkness and it’s become a general go-to – comfortable and useful for all purposes, very much a “desert island pen”. Certainly for the money it’s of excellent quality, and if you like a fairly fine nib and do not have an issue with largish pens, I would definitely recommend it.

  1. I have four Indian pens in total, and they all seem to have pretty fine nibs, towards the Japanese definitions of “fine” and “medium” rather than the European ones, though somehow I think four pens from two different companies out of X millions produced over the years may not be necessarily representative. 

Jinhao “Missile” compact fountain pen

(Flickr slideshow)

Whilst on eBay I decided to risk the enormous sum of $4.90 on the pictured Jinhao Missile fountain pen, delivered from Hong Kong by this seller who appears to deal in smoking accessories and fountain pens. This seems like a line in stock that would be approved of by many writers, perhaps with the addition of hipflasks.

I do have a few compact fountain pens, including two OHTO Tasches (which are terrific pens). However, they all take standard international cartridges rather than filling directly. I do have quite a few cartridges around but all of my favourite inks are in bottles, and the Missile is a squeeze-filler. It is possible to fill cartridges from ink bottles using a syringe, but it’s a bit of a pain. Anyway, it wasn’t exactly a huge monetary outlay.

Like the previous pen I ordered from Hong Kong, postage took around two weeks. I’d forgotten about the order when it arrived, which made it a nice surprise. Perhaps I should order myself more products with long delivery times; it would be like having Random Stationery Birthdays.

Positive points

  • Reliable fine nib (i.e. “European” EF or finer – about the same as my Pilot Décimo). Neither particularly wet nor particularly dry. Worked well with the inks that I tried it with – Diamine Oxblood, Poppy Red and Umber – with good flow, no notable issues with drying out.
  • Definitely very compact indeed. It’s around the size of a Fisher Space Pen, and slightly slimmer. Light, but with a metal body that seems durable.
  • Attractive finish; they come in various different colours.
  • Fills directly from a bottle, which I consider a plus point. There is no cartridge-filling option, so you would have to be sure to fill it regularly, but I plan to use it with red ink for editing and annotations where it’s unlikely to run out in a hurry.
  • Filling via squeezing the bar on the metal filler sheath isn’t very effective – the sac never gets very full. However, this sheath slides off easily, and squeezing the sac itself is much more effective. Some rapid squeezes can fill it pretty much completely, with just a few small air bubbles. The nib being as fine as it is, the pen won’t get through that amount in a hurry.
  • Extremely inexpensive.

Negative points

  • Obviously, if you don’t like very fine nibs, this is not the pen you are looking for.
  • It being very small does mean that it would be a bit of a strain to write with it for any length of time. Also it won’t hold very much ink. On the other hand, tiny fountain pens aren’t meant for transcribing encyclopedias with.
  • Posting the cap, i.e. putting it on the end of the pen, has to be done quite firmly or the cap falls off in use. Not a huge problem.


A quality and very compact pen for a very good price. If you are a regular user of bottled ink – and you should be – and want a pocket pen, this would be an ideal one to try.

The Pilot Pluminix

I recently ordered a new OHTO Tasche from Cult Pens, and while I was there, thought that I could possibly stretch to splashing out an extra £4.50 on a Pilot Pluminix pen.

“That is a cute little pen,” I thought, “and I am trying out compact pens to see which ones I prefer so this is worth a go, and I don’t have any italic pens apart from a 1.1mm Lamy nib which is too wide for general use, and also I have a hundred or so short international cartridges which I’m not using and which I should put to some purpose.”

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How small can one write, anyway?

This morning I received a brand new Pilot Decimo Capless, with an F nib. I was aware that the Japanese do tend to produce nibs with much finer grades than the European equivalent, but in this case I was really quite surprised; this is easily the finest fountain pen I have used, and in fact is as fine as a Pilot 0.1 drawing pen that I had on my desk.

I will write a proper pen review at some point, probably after I receive the M nib section that I have ordered, but for now j wondered just how many lines I could get onto a page. Here I am using a slightly diluted Noodlers Bulletproof Black on Rhodia paper – I might be able to get more lines in with a drier ink.