So I started this thing called the Mailbox, where I share with you a bunch of emails that I’ve gotten in the last week or so, and how I’ve responded. In an effort of continuity, here’s the second one!

I’ve dropped my Kaweco Al-Sport and need to have the nib re-aligned. Should I get it fixed or just buy a new one?

Since the Al-sport is a $72 pen, spending $30 to fix it would seem to make sense. But, the nibs are the same on the Al-Sport as the ones on the Classic and ICE Sports. If you bought an ICE Sport, it will only cost $22, and the nib will be exactly the same as the one that comes on the Al-Sport (the Classic Sport is $25, and the nib is gold colored). You can swap out that nib for the one on your Al-Sport and be all set.

I am getting a lever fill pen this week (an Esterbrook LJ to be precise) and was wondering if the said method would work for it. You mention lever fill in the video. But how would you do it?

I’m not familiar with the specifics of the LJ, but the concept of feed saturation should work with any pen that has fins on the backside (exposed side) of the feed. What you’ll want to do is turn the pen over so you have the fins of the feed facing skyward (the pen will be horizontal), and pull the lever so it compresses the ink sack inside the pen. Then saturate the feed with ink, just like I do in my video. Next, you’ll want to tilt the pen so the nib is pointed skyward (the pen will be vertical), and push the lever down so it decompresses the ink sack, which will cause the ink to go into the pen. With the nib still pointed skyward, pull the lever up again. This will expel any air inside the pen. Then, lay the pen back down horizontally, and saturate the feed again. Repeat this procedure until you get to the point where you are pushing the lever down and ink is coming out of the pen into the feed (when you have the pen vertical). That means it’s full!

I have a question regarding the difference between De Atramentis Black Standard ink versus the black edition black ink. In the web site it appears that the black edition black ink appears more grayish than the standard black ink. Is that true, or are they they same exact color just in different bottle?

I’m not really sure if they’re the same inks or not, to be quite honest. I suspect they are slightly different, because I swabbed and edited each color individually, so what you’re seeing is the most accurate representation of the ink colors that I can show. I’m sure there are some factors like degree of flow and saturation that may make the inks act and appear slightly different than in the swab. But from what I can tell in real life (and it supports what you see in the Swab Shop), the standard black is a bit darker.

I’m about to put in an order for a Noodler’s Ahab in Medieval Lapis. Since those just came in the latest batch, do they have the double-walled o-rings installed?

All of the Ahabs we currently have still have the original o-rings. We’re told that these were already in production before the improved o-rings were discovered. I *think* that future batches of the pens will have the new o-rings, but with Nathan we’re never really sure what to expect, to be quite honest!

I was curious about the coating on the new matte black Dialog 3. Is it the same as the finish on the CP1?

Yup, it is!

I received a Brause Calligraphy and Writing Set today, but I’m not sure how its work as this is my first time using this kind of pen.Do i need to buy specific ink for the pen or i can use the ink of fountain pen like noodler’s? As i found that i can only write few letters after dipping the (steno)nib with the ink, but works well with the 2mm nib.

What you have there are dip pens, and they are primarily used with (thicker) calligraphy ink, which is a whole different set of inks than what you would use in a fountain pen. However, the reason we carry this set is because certain nibs in the set do work really well with fountain pen inks, so it’s easy to dip and test the colors without having to ink up a whole fountain pen. The reason the 2mm nib works well is because of that small metal fold on top of the nib (that’s called a reservoir)…and it’s actually removable! You can slide that metal reservoir off and put it on any of the nibs in the set, and get a much longer writing experience with the 3 nibs that write more like a typical fountain pen.

Despite owning fountain pens since the early 1960s, and expensive ones since the early 1970s, I was amazed when I got back into the hobby early this year how much difference the ink can make in the way a pen operates. For example, I bought an original Cross Century fountain pen in the early 1980s, when Cross made its first FP. I liked it, but it always leaked into the cap when using Cross cartridges. I gave up on it for 25 years.

You are so correct! I may be that ink didn’t used to be as much a factor as it is today. New (at least relatively new) companies like Noodler’s and Private Reserve have come on the scene recently, and really pushed the envelope in terms of ink offerings. There used to be just a few in companies and their properties were hardly distinguishable, but with modern chemistry and the internet allowing people to buy and share inks easily, there are more options than ever before for inks. It really is amazing how much of a difference the ink can make in the performance of a pen.
Aside from ink, paper is also a big factor. I call it the trifecta….paper, pen, and ink. They all interact with each other to provide the overall writing experience, and chaining one can alter the whole experience!

I hope you like my Mailbox! Hopefully you’ve been able to pick up on some tips here. If you have any questions, you can always post here in the comments, or shoot me an email.