Wow, #40, really? My email inbox gets a plethora of interesting pen related questions, and I spend a good deal of time crafting thoughtful responses to each person who writes to me. A lot of times, the questions I get are good ones that I feel are worth sharing with you! I’ll be posting highlights of some of my more interesting email questions every Mailbox Monday. These are some emails of mine from the past week or so:

The TWSBI Vac 20 Ink bottle: it says: “Bottle cap also interchangeable with our Diamond 50 ink bottle.” Does that mean I can put the cap from my Diamond 50 ink bottle on the Vac 20 Ink bottle to use with my Diamond 540 fountain pen ?

Yes, you can actually interchange the caps from both the Vac 20 and Vac 50 bottles! It works better with the Vac 20 cap on the Vac 50 bottle, though. The Vac 50 cap is aluminum, and when you put it on the Vac 20 bottom, it’s REALLY top-heavy and very easy to knock over. It can be done, you just have to be real careful when using it ;) I’ll include this in my video when I shoot it.

Can I use the TWSBI Vac 20 ink bottle to fill a TWSBI mini?

The TWSBI Vac 20 is designed for the Vac-700. The Mini doesn’t fit into the cap like the Vac-700 does, because it’s a smaller pen. You can still take the cap off the bottle and fill the pen that way (like you would with a normal bottle), but you won’t get the advantages of the Vac 20’s design unless you’re using the Vac-700. I’ll be shooting a video on this soon! 

Are the Caran d’Ache empties permanently gone, or are they just out of stock for a while? They’re just beautiful, and I regret only buying one when I had the chance. However, if they are gone forever, could you please advise me on another brand of empties which can serve as a shallow-ish inkwell? Some of the fancier shapes make it hard to gauge their utility from a single image. It’s a bit ironic that Lamy and Noodler’s are go-to brands for so many, yet the converter design makes the deep Noodler’s bottles almost impossible to use after a while.

They’re not gone, we just don’t have them available very often. There aren’t a great number of colors (especially now that they discontinued Blue Night, Caribbean Sea, and Carbon), so we just don’t go through that many bottles for samples. That said, we should probably have some coming up soon as we just got a shipment of ink in today and we’ll probably do samples soon.

Lots of other brands have decent bottles. Waterman, Omas, Pilot, Namiki, and Sailor have the best bottles. It’s true that Noodler’s bottles aren’t the most ideal, but they do certainly maximize efficiency in transit and storage!  

I am looking for a good green ink for my collection. I like Noodler’s and Nathan’s philosophy, so I try and support Noodlers inks whenever I can. Also, I prefer an ink that isn’t wet and has limited feathering and bleeding (and I know this is tough as you noted to me before that looking for a quick dry ink that doesn’t bleed is tough). Haven’t said that, are there any greens out there that would match those requirements?

Hmmm….quite the challenge! I think you should look at Bad Green Gator….kidding! That would be the opposite of what you want ;) That’s real wet, real bleedy/feathery! Whatever you try, I’d definitely recommend samples. These are some pretty specific parameters, but you have options. The first things that come to mind are Noodler’s Hunter, possibly Noodler’s Zhivago, maybe Green Marine. Scribal Work Shop Cryptid Leviathan is pretty good. The driest green I know is Pelikan Brilliant Green…I hate the color, but it’s dry!

I was wondering about the noodlers konrad flexpen. Is it possible to take out the filling mechanism, put an o ring and some grease between the body of the pen and the blind cap, and so make it an eye dropper pen?

What you’re describing is an eyedropper conversion, which is common on some cartridge/converter (C/C) pens. The Konrad, however, is a piston fill pen, and therefore isn’t quite as easy to convert to an eyedropper, nor is it really necessary. The reason most people like to convert their C/C pens to eyedropper fill pens is because most C/C pens only have about 0.5ml ink capacity, and eyedropper conversion usually gets you around 2ml capacity (depending on the pen, of course). The Konrad already has about 1.4ml of ink capacity, so an eyedropper conversion doesn’t buy you as much.

Technically, it could be done by pulling out the piston mechanism, removing the piston rod with the o-rings on it from the pen, and putting silicone grease on the piston mechanism and blind cap when you put the pen back together. The problem you have when pulling out the piston rod with the o-rings, and fill the pen with ink, is that the ink will go back into the remaining parts of the piston mechanism, leak back into the blind cap, and hang out in a lot of nooks and crannies that are tough to clean out when the time comes to change inks or clean the pen thoroughly. I personally don’t feel it’s worth the trouble, the ink capacity of the Konrad is just fine as it is without the additional trouble of converting the pen to an eyedropper. 

I have a Prera I love. The solid color version. Any plans to carry or can I special order one in a M? 

They’re actually not available in the US, I’m not sure if they still make them anymore, but they’ve never been available to us since we started carrying Pilot 2 years ago. Only the clear ones. 

If you had $600 to spend on a pen would you get the M1005 ?

$600, huh? That’ll buy a lot of diapers for my two kids…actually, not really! :P Seriously though, the m1005 is a pretty sweet pen, but I just don’t know that it’s worth 4 Custom 74’s….or 7.5 TWSBI Vac-700’s, or 12 TWSBI Minis…there’s a law of diminishing returns when it comes to pens, for sure. I think that if I really wanted an m1005 so bad, I would probably have one in my collection….and I don’t, so I guess that would answer the question for me ;) I have definitely thought about getting one because I love big pens and that is definitely kind of the heap, but I just can’t justify pulling the trigger (by justify, I mean convince Rachel!). Haha.

Thanks for taking the time to read my emails! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. I’ll be compiling this coming week’s emails into next week’s Mailbox Monday post!