Ink Review: J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir

Karen at Exaclair was kind enough to recently send me a bottle of J. Herbin‘s “Eclat de Saphir” fountain pen ink to test out and review. In addition, she sent a small Rhodia note pad.

I wasn’t able to get to it for about a week, but tonight was finally able to ink up a couple of pens and try it out on various kinds of paper.

Click on any picture to go to its Flickr page with larger sizes available.

The ink in (and out of) its package and the Rhodia pad:

01 Review Stuff

03 Review Ink

The pens used for the test – a Lamy Safari Special Edition with a Medium nib, and a brand-new Hero 329 with a fine/extra-fine nib:

02 Review Pens

The paper – Field Notes, Moleskine, Staples’ “EcoEasy” brand bagasse (sugarcane) paper, Rhodia pads, and a Doane Paper Idea Book:

04 Review Paper

First, the skinny Rhodia pad. This is 80gsm/21.3lb paper.

05 Test Rhodia

The Rhodia paper squeaked during the Q-tip swabbing; it seemed that the paper was so smooth (or had a coating on it) that the ink took quite a while to dry.

Next, the Field Notes notebook:

06 Test FieldNotes

This paper (Boise 50lb) soaked up the ink like a sponge. Drying was almost instant, but at times the Lamy Safari felt like I was writing with a felt-tip marker.

Third was a Moleskine pocket notebook. No problems with the ink or the paper.

07 Test Moleskine

Fourth was Staples’ “EcoEasy” brand of “bagasse” paper, which is made from sugarcane refuse instead of wood or cotton. It’s very thin, but has a decent feel to it:

08 Test Staples Bagasse

Last was a Doane Paper “Idea Book”:

09 Test DoanePaper

None of the various types of paper exhibited any feathering, or major bleed-through to the point where the back side of the paper would be unusable – even on the sections used for the q-tip swab test.

The J. Herbin ink seemed a little thinner / more “watery” than the Noodler’s ink that I’m used to working with. There were no flow problems in either pen, and no staining issues other than the my hands and fingers.

So far I like the J. Herbin “Eclat de Saphir” ink, and am thinking of putting it in my 1941 Parker Duofold when that pen’s current filling of ink (current Noodler’s Dark Matter) runs out.

Thank-You Notes Going Out Tomorrow

Tonight I hand-wrote, hand-addressed, stamped, and sealed sixty-five thank you notes. They’ll be hitting the post office tomorrow morning.

Again, thank you everyone for your contributions, moral support, kind notes, condolences, and everything you’ve done for me since Amy’s passing.

I wrote the majority of the notes with my 1941 Parker Duofold filled with Noodler’s “Legal Lapis” ink. When the fill of Legal Lapis ran out about 3/4ths of the way through, I switched to Noodler’s “Dark Matter” ink (because the bottle was right next to where I was working, and the LL was across the room).

The first 49 notes were on folded thank-you cards that I picked up at Office Depot today, and the last 16 were on nice G.Lalo stationery cards that Amy bought a couple weeks before she passed away.

DIY Pen Trays Done

I couldn’t find pen storage trays on eBay that I liked, so I bought some cigar boxes and made my own.

Box Exterior

Parker Pens

Parker Pens Closeup

Other Pens

Other Pens Closeup

These pictures don’t show my blue Lamy Safari or the Parker 51 that’s currently out for repair.

The slotted felt trays are from GoPens. Total cost for this project was about $30.

Sending out Thank-You Notes

I’ve finally got to the point where I feel comfortable sitting down and writing out (using my 1941 Parker Duofold filled with Noodler’s Legal Lapis ink) thank-you notes for everyone who helped out, sent money/flowers/food, or just expressed their condolences at Amy’s passing.

If you were one of these people and I have *not* contacted you yet asking for a postal address, please email me and let me know where to send the card.

The Parker 21 Curse

My first Parker fountain pen, purchased off eBay about a month ago, was this Parker 21:

Parker 21 Fountain Pen

Originally sold on eBay as a “Super 21”, when it arrived it turned out to be a normal 21 with a Super 21 cap.

This quickly became my favorite pen (as it has a Fine-Medium nib) and daily writer. I carried it around in my shirt pocket and used it for everything.

Unfortunately, after about a week it started slowly seeping ink into the middle finger of my writing hand. Close examination revealed hairline cracks in the hood (the part of the pen that holds the nib).

I was able to repair the cracks with a minute amount of SuperGlue, and then used shellac to seal the threads of the hood to the section. This worked fine, and the pen stopped leaking.

A few days ago, I was flushing the pen out with water at the sink in my bathroom, when I set it down for a moment. It rolled off the counter, and fell to the floor. When I picked it up I saw what I expected – worse cracks near the clutch ring on the hood.

More superglue and shellac were ineffective this time.

Parker 21 Dissasembled

At this point, I’ve retired the pen to storage. I’d like to replace the hood, but the one source on the Internet that has (green and red) Parker 21 hoods has not yet replied to my email inquiry. Sending it off to a “pen doctor” would cost more than I paid for it in the first place.

Sure, I could just go buy another 21 on eBay – but this pen was my first Parker, has a GREAT nib, and it’s just a sentimental thing.

I won a bid for what was supposedly a Parker 51 on eBay last week, but when the pen arrived it was an *actual* Super 21 – a 21 with a 51-style nib, and the same cap that my dark-blue 21 has. However, it has issues – it was stored nib-down for a long time, and all the ink dribbled out, flooded the cap, and stained the hood. What ink was left in the pen has dried in the collector. I’ve flushed, filled, and soaked it in water twice so far, and it’s still not flowing to my satisfaction.

So, right now, my count of “Working Parker fountain pens” is “one”, it being a Parker 51 Special currently filled with Baystate Blue ink.

Update: Since this entry was written, I’ve picked up two more Parker 51 Specials off eBay, and will be putting the Parker 21s into my parts box. Unfortunately, they’re just not worth the cost to fix.