Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pen Review: Namiki Vanishing Point

Time again for some pen geekery...

Namiki Vanishing Point

Maybe not a full review, since I've only had it for about 18 hours now, but at least a first-impressions review. tl;dr: I'm very happy with the choice.

20140805 pencast

I have no great love for eBay and I can usually pass up some of Levenger's more esoteric or expensive options, but I am known to haunt their online outlet store. They have famously excellent customer service, so when the listing said "like new, appears to have never been used," they weren't joking. I'm not sure who received/bought this originally and returned it, but thank you. The blue is just sedate enough to look professional, and just happens to be my preferred color. Well done.

Namiki Vanishing Point - Closed

The mechanism on the vanishing point is pretty clever: this little chromed tailpipe has a tiny flap inside that the nib pushes open when the pen is engaged. The barrel of the pen is serving more like a sheath. The downside is that you're limited in refilling options, since the whole writing mechanism is being moved around in there, so there's no practical way to also add a piston or snorkel.

Levenger helpfully included a cartridge, squeeze converter, and a piston converter. I already have other Pilot/Namiki pens about, too, so care and feeding is covered.

Namiki Vanishing Point - Open

I've heard that new nibs can sometimes squeak a bit when they're first used. I haven't encountered that. I'm not sure if it happens every time or if I lucked out, or if my pre-inking ritual of flushing out the works with water did the trick.

You can see the slightly indented sides on the clip where your fingers are supposed to rest. I don't find this obtrusive at all when I'm writing. It's a subtle tactile guide to holding the pen properly with a triangle grip. Supposedly the tinier nibs can run a bit toward the dry side, so I've read about VP owners choosing a fine enough nib to conserve ink vs. picking a nib that's smooth and not scratchy. I'd personally recommend the Medium, and you can see that it's shading nicely on my scratch pad of sugarcane (bagasse) paper. Just don't wander too far from a bottle of ink or supply of cartridges. There's no window for checking ink levels.

Why go capless? Both because of the sheer coolness of the thing and the convenience. I don't post my pens when I write, that is, I don't stick the cap on the back of the pen. Partially this is out of a desire to keep it looking nice and not scratch up the barrel or crack the cap. Also, it's a good way to ensure that your pen comes back home to you when you let someone borrow it: keep the cap in your other hand. :-) For meetings, or quick notes, or one-handed writing situations (e.g., standing up), a click pen is convenience itself. I will say, though, that the argument that a VP keeps the nib pointed upright ("No leaks!") is just silly. Regular capped fountain pens should be stowed nib-up in your pocket or a case. It's nothing special or unique to a capless pen. Most fountain pen owners who value their wardrobe learn quickly to keep them upright when not in use, and not shove them into a pocket nib-end down. Gravity: it's the law.


Anonymous said...

AWESOME. I too love the damned convenience of it all. Screw-on caps are fancy as all get out, but when you need to hastily scrawl a note (as I often do), clock-and-go is the cat's pj's.

Bill M said...

Fine looking pen. Congratulations.

One day I hope to spring enough money to get one. I have several Namiki pens and enjoy the smoothness of nibs.

Elizabeth H. said...

I used mine all the time for notes when on the phone or in meetings. Vewy convenient. I ended up selling mine for the sake of a banjo, but I do miss that.

mpclemens said...

@LFP: I can understand making notes on a banjo, but not taking notes with one. (hur hur hur #dadjoke)

Richard P said...

Congrats! I am devoted to my Namiki VP and use it every day as my main handwriting tool.