If you can’t stand the heat then don’t tickle the dragon…..
I had lunch with my sister the other day and she offered some great suggestions and input on my blogging adventure. She renewed a spark in me so I’m making a leap forward, for me anyway. Below is my first writing instrument review. Not nearly as scientific as some but hopefully you will glean some helpful knowledge after your time with me.
- Sheaffer 300 Fountain Pen
- Stainless Steel Medium Nib
- Iridescent Red – some would call it marbleized
- Street Price: $75.00
- 5.5” capped
- 4.75” uncapped
- 6.1” Posted
Packaging is well done in a hard case with sharp crisp corners and the common white taffeta type material on the inside and a pen hold down loop. The case snaps shut with authority, stays open and came with the outer cardboard sleeve. I don’t get too hung up on packaging but this one exudes a high standard.
First impressions and display eye candy factor is a key for beginning my purchase decisions when I’m in a brick and mortar type environment. Surrounded by lots and lot of writing instruments something really has to pop off the shelf to catch my interest. I found this pen very attractive in the dealers display case. The traditional shape and design, the bright chrome cap and the red marbled finish was a pen-speak request for a second look and a fondling. Here it stands proudly next to other common competitors. The Lamy 2000, Lamy Safari and a TWSBI 540.
The 300 is a heavy pen. I like that. It doesn’t feel unbalanced when writing unposted. I’m not a poster but I suspect Sheaffer has done a good job in both regards. The metal construction and weight give the pen a substantial feel of quality and from my experience thus far it has not disappointed. The shape is traditional slight cigar curvatures with tapers at the top and bottom. The cap fits flush to the body and the finger hold area is smooth black plastic, just right for me. The finish is glossy without being slippery or looking cheap.
The cap is smooth, heavy and shiny chrome, a substantial complement to the pen. Sheaffer did not cut any corners here. The cap stays on the head of the pen by snap fit as opposed to threads. There are many debates on which is best and frankly I like both when both are executed well. I find enjoyment in taking my time to unscrew the cap of the pen I have chosen for my next writing task. It gives me a moment to gather my thoughts. However, sometimes a quick deployment is favorable for a signature or some other small ink on paper task. For that you can’t beat a snap on cap. Sheaffer did well here. The 300’s cap has a definitive snap both audible and tactical in feel. You know it’s on. The cap does spin when snapped on but there is no slop or play, once again speaking to the great engineering that went into this pen. I compare this snap action to the Visconti Rembrandt though the Visconti has the added advantage of magnets.
I like the clip. It’s a thick and robust addition that’s fully articulated with a pivot point in the top of the count. This allows a little more confidence and safety valve when clipping it to a thicker journal or even a pants pocket. When I compare it to other articulated clips I have owned typically they have some sideways slop in the pivot point making the clip feel loose. The Sheaffer exhibits none of that which is impressive for this price point. What’s a Sheaffer with the signature white dot, yes it’s there where it’s supposed to be.
Nothing special here but as with everything else on this pen it is executed well. Ink capacity is not huge but it fills well and has a nice chrome ring around the bottom of the converter where it goes into the pen. I’m not sure of its purpose but I’m sure it gives some strength to the plastic around the pen attachment area and it gives a more substantial look. I like how the converter fits snugly on the feed nipple but I can still remove the converter easily for cleaning. The snug fit builds my confidence even though I don’t like removing them a lot in fear of compromising the seal.
I was so pleased to learn this was a perfect writer right out of the box. The stainless steel nib did not disappoint at all. I was able to flex it some but it took more pressure than I could comfortably write with. It did respond with a thicker and wetter line but I would not in any way call this a flexer.
I describe it as a wet writer on the finer side of a medium. The nib has some nice scrolled engraving on it, the word SHEAFFER and an M designating the medium nib size. Well done. A loupe revealed good alignment of the tines and a feed centered very well. I almost didn’t check those attributes because it wrote so well out of the box I sometimes assume those are all ok.
With the accolades above you will find no surprise that this is a fine writer. It fits my larger than average hands very well. My fingers rest on smooth plastic with no hard edges to irritate. The pen is not overly picky on contact angles to the paper so I found no skipping, hard starts or dry ups. This one has stayed in my daily rotation for nearly a month now and I grab it often. I’ve tried it with the Diamine, J Herbin, Noodlers, Caran D’Ache and Sheaffer inks and found no real differences in writing performance.
I like this pen. I can’t say I actively went out and shopped for this pen but when I saw it on a vacation trip it peaked my interest and I liked the look. I’m glad I added it to my collection.
Any Sheaffer’s you like?
Everything I say is fully substantiated by my own opinion.
I enjoy the Crane & Co product line of note cards. I ran across them several years ago and today they are my go to stationery of choice. After I used up that first box I went to eBay and shopped for designs and formats I liked. I suspect these were close out bargains or discontinued product that an eBay entrepreneur picked up to resell. Everything I got was in great shape minus a dented box corner here and there but that never really affected the stationery inside.
The other day I went to send off a couple of notes and realized my Crane stock was diminished. My eBay search turned up very few options I liked. I could have settled for something and saved some shipping costs but I decided to go right to the Crane website and order exactly what I wanted.
I found what I wanted and then fell victim to the online marketer’s dream of “You may also like this” product placement. I’m not a big etiquette follower but the Blue Book of Stationery caught my eye.
Maybe it was time to step up my game a little bit. So I bit on 189 pages of explaining how to properly address a formal party invitation to a retired army lieutenant colonel and her husband.
Fast forward about a week and I was stroking the fine cotton of my new Crane notecards, but that’s another post. I devoured the Blue Book and was impressed with the contents. I expected an exaggerated sales pitch for Crane but they refrained very well and reserved a nice written history of the Crane Company in the last chapter. Did you know most of our paper money is printed on Crane paper?
The book starts out talking about the different types of stationery both cotton and wood base followed by explaining the different types of printing from Litho, Engraved, Thermograph and others. No wonder this stuff costs more than a ream of copy paper. From the types of paper and printing we traveled to stationery wardrobes. I think a much cooler way to reference my box full of cards and letter stock. Similar to apparel, a woman’s stationery wardrobe is supposed to be different than a man’s. By sheer coincidence my paper collection complies though I tend to lean towards the more causal execution when sending my correspondence. Interestingly enough nobody has ever questioned as to why I didn’t send my musings on Monarch size stationery instead of the less formal note card.
Much of the book is focused on wedding correspondence and how to address individuals habitating in all types of relationships. I’m a first name type of addresser so much of this didn’t stick with me but for the more socialite personality I can see a lot of value in the material presented.
I don’t know who designs and makes up these etiquette rules but I really enjoyed my purchase and may even refer to it again in the future.
How is your stationery wardrobe?
Remember: Write something nice……
I am a paper snob. There, I said it and fully own it. I’m not a snob in any other area, or least I don’t think I am, but slap one of those office supply store $.10 loss leader spiral notebooks down in front of me and my neck will hurt when my nose goes skyward. I’m not even that bad with pens as I find myself frequently using the checkout counter pen to sign a receipt or something like that. Besides the hygiene consideration I just find little payback for retrieving and deploying my favorite pen just to scribble out lines that are supposed to pass for my signature.
I just can’t seem to do that with just any old paper. My favorite go to is Clairefontaine, my working notes at work, my to do list that I carry in my back pocket 7×24 and a nice Triomphe legal pad for more formal writing. I realize just saying French paper is my favorite makes me sound snooty but I have honestly tried many others. I understand that Clairfontaine is a coated paper. Conceptually I know what that means but I’m not smart enough to know what would make one coated paper better than another or even what it is coated with. Some coatings in greeting cards and post cards make for a horrible ink experience. Besides looking like I just wrote on a piece of glass with motor oil the drying time would never allow recognition of one’s birthday in the correct calendar year.
Coating aside I prefer a heavier weight paper as I think it gives more substance to my writing and allows for better ink presentation. For obvious reasons I find fewer occurrences of bleed through with the saturated inks I tend to favor. Humidity is another factor that is better combated with the thicker paper.
The idea for this post came to me recently when sitting in a meeting. I asked a colleague if I could borrow a sheet of paper. They graciously ripped out a piece from their $.10 spiral notebook, handed it to me and then promptly asked what was wrong with my nose when I withdrew my hand back. I had no rational response.
Do you find yourself going out of your way to make sure you have your preferred paper?
Remember: Write something nice……
I enjoy vacations on the road. I have a wonderful aunt and uncle in the mountains of Tennessee. Every year we try to outsmart mother nature and pull into their driveway just as the foliage is changing into their coats or many colors. This year we delayed 1 week and nailed it. Going up we were skeptical but by the time we left and looked at some of the pictures we took we knew God blessed us with his natural color palette right before our eyes.
The only part of this annual trek I don’t like is the drive. I guess I’m getting old because sitting in a car for 12 hours is just no fun. To break it up I try to find pen places along the way that are not too far off the interstate. Detours that give us a break but not so far out of the way to considerably lengthen our commute.
This year I hit a jackpot at Joe Rodgers Office Supply in Cleveland TN. Just a couple miles off Interstate 75 we traveled into the small town of Cleveland. The locale looks like a typical small town with our destination being a little outside the main downtown area. We found the building easy enough and it’s evident they have enjoyed success by expanding to 3 or 4 connected storefronts over time. Once inside Katie (I hope I remembered that correctly) was very friendly and made sure we felt welcome. We browsed a nice collection of office furniture, a cool selection of clocks and the usual file folders, labels, staplers and the like. Where it got interesting was at the front corner of the store where my jaw dropped open taking in their selection of pens. They are a big dealer for Cross and I’ve always been impressed with Cross’ wide selection of styles. They stocked many brands displayed nicely in glass cases. Waterman, Parker, Delta, Conklin, Lamy, Bexley and many others.
Pricing was very competitive, not the typical MSRP. It was neat to see someone still hand writing on those tiny jewelry like price tags. The discount was 30% off the price you saw. We met Greg who was very personable and showed us anything we wanted to see. Greg shared a lot of stories about his family history in the pen business and how his store had matured over the years. We enjoyed some great conversation and a welcome diversion from so many retailers today that only seem interested in selling you something.
I expressed my preference to larger pens and Greg gave me some educated recommendations. The ones that caught my eye were at the Conklin counter. I realize the Conklin Pen Company of today is not the same company as many pen collectors enjoy in the vintage pen arena but it was still a real pen company with a colorful past. Plus I did not have a Conklin in my collection. I got stuck choosing between a Nozac and a Glider. Greg sensed my dilemma and offered me a great deal on both that I couldn’t refuse. Below is my take from our short visit there. The Conklin Glider is a wonderful writer and the Sheaffer 300 in Red was a perfect wide medium smoothie right out of the box. Greg even threw in a bottle of Sheaffer ink when I nearly cried that I brought two fountain pens on my trip with me but had filled them before I left and brought no extra ink. My kind of guy!
Great visit, great staff and friendly conversation. I look forward to our trip up next year. If you’re in the area it’s well worth your trip. I think he’s even got his Conklins at 50% off!
Remember: Write something nice……