Hello dear readers.
Today I want to show you my latest exploits. I’ve been focusing my interests on the Pilot Prera. A modest and functional pen good for everyday use (like updating grocery lists, todo lists and the like).
I want to talk a little about the price first. In the US, I’ve only been able to find the clear demonstrator Preras with various color choices for finials. I am not very keen on demonstrators, so I looked around and found some opaque Preras being sold by Japanese sellers on Amazon (great amazon seller named “Japan Premium”, can be found here), so I picked up three of them (Slate Gray, Royal Blue, and Reddish Pink). Each cost me roughly $30, plus $9 flat for shipping. The Preras in the US are generally going for anywhere between $40-50, so I got it for a steal.
The same pen might sell for $25 with a fine nib and $27 with a medium nib. You could probably save yourself a couple of additional bucks by picking the cheaper one of the two.
I didn’t care much for either the medium or the fine nib on the Preras and wanted to get a Pilot Plumix which has a compatible nib and feed to the Prera, but it comes in an italic nib.
Amazon sells the Pilot Plumix at a very cheap price here. The unit price gets lower as you buy in bulk ( 1 pen for $11, a pack of 3 for $22 for a unit price of $7, or the jumbo box of 12 for $70 at unit price of $5). I felt 12 was too much so I went with two of the 3-packs bringing my order total above $25 so free shipping with Amazon.
Once I received the pens, the first thing I did was to swap out the nibs. The nib and feed are friction fit into the section and pulls right out with great ease. Also there are no notches or stubs on either that must agree with each other forcing you into only one orientation, like some of the other manufacturers. You could put it back into the section in any orientation.
I practiced the usual regimen of bathing the nib and feed in some water with dish-soap to get them nice and wet and dissolve away any machining oils. I gave them a quick rinse afterwards.
I find that I struggle with getting the ink to come down the nib on brand new nibs and feeds if I try to use them as-is. In soap water it gets nice and wet and willing to receive the ink I give it. That avoids me a lot of frustrations in getting the pen to write for the first time.
I loaded the following inks:
Pink/Red = Diamine Red Dragon
Royal Blue = Platinum Mix-Free Aurora Blue
Slate Gray = Private Reserve Avacado
And now for a bit of tweaking:
The plumix nibs usually are a bit stiff and dry, so my next focus was on increasing the flow. The way I did it was by taking the nib out, resting it belly-up (if you will) on some soft tissue paper (preferably crumpled) and using an x-acto knife (it helps to use a fresh blade) to make an incision into the ink slit. First start near the breather hole as the channel is wider there so the incision will happen easily. And as you get near the tips, the tines are usually touching each other and the channel gets narrower. You never want to insert the blade at the tip itself as this will cause burrs on your interior edges of the tips and make the nib scratchy.
PS: I am quite passionate about having good ink flow in my nibs, so I might do a youtube video on this procedure in the future.
You want to always make sure that you don’t mis-align the tines during this process. I have my goulet loupe to help me keep a close eye on my tine alignment.
DISCLAIMER: I must remind and admonish you that this is a delicate process and you never should overdo it. Once the tines are spread too far apart, there’s no going back. So, the wise thing to do is to move carefully and deliberately, testing the ink flow every step of the way, and stopping when you’ve reached ink-flow nirvana.
In addition, if you choose to venture into this area, you must do so at your own peril. This will clearly void any warranty that you might have on the $7 plumix. So you cannot send it back to Amazon or Pilot.
Although this is a blog about tinkering with nibs etc, and I’ve had no one come back to me saying that they followed the advice given here and they ruined their nib. I must still put out there that I claim no responsibility if anything goes wrong. I tried these steps and it worked well for me so I shared my experience on the blog which is why I blog about things in the first place, to share knowledge and experience.
So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. I do have 3 more preras on the way, the brown and ivory colors should go well with the gray pen.
And a straight white to go with the blue and red (very patriotic there).
Let me know if you’ve tried something like this. I’d love to hear your experiences.