second chances: conklin duragraph purple nights
The wind chimes clink to a lovely melody as an otherwise silent breeze sneaks through the balcony doors. It carries a slight perfume of jasmine, flowers of the new neighbour are finally blooming. The skies are blue, but the chill that the breeze seems to carry keeps you on your toes. Whenever a cloud covers the sun for only a moment, then it is a little too cold. Perhaps even sending a small shiver down your spine.
Green is my favourite colour, but I can never seem to have much luck with green pens (please see Aion). This pen’s story starts in a very similar way. A wish for a green pen and willingness to push my luck.
Well, you see, the Conklin Duragraph has a lovely green model. The barrel -and the cap- is a similar crackled green, the section and the flat ends of the pen are black. It’s quite pretty. So one day, I decided to get that pen. It was somewhat of a simple decision. I had never owned a pen from an American manufacturer. I adored the simple, straight flat shape. Most reviews give a word of warning though: the nibs. Some of them straight out did not work, some of them got better with at-home remedies. I was willing to take the risk. All of my pens up unitl this point had pretty decent nibs out of the box, so I decided to trust my luck. I pressed order and hoped my green pen would finally be on its way. This was also the first green pen I was getting at the time.
A few days passed and I was getting a little anxious, delivery is usually super quick here. Then my phone rang. Nobody ever calls me, anybody that knows me knows that I would never pick up my phone, it’s always on silent. Anyway, by pure luck, I was cooking and looking at a recipe. I froze. This unknown number… Was it one of those phone companies again? I picked it up.
“Hello, …………….” (Insert confused person noises)
They spoke very fast Dutch.
“Umm, sorry. Do you speak English?”
Then they continued to explain to me that the website made a mistake and the Forest Green colour was unavailable. I could either completely cancel my order or pick a new colour. I put them on the speaker while I looked up the available colours. I picked purple because… It’s my second favourite colour.
In the end, my order was successful and my lunch was only slightly crispier than it should’ve been.
The actual problem showed up when the pen arrived. It was not writing. Not a single drop of ink was coming through. I didn’t -still don’t- have a loupe or any specific equipment to help with nib repairs. After reading and watching many things on tuning your nib, I sat down with a nail file, aluminium foil and a nice piece of paper. I worked very slowly and cautiously because I was voiding the pen’s guarantee. A single step too far, and I can’t even take the pen back for a bad nib.
In the end, the pen turned out fine. It writes a quite smooth and wet line right now, even if it's slightly wider than a regular fine.. But I don’t recommend using aluminium foil as a substitute for brass shims. It does work, but then you have to fish out bits of aluminium foil out of the slit on the nib. Nail file is okay if you go half as slow as you’d go with micromesh.
The problematic nib aside, the pen itself is… Mediocre. I really like fun or interesting designs, and a lower price point seems to be the best place to do that. There are many examples of this: Lamy Safari, TWSBI Go, Pilot Kakuno, even the Pilot Vanishing Point has a comparatively low price for most gold nib pens. Conklin went with a very conventional body shape. The colours of the main line are not very exciting either. To be honest, the shiny rainbow colours seem to be their way of spicing up their main lineup pens. The filling system is a cartridge-converter, but the converter is threaded, so at least that’s a nice surprise. But nothing about this pen stands out to me. The grip is comfortable, but not overly so. Length and weight is good, but the balance is not my favourite.
I am surprised by this pen. Not in a good way. On paper, this pen should’ve been perfect for my tastes. It is not. I don’t have any strong feelings about it. It’s just okay. If you ever decide to buy it though, try to check it beforehand.
I have been absent lately because the exam "week" suddenly became an exam month and I couldn't lift my head from schoolwork. Since the summer holiday is finally in full swing now, I should be able to get back to my regular posting schedule. Thank you for reading!