On Filling your TWSBI Vac-700 or Vac-Mini with the Vac-20 Inkwell
We just received in our shipment of TWSBI Vac-Mini pens and the newly re-released and re-designed Vac-20 inkwells, so I figured now would be a good time to introduce both! I have never actually done a blog on the Vac-700 or the previous Vac-20 bottle. But of course, give me something in miniature form, and I'm all over that...
My ink of choice is Diamine Autumn Oak. If I had been planning this properly, I might have chosen a more festive colour, but Autumn Oak has some hints of red. While the pen looks a bit like a syringe, where you dip the nib into a bottle of ink, pull back on the plunger and the ink gets sucked up with it, it's actually a vacuum filler. When you're filling the pen, you start out with the plunger pulled all the way out. A vacuum is created when the plunger gets pushed down, and when the plunger pushes past the bottom of the barrel with a slightly wider diameter, the vacuum is released, drawing up ink very quickly. You do not need the Vac-20 bottle to fill either your Vac-700 or Vac-mini pen. Here's a quick photo demonstration from a regular bottle of ink. Step 1: Pull the plunger out. Step 2: Submerge nib & feed into inkwell. Step 3: Push down on the plunger all the way down. Ink shoots up, and fills your pen! Success! You'll feel some good pressure when you're pushing down, but when you get past the wider part of the barrel at the bottom, you'll feel an immediate release, and a good volume of ink will shoot up into the barrel. The large ink capacity is one of the biggest advantages of the pen. However, it's pretty hard to get a 100% fill without the Vac-20 inkwell (although it still holds quite a bit of ink). Also you can bring it onto a plane, and with the back plunger twisted all the way shut, you will experience a smooth and ink-spill-free flight. I cannot wait to try this out. Or maybe I'll let Jon do the trying out ;) Just kidding. This new inkwell can be used with either the Vac-700 or the new Vac-mini. Because the Vac-mini is smaller, you will need to keep the grey lip insert in to use it.
Step 2: Screw in the barrel of the pen (with the nib section on). Don't over tighten! But make sure it's on good :) Step 3: Turn the inkwell upside down. Step 4: Push the plunger in, and watch the ink fill the barrel. Success! Step 5: Unscrew. Cap inkwell. The best thing about these inkwells is how great they are for travelling. They hold a total of 20 mL of ink, which should make it past most airplane's carry-on restrictions. You can even use these as just a regular inkwell, without a Vac fountain pen.
We hardly have any Vac-20 bottles left, but we're hoping for more soon! We still have some Vac-mini pens, but those are going fast. We are also expecting to continue to re-stock these pens. I'm not sure if TWSBI will be releasing nib units for the Vac-mini. They are the same nib as the Mini, but the sections are not interchangeable. I found it very easy to remove the nib and feed from the housing of the Vac-mini, but the nib & feed are pretty tight in the Mini, and I don't think it's recommended to try and remove those.
I wanted to do this blog post earlier, but it's been so busy both in the shop and online. In particular, I needed to corner my hand-model (Jon) and find time when the shop was empty but light was still good so we could take some photos. It was a bit hairy even getting these few photos done, because we had Caleb running around loose. He's like a very small but very active bull in a china shop. At the very least, the dog was just lying next to us - who would've thought we'd ever say Super is the good one. And we have a small splash of Autumn Oak on our concrete floors. The blessings of a family business. We're coming onto the final stretch of this holiday season! Our extended hours are on, right up until Christmas Eve, and would you believe we're still getting shipments of stuff in. I hear about all these wonderful family traditions like baking Christmas cookies and sitting around fireplaces, but Caleb's Christmas traditions are going to be more along the lines of eating dinner late and climbing over boxes of merchandise that are all half-opened and half-counted. It hardly seems like it since we only had that tiny sprinkling of snow yesterday, and also I have not yet had any holiday eggnog, but Christmas is just a few days away.