J. Herbin Refillable Rollerball Pen Review

The J. Herbin refillable rollerball pen is a welcome addition to Exaclair’s new products for 2012. The feature that distinguishes this rollerball pen from most other rollerball pens is that J. Herbin’s pen can be filled with colorful fountain pen ink!

With its transparent body and simple design, the J. Herbin refillable rollerball has a modern minimalist appearance. It is accented with a chrome clip and trim and has “J. Herbin” printed in red on the snap-on cap. The pen has a “soft touch” feel to it – kind of similar to the “soft touch” feel of the R by Rhodia notebook covers. No doubt this helps to keep the cap securely posted while you are writing. The clear barrel comes in handy to keep track of how much ink is left in your pen.

(J. Herbin Refillable Rollerball Pen alongside an R by Rhodia Bloc No. 12)

Without its cap on this pen is a very compact 3.88”! It has been cleverly designed to be 5.5” when posted, a comfortable length for writing. With it’s cap on it’s about 4.75” in length which is a good size for carrying in a purse or pocket.

(J. Herbin Rollerball and Exacompta’s Forum Journal with a Club cover)

The J. Herbin rollerball writes in a medium line and is refillable with short international ink cartridges. J. Herbin ink cartridges are a great choice since they are available in 20 different colors! Most ink converters will be too long to fit inside this pen, but at only 2.25” long the Monteverde Mini Converter seems as if it could be adjusted to fit. I haven’t tried it personally, so if anyone gets an opportunity to check it out let us know. There are small holes on the end of the barrel so this pen is not suitable for conversion into eye-dropper fill.

(J. Herbin Rollerball alongside a previous version of the J. Herbin Rollerball)

We’re having a great time using the J. Herbin refillable rollerball pen! Do you like the idea of using fountain pen ink in a rollerball pen? What refillable rollerball pens do you like to use?

(J. Herbin Refillable Rollerball Pen Writing Test – with a Rhodia Webnotebook & custom mixed green ink)


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Refill Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges with a Blunt Tip Needle Bottle

If you own a fountain pen that has a cartridge filling system, you can easily refill your empty ink cartridges or ink converter using a blunt tip needle bottle. (Update: a NEW style of blunt tip needle bottle is now available.)

  1. Put some ink into the needle bottle – a small funnel can be used to make this easier.
  2. If you are changing ink colors it would be a good idea to clean your fountain pen and rinse out your empty cartridge with water first. A blunt tip needle bottle filled with clean water is a good way to rinse out ink cartridges. You may want to let the cleaned pen and ink cartridge dry overnight before you refill them.
  3. Insert the blunt tip needle through the small opening on the end of the cartridge down towards the bottom of your empty cartridge. This way as you fill the cartridge the air will naturally come out the top and not form too many ink bubbles.
  4. Gently squeeze the needle bottle and fill the cartridge or converter not quite to the top with ink.
  5. Put the refilled ink cartridge into your fountain pen and you’re finished!

I’ve heard that some people use a dab of glue from a hot glue gun to reseal the cartridges so they can take extra ink cartridges with them. If you decide to give this a try, be aware that it’s not foolproof. You may want to carry the ink cartridges in a plastic zip top bag to prevent any accidents.

There are many advantages to using a blunt tip needle bottle to refill your empty fountain pen ink cartridges:

  • Bottled ink is much cheaper to use than ink that comes in cartridges.
  • Since the empty cartridges can be re-used many times before discarding them, there is less plastic waste going into the environment.
  • Ink cartridges usually can hold more ink than a comparable ink converter.
  • The needle tip bottle can hold lots of ink and it doesn’t need to be cleaned after each use like a syringe does.
  • The blunt tip needle is safer to use for refilling than a sharp tip syringe.
  • The plunger on a syringe can be hard to control leading to small ink explosions, but the bottle yields to very gentle pressure.
  • You can fill the needle bottle with your own custom ink color and use it to create your own custom cartridges.
  • You can fill cartridges with ink that isn’t available in cartridges such as Noodler’s and Pilot Iroshizuku.

The little wire in the cap of the blunt tip needle bottle isn’t completely necessary, but it does serve a couple of useful purposes. Since the wire goes into the needle when the bottle is capped it helps to prevent any clogs and it also helps to prevent leaks if the bottle tips over. If the little wire in the cap comes out, you can gently push it back in.

Do you ever refill empty fountain pen ink cartridges? What method do you use? Do you have any tips that you’d like to pass along?


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