Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown, Burgundy, F

(Sold) This is a late 1940s Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown fountain pen in Black, with a 14k gold, "33" Fine nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth. This is a medium-size pen, measuring 5.08" capped and 0.44" in diameter.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown, Burgundy, F, uncapped.

The price range between $50 and $100 is somewhat odd in the modern fountain pen market. The vast majority of the pens are likely to be mass-produced, plastic, C/C filler pens with a stainless steel nib. Some exceptions do exist, with nicer acrylic or metal bodies, but the steel nib is the constant fixture on those pens. What if you could find a pen that's just as well made, with a unique, high-capacity filling mechanism, and a gold nib? Impossible? Well, yes, unless you consider pens such as this awesome Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown.

The Craftsman is a very interesting pen in its own right, but its key feature is the 14k gold nib. The least expensive gold-nibbed pen on Goulet Pens is the Pilot E95S, priced at $136. Though it's a very interesting pen, it's way outside our range of interest. If you're in the market for a new, economically priced pen, perhaps a gift for a friend, under $100, may I suggest that you consider this Craftsman?

It is a fantastic pen in excellent condition! In true Sheaffer fashion, it is well-balanced, posted or not. It's built to last, and holds a lot of ink. The nib writes a gorgeous, smooth, luscious Fine line of about 0.5 mm (on my paper), and has a very pleasant springy feel. It's tuned to write at the lightest touch, but it will take increased pressure in stride, giving you a hint of line variation. The nib is a dependable writer, without any hard-start, skipping, or ink starvation issues. It would be a perfect school or office pen, and it will put the fun back into note taking. Do you enjoy writing in a journal? This pen will deliver a superb performance on the go.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown Fountain Pen, Black, F

(Sold) This is a late 1940s Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown fountain pen in Black, with a 14k gold, two-tone Feather Touch Fine nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth. This is a medium-size pen, measuring 5.08" capped and 0.44" in diameter.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown Fountain Pen, Black, F, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

One of the reasons I enjoy restoring vintage Sheaffer pens is that all of the models made between the early 1930s and the late 1950s, including entry-level pens, were of very high quality. Such pens, if restored well, can be enjoyed today even by people who are new to the pen hobby. No special skills required! The pen I am offering today is a very interesting Craftsman from the late 1940s, equipped with Sheaffer's trademarked Touchdown filling mechanism. The mechanism is very easy to use, and, with one push of the plunger, the pen fills up to capacity, holding more ink than most modern cartridge/converter pens. A simple, yet efficient design. And, it's a lot of fun to use!

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown Fountain Pen, Black, F, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

The Craftsman was economically priced then, and I price it economically today. I think it would be an ideal first vintage pen for a pen novice, and it would be perfect as a gift for your friend or family member, to start them on the exciting and utterly enjoyable journey into the world of vintage stationery and penmanship. The pen is in very good condition, without any flaws or defects, with excellent gold-filled trim. It functions as well as it did when it left the factory. 

The Feather Touch really deserves its name. A soft, springy nib, it writes reliably at the lightest pressure, laying down a consistent line of about 0.5 mm (on my paper). Today, gold-nibbed pens are extremely expensive, but you can purchase this complete pen, restored and tuned, for much less than the price of a modern gold nib alone.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown Fountain Pen, Black, F, capped

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown, Black, XXF

(On hold) This is a 1949 White Dot Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown fountain pen in Black, with a 14k gold, two-tone Triumph XXF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a through but gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). This is the largest Touchdown model, measuring 5.25" capped and 0.45" in diameter. This pen probably sold as an XF, but. by today's standards, it is an XXF (0.3 mm line on paper).

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown, Black, XXF, uncapped

Today, we use fountain pens mostly for fun, for the joy they give us. However, some of us still use fountain pens for work purposes, in the office, at school, taking notes in meetings, writing in our journals, and other purposes that require a fine, controlled, and consistent line that will not make a mess of poor quality paper. If you are in need of such a pen, look no further than this Sheaffer Touchdown.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown, Black, XXF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

This is the "first-year" model, also known as the "Fat" touchdown. It's significantly larger than the later TD and Snorkel models, and yet it has the excellent ergonomics and the reliable, easy to use Touchdown filing mechanism of its successors. Sheaffer claimed it was the "easiest pen to fill," and I completely agree with that. One stroke fills the ink reservoir to capacity, holding as much ink as modern piston-fillers. The Triumph nib writes a gorgeous, dependable 0.3 mm line, which puts in in the XXF category. However, thanks to its ingenious design, the nib is virtually free from the toothiness typically associated with conventional XXF nibs. Moreover, it will write rapid strokes in all directions without catching the paper. It's an ideal pen with which to write a business cursive or Spencerian penmanship (without swells).

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown, Black, XXF, nib close-up

This pen came to me in poor cosmetic condition. Because of the awesome nib, I decided to restore the pen, and I think I brought it close to my usual standards. However, some of the surface wear is still present, especially on the cap. Therefore, I am offering this pen at a significant discount. Why buy another TWSBI if you can have this fantastic vintage pen?

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown, Black, XXF, capped

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint (NOS)

(SOLD) This is a rare 1949 Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe in Pastel Green with a 14k gold, two-tone Triumph needlepoint nib and a stainless steel cap. The pen is in a new-old-stock (NOS) condition. However, since the internal components have hardened over time, I restored the pen's filling mechanism, adjusted ink flow, did a nib tune-up, and polished the pen gently with a soft cloth. The pen came with original Sheaffer stickers, but I removed them, as they were unsightly.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

The pen is a very rare, "first year" Touchdown, also know as the "Fat" Touchdown. It was in production for only a year, and later replaced by the Thin Model (TM) and the Snorkel. Sheaffer replaced the venerable Vac filler with the Fat Touchdown, as the former proved expensive to manufacture and service. The Touchdown filling mechanism really is the simplest way to fill a pen (the phrase I wrote comes from a Sheaffer ad). In a one-stroke operation, the pen gets filled to capacity. It holds more ink than the Snorkel and most modern C/C pens. It's reliable and enjoyable. The mechanism is making a small but significant comeback with the Edison Beaumont and Wahl-Eversharp Decoband.

This is a beautiful pen, yes, but it is also an extremely good tool for the calligrapher or anyone wishing to write with an excellent needlepoint nib. The problem with most modern needlepoint nibs is that they are designed for short downward strokes, as needed for Japanese handwriting. They are not as good for rapid upstrokes and long, curved cross-strokes. The other option is to buy an  XF nib and send it off to a nib meister to regrind it into a needlepoint. It's probably your best way to go, though it tends to increase the total cost of your pen.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

Thankfully, we can still find the Sheaffer Triumph XXF nibs, and, if restored well, these nibs are wonderful performers for Spencerian penmanship, business cursive, the Palmer Method, M. Sull's American Cursive Handwriting, etc. The Triumph writes a very fine line (0.2 mm on my paper) but without the toothiness or paper catching, typically associated with a conventional XXF nib. Thanks to Triumph's "rocker" design, the nib never feels scratchy and writes equally well in virtually all directions, producing consistent strokes and flowing lines, as required by cursive handwriting. The nib is extremely consistent, tuned to lay down a somewhat wet line, so you can experience that effortless gliding sensation, but without losing control of your writing. A very precise tool. If you want an even finer line, you can flip the nib upside down.

So what's so special about the "Fat" Touchdown? Well, in addition to it being rare, the pen is significantly larger than the TM and the Snorkel. Today, people appreciate larger pens, and there aren't that many large pens among Parker's and Sheaffer's vintage catalogs. The pen measures 5 1/4" capped, with a barrel diameter of 0.45 barrel diameter, which puts it in the vicinity of the Montblac 146 (LeGrand), so it should feel comfortable even for people with large hands. This is the only Sentinel Deluxe I've restored that has gold-plated cap threads. It's a detail, but it's rather cool.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint, capped

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent condition. Being an NOS item, that's what you'd expect. Still, the pen spent over sixty five years in storage, so there's some really minor surface "handling" wear, but it's difficult to see it with the naked eye. The gold-filled trim and the cap are both in excellent condition. The ink window is clear, the imprint strong. Here's a chance to own this rare, beautiful pen that's as good as new.

Sheaffer Touchdown Valiant, B

(SOLD) This is an early 1950s Sheaffer Touchdown Valiant (TM) in Black, with gold-filled trim and a 14k gold, two-tone Triumph Broad nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle polish by hand. I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration and I use high-quality replacement materials and specialized tools.

Sheaffer Touchdown Valiant, B, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

The truth is, most vintage pens (made before 1960) come with fine nibs. Medium nibs are rare, but broad nibs are scarce. The simple reason for that is that broad nibs were less practical in daily writing, be it in the office, at home, or at school. Also, the business cursive taught at schools at the time, called for a pen with a fine nib. Broad nibs were typically special-order items, and finding them today is not easy.

Sheaffer Touchdown Valiant, B, nib profile showing excellent geometry and alignment

If you are a lover of broad, juicy nibs and have been disappointed not to be able to find a vintage pen with such a nib, I have good news for you. This Sheaffer Valiant comes with a fantastic Broad nib. By modern standards, I'd rank it somewhere between a western M and B, but I tuned it wet, so it's going to write a true-to-size broad line for most intents and purposes. A smooth, but confident writer, this nib will bring out the color depth and saturation of your inks. It will make your inks shade and sheen. It will glide across the paper effortlessly, but in a controlled manner, in a typical Triumph fashion. If you've been wanting to add character to your handwriting, look no further.

Sheaffer Touchdown Valiant, B, capped

The pen is in overall excellent condition, without any flaws or defects. Both the plastic and gold-filled trim elements show only very faint surface wear, difficult to see with the naked eye. The ink view section is clear. Frankly, this pen looks as though it was made today and not sixty five years ago. The filling mechanism works efficiently and holds a lot of ink. The Touchdown really was "the easiest pen to fill," as Sheaffer claimed in its advertisements at the time.

Sheaffer Crest Touchdown Pen and Pencil Set, M

(SOLD) This is an early 1950s Sheaffer Crest Touchdown fountain pen and pencil set in Burgundy with gold-filled caps and a 14k gold, two-tone Triumph Medium nib. The pen has been restored, which included a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle hand polish. The pencil has been brought to full functional order, and comes ready to write with a fresh refill. I work according to current “best practices” in the area of pen restoration and I use high-quality replacement materials and specialized tools. The set comes in its original case.

Sheaffer Crest Touchdown, M, with the cap off and the Touchdown piston partially extended

This is a beautiful set! The Crest was the top-of-the-line item in the Sheaffer catalog at the time, and it shows. The set is in excellent condition, looking almost as good as new. There are no flaws or defects, just one small scratch on the pencil's body. The gold-filled caps are in equally excellent shape. Today, as in the 1950s, this set would make a great gift for a graduation, professional advancement, or a birthday. The phrase comes from a Sheaffer advertisement of the Crest, as it was the model that the Iowa company was proud of being used by the U.S. Diplomatic Corps.

Sheaffer Crest Touchdown, M, showing a profile of the Triumph nib and a clear ink view window

The Touchdown filling mechanism makes this pen a lot of fun to use! It's a system that is currently enjoying a small, but significant revival with the likes of the Edison Beaumont and Eversharp Pneumatic Oversized Decoband pens, and for good reason, as it's an efficient, easy to use, and downright cool mechanism.

The Triumph nib sold as a Medium, but I'd rank it closer to a modern Western Fine. A fantastically smooth writer, it glides across the paper effortlessly, laying down a consistent line. I tuned it to writes a bit more wet than Sheaffer originally intended so that you could take advantage of and enjoy your inks' color, shading, and sheen. You can flip the nib upside down for an XF line that's equally smooth and enjoyable. It would be very difficult to find a modern gold nib that feels as smooth, but without the unwanted effects of an overly polished writing surface, such as hard-starts and skipping.

If you've never owned a vintage pen, the Sheaffer Touchdown is a great pen to start, and this one, in particular, looks as great as it writes. It comes with a fully functional mechanical pencil so you can take it to work with you and enjoy an incredibly versatile set of writing instruments, and at an affordable price.

Sheaffer Crest Touchdown Set in its original box