Sunday Notes and Links

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 medium nib with GvFC Garnet Red BotleThis week’s favorite fountain pen and ink combination is also my newest, which does give it an edge. It’s the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with a medium nib and Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red. I was surprised I like the medium nib so much. I bought it with the intention of having it modified. I’ll probably still have it turned into a left oblique, but I’m in no rush.

Some links of interest…

Field Coates by RichWorks Gear – Inktronics // A cool pocket notebook cover.

EXB Pen Wrap Review — The Pen Addict // Pen wraps never appealled to me, but this does seem nice.

Amatruda Amalfi Paper Review – THE UNROYAL WARRANT

The Field Notes Bubble — Fountain Pen Economics // I never understood the astronomical prices I’ve seen for some Field Notes. Then again, I’ve never been good at collecting or valuing things that only retain there value if they remain unused.

Pen Review: Stipula Etruria Alter Ego — The Gentleman Stationer // A very nice looking fountain pen.

Pelikan M805 Stresemann – // My Stresemann has been in the rotation since I got it.

There was a Nakaya event in Singapore. Covered by How to buy a Nakaya in 4 simple steps — Alt. Haven and Nakaya Pen Clinic, 25–27 August 2015 – On Fountain Pens.

Aussie Fountain Pen Friends on Facebook – Pete Denison // There are a few reasons for Facebook, this is a new one if you’re in Australia.

Check out all of this week’s links at Fountain Pen Links. If you’re looking for information about a specific pen or ink be sure to visit Pennquod.

Seeing Red

I’m down to six inked fountain pen, that’s a little low for me but not unprecedented. What shocked me was that when I reached for a pen this morning I didn’t have one “business” ink in the bunch. I had four pens inked with red ink, one with orange and one with green. I’ve never thought of any ink as business or non-business since any ink is appropriate for any situation if I want to use it. Still, the lack of a basic black or blue-black ink for me was a problem. I like to use three colors for note taking, one for the bulk of the writing, usually an black or brown ink, something on the darker side. Then I use a couple other brighter colors, such as red or green, when I want something to stand out or when a topic has changed. Red, green and orange were not really a suitable trio for my note taking since it would make for a lot of bright ink on the page.

So how did I get to see so much red?

  • Montblanc Bordeaux is my favorite ink, I don’t really think of it as a red ink. It’s just an ink I use a lot. So it’s no surprise that it’s in my Pelikan Stresemann. I actually do think of it as a dignified business ink.
  • The Montblanc Corn Poppy Red is in my Esterbrook inkwell. Ironically, picked because I never seemed to have a red pen handy at my desk. Now all I have is red.
  • I’m not sure why I picked red for the Kaweco Brass, but it seemed right at the time.
  • My new Franklin-Christoph Model 20 screamed for red ink as it’s first ink. It’s the one most likely to run dry soon so I’ll have the option to pick a non-red ink for it’s next fill.
  • I hadn’t inked a vintage pen in a long time and the Marine Green Sheaffer Balance Oversize was picked. A vivid green pen needs a vivid green ink.
  • The Akkerman Oranje Boven is a new ink for me. My experience with orange inks is that they aren’t suitable for thin nibs, so when it came time to ink up the left oblique nib again I picked it.

I’ll be inking up a couple new pens as September begins. I won’t flush any of the red ink early, although if I had realized it, I wouldn’t have flushed the Kaweco AL Sport early just because I was cleaning another pen and it was convenient. I do keep track of what ink is in what pen, now I just have to pay attention.

Pens inked on August 28, 2015

This Just In: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta in Tiger Red

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Tiger RedThe stockroom section of the Franklin-Christoph website always provides fountain pens of interest. This time the new(ish) Model 20 in a new Tiger Red acrylic caught my attention so I added it to my accumulation. The listing implies that Tiger Red will be a production choice but this was the first (test?) batch. I don’t really understand why it wouldn’t just be added to the regular product page since the price is the same, so I have doubts about my interpretation that the eventual “real” version will be exactly the same.

As the “This Just In” title suggests, this pen is newly arrived and barely used. I’ve had it a couple of days and probably written with it about three or four hours in total. So this is just an initial impression. I’ll be interested to see how things change when I review the pen in a few months.

The black/red acrylic doesn’t photograph easily. The black and red are very dark in most indoor lighting, at least my indoor lighting. But on close inspection, or in good lighting there is a lot of depth to the acrylic. Even though I really like the black and red combinations I was a little hesitant based on the photographs on the Franklin-Christoph website. The Tiger Red just didn’t “pop” in the photos. I worried for nothing, I love the design. No, it’s not bright and in most lighting both the red and the black are dark. But they do stand out and there’s a lot of depth.

I ended up picking a plain old medium nib for this pen. It’s hard to pass up a Mike Masuyama nib, but the ones that were available weren’t suitable for me. I went with the medium nib with the intent to get it ground to a left oblique sometime in the future. Naturally I had to use the medium nib before getting it ground. Holy cow! I really like it. It’s very smooth with great ink flow. Yes, it’s thicker than I typically prefer so I can’t use it when I want to write small or for marking up documents.

I went with the clip-less version which does have its drawbacks, such as easily rolling off a desk. But this does make the pen very light.

The signature feature of the Model 20 (a.k.a. Marietta) is the slip cap. It slides on/off and is held in place with friction. I’m still not used to the cap yet and I’m paranoid that I will crack it. The cap acrylic seems really thin when viewed through my paranoia. Cracking is a potential problem so I uncap the pen by pushing up at the base of the cap using the same hand that’s holding the pen. Since there’s no “click” when the cap is secure I do find myself not pressing the cap down enough due to fear that I’ll push down too hard. I am getting comfortable with it.

I’ve been carrying the pen in my Fodderstack XL for a couple of days. Since there’s no clip the pen does slip out if I turn the case upside down, but this hasn’t been a problem. Pulling up by the cap has removed the cap, probably due to my hesitation in recapping the pen, so I’ve begun to push the bottom of the pen up (through the material) and then grabbing it. This makes the pen ready to write faster than removing a clipped pen.

There’s no threads to interfere with the grip so the Model 20 is comfortable to hold. The pen is also very light. It’s one of the few pens that is as comfortable (to me) whether posted or unposted. Since there’s no clip the posted cap feels like an extension to the barrel. I have posted the pen a couple if times when I couldn’t hold the cap and it would roll away if I put it down.

The Model 20 is a mid-sized pen compared to other Franklin-Christoph fountain pens. It just enters the size of what I find big enough to be comfortable, but it is comfortable. I haven’t used it for any long writing sessions yet, the longest was about 20 minutes. There was no fatigue. I was initially a little concerned that the pen is too small & light for my tastes and it would be a pen I subconsciously grip too tightly, but so far that hasn’t been a problem.

My first ink for the pen is Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red, it seemed like this pen should have a red ink. I’ve got no complaints so far, they are working well together. My initial impression of the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 “Marietta” is very positive.


As I mentioned in the article, the vibrancy of the color varies with the light. These photos were taken in natural, indirect sunlight (near a window).

Ink & Pen Notes: Kaweco AL Sport with Kaweco Black ink

Kaweco AL Sport extra fine nibThe Kaweco AL Sport (Raw Aluminum) is showing the effects of being in my pocket with keys and other metal objects. I like it. That’s one reason it’s been inked up for nearly three months. I like carrying it, but it got very little use. I end up using it more at home than actually pulling it from my pocket when I’m out an about. So rather than go into the fourth month I decided to flush it out with about a quarter of the ink still in the cartridge.

I don’t have much to say. It’s a work horse pen and ink combination that work well. It’s just I find myself needing a pocket pen less and less these days. Plus, I recently added the Kaweco Brass Sport and I’ve been carrying that around. I don’t need two sports inked up.

The ink was easy to flush out. It was immensely easier to flush this pen, inked for nearly three months, than it was to clean the Akkerman IG ink of two weeks.

For now the Kaweco AL Sport goes back into the pen case.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Akkerman #10 Ijzer-Galnoten

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with Akkerman IG Ink BottleThis is one of my newer pens, acquired in mid-July. As for the P.W. Akkerman #10 Ijzer-Galnoten ink, it’s new to me and this is the first pen I’ve used it in. As you may deduce from the name, if you know Akkerman is a Dutch brand, this is an iron gall based ink.

The ink has been in my fountain pen for just a little over two weeks and I am flushing it out early. While I don’t like leaving iron gall inks in the pen too long that’s only a minor reason I’m flushing it early. Separately, I love the pen and the ink is nice enough (until it came time to clean it, but I didn’t know that yet). But the sum of them together (1 + 1) was less than two. I was bored with the combination.

Because it was an iron gall ink and I wanted to use the pen at least once a day it was always the first pen I picked up each day. Because I was writing less it was often the only pen I picked up on a day. This contributed to the boredom with the ink.

The very first time I wrote with the pen it but down a weak blue line which I didn’t like at all. It did darken as it dried, but I dislike true-blues so it was a bad first impression. While the paper does matter the ink has become more blue-black, even when it first hits the paper so it’s more to my liking. It also darkens a bit as it dries. Still, this was a step down, in my opinion, from the previous fill of the R & K Blau-Schwarz LE which is also a blue-black ink.

The ink level in the converter barely seemed to be lowering which I attributed to the very thin nib. Yet when I emptied the pen I found very little ink left in the converter, most of the ink coated the sides of the converter making it appear mostly full. This was the first indication that cleaning might be a problem. Flushing the pen itself was problem free and relatively quick. But because of the problems with the converter I did give the nib unit a short bath in the UC just to be safe.

I have to disassemble the Sailor converter to clean it up. Repeated fill and flush just did not clear the ink so I had to get in there with q-tips and tissue. Even that wasn’t enough. There was one small stain that stuck around until I soaked it in some pen flush then put it in the UC. I was quit surprised this ink as such a hassle to clean after just two weeks.

I’ll be re-inking the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe within a day or two. It’s new enough to still be a favorite, although I do think it will keep that favorite tag for years. I really like the pen and want to keep it inked up. As for the Akkerman Ijzer-Galnoten ink, the problematic cleanup has really turned me off for an ink that failed to stand out.

Sunday Notes and Links

There’s no favorite pen and ink this week. It was another week with less writing than normal. And the pen I used most was filled with a new (for me) ink that was just ok in the pen, but it’s an iron gall ink so I was afraid to let it sit in the pen for fear it wouldn’t get used. I picked it as the first pen of the day and that was often the only pen of the day. More when it either grows on my and I write it dry, or I get tired of it and flush it early.

Some links of interest…

Review: M201 Bayou (2015) – The Pelikan’s Perch // I’m not a fan of pen stores having exclusive editions although I certainly understand why they do it. In the case of Pelikan it seems like they’re doing more than making a minor change and calling it an exclusive. They’re nice colors which probably aren’t cost effective or have enough material available for large manufacturing runs. Plus they seem to make the pen unique in a couple of ways.

Montblanc 149 Diplomat 90th Anniversary Meisterstück Edition –

Fountain K Press Release – KarasKustoms // I’m glad to see KarasKustoms has moved away from launching everything on Kickstarter. Despite my love of the Ink I’ll be passing on the thinner Fountain K. If you have an Ink and want a Fountain K with a nib that’s compatible with the Ink then you’ll want to read the press release and be on the lookout for the initial release, before they change nibs.

Vintage Pen Market: How it All Went Down – Wonder Pens // Nice to see things like this from a pen shop. Unfortunately it was about 500 miles and one border crossing away from me.

Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter Update – Pens! Paper! Pencils! // Nice to see an update after a product has been used for a couple of months after the review.

Dip Nib Primer — The Pen Addict

About the TWSBI ECO – Inktronics // The TWSBI ECO seems to be getting mostly favorable reviews. While it’s still too new to be decisive, the quality seems to be good. Still, this isn’t enough for me to go ahead and order one.

Platinum Ascending Dragon – Calligraphy Nut // Beautiful

The Washington DC pen show was last weekend and it seems like I was one of the handful of people who weren’t there. There were a lot of write-ups about the show, here are a few that I particularly enjoyed although they did make me jealous.

A Full Heart: The 2015 DC Pen Show – From the Pen Cup

What I learned at the DC Pen Show — The Purl Bug

D.C. Pen Show Insanity: The Saturday and Sunday Recap! — The Gentleman Stationer

Washington DC Pen Show 2015 – That One Pen

DC Pen Show Post 2015 – Inkdependence!

Check out all of this week’s links at Fountain Pen Links. If you’re looking for information about a specific pen or ink be sure to visit Pennquod.

Ink & Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 25 & Sailor Storia Balloon Green

Franklin-Christoph Model 25 with a bottle of Sailor Storia Balloon GreenThe Franklin-Christoph Model 25 is the second fountain pen that I inked up to try out the Sailor Storia Balloon Green ink. Like the Franklin-Christoph Model 19 I inked it up back on July 27th, although it took considerably longer to write it dry. It lasted three weeks, which is faster than typical for me, but that’s because I only filled the converter about 1/3 of the way, and since I filled the converter directly there wasn’t any ink in the feed.

As I mentioned in the Balloon Green ink review, the ink took a very, very long time to reach the nib, but once it did the flow was good.

I like the looks of the Model 25 and I like the stub nib. Yet, I don’t use this pen a lot and never for a long writing session. The perfectly straight barrel is a little thin for me and lacks a traditional gripping section. The pen becomes uncomfortable if I use it for long stretches. Because of this the pen spent a lot of time in my Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter’s pen loop where I could pull it out for marking up documents or taking meeting notes. I rarely use the Taschenbegleiter for long writing sessions.

Franklin-Christoph Model 25 in a Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter

As I mentioned in the review, while nice, there’s nothing special about the Storia ink. Being a pigment based ink it potentially needs more care than a normal ink. I didn’t have any problems, but I wouldn’t want to leave it in a pen that would go unused for a week. So while I like green ink I think my next green will be Montblanc Irish Green.