Ink & Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance Aspen and Sailor Skrip Gray

Sheaffer Balance Aspen with Sheaffer Skrip Gray Ink BottleThe Sheaffer Balance Aspen sits solidly atop my favorite 5 modern fountain pens list. The pen has been inked up nearly every day since I got it. Well, more truthfully, every day since I had the feed problem fixed by Mike Masuyama.

Montblanc Permanent Grey is typically my ink of choice for this pen but I decided to change it up a bit this time. I picked Sheaffer Skrip Gray (the old Burgundy bottle version) back on September 19th. It did take awhile to write it dry this time.

I didn’t like the Sheaffer Skrip Gray anywhere near as much as the Montblanc Permanent Grey. I do like gray ink in general and the color of Sheaffer Gray is fine. It’s not great, it doesn’t have much character, but it’s fine. The performance varied based on the paper. It performed really well on Tomoe River paper and provided a very nice writing experience. It was less enjoyable on Doane Paper which is what I typically use. The ink seemed to provide less lubrication and the nib seemed to drag on the paper. This explains why it took so long to write dry, it wasn’t a good choice for my most common paper.

This pen also lasts longer because it’s the one fountain pen I have that I won’t carry out of the house. It’s a beautiful pen but has a reputation of being fragile. So I use it around the house. Even there I keep in in a single pen case that has hard sides.

I do plan to ink the Sheaffer Balance Aspen up again very soon but I did decide to clean it out which was fast and easy. I’m undecided on the next ink but will be one of my favorites I may return to Montblanc Permanent Gray or may switch to Montblanc Bordeaux.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pelikan M805 Stresemann with Montblanc Bordeaux

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann extra fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux writing sampleThe Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite made it to my Favorite 5 Modern Pens list back in May when it still had that new pen glow. Montblanc Bordeaux has topped my favorite inks list since I first created a favorite inks list.

This combination has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster, a pen I can’t put down. Yet, I inked the pen up back on July 17th and it took nearly four months to write the pen dry. While it does hold a lot of ink, four months to write dry makes me question its choice as a fav 5 pen.

When I’m using the Stresemann I love it. It’s a great looking pen and it’s a fine writer. Well, not really fine, more like medium despite Pelikan calling this an extra fine nib. And that’s the problem my brain has with this pen. I struggle with this being a wide extra fine nib. I can’t use it in the same ways I use my other extra fine nibs. But when I use it for long writing sessions, where I sometimes use a medium, or even wider, nib I enjoy it very much.

Despite being inked for nearly four months the pen was extremely easy to flush out. It took considerably less time and water to clean than the Conway Stewart I cleaned out at the same time.

I’ll be returning the Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite to the pen case, at least for a little while. As for the Montblanc Bordeaux, I still have a pen inked up with it.

Sunday Notes and Links

Edison Huson Grande Favorite Fountain Pen - October 31, 2015 with Montblanc Boardeaux insideI didn’t really have a favorite pen and ink this week. The Sailor Pro Gear lost its chance due to a leaky converter. My F-C Model 66 was a contender until it burped ink on the page. My most used was my Conway Stewart FPH 60th Anniversary pen. I wrote it dry and will be reviewing it soon. It doesn’t make it to favorite status because it too was problematic, requiring me to prime the feed a couple of times. If I was forced to pick a favorite among my currently inked pens it would be the Edison Huron Grande (again). I didn’t use it very often this past week, but it does look good sitting on my desk.

If you missed it – I’m running a giveaway. You have until month’s end to enter but since entry requires snail mail don’t wait to long.

Cult Pens is having their annual pens for kids event. Full details are at the link but it’s worth pointing out you will be charged shipping, but if all you have is the donation and use a credit/debit card then the shipping will be refunded.

Some links of interest…

Tale of a Vandal Pen Repairer: Namiki Inset Nib – Peaceable Writer // Some pens are worth fixing

Refining my pen collecting focus — TooManyInks // This concept is foreign to me.

Pilot Vanishing Point Review – The Pen Haul

Buying From a Local Online Retailer – Pens! Paper! Pencils! // Mainly a UK perspective but it could apply to other countries too. I’m lucky being in the U.S., both because of the local (read that as in the US) retailers and that import taxes and fees are minimal. I’ve never paid any import fees or taxes when ordering from overseas retailers.

Review: Moleskine Soft Cover XL Plain – The Well-Appointed Desk // I’m not a Moleskine fan, but it sounds like the paper is improving. Unless it’s just this model.

Review: Franklin Christoph Model 66 Stabilis — Alt. Haven // A review of the pen with a Ice acrylic and an extra fine nib.

TWSBI Diamond 580RB – EF Nib — The Finer Point // Review of a pen that stood the test of time and is one of Jenny’s favorites

A pen show happened:

Scriptus Toronto Pen Show 2015 | – Wonder Pens

Scriptus 2015 Pen Show Recap — Gorgeous.Ink

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: Conway Stewart FPH 60th Anniversary with Montblanc Toffee Brown

Conway Stewart FPH 60th Anniversary with Montblanc Toffee Brown ink bottleI inked up my Conway Stewart Fountain Pen Hospital 60th Anniversary fountain pen so that I could finally review it. The review should be out soon (I’ve had the pen 10 years, hopefully soon isn’t relative to that time frame.) With the review pending these notes will be short.

I inked the pen up on October 24th and wrote it dry back on November 3rd. I didn’t give the pen a full converter because I didn’t expect to use the pen very much and didn’t want to wast any ink. Much to my surprise I used the pen a lot and wrote it dry in less than two weeks.

The pen has been unused for years. I wanted to give the pen a fair shake before the review so I wanted an ink I knew well and liked very much. Brown seemed appropriate for this pen – I picked Montblanc Toffee Brown.

The medium nib wrote well, putting down a line true to its width. I didn’t have any skipping or hard starts. I did have problems with the ink clinging to the converter and I did prime the feed once or twice. The pen stopped pretty much all at once rather than having the line slowly get thinner and drier so it was less annoying than it could have been.

Cleaning the pen took much longer than I expected. No staining or anything like that. It just seemed like I’d never get rid of all the traces of brown. And actually I didn’t remove all traces. I decided it was good enough and left it sitting in tissue to draw any residual ink out.

Overall, a nice writing experience although I wasn’t left with an urge to immediately re-ink the FPH 60th Anniversary Conway Stewart.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with GvFC Carbon Black

Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe

I inked up the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Graf von Faber-Castell Carbon Black back on October 24th. At less than two weeks this pen went dry rather quickly, at least for me. Unfortunately there was a reason for that.

I did say unfortunately. Today I found that ink had leaked from the converter into the barrel of the fountain pen which explains why it went dry sooner than expected. It’s a converter that I had to pull apart for cleaning after past fills. The ink had obviously leaked from the top of the converter, not from down near the feed. The converter was tightly put together and there weren’t any obvious gaps or loose parts. The last time I pulled it apart I didn’t use any silicon grease when I put it back together. That may have been a mistake that allowed the ink to creep out.

Flushing the ink from the feed was quick and easy, just a couple flushes with the bulb syringe. Cleaning the ink from inside the barrel was a different story and took considerable time.

I did use the pen a lot. Enough so that I wasn’t expecting a problem when it went dry. The Regency Stripe has a very thin Sailor extra fine nib which I love.

There’s no writing sample or ink photos since the pen leaked before I did them. Once the pen dries out I plan to refill it with the same ink since I really did enjoy this combination. I have had this pen over three months so I’ll probably be giving it a full review soon.

Fountain Pen Day

Fountain Pen Day logo

Fountain Pen Day first arrived in 2012 and is the first Friday of November every year. It’s a great time to promote and share the use of fountain pens. For the most complete information you can check the official Fountain Pen Day website.

If you’re in the market for a new fountain pen you’ll find many retailers are have FPD events. You can find a list on the FPD website under Sponsors (scroll to the bottom of the page).

In addition, your favorite pen blogs will have increased activity this week.

If you missed it, I do have a giveaway starting on Fountain Pen Day.

Use those fountain pens today!

Image Credit: The image at the top of the post is the Fountain Pen Day logo and comes from the website.

Fountain Pen Day Giveaway

Sheaffer 300 posted on cloth

[Updated Nov 13th – see item #7 if you don’t have a fountain pen]

Fountain Pen Day is here, at least for those of you in Tongo where each calendar day first arrives. Sounds like a good time for a giveaway. I admit, if I had done this right I’d be picking the winner on Fountain Pen Day, but instead we’ll start on Fountain Pen Day. The giveaway will be open until the end of this month and it will be old school. You’ll have to use one (or more) of your fountain pens.

The winner will receive a Sheaffer 300. I reviewed the pen here and this particular pen was provided for review by Goulet Pens. It’s a terrific pen, but I want to slim down my accumulation and this one can’t compete for my attention with 23 other Sheaffers. I need to part with this pen to prove to myself that I can sell pens that I do really like individually but the reality is I don’t use them. I wrote about this recently. In this case, since this pen was free for review, selling it isn’t an option. So a giveaway will prove the point to me.

To enter:
1. Send a letter or postcard to me. The only requirement is that you must use a fountain pen It must be handwritten or drawn. “Letter” is very generic in this case. The letter can be anything, drawings, poems, a postcard, a standard letter, or a few words on an index card in the envelope, etc… As long as a fountain pen is used and the USPS can deliver it to my PO Box.
2. Send your entries to

Ray Newbery
PO Box 176
East Berlin, CT 06023

3. The giveaway is open internationally, as long as the pen can be shipped there via USPS.
4. The entry must arrive on or before November 30, 2015
5. One entry per person please.
6. Please be sure to include a legible copy of your address in the entry as I will ship the pen to this address. Optionally, include an email address so I can contact you before shipping the pen.
7. [Updated Nov 13th] – I was asked how to enter if you don’t have a fountain pen. So – if you don’t have a fountain pen you can enter by writing a brief note on why you want a fountain pen.

Your address will not be shared or published. I may use your first name and country when announcing the winner or sharing your entry. I may publish or show some entries (although not showing addresses). If you have a public website, Instagram or Twitter account and mention it in the entry I may publish that info, so feel free to promote yourself in your entry. I do intend to share any entries I especially like. If you don’t want any of this info public just mention it and I will respect your request.

I will number each entry and then pick the winning number with What is written and the order received have no affect on your chance of winning. I will post the winner as soon as possible but since each entry must be sorted and numbered I may be delayed a few days, potentially the following weekend.

Optional, but appreciated:

It would be cool if you made a note of the ink and pen you used for the entry. I really wanted to require this but decided not to.

Including an email address will let me notify you if you win and clarify any shipping info (would really be appreciated for none-U.S. addresses so I can be sure they are exactly right). It would also allow me to send you any tracking info. I won’t share the email address or use it for any reason other than this contest.

The fine print

None of this is needed for your entry, but this giveaway has the potential to be complicated and sometimes Internet lawyers come out of the woodwork. So based on past questions and possible future questions…

If your entry doesn’t include enough information for me to send you the pen or contact you (or if the info isn’t legible) I will pick another winner or, at my option, post a copy of the entry and give the winner time to contact me to provide the information.

I intend to pick up the mail from the PO Box on Dec 1st. Should I not get there until a later day, any entries in the box will be valid as long as they are postmarked Nov 30th or earlier. Since I have no way to know when the letter arrived this is the only way that makes sense, but don’t count on me being late, get your entries in the mail.

Should an entry be found to be invalid after a number is assigned the numbers will not be reassigned. If the invalid entry happens to be drawn it will be voided and another number will be chosen.

I can’t/won’t replace any pens lost or delayed in transit. Generally there is tracking while the package is in the USPS system but not any tracking once it leaves the country. Since this is a used pen with no transaction associated with it any insurance payment from USPS would be a pipe dream and shipping will be the lowest cost method available from USPS.

International shipments (I’m in the US) will be declared as gifts although a value (which will be minimal and not the value when the pen was new) must still be listed. If your customs authority disagrees with the declaration you’ll be responsible for any taxes or duties.

It is one entry per person, two fountain pen lovers at the same address may submit separate entries. Each entry must be unique with each person doing their own entry and then sent separately with separate postage. This is easy to abuse but I’d ask you to respect the spirit of one entry per user. If abuse seems blatantly obvious to me I will reject entries. If I’m wrong and you do in fact have a household of 15 fountain pen lovers (as an example) I apologize but there’s no recourse or reconsideration once the winner is picked. My contest, my pen, my rules. My decision which is final.

So get out those fountain pens.