Sunday Notes and Links – February 07, 2016

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Stripe and Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Stripe and Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

What I Used

My favorite fountain pen and ink combination of the past week was a surprise, at least to me. It was the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Carbon Black ink. I picked the combo with the intent to only use it to address my glossy postcards. The ink is waterproof so well-suited for that task. I figured I’d use another pen/ink for the text itself. But this combo worked so well on the glossy paper that I’ve used it for the entire postcard. I also used it for the occasional note when the pen is within reach.

Speaking of postcards, and InCoWriMo, I’m averaging nearly two postcards a day (11 in 6 days) and have written at least one a day so far in February. I’m probably not sticking to the rules since I using postcards and mailing them in batches rather than daily. But I am writing them daily and more importantly, finally responding to the Fountain Pen Day giveaway entries.

A close second was my Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Sailor Jentle Black ink. This was the pen I carried in my shirt pocket all week. And yes, I still love the Bronze Age and used it at least once a day.

What Others Are Using & Doing

Ian at Pen! Paper! Pencils! shares his journaling habit.

Matt at the Pen Habit shares his perfect pen, he hasn’t bought another pen since getting this one six months ago. Well, not since his last LB5, he has more than one.

The Unroyal Warrant shares a loadout for traveling in SE Asia.

The Purl Bug reviews a Field Notes County Fair notebook she’s about to finish.

The Palimpsest shows us the pencil case used by E.H. Shepard.

A Fool with a Pen shares his favorite blue inks.

Jenny, at the Finer Point, shares her February Loadout.

Paul at Gorgeous Ink shares his February Loadout.

Website Spotlight

This week’s website is one I’ve enjoyed for a long time, although it’s been silent recently. It came back this week. Write To Me Often is from a fountain pen enthusiast in Turkey. The blog posts are in both Turkish and English. The photographs are great.

The reviews are based on real world usage, the latest of which is of the Clairefontaine Roadbook.

Pen Shows & Other News

The Los Angeles International Pen Show is less than a week away and runs from Feb 11 – 14.

My knowledge of European Pen shows is limited but the next one I know of is in Paris on Feb. 20th, called the Rendez-vous Of Collectors. If you know of one before then feel free to mention it in the comments.

Sunday Notes and Links – January 24, 2016

What I Used

Photo of the Edison Menlo Pump Filler with Athena Sepia Ink

My favorite fountain pen and ink combination of the past week was the Edison Menlo Pump Filler with an extra fine nib and filled with Athena Sepia ink. I’ll still claim the Visconti Homo Sapien as my favorite, but if I’m honest I did use the Menlo more this past week. The ink makes all the difference. It flows nicely, even with the thin nib.

I did write two pens dry last week, the Sheaffer Balance and the Pilot Vanishing Point. With 11 fountain pens still inked up I had no need to replace these.

The Pen Addict reviewed the Bic Cristal Ballpoint Pen which brought on waves of nostalgia. I remember buying 12 packs of these before the school year (many, many years ago and technically my parents bought them). I think they also contributed to my hatred of blue ink since they were always blue. I used one this past Friday when I paid the bill to get my car out of the shop. (Not something to connect good memories with the pen.)

What Others Are Using

Tim at Nib Creep shares his tale of woe when a working Parker 50 turned into a non-working Parker 50. How to Ruin a Vintage Pen in Less Than 2 Hours.

InCoWriMo is coming up in February. Paul at Gorgeous Ink shows us the postcards he will be using. I’ve never participated in InCoWriMo but I may copy Paul’s idea to use postcards. I still haven’t replied to all the entries for my giveaway. At the very least I’ll use February to get caught up. As it turns out I bought some of the same postcards as Paul when my first selection of postcards turned out to be fountain pen hostile.

Eivind at The Ink Smudge tells us about his ink rotation and shares his January load out.

John from Pensive wrote about the Pilot 82G that he’s been using for the last six months.

Website Spotlight

Pens! Paper! Pencils! is in the spotlight today. My favorite feature of the site has nothing to do with fountain pens, it’s the sketches that Ian does and posts on a regular basis.

Ian gives his fountain pen ink reviews a unique spin by including an inkling and often include a video of him making the inkling. Naturally there are fountain pen reviews too. His stationery interest extend beyond fountain pens so you’ll find non-fountain pen reviews to. As much as I’d like to, I can’t say these non-fountain pen reviews are a waste of time since they do contribute to my favorite feature.

Ian also writes about some general pen related topics. This week it was about Pilot’s UK Pricing, which sparked some good debate both in the comments and on Twitter.

Pen Shows & Other News

The pens show season kicked off in the US with the Philadelphia Pen Show this weekend. Snow kept at least a couple vendors away, while others successfully traveled great distances to be there. If your stuck in snowy Philadelphia enjoy the pens and the company of pen people. If you’re stuck in snow somewhere else I recommend you follow the advice of former Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin, given during the especially harsh (even for Buffalo) blizzard of ’85, “Stay inside, grab a six-pack and watch a good football game.”

The European pen shows kicked off today with the Southwest Pen Show in the UK.

The next U.S. pen show is the Los Angeles International Pen Show on Feb 11 – 14.

My knowledge of European Pen shows is limited but the next one I know of is in Paris on Feb. 20th, called the Rendez-vous Of Collectors. If you know of one before then feel free to mention it in the comments.

Is this the most expensive fountain pen ever (excluding jewel encrusted specimens)? A Vanishing Point competitor? Fountain Pen + Watch Guts = $105,000 CEO Switchblade. No mention of the filling system. Is it your new Grail Pen?

Looking for Links?

With the revised format for my Sunday post there’s far fewer links than I had last year. If you still want to get your link fix I’d recommend these sites which publish regular link posts. There are other sites that post links, but I think of the fist two as the ones with both a regular schedule and a large number and variety of links in each post.

On Fountain PensSunday Inklings every other Sunday.

The Well-Appointed Desk publishes Link Love every Wednesday.

Gorgeous Ink and Gentleman Stationer both have started doing more curated Sunday Link posts on a regular basis. The Penman Post has also pen regularly posting a small listing of links since the new year began, they appear on Saturday,

Lastly, thanks to automation, most of what I read gets pushed out to Fountain Pen Links as a link, so if you want a firehose of links it’s there.

Sunday Notes and Links – January 17, 2016

What I Used

Thirteen fountain pens inked up as the year beginsAnother week with very low fountain pen usage on my part. I think I missed a day using the Visconti Homo Sapien so I can no longer say I’ve used the pen every day since getting it. I stopped carrying it in order to give other pens a shot, intending to use it evenings. But I didn’t write every evening so it went unused. No favorite this week since I tried mixing up my carry every day. I picked a different three pens to carry each day.

What Others Use

Jon Bemis used a dozen fountain pens over a two week period during some negotiations. (Guest post on The Pen Addict)

Dr. Deans, at Pen Economist, wrote about capping your collection and at the bottom of the article he lists his current collection (capped at 10 fountain pens). I’ve debated capping my collection but I can’t bring myself to do it. I use a pen and like it enough so I decide not to sell it. I do have pens that make me happier than others and I will use these more than others. I’ve carefully avoided declaring an arbitrary buying moratorium but I suspect there will be a high hurdle to get over for me to add new pens this year. As Dr. Deans mentions, the value of new pens has declined for me. So maybe a cap isn’t out of the question.

Heidi started using a 2016 Hobonichi Techo and tells us How I use my Hobonichi Techo [via @dowdyism]

Joe, The Gentleman Stationer, shares his 5 favorite fountain pen inks for everyday writing. Couldn’t agree more with Sheaffer Skrip Red and Pilot Blue-Black. I can’t argue with Waterman either, except blue isn’t a color for me. I can’t argue with the others either, I like them but they aren’t everyday inks for me.

Mary at From the Pen Cup, also started with the 2016 Hobonichi Techo and shares A Practice: My Hobonichi Techo. I’ve ben recording the daily weather on the daily page. But Mary uses the monthly index pages for that purpose. I use those index pages to keep track of habits or daily goals (fun to see a unbroken streak) but I don’t use the monthly calendar pages at all and those seem ideal for the weather summary.

Website Spotlight

This week’s website in the spotlight is The Pen Addict. This is a little bit like the president of the local model rocketry club telling people they should visit the NASA website. You probably already know about it and visit it regularly. But still, I shouldn’t ignore it for that reason.

It’s worth mentioning now for a couple of reasons. First, Brad just updated his Top 5 lists. Second, Brad just started a Pen Addict membership to support the site. Although, if you don’t currently visit the site regularly then the membership wouldn’t appeal to you, but it does mean Brad will be spending more time and attention on the site. So, if you haven’t visited the site in awhile it’s worth visiting to see what’s new. Some changes are not so new such as regular contributions from a couple of writers (Susan & Jeff) along with frequent guest posts.

My only complaint is that he wastes time also writes about pencils, rollerballs, gel pens and other non-fountain pen topics.

Pen Shows & Other News

For those of you in the latest Edison Pens group buy, there was an update. It’s getting close!

The pens show season kicks off in the U.S with the Philadelphia Pen Show at the end of this week, January 23 and 24. Website.

Pen shows kick off in Europe a week from today with the Southwest Pen Show in the UK on January 24th.

Sunday Notes – January 10, 2016

What I Used

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc BordeauxIt as a slow week when it came to using fountain pens. I kept my streak going and used the Visconti Bronze Age every day. Although considering it lasted well over a week on it’s fill, only going dry on Saturday. I used it considerably less than previous weeks. It’s still my favorite. I can’t really pick a second place favorite as I tried to spread what little writing that I did among all my inked pens.

I’ve also continued to write in my Hobonichi every day. While I don’t necessarily like matching pens & notebooks, in this case I’ve been alternating entries with my two desk pens. The F-C Model 66 for blue-black and the Edison Huron Grande when I want the red of Montblanc Bordeaux.

What Others Are Using

“Where’ve you been, Mike?” ~ Inkdependence!

Mike shows us his Christmas stuff.

My Vintage Parker 61 Jet Flighter Fountain Pen Experience — The Clicky Post

Mike (a different Mike) tells up about his vintage pen experience.

Stationery at My Wedding | All Things Stationery

While I’d stop short of calling it a stationery themed wedding, Tessa certainly did go all out when incorporating it into her wedding. She can be forgiven for only including one fountain pen.

EDC Show & Tell, January 2016 — The Purl Bug

With only three fountain pens Amanda is is showing excessive restraint and logic.

New Year, New Loadout — Ink&Flour

BW is also showing excessive restraint and logic and carrying three fountain pen.

Top Ten Pens 2015 | Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb.

Leigh shares her top 10 fountain pens of 2015 several of which get regular use.

Website Spotlight

This week’s website spotlight shines on Too Many Inks, at least that’s what it’s called at the moment. There’s been a few other iterations and this is the fourth name.

Obsessive/compulsive (in a good way) collector of fountain pens and inks. David mainly collects Pelikan fountain pens and his ink currently totals 309 bottles.

He regularly posts his pens/inks as he loads them up and uses a database to manage the rotation to make sure he keeps a good mix of pens and inks.

Since I like seeing what other people use this site is a regular for me since the vast majority of posts is what he’s using. And since he inks & flushes to a schedule there’s always something new to see.

Pen Shows & Other News

A new M800 from Pelikan is just around the corner, and it’s a looker. Josh later tweeted, and updated the post to say that it appears that this pen will only be released in the United States and one other (currently unknown country). My guess, completely uninformed, is that the second country is Belgium based on the name of the pen. This is a Special Edition and pre-orders are about $680 from US retailers.

The pens show season kicks off with the Philadelphia Pen Show in less than two weeks, January 23 and 24. Website

Looking for Links?

With the revised format for my Sunday post there’s far fewer links than I had in the past. If you still want to get your link fix I’d recommend these sites which publish regular link posts. There are other sites that post links, but I think of these two as the ones with both a regular schedule and a large number and variety of links in each post.

On Fountain PensSunday Inklings every other Sunday.

The Well-Appointed Desk publishes Link Love every Wednesday.

Lastly, thanks to automation, most of what I read gets pushed out to Fountain Pen Links as a link, so if you want a firehose of links it’s there.

Sunday Notes

My Sunday Notes and Links post is taking on a new format as the year begins. There will be fewer links so I removed the word from the name. If you have an opinion or suggestion (constructive please) let me know in the comments.

What I Used

Parker Vacumatic Maxima with Montblanc Albert Einstein. Second favorite pen/ink on January 3, 2016

This week’s second favorite fountain pen and ink

I’m as tired of writing that my Visconti Bronze Age is my favorite pen as you are of reading it. It’s still my favorite and the only one I used every day. My second favorite fountain pen/ink of the week is my Parker Vacumatic Maxima (c.1942) with Montblanc Albert Einstein. Its firm fine nib is a nice contrast to the Visconti.

With it being relatively slow this time of year I used my fountain pens a lot less than the previous week. Not helping is the fact that I have several written drafts of posts already done and have been typing them up, leaving less time for hand writing. That said, I did find time to use the Visconti every day and I forced myself to use other pens at least some of the times. I did give each of my currently inked pens a short workout.

I finished off my 2015 Hobonichi and started my 2016 copy. Two days into the year (it’s really early Sunday so it doesn’t count yet) and I filled both pages. I’m using it as a journal and not a planner.

I’m using an Agendio as a paper planner. I’m only a week in (it started last Monday) but I’m off to a rough start. I’m not a paper planner person so it will take some getting used to.

What Others Used

Used versus Un-used pocket notebooks – The Finer Point

Jenny at The Finer Point writes about pocket notebooks she’s used, along with the ones she hasn’t. Guess which she has more of? Even though I haven’t counted mine, I know I share the same addiction.

Short List Of Time-Tested Inks | An Inkophile’s Blog

Margana shares the inks she’s used the longest, some for more than 10 years. If I was to put together a similar list I think Montblanc Bordeaux would be the only one on it.

TWSBI Vac 700 Review – The Pen Haul

Cody reviews a fountain pen he’s been using for months.

Moving Into My Hobonichi Techo 2016 | The Well-Appointed Desk

Ana is setting up the planner that she’ll use for the year.

The Frugal Fountain Pen: My New Traveler’s Notebook

Tony made his own traveler’s notebook.

What others have inked up

Paul from Gorgeous.Ink has six pens inked.

Cody (from The Pen Haul) tells us his Christmas carry, which does include that Vac 700.

Website Spotlight

Each Sunday I hope to highlight a website I enjoy ready. The inaugural choice is On Fountain Pens. Singapore has a surprisingly (to me) large and active fountain pen community which includes Maybelline. A lot of pen reviews, stationery reviews and other information are at the site.

I picked her site for this week because she’s wrapping up her 12 Days of Christmas guest posts. All are worth reading, but Fountain Pen Inks and Bleach by Nick Stewart was a unique read. Oh yea, and the artwork is really cool.

Pen Shows & Other News

The pens show season kicks off with the Philadelphia Pen Show in a couple of weeks, January 23 and 24. Website

NASA is excited (and so am I) that the USPS will have a slew of space themed postage stamps in 2016. If space doesn’t excite you then USPS previews many of it’s 2016 stamps here.

Looking for Links?

If you still want to get your link fix I’d recommend these sites which publish regular link posts. There are other sites that post links, but I think of these two as the ones with both a regular schedule and a large number and variety of links in each post.

On Fountain PensSunday Inklings every other Sunday.

The Well-Appointed Desk publishes Link Love every Wednesday.

Lastly, thanks to automation, most of what I read gets pushed out to Fountain Pen Links as a link post, so if you want a firehose of links it’s there.

Sunday Notes

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc BordeauxLike a broken record (for those who remember vinyl) the Visconti Bronze Age with Montblanc Bordeaux ink repeats as my favorite pen. As in previous weeks, I’ve used the pen enough to write it dry so it’s on its second fill of Montblanc Bordeaux.

There’s no current links this week, but since I don’t typically link to retailers I figured I’d comment about the retailers I used in the past. Except possibly for the last few shops, I don’t think there will be many surprises if you’ve shopped for fountain pens on the internet. If there’s any order to the the list it’s the order in which I began buying from them.

But first, Goulet pens published a list of prices due to increase in January. While the prices are specific to them, it’s due to price changes from the distributer so I’d expect all retailers, at least in the US, to be affected. I was most shocked at the price increase for Vanishing Point nib units (up $20, which is a 33% jump) even though I thought they we really inexpensive for gold nibs). There’s also price decreases listed for various paper brands so it may be worth waiting.

Initially, a long time ago, my fountain pens of choice were the Pilot disposables, now the Pilot Varsity but it may have been something different back then In fact, my memory of them being Pilot branded may be wrong too, but I think they were. I bought them in a local office supply store (now long gone). I tried a more expensive “real” fountain, I think it was a Parker but didn’t like it. In retrospect it was inexpensive (maybe $5 at the time, probably less) but I liked the disposables better so avoided new fountain pens as not worth the money. I had a no-brand lever filler that was passed down and used that for bottled inks.

Then just before the turn of the century I worked in New York City for awhile, so I was exposed to a wider variety of fountain pens. During that time I would visit Fountain Pen Hospital and Joon Stationery on a regular, but infrequent basis. I was using fountain pens but I wasn’t buying a lot of them at the time. So it was mostly window shopping or a few bottles of ink for the Lamy Safari I was now using for bottled inks.

I was no longer working in NYC by the time I became interested in adding to my accumulation. I’ve always been conservative when buying online, preferring places I know over the cheapest price from an unknown. Fountain Pen Hospital was a place I knew so I purchased online once I could no longer easily visit their store. They certainly weren’t cheap, but they did have specials on a regular basis so many of my early fountain pens were from them. If I had to guess I’d say I’ve bought more fountain pens (excluding disposable fountain pens) from them than any other single retailer.

Since I knew Joon Stationery they were also an early online destination for my purchases. Like FPH they weren’t cheap but they also had specials, although these were less appealing to me than the ones FPH had. It seems I wasn’t the only one who thought that, since Joon is no longer around.

As I began looking for fountain pen information online I came across Goulet Pens. My early education in ink and paper came from Brian Goulet’s videos and blog. After getting so much information from them, and reading compliments in various forums, I began to buy ink and paper from them. That was about 4 years ago and I’ve been a happy customer since. It’s been mostly ink and paper but I have purchased several fountain pens through them, including my latest obsession. One thing about Goulet Pens that I really like is their lack of coupons or site-wide sales. Sure, I like to save money, but I’ve found if any store (any product) that routinely uses coupons it means they are higher priced the rest of the time. I’ve always found Goulet Pens prices to be reasonable, even when compared to other store’s coupon deals. They do have closeout specials and a “bottom shelf” (slightly used items) but I like knowing anytime I buy from them I’ll be getting their best price without any extra effort.

Later I expanded to shopping at Anderson Pens online store. I had never been to a pen show but I knew they were active and well received at shows so I began shopping there. Eventually I went to a show and bought my first Esterbrook from them. I’ve always found their prices for vintage and NOS pens to be very fair and frequently less expensive than recent sales on eBay. Many of my Esterbrook nibs have come from them. Also, my favorite ink brand is Montblanc which they carry, so much of it has come from them.

Classic Fountain Pens has been my go to destination for expensive fountain pens, if they carry the brand. This way the nib can be tuned and checked before it is sent to me. I have also bought some vintage and NOS pens from them.

JetPens is probably the biggest retailer on this list, concentrating on stationery and inexpensive pens. When I first shopped with them I considered them a U.S. retailer of Japanese brands. That may have been more perception than reality. These days they do carry the major Japanese brands they also carry others, such as Kaweco and Diamine.

Nanami Paper specializes in Japanese brands of stationery products. Most of these items aren’t otherwise available in the US which is related to my main complaint about the shop. It’s difficult to wait and place a combined order for the products I use because many of their items will often go out of stock. Their Seven Seas Writer is my favorite notebook. It uses Tomoe River paper. I tend to buy the factory seconds when they’re available in order to save some money. It’s the same great paper and the defects are minor, if even noticeable. One thing to note – if you’re ordering paper, which is heavy, the shipping charge in your cart at checkout will be high. Their official policy is to charge actual shipping cost so they refund any overpayment. When I’ve ordered from them they’ve always shipped USPS flat-rate and immediately refunded the difference. It’s a small one-man (or family) operation (I’m guessing, but pretty sure) so the online store may be closed on holidays or other times he’s away. But this hasn’t affected shipping, my order has always shipped the next day, or same day if I order during the day.

Other regular, but brand specific retailers include Franklin-Christoph, Doane Paper, Nock Co. and Dudek Modern Goods.

There are plenty of fountain pen and stationery retailers out there these days, although mainly on the internet. Unfortunately I can’t afford to buy pens from all of them. Is your favorite on my list? If not, feel free to mention it in the comments.

Sunday Notes

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc BordeauxThis week’s favorite fountain pen and ink combination is a repeat, at least for the fountain pen. The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with its extra fine nib is still my favorite. After twice writing it dry of Pelikan Blue-Black I’ve switched to Montblanc Bordeaux which is my favorite ink of all time.

As I mentioned last week, I’m not doing the typical weekly highlights of links for the rest of this year. But I will present links around themes that don’t usually make it to the weekly list. Today I review some video sources. I’m just not big into watching videos, but when I do watch them these are the ones I enjoy. Plus, I have to admit that I often just listen to the video and only pay attention when there’s something worth seeing.

Most, if not all, these publishers have a YouTube channel, but I’ll be linking to their website. If you prefer YouTube you can find links to their channel there.

I could be mis-remembering, but I think Brian Goulet created the first fountain pen videos I watched regularly over 5 years ago. He’s still at it. I regularly watch his weekly Q&A videos. New episodes show up on the blog. Brian does much more than the Q&A (check out the Fountain Pen 101 videos) and they are all on the YouTube channel.

Stephen Brown has a large catalog of fountain pen reviews and related videos. In the past I would regularly watch and enjoy his pen reviews. The reviews are still good, I’m just less lees interested in fountain pen reviews these days. He also creates videos with Aizizah (of Gourmet Pens) which get cross-posted on her site – Gourmet Pens.

Matt publishes a series of video, mostly pen reviews at The Pen Habit. He also publishes a written review along with the video which I appreciate. As I said, videos aren’t my thing and I will often read the review but rarely watch the videos. Those I have watched have been enjoyable and informative.

FPtv has been starting up again, this time at Pen O’Clock. This format and length of the video doesn’t really appeal to me so I haven’t watched every episode. If you’re interested in fountain pens I would recommend checking it out, just because it isn’t for me doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it.

Anderson Pens has been doing a video podcast for a long time. It’s one of the few podcasts I grudgingly watch on video rather than listen to the audio version. There are two reasons for this. First, they often show pens I want to see. Second, using Google Hangouts allows them to get the video out quickly (and regularly) while the audio has often been delayed days (weeks?) until they get time to process and post it. (Well, technically I listen to the video and only watch it when there’s something to see.) Now that Brian is full time at the store he’s begun to record additional videos beyond the podcast.

The Purl Bug publishes what I would consider typical VLog posts. I enjoy them because I like seeing what other people use and enjoy (or don’t enjoy), plus they are relatively short. As the site name suggests, she also does knitting videos and some videos contain a mix from both topics.