Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 17, 2021

Penlux Masterpiece Grande uncapped with a Fine nib.

This week’s surprise favorite is the Penlux Masterpiece Grande. I’ve been ignoring it and was thinking it may get added to the for sale pile. Then I used it, and wondered why I went so long without using it. Definitely not going into the for sale pile.

My fountain pens were a bit temperamental most of this week. The indoor heating has dried out the air so much that my pens can’t handle much of a pause and the ink quickly evaporates off the nib. Some rain on Saturday added enough moisture to get things back to normal.

Diplomat Aero with a 14kt gold nib

The newly arrived gold-nibbed Diplomat Aero got a lot of use. It took a little getting used to. The nib looked long and thin. Although, it’s about the same size as my Pelikan M815 and Penlux Masterpiece. That was sorted out in less than a page of writing.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook).
Reading: The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille. This one is finished and I enjoyed it enough to add the next book in the series to my reading list. Although, it will be awhile before I get to it. I haven’t started anything new.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

None

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

Off-topic

What I’ve been up to… | paperinkplan

How to read a pen review | UK fountain pens

Maker: Setting Up My Every Thing Every Where Journal | Comfortable Shoes Studio

News: Pelikan’s US Price Increases For 2021 And The Trends That Might Surprise You « The Pelikan’s Perch

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 10, 2021

photo of my newly arrived Diplomat Aero with a 14kt gold nib

My relatively new Sheaffer 300 Matte Green got a lot of use this week, compared to other pens. My newest arrival, a gold nib Diplomat Aero is pictured above. It didn’t arrive until Saturday so it hasn’t seen any use to speak of.

Fountain pens haven’t been top of mind for me this week, so they didn’t get much use beyond a few notes and lists. So, not much else to say. I have started writing some other articles, but they aren’t far enough along for me to mention.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook). I finished this one. It was worth the investment to read since I enjoy the genre. Next up will be the next book in the trilogy. It’s even longer (32 hours), so it may take me months to get through.
Reading: The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille. My first book by this author. I was in the mood for a mystery, and this one was recommended to me.

I want to give a shout-out to the Libby service (and app). It’s offered by my local library and has ebooks and audiobooks. I tried a library app long ago, but I forget the name (maybe it was Libby). It was atrocious and unusable. The current Libby app is nice. It allows me to send the ebooks to my Kindle, which is my preferred platform for reading. So if you haven’t tried Libby recently, it may be worth looking at it again. I’ve never used it for an audiobook.

New Arrivals

  1. Diplomat Aero Green (14kt Fine nib) finally arrived. Thursday I contacted Goulet Pens about the long-lost pen, and they immediately offered to replace it or issue a refund. I picked a replacement, and they had generated the order Thursday afternoon. Then late Thursday morning USPS tracking for the original pen updated to show it had arrived in my state, three and a half weeks since being last providing any update. So I quickly contacted Goulet Pens, and they were able to put a hold on the replacement. The Diplomat was then delivered on Saturday.

Incoming

None

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

canetas e coisas: SANTINI

Holiday Haul 2020 // Year in Review – Weirdoforest Pens

The Ultrasonic Cleaner – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Turning Over the Year | Peaceable Writer

Blackbird 5241 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

News: Edelstein Ink of the Year 2021 – Golden Beryl « The Pelikan’s Perch

Off-topic

What Happened | Kieran Healy // Good read, and the theory makes sense.

A Brief History of Peanut Butter | Innovation | Smithsonian Magazine // I like peanut butter and now know who to thank.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 3, 2021

photo of this week's favorite pen, the Matte Green Sheaffer 300.

Picking a favorite fountain pen and ink is going to become harder and harder, since I’m sticking to what are already my favorites, and using a different pen every day. But if forced to pick I’d go with my new Sheaffer 300. I’m a fan of both green and Sheaffer. I’m thrilled that there’s a modern Sheaffer I like. The fact that it’s an inexpensive pen (~$65 street price) and a joy to write with, and I have a winner.

My fountain pen usage has been up a little over the last two weeks. Mainly because I’ve made a conscious effort to use them every day. I’ve set an informal goal of writing at least three pages a day. Some days it just happens naturally from the things I need to get done. Most days I need to supplement it. Since it’s often late in the day, I usually pick something easy and stupid. Once day I imitated Bart Simspon’s blackboard gag and wrote: “I don’t feeling like writing, but I feel like using my fountain pens.” Over and over until two pages were filled. Other days I simply transcribe pages from the book I’m reading. For the record, these days a page is typically A5 or B5 sized. If I was smart, I would turn this into a routine to practice and improve my handwriting.

Those of you reading this directly on the website will notice that there’s a new design. This coincides with my move back to self-hosted WordPress. There are still some things I need to work out, although most are only noticeable to me. I did go a little heavy with green, so I hope you like it as much as I do.

I came across another bent nib. My Sailor KOP medium nib is bent up Waverly style. It doesn’t write so bad, but noticeably worse than before. This one had to happen during the cleaning, but I’m at a loss as to what and why. I might have to start recording my pen cleaning. I’ll send it out once USPS seems to have settled down.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook): Still making progress through the book. I’m about 75% done, with about 7 hours of listening left.
Reading: Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré : Finished this one. I hadn’t read it before, but didn’t realize it was published in 2019 until it brought up Brexit and Trump. A typical melancholy le Carré story.
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré : I started this one after finishing Agent… and have made very little progress. I fell asleep reading it more than once, which isn’t encouraging. Especially since I woke up with no desire to finish the chapter. This one was due to be returned in two days, but I returned it yesterday. My main problem is that it’s shaping up to be a very bitter and cynical story.I’m not sure it’s a story I want to read these days. I feel duty-bound to read it, since it’s the last George Smiley story. I have never read it, but it will have to wait until the world itself is less bitter and cynical.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

  1. The Diplomat Aero, with its gold nib is still sitting at USPS in Virginia. A at least according to the last USPS tracking report. Now that the holiday is over I guess it’s time to try and move this one along, although based on twitter and the internet in general, a three week delay isn’t unheard of.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. Esterbrook Oversized Estie (Journaler) was written dry of Sheaffer Red ink. I immediately refilled it with the same ink.
  2. Sailor Pro Gear British Racing Green (M-F) was inked up on October 31st when it arrived. I waited a few days, but it was eventually re-inked with Montblanc British racing green
  3. Kanilea Pen Kona Cherry (EF) was refilled with Montblanc Bordeaux as soon as it went dry.

Newly Inked

I inked up (or re-inked) so many pens that I did a currently inked post yesterday.

Completing the Inspired Stories Planner – Pam Alison Knits

Local Focus: Resurgence of the fountain pen – NZ Herald

Crónicas Estilográficas: More Custom 74

canetas e coisas: VISCONTI

FPR Jaipur – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

2020: Some of my fountain pen highlights. | Fountain pen blog

New Pens To Me 2020 | dapprman

My 2021 planner setup – Pam Alison Knits

Favourite Tools – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

2021 Planner Set Up. — The Finer Point

Year-End Recap: Favorite Pens from 2020 — The Gentleman Stationer

A Stationary 2020 of Stationery — The Pen Addict

2020 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Looking ahead to 2021 | UK fountain pens

2020 in Inky Review Part 1: Personal Trends and Collection

2020 Cheers and Tears – The Well-Appointed Desk

An affordable ASC?! Introducing the ASC Studio Collection | UK fountain pens

YEAR ROUNDUP: MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS OF 2020 | The Pencilcase Blog | Fountain pen, Pencil, Ink and Paper reviews

Off-topic

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/business/low-mileage-supercars-lamborghini.html?referringSource=a // I can’t buy fountain pens that I won’t use. Assuming I could afford one of these cars, I would have to drive it.

Currently Inked

I’m beginning the year with two dozen inked up fountain pens. Once I had them all inked up I realized we’re entering the middle of winter, when the air inside will be extremely dry. It’s great when I wash the floors and want them to dry asap. It isn’t so great when I don’t want ink to evaporate. As evidenced when I picked up the Fisher of Pens Hermes after a couple of days and it was a minor adventure getting it to write. While it’s startup problem in the past, looking at its history, the problems were always in the dry winter months. Once it starts writing it’s great for the day.

The pictures and writing samples are in the same order, except for the two desk pens, which aren’t show in the photos. The desk pens are the 7th and 8th writing samples.

Photo of twelve of my currently inked fountain pens.
Photo of ten of my currently inked fountain pens.
writing sample for the first twelve inked fountain pens
writing samples for the remaining ten inked fountain pens

Fountain Pen Quest Year-end Roundup

The past year was a bit weird for me with my fountain pen hobby. I went into 2020 with a substantial fountain pen budget, which included travel to pen shows. Then the pandemic came around. That was my first and last pen show of the year.

I made it to the Long Island Pen Show in March. That coincided with the Pandemics’ arrival, but shutdowns weren’t happening yet, so the show went on, and I attended. I did buy a pen at the show, which kicked off this year’s buying spree.

By the end of March, COVID was taking hold, and it was becoming apparent that the pen shows I was considering attending wouldn’t be happening. Or, if they did, I wouldn’t be attending. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but for the future record, some shows may have slipped in before March, but if effect, pen show season was over. I put my travel budget to use buying pens.

Additional purchases quickly followed, and I bought more pens in 2020 than I did in any year since 2013. It was the second-highest number of new (to me) fountain pens in any year.

2020 By the Numbers

Fountain Pen Arrivals: 25 (1 still in transit – I hope)
Fountain Pen Departures: 11 (4 of which were purchased this year)
Blog Posts: 73
Website Views: 83k (based on WordPress stats)
Website Visitors: 33.5k (based on WordPress stats)

Favorite Fountain Pen in 2020

Photo of my favorite new fountain pen of 2020 - The Sailor KOP Royal Tangerine.

The Sailor King of Pen Royal Tangerine, with a medium, left oblique nib, was my favorite new fountain pen in 2020. This hugely overpriced pen is comfortable in my hand and has my favorite nib style. I can use the pen comfortably for hours, and the nib is natural for the way I hold the pen. The color clinched it. My theme this year seems to have been The Year of the Bent Nib, so I did have to send this out to Mark Bacus to have the nib straightened.

photo of the Kanilea Kona Cherry fountain pen.

Runner-up: Kanilea Pen Co. Kona Cherry. It took a while for this pen and I to bond. Now it’s always inked with my favorite ink – Montblanc Bordeaux.

Most Disappointing Fountain Pen in 2020

Photo of the Sailor Pro Gear British Racing Green - my most disappointing new fountain pen of 2020

Through no fault of its own, the Sailor Pro Gear British Racing Green was my biggest disappointment. You’d think it would be one of my catch and release fountain pens, but it wasn’t. For me, disappointment is based entirely on expectations. I had convinced myself that this Pro Gear would be different, and one that I could use for hours and hours while admiring its great looks.

But no, when my hand is already tired (such as from typing all day) it can be uncomfortable to use. It’s a small pen. The added weight of the Regency Stripe version makes it more comfortable for me. I had convinced myself the Racing Green would be the same.

Still, I love the looks of the pen and will be keeping it.

Misc Notes

This year was the first time I had Mark Bacas grind any nibs for me, and I’m quite happy with his work. I also had him repair a bent nib. He has another of my pens for a nib repair, and I have a third that I’ll eventually send off to him.

Photo of the repaired oblique medium nob on my King of pen.

As the above implies, it seems that 2020 was The Year of the Bent Nib for me. I managed to bend three nibs this year. All are on pens worth saving.

I moved this website to a new host after Christmas. (This is the first post since the move.)

Plans for 2021

I bought a lot of pens in 2020. I had budgeted for both fountain pens and pen show travel. The one pen show I got to was local, so travel expenses were minimal, and I only bought one pen at that show. The pen shows I had been considering were early in the year. It soon became obvious that I wouldn’t be attending, even before the shows were officially canceled, freeing up the travel money. I put the travel money towards pens. Sure, I could have saved it for 2021, but years in Corporate America taught me to treat budgets with the rule – Use it or lose it, even if the budget is totally under my control.

In 2021 I’ll budget enough for a good fountain pen or two, but no travel. Most pen shows I consider are early in the year, so they either won’t happen or will be before I’m ready to go. I’m holding out hope for the Commonwealth Pen Show (Boston) on Sept. 12, 2021. I’ll budget for a vacation, and if there’s an opportunity, I could vacation at a pen show. It will be interesting to see if some early shows can reschedule for later in the year.

The quantity of new pens that I kept (20 or 21, depending on my long lost in transit pen) means none have gotten much use. I’ll concentrate on enjoying them, and my older fountain pens, in 2021.