Fountain Pen Day Giveaway

TWSBI Eco and ink samplesFountain Pen Day, November 4th, may seem far away but it’s in less than six weeks. I’m doing another give away this year and like last year it will be old school and require a handwritten entry. Unlike last year the giveaway will end rather than begin on Fountain Pen Day. Score one for advance planning.

The giveaway is a new TWSBI Eco fountain pen that’s black (with a clear barrel for ink viewing) and a random sample of inks. On a recent Goulet Pens order I included their “Random Ink Sample Package”. I won’t list the eight inks so you’ll be as surprised as I was (unless you can tell from the picture).

The giveaway is open worldwide. I’m giving more time this year because some international entries barely arrived in time (and one didn’t) despite being postmarked close to the contest announcement. So if you’re international don’t delay.

To enter:

  1. Send a letter or postcard to me. “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 it’s delivered to the PO Box. Use a fountain pen if you have one, if you don’t have a fountain pen use your favorite writing instrument (or whatever is nearby) and include a few words about why you want a fountain pen. Not required, but I like to know the pens, nibs and inks used.
  2. Send your entry to:
    Ray Newbery
    PO Box 176
    East Berlin, CT 06023
    USA
  3. The entry must arrive by Friday November 4, 2016 and be in the PO Box when I pick up the mail that afternoon.
  4. One entry per person. Households with multiple fountain pen users can enter once per person but each entry must be written and sent separately.
  5. Please be sure to include a legible copy of your address on the entry as I will ship the pen to this address. Optionally (but recommended), include an email address so I can contact you before shipping the pen and verify any information.

I hope to announce the winner on Fountain Pen Day or a soon as I can after.

The really fine print:

None of this is important to you entry but to clarify some potential questions:

If I can’t pick up the mail that Fountain Pen Day afternoon then any entry in the box when I do pick it up will be valid as long as the postmark is November 4th or earlier.

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 72 hours to contact me to provide the information and pick another winner if not contacted.

Each entry will be assigned a number in a random fashion. In other words, in batches as I get to it. The winning number will be picked at random.org.

I’m not responsible for loss or damage in shipping, meaning if the pen is lost or damaged in shipping I can’t afford to replace it. For international shipping (I’m in the U.S.) I’ll use the lowest cost method and this may take six weeks and won’t include tracking (although there may be tracking until it leaves the US). The pen will be declared as a gift but listing the value is also required and the cost of the pen (less than $30) will be listed for international customs.

So get writing.

Sunday Notes and Links – September 25, 2016

A couple new pens should be turning up here soon. This week I received the Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche (2016 LE) and just inked it up. I debated the purchase but the first impression is favorable. More this week.

Then Shawn Newton emailed me that he’s beginning to work on my pen. It’s a little earlier than expected but seeing the pictures of the work in progress has me excited.

As usual, starting with pen shows…

The Commonwealth Pen Show (Boston) is today (25th) from 9am to 5pm. Unfortunately I can’t attend this year but I’m hoping lots of people do so that a two day show is justified for next year.

The Colorado Pen Showis a couple weeks away, running from October 7th through 9th.

All US pen shows (at least that I know of) are listed here along with a schedule.

What’s Being Used & How

Best Fountain Pen Inks for Editing and Annotation — The Gentleman Stationer // I agree whole-heartily with his first choice. I have reservations about his second choice preferring a Montblanc ink, but I’m coming around. Yup, I left out colors and ink names. Read the article, good info.

A Pen by Ryan Krusac | Inkdependence! // This makes me want to ink up my own Ryan Krusac fountain pen

Unboxing Hobonichi 2017 | East…West…Everywhere // I’ve decided to take a break from the Hobonichi in 2017. I’m still using it this year, but it’s overkill for how I use it.

Brief Update On The Pilot Metropolitan | An Inkophile’s Blog // Change is good

Currently Inked: Loadout for Weekend in Philly — Pendora’s Box

Resources (on this site)

Index of my Ink Notes

Nib Workers, Pen Restorers and Fountain Pen Makers (recently updated)

Fountain Pen Clubs & Meetups

Ink Notes: KWZ Gummiberry

KWZ Gummiberry Ink BottleKWZ is a relatively new boutique ink brand from Poland with is available from Vanness Pens in the US. You can find out more about them at their website. Actually, I use “them” & “their” out of habit, the ink is made by one guy. I bought three bottles of KWZ ink at the Washington DC Pen Show including KWZ Gummiberry.

My introduction to the KWZ brand was back in June with KWZ Iron Gall (IG) Blue-Black and wasn’t very impressed with that ink. It was fine but nothing special in my opinion. KWZ got it’s initial buzz from its variety of iron gall ink colors. There is a IG Gummiberry but this one is a non-IG ink. (I do have a bottle of the IG version, but I’ve yet to open the bottle.)

I have two bottles of non-IG KWZ inks (Green #2 is the other) and both have the same odor. I don’t consider the odor either good or bad, it’s just there and it’s strong when the bottle is opened. It does smell like a chemical. It dissipates a bit when it’s in the pen and I haven’t noticed it with inked pens. My KWZ iron gall inks don’t have the same odor.

I really liked the color right from the beginning. It looked great in the medium Sailor KOP nib as well as the thinner Visconti Homo Sapien EF nib. There was some slight line variation with the wider nib that wasn’t there with the thinner nib. Still, even with the extra fine nib the line was clearly visible and the color was vibrant. I don’t have a lot of purple inks to compare this to and it’s been awhile since I inked up one of the ones I have.

The line is true to the nib size and I haven’t encountered any noticeable feathering. There is some heavy show-through and I did encounter some minor bleed-through. While writing on my Doane Paper writing pad, with the extra fine nib, I noticed a few dots each time I went to a new page. A little research showed these were under places where I had crossed out or written over something, so there was extra ink there.

As the water test shows, the ink has no water fastness worth noting, so it’s not a surprise that the ink was easy to clean from my pens. The Sailor KOP and Lamy AL-Star are cartridge/converter pens which are generally easy to clean. So they were quick and easy as expected. The Visconti Homo Sapien is a power filler (similar to a vac filler) so it generally takes longer to flush. The Gummiberry was flushed from the pen well before the tedium set in.

The KWZ Gummiberry quickly became one of my current favorite fountain pen inks and has been in pen since I got it. Much of this may be because the color is relatively unique for me, but the friendly ink properties also contribute a lot. The only potential downside is the odor, which doesn’t bother me. Bleed or show-through may bother some people but it’s not bad with my pens and paper of choice, at least not bad enough to bother me.

Sunday Notes and Links – September 18, 2016

Not much time this weekend so I’ll get right to the links…

Starting with pen shows…

Two pen shows this coming weekend. The Commonwealth Pen Show (Boston) is on Sunday the 25th and the Dallas Pen Show is on the 24th & 25th.

The Colorado Pen Showis also less than a month away, running from October 7th through 9th.

All US pen shows (at least that I know of) are listed here along with a schedule.

Meetups

The 2016 Pelikan Hubs were this past Friday. Gourmet Pens wrote about the Pelikan Hub in Amsterdam. The Gentleman Stationer wrote about the Nashville Hub.

What’s Being Used & How

Why I don’t organise my notebooks. — The Ink Smudge // I don’t organize my notebooks either and do even less, just dating each page. I used to be good and remembering about when things happened and then finding it in the notebook. I’ve gotten less good lately but I need to go back less and less.

Currently Inked #13 | 15 September 2016 – Pen Habit // Video, with a guest this time

Pen Restoration: 1930’s Sheaffer’s Balance Premier Oversize Plunger Filler — Gorgeous.Ink // I love the look of these pens, and have a couple different colors. I’d love to be able to restore them.

Hobonichi Techo (2016 Edition) Review – Pens! Paper! Pencils!// I’m still using my 2016 Tech, but just barely. I decided not to get one for 2017. I love the paper and the size, but it’s just not for me.

Ink Review: Akkerman #28 (Hofkwartier Groen) — The Gentleman Stationer // While Akkerman inks have a cult following my reaction to the couple that I tried were mostly “meh”. This is the only Akkerman ink I’ve used that has elevated to “I like it” status, although it seems to prefer wider nibs. So it will be awhile before I empty the bottle.

Another Viewpoint: The Kaweco Sport Squeezable Converter | From the Pen Cup // Mary has a good experience with the new Kaweco squeeze converter.

Huy Hoang Dao Oblique Holder | The Passionate Penman // This would be a complete waste in my hand. But it’s cool.

Goulet Pens Blog: FP101: How To Write With A Flex Nib // Speaking of a complete waste in my hand, but fun to watch

Ink Notes: Bookbinders Ground Rattler

Bookbinders is another new (to me) ink brand and I picked Ground Rattler as my introduction to it. Bookbinders is a store brand from Australia and available in the U.S. from Anderson Pens and from Appelboom in the Netherlands. Bookbinders is an Australian based online shop that, as its name suggests, has it’s roots in bookbinding.

The ink is available in 30 ml. glass bottles that are relatively easy to fill a pen from. The bottle is in a brown hessian bag (that’s a burlap bag for those of us in the US and Canada). The ink is $12.50 a bottle which puts its per ml. cost below premium inks such as Pilot Iroshizuku, but well above Sheaffer, Waterman and other workhorse inks.

They brand their inks “Snake Inks” as a call-back to the snake-oil salesman of the past and use the tongue-in-cheek tagline “Cures Writers Block”. All the names are based on snakes.

Anderson Pens had the Bookbinders inks at the Washington DC Pen Show and after looking through the ink swabs I decided on Ground Rattler as by first ink for the brand, even though grey is not usually the best introduction to a brand. But I like grey inks and this one looked interesting.

I picked the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen for the inaugural use of this ink. I was concerned my typical extra fine nib wouldn’t do well with this fairly light grey ink. The Sailor KOP has a wider medium nib. The ink did well in this pen although it always felt a little dry. The dryness seemed to be more in my head than in the nib. There wasn’t any actual problem, and there was a little line variation as the ink pooled and dried. While the result was fine it just wasn’t a pleasant writing experience as my brain kept telling me to press harder to get more ink as the pen was about to go dry. Even though I use grey a lot this one seemed to be messing with my head. This is one of the lighter grey I’ve used and my favorite grey, Montblanc Permanent Grey is significantly darker than this ink . It couldn’t have been that bad though, I wrote the pen dry in a week. But I never got used to it.

The Lamy nibs I use for the writing samples tend to be on the dry side, especially the extra fine. The extra fine Lamy nib was much too light to be a daily writer, or even an occasional writer, but the other nibs (fine, medium, 1.9mm) performed well with the Ground Rattler.

Drying time is respectable and I didn’t have any accidental smudges. My writing was legible after the water test although I wouldn’t trust it with thinner nibs or longer soaks.

The ink flushed easily from all my pens with one caveat. There was some ink that just wouldn’t flush from the Sailor converter, leaving a ring where the piston ended and I had to use a q-tip to clean it. This isn’t so unusual but it surprised me since the ink isn’t close to waterproof. It wasn’t so much a stain as just clinging to the converter.

The Bookbinders Ground Rattler won’t challenge Montblanc Permanent Grey as my favorite grey ink. The light grey color ended up being more of a negative than I expected. Yet I’ll use it with other medium or wider nibs from time to time and I liked the properties enough to order a couple other colors of Bookbinders ink.

Sunday Notes and Links – September 11, 2016

At the end of this week’s Pen Addict podcast one of the AskTPA questions was about using a board or other had surface to write on in a chair. At the time I was sitting on the patio doing some writing on my Levenger Lap Desk. I think that’s what they called it. I checked Levenger’s website and it seems this specific design is no longer available. This one has a cushion attached to the bottom and rests on my lap while the current ones are bigger but must rest on the arms of the chair. It’s not the most stable writing surface so I wouldn’t use it for letters or anything that needed to look it’s best. I lost the elastic straps long ago, but otherwise it’s held up well over the years.

I mentioned it last week, but we’re two weeks (or less) away from two pen shows. The Commonwealth Pen Show (Boston) is on the 25th and the Dallas Pen Show is the 24th & 25th.

The Colorado Pen Showis also less than a month away, running from October 7th through 9th.

Joe Szanto posted a long recap of the 2016 San Francisco pen show: The 2016 San Francisco Pen Show: a personal perspective

I’ve added a pen show page to my resources (see 2017 shows already on the schedule), along with a page for pen clubs. These join pages for pen/nib workers long with a listing of other sites that I like to read.

What Others Are Using

Currently Inked #12 | 8 September 2016 – Pen Habit

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series — The Finer Point

What Others Are Reviewing

Dip Pens were popular this week: Review: Kaweco Special Dip Pen – The Well-Appointed Desk and Pen Review: Kaweco Special Dip Pen — the desk of lori

Visconti Homo Sapiens London Fog: A Review — The Pen Addict // It’s becoming harder and harder to resist this pen.

Other Links of Interest

How to ask the right questions — The Ink Smudge

Time management Monday: What to write in your planner? – Quo Vadis Blog

Field Notes DIY: Changing Staples and Innards — Three Staples

Vintage Pen News: eBay and the Great Disintermediation

Letter gets there by hand-drawn map – BBC News

Ink Notes: Montblanc Ultra Black

Montblanc Ultra BlackMontblanc is easily my favorite ink brand and I readily try buy any of their ink. Well, not so much the blue ones, but the others for sure. I find that the inks work well in my thin nibs, are well behaved and work on all types of paper. So I had high hopes when I picked up a bottle of Montblanc Ultra Black at the Washington DC Pen Show.

Unfortunately this ink was a disappointment.

The color is a nice dark black, although not the darkest. Aurora Black and Platinum Carbon Black are two that come to mind as darker inks. This wasn’t a negative for me since I never equated “Ultra” to “the darkest” and I was happy with the color. Unfortunately the ink doesn’t match any definition I could assign to “ultra”.

Maybe it was me, but I was always smudging this ink, even in an extra fine nib. Plus I kept having to wait before turning a page in my notebook. While the dry time with the extra fine Lamy nib used in the writing samples was a very reasonable 2 seconds, that was an anomaly. The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age was the fountain pen I used as a daily writer with this ink and the dry time was close to 10 seconds on Tomoe River paper and not much faster on Write Notepads paper.

The ink has very little water resistance although it was mostly legible after the drip test. The water soaked up a lot of dye and it was a grey mess that wanted to stain everything it touched. That’s why I was surprised that it was so difficult to flush from my pen. The Homo Sapien isn’t the quickest pen to clean but it took what seemed like forever to flush this ink from it. Eventually I just filled it with water and left it nib down in a tissue to wick the ink out. I ended up refilling the pen even though there were still traces of ink in the tissue.

Admittedly my problems with this ink a subjective based on what I expected and how was to use the ink. I don’t find the color of this ink to be anything special and there are plenty of other black inks out there. As this is a special edition ink it does have a premium price, about $19 for a 30ml bottle. But it’s the other ink properties that ruin it for me. It seems out of character for what I expect from a Montblanc ink. Montblanc Ultra Black isn’t “ultra” for me in any way.