Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – July 15, 2018

I seem to be settling into a fortnightly schedule for these trail logs. With it being summer, along with my boringly standard fountain pen usage, there’s not much to write about every week. Every time these weekly posts stop being weekly I tell myself I’ll use the time to write more reviews. We’ll see how that goes this time.

My fountain pen usage continues to be low. The typical lists and notes.

I gave my Pilot Vanishing Point, with its medium left oblique nib and Aurora Blue-Black ink an early flush. The pen was a hard starter every time I picked it up, and it never wrote well. One pen is not enough to declare an ink good or bad, but I’m not in any hurry to use Aurora Blue-Black again. Other inks flowed better in XF/F nibs than this ink did with the medium nib.

My favorite and most used pen of the past two weeks was the Edison Menlo with and extra fine nib and Athena Sepia ink. When I wanted something different I reached for the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with a medium nib and Papier Plum Burgundy ink. Both pens are nearing empty. I plan to refill the Menlo since that’s so much easier than cleaning the pump filler, while the KOP with will probably get a break so other pens get a chance.

photo of the Edison Menlo Pump Filler

Edison Menlo Pump Filler


iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL review: which takes better pictures for pen people? – Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb. // I’ve been using the Pixel 2 (non-XL) for some pen photos and have been pleased with the results.

June 2018 Pen & Ink Pairing – Hand Over That Pen

St. Louis Pen Show Recap – The Well-Appointed Desk

Ten Years Old And Still Going Strong | An Inkophile’s Blog // Congratulation!

It’s the pens, not the destination – Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb.

Crónicas Estilográficas: A Collection?


Letter Writing Club – Thursday, July 12 – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Why Collect Pens? | Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Mark Twain Goes Postal: Great Courant Letters – Hartford Courant // Two things struck me when reading these: 1. Only 72 words in a page? 2. He would absolutely lose his mind over zip+4 (unless it replaced the rest of the address).


Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – July 1, 2018

Retro 51 System with packaging

Retro 51 System with packaging

My nineteenth Retro 51 rollerball arrived recently, Mike Dudek’s The System. It’s my third space themed Retro 51. There’s still one empty slot in my Retro 51 pen case. Of course, I always have at least two pens out, and in use, so I have a ready-made excuse to add a few more.

(L->R)The System, Lift Off, Apollo

(L->R)The System, Lift Off, Apollo

The pen has a lot of black, which certainly makes sense for this design. While I usually like black pens, the addition of the color is less pleasing to my eye. While I love the theme and the design, it doesn’t grab my attention aesthetically. And poor Pluto, it’s either being dissed by being all out on its own with no orbit shown (although showing it’s orbit would have screwed with the design). A more positive view would be that it’s being elevated above the others as the only named planet.

The separated AL Sport

The separated AL Sport

One pen was emptied this week, but this was more due to evaporation than use. It was my Kaweco AL Sport (Raw Aluminum). It recently developed the habit of unscrewing as it travels in my pocket. The pen has stayed in the cap as it travels, although the cap remains in my pocket when I remove the pen. The last time the section also unscrewed from the barrel and remained in the cap, which had also become unscrewed, being removed in three pieces and requiring assembly before use. So far no ink stains, but it’s finished as a trouser pocket pen.

My fountain pen usage continued to be low. I use them mostly for lists and notes. It’s safe to say I use them daily, just not very much. I did start journalling again as June began, but that’s been inconsistent, about 14 A5 pages in all of June.

Two Retro 51 pens themed for summer

Two Retro 51 pens themed for summer

Since the 4th of July Holiday is approaching (Independence Day here in the U.S.) I pulled out the Betsy Ross Retro 51 to join the Play Ball.


The System Tornado Rollerballs // The Clicky Post There will be one more round, along with a new pencil.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Overview // NASA

(via Liftoff Podcast) Off topic, but keeping with the space theme, NASA released some images originally taken to plan the first moon landing. When initially released in the 60’s they were down-res’d to hide the capabilities of the cameras. Several have now been recovered from the original tape drives in their full resolution glory. All are black and white. Warning: Huge Files, JPG files exceed 25MB each and TIF files exceed 500MB each.

My Ultra Black Montblanc M Ballpoint – Pete Denison

Triangle Pen Show Write-Up! And bonus road trip! – SquishyInk

Field Notes: Three Missions // This continues today’s unofficial theme. I love this design, but I’m going to try and take a pass. I don’t use the pocket notebooks that I have, and this one is grid-ruled, which is my least favorite. I’ll see if I can hold out until it’s sold out.

Inky Pursuits: a recent round-up. | Fountain pen blog

The Silver Arrow | Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – June 17, 2018

No fountain pens were written dry this past week. I did ink up one new pen. More on that down below.

I did have two new stationery related arrivals this past week.

Retro 51 Corona on a pen standThe first to arrive was my eighteenth Retro 51, the Retro 51 Corona. The Corona isn’t officially a Vintage Metalsmith, but it’s very much a Metalsmith in spirit. The Corona is the first pen in the Smithsonian Collection. The barrel is inspired by the bronze-metal lattice on the outside of the National Museum of African American History and Culture building. The pens are numbered, but not limited. Mine is number 490.

This pen was an insta-buy for me once it became available. Everything about its design is what drew me to the Vintage Metalsmiths. The design is either the metal itself or created with the metal of the pen, no printing needed. In this case, the latticework is raised over the barrel. The raised lattice prevents slippage when holding the metal barrel, although it’s not sharp or uncomfortable.

I would typically swap the standard .7mm refill with a .6mm or the newly discovered .4mm gel refill. I’m out of refills and decided to go with the original, rather than order one. If the .7mm refill bothers me, I’ll swap it with one in another pen.

The Corona has taken its place on my desk.

Montblanc Petit Red Fox ink cartridges and writing sample

The second item, ordered mainly to get me above the $50 free shipping, was a pack of Montblanc Petit Prince Red Fox cartridges. I wanted to try the new Montblanc ink but didn’t want a whole bottle of ink added to my collection. Plus, like I said it got me the free shipping.

Only after I ordered it did I realize how few of my frequently used pens take international cartridges. Sailor and Pilot are proprietary, and Pelikan is a piston filler. My first choice was my Edison Huron Grande with an extra fine nib. The ink and pen did not get along. The line was so thin and dry that it was barely legible, and it looked terrible. I moved the cartridge to a Karas Kustoms Ink with a medium nib, and it was fine. It’s a beautiful red color.


Comparison: Baron Fig Squire vs. Retro 51 Tornado — The Gentleman Stationer

In praise of the Leuchtturm 1917, A5 notebook. | Fountain pen blog

Roterfaden Update 2018 – Pens! Paper! Pencils!

The Letters of Kurt Vonnegut and Letter Writing Club This Thursday – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – June 10, 2018

Aurora Optima pen on knight pen stand with a little of Montblanc Beatles inkI finally wrote another pen dry, bringing the remaining inked fountain pens down to a mere dozen. The Aurora Optima with its medium nib and Montblanc Psychedelic Purple “The Beatles” ink went dry.

I also finally started cleaning some empty pens. Usually I’m good at cleaning out a pen after it goes dry. Both because it’s usually easier before the remaining ink can dry up, and because I hate tackling a bunch of fountain pens all at once. There were four to be cleaned. Not bad, but still more than my patience can usually handle. So far, only two have been cleaned.


Crónicas Estilográficas: Carving // Combines my interest in vintage pens and my interest in filling systems.

Currently Inked – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Note taking | paperinkplan


Vintage Pen News: Yet another eBay scam

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – June 3, 2018

Edison Menlo Pump Filler with Athena Sepia ink bottleWriting this post is getting tedious, another week with little fountain pen usage. My most used pen & ink of the week was the Edison Menlo Pump Filler with Athena Sepia ink. It bullied it’s way into my hand. When I pulled it out to use it over a week ago, the nib was dry and beyond a hard start. So when I got a chance I wetted the nib (quick trip through the faucet stream of water) and started using it. Being carried around and used each day, even a little, has kept the ink flowing nicely. I love the combination when the ink flows. While it’s a combination that needs to be used, it’s not a chore to use it.

I finally decided to order The System Retro 51, so I’ll have one coming later this month. Based on an email I received, the second batch was slower to sell out, and only about half of us who expressed interest actually ordered one. He’s considering a third batch, but there’s a 300 pen minimum order, so it’s not an easy decision, and he’s still trying to gauge interest. (It’s easy to express interest, harder to lay out the bucks, so I’m sure well over 300 people will need to be interested.)

I was lucky enough to see the first batch before it sold out, although I passed at that time. I want to avoid impulse pen purchases these days, so I have a 24-hour rule. By then the first batch was sold out. I really like the space-themed Retros and this one was unlike any of the others. This is the most I’ve paid for a Retro 51 which is what made me hesitate.


My Experiences Holiday Sketching. — The Finer Point

montblanc elixir colorist collection inks (2018) | KMPN

Rome Store Recap – Hand Over That Pen

Stationery Packing List for a Writer’s Conference — The Pen Addict

Visconti Homo Sapiens Dark Age Fountain Pen Review – Pens! Paper! Pencils!

Writing These Days – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

EPA paid $1,560 for 12 fountain pens – CNNPolitics // No mention of the pen brand, but $130 per fountain pen doesn’t seem so bad. Somehow I suspect these pens were more show than substance.