Sunday Notes and Links – October 23, 2016

I didn’t do too much writing this week, much less than normal. Yet, a couple pens went dry and were cleaned out. Much to my dismay my newest pen, the Shawn Newton leaked a bit and I cleaned it out. I suspect I need to be more liberal with the silicone grease. It did seem like the ink creeped along the section threads. I’ll be refilling it later this week although I haven’t decided which Esterbrook nib to use. I also added two pens to the mix since I needed colored ink. The King of Pen got an orange and the Hermes got a green.

Not too many links this week, but let’s get to them.

Pen Shows & Clubs

There’s only one U.S. show left this year – Columbus, OH from November 10th through the 13th.

What Others Are Using

I’ve been trying a Traveler’s Notebook recently so found the following videos and articles interesting. Like The Purl Bug, I’m not getting a Hobonichi for next year, although my reasons are different.

Analogue System – 2016 Review — The Purl Bug and Analogue System – 2017 Preview — The Purl Bug (Videos)

Traveler’s Notebook and Me – Oct 2016 — Alt. Haven

Misc Links

Lamy Lx vs. Lamy Al-Star — Pendora’s Box // I was surprised to find that these are a bit more than new Safari colors. Some other subtle differences

A Quick Guide to Coping with Crappy Office Paper — The Gentleman Stationer // Good advice, although I admit with my thin nibs and fondness for Montblanc inks I never resorted to “Don’t Use Fountain Pens”. I also second the notion that yellow legal pads seem universally hostile to fountain pens, especially compared to the white legal pads.

Sunday Notes and Links – October 16, 2016

Pelikan M805 Stresemann with Papier Plume Burgundy writing sampleAgain, the post is later than usual but it’s still Sunday, at least where I am. I did write one pen dry during the week. My Pelikan M805 Stresemann ran out of Paper Plume Burgundy earlier this week. Speaking of the Stresemann, Pelikan is bringing the Anthracite finish to the smaller M405.

Pen Shows & Clubs

The Michigan Pen Show is over, running just Friday & Saturday this weekend. There’s only one U.S. show left this year – Columbus, OH from November 10th through the 13th.

The Appleton Pen Club is meeting this coming Wednesday (Oct 19th) with the theme “Clean Your Pens”. The meeting is at the Anderson Pens store in Appleton, WI.

What Others Are Using

Planners for 2017 – What I Plan to Use – scribbles and stationery

Currently Inked: Addition to October 2016 Line-Up — Pendora’s Box

Currently Inked: Loadout for Short Cottage Escape — Pendora’s Box

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil: Week 5 Review — The Finer Point

Misc Links

Waterman’s Ideal No. 56 (Semi-flex)

Nib Novice, Part 6 – Vintage Parker 51 | Pens and Junk

This Just In: Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche (2016 LE)

Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche in BoxPilot releases a Limited Edition Vanishing Point every year, the limit being determined by the year. So this year brings 2,016 Vanishing Point Guilloche fountain pens. “Guilloche” is a ornamentation resembling braided ribbons. The pens are black with silver trim and the guilloche pattern slightly raised along the black portion of the metal barrel. It has the look of vintage chased hard rubber pens and when it was announced I had some small hope it would be rubber (or ebonite) as the initial announcement didn’t mention the material. I immediately signed up to be notified when it was available.

Of course and in stock notification isn’t the same as buying it. I ended up mulling it over for a couple days after getting the in-stock notification. The Vanishing Point clip has never bothered me but the metal bodies weren’t my favorites and I sold all but one of my metal Vanishing Points. Did I really want another one? Well obviously I did and I hoped the raised design would alleviate my distaste of the cold metal.

The Guilloche Limited Edition Vanishing Point lists for $240 although there’s the usual 20% discount from most online sellers. Despite being a limited edition I haven’t seen any out of stock notifications and two thousand pens seems like a lot, especially at this price point. I didn’t feel the need to rush the purchase, especially since the “Storm Trooper” Vanishing Point was now available in the US and would probably be more popular.

The Guilloche is only available with a medium nib, which is typical for the annual limited editions, although some retailers may offer to swap the nib unit. Mine has the stock rhodium plated 18-karat gold medium nib. Since the nibs are easily swappable I can use any of my nibs and was happy to take the medium. I prefer fines or extra fines but this medium is a nice writer and I’ve been using it since I got the pen. Plus, part of my calculation was that the standard nib would make it easier to sell if I didn’t like the pen.

For the record, I received #200 of 2016. The packaging is new and I like it more than the previous limited editions. It’s a nice design but doesn’t seem to be a huge expense for something I’ll never use again. The pen also included the new Con-40 converter which isn’t widely available here in the States.

As for the Con-40 converter – I was going to say “it sucks”, but the problem is it doesn’t suck up enough ink. The converter seems over-engineered, with three small agitator balls and a stopper to keep those balls in. When extending the plunger to expel the air in preparation to pull ink in there a full half-inch of air still in the converter where the plunger can’t reach thanks to that stopper. This leaves more air above the ink than the typical converter. I made a mess trying to get the last of the air out. A syringe would work of course but that seems to defeat the purpose of using a converter, although seems easier than repeated attempts to get the air out. Hopefully there’s a secret I’ve yet to stumble on. Here’s a thread on FP Geeks about the con-40 converter issues. Officially the con-40 holds 0.4ml of ink.

I picked Montblanc Toffee Brown as the first ink for this pen. The writing was nice a smooth, a typical quality Pilot nib. The ink didn’t last long and I didn’t want to deal with the converter so I popped in the blue cartridge that came with the pen and have been using that since. There hasn’t been any skipping or hard starts.

While the Vanishing Points are ideal for jotting quick notes on the go the medium nib doesn’t suit that purpose, at least for me. So I’ve been using the pen for longer writing sessions at my desk (or a table) and find it delightful to use. The raised Guilloche pattern gives it a nice tactile feel that eliminates the cold feeling I get from the typical metal VP. I like using it as much as my wooden Vanishing Points, although some of that may be due to the new pen glow. Some people hate the clip, I really like it. It fits naturally with my grip and provides some stability. With small or mostly hidden nibs such as this one I have a tendency to rotate the pen over time, the clip completely eliminates this.

I’ve seen some online comments that Pilot changed the internal design below the clip which has affected people who remove the VP clips. This isn’t something I’d ever do but if you do expect to remove the clip you may want to do some online research before buying the pen. The review linked below has photos.

The Guilloche pattern is subtle and very nice. Last year’s Twilight Limited Edition VP was a hit among the pen community and if memory serves, it sold out quickly. While I appreciated the looks of the Twilight, and it certainly caught my eye, I never considered a purchase. On the other hand, the Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche 2016 Limited Edition was an easier decision once I knew the Guilloche pattern was raised. I’m very happy with the decision to buy. I like the simple design aesthetic along with the functionality provided by the raised pattern.

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Additional Reading

Pilot Guilloche Vanishing Point (2016 Limited Edition) | No Pen Intended

Sunday Notes and Links – October 9, 2016

Shawn Newton Eastman with PackagingI was happy to received my latest fountain pen as the week came to a close. It was a custom pen from Shawn Newton and arrived a bit earlier than expected. It’s his Eastman model but set up to use Esterbrook nibs. The vintage Esterbrook pens are too small and light for me to use comfortably on a regular basis. Now I have a great pen that uses all 31 of my Esterbrook nibs. The picture up above is my pen and packaging, Shawn also posted pictures of the completed pen. I’ll have a post with my first impressions later this week.

If you missed it, the TWSBI Eco giveaway is still running.

Pen Shows

The Colorado Pen Show is almost over while the Michigan Pen Show is next weekend.

Gourmet Pens: Field Trip – Tilburg Pen Show 2016 Recap

A recap of my first Pen Show — The Finer Point

Links of Interest

Currently Inked: October 2016 — Pendora’s Box

Ethics, Bias, and FP reviews — Pen Economics // Excellent article with lots of food for thought. Like Dr. Deans, I’m an “old cynic” and consider every review biased in some way, if only by personal likes and dislikes.

In Praise Of Habits | From the Pen Cup // Excellent article, which happened to appear as I had broken a 2 month long habit of writing at least two journal pages every day.

Currently Inked – October 2016

This Currently Inked post is more than a little late since I try to publish it on the first of the month. At least it’s still the first week. I actually did the ink samples two weekends ago, then promptly wrote a couple of those pens dry during the week. As it is, I’m expecting a new pen any day now and will be inking it up, but I decided not to wait.

I’m starting October with seven pens, down from the ten as September started. Only three of these fountain pens are carried over from September.

Currently Inked Pens - October 2016

Currently Inked Writing Sample - October 2016

Still Inked

The first three fountain pens in the photo are the ones carried over from September.

The Cherry Bamboo Vanishing Point, with the XXXF nib should get more use now that the Platinum Desk Pen is gone. This VP has replaced the Platinum as the pen I use for entries to my Hobonichi Journal each morning.

The Pelikan M101N has been inked for what seems like forever. This is the only turquoise ink that I like, but I guess it’s allure is vanishing and I often pass it over when reaching for a pen. Plus, that small pen holds a lot of ink.

The Pelikan M805 survived the month thanks to its ink capacity but it is nearly empty. I really like the Paper Plume Burgundy and may give the pen a refill of the same ink.

New Pens & Inks

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Akkerman Hofkwartier Groen #28

This Akkerman Ink has really grown on my so it returned in the Sailor Pro Gear KOP. It’s a favorite pen and I’m still making sure I don’t repeat any inks in it, although some ink will get a couple fills when it has it’s turn. I suspect this will be one of those inks.

Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche (M) with Pilot Blue (cartridge)

This is my newest fountain pen and I should have my initial impressions posted in a couple of days. I’m already on my second ink with the pen, but that says more about the con-40 converter than the pen, as does the fact that the pen now has a cartridge loaded.

Sheaffer Balance Aspen (M) with Montblanc Permanent Grey

The Sheaffer Balance Aspen is a favorite fountain pen of mine of mine. While officially a medium nib, it’s much more like a fine nib. For some reason this ink and pen seem to belong together. I mainly picked the ink for its waterproof properties since the Platinum Desk Pen, with it’s waterproof ink, left the rotation. But the ink and pen are worthy of use even if the ink wasn’t waterproof.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Sheaffer Blue-Black

I was surprised to find that I never opened this bottle of despite having it for several months. I was even more surprised on the great initial impression it made.

Pens Leaving the Rotation

Parker Vacumatic Maxima (F) with Montblanc Bordeaux

Parker c1942 Vacumatic Maxima fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux writing sampleIt’s hard to put this combination back in the case, but when the Bordeaux ran out I decided to clean it rather than refill it.

Sheaffer Legacy I (Stub) with Akkerman #28

Sheaffer Legacy I stub nib with Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen writing sampleI like this fountain pen for occasional use but the wide stub nib isn’t my choice as a daily writer. So the ink remained, but the pen is back in the case.

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Bookbinders Ground Rattler

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with Bookbinders Ground RattlerThe pen remains in the rotation but Bookbinders Ground Rattler is gone. The ink was OK but not my favorite grey.

Fisher of Pens Hermes (F) with Montblanc Irish Green

Fisher of Pens Hermes with Montblanc Irish GreenIt was hard not to re-ink this pen again so it will be back soon.

Sheaffer Balance II with KWZ Green #2

Sheaffer Balance II Jade Green with writing sampleThis one is nearly identical to the Sheaffer Aspen, so in a way it remained in the rotation.

Sunday Notes and Links – October 2, 2016

I’m a little late with this post, but it is still Sunday, at least in my part of the world. The week ended up being busier than I expected. Unfortunately I also broke the streak of writing a couple journal pages every day, almost always in my Seven Seas Writer which is nearly full. I wrote at least two pages for 61 days straight until Friday. I missed yesterday too. So it’s time to start over.

I’m also late with my monthly currently inked post but hope to get that put up tomorrow. The good news is I did a lot of writing. In fact, I tried to get ahead by starting the currently inked post last weekend but then I wrote a couple of those pens dry during the week and had to redo the writing samples and photos.

Fountain Pen Day is less than a month away. If you missed it, I’m doing a giveaway on that day but you need to get your entry in by then so don’t wait.

The Colorado Pen Show is Oct 7 – 9 in Denver while the Michigan Pen Show is the following weekend just outside Detroit.

Well, on to the links…

The Pencilcase Blog | RECAP: TILBURG PEN SHOW 2016

Inktober Day 1 – Fast — Sparetime Today // I don’t even consider participating, but it is a thing.

Pelikan Hubs 2016 – Philadelphia: A Recap « The Pelikan’s Perch // This concept is unexpected from a big established pen company, but it seems like a lot of fun.

From The Desk Of Deb | Goodwriterspens’s Blog // Some thought about fountain pen collectors and writers. I’m definitely a writer, I couldn’t have a fountain pen I didn’t use at least once.

Currently Inked: Loadout for Ottawa Conference — Pendora’s Box // Nice fountain pen choices.

Currently Inked #15 | 29 September 2016// Matt returns to some past pens and does a mini re-review. I like long term or re-reviews but can understand why Matt doesn’t like doing them.

Pocket Books Are Here! – Newton Pens // Shawn has added notebooks to his postcards being offered to raise scholarship money

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series: Week 3 Review — The Finer Point // This time it was a fountain pen. Still, something like this would drive me insane.

Ink Notes: P.W. Akkerman Hofkwartier Groen #28

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 stub nib with Akkerman #28 ink bottleI picked up this bottle of Akkerman Hofkwartier Groen #28 in March at the Long Island Pen Show. My previous experience with Akkerman inks was only fair. Not bad enough to dump the ink and re-use the bottle for a favorite ink, but not good enough for regular use in my pens. Green is my favorite ink color so I decided to give this one a try. I’m glad I did as this ink has boosted my opinion of Akkerman inks.

I’ve only used this ink in wide(ish) nibs -stubs and mediums. I figured this color would need some width to avoid vanishing into the page. But as the writing samples show, it does well with an extra fine nib. I tend to like bright greens and while this ink isn’t neon bright, it is easily legible on every paper I’ve written on. The more I use it the more the color grows on me.

I use Doane Paper Grids + Lines for my writing samples because I like it, and use it a lot. But it also provides a good test of how an ink stands out since the Doane Jotter paper has a bit of a yellow/green tint to it along with the busy Grids + Lines in blue. The Hofkwartier Groen is very legible on this paper even with the extra fine nib. The ink would be fine on white paper even with an extra fine nib.

I use a Seven Seas Writer with Tomoe River paper and this ink looks and performs really well on the paper. The color is just different enough, and there’s enough line variation to provide a fun and enjoyable writing experience.

The ink performance has been great, no hard starts or skipping in any of the pens I used. The ink flow is nice and provides some line variation. Drying times are reasonable. I’m really pleased with how well this ink performs.

Considering the complete lack of water resistance it’s no surprise that this ink was easily flushed from my pens.

A major attraction of Akkerman inks is their unique bottle. While it looks great on a desk it also has the only “last drop” filling system I’ve encountered that actually works, even with big nibs.

Akkerman Hofkwartier Groen #28 is the first Akkerman ink I’ve encountered that could see regular use in my pens. The main thing holding it back is that I have several green inks that I like, although it’s unique color may give it an advantage.

Additional Reading

The Gentleman Stationer Ink Review – He use is in thinner nibs and for annotation. A typical use for my green inks yet not something with this one yet.