Washington DC Pen Show Haul

This was my first visit to the Washington DC Pen Show (or, as it calls itself on the website – ‘The Washington D.C. Collectible Fountain Pen SUPERSHOW The Largest Pen Event in the World’). I’d been saving all year and had a pretty good budget. I had no problem spending it. My pen haul is shown here…

Photo of my latest pens
My fountain pen haul from the 2013 DC Pen Show

The Esterbrook nibs came from Anderson Pens and complete the 9314 nibs in my collection.

The next three pans, all Sheaffers, came from Sarj Minhas. There’s a reason he’s called “the one man pens show”. He had some amazing pens. Just looking at what he was selling made me wonder what his personal collection is like.

The Marine Green Balance was my first pen purchase of the show and was before lunch on Friday. His table was right across from Richard Binder’s and the pen called out to me as I was waiting for some nib work. I did try to resist by looking around the room but soon returned to buy it. It’s got a custom Mottishaw stub nib and is a lever filler.

The other two Sheaffers weren’t mine until Saturday. Both have fine nibs. The Balance is a lever filler. Unlike the Marine Green Balance this one has a ink view window. The dark blue PFM I is my second Snorkel filler and my first PFM.

The first two modern pens were also Friday purchases. I stopped by the Edison Pens table to see the new Menlo filler and select some possible materials for a future pen order. Instead I walked away with the Menlo Pump filler shown. The picture doesn’t do justice to the material for this pen.

The small pen is the Franklin-Christoph Model 40 Pocket in the Smoke and Ice finish. It has a Needlepoint nib which F-C has ground by Mike Masuyama. I don’t think any Needlepoint nib can be called smooth, but with smooth paper this nib is very smooth. The pen is just big enough to jot a quick note without posting, but in general the pen is meant to be posted since it’s small.

The final pen was also the most expensive of the bunch and one I’d been debating about all day Saturday. It’s an Omas 360 Vintage Collection Turquoise with a medium nib. (It’s a modern pen, “Vintage” is just part of the name) Being able to handle it at the show confirmed the triangle design wouldn’t bother me. It was also the first time I’ve seen a new one selling for less than $500. By late Saturday I decided to buy it. I considered returning on Sunday to have the nib ground to a fine (the medium was the last pen they had) but decided I’d try the medium nib for awhile.

I also had nib work done on three pens. Richard Binder stubbed my Sailor 1911 Sterling with a medium nib. It’s a Sailor medium so it makes for a thin stub, but I like it.

Mike Masuyama stubbed a Pelikan Broad nib for my M620 cities series pens (I have three, the nibs are swappable). During the conversation I asked for a grind on the smooth rather than crisp side and on the thin (dryer) side of writing. I don’t like wet noodle nibs so this was perfect. The Pelikan Cities have gone unused because they all have wide nibs. This one adds some character so I’m going to use it more.

Finally, Ron Zorn repaired the nib on my Sheaffer Triumph. It’s again a usable pen.

In addition to the pens and nib work  I also returned with Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Six and 40 Pen cases along with a couple of their pads to try. There was also some ink and paper from Anderson Pens in addition to those Esterbrook nibs. While I skipped the Fountain Pen Hospital parts blow-out on Friday they still had bags of parts available on Saturday. I found one with some Sheaffer Balances and a Parker Vacumatic all suitable for practicing repairs so picked it up for $50.

I also returned with a sore throat which has added all the features of a cold, probably from the constant and cold air conditioning in the hotel. Hopefully I can shake it soon. It’s the only thing I don’t want to keep from the show.

All in all it was a successful pen show. Friday was leisurely enough to be able to browse and talk with the sellers (and other attendees). More detailed pen reviews will follow as I use them.

Did you attend the show? Return with any loot?

Sunday Notes & Links

I’m at the Washington DC Pen Show this weekend and I’m bandwidth and time impaired, so I’ll get right to the links. (More on the show in a day or two).

Fountain pens made the mainstream press with Wired’s review of 6 popular fountain pens.

ClickyPost has a discount on Doane Paper. No end date mentioned, I stocked up on Wednesday – Flap Jotters and both large and small writing pads.

Also at ClickyPost, a review of the hard to find AL Sport Raw Aluminum Rollerball. Not a FP, but still looks way cool.

Inkdependence Reviews the Anderson Pens Proper Pad. Based on this review I picked one up at the show so I could try it out.

A tour of the Platinum Pen Factory (via The Pen Addict)

And in completely unrelated news, if you’re a Apple iCloud user who’s about to lose your MobileMe bonus, Microsoft Skydrive wants to help you out for free. Well, at least for a year at which point you’ll be in the same “pay or downgrade” predicament. Maybe then Google Drive will offer a freebie.

Ink Reviews

Franklin-Christoph Back Magic and Syrah Syrah at Inkdependence.

Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts at Edjelly.com

Esterbrook #9314B Nib

Photo of the 9314B nib
Esterbrook 9314B Nib

Esterbrook pens are nice and are built like tanks, holding up well over the years. But what really interests me with Esterbrooks is the variety of nibs.

The 9314B is my latest acquisition and came to me as NOS (New Old Stock) along with an Esterbrook SJ pen. Being a 9xxx series nib it’s part of their “Master Point Series” which are iridium tipped. “Relief” is what Esterbrook called their left-oblique nibs. Richard Binder’s site discusses left-obliques among other nib types. This particular nib is a left-oblique broad stub. Since this is an old nib, even if it is NOS, performance between nibs of the same type may vary widely and your experience may vary.

Printing on the box includes “9314B Relief Broad Stub”, “Master Durachrome Renew-Point”, and “Made in U.S.A. Esterbrook Garden N.J.”

Photo of all 4 sides of the 9314B box
Esterbrook 9314B Box

I prefer extra-fine and fine nibs, but a broad nib seems better suited for trying out an oblique nib so I wanted to give it a try. I’ve used Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun and Noodler’s Habanero so far.

It took a little practice to find the sweet spot of the nib. The pen is rotated counter-clockwise about 45 degrees (just a guess) from my normal position (I’m a righty). My grip is the same, I just rotate the pen. It seems like I have to rotate the pen a little more than I’ve seen in some videos, such as this one by John Mottishaw, but it’s where I get the best performance.

I did use the nib briefly with the SJ pen but found that the pen was just a little too small for my tastes. It was a bit difficult to keep the oblique nib aligned properly as I wrote. But that was because the pen was just too small for me, nothing due to the nib itself. It’s perfect in the full size Esterbrook J pen.

Close-up of the Esterbrook 9314B nib tip
Close-up of the 9314B oblique nib tip.

The oblique nib provides a little more excitement than a plain old broad nib and it’s nice change from the safety of thin nibs. Although I can’t really use the nib for note taking a work. I typically jot down quick notes and it’s too cumbersome to have to find the right nib position each time I pick up the pen just to write a quick note. It’s not difficult, but the nib isn’t forgiving. Plus, as I reach around a keyboard, books, coffee, etc… on my desk to write notes my writing posture isn’t always conducive to the proper alignment of the this nib.

I did enjoy using the nib for longer writing sessions. My writing needs to be a little bigger with the large nib but it’s not too different than normal. The nib isn’t a gusher, at least not with the inks I used, but it’s wet enough for me and the flow is consistent.

I did have some issues using Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun ink on Maruman Eco Spiral Note paper. At first I thought I was having problem finding the nib’s sweet spot, but it was skipping even when held properly. Switching to Doane Paper without changing my grip resulted in proper flow from the nib. Noodler’s Habanero didn’t have the same problem with the paper and Fuyu-syogun worked well on other slick papers such as Rhodia.


  • Some nice line variation although subtle with my normal writing.
  • The nib needs to be used properly aligned to its sweet spot.
  • Can skip if the nib doesn’t stay properly alight while writing.
  • The nib is more finicky on slicker fountain pen friendly papers such as Clairfontaine

Despite being a broad nib, I expect use this nib more than my other broad nibs.

D.C. Pen Show List

The upcoming Washington D.C pen show will be my second pens show. I don’t have a long list of pens I expect to come back with, but I figure I better have some sort of list going in so that I at least have some focus while I’m taking it all in.

  • A new Edison Signature Line pen is on my want list this year. I want to look at the materials available and hope to find a translucent acrylic. I also want to see the new Menlo pump filler.
  • Franklin-Christoph – The Pocket 40 pen interests me. I also want to get a second Penvelope Six case. The Collegia also seems worth checking out as a low cost way to get a F-C nib. Also worth checking out are their inks, papers and nib options.
  • I’ll compare the Pelikan 800 and 1000 again. At the LI Pen Show I tried them and preferred the 800. I’ll look again although I’m not too fond of the standard models. I’ll look around for some older models. I’m on the fence for this pen, I’m not sure it’s worth the price for me, but I can browse and dream.
  • Nib Work: I need to get the nib on my Sheaffer Triumph aligned. I’ve also grown fond of stub nibs and left oblique nibs so Ill pick out a pen or two that might benefit from the regrind.
  • Esterbrook nibs: I have about 20 Esterbrook nibs and it’s the one thing I started to collect with the goal of getting them all. Maybe eventually the cartography nib, but for now I’ll look to add the more common ones.

According to the forums, nibs.com (John Mottishaw) won’t be there which is disappointing. I was hoping to see the various finishes and models of Nakaya pens. I might see some around the show, but probably not a wide selection.

Ever since the Long Island Pen Show I’ve been more interested in vintage than modern pens. My current interest is Sheaffer and I suspect I’ll add at least one more Snorkel filler if nothing else.

What’s on your show list?

Sunday Notes and Link

Sheaffer Balance Junior with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun

There wasn’t a “This Week’s Ink” post yesterday because the Sheaffer Balance Junior is my only daily carry this week. At least until the D.C. pen show. I’m on vacation so don’t need my typical 3 ink minumum for taking notes.

I’m look forward to the Washington DC Pen Show later this week.

Some links that caught my interest this past week…

Edison Pen Co has introduced a new pen and filling system, the Menlo pump filler. I like the traditional cigar shape and the vacumatic style filling system. I look forward to seeing these in D.C.

Edjelly writes about his Sheaffer Snorkels.

Peaceable Writer goes through the process, decisions and results of ordering a Edison custom pen.

No Pen Intended covers 3 category killing writing instruments.

Inkophile reviewed 3 low cost Chinese pens.

Ink Reviews

Edjelly reviews Diamine Meadow.

Inkdependence has a review of Sailor Jentle Grenade.