Ink Notes: Papier Plume Burgundy

Papier Plume Burgundy bottle - open

It’s been a long time since my last ink review, so I’m due. It seems appropriate that my first ink review in over a year is for an ink brand I’d never heard of until this year’s Washington DC Pen Show.

Papier Plume is a stationery store in New Orleans. This is their store branded fountain pen ink which they are now distributing through other sellers. I’ve seen it at both Anderson Pens and Vaness Pens. Papier Plume also sells it through their website. They say the inks are:

Hand poured and bottled right in our shop, these beautiful water based French inks are smooth flowing and fast drying make them ideal for any refillable fountain pen or glass dipping pen.

That sentence could be interpreted a couple different ways when considering the source of the ink. I did a cursory search to see if there were more details available, but didn’t find any. I already had a bottle of the ink so it’s pedigree didn’t really matter. Either I’d like it or I wouldn’t.

I saw the ink at the Anderson Pens table while at the Washington DC Pen show earlier this year. While I later learned the brand had been around awhile this was the first I heard of it. I have a weakness for burgundy inks and the swab for this one looked interesting, so I bought a bottle.

It’s first use was in a new pen, the Ryan Krusac Legend which I also got at the DC pen show. When I first used the ink it reminded me of Montblanc Bordeaux. It’s not an exact color match (I have a comparison in the writing samples) but I like he way it flows from the pen and the other properties also remind me of my favorite ink.

The ink performed well, although a little on the dry side, but not too dry for me. Since this was the first ink I’d ever used in the pen I couldn’t compare it to anything. I’ve since used it in other pens and find it to flow very well, providing a nice dark burgundy line. What I really like is how quickly the ink dries. With my typical this nib on my typical daily paper it dries almost instantly. It takes a little longer on Rhodia, Tomoe River and other fountain pen friendly papers, but it’s still only a few seconds with my thin nibs. The ink flows well enough that my thin nibs can provide some subtle line variation, which is what I like about Montblanc inks.

The ink spent about two weeks in the Legend and was easily flushed. Two weeks was less time than I expected since it was competing with several other shiny new pens and inks, so it gets bonus points for that. It was also easily flushed from the Lamy I used for testing although it didn’t have any time to stain. I have enough confidence that the ink is friendly to pens that I’ve now loaded it into a piston filler, and one of my nicer pens at that.

The ink has more resistance to water than I expected (I expected a complete washout since it was so easy to clean). While water does remove enough dye to change the color to purple it is still very legible.

I really like everything about this ink. (I already mentioned my weakness for burgundy ink). It’s one of the few inks I’ve used recently that could become a regular in my rotation. I will be trying more Papier Plume ink although I suspect this burgundy will remain my brand favorite.

Additional Reading

I couldn’t find any Papier Plume Burgundy ink reviews, but you can search Pennaquod for reviews of other Papier Plume inks.

Currently Inked – Mid-August 2016

Currently Inled pens, Mid-August after the DC Pen Show. (Pen tray capped)

After the 2016 Washington DC Pen Show I’m up to eleven inked fountain pens, so it’s a good time for an update. One fountain pen went dry just before the show and it was re-inked with new ink from the show. All the other pens and ink remain, although my four new pens/ink are new from the show.

I’ve been using my fountain pens a lot since the show so hopefully I’ll empty many of these before the month ends. In addition to written drafts of all the articles I’ve posted, I’ve also written at least two pages every day. I guess I could call them journal entries but they are really just an excuse to use the pens. Hopefully I can keep this pace because my normal daily routine doesn’t give me much opportunity to use my pens these days.

Anyway, I’ll start with the new fountain pens and inks. If you just want to see all the pens and quick writing samples, or links to what others are using, then drop down to the bottom of the post. Links are to a review or “This Just In Post” for the pen if no review exists.

New Pens and Ink

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Montblanc Ultra Black

This is the pen I wrote dry before the show. I picked up Montblanc Ultra Black early Friday at the show but didn’t use it much until Sunday after I had the Homo Sapien’s nib tuned by Dan Smith. It was good, but now it’s perfect and worthy of my favorite pen. The Ultra Black is a dark black, even in this extra fine nib, but it’s nothing special. I wouldn’t say ultra=darkest. Montblanc’s new Ultra Black Pens are a matte black and this ink tends to match them. I don’t like that the ink takes so long to dry and I’ve had more than a few careless smudges even though I’m not a lefty. I like to use different inks in this pen and usually give each ink two fills before cleaning the pen although Montblanc Ultra Black will only get one turn in the pen and I’ll switch inks when I write it dry the first time.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc Ultra Black Writing Sample

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with KWZ Gummiberry

Both pen and ink are new from the 2016 DC Pen Show. The Sailor KOP has a medium nib which does a great job of showing off this ink. The pen has already been written dry once and was refilled with the same ink. I’ll probably swap inks when it goes dry again, but the pen will stay in the rotation and the ink may return in another pen shortly.

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with KWZ Gummiberry Writing Sample

Sheaffer Balance Oversize (c. 1934) (F) with Sheaffer Peacock Blue

While I’ve used Sheaffer Peacock Blue before, and it’s the only turquoise ink I like, this particular bottle is a NOS yellow label bottle from the pen show. I hesitate to call it “vintage” because it dates to the late 1970’s or 80’s making it younger than me. While it was made 40 or 50 years after the Sheaffer Balance, it still seems more appropriate than an ink made this century.

The more I use the Sheaffer Balance, the more I like it. The material is mesmerizing and changes as the lighting changes.

The pen has a tendency to collect ink between the nib and feed and will let go a a drop of ink onto the paper every three or four pages if I don’t dab it. I find a quick dab on a ink towel every time I turn the page (I write on both sides, so this is two pages) avoids any issue. The pen doesn’t leak or splatter even when I carry it or move my hand somewhat quickly. Although being a 80+ year old pen I make sure it doesn’t get jostled about in my bag.

Sheaffer Balance Oversize c1934 with Sheaffer Peacock Blue Writing Sample

Fisher of Pens Hermes (F) with KWZ Green #2

Again, both pen and ink are new from the pen show. I’d previously mentioned that the Fisher of Pens Hermes experienced hard starts. Those have since gone away and the pen has become a wetter (relative to it’s past) writer. I didn’t clean the pen before I used it so there may have been some oil or crud in the nib. While I would expect custom made pens to be clean, Carl did swap the nib to a fine nib from stock, so the nib was probably never cleaned.

The three previous pens have had a near monopoly on my writing so this pen hasn’t been used all that much and is still on it’s first fill. It will stay in the rotation when it goes dry although I’ll give it a good flush and probably switch the ink for variety.

Fisher of Pens Hermes with KWZ Green #2 Writing Sample

Ryan Krusac The Legend (EF) with Papier Plume Burgundy

Continuing the theme, both pen and paper are from the pen show. The Legend is Ryan’s newest design and my first pen from him. The ink is also a new brand for me. The two work well together, but they haven’t been used as much thanks to the pens listed above. The ink, in both flow and color, reminds me a bit of my favorite Montblanc Bordeaux, not an exact match but it does have hints of my favorite ink.

Ryan Krusac The Legend with Papier Plume Burgundy Writing Sample

Written Dry

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Aurora Black

The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age is the only pen to go dry so far this month. It had Aurora Black which is nice and dark even with this extra fine nib. I like running different inks through this pen and limit any ink to two fills. So even though Aurora Black is a great black ink it was time to clean the pen and move on.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Aurora Black writing sample

Still Inked

The following inks and pens remain in the rotation. All are performing well, they just can’t compete with the new and shiny.

What Others are Using (or Used)

Currently Inked #8 | 11 August 2016 – Pen Habit – video that includes his inked pens along with some Q&A.

My New Work Notebook. — The Ink Smudge – I too use a steno style pad but I settled on the Doane Paper Large Flap Jotter simply because I prefer Grids + Lines.

Currently Inked: August 2016 — Pendora’s Box and Currently Inked: EDC for Kayaking — Pendora’s Box

One Book July 2016 Recap — The Purl Bug – I couldn’t stick to just one notebook, but this was a innovative way to mimic more than one notebook.

All The Pens

The writing sample is in the same order as the photos.

Currently Inled pens, Mid-August after the DC Pen Show
Currently Inled pens, Mid-August after the DC Pen Show. Writing sample

This Just In: Fisher of Pens Hermes

Fisher of Pens Hermes - capped on pen stand
The photo doesn’t do it justice, this pen is hard to photograph.

I spent some time on Friday talking to custom pen maker Carl Fisher of Fisher of Pens. I liked his designs and had pretty much decided to save some of my pen budget for a pen order after the show. During all this time, and future passes by his table, I never noticed this pen. If I had, I would have gotten it on Friday. On Sunday Carl posted a photo of his green pens grouped together. All that green caught my attention and I headed back to his table. While the photo was of mostly bright green pens that just weren’t quit right for me, this one was tucked in the back of the photo. It’s black celluloid with an olive green web running through it. It’s called vintage web green celluloid.

I looked at the bright green ones first, after all they were bright and shiny. But then I picked up this one. It wasn’t exactly bright and shiny, but I loved the look. Naturally the material made it more expensive than the bright green acrylic pens. Plus it was an oversize pen which seems to be my preference these days. The more I looked at the celluloid pattern the more I liked it and I made sure I didn’t put it down, fearing someone else would get it. It didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted this pen. The only change was to swap a two-tone nib for a polished silver fine nib. The pen already had a silver clip.

While I call this a green pen, the base color is a deep dark black with an olive green web running through it. It’s a long pen that’s a perfect cylinder and the cap is flush with the body. The finials are black and while I didn’t ask, the finials and griping section feel like ebonite. The Fisher of Pens brand is engraved into the body. Most fountain pens have branding, although it’s usually on the clip or band. I have mixed feelings about engraving the brand into the body, especially when it’s a different color than the material. In this case the logo is white and does stand out, but it’s restrained and subtle and is also in line with the silver furniture of the pen. So I’m OK with it. I’m even beginning to convince myself that it helps highlight the darker colors of the pen. The material is hard to photograph, at least with my abilities, and I hope to get better photos when the sun returns and I can use natural light to photograph the pen.

It has a fine JoWo nib that’s nice and smooth. I picked KWZ Green #2 as the first ink for this pen. I have had a couple hard starts when the pen has been nib up for several hours, but once I start writing there’s no skipping. I can also pause for a extended period of time or put the pen down flat for an hour or more without any hard start. The ink is new to me so I can’t say how much the ink contributes to this.

It’s a cartridge/converter pen that accepts standard international cartridges and converters. I could be wrong, but I don’t think celluloid pens can be converted to eyedropper fill as the ink could degrade/discolor the celluloid. So the pen will remain a converter fill.

I don’t know what’s included with pens that are shipped, but I picked a cloth pen sleeve for the pen. There’s no box or ink cartridge. I would have thrown both out so didn’t even ask if they were available. (Many vendors don’t bring bulky boxes to the show.)

The bottom line – I am really happy with the Fisher of Pens Hermes in web green celluloid. The nib might need some tuning, but that’s minor.

Fisher of Pens Hermes - uncapped on pen stand
Fisher of Pens Hermes writing sample with KWZ Green #2 ink

This Just In: Ryan Krusac The Legend

Ryan Krusac The Legend - capped on pen stand

This fountain pen was a Sunday morning purchase, and my third overall, at the 2016 Washington DC Pen Show. Sunday’s are dangerous when I still have money in my budget that’s burning a hole in my pocket, my want list goes out the door. Ryan Krusac’s latest design is The Legend (he capitalizes the “T” so I assume it’s part of the name) and liked the design more than his others so ended up getting the last one he had at the show. It’s made of black walnut burl.

I’ve always liked the look of Ryan’s wooden pens although, until now, none of them really made me want to reach for my wallet. The Legend is a nice simple wooden pen, not a lot of fancy extras. It’s a light pen when compared to his other designs and it’s clearly a fountain pen for writing.

It has an ebonite section that’s also made by Ryan. The nib is a branded Ryan Krusac nib, although I believe it’s still a JoWo nib, they’re just custom engraved with his logo. The simplicity of the nib design appeals to me and this one is an extra fine. The nib is nice and smooth, especially for an extra fine. I picked Papier Plume Burgundy as its first ink and I haven’t had any hard starts or skipping while using the pen.

The pen is relatively short, but not Kaweco Sport short, and long enough for me to use comfortably without posting. The pen is postable but I’d be concerned that the threads would scratch the barrel.

It’s a international cartridge/converter pen that came with a converter and a pen pouch (at least at the show). He may include ink cartridges or pack the pens differently if shipped through the mail.

There are other fountain pens of similar size and with similar nibs that cost much less. The price is higher than those due to the material and craftsmanship involved in making the pen. Whether or not this translates into a better writing experience depends on you (and me). I like the warmth of the wood and the ebonite when using the pen. I don’t regret the purchase at all although I do wonder if I’ll still be using it in a year or if I’ll sell it once the novelty wears off. This is what I mean about Sunday’s being dangerous. With all the pens I wanted out of the way (so I thought, but was wrong) I was more willing to take a risk. It’s hard to recommend the pen due to the price, unless the design appeals to you. It does appeal to me and it is a great writer. Still, I wouldn’t have bought it without seeing it in person and knowing exactly what it was like.

Ryan Krusac The Legend - uncapped on pen stand
Ryan Krusac The Legend writing sample with Papier Plume Burgundy

This Just In: Sheaffer Balance Oversize C.1934 In Gray Pearl and Red Veins

Sheaffer Balance Oversize Pearl Gray & Red Veins - capped on stand

My second pen purchase at the 2016 DC Pen Show occurred Friday afternoon and gave me my vintage fix. It is a Sheaffer Balance Oversize c. 1934–1935 from Sarj Minhas.

I didn’t have any specific vintage pens in mind as I walked around the show. I like Parker Vacumatics and the Maxima is the model I can use regularly. The materials and nibs of vintage Sheaffers always draw me to them and the Balance Oversize is the model I can use regularly. These were the two most likely to draw my attention.

I view vintage pens differently than modern pens. While any new vintage would have to be a pen I could expect to use regularly, I’m unable to sell off vintage pens I know I won’t use. It feels like I’m selling a piece of history. But this made me determined to only buy one vintage pen and to make it one I knew I would use. Even though I’m a user and not a collector I wanted a pen as close to pristine as I could find and and was reliable. So even though Sarj’s pens are at the high end of the price spectrum I was willing to pay the price if I could find one.

I’ve always liked the pearl grey with red vein celluloid. This was the only Balance Oversize I saw in this material during my browsing on Friday. At least in a condition that was this good. It was also the only vintage pen I saw that I wanted. So despite the price I decided to get it. The pen is difficult to photographs as the gray in the pen changes depending on the light. This also makes it easy for the pen to mesmerize me as the color changes, often looking as different as green and red.

Since all my available inks were new to me I didn’t want to try them in a vintage sac filler, so the pen remained uninked on Friday. Then on Saturday I found some vintage (well, 1980–90’s) Sheaffer Sheaffer Peacock Blue in the yellow box/label. I had the dark red bottle version of this ink so it wasn’t entirely new to me and they would be a similar, if not identical formula. The ink seemed fine despite it’s age so I bought it and filled the pen later that day.

The pen is comfortable in my hand, as expected and the nib is great, also as expected. The nib is unlabeled but it’s approximately a fine. Writing is smooth with a good flow. It’s not a gushing writer yet the ink does noticeably pool a little bit between the nib and feed. Some ink also creeps out the heart cutout that’s above the nib slit. After writing a couple A5 pages a drop of ink did drop onto the paper while writing. Since then I’ve been more conscience of it and have dabbed the nib on a tissue if I see ink bleeding from the heart after a couple of pages. Carrying the pen around doesn’t result in any ink dripping or spatter and neither does moving the pen around normally like reaching for a paper or turning a page with pen in hand. So I won’t really call it a leak and the ink could be a contributing factor. It’s something I can live with and it won’t prevent me from taking the pen with me if I go to a coffee shop to do some writing. I wouldn’t bring it to a meeting to take notes, but I don’t use vintage pens in this situation anyway.

It’s a good performing pen and I love the material. The Sheaffer Balance Oversize in Pearl Gray/Red Veins joins my Marine Green Balance Oversize as one of my favorite vintage fountain pens, and it has a nib I’ll use more than the stub on the Marine Green.

Sheaffer Balance Oversize Pearl Gray & Red Veins - uncapped on stand
Sheaffer Balance Oversize c1935 writing sample with Sheaffer Peacock Blue (yellow label)
Exposed for the writing sample, terrible photo of pen.

This is a post about the 2016 Washington DC Pen Show. My show summary and links to other show posts are here.