Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 31, 2017

A deep freeze set in over New England the day after Christmas and the 10-day forecast doesn’t get us above freezing for another eight days. While I like this weather (it’s quite sunny out when there is daylight) it provides an excuse to stay inside and use fountain pens. Although it does make mail-order ink buying a risk, which kept me from a spur-of-the-moment ink purchase (you’ll find the brand in the links below).

I’ve used fountain pens a lot recently, at least when compared to my previous usage. I’m down to just two inked fountains pens as the year ends. I’ll be inking up some additional pens later today. The Montblanc has no signs of ink left through the view window, but it’s still writing. I’ll use that Montblanc Bordeaux ink until the last drop. The Lamy 2000 will probably last awhile, especially if I ink up some pens that get my attention. The Ugly Sweater Retro 51 is still my rollerball carry.

The Pilot 823 and Lamy Safari Petrol were both written dry. The Pilot was first inked up back in mid-February. The Pilot Blue-Black ink was easy to flush out and stain free, despite spending over ten months in the pen. For a pen I like writing with, I certainly didn’t use it very much. The aesthetics of the pen affects me more than I would have guessed. The Lamy Safari Petrol was inked up back on June 1st when I got the pen. I used the blue ink cartridge that came with the pen. I’d forgotten how much I like the Safaris.

The Franklin Christoph Model 66 was flushed early. It was inked up as an eyedropper back on March 20th and served as my desk pen most of the time. I checked the ink level about two weeks ago. I must have knocked away enough silicone grease that ink started to find a way out of the pen. Just enough to stain the finger it rested on to begin with, but recently it was much more. Since the wasn’t much Akkerman Dutch Masters 09 Steenrood van Vermeer left I decided to flush it out rather than clean it up and apply more silicone grease.

Site Updates:

I updated the U.S. pen show calendar to reflect the 2018 schedule for the shows I could find (which is almost all of them). I still find it amazing (and frustrating) that the biggest pen show leaves us hanging until the very end. If they keep this up, they may have to drop their claim as the “Largest pen event in the world.”

I updated my Resources & Links links page but realize I’ve utterly failed to keep track of new sites I’ve come across. If you’ve got a site or blog that talks about fountain pens, please let me know so that I can add it to the list.


Traveling with ink, China 2017. Part 1: Meeting the Heroes – Rupertarzeian traveled to China and has a series of posts that focus on the fountain pen related events. This is the first of three China trip related posts, be sure to read them all.

January 2018 Simple Bullet Journal Setup from PaperInkPlan. This is too free form for me to use, but I do like it.

How I Choose My Next Pen from my pen needs ink

Colorverse Andromeda Review from SquishyInk – A new (to me) ink brand that has amazing packaging and a unique theme.

UK Fountain Pens also provided a review of Colorverse inks back in November.

My Pen Collection from winter sharks

The Lamy Aion is getting a lot of attention recently:

Reviewed at The Pen Addict

Four points of View at Hand Over That Pen

It’s that time of year for recaps:

Pen additions to my collection – 2017 – Analog(ue) Obsessed (Nine very nice pens)

2017: Pen (re)Cap from Leigh Reyes. My Life As A Verb.

2017 Purchases from Alt. Haven

A Wonder Pens Year – 2017 from Wonder Pens

Today’s off-topic wrap up has a little revenge rolled into phone security.

What I Use: 2018 Planner Plans

Hobonichi Techo Weeks Planner One Week Spread with ribbon

I seem unable to learn that I’m not a paper planner guy. So, I’ll again be starting the year with a paper planner. My somewhat haphazard approach to picking the planner doesn’t bode well for my success. I’ll go on the record with my plans so that I can see how quickly and thoroughly I fail. (My confidence is underwhelming.)

I bought a Hobonichi Techo (A6 sized) from Jet Pens late in the buying season. I also threw in a Hobonichi Techo Weeks because I liked the coffee bean cover and I figured it’s similarities to my Traveler weekly planner would allow it to be my fallback plan and possibly serve as a daily log. Shortly after they arrived, I had pretty much swapped my ideas and the Weeks will be my planner while the A6 Techo will be a journal/log.

The Weeks starts in December, so I’ve already been using it a bit. I’ll cover the Hobonichi Weeks in this post and save the A6 Techo for another post.

The Hobonichi Techo Weeks is a smaller version (as far as the layout goes) go the Travelers Weekly Planner with which I’ve had some success. Each two-page spread has the days on the left page with the right page being black (well, grid ruled but wide open for writing). The weekly page with Monday and ends with Sunday as any good planner should. Saturday and Sunday are full-fledged days and get the same space as every other day. The month, the day of the week and numbers are all in English while the rest is in Japanese. I don’t read Japanese, so the quotes on each page along with the rest of the text is useless for me, but there’s enough English to make the planner useable.

As I said, I’ve been using the Weeks in December, and it’s been going well, although the paper planner habit has yet to take hold and become a matter of routine.

The blank right page gets a list of what I want to work on during the week. I avoid “planning” too far ahead, so I may list items for the following week but never more than a week in advance. I learned that if I get too far ahead, I’ll have more cross-outs than actual tasks by the time the week arrives. I usually fill out this list on Sunday night. The blank right page also gets used for checklists and notes.

Little of what I do requires that it be done on a specific day although it does need to be done by a particular day. Again, to avoid too many cross-outs I don’t fill out a day on the left until the day before when I’m planning the next day (the last task in my workday is to prepare for the next day). I may fill in specific things in advance if I’m confident that they won’t change but it’s rare.

I still use an electronic calendar for any appointments, and these get transferred to paper either during my Sunday night planning session or my end of day planning session. The transfer is not as involved or time-consuming as it sounds since I have very few calendar based events.

While I’m a long-time user of OmniFocus, I’ve been trying to wean myself off of it. That said, I’ve been unsuccessful and have continued to use it. I’ll plan out the steps in an OmniFocus project and merely refer to it in my Weeks planner, leaving the details to be looked up and managed in OmniFocus. Using OmniFocus may also help me stick to a paper planner since I’ll be fighting against fewer ingrained habits.

Hobonichi Techo Weeks Planner
A highly reflective transparent cover

I did get some accessories once I decided to try and stick with the Weeks. I picked up a transparent cover. Just in time, it seems, as JetPens no longer carries it. I typically skip covers, but the clear one still lets me see the coffee bean cover that I like so much. It gives me a sleeve inside both the front and back covers where I can slip papers. There’s also an inside pocket on both the front and back covers suitable for business cars or similar items, like the small Nock Co. index cards. The back cover has a pocket that can help secure larger slips of paper.

I also picked up a “writing board” sized for the Weeks to give me a hard surface to write on. It has a tab up top labeled “today” which I cut off. I didn’t like it sticking up, and I never used it to mark the current week. The Weeks has two ribbons that can mark the current week. I already had a blotter card that coincidentally matched the size of the weeks. The blotter card made the writing board superfluous since it was stiff enough to write on. It’s heavy paper with a blotter on one side and a picture on the other.

The Weeks using 52gsm Tomoe River cream colored paper so its fountain pen friendly but very thin. There is show through, not only for what I write but also for the pre-printed calendar. “Fountain Open Friendly” usually means slow drying, and that’s the case here which is why I carry blotter paper with it. I should also stick to thin nibs for faster drying and less show through, but so far I’ve just used whatever fountain pen is handy.

Hobonichi Techo Weeks Planner Note Year at a Glance

The Weeks includes monthly calendars (one month per two-page spread) up front and 68 grid-ruled memo pages in the back which I’ve yet to use. There are also two year-at-a-glance calendars up front, one of which takes up a two-page spread and may be useful for planning or tracking, provided you don’t need to write much.

The Hobonichi Weeks is smaller than the Travelers notebook. The Weeks is 3.7” (9.5 cm) by 7.4” (18.8 cm), so it’s much easier to carry. It does fit into many of my pockets, more or less. It is tall and thick, a little taller and thicker with the cover. It fits in my pocket well enough so that I can carry it from point A to point B and still have my hands free. It also takes up less room in my Nock Co. Lanier. Now that winter is here, and the bigger pockets of winter jackets and shirts that come along with it, the planner is even more comfortable to carry. The fact that I can bring it with me more often has translated into me using it more. I don’t have to write things down one place and transfer them to the planner at some future time.

Hobonichi Techo Weeks Planner with Bands

To keep the Weeks closed securely I’ve been experimenting with a Field Notes rubber band and a large rubber band, both of which I already had in a drawer. The large band is easier to take on and off while also allowing me to slip a receipt or slip of paper into the notebook without taking it off. The Field Notes Band is easier to stash in my pocket when I remove it. Both are shown in the photo, but I only use one at a time and have yet to develop a preference.

That’s my 2018 Planner Plans. Let’s see how they stand up to the test of time and my ingrained habits.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and Merry Monday those who don’t.

Cheers! - Happy holiday

Staples Visit

My trips to Staples have become few and far between, but I stopped by for some holiday shopping. As usual, I stopped by the pen aisle to see what they had in fountain pens. Staples has organized their pens by type (gel, ballpoint, etc…) and the fountain pens were in the …and more section. There are the usual suspects, some Cross and some Parker along with a strange assortment of ink. Some Parker and Cross ink of course, but also some Sheaffer and Pelikan even though they didn’t have any of their pens and some of the Sheaffer cartridges are proprietary (they did have Sheaffer standard international too). They didn’t have any proprietary Pilot cartridges even though they sold pens that used them. None of the pens were stocked in depth, usually just one of each available color on the rack. I think that bottle of Parker ink is the same one that’s there from last year. There always seems to be one lone bottle.

What I did come across were some Pilot MR Retro Pop fountain pens. I’m not sure how Pilot distinguishes between MR and Metropolitan. At one time I read the Metropolitan used proprietary Pilot cartridges while the MR used standard international cartridges. These pens proved that wrong. I now suspect that was a brand transition with Metropolitan being a model of MR and that the cartridge type depends on the country. These were blister packed, designed to be hung from a hook and lacked any Metropolitan branding. They came with one propriety Pilot cartridge (in the pen barrel) of black ink. No converter is included, and the packaging doesn’t even mention one is available. There were only five pens left in the rack, in four different colors. They were marked down to $6, so I bought one of each available color. The pens all have fine nibs, but even this is hidden on the back of the package with the official item info and stock number.

The Pilot MR’s made up for my disappointment with not finding Pilot Varsity pens in stock, but the Varsities seem to be gone from all stores.

I’m writing this up during the week so it’s short and anything I didn’t see before Thursday evening won’t be here.

Conklin Nighthawk Titanium Fountain Pen Review at The PencilCase Blog. My few experiences with Conklin have all been bad, so I avoid the brand. But this one caught my eye before I saw the brand. Dries experience is better than I would have expected Although, I wonder how much of it is due to Goulet’s involvement and using their nib?

top 4 favourite pens 2017 at alt. haven. It’s that time of year and Junee starts things off.

Finally, going off-topic, Comicraft will have their annual New Year’s Font Sale where all font families cost the year, so this time all fonts will be $20.18. This applies to all fonts, even those that normally cost less than $20. So check out the fonts ahead of time so you can snag that $395 font at a $375 discount and avoid overpaying for that $19 font. Also be sure to get the international versions of fonts (if available) since they’ll now cost the same and include extra characters. A PDF catalog of all their fonts is here. If the past is any indicator, normal font prices won’t be anywhere to be found on New Year’s Day, so be prepared. Also, as a side note, I have had download problems on New Year’s Day itself in the past but got the fonts later. There was one year with PayPal issues but they were responsive via email but that was a while ago.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 17, 2017

Well, the cold weather finally settled in. I think I triggered it by ordering some ink on Tuesday. The local temperature dropped to below freezing by the time the ink shipped and it remained below freezing until after the ink arrived. Despite this the ink arrived in liquid form with unbroken bottles. They are a couple Montblanc Special Edition inks, the Writers Edition Antoine de Saint-Exupery ink and the Great Characters Beatles ink. (Unfortunately I just have the inks, not the pens that share their names.) I’ve yet to open the bottles but samples show a very nice burgundy along with a psychedelic purple.

Another pen was written dry this week, this time it was my Sailor King of Pen with Callifolio Teodora which I liked a lot. The KOP will get one of the new Montblanc inks when I’m ready to fill it. Next on my list to write dry is the Montblanc Ultra Black with my favorite ink.

This leaves five fountain pens still inked up along with my ugly sweater Retro 51 as my pens for the week.

Cleo Skribent Series fountain pen meta-review at United Inkdom. A pen brand I’ve never heard, or at least it didn’t stick in my memory. Possibly because it started it what was East Germany at the time.

Platinum Plasir Fountain Pen Review at The Finer Point. I have the came green version but unlike Jenny I was drawn to the nib matching the pen (although mine seems less luminous and a better match to the pen) but the rest of the review matches my feelings about a pen I rarely use. I should mention that the green has begun to flake off the nib so the silver is visible in places. For awhile it was the spare pen I kept at the office because it never dried out, but now that I work from home it’s rarely used.

Twelve Days of Inkmas at The Well-Appointed Desk. The title gives you the idea. This link is to a review of one of my new inks, the Montblanc Writers Edition Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Be sure to check out the past and future entries.

Franklin Covey Freemont Review at The Pen Haul. News to me that they had a fountain pen. More shocked to learn that Staples sells them.

In the off topic and “you can’t make this sh*t up” categories, the Trump administration has given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a list of seven words that they can’t use in their budget documents. More than a little scary that the top health agency in the country can’t use the words “evidence-based” and “science-based” among others. George Carlin is laughing his a** off.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 10, 2018

Another fountain pen was written dry this week. The Pelikan M620 Shanghai, ran out of Omas Green ink on Saturday. It took a mere four months to write the pen dry. I had carried it in my Fodderstack XL which kept it available for use. Nearly all my writing this past week was note taking and list making. So while the Pelikan was used enough to write dry, the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 with Akkerman Dutch Masters 09 (Steenrood Vermeer) was easily the pen I used most. It sits on my desk and has a nice extra fine nib which makes it ideal for notes and lists.

The photo below was supposed to be my remaining inked pens, except I forgot about the Lamy Safari Petrol that’s still in my bag.

The pens currently inked and in my daily carry
The pens currently inked and in my daily carry

Edison Pens will be raising prices on January 1st, after 9 years at the current prices.

Carl Fisher (Fisher of Pens) is raising money (on Go Fund Me) to replace/improve his lathe. Discounts on custom pens, or complete pens, are available at the various reward levels.

As the photo above shows, I still use my Foddrstack XL regularly. Ian from Pens! Paper! Pencils! just reviewed it. My review from July 2015 is here.

The Gentleman Stationer’s review of the Waterman Carène reminded me I have one too and it might me time to ink it up. Although I’m more likely to ink up the Edson.

Alt. Haven has photos of the 2017 Singapore Pen Show.

A little music to end the post (via The Loop).