Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 27, 2018

It’s memorial day weekend here in the U.S., which makes it the unofficial start of summer, even though summer doesn’t officially start for another few weeks. A couple days of 80º+ temperatures, although it’s supposed to dip into the low 60’s today. The humidity has yet to take hold, so it’s comfortable enough to sit on the porch and do some writing, without sweating all over the paper.

It’s all relative, but my fountain pen usage did pick up this past week, although it’s still low. Mostly lists and notes, but a few brainstorming sessions and article drafts were thrown into the mix. My favorite pen & ink were the Fisher of Pens Hermes, with its fine nib and Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku ink. The pen was written dry. When it went dry my usage of the Sailor KOP picked up, even though it’s a wider medium nib.

Compartmentalising with Notebooks — The Finer Point // Multiple notebooks always made sense to me, yet in practice, it failed miserably for me. I never had the right notebook handy, or having to go find the right notebook was too much of a speed bump.

Chicago Pen Show 2018 Recap (Part 2) – The Well-Appointed Desk

Vintage Pen News: Fake alert: advertising signs from India| Finding out what I enjoy to use

May 2018 Pen & Ink Pairing – Hand Over That Pen

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 20, 2018

It’s been a slow two weeks for fountain pen usage, embarrassing for a guy with a fountain pen blog. Just the usual quick notes and checklists. No pens written dry so no new pens inked up.

Photo of the Sailor KOP and Fisher of Pens Hermes
Still the most used couple of pens this past week.

Chicago Pen Show 2018 Recap – The Well-Appointed Desk

Chicago Pen Show Write-up – SquishyInk

Clips | Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Ink Review: Waterman Audacious Red – The Well-Appointed Desk

My Supply Room: More Glow In The Dark Retro 51 Pens

Pen & Ink Pairing: April 2018 – Hand Over That Pen

Fake vintage pens on eBay – Vintage Pen News

Off-Topic (long read): The Long Way Round: The Plane that Accidentally Circumnavigated the World

Retro 51 Accumulation

Photo of my current Retro 51 accumulation

It seems I don’t give my Retro 51 pens the attention they deserve. They are scattered around various briefcases, computer bags, desks, and other flat surfaces. They’re very much out of sight, out of mind. A couple of months ago a pen case with 5 of my Metalsmith series Retros turned up, and I had to admit I had forgotten about the pens. They aren’t listed on my pen accumulation page or in my electronic pen inventory. Retro 51 pens deserve better treatment than this.

I finally decided to inventory all my Retro 51s. This turned up one I had completely forgotten about, I went to my car to get the green lacquer Retro but found that I had replaced it with the Retro 51 Surf. The green lacquer was on a counter with a dry ink cartridge. It went dry, and I forgot about it before I got a refill.

I’ve been decluttering my apartment using the rule that if I come across something forgotten and unused for years, it needs to go away. I’m breaking this rule with the Retros, they’ll all be staying. Instead, I collected them all up and will keep them in a single pen case and track I went through my email and verified I had all the ones with a purchase record and I’m not aware of any others, so I think I have them all. That said, I had no purchase record of the Surf and did not remember it until I stumbled upon it. So there may be one or more forgotten pens still under a couch cushion. Eventually I’ll add them to my pen database, but for now having them in one case will be an improvement.

I should mention that the official name is “Retro 51 Tornado…”, but I’m dropping the Tornado.

Here’s my Retro 51 accumulation.

Starting with the pen tray, going left to right.

Retro 51 Green Lacquer: This was my very first Retro 51. I think I bought it after a discussion on an early Pen Addict podcast. I picked it because the lacquers were the least expensive model, and it’s green. This pen is historically the one I leave in the car, which is why I went there to get it. It’s my only Retro with a chipped barrel (although not visible in the photo). It is a pen that is tossed around and kept in a pocket or briefcase with keys, so the chip isn’t unexpected.

Retro 51 Montana (a.k.a. Ugly Sweater Pen): My favorite Retro 51 for a reason I can’t explain. Someone was trying to sell one for $130 on eBay, so I guess I’m not alone. (FYI: It didn’t sell.)

Retro 51 Terabyte: A limited edition from Anderson Pens. Another favorite since it’s green and has a computer theme.

Retro 51 Play Ball: This is the rollerball (recently swapped to gel) that currently travels in my Nock Co Fodderstack XL. After all, it is baseball season. I love the intricate design of the pen, based on baseball terms and phrases.

The next six pens are all part of the Vintage Metalsmith series. The series was an early obsession of mine, and I wanted them all up to a certain point. To me, the Albert and Dr. Gray may be called Vintage Metalsmith, but they don’t seem to fit into the design aesthetic of the series. They are more like Tribute or Deluxe edition pens.

My Vintage Metalsmith series pens are:

  • Roosevelt
  • Monroe: My only Retro 51 eBay purchase. I skipped this when it was released but found it on eBay for a reasonable price.
  • Jefferson
  • Franklin
  • Lincoln: I think this was my second Retro 51, although it might have been third, after the Stealth. I like the antique copper finish. The Lincoln is the pen that hooked me on the Vintage Metalsmith series. I also have the fountain pen version of this pen.
  • Betsy: This is where the Metalsmith began to veer from the original design aesthetic. I had forgotten it was part of the series until I looked it up for the inventory. I like the pen, and it usually comes out in July for obvious reasons. For non-Americans – Betsy Ross is typically credited with making the first American flag.

Retro 51 Liftoff: Space-themed pen designed to look like a rocket. I love it.

Retro 51 Apollo: A sentimental favorite. I was born days before President Kennedy’s speech to Congress proposing the goal of landing a man on the moon. The Apollo program started that same year, and I grew up watching it on the news (well, at least when they were getting close to landing on the moon) and was fascinated by it. It’s yet another attractive design that I love.

Now the pens above the tray, from top to bottom.

Retro 51 Stealth. I had to have the stealth version. The finish has held up well.

Retro 51 Tiki Kona: A bamboo pen with a Tiki head design. I like the intricate design, but on mine, the clip is slightly off center to the nose. The slight angle hides it in the photo, but I’ve seen it and can’t unsee it, so it bugs me. Like the regular bamboo pen, the Tiki Kona is slightly larger than the typical Retro 51.

Retro 51 Bamboo: I like the slightly larger girth along with the feel of the bamboo.

Retro 51 Vintage Surf: The forgotten pen. The Surf is another wooden pen that’s slightly thicker than the typical Tornado.

Retro 51 Hot Coffee: Another vendor exclusive pen, this time for Goldspot. I had to get a pen with a coffee theme.

So that’s my accumulation of 17 Retro 51 Rollerball pens. I previously linked to Mary’s post about a gel refill for the pens. I have the gel refills in three of the pens. The Play Ball has red, the Terabyte has green and the Tiki has black. The remainder all have Schmidt P8126 0.6 mm refills, rather than the original P8127 0.7mm refills. I still have the original refills and may revert to using them in some pens to be less wasteful.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 6, 2018

Another week of consistent, but low, fountain pen usage. From a glass half full point of view, I used a couple of fountain pens every day. I averaged one A5 page per day in addition to the usual notes and lists.

From a glass half empty point of view, I didn’t write any pen dry and didn’t I skipped my journal entry one day.

I still have 14 inked up fountain pens. To work through them I pick two pens a day and put them in the holder on my desk to use throughout the day. I take the next two in the pen case to avoid picking favorites. In addition to those, I use my Pilot Vanishing Point (black in, XXF nib) daily for note taking and as a pocket carry.

Despite not wanting to pick favorites, I have come to prefer two of the pens over all the others. The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with its medium nib and Papier Plum Burgundy ink, along with the Fisher of Pens Hermes with its extra fine nib and Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku ink. There were times where these two stole time from the two pens I had picked for the day. These pens helped lighten the mood when taking notes for something I didn’t otherwise find enjoyable but had to do.

Photo of the Sailor KOP and Fisher of Pens Hermes

Is this thing on? | From the Pen Cup // Mary writes about a thinner refill for Retro 51s. I picked up three (black, red, green). It’s even thinner than the 0.6 mm P8126 refill I typically use. It’s a 0.4 mm gel refill which makes it significantly thinner. My order arrived Thursday, so I haven’t used them much. It’s been awhile since I used gel ink so that takes some getting used to, but I like the thin line.

Getting mixed up – into the Wild Blue Yonder | Slightly unnerved //  can relate to the ever-expanding shopping cart despite only wanting one item.

Inky Fingers | The Pen Habit // Matt will be ending The Pen Habit. The existing videos will be up a while, but there won’t be any new videos. I can relate to not needing (or wanting) new pens and the lack of interest in reviews. Thanks for the videos Matt, and enjoy life.

Stormy Scene with Quink and Bleach | FOUNTAIN PEN INKS & BLEACH