Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 29, 2020

Photo of my pen choices for the week ahead
My primary pen choices for the week ahead.

Not too much to report this week. I wrote the Sailer Realo dry of it’s first fill of ink. I filled it with Iroshizuku Funyuns-Syogun back on February 25th and wrote it dry this past Wednesday while I was writing up my first impressions of the pen. (Hopefully to be published in the next day or two.)

I didn’t re-ink the Realo because I have another dozen pens inked up. I think this week I’ll concentrate of using the Sheaffers, along with the new Tangerine King of Pen.

I inked up the Edison Collier a couple weeks ago and finally used it for more than quick notes. Even though I have multiple pens inked up, it was with the intent of picking new ones each day, that’s not the reality. I tend to stick with a pen as my primary writer for several days, rarely using the others. Eventually I either write it dry or get bored with it. In this case I wrote the Realo dry and switched to the Collier. It was a nice reminder that the Collier is a nice big pen that comfortable to use. Plus, Edison always has well-tuned nibs.

My Pilot Vanishing Point caused me problems, which is completely out of character. It’s using a Pilot Black ink cartridge, a frequent choice for this pen. It was so clogged that I had to run the nib under the faucet to wash away the ink. Unfortunately, by the time it could write, I no longer wanted to use it. (It’s easier to pick another pen up while at my desk than it use to get out of my chair and walk 15 feet or so to a sink.) It’s using a needlepoint nib, but this is the only time I can recall needing anything more than gravity to get it to write.

I also remembered why I sold my left oblique Montblanc pen. While I love the nib style, it isn’t suited for a lot of my pen usage. If I’m writing at a desk or table, on a flat pad, or paper flat on the desk, it’s great. But, if the notebook is bound and isn’t flat, such as the Seven Seas notebooks I like, it can be a challenge to comfortably maintain the proper angle for the nib. But with a flat writing surface, using proper writing posture, the my normal grip keeps the nib at the proper angle.

Crónicas Estilográficas: Curidas. 1. Context

REVIEW: ASTON LEATHER PEN CASE | The Pencilcase Blog | Fountain pen, Pencil, Ink and Paper reviews // I really like the one Aston case that I have. It’s held up well.

On Writing in Your Journal (During a Pandemic) – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Pens That Got Away — Mountain of Ink // Don’t read this if you are susceptible to FOMO.

Tuesday Toolset, Top 5 Fountain Pen Ink Brands Edition — The Pen Addict // Montblanc is easily my favorite brand. I never really got into Sailor or Robert Oster, although I like the few inks I’ve tried from them, and they certainly have a great variety. I’d have trouble picking 5 favorite, since after MB it’s a free for all as far as brands go. As for picking “Top” brands, rather than favorites, I’ll yield to Brad.

Kaweco AL Sport Fountain Pen in a Stonewashed Blue finish – FOUNTAIN PEN INK ART

Updated 2020 “Best Pens” Recommendations! — The Gentleman Stationer

Eyes on Iopenna, designed for Visconti by Gaetano Pesce – Penquisition // A very weird pen.

A New Year party conversation. | Fountain pen blog

Sneaking Back In – Pete Denison // Good to see Pete’s blog active again.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 22, 2020

Photo of my Royal Tangerine KOP

My latest pen purchased arrived on Thursday. A Royal Tangerine Sailor King of Pen with a medium left oblique nib. It was the one pen on my want list that I was ready to buy. I already have a KOP that I love, and I’ve seen the Royal Tangerine Sailor 1911s in person. So, while I was hoping to see one at a pen show, just to be sure the similarity to the 1911 color didn’t end with the name, it was becoming apparent that there wouldn’t be any pen shows for awhile, especially not the ones I was considering attending. So, I pulled the trigger and ordered one from Classic Fountain Pens. So far I’m happy with it. I went with CFP because I could get the left oblique nib grind that I wanted in the same transaction.

Photo of the left oblique nib

My pen usage picked up this week since work slowed to a crawl, and I’ve been home. It’s a good opportunity to use my fountain pens. While I didn’t participate in InCoWriMo, I did receive a couple letters (thanks!). So, I can use this time to respond. The info I found is inconsistent, but the virus could survive on paper anywhere from hours to days (like I said, inconsistent). And who know what it will touch on the way. So for now, I’ll play it safe and write them, but hold them. They aren’t all that important, so no sense taking a chance.

It’s probably related to the COVID-19 fears, but I’ve been itching to buy stuff (and I don’t mean toilet paper). I love the look of the Sailor Epinard 1911 Ringless and it’s hard not to buy one. I have to keep reminding myself that there’s a reason I sold all my Sailor 1911s, except the heavier metal one. I’ll keep wishing for a KOP version. Even worse, I want one of the new iPad Pros too, even though I have the previous model, and the new model doesn’t add anything I’ve been wanting or need. I may get that overpriced keyboard once it’s available, but it will work with my current model. I already use a mouse and external keyboard with my iPad so I may just stick with what I have. Portability isn’t a huge benefit these days. The new keyboard won’t be out until May, so I’ll have time to try keyboard/mouse support with my current setup. Luckily a new iPad Pro is impossible for me to justify. My wallet should be safe from that bullet.

I couldn’t sleep Friday night, so it was time for bourbon and pens. The pens got a lot of use. I have a baker’s dozen inked up and I’ve been rotating through them. So, it may be awhile before any go dry.

Photo of pens & bourbon

Home | Mysite // The Chicago Pen show has been rescheduled. Let’s hope it can happen.

Pen Review: Matthew C. Martin OG1 Fountain Pen — The Gentleman Stationer // An interesting new pen brand/

A Blue Marbled Wartime Swan – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Golden Hour // FWI Golden Armour Fountain Pen (REVIEW) – Weirdoforest Pens // The photos make this look like a bright gold pen, which is a turn-off for me. But, if the brass develops a patina it could be nice.

Recommended Analogue-Inspired Books to Read While You’re Shut In — The Gentleman Stationer

Take Care of Yourself – Penquisition // My brain never linked the anti-microbial copper and brass to pens made of them. It may be time to ink up the Brass Sport again. Although, in reality it’s probably best to stop lending pens entirely.

Daily updated COVID-19 cases – All this I’m trying to avoid reading to much news these days, just enough to get any required info. But this is a good “facts only” look at where we stand. And yes, the “facts” rely on the underlying data which has issues that are documented on the COVID Tracking Project Website, but they seem to be using the best available sources.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 15, 2020

Welcome to the Ides of March. Jeez, could March get any more depressing? Don’t answer that.

A trio of pens went dry this week:

The Kaweco Brass Sport was inked back on November 16th and went dry March 11th. It faithfully travelled in my pocket despite little use.
The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe was inked back in January and went dry March 11th. I seem to have forgotten to record the date inked, and the ink used. It was a cartridge and probably their pigmented Kilwa-Guro black ink.
The Pilot Custom 823 was inked with Pilot Black back on October 1 and went dry March 11th.

All my currently inked pens, except the newly arrived vintage Sheaffer mentioned below, are listed in this currently inked post. The newly arrived Sheaffer, mentioned below, gives me a even dozen inked up pens. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that many fountain pens inked at one time.

I picked up a new (to me) pen off of eBay. I’ve been on the lookout for a Marine Green Sheaffer Balance Oversize to replace my cracked Marine Green. This one wasn’t ideal, a solid gold colored, not two-tone nib and the green didn’t appear to be as vibrant based on the pictures. But, it was a seller I knew and trusted, so I placed a bid and won the pen. It arrived Friday, and as expected the green color was more subdued, closer to an olive green, than my first Marine Green Sheaffer. I haven’t used it very much yet, although it seems fine. Just a little nib creep on one side of the slit, which quickly returned if wiped off. But so far, no dripping. I inked it with a classic (maroon box) Sheaffer Blue. Not Peacock blue, just “blue”. I don’t like blue inks, why is it so common in my vintage Sheaffers?

Photo of both my Marine Green Sheaffers
My new Marine Green Sheaffer (left) compared to my broken Marine Green Sheaffer (right)

Since my pen show opportunities are vanishing quickly, and my anxiety rises every time the President speaks, I ordered another pen. More when it arrives. Hopefully that will be this coming week, but I ordered it Friday and it includes a nib grind, so it may take a little longer.

In case you missed it: The Pen Addict Kickstarter won’t have a live show from Atlanta. If you’re one of the 30 or so Video/VLog only backers you may want to reconsider, although they are looking at replacement options. Personally, I’m in it for the pen and to support them. As of Friday night there were 260 (out of 950) pens left. I’m guessing there won’t be any Atlanta Pen Show and I won’t be making reservations for Chicago at the end of April. Those were the two shows I was looking to build a road-trip vacation around. If you’re waiting for an Atlanta (or any other) pen show cancelation announcement, keep in mind that events often have to wait for an external action (like a government order) to force a cancelation so that they can get refunds, collect insurance, or not be held to their contractural obligations.

How one Florida woman amassed a collection of more than 21,000 banana labels // Not entirely off-topic, after all, this and fountain pens are both obsessions with tight-knit communities.

Crónicas Estilográficas: S System

canetas e coisas

Mabie Todd Blackbird Fountpen – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Not too many links this week, so let’s go off topic with some happy, weird and educational links.

Puppies in a bucket / Boing Boing

Watch 80 joyous minutes of newly discovered Seinfeld bloopers / Boing Boing

Weird – Would you have expected this quote to end a news story: “Dispatchers with Arkansas State Police have no source of the toilet paper, but we are sending out a trooper to check go it out.” Dozens of toilet paper rolls found dumped alongside interstate

If you’re stuck at home and want to learn stuff: Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings

Like fountain pens. Sometimes the old technology is the best. The science of soap – here’s how it kills the coronavirus | Pall Thordarson | Opinion | The Guardian

This Just In: Pelikan M815 Metal Striped SE

When the Pelikan Souverän M815 Metal Striped Special Edition was announced in mid–2018, I was immediately drawn to it. At the time, I had the M805 Stresemann, and the two pens are very similar. I’m not a Pelikan collector, so I couldn’t justify having both pens, especially since the M815 had a street price of $680 ($850 MSRP) here in the US. I also didn’t see the point of selling the Stresemann to buy the M815 Metal Striped, so I promptly forgot about the new M815.

I ended up selling off my M805 Stresemann during my fountain pen sell-off of 2019, although it wasn’t with the intent of replacing it with the M815. In fact, the M815 had completely fallen off my radar. Then I visited the Classic Fountain Pens Website (, and their front page announced a $429 price for the M815. While that’s certainly not inexpensive, it’s less than 1/2 the MSRP and over 35% off typical retail. So, it was back on my radar.

I spent a week mulling it over and sleeping on it, then I decided to pull the trigger. Classic Fountain Pens (CFP) had the lowest price I found, including Amazon sellers. I’ve purchased fountain pens from CFP before, so they are a seller I trust, and buying from them was a no-brainer. CFP checks and tunes the nib before shipping. I asked for a light to medium ink flow using light to medium pressure.

Photo of the Pelikan M815 Metal Striped Presentation Box

The pen arrived in a unique presentation box, although nothing elaborate or expensive. The cardboard box is attractively printed with colors and a design that complements the pen. The pen floats in the box at an angle.

The pens aesthetic is one I like a lot. The palladium plating doesn’t scream bling, and complements the black resin to provide a beautiful overall look for the pen. While the Stresemann has been gone for a few months, my impression is the M815 is slightly brighter than the Stresemann, and I like it better. The overall design is one I consider standard for Pelikan M8xx fountain pens. The furniture is all palladium plated. There are two cap bands, the thicker one is engraved “Pelikan Souverän Germany.” There are another two trim rings at the piston knob. The cap is all black resin, except for the furniture. The cap finial has the Pelikan logo, and the clip is the typical beak design.

(Click any image to open gallery)

The M815 Striped Metal has a dark grey ink window above the section, which sets its design apart from the Stresemann. I worried the ink window would break up the design and bother me. The reality is that once there’s ink in the pen, especially a dark ink, the color just blends right in and I don’t notice it at all. When the pen is capped, the ink window isn’t visible at all.

The nib is rhodium-plated 18k gold with Pelikan’s standard engraving. I picked a fine nib. The nib seems a bit wide for a fine nib. Still, it is a western fine, and not too egregious. Which is unlike the factory EF nib on my earlier Stresemann, which had asperations of being a broad nib until I had it ground down to a correct extra fine size.

I picked Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black as the first ink for the pen. I like blue-blacks, and Pelikan Blue-Black is an ink I haven’t used in a long time. Somehow, I purchased a second bottle despite barely touching the original bottle of ink, so I need to use it. As expected, the piston movement was smooth, and it was easy to fill the pen.

Photo of the Pelikan M815 with a bottle of Pelikan blue-black ink

The M8xx form factor fits comfortably in my hand. The cap can be posted, but I don’t post my pens. While some people complain about fatigue with larger or heavier pens, I’m the exact opposite. The weight and size of the M815 allow me to use a loose grip and write with just the weight of the pen on the paper, no added pressure needed. For light or thin pens, my subconscious brain sends signals to grip the pen tighter, which causes fatigue. That’s a long-winded way of saying that the Pelikan M815 Striped Metal is comfortable in my hand, and it feels like I can write forever. As it is, I found myself having to get up and stretch my legs long before I needed to rest my hand. In comparison – I bought a much lighter and slightly thinner pen at the same time, and I certainly feel fatigued during the writing session.

I’m glad I added the Pelikan Souverän M815 Metal Striped Special Edition. It’s still on the first fill of ink, and it still has that new pen glow, so it’s too soon to know if it’s a Core Pen, Hanger-on, or one that should be added to the sale queue. But my initial reaction is that it will become a core pen.

Currently Inked – March 13, 2020

It’s Friday the 13th and COVID-19 is taking hold here in the States. So, might as well think happy thoughts and play with pens. I inked a few to replace pens that were recently written dry, then kept on going. I ended up with 11 inked fountain pens. Expected 12, but the Pilot Custom 823 didn’t have enough ink for the writing sample.

It’s been awhile, so as a reminder, the writing samples are in the same order, top to bottom, as the pens in the tray, from left to right.

Photo of writing samples of all my inked pens
Photo of my currently inked pens (capped)
All my currently inked fountain pens (capped)
Photo of my currently ink pens (nib view)
Photo of all my currently inked fountain pens (uncapped)