Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 12, 2020

Photo of my 9 currently inked pens
I’m down to 9 inked pens, 3 less than last Sunday. While I planned to photograph my entire desk, it’s even messier than last week, so a tight crop on the fountain pens. The brown notebook that is behind the pens is the Doane Paper pocket notebook that’s my current journal.

It certainly feels like my fountain pen usage was way up this past week, I wrote three pens dry on Friday – the vintage Grey Marble Sheaffer Balance Oversize and two of my three Sheaffer Balance IIs. The third Balance II is writing with just the ink left in the feed, so it will soon join it’s siblings. All these pens were inked in mid-January, so it’s not like I used them up quickly. What I find really amazing is that I was consistent enough in rotating my pen usage that they all went dry on the same day. While I don’t keep track of these things, it’s the only time I can remember this happening.

I’ve been journaling consistently, using my pocket notebook. As expected, the smaller size is more motivating. As is the structure of one two-page spread per day. It’s quick enough that I don’t put it off in the morning or evening. There was one night I completely forgot, my compulsion for structure, and not leaving a blank page, had me fill in that page the next morning before I wrote my regular morning entry.

I’m left with nine inked pens. My two remaining Sheaffers are low on ink and at least one will go dry today. I started with the Aspen and will switch to the Balance Oversize when the Aspen goes dry. I’m still debating what to ink up to replace all the no-empty pens. I’m leaning towards re-inking the Sheaffer level fillers since that’s so much easier than flushing them out. Plus, they’d great pens.

I’m back to browsing eBay for pens. So far I’ve been quickly outbid on the couple that I bid on. I wasn’t surprised since I placed relatively low bids that matched my enthusiasm for the pen. I have a simple rule for eBay bidding. Figure out how much I’m willing to pay, then place a maximum bid for that amount. If it’s a pen I really want I’ll set a reminder for when the auction is nearly over, then bid near the end. Basically, a manual snipe. My pet peeve is people who place bids just above the current bid, and keep raising it as they are outbid. (FYI – eBay proxy bids and will automatically raise bids up to the bidders maximum.) As a seller I loved these because these folks seem to be the ones that get carried away and concentrate on winning the auction. My brain finds it completely illogical. As a buyer I hate it for the same reason, I almost prefer to lose these auctions than have them drop out just shy of hitting my maximum bid.

Some More Nibs – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // I’m a sucker for some good nib photos.

Doodling As An Antidote To Turbulent Times | An Inkophile’s Blog // I started doing this the night I read the article. Great way to use pens and clear the mind.

Mabir Todd Swan Leverless L200B/60 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Kala Nostalgia Blue Lagoon Vapor | Inkdependence! // Another go-to sight for those rare times I want an ink review.

Simple pleasures | UK fountain pens

Iridium – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // I used to have a unwritten rule of limiting any site to one link per week. But I’m really enjoying the stuff on Goodwriterpen’s blog. It’s a unique voice in my feed. Since it was an unwritten rule I have no problem including three links in one week.

Postcards From the Edge | From the Pen Cup

Crónicas Estilográficas: Curidas. 3. Analysis // I’m always put off by products that have a bunch of internet hype, especially prior to being widely available. Crónicas has had a series of posts about the pen that cuts through the hype. Personally, I’m not interested beyond curiosity. Although, I do hope the pen lives up too the hype and people enjoy it. It would be nice to see Platinum be successful and expand the lineup.

Forever inks | UK fountain pens // Another Montblanc ink lover.

This Just In: Sailor 1911 Full Size Realo

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo in packaging
Sailor 1911 Large Realo in packaging

The Sailor 1911 Full Size Realo arrived in the same package as the Pelikan M815 Striped Metal back in early February. “Realo” is the moniker Sailor uses for their piston fill pens. According to the Sailor website, this is the only Realo model available with anything other than gold trim. So my choice was limited since I didn’t want gold trim. I do have a slight preference for the Pro Gear design, but that wasn’t an option since I couldn’t find any trace of their being a silver trimmed Pro Gear Model. (There are Realo Pro Gear pens, just not with silver trim.)

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo capped

The 1911 Large Realo is a traditional, tapered pen with silver trim. The design is often referred to as cigar-shaped, which I never really understood since most cigars I’ve seen are flat on one end. The nib is 21k rhodium plated. I picked a medium-fine as my nib size. Sailor nibs run thin (as do all Japanese nibs, and this one is thinner than many of my European fine nibs. The pen itself is made of a classic black resin.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo cap and ink window

Like the Pelikan M815 that arrived at the same time, it has a window to view the ink level. Unlike the M815, the ink window is visible when the pen is capped.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo nib

I’m a fan of Sailor’s thin nibs and have the extra-fine on my Regency Stripe. This medium-fine is two steps above that, making it an excellent all-around nib for me. The nib is marked H-MF, where the H means Hard. I wouldn’t call the nib a nail, but I like firm nibs, and this has a Goldilocks firmness to it.

While the size of the Realo is comfortable for me it’s a resin pen, meaning it’s relatively light. My hand gets more fatigued with a light pen than it does with a heavier pen. It’s counter-intuitive, but it’s because I subconsciously use a tighter grip on lighter pens. The ink flows so smoothly from the Sailor nib that I can use a light touch and let the weight of the pen do all the work of keeping the nib on the paper. I get a nice, solid line of ink that’s true to the nib size without any added pressure. Because of this, along with the comfortable size of the pen, I haven’t found myself sub-consciously tightening my grip. I did experiment with posting the cap, but the benefit of the added weight is outweighed by the discomfort I have using a posted pen. My benchmark is that I have to stand and stretch my legs before I have to put the pen down to rest. I’ve yet to do any marathon writing sessions, but so far the pen feels like I can write forever with it and I expect it to achieve this benchmark.

To inaugurate the pen I picked Iroshizuku Funyu-Syogun ink. Iroshizuku inks are well-behaved and Fuyu-Syogun was my favorite ink at one time. I filled the pen when it arrived in early February, and it went dry as I was writing the draft of this post.

I’m not sure this pen has the stuff to be Core Pen worthy. The Realo has a great nib, and it’s comfortable. Still, once the novelty of a Sailor piston filler rubs off, it may go the way of my my other Sailor 1911s. Only time will tell. I didn’t refill it after it went dry, opting instead to concentrate on using the five Sheaffers that are already inked up. This indicates it may have a hard time achieving core-pen status. Then again, four of those Sheaffers are core pens, and the fifth is a new addition that’s identical to one of the core-pen Sheaffers, except for the material.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo uncapped

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 5, 2020

Photo of my desk - high noon on Saturday
Photo of my desk, high noon on Saturday.

This week I did a good job of rotating my pen usage among all my inked fountain pens. Plus, I started journaling again on a regular basis. I did change up the way I journal. In the past my journal was always a Seven Seas Writer or similar A5 notebook. I would typically write at night, occasionally trying to write mornings, and on rare occasions, both morning an evening. I have this this compulsion to write full pages. A blank A5 page can seem pretty daunting when I’m tired, or in a hurry, or just don’t feel like writing. So, I switched to using a pocket size notebook which is a lot less daunting. I use a two page spread per day. In the morning I write on the left page. I use the right page in the evening. It’s not a lot of room, but I’ve written each day since I started a week ago.

I pick a new pen to start the day and use that pen as my primary writer for the entire day. Since I’m home-bound this is much easier. Fountain pens like my Sheaffer Balance IIs or vintage Sheaffers which I consider a little to fragile to travel, especially in my pocket, can now remain in a pen stand. This does mean no pens were used enough to be written dry.

Nock Co. Is having a 25% sale for the month of April so I restocked my notecards. (See the banner at the top of their website for the coupon code.) I also placed a Doane Paper order to restock my writing pads along with a few notebooks.

To entertain myself I’ve started movie nights, which are now every day of the week. This week was heavy on westerns. The week started with The Professionals (1966) and Stage Coach (1939). I liked Stage Coach more than I expected, since I’m not a John Wayne fan. The Professionals didn’t have much of a story, but a great cast carried the movie. Then I switched to a comedy and watched Some Like It Hot (1959) which was enjoyable even though I’ve watched it already and knew the story and the jokes. At this point I wanted to watched the Dollar trilogy and watched A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and A Few Dollars More (1965). I’ll finish the trilogy this afternoon with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) which remains my favorite western. I did a double feature on Friday and also watched The Lady From Shanghai (1947) which was an enjoyable film-noir, although with a slightly convoluted story. I also watched Auto Focus (2002) which was about Bob Crane. I watched Hogan’s Heroes when I was a kid and remembered there was a scandal when he was murdered in 1978. It satisfied my curiosity about the events, and was actually a well acted and put together movie. It’s not what I’d consider an enjoyable movie, and not recommended due to the topic. It has a well deserved R rating.

Yes, I like old movies. Except for the spaghetti westerns,all the movies were from the Criterion Collection subscription service. I was familiar with their DVDs, and enjoyed them in the past. The subscription service is a better deal than DVDs, and I subscribed earlier this year. It’s $99/year (can be monthly too). A lot of old movies along with some recent classics. Also a lot of foreign films. They are true to the original versions, so no colorized versions and the foreign films have subtitles, no dubbing. Many films are restored and there are a lot of extras to go along with many of the movies. To match their name, many of the files are grouped in “Collections” such as by the same director or with the same actor. A two week free trial is available. They move movies in and out every month so if you start your trial the last week of a month you’ll get a slightly larger selection.

So yea a lot of movies. And sorry about the off-topic tangent. But I can relate it to fountain pens since I used the movies as an excuse to use my pens and write some quick reviews. Well, more like notes than reviews.

canetas e coisas: SAILOR

Why Hobbies (Still) Matter in the Midst of a Pandemic — Inkpothesis // Some heartfelt thought by someone currently working in a hospital.

Architect Nibs: Their Theory and Practice | Hey there! SBREBrown // I never jumped on the popularity of these nibs, mainly since most complex (meaning “not round”) nibs are lost on me. Very good explanation of the nib. I’m still not sure if the nib is for me. But, this is the first time I’ve heard it’s better suited for people who print, rather than use cursive. That is me.

For Pen Aficionados: How to Fill Your Free Time During the Quarantine – Neil’s Unique Pens Bought and Sold

Some Nibs – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

The Best Paper for Everday Writing, Part I: Best Hardcover Notebooks — The Gentleman Stationer

Ink Review #1124: Diamine Starlit Sea — Mountain of Ink // I don’t buy ink these days, so I rarely read or link to ink reviews. But if I wanted to read an ink review, I’d start with this site.

Current Mood(s) | From the Pen Cup // Good to see Mary’s shoulder is healing up and she’s back to posting.

Pen Pal Match Up Opens Again: One for Adults, One for Kids – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Crónicas Estilográficas: Curidas. 2. Contenders

Sailor Fountain Pen Maintenance Kit Review — The Pen Addict // As mentioned in the review, it seems pricey, but not outrageous and it seems useful. That is if you have many Sailor pens and no cleaning supplies.

Quarantinely Inked – Weirdoforest Pens

Off-Topic: Train Engineer Says He Crashed In Attempt To Attack Navy Hospital Ship In L.A. : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR // Crazy story, but the part I found interesting is that “training wrecking” is a named crime.

Off-Topic: The Worm is Back! | NASA // The best NASA logo. Forty-five years old and still seems modern, glad it’s back. But then again, it’s the logo I grew up seeing during my peak space interest as a kid.