Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – September 20, 2020

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo capped

My fountain pen usage was off a bit this past week. I did skip one day of journaling and only wrote six A5 pages the entire week. There was the usual collection of lists and notes, but nothing else. While I did try to rotate through my pens, my favorite was the Sailor Realo, on the strength of its medium-fine Sailor nib and Montblanc Encre du Desert ink.

I upgraded to iOS 14 already. That broke the Shortcuts workflows that I use to save & compile these links. There are still annoying quirks, but they mostly work. Going against everything I know about computers they still will occasionally fail, but then work immediately on the next run with the same input. Part of the reason I use the shortcuts is for consistency, in addition to saving time. So this makes me insane. I rewrote the shortcut a bit, and it seems consistent now. I don’t think I’m missing any links, but it had been so reliable in the past that the only audit trail is my memory, which means there is no audit trail. Other technology related to the Trail Post workflow is also biting me in the a**, although it started last week’s post, so isn’t iOS 14 related. Minor stuff, but annoying since I didn’t change anything. I put off troubleshooting, knowing there were be updates with iOS 14, but now it’s time to tackle them.

I’ve been moving back into my office, which has given me new reasons to procrastinate by setting things up and reorganizing. I plan to make it official complete on Monday or Tuesday by filling up my Esterbrook Dip-Less pen and putting it back into use as my office desk pen. I hadn’t moved it home since my workspace is cramped, and there was no doubt I’d knock it off my desk and put a big red stain on my carpet. So, I just cleaned it out and left it there. I already brought the bottle of Sheaffer Red into the office, but there has still been too much moving and shuffling of my desks to fill it up and risk spilling it onto the floor, or worse. Cables seem to have a life of their own, and like to wrap themselves around things when I’m not looking.

Esterbrook Inkwell and Dipless Pen
Esterbrook #407 Inkwell and Dipless Pen

Speaking of Sheaffer Red ink, this week’s Anderson Pens podcast mentioned that Sheaffer (now owned by the same parent company as Cross Pens) would be releasing inks in a new bottle. The new bottle brings back the old inkwell bottle design, although in a 30ml bottle. There are some new ink colors (including shimmer), and no word on whether existing colors, like the Red, will be the same ink formula or a different shade. The current 50ml colors and bottles will stick around. It sounds like the 30ml bottle will be slightly more expensive than competing 30ml ink bottles from others, and possibly more than the $10.50 cost of a Sheaffer 50ml bottle. I won’t mention the price they mentioned since it was speculation, but it was more than $10.50. Although reasonable, considering the unique bottle design. They didn’t say, but I’m assuming the bottle will be glass. Just a general availability date of “later this month, or next.” I’m in.

The Sheaffer inkwell bottle was designed for the snorkel and the inkwell is too shallow for many of my nibs, but still very cool. I do have some concerns about a inkwell in a smaller 30ml bottle.

I made an impulsive pen purchase on Thursday, another Retro 51. I created an In-Stock notification at Anderson Pens when the Marco Polo was announced. I like maps, and I like green. This pen has both. I fully expected it to sell out before I got around to buying it. I also had a couple of small pen supply items in my shopping cart, waiting to reach the free shipping level. I happened to check email shortly after the in-stock notification arrived, so I went out to buy it, fully expecting it to go out of stock before I finished. It didn’t, and I bought it. I checked a few minutes later, and it was sold out, so I won’ bother linking. I do have some buyer’s remorse (even though I’ve yet to get the pen), since I don’t need another Retro 51.

Even though the PA Retro 51 arrived last week, it was from backing Pen Addict Live way back in March, when “live” seemed possible, and I hoped to get to one of the shows they’d be at. Even though I can claim this wasn’t two straight week with a new pen purchase, I felt guilty about the new pen, since it was an impulse purchase. So, I went through and picked some pens to sell. I’m including at least one Retro 51. I still need to test, clean, and price them, so look for them in next week’s Trail Log, maybe two weeks since I want to put them up all at once. I’ll offer them here first, and with a discount for regular readers.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading: Finished The Bayern Agenda by Dan Moren (Sci-Fi). I’ll stick with Sci-Fi and later today I’ll read Showdown then start on The Aleph Extraction. Showdown is a short novella set between The Bayern Agenda and The Aleph Extraction. Both are part of the same “Galactic Cold War” series by Dan Moren.
Listening: 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart (audiobook) // I’m a little over 5 hours into the nearly 19 hour book on Audible.
Watching: Ted Lasso (Apple TV) // The only show I watch the day it drops (Friday’s) . I’m also watching Killing Eve. I’m not liking this season nearly as much as the first two. So I don’t feel any compulsion to watch the next episode as each one finished. Other viewing has been mostly old western movies. There’s the usual assortment of repeat TV shows from my library which function mainly as background noise.

New Arrivals



The previously mentioned Retro 51 Marco Polo is due in sometime this week.



Written Dry

  1. The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe wasn’t written dry, but I decided to flush it out. The Montblanc Albert Einstein, a grey ink, is just too light for that thin nib. I knew that going it, but ignored my better judgement. It’s also takes more effort to read, especially on ivory colored paper. The ink flows well, but every time I start writing with it my brain thinks it’s running dry. I also have to spend some mental effort to keep from pressing down more. It just isn’t a enjoyable writing experience. Later today I’ll clean the pen, and move the converter with Albert Einstein to my Sailor KOP with a medium nib. I do want to use the Regency Stripe, but will hold off until more pens are written dry.

Newly Inked


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