Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – October 25, 2020

My fountain pen usage fell off a cliff this week, so no favorite fountain pen this week. None of them got enough usage. Even though I published a post earlier this week, the written draft was done a week (or more) ago.

Fountain Pen Day is less than two weeks away. It’s on November 6th. I’ve got two pens on my under consideration list and they’d mutually exclusive. I may decide against them both. I’ve been attracted to purple pens lately so a couple of them are on my list, but I don’t need two. If one of them shows up in a fountain pen day deal it may give me the incentive to buy one. But there’s nothing else on my shopping list.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading: I finished The Aleph Extraction by Dan Moren. I’m ambivalent about it. Certainly my least favorite of the three books. The heist storyline never completely pulled me in. Plus, while I understand this is to be a series, the ending screamed “sequel needed” thanks mainly to actions (not) taken that seemed out of character. In fact, I screamed at my Kindle when a character failed to do what was expected, and read that page twice to see what I missed (nothing). From that point on the events were predictable and my enjoyment dropped. Based on Goodreads reviews I am in the minority since it has 4.3 stars.
Listening: 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart (audiobook)

New Arrivals






Written Dry

  1. Sailor 1911 Sterling (M. Stub) ran dry of Sailor Shikiori Yodaki ink and was flushed out. It lasted just under two months.
  2. Benu Briolette (EF) with the manufacturers ink cartridge was flushed out. It didn’t get written dry, but I finished up the review and wanted to clean out the pen. There wasn’t much ink left in the long international cartridge. I reviewed the pen, then put it up for sale.

Newly Inked



Moonman C1, Conversation Starter – Everyday Scrawl // A new stationery blog, only a few posts so far, so it’s easy to catch up.

Recipe for a calm morning | From the Pen Cup

Getting Inky in October — The Pen Addict

Behind the pen: Mark Braun, designer of the Otto Hutt designC | UK fountain pens

The Unique – Goodwriterspens’s Blog


Berlin Tegel: Farewell to the airport that wouldn’t die | CNN Travel // I found this article strangely interesting. Four airports is a lot of land, although only one will still be open when the year ends (barring yet more delays). The airport with “Brandenburg” in the name is the furthest from the Brandenburg gate, which is what this American thinks of when the name is mentioned. German pilots & airlines weren’t allowed to fly into the airport during the Cold War. This article will trigger a bunch of useless research the next time I’m both bored and curious.

This Just In: Benu Briolette Secret Garden

photo of the Benu Briolette capped

The Benu Briolette arrived at the end of May, so calling this a This Just In post is a bit of a stretch. My two Benu Scepter fountain pens arrived after the Briolette, and I’ve already given my first impressions of those pens.

Since the Briolette is still working on its first ink cartridge, albeit a long international cartridge, I’m still calling this a This Just In post.

The fact that it’s been over four months on the first cartridge says something about my view of the Briolette. When I look at the pen or write with the pen, there’s a lot to like. I like the green & black design, and much to my surprise, the sparkles don’t ruin it for me. The extra-fine steel nib is an excellent writer. There’s a lot I like, and nothing that sticks out as a negative, yet the pen doesn’t click with me. So, the review timeline has dragged out, and I’ve already decided that the Briolette needs a new home. But let’s back up a bit.

The Briolette was the second Benu fountain pen that I purchased, the first being the Minima. There have been more since. I ordered the Briolette because the Minima was too small for me and couldn’t be lengthened by posting the cap. So, I moved up a size. The Briolette arrived in what I now recognize as standard Benu packaging. Classy, but less flashy than the pens. Gold lettering on a heavy cardboard box. The pen is in a cardboard sleeve on a bed of shredded paper. A long international cartridge is included, although there was no converter. Some websites, such as Goulet Pens, say a converter is included. The Benu website itself offers a converter as a $5 upsell. JetPens, which is where I purchased mine, does say no converter is included. So be sure to check carefully if a converter matters to you.

The Briolette is a many-faceted pen, so it doesn’t roll easily, despite not having a clip. It takes significant effort to get it to roll at all. The pen does not post and is on the smaller end of the scale at 5.4″ (137.4mm) long when capped, and a body that’s 5″ long (126.7mm) from nib tip to back-end.

I do find the Briolette comfortable to write with, for the most part. Its size is at the boundary of being too small in girth for my comfort. My hand did get tired and a little sore during my longest writing session using the pen, which was a little over an hour. It’s a light fountain pen, with no apparent metal. So the fatigue wasn’t due to the weight. Personally, I’d prefer a little more weight. The gripping section is thinnest at the point where I grip the pen. Although, at 9.4 mm, it’s not outrageously thin. The section does have a drastic taper to it so that a higher grip will provide more girth, 11.3mm just below the threads. The threads are smooth and seemed comfortable when I gripped them, although that’s too far from the nib for my taste.

photo of the Benu Briolette Secret Garden

I picked the Secret Garden design since I’m partial to green. Green is the base color, although there significant areas of black. And of course, there are also silver sparkles. I’m not a fan of the cap band. It’s wide and black, with the Benu name molded onto it. It’s not exactly a band; instead, it’s a separate piece that attaches to the main cap. At least this is the appearance it gives. The threads are molded into this piece. I don’t hate it, but it does break up the look of the pen. At least the Secret Garden has some black in it, so it isn’t totally out of place. The colors, and glitter, are not uniform, giving the impression that each pen could be slightly different.

The lack of metal also means eyedropper filling should be possible, although I did not try it.

The extra-fine nib performed well out of the box. It’s a #5 extra-fine steel nib made by JoWo, in a nib unit assembled by Schmidt. Nib sourcing info is from the Benu website, so as always, it can change anytime. A while back, they mentioned nibs came from both Bock & JoWo for assembly by Schmidt.

The nib performed well out of the box. It was smooth, and I didn’t have any problems with skipping or hard starts. The nib stayed ready to write, even after being capped for over a week. I used the included long international cartridge that Benu had in the box. I like a firm nib, and this fits the bill. I’m currently going through a phase where I’m enjoying some variety in my nibs, so it was unexciting while the nib performed well. Excitement for nibs in sub-$100 fountain pens can often mean bad things, so boring could be considered a positive.

size comparison
L->R Kaweco Sport, Benu Briolette, Lamy Safari
uncapped size comparison
L->R Kaweco Sport, Benu Briolette, Lamy Safari, Lany Safari (posted)

Wrapping Up.

The Benu Briolette performs well and appears solidly built. It’s a $75 fountain pen, so there’s a lot of competition from pens that write just as well, with some costing less. They do have eye-catching materials and designs. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so whether or not you like the look will be personal. If you like the look, then you should enjoy using the pen. While $75 might be a little much as a starter fountain pen, the bright designs could make it a fun fountain pen for a new user.

But it’s not for me. In past days I may have kept the Benu Briolette Secret Garden in my pen case to pull it out and use it every now and then. But these days, I’m trying to be cutthroat in my pen choices, so this one is going up for sale.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – October 18, 2020

Photo of the Esterbrook Oversize Estie Maraschino Cherry
This week’s favorite

My fountain pen usage was way down this week, non-existent on a couple of days. When I did use a fountain pen , it was the Esterbrook Oversize Estie Maraschino with the Journaler nib. So, it repeats as a favorite.

I did send three pens off to new homes, but still have several more ready to go on my Pens For Sale page. Be sure to ask for the reader discount, or coupon code READER, when you contact me. It’s worth $10 off pens priced $50 to $99.99, $20 off pens priced $100 to $199.99, and $30 of pens $200 and up. Good for any pen I’m selling in October.

There’s not much else happening in my life with pens, inks, or stationery, so it’s a short posting this week.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading: The Aleph Extraction by Dan Moren. About 75% of the way through the book, at Chapter 25. I thought I would like it more since it’s more or less a Sci-Fi heist. I do like it, but I liked the earlier books more. I can, and do, put this one down.
Listening: 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart (audiobook) I’m 10 hours into the book, with about 8 hours left. The Audible app is driving me nuts by failing to remember the last part I played, and always going back to an old position. Makes me not want to listen in order to avoid searching for my place if I forgot to bookmark it. This, even though I turned off syncing and eventually deleted all but one copy of the app. Time to remove the DRM on my purchases and never buy another Audible book. I have little patience for software bugs these days.

New Arrivals





Several fountain pens were sold this past week and moved on to new homes:
1. Namiki Sterling Dragon with a medium 18kt gold nib
2. Lamy 2000, Original Black Makrolon with a fine 14K nib
3. Benu Grand Scepter X with a fine steel nib

Written Dry


Newly Inked

  1. My new **Esterbrook Estie Oversize Maraschino Cherry went dry last Sunday eventing. I immediately re-inked it with Sheaffer Red and kept using it.

I’m back to enforcing a “1 link per blog per week” rule, so be sure to check out other recent posts from these sites. Especially Goodwriterspen’s and UK Fountain Pens. I enjoyed multiple articles at both sites.

The Birmingham Pen Company: Seriously Addicted | From the Pen Cup

What are your collecting ‘guardrails’? | UK fountain pens

The Mystery Mead Clipboard | No Pen Intended

Calligraphers of Color Spotlight: Gabrielle from Dunwell Calligraphy — The Pen Addict

Fountain Pen Friendly Notebooks – A Big Roundup – Fountain Pen Love

Do you still read pen blogs? – Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb.

A Stitch in Time | Quieter Elephant

The Parker 25 Revisited – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – October 11, 2020

Photo of the Esterbrook Oversize Estie Maraschino Cherry
This week’s favorite

The newly arrived Esterbrook Oversize Estie immediately became my favorite pen of the week. It’s been my primary pen since I inked it up Wednesday afternoon.

I didn’t do any journaling this past week. But I continued to do a lot of other writing, so my fountain pen usage remained on the high side compared to the last couple of months.

While going through my fountain pens, I updated my accumulation page, including moving pens between their categories (Core, Hangers-On, All the Rest). The update was also triggered by an inquiry to see if a pen was for sale (it wasn’t, even though it wasn’t a core pen at the time). To head off any requests, although every pen has a price, my thinking is Core Pens are not for sale, and neither are Hangers-On since I value them some multiple above what I paid, and it’s unlikely my price would seem fair. After all, I wouldn’t pay it.

As is usually the case, going through my fountain pens to pick the ones to sell, I got to thinking about my current tastes in fountain pens. They’re different now, compared to a year ago. And they’ll be different in another year—no significant changes, but noticeable, at least to me. I’m much more open to colorful pens these days. Early on, at the turn of the century, I wanted to try all the nibs. At least all the production line ones (not custom grinds or bespoke). It did not go well. It did get me to focus on thin nibs, which was beneficial. But I hated all the others, including the various Sailor options, such as the zoom nib. All these were sold off once I got comfortable selling my pens.

Now I’m back into a nib exploration phase, which would be perfect timing if there were pen shows. In some cases, such as the Pilot posting nib, I can be pretty confident that I will like it. In other cases, such as the Sailor zoom nib, it’s been a complete failure in the past, and there’s no reason (other than time) for me to believe I’d like it. The posting nib is pleasant to use. I like it. It doesn’t give me joy to use. Well, maybe a little, but I expect that to wear off as it becomes a regular experience.

On the other hand, the zoom nib is a joy to use and makes me smile, even though I can’t envision ever using it as a daily writer. It doesn’t suit my writing style. Maybe it’s because I picked a colorful ink, and I love the pen’s color. But the nib cries out for color, while the posting nib is happy in a black pen with black ink. I have four more fountain pens out for nib work. Two of them are on the risky side for me, while the needlepoint and left oblique are solid choices for me. Unfortunately, they are still many weeks away.

There are several pens I’ve been eager to ink up, but I’ve avoided it as a way to force me to use my currently inked pens. That’s been a failure since I’ve re-inked pens when they went dry. I guess you could say it was a success since I have used the pens. But I’m no closer to inking up new pens. So I’ll give in, and will ink up a few more pens later today.

I finally got my act together (along with enough shipping boxes), so I have some pens for sale. Regular readers get a discount by mentioning that you’re a regular reader when you contact me about the pen. The offer is valid for all of October 2020, and as they say, “while they last,” but only on pens priced $50 or more. Pens priced $50 to $99.99 get $10 off, pens priced $100 to $199.99 get $20 off, pens $200 and up get $30 off. I’ll only mention the discount in my trail log posts, so if you don’t see it mentioned on other posts, still ask. For those who like coupon codes to avoid ambiguity, you can mention the code “regular,” but it’s not required.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading: The Aleph Extraction by Dan Moren. I’m 10 chapters in and 33% done with the book. Good escapist sci-if.
Listening: 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart (audiobook). I caught up with podcasts (mainly by not listening to as many) and listened to this instead. I’m nearly 6 hours in, with 13 hours left. Interesting so far, although a bit scary with today’s political environment. As the title suggests, this is more about the run-up to the war..
Watching: Nothing worth mentioning.

New Arrivals

  1. The Esterbrook Oversize Estie Maraschino Cherry with the Journaler nib arrived on Wednesday. The pen is gorgeous! I also like the nib a lot.





Written Dry


Newly Inked

  1. As mentioned, the newly arrived Esterbrook Oversize Estie was inked up with Sheaffer red. It seemed like the logical choice among the inks at my disposal all the inks in the world. Even though I usually use Sheaffer Red in a thin nib that’s suitable for marking up documents.

Swapping Nibs with Flexible Nib Factory Feeds – The Well-Appointed Desk

canetas e coisas: BERMONT

FPR Darjeeling Update – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Mabie Todd Swan Leverless Dark Blue and Black – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Musings: Using Up Collectables | Comfortable Shoes Studio

An Experiment: Fountain Pen Ink in a Waterbrush Pen | No Pen Intended

An Influx of Stationery. — The Finer Point

canetas e coisas: MOONMAN

Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter Bestseller A5 Review — The Pen Addict // I have a Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter and really love the look, but I’ve always struggled to give it a purpose.

A fresh take on the pocket pen: Leonard Slattery A Se | UK fountain pens

Tinkering with the Wing Sung 601A fountain pen. | Fountain pen blog


No off-topic links today, compiling them raised my anxiety. So I’ll just say: Our President is psychotic, wear the dam mask, attempts to over-throw a state government and kidnap governors should be denounced at the highest level even if doesn’t fit your political narrative, and Black Lives Matter. OK, one link (via Andy Ihnatko) for those who disagree:

I guess I lied about no off-topic links, but I came across this late Saturday, and it made me chuckle so here’s one more.
‘Did you write mine?’ Ford asked about obit

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – October 4, 2020

Photo of this week’s popular pens

The broken record continues from last week, with the Kanilea Kona Cherry being my favorite of the week. I did refill it. Later in the week, I moved my three Sheaffer Balance IIs into my pen case. These three beauties were able to make me forget about the Kanilea. The only negative is that they all have the same nib. That’s mitigated by the nib being terrific.

Speaking of Kanilea Pen, they announced a new pen material this week. The Kona Snow. While the material does look gorgeous, white pens aren’t for me, so this is an easy pass.

It’s hard for me to judge my fountain pen usage this week, but it feels like it increased over last week (not a reliable measuring system at all). The reason it’s hard to tell is that I stopped journaling in the morning. I didn’t have consistently sized journal pages that I could count up for comparison. I replaced that with more varied writing. The reason was that mornings are my more productive writing times, and while journaling has benefits, it felt like it was a lost opportunity. Besides, journaling had begun to feel like a daily accomplishment, which can be useful if it’s motivating, but in this case, it was starting to make me think, “that task is done, time for Civilization VI.” I’m not a big gamer, but I’m addicted to that one. Even if I set a timer, shutting down the game isn’t enough, I’d keep thinking about it. Avoiding the game would be relatively easy (don’t start), but the mindset of the journal being an accomplishment was de-motivating at the moment. No matter what I did next, I was less focused. I had hoped that evening journaling could take its place, but like past experiences have proven, that doesn’t work for me. I still want to play around with it a bit (lunchtime? scheduled time in the late afternoon?), so we’ll see.

Still no pens for sale this week, but for a surprising reason – there’s a shortage of USPS shipping boxes, at least at the two post offices near me. I have most pictures taken and pens inspected, but when I stopped for shipping boxes on Friday, I could only find two, bringing my total stock to four. Buying boxes at the small scale that I need costs a lot per box, so USPS boxes are the best option. That unexpected set-back was deflating, and I skipped finishing things up on Saturday. Hopefully, I can find some this week, or replacements that make financial sense. I don’t want the added stress of finding a box for a pen that’s already been sold. I’ll only list as many pens as I have boxes. So I will list at least four next Sunday. I plan to announce/list them in the Trail Log, so regular readers have first crack and a discount.

Speaking of USPS, and because I ordered a pen, and because a friend mentioned a USPS tracking issue (lack of movement), I figured I’d mention this. This (no tracked movement) first happened to me back in September with the Pen Addict Kickstarter pen shipment. Brad said on his podcast that he had multiple complaints about this. I doubt I was the only patient recipient who didn’t contact him, so many more probably had the problem too. Now, this has happened to me on every shipment via USPS since then. That’s not a lot (4 or 5 maybe), but it’s been from different parts of the country.

TL;DR – if the tracking shows Accepted, but no ETA, and shows no progress over days, be patient. It’s in the USPS system, and there’s nothing the shipper can, or USPS will do to help.

USPS, on its website, shows “Accepted” in bold letters as the status. Click into the tracking details, and it says “Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending” which seems to conflict with that big “Accepted.” From my days shipping for eBay sales and using bulk shipping software, I’ve interpreted this to mean – “The shipper dropped off a bunch of stuff (the shipment received) and they say this package is in there somewhere, but we haven’t scanned this exact package yet, so its acceptance is still pending .” There’s also no ETA listed. In the before times, I would see a further update in a couple of hours, at the latest when my local PO closed and the tracking updated to say the package left the building. Now, tracking doesn’t update until the day it arrives. My own experience is that packages I bring to the post office, and have scanned at the counter, update tracking just fine, as did a shipment I received, which I can logically assume that the sender did too. It seems to be only bulk (commercial) shipments.

If I’m in a conspiratorial mood, I say that USPS isn’t scanning (or showing scans), so they never have an ETA that would make them late, and if the package never arrives, they’ve never acknowledged that they got it, thereby avoiding liability. I’ve never had to worry about the specific terms for bulk shippers, but assume any legal agreement favors USPS. But whatever the reason, my own experience has been that the package arrives, taking maybe a day or two longer than the before times, but it does show up. And when it shows up, there will be tracking updates starting with the previous evening. The good news is the package arrives. The bad news is there’s nothing the shipper or I can do about it. (Well, I’m assuming the shipper can’t do anything, I’ve never contacted one of them, and the package always arrived with patience. I can’t believe USPS would be any more helpful than telling them to wait. With that Kickstarter pen I was a bit worried, now it’s happed so much that it doesn’t bother me in the least, and I expect it. Not to say packages can’t get delayed. Back when tracking worked, I watched as a package bounced around the midwest, and stopped for sightseeing as it made it’s way to me over two weeks. That was when lockdowns (including my state) were more severe, so I expected it. I enjoyed predicting when it would leave its current location and where it would go next. Still, that two weeks has become my new benchmark for being worried enough to contact USPS if tracking shows no progress at all.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading: The Aleph Extraction by Dan Moren. Still reading it, but no progress this week.
Listening: 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart (audiobook). Still listening, but no progress.
Watching: Ted Lasso (Apple TV) // The only show I watch the day it drops (Friday’s). The final episode of the season dropped on Friday. I liked it a lot, for reasons I won’t mention in order to avoid spoilers. If you haven’t watched it yet I recommend it. A one-week Apple TV+ free trial is available to everyone and it’s only ten 30 (ish) minute episodes.

New Arrivals



  1. Esterbrook Oversize Estie Maraschino Cherry with Palladium Trim and the Journaler steel nib. Yes, I know that last week I wrote I wouldn’t buy “the” (unnamed) pen until I sold enough to pay for it. In my defense, this isn’t that pen. Hey, it’s election season here, I’ve had many examples of weaselly excuses and pretzel logic. I should be allowed to participate and benefit. This does make that other pen less and less likely. It’s the nib that drew me to this pen. I’m in a nib experimenting mindset. I like that Esterbrook (owned by Kenro) is collaborating with a nib grinder AND producing a nib inspired by a classic Esterbrook nib AND offering their pens in both gold and silver trim. Well, not so much the gold in my specific case, but I know others prefer gold and the the trims shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. The pen has shipped, but tracking is in the state I wrote about up above, the post office has it – somewhere.



Written Dry

  1. The Kanilea Kona Cherry (EF) ran dry of Montblanc Bordeaux ink while I was at my desk. I reached over, grabbed the bottle of Montblanc Bordeaux and a towel, then immediately refilled the pen. I’m never going to write other pens dry if I keep doing this.
  2. The ystudio Classic Desk Pen ran out of Montblanc Psychedelic Purple ink, as it has several times since being inked up back in August. Rather than immediately refilling it again, I decided to clean it out and consider a different ink for the refill. It’s waiting to be cleaned, sitting on my desk taunting me.

Newly Inked


A George Raft Autograph And The Pen | An Inkophile’s Blog

A look at the Sailor Pro Gear Slim fountain pen, with Music nib. | Fountain pen blog

Shining a light on Loft Pens | UK fountain pens

Crónicas Estilográficas: From Kamakura to Choshitsu

Getting the cold shoulder | UK fountain pens

Flexible Nibs – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Once You Pop the Ritma Don’t Stop – Penquisition

The Patent That Launched A Fountain Pen Empire « The Pelikan’s Perch


How to Protect Yourself from the Aerosol Spread of Covid-19 // A bunch of good links in here, although I’ve yet to read everything

The intro in this article about reports on Trump’s health, reminded my about Monty Python’s Black Knight bit.