Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 20, 2020

Photo of this week's new notebook and fountain pen arrivals

Three of the four pens I have on order arrived this week. The fourth is still languishing in Virginia (Goulet shipped the same day I ordered). I’ve opened the new arrivals for inspection but haven’t inked any of them up. I have too many inked pens to add to them now.

Last Sunday, I went through my pens to verify they still wrote well enough. I looked at ink levels and used the low ink pens during the week, writing a few dry. Finally, there are several pens in the Written Dry section below.

I also wrote the last page in my Seven Seas Writer that I use as a Journal. I wrote the first page on October 10th, 2016, and finished the final page on Friday. It took me over four years to fill the 480-page notebook. I’m not a good example of consistency.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I backed the Good Made Better Kickstarter for the Penwell Craftsman. I since changed my mind and withdrew the pledge and ordered another Traveler. I picked the double. I like the one I have, and use it daily. I have used two pens on occasion, so double seems ideal. As expected, they still easily made their goal without me.

This will be the last Trail Log of the year. Next Sunday is the holiday weekend, and I’ll be skipping it.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook). Not much progress this week. I’m only about 6 hours into it and only listened two days this week.
Reading: Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré. With [John Le Carré’s passing](John le Carré: Espionage writer dies aged 89 – BBC News), I was reminded how much I enjoyed his books and wanted to return to them. Unfortunately, I only have them on audiobooks. I’ve listened to them all as they went quickly on my commutes. I may return to them when my local library re-opens for curbside pickup, and I can get the physical books. For now, I’m starting with the one title for which they had an available ebook.

New Arrivals

  1. Sheaffer 300 Matte Green
  2. Retro 51 Lincoln Fountain Pen:
  3. Lamy Safari USA Independence Day Fountain Pen

The Sheaffer 300 arrived with some notebooks. I’ve recently become fond of the Profolio Oasis Light notebook, so I ordered a variety of cover colors. They’re B5 sized with 50 sheets. I like the paper and the ruling, so at $2.50, I consider them a great deal. I can also confirm that they hold up reasonably well to beer and coffee spills. The ink, not so much. I also ordered each size of the Profile Petite Journal to give them a try. I like that each page is perforated, pocketable, and $1.50 and $2.00 each, depending on size.


  1. Diplomat Aero Green w/fine 14kt gold nib. This pen has spent over a week site seeing in Richmond, Va, according to the tracking. I realize deliveries will be slow for understandable reasons, and I’m willing to be patient. Still, the fact that they add the message “…currently in transit to the next facility” every damn day annoys the heck out of me since the last actual movement was its arrival in Richmond a week ago.



Written Dry

  1. The Kaweco Brass Sport with an extra-fine nib and a Montblanc Petit Prince Red Fox ink cartridge was flushed out last Sunday after I gave all my inked pens a test. This one was more evaporation rather than written dry. It was inked up on April 26th of this year. Normally I’d be re-inking it up, but it’s not being used, and I’ve been using a rollerball the few times I’m out and about. Since it got little use, I put it in the pen case after cleaning.
  2. The Leonardo Momento Zero wasn’t written dry either. The misaligned feed continued to annoy me visually, and the performance was now inconsistent, with occasional hard starts and skipping. So I flushed it out Sunday, hoping to tackle the feed during the week, which I did. Although I haven’t inked it up yet, so the results are unknown.
  3. Sailor 1911 Full Size Realo with a Medium-Fine nib was written dry. It hasn’t been cleaned out yet. It was filled with Montblanc Antoine de Saint-Expery Encre du Desert back on August 1st, so it took a while.
  4. Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with a medium nib was written dry of Montblanc Albert Einstein. I inked it up with a partially used cartridge back on September 1st.
  5. Pilot Custom 912 with a posting nib was written dry. I popped in the included black cartridge back on June 14th, when the pen arrived. I’m a little surprised it took so long, as I do really like the pen. It seems to have gotten lost in the pile of black fountain pens.

Newly Inked


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Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 13, 2020

photo of this week's favorite fountain pen

Since favorite means preferred above all others, there’s no favorite fountain pen this week. I had forgotten how much I enjoy the nib on the Sailor Realo, so it was a pleasant surprise when I used it this week. The pen has been living in my Fodderstack XL. These days, when travel is non-existent, except between desks with many pen choices, it rarely gets used and is forgotten since it’s not among the pens I pick from daily, and the Fodderstack is rarely in my pocket. I pulled it out this week and gave it some love. It was a week of core pens, so I couldn’t pick a true favorite.

December brings along my planning for the next year and reviewing this year’s budget. While having a pen budget is a great way to avoid spending too much, it also encourages me to spend the rest of the budget at year-end. Considering my pen budget included pen show travel this year, it was a generous budget. Plus, pen sales, minus related expenses such as fees and shipping, replenish that budget. Even though it is my own money, I still have that corporate mentality of use it or lose it. So I went a bit nuts with purchases this week. Although three of my four purchases were sub-$70 pens, the fourth was a bit of a splurge. All are on their way to me, so listed under Incoming below. I also stocked up on a few inexpensive notebooks that I either like, or want to try.

I did resist buying an Esterbrook Oversize Estie in the Rocky Top material. I love the material, but the gold trim ruins it for me, especially since silver trim would also work well with that material. These days I won’t compromise at that price. The pen purchases where probably my subconscious attempt to get the dopamine hit that I lost when I skipped the Rocky Top. I also liked, but resisted, the two Retro 51 acid-etched models. I see Goulet Pens still has them in stock (Saturday morning). Please buy them before I change my mind, my budget hasn’t reached zero.

Next year’s fountain pen budget will be considerably less. I’ll budget for a local pen show or two. Although, my local shows tend to be early in pen show season, so they are likely to be cancelled this year too, unless they can be rescheduled for later in the year. I have hopes for the Commonwealth (Boston) Pen Show in September. It’s currently scheduled for September 12th. The Long Island Pen show is usually in March, which seems too soon. Their website is silent on the 2021 pen show, no surprise there.

With 26 pen purchases this year (some already sold off to finance another pen), I’ll only buy at shows. If I don’t attend any shows I’ll make a year end purchase.. My inability to make fair use of fountain pens that I have and like makes this an easy decision. I plan to implement a strict one in – one out policy next year. I do realize that since I make the policy, I can change the policy. [Which feeds my pet peeve when businesses say “it’s against out policy” as a reason to justify what they do (or don’t do)].

Pen Sales Update

There are still a few pens available on my For Sale page. I plan to take down the sales page on Wednesday evening (16th), and it won’t return until late January, at the soonest. I won’t be offering these pens elsewhere until next year, so the reader discount of 10% off the list price will be automatic. Any queries initiating after Wednesday may see an extended delay before getting a “no” reply.

I’ve had a couple of inquiries about selling some of my other Retro 51s. I have no interest in selling any except for the Flint, which is currently listed. While I liked some of their December offerings, I avoided ordering any, so I don’t feel compelled to sell any of my existing Retro 51s.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Pacific Crucible by Ian W. Toll (audiobook) I finished this off this week. I like WWII histories, so this was an enjoyable book. It reads like a novel. It also seems to draw from Japanese primary sources, rather than being entirely US/UK centric. I’d give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, although no specific reason for taking that 1/2 star off. The 22-hour audiobook passed quickly. (If you know of any good WWI histories from a non-US point of view, but in English, let me know.)

Listening: An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa (1942-1943) I hesitated on this one because it’s book 1 in a massive trilogy, in addition to being the same genre that I just finished. I like the narrator (George Guidall), so I’m hoping it’s as enjoyable as Pacific Crucible. So far, it is.

Watching: I went for light fare this week and watched a few Marx Brothers movies. Duck Soup still has me laughing from start to finish.

I bought these audiobooks when I was doing a lot of driving for 90 minutes, or more, each workday. At this point, I wish I had them in print. I’m not going to buy print (or ebook) editions, and getting a library book of the same title would also feel like a waste of money to me (sunk cost fallacy?). So I’ve been listening at home and resisting starting up another print book. There’s only been one instance where I had to re-listen to a large section after realizing my mind wandered and tuned out the book.


A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was moving this website to a new host. That didn’t happen. I found WordPress was charging my auto-renewal a month before the actual plan expiration. So I turned off auto-renewal and have until January 9th before I have to move or pay for a renewal. I’ll be moving in the next couple of weeks. With the extra time, I decided to be aggressive and work on a redesign.

New Arrivals



I could only resist so much, and I have four fountain pens on their way to me — a year-end splurge.

  1. Sheaffer 300 Matte Green: As is often the case, the Anderson Pens podcast cost me money. They showed the Sheaffer 300 in the new Matte Green with Black Trim. I had to have it, so I ordered one with a fine nib. I had a 300 over five years ago, and I gave the pen a favorable review (no doubt partly fueled by my Sheaffer bias) but ended up giving it away. Maybe a Sheaffer 300 in my favorite color will be a keeper.
  2. Retro 51 Lincoln Fountain Pen: I haven’t had good luck with Retro 51 fountain pens. My first, Double Eight from 2005, was poorly made – a slip cap that quickly loosened so much the pen would fall out, along with other deficiencies. It put me off Retro 51s for awhile. My second was this same model, which I eventually sold since the nib was significantly wetter than my preference. My original had a Bock nib (although I could be wrong on this), while this one will have a JoWo nib. I don’t have a brand preference, but I’m encouraged that it’s not the same nib. It also keeps me from feeling guilty about re-buying a pen model that I sold. I’m going to try again since I like the copper pen’s look, and it forms a set with my Retro 51 rollerball. I got this one with a stub nib.
  3. Lamy Safari USA Independence Day Fountain Pen: This one was under my radar until I saw it on the specials page at Pen Chalet. According to them, this is a US exclusive, and the name implies that it’s been available for months. For some reason, it’s priced slightly under the regular Safari Models, although the list price is somewhat higher. I like the Red (clip), White (cap), and Blue (barrel) design. The pen is hardly US-centric, as I see there are 28 countries with these colors in their national flag. The photos don’t show any US-centric marking. This one is coming with a medium nib (the only available option), but I have a complete set of Lamy nibs to swap onto the pen.
  4. Diplomat Aero Green w/ fine 14kt gold nib: The green is a new color, I don’t even see it on Diplomat’s own website, and I only found it at Goulet Pens. Despite enjoyable steel nibs, I decided to splurge for a gold nib. I can’t remember ever picking a gold nib over steel when both have been available for the same pen. I found few reliable reviews for Diplomat’s gold nibs, and only for different pen models here and here. My main hesitation on the gold nib is that it appears to be a two-tone nib, and I prefer a nib lacking in gold color (except for classic Sheaffer nibs).

The Retro 51 and Lamy are coming from Pen Chalet. If you buy from them, be sure to find a discount coupon code, they’re ubiquitous. New customers can sign up for their email list to get one. Others can go to the Pen Addict Podcast webpage as they are a frequent sponsor. Sometimes they’re called out on their own site. Occasionally some items (like current Retro 51s) are excluded from coupons, but they can be used for nearly everything.

All have shipped, so they should arrive next week.


  1. Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk
  2. Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver

Written Dry


Newly Inked


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Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 6, 2020

photo of the Leonardo Momento Zero and Penwell Traveler

My favorite fountain pen was also my newest, the Leonardo Momento Zero, shown in the above photo, along with my newly arrived Penwell Traveler. I’m finding the Traveler to be much more useful than I expected.

I updated my pen accumulation page with new arrivals and adjustments to the classification of some pens.
* The newly arrived Momento Zero went straight onto the list as a core pen, despite an annoyance I mention below.
* The Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood was dropped to Hanger-On. It just doesn’t get used, the Red Bamboo hogs all my Vanishing Point use. I’m keeping it for now, if I ever need to ink up two VPs at once. The
* The Diplomat Aero Orange/Black dropped from a Hanger-On to All the Rest. It’s the missing pen I mention below, and it will go up for sale whenever it turns up.
* The Sailor 1911 Sterling moved from being a Hanger-On to All the Rest and up for sale. Polishing it is just too high maintenance for me, and stub nibs aren’t great for me.

All the pens with new Mark Bacas grinds moved up.
* The Diplomat Volute, with a left oblique added to its fine nib, is now a core pen. It’s also the main reason the orange/black Aero moved down.
* The TWSBI Go, with a Predator Extreme nib, is now a Hanger-On pen. The nib is fun to play with, but it won’t be a daily writer for me.
* The Sheaffer Custom Legacy had a Blade Turk nib put on it, and I love it. It’s now a keeper because of both the nib and the brand. I generally dislike changing any classic Sheaffer, but since this was already a custom barrel, I don’t feel any guilt.

It was a frustrating week in some respects. Having been mostly homebound for nine months, I still managed to misplace a fountain pen. I won’t say “lost” because it didn’t leave the apartment unless I accidentally threw it out, which is very unlikely. It’s a pen I decided to sell, so I went to get it when I had time to do a writing sample and take photos. It wasn’t with the pens I put aside to sell. Thinking I pulled out the original box and packed it away again with the pen inside, I checked my box of pen boxes. No luck. The good news is that it’s most likely safely ensconced in the box, where ever it is. I stopped looking and figured it would turn up as soon as the photos were done — no such luck.

I seemed to have an increased number of those misplaced things during the week, with this being the only pen related occurrence. Most turned up in the second place I looked, which means I’m probably keeping them in the wrong place and need to permanently move them to that second place and adjust my brain.

Not to be outdone by old-school technology, Siri decided to torment me:
Me: (Activating Siri on my watch) “Set alarm for noon”
Siri: “What time?”
Me: “Noon”
Siri: (Displays the word noon on the screen proving it heard me) “What time?”
Me: “12pm”
Siri: “I set an alarm for noon“.
Me: unprintable
I swear I heard my other Apple devices laughing. This is why I avoid using Siri, it’s rarely anything except frustrating.

Pen Sale Page Updated

I updated my Pens for Sale page. I’ve changed the reader discount to 10% off any pen, no minimum price. Just mention that you’re a reader. Some haven’t mentioned it, but I given the discount anyway since I’d only mentioned the sale in the Trail Logs, it was a good assumption the buyer came to the site to read, not buy. Once I do a For Sale post, or offer them elsewhere I won’t make that assumption, so be sure to mention it. It will remain in effect for the remainder of this year.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Pacific Crucible by Ian W. Toll (audiobook) Still making process through the book and enjoying it.

New Arrivals

The Leonardo Momento Zero arrived on Monday. The acrylic is gorgeous and has much more green than the photos that I’ve seen, the blue is more of accent color than a base color. This is very much to my liking. It’s an open ended, numbered edition and mine is number 6115. The pen has a solid feel to it. The barrel walls are thicker than many of my other resin pens, giving it a solid feel. While the barrel has considerable depth to the colors, it isn’t translucent, so the converter isn’t visible through the barrel. I bought a medium nib this time. I may get it ground to a oblique at some time in the future. Ideally pen shows will return in 2021 and I can get it done at a show, rather than sending it out then being without it for a couple months.

The feed is slightly misaligned. While the pen seemed to write OK the misalignment was noticeable as I used the pen, and it bothered me. My attempt to nudge the feed into alignment didn’t completely resolve the issue. While it doesn’t affect performance, I do find it visually annoying. I’m a little hesitant to be more aggressive in my nudging, although when it comes time to re-ink or clean the pen I’ll take the time to remove the nib and try to line it up. Quick research shows it’s friction fit. If it becomes too annoying, that time may come before the pen is empty.





Written Dry

  1. My Sheaffer Balance II Jade Green went dry last week, but I forgot about it and didn’t clean it out until this week.
  2. The Sheaffer Balance II Aspen went dry this week. It had been inked since August.

Newly Inked

  1. The Leonardo Momento Zero arrived and I inked it up with Omas Green, which seemed appropriate for the pen.
  2. I finally inked up the yStudio Classic Desk Pen again. It’s been sitting on my desk, just not inked up. I filled it with the only ink it has ever had – Montblanc “The Beatles” Psychedelic Purple.

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