Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – November 28, 2021

Pens inked for November
They’re all empty now

My fountain pen usage remains high, at least for me, thanks to NaNoTraMo. The transcription has consumed my journaling time, which was non-existent. I really need to get back into journaling.

I finally made it through my pen cleaning queue. The pens written dry this past week have also been flushed and cleaned. I also realized I generally have a LIFO (last-in, first-out) approach to cleaning. The last pen to be cleaned had been in the queue since October. Ten pens went dry after it did, but were cleaned before it was. Part of this may be the way I queue up the pens for cleaning (Right to Left in a pen stand) and remove the Left to Right. But it’s also because the most recently used pen is usually the “favorite” of the bunch and I want it ready to go at a moments notice.

I did some black Friday shopping, all online, mostly for non-pen stuff, although some pen stuff was in there. Some had been on my list for a few weeks, to see if they went on sale, most didn’t. The pens I bought are listed in the Incoming section below. Then there was some paper and ink.

I finally shopped at Joe’s (The Gentleman Stationer) shop. There’s a lot of nice stuff in there, at reasonable prices. Check his recent blog post for his black Friday sale. It ends Monday.

The NaNoTraMo has me thinking differently as I pick pens to ink up. This week I wrote every fountain pen dry, and for a few minutes I had no fountain pens ink up. When it cam time to ink some up, I stopped at three, and two had the same nib.

So far I’ve written 11 pens dry in November, which seems like it should be a record for me. I’m going through so fast that I want to keep the number low. I’ll add pens if there’s one I feel like using. My new Estie will get ink once it arrives. I hope to write one my dry by the end of the month, to make it an even dozen. I’m also trying not to reuse a pen for the remainder of the year.


This is my version of NaNoWriMo where transcription replaces writing. Things went well, although I do fall farther behind each week. I did get four straight 6 page/1800 word days in a row, but I transcribed zero words the day before and the day after that mini-streak.

I’m using a library book for this. Not a popular one, so it seems. I could renew it twice without a problem. But it’s time to move on and will start reading it on December 1st.

I’m trying to come up with other ideas for transcribing on a (mostly) daily basis after November. I’ve enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I don’t want to do another book. I don’t like reading two books at the same time, and it wasn’t any better when one was being transcribed. Reading a second book while transcribing the first didn’t work for me. I may go with transcribing web articles that I’ve marked to read later, especially if they’re topics I want to really remember, such a tech articles.

Shrinking Accumulation & Prepping for Travel

I’ve mentioned it in the passing, and in some individual communications – Things are coming together for me to do an extended roadtrip (a year or so) in the new year. So the accumulation needs to get thinned more than I planned, and some longtime favorites are being passed on if I don’t feel they’re up to the journey. I’m looking at you Sheaffer Balance II Aspen. I’d prefer they go to readers who’ll use them rather than someone who sees my sales page come up in a Google Search. So if you’re reading this, you can take 50% off the price of any two or more pens currently on my Sales Page that are listed for a combined price of $50 or over. [Offer expired] You need to proactively mention this offer, before paying the invoice, I won’t prompt or ask you. (USA shipping only, 50 + DC) Individual pens remain at the price listed. Contact me at if interested.

Likewise, I have eight Retro 51 rollerballs left from the sale posting, and will offer all eight in a bundle for $120, without the packaging tubes, $140 with the packaging tubes. [Expired] You must buy all eight. (USA shipping only, 50 + DC). If you want less than all eight pens you pay the listed price for each one. So yes, you could pay more for fewer pens. Contact me at if interested.

Both offers are only valid through Thursday December 2nd. These offers have expired.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading/Transcribing: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard. This is the book I’m transcribing. I’m about 1/3 of the way through it. My plan is to switch to reading it on December 1st.

Watched: I pulled out some old comedy movie favorites. Young Frankenstein. I still laugh at all the jokes and gags. I also watched Last Action Hero with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I really liked the movie when it came out, and was being panned by everyone. This time around I realized all the very good parts were in the the first half, when they were in the movie, and the last half, when they entered the real world, was pretty bad. I think it was more noticeable this time because I watched the movie in two sittings, so all the jokes from the first half had faded. Last was High Anxiety which I also enjoyed.

New Arrivals



  1. The Esterbrook OS Estie is a pen I can’t get enough of, so it seems. I ordered the just released Esterbrook OS Estie Scarlett. I got the palladium trim version of course. I ordered it with the Scribe nib, ground by Joshua Lax. I’ve been debating the scribe nib for awhile. It will be too wide for my everyday use (I suspect), but I want to support Esterbrook’s efforts to collaborate with local craftsmen for nibs, and material. Plus, I’m curious. Worst case I get a nib to play with on occasion, while using the pen with the MV adapter and my vintage Esterbrook nibs most of the time. I like my current Esterbrook OS nibs too much to swap them out for the MV adapter. The pen has already shipped with an eta of Monday.
  2. TWSBI Swipe (EF): I’m not sure what I’ll do with this, I may gift it, or I may use it. I like the Swipe. For me it’s a perfect starter pen. While the TWSBI piston fillers are nice, the included wrench and silicone grease are a bit off-putting and make it seem complicated in the eyes of a novice fountain pen user. Plus, a bottle of ink is needed. Not insurmountable of course, but like I said, potentially off-putting. The Swipe, has its own complications for a novice, but it is self contained. Plus, it’s a great value and has a large ink capacity



Out of Rotation

  1. Esterbrook OS Estie Seaglass (EF): As expected, this went dry last Sunday while transcribing the first page of the day. The R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink was extremely easy to clean out. The pen wrote a nice line, without any skipping, right up to the point where it didn’t write at all. There was barely a trace of ink in the water as I flushed it out.
  2. Kanilea Kona Cherry (EF): My current favorite pen and ink combo went dry during the novel transcription. As enjoyable as ever. But it will get a rest. I want to work through my pens and avoid repeats for the remainder of the year. Unless I hit them all, or the call of this one is overwhelming. So I don’t rule out for another appearance of this combo before year’s end.
  3. Sailor 1911L Ringless Epinard (Zoom) Finally went dry. It was inked up last Christmas. I vaguely remember re-inking it, but I didn’t record any re-inking, so probably not. Obviously evaporation isn’t an issue. It got regular use (weekly or so), but only for short times. I used it for the novel transcription and didn’t enjoy the wide zoom nib for regular writing. It was too uncomfortable to hold at an angle to get a thin enough (for me) line. Definitely a pen for doodling and playing.
  4. yStudio Classic Desk Pen (EF): went dry during the novel transcription. I used this pen for a longer session than I ever have before. I found it become less comfortable as I used it. I’m guessing the gripping section is a little this for me, plus the brass can feel slightly slippery, causing me to grip it tighter than I should. While unnoticeable for its typical use of quick notes, and never for more than one page in a sitting, it became noticeable with time. Not so bad that I put it aside. Gripping it higher didn’t help since It screwed up the balance.

Into Rotation

  1. Lamy Safari Dark Lilac (14K EF) with Montblanc Bordeaux ink.
  2. Lamy Safari Savannah (14K OM) with a Lamy Turmaline ink cartridge.
  3. Lamy Safari Terra (14K OM) with a Lamy Blue-Black ink cartridge.


Paul’s Fountain Pen Journal – The Well-Appointed Desk

The universe reclining – Pam Alison Knits

What I’ve been using this week! 11-21-2021 Edition | Inkdependence!

Pen roll and pen case storage etiquette — mnmlscholar

Swan Leverless L112/87 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Putting Karats To Paper: The Various Gold Purities Of Pelikan’s Nibs And The Impact On Performance « The Pelikan’s Perch

A stationery yin to work’s yang — mnmlscholar

Reflection: The Use of an Art Journal | Comfortable Shoes Studio

Fountain Pens From My Collection: Montblanc 149 | Fountain Pen Love

Planner Review: Luddite Function Pro Freefield Vertical B6 – The Well-Appointed Desk

So that was Black Friday. How was yours, pen addicts? | UK fountain pens

Midori MD Notebook Journal A5 Review – Writing at Large

Five Knockaround Fountain Pens for the Office and Beyond — The Gentleman Stationer

Currently Inked- November 2021 | From the Pen Cup

Weekly Update: Winter Cats and Yayoi Kusama – Writing at Large

It’s normal, right? | Quieter Elephant


2021 e-reader roundup: Kobo Sage, Kobo Libra 2, Kindle Paperwhite reviews – Six Colors // Best e-reader roundup that there is. From a voracious e-book reader.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – November 21, 2021

While the competition was fierce this week, which I really enjoyed, this was my favorite pen/ink of the week.

Like the previous week, journaling was non-existent this week. Instead, I used that time to work on the novel transcription. I’m clearly not going to reach the 50K word target, having reached 19,950 words. I should be over 33K words this point. I missed two days completely, Sunday & Tuesday. Thursday was my best day so far, with 2100 words. I wrote slightly more this week than last week.

I’m really enjoying the transcribing. I thought I would get bored with it. While my output is down from week 1, it’s not due to boredom. I especially enjoyed Thursday when I had two solid blocks of time. I wrote two pens dry, which gives me a nice rush for an unexplainable reason. I’m down to only four inked fountain pens, and the Esterbrook OS Estie is down to the ink left in the feed.

Of course, going through a lot of pens is a short time means I have to clean them. I’ve still got three pens in my cleaning queue. I want to avoid immediately re-inking them in order to use as many different pens as I can. This will be especially tough with the OS Estie Seaglass. I’m really enjoying the pen with R&K Blue-Black LE ink.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading/Transcribing: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard. This is the book I’m transcribing. I’m only about 23% through it.


  1. Esterbrook Dip-Less – a dip pen, not a fountain pen. One of my favorites, but an inkwell required dip pen won’t be usable once I start traveling. I’d rather it be used than spend time in storage.
  2. Numerous Retro 51 Rollerballs: Terrabyte, Montana, Play Ball, Liftoff, Apollo Tribute, The System, Pen Addict Celebration, Franklin
  3. Sheaffer Balance II Crimson Glow

Out of Rotation

  1. Diplomat Aero Green 14kt Fine Nib. The pen performed okay with Waterman Purple ink, but it wasn’t as good as past use. I had been enjoying other pens so much that I was considering retiring this one early, but then it ran dry.
  2. Fisher of Pens Hermes fine Nib. Another problem pen, with inconsistent flow. Not to the point of skipping, just not as pleasant as past fills.It took forever to flush out, I had to sort to soaking the nib unit in pen flush. Since green is a favorite ink choice for this pen I’m not sure if it was the Waterman ink, or a poor cleaning of a previous ink.
  3. Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic, Gemstone, Extra-Fine. A gorgeous pen, as enjoyable to use as it is to look at.

Into Rotation



Featuring A Fude Nib | An Inkophile’s Blog

In defense of the peculiarly particular stationery database — mnmlscholar

Dimanche encore – Pam Alison Knits

The Go-To Notebook Review – The Poor Penman

A US Swan Eyedropper Filler – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Landing this currently inked in the comfort zone — mnmlscholar

Diamond or rust? – Pam Alison Knits

Ho ho ho with the Benu Mistletoe | UK fountain pens

A Mabie Todd Mystery – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

S1:P7 — Syringes are my favorite tool for cleaning pens — mnmlscholar

Weekly Update: Shots and Lego – Writing at Large

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – November 14, 2021

My inked pens as I head into November.
Two written dry, a third written dry but re-inked

Journaling was non-existent, and I really slacked off the novel transcription this past week. There was only one day where I didn’t write anything, so I consider that a positive. But all the other days were under target. I barely average 2 pages/day for the week. This past week (Sunday -> Saturday) had me writing only 15 pages and 5100 words in total. I’m hoping to get 5 or 6 pages in today, and hopefully continue on through the week.

It’s clear to me that I won’t hit 50K words in November. My goal now is to maximize the number of days that I get two hours of transcribing in, which is about 5 pages. But I’ll focus on the two hours, not the word count. I also want to try and get larger blocks of writing time.

I did empty two pens this week. Don’t ask me why, but I love writing a pen dry, and find it to be a huge incentive. I’ve mostly used the same pen every day until it’s dry, but I did mix things up a bit a couple of days. I took that to mean that the pen/ink combo was laking in enjoyment.

The Fisher of Pens Hermes is almost dry, which is a huge incentive to use it later today.

With the extended writing session I grew to really love the Journaler nib in the OS Estie.

Retro 51 Sell-off

I’ve decided to sell off most of my Retro 51s. They are available here.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading/Transcribing: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard. This is the book I’m transcribing. I’m only about 16% through it because, well, transcribing it.



Out of Rotation

  1. Esterbrook OS Estie Maraschino Cherry (Journaler) went dry on Saturday and I removed it from the rotation. I needed to prime the feed a couple times. Something previously unheard of from this pen or ink. So, a cleaning and inspection. Previously, it was just refilled, not cleaned. So it’s been awhile.

Into Rotation

  1. Fisher of Pens Hermes (F) with Waterman Green ink went dry last Sunday, but was immediately refilled with the same ink.


It’s been a hectic week and the link list seems short. Hopefully it’s been a slow week for articles I’ve read, and not because I missed a bunch.

A Green Marbled Leverless – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Off-planet – Pam Alison Knits

Vintage Pen News: Grading vintage pens: why isn’t there a standardized system?

Big News! | Newton Pens // He made an Eastman for me. It was designed to take vintage Esterbrook nibs. Quality workmanship and easy to work with. I wrote about it here.

What I’ve been using this week! 11-13-2021 Edition | Inkdependence!

Weekly Update: Acrylic Markers, Hilary Mantel and Podcasts – Writing at Large

Great Pen Stores: A Quick Trip to Anderson Pens Chicago and Atlas Stationers — The Gentleman Stationer

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – November 7, 2021

My fountain pen usage skyrocketed this past week thanks to what I’m now calling NaNoTraMo. I don’t like calling it NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Although technically correct, I am writing (out) a novel, this seems insulting, or at least gives short shrift to folks creating a novel. So NaNoTraMo (National Novel Transcription Month) is both accurate, and acknowledges that it’s not creative.

The Kanilea Kona Cherry (EF) returned to being my journal pen. It’s only been writing a few sentences a day. All the NaNoTraMo writing has eaten into my journaling, since both typically happen in the morning.

I did some browsing on Fountain Pen Day, but I didn’t buy anything. I didn’t even come close.


Sheaffer Custom Legacy

I started off with a small deficit after my first day. It took me awhile to settle in. Since I was transcribing an ebook I was able to cut & paste the text and use the new iOS Live Text feature to get an exact word count. I found that I was writing about 300 words a page, up from my previous estimates. So, I’m using that as my per page word count. The negative is that I’m down to 3 pages per hour, sometimes a tad slower. If I speed up my goal of improving my handwriting falls apart. My informal target of 2K words a day in the beginning, to get a cushion, was quickly tossed out the window. I’m now just targeting the 1,667 words per day needed to hit 50K. I’m less than 300 words behind, which isn’t bad. Still, I don’t feel a great deal of confidence that I’ll meet the goal.

I need to get at least 3 pages written in the morning if I want to reach the daily goal, although more would obviously be better. The morning is when my writing is both quickest and neatest. I usually get another page in at lunch, sometimes two, and one or two pages written in the evening. The evening pages are either the messiest and the slowest. I have to slow down a lot in order to write neatly. It’s less that my hand is tired, and more that my brain is tired. Concentration is lacking, transcription mistakes grow, and my hand joins my brain in wandering as I write. I’m going to try and make more time available in the morning.

I took the approach of using a fountain pen until it runs dry. So far two have gone dry. Both were inked in October and got some use before November.

My Sheaffer Legacy, with a custom body made by Franklin-Christoph and a custom blade turk nib grind by Mark Bacas was at the head of the line. It was filled with Waterman Black ink. This is certainly the most I’ve used the pen since the nib grind. Despite the needlepoint nib I found it easy to use on the Doane Writing Pad, which does have some texture to it. Overall, an enjoyable experience with the pen. I’ve hesitated to pick this one up for real writing sessions due to the extra thin nib. That was a mistake, and the pen will be in line for everyday use, not just when thin nibs are needed.

Next up was the almost empty Spoke Icon with an extra-fine nib and Waterman Blue-Black ink. An extremely enjoyable writing experience. I had given this one a partial fill so that I could refill it with a more enjoyable ink. I really enjoyed the Waterman Blue-Black ink and will add it to my short list of blue-black inks for future use. It’s been flushed out, but I’m eager to get it back into the rotation, possible with the same ink.

The Diplomat Aero with a 14k fine nib and Waterman Purple ink saw some use on the day my other two pens went dry. I picked it because of all my currently inked pens it had gone the longest without use. This was the worst performing pen of the week. Taken by itself, it wasn’t terrible, but the ink flow was inconsistent. Not terrible, but not up to the standard set by the previous pens. So it didn’t get picked up the next day.

The Esterbrook OS Estie Seaglass, my latest arrival, started on Friday and finished out the week. It’s got an extra-fine nib and is filled with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE, my favorite blue-black ink. Unfortunately, I’m down to my last bottle and LE stands for Limited Edition, so there’s no more.

The Estie OS Seaglass is still my current NaNoTraMo pen. I’m getting a little bored with the dark inks, so there’s a chance I’ll swap in a pen with a green or purple ink, at least for a day.

I admit to being motivated by seeing the ink level drop in my pen, knowing it will get used up very soon. On the other hand, I’ve begun to lean towards mixing up my pens for variety. I like the idea of picking a pen and using it until dry. But, I may still pick a different pen for variety every few days.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading/Transcribing: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard. This is the book I’m transcribing. I’m only about 10% through it because, well, transcribing it.

New Arrivals






Out of Rotation

  1. Sheaffer Custom Legacy (Blade Turk) Inked back in September, but not seriously used until NaNoTraMo. It wrote my first 19 1/2 pages.
  2. Spoke Icon (EF) This got a short fill of Waterman Blue-Black ink. It spent some time as my journaling pen. By Thursday it was down to the scraps in the feed, so when the Sheaffer Legacy went dry I switched to this one. It went dry quickly.

Into Rotation

  1. Fisher of Pens Hermes (F). Surprised me by being dry when I picked it up a couple hours ago. I gave it a short fill since I was working on the nib, but there seems to have been significant evaporation. I refilled it with the same Waterman green ink


Crónicas Estilográficas: Anonymous 6-bu

Setting the stage for reading and writing — mnmlscholar

Liverpool Mini-Meet 30th October 2021 | dapprman

Fountain pen x MKB // Quarrykeys preview! – Weirdoforest Pens

How To Choose Your Second Fountain Pen (and Why It Should Be A Japanese One) – Tokyo Station Pens

Rocketing Through Books | Peaceable Writer

The suitcase challenge | UK fountain pens

What’s Inside My Bag? Daily Carry Breakdown 2021 — The Gentleman Stationer

Swan SF300B – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Draw Your Tools Wrapup

The pens that write together stay together — mnmlscholar

S1:P5 – Deep cleaning a piston filler fountain pen — mnmlscholar

State of the Art: Failing Happily | Comfortable Shoes Studio

Tweaking The Selection of Tools On My Desk | An Inkophile’s Blog

Weekly Update: Chemo and Klara and Ink, Oh My – Writing at Large

Embracing the crossing out of mistakes — mnmlscholar

Challenge Accepted! | Quieter Elephant

Vintage Pen News: Japanese Jumbo repair notes