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


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