Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 12, 2021

A snowy view out my window.
A snowy Thursday morning.

We had our first measurable snowfall of the season earlier this week. It stuck around longer than I expected, thanks to the cold temperatures. But, Saturday’s rain washed it all away. I really am turning into an old man. Hardly a significant snowfall, yet all I could think of was starting my travels and heading south, away from snow. At least it was easy enough to brush the snow off my car, no need to scrape off ice.

A lot of fountain pen usage this week. I kept my novel transcription going which helped a lot. I changed things up a bit, in that I’ll transcribe whatever book I’m reading and simply pick up where I left off. I transcribed over 20 pages since last Sunday. That’s a lot of ink, enough to write two pens dry. Although one went dry early in the week, so most ink reached paper the week before. The second went dry on Saturday.

I also got back into journaling on a regular basis. I did skip one day, but I’m OK with that. My volume is low, only one page per day, when I wrote.

My two main pens this week were the newly arrived Pilot Elite, with a fine nib, and a Lamy Safari with an oblique-medium nib. The Elite was my journaling pen. Not for any reason other than I wanted to use it, and for some reason I now want consistency in my journalling pen, despite consistently alternating in the past.

NaNoWriMo (which I did as NaNoTraMo) changed the way I think about what pens to ink up. In the past I tended to have a lot of pens inked up at one time, a dozen wasn’t uncommon. I had two dozen inked up when this year began.

Now, I’m much more focused. During NaNoTraMo I decided to pick a pen and write it dry, at least for the most part. I really enjoyed it, and continue to stick with a pen until it’s empty. Of course, if a fountain pen/ink does annoy me I will certainly move on. Of course, exceptions are allowed. I wanted to give the new Elite a workout, so it did both journaling and transcription duty for a day. I have no doubt I will eventually want more variety and start swapping my pen on a daily basis.

I inked up my Pilot Custom 912 with a posting nib, but I’ve yet to use it. I was missing a nice thin nib, even my Lamy Fine was a wide, wet fine nib. I held off because the Pilot Elite was expected. Then the Elite got delayed in the mail. I tried holding out a little longer, but then relented and inked it up. Naturally, the Elite arrived the next day.

The Great Ink Purge of 2021

I’ve been slowly reducing my ink stash throughout the year. Most have been given away locally since I don’t like the hassle, risk and expense of shipping ink bottles. I also brought my Fountain Pen Companion (FPC) ink page completely up to date for the first time.

I’ve ben moving to cartridges for a lot of my ink, so cartridges outnumber bottles 38 to 15. Fifty-three inks is a lot, except when compared to what I used to have, and what others have. I never entered all my inks into FPC, even so, FPC has 73 inks in my archive. There are over 800 FPC members with more ink than me, and the leader has nearly 2700 inks, with 996 of them being in bottles.

I like having fewer ink choices, decisions are less complicated and stressful.

Despite the purge, I still have two inks on order — Pilot Blue-Black and Waterman Mysterious Blue. Both of these are inks I like to use in vintage and tedious to clean pens. They are safe for all vintage pens and very easy to clean out. Both are blue-black inks, although some folks don’t classify Mysterious Blue as blue-black. In defense of it being blue-black I submit that Waterman called it “Blue Black” before they renamed all their inks, but didn’t actually change the ink formulas. So Waterman considered it blue-black.

I was quit happy to see I have four mostly full bottles of Montblanc Bordeaux. I had a fifth, quarter full bottle that I was able to distribute among the other four. I wasn’t very good at sticking to one bottle at a time. This will last me awhile.

Plus, I thought I was down to my last bottle of British Racing Green, but I uncovered another one. I really am disorganized.

Heartbreak then Joy

Pilot Elite Lined Stainless Steel (posted)

My Pilot Elite Lined Stainless Steel nib arrived mid-week, after being slightly delayed in the USPS system. I popped in a cartridge to get it going. The ink was slow getting to the nib. I decided to avoid doing or using anything except gravity to get it going, so I left it nib down in my Penwell.

I didn’t time it, but I guess it sat there about 30-45 minutes. When I went back to use it, about half the cartridge had flowed through to the cap. For some unknown reason I uncapped the pen with the nib pointed down. (Usually I pull the cap off nib up, cap opening down.) This avoided making a mess and I inverted the cap over an ink cloth when I noticed the nib and section were messy.

So I cleaned it out and let it dry a bit. Then before turning in for the night I popped on another cartridge. Again, the ink was slow reaching the nib. Since it was bedtime I left the pen sitting flat on my desk, well technically on an ink cloth that was on my desk, just in case.

I haven’t been brave enough to put it nib down in the Penwell again, even to soft-cap it while writing, but it’s been absolutely fine in normal use. This includes normal handling, no coddling, and spending time clipped to my shirt pocket. Well, I coddled it a bit the first day, until my confidence grew.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the pen. I love Pilot nibs and this is a nice fine Pilot nib. The nib is firm, but does have some cushion to it. Nothing close to flex.

It was listed a cartridge only, and I haven’t tried any of Pilot’s smaller converters. I plan to clean out this ink cartridge once it’s empty so I can use Montblanc Bordeaux ink in the pen. I skipped that first cartridge (where the inked ended up in the cap). While I doubt the cartridge was the problem, I have bad vibes associated with it.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard. Once I stopped transcribing this one, I finished it pretty quickly. It was one of those ebooks where the last 25% (literally) was promotion of other books. When I was near (what ended up being) the end I was thinking please, not more, it’s time to end, and then it did end. This ended up being one of my least enjoyable Leonard books. It probably wasn’t helped by taking a month to get through (since I was transcribing it exclusively until the end of November.

Reading: Aurora: EV-01 (The Frontiers Saga – Part 3 Book 1) by Ryk Brown. The current volume of the series, of which 75 volumes are planned across 5 parts.) I’m about 25% through it, and so far it’s just been re-introducing us to the characters, bringing us up to date on their lives, and briefly recapping (or alluding to) past events.

New Arrivals

  1. Pilot Elite Stainless Steel Lined Pocket Pen (F). It was a rough start, but as expected, I love the fine Pilot nib.


I think it’s time to retire this section, at least for a while. I want to rediscover the pens I already have and not add any more.



Out of Rotation

  1. Lamy Safari Dark Lilac (14k EF) ran dry of Montblanc Bordeaux.
  2. Lamy Safari Terra (14k OM) ran dry of Lamy Turmaline

Into Rotation

  1. Pilot Elite Stainless Steel Lined Pocket Pen (F) with a Pilot Black cartridge.
  2. Pilot Custom 912 (Posting) with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink

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