Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 20, 2018

It’s been a slow two weeks for fountain pen usage, embarrassing for a guy with a fountain pen blog. Just the usual quick notes and checklists. No pens written dry so no new pens inked up.

Photo of the Sailor KOP and Fisher of Pens Hermes

Still the most used couple of pens this past week.

Links

Chicago Pen Show 2018 Recap – The Well-Appointed Desk

Chicago Pen Show Write-up – SquishyInk

Clips | Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Ink Review: Waterman Audacious Red – The Well-Appointed Desk

My Supply Room: More Glow In The Dark Retro 51 Pens

Pen & Ink Pairing: April 2018 – Hand Over That Pen

Fake vintage pens on eBay – Vintage Pen News

Off-Topic (long read): The Long Way Round: The Plane that Accidentally Circumnavigated the World

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Retro 51 Accumulation

Photo of my current Retro 51 accumulationIt seems I don’t give my Retro 51 pens the attention they deserve. They are scattered around various briefcases, computer bags, desks, and other flat surfaces. They’re very much out of sight, out of mind. A couple of months ago a pen case with 5 of my Metalsmith series Retros turned up, and I had to admit I had forgotten about the pens. They aren’t listed on my pen accumulation page or in my electronic pen inventory. Retro 51 pens deserve better treatment than this.

I finally decided to inventory all my Retro 51s. This turned up one I had completely forgotten about, I went to my car to get the green lacquer Retro but found that I had replaced it with the Retro 51 Surf. The green lacquer was on a counter with a dry ink cartridge. It went dry, and I forgot about it before I got a refill.

I’ve been decluttering my apartment using the rule that if I come across something forgotten and unused for years, it needs to go away. I’m breaking this rule with the Retros, they’ll all be staying. Instead, I collected them all up and will keep them in a single pen case and track I went through my email and verified I had all the ones with a purchase record and I’m not aware of any others, so I think I have them all. That said, I had no purchase record of the Surf and did not remember it until I stumbled upon it. So there may be one or more forgotten pens still under a couch cushion. Eventually I’ll add them to my pen database, but for now having them in one case will be an improvement.

I should mention that the official name is “Retro 51 Tornado…”, but I’m dropping the Tornado.

Here’s my Retro 51 accumulation.

Starting with the pen tray, going left to right.

Retro 51 Green Lacquer: This was my very first Retro 51. I think I bought it after a discussion on an early Pen Addict podcast. I picked it because the lacquers were the least expensive model, and it’s green. This pen is historically the one I leave in the car, which is why I went there to get it. It’s my only Retro with a chipped barrel (although not visible in the photo). It is a pen that is tossed around and kept in a pocket or briefcase with keys, so the chip isn’t unexpected.

Retro 51 Montana (a.k.a. Ugly Sweater Pen): My favorite Retro 51 for a reason I can’t explain. Someone was trying to sell one for $130 on eBay, so I guess I’m not alone. (FYI: It didn’t sell.)

Retro 51 Terabyte: A limited edition from Anderson Pens. Another favorite since it’s green and has a computer theme.

Retro 51 Play Ball: This is the rollerball (recently swapped to gel) that currently travels in my Nock Co Fodderstack XL. After all, it is baseball season. I love the intricate design of the pen, based on baseball terms and phrases.

The next six pens are all part of the Vintage Metalsmith series. The series was an early obsession of mine, and I wanted them all up to a certain point. To me, the Albert and Dr. Gray may be called Vintage Metalsmith, but they don’t seem to fit into the design aesthetic of the series. They are more like Tribute or Deluxe edition pens.

My Vintage Metalsmith series pens are:

  • Roosevelt
  • Monroe: My only Retro 51 eBay purchase. I skipped this when it was released but found it on eBay for a reasonable price.
  • Jefferson
  • Franklin
  • Lincoln: I think this was my second Retro 51, although it might have been third, after the Stealth. I like the antique copper finish. The Lincoln is the pen that hooked me on the Vintage Metalsmith series. I also have the fountain pen version of this pen.
  • Betsy: This is where the Metalsmith began to veer from the original design aesthetic. I had forgotten it was part of the series until I looked it up for the inventory. I like the pen, and it usually comes out in July for obvious reasons. For non-Americans – Betsy Ross is typically credited with making the first American flag.

Retro 51 Liftoff: Space-themed pen designed to look like a rocket. I love it.

Retro 51 Apollo: A sentimental favorite. I was born days before President Kennedy’s speech to Congress proposing the goal of landing a man on the moon. The Apollo program started that same year, and I grew up watching it on the news (well, at least when they were getting close to landing on the moon) and was fascinated by it. It’s yet another attractive design that I love.

Now the pens above the tray, from top to bottom.

Retro 51 Stealth. I had to have the stealth version. The finish has held up well.

Retro 51 Tiki Kona: A bamboo pen with a Tiki head design. I like the intricate design, but on mine, the clip is slightly off center to the nose. The slight angle hides it in the photo, but I’ve seen it and can’t unsee it, so it bugs me. Like the regular bamboo pen, the Tiki Kona is slightly larger than the typical Retro 51.

Retro 51 Bamboo: I like the slightly larger girth along with the feel of the bamboo.

Retro 51 Vintage Surf: The forgotten pen. The Surf is another wooden pen that’s slightly thicker than the typical Tornado.

Retro 51 Hot Coffee: Another vendor exclusive pen, this time for Goldspot. I had to get a pen with a coffee theme.

So that’s my accumulation of 17 Retro 51 Rollerball pens. I previously linked to Mary’s post about a gel refill for the pens. I have the gel refills in three of the pens. The Play Ball has red, the Terabyte has green and the Tiki has black. The remainder all have Schmidt P8126 0.6 mm refills, rather than the original P8127 0.7mm refills. I still have the original refills and may revert to using them in some pens to be less wasteful.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 6, 2018

Another week of consistent, but low, fountain pen usage. From a glass half full point of view, I used a couple of fountain pens every day. I averaged one A5 page per day in addition to the usual notes and lists.

From a glass half empty point of view, I didn’t write any pen dry and didn’t I skipped my journal entry one day.

I still have 14 inked up fountain pens. To work through them I pick two pens a day and put them in the holder on my desk to use throughout the day. I take the next two in the pen case to avoid picking favorites. In addition to those, I use my Pilot Vanishing Point (black in, XXF nib) daily for note taking and as a pocket carry.

Despite not wanting to pick favorites, I have come to prefer two of the pens over all the others. The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with its medium nib and Papier Plum Burgundy ink, along with the Fisher of Pens Hermes with its extra fine nib and Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku ink. There were times where these two stole time from the two pens I had picked for the day. These pens helped lighten the mood when taking notes for something I didn’t otherwise find enjoyable but had to do.

Photo of the Sailor KOP and Fisher of Pens Hermes

Links

Is this thing on? | From the Pen Cup // Mary writes about a thinner refill for Retro 51s. I picked up three (black, red, green). It’s even thinner than the 0.6 mm P8126 refill I typically use. It’s a 0.4 mm gel refill which makes it significantly thinner. My order arrived Thursday, so I haven’t used them much. It’s been awhile since I used gel ink so that takes some getting used to, but I like the thin line.

Getting mixed up – into the Wild Blue Yonder | Slightly unnerved //  can relate to the ever-expanding shopping cart despite only wanting one item.

Inky Fingers | The Pen Habit // Matt will be ending The Pen Habit. The existing videos will be up a while, but there won’t be any new videos. I can relate to not needing (or wanting) new pens and the lack of interest in reviews. Thanks for the videos Matt, and enjoy life.

Stormy Scene with Quink and Bleach | FOUNTAIN PEN INKS & BLEACH

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 29, 2018

My fountain pen usage was below average this week, which is frustrating because I started the week with 15 inked fountain pens last week. The Sheaffer Balance Oversize did go dry, but that was more because of the lack of ink that I loaded into the pen. It wrote three or four pages then went dry. The other pens are still going strong. I’ve been picking two each day and using them throughout the day, so they are getting used, just not heavily.

Currently Inked 2 - April 22, 2018

The now dry Sheaffer Balance Oversize (c.1934) [bottom pen]

Links

Vintage Pen News: A special Schnell

Iconic pen used by military, made by blind people turns 50 | Boston Herald

Ink Disaster! | Goodwriterspens’s Blog

kmpn: montblanc swan illusion ink (2018)

Workhorse Pens: Faber-Castell E-Motion Pure Black Review — The Gentleman Stationer

Perhaps M is for Madness | Pete Denison

 

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 22, 2018

My fountain pen usage has been low for the last two weeks. That changed a bit on Friday, and I’m hoping it will continue. I couldn’t sleep Thursday, so I got up, poured a bourbon, turned on the Red Sox game, and decided to do some writing. None of the pens on my desk called out to me, so instead of writing I inked up some pens.

I started by picking a few pens and ink that I like but haven’t used in awhile. I put the inked pens in a 12 pen case just because it was handy. But since I don’t like empty pen slots in a case, I was compelled to keep inking pens until the case was full. I inked up the last pen as the Red Sox were celebrating their win. By then I had 10 newly inked pens to add to my five previously inked pens. For most pens I didn’t pay any attention to matching it with ink, I just picked pens and ink I liked and matched them based on what ink was closest when I picked up the pen.

The newly inked fountain pens and the inks I filled them with are…

Two Vanishing Points: The VP is easy to carry and quick to use, so I decided to add some variety to the XXXF already inked up. The medium oblique nib is in the Maplewood body. It was last inked in June 2016. This is the second oblique nib inked up. While officially a medium it’s a thin medium. It has a small sweet spot, so unlike my typical VP use, I use it for “real” writing and not quick, hastily written notes. This one got my never-before-used Aurora Blue-Black ink. The second VP was a medium nib with a cartridge of Pilot sepia ink. It was last inked in November 2016.

Blasts from the Past: My old pen inventory reminded me of two long unused pens. The Caran d’Ache Ivanhoe was last inked in September 2014. I filled it with my newest ink, Robert Oster Hippo Purple (from the Hippo notebook Kickstarter). I’ve been drawn to red inks in this pen since I typically used it for marking up documents. It’s too thin for me to use comfortably for long writing sessions, but still a great writer. So while not red, the Hippo Purple adds a little bright color.

The Waterman Edson was last inked in June 2014. It got Omas Green for its fine nib. It’s a comfortable pen, but my current tastes prefer less gold, so it’s been overlooked.

Something Old: I wanted a vintage pen in the mix. My first choice was a Parker Vacumatic, but I couldn’t get it to take in ink. So I went with a gorgeous Shaffer Balance Oversize. I had skipped it in favor of the Vacumatic as the Vacumatic would be more durable. I did match inks with this pen and filled it with near vintage Sheaffer Emerald Green (Yellow Box). I tried filling this one earlier this year, but it wouldn’t take in ink. Luckily I didn’t notice my note on that until I went to record the new ink. It seems fine and has already written over a page, so it has ink. It was last used in August 2016.

Why So Long?: When looking over my pens I came across the Pelikan M805 Stresemann and couldn’t remember the last time I used it. (It was March 2017.) So I inked it up with Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun. This is a favorite pen so I was shocked that it’s been over a year since I used it. Glad that’s rectified. It’s also been years since I used Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun ink. This used to be my favorite ink and the first ink used in my newly arrived pens. That began to fall off in 2014 for no other reason than boredom. It’s time to bring it back. While I didn’t intend to match this pen and ink, seeing both on my desk ready to get used made the combination obvious.

Not So Stale: The Fisher of Pens Hermes was last used in July 2017, which makes it one of the least forgotten pens that were inked up. I love the Celluloid of this pen and used it consistently since getting it at the 2016 DC Pen Show. I decided to give it a break which ended up being longer than intended. This one demands a green ink, so it got Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku which I had already pulled out to use in one pen or another.

Worth the Effort to Clean? The Edison Menlo Pump Filler hasn’t been used since 2016. Every time I start to pull this pen out to use it, I think of the cleaning effort and put it back. I dislike removing a nib or any pieces merely to clean a pen, but if I don’t then cleaning this is tedious. An obvious solution is to simple re-ink the pen. This pen demands brown ink, so I did specifically match it with Athena Sepia.

Worth Breaking the Rules I had intended to only ink up long unused fountain pens. But the Sailor Pro Gear KOP is too good to go used for over a month. So even though I used it in March, it came back. It was filled with a long unused Papier Plume Burgundy ink. Favorite is overused, but I do really like this ink.

Why Not? I saw my two Franklin-Christoph Model 20 pens in the case and decided at least one needed to be inked up. The Tiger Red with a medium nib hasn’t been used since October 2015 so why not ink it up? It was filled with Callifolio Yalumba for no other reason than “Why not?”

So that’s the ten newly inked pens. All the inks are nice, safe inks so I can leave the pens inked until I write them dry. That’s probably what I’ll do since cleaning out all these pens at once is a daunting task.

Miscellaneous Notes

My Kickstarter Hippo Notebook arrived two weeks ago. I’ve yet to use it. I have a problem with nice new notebooks. Unless I bought it for a specific purpose, I’m afraid to use it. I currently have a newly started Crossfield as a work notebook, so that will last me awhile. My Seven Seas Writer, used as my journal, is farther along but still less than half full. Those are the only large, nice notebooks that I used.

The Hippo Purple ink arrived with the notebook, and that was matched with a newly inked pen.

I’ve been using the Nock Co. A5 Seed case a lot. Some of my concerns are proving correct, but there seem to be acceptable workarounds. Like many (all?) Nock Co. products they are flexible but have a definite point of view in their design. There are no features added just so a box can be checked. I’ll use it a bit more before I do a more in-depth review.

Links

Standing the Test of Time (4) – Pens! Paper! Pencils! // I much prefer these types of post over a review of a new pen.

Taking the Pelikan 400nn to School – My Creative Habit // You need to do a lot of scrolling to reach the meat of the post, but the trip is worth it.

Architect Nib vs. Stub Nib — The Pen Addict

Atlanta Pen Show 2018: Friday and Saturday Recap — The Gentleman Stationer

Atlanta Pen Show 2018 Recap! And Lamy Vibrant Pink Al-Star + Ink Giveaway! – SquishyInk

Review: Pilot Custom 823 – Hand Over That Pen

What’s With All These Chinese Pens? Meet the Wing Sung 601 – Fountain of Pens

Long Island Pen Show Is This Weekend

The Long Island Pen Show is less than 48 hours away. I won’t be able to make it to the show this year, but if you’re near Hempstead Long Island (NY) on Saturday or Sunday, it’s worth the trip. Anderson Pens is scheduled to be back with multiple tables of pens, ink, and paper. Fountain Pen Hospital is there too. In the past, FPH has given out gift cards at the door. ($10 gift cards that required a $50 purchase to use.) Several pen repairers and nib workers will also be at the show so you can get a custom nib in person. While there will be plenty of rain this week, the local forecast is for sun on the weekend.

Visit their website (linked above) for all the details. I last attended the show in 2016 and wrote about it here.

A Blast From the Past

While shredding some old notebooks, I came across my fountain pen inventory from February 2004. It was interesting to see what my fountain pens were 14 years ago. There’s only 16, hardly and accumulation. You might almost think there was a plan. There wasn’t.

Forst page of my February 2004 pen inventory Second page of my February 2004 pen inventory

Some random observations:

  • Of the 16 pens, 25% of them are Lamy Safari or AL-Stars, although I did call it an “All-Star” in the inventory. None of these specific Lamy pens are in my current accumulation, although there are a few replacements and an extensive collection of nibs.
  • Pilot, which was branded as Namiki in the US back in 2004, ties Lamy in popularity with another 25% of my inventory.
  • Only one Pilot Vanishing Point is in the inventory, sold as the Namiki brand back then. While this specific pen has moved on to another owner, and others have passed through my accumulation, my Vanishing Points now number four. And like Lamy, I have more nibs than pens.
  • All of the more expensive fountain pens are still in my accumulation, although none see much use these days.
  • I already had a Pelikan in 2004. While that particular pen has moved on, the flock has grown to five. Seven if I include the Pelikano and Future.