Ink Notes: Papier Plume Burgundy

Papier Plume Burgundy bottle - openIt’s been a long time since my last ink review, so I’m due. It seems appropriate that my first ink review in over a year is for an ink brand I’d never heard of until this year’s Washington DC Pen Show.

Papier Plume is a stationery store in New Orleans. This is their store branded fountain pen ink which they are now distributing through other sellers. I’ve seen it at both Anderson Pens and Vaness Pens. Papier Plume also sells it through their website. They say the inks are:

Hand poured and bottled right in our shop, these beautiful water based French inks are smooth flowing and fast drying make them ideal for any refillable fountain pen or glass dipping pen.

That sentence could be interpreted a couple different ways when considering the source of the ink. I did a cursory search to see if there were more details available, but didn’t find any. I already had a bottle of the ink so it’s pedigree didn’t really matter. Either I’d like it or I wouldn’t.

I saw the ink at the Anderson Pens table while at the Washington DC Pen show earlier this year. While I later learned the brand had been around awhile this was the first I heard of it. I have a weakness for burgundy inks and the swab for this one looked interesting, so I bought a bottle.

It’s first use was in a new pen, the Ryan Krusac Legend which I also got at the DC pen show. When I first used the ink it reminded me of Montblanc Bordeaux. It’s not an exact color match (I have a comparison in the writing samples) but I like he way it flows from the pen and the other properties also remind me of my favorite ink.

The ink performed well, although a little on the dry side, but not too dry for me. Since this was the first ink I’d ever used in the pen I couldn’t compare it to anything. I’ve since used it in other pens and find it to flow very well, providing a nice dark burgundy line. What I really like is how quickly the ink dries. With my typical this nib on my typical daily paper it dries almost instantly. It takes a little longer on Rhodia, Tomoe River and other fountain pen friendly papers, but it’s still only a few seconds with my thin nibs. The ink flows well enough that my thin nibs can provide some subtle line variation, which is what I like about Montblanc inks.

The ink spent about two weeks in the Legend and was easily flushed. Two weeks was less time than I expected since it was competing with several other shiny new pens and inks, so it gets bonus points for that. It was also easily flushed from the Lamy I used for testing although it didn’t have any time to stain. I have enough confidence that the ink is friendly to pens that I’ve now loaded it into a piston filler, and one of my nicer pens at that.

The ink has more resistance to water than I expected (I expected a complete washout since it was so easy to clean). While water does remove enough dye to change the color to purple it is still very legible.

I really like everything about this ink. (I already mentioned my weakness for burgundy ink). It’s one of the few inks I’ve used recently that could become a regular in my rotation. I will be trying more Papier Plume ink although I suspect this burgundy will remain my brand favorite.

Gallery

Additional Reading

I couldn’t find any Papier Plume Burgundy ink reviews, but you can search Pennaquod for reviews of other Papier Plume inks.

Currently Inked – Mid-August 2016

Currently Inled pens, Mid-August after the DC Pen Show. (Pen tray capped)After the 2016 Washington DC Pen Show I’m up to eleven inked fountain pens, so it’s a good time for an update. One fountain pen went dry just before the show and it was re-inked with new ink from the show. All the other pens and ink remain, although my four new pens/ink are new from the show.

I’ve been using my fountain pens a lot since the show so hopefully I’ll empty many of these before the month ends. In addition to written drafts of all the articles I’ve posted, I’ve also written at least two pages every day. I guess I could call them journal entries but they are really just an excuse to use the pens. Hopefully I can keep this pace because my normal daily routine doesn’t give me much opportunity to use my pens these days.

Anyway, I’ll start with the new fountain pens and inks. If you just want to see all the pens and quick writing samples, or links to what others are using, then drop down to the bottom of the post. Links are to a review or “This Just In Post” for the pen if no review exists.

New Pens and Ink

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Montblanc Ultra Black

This is the pen I wrote dry before the show. I picked up Montblanc Ultra Black early Friday at the show but didn’t use it much until Sunday after I had the Homo Sapien’s nib tuned by Dan Smith. It was good, but now it’s perfect and worthy of my favorite pen. The Ultra Black is a dark black, even in this extra fine nib, but it’s nothing special. I wouldn’t say ultra=darkest. Montblanc’s new Ultra Black Pens are a matte black and this ink tends to match them. I don’t like that the ink takes so long to dry and I’ve had more than a few careless smudges even though I’m not a lefty. I like to use different inks in this pen and usually give each ink two fills before cleaning the pen although Montblanc Ultra Black will only get one turn in the pen and I’ll switch inks when I write it dry the first time.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc Ultra Black Writing Sample

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with KWZ Gummiberry

Both pen and ink are new from the 2016 DC Pen Show. The Sailor KOP has a medium nib which does a great job of showing off this ink. The pen has already been written dry once and was refilled with the same ink. I’ll probably swap inks when it goes dry again, but the pen will stay in the rotation and the ink may return in another pen shortly.

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with KWZ Gummiberry Writing Sample

Sheaffer Balance Oversize (c. 1934) (F) with Sheaffer Peacock Blue

While I’ve used Sheaffer Peacock Blue before, and it’s the only turquoise ink I like, this particular bottle is a NOS yellow label bottle from the pen show. I hesitate to call it “vintage” because it dates to the late 1970’s or 80’s making it younger than me. While it was made 40 or 50 years after the Sheaffer Balance, it still seems more appropriate than an ink made this century.

The more I use the Sheaffer Balance, the more I like it. The material is mesmerizing and changes as the lighting changes.

The pen has a tendency to collect ink between the nib and feed and will let go a a drop of ink onto the paper every three or four pages if I don’t dab it. I find a quick dab on a ink towel every time I turn the page (I write on both sides, so this is two pages) avoids any issue. The pen doesn’t leak or splatter even when I carry it or move my hand somewhat quickly. Although being a 80+ year old pen I make sure it doesn’t get jostled about in my bag.

Sheaffer Balance Oversize c1934 with Sheaffer Peacock Blue Writing Sample

Fisher of Pens Hermes (F) with KWZ Green #2

Again, both pen and ink are new from the pen show. I’d previously mentioned that the Fisher of Pens Hermes experienced hard starts. Those have since gone away and the pen has become a wetter (relative to it’s past) writer. I didn’t clean the pen before I used it so there may have been some oil or crud in the nib. While I would expect custom made pens to be clean, Carl did swap the nib to a fine nib from stock, so the nib was probably never cleaned.

The three previous pens have had a near monopoly on my writing so this pen hasn’t been used all that much and is still on it’s first fill. It will stay in the rotation when it goes dry although I’ll give it a good flush and probably switch the ink for variety.

Fisher of Pens Hermes with KWZ Green #2 Writing Sample

Ryan Krusac The Legend (EF) with Papier Plume Burgundy

Continuing the theme, both pen and paper are from the pen show. The Legend is Ryan’s newest design and my first pen from him. The ink is also a new brand for me. The two work well together, but they haven’t been used as much thanks to the pens listed above. The ink, in both flow and color, reminds me a bit of my favorite Montblanc Bordeaux, not an exact match but it does have hints of my favorite ink.

Ryan Krusac The Legend with Papier Plume Burgundy Writing Sample

Written Dry

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Aurora Black

The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age is the only pen to go dry so far this month. It had Aurora Black which is nice and dark even with this extra fine nib. I like running different inks through this pen and limit any ink to two fills. So even though Aurora Black is a great black ink it was time to clean the pen and move on.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Aurora Black writing sample

Still Inked

The following inks and pens remain in the rotation. All are performing well, they just can’t compete with the new and shiny.

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What Others are Using (or Used)

Currently Inked #8 | 11 August 2016 – Pen Habit – video that includes his inked pens along with some Q&A.

My New Work Notebook. — The Ink Smudge – I too use a steno style pad but I settled on the Doane Paper Large Flap Jotter simply because I prefer Grids + Lines.

Currently Inked: August 2016 — Pendora’s Box and Currently Inked: EDC for Kayaking — Pendora’s Box

One Book July 2016 Recap — The Purl Bug – I couldn’t stick to just one notebook, but this was a innovative way to mimic more than one notebook.

All The Pens

The writing sample is in the same order as the photos.

Currently Inled pens, Mid-August after the DC Pen Show

Currently Inled pens, Mid-August after the DC Pen Show. Writing sample

This Just In: Fisher of Pens Hermes

Fisher of Pens Hermes - capped on pen stand

The photo doesn’t do it justice, this pen is hard to photograph.

I spent some time on Friday talking to custom pen maker Carl Fisher of Fisher of Pens. I liked his designs and had pretty much decided to save some of my pen budget for a pen order after the show. During all this time, and future passes by his table, I never noticed this pen. If I had, I would have gotten it on Friday. On Sunday Carl posted a photo of his green pens grouped together. All that green caught my attention and I headed back to his table. While the photo was of mostly bright green pens that just weren’t quit right for me, this one was tucked in the back of the photo. It’s black celluloid with an olive green web running through it. It’s called vintage web green celluloid.

I looked at the bright green ones first, after all they were bright and shiny. But then I picked up this one. It wasn’t exactly bright and shiny, but I loved the look. Naturally the material made it more expensive than the bright green acrylic pens. Plus it was an oversize pen which seems to be my preference these days. The more I looked at the celluloid pattern the more I liked it and I made sure I didn’t put it down, fearing someone else would get it. It didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted this pen. The only change was to swap a two-tone nib for a polished silver fine nib. The pen already had a silver clip.

While I call this a green pen, the base color is a deep dark black with an olive green web running through it. It’s a long pen that’s a perfect cylinder and the cap is flush with the body. The finials are black and while I didn’t ask, the finials and griping section feel like ebonite. The Fisher of Pens brand is engraved into the body. Most fountain pens have branding, although it’s usually on the clip or band. I have mixed feelings about engraving the brand into the body, especially when it’s a different color than the material. In this case the logo is white and does stand out, but it’s restrained and subtle and is also in line with the silver furniture of the pen. So I’m OK with it. I’m even beginning to convince myself that it helps highlight the darker colors of the pen. The material is hard to photograph, at least with my abilities, and I hope to get better photos when the sun returns and I can use natural light to photograph the pen.

It has a fine JoWo nib that’s nice and smooth. I picked KWZ Green #2 as the first ink for this pen. I have had a couple hard starts when the pen has been nib up for several hours, but once I start writing there’s no skipping. I can also pause for a extended period of time or put the pen down flat for an hour or more without any hard start. The ink is new to me so I can’t say how much the ink contributes to this.

It’s a cartridge/converter pen that accepts standard international cartridges and converters. I could be wrong, but I don’t think celluloid pens can be converted to eyedropper fill as the ink could degrade/discolor the celluloid. So the pen will remain a converter fill.

I don’t know what’s included with pens that are shipped, but I picked a cloth pen sleeve for the pen. There’s no box or ink cartridge. I would have thrown both out so didn’t even ask if they were available. (Many vendors don’t bring bulky boxes to the show.)

The bottom line – I am really happy with the Fisher of Pens Hermes in web green celluloid. The nib might need some tuning, but that’s minor.

Fisher of Pens Hermes - uncapped on pen stand

Fisher of Pens Hermes writing sample with KWZ Green #2 ink

This Just In: Ryan Krusac The Legend

Ryan Krusac The Legend - capped on pen standThis fountain pen was a Sunday morning purchase, and my third overall, at the 2016 Washington DC Pen Show. Sunday’s are dangerous when I still have money in my budget that’s burning a hole in my pocket, my want list goes out the door. Ryan Krusac’s latest design is The Legend (he capitalizes the “T” so I assume it’s part of the name) and liked the design more than his others so ended up getting the last one he had at the show. It’s made of black walnut burl.

I’ve always liked the look of Ryan’s wooden pens although, until now, none of them really made me want to reach for my wallet. The Legend is a nice simple wooden pen, not a lot of fancy extras. It’s a light pen when compared to his other designs and it’s clearly a fountain pen for writing.

It has an ebonite section that’s also made by Ryan. The nib is a branded Ryan Krusac nib, although I believe it’s still a JoWo nib, they’re just custom engraved with his logo. The simplicity of the nib design appeals to me and this one is an extra fine. The nib is nice and smooth, especially for an extra fine. I picked Papier Plume Burgundy as its first ink and I haven’t had any hard starts or skipping while using the pen.

The pen is relatively short, but not Kaweco Sport short, and long enough for me to use comfortably without posting. The pen is postable but I’d be concerned that the threads would scratch the barrel.

It’s a international cartridge/converter pen that came with a converter and a pen pouch (at least at the show). He may include ink cartridges or pack the pens differently if shipped through the mail.

There are other fountain pens of similar size and with similar nibs that cost much less. The price is higher than those due to the material and craftsmanship involved in making the pen. Whether or not this translates into a better writing experience depends on you (and me). I like the warmth of the wood and the ebonite when using the pen. I don’t regret the purchase at all although I do wonder if I’ll still be using it in a year or if I’ll sell it once the novelty wears off. This is what I mean about Sunday’s being dangerous. With all the pens I wanted out of the way (so I thought, but was wrong) I was more willing to take a risk. It’s hard to recommend the pen due to the price, unless the design appeals to you. It does appeal to me and it is a great writer. Still, I wouldn’t have bought it without seeing it in person and knowing exactly what it was like.

Ryan Krusac The Legend - uncapped on pen stand

Ryan Krusac The Legend writing sample with Papier Plume Burgundy

 

This Just In: Sheaffer Balance Oversize C.1934 In Gray Pearl and Red Veins

Sheaffer Balance Oversize Pearl Gray & Red Veins - capped on standMy second pen purchase at the 2016 DC Pen Show occurred Friday afternoon and gave me my vintage fix. It is a Sheaffer Balance Oversize c. 1934–1935 from Sarj Minhas.

I didn’t have any specific vintage pens in mind as I walked around the show. I like Parker Vacumatics and the Maxima is the model I can use regularly. The materials and nibs of vintage Sheaffers always draw me to them and the Balance Oversize is the model I can use regularly. These were the two most likely to draw my attention.

I view vintage pens differently than modern pens. While any new vintage would have to be a pen I could expect to use regularly, I’m unable to sell off vintage pens I know I won’t use. It feels like I’m selling a piece of history. But this made me determined to only buy one vintage pen and to make it one I knew I would use. Even though I’m a user and not a collector I wanted a pen as close to pristine as I could find and and was reliable. So even though Sarj’s pens are at the high end of the price spectrum I was willing to pay the price if I could find one.

I’ve always liked the pearl grey with red vein celluloid. This was the only Balance Oversize I saw in this material during my browsing on Friday. At least in a condition that was this good. It was also the only vintage pen I saw that I wanted. So despite the price I decided to get it. The pen is difficult to photographs as the gray in the pen changes depending on the light. This also makes it easy for the pen to mesmerize me as the color changes, often looking as different as green and red.

Since all my available inks were new to me I didn’t want to try them in a vintage sac filler, so the pen remained uninked on Friday. Then on Saturday I found some vintage (well, 1980–90’s) Sheaffer Sheaffer Peacock Blue in the yellow box/label. I had the dark red bottle version of this ink so it wasn’t entirely new to me and they would be a similar, if not identical formula. The ink seemed fine despite it’s age so I bought it and filled the pen later that day.

The pen is comfortable in my hand, as expected and the nib is great, also as expected. The nib is unlabeled but it’s approximately a fine. Writing is smooth with a good flow. It’s not a gushing writer yet the ink does noticeably pool a little bit between the nib and feed. Some ink also creeps out the heart cutout that’s above the nib slit. After writing a couple A5 pages a drop of ink did drop onto the paper while writing. Since then I’ve been more conscience of it and have dabbed the nib on a tissue if I see ink bleeding from the heart after a couple of pages. Carrying the pen around doesn’t result in any ink dripping or spatter and neither does moving the pen around normally like reaching for a paper or turning a page with pen in hand. So I won’t really call it a leak and the ink could be a contributing factor. It’s something I can live with and it won’t prevent me from taking the pen with me if I go to a coffee shop to do some writing. I wouldn’t bring it to a meeting to take notes, but I don’t use vintage pens in this situation anyway.

It’s a good performing pen and I love the material. The Sheaffer Balance Oversize in Pearl Gray/Red Veins joins my Marine Green Balance Oversize as one of my favorite vintage fountain pens, and it has a nib I’ll use more than the stub on the Marine Green.

Sheaffer Balance Oversize Pearl Gray & Red Veins - uncapped on stand

Sheaffer Balance Oversize c1935 writing sample with Sheaffer Peacock Blue (yellow label)

Exposed for the writing sample, terrible photo of pen.

This is a post about the 2016 Washington DC Pen Show. My show summary and links to other show posts are here.

This Just In: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen - capped on standThe Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen in black with rhodium trim and a medium nib was my first fountain pen purchase of the 2016 DC Pen Show. It happened before lunch on Friday when I bought it from Anderson Pens before their table became packed with people.

The King of Pen has been on my watch list for almost a year. It moved close to the top a couple of months ago and I began researching it more aggressively. I like the size of the pen and love Sailor nibs. I have a couple of it’s smaller siblings and love them.

The KOP nib is springier than the Sailor nibs that I’m used to. I was concerned it would be mushy, like the Pelikan M1000 nib I tried in the past. While all the indications were that this would not be the case, I still had some doubts. My second concern was that this nib was only available in medium and broad (the bespoke nibs aren’t for me) which are not my preferred nib sizes. It is a Japanese medium so it wouldn’t be too wide. I could get the nib ground down but I don’t like doing that until I’ve experienced the stock nib for a little while, if only to see what it’s like. So I knew I wouldn’t have it worked on at the show.

A nice thing about the pen shows, besides the ability to see and touch the pen, is the ability to talk to people who have used the pen, or have one to try. So I left the Anderson Pens table fairly sure I would be getting the KOP but did some more exploration and consideration before I returned and bought the pen.

The King of Pen is an expensive pen, but this particular model is the “entry level” and therefore least expensive version. It also helps that I really like black & rhodium fountain pens.

I picked KWZ Gummiberry (non-IG) as the pens first ink. I was anxious to ink the pen so I was limited to the four inks I had purchased at the show. While I don’t like using a new (to me) ink in a new (to me) fountain pen, I wasn’t willing to wait. This ink seemed like a safe choice in a converter fill pen, plus I thought a wider nib would show off this ink better than my typical thin nib. I was thrilled with the combination. The KOP is a terrific writer, smooth and skip-free. In short, all my concerns about the nib vanished. I love it. I have a light touch so there’s really no spreading of the tines (not that the nib is flexible) and it’s a thin Japanese medium line.

I don’t have any experience with this ink so I can’t say how it affects my impression of the pen. It’s no surprise that this nib is wetter than my typical nib choice, but it’s not too wet for me. I expect to use this pen differently than an extra fine nib. My writing is a little bigger when I use it. If my writing speeds up the letters do close up so I need to slow down a bit. None of this is a huge difference and it’s a pleasant experience when I just want to write. Naturally the draft of this article was written with the pen.

As expected, the pen feels and looks solidly built. There’s a nice tall collar around the converter to help hold it straight and in place. There’s a cutout in the collar so the ink level can be viewed. The lettering around the capband and the anchor imprint in the cap finial are nice and crisp.

Black and silver is a pretty basic look, especially when compared to other KOP models but I like it a lot. It may be the new pen glow talking, but the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen is a rival to my Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age as my favorite fountain pen.

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen - uncapped on stand

Sailor Pro Gear KOP medium nib writing sample with KWZ Gummiberry ink

This is a post about the 2016 Washington DC Pen Show. My show summary and links to other show posts are here.

Washington DC Pen Show 2016 Recap

2016 Washington DC pen Show Haul - the pens

2016 Washington DC pen Show Haul – the pens

The 2016 Washington DC Pen Show is now history. After missing the last two years I was able to get there this year. The biggest change from three years ago is that the show is more social since Brad Dowdy (aka the Pen Addict) and Carey (Fountain Pen Day) started attending. Both bring their own communities to the show which got together at a meet-up one evening. This also brings a lot of pen and stationery bloggers to the show so I’ll start with some of their stuff that gives a better flavor of the show than I could:

2016 D.C. Pen Show Recap: Friday and Saturday — The Gentleman Stationer and 2016 DC Pen Show Recap: Sunday and Overall Impressions — The Gentleman Stationer

DC Pen Show Recap – The Well-Appointed Desk

And many, many photos: Instagram – #dcpenshow2016

Now on to my experience. I had the weekend trader pass but wasn’t able to be there at all on Thursday, which is the day anyone with a Trader Pass can setup half a table to sell pens. That could have provided an interesting selection of pens and conversations about them. I arrived Thursday evening so I was able to get a full day in on Friday. I do hope to get some time in on Thursday the next time I go.

As usual I had my budget. I’ve only bought one pen all year and I’d sold several others so my budget was pretty significant, at least for me. I had a couple pens on my wanted list that I intended to see, but mainly I was browsing and looking for something to catch my eye. Vintage Parker Vacumatics and vintage Sheaffer Balances were among pens I wanted to see on the vintage side. On the modern side my interest was much more general and I wanted to see them all. I also wanted to visit the various custom pen makers at the show.

Friday was more crowded than I remember from three years ago, but it was still easy to move around and see the pens and talk to the sellers.

I signed up for nib work by Mike Masuyama which resulted in my only disappointment of the show. Even though it was only about 8:30, his list was already long and he never got to me.

The two pens that topped my wanted list were the Montblanc LeGrand Ultra Black and the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (KOP), and were both carried by Anderson Pens so I headed there early Friday. Plus, I had a ink pre-order with them.

The Montblanc LeGrand Ultras Black is a gorgeous pen if you like black & silver, which I do. The metal finial/piston knob doesn’t ruin the balance of the pen and doesn’t make the pen too heavy, at least in my opinion. I won’t rule out a future purchase since I do like the look, but it moved down on my wanted list and I decided it wouldn’t be a show purchase. I was a little concerned about the finish being prone to scratches and the pen in general didn’t reach out and pull me in. I knew I was comfortable with this decision because I never returned to look at it again.

On the other hand the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen kept calling to me. It wasn’t an immediate purchase but I did get it before lunch on Friday. The short version is that I’m thrilled with my choice. More info is in my “This Just In” post for the pen.

I also picked up my Montblanc Ultra Black ink pre-order when I first looked at the KOP. I did the pre-order because I knew it was the only ink I wanted and I didn’t want it to be sold out. As it turned out they had it in stock at least through Sunday morning. It’s in my Visconti Homo Sapien and my first impression is good, but I haven’t used it very much.

In the afternoon I returned to Sarj Minhas’s table and ended up getting a Sheaffer Balance Oversize that I had seen earlier in the day. It’s a c.1934–35 Sheaffer Balance Oversize in a pearl grey celluloid that has red veins running though it. I love the material and it’s in pristine condition. It’s a fine nib that I should enjoy. Sarj’s prices are on the high side but the quality of his pens makes it worth it, in my opinion although I do consider it a bit of an indulgence. More information and my first impressions is in my “This Just In” post for this pen.

Sometime during the day (it all kind of runs together) I picked up three bottles of KWZ ink from Vanness Pens. I got two bottles of Gummiberry, one is the iron gall (IG) version and the other is the non-IG version. The third bottle was non-IG Green #2. I used both of the non-IG inks at the show. I noticed they had a bit of a smell (not scented, probably from the chemicals or dyes). It was neither good or bad, just there. It was most noticeable in my hotel room and it’s been less noticeable now that I’m home but I still catch it at times. The two KWZ IG inks that I have don’t have the odor. I do really like the non-IG Gummiberry and Green #2. See my forthcoming “This Just In” posts for the Sailor KOP and Fisher of Pens Hermes for writing samples of each ink.

Late in the day on Friday I realized I didn’t have any good paper to use with my new pens. So I stopped by the Franklin-Christoph table and bought a softcover A5 dot ruled pad. I’ve never used that paper and wanted to give it a try.

Friday night brought the Pen Addict / Fountain Pen Day meet-up. In addition to meeting people I won a engraved Rhodia Webnotebook. It was engraved and donated by Vanness Pens who also donated many of the other door prizes. I like winning stuff that I wouldn’t normally buy. While this notebook is well liked by others it’s not something I thought I would have a use for, so I never got one. I don’t have a lot of use for this type of notebook (hardcover) but I’ve already started using this one for drafts of my pen show articles.

2016 DC Pen Show Haul - The Paper

2016 DC Pen Show Haul – The Paper

Saturday was another day. It was closer to 9am when I got to the show floor and Mike Masuyama’s list was already long, so I didn’t sign up. I eventually found Dan Smith (he had relocated from Friday) and signed up with him. I was pretty far down the list since the show had been open about an hour, so I knew it wouldn’t be soon, if at all.

I did a lot of browsing and talking to custom pen makers on Saturday morning but spent the crowded lunchtime and afternoon playing with my new pens and ink, and went for a walk outside to get some air. I only made two small purchases. A bottle of vintage (1980–90’s) Sheaffer Peacock Blue, the yellow box/label. It goes with the dark red box/label version I have. It’s the only turquoise ink I like. (I generally avoid blues.) There’s a writing sample in my forthcoming “This Just In” post for my Sheaffer Balance Oversize. At first glance I don’t like this one as much, there was less variation from the ink pooling although this could be the pen or paper, both of which are new to me. The ink seems fine so I don’t blame it’s age.

Matt from The Pen Habit has some new Inky Fingers notebooks. I picked up one of the “Currently Inked” editions. I like it. The paper is nice. It’s not super-smooth like Rhodia or Tomoe River, but it’s fountain pen friendly. It absorbs the ink nicely (without bleed-through or feathering) so it dries quickly. I considered buying a second one to avoid shipping on a future purchase but I decided not to because I need to see if I stick with using it. I made one attempt to use a similar ink log a few years ago and just didn’t stick with it. I give myself a better than even chance of sticking with this one. It’s a larger book, Traveler sized, and each entry has plenty of space without getting lost in the details. If I didn’t have so many unused pocket notebooks I would have picked up several of his. The paper seems ideal for a pocket notebook – fountain pen friendly but quicker drying than slick Tomoe River paper.

As Saturday came to a close I still hadn’t had my nibs done so I decided to get my Sheaffer Balance II nibs tuned if someone was available. Joshua Lax was available, so I had him look at them. I’d never had Joshua work on any nibs before but these would be relatively simple – no grinding. He didn’t find any issues with the first one, and as I wrote with it I couldn’t either. Maybe it had some paper fibers in it or I swapped it with the identical nib without noticing. The second Sheaffer II needed a little tweaking which he did and now it’s nice and smooth. It’s noticeably, if only slightly better. I haven’t used either since the show since I have so many new pens to use. But I will ink them up soon.

As an aside, Joshua and a couple other nib workers and pen makers were missing from my nib worker, pen restorer and custom pen maker directory so I’ve added those that came to my attention recently.

I didn’t get called by Dan on Friday, but unlike Mike Masuyama he carries over his list so my turn came up Sunday morning. I had Dan work on two pens. My Pelikan M800 Stresemann extra fine was ground down to an extra fine. (I meant what I wrote, that was one wide factory extra fine from Pelikan.) And my favorite Visconti Homo Sapien was tweaked to make it just a little better. It was very good but skipped on occasion and the flow would sometimes vary slightly for no reason. I haven’t used them much since the show but the Visconti is inked and the M800 is waiting for a slot to open.

2016 DC Pen Show Haul - The Ink

2016 DC Pen Show Haul – The Ink

I knew Sunday would be a dangerous day. I had money left in the budget (meaning cash burning a hole in my pocket). I was susceptible to buying pens that aren’t on my wanted list.

Ryan Krusac has a new pen design, The Legend, and that was a purchase early Sunday morning. He makes pens with organic materials (most of the time) and his wood pens have interested me in the past. Mine is black walnut burl wood with an ebonite section and an extra fine nib. I’ve always thought his pens looked good, but there was always something that kept me from buying one. The designs just didn’t grab me and the ones that I’ve held have been heavy and I didn’t find them very comfortable. This was was a simple design, light and comfortable. It’s smaller than his usual pens, but big enough for me and comfortable in my hand. He probably has many designs that I’ve never seen, but this one struck me as completely different than all his other pens and is easily my favorite. I’ll have more in my “This Just In” post for the pen.

I had just gotten to my hotel room to relax and play with pens when I saw a Instagram post from Fisher of Pens showing all his green pens. All that green, I had to run right back down there. He says they were all there since Friday and I’m sure they were. The bright green ones were nice but all could have been tweaked for my personal preference. And since he’s a custom pen maker I would rather have had him make one than get one of these. I had actually intended to do this, especially since an eta was November (depending on any other orders he might get before mine). But there was one dark green (actually dark black with a green web design) in the back of the photo. If I had noticed that one on Friday I would have gotten it then. My own custom pen order probably would have been a different model but there wasn’t anything about this one that I didn’t like. The vintage celluloid material is gorgeous. More info is in the “This Just In” post for the Fisher of Pens Hermes.

I finished up my Sunday (and pen show) shopping with three bottles of ink from Anderson Pens. Montblanc Lavender Purple will fill-out my collection of regular production Montblanc inks. While the other two are from ink brands that are new to me.

Papier Plume is a stationery shop in New Orleans that bottles there own ink. (No info on who makes it, their website says it’s French, or if the formulas are unique to them.) Also, there’s no quantity on the bottle but my guess is about 50ml. Like Sailor ink bottles, it’s short and stout so larger nibs may have a problem, even when the bottle is full. I bought the burgundy ink and have really like it so far in the Ryan Krusac pen. You can see a writing sample in the “This Just In” post for the pen. which should be out if the next few days. The flow is good and it’s dark enough for the EF nib. It seems to dry fast enough since I’ve avoid smudges so far.

Bookbinder in an Australian stationery web shop (no B&M store) that sells pen and paper related items. They brand their fountain pen ink as Snake Ink with color names coming from various snakes. It’s a 30ml bottle in rather unique packaging, a brown hessian bag with draw string. I had to look up hessian, it’s a strong, coarse fabric made from hemp or jute, used for sacks. I got the Ground Rattler which is grey. Grey may not be the best color to introduce a new ink brand, but I like grey and decided to give it a try. I’ve yet to load a pen with it.

There were some things at the show that I looked at but didn’t get. The Diplomat Aero is a pen that’s gotten good reviews. I tried one and really liked it, especially the brown version. I ended up passing because it wasn’t different enough from my current pens and I probably wouldn’t use it much.

I looked at several Omas pens and really liked the material. I passed for the same reason, I didn’t think I’d use them enough to justify the price.

The Franklin-Christoph booth was buzzing all weekend. I like their leather cases and they had some nice prototype pens. I really like F-C pens but I’ve sold off several that just don’t get used. Although I may start treating them like a subscription service – buy one and use it for a year then sell it and pick up a new design at the next show.

Sailor had some samples of their upcoming inks. Since none were available I didn’t need any willpower and there were a couple colors I like.

Kobe was also there with their line of inks. Kobe ink is from the Nagasawa Pen Shop located in Kobe Japan and made by Sailor. I didn’t buy any, but there was a lot of activity at their table and several colors sold out.

People kept buying the Visconti Homo Sapien London Fog which is a gorgeous pen that I had wanted to see. It became harder and harder to resist buying one as I saw three of them being sold along with a couple others in show & tell. I managed to resist by telling myself I didn’t see it getting a regular spot in my rotation unless I kicked a pen out, which I couldn’t do. Since each one is slightly different I can now resist it by telling myself I’d want to see it first. Although honestly, I did not see one I wouldn’t keep.

While there were a lot of vintage dealers there seemed to be less vintage activity than my visit three years ago. It was generally easy to get to the vintage sellers even during the busy Saturday, while the modern pen sellers always seemed to be busy.

This post is already approaching 3,000 words so I’ll wrap it up here. I had more in my written draft of the post so maybe there will be a follow-up, but probably not. At the end of the weekend I was tired, had ink on my fingers, and considered the show to be time and money well spent.

There were many other pen & stationery bloggers there. You may find additional recaps on their sites. In addition to the previously linked sites near the top, and knowing I will leave someone out (my apologies) there was: From the Pen Cup, Gorgeous Ink, The Purl Bug, My Coffee Pot, and Inkdependence.

For those on the other coast, the San Fransisco Pen Show is August 26–28th.