Currently Inked: Atlanta Pen Show Edition

Photo of the pens I'm bringing to the Atlanta Pen show.
My original goal was seven pens. I have no restraint. But only 14 have ink.

I spent a lot of time today selecting, and inking up pens for my trip to the Atlanta pen show. As is usually the case with me, the number of pens kept growing. I’d touch a pen and it would beg me to allow it to make the trip. I can’t say no. I quickly outgrew the Franklin-Christoph Seven Pen Wrap. Not all the pens in the photo are inked up (only 14 out of the 22). Twice as many as my original plan.

I picked pens that fell into two groups. First, pens that are my favorites, at least at this moment in time (I am fickle). And pens that have a unique or rare feature people may want to see or try. Although, being a pen show I doubt these will be unique in the room. The pens on the left side of the photo., plus the two in the center, plus the two in the bottom right are inked up. Short Fill means I only pulled in enough in to be just visible in the converter. I do have a 15th pen inked, the Pilot Custom 823 (F) with Montblanc Bordeaux ink. I forgot about this one when I took the photo. It’s in my journal, and is staying home.

A lot of pens have Montblanc Bordeaux. It’s my favorite ink and I have a lot left. Combine this with my dearth of bottled ink and it was an obvious choice. If I used cartridges I’d either dump a lot of ink of have the pens inked up forever.

So starting at the top left of the photo, and working down the left side:

Pilot Custom 912, Posting Nib, in basic Black with a Pilot Purple Cartridge: I decided to go with purple, even though the ink would probably look better with a wider nib.

Esterbrook (Kenro) Estie Oversized in Maraschino, Journaler nib with a Montblanc Bordeaux short fill: I love all three of my OS Estie. I’m bringing this because of the Journaler nib by Gena Salorino, who Esterbrook partnered with. More importantly, I love the pen.

Esterbrook (Kenro) Estie Oversized in Scarlet, Scribe nib with a Montblanc Bordeaux short fill: I love all three of my OS Estie along. I’m bringing this because of the Scribe nib by Josh Lax, who Esterbrook partnered with. More importantly, I love the pen.

Fisher of Pens Hermes in Vintage Web Green, Fine nib with a Montblanc British Racing Green short fill:. It’s been far too long since I inked this one up. I gave it a short fill because there a chance I’ll have a nib grind done on it. So, less ink to dump.

Kanilea Kona Cherry, Extra-Fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux ink: My favorite pen and ink paired together. I worked to get every drop ion ink possible into the converter. The pen took awhile to break me in, so it was a bit rough a first. It finally got me trained and it’s been my solid #1 since them.

Sheaffer Legacy with a Custom Blue Fleck body,and a Blade Turk (XXF) nib by Marc Bacas and filled with a Sheaffer Green cartridge. I’m not a fan of blue pens, or gold trim. Except with this pen for some reason. Probably because it’s a Sheaffer. The body was made by Franklin-Christoph for Jim Rouse, which makes it more special, although he was still alive when I bought it.

Diplomat Aero in Green with a 14 kt. Fine nib with a Montblanc British Racing Green short fill. I’m bringing the pen in case someone wants to try a stock Diplomat gold nib. I like the pen and the nib, but I don’t think it’s worth the price bump. At least not for a fine nib. I was never a Green Arrow comic book fan, but I do refer to this one as the Green Aero.

Diplomat Aero Volute with a Oblique Fine nib and Waterman Mysterious Blue ink. The aesthetic of this pen fires on all cylinders for me. The Mark Bacas oblique fine nib elevates this pen so it writes as good as it looks.

Pilot Elite Steel Lined Pocket Pen with an 18 kt Fine nib and filled with a Pilot Blue-Black cartridge: Even I was surprised by how much I like this pen. While too small for me to use in extended writing sessions, it’s fine for an hour or so.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with an Extra-Fine 21 kt gold nib and a Sailor Shikiori Chu-Shu ink cartridge. Another small (for me) pen, but the metal gives it weight which makes it usable for me. I love the thin Japanese extra-fine nib.

Then in the center is the Pilot Vanishing Point Red Bamboo with a XXF gold nib and a Pilot Blue-Black cartridge. which will be in my shirt pocket during the show.

The **TWSBI Swipe which still has the Sheaffer Red ** that was loaded into the oversized converter last year. It’s nearly empty, but I forgot to clean in. It’s staying home.

Now we move to the bottom right side and work our way up.

I just re-saced the Grey Pearl Striated Sheaffer Balance Oversize with a 14kt Fine nib and Montblanc Bordeaux ink. This is the first fill with the new sac so I was hesitant to carry it on the trip. It’s been a few years since I replaced a sac. I love the grey & black aesthetic and Sheaffer nibs are great.

Sailor 1911L Ringless in Epinard with a 21 kt. Gold Zoom nib and a Sailor Shikiori Waka-Uguisu cartridge It’s my play pen. Not at all suitable to my writing, but I like doodling with it and varying the lines. I’m bringing it in case someone wants to try a zoom nib.

That’s it for all the inked pens.

The other pens in the case, continuing up the right side:

Edison Huron Grande in Flecked Red/White/Blue and with a Extra-Fine nib I’m bringing this for self defense, since I can use it as a club. I can’t believe I used to eyedropper fill this pen.

The next two are the Franklin-Christoph Model 02 v2 in Gemstone with an Extra-Fine nib and the Franklin-Christoph Model 02 v1 in Emerald Green and with a Needlepoint nib. Both of these were in my Next to ink queue but didn’t make the cut this time. I’m bringing them because they were already in the case, and in the event anyone wants to see the different between the OG Model 02 and the current Model.

Lamy Safari Petrol with a Medium steel nib I’m bringing this one as a possible sale, although the nib on it is a grind candidate. It’s one of my least favorite (relatively speaking) Safaris, and prices are high. So it’s possible I could sell it.

Spoke Icon with a British Racing Green Barrel and a Brass insert and an extra-fine nib. I wanted to ink this one up, but had too many pens inked up by the time I got to it.

Sailor King of Pen (KOP) Royal Tangerine with a Oblique Medium nib: This is still a favorite of mine.

Esterbrook (Kenro) Estie in Evergreen with an Extra-Fine nib: This pen has long been a sale candidate since I prefer the Oversized version, but I haven’t been that aggressive. It’s possible I get this nib ground to a needlepoint and then swap it among my OS Esties. That would leave this pen nib-less. This depends upon the availability of Esterbrook’s Needlepoint as a nib-only purchase. I don’t want another Estie pen.

Esterbrook (Kenro) Estie in Seaglass with an Extra-Fine nib.: I wanted to ink all three OS Esties, but held this one back. It will get a Needlepoint nib and then some ink.

I’m also bringing three Lamy Safari pens, each with one of my Lamy gold nibs. Each is a candidate for a nib grind. The two obliques would be thinned to fine obliques and the extra-fine to a needlepoint.

I don’t feel any urge to buy new fountain pens. But I have so many potential nib grinds that I could go broke. I need to force myself to make decisions and do one oblique fine and one needlepoint. Obliques are rarely (never) done as Fine nibs, but I love the ones that I have.

If you’re reading this on Thursday (March 31st) and want to see another pen I have, contact me either through the contact page or Twitter @fpquest anf ask. I’ll be at the show Friday morning, depending on when I wake up and how traffic is, and also on Saturday.

My decision to attend was recent, but I’m getting more excited excited about going back to a pen show..

Currently Inked – June 2021

It was January 2 of this year when I last did a currently inked roundup. I did an ink purge this past weekend so; it seems like a good time for another currently inked post. I cleaned out my Lamy Safaris, along with a TWSBI Go that was inked up last year. My habit of using factory included cartridges to start off my new pens has me really, really bored with blue, black and blue-black inks. I broke another rule; I flushed out pens that still had most of their ink left, and were problem free.

Pens currently inked for June 2021

Five fountain pens carried over from May, here they are:

Sheaffer 300 Matte Green (F) with a Sheaffer Black cartridge

Role: Workhorse fountain pen

This fountain pen is a terrific value at $65. Green is my favorite color. The matte green with black accents makes for a sharp-looking pen. The nib is smooth and puts down a sharp line, true to its fine width. I picked Sheaffer Black (in cartridge form) for this pen so that it’s suitable for any situation. The nib and dark ink make it suitable even when I’m forced to write in weird postures and on all but the worst paper.

Kanilea Kona Cherry (F) with Montblanc Bordeaux

Role: To Spark Joy

A gorgeous fountain pen, filled with my favorite ink. While I usually tire of flashy pen materials, I like this one more each time I use it. I have to get over my fear of running out of Bordeaux, which keeps me from using the pen. That’s a terrible reason not to use the pen. This is one of two pens with this ink.

This one ran out of ink Sunday night, but I immediately refilled it. Despite the refill, I still consider it a carry over.

Sailor 1911L Ringless Epinard (Zoom) with a Sailor Shikiori Yodaki cartridge

Role: Headings & Something Completely Different

This pen will never be a daily writer for me, heck, it rarely writes for than 10 words when I pick it up. I like it for headings, bold notes, or just to have fun using. I use the pen every day, even if it’s only to write the date on the top of my daily index card. Occasionally used for doodling, where I can explore the line variation provided by the angle of the zoom nib.

Diplomat Aero Volute LE (Oblique Fine) with a Montblanc Spider Grey cartridge

Role: Daily Writer

Unlike my workhorse Sheaffer 300, the oblique grind on the nib means I should sit at a desk (or table) when I use the pen. The oblique grind fits the way I naturally rotate my pen, while the fine nib fits my writing style. It’s the best of both worlds. I picked the ink because I like grey inks, and it matches the pen. This is a Mark Bacas nib grind of the stock steel fine nib.

Montblanc sometimes gets carried away with their ink names. The full name of this ink is Montblanc Heritage Spider Metamorphosis Web Grey.

Lamy Safari USA (XXF) with Waterman Intense Black

Role: Big Nib Therapy

Another Mark Bacas nib grind where my instructions were to get as close to a Platinum UEF as was safe with the steel Lamy nib. I don’t have the UEF for comparison anymore, but it seems pretty close, and it is very thin.

The thinness of the nib can make it scratchy on some papers, although it’s smooth on Rhodia, Tomoe River and Profolio Oasis notebook papers. I use it when I want a thin nib, either to mark up a document, or when I just want a thin line.

I inked up five new pens before heading into June. Here they are:

Lamy 2000 (Oblique Medium) with Montblanc Bordeaux

Role: The Rookie with All-Star Potential

This one arrived Saturday, and I had it inked up with my favorite ink by evening. It’s a factory oblique medium, but I still have high expectations for this nib. I’ve barely used it so far, but all the signs are good, unlike that Lamy 14k extra-fine nib that disappointed immediately.

While I prefer thin nibs, oblique nibs are perfect for me, and an oblique medium is much more accessible to me. The small nib, and even smaller sweet-spot of my previous Lamy, made it a pain to use. I was always rotating the nib into skipping. So far the oblique nib seems to work for me. The nib still doesn’t provide much of a visual queue for alignment, but it touches the paper perfectly with my natural grip.

Lamy Aion Red (F) with a Lamy Red cartridge

Role: Utility (another Rookie)

I’ve had this pen since April 9th and have been debating whether to ink it up, or pass it on. There’s nothing wrong with the pen, and I do like red. But, I already have the Dark Green sibling, which will get much more use.

I didn’t do it any favors with the Lamy Red ink. Especially since some ink leftover in the pen (from testing I assume) made the initial sentence a nice, dark red. But it soon became a washed out red. I much prefer Sheaffer Red.

I’ll use it marking up documents.

Lamy Aion Dark Green (EF) with a Lamy Green cartridge

Role: Workhorse Pen

Like the Sheaffer 300, this is a workhorse pen, appropriate for any use. The green ink might keep it from some business uses, but I don’t really exclude any ink from business use. But being honest, I may want to play it safe is some situations and avoid the green ink.

I wanted to keep this in the pen case, uninked, until the Sheaffer 300 went dry, but I couldn’t. I want to use the pen.

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Montblanc Psychedelic Purple (The Beatles)

Role: Royalty

This pen is just back from bent nib repair by Mark Bacas. This is the 20th ink filling for the pen (Since Aug 2016), so it gets a lot of use. Despite being a medium nib, I love writing with the pen. My other KOP was ground to an oblique, but I kept this one as a regular medium. The huge nib provides an unavoidable visual queue to help avoid rotating the pen while writing.

Esterbrook (Kenro) Oversized Estie (Journaler) with Sheaffer Red

Role: Drawing Attention to Itself

The only ink this pen has ever held is Sheaffer Red. Any choice other that the fire engine red Sheaffer ink would be wrong.

Fountain Pens currently inked for June 2021 - uncapped
Writing samples for all the June pens

Currently Inked

I’m beginning the year with two dozen inked up fountain pens. Once I had them all inked up I realized we’re entering the middle of winter, when the air inside will be extremely dry. It’s great when I wash the floors and want them to dry asap. It isn’t so great when I don’t want ink to evaporate. As evidenced when I picked up the Fisher of Pens Hermes after a couple of days and it was a minor adventure getting it to write. While it’s startup problem in the past, looking at its history, the problems were always in the dry winter months. Once it starts writing it’s great for the day.

The pictures and writing samples are in the same order, except for the two desk pens, which aren’t show in the photos. The desk pens are the 7th and 8th writing samples.

Photo of twelve of my currently inked fountain pens.
Photo of ten of my currently inked fountain pens.
writing sample for the first twelve inked fountain pens
writing samples for the remaining ten inked fountain pens

Currently Inked – August 2, 2020

2020_08_02 - Currently Inked Pens - Ready to Go
Currently inked fountain pens ready to go

It’s been over three months since I’ve done a currently inked post. It’s been even longer since I flushed a fountain pen without a reason, other than wanting a change. I cleaned over half my inked pens on Saturday, so a currently inked post seems appropriate. On Saturday, I realized I was bored with my current pen and ink choices, so it was time to break the rule against early flushing and get some variety moved into the rotation. I kept a few pens with a specific purpose, such as desk and pocket pens. I also kept a couple of new pens that I want to get to know better. These holdovers left me with enough black and blue-black inks to get by.

I often have trouble deciding what pens to ink up and what inks to use when my choices are limitless, well limited only to my accumulation. So, I decided to set some boundaries, beyond the obvious no more blue or black inks. For the fountain pens, I decided to limit myself to my two “S” brands, Sheaffer and Sailor. The Sailors would give me a nice variety of nib sizes since they all have different grinds. As for the inks, I went with a Montblanc rule. The exception to prove the rule would be allowing for Sheaffer inks in Sheaffer pens. I have six Sailor pens but lacked a converter for one (I thought I replaced that busted converter!), so I ended up having to make a decision. I decided to skip the Sailor 1911 Sterling despite its stub nib, which would have added variety. The pen needed polishing, which provided a ready excuse. If I had Sailor colored ink cartridges, I would have made an exception to my ink rule (I made it, I can break it), but all I have is blue and black sailor cartridges. I’m unwilling to break that rule.

I added my three favorite pens to the Sailor, Sheaffer Balance IIs, to the Sailors. I added another pen that I’ve been eager to ink up again. Plus, to really mess with the organization of this post, I re-inked a pen from July after it wen dry on Saturday.

Sheaffer Balance II (M) with Sheaffer Red ink. Sheaffer Red is a nice pure, well-behaved red ink, making it my favorite red ink. It used to be standard in the inkwell for my Esterbrook dip pen, but that inkwell is currently empty since office visits are rare these days. Because of the inkwell use, I’m guessing Sheaffer Red rivals, or maybe even beats, Montblanc Bordeaux in the number of bottles that I’ve finished. The bright red pen provided an excellent excuse to bring this ink back into use.

photo of Sheaffer Balance II Crimson Glow with Sheaffer Red ink

Sheaffer Balance II (M) with Sheaffer Emerald Green ink. This ink is an older version, sold in inkwell bottles with yellow boxes and labels. While the ink isn’t old enough to be vintage, it harkens to a time when Sheaffer had a unique personality. While it isn’t my favorite green, it is pretty close and is the perfect choice for this pen, which was Sheaffer’s attempt to reinvigorate that personality.

photo of Sheaffer Balance II Jade Green with Sheaffer Emerald Green
photo of Sheaffer Balance II with MB Permanent Grey

__Sheaffer Balance II Aspen__ (M) with Montblanc Meisterstück 90 Years Permanent Grey. For whatever reason, my brain always wants to associate this ink with this pen, despite a complete lack of grey in the pen. So, while this met my Montblanc rule, the real reason it was used is that I have a hard time not picking this ink for this pen.  While all the Sheaffers have nibs that are officially called medium, these lovely nibs are closer to a fine nib and certainly smaller than many recent new extra-fine or fine nibs that I’ve received.

Sailor King of Pen Royal Tangerine (L. Oblique) with Montblanc Toffee Brown. It’s been a long time since I’ve used this ink despite its rivaling Athena Sepia as my favorite brown ink. I wanted to use it and decided that this would be a good nib for it. I’m writing the draft of this post with this pen, and feel justified in my choice.

Sailor KOP Royal Tangerine with Motnblanc Toffee Brown ink bottle

Sailor 1911L Ringless Epinard (Z) with Montblanc Lavender Purple. I’ve been experimenting with the zoom nib using the included Sailor cartridge since the pen arrived. I decided it was time to introduce some color to the experiments. Purple is one of my favorite ink colors. Although I’d be hard-pressed to pick a clear favorite, this one is a contender.

photo of Sailor 1911L Ringless Epinard with Montblanc Lavender Purple ink bottle

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (EF) with Montblanc Albert Einstein. Japanese nibs are thin, and the Sailor extra-fine is one of the thinnest factory nibs available. I love the nice thin, consistent line the nib puts down. I usually pair this with dark ink, so it doesn’t get lost in the paper’s color. So I did hesitate a lot before picking this grey ink. The result is a thin, light, but legible line that’s the color of pencil lead. A very sharp pencil.

photo of Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Montblanc Albert Einstein ink bottle

Sailor King of Pen (M) with Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk. I picked the ink because I like it. When it came time to match it to a pen, this seemed like the right choice for no reason in particular.

Sailor of Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk ink bottle

Sailor Full Size Realo (M-F) with Montblanc Antoine de Saint-Expery Encre du Desert (a.k.a. – the ink I’ll never spell without looking it up). I was hesitant to pick another brown ink, but I do like it, and due to an order mix-up on my part, I have two bottles, so it was my final ink choice.

photo of Sailor Full Size Reallo with Montblanc Encre du Desert

ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen (F) with Montblanc “The Beatles” Psychedelic Purple. Technically this is a carryover from July, but I did have to refill it this past weekend. This is the only ink that’s been used in this pen since it arrived on May 2nd.

ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen with Montblanc Psychedelic Purple

Fisher of Pens Hermes (F) with Diamine Oxblood. I moved the cartridge from another pen. There’s only about 25% of the ink left, but I wanted this pen back in the rotation. No photo of this one, although it is in the group photo up top.

Holdover Pens

I did keep six other pens inked up from July. There are no individual pictures, but here are the details.

The Platinum Carbon Pen with its “superfine” nib is inked up with Platinum Carbon ink for the times I need thin and waterproof.

The Kanilea Kona Cherry stayed ink because I could never flush Montblanc Bordeaux ink down the drain. Plus, the beauty of the pen makes me smile when I use it. After some rough spots when the pen first arrived, we’re getting along much better now.

The Kaweco Brass Sport is a pocket pen inked up with red ink. While I don’t have much use for a pocket pen these days, there’s no reason to flush it out. When I need a pocket pen, it will be ready.

The Pilot Custom 912, Benu Briolette, and Penlux Masterpiece Grande (F) are all new pens that I’m still getting to know, so they stayed in the rotation. They’ll also fill any need for traditional black and blue/black inks.

Writing Samples

photo of 2020_08_02 - Currently Inked Writing Samples
photo of 2020_08_02 - Currently Inked Writing Samples

Currently Inked – April 27, 2020

I’m writing pens dry faster than I can keep up. I wrote one pen dry when doing the written draft of this post. That now dry pen happened to be at the top of my currently inked writing sample. I’ll be skipping my usual practice of scheduling posts for the next morning to give me time to remember what I screwed up.

I picked the following fountain pens and inks to join the currently inked club:

The first three pens listed are the only fountain pens that were inked before Sunday. I won’t be using them until after this is posted, for fear of making it outdated before it’s published. I wrote about the Sterling Silver Namikis ones in Three Pieces of Silver.

I rarely carry the Fodderstack in my shirt pocket these days. I’m not venturing out often, and the Fodderstack has been replaced by a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a small squirt bottle of alcohol (for grocery carts, etc…). I’ve only wanted a pen once or twice, but to meet those needs, I inked up the Kaweco Brass Sport with Montblanc Petit Prince Red Fox in a cartridge. I picked a red ink so I could also use the pen to mark up documents.

I do like the Vanishing Point Red Bamboo, so it returned to the rotation with a different nib. I feel compelled to acknowledge that the pen is not made of bamboo. But, that is what it was sold as here in the States. I put in the medium left oblique nib, The oblique nib sits perfectly with my natural grip, the clip ensuring that I don’t twist the pen, even a little. It got the now usual Pilot Black cartridge. Pilot converters are a hassle in the VP and don’t hold much ink, so I stick to cartridges.

The Franklin-Christoph Model 02 (Gen 1) is a lovely green and sports a Mike Masuyama needlepoint nib. The pen called out for green ink, so I loaded it with a Montblanc Emerald Green cartridge.

I was missing to Royal Tangerine KOP after only one day. It returned with my favorite ink, Montblanc Bordeaux. It took six days for me to miss the Aero. I’m surprised by how much I like that pen and how well it writes. I did manage to survive 5 days without it.

The Edison Huron Grande just didn’t want to be used. I eyedropper filled its large body with Papier Plume Burgundy, but it just didn’t want to write. A couple hours of gravity didn’t help, running under the faucet didn’t help. Finally, I wrapped a tissue around the nib and gave it a couple firm old-style thermometer wrist flicks, which finally did the trick. I haven’t used it much yet, but it seems fine.

The final fountain pen I inked up my newest fountain pen arrived, the Leonardo Officina Italiana Messenger with an extra-fine nib. I inked it with its namesake, Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk.

As usual, the writing samples are in the same order as the pens (L->R). Click any photo for full size.

Photo of my capped currently inked pens
Photo of my uncapped currently inked pens
Writing samples from my currently inked pens