It’s Friday the 13th and COVID-19 is taking hold here in the States. So, might as well think happy thoughts and play with pens. I inked a few to replace pens that were recently written dry, then kept on going. I ended up with 11 inked fountain pens. Expected 12, but the Pilot Custom 823 didn’t have enough ink for the writing sample.
It’s been awhile, so as a reminder, the writing samples are in the same order, top to bottom, as the pens in the tray, from left to right.
As November was starting up my fountain pens were running dry. So, it was time to ink up some pens. Obviously, it’s no longer the beginning of November. It’s taken me a while to get this post up.
For some reason, more whim than reason, I decided not to use converters. I’d use cartridges or piston fillers. I inked up eight new fountain pens to join my four carry-overs.
The four pens being carried over are:
Edison Huron Grande with an extra-fine nib, used as an eyedropper fill with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. A nice big pen that’s comfortable in my hand. The ink was a top five favorite not too long ago. It spent some time on hiatus, but it’s back and reminding me why it’s a favorite. The size of this pen, plus the lack of a clip (or a roll stop) makes the pen a finicky traveler, so it’s a homebody.
Newton Eastman with an Esterbrook #9788 Flexible Medium nib with a barrel full of Montblanc Psychedelic Purple “The Beatles” ink. “Flexible” in the name is more aspirational than reality, but I do really like the nib. This is another homebody pen. Also large and clip-less, but added to that is a tendency to splatter ink into the cap if it’s jostled a lot.
TWSBI Go Sapphire with a broad nib and Monteverde Emotion Wisdom Purple ink. I really like the TWSBI GO pens. But broad nibs aren’t my wheelhouse, so this pen doesn’t get much use. It will be inked for a long time.
Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with an extra-fine nib, and a Sailor Kiwa-Guro pigmented ink cartridge. This Japanese extra-fine nib puts down one of the thinnest lines of any of my nibs, short of needlepoints. It’s also one of my smoothest nibs. This is the pen that’s been traveling in my Nock Co Foddertack XL, paired with the Retro 51 Corona rollerball.
The newly inked pens are:
Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with a medium nib and a cartridge of Pilot Sepia ink.
Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche with an XXXF nib and a Pilot Red cartridge. For some reason, this black pens attracts red or black inks. The XXXF nib calls for a red ink suitable for marking up documents, something this retractable fountain pen is well-suited to do.
Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood with an oblique medium nib and a cartridge of Pilot Black ink. The angle of the nib is perfect for the way the pen sits in my hand.
Kaweco Brass Sport with an extra fine nib and a Montblanc Petite Prince Red Fox ink cartridge. The brass is heavily tarnished, just from sitting in the pen case. Typically I’d polish it up a bit before using it, but this time I decided to go as-is and see if using it changes what looks like corrosion to something that resembles a nice patina.
Aurora Optima Nero Perla with a medium nib and Aurora Black ink. I like this pen more than I thought I would. For some reason, I felt like matching this pen with Aurora Black ink.
Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand with an Oblique Medium nib and Montblanc Bordeaux ink. My favorite ink in my favorite nib for long writing sessions.
Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with an extra-fine nib. I filled it with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. OK, I have to admit that I forgot this ink was still in the Edison Huron Grande. I do like the ink, but I would have preferred some variety. Even the nib size is the same.
Visconti Brunelleschi with a medium nib and Diamine Terra-cotta ink. This pen has been writing dryer than I expected. It’s a bit dry, even for me. If I hadn’t filled it through the feed, I would have thought there were some flow issues. It has gotten a little better, although that’s more because I’ve gotten used to it.
Naturally, my fountain pen usage dropped soon after inking those new pens (well, freshly added to the rotation), but it’s beginning to pick up.
I haven’t done one of these currently inked roundups since March. I inked up a total of 15 pens at the end of April and covered those in a Trail Log. It took me all this time to write them dry. I did add one to try a new ink, and that one is still going.
I haven’t used my large, clip-less pens in a long time so I inked up all three. These are too big for a pocket. While the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 can squeeze into some pen cases, the others are too big for any pen case that can hold them securely. These are desk-bound pens which I sometimes skip over for that reason. All three are eyedropper fills, so there’s a lot of ink.
The Newton Eastman is a custom pen designed for my vintage Esterbrook nibs. This time out I fitted it with a [#9788 Flexible Medium nib](https://fpquest.com/2014/10/14/nib-notes-esterbrook-9788-flexible-medium/ “Jump to the nib notes”). The ink is Montblanc Psychedelic Purple (The Beatles). I was shocked to see the Eastman has bee unused for over a year.
It’s been two years since my Edison Huron Grande has been inked. Another Shocker. I filled it with Iroshizuko Fuyu-Syogun ink. This ink was a favorite a long time ago, and I recently started using it again. The bottle is almost empty, so an eyedropper fill is ideal. With its extra large ink capacity and extra-fine nib, this will be in the rotation for a long time.
The third, and last, eyedropper filler is my Franklin-Christoph Model 66 with my favorite blue-black ink, R&K Blau-Schwarz LE. Another nearly empty bottle, but with a new bottle ready to open. The Model 66 is the smallest of my Big 3, but it will still last a long time with its extra fine nib.
My next choices were two Sailor Pens. The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe has a very thin Japanese extra fine nib. This one got a cartridge of Sailor Kiwa-Guro pigmented black ink.
The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen received its 13th ink. While not much to look at, it’s become my favorite pen to use. It also received a cartridge, this time it is Sailor Sei-Boku pigmented blue-black ink.
When I did the writing samples and started writing the draft of this post I had two holdover fountain pens. But that dropped to one when the Caran d’Ache Ivanhoe went dry on the first page of the draft for this post. So the only holdover is the Karas Kustoms Ink with a Montblanc Petit Prince Red Fox ink cartridge. This pen wasn’t part of the “April 15”. It was inked in June so I could try the new ink.
A little different format to the Currently Inked post this month. I’m not sure if I like it, but it’s worth a try. Click any photo for the full-size version.)
I’ll start with the pens that live on my desk in a Dudek/Karas pen stand. The Cube holds nine pens, all of which are disposable fountain pens. These keep me from having to figure out the right mix of color and nibs to have inked up. The only time I need a color, or multiple colors, is when I’m taking notes or marking up a document. These pens all fill that role nicely and don’t evaporate over time. The Pilot Varsity pens are all medium nibs, while the Thornton’s are all fine nibs. While there are more Pilots than Thorton’s in the pen stand, I actually like the Thornton’s a bit better. (Although I hate the name since the apostrophe appears to be part of the proper name, making writing about it a pain.) The nib is a bit thinner, while the pen itself has a bit more girth, which makes it more comfortable for me. That said, I haven’t used the Thornton’s enough to give an unequivocal recommendation over the Pilots.
Next up are my carry pens. I pair a rollerball and a fountain pen in my Fodderstack XL. With winter ending (I hope) and pitchers and catchers reporting, I’ve swapped my Ugly Seater Retro 51 for the Play Ball version. The Ugly Sweater is still my favorite Retro 51. If memory serves, the official name of the pen is Montana. How boring. The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe remains in the Fodderstack. It has a sweet extra fine nib and Montblanc Albert Einstein ink. A Nock pocket notebook joins the pens.
The Fodderstack is usually in my shirt pocket, but when it’s not, I still have a Kaweco Brass Sport in my pants pocket (trouser pocket for you Brits). It has an extra fine nib and a Kawaco Black ink cartridge. Despite both being EF nibs, the Sailor is much thinner.
There’s another Dudek pen stand on my desk which hold my remaining pens. There are the three themed pens along with a couple of misfits.
The themed pens are what I use when I “sit down to write.” This time around the pens and ink theme is “favorites”, which is a bit of a cheat, but accurate.
The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age just returned from having its bent extra fine nib straightened by Dan Smith (The Nib Smith). This pen used to be my clear favorite, but in picking these pens, I realized it has some stiff competition. I think part of its decline is that I have so many extra fine nibs another pen can challenge its claim by having a unique (at least in my accumulation) nib. It’s still a favorite, just not the favorite.
Ranked right up there with the Homo Sapien is my Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen. While there are flashier models of the KOP, the black and rhodium pen is a bullseye for the aesthetic I like. While it’s well made, it is just a resin (plastic) pen which makes it hard to justify the price. The pen is a joy to use, and the price is more than justified as far as I’m concerned. It’s medium nib, and superb writing experience made it my go-to pen for trying new inks. This time I picked and ink that I have used enough to be a favorite already, although challenged by Montblanc Toffee Brown. The KOP is filled with Athena Sepia.
The final fountain pen in the favorites theme is the Montblanc Meisterstück Le Grand Ultra Black (a lot of words in that name). In addition to being ideally sized for my hand, it has an oblique medium nib that I love to use. It’s filled with the only ink that’s ever been in this pen, Montblanc Bordeaux. MB Bordeaux is far and away my favorite ink.
I called the remaining two pens misfits, although that’s probably not fair. They just stuck around after they served their purpose.
The Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche with it’s Richard Binder XXXF nib has a Pilot Red Cartridge in it. It started out as a pen dedicated for use in my Hobonichi Weeks. It stopped using the Weeks but kept the pen around. It’s just so damn convenient.
The final pen is the Retro 51 Coffee rollerball. I have too many Retro 51 pens, and they’re everywhere. I could not find the Play Ball and went searching through bags and pen cases. I had forgotten all about the Coffee Retro 51 when I came across it in a bag. I liked it and decided to keep it handy. (FYI: It has the same refill as the Play Ball, so there’s no writing sample.)
I put off inking up any additional fountain pens in December and was down to two inked pens as the month drew to a close. Last year I kept my pens inked until I wrote them dry, which would often be months. (There were a couple of early dismissals for poor performance.)
This year I’m going to try changing that up a bit, starting now. I’ll ink some pens for specific tasks and keep them inked until they run dry or stop serving their purpose. Then I’ll pick three pens around a theme and ink them up with ink also picked around a theme. I’ll still haven’t decided how often I’ll replace the themed pens. I expect to flush them before they go dry, but I think two weeks will be a little quick, and a month is more likely.
So, first is the purpose inked pens:
The Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche was loaded with an XXXF nib and a Pilot red ink cartridge for use in my Hobonichi Weeks Planner. The thin nib is ideal for the thin paper, and since the thin line uses little ink, it’s relatively quick drying. My Hobonichi cover has a pen loop built in. While I don’t typically like pen loops built into notebooks and considered cutting this one off, I’m now using it.
The Lamy 2000 is the one inked pen carried over from 2017 will serve as my desk pen until it goes dry. That’s “desk pen” as in the pen that’s always sitting in the pen stand on my desk that’s ready to use. I wanted a desk pen as in the style of pen, but I put my Esterbrook inkwells someplace for safekeeping they are so safe I couldn’t find them. My goal is to find them before the Lamy 2000 goes dry.
I shined up the Kaweco Brass Sport with its extra fine nib and loaded it with a Kaweco Black cartridge. I like patina, but when I pulled it out of the case it seemed to have crossed the line between patina and grunge, so the decision was a spur of the moment decision. It will travel as my pocket pen. Based on my history carrying a Kaweco Sport the pen won’t get much use.
My theme for the three inked for fun fountain pens is “Sailor,” and the theme for the ink is “Montblanc.” True, those are brands which may stretch the definition of “theme” but calling them themes gives me more flexibility in the future.
The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with its extra fine nib got Montblanc Albert Einstein ink. I was concerned that the ink wouldn’t be dark enough for the thin nib, but it’s fine.
The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen got one of my newest inks, Montblanc “The Beatles” Psychedelic Purple. The KOP has become a favorite for my new inks and especially for my bright new inks.
It’s been over 18 months since I inked up the Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver fountain pen. Like the Kaweco it also needed polishing, but it was much easier to polish than the brass. I inked it up with another new ink (although released some months ago). Montblanc Antoine de Saint-Exupery Encre du Desert is one of the longer ink names. The back of the ink box solves that problem by just calling it “brown.”
The themed pens will provide a nice mix of nibs and ink color.