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.


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


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.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 8, 2018

Photo of my most used pens for the past week

Most used pens last week.

My fountain pen usage this week is down a little from the previous week, which means it was about average. While I’ve been consistently writing in my journal, it was down to about one B5 page per day, rather than the two pages per day of the previous week. No changes to my currently inked fountain pen arsenal. During the week I was drawn to using the Pilot Vanishing Point (XXXF w/Pilot Black ink) for note taking and general use while at my desk. The Montblanc LeGrand Ultra Black (oblique medium w/Montblanc Bordeaux) and Aurora Optima (medium with Montblanc Psychedelic Purple) came out for my journal writing.

My Kickstarter Hippo Notebook finally has a tracking number, although it hasn’t actually arrived at the post office at this time. While I backed it over a year ago, the chance of it arriving before the one year anniversary of the project ending looks good.Tracking just updated to show a Monday eta. Yea!


Our New West End Main Shop | Wonder Pens

Pen and Ink Pairing: March 2018 (Vintage Edition) | Hand Over That Pen

The analog-digital life | Leigh Reyes, My Life As A Verb


Monthly Bit of News | Newton Pens

Pilot Vanishing Point Clipectomy | No Pen Intended

Travel Kit: Edinburgh | The Finer Point

Off-topic, but really cool if you’re as big of a fan of the movie as I am. (via The Loop)

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 1. 2018

Photo of my inked pens on a Nock Co Seed A5 Case

The Rotation April 1, 2018

It’s April 1st, but this is a prank/joke-free website. There wasn’t any Trail Log last week because despite being busy, my fountain pen usage was non-existent. But things did pick up considerably this past week. One pen was written dry and retired (for now), another was written dry and immediately re-inked, while two new pens and inks entered the rotation. (New to the rotation, not new to me.)

The Pilot Vanishing Point went dry early this week. Instead of flushing it out I merely removed the empty red cartridge and popped in a full Pilot black cartridge. It took less than a sentence before every trace of red was gone.

The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Strip also went dry. Because I use it in much the same way as the Vanishing Point, which now had black ink, I decided to give the Regency Stripe a break. So the Regency Stripe is in the cleaning queue, and won’t be returning in the foreseeable future.

I was a little bored with the lack of colors available in my currently inked pens. And besides, three inked pens are far too few. (Ignoring the 14 disposable fountain pens on my desk.) The disposables, with their many colors, are fine for quickly marking up documents or quick notes. But, I wanted more variety available for my longer writing.

The Visconti Brunelleschi was inked up with Montblanc Encre du Desert Brown. It’s a nice brown ink, but it’s been less than ideal with this pen. The flow seems a bit dry, and there’s an occasional skip. The ink did well in my Sailor 1911, and the Visconti has done well with other inks, so maybe it’s me. I did notice I was turning the nib a bit more than usual. Typically the pen facets help me; now they seem to annoy me. Or the ink and pen don’t get along.

The Aurora Optima was filled with another Montblanc ink, The Beatles Psychedelic Purple. I haven’t listed my top five fountain pens in awhile, but when I do this pen will be a serious contender. I’ve also become attached to purple inks, making me want to use this pen every day.

Two weeks ago I barely journaled. That changed this week. I’ve done two journal pages a day since Monday. Other fountain pen use, such as notes, checklists, and article drafts probably consumed a little more ink than my journalling.

I’ve been using the disposable fountain pens for quick notes and carrying around. I’m enjoying the Thornton’s Stationery pens less and less the more I use them. While my initial testing of each pen showed great consistency between then, that’s begun to change. I’ve used the green pen more than any others, and it’s skipping problem continues to grow. I can’t see the ink level, but if it’s near empty, then the pen holds very little ink. I’ve had other colors starting to exhibit similar changes in performance. While I do find the Thornton’s more comfortable to use than the Pilots, the Pilots are a better writing experience overall. I also like the Itoyas which have continued to perform well, but there are only Black & Blue options.

I did have a new product arrival this week. It was the Nock Co. Seed A5 case. I had a lot of hesitation before buying it but finally gave in. I hate the giant Seed tag that’s on the case but hoped it would be better in real life. It’s not; I hate it. I think it ruins the look of what is otherwise an excellent looking case with a clean design. (I’m not a fan of prominent branding on any product.) My other concern was performance and usability. While not perfect, it’s performed better than expected. I’m using it with a Nanami Crossfield notebook, and it fits fine. I’ll have to use it some more, and formulate my thoughts before I review it.

It looks like my Hippo Notebook Kickstarter will be shipping soon. There’s a good chance it will arrive just before the one year anniversary of the project closing.


The Arkansas Pen Show happened.

2018 Arkansas Pen Show – Newton Pens

Arkansas Pen Show Recap – The Well-Appointed Desk

Videos From The Pen Habit: Arkansas Pen Show 2018 Vlog – Day 1, Arkansas Pen Show Vlog – Day 2, Arkansas Pen Show Vlog – Days 3 & 4, Post-show chat with Pen Friends!

As did the Baltimore Show: Baltimore-Washington International Pen Show Recap – On Fountain Pens

And the usual mix of good reads:

Pen Review: The Moonman M2 Eyedropper Fountain Pen — The Gentleman Stationer

Great Pen Stores: Visit to New Orleans and Papier Plume (2018 Update). — The Gentleman Stationer

My Daily Notebooks 2018 – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Vintage Pen News: Charles N. Packard

Celebrating Pencils: My Current Favorites — Three Staples

Back to basics, with the Parker Junior Duofold and a bottle of Quink. | Fountain pen blog

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 18, 2018

Currently available pensMy fountain pen usage over the past week was down a little bit from the previous week, but still pretty good (for me). I did use the disposable pens more than my real fountain pens. My favorite (based on time used) has been the Itoya Blade, usually in the PaperSkater sheath.

A couple follow-up items for the disposable pen article, now that I’ve been using them.

  • While the pens don’t appear to be knock-offs, they all seem to use the same nib. Or they picked the same nib design on their own, which seems unlikely. All share the same shape and size, along with the circle engraved at the top of the slit. The only differences are that Itoya has their name engraved, and Pilot has their name and nib size engraved. I suspect Pilot makes the nibs for all three. Or, is this the one nib they don’t make themselves? Also unlikely.
  • Thornton’s also fit the PaperSkater, without the spacer.
  • The Thornton’s can be just a tad slow to write after spending a night nib-up un a pen stand. Not a big problem, but that first stroke often needs repeating.
  • Keith was the first to mention the Zebra disposable fountain pens that I missed.


How things have changed since I got into fountain pens. | The Ink Smudge

A New Hobby – Quest for Pie

My Workhorse Pens: Lamy 2000 — The Gentleman Stationer

Review: Visconti Homo Sapiens London Fog — Alt. Haven

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 11, 2018

One pen in and 3 pens out.A lot of fountain pen changes this past week.

My Visconti Homo Sapien ran out of Montblanc Psychedelic Purple. I decided not to refill it so that other pens get their chance.

Also, the Kaweco Brass Sport ran out of ink as the week ended. I decided not to re-ink it. I realized that I use my pocket pen more if it has black ink. I don’t have any more black short international cartridges; if I did have one, then I’d probably just pop in another one. As it is, I will clean it out and use my Kaweco AL Sport with a Diamine Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown cartridge in its place.

If finally got around to cleaning the Lamy 2000, which is why it’s in the picture.

The Sailor Pro gear KOP is running low on Athena Sepia and should go empty soon. The Montblanc has a large capacity and is still going strong. I averaged two A5 pages per day in my Seven Seas Writer and wrote at least that many pages using my Doane Paper Writing tablet during the week. That’s in addition to the usual work notes, checklists and doodles.

I’ve been cleaning out a dozen years of accumulation around my apartment as I’ll be moving later this year. I finally uncovered my boxes of notebooks and can no longer ignore them or my pens.

So I have a few low-cost boxes of paper products available and a fountain pen giveaway. If you missed them, the paper is at:

Box 1 and Box 2 and Box 3.

The Karas Pen Decograph giveaway is here. Entries close at noon (eastern US time) on March 16th.

I’ll also be selling off some pens. I’ve started with a few groups of inexpensive pens. These pens are listed here.


PSA – Stolen Fountain Pens: help-stefano — Visconti Dave // A lot of pens were stolen from a pen shop in Rome. Many limited editions which would be easy to identify. A preponderance of Vistonti, but some other brands in there too.

The Parker Harlequin | Goodwriterspens’s Blog – I love the look of this pen.

Visconti Divina Proporzione | Fountain Pen Review // My two Visconti fountain pens have been great, but it’s stories like these that give me pause about the brand.

Inside The Manufacture: Montblanc’s Pen Factory And Museum In Hamburg – Hodinkee via @peneconomics on Twitter

There are more pen show reports…

2018 LA Pen Show Report: Franz – Hand Over That Pen

So what happens now? Another pen show, another haul. | Fountain pen blog // Pen shows aren’t U.S. only.

I always like seeing what people actually use:

What I Carry – The Ink Smudge and Pairing it down even further. – The Ink Smudge

The allure of expense and inconvenience (or how I fell for the Montblanc 1912) | UK fountain pens

Giveaway: Karas Pen Decograph 1702 Elektron

Entries are closed for this giveaway and the winner has been picked.. This giveaway is open internationally.

Karas Pen Co. Decograph 1702 Elektron - Capped

My extra ink was sent off earlier this year and my extra paper is going out now. So it’s time to move on to the hard part, culling the fountain pen accumulation.The Decongraph is an unsolicited pen I received for review. I gave the pen a quick look here but didn’t use the pen enough to give it a full review, and since I didn’t agree to do a review I didn’t feel compelled to use it. There’s nothing wrong with the pen, although I still get a whiff of the odor when I uncap it which bothers me. When I did pick it up it just didn’t pull me in. I can’t sell it and don’t want it. So, it’s up for this giveaway. This is a reviewers unit so there are slight differences to the production model, which was a limited edition (mainly around the numbering and engraving) as mentioned in my quick look.

The winner will get the Decograph 1702 along with the Karas Cylinder for the pen. A converter is included (I swap around, so probably not the original, but it fits) and an instruction pamphlet rolled up in the cylinder. As mentioned in the quick look, the pen builds up an odor when in an enclosed area, so I expect it will come with that too. The pen stand in the picture is not included.

Entries will be open through noon eastern US time on Friday, March 16, 2018. To enter, follow the requirements below:

  • Answer the following question “In what country are Karas Pens made? Hint here.(Not a trick question requiring a special version of the country name, just a speedbump to verify you read the rules and had to do something to claim the pen.)
  • Submit your answer in a comment, or use the contact form. Use a valid email address in the email field of the comment (not in the comment itself) or contact form. It will not be published and will not be shared. Only one entry per person (either comment OR form, not both). Comments may be held for moderation (WordPress should tell you if it is) but will be approved within 24 hours. I will not confirm submissions that use the contact form (sorry).
  • I will number all entries, with contact form submissions being numbered after the comments. Then I’ll pick a number using for the winner.
  • The winner will have 72 hours to answer my email with their shipping info, otherwise, I move on. I will not try to hunt down someone beyond the email provided. I will post the winning comment, but you must reply to my email to claim the prize. I’ll resend the email to the same address upon request, but you must respond to my email or I’ll move on and pick someone else. No exceptions. I don’t want someone else claiming to be the winner.

I will close comments at noon on Friday (the 16th), or soon after. If I’m late closing comments then any that sneak in will be valid entries. It will take me some time to organize the contact form entries and comments before I can pick a winner so this may not occur until Saturday or even Sunday. This is a more expensive pen than my typical giveaway, so I expect a lot of entries.

Shipping details:

  • You’re eligible as long as I can start the pen on its way via USPS. I will use the least expensive shipping method.There is no insurance. If the pen is lost or damaged in transit I can’t replace it and won’t provide any other replacement prize.
  • Domestic (US): Tracking is provided. If you want it sent signature required so it isn’t left at your door please request it. There is no charge, but it must be requested.
  • International (outside US): The package will be declared as a gift on the customs form, but I still have to declare a value. You’re responsible for any charges that your local customs decides to assess. Officially, USPS says 7-21 days for delivery although not guaranteed. I’ve frequently had them take longer, a couple much longer. There is tracking within the US, but there may not be tracking once it leaves the US.

Good luck.