Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 21, 2018

Two fountain pens were written dry this past week. As expected, the Sailor King of Pen went dry soon after Sunday’s Trail Log went up. I resisted the urge to refill it with the gorgeous Montblanc Psychedelic Purple ink. The Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver went dry on Friday. I liked the Montblanc Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Encre du Desert ink although the name is far too long. Montblanc just calls it “Brown” on the back of the box. Me? I had to create a Text Expander snippet. I like brown inks, so while I do like this well-behaved ink, there’s nothing about it that rises above all other browns (except the price).

The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with its extra fine nib has proven perfect for my Hobonichi Techo and other places where a really fine line is ideal. So rather than retiring it to refresh change up the theme, it’s in my pen holder for continued use. It will be used regularly, but only for short, specific purposes. So, it will most likely be around awhile.

I picked a new theme and inked up three more fountain pens. The theme is simply “Sheaffer” for both pen and ink. I have more Sheaffers than any other brand in my accumulation, so there was a lot to choose from. I decided to drill into the theme and picked my three Sheaffer Balance II fountain pens and my three old-stock Sheaffer inks.

The Aspen Balance II is filled with Sheaffer Gray. The Crimson Glow Balance II got Sheaffer Peacock Blue while the Jade Green Balance II is matched with Sheaffer Emerald Green. The Emerald green is the oldest of the inks and dates from the 1980s while the Grey and Peacock Blue inks date from the 1990s or early 2000s.

I do lack nib variation, with nothing wider than a fine nib. But I enjoy the Sheaffer nibs which makes up for it.

Three Balance IIs and some Sheaffer old-stock ink

Links

An Anecdote Of Two Pens – Hand Over That Pen // Great story!

A peek at the office pen cup. | Fountain pen blog // I always like seeing what others use in day-in and day-out.

Fountain Pen Review: Wing Sung 618 Demonstrator – The Well-Appointed Desk // When this review showed up in my feed the first photo I saw was with the Lamy style box so I thought “Lamy Safari knockoff”. Ana mentions it’s a Parker 51 copy which was harder for me to see. The clip and hooded nib are Parker-like but it reminds me more of a TWSBI, An interesting inexpensive pen.

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Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 14, 2018

I had mixed success with fountain pen and stationery related activities this past week. I didn’t write any fountain pens dry, although one is close. My favorite pen & ink combo, by a wide margin, was the Sailor King of Pen with Montblanc “The Beatles” Psychedelic Purple ink. The medium nib does an excellent job of showing off the purple ink. It’s nearly dry and won’t last another week which will present me with a problem. My plan was to ink only a couple pens at a time (excluding purpose-inked pens), so I could cycle through them quickly and have a nice mix of pens and inks. But I want to reload and keep this combination going. The KOP is one of my most comfortable pens, and I like the bright purple ink. I’ll have to decide soon.

Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear and Montblanc "The Beatles" ink bottle

Another success has been my Hobonichi Weeks paper planner. I’ve been using it consistently, and I’ve been happy with it. It’s easy enough to carry with me all the time, at least in winter with accommodatingly large coat pockets.

My other Hobonichi, the Techo, has been a failure. While I started off using it as a morning journal it always felt like a made-up reason to justify the purchase. This week I missed a couple of mornings and didn’t miss it. I’ll keep it as a log book of sorts and maybe find a use for it.

One of the reasons I have such a hard time finding a use for the Tech is because I do use a Nanami Seven Seas Writer as a journal. This has developed into a nightly habit, so while I did skip it one night this week I missed it enough to write in it the next morning. That was the nail in the Hobonichi coffin. If there’s journal type stuff I want to write in the morning, I’ll simply use the Seven Seas Writer.

Links

Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories – The New York Times – Some good photography.

Pens of the moment – paperinkplan – I always like seeing what other people use day-to-day.

The New Year diary. | Fountain pen blog – The part I found most interesting is the use of a single fountain pen with this diary, for the entire year. This is something I couldn’t do. I’d either run out of ink or not have the pen handy when I wanted it. And even if I didn’t have those problems, I would spend the year in fear that I would.

The Bullet Journal-Workshop (Pt. 6): Moving from A5 to A6 and combining a Weekly Planner – Scrively – note taking & writing (Video)

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 7, 2018

Even though Monday was a holiday it feels like it was a long, long week. I know this is New England and the current weather isn’t unusual. But, it’s early in the season and this string of below freezing days and night is getting to me. Rumor has it we’ll get above freezing on Monday just before some snow returns.

I did use my fountain pens more than what’s been typical. I like having just three pens inked up to pick from when I want to do some writing. I didn’t empty any fountain pens, but I did finish off a notebook. It’s a large (8.5” x 11”) Staples Sugarcane Paper wire bound notebook. I started it in July 2014 and used it on & off for the first draft of posts for this blog, along with other writing. The last page was the draft of this post. Like most notebooks that don’t have work-related notes, it will head in the trash bin now that it’s served its purpose.

Staples Sugarcane Notebook and three pens

The thin paper was challenging at times since I like to use both sides of the paper and wouldn’t pick pens/ink based on what I wanted to use, not which would work best. I’m fairly tolerant of show-through, but I was often distracted when writing on the back side to the paper. Even more so, it was hard to see the lines.

I didn’t see any of these when I was at Staples in December, but I do have one that I picked up on sale months (years?) ago.

Links

Benu Pens Briolette | Fountain Pen Review – The Pen Habit

Great Pen Stores: My Visit to Vanness Pens – The Gentleman Stationer

How I got into Fountain Pens: Jinhao to Montblanc – On Fountain Pens

Crónicas Estilográficas: Madrid 2017 (II)

The wrap-ups continued in the new year…

2017 Cheers and Tears from the Well-Appointed Desk

2017 Pen Wrap Up from Hand Over That Pen

Pen, nib and ink rotations 2017 from Analog(ue) Obsesses which also has the Pelikan Class Photo 2018 — Analog(ue) Obsessed

Obligatory New Year Post

There must be a rule that requires me to do an end of year or resolutions type post, everybody does it. Or maybe it’s just an easy way the generate content and clicks. I’m not much for resolutions since I feel that any made just because it’s a new year are doomed to fail. But a recap does give me something to write about and revisit 2017.

Last year was one where I purposely slowed my acquisitions in order to enjoy what I already have. I only purchased two fountain pens worth counting. The Visconti Brunelleschi joined my high-end pens. The price was daunting, but it’s similarity in size to my favorite, the Visconti Homo Spain Bronze Age pushed it into the buy column. I got it with a medium nib to compliment I have no regrets.

Visconti Brunelleschi Limited Edition box top view

The second pen is at the other end of the price spectrum, the Lamy Safari Petrol. I picked this one up with an extra fine nib. I like the color and find Safaris comfortable, so no regrets here either.

Lami Safari Petrol (EF) with Blue Ink Cartridge

As for the fountain pens not worth counting, there were 23 of them, all purchased in December. A pack of 7 Pilot Varsity disposables, a pack of a dozen Thornton’s Office Supplies disposable fountain pens. Finally, there were the four Pilot MR Retro-Pops that I found for $6/each during my recent Staples trip.

While it arrived late in 2016, the Aurora Optima Nero Perla was the surprise favorite of the year. I enjoyed the pen much more than I would have expected. It became one of my favorites in 2017. The more I used it, the more I liked it.

Aurora Optima Nero Perla uncapped

The past year also saw me expand my horizons from thin nibs. They’re still a preference, but I’m using larger nibs more these days. And enjoying them.

I stopped keeping track of new ink acquisitions but I shipped out over 40 bottles in my ink decluttering, so it was a net drop for sure. I continue to buy the Montblanc Special Editions if the color isn’t blue. I also went on a terra-cotta themed buying spree to go with the Brunelleschi.

Much to my surprise, I used my Inky Fingers Currently Inked Notebook to consistently log all my inked pens throughout the year. There were 44 new pen inkings in 2017, and another seven were inked in 2016 but stayed inked into the new year. Of course, five of these were inked on the last day of the year and probably shouldn’t count. But, they do.

I let my Field Notes subscription lapse. I have more than enough pocket notebooks. I did buy some Dime Novel sets. I also purchased some Reporter’s Notebooks, and one sits by my keyboard at all times.

Speaking of notebooks, I backed the Hippo Note on Kickstarter and I’m still waiting for its arrival. A little late considering the original July eta. Some started shipping in October, but I ordered the Ivory which has had considerable production problems.

I didn’t make it to any pen shows this past year. Hopefully, I’ll make it to Long Island or Boston this year.

I expect 2018 to be much like 2017 as far a fountain pens and stationery goes. I’ll enjoy what I have and avoid acquisition mode.

Happy New Year!

Fireworks

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 31, 2017

A deep freeze set in over New England the day after Christmas and the 10-day forecast doesn’t get us above freezing for another eight days. While I like this weather (it’s quite sunny out when there is daylight) it provides an excuse to stay inside and use fountain pens. Although it does make mail-order ink buying a risk, which kept me from a spur-of-the-moment ink purchase (you’ll find the brand in the links below).

I’ve used fountain pens a lot recently, at least when compared to my previous usage. I’m down to just two inked fountains pens as the year ends. I’ll be inking up some additional pens later today. The Montblanc has no signs of ink left through the view window, but it’s still writing. I’ll use that Montblanc Bordeaux ink until the last drop. The Lamy 2000 will probably last awhile, especially if I ink up some pens that get my attention. The Ugly Sweater Retro 51 is still my rollerball carry.

The Pilot 823 and Lamy Safari Petrol were both written dry. The Pilot was first inked up back in mid-February. The Pilot Blue-Black ink was easy to flush out and stain free, despite spending over ten months in the pen. For a pen I like writing with, I certainly didn’t use it very much. The aesthetics of the pen affects me more than I would have guessed. The Lamy Safari Petrol was inked up back on June 1st when I got the pen. I used the blue ink cartridge that came with the pen. I’d forgotten how much I like the Safaris.

The Franklin Christoph Model 66 was flushed early. It was inked up as an eyedropper back on March 20th and served as my desk pen most of the time. I checked the ink level about two weeks ago. I must have knocked away enough silicone grease that ink started to find a way out of the pen. Just enough to stain the finger it rested on to begin with, but recently it was much more. Since the wasn’t much Akkerman Dutch Masters 09 Steenrood van Vermeer left I decided to flush it out rather than clean it up and apply more silicone grease.

Site Updates:

I updated the U.S. pen show calendar to reflect the 2018 schedule for the shows I could find (which is almost all of them). I still find it amazing (and frustrating) that the biggest pen show leaves us hanging until the very end. If they keep this up, they may have to drop their claim as the “Largest pen event in the world.”

I updated my Resources & Links links page but realize I’ve utterly failed to keep track of new sites I’ve come across. If you’ve got a site or blog that talks about fountain pens, please let me know so that I can add it to the list.

Links

Traveling with ink, China 2017. Part 1: Meeting the Heroes – Rupertarzeian traveled to China and has a series of posts that focus on the fountain pen related events. This is the first of three China trip related posts, be sure to read them all.

January 2018 Simple Bullet Journal Setup from PaperInkPlan. This is too free form for me to use, but I do like it.

How I Choose My Next Pen from my pen needs ink

Colorverse Andromeda Review from SquishyInk – A new (to me) ink brand that has amazing packaging and a unique theme.

UK Fountain Pens also provided a review of Colorverse inks back in November.

My Pen Collection from winter sharks

The Lamy Aion is getting a lot of attention recently:

Reviewed at The Pen Addict

Four points of View at Hand Over That Pen

It’s that time of year for recaps:

Pen additions to my collection – 2017 – Analog(ue) Obsessed (Nine very nice pens)

2017: Pen (re)Cap from Leigh Reyes. My Life As A Verb.

2017 Purchases from Alt. Haven

A Wonder Pens Year – 2017 from Wonder Pens

Today’s off-topic wrap up has a little revenge rolled into phone security.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and Merry Monday those who don’t.

Cheers! - Happy holiday

Staples Visit

My trips to Staples have become few and far between, but I stopped by for some holiday shopping. As usual, I stopped by the pen aisle to see what they had in fountain pens. Staples has organized their pens by type (gel, ballpoint, etc…) and the fountain pens were in the …and more section. There are the usual suspects, some Cross and some Parker along with a strange assortment of ink. Some Parker and Cross ink of course, but also some Sheaffer and Pelikan even though they didn’t have any of their pens and some of the Sheaffer cartridges are proprietary (they did have Sheaffer standard international too). They didn’t have any proprietary Pilot cartridges even though they sold pens that used them. None of the pens were stocked in depth, usually just one of each available color on the rack. I think that bottle of Parker ink is the same one that’s there from last year. There always seems to be one lone bottle.

What I did come across were some Pilot MR Retro Pop fountain pens. I’m not sure how Pilot distinguishes between MR and Metropolitan. At one time I read the Metropolitan used proprietary Pilot cartridges while the MR used standard international cartridges. These pens proved that wrong. I now suspect that was a brand transition with Metropolitan being a model of MR and that the cartridge type depends on the country. These were blister packed, designed to be hung from a hook and lacked any Metropolitan branding. They came with one propriety Pilot cartridge (in the pen barrel) of black ink. No converter is included, and the packaging doesn’t even mention one is available. There were only five pens left in the rack, in four different colors. They were marked down to $6, so I bought one of each available color. The pens all have fine nibs, but even this is hidden on the back of the package with the official item info and stock number.

The Pilot MR’s made up for my disappointment with not finding Pilot Varsity pens in stock, but the Varsities seem to be gone from all stores.

Links

I’m writing this up during the week so it’s short and anything I didn’t see before Thursday evening won’t be here.

Conklin Nighthawk Titanium Fountain Pen Review at The PencilCase Blog. My few experiences with Conklin have all been bad, so I avoid the brand. But this one caught my eye before I saw the brand. Dries experience is better than I would have expected Although, I wonder how much of it is due to Goulet’s involvement and using their nib?

top 4 favourite pens 2017 at alt. haven. It’s that time of year and Junee starts things off.

Finally, going off-topic, Comicraft will have their annual New Year’s Font Sale where all font families cost the year, so this time all fonts will be $20.18. This applies to all fonts, even those that normally cost less than $20. So check out the fonts ahead of time so you can snag that $395 font at a $375 discount and avoid overpaying for that $19 font. Also be sure to get the international versions of fonts (if available) since they’ll now cost the same and include extra characters. A PDF catalog of all their fonts is here. If the past is any indicator, normal font prices won’t be anywhere to be found on New Year’s Day, so be prepared. Also, as a side note, I have had download problems on New Year’s Day itself in the past but got the fonts later. There was one year with PayPal issues but they were responsive via email but that was a while ago.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 17, 2017

Well, the cold weather finally settled in. I think I triggered it by ordering some ink on Tuesday. The local temperature dropped to below freezing by the time the ink shipped and it remained below freezing until after the ink arrived. Despite this the ink arrived in liquid form with unbroken bottles. They are a couple Montblanc Special Edition inks, the Writers Edition Antoine de Saint-Exupery ink and the Great Characters Beatles ink. (Unfortunately I just have the inks, not the pens that share their names.) I’ve yet to open the bottles but samples show a very nice burgundy along with a psychedelic purple.

Another pen was written dry this week, this time it was my Sailor King of Pen with Callifolio Teodora which I liked a lot. The KOP will get one of the new Montblanc inks when I’m ready to fill it. Next on my list to write dry is the Montblanc Ultra Black with my favorite ink.

This leaves five fountain pens still inked up along with my ugly sweater Retro 51 as my pens for the week.

Links

Cleo Skribent Series fountain pen meta-review at United Inkdom. A pen brand I’ve never heard, or at least it didn’t stick in my memory. Possibly because it started it what was East Germany at the time.

Platinum Plasir Fountain Pen Review at The Finer Point. I have the came green version but unlike Jenny I was drawn to the nib matching the pen (although mine seems less luminous and a better match to the pen) but the rest of the review matches my feelings about a pen I rarely use. I should mention that the green has begun to flake off the nib so the silver is visible in places. For awhile it was the spare pen I kept at the office because it never dried out, but now that I work from home it’s rarely used.

Twelve Days of Inkmas at The Well-Appointed Desk. The title gives you the idea. This link is to a review of one of my new inks, the Montblanc Writers Edition Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Be sure to check out the past and future entries.

Franklin Covey Freemont Review at The Pen Haul. News to me that they had a fountain pen. More shocked to learn that Staples sells them.

In the off topic and “you can’t make this sh*t up” categories, the Trump administration has given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a list of seven words that they can’t use in their budget documents. More than a little scary that the top health agency in the country can’t use the words “evidence-based” and “science-based” among others. George Carlin is laughing his a** off.