Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 17, 2021

Penlux Masterpiece Grande uncapped with a Fine nib.

This week’s surprise favorite is the Penlux Masterpiece Grande. I’ve been ignoring it and was thinking it may get added to the for sale pile. Then I used it, and wondered why I went so long without using it. Definitely not going into the for sale pile.

My fountain pens were a bit temperamental most of this week. The indoor heating has dried out the air so much that my pens can’t handle much of a pause and the ink quickly evaporates off the nib. Some rain on Saturday added enough moisture to get things back to normal.

Diplomat Aero with a 14kt gold nib

The newly arrived gold-nibbed Diplomat Aero got a lot of use. It took a little getting used to. The nib looked long and thin. Although, it’s about the same size as my Pelikan M815 and Penlux Masterpiece. That was sorted out in less than a page of writing.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook).
Reading: The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille. This one is finished and I enjoyed it enough to add the next book in the series to my reading list. Although, it will be awhile before I get to it. I haven’t started anything new.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

None

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

Off-topic

What I’ve been up to… | paperinkplan

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Maker: Setting Up My Every Thing Every Where Journal | Comfortable Shoes Studio

News: Pelikan’s US Price Increases For 2021 And The Trends That Might Surprise You « The Pelikan’s Perch

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 10, 2021

photo of my newly arrived Diplomat Aero with a 14kt gold nib

My relatively new Sheaffer 300 Matte Green got a lot of use this week, compared to other pens. My newest arrival, a gold nib Diplomat Aero is pictured above. It didn’t arrive until Saturday so it hasn’t seen any use to speak of.

Fountain pens haven’t been top of mind for me this week, so they didn’t get much use beyond a few notes and lists. So, not much else to say. I have started writing some other articles, but they aren’t far enough along for me to mention.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook). I finished this one. It was worth the investment to read since I enjoy the genre. Next up will be the next book in the trilogy. It’s even longer (32 hours), so it may take me months to get through.
Reading: The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille. My first book by this author. I was in the mood for a mystery, and this one was recommended to me.

I want to give a shout-out to the Libby service (and app). It’s offered by my local library and has ebooks and audiobooks. I tried a library app long ago, but I forget the name (maybe it was Libby). It was atrocious and unusable. The current Libby app is nice. It allows me to send the ebooks to my Kindle, which is my preferred platform for reading. So if you haven’t tried Libby recently, it may be worth looking at it again. I’ve never used it for an audiobook.

New Arrivals

  1. Diplomat Aero Green (14kt Fine nib) finally arrived. Thursday I contacted Goulet Pens about the long-lost pen, and they immediately offered to replace it or issue a refund. I picked a replacement, and they had generated the order Thursday afternoon. Then late Thursday morning USPS tracking for the original pen updated to show it had arrived in my state, three and a half weeks since being last providing any update. So I quickly contacted Goulet Pens, and they were able to put a hold on the replacement. The Diplomat was then delivered on Saturday.

Incoming

None

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

canetas e coisas: SANTINI

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Blackbird 5241 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

News: Edelstein Ink of the Year 2021 – Golden Beryl « The Pelikan’s Perch

Off-topic

What Happened | Kieran Healy // Good read, and the theory makes sense.

A Brief History of Peanut Butter | Innovation | Smithsonian Magazine // I like peanut butter and now know who to thank.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 3, 2021

photo of this week's favorite pen, the Matte Green Sheaffer 300.

Picking a favorite fountain pen and ink is going to become harder and harder, since I’m sticking to what are already my favorites, and using a different pen every day. But if forced to pick I’d go with my new Sheaffer 300. I’m a fan of both green and Sheaffer. I’m thrilled that there’s a modern Sheaffer I like. The fact that it’s an inexpensive pen (~$65 street price) and a joy to write with, and I have a winner.

My fountain pen usage has been up a little over the last two weeks. Mainly because I’ve made a conscious effort to use them every day. I’ve set an informal goal of writing at least three pages a day. Some days it just happens naturally from the things I need to get done. Most days I need to supplement it. Since it’s often late in the day, I usually pick something easy and stupid. Once day I imitated Bart Simspon’s blackboard gag and wrote: “I don’t feeling like writing, but I feel like using my fountain pens.” Over and over until two pages were filled. Other days I simply transcribe pages from the book I’m reading. For the record, these days a page is typically A5 or B5 sized. If I was smart, I would turn this into a routine to practice and improve my handwriting.

Those of you reading this directly on the website will notice that there’s a new design. This coincides with my move back to self-hosted WordPress. There are still some things I need to work out, although most are only noticeable to me. I did go a little heavy with green, so I hope you like it as much as I do.

I came across another bent nib. My Sailor KOP medium nib is bent up Waverly style. It doesn’t write so bad, but noticeably worse than before. This one had to happen during the cleaning, but I’m at a loss as to what and why. I might have to start recording my pen cleaning. I’ll send it out once USPS seems to have settled down.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook): Still making progress through the book. I’m about 75% done, with about 7 hours of listening left.
Reading: Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré : Finished this one. I hadn’t read it before, but didn’t realize it was published in 2019 until it brought up Brexit and Trump. A typical melancholy le Carré story.
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré : I started this one after finishing Agent… and have made very little progress. I fell asleep reading it more than once, which isn’t encouraging. Especially since I woke up with no desire to finish the chapter. This one was due to be returned in two days, but I returned it yesterday. My main problem is that it’s shaping up to be a very bitter and cynical story.I’m not sure it’s a story I want to read these days. I feel duty-bound to read it, since it’s the last George Smiley story. I have never read it, but it will have to wait until the world itself is less bitter and cynical.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

  1. The Diplomat Aero, with its gold nib is still sitting at USPS in Virginia. A at least according to the last USPS tracking report. Now that the holiday is over I guess it’s time to try and move this one along, although based on twitter and the internet in general, a three week delay isn’t unheard of.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. Esterbrook Oversized Estie (Journaler) was written dry of Sheaffer Red ink. I immediately refilled it with the same ink.
  2. Sailor Pro Gear British Racing Green (M-F) was inked up on October 31st when it arrived. I waited a few days, but it was eventually re-inked with Montblanc British racing green
  3. Kanilea Pen Kona Cherry (EF) was refilled with Montblanc Bordeaux as soon as it went dry.

Newly Inked

I inked up (or re-inked) so many pens that I did a currently inked post yesterday.

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2021 Planner Set Up. — The Finer Point

Year-End Recap: Favorite Pens from 2020 — The Gentleman Stationer

A Stationary 2020 of Stationery — The Pen Addict

2020 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

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Off-topic

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/business/low-mileage-supercars-lamborghini.html?referringSource=a // I can’t buy fountain pens that I won’t use. Assuming I could afford one of these cars, I would have to drive it.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 20, 2020

Photo of this week's new notebook and fountain pen arrivals

Three of the four pens I have on order arrived this week. The fourth is still languishing in Virginia (Goulet shipped the same day I ordered). I’ve opened the new arrivals for inspection but haven’t inked any of them up. I have too many inked pens to add to them now.

Last Sunday, I went through my pens to verify they still wrote well enough. I looked at ink levels and used the low ink pens during the week, writing a few dry. Finally, there are several pens in the Written Dry section below.

I also wrote the last page in my Seven Seas Writer that I use as a Journal. I wrote the first page on October 10th, 2016, and finished the final page on Friday. It took me over four years to fill the 480-page notebook. I’m not a good example of consistency.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I backed the Good Made Better Kickstarter for the Penwell Craftsman. I since changed my mind and withdrew the pledge and ordered another Traveler. I picked the double. I like the one I have, and use it daily. I have used two pens on occasion, so double seems ideal. As expected, they still easily made their goal without me.

This will be the last Trail Log of the year. Next Sunday is the holiday weekend, and I’ll be skipping it.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook). Not much progress this week. I’m only about 6 hours into it and only listened two days this week.
Reading: Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré. With [John Le Carré’s passing](John le Carré: Espionage writer dies aged 89 – BBC News), I was reminded how much I enjoyed his books and wanted to return to them. Unfortunately, I only have them on audiobooks. I’ve listened to them all as they went quickly on my commutes. I may return to them when my local library re-opens for curbside pickup, and I can get the physical books. For now, I’m starting with the one title for which they had an available ebook.

New Arrivals

  1. Sheaffer 300 Matte Green
  2. Retro 51 Lincoln Fountain Pen:
  3. Lamy Safari USA Independence Day Fountain Pen

The Sheaffer 300 arrived with some notebooks. I’ve recently become fond of the Profolio Oasis Light notebookhttps://andersonpens.com/search.php?search_query=pro+folio+oasis+light, so I ordered a variety of cover colors. They’re B5 sized with 50 sheets. I like the paper and the ruling, so at $2.50, I consider them a great deal. I can also confirm that they hold up reasonably well to beer and coffee spills. The ink, not so much. I also ordered each size of the Profile Petite Journal to give them a try. I like that each page is perforated, pocketable, and $1.50 and $2.00 each, depending on size.

Incoming

  1. Diplomat Aero Green w/fine 14kt gold nib. This pen has spent over a week site seeing in Richmond, Va, according to the tracking. I realize deliveries will be slow for understandable reasons, and I’m willing to be patient. Still, the fact that they add the message “…currently in transit to the next facility” every damn day annoys the heck out of me since the last actual movement was its arrival in Richmond a week ago.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. The Kaweco Brass Sport with an extra-fine nib and a Montblanc Petit Prince Red Fox ink cartridge was flushed out last Sunday after I gave all my inked pens a test. This one was more evaporation rather than written dry. It was inked up on April 26th of this year. Normally I’d be re-inking it up, but it’s not being used, and I’ve been using a rollerball the few times I’m out and about. Since it got little use, I put it in the pen case after cleaning.
  2. The Leonardo Momento Zero wasn’t written dry either. The misaligned feed continued to annoy me visually, and the performance was now inconsistent, with occasional hard starts and skipping. So I flushed it out Sunday, hoping to tackle the feed during the week, which I did. Although I haven’t inked it up yet, so the results are unknown.
  3. Sailor 1911 Full Size Realo with a Medium-Fine nib was written dry. It hasn’t been cleaned out yet. It was filled with Montblanc Antoine de Saint-Expery Encre du Desert back on August 1st, so it took a while.
  4. Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with a medium nib was written dry of Montblanc Albert Einstein. I inked it up with a partially used cartridge back on September 1st.
  5. Pilot Custom 912 with a posting nib was written dry. I popped in the included black cartridge back on June 14th, when the pen arrived. I’m a little surprised it took so long, as I do really like the pen. It seems to have gotten lost in the pile of black fountain pens.

Newly Inked

None

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Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 13, 2020

photo of this week's favorite fountain pen

Since favorite means preferred above all others, there’s no favorite fountain pen this week. I had forgotten how much I enjoy the nib on the Sailor Realo, so it was a pleasant surprise when I used it this week. The pen has been living in my Fodderstack XL. These days, when travel is non-existent, except between desks with many pen choices, it rarely gets used and is forgotten since it’s not among the pens I pick from daily, and the Fodderstack is rarely in my pocket. I pulled it out this week and gave it some love. It was a week of core pens, so I couldn’t pick a true favorite.

December brings along my planning for the next year and reviewing this year’s budget. While having a pen budget is a great way to avoid spending too much, it also encourages me to spend the rest of the budget at year-end. Considering my pen budget included pen show travel this year, it was a generous budget. Plus, pen sales, minus related expenses such as fees and shipping, replenish that budget. Even though it is my own money, I still have that corporate mentality of use it or lose it. So I went a bit nuts with purchases this week. Although three of my four purchases were sub-$70 pens, the fourth was a bit of a splurge. All are on their way to me, so listed under Incoming below. I also stocked up on a few inexpensive notebooks that I either like, or want to try.

I did resist buying an Esterbrook Oversize Estie in the Rocky Top material. I love the material, but the gold trim ruins it for me, especially since silver trim would also work well with that material. These days I won’t compromise at that price. The pen purchases where probably my subconscious attempt to get the dopamine hit that I lost when I skipped the Rocky Top. I also liked, but resisted, the two Retro 51 acid-etched models. I see Goulet Pens still has them in stock (Saturday morning). Please buy them before I change my mind, my budget hasn’t reached zero.

Next year’s fountain pen budget will be considerably less. I’ll budget for a local pen show or two. Although, my local shows tend to be early in pen show season, so they are likely to be cancelled this year too, unless they can be rescheduled for later in the year. I have hopes for the Commonwealth (Boston) Pen Show in September. It’s currently scheduled for September 12th. The Long Island Pen show is usually in March, which seems too soon. Their website is silent on the 2021 pen show, no surprise there.

With 26 pen purchases this year (some already sold off to finance another pen), I’ll only buy at shows. If I don’t attend any shows I’ll make a year end purchase.. My inability to make fair use of fountain pens that I have and like makes this an easy decision. I plan to implement a strict one in – one out policy next year. I do realize that since I make the policy, I can change the policy. [Which feeds my pet peeve when businesses say “it’s against out policy” as a reason to justify what they do (or don’t do)].

Pen Sales Update

There are still a few pens available on my For Sale page. I plan to take down the sales page on Wednesday evening (16th), and it won’t return until late January, at the soonest. I won’t be offering these pens elsewhere until next year, so the reader discount of 10% off the list price will be automatic. Any queries initiating after Wednesday may see an extended delay before getting a “no” reply.

I’ve had a couple of inquiries about selling some of my other Retro 51s. I have no interest in selling any except for the Flint, which is currently listed. While I liked some of their December offerings, I avoided ordering any, so I don’t feel compelled to sell any of my existing Retro 51s.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Pacific Crucible by Ian W. Toll (audiobook) I finished this off this week. I like WWII histories, so this was an enjoyable book. It reads like a novel. It also seems to draw from Japanese primary sources, rather than being entirely US/UK centric. I’d give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, although no specific reason for taking that 1/2 star off. The 22-hour audiobook passed quickly. (If you know of any good WWI histories from a non-US point of view, but in English, let me know.)

Listening: An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa (1942-1943) I hesitated on this one because it’s book 1 in a massive trilogy, in addition to being the same genre that I just finished. I like the narrator (George Guidall), so I’m hoping it’s as enjoyable as Pacific Crucible. So far, it is.

Watching: I went for light fare this week and watched a few Marx Brothers movies. Duck Soup still has me laughing from start to finish.

I bought these audiobooks when I was doing a lot of driving for 90 minutes, or more, each workday. At this point, I wish I had them in print. I’m not going to buy print (or ebook) editions, and getting a library book of the same title would also feel like a waste of money to me (sunk cost fallacy?). So I’ve been listening at home and resisting starting up another print book. There’s only been one instance where I had to re-listen to a large section after realizing my mind wandered and tuned out the book.

Housekeeping

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was moving this website to a new host. That didn’t happen. I found WordPress was charging my auto-renewal a month before the actual plan expiration. So I turned off auto-renewal and have until January 9th before I have to move or pay for a renewal. I’ll be moving in the next couple of weeks. With the extra time, I decided to be aggressive and work on a redesign.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

I could only resist so much, and I have four fountain pens on their way to me — a year-end splurge.

  1. Sheaffer 300 Matte Green: As is often the case, the Anderson Pens podcast cost me money. They showed the Sheaffer 300 in the new Matte Green with Black Trim. I had to have it, so I ordered one with a fine nib. I had a 300 over five years ago, and I gave the pen a favorable review (no doubt partly fueled by my Sheaffer bias) but ended up giving it away. Maybe a Sheaffer 300 in my favorite color will be a keeper.
  2. Retro 51 Lincoln Fountain Pen: I haven’t had good luck with Retro 51 fountain pens. My first, Double Eight from 2005, was poorly made – a slip cap that quickly loosened so much the pen would fall out, along with other deficiencies. It put me off Retro 51s for awhile. My second was this same model, which I eventually sold since the nib was significantly wetter than my preference. My original had a Bock nib (although I could be wrong on this), while this one will have a JoWo nib. I don’t have a brand preference, but I’m encouraged that it’s not the same nib. It also keeps me from feeling guilty about re-buying a pen model that I sold. I’m going to try again since I like the copper pen’s look, and it forms a set with my Retro 51 rollerball. I got this one with a stub nib.
  3. Lamy Safari USA Independence Day Fountain Pen: This one was under my radar until I saw it on the specials page at Pen Chalet. According to them, this is a US exclusive, and the name implies that it’s been available for months. For some reason, it’s priced slightly under the regular Safari Models, although the list price is somewhat higher. I like the Red (clip), White (cap), and Blue (barrel) design. The pen is hardly US-centric, as I see there are 28 countries with these colors in their national flag. The photos don’t show any US-centric marking. This one is coming with a medium nib (the only available option), but I have a complete set of Lamy nibs to swap onto the pen.
  4. Diplomat Aero Green w/ fine 14kt gold nib: The green is a new color, I don’t even see it on Diplomat’s own website, and I only found it at Goulet Pens. Despite enjoyable steel nibs, I decided to splurge for a gold nib. I can’t remember ever picking a gold nib over steel when both have been available for the same pen. I found few reliable reviews for Diplomat’s gold nibs, and only for different pen models here and here. My main hesitation on the gold nib is that it appears to be a two-tone nib, and I prefer a nib lacking in gold color (except for classic Sheaffer nibs).

The Retro 51 and Lamy are coming from Pen Chalet. If you buy from them, be sure to find a discount coupon code, they’re ubiquitous. New customers can sign up for their email list to get one. Others can go to the Pen Addict Podcast webpage as they are a frequent sponsor. Sometimes they’re called out on their own site. Occasionally some items (like current Retro 51s) are excluded from coupons, but they can be used for nearly everything.

All have shipped, so they should arrive next week.

Outgoing

  1. Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk
  2. Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

canetas e coisas: DELIKE

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Here’s what happened during the SpaceX’s Starship SN8 test launch – CNN

A (Draft) Notebook Set-up for 2021: Planners, Journals, and Blank Pages – The Well-Appointed Desk

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.: Pilot Custom 845 Series

Off-topic

Editorial Board apologizes for supporting Michael Waltz – Orlando Sentinel