Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 24, 2020

Photo of my currently inked fountain pens

My currently inked fountain pens

My fountain pen usage, while still more than a couple months ago, has dropped slightly. Due to volume and time, some of my work has gone straight to electronics to save time. Outlines and thoughts in pen, but no written drafts. Since not doing a written draft for any FPQ posts just seems wrong, these still get a written draft (except for the Trail Logs).

If that picture of my currently inked fountain pens looks familiar, that’s because it’s from last week. The pens haven’t changed, so no reason for a new photo. My favorite pen of the past week was the ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen, the first one on the left. My least favorite was the big red, white, and blue Edison Huron Grande. It gave me fits when I picked it up to use. The Papier Plume Burgundy is more prone to drying out that previous ink in the pen. Eventually it got its stride and performed well. Payback for being ignored for a couple of weeks.

A bit off-topic, but I’m back to having trouble Liking WordPress posts. I had started doing it again recently when I found it was again working. Well, at least on my iPad (where I do most of my reading) and iPhone. It’s been failing on my Mac for as long as I can remember. A friend had the same issue, and he called WordPress support (I’m not that dedicated). He was told Safari has a bug that causes it. (I forget if he got it working on Safari, but think not.) He’s able to do it with other browsers, so I installed Firefox on my iPad and confirmed that it works. I’m basically lazy, and since I can’t make Firefox the default, those few extra taps that are needed will probably reduce the frequency of likes. Sorry.

New Arrivals

Sheaffer Jade Green Ringtop, I’m biased towards both green and Sheaffer, but a gorgeous green color. I’ve yet to ink up this pen but may do so later today.

Incoming

The Benu fountain pens I mentioned last week are still in transit or yet to ship. (Briolette & Scepter) It looks like COVID-19 has caught up to USPS in my neck of the woods. Packages are running several to many days later than the original USPS eta. One package from a few towns away took 5 business days to arrive. Maybe I’m just noticing it more since I dropped Amazon Prime and have placed several non-pen orders, so there’s a bigger pool of potential problems.

I did order one new fountain pen, or more accurately, I ordered a nib that happens to be attached to a pen. The Pilot Posting (PO) nib has always intrigued me. It seems suitable to me, although the nib angle might be a problem I don’t think it will. I Pilot Custom 912 with a PO nib should arrive eventually. USPS ETA is Wednesday, but as I mentioned above, I expect it to be late and not arrive until next week.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

Links

Le Tigre No 3 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog //I don’t have much to say, other than I like seeing and learning about fountain pens I’ve never heard of.

Always Improving – Ian Hedley Art

Happy Victoria Day + Thoughts on Pen Cleaning – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop // My Namiki Hawk is still in the queue to be cleaned. I hate having a lot of pens to clean, and I can’t motivate myself to clean just one. Good tip of filling the pen with water while it’s waiting in the cleaning queue.

My Top 3 pens | UK fountain pens // Sometimes I find the reasons behind a “Top” pen list more interesting than the actual pens.

Vintage Pen News

What Are The Best Fountain Pen Friendly Papers For Writing Letters? – Fountain Pen Love

Cult Pens 15th Birthday – Interview with Simon and Amanda | Cult Pens // Cult Pens is one of the shops I use when ordering from overseas. Usually for products not available in the U.S. but occasionally to take advantage of the exchange rate. Happy 15th! (via Pen Addict Member Newsletter)

My Lamy Safaris and AL-stars and their associations. | Fountain pen blog // Interesting read about the associations/memories related to so many Safaris (and AL-Stars).

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 17, 2020

Photo of my currently inked fountain pens

My currently inked fountain pens

I’m still using my fountain pens much more than I did a couple of months ago. However, if I counted words, I suspect this past week would have seen a lower word count than the previous couple of weeks. With so many pens inked (13), it will take some time to write any dry. I’m itching to get some new fountain pens into the rotation. So I have a conflict between wanting a lot of inked pens to chose from and wanting new pens moving into the rotation regularly. I have to admit this is a nice problem to have. I’m considering a rule where any currently inked pens will be flushed if they still have ink at the end of the month. I’d exclude the two eyedropper filled pens. A better solution will be to use them all enough to write them dry.

Rather than a month-end purge, I’m also considering going the opposite way and inking up a couple of dozen pens and then picking the one I want, when I want it. I tend to use very safe inks, so I wouldn’t expect any problems.

I ordered some inexpensive pen storage options from Go Pens, which arrived on Wednesday. So, I again went down the rabbit hole of reorganizing my desk and pen storage. Last week I mentioned the possibility of a desk tour. I should learn not to speculate on the future. I’m still exploring how I want to set up my desk, and it changes every couple of days. So that will wait until things settle down. This is one of the problems with being locked down at home, I get to procrastinate while appearing to be busy organizing. Part of the problem is that this was supposed to be an analog desk. Instead, it doubles as my work desk and the computer or iPad visit daily.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

OK, another complete collapse of willpower. I did promise myself that at least three pens (which might include these) need to move on to new owners. The Benu Minima impressed me so much that I ordered two more Benu fountain pens, this time opting for full-size pens. I split the order to support the retailers I haven’t purchased from recently. In these cases, the prices were very similar across the sites I checked, and that had the specifics that I wanted. Anderson Pens continues to sell vintage pens, and there was one I had to buy.

  1. I ordered the Benu Scepter II from Goulet Pens. They still aren’t shipping yet (or may have just resumed as you read this), so this is a few weeks away.
  2. I bought the Benu Briolette Secret Garden from Jet Pens, along with many ink cartridges. Plus, Schmidt refills for my Retro 51 pens.
  3. A vintage Sheaffer Jade Green Ringtop from Anderson Pens. Probably not a pen I’ll use very much since it’s small, but it’s that lovely jade green color along with being a vintage Sheaffer model that I don’t have.

The gripping section on the Benu pens seems a little thin for me, but I found the Minima comfortable, so I decided to take a chance.

The Jet Pens and Anderson Pens orders should arrive this week, while the Goulet Pens order is a few weeks away from delivery.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. The Namiki Sterling Hawk as inked up on April 19th and went dry the evening of May 10th. I will clean it out and return it to the storage case, although it’s still in the cleaning queue.

Newly Inked

  1. The Sheaffer Balance Oversize Marine Green with its fine nib was inked up with Sheaffer Green ink. I was writing about it for my This Just In post and missed it, so I inked it up. Plus, I like to use the fountain pen that I’m writing about.

Links

Six quality fountain pens for beginners, under 30 euros. | Fountain pen blog

Inktober 2017 – The Movie – FOUNTAIN PEN INK ART

Product Preview: Ink Bottle Rubber Stamps (Shameless Plug) – The Well-Appointed Desk

How Dangerous Is Mixing Fountain Pen Inks? – Fountain Pen Love

Ink Review: Pelikan Edelstein Moonstone Ink of the Year 2020 – inkyfountainpens

Pens into rotation: Week ending 15th May 2020 — TooManyPelikans

Working From Home: Gaining Traction | From the Pen Cup

Mabie Todd Swan 3361 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Off-topic: Free to read: Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown | Financial Times

 

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 10, 2020

Photo of my currently inked pens

Currently inked – the lucky 13

As attested to by all my posts last week, which all started as handwritten drafts, I’m continuing to use my fountain pens. Yesterday, I finished another pocket notebook journal by not missing any entries. Last week I mentioned that I’d switch to a larger notebook. While that’s still true, I switched fro the Doane Paper Boxcar to a Field Notes Dime Novel. I came across an open Dime Novel package, so I picked it rather than breaking the seal on another three-pack.

I ended up moving my desk on Saturday. Well, more like turning it, but it still required me to empty it out then put everything back. The desk has never been neater, so I took some photos. I may publish a tour later in the week. While that was a significant effort, Saturday is also the day I put on my sweatpants (more like pajama pants) rather than regular pants. It was cold and windy when I woke up, and I had no intention of leaving my apartment, not even to take out the garbage.

After publishing my initial post about the Leonardo Messenger, some brain cells activated, and I remembered a comment by Pamelake about using decorative paper inside the barrel. While my resources are currently limited to what I already have, I did scotch tape the chrome on the converter. This dulled the shine enough so that it is no longer shiny. The color now looks close to the whiter swirls, not a beacon calling for attention. Now my only complaint is that while not shiny, it’s still a regular shape, not a swirl. But much better, in my opinion. I didn’t have any paper thin enough to fit around the converter in the barrel. Still, my tests with white paper left me believing I’d need a thin green tissue paper, and even that might not work. So, when craft stores open and I can venture out, I’ll look for something to paint over or mask the chrome. If that fails, some green tissue paper.

New Arrivals

  1. The Benu Minima with its fine nib arrived Tuesday. I’m happy with the green acrylic.
  2. My Diplomat Aero Volute LE arrived on Friday. It’s grey, and I love it. I got this one with a fine nib to distinguish it from my original orange/black Aero.

Incoming

Nothing, and at the risk of becoming a liar, nothing on the horizon.

Written Dry

  1. The Namiki Sterling Dragon was written dry this past week. It was filled with Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku back on April 19th and went dry on May 5th.

Newly Inked

In line with my current practice, both new pens, the Benu Minima **and the **Diplomat Aero Volute, were inked up with the included ink cartridges. This brings me up to a lucky 13 inked fountain pens.

Links

Fountain Pen Review: BENU Tessera Amber | Rants of The Archer // The Benu brand has caught my eye recently, and I made a purchase, as noted above. I’m still undecided as to whether or not I like the look of this particular Tessera. I suspect it looks better in real life than in photos.

Notebook Muse // Baron Fig mini hack – Weirdoforest Pens // This makes me want to pull out the few notebook covers that I have and try to find a suitable notebook. I’ve never found a cover that works for me. My favorite (meaning one that I actually use) is a simple, thin clear plastic cover.

Finding a word other than ‘collection’ | UK fountain pens Whatever the word is, this is his State of the collection: May 2020 | UK fountain pens // If you’re a reader, you know I use “accumulation”, now I associate it with river muck thanks to Anthony. But it doesn’t really matterm they’re all still “pens.”

What Is Your Ideal Line Spacing Size? – Fountain Pen Love // A very helpful resource if you want to find a comfortable line spacing for your writing.

Early thoughts on the Sheaffer Pop fountain pen. | Fountain pen blog // Good overview of a relatively inexpensive pen. Although, as mentioned in the article, there’s a lot of competition at this price point.

Currently Inked – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop // Always fun to see what someone with seemingly endless selection of pens and inks uses.

Fountain Pen Friendly Paper Collection by Yamamoto Paper: A Review (Part 1 of 2) — The Pen Addict // Personally, I have little interest (beyond curiousity) in a product like this, but I can certainly see it being useful for many people. I’m happy with Doane Paper and Seven Seas (Tomeo River) products as my paper core.

Fountain Pens Worth Replacing. Really?

Back in January of 2016, I went through my previous favorite pens lists and determined which fountain pen I’d replace if I lost it. My favorites lists have become so old that I stopped linking to it from my accumulation page. But I’d thought I go through my old worth replacing list and see how it changed. After all, I know my preferences have changed.

The exercise in 2016 was simple – Answer the question: If I lost the pen, would I replace it with the exact same fountain pen for the same price? I ignored inflation along with any potential availability issues, While not stated at the time, I did assume that the nib performance out of the box would be duplicated. This was a mental exercise to determine my true favorites, not a contract or blood oath.

So here are the 2016 pens from the article, and my current thoughts.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc Ink BottleVisconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age
2016 Me: “Hell, yes, I’d sell as many pens as necessary.”
2020 Me: Bronze Age? Oh yea, I think I had one once.
It went from a pen I gushed over and loved at the time, to a pen I sold off and is now a distant memory. The pen remained great, I just wanted a change.

Franklin-Christoph Model 66Franklin-Christoph Model 66
2016 Me: “Yes, in a heartbeat.”
2020 Me: No. It’s been over a year since I inked it up. I miss it every time I think of it, like now, yet I won’t ink it up.

Sheaffer Balance Aspen with Sheaffer Skrip Gray Ink BottleSheaffer Balance II Aspen
2016 Me: “Yes, if I could.”
2020 Me: Yes, if I could. Availability and price would be an issue. I wouldn’t pay much more than I did back then, but for the purposes of this exercise, the answer is yes. Finding one in pristine condition could also take some time. I do have two other Balance II fountain pens. If I was to lose all three (something I think about as I put them all in the same 3-pen case), I would undoubtedly look for at least one replacement. Heck, I look for them now.

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with medium left oblique nib and Pilot Blue ink (cartridge, not the bottle shown)Pilot Vanishing Points
2016 Me: “Mostly, yes.” I dealt with these as a group and picked the XXXF and left oblique nibs, along with the Cherry Bamboo barrel as replaceable.
2020 Me: Exact same answer and selections.

Edison Huron Grande Extra Fine Nib and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE inkEdison Huron Grande
2016 Me: “Yes.”
2020 Me: No, but with an asterisk. This was a custom pen. I would get another Huron Grande, but with a different acrylic for variety.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with Akkerman IG Ink BottleSailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe
2016 Me: “Yes.”
2020 Me: “Yes,” but I’d almost certainly be unable to do so. The pen is no longer made, and the nib wasn’t a factory-installed option. While it is an extra-fine Sailor nib, it was swapped by Classic Fountain Pens when I bought the pen. The nib is a big part of what I like about this pen, although weighing more than a typical Sailor resin pen is a big attraction too.

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann extra fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux writing samplePelikan M805 Stresemann
2016 Me: “Yes.” I did gripe about the nib (medium claiming to be an extra-fine). After publishing the 2016 article, I got the nib ground down to a true extra-fine.
2020 Me: Another pen I sold off, making it a solid “No.”

Edison Menlo Punp Filler with Montblanc Toffee Brown bottleEdison Meno
2016 Me: “Yes,” although it was a tough choice.
2020 Me: An easy “No,” since it’s been nearly two years since this pen saw ink. It’s such a pain to clean.

I also mentioned two other pens that were a “No” in 2016 and remain a “no” today.

The Lamy 2000 is a pen I want to love, but I still struggle with it at times. The Pilot Custom 823 contains two aesthetics I hate: gold furniture and a transparent colored body. The only reason I keep it is that it’s such a comfortable fountain pen to use.

Conclusions

I find that I can get bored with the look of a fountain pen, even a nice bright one. Two pens went from must replace to the post office for shipping to new owners. I don’t have any regrets or miss those pens. In fact, I have no seller’s remorse for any pens I sent away. Just some happy memories. They made room for me to start bringing in new fountain pens for me to enjoy.

The original idea for this article was to include the current pens that I would replace. The answer is “none.” If I was to lose a fountain pen, first I would cry, then I’d look to replace it with something different to bring in some variety.

 

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 3, 2020

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Photo of the Kanilea Cherry Kona fountain pen

The newly arrived Kanilea Cherry Kona

I’m still using my fountain pens a lot and rotating through them. The Kaweco Sport does get ignored in my pocket these days. But, other than that, each pen gets used during the week. Unfortunately for the Kaweco, as you’ll learn below, I have another pen with bright red ink in my arsenal. The Kaweco may not even get the call if I have to mark up a document.

Using a pocket notebook as my journal continues to work remarkably well for me, I haven’t missed a morning or evening since I started. That’s a lie. I missed a couple evenings but made the entry the next morning. I filled one notebook, and I’m more than halfway through the second. The April 30th entry marked the halfway point in the current notebook. When this one fills up, I think I’ll go crazy and switch to a 5 X 7 notebook. I have a Doane Paper Boxcar 3-pack ready to crack open.

New Arrivals.

The Leonardo Officina Italiana Messenger arrived Monday. The obvious first ink was its namesake, the Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk ink. The extra-fine nib was a tad scratchy. It is a thin nib, and I’ve been using Doane Paper, which isn’t all that smooth. It doesn’t catch the paper and hold on, but I can just feel it dragging slightly. The nib looks perfectly aligned.

The green material is lovely and has some nice depth to it. I don’t like pens with colored, translucent acrylic. Like the Kona, which follows, the Messenger is transparent, the acrylic has some nice swirls blended in. Unfortunately, there’s one large section that is just translucent green, and it gives me a view of the entire converter. Luckily, this faces away from me, and is against my hand, when I write with the pen. I can see the nib inside the cap, but this never bothered me much. There’s a lot of metal inside the pen, so eyedropper filling isn’t an option. One nice touch is that it comes with a screw-in converter.

The Kanilea Cherry Kona arrived late Thursday afternoon, also with an extra-fine nib. After admiring it for a while (I lost track of time), I inked it up with Sheaffer Red, the brightest red I have. It’s also translucent, but unlike the Messenger, the depth of the swirls in the acrylic hides the converter. If I look closely, I can see the converter in the pen, but that’s because I know it’s there. The acrylic plays games with light, and the pen has darker areas and other areas that appear to glow. The converter just seems to be one of those glowing areas.

I have a couple early quibbles with the pen. Mainly that the cap takes too many twists to remove. It takes just under four complete rotations to separate the threads. This translates to six twists with my fingers. The second quibble is that on Thursday, I had a little fatigue in my fingers after using it a short while. I’m not sure why, it’s a light pen, but not skinny, so I didn’t expect it to bother me. Even more concerning (to me), when I switched back to the F-C Model 02 the fatigue went away. This is weird because the Model 02 grip section appears to be the same size as the Cherry Kona’s, maybe even thinner if I measure with the calipers. Plus, the Kona feels heavier. I definitely need to use it more and pay attention to my grip. I didn’t get much chance to use it Friday or Saturday, but it will be today’s pen of choice.

While fatigue would be a real problem, I can’t believe it’s the pen’s fault since it fits in with the sizes of my comfortable pens. I have to think it can be solved. Maybe it will just go away, unlike some things. Perhaps I’ll need to adjust my grip slightly.

The marathon needed to cap and uncap the pen is something I’ll get used to. But, it may keep me from picking up the pen at times.

Photo of the copper ystudio Classic Desk Pen

The ystudio Classic Desk Pen in copper.

The ystudio Classic Desk Pen arrived Saturday. It’s a copper pen that has a dedicated desk stand (no cap). Since it’s so recent, I haven’t used it much. Being copper, it is a heavy pen, although the desk stand is heavier. I inked it up with Montblanc The Beatles psychedelic purple. The nib was smooth in my initial tests.

Incoming.

I can’t help myself, the dam has burst, and I bought two more fountain pens, although they’ve yet to be shipped. In my defense – I didn’t by three.

  1. Diplomat Aero Volute – My first Aero has really impressed me. I saw the Volute and had to have it. After waiting my required week to think about it, I placed the order. I may have a Retro 51 problem with the Aero, there are many I want to collect. The problem is that the Aeros are much more expensive than the Retro 51 rollerballs.
  2. Benu Minima Mystical Green – I been seeing Benu pens as I peruse pen sites. Their design always catches my eye. They’re relatively inexpensive, and I liked the look of the green, so I added it to my cart this time. I hope the pen material lives up to the pictures. It will be interesting to see how this Russian made fountain pen performs.

Written Dry

  1. The Pelikan M815 Metal Striped went dry last Sunday, April 26th. It was inked on February 10th and was problem-free.
  2. The Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver is already written dry after just a week (April 19 through 26). If I didn’t see the ink in the converter when I filled it, and a lack of ink when it stopped writing, I would have expected a short fill or a clogged pen. This is fast for me. That stub is wider than my usual thin nib, so it lays down more ink. I did use it a lot during that week and especially on Sunday.

Newly Inked

I published a currently inked post on Monday, so I’m not going to repeat them all here. The ten fountain pens inked earlier in the week, plus the two new arrivals later in the week (Kanilea & YStudio) cover my current dirty dozen.

Links

How To Use Your Fountain Pens More Often: Try The 5 Whys – Fountain Pen Love // via The Gentleman Stationer I can’t believe this site wasn’t already in my RSS feed. I spent some time this week going through his older posts. Suprisingly, I don’t need any of these ideas right now.

The up days and the down days | UK fountain pens // I had many of these thoughts when I sold off some favorites. I have to admit, I haven’t missed any of them. It might also be what triggered me to buy so many pens this year. Ten so far, which is 66% more than all the pens I bough the previous three years (six).

Vintage Ink Bottle Discovery: Akkerman Predecessors – The Well-Appointed Desk // I’d seen similar bottle in old ads, so never considered the unique. The are certainly unique for modern bottles and the history is fascinating.

Tale of a Vandal Pen User: What Matters | Peaceable Writer // I always enjoy these posts, even if pens are barely mentioned.

A look back at the Sheaffer No Nonsense fountain pen. | Fountain pen blog // An inexpensive “school pen” that was used for school. I’m jealous that the same pen model was used throughout his school career. I’m also ashamed to admit that I never owned a No Nonsense pen. My only defense is that I didn’t use fountain pens in school (the result of growing up in America) and came to Sheaffer well after school.

Pen design red flags: seeing the bigger picture | UK fountain pens // Oh boy can I relate. I share many of the complaints, and have also made similar compromises.

This ‘n’ That – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // No pens left to restore! Now that is a problem, and a side effect I never considered. And to make it all about me – does this mean there be fewer articles about old pens that I enjoy reading?

How Does Paper Color Affect Ink Color? – Fountain Pen Love // I never really though about the effect on the actual ink. I’ve always just worried about how easy it would be to read. No doubt I’d care more if I was an artist.

Pens into rotation: Week ending 1 May 2020 — TooManyPelikans // I like the way these posts have evolved the last few weeks. He know includes his choices as favorites. They been there the last two weeks, and I hope they stay.

Discounting has broken my brain | UK fountain pens // I’ve always been one to ignore “percent off” offers, which means advertised discounts cause me more work. In some cases the cost may be lower, but I often find that all expenses considered, the price often takes the same amount of money out of my wallet. I’m even less susceptible to “deals” in fountain pens. I stick to my preferred and reliable retailer, taking the lowest price from among them.

Pete Denison – Welcome. Let me pour you a cup… // Ok, so this is off-topic and basically an advertisement, but I’ve enjoyed Pete’s writing over the years and they do seem like good products.

The Concessions Of War: Pelikan, WWII, And The Untold Story « The Pelikan’s Perch // A saw this late Saturday and haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but will later today. Fountain pens and history, what could be better?