Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 21, 2019

I started journaling again this week, so there was a slight uptick in my fountain pen usage. But, it has still been relatively low.

I did ink up another pen, despite not writing any dry. I’ve been missing having a Pilot Vanishing Point handy, so I popped a Pilot Black cartridge into an XXXF nib unit and put it in the Guilloche Vanishing Point body.

I did order a bottle of ink, although it hasn’t arrived yet. As I’ve mentioned, my favorite ink is Montblanc Bordeaux, which is long out of production. I finished a bottle several months ago and I’ve yet to replace it. I’ve been setting a target price where I’d buy a replacement bottle if I find it for that price or less. My current target is $30. That would surely go up when I open my last bottle. I happened to stumble upon a bottle on eBay. A small eBay coupon brought it below my target so I bought it. It’s listed as unopened so I’m hopeful. One thing I’ll mention, I’ve found that “Montblanc Bordeaux” listings on eBay are often Montblanc Burgundy, as in this listing, so be sure to check the photos.

A couple months ago I mentioned that I wanted to use my Esterbrook Dip-Less pen but couldn’t find the inkwells. Well, they turned up this week. All safely wrapped and packed in an unlabeled box. Of course, they’ve turned up when the apartment is in disarray as I prepare to move in a month, so I kept them safely packed away, although now in a labeled box.

Esterbrook Dip-Less inkwell and pen

My fountain pen declutter is coming to a close, at least temporarily. More because I’ll be moving at the end of May and have other things to do, rather than I’m down to a reasonable number of pens. I’ll post two or three final pens for sale Monday morning. They’re pens that met my criteria to sell, but I found an excuse to keep them. After more consideration, two of them have no chance of breaking into my rotation as they never got significant use. The third, the Pelikan M101N Lizard I really do like and got a lot of use until it fell off my radar about three years ago. It’s the one pen I fear will cause me severe seller’s remorse.

I did put a Levenger Circa Folio Junior up on eBay for auction. If you’re interested you can find the auction at this link, which lists all my auctions. The Folio auction ends Friday about noon eastern time.

I just finished reading “The Woman Who Smashed Codes”. (Actually, I listened to the audiobook.) Excellent book and highly recommended. it’s the story of Elizabeth Friedman, a pioneer in the field of cryptanalysis. Not heavy on the science of codebreaking. Also an interesting look at life in those times. Her husband is known as the man who broke the Japanese Purple cipher. What I didn’t know (among many other things) is that she broke the German Enigma machine without help from Bletchley Park.


Another Completed Sketchbook. — The Finer Point

Flex Nibs Part 3: Modern Flex – Pen Thoughts

Where I buy pens | UK fountain pens

9 genius pen features | UK fountain pens

Nibs, Ancient and Modern – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges: What Are Your Favorites? — The Pen Addict

600 Years of Writing — Mountain of Ink

Field Trip: Toronto Old Book and Paper Show – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop


Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 14, 2019

There’s not much news on the fountain pen front. I’ve been busy and they got vey little use last week.

I’ve added one more fountain pen to my for sale list, the Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black with a Fine 21Kt Gold nib. The price is $175 plus shipping. I wanted to give my readers first crack at it before I promote it elsewhere. More details and photos are on my for sale page. I also updated the sale page with the remaining unsold pens. The price of the Conway Stewart FPH [pen has been lowered.


Review: The Omas Tokyo – Pen Thoughts

Travels with pens: York, and a visit to Signatures | UK fountain pens

Vintage Pen News: Shellac on sections

Inky Pursuits round-up. | Fountain pen blog

Waterman Carene – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Book Review: Andy Russell – 50 Years of the Dinkie – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Meet The Vermeil Souveräns: A Look At The Nifty Fifties « The Pelikan’s Perch

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 7, 2019

Esterbrook Estie in EvergreenNo change in my fountain pen usage. I did add one pen, the Esterbrook Estie in Evergreen with a extra fine nib will replace my Estie in Tortoise with a fine nib. The Tortoise will go up for sale on Monday.

I realized that my pen show calendar page wasn’t update for 2019. I’ve removed the page link from the site menu. The page still exists on the site to avoid broken links but now refers visitors to Indy-Pen-Dance which seems to have a comprehensive list.

Life is getting busy again, so things will slow back down again, at least for a week or so.


Kaweco AL Sport – Deep Red fountain pen and mechanical pencil set – The Clumsy Penman’s InKfusion Site

13 hard-learned lessons from a veteran fountain pen addict | UK fountain pens // I somehow missed this the first time around. Found it when catching up on The Gentleman Stationer.

Sheaffer Imperial IV – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // Mmmm, Sheaffer

A Short List Of Easy Inks | An Inkophile’s Blog

Make Your Fountain Pens Happy | An Inkophile’s Blog

New Orleans is a Pen Destination — The Pen Addict

My Favorite Pens – Sheaffer Military Clip Balance | Anderson Pens Blog // Video

Flex Nibs Part 2: Vintage Flex Nibs – Pen Thoughts

Saying Goodbye: Two Platinum Fountain Pens

Platinum #3776 Century BourgnoneI sold off another couple of fountain pens this past week. Both were Platinum 3776 Century pens. One with an extra fine nib, the other with a fine nib. Being Japanese nibs, they were on the thin side of fine and extra fine. I should love them. I haven’t used either pen in the five or so years that I’ve been keeping track.

This isn’t the first time I considered selling the pens, but it’s the only time the potential of those nibs didn’t make me keep them.

I’m not a fan of translucent colored pens or gold trim. So, I kept passing over these pens when considering what to ink up next. Yes I know, the Pilot Custom 823 has both these traits and I love it. In my defense, should the 823 become available with a clear (or solid) barrel and with silver trim, I would replace mine without a second thought.

For a while, I used the low resale price to justify keeping these pens. Since they sell for considerably less in Japan (or on eBay and Amazon) than in the US (nearly 1/2 the price), the resale price would be substantially less than what I paid. But with my current mindset of a pen needing to earn its place in my accumulation I couldn’t keep a pen that never got used. I inked them up for testing. While they wrote perfectly, neither made me want to keep it inked up in place of one of my currently inked pens. So they both went up for sale and have since moved on to more appreciative homes.


Favorite 5: Modern Fountain Pens

Holy Cow! It’s been nearly three years since I update my Favorite 5 Modern Fountain Pens list. It’s time to update the list. There are really only two qualifications for a pen to be eligible for the list. First, it must have been manufactured since I was born (my definition of modern. Second, it must have been used since in the last year. Typically, rule #2 is that it must have been used since the list was last updated, but that was too long in this case. “Favorite” is totally subjective and does not equate to “best” or “best value.”

The first three pens on the list were easy choices. The last two were picked from numerous contenders.

1. Sheaffer Balance II Aspen (M/F)

Sheaffer Balance II Aspen (M) with Montblanc Permanent Grey ink bottleThe Aspen returns to the list and at the top. The only reason it dropped off was the “must have used” rule. Its fragility keeps it from being used more often. It’s siblings, the Jade Green and the Crimson Glow could also be on this list, but I decided to limit myself to just one. The Aspen is my personal favorite among the three. I recently did a long term review of the Balance IIs.

2. Shawn Newton Eastman (any Esterbrook nib)

Shawn Newton Eastman with Esterbrook #2314F nib and Montblanc Irish Green uncappedThe Eastman is a custom pen so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it made the list. It fits my hand perfectly and can use any of my Esterbrook nibs. I tend to pick bright inks because I like the look in the clear body. The pen is typically desk-bound. All that ink in the barrel tends to splatter ink in the cap when it’s bounced around. (Review)

3. Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M)

Sailor KOP with Callifolio TeodoraThis pen has been inked 14 times in 2 1/2 years, which is a lot for me. I shouldn’t even have this pen (and wouldn’t if I didn’t handle it at a pen show). The pen is too expensive, and the nib is wider than my personal preference. Yet, I wouldn’t touch the nib, and the pen is constantly inked up and used.

4. Edison Huron Grande (EF)

Edison Huron Grande with extra fine and Montblanc Bordeaux bottleAnother custom pen. It was actually my first custom pen. It’s huge which means it’s desk-bound. I recently re-arranged my desk to make it more analog friendly. This means that my two desk pens on this list are getting more use.

5. Kaweco Brass Sport (EF)

Kaweco Brass Sport on leatherIt took me a while to realize that this pen belonged on the list. When it went dry, I immediately inked it up. I sold off another metal Sport simply because I realized I’d never pick it over this pen. (Review). While I do love the look of this pen and it’s an excellent writer, it makes this list mainly because of its utility. It may not get used a lot, but it’s inked up far more than any other pen, and I would regret its loss.

Wrapping Up

Notably absent from this list are my Visconti Homo Sapien, Pelikan M805 Stresemann, and Montblanc Ultra Black LeGrand. All three are “favorites” and met the requirements for inclusion. Yet, I decided that in the final analysis they just didn’t quite make it. I am fickle so they may be on a future list. Maybe I’ve become bored with them? They certainly aren’t among the pens that will be sold off as I trim my accumulation.

Whenever I go through my pens for an article like this, I always stumble upon a pen where I shocked at how long it’s been unused. It was no different this time. The Pilot Custom 823 seemed to be an obvious choice for inclusion, but it was last used in 2017, so it didn’t qualify, I put it aside to be inked as soon as possible.

I’m also a little conflicted in that only two of these pens are currently available for retail purchase and, one of those has a hefty price tag (Nearly equal to the combined cost of the other four pens.). But this is an entirely subjective favorites list, so it reflects what my current pen tastes are. I’m also delighted with my current accumulation, which is reflected in an empty pen “want list” and the lack of any new pens in the last year and a half. (Except a couple TWSBI Go’s)