Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – February 16, 2020

Photo of my newest pens - Pelikan M815 and Sailor RealoI wrote my vintage Sheaffer Balance Oversize dry this week. Well, almost dry, then I refilled it with the same R&K Blau-Schwarz LE in.

The two pens I ordered arrived, and have been inked up. I didn’t wait to use up the ink in other pens before I inked them up, despite that being my plan. The Pelikan M815 Metal Stripped SE was inked with Pelikan 4001 Blue-Back ink. The Sailor Realo got Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun ink, which is a grey ink.

I did start journalling again in the evening, although it’s been sporadic and I’m not confident that I’ll stick with it. At this point it’s mainly an excuse to use my pens.


Crónicas Estilográficas: Retro

Retrospective: Retro 51 Pens – The Well-Appointed Desk

Tale of a Vandal Pen User: Lost and Found | Peaceable Writer

The Platinum Curidas: removing the bump. | Fountain pen blog

Crónicas Estilográficas: Curidas Marketing

Off topic – Welcome to the Era of Fake Products | Wirecutter

Group Buy, Auctions, Scholarships – Newton Pens

AmazonBasics Fountain Pen Review – Penquisition and First Impressions: The AmazonBasics Fountain Pen Is Surprisingly Good — The Gentleman Stationer

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – February 9, 2020

Photo of my Fisher of Pens Hermes fountain pen

Fisher of Pens Hermes

As mentioned last Sunday, the Fisher of Pens Hermes didn’t last very long, and it is now bone dry, waiting to be cleaned out and returned to the pen case for storage. I do really like the pen, and the combination with Montblanc Bordeaux makes it nearly irresistible. But I want to keep rotating new pens into the mix so I’ll flush it out and return it to the pen case for storage. It was inked up on January 6th, so it lasted about a month.

The dam that was holding back my pen buying finally burst. The first crack was the vintage Sheaffer Balance oversize, then it widened with the Retro 51 purchases. It crumbled completely when I ordered two fountain pens this past week. They should arrive early this week, although I’ll try to resist inking them up until I write another pen or two dry. Between the Sheaffer Balance and these two new pens, anything else will get short shrift, so I should give them some use first.

Not that I’m hinting at what one of the pens is, but if the Pelikan Souverän M815 Metal Striped Special Edition is on your wish list, you should check around. The best price I found was $429 at Classic Fountain Pens. Others have it discounted too. The typical US retail price was about $680. It’s a “limited time” offer, although no details on what the limit is. Maybe it ends when all are sold rather than a specific date. This was a pen I considered as a replacement for my M805 Stresemann back when it was released in 2018 but decided against it since it was too pricey and not different enough. While I didn’t sell the Stresemann intending to buy this one, the price drop certainly made me consider the purchase now that the Stresemann is gone.

I can claim some self-control since there’s one other pen on my interested list, and I decided to hold off.


Mabie Todd & Bard Eyedropper and Gunmetal Travelling Case – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // I’d love a case like this, although it would have to fit one of my current pens.

Crónicas Estilográficas: Iroshizuku 2020 // I remember when thee first came out, and wondering who’d pay that much for ink except as a special purchase. As mentioned, prices have held the line and now other brands have caught up and passed Pilot in regards to ink costs.

When to Clean Your Pens | Anderson Pens Blog // Good advice that coincides with my habits. Although, I did have a pen go 18 months without cleaning. It was problem free and the ink never changed, just got topped off. It was my Franklin-Christoph Model 66, eyedropper filled with R&K Blau_Schwarz LE ink.

Crónicas Estilográficas: Platinum in the Market 2020 // A little weird when combined with recent news that I heard on the Pen Addict podcast: Platinum is requiring retails to charge full MSRP for the Curidas.

Early thoughts on the Platinum Curidas fountain pen. | Fountain pen blog // I’m fascinated that they’re have events around the world for this pen.

Eye Candy: Retro 51 Retrospective – The Well-Appointed Desk // Luckily (for my wallet) I haven’t been attracted to the fountain pen Retro 51s.

Slightly Off-topic: You Can Rewrite the Urban Landscape with the New York City Tree Font

Slightly Off-topic: From the Travel Journal: Hong Kong’s Flow Books – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop


The State of the Accumulation

photo of my core pens

Fourteen of my core pens. Missing: Esterbrook Dip-Less

Here in the U.S., we have a tradition of a State of the Union Address by the President, where he provides an overview of the current state of the country, along with his legislative agenda and priorities. Until Woodrow Wilson, in 1913, turned it into a political speech to rally support, it was usually just a written report to meet the constitutional requirement. While I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions, too late for them anyway, or firm goals, especially for what’s supposed to be a fun hobby, it is an excellent time to decide what I want from the hobby this year. The timing is right because the pen show season has just started. Since I don’t need to rally support, there won’t be a speech. I’ll return to the SOTU roots and do a written report. But really, the bottom line is that it’s taken me a while to write this post, and it happens to coincide with the SOTU.

2019 In Review

Last year was the year of less, as far as fountain pens were concerned. As with other areas of my life, I downsized and burnt some things to the ground (figuratively), so I could start fresh. I did buy one fountain pen last year. I replaced an Esterbrook Estie in Evergreen to replace a Tortoise model that annoyed me because I could see the machining through the translucence. The tortoise moved on rather quickly. While technically a new pen, it was more of a cosmetic upgrade.

Over 60 pens moved on to new homes during the year, bringing my formerly owned pens list to a total of 120 pens.

I didn’t do much writing on the blog. While there were 55 posts last year, most were Trail Logs or sale listings. My most read post last year was written back in 2014, a Pilot Model 823 review. The second most-read post was the long term review of my Sailor King of Pen, written in March 2019.

The Current State

As shown on my Pen Accumulation page, I’ve split my accumulation into four groups:

  1. My Core Pens: Fourteen pens that stood the test of time and have proven themselves worthy of a permanent place in my collection, and a fifteenth that jumped to the list soon after it arrived this year. Some are there even though I’m not too fond of the aesthetics, but they’re workhouse pens (looking at you Pilot Custom 823), while others are there because they’re the complete package (looking at you Sheaffers). The pen that joined the list recently, a vintage Sheaffer Balance Oversize is a pen model I love but have failed to maintain working versions of it. While I did say permanent, I have to admit that the non-custom pens on this list could move to Hanger-on status if their usage drops as more pens get added.
  2. Hangers-On: Seven pens I should enjoy more than I do. I frequently pass them over when picking pens to ink. The Lamy 2000 is a perfect example. I could see passing them on to better homes, but for now, they’re worth more to me than someone else. And, I’d miss them when they’re gone.
  3. Sheaffer Collection: I have an affection and bias for vintage and near vintage Sheaffer Pens. So unlike core pens, Sheaffers can stick around simply because they’re Sheaffers. I don’t have to use them. But Sheaffers can also be core pens, although, for bookkeeping purposes, they’re only listed under the core pens category.
  4. All the Rest: The name says it all. They’re ones I haven’t gotten around to selling or giving away, although some aren’t worth the effort to clean and sell and might be here forever. While there are 41 pens listed here, my bookkeeping is pretty bad, especially for my less liked pens, and a few pens may be missing, and some listed pens may have already moved on. I also have a couple of bags of inexpensive or downright cheap (in both price and quality) that aren’t listed.

By the numbers, it’s 15 core pens, 7 hangers-on, and 18 pens in the Sheaffer collection. Three of the Sheaffers do need a repair of some sort, ranging from a simple re-sacing to a replacement cap.

Agenda & Priorities – The Year Ahead

Buying Pens

I want to get back into the hobby aspect of fountain pens. While fountain pens have been my everyday pens for years, and I still enjoy using them, last year lacked a fun with fountain pens aspect. That said, I don’t want to buy a lot of pens just to have a continuous supply of something new to use or write a blog post. I will undoubtedly add to my accumulation (and already have) but deliberately.

I considered making a rule that I could only buy pens that I’ve seen in real life, just not on the internet. But I decided this would be impractical to enforce. The two pens I’m currently considering are Sailor pens. I’m familiar enough with these Sailor pens to comfortably buy them from one of my usual internet retailers and be confident in exactly what I’m getting. On the other hand, I do want to be intentional and will avoid buying any pens I’m not familiar with, including new designs for pens models that I have seen. Plus, in all honesty, there’s not many I want. I do want some vintage Sheaffers, and those would either be in-person purchase or from sellers with which I have a history.

I did start a under consideration list for modern pens, but I suspect I’ll be looking over Vintage Sheaffers and Parkers as I walk the show isles. I’ll have a budget for the year, but no minimum or maximum number of pens. Still, I don’t want to add a lot of pens to my accumulation. There’s no one in, one out rule, but I don’t want so many pens that I don’t use them. I’m calling it an under consideration list because wish or want implies the decision is made, but it’s not.

New pens are always fun, but I want to expand into other areas.

Pen Shows & Meetups

Since I want to see and touch the pens I buy, it’s only logical that I’ll be attending pen shows. I’m hoping to attend three shows this year. The first will be the Long Island Pen show in March. I’m also hoping to get to the Commonwealth Pen Show (Boston) in September, although it’s a Sunday only show, which has been a scheduling problem in the past, but there’s a lot of lead time for planning. I’m hoping to get a third show in during the year, but which one is totally up in the air.

The folks who put on the Commonwealth Pen Show, Boston Pen People, have regular meetups. While many are on Sundays, which are tough for me to attend, a few are tentatively scheduled for a Saturday. I’m hoping to attend one or more. One reason I want that third show is that it will be a multi-day and overnight show for me so I’ll be able to attend any pen show events and spend time in the show’s hotel bar.

Pen Repair & More

While I have re-saced a few Esterbrooks, that was years ago. One of my Sheaffers simply needs a new sac, the old one is already removed, while another probably has a punctured sac and will need to be pulled apart. In the realm of pen repair, sac replacement is relatively easy, especially once the pen is opened up. I’ve also got other broken pens I can practice on to get back in the swing of pen repairs. Pen show visits may also turn up some parts pens.

I’ve never found any pens in local flea markets or antique stores, although my searches were haphazard at best. I may undertake a more systematic search this year, although I admit I may decide I want to spend the time doing other endeavors.

Finally, I always think about improving my handwriting. In the past, I didn’t have the motivation to follow through and work on it, and that hasn’t changed. So, it’s on the bottom of my list.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – February 2, 2020

Photo of my Fisher of Pens Hermes fountain pen

Fisher of Pens Hermes

My fountain pen usage ticked up a little bit these past week, thanks mainly to the drafts of two future articles for this sight. I’m about to write the Fisher of Pens Hermes dry. It did stop, but then I forced every last drop of that precious Montblanc Bordeaux ink into the feed. So, there’s less than a feed’s worth left. I’m considering a Bordeaux refill but will probably put it aside for another pen. Although, it serves as a good excuse to put off cleaning the pen. The four inked up Sheaffers are getting more use and I’m enjoying them.

Photo of my Sheaffer Balance Oversize

Sheaffer Balance Oversize Grey Marble c.1935

I’ve had my new to me Sheaffer Balance Oversize Grey Marble long enough to promote it to being a core pen. Hopefully this one will do better than its siblings. I love the vintage Balance Oversize, it’s a good size for me with a great nib. But, they’ve been prone to breaking, with my other three in the repair queue. Although the Marine Green is probably beyond repair and I’ll have to find a replacement cap which technically isn’t a repair.


Frequently Used. — The Finer Point

Crónicas Estilográficas: Curidas’s Name

REVIEW: PILOT CUSTOM NS FOUNTAIN PEN | The Pencilcase Blog | Fountain pen, Pencil, Ink and Paper reviews // I don’t read many pen reviews these days and rarely (if ever) link to reviews when the “pen was provided for review” if for no other reason than the usage period is probably short. But Dries’ review covers some good points on a pen I haven’t seen much about. For those of us in the US it looks like buying from Europe or Japan will be cheaper even after all the currency conversion and shipping. Or, just buy from an eBay or Amazon seller playing geographic arbitrage.

Travel Tips: Packing a Writing Kit for the Road — The Gentleman Stationer

A Russian Naval Travelling Inkwell – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Crónicas Estilográficas: Premium Pen Show in Tokyo

Originals Of Their Time: Darlings Of The 1930s « The Pelikan’s Perch

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 26, 2020

Photo of my latest arrival

Sheaffer Balance Oversize Grey Marble c.1935

I’ve been using my newest fountain pen almost exclusively since it arrived last weekend. I inked it up with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE that I like a lot. It’s well behaved and easy to clean, so I have no qualms about using it in a vintage vacuum filler that will be tedious to clean without a friendly ink. I wanted to go with a older (can’t really say vintage, although in ink years they are) Sheaffer ink, but my two favorites were already in pens. So far I’m loving the pen. I hope to get better photos soon.


Sometimes A Rollerball Beats A Fountain Pen | An Inkophile’s Blog

A letter from the Retro51 Team | The Retro 51 Blog // via The Well-Appointed Desk // Big news. This happens to be the first place I saw it. The official post is here

A Place to Buy Ink! – The Well-Appointed Desk

2020 Philadelphia Pen Show Recap — The Gentleman Stationer

From the Desk of Martin Luther King Jr. – The Well-Appointed Desk

Sunday Rambling – Goodwriterspens’s Blog