Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log #5: Year End Edition

The earth has completed another rotation around the sun and tradition dictates a recap of what happened during the trip and resolutions for the next trip.

My fountain pen interest was rekindled at the end of 2011. I’d been using them but sticking with the same pens and inks for long periods. I didn’t add any pens in 2007, 2008 or 2009 and only one in 2010. No new ink springs to mind during that time either. In late 2011 I added 4 new pens,

My first new pen of 2012 was a Pilot Vanishing Point in March. It was followed by another 46 pens during 2012. That includes by recent low-cost pen acquisition binge along with a couple that were ordered but have yet to arrive.

My favorite pen of the year was the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Desk Pen.

photo of the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Fountain Pen
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Fountain Pen

Both Edison and Franklin-Christoph were new brands to me. As I’m apt to do, I binged on their pens. There were 6 Edisons, including a Signature Line pen due in January. There were 5 Franklin-Christoph pens. Eleven pens from two brands I hadn’t heard if before the year began. Yup, a binge. By the end of the year my pen accumulation had exceeded 100 pens.

I  also binged on inks, ading them to my ink drawer faster than I can use them. Much of that is thanks to the Goulet Ink Drop membership. At last count I had 69 ink samples this year, and only a couple of them have been completely used.

I started this blog in August and this will be the 67th post. It’s a bit of circular thinking, but my main goal for this blog was to give me something to write with my pens. And from that point of view it’s succeeded as nearly all posts are initially drafted with pen and paper. This one with my Faber-Castell E-motion, mediam nib, with Diamine Oxblood ink.

According to stats I’ve had approximately 2,900 visitors from 66 countries. About half those visits were from the United States. The big bump came when Brad Dowdy, The Pen Addict, linked to my Stipula Model T post.

All things considered I’ve enjoyed the past year of fountain pens, despite the impact on my wallet.

The Year Ahead

I’m not much for resolutions, but some plans fir 2013 include…

  • Use what I have. I’ve no shortage of pens or inks, time to use them.
  • Try to focus new pen acquisitions for 2013. I’ve developed an interest in desk pens and clip-less pens so will explore those areas. I need to resist wanting every nice fountain pen. Nakaya fountain pens have caught my interest. I love the simple designs of the “Long” and Desk Pen models and they would be ruined with a clip. In addition, Edison will be announcing a new filling system in the new year. I suspect I’ll want it in a pen.
  • Attend a pen show. It will probably be the Washington D.C. show but I may try to get to one of the earlier east coast shows if the weather cooperates enough for driving.
  • Along with the first bullet point – more pen and ink reviews on the site. A weekly ink review should be possible. A pen review every two weeks may be a stretch, but ostly doable.

Happy New Year everyone!

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log #4: November Recap

We’re already nine days into December, making this recap more than a little late. Better late than never? Anyway, here goes…

While I made it through October without any new pens, November wasn’t the same. I added the Pilot Vanishing Point Gunmetal with Black Trim. I went body only and skipped the standard Pilot nib. But I more than made up for than with two specialty nibs from Richard Binder. A .6mm stub and a Needlepoint (XXXF).

I like the stub nib but I find I have to apply a little more pressure than I normally do with the Vanishing Points. I have a very light touch with the VP’s so I wouldn’t say I have to press hard. I also typically use a fine or extra fine in these pens.

The other thing I’ve noticed with my return to using Vanishing Points is that my fingers get sore rather quickly using them. At first I thought it was because I was gripping the stub tighter but I tried a fine nib with the same result. I don’t seem to be gripping the pen any differently than the past. Maybe it’s some arthritis, maybe I subconsciously grip the pen tighter now. It’s rather disappointing and hopefully I’ll figure it out.

When I wrote about the November ink drop I mentioned that none of the inks grabbed my attention. Despite that I’m using two of those inks and had purchased bottles for them by months end.

I bought bottles of Diamine Ochre and Rohrer & Klingner Morinda. The Morinda is a basic red that I like. But its ease of cleaning is what made me buy it. I like red inks but avoid it in some pens because it’s such a pain to clean (or I think it will be a pain). I’ve also liked the behavior of all the Diamine inks I’ve used so I figured Ochre was a good brown ink to add.

I turned my Franklin-Christoph Model 66 into an eye dropper fill, which made it my first. So far it’s been fine without any issues or leaks. But I haven’t gotten to the end of the fill where I’ve read I may experience some “burping”.

My only ink notes in November were for J. Herbin Lierre Sauvauge which I liked. It was out of stock when I ordered some ink, otherwise I may have ordered some since my sample is gone. But it’s probably best, so I can keep looking at other green inks in my sample collection.

I also updated my fountain pen wish list at the end of November. I’ve already placed an order for #2 on that list – an Edison Signature Line pen. I’ll share the details once I have the pen in hand. The ETA is January 2013. I’d been considering this for awhile but always ended up spending the money on another pen. When the Spencer Pen was cancelled I decided to apply to refund to the custom pen. After all, that money couldn’t go back into my bank account.

Photo of my Gate City New Dunn with Apache Sunset ink

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log #3: October Edition

I managed to get through the month of October without buying a new fountain pen. I did buy a broad nib for my Lamy Safari pens, but I don’t count that nib only purchase as a pen purchase. It was tough not to buy one of the new Pilot Vanishing Points in Gun Metal with Black trim. It’s only a matter of time, but for now I’m telling myself I don’t need another Vanishing Point. So far it’s working, mainly because it’s true. But it’s only a matter of time before I come up with a reason to add one to my accumulation. Maybe a new nib style (for me) from Richard Binder.

My carry pens throughout October were uncharacteristically consistent. Only three pens I started the month with don’t hav any ink today. I didn’t add any carry pens during the month. There were a couple reasons for this.

First, I re-inked a couple pens with different inks during the month. I had Scribal Work Shop Kraken ink in a couple pens and I didn’t like the writing performance of the ink. So I refilled the pens with different ink to be sure it wasn’t the pens. It wasn’t. Too bad, I liked the color and really wanted to like the ink.

Another reason was that my Gate City New Dunn pen holds a lot of ink. I’ve taken a liking to this pen, especially when it’s filled with Noodler’s Apache Sunset ink. It’s the pen and ink I’m using to write the draft of this article. The ink looks great inside the pen, as it does on the paper too. At least in my opinion.

In November I hope to get back to trying some new inks. I just have to break the grip of Apache Sunset in the New Dunn.


Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log #2: September Edition

The Trail Log is where I recap the past month , provide any updates to previous posts, and cover anything that didn’t make it into a post of its own.

Pen Reviews

Picture of the Pilot Vanishing Point Black Matte nib

There were a couple pen reviews this month. The first was for the Matte Black Pilot Vanishing Point. My Franklin-Chistoph Model 66 review was near the end of the month. The Model 66 remains inked and used almost every day. The Matte Black Vanishing Point has been dry for a couple of weeks.

New Pens

Photo of the Stipula Model T on a mirror

There were 3 pens added to my accumulation in September. Two Franklin-Christoph models, the Model 25 Eclipse and the Model 02 Intrinsic. The Stipula Model T rounded out this months acquisitions. It’s been tough deciding which of these pens to use.


Photo of a Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz bottle

My favorite new ink (at least new to me) was Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz. I’m not a fan of blue, or blue-black. These inks rarely catch my attention. But this is one I really liked. Maybe since it was a rather expensive limited edition ink I’m sublimely biased towards liking it. Whatever the reason, I do like it and expect it to be in one of my pens until the day I run out.

Noodler’s Apache Sunset and Diamine Ancient Copper are other “new to me” inks that will see more time in my pens.

Some links and additional reading that I found interesting.

  • The Pen & Design blog has a two-part interview with Scott Franklin of Franklin-Christoph pens. I just learned of F-C this year and their pens been a bit of an obsession since then.
  • November 2, 2012 is Fountain Pen Day.
  • Brandon Hollingshead finished up his 5 part series: Lamy 2000 and the Origins of Lamy Design.
  • Vintage Pen News has been investigating and writing about fake vintage pens coming out of Korea on eBay.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log #1

Picture of my ink drawer
iPhone photo of my ink drawer

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log. The Trail Log is where I recap the past month, provide any updates to previous posts, and discuss my plans for the month ahead. I might also bring up short topics not worthy of a separate post.

New Pens

A trio of new pens were added to my accumulation in August. One July pen also saw ink for the first time. The Edison Nouveau Premiere LE is my latest ebonite pen. Ebonite is easily my favorite pen material. So far it’s lived up to my expectations. The Franklin-Christoph Model 29 reinforced my infatuation with F-C pens. It’s a reasonably priced pen with unique design elements. The Pilot Vanishing Point 2012 LE is my fifth Vanishing Point so I obviously like this practical pen.

The F-C Model 66 Desk Pen arrived in July but I just got around to inking it this month. All these pens were just inked so I haven’t formed a solid opinion on them. I’ve used the Model 66 the most, writing the first draft of this post with it. So far all the pens have left a favorable first impression.

September Plans

As the picture of my ink drawer shows, I’ve got plenty of inks to try out. Four of this week’s pens have new ink so I’m off to a good start. I’ve already found one, Diamine Ancient Copper, that I’ve added to my wish list since I only had a sample. My problem will be that I’ll like them all.

I like the Franklin-Christoph pens so much that I’m ready to pull the trigger and buy two more in September. I also plan to expand my nib choices by getting a stub or italic (or both) with these purchases.

It’s about time I converted one of my pens to an eyedropper filler. This should be any easy conversion since I have several pens designed for the conversion. I just need to decide which one.

Pen Photography

As part of this blog I want to include my own photos. This is one area where I need to practice an improve. So I’ll be working on this in September and hopefully the September pictures will be better than the August ones.

That about wraps up the first Trail Log.