Pen Disappointments of 2012

On the recent Pen Addict podcast Myke and Brad discussed their most disappointing pen and paper purchases. That seems like a good topic and easier than picking my favorite purchases. Although I will have to follow-up with a post about the favorites.

I limited my possibilities to pens I received this year. I was shocked to see I added 26 pens and nibs to my accumulation this year. Disappointment depends on expectations so it’s completely subjective. A disappointing pen doesn’t mean it’s a bad pen.

June was a bad month for me as both my disappointing pens were added in June. My first was a $16.50 pen so I didn’t expect much from it – a Ohto Rook. So in this case disappointing does equal bad. It’s a pocket pen that fails to write when I take it out of my pocket. Ink flow is nearly non-existent. When it does manage to write I know it will dry out in a sentence or two.

The Rook was the cheapest pen I bought this year. My other disappointment was at the other end of the spectrum. The Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage is the most expensive pen I have ever purchased. I absolutely love the look and feel of the lever fill version I received. But at this price I had high expectations and as a writer out of the box this pen was a major disappointment. I had flow problems right away due to a feed misalignment. I could fix it myself but it was a major disappointment.

Did you have any disappointing pen purchases this year?

Sunday Ink Notes – December 9, 2012

I’ve done away with the “This Week’s Ink” Sunday posts, at least for now. There hasn’t been much turnover recently and I’ve changed the way I carry and ink my pens. I now ink more pens, but I only pick two pens in the morning to carry with me for the day. The first is always a “writing pen” with black, blue or some other business appropriate color. The second pen varies. I also keep a few Lamys at work in colors appropriate for notations so that I don’t have to carry a red or other bright colored pen just for that purpose.

Because I’m basically lazy and don’t remove the pens from my bag when I get home I carried my Franklin-Christoph Model with a medium italic nib and Waterman Florida Blue ink along with my Gate City New Postal with Pelikan Brilliant Black ink and a fine nib.

I also inked my four Edison pens with some brown inks and have been alternating their use at home. I picked the Edisons for this since their nibs are similar. Oh yea, I REALLY like writing with them which is also a good reason. I’ve been using Diamine Ochre, Private Reserve Ebony Brown and Diamine Golden Brown. Four pens, three inks? Yup, user error but I decided to go with it.

I decided to go with the Edison pen method because I just don’t have the patience to sit down and try various brown inks. Instead I need to use them in normal use. For the most part I switch pens after writing each complete page. By my own count I have samples of 14 different brown inks to run through so this will take awhile, even if I don’t decide to try a different color family along the way.

Some links around the web caught my attention recently:

Anderson Pens and Edison Pens are collaborating on a limited edition bulb filler. I really like the ebonite model but I have to show some restraint. The question is whether or not my willpower will last until January 7th when orders close.

I came across this post by Okami on the FPGeeks forum about the Levenger Circa system. She has several good pen related ideas for using the Junior version of the system. Also, I hadn’t realized that there’s now Rhodia paper for the Circa. I tried Circa long ago as a general purpose notebook but found the notebooks didn’t like the abuse I gave them while traveling. I may have to consider them for other purposes or invest in an enclosed binder.

FPGeeks is having an ink sample giveaway so check it out before December 12th. I already have too many ink samples so I didn’t enter. But the contest did make me look to see what I got this year. I have over 100 different inks listed in my spreadsheet. Not all are from this year, but I did discover samples this year. So it’s safe to say all 70 samples arrived this year. This is why I’m not renewing my ink drop membership into 2013. Too many inks, too little time. They have a second giveaway which doesn’t interest me either. Visit the site to learn about the Montegrappa Expressione giveaway.

Finally, @edisonpenco tweated a link to an article (obsolete link) about American Pen Maker Bexley. Nice article. I was surprised to read that there’s only three employees (owner included). I realize they’re a small pen maker but figured there were more people involved.

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.

December 2012 Ink Drop

I received the December 2012 ink drop from Goulet Pens tonight. After dinner I poured a cup of coffee and did some samples and swabs. The ink selection was red and green in honor of the Christmas season. I got lucky in that none of the samples duplicated the reds & greens I’ve been accumulating. So all these inks are new to me.

These are this month’s selection and my impressions (based just on the test swabs):

  • De Atramentis Fir: This is a scented ink. I’m ambivalent about scented ink but have no desire to use them. As expected, this has a fir scent, at least that’s the claim. The scent isn’t overwhelming. The green is nice, but I don’t see it being a regular for me.
  • Rohrer & Klingner Verdura: I like this green, at least the swab. I’ve also liked other Rohrer & Klingner inks so I look forward to trying it out.
  • Noodler’s Green: A simple, to the point name and a nice looking green.
  • Diamine Matador: A nice red, but just another red to me.
  • De Atramentis Oriental Red: Again, nice but just another red to me.

Green is one of my favorite colors, although I’ve yet to come across a green worthy of consideration as a favorite ink. I’ve been accumulating samples. I guess with this latest crop it’s time to begin writing with some green ink.

If my calendar is correct this is my last ink drop unless I reorder. I like getting the ink but I’ve got so much unused ink now I need to make a dent in what I already have. So I think it’s time to take a break from the monthly drops and get to using what I already have.

Fountain Pen Year End Wish List

I first published my fountain pen wish list back in October and there have been a couple changes since then.

The first pen on that list, the Platt Rogers Spencer Fountain Pen, has been cancelled. The main reason was problems with the durability of the modified flex nib. While I’m disappointed, without the flex nib the pen just isn’t the same. I probably wouldn’t have taken the pen without the flex nib. While I like the material (green ripple hard rubber) it wouldn’t have been enough to take the pen with a regular nib.

The second pen on my October wish list was the Pilot Vanishing Point Gun Metal with Black Trim. I added that to my accumulation last week, although with specialty nibs, not the standard VP nib.

This leaves my year-end fountain pen wish list as follows:

  1. Edison Nouveau Encore Fountain Pen – Flecked Tortoise (Limited Edition): I’ve already ordered this one. The pen is a little small since I typically don’t post my pens but it had me at the color. The flecked tortoise will be unique to my accumulation.
  2. Edison Signature Line Pen: This has always been on the burner, it just never made it to the list. I had planned to visit a pen show to be able to see the materials and pens first hand before making a decision. That’s not likely to occur until August or so of 2013. But I already have four Edison pens and have more confidence about some possible choices. I’m currently mulling over three distinct pen choices. I currently have some questions in to Brian at Edison Pens and those answers may knock one or two off this list.
    a. The large Huron Grande in a bright color scheme such as flecked-red/white/blue, striped fleck-lollipop confetti or translucent red/white/blue.
    b. Either a Huron or a #76 in black ebonite with an ink window low on the barrel. To be used as a eye dropper fill.
    c. A pen in the same green ripple hard rubber as the Spencer pen. I think this would be a Glenmont.
  3. Monteverde Invincia, in matte black: I’m not sure exactly which model, since there are several which are matte black or “stealth” which are all the same basic design and the same nib. This one keeps popping up whenever I’m browsing pens. I like the all black (including nib) and this gets generally good reviews and is the cheapest pen currently on this list. I think an acquisition is inevitable.
  4. Franklin-Christoph Models 19, 33 and 40 Pocket: These remain on the list. The Edison Nouveau atop this list preempted a year end Model 19 purchase. I’ve come close to hitting the buy button several times but have held off so far.
  5. Nibs – I really like the Gate City New Dunn pen, even with the medium nib. Still, I think adding a fine nib, or even a broad could be a nice change. The nibs are easily swapped and reasonably priced.

The Edison Signature Line pen will be my next decision. The Huron Grande is my current preference but that does change from time to time. It’s the most unlike any pen in my current accumulation, both in size and my anticipated color choice.

While I’ve seen other pens I like, none have made it to my wish list. The Taccia Savanna pen is one that caught my attention and may make its way onto the list. It’s different enough to catch my eye. And with a street price around $190 it’s one of the few pens to catch my eye and also have an attainable price.

I also liked the two newly announced Bexley 20th Anniversary and 2013 Owner’s Club pens. But they aren’t unique enough to get me to open my wallet and add them to my accumulation.

What’s on your fountain pen wish list?