Sunday Notes and Links – November 6, 2016

Things picked up this week as far as using my fountain pens went. There was more writing during the course of the week in addition to me writing at least two pages every night since Monday. So it feels like I’m back in the habit of nightly writing.

It was a more eventful Fountain Pen Day than I figured. I’ve been trying to find a use my disposable Pilot Varsity Pens. They’re great little pens that never dry out. Friday afternoon usually includes a coffee shop visit to plan the following week. I decided to bring along a Varsity and left it behind on the table, clipped to a Fountain Pen Day bookmark. It probably ended in the trash but I’d like to think it hooked someone.

Then I fell into the shopping abyss. It started with Matt’s latest Currently Inked video. The material of that Visconti Divina is gorgeous (as is the grey version). I’ve seen that celluloid material on several pens and there’s always been something about the specific pen that kept me away. In this case the pen might be a little small for my taste since at it’s price point I’d want something that can bust into my rotation as a regular. If I held the pen in real life I suspect I’d like it, but I decided not to take the risk.

I was already shopping so I looked at other pens on my wish list. Thanks to extremely favorable prices (and conversion rate) in Europe along with a FPD sale I ended up buying one. It’s one I did see and touch at the Washington DC show but I passed at the time, mainly due to its price. I bought the pen in Europe so it will take some time to arrive, but more when the pen arrives.

I also bought a second pen. It’s a pen that’s been on my list for awhile although more to try the brand, since they make their own nibs. This one is from a US retailer so it should arrive in the net day or two.

I did notice that many European brands were cheaper from European retailers than elsewhere. That they’re cheaper isn’t news, even to me, and does make certain sense. But I was shocked to see the magnitude of the difference in some cases. While some of it may be due to the exchange rate a lot had to be generally lower prices (keep in mind most website prices include VAT of 21% which gets deducted for shipments leaving Europe). In the past the shipping cost, my impatience and potential variations in the exchange rate from my bank have made the cost calculations close and l generally only bought from Europe when the item wasn’t available in the US. This time around it was no contest. The Pen Economist touches on this general topic in multiple posts and it’s worth browsing the articles, but Convergence and Distribution is good place to start.

Since I did a lot of writing this week I did write two pens dry, the Pelikan M101N and the Pilot VP XXXF. While cleaning the Pilot nib unit with a bulb syringe the metal nib unit slipped from my fingers and shot into the metal sink below. I expected to see a mangled nib but it survived without any noticeable damage. I added the Newton Eastman with an Esterbrook 2314F nib and Montblanc Irish Green to the rotation. I can’t remember the last time I had only four fountain pens inked.

Pen Shows & Clubs

There’s only one U.S. show left this year – Columbus, OH from November 10th through the 13th.

The Madrid Pen is running November 18th through the 20th: Gourmet Pens: Madrid Pen Show 2016

Scriptus 2016 Re-Cap – Wonder Pens // Nice vendor perspective of the Toronto pen show

Fountain Pen Day

As expected, there were a lot of fountain pen day posts:

My Fountain Pen Day Was Colored By Noodler’s | An Inkophile’s Blog

For the Love of a Good Fountain Pen – Thoughts on Fountain Pen Day – Wonder Pens

Fountain Pen Day 2016 – nibcreep.com

Fountain Pen Day 2016 — Pendora’s Box

Fountain Pen Day 2016 Photo Post – edjelley.com

Happy Fountain Pen Day! | Write to Me Often

My Fountain Pen Day Line-Up — The Finer Point

What Others Are Using

Currently Inked: November 2016 — Pendora’s Box

Misc Links

At Last – The New Yorker

Neil deGrasse Tyson: The Discerning Doodler – AARP

The Retail Aspiration — Pen Economics

kmpn: Japanese Competition on Nib Gold Fineness

Fountain Pen Day Giveaway Winner

TWSBI Eco and ink samplesToday’s mail delivery arrived with three letters that just made it in, and I’ve picked the giveaway winner. Bruce R. from California won the TWSBI and ink samples. Bruce used a Pilot Metropolitan with a medium nib and Pilot Namiki Black ink. Bruce, you didn’t include your email so hopefully you see this, but since I do have your address the pen and ink will go out early next week. Congratulations.

There were 21 entries which I randomly put in a stack and then picked number 11 from random.org.

Fountain Pen Day

Happy Fountain Pen Day! I still need to make one more trip to the PO Box so no winner of my fountain pen day giveaway. Sorry, unless your entry is already on the way even next day delivery won’t get it here on time. I had 18 entries as this week began.

I had planned to write several pens dry before inking up an new ones in November. While my inked pens are nice the fact that they’ve been inked over a month (some over 3 months) does indicate they aren’t favorites so reducing the competition would get them more use. But being Fountain Pen Day I decided to screw a Esterbrook nib into my newest pen and fill it with a favorite ink. So today’s pen will be a Shawn Newton Eastman demonstrator with a Esterbrook 2314-F fine stub nib with Montblanc Irish Green.

Even though it’s too late to enter my giveaway there are plenty of others going on so check your favorite retailer or website. Like any other “Day” there are plenty of sales going on.

What pen and ink are you using today?

Review: Inky Fingers Currently Inked Notebook

Inky Fingers Currently Inked Notebook - coverMatt from The Pen Habit has a line of notebooks that he sells, newly branded as Inky Fingers around the time of the Washington DC Pen Show. They were at the Vanness Pens table so I could see and touch them. I decided to try out the Currently Inked version in the Travelers Notebook (TN) size.

The entire notebook line is available in either a standard pocket size (89mm X 140mm) or a Travelers Notebook size (110mm X 210mm). I’d tried a similar notebook in a pocket size in the distant past but it didn’t stick. The TN size seemed more usable, at least for me, so I decided to try one. I probably wouldn’t have added it to my cart if shopping online, but at $8 it was my least expensive purchase at the show.

The short review – it’s worked well for me and all 24 pens inked up since the show have been recorded in the notebook.

I like the TN size because it’s easy to find in the clutter of my desk. It doesn’t get lost in a pile of pocket notebooks. While the TN size is common, if not an actual standard, it’s still unique for me making it easy to identify by either sight or touch. Of course this would change if I had a desk drawer full of Travelers Notebooks rather than pocket notebooks.

The cover is glossy card stock. Each notebook type in the line has a different cover color and the Currently Inked covers are green. There are 44 pages (22 sheets) in the notebook with four inking slots on each page. So as math will prove, there’s room for 176 ink records. Each record has room for the basics – Pen, Nib, Ink, Date Inked and Date Cleaned. There’s also a space for a swab (labeled “swatch”). I’ve never been keen on swabs since they rarely reflect how the ink will look in my typical thin nib. So I use this space for a writing sample. I like how there are labels for the basic information, but they get out of the way if you want to do things a little different. It’s a very clean design.

Inky Fingers Currently Inked Notebook - facing pages with blank

The paper is 80 gsm wheat straw paper. I’d never heard of wheat straw paper so I hit up google. I’d compare it to sugarcane paper in that both are made from what is typically farm crop waste. But the resemblance to sugarcane paper ends there and this feels like quality paper made from trees. It’s relatively smooth but does have a little texture, which I like. I find the ink dries quickly but does not bleed-through or show-through. It’s not a thick paper so if there is light behind the page it will show through, but not in normal use. Thanks to the lighting the show-through is worse in the photos than in actual use, it’s not noticeable. I haven’t used any ink that is known for bleed-through, such as some quick drying inks designed to be quickly absorbed, so your experience may vary. I’ve begun using a Travelers Notebook and I like this paper enough to consider it for other style notebooks as inserts.

As an ink record I find it quick and easy to use. Unlike previous attempts I’ve been able to stick with it and there’s an excellent chance I will eventually fill the notebook. The paper, notebook size and clean design of the Inky Fingers Currently Inked notebook seem well-suited for me.

Currently Inked – November 2016

Usually the last Sunday of the month is when I ink up some new pens for the month ahead. Not this past Sunday. I’ll be starting November with just five pens inked up, four were inked before October began and the fifth was inked mid-October. I decided to skip any new pens for now and see if I can write these dry. Most of these pens have proven to be ones I skip over when others are at hand, yet they are all nice pens with nice inks.

The Vanishing Point with the needlepoint nib is nearly empty so that will be the first to go. Yet the nice thin nib and easy-access clip mechanism make this my most functional pen, so it will probably be immediately re-inked with another cartridge.

The Sailor will probably also remain, but with a different ink as I continue to try various inks in this relatively new fountain pen. The other three will be retired when they go dry as I’ve got a long(ish) list of other pens I want to ink up.

Currently Inked - November 2016 (capped)

Currently Inked Uncapped - November 2016

Currently Inked Writing Samples - November 2016

Still Inked

The Cherry Bamboo Vanishing Point is stingy with ink thanks to its XXXF nib but it’s nearly empty. It gets used every day in my Hobonichi Journal although it’s typically only a line or two. It was inked back on July 29th, so it’s been going awhile and problem free. I do swap the nib units between barrels for variety.

A second Vanishing Point, the new Guilloche, was inked up on September 9th when it was new. Neither the ink (blue) or the nib (medium) will make it to my favorites list so I’m not surprised it’s only half empty. The ink and nib are fine, just not my color or size preference. Even though the VP is ideal for quick notes, the medium nib isn’t my choice for this task.

The Pelikan M101N just doesn’t get much use and it’s been inked since July 29th. Sheaffer Peacock Blue is one the only blue/turquoise ink I actually like, rather than tolerate, but I guess I’m getting tired of it. Plus, for such a small pen the M101N holds a lot of ink.

The Sheaffer Balance Aspen deserves more use than it gets. I love the look and it’s a great writer. Yet it’s a fragile pen. I don’t use it as a note taker as those pens tend to get lightly tossed or jostled on my desk. Even when it’s on my desk it’s usually in a protective sleeve and therefor out of sight and out of mind.

New Pens & Inks

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Robert Oster Signature Orange

Sailor Pro Gear KOP with Oster OrangeDespite liking every orange ink I see online I’ve yet to use one I actually like. I picked the medium nib to inaugurate the ink brand in my pens. So far I like it, but don’t love it. I’m guessing I’ll like it even less in my typical thinner nibs but I’ll try to remain optimistic. Its certainly bright and orange. I don’t plan to give the pen a refill of this ink when it goes dry.

Pens Leaving the Rotation

Fisher of Pens Hermes (EF) with KWZ IG Green #2

Fishr of Pens Hermes with KWZ IG Green #2I inked this pen up mid-month so it wasn’t even in October’s Currently Inked. This is an iron gall ink so once I inked the pen I made sure to use it a lot and it was written dry within two weeks. This was helped by the fact that I liked the ink. Being an iron gall ink it does darken as it dries, becoming more of a blue/green with the emphasis on blue. Once it was in the pen a couple of days it also darkened a bit which meant it didn’t write as a green either, which was a bit of a negative for me. But performance was great (with one caveat) and it’s waterproof. I did have to prime the feed a couple of times as the flow thinned out, but I think this may be due more to the pen than the ink. At least it wasn’t an issue unique to this ink. If I’m smart the next outing with the pen will be a Waterman or Iroshizuku ink since those work well with everything.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Sheaffer Blue-Black

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Sheaffer Blue-BlackI was impressed with this inexpensive ink and it performed well in the pen. I let the empty pen sit about a week before cleaning and it was still easy enough to flush out. I liked the color, more black than blue, and looks vintage to my eye. It seemed a little slow to dry at times since I had a couple accidental smudges, but otherwise it performed well. I probably used the ink in a cartridge, but this is the first time I opened the bottle. The ink did well with the pen and the price is right.

Sailor Pro Gear King KOP (M) with P.W. Akkerman Hofkwartier Groen #28

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with Akkerman Hofkwartier Groen 28The more I use this ink the more I like it. It does well with this wide (for me) nib.

Pelikan M805 Stresemann (EF) with Papier Plume Burgundy

Pelikan M805 Stresemann with Papier Plume Burgundy writing sampleThis ink quickly became one of my favorites. As I mentioned in the ink notes, it’s not a exact Montblanc Burgundy replacement, but for me it’s a spiritual replacement. This was the time using the pen since getting what Pelikan called an extra fine nib ground down to a real extra fine nib. Much better as far as I’m concerned.

Sunday Notes and Links – October 30, 2016

It was another week without a lot of writing. Work related notes has probably gotten most of my ink. I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing every night which has severely limited my ink usage. I’d typically ink up some pens today in preparation for the month ahead but will probably hold off for now.

Pen Shows & Clubs

There’s only one U.S. show left this year – Columbus, OH from November 10th through the 13th.

Those of you near Toronto can get to the Scriptus Toronto Pen Show running today from 10am to 4pm. Some folks have already made plans. 

Wonder Pens at Scriptus Toronto Pen Show 2016 – Wonder Pens

Scriptus 2016 – Toronto’s Pen & Writing Show — Pendora’s Box

The Madrid Pen is running November 18th through the 20th.

Gourmet Pens: Madrid Pen Show 2016

What Others Are Using

Currently Inked #19 | 27 October 2016 // Video

Currently Inked: Loadout for Weekend Hockey Tournament — Pendora’s Box

Currently Inked: Loadout for Scriptus 2016 – Pendora’s Box

Misc Links

A Collaboration of Talents: The Fisher of Pens Ares Fountain Pen | From the Pen Cup // I had the chance to see this pen at the show and it is gorgeous.

Sunday Notes and Links – October 23, 2016

I didn’t do too much writing this week, much less than normal. Yet, a couple pens went dry and were cleaned out. Much to my dismay my newest pen, the Shawn Newton leaked a bit and I cleaned it out. I suspect I need to be more liberal with the silicone grease. It did seem like the ink creeped along the section threads. I’ll be refilling it later this week although I haven’t decided which Esterbrook nib to use. I also added two pens to the mix since I needed colored ink. The King of Pen got an orange and the Hermes got a green.

Not too many links this week, but let’s get to them.

Pen Shows & Clubs

There’s only one U.S. show left this year – Columbus, OH from November 10th through the 13th.

What Others Are Using

I’ve been trying a Traveler’s Notebook recently so found the following videos and articles interesting. Like The Purl Bug, I’m not getting a Hobonichi for next year, although my reasons are different.

Analogue System – 2016 Review — The Purl Bug and Analogue System – 2017 Preview — The Purl Bug (Videos)

Traveler’s Notebook and Me – Oct 2016 — Alt. Haven

Misc Links

Lamy Lx vs. Lamy Al-Star — Pendora’s Box // I was surprised to find that these are a bit more than new Safari colors. Some other subtle differences

A Quick Guide to Coping with Crappy Office Paper — The Gentleman Stationer // Good advice, although I admit with my thin nibs and fondness for Montblanc inks I never resorted to “Don’t Use Fountain Pens”. I also second the notion that yellow legal pads seem universally hostile to fountain pens, especially compared to the white legal pads.