Currently Inked – August 2016

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I’ve changed my routine this month. I flushed almost all my inked pens from July which left only three pens inked up. (And really, in my mind it was only two.) I also decided to limit myself to six inked pens (although this became seven).

I picked six as the magic number in order to constrain my choices and because it happens to be the number of slots in my favorite pen case. The six pen limit was a nice constraint that forced me to be more deliberate in my ink and pen choices.

The One That Doesn’t Count

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen In StandThe Platinum Carbon Desk Pen is the pen I’m not really counting. The pen lives on my desk and it gets used every day. I use it for my short daily Hobonichi entry along with quick notes and addressing envelopes. But it’s a thin, light pen that I find uncomfortable for anything more than a few lines. It’s not a pen I would carry out and about and never consider it for anything other than quick notes.

Carried Over From July

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Aurora Black writing sampleA carry-over from July is my favorite fountain pen, the Visconti Homo Sapien with its extra fine nib. It remains inked with Aurora Black. I’m having fun using different inks in this pen so when it runs dry this time I’ll switch to a different ink. But the pen will remain in the rotation.

Sheaffer Balance Aspen with Montblanc Permanent Grey writing sample

The Sheaffer Balance Aspen has also been carried over from last month. It’s filled with Montblanc Permanent Grey ink. This is a pen & ink combination I really enjoy.

The newly inked pens are…

Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF nib w/Pilot Black

Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF with Pilot Black writing sampleOne of the things I like about the Vanishing Points is that it’s easy to move the nibs between barrels, so while this starts August in the Maplewood barrel I’ll move it to the Red Bamboo barrel when I feel like a making a change. While I do like everything about the nib, barrel and ink combination, I picked it for its functional abilities. It will live in my shirt pocket.

Pelikan M101N “Lizard” extra fine nib with Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Pelikan M101N Extra Fine with Sheaffer Peacock Blue writing sampleIt’s been nearly two years since I’ve inked up this fountain pen. It’s a little smaller than I prefer but it’s a great writer and looks great. Sheaffer Peacock Blue is the one blue (turquoise really) ink that I actually like. I love the line variation it gets, even in thin nibs.

Sheaffer Legacy I stub nib with Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen

Sheaffer Legacy I stub nib with Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen writing sampleAnother long ignored fountain pen, it’s been over two years without touching this pen. The wide factory stub nib isn’t my typical choice. It’s nice to have something different in the mix, which is why I picked it. The Akkerman #28 is a nice green ink that challenges Montblanc Irish Green for the title of “favorite green ink”. I wanted a green ink in the mix and this combination seems like a good choice for this wide nib.

Parker Vacumatic Maxima (c.1942) fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux

Parker c1942 Vacumatic Maxima fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux writing sampleI wanted a vintage pen is the rotation and Ron Gilmour’s Vacumatic review on The Pen Addict reminded me how much I like this pen, especially the one with silver pearl finish. His comment on cleaning explains why this pen only gets used about once a year…

…Then you can suck water into the pen and slowly depress the plunger to expel that. Repeat this until a) the water comes out clean or b) you’re hungry, your thumb hurts, and you just don’t care anymore.

Option B is my usual choice.

I picked Montblanc Bordeaux for this pen. It’s my favorite ink, and while it’s not vintage it does seem perfect for an iconic vintage pen. Plus, it’s easy to clean.

More Pens?

I’ll be heading to the Washington DC Pen Show in a few days. It’s safe to say I’ll be inking up more pens before the month is over. Either because the pens are new or because the ink is new. The Visconti is probably closest to empty (not that I can actually be sure) but that will go right back into the rotation with some Montblanc Ultra Black ink I’ll be picking up in DC.

While limiting myself to six pens was a nice constraint that made me consider my choices it was made easier knowing I had a ready-made excuse to add more pens in a week.

What Other Are Using

Some of these go back to early July but I still like seeing what others are using and figure you will too.

Currently Inked #7 – 28 July 2016 – Pen Habit

Currently Inked Black Pens’ Night Edition | Write to Me Often

July Long Weekend Getaway EDC — Pendora’s Box and Currently Inked: July 2016 — Pendora’s Box

The Great July Fountain Pen Flush

So far this year I’ve only been flushing my fountain pens after I write them dry or they are unbearable to use. That all changed this week. I rather impulsively flushed nine of my twelve inked pens even though only two were written dry and the other six were fine writers. In the interest of time I won’t be doing my typical Ink & Pen Notes and will just summarize them here.

Part of the reason for this was my desire to make some significant changes in my carry and the other part was the upcoming DC Pen show. I suspect I’ll have at least one new fountain pen to ink up in the next week or so. Probably a new ink or two also.

Sheaffer Balance II (Crimson Glow) and Montblanc Bordeaux

Sheaffer Balance II Crimson Glow with writing sampleMy favorite ink with one of my favorite pens, what’s not to like? This is one of the pens I wrote dry. It does need some nib tweaking which I’ll have done at the Washington DC Pen Show, so I was using it whenever possible in order to avoiding wasting ink since I want it dry for the show. Other than the occasional skip the performance was fine.

The medium nibs in the Balance IIs are on the thin side and I love the way they write. My Balance II Aspen nib was tweaked by Mike Masuyama and I look forward to getting this pen (and it’s Jade Green sibling) adjusted for the same great writing experience.

Sheaffer Balance II (Jade Green) and Montblanc Irish Green

Sheaffer Balance II Jade Green with writing sampleAnother favorite pen paired with my favorite green ink. Again, what’s not to like? Like the Crimson Glow model the nib will be tweaked at the pen show so I wanted the pen empty. It wasn’t written dry but it was very close, just whatever the feed held was left.

Edison Menlo Pump Filler with Athena Sepia

This was the other fountain pen written dry. The more I use this pen the more I like it, especially its extra fine nib. It’s a great writer and comfortable for long writing sessions. The Athena ink is also a favorite, although on the expensive side here in the States, assuming it can be found or arrangements can be made to have it shipped from Japan.

This vacumatic-like pen is a royal pain to clean. The nib unit can be removed (unscrewed) which I did this time to make it slightly easier to clean. It’s been inked all year, having been refilled when empty, and this is it’s first cleaning. It wasn’t hard to clean with the nib removed, but it was still tedious. The filler tube (attached to the nib unit) is stained although it’s unobstructed. I haven’t bothered with anything besides water to remove the stains. It won’t affect performance and the brown staining pretty much matches the pen.

Lamy AL-Star with KWZ Ink IG Blue-Black (1106)

Lamy AL-Star with writing sampleThis is a new ink for me, and an iron gall ink. I had picked this pen with the intention of swapping nibs to give the ink a good testing. But I never used anything except the original extra fine nib. It’s been a month, so I decided to flush it. There was still a good amount of ink left even though I thought I had used the pen a lot. That extra fine nib sure is stingy. But the writing was smooth and consistent with a nice solid blue-black line. It was quick and easy to flush the pen.

Kaweco Brass Sport with Kaweco Black (cartridge)

This was inked back on February 27th and refilled June 2nd. Even though I was saved more than once by having this in my pocket I decided to flush it out despite having a 1/2 cartridge left. As usual, cleaning was quick and easy.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Sailor Sei-boku (Blue-Black) (cartridge)

I almost didn’t flush this pen since it had about half a cartridge left. This is a nano pigment ink and while I’ve never had a problem with it, even in this thin extra-fine nib, I decided it was time to flush it out. I kept trying to convince myself that thin blue-black line was dark enough for me, but the lack of use tells the real story. I love the way this pen writes but I’ve used less than 1/2 a cartridge in nearly two and a half months.

Franklin-Christoph Model 02 with Sheaffer Green

The pen and ink combined for a nice writing experience with the extra fine nib. I almost wrote the pen dry, the converter was empty. If there had been more ink I wouldn’t have flushed the pen since I enjoyed it. But, I was already cleaning. The ink did seem to take an abnormally long time to flush from the pen. I didn’t write the pen completely dry so there was still some ink in the feed but it still took longer than expected. Eventually I got lazy and used the UC to get the ink out of the feed. It wasn’t dried or staining, it just seemed to be clinging to every part of the feed and was reluctant to let go. This pen took longer to clean than the other pens, except the Menlo.

Lamy Safari with Lamy Dark Lilac (cartridge)

This was the Lamy Dark Lilac ink in the new Lamy Dark Lilac Safari with a medium nib. The nib is wide for me and while I used it a lot it was mostly for notes or other short sessions. The nib is a little wider than my preference in a daily writer. I inked it up back on April 29th and there was still about 1/4 of the cartridge left. I do like the color of the ink and think that the wider medium nib was a good first choice for this ink. I don’t have a lot of purple inks but I did like this color. It was easy to flush from the pen.

Pilot Custom 823 with Namiki Blue

It was a last minute decision to flush this pen. I love the fine nib and the pen itself is extremely comfortable. But I filled it with Namiki (Pilot) Blue ink and while many people like blue inks, I’m not on of them. I’ve been warming to blue a bit over the years and figured I’d use up some that I had. But after two months the pen is still over 1/2 full. That’s a lot of blue ink left. I hate to waste it but I want something I’ll enjoy more. The pen may be back soon, but with a different ink.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – July 28, 2016

Currently Inked - July 2016

Look familiar? All the pens I started the month with are still inked up.

It’s been a slow month as far as fountain pen usage goes. All the pens I started the month with still have ink. Only the Visconti was written dry and that was immediately refilled. A couple pens are close to empty but they’ll probably survive the month.

The Washington DC Pen Show is next week and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been three years since I attended the show.

Non-Negotiable: Eleven Days of Morning Pages | From the Pen Cup

I gave this a try earlier this month and I could see immediate benefits. Despite this I just didn’t stick with it and only lasted about a week. I’m not a morning person so it didn’t take much of a speed bump to break the habit. I did enjoy it and I used my pens a lot.

I’ll probably try to get going again, although not as a daily habit. I find that a “daily goal” like this can become mechanical and I just go through the motions the reach the physical goal. Rather than enjoying the writing I was concentrating on getting to three pages on the last couple of days.

One Book July 2016 — The Purl Bug and One Book July: Halfway Point – The Well-Appointed Desk

I realize that this is a thing, just not for me.

KWZ Inks: A New Favorite — The Gentleman Stationer

It seems like there’s always a hard to get boutique fountain pen ink that’s the latest rage in the FP community. KWZ Ink, from Poland, is the latest of these. I have more than enough ink and I tend to avoid these inks during the initial feeding frenzy but may pick up a bottle as the fad fades. I did pick up a bottle of KWZ IG Blue-Black which I like. My motivation was mainly that it was an iron gall ink and a blue-black. KWZ does have non-IG inks and a wide range of colors. Joe makes a good case as to why he likes them. I tell myself I have enough ink but I expect I’ll buy a bottle from Vanness pens at the DC show next week.

A Shinobi creeps in – And All Other Tasks

A favorite vintage nib found a new home in a modern pen. I love that Shawn Newton does this. Others do it too, but since I have a pen on order with Shawn I’ve noticed his work more.

Ink Review: Waterproof, Permanent Inks – The Well-Appointed Desk

I’ve had a heightened interest in iron gall and other waterproof inks most of this year. Although the appeal of IG extends beyond its waterproof properties it did lead me to look at other waterproof inks. Among Ana’s recommendations is the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Platinum Carbon ink. This combination has been on my desk since February. I use it when water resistance is my primary goal bit it’s also good for general use.

A Good Pen Matters – crane reaction

That One Pen is now Crane Reaction. Well, both exist, but only Crane Reaction will get new content from Todd. He’ll still write about pens, just not exclusively.

From Parker to Montblanc: the appeal of the fountain pen | The Week Portfolio

A bit of a puff piece, but its nice to see a fountain pen article in a non-stationery setting.

Zen and the Art of Fountain Pen Maintenance — The Pen Addict

Good info. I like that no fountain pens are disassembled simply to make cleaning easier. Especially since it’s not necessary.

My Personal Fountain Pen Collection | Hey there! SBREBrown

Stephen Brown shares his pen collection.

Aurora, Cross and Omas ink tests | FOUNTAIN PEN INKS & BLEACH

This sites new to me but it’s been around a few years. Interesting stuff worth checking out.

The Value of a Pen — Pen Economics

Some interesting thoughts in this post. The Blue Hour Skeleton isn’t for my aesthetic tastes and I immediately move on when seeing this price. But it’s interesting to read about the thought process from a fountain pen user. I always consider pens of this price to be more jewelry purchase rather than a writing instrument purchase so it’s nice to see it considered as a writing instrument.

Currently Inked – July 2016

Currently Inked - July 2016I’m back up to a dozen inked fountain pens. While eight pens are carry overs from June, two of those where written dry, flushed and then refilled. As I was deciding whether or not to ink up my twelfth fountain pen The Gentleman Stationer’s post about Choosing Pens for the Daily Carry showed up in my RSS feed. The entire post rings true to me, especially this part:

Needless to say, it takes a LONG time for me to work through the various pens in my rotation, and I’m getting annoyed that some of my favorites have fallen by the wayside.

He limited himself to ten fountain pens, but with a certain logic behind the choices (read the article for details). While the article makes perfect sense it didn’t stop me from inking up that twelfth pen.

New Pens or Inks

I decided to start highlighting my newly inked up pens and why I made the selection.

Sheaffer Balance II (x3)

I absolutely love the look of these three pens and the nibs are terrific. The Aspen’s nib and feed has been tuned by Mike Masuyama (it had a not uncommon flow issue when I received it) which makes me realize how good they can be. The other two aren’t quite there but I plan to remedy that next month.

These all got a matching color ink from my favorite ink brand.

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I reviewed the Sheaffer Balance Aspen and the other two are similar and I did write a This Just In post for them. The inks used are Montblanc Bordeaux (my absolute favorite), Montblanc Irish Green and Montblanc Permanent Grey. No review of the Permanent Grey even though it’s a former Fav 5 ink.

Lamy AL-Star (Green)

An early favorite of mine the Lamy Safaris (and similar AL-Stars) have been neglected. I recently returned to using them. The ink in this one is a new brand to me. Plus it’s a boutique manufacturer, and third it’s an iron gall ink. So I wanted a fountain pen that would be easy to clean and also relatively inexpensive should the unexpected happen and the ink damages the pen. As an added bonus I have a complete set of Lamy nibs and can swap them to give this ink a good workout.

Lamy AL-Star with writing sample

I’ve never reviewed the Safari/AL-Star but I’m sure a search of Pennaguod will turn up hundreds, if not thousands.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age

This was the twelfth pen that I was debating to ink up. It would have been inked sometime during the month anyway since it’s the favorite, plus I really do need to review it finally. I continued my practice not repeating inks in this pen. The Aurora Black is an ink I’ve ignored for far too long so it was picked.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with writing sample

No full reviews of this pen or ink yet but I did write about the Visconti soon after it arrived.

The Full List

The samples are in the same order as the pens in the photo up top.

Currently Inked Writing Samples - July 2016

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – June 29, 2016

Visconti Dreamtouch 3 pen case full with SheaffersThe Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log is a replacement of sorts for my Sunday Notes and Links. I’m hoping to make it a regular feature although I’m not willing to commit to a publication frequency.

The month of June was mostly standard fountain pen usage for me. I used the pens to take notes at work, draft my posts, and for other miscellaneous writing. As I mention below, I rarely use a non-fountain pen. It’s main competition is the computer or iPad. I did write several pens dry during the month but the ones that remain still hold a lot of ink.

I did give in and ink up my Sheaffer Balance IIs and have been using them a lot now that they have a case to protect them.

I could brag that I continue to use my Hobonichi every day. But the truth is it’s usually just a short entry in the morning. The current weather and how well I slept are standard fare.

I have been better about writing in my Seven Seas Writer most evenings although I did miss a few entries this month. For awhile I wrote at least a page a night but in the last week I’m down to about half a page. I’ve been trying to maintain the habit of writing nightly and not get too concerned about quantity. (I was never concerned about quality.)

Thought Provoking Links

The Handwritten Draft // Pete Denison

Pete Denison recently wrote about how his posts start off as handwritten drafts. This is something I’ve been doing since I started this blog as it gave me a reason to use my pens. Happily, I’ve found I like writing this way and much of my other writing also starts as a handwritten draft. Although to be honest I have to admit that I’m most consistent with this blog, I use this process for many of the reasons Pete mentions.

I generally draft all my posts in the same notebook until it’s full. It’s not dedicated to posts but this way I always know where to find them. My current notebook is a Maruman Septcouleur. I may have more than one post going at a time. I don’t leave blank pages. If a post isn’t done, I simply continue on at the next blank page if I pick it up again. Sometimes an incomplete post just fades into oblivion.

I don’t do a lot of editing when writing the draft. I may use an arrow to show a paragraph makes more sense in a different spot, but that’s about it. If I need to look something up I’m more likely to make a note about it rather than stopping and looking it up.

Once the written draft is done I transcribe it into ByWord for this blog or Ulysses for some of my other writing. I do edit and rewrite sections during this process and look up anything I made a note of. Sometimes this editing will be very extensive.

Once it’s transcribed I like to let it sit overnight but have to admit I often move right on to the next step which is reading it aloud. I find reading it aloud lets me catch more errors and I’m even more likely to catch them if I waited until the next day. This way I read the actual words rather than what my brain remembers me writing.

If I’m really conscientious I use text to speech as a final review to have the words read to me. But I admit I often skip this step in the interest of time.

This process doesn’t apply to my Sunday Notes and Links or Currently Inked posts, but every other post on this site started this way. I may hand write any blurbs or comments for the Sunday Links or Currently Inked posts but since they are so link or copy/paste heavy I rarely do.

On the surface this seems to be doubling the work but I’m not convinced that’s true since this seems to be a nice streamlined flow from start to finish. Even if it is true, I get to enjoy using my pens.

Namisu Nexus Minimal fine nib writing sample

A written draft

Fad or Function? Using what you enjoy…and makes sense // The Clicky Post

In this post Mike Dudek makes two main points. First, use what you enjoy which I agree with wholeheartedly. Second, fountain pens may not be ideal for many situation to which I say balderdash! If a fountain pen can’t be used then it’s not worth writing!

OK, a little extreme I know. I do think his first point trumps all others. If you don’t enjoy the pen, no matter what the type or what the community says, then don’t use it. If you enjoy rollerballs then use them.

In my case, my attempts to use non-fountain pens have left me wanting more. I like Retro 51 rollerballs, mainly for their look. They do write nice, thanks to the refill and I always have one with me. But it gets used more by other people (can I borrow your pen?) than by myself. I also like the idea of mechanical pencils and carried one for about a month but never used it. Likewise I still have some nice wood cased pencils sitting unused in my desk drawer.

I’m lucky in that my nib of choice is thin and I like well behaved inks. This lets me use a wide range of papers without too much trouble. Unlike Mike, I wouldn’t say “you need to use the right paper or they usually suck”. I don’t mind the Field Notes paper or even cheap copy paper. Sure, I prefer nice paper but I rarely come across paper that completely sucks.

I also admit I’m used to compromise. I’ve had a long career in technology, usually other people providing the keyboards or requiring me to switch keyboards a lot. I have my preference but other keyboards don’t make me nuts and I adjust. Likewise, I like my AeroPress coffee but office coffee has always been free and right at hand, so I dealt with it, at least as much as possible (tough at times). The same goes for inks and paper, show-through doesn’t bother me if I’m just doing notes or even the first draft of an article. With my thin nibs it’s rarely a problem for me. I’d rather use a fountain pen and live with it’s foibles than use something else. Let’s face it, it’s not like my handwriting is so good that a little show-through or feathering ruins what is otherwise perfect.

But it gets back to his first point, use what you enjoy. For me that means using a fountain pen 99% of the time.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc Ink Bottle

A pen and ink I really enjoy.

Top 7 Pens to Take on a Summer Outing // Anderson Pens Podcast #195

I’m way behind on my podcast listening. A few weeks ago Brian and Lisa Anderson selected their choices for summer pens. The definition of “outing” was a bit murky and could probably apply to winter outings too. I can’t argue with their choices but if I was to pick from the pens I own these are the ones I’d pick.

  1. Kaweco Brass Sport – a little pricy if I was concerned about losing it but I already carry it everyday as it is.
  2. KarasKustoms Ink – a tank of a pen. The red one would be easy to find if dropped. It’s a little heavy for a shirt pocket and the stiff clip may not hold the pen securely since summer shirts are usually thin.
  3. Lamy Safari or AL-Star – inexpensive and durable.
  4. Pilot Vanishing Point with XXXF nib There was a bit of a chuckle when Lisa picked the Vanishing Point and she showed the Cherry Bamboo. It’s more expensive than the metal bodies and more likely to be damaged since it’s wood. But it’s my favorite and would be my choice unless I was extra concerned about loss or damage.
  5. Retro 51 or KarasKustoms Ink Rollerball – for when my non-pen companions want to borrow one.

Pen Show Frictions, Part 1: retail shoppers vs traders // Vintage Pen News
Pen Show Frictions, Part 2: the Generation Gap // Vintage Pen News

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about various factions at pen shows. I especially enjoyed part 1 which approached this in a way I hadn’t seen discussed before, but immediately recognized. Without thinking to much about it at the time, I did see the two different types at pen shows. Personally, I prefer the retailer. I tended to just avoid those without prices marked (the traders). The exception being if I know a bit about the pen.

Other Links

Visconti Homo Sapiens – Florentine Hills // Calligraphy Nut

I’m having a hard time resisting this pen. I love my Bronze Age and this is gorgeous. I’m saving my pen money for the DC show which has helped me resist. I’ve also read that each of these pens is slightly different so I’d want to see it.

Art Supply Posse

Ana, from the Well-Appointed Desk, along with Heather Rivard have started a podcast about art supplies. I admit that I haven’t listened to it – I’m behind on my podcasts and this isn’t a topic I get excited about. But I suspect many others will enjoy it.

Montblanc Inks // United Inkdom

It’s from May, but it’s my favorite ink brand so here it is.

Pen Shows

The Miami Pen Show will be July 15–17.

The Washington DC Pen Show is August 4–7.

Triangle Pen Show 2016 // Inkdependence – The Triangle Pen Show has been over nearly a month, but here’s a photo heavy recap to get you in the pen show mood.

Review: Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 3 Pen Holder

Visconti Dreamtouch 3 pen case full with SheaffersI picked up the Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 3 Pen Holder a few months ago and have been enjoying it ever since. Once a year or so I order from overseas. Usually for items that aren’t available in the US, such as Pelikan Blue-Black ink. Even though it’s available in the US I added this case to the order. I’d done some research and picked this case as my solution but was holding back because of the price. The exchange rate gave me a significant savings, plus it brought me above the free shipping threshold from Cult Pens.

Rather than buying it because it’s a nice case, which it is, I bought it because it’s the one pen case I found that met my current requirements. Cases for three pens are the sweet spot for me since I often carry three pens when I’m out and about. I had been using the Nockco Sinclair but it didn’t meet my current requirements, although I’ll certainly continue to use it.

I have three Sheaffer Balance IIs that I love using, despite their medium nibs. The pens have the reputation of being fragile (and feel it), especially around the clip. Mine are still crack free and I’d like them to remain that way as long as possible. They’ve been home-bound because I’ve been afraid to take them outside the house. I love using the pens and they give me a nice trilogy of pens and ink – a grey or brown in the Aspen, red in the Crimson Glow and green in the Jade Green model. They are too nice to ignore so I wanted a way to carry them in relative safety.

I wanted something that was more rigid although it didn’t have to be a fountain pen bunker. I wouldn’t expect it to survive me sitting on it, but I wanted it to survive in my iPad bag which is my typical carry these days. I didn’t want it to cause damage if the iPad ended up on top of the pen case. It also had to protect pens from bouncing notebooks or keys. I also wanted it to hold all three pens securely without using the fragile pen clips.

The Visconti 3 Pen Case is the one I found that met my requirements, plus it does look good. I just had to get past the price, which I obviously did.

The case has a rigid bottom which keeps it from bending. This was important to me because I’m more concerned about an indirect hit putting pressure on half the case that I am about it being crushed under a large object. The top panels are also rigid although there’s a hinge between them. The sides are rigid except for the zipper which has cloth along it’s length, which doesn’t provide any support. While it’s not a fountain pen bunker it does provide good protection without requiring that the pen be clipped in place. Overall, I think the case provides very good pen protection.

The pen slot dividers run the entire length of the case and are attached to the bottom along the entire length of the case. The don’t flop around and do feel like they are also attached to the bottom side of the case. The inner lining is soft and has a felt-like feel. It doesn’t appear as if it will scratch or wear the pens at all. Unless of course some sand or other grainy particles get caught inside it.

The zipper is exposed to the inside of the case. The zipper teeth are small and fairly smooth along the inside. The zipper is metal. The position of the zipper, high relative to the pens rather than along the middle, plus the small zipper size makes me confident that it won’t scratch my pens. That said, I can’t rule out a series of unfortunate events that could cause it to scratch a pen since it is exposed. Wrapping the pens in a protective cloth, or a protective sheet along the zipper side would eliminate my concerns, but that adds a complication I decided was more of a hassle than the low risk deserved.

I used the case for a couple of months with my regular carry pens to build my confidence that it will protect my more fragile fountain pens. Then a couple weeks ago I inked up my three Sheaffer Balance IIs and moved them into their new home. I don’t have any complaints about the case and it’s protected my pens well. The Sheaffers are the few pens I have that I consider fragile, requiring special handling. I’m not about to see how much abuse they can take inside the case, but I am confident they are safe in there during my normal travels. My only concern is to make sure I don’t run the pen over the zipper as I take it in and out of the case. The cover opens wide and the zipper is easily avoided, it’s my carelessness that I worry about.

“Dreamtouch” is the name Visconti gave to their leather processing. It tends to turn me off when manufacturers give a made-up name to their process, since it’s meaningless to me. I’m more concerned about the result and the name doesn’t help determine that. That said, the leather is smooth and soft and it does appear to do a good job of resisting abuse. Scuffs have been easy to work out so far. There is some creasing where the hinged top attaches, but no signs of cracking. Being black every spec of dust is highlighted in the photos. In real life it has a much cleaner, dust-free look.

Three months of normal use isn’t exactly an endurance test, but the case has held up well. The stitching seems solid and there isn’t any sign of it coming apart. Normally I like my cases to show they’ve been used. This case has had a few scuffs which really stand out on that black leather, which I don’t like. I’ve been able to work them out with just my fingers. The zipper is another potential failure point but it seems to be holding up well.

The case fits all except my largest pen, a Edison Huron Grande. My Franklin-Christoph Model 66 just fits in the center slot, although it doesn’t fit in the side slots. Both the case and pen have an official length of 6.3″. The Model 66 does press against the top end but not enough to affect the zipper operation. It’s a bit hard to remove since friction holds it in place. I haven’t tried all of my pens but I’m confident any others will fit fine. Because the pen clip won’t hold the pen in place smaller pens may rattle around a bit but that isn’t a concern for me.

I’m very happy with the Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 3 Pen Holder and it’s been used daily since I got it. Now that I’m confident in it’s protection, my 3 Sheaffer Balance II fountain pens have claimed it as their new mobile home. I’ve enjoyed having them with me which makes the case worth the money.

Additional Reading

My Pen Needs Ink – 3 pen case review

The Pencilcase Blog – 6 Pen Case review