Currently Inked – June 2021

It was January 2 of this year when I last did a currently inked roundup. I did an ink purge this past weekend so; it seems like a good time for another currently inked post. I cleaned out my Lamy Safaris, along with a TWSBI Go that was inked up last year. My habit of using factory included cartridges to start off my new pens has me really, really bored with blue, black and blue-black inks. I broke another rule; I flushed out pens that still had most of their ink left, and were problem free.

Pens currently inked for June 2021

Five fountain pens carried over from May, here they are:

Sheaffer 300 Matte Green (F) with a Sheaffer Black cartridge

Role: Workhorse fountain pen

This fountain pen is a terrific value at $65. Green is my favorite color. The matte green with black accents makes for a sharp-looking pen. The nib is smooth and puts down a sharp line, true to its fine width. I picked Sheaffer Black (in cartridge form) for this pen so that it’s suitable for any situation. The nib and dark ink make it suitable even when I’m forced to write in weird postures and on all but the worst paper.

Kanilea Kona Cherry (F) with Montblanc Bordeaux

Role: To Spark Joy

A gorgeous fountain pen, filled with my favorite ink. While I usually tire of flashy pen materials, I like this one more each time I use it. I have to get over my fear of running out of Bordeaux, which keeps me from using the pen. That’s a terrible reason not to use the pen. This is one of two pens with this ink.

This one ran out of ink Sunday night, but I immediately refilled it. Despite the refill, I still consider it a carry over.

Sailor 1911L Ringless Epinard (Zoom) with a Sailor Shikiori Yodaki cartridge

Role: Headings & Something Completely Different

This pen will never be a daily writer for me, heck, it rarely writes for than 10 words when I pick it up. I like it for headings, bold notes, or just to have fun using. I use the pen every day, even if it’s only to write the date on the top of my daily index card. Occasionally used for doodling, where I can explore the line variation provided by the angle of the zoom nib.

Diplomat Aero Volute LE (Oblique Fine) with a Montblanc Spider Grey cartridge

Role: Daily Writer

Unlike my workhorse Sheaffer 300, the oblique grind on the nib means I should sit at a desk (or table) when I use the pen. The oblique grind fits the way I naturally rotate my pen, while the fine nib fits my writing style. It’s the best of both worlds. I picked the ink because I like grey inks, and it matches the pen. This is a Mark Bacas nib grind of the stock steel fine nib.

Montblanc sometimes gets carried away with their ink names. The full name of this ink is Montblanc Heritage Spider Metamorphosis Web Grey.

Lamy Safari USA (XXF) with Waterman Intense Black

Role: Big Nib Therapy

Another Mark Bacas nib grind where my instructions were to get as close to a Platinum UEF as was safe with the steel Lamy nib. I don’t have the UEF for comparison anymore, but it seems pretty close, and it is very thin.

The thinness of the nib can make it scratchy on some papers, although it’s smooth on Rhodia, Tomoe River and Profolio Oasis notebook papers. I use it when I want a thin nib, either to mark up a document, or when I just want a thin line.

I inked up five new pens before heading into June. Here they are:

Lamy 2000 (Oblique Medium) with Montblanc Bordeaux

Role: The Rookie with All-Star Potential

This one arrived Saturday, and I had it inked up with my favorite ink by evening. It’s a factory oblique medium, but I still have high expectations for this nib. I’ve barely used it so far, but all the signs are good, unlike that Lamy 14k extra-fine nib that disappointed immediately.

While I prefer thin nibs, oblique nibs are perfect for me, and an oblique medium is much more accessible to me. The small nib, and even smaller sweet-spot of my previous Lamy, made it a pain to use. I was always rotating the nib into skipping. So far the oblique nib seems to work for me. The nib still doesn’t provide much of a visual queue for alignment, but it touches the paper perfectly with my natural grip.

Lamy Aion Red (F) with a Lamy Red cartridge

Role: Utility (another Rookie)

I’ve had this pen since April 9th and have been debating whether to ink it up, or pass it on. There’s nothing wrong with the pen, and I do like red. But, I already have the Dark Green sibling, which will get much more use.

I didn’t do it any favors with the Lamy Red ink. Especially since some ink leftover in the pen (from testing I assume) made the initial sentence a nice, dark red. But it soon became a washed out red. I much prefer Sheaffer Red.

I’ll use it marking up documents.

Lamy Aion Dark Green (EF) with a Lamy Green cartridge

Role: Workhorse Pen

Like the Sheaffer 300, this is a workhorse pen, appropriate for any use. The green ink might keep it from some business uses, but I don’t really exclude any ink from business use. But being honest, I may want to play it safe is some situations and avoid the green ink.

I wanted to keep this in the pen case, uninked, until the Sheaffer 300 went dry, but I couldn’t. I want to use the pen.

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Montblanc Psychedelic Purple (The Beatles)

Role: Royalty

This pen is just back from bent nib repair by Mark Bacas. This is the 20th ink filling for the pen (Since Aug 2016), so it gets a lot of use. Despite being a medium nib, I love writing with the pen. My other KOP was ground to an oblique, but I kept this one as a regular medium. The huge nib provides an unavoidable visual queue to help avoid rotating the pen while writing.

Esterbrook (Kenro) Oversized Estie (Journaler) with Sheaffer Red

Role: Drawing Attention to Itself

The only ink this pen has ever held is Sheaffer Red. Any choice other that the fire engine red Sheaffer ink would be wrong.

Fountain Pens currently inked for June 2021 - uncapped
Writing samples for all the June pens

Currently Inked – August 2, 2020

2020_08_02 - Currently Inked Pens - Ready to Go
Currently inked fountain pens ready to go

It’s been over three months since I’ve done a currently inked post. It’s been even longer since I flushed a fountain pen without a reason, other than wanting a change. I cleaned over half my inked pens on Saturday, so a currently inked post seems appropriate. On Saturday, I realized I was bored with my current pen and ink choices, so it was time to break the rule against early flushing and get some variety moved into the rotation. I kept a few pens with a specific purpose, such as desk and pocket pens. I also kept a couple of new pens that I want to get to know better. These holdovers left me with enough black and blue-black inks to get by.

I often have trouble deciding what pens to ink up and what inks to use when my choices are limitless, well limited only to my accumulation. So, I decided to set some boundaries, beyond the obvious no more blue or black inks. For the fountain pens, I decided to limit myself to my two “S” brands, Sheaffer and Sailor. The Sailors would give me a nice variety of nib sizes since they all have different grinds. As for the inks, I went with a Montblanc rule. The exception to prove the rule would be allowing for Sheaffer inks in Sheaffer pens. I have six Sailor pens but lacked a converter for one (I thought I replaced that busted converter!), so I ended up having to make a decision. I decided to skip the Sailor 1911 Sterling despite its stub nib, which would have added variety. The pen needed polishing, which provided a ready excuse. If I had Sailor colored ink cartridges, I would have made an exception to my ink rule (I made it, I can break it), but all I have is blue and black sailor cartridges. I’m unwilling to break that rule.

I added my three favorite pens to the Sailor, Sheaffer Balance IIs, to the Sailors. I added another pen that I’ve been eager to ink up again. Plus, to really mess with the organization of this post, I re-inked a pen from July after it wen dry on Saturday.

Sheaffer Balance II (M) with Sheaffer Red ink. Sheaffer Red is a nice pure, well-behaved red ink, making it my favorite red ink. It used to be standard in the inkwell for my Esterbrook dip pen, but that inkwell is currently empty since office visits are rare these days. Because of the inkwell use, I’m guessing Sheaffer Red rivals, or maybe even beats, Montblanc Bordeaux in the number of bottles that I’ve finished. The bright red pen provided an excellent excuse to bring this ink back into use.

photo of Sheaffer Balance II Crimson Glow with Sheaffer Red ink

Sheaffer Balance II (M) with Sheaffer Emerald Green ink. This ink is an older version, sold in inkwell bottles with yellow boxes and labels. While the ink isn’t old enough to be vintage, it harkens to a time when Sheaffer had a unique personality. While it isn’t my favorite green, it is pretty close and is the perfect choice for this pen, which was Sheaffer’s attempt to reinvigorate that personality.

photo of Sheaffer Balance II Jade Green with Sheaffer Emerald Green
photo of Sheaffer Balance II with MB Permanent Grey

__Sheaffer Balance II Aspen__ (M) with Montblanc Meisterstück 90 Years Permanent Grey. For whatever reason, my brain always wants to associate this ink with this pen, despite a complete lack of grey in the pen. So, while this met my Montblanc rule, the real reason it was used is that I have a hard time not picking this ink for this pen.  While all the Sheaffers have nibs that are officially called medium, these lovely nibs are closer to a fine nib and certainly smaller than many recent new extra-fine or fine nibs that I’ve received.

Sailor King of Pen Royal Tangerine (L. Oblique) with Montblanc Toffee Brown. It’s been a long time since I’ve used this ink despite its rivaling Athena Sepia as my favorite brown ink. I wanted to use it and decided that this would be a good nib for it. I’m writing the draft of this post with this pen, and feel justified in my choice.

Sailor KOP Royal Tangerine with Motnblanc Toffee Brown ink bottle

Sailor 1911L Ringless Epinard (Z) with Montblanc Lavender Purple. I’ve been experimenting with the zoom nib using the included Sailor cartridge since the pen arrived. I decided it was time to introduce some color to the experiments. Purple is one of my favorite ink colors. Although I’d be hard-pressed to pick a clear favorite, this one is a contender.

photo of Sailor 1911L Ringless Epinard with Montblanc Lavender Purple ink bottle

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (EF) with Montblanc Albert Einstein. Japanese nibs are thin, and the Sailor extra-fine is one of the thinnest factory nibs available. I love the nice thin, consistent line the nib puts down. I usually pair this with dark ink, so it doesn’t get lost in the paper’s color. So I did hesitate a lot before picking this grey ink. The result is a thin, light, but legible line that’s the color of pencil lead. A very sharp pencil.

photo of Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Montblanc Albert Einstein ink bottle

Sailor King of Pen (M) with Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk. I picked the ink because I like it. When it came time to match it to a pen, this seemed like the right choice for no reason in particular.

Sailor of Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk ink bottle

Sailor Full Size Realo (M-F) with Montblanc Antoine de Saint-Expery Encre du Desert (a.k.a. – the ink I’ll never spell without looking it up). I was hesitant to pick another brown ink, but I do like it, and due to an order mix-up on my part, I have two bottles, so it was my final ink choice.

photo of Sailor Full Size Reallo with Montblanc Encre du Desert

ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen (F) with Montblanc “The Beatles” Psychedelic Purple. Technically this is a carryover from July, but I did have to refill it this past weekend. This is the only ink that’s been used in this pen since it arrived on May 2nd.

ystudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen with Montblanc Psychedelic Purple

Fisher of Pens Hermes (F) with Diamine Oxblood. I moved the cartridge from another pen. There’s only about 25% of the ink left, but I wanted this pen back in the rotation. No photo of this one, although it is in the group photo up top.

Holdover Pens

I did keep six other pens inked up from July. There are no individual pictures, but here are the details.

The Platinum Carbon Pen with its “superfine” nib is inked up with Platinum Carbon ink for the times I need thin and waterproof.

The Kanilea Kona Cherry stayed ink because I could never flush Montblanc Bordeaux ink down the drain. Plus, the beauty of the pen makes me smile when I use it. After some rough spots when the pen first arrived, we’re getting along much better now.

The Kaweco Brass Sport is a pocket pen inked up with red ink. While I don’t have much use for a pocket pen these days, there’s no reason to flush it out. When I need a pocket pen, it will be ready.

The Pilot Custom 912, Benu Briolette, and Penlux Masterpiece Grande (F) are all new pens that I’m still getting to know, so they stayed in the rotation. They’ll also fill any need for traditional black and blue/black inks.

Writing Samples

photo of 2020_08_02 - Currently Inked Writing Samples
photo of 2020_08_02 - Currently Inked Writing Samples

Currently Inked – April 27, 2020

I’m writing pens dry faster than I can keep up. I wrote one pen dry when doing the written draft of this post. That now dry pen happened to be at the top of my currently inked writing sample. I’ll be skipping my usual practice of scheduling posts for the next morning to give me time to remember what I screwed up.

I picked the following fountain pens and inks to join the currently inked club:

The first three pens listed are the only fountain pens that were inked before Sunday. I won’t be using them until after this is posted, for fear of making it outdated before it’s published. I wrote about the Sterling Silver Namikis ones in Three Pieces of Silver.

I rarely carry the Fodderstack in my shirt pocket these days. I’m not venturing out often, and the Fodderstack has been replaced by a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a small squirt bottle of alcohol (for grocery carts, etc…). I’ve only wanted a pen once or twice, but to meet those needs, I inked up the Kaweco Brass Sport with Montblanc Petit Prince Red Fox in a cartridge. I picked a red ink so I could also use the pen to mark up documents.

I do like the Vanishing Point Red Bamboo, so it returned to the rotation with a different nib. I feel compelled to acknowledge that the pen is not made of bamboo. But, that is what it was sold as here in the States. I put in the medium left oblique nib, The oblique nib sits perfectly with my natural grip, the clip ensuring that I don’t twist the pen, even a little. It got the now usual Pilot Black cartridge. Pilot converters are a hassle in the VP and don’t hold much ink, so I stick to cartridges.

The Franklin-Christoph Model 02 (Gen 1) is a lovely green and sports a Mike Masuyama needlepoint nib. The pen called out for green ink, so I loaded it with a Montblanc Emerald Green cartridge.

I was missing to Royal Tangerine KOP after only one day. It returned with my favorite ink, Montblanc Bordeaux. It took six days for me to miss the Aero. I’m surprised by how much I like that pen and how well it writes. I did manage to survive 5 days without it.

The Edison Huron Grande just didn’t want to be used. I eyedropper filled its large body with Papier Plume Burgundy, but it just didn’t want to write. A couple hours of gravity didn’t help, running under the faucet didn’t help. Finally, I wrapped a tissue around the nib and gave it a couple firm old-style thermometer wrist flicks, which finally did the trick. I haven’t used it much yet, but it seems fine.

The final fountain pen I inked up my newest fountain pen arrived, the Leonardo Officina Italiana Messenger with an extra-fine nib. I inked it with its namesake, Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk.

As usual, the writing samples are in the same order as the pens (L->R). Click any photo for full size.

Photo of my capped currently inked pens
Photo of my uncapped currently inked pens
Writing samples from my currently inked pens

Currently Inked – March 13, 2020

It’s Friday the 13th and COVID-19 is taking hold here in the States. So, might as well think happy thoughts and play with pens. I inked a few to replace pens that were recently written dry, then kept on going. I ended up with 11 inked fountain pens. Expected 12, but the Pilot Custom 823 didn’t have enough ink for the writing sample.

It’s been awhile, so as a reminder, the writing samples are in the same order, top to bottom, as the pens in the tray, from left to right.

Photo of writing samples of all my inked pens
Photo of my currently inked pens (capped)
All my currently inked fountain pens (capped)
Photo of my currently ink pens (nib view)
Photo of all my currently inked fountain pens (uncapped)

Currently Inked – November 2018

As November was starting up my fountain pens were running dry. So, it was time to ink up some pens. Obviously, it’s no longer the beginning of November. It’s taken me a while to get this post up.

For some reason, more whim than reason, I decided not to use converters. I’d use cartridges or piston fillers. I inked up eight new fountain pens to join my four carry-overs.

The four pens being carried over are:

Edison Huron Grande with an extra-fine nib, used as an eyedropper fill with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. A nice big pen that’s comfortable in my hand. The ink was a top five favorite not too long ago. It spent some time on hiatus, but it’s back and reminding me why it’s a favorite. The size of this pen, plus the lack of a clip (or a roll stop) makes the pen a finicky traveler, so it’s a homebody.

Newton Eastman with an Esterbrook #9788 Flexible Medium nib with a barrel full of Montblanc Psychedelic Purple “The Beatles” ink. “Flexible” in the name is more aspirational than reality, but I do really like the nib. This is another homebody pen. Also large and clip-less, but added to that is a tendency to splatter ink into the cap if it’s jostled a lot.

TWSBI Go Sapphire with a broad nib and Monteverde Emotion Wisdom Purple ink. I really like the TWSBI GO pens. But broad nibs aren’t my wheelhouse, so this pen doesn’t get much use. It will be inked for a long time.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with an extra-fine nib, and a Sailor Kiwa-Guro pigmented ink cartridge. This Japanese extra-fine nib puts down one of the thinnest lines of any of my nibs, short of needlepoints. It’s also one of my smoothest nibs. This is the pen that’s been traveling in my Nock Co Foddertack XL, paired with the Retro 51 Corona rollerball.

The newly inked pens are:

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with a medium nib and a cartridge of Pilot Sepia ink.

Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche with an XXXF nib and a Pilot Red cartridge. For some reason, this black pens attracts red or black inks. The XXXF nib calls for a red ink suitable for marking up documents, something this retractable fountain pen is well-suited to do.

Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood with an oblique medium nib and a cartridge of Pilot Black ink. The angle of the nib is perfect for the way the pen sits in my hand.

Kaweco Brass Sport with an extra fine nib and a Montblanc Petite Prince Red Fox ink cartridge. The brass is heavily tarnished, just from sitting in the pen case. Typically I’d polish it up a bit before using it, but this time I decided to go as-is and see if using it changes what looks like corrosion to something that resembles a nice patina.

Aurora Optima Nero Perla with a medium nib and Aurora Black ink. I like this pen more than I thought I would. For some reason, I felt like matching this pen with Aurora Black ink.

Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand with an Oblique Medium nib and Montblanc Bordeaux ink. My favorite ink in my favorite nib for long writing sessions.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with an extra-fine nib. I filled it with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. OK, I have to admit that I forgot this ink was still in the Edison Huron Grande. I do like the ink, but I would have preferred some variety. Even the nib size is the same.

Visconti Brunelleschi with a medium nib and Diamine Terra-cotta ink. This pen has been writing dryer than I expected. It’s a bit dry, even for me. If I hadn’t filled it through the feed, I would have thought there were some flow issues. It has gotten a little better, although that’s more because I’ve gotten used to it.

Naturally, my fountain pen usage dropped soon after inking those new pens (well, freshly added to the rotation), but it’s beginning to pick up.