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?

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.

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?

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 Wish List

With a couple recent pen announcements I figured it would be a good idea to keep track of the pens I think I want, and why I want them. I say “I think” because I can change my mind anytime.

  1. Platt Rogers Spencer Fountain Pen: I’ve already ordered this one but it isn’t due until the year-end holidays. I love this style of pen and sent the email within minutes of learning about it. It’s called a limited edition, but the only limit is that it must be ordered by Oct. 19th. It’s a pen made by Edison Pen with nib work by Greg Minuskin, it can’t be bad. It would have been a crime to have the pen pass through Greg Minuskin’s hands and not have the nib customized, so I ordered a 14kt fine nib with flex.
  2. Pilot Vanishing Point Gun Metal with Black Trim: I’m on the fence about this one. I like the gun metal and I like the black trim. I’m undecided if I like them together. I liked it at first glance but sometimes think it looks like mismatched colors. But I suspect a body only purchase at the least.
  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. OK, I have a F-C addiction and these are the remaining F-C pens that strike my fancy. It would be easier to list the ones that don’t make the wish list. Between the unique designs and great nibs there’s nothing not to like.

At this rate I should start a “one pen in, one pen out” policy. But I can’t stand parting with any of them.