The Perfect Penvelope

The Prefect PenvelopeBack in the days when I made daily trips into an office I would use my Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Six case to carry my fountain pens.. True to the name it has six pen slots, but another pen can fit on each side (although with less protection) allowing an eight pen carry. Back in those days I would keep a mix of nib sizes and ink colors. Since then I’ve just loaded whatever pens were handy when I used the case. I only had a a few fountain pens inked up so I decided to ink up a selection appropriate for the Penvelope.

My Penvelope Six dates back to March 2012 and is an early model. I want to say it’s the original version of the case but I could be wrong about that. The case is boot brown leather with a rust colored heavy cloth interior. The leather attracts scuffs and scrapes which gives it a distressed look that I love. The more recent cases claim to be more resistant to scuffs, which is a downgrade in my opinion.

This isn’t a top fountain pen and ink list per se. While I certainly like all these pens and would consider them to be among my favorites, there are certain limitations imposed by the Penvelope. Plus I want a nice mix of nibs and ink. The case has openings on each side and the leather provides little support against crushing. The slots are formed with thick cloth material which isn’t safe for fragile clips. So fragile pens, such as my Sheaffer Balance II’s and vintage Sheaffers don’t travel in this case, no matter how much I like using them. Finally, there are some pens that are just too big for the case, such as my Newton Eastman.

The Prefect Penvelope - raised pensI use fine & extra fine nibs along with three distinct ink colors for marking up documents. So at least three of the pens will need to meet these requirements. I’ll pick the rest to provide a little variety in the writing experience.

My first fountain pen choice was the Pilot Custom 823 with its fine nib (a thin Japanese fine) and Pilot Blue-Black ink. It was already inked, but it would have been picked anyway. The 823 is a great writer and so comfortable that I can write with it for hours. That said, it is the least aesthetically pleasing fountain pen that I use on a regular basis.

Joining it was the Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand with Montblanc Bordeaux ink. This is my favorite ink and was an obvious choice for inclusion in the case. I always want to have this ink in at least one pen, at least until I run out. The pen is perfectly sized for my hand and the oblique medium nib meets the paper perfectly with my natural grip. The larger medium nib means I don’t use the pen for note taking. It gets used for longer, sit-down writing sessions.

My new(ish) Visconti Brunelleschi, also made it to the Penvelope. It’s another medium nib but a great writer and comfortable in my hand. I filled the pen with matching Callifolio Aurora ink.

I went with yet a third medium nib when I added the Aurora Optima Nero Perla to the case. Aurora Black seemed an appropriate ink for the pen since I wanted to add a dark ink to the case. Even though the pen looks smaller than my previous choices it’s very comfortable in my hand.

My Penvelope Six has three medium nibs and only one thin nib. It’s time for me to fill out the case with thin nibs.

The Fisher of Pens Hermes with a fine nib was my next choice. The pen is a tall one but does fit comfortably in the case. I wanted a green ink both to match the pen and because I like green inks. Montblanc Irish Green is usually my choice, but this time I went with P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Green. This ink is beginning to rival Irish Green as my go to green ink.

The sixth choice is my favorite fountain pen. It may be sixth on this list but there was never any doubt it would be included. The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with its extra fine nib was picked. I wanted some more color so picked P.W. Akkerman #12 Mauritshuis Magenta ink.

The Blue-Black ink in the Custom 823 along with the Magenta and Green inks in the Homo Sapien and Hermes provide a nice color selection for marking up any documents, but they’re also suitable for note taking and just about any other writing that I do.

Just because it’s a Penvelope Six doesn’t mean I have to stop here. There’s room for a couple more pens.

I loaded the Kaweco Brass Sport (extra fine) with a Visconti Red cartridge. I never know when I’ll want a red ink. The pen is short enough to be completely covered along the side of the case.

The final pen was the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe which was already inked with a waterproof ink. I probably wouldn’t have picked it if it wasn’t already inked, although I did want a waterproof ink and I really like the pen. But it’s a little out of place and unprotected along the side of the case.

There was one fountain pen I hard a hard time keeping out of the case, but I just couldn’t make a place for it. The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with it’s medium nib was hard to leave out. It’s a great pen but another medium nib of which I already had three. It’s also a big pen and while it does fit in a pen slot it’s a very tight fit. It’s not easy to remove and I figure all that stress on the pen as I remove it can’t be good. At the very least the cap band would probably wear down over time due to the friction from the pen slot. And last, it’s a pen I use to test new inks and I was unwilling to take an slot with an untried ink.

So is it a perfect Penvelope? For me, at this time I would say yes. It provides a nice mix of eight pens that should meet all my needs. In a month or two I may get bored with a choice or two and it will no longer be perfect, so I’ll make a change. But for now I’m happy.

The Perfect Penvelope pen selectionPerfect Penvelope Writing Samples

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Ink and Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 66 with Rohrer and Klingner Blau-Schwarz

Frankln-Christoph Model 66 with extra fine and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE inkA second desk pen went dry right after the first. My Franklin-Christoph Model 66 was filled with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink since September 19th of last year. This ink has become standard for this pen, which I use as a eyedropper fill. It was filled the same day as the Edison Huron Grande and went dry the same day even though it holds slightly less ink. Like the Edison, it was also topped off once during the six months it was in the rotation.

The pen and ink are among my favorites and are typically problem free. There was one speed bump with the pen as March began. The pen didn’t write one morning and since it’s always been problem free I was quick to assume it was written dry. I stored the pen nib down (by chance) while waiting to be cleaned. Also by chance, I gave it another try before cleaning and it wrote. And it kept right on writing.

Other than this incident there weren’t any hard starts or skipping. They performed great together and justified why I’ve consistently paired them for nearly three years.

It’s time to give the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 a break, I have too many other pens inked up. The R&K Blau-Schwarz ink remains in the rotation, with my Visconti Homo Sapien.

Ink and Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Akkerman #28

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 stub nib with Akkerman #28 ink bottleThe Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta with it’s medium stub nib is a pen that has leaked with it’s last couple of fills. This time I remembered the experience and was more cautious. I made sure the nib was firmly installed and that the converter was firmly inserted. I also kept the pen house bound so that it didn’t bounce around in a computer bag or even my pocket.

I inked the fountain pen up with P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen back on March 13th. By the 17th enough ink had accumulated in the cap to be noticeable and some had transferred to the section on its way to my fingers. As before, there’s no obvious leak and it seems to be coming through the feed.

Leaking pen aside, I enjoyed this combination. This is the first Akkerman ink that I’ve liked enough to know I will gladly use it again. It performed well in this stub nib.

I’ll refill the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Athena Sepia which was it’s first ink and the only one that didn’t leak. I do expect it to now leak, but we’ll see.

There’s no nib close-ups in the photos since I flushed the pen before taking the photos. For nib close-ups see this previous post.

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 stub nib with Akkerman #28 ink writing sample

Ink and Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 02 with Pelikan Edelstein Garnet

Franklin-Christoph Model 02 with needlepoint nib and Pelikan Edelstein Garnet inkI loaded up the Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic with a Pelikan Edelstein Garnet ink cartridge in the final days of 2015. The pen lasted this long both because it’s a thin needlepoint nib that’s stingy with ink and it was red ink, which I don’t use for long writing sessions. It would still be going if it wasn’t for a mechanical failure caused by physics.

When I picked up the pen last Friday I heard a rattle. It didn’t take much investigating, since the pen is translucent, to see that the ink cartridge had come loose. There were a couple ink drops splattered around, obviously fresh from when I just picked up the pen. It wasn’t a huge mess, but since the cartridge was about 75% used I decided to completely flush and clean the pen which meant tossing the cartridge. I store the pen nib up in a wooden pen stand on my desk. About a month ago I moved it to a new location on my desk where I typically reach over something (iPad, laptop, etc…) and drop the pen into the the pen stand. Only an inch or two but eventually gravity and physics conspired to loosen the cartridge. To compound the problem this is a pen I use several times a day when I’m at my desk and I return it to the holder after each use. I can’t that claim either the pen or cartridge are defective or poorly made. A little match has me “dropping” the pen roughly 80 times since I mode the pen stand. (FYI – neither the pen stand or the end of the pen show any signs of this abuse and I do buy my pens to use them.)

I use a needlepoint (or other thin nib) and red ink for two main purposes. Marking up documents and highlighting other notes. These days I mark up PDFs more than paper documents, so while this pen is used frequently it’s usually only a few words at a time. The Garnet color is bright and easily readable. The needlepoint is a Mike Masuyama grind from Franklin-Christoph so it’s no surprise that it’s flawless. It’s a smooth writer although being such a thin nib it requires a light touch to avoid stabbing the paper. It doesn’t like rough paper or paper with a high fiber content. My natural use for this combination is cheap copy paper, Doane Large Jotters or Write Notepads wire-bound notebooks, all of which perform well with this combination.

I was going to ink up the Franklin-Christoph Model 02 this morning but realized two things – I’m up to 13 inked pens and I rarely mark up paper documents anymore which makes this pen combination less useful. So for now it stays in the pen case until I decide what to do with the pen. The translucent orange pen begs to be eyedropper filled although I’ve yet to do so. I’ve found the rough interior (in other F-C pens) to be a royal pain to clean which makes me reluctant to do so. Yet I hate the look of a converter inside. While I’m not a fan of seeing the cartridge inside, it’s a more uniform look without the gleam of chrome so I’m OK with it. I may try a few small converter fills to test a few inks with this pen to pick a long term ink as an eye dropper fill. I like the pen too much to let it sit in storage. While my tastes change over time, it’s my current choice as the best looking Model 02.

I also like the Pelikan Edelstein Garnet ink and will use my remaining cartridges. Although I’m not such a fan that I’ll buy a bottle or even more cartridges.

Ink & Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with GvFC Moss Green

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with a medium stub nib and GvFC Moss Green ink bottleI’ve yet to decide what I really think about the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta with its stub nib. It’s a nice little pen that has a vintage vibe. There’s a lot to like about this pen but this is the second time there’s been excessive ink in the cap and this kind of ruins it for me. This time there was a potential cause, although other pens subjected to the same events survived fine. The pen did bounce around in my computer bag for a couple of days (well protected in a Nockco Sinclair, but it would have been jostled around) which could explain some of the splatter. The two other pens sharing the case were just fine, although with considerably thinner nibs. I’ll have to ink it again and handle it with kid gloves to see if it leaks or splatters with normal use. I said the same thing last time and then promptly forgot when I inked up the pen.

This time around I picked Graf von Faber-Castell Moss Green as the ink for the pen. The Model 20 is the vintage green finish so this was a bit of color matching. I inked it up back on December 4th, so it lasted nearly 8 weeks. This is a rather long time for a pen that isn’t stingy with ink which meant I wasn’t using it much. It had some intense competition from other pens I had inked up whenever I was looking for a fountain pen to write with so there were very few long writing sessions.

The converter was down to less than 1/4 full, plus whatever was in the feed when I decided to carry it around in order to give it more attention. Unfortunately after a couple days of travel more ink made it into the cap than down on paper.

The GvFC Moss Green ink was easily flushed from the pen, and the cap, without and residual staining. The cartridge/converter fountain pen was flushed with just a few squirts of the bulb syringe through the feed.

This Model 20 has the Mike Masuyama medium stub nib (steel nib) which is quit nice. I like thin nibs for my everyday writers but like using a stub nib for longer writing sessions. Considering the source it should come a no surprise that the ink flow was smooth and I didn’t have any hard starts or skipping.

The pictures don’t include any nib closeups because I had cleaned the pen before I realized I didn’t get pictures. You can see nib closeups in an earlier ink & pen notes.

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with M. Stub nib and GvFC Moss Green Ink

Ink & Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Noodler’s King Philip Requiem

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 medium nib with Noodler's King Philip RequeimI continue to enjoy using my Franklin-Christoph Model 20s with the Noodler’s ink I picked up at the Commonwealth Pen Show. This time it’s my Tiger Red Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with a medium nib and Noodler’s King Philip Requiem that I wrote dry. The fountain pen was inked for a month before I wrote it dry which is about normal for me.

This Model 20 has a medium nib which isn’t my typical choice. It’s nice to change things up every once in a while, but it does mean the pen isn’t a daily driver for me, it’s just to wide for me to use throughout the day. This is the main reason the pen lasted so long.

I love the color of the Noodler’s King Philip Requiem ink. Like the medium nib, it’s not a color family I often use, another nice change. The ink and nib combine to provide a very slow drying line which means I did cause some careless smudging, especially on Tomoe River paper. Because I used this for leisure writing (as opposed to work notes) the Tomoe River paper was often used as it’s in my Seven Seas Writer journal and Hobonichi Planner.

The Franklin-Christoph Model 20 is new so I’ll be inking it again fairly soon. But since this was only the second ink for the pen, I’ll pick something other than the Noodler’s King Philip Requiem for its next ink.

Ink & Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Noodler’s Plymouth Wilderness

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Noodler's Plymouth Wilderness bottleNoodler’s Plymouth Wilderness is one of the two inks I picked up at the Commonwealth Pen Show. I picked the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with it’s matching vintage green acrylic and a medium stub nib for its inaugural run. I picked the wide (for me) nib because I expected it to do a good job showing off the ink.

Things started off well. The fountain pen and ink performed well and provided a nice writing experience. There was some line variation and shading and the line width was true to the stub nib’s width, depending on the stroke direction. I did use the Model 20 frequently during the first nine days it was inked up.

Things changed on the tenth day. I picked it as my first pen to use that day and immediately noticed green ink on my fingers. Further inspection revealed a lot of ink in the cap and some on the section. The ink seemed to be leaking either through the feed or from around the feed. Not all the ink had leaked into the cap, there was still a lot left in the converter. But since it was so messy I decided to flush and clean the pen.

I like both the ink and the pen so I’ll be giving them another try once I write some more pens dry. I’ll use a different pen for the ink and a known good ink for the pen to see if the problem follows one or the other. Or maybe it was just a fluke.

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Noodler's Plymouth Wilderness writing sample