Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 18, 2018

Currently available pensMy fountain pen usage over the past week was down a little bit from the previous week, but still pretty good (for me). I did use the disposable pens more than my real fountain pens. My favorite (based on time used) has been the Itoya Blade, usually in the PaperSkater sheath.

A couple follow-up items for the disposable pen article, now that I’ve been using them.

  • While the pens don’t appear to be knock-offs, they all seem to use the same nib. Or they picked the same nib design on their own, which seems unlikely. All share the same shape and size, along with the circle engraved at the top of the slit. The only differences are that Itoya has their name engraved, and Pilot has their name and nib size engraved. I suspect Pilot makes the nibs for all three. Or, is this the one nib they don’t make themselves? Also unlikely.
  • Thornton’s also fit the PaperSkater, without the spacer.
  • The Thornton’s can be just a tad slow to write after spending a night nib-up un a pen stand. Not a big problem, but that first stroke often needs repeating.
  • Keith was the first to mention the Zebra disposable fountain pens that I missed.


How things have changed since I got into fountain pens. | The Ink Smudge

A New Hobby – Quest for Pie

My Workhorse Pens: Lamy 2000 — The Gentleman Stationer

Review: Visconti Homo Sapiens London Fog — Alt. Haven


Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 11, 2018

One pen in and 3 pens out.A lot of fountain pen changes this past week.

My Visconti Homo Sapien ran out of Montblanc Psychedelic Purple. I decided not to refill it so that other pens get their chance.

Also, the Kaweco Brass Sport ran out of ink as the week ended. I decided not to re-ink it. I realized that I use my pocket pen more if it has black ink. I don’t have any more black short international cartridges; if I did have one, then I’d probably just pop in another one. As it is, I will clean it out and use my Kaweco AL Sport with a Diamine Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown cartridge in its place.

If finally got around to cleaning the Lamy 2000, which is why it’s in the picture.

The Sailor Pro gear KOP is running low on Athena Sepia and should go empty soon. The Montblanc has a large capacity and is still going strong. I averaged two A5 pages per day in my Seven Seas Writer and wrote at least that many pages using my Doane Paper Writing tablet during the week. That’s in addition to the usual work notes, checklists and doodles.

I’ve been cleaning out a dozen years of accumulation around my apartment as I’ll be moving later this year. I finally uncovered my boxes of notebooks and can no longer ignore them or my pens.

So I have a few low-cost boxes of paper products available and a fountain pen giveaway. If you missed them, the paper is at:

Box 1 and Box 2 and Box 3.

The Karas Pen Decograph giveaway is here. Entries close at noon (eastern US time) on March 16th.

I’ll also be selling off some pens. I’ve started with a few groups of inexpensive pens. These pens are listed here.


PSA – Stolen Fountain Pens: help-stefano — Visconti Dave // A lot of pens were stolen from a pen shop in Rome. Many limited editions which would be easy to identify. A preponderance of Vistonti, but some other brands in there too.

The Parker Harlequin | Goodwriterspens’s Blog – I love the look of this pen.

Visconti Divina Proporzione | Fountain Pen Review // My two Visconti fountain pens have been great, but it’s stories like these that give me pause about the brand.

Inside The Manufacture: Montblanc’s Pen Factory And Museum In Hamburg – Hodinkee via @peneconomics on Twitter

There are more pen show reports…

2018 LA Pen Show Report: Franz – Hand Over That Pen

So what happens now? Another pen show, another haul. | Fountain pen blog // Pen shows aren’t U.S. only.

I always like seeing what people actually use:

What I Carry – The Ink Smudge and Pairing it down even further. – The Ink Smudge

The allure of expense and inconvenience (or how I fell for the Montblanc 1912) | UK fountain pens

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 4, 2018

Currently Inked Disposable Pens - March 2018I just published my currently inked post, so there’s not much else to say. I’ve been consistently writing with my fountain pens this week, but only wrote in my journal three days. So, that needs to improve.

Paper planning has again migrated to using index cards almost exclusively. I’m still using the Doane Idea Book as my daily notebook, and I use it when I’m working out my plans, but not as a daily planner. The index card is easy to prop up on my desk or put in my pocket, so it’s always handy.

If you read my currently inked post, you’ll have noticed a lot of disposable fountain pens. While I picked them as a way of having a variety of colors handy, and avoid the hassle of pen cleaning, I’ve become a bit intrigued with disposable fountain pens and ordered a new (to me) brand on Friday. They should arrive this week. Who knew there were at least three brands of disposable fountain pens?


Retro 1951 Tornado “Play Ball!” Giveaway // The Clicky Post : I mentioned the Play Ball in my currently inked post, but forgot to include this link to a giveaway that The Clicky Post is running. It ends Monday.

A warning about pens in ultrasonic cleaners // Vintage Pen News : I always wondered about this since the water in mine does get warmer (relatively speaking)

Learn to Love Your Writing – guest post by The Ink Scribe // On Fountain Pens : Good advice. At one time I wanted to improve my writing but then found I wasn’t committed to the effort needed to improve it. So it is what it is. That said, I still “Write with pride and do it often.”

Limiting the number of pens I have in rotation // The Ink Smudge : Technically I have more inked pens in the rotation now than ever before (except for special cases like a pen party). But it feels like less because only three are wildcards, the other 14 serve a specific purpose, and I don’t feel compelled to use them beyond that role.

Looking for More Fine Than Extra Fine – guest post by Keith Kramer // On Fountain Pens : I can relate.

LA Pen Show 2018 Recap ^_^ // SquishyInk

LA Pen Show Recap // The Well-Appointed Desk

Pen Show Season 2018: Entering the Prime Pen Show Months // The Gentleman Stationer

A DIY Journal With Tomoe River Paper // An Inkophile’s Blog

Hobonichi Essentials – No Pen Intended

Maruman 3Feet Notepad – A7 // The Passionate Penman

Pen & Ink Pairing: Feb ’18 // Hand Over That Pen

Why I love Lamys entry level fountain pens. // The Finer Point

Field Trip Penshop in Nijmegen, The Netherlands // Gourmet Pens



Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – February 25, 2018

The three newly inked pensAnother week has come to a close. This one teased us with a taste of spring. The temperature reached into the 60’s for a couple of days, allowing for open windows, fresh air, and sitting on the patio to write. Then the trifecta of rain, sleet, and snow arrived the next day.

My fountain pen usage increased this past week considerably, at least when compared to recent weeks. Both remaining Sheaffer Balance II pens were written dry early in the week. Since then my fountain pen usage was split between my Kaweco Brass Sport (extra fine nib and Kaweco black ink), and the Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche (XXXF nib and Pilot Red Ink). Both use ink cartridges.

I did ink up three new pens on Saturday. This year I’ve been picking three pens around a theme, although this time I cheated and picked three pens, then I looked for a theme. All I came up with was “favorites.” That was easier to sell as a theme than the more honest “Pens and inks I want to use right now.”

The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age, newly returned from having its bent extra fine nib repaired, with Montblanc “The Beatles” ink. I’m hoping the purple still pops with the extra fine nib.

The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (medium nib) was filled with Athena Sepia. This breaks with my tradition of only using new inks with this pen. While the ink is new to the pen, I’ve used it enough to make it a favorite.

The Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand, with its oblique medium nib, was filled with the only ink its ever known, Montblanc Bordeaux.

Last week I mentioned the complete failure of my paper planner attempt this year. I’ve gone to the opposite size extreme and pulled out a Doane Large Idea Book, and have been using that as a planner/desk notebook. I still use an index card every night to plan out the next day. It’s too soon to really know, but this seems to be working. I do any “planning” right in with my daily notes. This is similar to what I did (although in a steno sized Diane notebook) several years ago, so I have high hopes. Cleaning and re-arranging my desk did free up the space needed for the over-sized notebook.


Recap: LA Pen Show – The Well-Appointed Desk

Removing One Notebook – The Ink Smudge

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – February 18, 2018

Sheaffer Balance II Jade Green on a mirrorWell now, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. The month is half over, and this is the first post in February. I avoided every saying these Trail Logs were weekly or always on Sunday, But that was to allow me some flexibility with limited time. I expected to put up at least one post a week. I never expected to go silent, but I did. Hopefully, I’ll be more active, but no promises. As it is, I had a rare case of insomnia Friday night (technically Saturday morning as I write this), so I decided I might as well get up and do something. I poured some bourbon and started writing this.

The good news is that a couple of pens were written dry this past week, despite my limited fountain pen use. The Jade Green Sheaffer Balance II with Sheaffer Emerald Green was the first to go dry. It was less than a month, and the other two Balance IIs are still going strong, which proves to me that I have an affinity for green.

The Lamy 2000, with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE, also went dry. It’s a great pen with one of my favorite inks, and a Mike Masuyama tuned nib. So, I can’t fathom why it took me over six months to write it dry.

My fountain pen and stationery usage have been abysmal in February. I’ve been using pens for notes and checklists but not much more. I think the draft of this article is the first “sit down to write” fountain pen usage of the month. (The Sheaffer Balance II Aspen with Sheaffer Gray ink.)

I haven’t journaled at all this month. I suspect this contributed to my insomnia since I find it a relaxing way to end the day. By doing it at night, it also contributes to a routine that leads to sleep. So I’ll get back to it tonight.

I’ve completely stopped using the Hobonichi Weeks. After a couple of months, it still hadn’t become a habit. I gravitated to using an index card to plan the next day. That’s not great either, but it is a habit. I liked the Weeks because it was easy to carry around. I did carry it about, but I can’t remember the last time I used it out of the house.


The “Dream Pen” by Wancher has been getting a lot of attention in the fountain pen community. It’s the type of Kickstarter Project that causes me concern.

First, their Kickstarter page says “Most Funded Fountain Pen.” It’s not. There are still two weeks left, and the exchange rate may fluctuate, but the Visionnaire was over $320,000 while the Dream Pen is still well under $300,000 (although there’s still about ten days left). The pens don’t compare, but the statement is wrong as it stands today.

The Urushi versions start at $385 which is more than I’m personally comfortable with on Kickstarter. (The pen is priced in Yen so that the conversion rate may cause price changes.) This project was pretty much a non-starter for me, even if I was in the market for an Urushi pen because it’s above my comfort level. (The basic ebonite pens are less expensive, but it’s the Urushi and Maki-e that make this project attractive.)

It seems that late Kickstarter delivery is the rule, rather than the exception. One of the reasons that the price is above my comfort level is I expect this project to be a victim of success and miss the delivery deadlines.

There are a few things that argue against late delivery on this project. They are an established company, so selling pens isn’t new to them. They also limit the total number of harder to make Maki-e and Urushi pens. This does imply that they thought about ways to avoid being too successful.

There were numerous reviews on pen blogs as the Kickstarter launched. This could mean a well-run company. But I always take a skeptical (if not outright negative) view when companies want my money. This smacks of an orchestrated marketing campaign, which in my experience often has little to do with reality. Were the review pens given extra care or inspection before being sent out? Will the production pens be given the same care?

I don’t have the answers, and the pens will probably be fine, if not great. If I were in the market for an Urushi or Maki-e pen, I’d wait, and see what the final results are, even if it means both waiting and paying more. For me, it’s too much money for too many unknowns.

One of the reasons I’m always hesitant on Kickstarter is the late deliveries. I’m still waiting on my Hippo Notebook (July 2017 delivery date). There’s no maleficence, and many have been delivered. The options I picked have had a bunch of production issues. I made the mistake of adding the paper unlocked with a stretch goal. So, it seems to have had less QC. New KS rule for me, never pick a stretch goal that’s added to the project after it began.

The Pen Addict 2018 RelayCon Kickstarter is still going on with over two weeks still left. They’ve broken their stretch goal and will include a trip to the Toronto Pen Show, along with the Atlanta Pen Show. Kickstarter doesn’t necessarily work well in explaining this type of project. The delivery dates are spread through the year (since some rewards are videos done at the pen shows at different times of the year). They will deliver the videos and cases throughout the year. I think historically the videos are 1 to 2 weeks after the show. While I’d never guarantee a KS meets their delivery deadline, this isn’t their first rodeo, and I’m pretty confident that the deadlines will be met.


How To Photograph A Fountain Pen: Light (Part 1) // Fountain Pen Love

Inner Tube System // Crónicas Estilográficas

My Crown jewels // Scottie’s Fountain Pen Doodle

My Humble Art Supplies // The Finer Point

Personalised Stationery Notebook // Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Philadelphia Pen Show Recap // On Fountain Pens

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 28, 2018

This week’s big fountain pen news for me was the return of my Visconti Homo Sapien with its bent nib now straightened out. (I sent it to Dan Smith/The Nibsmith) I’ve yet to ink up the pen, although the nib seems fine. It’s taken all my willpower to keep from inking it up, but I want to use my Sheaffers a bit more, and once inked the Visconti will monopolize my fountain pen use.


I enjoy using the Sheaffer Balance IIs, but it hasn’t been a smooth road. I’ve had to prime the Sheaffer Gray ink in the Balance II Aspen a couple of times. It’s been lining to the converter. The Jade Green Balance II also had to be primed once, but it’s been mostly fine. All three Balance IIs are a joy to use when the ink flows.

I fell out of the habit of using my Hobonichi Weeks. The was partly because I didn’t have much need to use it, and somewhat because I fell back to my old habit of using an index card. I’m hoping to get back on the Weeks train this coming week.


Karst Stone Paper 2018 Planner Review – My Pen Needs Ink – This is the first stone paper review that I recall giving good marks to fountain pen usage.

My Workhorse Pens: Montblanc 146 — The Gentleman Stationer

Pen & Ink Pairing: Jan ’18 – Hand Over That Pen

Travel: TY Lee of Taiwan — Alt. Haven

Views of Life Behind the Shop – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 14, 2018

I had mixed success with fountain pen and stationery related activities this past week. I didn’t write any fountain pens dry, although one is close. My favorite pen & ink combo, by a wide margin, was the Sailor King of Pen with Montblanc “The Beatles” Psychedelic Purple ink. The medium nib does an excellent job of showing off the purple ink. It’s nearly dry and won’t last another week which will present me with a problem. My plan was to ink only a couple pens at a time (excluding purpose-inked pens), so I could cycle through them quickly and have a nice mix of pens and inks. But I want to reload and keep this combination going. The KOP is one of my most comfortable pens, and I like the bright purple ink. I’ll have to decide soon.

Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear and Montblanc "The Beatles" ink bottle

Another success has been my Hobonichi Weeks paper planner. I’ve been using it consistently, and I’ve been happy with it. It’s easy enough to carry with me all the time, at least in winter with accommodatingly large coat pockets.

My other Hobonichi, the Techo, has been a failure. While I started off using it as a morning journal it always felt like a made-up reason to justify the purchase. This week I missed a couple of mornings and didn’t miss it. I’ll keep it as a log book of sorts and maybe find a use for it.

One of the reasons I have such a hard time finding a use for the Tech is because I do use a Nanami Seven Seas Writer as a journal. This has developed into a nightly habit, so while I did skip it one night this week I missed it enough to write in it the next morning. That was the nail in the Hobonichi coffin. If there’s journal type stuff I want to write in the morning, I’ll simply use the Seven Seas Writer.


Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories – The New York Times – Some good photography.

Pens of the moment – paperinkplan – I always like seeing what other people use day-to-day.

The New Year diary. | Fountain pen blog – The part I found most interesting is the use of a single fountain pen with this diary, for the entire year. This is something I couldn’t do. I’d either run out of ink or not have the pen handy when I wanted it. And even if I didn’t have those problems, I would spend the year in fear that I would.

The Bullet Journal-Workshop (Pt. 6): Moving from A5 to A6 and combining a Weekly Planner – Scrively – note taking & writing (Video)