Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – June 17, 2018

No fountain pens were written dry this past week. I did ink up one new pen. More on that down below.

I did have two new stationery related arrivals this past week.

Retro 51 Corona on a pen standThe first to arrive was my eighteenth Retro 51, the Retro 51 Corona. The Corona isn’t officially a Vintage Metalsmith, but it’s very much a Metalsmith in spirit. The Corona is the first pen in the Smithsonian Collection. The barrel is inspired by the bronze-metal lattice on the outside of the National Museum of African American History and Culture building. The pens are numbered, but not limited. Mine is number 490.

This pen was an insta-buy for me once it became available. Everything about its design is what drew me to the Vintage Metalsmiths. The design is either the metal itself or created with the metal of the pen, no printing needed. In this case, the latticework is raised over the barrel. The raised lattice prevents slippage when holding the metal barrel, although it’s not sharp or uncomfortable.

I would typically swap the standard .7mm refill with a .6mm or the newly discovered .4mm gel refill. I’m out of refills and decided to go with the original, rather than order one. If the .7mm refill bothers me, I’ll swap it with one in another pen.

The Corona has taken its place on my desk.

Montblanc Petit Red Fox ink cartridges and writing sample

The second item, ordered mainly to get me above the $50 free shipping, was a pack of Montblanc Petit Prince Red Fox cartridges. I wanted to try the new Montblanc ink but didn’t want a whole bottle of ink added to my collection. Plus, like I said it got me the free shipping.

Only after I ordered it did I realize how few of my frequently used pens take international cartridges. Sailor and Pilot are proprietary, and Pelikan is a piston filler. My first choice was my Edison Huron Grande with an extra fine nib. The ink and pen did not get along. The line was so thin and dry that it was barely legible, and it looked terrible. I moved the cartridge to a Karas Kustoms Ink with a medium nib, and it was fine. It’s a beautiful red color.


Comparison: Baron Fig Squire vs. Retro 51 Tornado — The Gentleman Stationer

In praise of the Leuchtturm 1917, A5 notebook. | Fountain pen blog

Roterfaden Update 2018 – Pens! Paper! Pencils!

The Letters of Kurt Vonnegut and Letter Writing Club This Thursday – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop


Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – June 3, 2018

Edison Menlo Pump Filler with Athena Sepia ink bottleWriting this post is getting tedious, another week with little fountain pen usage. My most used pen & ink of the week was the Edison Menlo Pump Filler with Athena Sepia ink. It bullied it’s way into my hand. When I pulled it out to use it over a week ago, the nib was dry and beyond a hard start. So when I got a chance I wetted the nib (quick trip through the faucet stream of water) and started using it. Being carried around and used each day, even a little, has kept the ink flowing nicely. I love the combination when the ink flows. While it’s a combination that needs to be used, it’s not a chore to use it.

I finally decided to order The System Retro 51, so I’ll have one coming later this month. Based on an email I received, the second batch was slower to sell out, and only about half of us who expressed interest actually ordered one. He’s considering a third batch, but there’s a 300 pen minimum order, so it’s not an easy decision, and he’s still trying to gauge interest. (It’s easy to express interest, harder to lay out the bucks, so I’m sure well over 300 people will need to be interested.)

I was lucky enough to see the first batch before it sold out, although I passed at that time. I want to avoid impulse pen purchases these days, so I have a 24-hour rule. By then the first batch was sold out. I really like the space-themed Retros and this one was unlike any of the others. This is the most I’ve paid for a Retro 51 which is what made me hesitate.


My Experiences Holiday Sketching. — The Finer Point

montblanc elixir colorist collection inks (2018) | KMPN

Rome Store Recap – Hand Over That Pen

Stationery Packing List for a Writer’s Conference — The Pen Addict

Visconti Homo Sapiens Dark Age Fountain Pen Review – Pens! Paper! Pencils!

Writing These Days – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

EPA paid $1,560 for 12 fountain pens – CNNPolitics // No mention of the pen brand, but $130 per fountain pen doesn’t seem so bad. Somehow I suspect these pens were more show than substance.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 8, 2018

Photo of my most used pens for the past week

Most used pens last week.

My fountain pen usage this week is down a little from the previous week, which means it was about average. While I’ve been consistently writing in my journal, it was down to about one B5 page per day, rather than the two pages per day of the previous week. No changes to my currently inked fountain pen arsenal. During the week I was drawn to using the Pilot Vanishing Point (XXXF w/Pilot Black ink) for note taking and general use while at my desk. The Montblanc LeGrand Ultra Black (oblique medium w/Montblanc Bordeaux) and Aurora Optima (medium with Montblanc Psychedelic Purple) came out for my journal writing.

My Kickstarter Hippo Notebook finally has a tracking number, although it hasn’t actually arrived at the post office at this time. While I backed it over a year ago, the chance of it arriving before the one year anniversary of the project ending looks good.Tracking just updated to show a Monday eta. Yea!


Our New West End Main Shop | Wonder Pens

Pen and Ink Pairing: March 2018 (Vintage Edition) | Hand Over That Pen

The analog-digital life | Leigh Reyes, My Life As A Verb


Monthly Bit of News | Newton Pens

Pilot Vanishing Point Clipectomy | No Pen Intended

Travel Kit: Edinburgh | The Finer Point

Off-topic, but really cool if you’re as big of a fan of the movie as I am. (via The Loop)

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 1. 2018

Photo of my inked pens on a Nock Co Seed A5 Case

The Rotation April 1, 2018

It’s April 1st, but this is a prank/joke-free website. There wasn’t any Trail Log last week because despite being busy, my fountain pen usage was non-existent. But things did pick up considerably this past week. One pen was written dry and retired (for now), another was written dry and immediately re-inked, while two new pens and inks entered the rotation. (New to the rotation, not new to me.)

The Pilot Vanishing Point went dry early this week. Instead of flushing it out I merely removed the empty red cartridge and popped in a full Pilot black cartridge. It took less than a sentence before every trace of red was gone.

The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Strip also went dry. Because I use it in much the same way as the Vanishing Point, which now had black ink, I decided to give the Regency Stripe a break. So the Regency Stripe is in the cleaning queue, and won’t be returning in the foreseeable future.

I was a little bored with the lack of colors available in my currently inked pens. And besides, three inked pens are far too few. (Ignoring the 14 disposable fountain pens on my desk.) The disposables, with their many colors, are fine for quickly marking up documents or quick notes. But, I wanted more variety available for my longer writing.

The Visconti Brunelleschi was inked up with Montblanc Encre du Desert Brown. It’s a nice brown ink, but it’s been less than ideal with this pen. The flow seems a bit dry, and there’s an occasional skip. The ink did well in my Sailor 1911, and the Visconti has done well with other inks, so maybe it’s me. I did notice I was turning the nib a bit more than usual. Typically the pen facets help me; now they seem to annoy me. Or the ink and pen don’t get along.

The Aurora Optima was filled with another Montblanc ink, The Beatles Psychedelic Purple. I haven’t listed my top five fountain pens in awhile, but when I do this pen will be a serious contender. I’ve also become attached to purple inks, making me want to use this pen every day.

Two weeks ago I barely journaled. That changed this week. I’ve done two journal pages a day since Monday. Other fountain pen use, such as notes, checklists, and article drafts probably consumed a little more ink than my journalling.

I’ve been using the disposable fountain pens for quick notes and carrying around. I’m enjoying the Thornton’s Stationery pens less and less the more I use them. While my initial testing of each pen showed great consistency between then, that’s begun to change. I’ve used the green pen more than any others, and it’s skipping problem continues to grow. I can’t see the ink level, but if it’s near empty, then the pen holds very little ink. I’ve had other colors starting to exhibit similar changes in performance. While I do find the Thornton’s more comfortable to use than the Pilots, the Pilots are a better writing experience overall. I also like the Itoyas which have continued to perform well, but there are only Black & Blue options.

I did have a new product arrival this week. It was the Nock Co. Seed A5 case. I had a lot of hesitation before buying it but finally gave in. I hate the giant Seed tag that’s on the case but hoped it would be better in real life. It’s not; I hate it. I think it ruins the look of what is otherwise an excellent looking case with a clean design. (I’m not a fan of prominent branding on any product.) My other concern was performance and usability. While not perfect, it’s performed better than expected. I’m using it with a Nanami Crossfield notebook, and it fits fine. I’ll have to use it some more, and formulate my thoughts before I review it.

It looks like my Hippo Notebook Kickstarter will be shipping soon. There’s a good chance it will arrive just before the one year anniversary of the project closing.


The Arkansas Pen Show happened.

2018 Arkansas Pen Show – Newton Pens

Arkansas Pen Show Recap – The Well-Appointed Desk

Videos From The Pen Habit: Arkansas Pen Show 2018 Vlog – Day 1, Arkansas Pen Show Vlog – Day 2, Arkansas Pen Show Vlog – Days 3 & 4, Post-show chat with Pen Friends!

As did the Baltimore Show: Baltimore-Washington International Pen Show Recap – On Fountain Pens

And the usual mix of good reads:

Pen Review: The Moonman M2 Eyedropper Fountain Pen — The Gentleman Stationer

Great Pen Stores: Visit to New Orleans and Papier Plume (2018 Update). — The Gentleman Stationer

My Daily Notebooks 2018 – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Vintage Pen News: Charles N. Packard

Celebrating Pencils: My Current Favorites — Three Staples

Back to basics, with the Parker Junior Duofold and a bottle of Quink. | Fountain pen blog

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