Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – June 29, 2016

Visconti Dreamtouch 3 pen case full with SheaffersThe Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log is a replacement of sorts for my Sunday Notes and Links. I’m hoping to make it a regular feature although I’m not willing to commit to a publication frequency.

The month of June was mostly standard fountain pen usage for me. I used the pens to take notes at work, draft my posts, and for other miscellaneous writing. As I mention below, I rarely use a non-fountain pen. It’s main competition is the computer or iPad. I did write several pens dry during the month but the ones that remain still hold a lot of ink.

I did give in and ink up my Sheaffer Balance IIs and have been using them a lot now that they have a case to protect them.

I could brag that I continue to use my Hobonichi every day. But the truth is it’s usually just a short entry in the morning. The current weather and how well I slept are standard fare.

I have been better about writing in my Seven Seas Writer most evenings although I did miss a few entries this month. For awhile I wrote at least a page a night but in the last week I’m down to about half a page. I’ve been trying to maintain the habit of writing nightly and not get too concerned about quantity. (I was never concerned about quality.)

Thought Provoking Links

The Handwritten Draft // Pete Denison

Pete Denison recently wrote about how his posts start off as handwritten drafts. This is something I’ve been doing since I started this blog as it gave me a reason to use my pens. Happily, I’ve found I like writing this way and much of my other writing also starts as a handwritten draft. Although to be honest I have to admit that I’m most consistent with this blog, I use this process for many of the reasons Pete mentions.

I generally draft all my posts in the same notebook until it’s full. It’s not dedicated to posts but this way I always know where to find them. My current notebook is a Maruman Septcouleur. I may have more than one post going at a time. I don’t leave blank pages. If a post isn’t done, I simply continue on at the next blank page if I pick it up again. Sometimes an incomplete post just fades into oblivion.

I don’t do a lot of editing when writing the draft. I may use an arrow to show a paragraph makes more sense in a different spot, but that’s about it. If I need to look something up I’m more likely to make a note about it rather than stopping and looking it up.

Once the written draft is done I transcribe it into ByWord for this blog or Ulysses for some of my other writing. I do edit and rewrite sections during this process and look up anything I made a note of. Sometimes this editing will be very extensive.

Once it’s transcribed I like to let it sit overnight but have to admit I often move right on to the next step which is reading it aloud. I find reading it aloud lets me catch more errors and I’m even more likely to catch them if I waited until the next day. This way I read the actual words rather than what my brain remembers me writing.

If I’m really conscientious I use text to speech as a final review to have the words read to me. But I admit I often skip this step in the interest of time.

This process doesn’t apply to my Sunday Notes and Links or Currently Inked posts, but every other post on this site started this way. I may hand write any blurbs or comments for the Sunday Links or Currently Inked posts but since they are so link or copy/paste heavy I rarely do.

On the surface this seems to be doubling the work but I’m not convinced that’s true since this seems to be a nice streamlined flow from start to finish. Even if it is true, I get to enjoy using my pens.

Namisu Nexus Minimal fine nib writing sample

A written draft

Fad or Function? Using what you enjoy…and makes sense // The Clicky Post

In this post Mike Dudek makes two main points. First, use what you enjoy which I agree with wholeheartedly. Second, fountain pens may not be ideal for many situation to which I say balderdash! If a fountain pen can’t be used then it’s not worth writing!

OK, a little extreme I know. I do think his first point trumps all others. If you don’t enjoy the pen, no matter what the type or what the community says, then don’t use it. If you enjoy rollerballs then use them.

In my case, my attempts to use non-fountain pens have left me wanting more. I like Retro 51 rollerballs, mainly for their look. They do write nice, thanks to the refill and I always have one with me. But it gets used more by other people (can I borrow your pen?) than by myself. I also like the idea of mechanical pencils and carried one for about a month but never used it. Likewise I still have some nice wood cased pencils sitting unused in my desk drawer.

I’m lucky in that my nib of choice is thin and I like well behaved inks. This lets me use a wide range of papers without too much trouble. Unlike Mike, I wouldn’t say “you need to use the right paper or they usually suck”. I don’t mind the Field Notes paper or even cheap copy paper. Sure, I prefer nice paper but I rarely come across paper that completely sucks.

I also admit I’m used to compromise. I’ve had a long career in technology, usually other people providing the keyboards or requiring me to switch keyboards a lot. I have my preference but other keyboards don’t make me nuts and I adjust. Likewise, I like my AeroPress coffee but office coffee has always been free and right at hand, so I dealt with it, at least as much as possible (tough at times). The same goes for inks and paper, show-through doesn’t bother me if I’m just doing notes or even the first draft of an article. With my thin nibs it’s rarely a problem for me. I’d rather use a fountain pen and live with it’s foibles than use something else. Let’s face it, it’s not like my handwriting is so good that a little show-through or feathering ruins what is otherwise perfect.

But it gets back to his first point, use what you enjoy. For me that means using a fountain pen 99% of the time.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc Ink Bottle

A pen and ink I really enjoy.

Top 7 Pens to Take on a Summer Outing // Anderson Pens Podcast #195

I’m way behind on my podcast listening. A few weeks ago Brian and Lisa Anderson selected their choices for summer pens. The definition of “outing” was a bit murky and could probably apply to winter outings too. I can’t argue with their choices but if I was to pick from the pens I own these are the ones I’d pick.

  1. Kaweco Brass Sport – a little pricy if I was concerned about losing it but I already carry it everyday as it is.
  2. KarasKustoms Ink – a tank of a pen. The red one would be easy to find if dropped. It’s a little heavy for a shirt pocket and the stiff clip may not hold the pen securely since summer shirts are usually thin.
  3. Lamy Safari or AL-Star – inexpensive and durable.
  4. Pilot Vanishing Point with XXXF nib There was a bit of a chuckle when Lisa picked the Vanishing Point and she showed the Cherry Bamboo. It’s more expensive than the metal bodies and more likely to be damaged since it’s wood. But it’s my favorite and would be my choice unless I was extra concerned about loss or damage.
  5. Retro 51 or KarasKustoms Ink Rollerball – for when my non-pen companions want to borrow one.

Pen Show Frictions, Part 1: retail shoppers vs traders // Vintage Pen News
Pen Show Frictions, Part 2: the Generation Gap // Vintage Pen News

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about various factions at pen shows. I especially enjoyed part 1 which approached this in a way I hadn’t seen discussed before, but immediately recognized. Without thinking to much about it at the time, I did see the two different types at pen shows. Personally, I prefer the retailer. I tended to just avoid those without prices marked (the traders). The exception being if I know a bit about the pen.

Other Links

Visconti Homo Sapiens – Florentine Hills // Calligraphy Nut

I’m having a hard time resisting this pen. I love my Bronze Age and this is gorgeous. I’m saving my pen money for the DC show which has helped me resist. I’ve also read that each of these pens is slightly different so I’d want to see it.

Art Supply Posse

Ana, from the Well-Appointed Desk, along with Heather Rivard have started a podcast about art supplies. I admit that I haven’t listened to it – I’m behind on my podcasts and this isn’t a topic I get excited about. But I suspect many others will enjoy it.

Montblanc Inks // United Inkdom

It’s from May, but it’s my favorite ink brand so here it is.

Pen Shows

The Miami Pen Show will be July 15–17.

The Washington DC Pen Show is August 4–7.

Triangle Pen Show 2016 // Inkdependence – The Triangle Pen Show has been over nearly a month, but here’s a photo heavy recap to get you in the pen show mood.

Sunday Notes and Links – May 15, 2016

What I Used

It was another week without a clear favorite among my inked up fountain pens. In fact, I’ve been yearning to ink up several pens from the pen case. I suspect I’ll do just that by the end of today.

I am really enjoying the Lamy Safari with the new Lamy Dark Lilac ink, even though the pen has a medium nib. I really like the color and the wider nib helps show it off. Still, it’s a little wide for me to use as a daily writer.

What Others Are Using

Currently Inked: Trio of Franklin-Christoph Eye-Dropper Pens — Pendora’s Box // I know the F-C clear acrylics are hugely popular. I’m in the minority and while I love the F-C pens, their clear acrylics just down’t appeal to me, especially when I’ve had to clean them.

Video: Travelers Notebook Everyday Use — The Finer Point

Pen Shows & Other News

The Triangle Pen Show (Raleigh, NC) is June 2nd through 5th. You’ll need a weekend registration to attend Thursday or before 1PM on Friday.

The next European pen show is the Nuremberg Pen Show on May 21st.

Sunday Notes and Links Changes

The timing of the Sunday Notes has become a problem for me. I’m a creature of habit and I like the consistent time, but the posts both this week and last were thrown together at the last minute which I don’t like doing. I’ve been thinking about how to change things but I haven’t decided anything and will play it by ear to see what works. Because of my schedule I can pretty much guarantee that there won’t be a post this time on Sunday. Maybe later, maybe earlier, maybe I’ll take a week off to think about the changes. Things may be inconsistent through the next few months no matter what.

Sunday Notes and Links – May 08, 2016

This will be quick post. It’s been a busy week but my pens haven’t gotten much use. So let’s move on to what other are using and doing…

Having a notebook on your desk — The Ink Smudge – Doesn’t everyone keep a notebook handy?

Hobonichi Techo Weeks | East…West…Everywhere

The Pen Shop profile | United Inkdom

April in the Midori Travelers Notebook — The Purl Bug

On geekdom and why I care about stationary. — The Ink Smudge

Currently Inked: May 2016 — Pendora’s Box

Pen Shows & Other News

Chicago Pen Show 2016 Recap — The Pen Addict

A Pen Show? Really? | Dead Reckoning

London Stationery Show report | United Inkdom

The Triangle Pen Show (Raleigh, NC) is June 2nd through 5th. You’ll need a weekend registration to attend Thursday or before 1PM on Friday.

The next European pen show is the Nuremberg Pen Show on May 21st.

Favorite 5: Inks

It’s been nearly a year since I last updated my Favorite 5 Inks list making it time for an update. The first two are slam dunk picks for the list and will probably be there until I run out. Neither is made anymore. The other three are new to the list. This newness, and the shiny glow that goes with it, helped get them on the list.

1. Montblanc Bordeaux

Edison Huron Grande with extra fine and Montblanc Bordeaux bottleMy perennial number one ink and it will be until I eventually run out. There’s no point in having the ink unless I use it, so even though supplies are limited it’s always in a pen. Ink Notes

2. Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with R&K Blau-Schwarz LEA blue-black ink that’s another perennial favorite. This was the first blue-black ink I truly liked, rather than tolerated. It made me more open to trying other blue-black inks, although none can compare. This one was a limited edition and I was smart enough (that’s my claim at least) to buy two bottles. Like the Bordeaux the supply is limited but there’s no point having it if I don’t use it and it’s nearly always in a pen. Ink Notes

3. Athena Sepia

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Vintage Green with a broad stub nib and Athena Sepia Ink bottleThis replaces Montblanc Toffee Brown on my Fav 5 list. It’s a nice dark brown ink with just a touch of line variation in most nibs. Athena is a store brand for Maruzen so while it’s not technically a limited edition it is hard to find.

4. Pilot Blue-Black

Pilot Custom 823 fine nib with Pilot Blue-Black InkFinally, an ink that’s easy to get and relatively inexpensive. This is my choice as an everyday workhorse ink.

5. Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Sheaffer Balance II (Crimson Glow) with Sheaffer Peacock Blue bottleI don’t like turquoise inks, except when I do. This is the rare exception and a turquoise I like. It flows great and has nice line variation with even my preferred thin nibs. It’s not made anymore so it’s another with a limited lifetime although I’ll give the current Sheaffer Turquoise a try when it does run out.

Sunday Notes and Links – May 1, 2016

What I Used

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink bottleLast Sunday I didn’t have a favorite fountain pen & ink because I had barely used any of my pens. This past week was the polar opposite. I used all my inked fountain pens for extended period so there was plenty of competition. I wrote seven of them dry during the week. It all started with writing a few letters Sunday afternoon and continued right on during the week. The fountain pen & ink that rose above all the others was my Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with its extra fine nib and Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink. Continuing the trend of the week it went dry while writing the draft of this article.

What Others Are Using and Doing

Tessa visits the London Stationery Show 2016

Bob at My Pen Needs Ink is forced to one pen and issues a One Pen Challenge. My response – No Way!

Ana at The Well-Appointed Desk picked up a couple of older Sheaffers. She also had a bad (failed) pen repair experience. Ana’s experience fits in with the question Dr. Deans asked (and answered) at The Pen Economist – Why Aren’t Vintage Pens Aren’t Popular?.

Gourmet Pens shows a Lamy Vista eyedropper conversion.

Ian from Pens! Paper! Pencils! met a pen maker.

Paul from Gorgeous Ink shares his monthly loadout which begins with a spring vacation for the family.

Inkophile found that Staples Sugarcane paper has declined in quality. I’m sorry to see this as I liked these notebooks.

Pen Shows & Other News

Goulet Pens has a video recap of the Atlanta Pen show.

The Chicago Pen Show is going on this weekend. The Triangle Pen Show (Raleigh, NC) is June 2nd through 5th. You’ll need a weekend registration to attend Thursday or before 1PM on Friday. Here’s some photos from the show via Inkdepenence.

The next European pen show is the Nuremberg Pen Show on May 21st.

Sunday Notes and Links – April 24, 2016

What I Used

I didn’t use my pens much this week. Most of my writing when right to the keyboard. So no favorite this week.

What Others Are Using and Doing

Rob at Dot Cross Dot tackled Finding a Better Bottle. Ian then took a look at the bottles on Pens! Paper! Pencils! and Scribble examined them on United Inkdom.

Susan told us how she gets her great photos in The Art of Fountain Pen Photography on The Pen Addict.

Bruno from Crónicas Estilográficas told us about visiting a pen exhibition.

The Pelikan’s Perch gives The Story Behind Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black which reminded me it’s a good time to place an overseas order for those items hard to find in the U.S.

Goodwriterspens’s Blog has an eBay purchase I’m fascinated by, both by it’s contents and the lost history it represents – The Summit Pen Repair Kit And Manual

Pen Shows & Other News

The Chicago Pen Show is this coming weekend – April 28th through May 1st.

The next European pen show is the Nuremberg Pen Show on May 21st.

There were a lot of articles about the Atlanta pen show. Here’s some that I found.,,


The Gentleman Stationer – Thur/Fri Recap and Saturday Recap

The Well-Appointed Desk

My Pen Needs Ink

The Pen Addict Podcast 200 (Recorded live at the show)

Sunday Notes and Links – April 17, 2016

What I Used

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Platinum Carbon ink

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Platinum Carbon ink

Sometimes it’s the simple things that are enjoyable. This week’s favorite was my Platinum Carbon Pen with Platinum Carbon Black ink. It’s a cheap plastic pen, and feels it, plus it’s a little on the thin & light side for long writing sessions. Still, this week it got a lot of use and that thin nib was enjoyable to use. I reached for it not just for convenience, but also because I wanted to use it.

What Others Are Using and Doing

Ian asks “hoarder or collector?” in Ian’s Pen Addict Story – Pens Paper Pencils at The Pen Haul.

Jenny at The Finer Point goes a bit crazy – a week without fountain pens and A Week with the Blackwing 24. Spoiler: She missed her fountain pens.

Currently inked at Pendora’s Box. There’s also a look at her loadout for a trip to NYC.

Winter Sharks provides an update on the Nanami Seven Seas Standard after using it for 13 months. I’m a fan of the Seven Seas Writer.

Eivind provides his experience as a lefty fountain pen user at The Ink Smudge.

John at Pensive describes his eBay purchase of A brace of Parker 45s.

Pen Shows & Other News

Adam recapped the 2016 Seoul Pen Show at Inklode.

This really doesn’t fit in this (or any other section), but I’m fascinated by different filling systems and Crónicas Estilográficas has one that’s new to me – Twist.

The Atlanta Pen Show will be wrapping up today. I’m sure we’ll read about it during the next week as the show draws more pen bloggers than any other show (except maybe DC).

The next US show is Chicago, from April 28th through May 1st.

The Northern Pen Show (UK) is today (Sunday April 17th) while the next European pen show is the Nuremberg Pen Show on May 21st .

While I haven’t seen any official announcement of dates (or a website update) for the Washington DC pen show this FPGeeks forum thread alerted me that it’s August 4–7, so I made my hotel reservations. The group rate ($119/night) is in effect for those days at the hotel. Cancellation policy for the group rate requires cancellation a couple days before the check-in day in order to be fully refundable. Unlike some shows, I couldn’t find any cheaper rates that were also fully refundable.