Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 26, 2020

Photo of my five inked pens

My five remaining inked pens.

A lot of activity in the fountain pen realm for me this week. My fountain pen activity was up this past week, thanks to writing the drafts of a few posts along with writing just to use the pens. I wrote four pens dry and inked up three.

FYI – I write most if the Trail Log post on Saturday afternoon. Usually I only need to add links. There is a risk is that I have more significant change, like two pens going dry between scheduling the post and the actual publication. Hopefully I caught all the changes. But if you see a reference to six inked pens or the math doesn’t add up, please forgive me. But if you don’t that’s ok, I did a lot of writing and enjoyed my pens on Saturday without putting off what I needed to get done.

Newly Inked

I inked up my three pieces of silver. It wasn’t until II was writing this that I realized I went 100% Japanese for the new pens & inks.
1. Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver (Med Stub) with Iroshizuku Yama-guri
2. Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk (F) with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun
3. Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon (M) with Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku

I’m down to five inked pens, shown in the picture up top. I’ve got a new pen coming in this week which will be inked. I’ll ink at least two more later this morning, to bring me to eight. I also pulled out another five pens that I want to ink up. But inking them all up may be a bit overwhelming as I try to actively use all my inked pens.

Out of Ink

  1. I wrote my Edison Collier dry (well, nearly dry, more in a moment). It was inked up back on March 11th and went dry on April 19th.
  2. My Cherry Bamboo Vanishing Point was bone dry when I picked it up to use Saturday morning. I suspect this was due more to evaporation than use. It was inked up back on March 6, and while I did use it, that XXXF nib uses ink sparingly. I find it hard to believe I wrote it dry since it’s typically ignored unless the Fodderstack is in my pocket. I did clean a lot of ink out from around the trapdoor. I use swabs similar to https://andersonpens.com/anderson-pens-6-inch-cotton-swabs-pack-of-25/ these to reach the end of the barrel. I bought a box of 1,000 on Amazon over five years ago and still have them.
  3. The Sailor KOP ran out of ink yesterday afternoon. It was inked with Robert Oster Signature Orange back on March 19th. My typical habit these days is to pick a different inked pen for my morning journal entry each day, then use that pen as my primary writer for the day. The oblique medium nib isn’t suitable for use in my pocket notebook, which is my daily journal. So, this puts it in a bit of a hole since its never my primary writer. But if another pen runs dry, or my primary writer has seen enough use. I’ll pick this up and enjoy it. I cleaned it Saturday night. I’ll ink it up later this morning, assuming I can decide on an ink. 
  4. The Esterbrook Estie went dry Saturday evening. It was inked with Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk back on March 11th. The ink seems appropriate for one of the incoming pens. No prize if you guess which one. I like the Gregg nib of the Esterbrook, but will most likely put it back into the pen case after cleaning in order to give another pen a chance. I’m really liking the variety of pens that are going through my hands.

Incoming

I went a little nuts with pen buying this week. Actually, the crazy arrived Wednesday night and Thursday morning. (I was going to say “fever”, but that’s a bad metaphor these days). I had bid on several eBay auctions that other folks wanted more than I did. Although in one auction, an Anderson Pens pen parts lot, I received a second chance offer. I guess the winner didn’t pay. In the time since missing all those auctions, and getting the second chance offer, I bought three pens. Including one from Anderson Pens, so they still got some of my money. With the auction money now spent, I passed on the second chance offer.

Other than that one-second chance offer, it’s apparent to me that others want the pens more than I do. I hate the terms “win” and “lose” for eBay auctions since they are emotional. I much prefer to think of it as someone who wanted the item more than me, so they valued it higher than I did. I could easily “win” by bidding my credit card limit for a cheap pen, but that would be foolish, and hardily what I’d call a win.

I haven’t received any of the pens yet, but I ordered:
Kanilea Pen Kona Cherry Fountain Pen with an extra-fine nib. There are several reasons for me not to order this pen. In general, I don’t like colored transparent pens. But this one appears unlike any other transparent pen I’ve seen, which much more depth to the material. Kanilea Pens was on my pen show list since the pen material is handmade and unique for each pen; an in-person viewing seemed like a good idea. This pen is gorgeous in the photos. While photos can be deceptive, and computer monitors add to the deception, I suspect this one will be better in person. I have seen some of their other pens in real life, and they are all stunning. The other reason to buy is that some of these pens are available for (more or less) immediate shipment. And any not yet made will ship in significantly less time than their typical mail-order timeframes. I had stumbled across this as I was listening to the Pen Addict podcast. Their discussion confirmed my first impressions.

Then it was out to Pen Chalet website where I used the Pen Addict promotion to buy the Leonardo Officina Italiana Messenger Fountain Pen in green with an extra-fine nib. Another transparent colored pen. But, I decided to take a chance. Generally, I’ve liked the material used in Italian pens, if not the actual pens themselves. Part of me expects this to be a quick rental, and put the pen up for sale once my curiosity is satisfied.

The final pen purchased was the YStudio Classic Desk Fountain Pen in Copper with a fine nib.

The Leonardo arrived at my PO Box on Saturday, ahead of schedule. Too late for me to go pick it up, so I’ll plan next week’s errands for Monday and include the pen pick-up. The other two had slightly extended ship times (7-10 days) but could ship in the coming week.

Outgoing

I unexpectedly sold a fountain pen, the Edison Collier. That pen seems like it should be nearly perfect for me; it’s only negative being the gold furniture. It’s a big pen with a great writing nib. But it went unused for years, so I put it up for sale last year. I eventually withdrew it when I got busy moving. I pulled it out in March and was enjoying it. Then I got an email acknowledging the pen was withdrawn, but asking if I had reconsidered. After a short but intense internal debate, I decided to sell it. I like the pen, especially when I’m using it. But the pen doesn’t call out to me when it’s in the case, and I expect to keep ignoring it if I kept it. It was very low on ink. So low, I wouldn’t have been shocked if it ran out during the writing sample. It made it through the writing sample but was so low on ink I consider myself to have written it dry.

Bits and Bobs

I visited the FPGeeks forum this past week. I’ve been away for a long time but figured it was an excellent opportunity to do some reading. It didn’t take me long to stumble across some snark comments unrelated to fountain pens, so I moved on. That was a bit depressing.

Saturday may not have been the best weather of the year so far. I’m not keeping track, but I bet it was since it was the first time I opened the windows and enjoyed the fresh air. It makes me yearn for my old apartment, where I had a small patio that I could sit out on and relax. It was only about six feet from a parking lot, so not a great view, but my current location has no patio. There is a community area with tables and grills, plus a lot of grass, so it isn’t too bad. Community facilities may not be the best choice right now, especially since at least one resident of the apartment complex has CV19, but I may get my chair out of storage so I can sit out under the trees.

Unrelated to anything – I hate the WordPress iOS app. It caused me problems long ago and I’ve ignored it for years. Until Saturday when I decided to try it out to edit this post. Big mistake. As I mentioned, I had more changes than usual after that initial draft was uploaded. I decided to use the iOS app for that. Big mistake. Hopefully I caught all the broken links and added all the lost text back in.

Links

Pandemic Journaling Prompts – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Crónicas Estilográficas: 10 Years // Congratulations on ten years. It looks like my first link to the site was a little over 7 years ago.

The Green Ink Quest: Akkerman #28 | From the Pen Cup // One of my favorite greens, although MB Irish Green is a worthy rival, as is the next link.

Ink Review: Pilot Iroshizuku shin-ryoku (Forest Green) – inkyfountainpens // For some reason this site wasn’t in my rss feed until this week. Another fine site if you’re into ink.

Waterman Forum – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // The design of this pen caught my attention.

Nine years with the Parker Frontier fountain pen. | Fountain pen blog // I enjoy the long duration reviews much more than reviews of new products.

Ryan Krusac Legend L~15 in Ebony and Abalone: A Review — The Pen Addict // Despite having three fountain pens on order, this review made me come close to ordering a Ryan Krusac pen. Despite loving the feel of wooden pens, I had to remind myself that my current Legend has been unused for a few years. I pulled it out to put in the to be inked queue. While browsing Ryan’s website this is the pen that made my want list (other than the nib choice). Review: Ryan Krusac Studios Legend L-16 (Cocobolo, Broad Cursive Italic) – Hand Over That Pen

Paper Review: Yamamoto Fountain Pen Friendly Paper Collection – The Well-Appointed Desk // I’m not surprised there are some many variations of Japanese paper. Actually, I’m sure this only scratches the surface.

Pens into rotation: Week ending 24 April 2020 — TooManyPelikans // Always fun to see which Pelikans get inked up.

Carolina, Clyde … and classic Montblanc | UK fountain pens // That first one is gorgeous, the other two don’t appeal to me so much.

The Best Paper for Everyday Writing, Part V: Writing Pads, Notecards, and Even Some Looseleaf — The Gentleman Stationer // The series continues. The Doane Large Writing Pads are my go-to everyday writing pad. The Nock Co. Dot-Dash index card are my go-to index cards. I use Rhodia a lot less, but can’t argue against its inclusion.

Bloggiversary III! // – Weirdoforest Pens // Another Anniversary. Congratulations!

Off Topic – Journey-Separate Ways (Heller Quarantine Edition) Side by Side on Vimeo // You may have had to live through the 80’s to appreciate this. Three months ago I probably would have asked “Why?”. Now, I watched it a few times.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 19, 2020

Photo of my 8 currently inked fountain pens

My 8 currently inked fountain pens, plus a rollerball.

As I mentioned last week, my Balance II Aspen was nearly empty. Sure enough, it went dry Sunday afternoon. I was the only pen that went dry last week. My usage was down little last week, consisting of mainly journal entries along with a few notes and lists. I am consistently rotating through my pens, giving them all a little use. I’ve also been prefect in writing in my pocket notebook journal to bookend each day.

Anderson Pens is continuing their unrestored vintage event on eBay. Back when the first announced the event in their stores I considered using this as one excuse for a road trip. But, I couldn’t find enough other excuses to justify it at that time of year, which in retrospect was probably a good thing. So, I’ve been watching the auctions and did win one lot of pens. Most have been going for more than I’m willing to pay. Last week I mentioned my pet peeve (as a buyer) was people who kept manually bidding up the price. Someone did this at the very end of this auction by placing several $1 raises near the end. This cost them, as they snuck in a bid a few sections before the auction ended which exactly matched mine. But, since mine was in earlier so, they lost the auction. I wouldn’t have been upset if they outbid me as I’m main motivation for bidding was that this would probably sell for for less than other lots, while providing a few pens I could practice restoring.

In browsing retailers to see if wooden VPs were still available in the U.S. (triggered by the Scrively article linked below) I came across two pens I want. The first, a Sailor King of Pen Dragonfly and Waterfall Limited Edition is $5K. I don’t like it that much but, it’s gorgeous. The second is a much more obtainable Pilot Vanishing Point Stripes that did catch my eye when it was first announced. As I mention below, the metal VPs aren’t my favorite models, and I already have two (It’s tough getting old, I forgot I already sold them both). But, I am considering selling one, or both, and buying this one as a replacement.

Links

Missing the Library – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

The Cross Apogee fountain pen, revisited. | Fountain pen blog // I owned the Chrome version at one time, but sold it. While many folks like it, a couple commented so on my review it just didn’t grab me.

Not that I need more ink, but… | From the Pen Cup // Green is my favorite color, although I’ve yet to find that perfect green ink. II think being a favorite color makes it harder to find the right ink. Montblanc Irish Green is probably my favorite, but it’s not a slam dunk and Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen is a contender. As is Omas Green, although the it is no longer made.

A Late Mentmore Autoflow. – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

A Warning About Fakes And Fakers | An Inkophile’s Blog // Always need to be vigilant.

My Lamy 2000, a brief update. | Fountain pen blog

Pens into rotation: Week ending 17 April 2020 — TooManyPelikans

Her Majesty’s Stationery Office pencils // Pencils? Yes, not something that usually comes up in my feed. And it didn’t. It’s came from The Pen Addict Members newsletter. The history in this article pulled me in.

Comparative Overview: Pilot Capless – Metal vs Wood – Scrively // I’m a fan of the wood models. I had both the black and the red model at one time (called “Cherry Bamboo” and “Black Bamboo” in the U.S., despite not being bamboo. I sold the black model but still have the red, along with the Maplewood SE. I just didn’t need all three. A cursory search of U.S. retailers indicates it’s not available anymore in the States. I do remember reading that the black version was no longer available here.

On the Desk – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

 

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 12, 2020

Photo of my 9 currently inked pens

I’m down to 9 inked pens, 3 less than last Sunday. While I planned to photograph my entire desk, it’s even messier than last week, so a tight crop on the fountain pens. The brown notebook that is behind the pens is the Doane Paper pocket notebook that’s my current journal.

It certainly feels like my fountain pen usage was way up this past week, I wrote three pens dry on Friday – the vintage Grey Marble Sheaffer Balance Oversize and two of my three Sheaffer Balance IIs. The third Balance II is writing with just the ink left in the feed, so it will soon join it’s siblings. All these pens were inked in mid-January, so it’s not like I used them up quickly. What I find really amazing is that I was consistent enough in rotating my pen usage that they all went dry on the same day. While I don’t keep track of these things, it’s the only time I can remember this happening.

I’ve been journaling consistently, using my pocket notebook. As expected, the smaller size is more motivating. As is the structure of one two-page spread per day. It’s quick enough that I don’t put it off in the morning or evening. There was one night I completely forgot, my compulsion for structure, and not leaving a blank page, had me fill in that page the next morning before I wrote my regular morning entry.

I’m left with nine inked pens. My two remaining Sheaffers are low on ink and at least one will go dry today. I started with the Aspen and will switch to the Balance Oversize when the Aspen goes dry. I’m still debating what to ink up to replace all the no-empty pens. I’m leaning towards re-inking the Sheaffer level fillers since that’s so much easier than flushing them out. Plus, they’d great pens.

I’m back to browsing eBay for pens. So far I’ve been quickly outbid on the couple that I bid on. I wasn’t surprised since I placed relatively low bids that matched my enthusiasm for the pen. I have a simple rule for eBay bidding. Figure out how much I’m willing to pay, then place a maximum bid for that amount. If it’s a pen I really want I’ll set a reminder for when the auction is nearly over, then bid near the end. Basically, a manual snipe. My pet peeve is people who place bids just above the current bid, and keep raising it as they are outbid. (FYI – eBay proxy bids and will automatically raise bids up to the bidders maximum.) As a seller I loved these because these folks seem to be the ones that get carried away and concentrate on winning the auction. My brain finds it completely illogical. As a buyer I hate it for the same reason, I almost prefer to lose these auctions than have them drop out just shy of hitting my maximum bid.

Links

Some More Nibs – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // I’m a sucker for some good nib photos.

Doodling As An Antidote To Turbulent Times | An Inkophile’s Blog // I started doing this the night I read the article. Great way to use pens and clear the mind.

Mabir Todd Swan Leverless L200B/60 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Kala Nostalgia Blue Lagoon Vapor | Inkdependence! // Another go-to sight for those rare times I want an ink review.

Simple pleasures | UK fountain pens

Iridium – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // I used to have a unwritten rule of limiting any site to one link per week. But I’m really enjoying the stuff on Goodwriterpen’s blog. It’s a unique voice in my feed. Since it was an unwritten rule I have no problem including three links in one week.

Postcards From the Edge | From the Pen Cup

Crónicas Estilográficas: Curidas. 3. Analysis // I’m always put off by products that have a bunch of internet hype, especially prior to being widely available. Crónicas has had a series of posts about the pen that cuts through the hype. Personally, I’m not interested beyond curiosity. Although, I do hope the pen lives up too the hype and people enjoy it. It would be nice to see Platinum be successful and expand the lineup.

Forever inks | UK fountain pens // Another Montblanc ink lover.

This Just In: Sailor 1911 Full Size Realo

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo in packagingThe Sailor 1911 Full Size Realo arrived in the same package as the Pelikan M815 Striped Metal back in early February. “Realo” is the moniker Sailor uses for their piston fill pens. According to the Sailor website, this is the only Realo model available with anything other than gold trim. So my choice was limited since I didn’t want gold trim. I do have a slight preference for the Pro Gear design, but that wasn’t an option since I couldn’t find any trace of their being a silver trimmed Pro Gear Model. (There are Realo Pro Gear pens, just not with silver trim.)

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo cappedThe 1911 Large Realo is a traditional, tapered pen with silver trim. The design is often referred to as cigar-shaped, which I never really understood since most cigars I’ve seen are flat on one end. The nib is 21k rhodium plated. I picked a medium-fine as my nib size. Sailor nibs run thin (as do all Japanese nibs, and this one is thinner than many of my European fine nibs. The pen itself is made of a classic black resin.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo cap and ink windowLike the Pelikan M815 that arrived at the same time, it has a window to view the ink level. Unlike the M815, the ink window is visible when the pen is capped.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo nibI’m a fan of Sailor’s thin nibs and have the extra-fine on my Regency Stripe. This medium-fine is two steps above that, making it an excellent all-around nib for me. The nib is marked H-MF, where the H means Hard. I wouldn’t call the nib a nail, but I like firm nibs, and this has a Goldilocks firmness to it.

While the size of the Realo is comfortable for me it’s a resin pen, meaning it’s relatively light. My hand gets more fatigued with a light pen than it does with a heavier pen. It’s counter-intuitive, but it’s because I subconsciously use a tighter grip on lighter pens. The ink flows so smoothly from the Sailor nib that I can use a light touch and let the weight of the pen do all the work of keeping the nib on the paper. I get a nice, solid line of ink that’s true to the nib size without any added pressure. Because of this, along with the comfortable size of the pen, I haven’t found myself sub-consciously tightening my grip. I did experiment with posting the cap, but the benefit of the added weight is outweighed by the discomfort I have using a posted pen. My benchmark is that I have to stand and stretch my legs before I have to put the pen down to rest. I’ve yet to do any marathon writing sessions, but so far the pen feels like I can write forever with it and I expect it to achieve this benchmark.

To inaugurate the pen I picked Iroshizuku Funyu-Syogun ink. Iroshizuku inks are well-behaved and Fuyu-Syogun was my favorite ink at one time. I filled the pen when it arrived in early February, and it went dry as I was writing the draft of this post.

I’m not sure this pen has the stuff to be Core Pen worthy. The Realo has a great nib, and it’s comfortable. Still, once the novelty of a Sailor piston filler rubs off, it may go the way of my my other Sailor 1911s. Only time will tell. I didn’t refill it after it went dry, opting instead to concentrate on using the five Sheaffers that are already inked up. This indicates it may have a hard time achieving core-pen status. Then again, four of those Sheaffers are core pens, and the fifth is a new addition that’s identical to one of the core-pen Sheaffers, except for the material.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo uncappedPhoto of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo uncapped

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 5, 2020

Photo of my desk - high noon on Saturday

Photo of my desk, high noon on Saturday.

This week I did a good job of rotating my pen usage among all my inked fountain pens. Plus, I started journaling again on a regular basis. I did change up the way I journal. In the past my journal was always a Seven Seas Writer or similar A5 notebook. I would typically write at night, occasionally trying to write mornings, and on rare occasions, both morning an evening. I have this this compulsion to write full pages. A blank A5 page can seem pretty daunting when I’m tired, or in a hurry, or just don’t feel like writing. So, I switched to using a pocket size notebook which is a lot less daunting. I use a two page spread per day. In the morning I write on the left page. I use the right page in the evening. It’s not a lot of room, but I’ve written each day since I started a week ago.

I pick a new pen to start the day and use that pen as my primary writer for the entire day. Since I’m home-bound this is much easier. Fountain pens like my Sheaffer Balance IIs or vintage Sheaffers which I consider a little to fragile to travel, especially in my pocket, can now remain in a pen stand. This does mean no pens were used enough to be written dry.

Nock Co. Is having a 25% sale for the month of April so I restocked my notecards. (See the banner at the top of their website for the coupon code.) I also placed a Doane Paper order to restock my writing pads along with a few notebooks.

To entertain myself I’ve started movie nights, which are now every day of the week. This week was heavy on westerns. The week started with The Professionals (1966) and Stage Coach (1939). I liked Stage Coach more than I expected, since I’m not a John Wayne fan. The Professionals didn’t have much of a story, but a great cast carried the movie. Then I switched to a comedy and watched Some Like It Hot (1959) which was enjoyable even though I’ve watched it already and knew the story and the jokes. At this point I wanted to watched the Dollar trilogy and watched A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and A Few Dollars More (1965). I’ll finish the trilogy this afternoon with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) which remains my favorite western. I did a double feature on Friday and also watched The Lady From Shanghai (1947) which was an enjoyable film-noir, although with a slightly convoluted story. I also watched Auto Focus (2002) which was about Bob Crane. I watched Hogan’s Heroes when I was a kid and remembered there was a scandal when he was murdered in 1978. It satisfied my curiosity about the events, and was actually a well acted and put together movie. It’s not what I’d consider an enjoyable movie, and not recommended due to the topic. It has a well deserved R rating.

Yes, I like old movies. Except for the spaghetti westerns,all the movies were from the Criterion Collection subscription service. I was familiar with their DVDs, and enjoyed them in the past. The subscription service is a better deal than DVDs, and I subscribed earlier this year. It’s $99/year (can be monthly too). A lot of old movies along with some recent classics. Also a lot of foreign films. They are true to the original versions, so no colorized versions and the foreign films have subtitles, no dubbing. Many films are restored and there are a lot of extras to go along with many of the movies. To match their name, many of the files are grouped in “Collections” such as by the same director or with the same actor. A two week free trial is available. They move movies in and out every month so if you start your trial the last week of a month you’ll get a slightly larger selection.

So yea a lot of movies. And sorry about the off-topic tangent. But I can relate it to fountain pens since I used the movies as an excuse to use my pens and write some quick reviews. Well, more like notes than reviews.

Links

canetas e coisas: SAILOR

Why Hobbies (Still) Matter in the Midst of a Pandemic — Inkpothesis // Some heartfelt thought by someone currently working in a hospital.

Architect Nibs: Their Theory and Practice | Hey there! SBREBrown // I never jumped on the popularity of these nibs, mainly since most complex (meaning “not round”) nibs are lost on me. Very good explanation of the nib. I’m still not sure if the nib is for me. But, this is the first time I’ve heard it’s better suited for people who print, rather than use cursive. That is me.

For Pen Aficionados: How to Fill Your Free Time During the Quarantine – Neil’s Unique Pens Bought and Sold

Some Nibs – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

The Best Paper for Everday Writing, Part I: Best Hardcover Notebooks — The Gentleman Stationer

Ink Review #1124: Diamine Starlit Sea — Mountain of Ink // I don’t buy ink these days, so I rarely read or link to ink reviews. But if I wanted to read an ink review, I’d start with this site.

Current Mood(s) | From the Pen Cup // Good to see Mary’s shoulder is healing up and she’s back to posting.

Pen Pal Match Up Opens Again: One for Adults, One for Kids – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Crónicas Estilográficas: Curidas. 2. Contenders

Sailor Fountain Pen Maintenance Kit Review — The Pen Addict // As mentioned in the review, it seems pricey, but not outrageous and it seems useful. That is if you have many Sailor pens and no cleaning supplies.

Quarantinely Inked – Weirdoforest Pens

Off-Topic: Train Engineer Says He Crashed In Attempt To Attack Navy Hospital Ship In L.A. : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR // Crazy story, but the part I found interesting is that “training wrecking” is a named crime.

Off-Topic: The Worm is Back! | NASA // The best NASA logo. Forty-five years old and still seems modern, glad it’s back. But then again, it’s the logo I grew up seeing during my peak space interest as a kid.