Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 24, 2021

My two favorite fountain pens of the week
Diplomat Aero and Lamy Safari

My fountain pen usage was up this week. I switched back to using a Seven Seas Writer as a Journal and I’m filling at least a page per day. That may not be a lot for many people, but it is for me these days. My most used pens this week are two of the ones discussed below under Changing Beliefs.

At the end of 2020 I said that I’d be enjoying the pens I bought in 2020, and not buy new ones. Well, that didn’t last long.

I ordered a Retro 51, although I couldn’t have predicted it. Pen Chalet released a train themed Retro 51. Prior to fountain pens, I collected n-scale model trains, and have an ongoing interest in trains. So this one was irresistible and I immediately ordered one when I got the e-mail. I almost ignored the email because the stampede of Retro 51 announcements has worn me out, and made me not care. I heard that production was affected by the pandemic and their trying to get all the releases in. Update: Additional info in the links, sounds like Retro 51 is not going away.

The two 2021 special edition Safaris that Lamy announced both appeal to me and I will probably get both. They got me looking at Lamy’s again. I ended up ordering a 14k gold nib, usable on any of my Lamy fountain pens. I also ordered both a Safari and AL-Star. This could be pandemic induced stupidity since I’ve previously sold off nine Safari/AL-Star fountain pens due to non-use. Assuming I do get both 2021 models, I’ll be back to six Safaris and one AL-Star.

Changing Beliefs

I’ve held certain fountain pen presumptions and assumptions for as long as I can remember. A couple of these have either completely collapsed, or been slightly bent.

TWSBI GO with a custom Predator Extreme nib
TWSBI Go with the Predator Extreme nib

The first was that I would never get a custom nib on an inexpensive pen. I avoid the word cheap because that would imply it might be poorly made. I didn’t think about it much, I just automatically ignored considering them for nib work. Spending more on a nib grind than I did on the pen struck me as inconceivable. Then when considering pens to send out to Mark Bacas I wanted to get a Predator Extreme grind. This is a very fine tip when held normally, and an Architect grind when reversed. I skipped an Architect grind when it was all the rage a couple of years ago because it just didn’t seem to be a nib I would enjoy. The Predator Extreme is very fine when used normally, and an Architect grind when reversed. A new grind always carries a bit of risk, but I will almost certainly like the thin side, and I’ll be able to try the Architect. A broad nib is recommended as the starting point. My only choice, other than buying a new pen, was my TWSBI Go. A $19 fountain pen.

I like the pen (if not the broad nib) and finally convinced myself that it made sense for the grind. The Go is a sturdy and reliable fountain pen. Even if it does break, the nib is easy to move. The only reason I could come up with to not have it done was the price difference. I finally realized that this wasn’t a reason. It’s not even a bad reason.

I also had a reader ask if it was worth getting their favorite pen, an inexpensive Lamy Safari, done. Assuming it’s a nib grind that I’d want, I wouldn’t hesitate. I fact, at $14 for a replacement nib it will probably become my standard choice if I want to experiment with a new nib grind. The ease of swapping nibs gives it bonus points.

The second constant practice that fell to the wayside was never buying a gold nib when steel nibs are available. I ordered one pen with a gold, rather than steel nib, and a gold replacement nib for another.

Diplomat Aero with a 14k fine nib
Diplomat Aero upgraded to a gold nib

The green Diplomat Aero is the perfect color for me. I had money in the budget, so I decided to splurge and upgrade it to a 14k gold nib. My memory may be faulty, but I don’t recall ever doing this before. I am happy with the resulting fountain pen. The Nib’s feel is more to my liking. I’m not going to make this standard practice. I’d be hard-pressed to justify the $124 price bump regularly, so I’m unlikely to get another Diplomat with a gold nib. Still, it’s a pen I love the look of, and the performance of the gold nib elevates it to perfect fountain pen levels.

Lamy Safari with 14k gold medium oblique nib
Old Pen – New Nib

I also bought a Lamy medium oblique 14k gold nib. This is sold as a replacement nib and is easily swappable between any Lamy model, except the Lamy 2000. So I can move it between any of my Lamy fountain pens, depending on what color pen matches my mood, or more likely, just for variety. I wouldn’t deal with the mess of swapping nibs while inked. So I’ll have to coordinate my mood swings with re-inkings. Something that should be easier now that we no longer have a president that thrives on chaos. This price was much easier to justify. Left oblique is my favorite nib style. At $100 the nib is downright economical when compared to gold nib price bumps these days. Also consider that getting a stock Lamy steel nib ground would cost $40-$50, plus shipping since there isn’t a factory steel nib option. Besides, I’d have to send the pen away for a few weeks or months, at least until pen shows return. I’m finding this to be another enjoyable nib.

Overall, I’m happy to break with past practice with these nib choices. The Diplomat Aero and Lamy Safari gold nibs have been regular choices as my daily drivers. They’ve both been used every day if only to enjoy using them for a sentence or two. I’m also happy with picking up the TWSI Go for the Predator Extreme. I don’t get as much joy from it as from other nibs, but that was expected and not because of the pen.

The low-cost pen allowed me to take a risk on a new (for me) nib grind. Future experimental or risky nib grinds will be done on a Lamy Safari, rather than buying a new TWSBI Go. Even if I run out of Safaris, the easily swapped nibs are less expensive than a Go.

The gold nibs made pens I enjoyed just a little bit better. Although, the Lamy also benefited a bit from being my preferred nib style (oblique). They both have a slightly different feel which I do like. I have no regrets. That said, my default nib choice will continue to be steel over gold.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening:Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook).
Reading: I haven’t started another book yet.

New Arrivals

  1. Lamy 14k gold medium oblique nib. Just the nib. I put it on my Dark Lilac Safari.

Incoming

  1. Retro 51 #119 Train Rollerball
  2. Lamy Safari Mango
  3. Lamy AL-Star Bronze

So much for limiting my pen purchases in 2021.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. Diplomat Aero Volute – This was inked up back on November 20th with Athena (Maruzen) Sepia. I do really like the ink, but this oblique fine nib wasn’t the best choice to showcase the ink.
  2. Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with a Carbon Black ink. I inked this up way back in July. It didn’t go dry, but it got so little use that it was always an effort to get it going. This defeats the purpose of what I want from the pen kept on my kitchen table. So I flushed it out. It’s no great loss. I kept it “handy” on my kitchen table, but my apartment is small enough that there’s always a pen nearby, so it rarely got used.
  3. Diplomat Aero Green – This was inked up when it arrived back on January 9th. I used it a lot. It’s already refilled.

Newly Inked

  1. Lamy Safari Dark Lilac with a 14k gold oblique medium nib and a Lamy Violet ink cartridge.
  2. Diplomat Aero Green – This went Friday evening. I gave it a quick flush and let it dry overnight. In the morning I popped in the second ink cartridge that was included with the pen.

Swan Feeds – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Constellations88 The Elements Moranges | dapprman

Binge Mode: As the Pen Turns Podcast — The Pen Addict // A new podcast by two pen makers. I’ve listened to the first two episodes and enjoyed them. I’m firmly “never say never”, so I’ll just say I can’t envision that I’ll ever want to make a pen. Yet, I’ve still enjoyed the conversations so far. The next ep will be much more tool specific, and be part of a series. So my opinion may change. The podcast is young enough to start at the beginning. So far the content has been evergreen, so I’ve felt no need to slip ahead.

His Nibs | Quieter Elephant

Platinum Blue Black Ink Review — The Pen Addict // I rarely read ink reviews these days. But a blue-black ink review gets my attention. While I don’t need more inks, I did add this to my list for consideration should that change.

Portland Bill Lighthouse – Pens! Paper! Pencils! // This was my favorite of a couple drawings published this week, be sure to look for the others.

A Letter from George | The Retro 51 Blog Earlier this year they announced the retirements/shutdown/transmogrification A letter from the Retro51 Team | The Retro 51 Blog // So Retro 51 will continue.

Paper Wants A Pen // On the recent Pen Addict podcast, Brad mentioned this shop as a good place to get Sheaffer fountain pens restored. While there’s no mention of restoring pens for others, it’s obvious he restores a lot of Sheaffers so I added it to my list for the next time I need a Sheaffer restored.

More of His Nibs | Quieter Elephant

Pen Review: Metaxas & Sins Stylos Green Fountain pen – The Well-Appointed Desk // A brand that I’ve never heard of.

[PfMP] Parker IM | dapprman

Retreat | From the Pen Cup

Off-topic.

Hank Aaron’s lasting impact is measured in more than home runs // I rarely saw Hank Aaron play when I was a kid, and never in person. That was pre-cable. But I was always amazed at how consistent he was as I followed the box scores. He hit home runs, a did a little more. I’m also firmly in the camp that Bonds cheated to break the record.

Larry King, legendary talk show host, dies – CNN // CNN seems the appropriate obituary for linking.

Georgia election: America’s anti-democratic Senate, in one number – Vox

The Postal Service Survived the Election. But It Was Crushed by Holiday Packages. – The New York Times // My own limited experience jives with these charts, with shipments from/through the mid-Atlantic suffering significant delays.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 17, 2021

Penlux Masterpiece Grande uncapped with a Fine nib.

This week’s surprise favorite is the Penlux Masterpiece Grande. I’ve been ignoring it and was thinking it may get added to the for sale pile. Then I used it, and wondered why I went so long without using it. Definitely not going into the for sale pile.

My fountain pens were a bit temperamental most of this week. The indoor heating has dried out the air so much that my pens can’t handle much of a pause and the ink quickly evaporates off the nib. Some rain on Saturday added enough moisture to get things back to normal.

Diplomat Aero with a 14kt gold nib

The newly arrived gold-nibbed Diplomat Aero got a lot of use. It took a little getting used to. The nib looked long and thin. Although, it’s about the same size as my Pelikan M815 and Penlux Masterpiece. That was sorted out in less than a page of writing.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook).
Reading: The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille. This one is finished and I enjoyed it enough to add the next book in the series to my reading list. Although, it will be awhile before I get to it. I haven’t started anything new.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

None

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

Off-topic

What I’ve been up to… | paperinkplan

How to read a pen review | UK fountain pens

Maker: Setting Up My Every Thing Every Where Journal | Comfortable Shoes Studio

News: Pelikan’s US Price Increases For 2021 And The Trends That Might Surprise You « The Pelikan’s Perch

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 10, 2021

photo of my newly arrived Diplomat Aero with a 14kt gold nib

My relatively new Sheaffer 300 Matte Green got a lot of use this week, compared to other pens. My newest arrival, a gold nib Diplomat Aero is pictured above. It didn’t arrive until Saturday so it hasn’t seen any use to speak of.

Fountain pens haven’t been top of mind for me this week, so they didn’t get much use beyond a few notes and lists. So, not much else to say. I have started writing some other articles, but they aren’t far enough along for me to mention.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook). I finished this one. It was worth the investment to read since I enjoy the genre. Next up will be the next book in the trilogy. It’s even longer (32 hours), so it may take me months to get through.
Reading: The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille. My first book by this author. I was in the mood for a mystery, and this one was recommended to me.

I want to give a shout-out to the Libby service (and app). It’s offered by my local library and has ebooks and audiobooks. I tried a library app long ago, but I forget the name (maybe it was Libby). It was atrocious and unusable. The current Libby app is nice. It allows me to send the ebooks to my Kindle, which is my preferred platform for reading. So if you haven’t tried Libby recently, it may be worth looking at it again. I’ve never used it for an audiobook.

New Arrivals

  1. Diplomat Aero Green (14kt Fine nib) finally arrived. Thursday I contacted Goulet Pens about the long-lost pen, and they immediately offered to replace it or issue a refund. I picked a replacement, and they had generated the order Thursday afternoon. Then late Thursday morning USPS tracking for the original pen updated to show it had arrived in my state, three and a half weeks since being last providing any update. So I quickly contacted Goulet Pens, and they were able to put a hold on the replacement. The Diplomat was then delivered on Saturday.

Incoming

None

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

canetas e coisas: SANTINI

Holiday Haul 2020 // Year in Review – Weirdoforest Pens

The Ultrasonic Cleaner – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Turning Over the Year | Peaceable Writer

Blackbird 5241 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

News: Edelstein Ink of the Year 2021 – Golden Beryl « The Pelikan’s Perch

Off-topic

What Happened | Kieran Healy // Good read, and the theory makes sense.

A Brief History of Peanut Butter | Innovation | Smithsonian Magazine // I like peanut butter and now know who to thank.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – January 3, 2021

photo of this week's favorite pen, the Matte Green Sheaffer 300.

Picking a favorite fountain pen and ink is going to become harder and harder, since I’m sticking to what are already my favorites, and using a different pen every day. But if forced to pick I’d go with my new Sheaffer 300. I’m a fan of both green and Sheaffer. I’m thrilled that there’s a modern Sheaffer I like. The fact that it’s an inexpensive pen (~$65 street price) and a joy to write with, and I have a winner.

My fountain pen usage has been up a little over the last two weeks. Mainly because I’ve made a conscious effort to use them every day. I’ve set an informal goal of writing at least three pages a day. Some days it just happens naturally from the things I need to get done. Most days I need to supplement it. Since it’s often late in the day, I usually pick something easy and stupid. Once day I imitated Bart Simspon’s blackboard gag and wrote: “I don’t feeling like writing, but I feel like using my fountain pens.” Over and over until two pages were filled. Other days I simply transcribe pages from the book I’m reading. For the record, these days a page is typically A5 or B5 sized. If I was smart, I would turn this into a routine to practice and improve my handwriting.

Those of you reading this directly on the website will notice that there’s a new design. This coincides with my move back to self-hosted WordPress. There are still some things I need to work out, although most are only noticeable to me. I did go a little heavy with green, so I hope you like it as much as I do.

I came across another bent nib. My Sailor KOP medium nib is bent up Waverly style. It doesn’t write so bad, but noticeably worse than before. This one had to happen during the cleaning, but I’m at a loss as to what and why. I might have to start recording my pen cleaning. I’ll send it out once USPS seems to have settled down.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook): Still making progress through the book. I’m about 75% done, with about 7 hours of listening left.
Reading: Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré : Finished this one. I hadn’t read it before, but didn’t realize it was published in 2019 until it brought up Brexit and Trump. A typical melancholy le Carré story.
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré : I started this one after finishing Agent… and have made very little progress. I fell asleep reading it more than once, which isn’t encouraging. Especially since I woke up with no desire to finish the chapter. This one was due to be returned in two days, but I returned it yesterday. My main problem is that it’s shaping up to be a very bitter and cynical story.I’m not sure it’s a story I want to read these days. I feel duty-bound to read it, since it’s the last George Smiley story. I have never read it, but it will have to wait until the world itself is less bitter and cynical.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

  1. The Diplomat Aero, with its gold nib is still sitting at USPS in Virginia. A at least according to the last USPS tracking report. Now that the holiday is over I guess it’s time to try and move this one along, although based on twitter and the internet in general, a three week delay isn’t unheard of.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. Esterbrook Oversized Estie (Journaler) was written dry of Sheaffer Red ink. I immediately refilled it with the same ink.
  2. Sailor Pro Gear British Racing Green (M-F) was inked up on October 31st when it arrived. I waited a few days, but it was eventually re-inked with Montblanc British racing green
  3. Kanilea Pen Kona Cherry (EF) was refilled with Montblanc Bordeaux as soon as it went dry.

Newly Inked

I inked up (or re-inked) so many pens that I did a currently inked post yesterday.

Completing the Inspired Stories Planner – Pam Alison Knits

Local Focus: Resurgence of the fountain pen – NZ Herald

Crónicas Estilográficas: More Custom 74

canetas e coisas: VISCONTI

FPR Jaipur – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

2020: Some of my fountain pen highlights. | Fountain pen blog

New Pens To Me 2020 | dapprman

My 2021 planner setup – Pam Alison Knits

Favourite Tools – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

2021 Planner Set Up. — The Finer Point

Year-End Recap: Favorite Pens from 2020 — The Gentleman Stationer

A Stationary 2020 of Stationery — The Pen Addict

2020 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Looking ahead to 2021 | UK fountain pens

2020 in Inky Review Part 1: Personal Trends and Collection

2020 Cheers and Tears – The Well-Appointed Desk

An affordable ASC?! Introducing the ASC Studio Collection | UK fountain pens

YEAR ROUNDUP: MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS OF 2020 | The Pencilcase Blog | Fountain pen, Pencil, Ink and Paper reviews

Off-topic

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/business/low-mileage-supercars-lamborghini.html?referringSource=a // I can’t buy fountain pens that I won’t use. Assuming I could afford one of these cars, I would have to drive it.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 20, 2020

Photo of this week's new notebook and fountain pen arrivals

Three of the four pens I have on order arrived this week. The fourth is still languishing in Virginia (Goulet shipped the same day I ordered). I’ve opened the new arrivals for inspection but haven’t inked any of them up. I have too many inked pens to add to them now.

Last Sunday, I went through my pens to verify they still wrote well enough. I looked at ink levels and used the low ink pens during the week, writing a few dry. Finally, there are several pens in the Written Dry section below.

I also wrote the last page in my Seven Seas Writer that I use as a Journal. I wrote the first page on October 10th, 2016, and finished the final page on Friday. It took me over four years to fill the 480-page notebook. I’m not a good example of consistency.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I backed the Good Made Better Kickstarter for the Penwell Craftsman. I since changed my mind and withdrew the pledge and ordered another Traveler. I picked the double. I like the one I have, and use it daily. I have used two pens on occasion, so double seems ideal. As expected, they still easily made their goal without me.

This will be the last Trail Log of the year. Next Sunday is the holiday weekend, and I’ll be skipping it.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (audiobook). Not much progress this week. I’m only about 6 hours into it and only listened two days this week.
Reading: Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré. With [John Le Carré’s passing](John le Carré: Espionage writer dies aged 89 – BBC News), I was reminded how much I enjoyed his books and wanted to return to them. Unfortunately, I only have them on audiobooks. I’ve listened to them all as they went quickly on my commutes. I may return to them when my local library re-opens for curbside pickup, and I can get the physical books. For now, I’m starting with the one title for which they had an available ebook.

New Arrivals

  1. Sheaffer 300 Matte Green
  2. Retro 51 Lincoln Fountain Pen:
  3. Lamy Safari USA Independence Day Fountain Pen

The Sheaffer 300 arrived with some notebooks. I’ve recently become fond of the Profolio Oasis Light notebookhttps://andersonpens.com/search.php?search_query=pro+folio+oasis+light, so I ordered a variety of cover colors. They’re B5 sized with 50 sheets. I like the paper and the ruling, so at $2.50, I consider them a great deal. I can also confirm that they hold up reasonably well to beer and coffee spills. The ink, not so much. I also ordered each size of the Profile Petite Journal to give them a try. I like that each page is perforated, pocketable, and $1.50 and $2.00 each, depending on size.

Incoming

  1. Diplomat Aero Green w/fine 14kt gold nib. This pen has spent over a week site seeing in Richmond, Va, according to the tracking. I realize deliveries will be slow for understandable reasons, and I’m willing to be patient. Still, the fact that they add the message “…currently in transit to the next facility” every damn day annoys the heck out of me since the last actual movement was its arrival in Richmond a week ago.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. The Kaweco Brass Sport with an extra-fine nib and a Montblanc Petit Prince Red Fox ink cartridge was flushed out last Sunday after I gave all my inked pens a test. This one was more evaporation rather than written dry. It was inked up on April 26th of this year. Normally I’d be re-inking it up, but it’s not being used, and I’ve been using a rollerball the few times I’m out and about. Since it got little use, I put it in the pen case after cleaning.
  2. The Leonardo Momento Zero wasn’t written dry either. The misaligned feed continued to annoy me visually, and the performance was now inconsistent, with occasional hard starts and skipping. So I flushed it out Sunday, hoping to tackle the feed during the week, which I did. Although I haven’t inked it up yet, so the results are unknown.
  3. Sailor 1911 Full Size Realo with a Medium-Fine nib was written dry. It hasn’t been cleaned out yet. It was filled with Montblanc Antoine de Saint-Expery Encre du Desert back on August 1st, so it took a while.
  4. Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with a medium nib was written dry of Montblanc Albert Einstein. I inked it up with a partially used cartridge back on September 1st.
  5. Pilot Custom 912 with a posting nib was written dry. I popped in the included black cartridge back on June 14th, when the pen arrived. I’m a little surprised it took so long, as I do really like the pen. It seems to have gotten lost in the pile of black fountain pens.

Newly Inked

None

Workhorse Pens: Pelikan M800 Stone Garden — The Gentleman Stationer

In the wild: a beginner’s glossary of fountain pen terms and phrases. | Fountain pen blog

Pandemic diaries: Why journaling now is the best time to start or restart – CNN

Link Love: Say Hello to Dave – The Well-Appointed Desk

Finishing – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

canetas e coisas: FABER CASTELL

How To Make Your Fountain Pen Inks Look Their Best – Fountain Pen Love

Wear Your Dang Mask – Penquisition

Snap decisions | UK fountain pens