Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 13, 2020

photo of this week's favorite fountain pen

Since favorite means preferred above all others, there’s no favorite fountain pen this week. I had forgotten how much I enjoy the nib on the Sailor Realo, so it was a pleasant surprise when I used it this week. The pen has been living in my Fodderstack XL. These days, when travel is non-existent, except between desks with many pen choices, it rarely gets used and is forgotten since it’s not among the pens I pick from daily, and the Fodderstack is rarely in my pocket. I pulled it out this week and gave it some love. It was a week of core pens, so I couldn’t pick a true favorite.

December brings along my planning for the next year and reviewing this year’s budget. While having a pen budget is a great way to avoid spending too much, it also encourages me to spend the rest of the budget at year-end. Considering my pen budget included pen show travel this year, it was a generous budget. Plus, pen sales, minus related expenses such as fees and shipping, replenish that budget. Even though it is my own money, I still have that corporate mentality of use it or lose it. So I went a bit nuts with purchases this week. Although three of my four purchases were sub-$70 pens, the fourth was a bit of a splurge. All are on their way to me, so listed under Incoming below. I also stocked up on a few inexpensive notebooks that I either like, or want to try.

I did resist buying an Esterbrook Oversize Estie in the Rocky Top material. I love the material, but the gold trim ruins it for me, especially since silver trim would also work well with that material. These days I won’t compromise at that price. The pen purchases where probably my subconscious attempt to get the dopamine hit that I lost when I skipped the Rocky Top. I also liked, but resisted, the two Retro 51 acid-etched models. I see Goulet Pens still has them in stock (Saturday morning). Please buy them before I change my mind, my budget hasn’t reached zero.

Next year’s fountain pen budget will be considerably less. I’ll budget for a local pen show or two. Although, my local shows tend to be early in pen show season, so they are likely to be cancelled this year too, unless they can be rescheduled for later in the year. I have hopes for the Commonwealth (Boston) Pen Show in September. It’s currently scheduled for September 12th. The Long Island Pen show is usually in March, which seems too soon. Their website is silent on the 2021 pen show, no surprise there.

With 26 pen purchases this year (some already sold off to finance another pen), I’ll only buy at shows. If I don’t attend any shows I’ll make a year end purchase.. My inability to make fair use of fountain pens that I have and like makes this an easy decision. I plan to implement a strict one in – one out policy next year. I do realize that since I make the policy, I can change the policy. [Which feeds my pet peeve when businesses say “it’s against out policy” as a reason to justify what they do (or don’t do)].

Pen Sales Update

There are still a few pens available on my For Sale page. I plan to take down the sales page on Wednesday evening (16th), and it won’t return until late January, at the soonest. I won’t be offering these pens elsewhere until next year, so the reader discount of 10% off the list price will be automatic. Any queries initiating after Wednesday may see an extended delay before getting a “no” reply.

I’ve had a couple of inquiries about selling some of my other Retro 51s. I have no interest in selling any except for the Flint, which is currently listed. While I liked some of their December offerings, I avoided ordering any, so I don’t feel compelled to sell any of my existing Retro 51s.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Pacific Crucible by Ian W. Toll (audiobook) I finished this off this week. I like WWII histories, so this was an enjoyable book. It reads like a novel. It also seems to draw from Japanese primary sources, rather than being entirely US/UK centric. I’d give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, although no specific reason for taking that 1/2 star off. The 22-hour audiobook passed quickly. (If you know of any good WWI histories from a non-US point of view, but in English, let me know.)

Listening: An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa (1942-1943) I hesitated on this one because it’s book 1 in a massive trilogy, in addition to being the same genre that I just finished. I like the narrator (George Guidall), so I’m hoping it’s as enjoyable as Pacific Crucible. So far, it is.

Watching: I went for light fare this week and watched a few Marx Brothers movies. Duck Soup still has me laughing from start to finish.

I bought these audiobooks when I was doing a lot of driving for 90 minutes, or more, each workday. At this point, I wish I had them in print. I’m not going to buy print (or ebook) editions, and getting a library book of the same title would also feel like a waste of money to me (sunk cost fallacy?). So I’ve been listening at home and resisting starting up another print book. There’s only been one instance where I had to re-listen to a large section after realizing my mind wandered and tuned out the book.

Housekeeping

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was moving this website to a new host. That didn’t happen. I found WordPress was charging my auto-renewal a month before the actual plan expiration. So I turned off auto-renewal and have until January 9th before I have to move or pay for a renewal. I’ll be moving in the next couple of weeks. With the extra time, I decided to be aggressive and work on a redesign.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

I could only resist so much, and I have four fountain pens on their way to me — a year-end splurge.

  1. Sheaffer 300 Matte Green: As is often the case, the Anderson Pens podcast cost me money. They showed the Sheaffer 300 in the new Matte Green with Black Trim. I had to have it, so I ordered one with a fine nib. I had a 300 over five years ago, and I gave the pen a favorable review (no doubt partly fueled by my Sheaffer bias) but ended up giving it away. Maybe a Sheaffer 300 in my favorite color will be a keeper.
  2. Retro 51 Lincoln Fountain Pen: I haven’t had good luck with Retro 51 fountain pens. My first, Double Eight from 2005, was poorly made – a slip cap that quickly loosened so much the pen would fall out, along with other deficiencies. It put me off Retro 51s for awhile. My second was this same model, which I eventually sold since the nib was significantly wetter than my preference. My original had a Bock nib (although I could be wrong on this), while this one will have a JoWo nib. I don’t have a brand preference, but I’m encouraged that it’s not the same nib. It also keeps me from feeling guilty about re-buying a pen model that I sold. I’m going to try again since I like the copper pen’s look, and it forms a set with my Retro 51 rollerball. I got this one with a stub nib.
  3. Lamy Safari USA Independence Day Fountain Pen: This one was under my radar until I saw it on the specials page at Pen Chalet. According to them, this is a US exclusive, and the name implies that it’s been available for months. For some reason, it’s priced slightly under the regular Safari Models, although the list price is somewhat higher. I like the Red (clip), White (cap), and Blue (barrel) design. The pen is hardly US-centric, as I see there are 28 countries with these colors in their national flag. The photos don’t show any US-centric marking. This one is coming with a medium nib (the only available option), but I have a complete set of Lamy nibs to swap onto the pen.
  4. Diplomat Aero Green w/ fine 14kt gold nib: The green is a new color, I don’t even see it on Diplomat’s own website, and I only found it at Goulet Pens. Despite enjoyable steel nibs, I decided to splurge for a gold nib. I can’t remember ever picking a gold nib over steel when both have been available for the same pen. I found few reliable reviews for Diplomat’s gold nibs, and only for different pen models here and here. My main hesitation on the gold nib is that it appears to be a two-tone nib, and I prefer a nib lacking in gold color (except for classic Sheaffer nibs).

The Retro 51 and Lamy are coming from Pen Chalet. If you buy from them, be sure to find a discount coupon code, they’re ubiquitous. New customers can sign up for their email list to get one. Others can go to the Pen Addict Podcast webpage as they are a frequent sponsor. Sometimes they’re called out on their own site. Occasionally some items (like current Retro 51s) are excluded from coupons, but they can be used for nearly everything.

All have shipped, so they should arrive next week.

Outgoing

  1. Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk
  2. Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

canetas e coisas: DELIKE

A new member of Clan Bluepen – Pam Alison Knits

Ten inks for 2020 | UK fountain pens

Pairing Items for Stationery Gifts: Different Ideas for Different Interests — The Gentleman Stationer

Technological sweet spots – Pam Alison Knits

Here’s what happened during the SpaceX’s Starship SN8 test launch – CNN

A (Draft) Notebook Set-up for 2021: Planners, Journals, and Blank Pages – The Well-Appointed Desk

Fountain Pens UK – Christmas Talks – Fountain Pen Ink Art – FOUNTAIN PEN INK ART

Closing Down 2020 | Peaceable Writer

.: Pilot Custom 845 Series

Off-topic

Editorial Board apologizes for supporting Michael Waltz – Orlando Sentinel

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 6, 2020

photo of the Leonardo Momento Zero and Penwell Traveler

My favorite fountain pen was also my newest, the Leonardo Momento Zero, shown in the above photo, along with my newly arrived Penwell Traveler. I’m finding the Traveler to be much more useful than I expected.

I updated my pen accumulation page with new arrivals and adjustments to the classification of some pens.
* The newly arrived Momento Zero went straight onto the list as a core pen, despite an annoyance I mention below.
* The Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood was dropped to Hanger-On. It just doesn’t get used, the Red Bamboo hogs all my Vanishing Point use. I’m keeping it for now, if I ever need to ink up two VPs at once. The
* The Diplomat Aero Orange/Black dropped from a Hanger-On to All the Rest. It’s the missing pen I mention below, and it will go up for sale whenever it turns up.
* The Sailor 1911 Sterling moved from being a Hanger-On to All the Rest and up for sale. Polishing it is just too high maintenance for me, and stub nibs aren’t great for me.

All the pens with new Mark Bacas grinds moved up.
* The Diplomat Volute, with a left oblique added to its fine nib, is now a core pen. It’s also the main reason the orange/black Aero moved down.
* The TWSBI Go, with a Predator Extreme nib, is now a Hanger-On pen. The nib is fun to play with, but it won’t be a daily writer for me.
* The Sheaffer Custom Legacy had a Blade Turk nib put on it, and I love it. It’s now a keeper because of both the nib and the brand. I generally dislike changing any classic Sheaffer, but since this was already a custom barrel, I don’t feel any guilt.

It was a frustrating week in some respects. Having been mostly homebound for nine months, I still managed to misplace a fountain pen. I won’t say “lost” because it didn’t leave the apartment unless I accidentally threw it out, which is very unlikely. It’s a pen I decided to sell, so I went to get it when I had time to do a writing sample and take photos. It wasn’t with the pens I put aside to sell. Thinking I pulled out the original box and packed it away again with the pen inside, I checked my box of pen boxes. No luck. The good news is that it’s most likely safely ensconced in the box, where ever it is. I stopped looking and figured it would turn up as soon as the photos were done — no such luck.

I seemed to have an increased number of those misplaced things during the week, with this being the only pen related occurrence. Most turned up in the second place I looked, which means I’m probably keeping them in the wrong place and need to permanently move them to that second place and adjust my brain.

Not to be outdone by old-school technology, Siri decided to torment me:
Me: (Activating Siri on my watch) “Set alarm for noon”
Siri: “What time?”
Me: “Noon”
Siri: (Displays the word noon on the screen proving it heard me) “What time?”
Me: “12pm”
Siri: “I set an alarm for noon“.
Me: unprintable
I swear I heard my other Apple devices laughing. This is why I avoid using Siri, it’s rarely anything except frustrating.

Pen Sale Page Updated

I updated my Pens for Sale page. I’ve changed the reader discount to 10% off any pen, no minimum price. Just mention that you’re a reader. Some haven’t mentioned it, but I given the discount anyway since I’d only mentioned the sale in the Trail Logs, it was a good assumption the buyer came to the site to read, not buy. Once I do a For Sale post, or offer them elsewhere I won’t make that assumption, so be sure to mention it. It will remain in effect for the remainder of this year.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Pacific Crucible by Ian W. Toll (audiobook) Still making process through the book and enjoying it.

New Arrivals

The Leonardo Momento Zero arrived on Monday. The acrylic is gorgeous and has much more green than the photos that I’ve seen, the blue is more of accent color than a base color. This is very much to my liking. It’s an open ended, numbered edition and mine is number 6115. The pen has a solid feel to it. The barrel walls are thicker than many of my other resin pens, giving it a solid feel. While the barrel has considerable depth to the colors, it isn’t translucent, so the converter isn’t visible through the barrel. I bought a medium nib this time. I may get it ground to a oblique at some time in the future. Ideally pen shows will return in 2021 and I can get it done at a show, rather than sending it out then being without it for a couple months.

The feed is slightly misaligned. While the pen seemed to write OK the misalignment was noticeable as I used the pen, and it bothered me. My attempt to nudge the feed into alignment didn’t completely resolve the issue. While it doesn’t affect performance, I do find it visually annoying. I’m a little hesitant to be more aggressive in my nudging, although when it comes time to re-ink or clean the pen I’ll take the time to remove the nib and try to line it up. Quick research shows it’s friction fit. If it becomes too annoying, that time may come before the pen is empty.

Incoming

None

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. My Sheaffer Balance II Jade Green went dry last week, but I forgot about it and didn’t clean it out until this week.
  2. The Sheaffer Balance II Aspen went dry this week. It had been inked since August.

Newly Inked

  1. The Leonardo Momento Zero arrived and I inked it up with Omas Green, which seemed appropriate for the pen.
  2. I finally inked up the yStudio Classic Desk Pen again. It’s been sitting on my desk, just not inked up. I filled it with the only ink it has ever had – Montblanc “The Beatles” Psychedelic Purple.

canetas e coisas: MOONMAN

Fountain Pens as a Left-Hander — The Pen Addict

Dapprman’s 10 Main Inks | dapprman

Eye Candy: Rose Gold – The Well-Appointed Desk

Tesori Venezia: fresh and vibrant | UK fountain pens

The Joys of Shipping – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

UPS places package pickup limits on Gap, Nike, others to manage E-Commerce surge

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – November 29, 2020

Photo of thinks week's favorite pen. And some bourbon

I hope all you U.S. residents had a good Thanksgiving, despite no travel or large gatherings. And I hope the rest of you had a good Thursday. My favorite pen this week got most of its use on Thanksgiving. My fountain pen usage was up a bit this week, thanks mainly to a lot of usage on Thursday when I wrote a couple short letters and made a lot of notes.

Unrelated to holiday sales, I also ordered some accessories. After a couple of extended sessions taking nots this past week, constantly worried that loose or carelessly capped pen would roll off the table, I decided to get a couple of Penwells from Good Made Better. I ordered a Traveller, and backed their Kickstarter for the Craftsman. I figure the Craftsman can live on my office desk, while the Traveller can live on my home writing desk, and, well, travel as needed.

Speaking of bent nibs, I sent my bent Vanishing Point unit off to Mark Bacus for repair. It’ll be gone until February or so, since he just received it on Saturday.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening:_ Pacific Crucible_ by Ian W. Toll (audiobook) : Made good progress on this one, despite not doing a lot of driving, which is when I typically listen. The short rides got me interested enough and I kept listening after my arrival. I’m about half way through the book.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

  1. Leonardo Officina Italiana Momento Zero Green Blue Rhodium is coming from Pen Chalet. It’s due early this week according to to eta from USPS. A very straight-forward pen name.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

That age old question, Why? – Everyday Scrawl

PEN CASE REVIEW: ABSOLUTE BRETON PEN DISPLAY BOX | The Pencilcase Blog | Fountain pen, Pencil, Ink and Paper reviews

A Fist Full of Lamys | dapprman

Just the Facts, Ma’am | Peaceable Writer

Quarantinely Inked // Fall+Winter Edition – Weirdoforest Pens

Well, that was a surprise! – Everyday Scrawl

Early thoughts on the Moonman S5 fountain pen. | Fountain pen blog and My Moonman S5 – a brief update. | Fountain pen blog

Maker: Pencil Sharpeners in Jars | Comfortable Shoes Studio

Panda Planner, is it right for you? – Everyday Scrawl

The Life And Death Of The Souverän M300 « The Pelikan’s Perch

Black Friday Weekend Sales – The Well-Appointed Desk

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – November 22, 2020

This week’s favorite - Custom Sheaffer Legacy w/Turk nib

My favorite fountain pen of the week won the spot based upon it’s newly ground nib. My custom Sheaffer Legacy which has a newly ground Turk nib, via Mark Bacus. I was pleasantly shocked with how smooth the this nib was. Also by how well the ink flowed.

My fountain pen usage continues to be on the low side. I’ve started simply copying articles, or doodling, as excuses to use my pens.

While I’ve been using the newly ground Turk nib (basically a XXF) all week, but I didn’t get a chance to give the rest a workout until Saturday. And then I got tied up with one problem pen. It wasn’t an issue with the grind, rather a problem with the feed that I hadn’t noticed prior to sending it out.

I’d only used the TWSBI Go with a broad nib once, and then it sat unused for over a year before I sent it out for grinding. Typically, I’d test it out first, but it was a last minute decision and I simply packed it up. Mark noticed some ink pooling and mentioned it, with the potential to splat ink on the paper. So when I got the pen back I simply swapped the nib with my other TWSBI. The pen wrote OK when used normally, but when reversed, to use the Architect grind, it would burp ink on a regular basis. (It’s Mark’s Predator Extreme grind which is Fine held normally, and an Architect grind when inverted.)

My intent was to swap the nib only, leaving the feed as is, so the ground nib would have both a new pen and a new feed. Fairly straight-forward, right? So, I was pretty depressed when the problem continued after the swap. I removed the nib & feed for inspection, and they seemed fine to me. But I figured, what the hell, I was half way there so I swapped the feeds. Voilà, problem solved. I’ve now written several problem free pages with the nib inverted. I guess it’s harder than I thought to move just a nib, since the only logical conclusion is that I moved both the nib and feed that first time.

It’s still new to me, so my opinion may change, but I don’t find the Architect nib fun to use. Mark’s work is just fine, it writes smoothly. I avoided getting a Architect grind when they were all the rage a couple years ago because I didn’t think I’d like the style. I was right. I’ll keep it around, but I don’t think it’s a nib I’d use for anything other than play. I’m glad I have the double sided nib, so I can ink the pen for normal, everyday use, and play with the Architect nib when I’m in the mood.

The left oblique on the Diplomat’s Fine nib is also a joy to use. I like oblique nibs, so that’s no surprise.

Housekeeping

My plan is to migrate this site to a new host during this coming week. So expect some weirdness as things move over. E-Mail may be affected too, since DNS is with the same host.

With the new nibs, and another pen I want (Diplomat Aero in Green!), I’ll have some more pens to sell off, but won’t list them until the site moves. Look for them after Thanksgiving (U.S.) and be sure to mention the reader discount as I’m still doing that. ($10 or more off pens costing $50 or more.)

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading: Into the Serpent’s Lair (30th book in the Frontiers Saga) by Ryk Brown. I finished this one off quickly, taking just a few evenings. It surprised me in that the author finally created an opportunity to move the story in a new direction. The book was a good ending for this part of the series.
Listening: Pacific Crucible by Ian W. Toll (audiobook) : I had to do a bunch of driving earlier this week, so I started another audiobook. This is a WWII history of the Pacific sea war from 1941-1942. I’m enjoying it, but progress may be slow since I don’t like listening to audiobooks when my brain has to make even the slightest decision. So this leaves driving and house cleaning. Yes, I know driving requires concentration, but years of radio listening and talking to other in the car have trained my brain well. Walking, which used to be my major time to consume audiobooks, is now something I prefer to do without other distractions so my mind can wander and take in the sights.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

None

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

Links

rOtring Initial | dapprman

The Pelikan M800: A Modern Day Titan « The Pelikan’s Perch

Fountain Pen Review: Leonardo Officina Italiana Furore Arancio | Rants of The Archer

State of the Art: Making the Zine | Comfortable Shoes Studio

Crónicas Estilográficas: JIS 3232

Bad Sellers – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Crónicas Estilográficas: TIPS 2020

A Big Swan – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Snippets: Covid, BAMF, William Hannah and more | UK fountain pens

The Great Bottled Ink Count. | Fountain pen blog

Hard Rubber – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Fountain Pen Ink Doodles – Weirdoforest Pens

1300 Inks! — Mountain of Ink

Pen Review: Maiora Impronte Oversize Fountain Pen — The Gentleman Stationer

Flying high with the Onoto Spitfire | UK fountain pens

### Off-topic

The History of CTRL + ALT + DELETE | Mental Floss // I had heard a slightly different story which made it a Microsoft creation that coincided with Windows. As the article says, Bradley invented it, Bill made it famous.

Charlie Brown specials to air on TV, after all, in PBS deal // Even though I haven’t watched the broadcast in years, it bothered me when I read that it wouldn’t be broadcast this year. I have fond memories of watching it as a kid. Appointment TV. Free streaming isn’t the same is the same as free over the airwaves. Although I suppose it’s mostly cable and not airwaves these days. I’m glad to see it’s back.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – November 15, 2020

Photo of newly ground nibs

My pens arrived back from Mark Backus, pictured above. So far, I’ve only inked up the Tangerine KOP (the top nib in the photo) since it was a simply a repair of a nib I was used to using. I’ll ink up and try the other three later today.

Fountain pen usage dropped again this week. I did a little journaling, which was about the only use my pens got. I picked a different pen for each session, so no favorite fountain pen this week.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

ReadingInto the Serpent’s Lair The 30th book in the Frontiers Saga by Rykers Brown. Early on, I ripped through these books when they were more or less free (Kindle Unlimited). The series is an ambitious project. A five part series with 15 books in each part (so 75 planned books), with this being the last of Part 2. He (Brown) is leaving Kindle Unlimited and availability at my local library is spotty and audiobook only. I can’t commit myself to buying another 40 books in the series, even though it’s only 3 or 4 a year. I’m finding the story a bit tedious now. Kind of like a U.S. broadcast TV series stretching to get in 24 episodes, compared to HBO going for 13 quality episodes. It was also hurt but the gap between when I finished the previous book, and this release. Peter Hamilton released the final book in the Salvation trilogy. I’ve been waiting for that one so I can start on the trilogy (I didn’t want to wait. Hamilton creates an immersive universe, Brown is a Star Trek episode.
Listening: 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart (audiobook) I finally finished this one off this week. An OK book, but nothing I wanted to get back to every time I put it down.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

None

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

None

Newly Inked

None

Links

A Mabie Todd Pen & Pencil Set – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

KoInkyDinky? I think not! | Quieter Elephant

Rants of The Archer: Fountain Pen Review: BENU Euphoria Scent of Irises

All these notebooks – Pam Alison Knits

Which British Vintage Pen? – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Diamine Ancient Copper – the perfect colour match for the chess heroine – FOUNTAIN PEN INK ART

Crónicas Estilográficas: Pocket Yotsubishi

Penlux Masterpiece Grande: a big in-house piston filler for £150 | UK fountain pens

The UKFP 2020 recap | UK fountain pens

A quick, no-nonsense gift guide for 2020 | UK fountain pens

Off-topic

Winners of Close-Up Photographer of the Year – The Atlantic