My Core Four Plus One


My desk is always a disheveled mess except for my fountain pens. Those I keep tidy and at the ready for whenever the muse strikes. However, with product testing, the number of inked pens can grow well beyond anything manageable, so I’m separating the lot into two groups with my Core Four Plus One the most accessible. Others employed mostly for testing purposes have a tray in which to snooze until needed.

Core Four Plus One is a name for four of my most used fountain pens plus one mechanical pencil. The four pens are the mostly likely to get used either for the ink or the fun factor of using that particular pen. The Platinum #3776 music nib is the anchor. For now the other three pens are the Noodler’s Standard Flex, the Pilot Prera Italic and the Sheaffer Taranis Medium. Those four provide a good variety of nibs and pen sizes and changing between them is good for my hand. The inks are Diamine Sepia, Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, Noodler’s Black and Diamine Steel Blue. Again this is a good variety for maximum appeal though all of it is subject to change on a whim.

The Autopoint mechanical pencil is the Plus One. It gets more use than any fountain pen since it doesn’t need to be uncapped, can write on any paper, and is erasable, an important benefit for a fickle writer.

When I head out with pens in tow, I have a two-pen case for an intrepid duo or a four-pen case for the whole lot. An Autopoint MP is always in my handbag along with a black Sharpie Pen so I am never caught out without writing tools. A small Rhodia pad completes the ensemble. An inkophile should be prepared, yes?

Do you have something like my Core Four Plus One? If so, what’s in your primary rotation?

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  1. what kind of pen holder is the one in the photo?? What a great size for 4 pens and a small pad. Thanks in advance

    • The four pen case says Ashlin on the pull. The two pen came from Levenger. Both were purchased several years ago and I don’t know if they are currently available.

  2. Lamy Vista, Pilot 78G, Pilot Penmanship, and a slot for the TWSBI Diamond I wish to purchase, but until then, a 2nd 78G. Pencil: Alvin 0.5 Draft/Matic. The Penmanship is extra fine and is called my Red Elder Wand as it is loaded with Diamine Poppy Red (I am an English teacher and finally have the perfect grading pen).

    • How does Poppy Red fare on student-grade writing paper?

      • It is a good red, pretty close to a Hi-Tec-C or Uni Ball Signo UM-151. I read from other teachers via the Fountain Pen Network and in tests, it works well, even on standard papers and average composition notebooks!

  3. I always have my Platinum #3776 (fine nib) with Pelikan Edelstein Topaz, Faber-Castell e-motion (medium), Faber-Castell Ambition (extra-fine) (I change the inks around in those fairly often), TWSBI 580 (fine) with Pelikan Edelstein Amber and then in my pocket I always have my Kaweco Classic Sport with a black ink of some kind. I must admit… I always have a few more pens and pencils with me too! But they change around a fair amount.

    • I’ve no experience with Faber-Castell or TWSBI pens, but I have tested Edelstein ink. Do you find it to be free flowing or dry? Does your Kaweco accept a converter? If mine did, it would get more use. It’s an older version of the Sport for which the new converters don’t fit. Which nib does yours have?

      • I find it quite free flowing, even with fine nibs it’s wet and shady. My Kaweco takes a converter and I’ve got one for it but I don’t use it. I use either new cartridges or syringe-fill old ones. The converter needs a lot of messing around with to get it even half full.

        I’d definitely recommend trying a Faber-Castell, pick any of their pens and you’ll get one of the smoothest steel nibs going.

        • Thanks. I’ll keep your remarks in mind when I feel the urge to splurge on a new pen.

      • Oh I forget to say my Kaweco has an extra-fine nib although it writes more like a fine in my opinion.

        • The Kaweco I have is also a tiny bit wider than than other mediums. Not a bad thing but worthy of note.

  4. EDC is:

    Pilot Capless Black Carbonesque with Iroshizuku kon-peki
    Monteverde One touch ink ball with Edelstein Topaz
    Sakura Pigma Micron 0.5 in purple (primarily for planner)
    Tombow Airpress in black
    Zebra MLP2 exam pencil 2B (rectangular lead – they stopped selling them and so I bought 40 – love writing with them)

    Quo Vardis planner with Field Notes Pitch black in back slot
    Rhodia A5 dot pad (for work meetings)

    I handwrite most meeting notes/minutes/actions and then scan (Scansnap 1100) and issue the scan.

    Tech (to complete):

    Ipad Air to manage my 6 email accs
    Surface Pro instead of conventional laptop
    Scansnap so I can write as much as possible

    • Now that is quite a mix of tools. The Carbonesque is a handsome pen and so convenient for work. I do like the Sakura Microns as well as the brush pens and I almost ordered kon-peki as a birthday present for myself. One of these day…

      Which pen do you use to take notes?

      • Usually the Pilot Capless, unless I think I’m going to be taking lots in which case I use the Monteverde.

        The Tombow I hardly use apart from filling in forms that need black ink (I’m an accountant so can happen a lot)

        The Sakura and Pencil are for the planner really

        I’m an Accountant who runs their own business consultancy, so I have a lot of flexibility but quite a wide scope of job.

        My team benefit from a fantastically stocked stationery cupboard though

        • My team benefit from a fantastically stocked stationery cupboard though

          Good on you! :)

  5. This is always a fun topic to read.
    I work outside and in and it all goes in my shirt pocket, so I carry inexpensive but decent writing pens with my Field Notes notebook.
    I usually have a FPR Dilli, Lamy Vista, and one or two of my three Hero 616’s or five Platinum Preppies.
    I will have a black or other dark ink; Noodler’s Black, Zhivago, or Black Swan in English Garden. I will have a red or green; Fox Red or Hunter Green. (Note all the waterproof inks, important to me. I know my notebook will probably get wet.) Then I will have one or two pens with ink samples I am trying, currently Diamine Pumpkin and Damson. Or maybe Waterman Serenity Blue if it is a new pen.
    Oh yes, I carry a Uni Ball Visiion Elite in my pants pocket to loan out when asked for a pen.

    • Such colorful inks and the Vista shows them off so well. Have you found that Damson is slow to dry? My early bottle was, but that might have been improved in more recent batches.

      • Yes, I would say the Damson has given me the most smears of the limited number of inks I have tried. I have only used it in my FPR Dilli F, which is maybe on the medium side of fine. I’ve been holding the rest of the sample until the day I get something broad. All my pens are fine since my initial focus was taking quick notes in a little notebook. My horizons are rapidly expanding.

  6. […] My Core Four Plus One […]

  7. My core four would be my Edison Beaumont Pneumatic, my Waterman Harmonie, my Pilot Vanishing Point and my Esterbrook SJ (it’s got my second favorite nib behind the Edison). My plus one is either my box of Blackwing pencils, or my Uniball Signo Bold gel ink pen.

    • Which nib do you have on the Estie, Jennie? My favorite is the 9128. It’s a bit scratchy, but flexes nicely.

      • I have the 9968, the Firm Broad, the largest nib that Estie made. I got it from the Andersons because the little needlepoint nib it came with was unbearable — it could have poked holes in steel. So now that I have a great nib, I use my Estie a lot. I’m a broad nib fan anyway, but this one really compliments my handwriting. I should mention that my Pilot is a squeaky pen, but it lays down a nice thick line of ink.

        • Mmmm, broad nibs. Does the 9968 have a little definition or is it a true broad?

          • No it’s a true broad. Almost a stub nib…I can’t really describe it but there’s nothing sleek about it in any way

            • Sounds like one I should add to my collection. :)

              • If you like broad stiff nibs ( did I really just type that?) you’d like it.

                • :D Yes, you did and yes, I do.

                  • Only true FPGeeks would say that, right?;)

                    • Indeed and only true geeks would get it. Thus we are labeled, but that’s okay with me.

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