Posts Tagged ‘Fountain Pens’

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Where Do Inkophiles Go For Kicks?

01/29/2014

So this is where you go.

Sites clicked most often from Inkophile

The list covers the past year, but looking at just the past three months, Paper For Fountain Pens has risen to number six while Levenger has disappeared. Otherwise, the list has remained fairly consistent. You guys are definitely pen people, but some art supplies sites like Daniel Smith and Jackson’s Art are coming on strong. Diversification is imminent.

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My Core Four Plus One

01/09/2014

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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Poll: Your Favorite Fountain Pen Nib

10/31/2013

When it’s time to buy a new pen, which nib do you fancy most?

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Just In Case You Wondered What Happened

08/22/2013

Yep, I’ve been scarce at Inkophile as well as on Twitter and Google+, but I’ve got a great excuse. No my dog didn’t eat my work! It’s worse. My 12-year-old computer finally told me to find a new mate. Heck, most marriages don’t last that long. So I’ve been working on a borrowed laptop for a few minutes each day – not enough to write a real post but enough to get off a quick one before I go back to researching budget laptops. Wish me luck!

As for fountain pens, I did a major cleaning two days ago and reduced my rotation to one lonely Pelikan M215 stub nib and Sailor Sky High ink. It feels really strange to have only one choice, although that is hardly a choice. One of the Platinum  pens will get a fill once a single ink emerges as the next one to use. It’s fun to flip through my ink book or look at the bottles on the shelf for a stand out. It is all too easy to indulge in blue. There are so many nice ones, soothing, and non-offensive. Sky High will do for that color. Ink #2 will be teal, turquoise, brown, burgundy or purple. Yes, an injection of color will be just the thing to close out the summer.

See ya when I get my new laptop up and running!

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Hobbled By Your Pen Hobby?

07/21/2013

Are you in need of a holiday from your hobby? There are times of the year when maintaining my pens is a chore – not the joy it should be. That’s when I dust off my self-discipline and put most of my pens away. The limited rotation does feel restrictive with so few nibs and colors to hand but it certainly is liberating.

How’s this for simple: a Platinum #3776 Music Nib plus three test pens, two of which aren’t even inked at the moment. For now only Diamine Mediterranean Blue and Stipula Sepia are in use. The empty pens will get a burgundy or purple and a blue-green ink.

There are several ink samples on hand that I have yet to put through their paces but they can wait. Anticipation is half the fun, no? And a hobby isn’t fun if it weighs you down. Go light and enjoy it more.

Platinum #3776MU and Baoer 8 Horses Pens

A Platinum #3776 music nib (my review) with Diamine Mediterranean Blue and a copper Baoer 8 Horses custom italic on Rhodia dotPad No 16. A review of the Baoer will post in a few days.

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The Good, The Bad, And The Rest

06/13/2013

Most often, pens, inks, and paper are great fun to use. Other times they can be stinkers. Almost as bad are the ones that are unpredictable or unreliable. Such is the case with a few of the products often mentioned on Inkophile and now is the time to put out some caveats.

YMMV hasn’t been attached to every post or comment but perhaps it should. For now this entry will suffice, but it will also earn a permanent presence in the sidebar. Any updates will appear as a post first with relevant info added to “The Good, The Bad, And The Rest” listed in the Pages section.

  • Fountain pen nibs are so easy to get wrong with just the tiniest manufacturing error. Some retailers check the nibs before sending pens off to new homes. That can be helpful, but I don’t always want a pen to flow as generously as other users. So that doesn’t always work for me. If you want to tweak a nib to get the perfect tip and ink flow, find a nibmeister who understands exactly what you want. You might want to put him/her to the test with a pen of no importance first or with one that has a replaceable nib should you be less than enamored with the modified one. If this is the right person for you, then send a pricey, special pen. However, any modification carries with it the potential for damage, but if you want a special nib, it might be worth the gamble.
  • Lamy 1.1mm nibs are inconsistent. The flow can be perfect, stingy, or anywhere in between. Perhaps because the nibs can be swapped, they slip into position incorrectly causing erratic flow. Be prepared to adjust the nib should you encounter a stinky one. Note that the fine nibs in my collection have flowed well without adjustments.
  • Levenger True Writer – rings, nibs, collars. The decorative cap ring has come loose on my older TW fountain pens but can be reattached with a spot of glue. More recent models have that issue less often. There was a time when some of the nibs were inconsistent. A new pen like that should be returned to Levenger. Another option is to send it off to a nibmeister and have it modified. I did that with a disappointing broad nib and now have a terrific stub. My biggest frustration with TWs is that too many of the collars have cracked. That is the part that holds the nib in place. If it is loose, the nib wobbles and that makes for a less than satisfying writing experience. At some point the collar may break entirely resulting in a leaky, useless pen. At least three of my TWs have hairline cracks so I am a bit jaded on this issue. I will continue to buy this model because the size, weight, and looks are just right for me but I will treat them gingerly in hopes they will last forever.
  • Pelikan piston fillers. In my experience, these are high maintenance pens because the piston mechanism can stop working. Then it’s off to the shop for a tune-up. Meh.
  • Apica 6A10 – mild feathering along some fibers like Moleskine paper produces and significant feathering on some pages. For me it is worth using because the texture is soft and soothing to my fatigued hand, plus the color is not light-reflective even under bright lights.
  • Staples Sustainable Earth Sugarcane paper. This is an inconsistent paper that I use regardless. Sometimes ink spreads far beyond the letter outlines but with the right ink and a fine nib, it’s good stuff.
  • Private Reserve ink and that sour odor. The smell is very off-putting but it doesn’t come with all colors. None of my other inks have this problem so I’m placing the target on PR alone.
  • Any fountain pen ink can spoil or grow mold. Always check before filling.
  • Ink stains from Namiki Blue and Iroshizuku syo-ro on Esterbrook barrels, and from Private Reserve Arabian Rose on a Levenger converter. I use all three inks more carefully now.
  • Photos and scans lie. So do monitors. Take all color rendering as approximate or at best, relative. Even things that are black can be misrepresented as gray.

There is one other thing worth mentioning. In my experience BlogSpot/Blogger is horrible for posting comments. I can only do it anonymously and at that there are issues. So if your blog is hosted there, please don’t think I am ignoring you. It’s the platform and nothing more.

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Making Friends And Buying Pens

06/03/2013

Recent FPN outages prompted me to visit other pen fora and am I glad I did. The communities are small, friendly, and growing much like FPN when I first discovered it eight years ago. Amongst other advantages, there are far fewer rules to digest and follow. Yea! The disadvantage is the less active participation. Boo! But if some of you get involved, that could change rapidly.

There is plenty of pen and ink talk and each forum has a certain personality to it, but the most intriguing discovery was the variety of pens available for purchase. Not that I need more pens mind you, but another stub or two would be helpful to test several inks at one time. There are pens I could trade or sell, but that needs to be simple. Smaller fora seem well suited to the casual seller/trader so I’ve begun to monitor those sites for sweet deals. Where I buy matters less than getting a terrific pen. On this matter, I am pragmatic rather than fickle though forum loyalists may see it otherwise.

PenTrace Market Place, Fountain Pen Geeks, Fountain Pen Board/FP Nuts, and others might have just the right pen so don’t get stuck using only eBay or FPN. True, there are no seller ratings but it isn’t difficult to check whether someone has knowledge of the subject and participates in the community. A little due diligence applies.

Some lists and fora are linked in my side bar under Pen Community. Do let me know if there are others I should include. The more links in that list, the better.

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