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Featuring A Fude Nib

11/14/2021

Did you know a fountain pen could produce such line variation? Click the image to see the brief demonstration.

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Can You Identify This Ink?

11/13/2021

A reader asked if I could identify this ink. It’s beautiful but I don’t know what it is. Any ideas?

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Tweaking The Selection of Tools On My Desk

11/05/2021

Does your pen-ink-paper rotation make you happy, really happy? Mine was good but needed a little tweaking in recent weeks. Reviews are in progress for the pens and the paper listed.

  • Four Chinese pens, two fude, one fine and one extra-fine. The latter needed its nib swapped but is good now. The fine is on probation so we shall see about that one.
  • In recent months, either a pen for testing (recently a Waldmann) or a Platinum Century has occupied the last slot in my five pen rotation. Perhaps a stub will be next.
  • Inks are Iroshizuku syo-ro and kon-peki, Herbin Cafe des Iles, Diamine Merlot, Waterman Blue-Black, Sailor Tokiwa Matsu. Six but who’s counting?
  • Tomoe River 52g journal, an inexpensive A5 notebook paper that is very good with FP ink and a planner with MD  paper.
  • Uni Alpha Gel and a Tombow MONOgraph, both shaker mechanical pencils with 0.5mm HB Uni Nano Dia lead.
  • Uni-ball Signo 307 Micro (0.5) when a fountain pen won’t do. It writes on glossy paper and is water resistant. There is one on my desk, one in my handbag and one next to my bed.
  • Muji hard type black plastic eraser that doesn’t leave a pile of dust behind.
  • Other tools include washi tape, an Exacto knife, stylus, clips, candle, watercolor palette, brush, and paper.

It took a few modifications to refine my current choices. In the last six months, I have tried a few brands of paper that were supposed to be FP-friendly but were not good for double-sided writing. Iroshizuku was an infrequent visitor, but is now a staple. Chinese pens were off my list for years but now dominate my current rotation. In mechanical pencils, wide to very wide soft leads have been replaced by 0.5mm HB. A shaker mechanism taxes my hand far less than the traditional clicker so two of those have earned slots.

My desk is more organized with less clutter and instead of spending time deciding what to use, I simply use what is at hand. That means I spend more time working and that is a very good thing.

Links are to products at Amazon. If you purchase there, Inkophile may earn a tiny commission. The Chinese pens might be available through eBay, but the shipping time can be lengthy if from China. Recent orders from two different sellers took a month each to arrive in California.

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Too Many Inks

09/17/2021

Anyone else challenged by the number of inks on the market? So many brands. So many colors. A few have piqued my interest including several offered by Colorverse and Robert Oster, but I cannot begin to follow all of the Sailor inks and so many others now available. A few days ago, I was looking for an ink for a 1970’s Pilot pen and found myself wishing there was another color in the spectrum. Absent that, I decided to revisit inks that have been around for decades.

Reliable inks from Herbin, Iroshizuku, Diamine, a few Noodler’s and older Sailor colors beckoned. There isn’t an ink in the bunch that I haven’t known for at least ten years, and some are on their second or third bottles, a testament to their properties and characteristics. One of those old inks might be just the right mate for a newer pen.

Iroshizuku syo-ro has been a constant on my shelf since it was introduced. Despite having a number of partners over the years, no pen had proven to be its ideal mate. A few months ago, a Delike fude joined the crew and despite dancing with a variety of partners, the pen with syo-ro has proven to be a terrific match that invites writing in a daily journal, an activity that had fallen out of my routine quite some time ago. Now I look forward to it and the fude is on its fourth fill of syo-ro. Isn’t that the best evidence of a perfect pairing?

Other inks that have new pen mates are J Herbin Larmes des Cassis, Violette Pensee and Rouille D’Ancre. Diamine Raw Sienna continues to look for a companion. Perhaps a mink (brown) True Writer will take to it or a Japanese fine nib or even a Platinum Century. More experimentation is in order along with a bit of restraint or the number of pens on my desk will get crazy.

Are you willing to give some of your earliest inks a chance to play again? I bet none of them will turn you down.

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Ideas For Pairing Pens And Inks

09/07/2021

Deciding which pens and inks to put together can be anything from a pleasant endeavor to a time-consuming frustration. Do you have rules for matching pens and inks? I don’t after more than twenty years of using fountain pens. However, I have developed a few observations that help narrow my choices when either a pen or an ink is begging for a workout. More often than not, the pen comes first and then the ink. These guidelines help refine my search.

  • Dark green and red inks work best with narrow nibs.
  • Blue, brown and black work with all nibs.
  • Orange and purple suit medium and wide nibs.
  • Turquoise and burgundy go well with medium nibs.
  • Pastel and pale inks are best paired with wide nibs.
  • Blue, teal and brown inks are good with fine to medium fude nibs.
  • Wide fude nibs bring out the best qualities of gray inks.
  • For the palest pink inks, only the Platinum #3776 Music Nib will do.
  • Sailor Peach Pink, Sailor Sakura Mori, Iroshizuku Kosumosu, Herbin Bouquet D’Antan are pretty with any wide nib.
  • Characteristics like sheening, outlining and shading are best revealed with stub and italic writing.
  • Often I will forget which ink is loaded in which pen, so I keep a scorecard nearby.
  • I track how pens and inks perform together by writing a few words in a dedicated pen and ink notebook.
  • If there is an outstanding combination, like Diamine Violet with a TWSBI 580 1.1mm stub, that gets noted, too.
  • I can be guilty of matching inks to pen colors though on occasion to shake things up, I will put together complementary ones. Red pen with green ink as an example.

Perhaps too many guidelines, but they suit my needs. Most came from analyzing how I put things together without giving my actions any prior thought. They help me narrow my search, and with the size of my collection, they are essential. Your list will be different, but creating one can be a helpful action if choosing pen and ink mates is challenging, frustrating or even too time-consuming. Or you might just do it for fun.


Van Gogh Palette

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Do Your Pens Make You Want To Write?

08/31/2021

Do your pens encourage you to write? In the past few months, old favorites as well as a few pens that never received much love got together and invaded my rotation. The final group is a bit different from my usual selection and I am now using several pens that were set aside long ago.

For years stubs and italics with a few exceptions were all I used. No fine or extra-fine nibs suited either my grip or my letter forms. That wasn’t a problem since my writing looked fine and the range of inks I was drawn to were lovely with those pens.

Then I decided to write notes for projects as well as personal musings in a journal, but which one to use?

A Traveler’s Notebook #013 with unlined Tomoe River Paper looked like a suitable size for my needs. So I popped the wrapper off of one, grabbed a 1.1mm stub with vivid ink, wrote a page and was affronted by the result. The journal size and the paper quality were fine but the writing overwhelmed them. It was simply too large and too dark. At the end of the day when I want to capture thoughts on the day’s accomplishments and make notes for future endeavors, something calming and relaxing is in order. In addition, I wanted to use both sides of the paper with a lined guide tucked beneath to keep my writing on the straight and narrow. To do this would require a finer nib and less intense ink. To the pen drawer I went.

Pens from my early days have very fine Japanese nibs, especially Pilot pocket pens and various 1970’s Platinum pens. The more recently acquired Pilot Metropolitans are also fairly narrow. In the western fine nib category, several Levenger True Writers were promising. A Delike New Moon fine fude received a test run as well.

Inks that were certain to be appropriate included several from Herbin, Iroshizuku and Sailor. Diamine had a lock on the brown range with Dark Brown and Raw Sienna. Lots of trial and error and attendant pen cleaning produced a pleasing rotation even if the pens are unusually narrow for me. What counts the most is whether they encourage writing and these are doing just that.

Do you think my wide nibs are jealous from having to cede part of my rotation to their skinny brethren? In truth, there are more inked pens on my desk than in recent memory. So much for my vow to maintain a minimalist rotation. The pens are winning. Who am I to disagree?

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Fountain Pens For The Weekend

08/14/2021

It’s going to be a hot weekend which makes it a good time to take it easy and update the fountain pens on my desk. In the past few months, a Traveler’s Notebook has become my journal for a major project as well as some personal notes. The paper is Tomoe River 52 gsm in a #013 blank refill with 128 pages. A lined template with 5mm spacing keeps my writing on the straight and narrow. The more I can fit on a page the better. Wide nibs are not suited to the task, so I have put some narrow ones to use along with inks that aren’t dark but allow the lines of the template to show through.

  • Pilot Custom 1970’s Black Stripe F with Iroshizuku fuyu-syogun
  • Levenger True Writer Black Marble F with Herbin Violette Pensee
  • Delike New Moon Ice Blue Fude with Sailor Sky High
  • Delike New Moon Green Fude with Diamine Raw Sienna
  • Levenger True Writer Tangerine F with Herbin Rouille D’Ancre

The green Delike had Iroshizuku syo-ro in it for months and that was a very good combination which I expect to return to soon. Or perhaps I will purchase another New Moon but an extra-fine this time for the syo-ro. A review of this model is in the works. Suffice to say the two that I currently own are getting consistent use and that does speak well of them.

Which pens and inks are in your current rotation? Do they make you want to write or do they fight your best efforts?

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