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Esterbrook Nibs Find A New Home

05/17/2019

As I became unenamoured with lever fillers, Esterbrooks took a backseat to piston fillers and converters in my rotation. However, I missed their vintage nibs that were produced in great variety including italic and flexible models. Quite a few can still be found on eBay though from reading descriptions, many of those pens will need professional maintenance to regain the capacity to write well. Look for a pen with a new sac if you decide to grab one and it should provide years of good use.

The Esterbrook brand was resurrected a few years ago to the delight of many FP aficionados. I haven’t used one of the new pens so I cannot speak from experience. However, they do offer a Modern to Vintage nib adapter for combining a vintage Estie nib and feed with the modern pen body.

Think about that. A vintage Estie nib can be fitted to a newly manufactured pen body. My old nibs are begging to try out a posh, new home. One of these days…

Esterbrook fountain pen

writing sample

 

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Trouble At Inkophile, Part 3

05/16/2019

Yesterday, my daughter mentioned that she does not object to the ads on Instagram. Me, too, and for the same reasons she does.

  • Ads are infrequent and easy to scroll past.
  • They are well-targeted and of real interest.
  • They are not spammy but usually attractive and nicely photographed.
  • Ads are less repetitive than on other sites rarely showing up more than a few times.
  • Comments about the product are easily accessed even before clicking the ad.
  • Legitimacy is attested to by the content and quantity of the comments.

Twice I have purchased fountain pens through ads on Instagram. There is no other site at which I have made even one purchase of any sort through an ad.

Instagram has certainly figured out what works. So I suppose I am not opposed to ads entirely – just ugly, gross, stupid, irrelevant ones that demand my attention and distract from otherwise interesting web pages.

Do you know of any sites with ads that are acceptable, even interesting?

For context, read Trouble at Inkophile and Trouble at Inkophile, Part 2.

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Trouble At Inkophile, Part 2

05/15/2019

A comment to yesterday’s post gave me the opportunity to expand on the situation about continuing to reside at WordPress. I am reposting that comment here.

Shubhranshu Das wrote:

Sign of the times…I hope you can get out of this paid version and rescue the prior records and exit to a more conducive platform …

My reply:

Yes, it is a sign of the times. Being profitable is essential to survival and expansion. I get that. The rub is that hobby blogs are rarely profitable. There is no income flow to defray expenses. My reviews have dwindled along with my budget while product prices have risen. The WP fee will cut into it further.

Thankfully, Luxury Brands (distributor of Platinum Pens, Noodler’s Ink), Exaclair (distributor of Herbin, Rhodia, Clairefontaine), Pen Chalet, Goldspot Pens, Nemosine, Jackson’s Art Supplies, and others have sent products in recent years that have kept Inkophile alive. Such supporters are priceless as are those readers who have sent products or donated cash. Inkophile has become a group effort in which every individual is greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately, I lack the expertise to relocate. Moving 1,244 posts with associated links and images along with 6,245 comments would be a daunting task. Inkophile is trapped in the clutches of the WP monster.

Update: A lovely reader sent a donation that will help pay the WP ransom. Yay!

The saga continues at Trouble at Inkophile, Part 3.

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Trouble At Inkophile

05/14/2019

Much to my dismay, I just discovered that WordPress has been running obnoxious, intrusive ads on Inkophile. My apologies for you having to put up with the unwelcome intrusion.

When WP made the original announcement about forcing ads on free accounts, the example was a small text ad at the end of a post that would only appear on some posts. Now they are graphic, on all posts and at the top as well as the bottom.

It was a mistake to think the ads would be as inoffensive and unobtrusive as the example. Those I saw weren’t even close. In other words, they were click-bait garbage including creepy, crawly monsters. Shortsightedly, their actions have adversely impacted user experience and that is unacceptable.

So WordPress has lost my trust. I hereby withdraw any recommendation of it.

As for Inkophile, WP told me to pay for a “plan” if I don’t like what they are doing to my blog. My carefully managed pen/ink/paper/blog budget will take a hit to pay the ransom demand. This is a hobby site – not a profit-making machine. But what’s a blogger to do? Suck it up apparently. The ads should disappear by the end of the month.

Again, apologies for the garbage ads.

The saga continues at Trouble at Inkophile, Part 2 and Trouble at Inkophile, Part 3.

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Sunday Reads: Fountain Pens, Ink And A Diplomat

04/28/2019

Sonal Kalra has some excellent tips for dealing with pen borrowers…


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Sunday Reads: Pens, Ink And Happy Hour

04/21/2019

So what do pens have to do with happy hour? Read on.

From the archives, my kit from five years ago. Only one pen has remained a constant in my rotation. Can you guess which one?

Pens: Platinum #3776, Noodler’s Standard Flex, the Pilot Prera Italic and the Sheaffer Taranis Medium. Inks: Diamine Sepia, Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, Noodler’s Black and Diamine Steel Blue. Autopoint Mechanical Pencil, a daily user that has never failed me.

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A Watercolor Palette Plus A Few Tips and Tricks

04/17/2019

Before fountain pens caught my fancy, watercolors were my favorite distraction. Over the years, a number of brands and kits have come my way. After experimenting with the lot, the Sennelier Aqua Mini set has become my favorite.

The Aqua Mini is very good value for money at about $20 for eight small cakes of artist grade paint. They are cheerful, transparent colors reminiscent of Impressionist paintings and can be mixed to make a satisfying variety of additional colors. Perhaps because they are made with honey, they are sticky and yet creamy at the same time. They moisten readily and put down significant color with no effort. They really are a pleasure to use.

Unfortunately, the box and brush are somewhat less exciting. The brush is tiny though suitable for small details. I prefer a #6 or #8 round travel brush for painting in the wild. When at my desk, anything goes.

The box has very little space to mix colors. This is a design flaw that can be remedied by placing a flat container nearby for mixing purposes. White porcelain is the best at revealing a paint’s true color. It shouldn’t stain and cleans easily so I would recommend it over other materials. However, plastic might be more practical for travel.

Tip: A dessert or sushi plate can make a useful palette. Pans of paint can be attached temporarily to the plate with tape or a removable adhesive or putty. Following a session, allow the paints to dry. Then cover with plastic wrap or store in a resealable bag to prevent dust from accumulating on the paint. When it comes to working at my desk, this is one of my favorite arrangements.

Or you can pry the paints from the original tray, move them into plastic watercolor pans and then to a variety of containers from a mint tin to a proper watercolor box. A different option would be to pry the entire plastic tray out of the original Sennelier box and put it into a mint tin of similar size. One with a flat, metal lid would provide a more useful mixing area. If it’s white, so much the better.

Below is a Simply Gum Mints (not the chewing gum) metal box that will hold six large pans or nine small ones like those from the Aqua Mini set. Mia discovered how well these tins work and I am so glad she passed that along. My family has gone through a large box of the mints leaving me six containers for a variety of color groupings.

If you just want to play around with paint, the supplied brush and box will do. But don’t be surprised if you get hooked and need a better brush and not long after that, a real watercolor box. Then more paint and brushes and, well, you get the picture. Such things happen even with the best of intentions. Collecting paint is very much like collecting ink. Brushes are comparable to pens. You have been warned.

As for paper, Stillman & Birn make lots of journals for the traveler. Tomoe River paper will take a light wash of color as will a number of other brands. Should painting charm you beyond the occasional doodle, go for 100% cotton watercolor paper. It can be pricey but totally worth it.

My enthusiasm for Sennelier watercolors is what I really wanted to share with you. The container and brush deficiencies are easily overcome so don’t let that be a deterrent. The paint is great and that is what really counts.

Amazon Shopping List:

  1. Sennelier Aqua Mini
  2. Travel Brushes from Escoda, da Vinci, Silver Brush
  3. #8 round brush from Escoda or Silver Brush
  4. Metal Palette with plastic pans from Meeden, Honbay or JCT ECO
  5. Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook smooth enough to accommodate fountain pen nibs or the Beta for a slightly textured surface.
  6. Winsor & Newton Watercolor Journal, Arches, Strathmore, Fabriano (All are 100% cotton with a slightly textured surface.)
  7. Sennelier Watercolor Tube Test Pack (Fewer colors than the Aqua Mini but a larger volume of each color. Will need a palette/container and plastic pans.)
  8. Small (half) pans and large (full) pans
  9. Simply Gum Mints
  10. Sushi plate or appetizer plates or small porcelain palette
  11. Uhu Reusable Adhesive

At Parka Blogs, Teoh reviewed the Sennelier Aqua Mini set with similar conclusions.

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