Category Archives: Pens

Pens and Blades and Other Distractions

I had a few things planned but then I got a free pen and that led me to play with knives.

Because I took a survey, I scored a fee pen from a maker I’ve written about before. I inked it up and played with it a bit but won’t review it yet. (Initial Impressions: Where it’s good it’s very good, but where it’s bad it’s horrid. Also, one thing that looks horrid actually works pretty well.)

One of the problems with it was the aluminum cap didn’t work well with the delrin threads. Because of this I had to apply some silicone grease to make things move smoothly.

Oddly, this made me think I needed to do maintenance on a few knives.

I broke out three of my knives and with two all I did was clean them up and apply a bit of lube. The cheaper one I actually disassembled, cleaned, and lubed I then attempted to put it all back together. This all took longer than I expected as things neither came apart nor went back together smoothly or quickly. It all works now, but it’s cheap enough that it will eventually fall apart. I mostly bought it as something to take apart and tinker with.

Tomorrow I’ll have other things planned. I wonder what I’ll end up doing instead.

Phase Two is About to Begin

I showed my young apprentice, er, my colleague, my collection of ink swatches, figured out her preferences, and then realized she’s ready to move to the next phase.

I’ve mentioned before how my frequent display of my abundance of fountain pens has led my colleague to experiment with fountain pens. She started with cheap Chinese pens, including a LAMY knock off endorsed by the Well-Appointed Desk. Today I tried to figure out what kind of ink she likes. This led to an hour or so long discussion about the properties of the various inks. I’m especially pleased that she’s not distracted by pretty swatches full of sheen but instead focuses on how the ink actually looks when it’s put on the page by a fountain pen.

At one point, she tried to find one of her cheap pens that seems to have vanished, but she couldn’t find it.

Her main problem, at this phase, is that she doesn’t have a proper pen case which has led to her pens being scattered hither and thither.

This means she’s ready to enter the next phase: penphenalia, which includes pen cases and snot suckers used for cleaning.

First I’ll introduce her to Nock. Co., but I suspect Japan has enough goods on hand to store her pens.

After that, we’ll see how far down the rabbit hole she goes…

2018 Pen and Stationery Resolutions

They are a little late, but here are my 2018 resolutions. The theme for this year’s resolutions is “Less is used more.” This is even true of the resolutions.

Pens:
One–End the year with fewer pens than I started with. (Note: I’m counting the pen I ordered last year but haven’t received yet as part of the current total.) (Second Note: Already cancelled a Kickstarter I was considering supporting.)

Two–Continue to stay the hell away from the nightly Kingdom Note pen sales.

 

 

Ink:
One–-End the year with fewer inks.

Two–Change “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) to NOMO (No fear Of Missing Out).

 

 

Paper:
One–No new notebooks this year. (Unless five get used up.)

Two–Scan the old stuff before it molds and moulders.

Other:
One–Take pictures of stuff.

Two–Review stuff.

 

 

 

The Ghosts of Resolutions Past

For today’s post, I thought I’d revisit last year’s pen and stationery resolutions to see how well/badly I’ve done with them.

Pens:
One–Refine the collection. Focus more on quality rather than rapid and random acquisition. Get rid of what doesn’t set your soul on fire.

Two–To help accomplish One, stay the hell away from the nightly Kingdom Note pen sales. 

Three–Actually use your so-called “work horse” pens at work.

Four–Sell the pens that have been in storage for a long time.

 

One and Four: A mixed bag here. I did quite well by shedding a substantial chunk of my collection and only acquiring a couple new ones.

Two: Another mixed bag. I acquired two pens via the Kingdom Note nightly sales. One was an OMAS and the second an orange  Faber-Castell Ondoro (acquired in no small part thanks to a substantial amount of built up points).

Three: Done. Also close to finishing a second bottle of my workhorse ink: Noodler’s Old Manhattan.  Would have finished it all, but rotated with a couple other workhorse pens.

 

Ink:
One–Sell the large stockpile of Kingdom Note inks once the weather warms, and/or find pen addicts who live in the tropics.

Two–Limit the ink rotation. Use up the inks you like, sell off the rest. Match pens with ink and make a system out of them.

Three–No more new inks (after you’ve acquired a couple you have your eye on.)

Four–Formalize the ink business or run away.

 

One: Sold a large portion now working on getting rid of the last bit after the thaw.

Two: A jolly good start, then a spectacular failure.

Three: Actually did quite well at this. Only acquired three new bottles of ink. (And a few samples…)

Four: Still running away, slowly, after outreach to an ink manufacturer went nowhere, but a have a few ideas for acquiring inks that require actually visiting stores. (Without me actually having to visit the store…)

 

Paper:
One–Stop collecting scraps to bundle into notebooks.  Remember that you can’t spell “scrap” without “crap”. (“It’s crap” said quickly and repeatedly eventually sounds like “Scrap”. I think “scrap” actually derives from the Elizabethan English pronunciation “S’crap.” Look it up, forsooth.)

Two–Do one push up on the floor in the store for each 100 yen of price before buying a new notebook you suddenly can’t live without. (Don’t forget to wash hands after doing this.) Also, consider doing this for pen and ink purchases: Cheapest Montblanc Hemingway = 1,763 push ups (followed by spending the pen money on hospital bills and physical therapy.)

Three–Scan, scan, and scan old notebooks and then retire the moldering hard copies.

Four–Retire the last of the handmade writing tablets. Keep only the ones currently in use at work.

Five–Use up as many notebooks as you can before you get better at push-ups.

 

One: Accomplished. Have only saved Rhodia paper and some Tomoe River Paper.

Two: Never stood a chance of doing this. Did do push ups, though, just not related to purchases.

Three: Did some of this, then scanner/printer died. Bought new all-in-one and stopped scanning.

Four: Done except for a few that I’m still using up.

Five: Been doing a good job of this. Have also given away extra Field Notes, including a few Colors editions.

 

Other:
One–Take pictures of stuff.

Two–Review stuff.

Three–Just say “NO” to Massdrop and Kickstarter.

Four–Listen to the Pen Addict podcast, but do not check out the show notes. If you do check out the show notes, do NOT click on any interesting links.

 

One: Did well, but need to organize office better to establish a better studio space.

Two: Partially accomplished, but have a lot more to review.

Three: Mostly accomplished. Avoided Massdrop, for many reasons, but gave into a few Kickstarters.

Four: Mostly accomplished. Except I do now own a pen with Bomb Pops on it.

 

The Future:
In the next post, I’ll figure out my 2018 Stationery Resolutions. (Note: one has already been accomplished, so that my count as cheating.)

If Not Purging Then Modding

I have a bunch of things I’ve planned to work on over the winter break, including purging a bunch of crap, some via a giveaway, and that means I spent a good portion of yesterday and today modifying pens.

Specifically I have a bunch of gel ink pens that I’ve acquired by various means and although I have no plan to use them because I don’t like the design, I like the refills in some of them and I want to see if I can salvage something by making them fit in my Tactile Turn Mover pen (which takes Pilot G2 sized refills).

The modding process involved a lot of cutting and crumbling of aluminum foil and a bit of swearing. Eventually I found an old Pilot G2 refill and pulled the black plug out of the end of the refill. After a careful bit of shaving, trial and error, and more swearing I made it fit the Sarasa refill and it seems to work in the Tactile Turn.

This means I now have five refills I can swap in and out as necessary. (The rest of the pens, most of which came from various ISOTs will be given away someway, somehow.)

Of course, I didn’t think to record the modding process so there are no pictures. More on that, and  few pictures I hope, in a future post.

 

Spreading the Joy/Addiction

I think I’ve got my colleague hooked now, and all it took was some colorful pretty dyes.

As I’ve used my nearly endless supply of fountain pens, my colleague grew intrigued by the also nearly endless supply of different ink flavors I used. She liked the teals and blue-greens and the orange inks. Eventually, she bought a selection of gateway drugs: a Pilot Cocoon in orange;   a Platinum Preppy; and a couple other cheap, small fountain pens.

She started out using cartridges, but would swap ink colors without cleaning the pen. This led to a few interesting colors getting ruined by leftovers.

Recently, and without any direct prodding from me, she’s decided to try bottled inks and converters. She bought a few cheap Chinese pens to play with. (Note: I will eventually give her a converter for her Pilot so that she may fully witness the horror that is Pilot converters.) She also bought an impressive first bottled ink.

I showed her how to fill the first converter full, getting ink on my fingers as is appropriate. I also brought a couple flavors from home for her to try (Kingdom Note Kabutomushi and Bungu Box Hamanako Mandarin) in her other pens.

Since then she’s refilled on her own, getting ink on her fingers as is appropriate, and had discovered which kind of nib she likes. She’s also discovered the joys of nib creep and getting ink on your fingers without even trying.

Next, it will be time for her to realize that spending over $50 dollars on a pen isn’t that crazy. Once that happens, the escalation will begin and she’ll be fully addicted.

Then my work will be done.

 

My Sinclair Seven (Plus One)–Latest Iteration

The thing that shocks me about this update is how little there is to update, but there have been a few physical changes along with a few changes in attitude since my last update.

The biggest change in this Sinclair Seven (Plus One) is the absence of my Edison Glenmont 2014 LE. As much as I still like this pen, it faced relegation. In fact, at times it’s been relegated beyond the Lookout to other pen cases. However, every time I use it, I remember why I like to keep it around and it’s now back in the Lookout. (Note: I switched back to the M nib.)

As for the rest of the pens:

The most recent Sinclair Seve (Plus One).

Bottom Row, From the Left:

Pilot Custom 823 (Amber Barrel)
Still a workhorse pen, but lately it’s been having some issues. The plunger mechanism has been sticky and not filling as well as I’d like. I suspect it needs a little maintenance, which I’m not qualified/willing to perform, so I’m planning to make an appointment with the Pilot pen guy (a technical job description) at the Mitsukoshi Fountain Pen Festival next March and have it overhauled. It’s currently filled with Maruzen Athena Renga.

Nakaya Cigar Portable Kurotamenuri
Recently fixed and tuned after a small adventure involving mistaken pens, and it’s suddenly pen I expected it to be. I reach for it a lot and it’s quickly replacing the TWSBI as my go-to workhorse pen. It’s still filled with Aurora Black ink which pairs well with it.

Shawn Newton Moody
Still not the workhorse it could be, but I still use it a lot. The ebonite is aging well. It’s currently filled with Kingdom Note Omurasaki (Purple Butterfly) which suits it well.

 

Second Row, From the Left:

TWSBI Diamond 580 Rose Gold
Still reaching for it less and less but I still like the ink capacity. It’s still filled with Fountain Pen Hospital‘s exclusive Noodler’s Old Manhattan “Bulletproof” Black ink.

Platinum 3776 Chartres Blue (Rhodium Coating)
Can’t quit this pen.  It’s currently filled with Shosaikan Seiran ink.

Pilot Custom Heritage 92
Lately I find myself looking for excuses to use this pen. I like the nib and like the piston filler because Pilot’s converters are especially dreadful even given that all converters suck. It’s currently filled with Robert Oster Bondi Blue.

OMAS Arte Italiana London Smoke Milord
The new comer. It is a large pen, but very light and it is slowly becoming a workhorse pen that I reach for as often as I can. It has a wet M nib in OMAS’ Hi-Tech finish. It is a cartridge/converter pen, which means I have to deal with converters. That said, at least it’s easy to clean and change inks. It’s currently filled with Kingdom Note Tiger Prawn (aka Shrimp). As I bought it used, it probably needs a little nib work and I’m pondering sending it to someone for some tuning.

Top Center–The Plus One:

Lamy 2000
Still filled with Kingdom Note Kabutomushi (Rhinoceros Beetle) ink, and still a pen I enjoy using.

At this point, the TWSBI is at the greatest risk of relegation.although I’m still tempted to make this a Sinclair Seven (Plus Two) even though I realize that defeats the purpose of using the Sinclair.

Back Where it Belongs

I got my pen back and that pretty much shut down all other operations.

I’ve mentioned before how I sent my Nakaya Cigar Portable in for work and then got the wrong pen. After a long wait, I got the correct pen back.

It came with a complimentary pen case that whilst beautiful, is something I’ll probably never use except as storage. On the other hand, it was nice of them to send it. (Note: it’s a darker magenta than shown in the picture.)

Back home where it belongs. Got a free pen case for the delay. #nakaya #fountainpen #penaddict

A post shared by DL (@d.e.lively) on

However, once I had the pen in hand, I had to start playing with it and writing random nonsense. I enjoyed having it back enough that it’s clear that it’s now a permanent part of the collection.

It’s also already back in my Sinclair Seven (Plus One).

Unfortunately, I didn’t write anything useful with it. It was just fun to have it back and fun to play with.

A Long Wait for a Longer Wait

About a month ago I had to join a club to get a pen worked on. I joined the club figuring that I’d get work done in the future and joining the owners’ club would make it easier.

However, things got complicated after that.

After paying the fee I sent the pen in for repair and was told it would take them about a month to get it back to me.

Today, I got the package with my pen and I gleefully unwrapped the pen and was surprised to see a gold clip on a smaller pen. Nakaya had sent me the wrong pen. Instead of this pen, I’d received someone else’s briar version.

After a short bout of swearing I contacted Nakaya and, after a long wait, received instructions on how to return the pen COD in order to receive my pen.

However, Nakaya is about to take their annual vacation so part of the instructions were to schedule the pen to arrive on the 18th when they would be back in the office.

Now, I’m interested to know a few things: 1) did someone else get my pen, 2) how pissed off are they that they go the wrong pen, and 3) do they like my pen better than they like theirs and therefore they haven’t complained because “FREE PEN!” (Note: I am unimpressed with the briar Nakaya.)

I’ll send it out tomorrow and wait until mine arrives. I may try to score a free pen rest or a free pen case but I’ll be happy to have the pen back. Some day.

Whatever happens, the process won’t get started until August 18th.

 

Mistaken Not Wrong

As near as I can tell, as I was writing yesterday’s post, events were happening that, on first glance, appear to invalidate everything I wrote. However, as you will see, I may have been mistaken, but I was not wrong.

Two Facebook groups related to pens and stationery split into different factions.

In once case, the problem appears to have been related to the personality of one of the moderators. I personally had a strange message from him that may have been a result of the moderator being a non-native speaker of English rather than someone giving attitude. I had just joined the group and am now a member of a different group. I guess.

In another case, a group that had gathered to worship a particular brand of notebook, split over matters of style/taste.

One part of the group objected to the constant sell/trade posts even though the group was designated as a buy/sell group.

In another case, some one apparently posted pictures of an every day carry set that included pens, notebooks, and a firearm. This person then claims to have been subject to abuse from those who get queasy at the site of firearms.

Comments to the posts were stopped and then the firearm related posts were deleted and, as near as I can tell, such posts are permanently banned.

(Note: I never saw the posts, so this is what I’ve been able to gather from reactions to the banning. If anyone has more accurate information, please let me know and I’ll post another update.)

At about the same time, the group was changed from buy/sell to club.

In the former case, I’ve not been in the group long enough to know all the details, therefore I feel I have not been proven wrong.

The second group split over capitalism and firearms, not pens and stationery. Therefore I am still not wrong.