DISCLAIMER UPDATE (6/24/22): TWSBI and Narwhal have released a joint statement which I cover in my most recent TWSBIgate post. While not completely satisfied with TWSBI’s response to the situation, I no longer feel the need to dissuade people from purchasing their products.
DISCLAIMER (5/1/22): Since writing this post, TWSBI has been involved in some unsavory actions, and I am currently boycotting them. For more information, refer to the #twsbigate tag page.
This time, there’s no evaluating yourself. You’re just answering 21 Questions. I’m assuming, based on the description under Allie’s video, that there have been other editions of the 21 Questions tag.
1. What sparked your love for fountain pens?
I’ve always been interested in dip pens. I’ve had many over the years. So, when I first really learned of fountain pens, and realized they were dip pens’ successors, that was an instant spark of interest. But then, learning about all the ink options — all the colors — really grabbed me. Caught by the idea, held by the colors.
2. What is your favorite part of using fountain pens?
Ink colors and nib options. I love color, and I love colored inks. I can express myself more when I have many ink colors. And nib options and customizations let me express myself, too, far more than a ballpoint or rollerball pen. So, I guess the self-expression that using fountain pens allows.
3. What is your earliest fountain pen-related memory?
Some time in the late 2000’s, I picked up a cheap Sheaffer set at an art store — Michael’s, maybe? Unfortunately, not understanding about different inks, filled it with dip pen ink. Clog city! I couldn’t get it to write after the first day. I think I ended up throwing it out.
4. What was the first fountain pen you ever used?
Technically, that cheap Sheaffer I just mentioned. But, the first one I used successfully was a Jinhao that Jim had on him when he first introduced me to fountain pens.
5. How often do you shop for pens?
That’s difficult. We go to our local pen store about once a month, but it isn’t usually with the intention of buying pens. It’s to see pen friends, and if a pen finds us, so be it. It’s incredibly rare that I sit down and actively look for a pen to buy. Far more common is that a pen catches my eye and I decide to buy it.
6. What is your favorite place to shop for pens?
Bertram’s Inkwell, hands down. I adore Bert, I love the selection of secondhand pens he often has. The camaraderie among customers is fabulous. I don’t know what I can possibly say to convey how great Bertram’s Inkwell is.
7. What is your most recent pen purchase?
Basing off of when I paid for the purchase, my Stacked Pride pen from Loft Pens.
8. What is your favorite filling method?
Cartridge/Converter. Those pens are typically easiest to clean. With the way I use pens, ink capacity doesn’t really matter to me, it’s all about ease of cleaning.
9. Does whether or not a pen can post affect your decision to purchase it?
Not really. There’s a small chance it might if it’s a pocket pen that can’t post. Otherwise, though, it doesn’t bother me one way or the other.
It used to bug me. I was a major fan of posting. But, getting higher end pens that shouldn’t be posted cured me of that.
10. What pen do you recommend the most?
The TWSBI 580 series. I love those pens, as you know if you’ve been following my blog.
11. What is a pen or ink you were on the fence about, but now are obsessed with?
The Pilot Custom 74. I only bought it to fill a hole in my collection, but I love it so much I intend to buy another in the next year. It’s nib is amazing.
12. What ink color family do you own the most of?
According to Airtable, Teal & Turquoise at 36 bottles. But that’s likely due to Jim’s obsession with those colors.
13. What is your favorite characteristic in ink?
Shading. Especially multishaders. It’s something you don’t find in “regular” pens.
14. What is an ink you can’t live without?
This will probably be surprising, but I can’t imagine not having Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri Same. It’s a fabulous warm gray that shades well and would be satisfying in pretty much any pen. Close runners up are Taccia Grey Jeans, DeAtramentis Madame de Pompadour, and Diamine Prussian Blue.
15. What is the worst ink you’ve ever purchased?
Noodler’s A House Divided. It was such an ugly ink. And there didn’t seem to be any consistency between bottles.
16. What is a deal-breaker for you with paper?
Bleed through. I wrote this post in an Apica C.D. notebook and experienced multiple instances of bleed through. In my opinion, that disqualifies it as fountain pen friendly.
17. Which aspect of fountain pen friendly paper is most important to you?
Absorption and show through. I know, that’s not just one, but those two are equal. I have long been on a quest to find paper with the perfect balance of low (or no) show through and low absorption to show off shading. For years, I used the Franklin-Christoph Firma Flex, but recently, I switched to the Rhodia Goalbook with white paper. The latter still isn’t perfect, but it’s the best I’ve found so far.
18. What brands have you wanted to try, but haven’t?
I’ve wanted to try a Stanford Wood Studios pen as I mentioned in my wish list post. Their beaded pens are so cool. I just haven’t gotten to them yet. And Hooligan pens, for their mix of materials and engraved metalwork, also mentioned on my wish list.
19. What is a discontinued pen or ink you wish would come back?
So, this might be cheating, but I want the larger, less expensive, bottles of Sailor — and Sailor-produced — ink to come back. The “new” 20ml bottles are among the most expensive of the inks, when you consider price per ml.
20. What do you hope to see less of in future pen releases?
“Rainbow” finish. It seems like every company needs to make one, or more, pens with that ugly “rainbow” — spoiler alert, it’s not really a rainbow — finish. There have been more than enough. It can stop now.
21. What do you hope to see more of in future pen releases?
I’d love to see more collabs between indie makers. The collabs between Atelier Lusso and Hardy Penwrights have been stunning. The Birds of the World collection from Chicago Pen Co. and their many collaborators is fantastic. I’d love to see a Jonathon Brooks (Carolina Pen Co.) custom material made for Country Made Pens to highlight his metal carving.
What do you think of my answers? If you choose to answer these questions, make sure to tag me where you share it so I can read your answers. Or, answer down in the comments. I’d love to know what your responses are.