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Category: Fountain Pens

The True Value of Indie Pens

Posted in Fountain Pens

Jim and I have given a seminar we call “The True Value of Indie Pens” at our last two pen shows — Baltimore and DC. Both sessions were well received, and we’ve been asked if the information was available anywhere for reference. At the DC show, I promised I’d create a blog post, so that’s what I’m doing — perhaps a bit late. If you’re interested int eh actual presentation, I’ve made it available on Google Drive. Be aware, I removed the examples, as I didn’t ask permission to make that information available in such a way.

Background

So, where did the class originate? Jim and I heard one to many conversations along the lines of, “For that price I can get [insert mainstream brand name here],” or “I don’t think it’s worth it,” with regards to indie pens. We want to help spread awareness of how special indie-made pens are, just how much you’re actually getting for the price.

Pen Porn: Sailor 1911S Maki-e Maiko

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Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

On September 1st, Goulet Pen Co. sent out an email announcing their Sailor “Don’t Miss the Boat” sale. I’m assuming it has something to do with Sailor’s upcoming price increase, but I digress. I wasn’t looking for any Sailor pens, but I decided to take a look and see what was on offer.

To my surprise, I found a pen I wanted. I’ve really been enjoying urushi art pens, and the Maiko caught my eye, especially considering it was approximately half price. The sale price put it at just a bit higher than a standard Pro Gear pen, so I bought another pen that I shouldn’t have. I’m not doing well at all in my quest to buy less pens this year.

Sailor 1911S Maki-e Maiko

Making Pen Shows Accessible

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When I shared my 2022 DC Pen Show Part 2 post, I received some comments about accessibility that made me start thinking. The pen shows I’ve been to range from just passable for physical disability accessibility to barely accessible for non-disabled persons. As such, I’m dedicating a post to some thoughts on pen show accessibility.

Please be aware, I’m by not even close to an expert here. I’m 100% certain there are accessibility issues I don’t know about and accommodations I’ve never thought of. I would just like to help get a discussion going in the pen world. For the most part, the pen community is inclusive and welcoming, and it’s a shame our shows don’t reflect that.

Pen Porn: Benu Talisman Four Leaf Clover

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

A couple of weeks ago, when Ink Journal announced that Benu would be implementing a price increase, I knew it was time to pick up the Four Leaf Clover. As I’ve said before, I intend to collect the Talisman series pens that have shaped confetti — like the Wild Rose and Shooting Star.

As with other Talisman model pens, the Four Leaf Clover has its namesake infused into the resin. It’s a bit unclear from the pamphlet, however, if Benu actually managed to get a hold of a ton of four leaf clovers to powder, or if they simply used the powder from the clover plant.

Benu Four Leaf Clover

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 6

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A New Noodler’s

I’ve decided to end my 2022 DC Pen Show series here. While I have a couple more posts peripherally related to the DC show, I’m going to post them as “stand-alone” entries.

Straight up, this post has caused me some trouble. First, I wasn’t sure it was something I should write. Then, I didn’t like how I’d written it. Then I questioned if I should post it. Now, well, I think it’s about as good as it’s going to get.

Because this is a contentious topic, I’d like to remind everyone reading that all comments on my blog go through manual review and approval. That isn’t unique to this post.

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 5

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Pen and Nib Mini Reviews

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

Although I purchased and received several non-pen items, I’m only going to review the pens and nib in this post and the Jinji chocolate in a later post. Feel free to jump down to a specific mini review: Analog Notes | Namiki | Platinum | Mayfair Pens | Gravitas Pens | Nahvalur | All in the Nib

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 4

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Nib Wars
Nib Wars

When Esterbrook first announced Nib Wars, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was described as a competition where, “the nibmeisters will participate in three rounds, each round tasking the competitor to execute a specific nib grind.” I didn’t know if it would be fascinating or boring. But, it sounded interesting enough that I registered to attend.

I was especially intrigued by Esterbrook’s description of nibmeisters: “the unsung heroes of the pen community, nibmeisters build their skill over years of training and persistence. Not unlike a Jedi, if you think about it.” I’ve definitely found that people new to the pen world either don’t know about, or are somewhat skeptical about, going to nibmeisters. And, while I 100% advocate learning to tune your own nibs, nibmeisters are fabulous for narrowing a nib or changing the shape of a nib (e.g. standard round to stub or architect).

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 3

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Show Review

Normally I wouldn’t review a show I’ve already reviewed. However, this year’s DC Pen Show was a bit different, as the hotel was undergoing renovations. So, I’d like to address how Barbara and Jeff, the main show organizers, handled the inconvenience. I’d also like to revisit some of my concerns from last year.

Overall, I was very pleased with the show organization. I think the show organizers did an excellent job given the difficulties they faced. They definitely seem to be learning from mistakes and oversights, and I give them immense credit for that.

Note: I’ll be discussing the show layout. For those of you who didn’t attend the DC Pen Show, you can take a look at the PDF version of the interactive show map, created by Alexander Kramer (pen_show_maps on Instagram) for the DC Pen Show organizers, to get an idea of the layout.

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 2

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General Show Experience

You all know I write a lot. Too much, really. And I knew this post would be no different. So, I broke out my Thursday experience in my last post, since it was something new. Today is an overview of what I did and purchased each day of the show. There are pictures this time, but no reviews of anything. That’s for another day, because this is ridiculously long already.

Of note, I made plans before the show. I had a shopping list of pens and inks I really wanted to get. I was… somewhat successful.

For those of you who didn’t attend the DC Pen Show, you can take a look at the PDF version of the interactive show map, created by Alexander Kramer (pen_show_maps on Instagram) for the DC Pen Show organizers, to get an idea of the layout. I’ll also refer to table numbers for those who want to check locations to jog their memory.

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 1

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Trying Something New

As I do every year, I’d been eagerly anticipating the DC Pen Show for the past month. Beyond the pens, knowing I’ll get to see maker and pen friends is a huge draw, and something I greatly look forward to. Last year, I indulged in the weekend trader pass for the first time, and went Friday through Sunday.

This year, I did something different again. For the first time, I attended the DC Pen Show on the Thursday. My hope was to sell some pens and inks to augment my show budget. That didn’t really happen. But, I had fun anyway.

Pen Porn: Benu Forest Pond

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

When I got the email from Benu about the Forest Pond — and Midsummer Night — I immediately purchased it. I’d skipped the Petit Prince, and I really wanted one of Benu’s hand-painted pens.

Benu Forest Pond front
Benu Forest Pond back
The bottom image is the reverse, not the side, I just had to unscrew the cap a bit so it would balance for the photo.

Ink Trading Cards

Posted in Fountain Pens

On Wednesday (7/20/22), I finished my new ink notebook and shared a video on Instagram and Goulet Pen Co’s Facebook group, Goulet Nation. The Gouletians — I think that’s what they’ve decided we’re calling ourselves — were over the moon and had so many questions and comments, I decided to write up a quick blog post.

First of all, as I mentioned in my last ink catalog post, this format — I’m going to call it ink trading cards — isn’t my idea. Most pen stores use it at pen shows. I really enjoyed the versatility of ink trading cards — you can rearrange the swatches to add and remove colors as you buy new bottles or get rid of old ones.

Pen Porn: Enameled Sakura

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

Per usual with these posts, click on an image to view it larger.

Three weeks ago, Brian Weaver of Iron Feather Creative posted two videos on Instagram. They featured an absolutely glorious carved pen with a sakura theme. Brian had added carving and cold enamel to a pen he’d posted a few weeks earlier.

I think I messaged him within 15 minutes of posting. This beauty is my fourth Iron Feather Creative pen, and I highly doubt it will be my last.

full sakura pen

Purchasing Habits Update

Posted in Fountain Pens

So… remember earlier this year when I said, “I want to keep my pen purchases this year to 24 or less?” Well, that didn’t go so well. Here we are, only half way through the year, and I’ve already exceeded that limit by two.

I even tried to finagle the numbers in my favor. Rather than all pens, I first narrowed it down to purchased pens. Because, really, gifts don’t count. They aren’t purchases. And then I narrowed it down further to fountain pens. That cut out 7 pens, including the new Retro 51 Smithsonian Panda that just arrived today.

Pen Porn: Crystallized Rainbow

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

This will be a unique pen porn post. This material is nearly impossible to capture, but I’ve done my best. However, because capturing its full beauty proved illusive, I don’t have too many photos.

Opal pen

Additional Indie Makers

Posted in Fountain Pens

NOTE: These are new indie makers I’ve learned about since posting my Indie Pen Makers Update. All of these makers will be added to that main post, but I want to feature them, since the previous makers got their “turn.”

For the purposes of these posts, I’m putting the following limitations on the term “Indie Maker”:

  • Only or regularly works with customers to make unique/custom pens
  • Fully handmade, uses CNC lathes with hand finishing, or 3D prints custom pen designs
  • Creates kitless pens
  • Not sold in stores (or only sold in local brick & mortar store)
  • Makes one-off or short runs

Even with the addition of these new makers, that list will not be comprehensive, that’s virtually impossible. However, if you know of a maker who meets the qualifications above and is not included, please let me know. Also, if you know the location of a maker that doesn’t have one listed, let me know that, too.

Keep in mind, I have not purchased a pen from these makers, so consider this an informational list, not an endorsement.

TWSBI, I’m Still Disappointed

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NOTE: This is an unexpected post based on current events. Rather than postpone my scheduled post to next week, it will be up at noon today. Enjoy a double-post day!


Well, after nearly two months, there is an update to TWSBIgate.

A DC Pen Crew member shared a link to Narwhal’s most recent newsletter, sent out on 6/23/2022, which contained a joint statement from TWSBI and Narwhal. I’m not sharing the link, as I don’t know if it’s actually meant for public dissemination. However, I’m including the images and a transcription below.

Update 6/24/2022 at 7:30am: It appears TWSBI did, indeed, send out an email, specifically to retailers. I say appears as the “evidence” is an image from Reddit, which I’m including below as well, rather than a link to the email sent out, as was provided for Narwhal.

Vintage Sheaffer Research

Posted in Fountain Pens

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, as it was one of the posts you all voted on. But, better late than never, right?

It’s a little difficult to re-research a pen after I’ve identified it, mainly because I want to just type in what it is. But, I managed it. Today I’ll be walking you through the way I research pens, in this case, my vintage Sheaffer.

Sheaffer

Comparing Common Nib Grinds

Posted in Fountain Pens

I’ve been on a major custom-ground nib kick for the past year or so. At the DC Pen Show, I picked up two cursive italic nibs from All in the Nib. Since then, I’ve picked up four more custom-ground nibs. In that intervening time, I’ve also had multiple discussions with people about nib grinds and the differences between them.

Those conversations taught me that many people aren’t aware of the differences in the way each grind writes. So, I decided to compare the different “common” nib grinds I have.