Fountain Pen 201: Inventories

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 201, and happy Fountain Pen Friday! This week, I’ll be covering the benefits of keeping an inventory of your pen and ink collection.

When you have a small pen and ink collection, keeping an inventory probably isn’t at the forefront of your mind. However, as your collection grows, it will become harder and more time consuming to start an inventory, so it’s a good practice to start early. By why should you start one at all?

On the more positive side of things, an ink inventory can help keep you from buying duplicate inks, provide you with a reminder of what inks you do and don’t like, and make ink trading easier, to name a few.

On the other hand, an inventory of your collection can also help with insurance needs and claims.

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The Montegrappa Fortuna Saga

With one exception, my experiences with fountain pens have been fantastic. Today I’m going to tell you about that exception. Before I do, however, I want you to keep something in mind. I vacillated for weeks between sharing this story and keeping it to myself. I don’t want it to read as a smear on Motegrappa. What I want you to take away from this story is the amazing customer service offered by Cary Yeager of Kenro Industries.

Montegrappa Fortuna Heartwood Pear

I bought my Montegrappa Fortuna Heartwood Pear (FHP) on November 11 at Bertram’s Inkwell‘s yearly trunk show. I’d been eyeing the pen for a while. It’s beautiful. Cary had one at his table with the nib size I wanted, so I bought it. And so began the FHP saga.

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Fountain Pen 201: Nib Customization

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 201 and happy Fountain Pen Friday. This week I’ll be covering nib customization including nib tuning and nib grinds.

Nib customization can vary from a simple smoothing or increasing/decreasing flow, to a complete reshaping. Ultimately, though, the reason behind the work is the same: to tailor it to your personal preferences and writing style.

Nib customization makes your pen perfect for you. It’s akin to altering a suit: certainly not a requirement, but worth it if you get it done by someone who knows what they’re doing.

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2018 DC Pen Show

This past weekend I was back at the Washington D.C. Collectible Fountain Pen Supershow (a.k.a the DC Pen Show). I spent two and a half days at the show this time, as opposed to the 2/3 of a day I spent last year, so rather than a set of in-depth posts, I’m giving you an overview of my experience with some detailed stories of the best parts of the show.

Friday

We weren’t able to take time off from work to attend the show on Friday, but we went straight from dinner to the hotel. From the moment we arrived at the Marriott Fairview Place on Friday night, it couldn’t have been more different than last year. By sheer coincidence, we arrived as a group of our pen friends were heading out to dinner. We exchanged “hello”s and “see you later”s with everyone, and hugs with a few people. Ralph, the contagious ink boy, inked Jim with a hug, which was rather funny.

We relaxed at the bar for a while, catching up with our friend TeAntae and her mother, Louise. Once people started returning from dinner, we spent the evening at the hotel bar, chatting, testing paper and nibs, and generally having a great time.

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Fountain Pen 201: Indie Pen Makers

Happy Fountain Pen Friday, and welcome to another issue of Fountain Pen 201. This week, I’ll be discussing indie pen makers.

When I discovered indie/small business pen makers, I was amazed by the options opened up to me. For the most part, it’s ruined me for large manufacturer pens. Right now, 8 of my 20 pens are from indie makers, and I’m expecting 3 more.

My Pen Collection
Starred pens are from indie makers.

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How I Got My Grail Pen

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about the DC Pen Show and shared my favorite fountain pen story: how I got pen #19 of 88 of the Stipula Etruria Prisma 88 limited edition. It’s been my favorite pen story every since, but it has now been dethroned by the story I’m sharing with you today. Allow me to tell you the full story behind my acquisition of my grail pen.

Stipula Leonardo da Vinci olive wood
Stipula Leonardo da Vinci olive wood limited edition (photo from Rakuten). Photo modified to be more true to life.

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Fountain Pen 201: Pen Shows

Welcome to Fountain Pen 201! You’ve bought a few pens, some bottles of ink; basically, you’ve jumped head first into the fountain pen rabbit hole. So what’s next? I expect Fountain Pen 201 to be roughly the same length as Fountain Pen 101, so if you enjoyed that, make sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss an issue of 201.

For this inaugural issue of Fountain Pen 201, I’d like to discuss pen shows. I’ve been to two so far, the Washington D.C. Collectible Fountain Pen Supershow in August of last year, and the Baltimore-Washington International Pen Show this past March. I’ll be at the DC pen show again next week, and am very much looking forward it.

For those completely new to pen shows, they’re basically pen conventions. You’ll find a huge selection of fountain pens, paper, inks, etc. If you have an opportunity to go to one, I highly suggest you do so. Check out the schedule of pen shows at the end of the article.

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People With Pens: Cameron Yorke

Fountain Pens – My lifelong love affair

fountain pen

Fountain pens, to me, are the epitome of style and class. A page of written prose looks so much more elegant when written with a nib, no matter what width, style, type or colour.

My first experience goes back to the age of eight when I received my first fountain pen at primary school, with which, back then, it was compulsory to learn to write. My first attempts at mastering handwriting with a fountain pen were dismal to say the least, and I still have memories of huge ink blots all over my initial exercise book pages, of which no amount of blotting paper could clean up.

Being left-handed it was doubly difficult for me as my hand would rub across the page, following the written word, meaning I would invariably end the day with smudged words and an inky left palm. I very quickly learnt to angle my book, positioning my hand above my work so as to at least leave something legible at the end of the day.

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People with Pens: Wendy Van Camp

Fountain Pens in the Creative Process

I love fountain pens.  Sometimes I think I’m the ambassador for using these pens in life.  I’ve introduced them to my friends, to my husband, and to many of the writers in my circle.  Making converts everywhere I go.  What is so great about them?  Well, for me, they not only make the writing I do easier, but they help me when planning my short stories and novels.

I discovered the fountain pen back in 2013.  At that time, fountain pens were not cool.  To use one invited stares and derisive comments.  The pens drew me because my cursive writing had fallen into disuse and was unreadable.  I took up journaling to counteract this, reasoning that if I wrote one entry a day in cursive, my penmanship would improve.  The more I wrote with the ballpoints, the more my hand cramped.   I googled about writing and learned that fountain pens need not press onto the page as you write. You hold them at an angle that is more comfortable for the hand.  You could write more words and for a longer time with a fountain pen than with a ballpoint.  I had to try it.

The inexpensive Chinese model I bought to find out if I would like writing with a fountain pen was easy to write with.  I loved the feel of the pen in my hand, the myriad of ink colors to choose from, and that I could select different nibs to change the way my words looked on the page.  I went from using a standard medium nib to a fine nib and to an italic nib, which is a smoother version of a calligraphy stub nib.  It was fun!  I became hooked on the pens as a hobby.

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Fountain Pen 101: Stores

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 101, and happy Fountain Pen Friday. Sadly, this is the final issue. But fear not, pen enthusiasts! I’ll be back in a few weeks with Fountain Pen 201. If you missed any of the previous issues, you can check them out here:

Why Fountain Pens | Anatomy of a Pen | Where to Start | Nibs | Ink | Ink Reservoirs | Cleaning & Filling | Paper

For now, however, I’ll be discussing the benefits of brick and mortar stores. While online stores are fabulous, there are some things they simply can’t provide. To aid you in your brick and mortar store search, I’ve compiled a map of stores known to sell fountain pens. But before I get to that, let’s discuss brick and mortar store benefits.

Most important, in my mind, is the ability to handle a pen before you purchase it. You can see it from every angle and learn how it feels in your hand. Depending on the pen, and the store, you may be able to dip-test it, meaning you dip the nib in ink to test the writing quality. This is probably the only thing that is absolutely impossible for an online store to replicate, making it a HUGE point in a brick and mortar store’s favor.

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