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Category: Fountain Pens

An 18111 Commission

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

Mid last year, I reached out to Yoshi Nakama of 18111 Pens about commissioning a custom pen. As the DC Pen Show was only a few weeks away, we agreed to discuss it at the show. At the time, I hoped to get a pen themed to my Exalted Bloodlines series.

I eagerly sought him out at the show. However, when I showed him the ideas I had in mind, he warned me it may not be doable.

The designs I showed Mr. Nakama at the DC Pen Show.
Left to right: My design idea for the rollstopper, the blood drop I wanted scattered around the pen, and the moon and star I wanted on the top of the cap.

The proposed roll stopper design, the blood drop I wanted scattered across the pen, and the moon and star I wanted on the top of the cap all have “sharp corners.” Apparently, 3D printing and laser engraving can’t produce sharp corners at that size.

However, I hoped we could reach a compromise with a modified design that I liked and could be executed. I agreed to modify the design before sending Mr. Nakama the files. He warned me that his waiting list was about 3 months long. Granted, considering the year+ waiting lists many pen makers have right now, 3 months is hardly an issue.

Identifying and Dating a Vintage Esterbrook

Posted in Fountain Pens

While volunteering at the 2019 Baltimore Pen Show, I was gifted a lovely red, lever-fill, vintage Esterbrook pen. Admittedly, I know next-to-nothing about vintage Esterbrooks. I also have a penchant for finding out as much about my vintage pens as possible.

That said, it should be no surprise that I set out to identify and date (as accurately as possible) my new Esterbrook as soon as I was able.

Because I had fun doing so, and I found the information interesting, I figured I’d share it with you in the hopes that my research would prove useful to others.

2019 BWIPS Volunteering

Posted in Fountain Pens

As I mentioned in my last post, this was my first time as pen show volunteer staff. It’s an experience I look forward to repeating many times in the future.

When Corinne, the show organizer, put out a call to the DC Pen Crew for volunteers, I eagerly signed up. My reasoning, beyond wanting to help out, was that if I was volunteering, I wouldn’t be spending money.

That theory worked out well. When I received the schedule, I was happy to see myself listed for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. That shift schedule worked so well that I’m hoping for the same next year.

2019 Baltimore Pen Show

Posted in Fountain Pens

Alright, my third pen show of the year. Allow me to start of by saying that the Baltimore Washington International Pen Show (BWIPS) is my favorite pen show. I’ll do my best to describe and rate it (since I haven’t done so previously) in an unbiased manner, but I don’t know if I’ll be wholly successful.

To start, this was a show with several firsts for me. It was the first time I’d attended a full pen show, the first time I’d stayed at the show hotel, the first time I’d attended a pen show workshop, and the first time I’d volunteered as part of the show staff.

I’ll cover my volunteering experience in another post. For now, suffice to say it was great. I’m eager to volunteer again next year.

2019 LA Pen Show

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

The Los Angeles Pen Show was the fourth show location I’ve attended (DC, Baltimore, Philly, and now LA). There were a decent number of tables, but the layout was appalling.

We arrived around 10:30, assuming that would allow us to avoid the opening crush of people we’d heard a lot about.

The exterior line at the LA Pen Show
The half of the line outside…
The interior line at the LA Pen Show
… and the half of the line inside.

Unfortunately, we arrived to find a line that wound down the corridor, out the door, and about half way down the building. Surprisingly, the line moved fairly quickly, but getting into the show was less than half the battle.

An unconsidered side-effect of arriving after the show had started was a lack of street parking. There wasn’t much to start with, but it was all taken by the time we arrived. Parking at the hotel ended up costing us around $20 for the little time we were there. I don’t want to know what people who stayed the whole day paid.

2019 Philadelphia Pen Show

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

As I sat down to write my post about the LA Pen Show, I realized I’d never written a post about the Philly show. Therefore, even though it’s over a month late, allow me to share with you my experiences at the Philly show.

We drove up from the DC area with a friend of ours, and, thankfully, there was no real traffic. Upon arriving, I realized how fortunate I am to have the DC and Baltimore shows.

My immediate thought was that the show is overpriced for its size. We paid $13 online (it’s $15 at the door), a single-day price higher than DC, Baltimore, and LA. It’s also smaller than those other three shows.

I will say that the aisles were roomy, on par with Baltimore and far surpassing DC and LA. The selection was fairly evenly dispersed between vintage, new, expensive, and affordable. There was a decent selection of inks. And, for the overall size of the show, a decent number of nibmeisters.

Ink Dupes #1: Montblanc and Diamine

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome to Ink Dupes. I’ll warn you now, this series will most likely feature fairly irregular posts. Make sure you subscribe to my blog or to the fountain pen category so you don’t miss an issue.

This week, I’m starting with red — my favorite color — with Diamine Matador and Montblanc Corn Poppy Red.

A bit of a backstory — since you all know I’m so fond of stories. I noticed a while ago that some inks are nearly identical to others. When Ink Journal shared an article about chromatography in their Flex Nib Friday newsletter, I was curious to find out just how similar these seemingly identical inks really are.

After the first comparison, it occurred to me that I’m not the only one who’d be interested in knowing which inks are similar (or identical) in color. So, I’ll be sharing my comparisons with you all. I’m hoping it will help those who are looking for expensive or hard-to-find inks.

That said, if you’re curious about how two inks compare, let me know. I may have (or be able to get) both inks for comparison.

Green Nib Update

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

I mentioned in my 2018 DC Pen Show post that I purchased a green nib from Hinze Pen Company to match my Green Ivies pen from 18111. At the time, I thought I was purchasing an anodized nib. Turns out, it’s lacquered steel, which explains my experience. At the show, I was warned by a few people that colored nibs tend to experience flaking. Sadly, that warning held true for my nib.

I waited a while to write this update, because I was hoping that I could give you a positive result. At first it seemed as though the flaking was minor, and, if it had stayed like that, I could have lived with it.

With the first and second cleaning (both within the first month), a bit of green flaked off either side of the nib slit on the outer edge of the tines. It was noticeable, but it wasn’t really obvious, so I hoped that that would be the end of the flaking, and I’d have a good nib.

However, with the most recent cleaning, I decided to change the color in my pen. I found, as I cleaned it, that the ink was being particularly stubborn. After 10+ minutes of flushing water through it, I decided to pop it in my ultrasonic cleaner.