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Category: Fountain Pens

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

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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. πŸ˜‰

When I got the email from Benu about the Forest Pond β€” and Midsummer Night β€” 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

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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 β€” I think that’s what they’ve decided we’re calling ourselves β€” 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 β€” I’m going to call it ink trading cards β€” isn’t my idea. Most pen stores use it at pen shows. I really enjoyed the versatility of ink trading cards β€” 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

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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. πŸ˜‰

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

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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

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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. πŸ˜‰

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

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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

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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

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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.

Big Dropper Skull Review

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When Ben introduced his polycarbonate, laser-engraved pens, I knew I had to have one. While I adore the appearance of my metal Gravitas pen, there is just enough of the metal-on-metal scraping sound that, over time, I’ve decided to let it go. Now that I have the polycarbonate pen, I don’t feel as bad about that decision.

For the time being, the polycarbonate pens are only available in the “Member’s Area” β€” available to those who have already purchased from Gravitas Pens. Hopefully they will be available to everyone at some point in the future.

Pens I’ve Gotten Rid Of

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I don’t remember where the idea for this post originally came from. I may have read something somewhere, it may have just popped into my head one day. I don’t know.

Regardless, in the way I discussed 10 pens in my Would I Buy Them Again Today? post, I chose 10 pens I’ve gotten rid of to discuss why they are no longer in my collection. I’m sure some of my answers will be expected, while others will likely be surprising to some. I hope you enjoy, and that my reasoning may help those who are trying to sell some of their own pens.

Pen Porn: Benu Talisman Shooting Star

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. πŸ˜‰

I first discovered the Shooting Star through an Instagram Post from Luxury Brands of America. While I’m supposed to be on a fountain pen low buy, I just had to get one. I’m planning to collect the Talisman series pens that have shaped confetti β€” like the Wild Rose β€” since I’m no longer buying TWSBI pens.

I honestly can’t say what I like best about the Shooting Star. To start, it has meteorite dust in the material. While I can’t “show” you that, it’s pretty cool.

Benu Shooting Star

Would I Buy Them Again Today?

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This post is inspired by Angelica Nyqvist‘s video But, Would I Buy Them If They Were Released Today?! In that video, they credit Dolly Mama Beauty with coming up with the idea.

The idea behind this post is pretty straightforward: if the below pens were first announced/released today, would I buy them? So, this is different than the more typical, “if my collection disappeared” or, “if this pen got lost” that usually prefaces the “would I buy it again” question. Suspend disbelief for the duration of this post. Imagine that none of the below pens have ever existed in this world before today. And I’ll tell you if I would buy them.

Goodbye TWSBI

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I made a post on Instagram last week about the current TWSBI situation. There hasn’t been β€” that I’ve seen β€” an update from TWSBI. So, I’m writing this under the impression that, as of yesterday, TWBSI “…will no longer conduct business with any business affiliates/partners who offer these copy products for sale…” Any future updates will be available on the #twsbigate tag page.

This Situation…

I’m not going to go into major detail here. If you want that, you can listen to The Pentertainment Podcast (TPP) episode 114, Tokyo Inklings (TI) episode 53 (starting around 31:00), and The Pen Addict (TPA) episode 505 (starting around 38:00). When referencing information specific to one of the podcasts, I’ll credit it using the initials in parentheses.

I’m also not going to spend much time on how this whole situation affects retailers, as I think all three podcasts have done that far better than I could. Instead, I’d like to share my thoughts as a TWSBI enthusiast.

My Pen Collection Part 4

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“Always Inked” Pens

Alright, we’ve made it to the fourth, and final, part in this series, my “always inked” pens! Hold onto your hats, because the really expensive pens are in this grouping. Just keep in mind that I purchased several at steep discounts and received some in exchange for work.

Once again, please use the form at the end of this post to vote for pens you want to see “pen porn” posts about.

I store this group differently than the rest of my pens. These have a display case away from direct light. That way, I can see them when they aren’t in use, and there’s no worry of damage.

Pen Porn: Mr. Cypress Modern Raden Colorful Geometry

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There isn’t a long backstory to this one, so pretty much this whole post will be pen porn.

I fell in love with this pen when I saw it on Instagram. It looks so… posh. When Jim suggested I get it as an anniversary present, I jumped on it. This pen looks like a wedding/anniversary pen.

full view of the modern raden pen