Indie Pen Makers Update

About 2.5 years ago, I wrote about Indie Pen makers (can you believe I only owned 20 pens? Incredible!). Since then, I’ve learned about many more pen makers, both that have started recently and that I simply didn’t know about at the time.

For the purposes of this list, 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
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Fountain Pen Series Wrap-Up

Happy Fountain Pen Friday, everyone. This is it for my fountain pen series. I’ve had loads of fun writing this series, and I learned far more than I expected.

Before I say good-bye to this series for good, I want to wrap up the entire thing in one, easy-to-share page. So, if you know someone who’s curious about fountain pens or wants to learn more about them, share this link: You can get to all three sections’ issues from the links below. Thanks for reading!

Fountain Pen 101: So you're interested in fountain pens?

  • Why Fountain Pens
    Why should you use fountain pens? Check out the benefits and detriments.
  • Anatomy of a Pen
    The basic anatomy of a fountain pen.
  • Where to Start (with Pens)
    The best pens (in my opinion) with which to start your fountain pen journey.
  • Nibs
    An introduction to nibs, including sizes; materials; and flex, fude, and music nibs.
  • Ink
    An overview of ink, including brands and commonly discussed properties.
  • Ink Reservoirs
    An overview of ink reservoirs in pens and my ratings of their capacity and ease of cleaning.
  • Cleaning & Filling
    The joys of pen cleaning!! ← Sarcasm.
  • Paper
    “Good” and “bad” paper and mini reviews of various notebooks I’ve tried.
  • Stores
    The benefits of brick and mortar stores, and a crowd-sourced world map of stores that carry fountain pens.

Fountain Pen 201: You've gone down the rabbit hole, what's next?

  • Pen Shows
    Learn about fountain pen shows and check out the international list of shows I know about.
  • Indie Pen Makers
    Learn about indie pen makers, including a list of indie makers I know about.
  • Nib Customization
    Learn about nib customizations, from the simple to the complex.
  • Inventories
    The benefits of keeping an inventory of your pen and ink collection.
  • Ink Swab Catalog
    “Fan requested” post covering my ink swabbing methods.
  • Community
    The fabulous fountain pen community.
  • Secondhand and Vintage
    Things to know when buying secondhand and vintage pens.
  • Selling Pens
    Things to know when selling pens.

Fountain Pen 301: Joining the maker community

  • DIY Nib Work
    How to get started with DIY nib work.
  • Pen Making
    How to get started with making pen bodies.
  • Pen Cases
    How to get started with making your own pen cases.

Fountain Pen 201: Selling Pens

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 201, and happy Fountain Pen Friday! I originally intended to end Fountain Pen 201 last week, but it occurred to me that I haven’t really said anything about selling pens. The result of that brain blast is this final Fountain Pen 201 issue.

At some point, a pen you bought early on in your fountain pen journey is likely to no longer suit your needs or new preferences. Depending on how much you spent on it, you may choose to give it to a pen newbie friend, donate it (might I suggest looking into Pay it Forward?), or sell it.

Selling a fountain pen is easier than you may think. Once you’ve priced your pen, there are multiple avenues available to sell it, some better than others.

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Fountain Pen 201: Secondhand and Vintage

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 201, and happy Fountain Pen Friday! In this issue, I’ll be discussing secondhand and vintage pens.

Secondhand and vintage pens are kind of like rectangles and squares. Almost without exception, vintage pens are secondhand, but certainly not all secondhand pens are vintage.

Because of this relationship, virtually everything you should know about buying secondhand pens applies to buying vintage pens. There are also some extra things to consider when buying vintage.

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Fountain Pen 201: Community

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 201, and happy Fountain Pen Friday! This week, I’ll be discussing the fabulous fountain pen community.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but one of the best parts of the fountain pen hobby is the community. All of the pen users, makers, and retailers I’ve personally met have been lovely people, and I’ve formed good friendships with several of them.

The pen community has many iterations, including stores, shows, pen forums, and meet-ups. You’ll meet pen users and retailers by going to your local store(s). Some stores may even have events featuring indie makers. Shows are a great place to meet anyone associated with the pen community, as well as get your hands on pens to see how they feel.

As I’ve already discussed pen stores and pen shows, allow me to devote some time to online forums and meet-ups.

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Fountain Pen 201: Ink Swab Catalog

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 201, and happy Fountain Pen Friday! I’ve had multiple requests over the past few months to give lessons or write a post about how I created and maintain my ink swab notebook. So this week, I’ll be covering my ink swabbing methods.

A little history before I dive into the meat of my post. I used to use the Col-O-Ring system. But once you fill your first ring, it starts getting bulky. So I looked for a different method. I figured a notebook would be suitably contained and portable. Because I love the Maruman Mnemosyne paper, I decided to try the Hardcover Executive Notebook (N195A) for my new ink swab adventure. It did not disappoint.

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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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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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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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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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