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21 Pen Questions

Posted in Fountain Pens

I know, I know, I’m jumping on this bandwagon super late. But, Tom Oddo included his responses in issue 392 of Ink Journal, and this most recent entry for this trend finally made decide to follow suit. If you haven’t seen this tag yet, it originates with Ana from The Well Appointed Desk.

1: What is the pen they’ll have to pry out of your cold dead hands?

There are many, but I think the most precious is my Bumbledore pen from Stanford Pen Studio.

The Right Royal Pen

2: What’s your guilty pleasure pen?

I don’t think I have one. I think of guilty pleasures as ones I’m embarrassed by, and I can’t apply that moniker to any pen I own.

3: What’s the pen you wish existed?

I’d love to see a Jowo #6-based pen (so I can use my specially ground nibs) that has interchangeable parts. Choose your cap and barrel finials, section, barrel, and cap at will. By extra parts to change your pen as much as you want. That would be fun.

4: What pen would you give to a new enthusiast?

I’d point them toward a Kaweco Sport (plastic-bodied because they’re less expensive) or a Lamy Safari since it’s easy, and fairly inexpensive, to try different nibs on both of those.

5: What pen do you want to get along with but it just never clicked?

I don’t know. I tend to consider it a blessing when I don’t click with a model or brand because it’s less for me to have to exercise self-control with. One model I don’t get along with is the Pilot Vanishing Point due to how much of a pain it is to clean it thoroughly.

6: What pen do you only keep only because its pretty?

The Montegrappa Crowned Skull. I’ve had nothing but trouble with the Fortuna model. I think it’s the wide threads that allow air into the cap and cause hard starts. But the Crowned Skull is so cool looking that I haven’t been able to let it go yet.

Montegrappa Fortuna Crowned Skull

7: What pen (or stationery item) did you buy because everyone else did?

I bought my first Franklin-Christoph, a Model 02, because of the “feeding frenzies” I’d seen at pen shows. I’ve found that most Franklin-Christoph pens aren’t for me. I don’t like the threads at the nib end of the section. I ended up selling it after only 4 months.

Franklin-Christoph Model 02

8: What pen (or stationery product) is over your head or just baffles you?

The Plotter system. Everyone seems to be going gaga over it right now, but it’s super expensive, especially when you can get very similar notebooks for a small fraction of the cost. Get the right hole punch, and you can use any paper you want, making the cheap notebook 100% customizable, but still the pen world is eager for Plotters.

9: What pen (or stationery product) surprised you?

The TWSBI Eco series. I really enjoy my TWSBI 580 series pens, so I assumed I’d also like the Eco series. Unfortunately, both the Eco and Eco-T I bought had crap nibs. While it was an unpleasant surprise, it was definitely a surprise.

10: What pen (or stationery product) doesn’t really work for you but you keep it because it’s a collectible?

Collectibility isn’t a reason I keep pens, so none. But, I do keep my Pelikan Year One even though the nib has stress fractures so I can’t use it. It’s such a cool piece of history that I’m not willing to let it go.

Pelikan 100

11: What is your favorite sparkly pen (or ink)?

To help narrow this down, I’m only considering pens made from materials where the sparkles are the main attraction. So, Benu pens, for example, wouldn’t count.

The winner, then, is my Gourmet Pens x Franklin-Christoph Stars on Sapphire Lakes. I love it so much that I overlook the pen model. The colors and sparkles are fabulous, and it doesn’t hurt that a dear friend of mine had a hand in its creation.

Stars on Sapphire Lakes

12: Which nib do you love – but hate the pen? (or vice versa)?

Hate is too strong a word, but I bought a black Sailor Pro Gear for the cursive italic nib (ground, not stock). The pen is currently with Diwakar Sharma — District Urushi — getting prettified.

13: What pen (or stationery product) gives you the willies?

I can’t think of a specific pen, but I hate — and am terrified of — spiders, so any pen with them or webs. No, thank you.

14: What’s your favorite pen for long form writing?

I don’t really have a favorite. I tend to swap between pens often, anywhere from between every paragraph and each full page, depending on how I’m feeling that way.

15: What pen (or stationery product) do you love in theory but not in practice?

Wet noodle nibs. I love the idea of the super flexy nibs, but even the slightest bit of pressure gives you a B line or broader which doesn’t work for my writing size and style.

16: What pen (or stationery product) would you never let someone else use?

My notebook. I have let people make use of my scribble pages at the back, but not the main notebook. That’s just for me.

17: What pen (or stationery product) would you never use for yourself?

While I have used one in the past, I would never use a Leuchtturm notebook again. The paper is terrible, with a lot of ghosting and even bleedthrough.

18: What pen (or stationery product) could you NOT bring yourself to buy?

I kept ogling the Pelikan m200 Pastel Green. However, with stories I’ve heard of Pelikan pens cracking, I held back. It didn’t help that the barrel is very light, and therefore more prone to staining. I also think it’s a little overpriced for what it is.

19: What’s your favorite vintage pen?

I’m not really a vintage pen person, so I guess my favorite is the one useable one I own; a Sheaffer Triumph Valiant in Marine Green. Jim smoothed the nib right after I got it, so it glides like butter and is nice and wet.


20: What is your favorite EDC/pocket pen?

I don’t have an EDC, so we’ll go with pocket pens. I enjoy the Kaweco Sport. But, for the nib, my Delta Dolcevita Undersize wins. Plus, it’s really cute.

Delta Dolcevita

21: What’s the pen (or stationery product) that got away?

Several years ago, I bought a tiny — no more than 5 inches capped — vintage pen at Bertram’s Inkwell. I think it was a Conklin Nozac. It was a piston filler, but wouldn’t pull up ink. I returned it, thinking I could get one that actually worked later. But, nearly 5 years later, I have yet to see another one. I console myself with the thought that I’d probably dislike cleaning it.

Do you agree with any of my answers? Have you answered these questions? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Make sure to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any posts. I generally post at least once a week.


  1. Taylor

    I got the Pelikan M200 Pastel-Green, and staining is definitely an issue. I’ve managed to keep the grip clean, but that white piston is stained badly, and with the pen so translucent, I can always see it. I’m really upset by that.

    July 30, 2023
  2. Derek

    #18 surprised me. Never heard any stories about Pelikan pens cracking, on the contrary, I’ve often seen and heard them mentioned as being some of the sturdiest pens around (at least compared to Sailor, Pilot or the Italian brands).
    This certainly mirrors my own experience, I own roughly 30 Pelikans including vintage models from the 30s, 50-70s, and early 90s and while brassing and micro scratches can be an issue, I’ve never had a single pen cracking or failing in any significant way. Pelikan would be my recommendation for anyone looking to get into vintage pens, all my vintage Parker, Waterman, Osmia, Aurora etc. pens have had far more issues and aged comparatively poorly.

    July 30, 2023
    • It may be specific to the white-bodied pens, but I’ve heard many stories of them cracking along the sections.

      July 30, 2023
      • Derek

        Very interesting. If this is specific to the white bodied pens, a fairly large number of models should be affected, since they use the same resin for all their pens and they’ve been coming out with plenty of white resin models in recent years.
        I will definitely keep this in mind, first time I ever heard anything about it (and couldn’t find anything on Google either), but better safe than sorry.
        Luckily, my M100 Stormtrooper has held up fine so far.

        July 31, 2023

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