What’s What 11/12-11/18

Head-to-head, post-inventory thinking, and the volume turns up.

Off the top, thanks to Joe and Brad for mentioning the last article about cataloguing the collection. It’s nice to know the feeling resonates with others.

Inked Right Now

  • Parker Vacumatic with Diamine Blue Black

  • Montegrappa Venetia with Lamy Ruby

  • Sheaffer Craftsman with Callifolio Bosphore

  • Pilot Metropolitan with Platinum Carbon Black

  • Montegrappa Zero with Sheaffer Purple

Gone from last week: Sheaffer Tuckaway, Mabie Todd Cygnet, and Pilot Prera.

I’m not sure if I short filled the Tuckaway or what because it ran out relatively quickly. It’s not a big pen to begin with but I figured there was more ink in there than it turned out to be. When flushing the pen out it drew in less water than I expected. I’ve not used an old Sheaffer vac before so I’ll need to do some research.

I swapped the Platinum Carbon Black into a different Pilot with a different nib to get a different look. (Excessive use of different.) The performance is consistent with what the italic nib had given and I continue to be impressed with Carbon Black’s qualities.

The Vacumatic and Craftsman solider on but are running low.

The Montegrappas are in play for direct comparison as part of working to make decisions about the collection and what should be kept. I decided to try a different nib in each pen than what they originally came with.

The Zero now has the medium that came with the Ventia. I was 50/50 on the medium when first used in the Venetia. It wrote well but not consistently. It took time to get going. I wondered if the cap wasn’t providing a great seal and letting the nib dry out overnight. Using the medium nib in the Zero for a few days has been a much better experience. There is no hard starting and the flow is full on from the jump.

I installed a Franklin-Christoph steel stub in the Venetia. After filling, writing was normal and consistent with past use of that nib. The next day, however, the nib would not write in the first few strokes and flow was dry. Writing 2 or 3 sentences got the flow working better but it took wetting the nib slightly with a damp paper towel to get what I felt was the proper output from it. This pattern came up again today and my thoughts are further down the road of the cap seal being subpar. The weather is consistently colder and drier now than last month so some older pens are showing signs of small dry out overnight, but not like the Venetia. I’ll give it a few more days and try another ink. I can also use the fine nib that came with the Zero, which is on the wet side for its size. I may keep the pen in a zip pouch as well to see if that helps. If we still see hard starts through those scenarios then then I’d feel pretty confident the Venetia’s cap seal is suspect. That would be disappointing. To be continued….

New & Exciting

Getting the whole collection arranged and photographed meant taking the pens out of their various storage spaces in desk drawers. I have 45 or so pens in one drawer using a molded plastic tray like this. 15 more are kept in 5-pen wooden trays. Two different 6-pen travel cases keep certain pens together. Everything else is onesie-twosie in smaller cases or pouches. This spread made the retrieval of pens frustrating at times because I wasn’t always sure which pens were in which case. Consequently, I’ve ordered a 24-pen Girologio case to keep more pens in one place for storage. I may have slipped another pen into the shopping cart based on a highly positive review I recently read.

Thinking About

How to move on from pens I don’t need. I used Virtual Pen Show a few years ago and it went well. Transactions were pleasant and easy, folks were happy with the pens they bought, and I got some cash for my effort. Even with that good experience I’m not sure I want to go the online sale route with everything this time. Maybe for some but for others there’s no need to recoup anything financially. That’s not what the process is about for me now anyway. My primary goal is to get pens to a good home with folks that want them.

If I gift/give away the pens I don’t have much for online options. I’m not on any forums or groups for pens (or anything else these days). I tried a Discord server for a time a couple of years ago and, while the people were good, I ended up not liking the Discord format. I’d rather not use my personal Instagram. No one I know personally uses fountain pens other than my mom and she doesn’t need 10-12 more pens. Who or what is another audience that could make use of pens I don’t need?

Lastly, the volume is increasing. By that I mean the general pace of life and what’s happening. The holidays are the busiest time for my job. Every year seems to outdo the last and there are many long days ahead. All of that to say posting here is likely to be shorter and/or less frequent based on other priorities through the end of the year.


13 November 2023