What’s What 6/4 — 6/10

I thought this could be something useful over and above a what-pen-has-what-ink log, which I have going in at least three different forms right now on paper or online.

What I’m looking for is to collect not just what’s being used, but what’s coming or going, and what other thoughts are top of mind regarding the pen collection in a single roundup entry. Not an original idea but I get a sense of why so many others do it to keep a handle on the ebb and flow of collections.

Inked Right Now

  • Esterbrook JR with Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogan, Broad Frankin-Christoph SIG nib

  • Pilot E95S with Yoseka Ceramics Qing Purple, Medium nib

  • Parker Sonnet Laque Indigo with Herbin Cacao du Bresil, Broad italic nib

  • Spoke Icon with Waterman Serenity Blue, Broad Peyton Street Pens architect nib

Two italic nibs, an architect, and a regular medium. The E95S has been a champ for use at work and Qing Purple is a fun ink.

The Esterbrook is a new addition that I got on a good sale with the idea of using it to host a Jowo #5 Franklin-Christoph broad SIG nib. I originally bought the SIG to go in an Opus 88 eyedropper but I found that the Opus, while very nice, just doesn’t jive with my usage patterns by holding so much ink. I like to change things up more frequently or use more pens at a time and ~3ml of ink in a pen will just languish there.

Anyway, the Esterbrook is a solid smaller pen but I can’t figure out why it streets for $157. I can’t see that much value in it when production Edisons are $150, you can get in the door on Franklin-Christoph at $115, and Leonardo Momento Zeroes can be had at $160 or so. The JR doesn’t compete at that level. The regular size Estie sells at $175 and it makes a much better case being worth that price. On paper the difference between the JR and the Estie is $18 but in hand it’s a substantially larger gap to me.

The SIG nib is a champ and Fuyu-Syogan is a great ink for it. Lots of shading and great flow.


An old Parker caught my eye (surprise, surprise) from David at vintagepens.com in the form a Diamond Medal. But how is that a Parker? It turns out Diamond Medal was a brand under which Sears sold pens that were made by Parker. I went down a similar rabbit hole with pocket knives some years ago trying to keep straight which knives Camillus, Case, or Schrade made for which department store or sporting outfitter. It is enough to make your head spin right off your body. So, while the history of who made what for whom is nice, I was more taken by the fact that it’s a button filling Parker with a fluted cap and barrel. Fluting is not something you see in a normal Parker branded pen to the best of my knowledge, so I’m keen to examine how they did it.

Thinking About

It’s been a busy first half of the year for buying pens, almost as much as I bought in all of 2022, I think. I can’t pin down a good reason why so far other than jumping on what I consider to be good deals and indulging curiosity. That said, there are still plenty of pens already in the drawer that could be upgraded with a nib grind to make them more appealing. I have two pens in queue with Gena Salorino at Custom Nib Studio; one for a Journaler grind and the other for a Perspective (Naginata style) grind. Gena is the only nibmeister I’ve done business with and their work is great, but I want to reach out to others and try different things from their portfolios. The Sailor Pro Gear music nib I got a little while back is begging for a grind. It’s got more tipping than any nib I’ve ever had and I want to see what someone can do with it.

3 June 2023