Saturday, November 1, 2014

Noodler's General of the Armies

As noted below, at the Dallas Pen Show, Noodler's was giving away bottles of a new ink.  I am pretty certain that ink was "General of the Armies."  According to an earlier edition of The Goulet Communique:

"There is a new ink on the block: Noodler's General of the Armies. It's quite unique — it starts green when you first begin writing but turns to a clean steel blue with UV exposure."

So, when I referred to the ink as green, that was a serious understatement.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dallas Pen Show 2014

The 21st Annual Dallas Pen Show was September 26 and 27 (Dallas, Texas, USA). What can you do at a pen show? You can:
  • meet and talk with the vendors. Rough estimate, 40 to 50 vendors were present, ranging from brick and mortar stores to web stores to individual sellers, although the lines distinguishing the categories can be blurry.
  • look at, fondle, and test pens. Very rough estimate, thousands of pens were present: vintage, new, new old stock, and pre-owned. One vendor had a display model of the yet to be released Noodler’s Neponset.
  • have nibs customized and pens repaired.
  • buy paper, ink, inkwells, books, and other pen stuff.
  • attend talks on pen repair, writing, and other topics.
  • participate in a silent auction.
  • buy a pen show t-shirt.
  • get a free bottle of ink; the special pen show ink this year was a Noodler’s green.
  • get a free copy of Pen World.
  • and, of course, BUY pens.
If you’re a fountain pen geek, there is nothing like the immersion experience of a pen show!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What’s So Juvenile About a Lamy Safari?

If you visit the Lamy website, you will find that Lamy has different classifications for its pens: young writing, modern writing, and high-quality writing. Was “young writing” once called “juvenile”? That sounds right, but I’m not sure. Regardless, I am distressed because I am no longer a juvenile, but I have a couple of Safaris, a Vista, and an Al-Star -- pens all in the “young writing” range. 

I like the Safari, in particular, for many of the reasons that others have noted: expense, performance, color options, nib options, design, comfort (for some users), and toughness. I suppose the pen is considered appropriate for young writers because of the ergonomic design and the plastic -- it is LEGO plastic, after all. Among all the characteristics of the Safari, though, my favorites are the color of the 2013 limited edition neon yellow and the ease of nib changing. There might be other pens where the nibs simply slide on and off, but I don’t know what they are. If you get a bum nib or damage a nib, it is easy to replace.

2013 LE neon yellow Lamy Safari

Perhaps in an effort to live according to my non-juvenile status, I bought a Lamy CP1, a “high-quality“ fountain pen. It is attractive and has the same easy-to-slide-on-and-off Lamy nib, but it’s just not the same; it’s not as fun. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Edison Nouveau Premiere: Autumn Harvest

The Goulet Pen Company and the Edison Pen Company are long time collaborators located in the United States. Their longest running collaborative effort is the Edison Nouveau Premiere. Last winter, Goulet and Edison went a step further and began producing special edition seasonal Premieres. So far, they have released Black Ice (winter), Cherry Blossom (spring), Caribbean Sea (summer), and now, Autumn Harvest (fall). All four pens are acrylic and, with the exception of Autumn Harvest, are “swirly.” Because these are special edition seasonal pens, only Autumn Harvest is available at this time, and eventually it will be succeeded by the new winter edition. You can hear the story of the Edison Nouveau Premiere special edition from the Goulets themselves. Although tempted by some of the other special editions, I took the plunge and bought the Autumn Harvest.

As the Goulets explain, Autumn Harvest is comparable to another Goulet-Edison collaboration, the limited edition Edison Nouveau Encore in Tortoise Flake (long gone), and the Encore is comparable to the Edison Pearlette in Aztec Gold Flake (available).

Several people have commented on the smooth Edison nibs. Out of the box, though, this nib seemed slightly scratchy. I might contact Edison to ask about an adjustment.  [UPDATE: I actually contacted the Goulet Pen Co., who suggested some nib tweaking.  Instead, I carefully removed the nib and feed from the nib collar, with some effort, then realigned and reinserted.  This seems to have solved the problem with no direct work on the nib.]   

Goulet is known for superb customer service and has made online shopping actually seem personal. In addition, browsing the Goulet website offers an education in the world of fountain pens. Edison is a small fountain pen maker known for quality work. And if you want a custom made fountain pen, Edison can help there, too.  In all, Goulet and Edison are a great team.

Edison Nouveau Premiere in Autumn Harvest

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Rosetta Magellan with Pendleton Point

The Rosetta Magellan is a pen about which I have not seen or heard much. The barrel and cap are an attractive flaked acrylic (at least the green pen is flaked). What makes the pen special, though, is that it can be purchased as is or with a “Pendleton Point Elegant Butter-line Stub~Italic.” What in the world? This is a nib customized by nib-meister Pendleton Brown. The Pendleton-ized nib can be ordered in fine, medium, and broad, which translates, respectively, into .3 to .4 mm, .6 to .7 mm, and .9 to 1.0 mm, according to Mr. Brown himself. 

When I ordered my pen from Mr. Brown, he explained that he had run out of the green model, so he put in an order for me with ipenstore, and he volunteered to tune the pen if necessary free of charge. That’s service. I took him up on the offer.

One disadvantage of the pen has nothing to do with the Pendleton Point. Although the pen comes with a card explaining that capping the pen (a threaded cap) is best done by first turning the cap counterclockwise, I still have trouble getting the threads to align and have to try several times.

The Rosetta Magellan with a Pendleton Point comes in several colors and uses a standard international converter (included) and cartridge. It is available through Pendleton’s Pens and ipenstore.

Rosetta Magellan



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Don't You Hate It When Ink Gets There?

Fountain pen users often have various tools at their disposal, everything from knockout blocks to tweezers. One item that I have found handy is a can of compressed air. Compressed air is good at cleaning out the breather tube on a Noodler’s Ahab and the section on a Platinum Preppy.  With the latter, the compressed air doesn't clear out all of the inky water, but it clears out some. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

I Want More NoNonsense: The Sheaffer NoNonsense

From what I have seen in other forums, people love this pen; I love it, too. PenHero has a great history of the NoNonsense fountain pen with photos. As he explains, there are several variations (e.g., original, vintage, Old Timer). Some are easy to find used or New Old Stock (NOS); others are more challenging…and expensive. If there is a Sheaffer representative out there or someone who knows a Sheaffer rep, I have a friendly recommendation: Bring back the NoNonsense. Not the calligraphy pen with the rubber section and not the Jellies but the original NoNonsense fountain pen. I think these things would sell. As PenHero notes, “It's really too bad that Sheaffer has cut back on this pen because of its potential as a ‘five dollar ambassador’….Sheaffer is missing out.”

Sheaffer NoNonsense, Vintage, Blue Marbled 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

You Can’t Get More Frugal than a Noodler’s Nib Creaper

I recently discovered the blog The Frugal Fountain Pen. I appreciate its purpose and, on occasion, have taken the pledge myself: To “declare independence from overpriced fountain pens” (see Fountain Pen Revolution). In this spirit, I present the least expensive pen in my collection, the Noodler’s Nib Creaper eyedropper pen. These pens are free with certain 4.5 oz bottles of Noodler’s ink and they write well, in my experience. The only drawback for me -- and it has nothing to do with the quality or performance of the pen -- is that you need to fill up the pen completely to avoid burping. I’ll want to change the pen and/or ink before I even get close to using all the ink. For an assessment of the Nib Creaper, see the review at Peninkcillin.

Noodler's Nib Creaper

Friday, August 1, 2014

Remembering Your First (or Maybe Second or Third): The Rotring 400

When I was in college, I had a casual interest in fountain pens. At one point, I found myself in an unusual situation: I had some disposable income. At that time, the college bookstore had a Rotring 400 for sale. It looked somewhat odd but I bought it anyway. I loved the lightness of the pen and the gunmetal color. I eventually lost the pen but my later efforts to find a suitable replacement, among other things, brought me to the fountain pen hobby. In the process, I learned the difference between the 400 and the Esprit. The 400 is the original and the Esprit is the Sanford version (Sanford bought Rotring). Taking Note has nicely compared these pens but, IMHO, the 400 performs better. For me, the only drawback of the 400 is the red ring, which is a piece of plastic between the cap/section and the barrel. It will break eventually, leaving a little gap. Replacing it with a ring off of some other pen (the ring doesn’t have to be red) seems easy enough, but I have not yet found a replacement of the right size. Regardless, Taking Note’s post inspired me to get the 400 out of storage and ink it up, risk to the red ring be damned. I still love it.

Rotring 400 with Gunmetal Finish


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pilot Pluminix

I seem to be fascinated with pens not readily available to me; thus, I was eager to get a Pilot Pluminix, the mini version of the Pilot Plumix. The Pluminix pens are impossible to find in the US, but I discovered that they can be purchased via Amazon France. You don’t even need to set up a new Amazon account if you have one already. It helps if you can read French, but context counts for a lot. As reviewers have noted, the Pluminix takes standard (short) international cartridges and, of course, has a shorter barrel, but almost everything else looks the same on the Plumix. This means, as also noted, that you can swap some parts between the Pluminix and the Plumix, which is handy if, say, you prefer to use standard international cartridges on your Plumix or Pilot cartridges on your Pluminix. With the latter, though, only the long cartridges work, and the barrel is big enough.  The short cartridges have pegs on the side so they do not fit into the section. (I imagine, though, that a knife or nail clippers will easily fix the problem.) In addition, since the sections of the Pluminix and the Plumix take different cartridges, the feeds are slightly different, at least where they meet up with the cartridges.

Pilot Pluminix

Pilot Plumix


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kaweco ART Sport

The Kaweco ART Sport fountain pens are hard to find in the US, but I was thinking that one day I’d pick one up. I was motivated to move the process along when I heard from a retailer that the pen is being discontinued. A few of the colors are still available through and Fontoplumo. The ART Sport is on the higher end of the Sport series: the AC, AL, Chess Print, Classic, Ice, and Luxe. The Luxe is also one of the fancier Sport pens and is still available in the US but not widely. It is black acrylic with a built-in clip, and it actually looks like a cross between a Sport and a Dia 2. I am sorry to see the ART Sports go; they‘re great looking pens.

Kaweco ART Sport in Amethyst

Monday, July 28, 2014

Really, Another Fountain Pen Blog?!

The focus of this blog is fountain pens.  My intention, though, is not necessarily to review pens in the strict sense of the word.  The fountain pen community already has many excellent, knowledgeable reviewers, and I greatly appreciate their contributions.  Instead, I plan to encourage discussion among fellow enthusiasts, offering commentary where and when I can.  I hope you will feel free to join the discussion.