Will It Write?

IMG_4681.JPG As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been a busy season. Between work, travel, birthday celebrations, more travel, and general busy-ness, I’ve not had much time to tend to my fountain pens.

In fact, everything you see above has sat unused for at least two weeks. I thought it would be a great time conduct a small experiment:  Will it Write?

Here’s where things ended up . . .

J Herbin Rollerball – after a slow start, it started writing wonderfully

Jinhao Dragon Eyes (I have no idea what the real name of this pen is) – started right up! Want to get one of these for yourself? Amazon has them for under $15 right now.

Nakaya – this was my birthday pen from Mr. Pentulant this year. It’s gorgeous, but I’m having trouble with the flow and it’s going to have to go back. Ugg. More on this another day, but for today – it didn’t write – not even a little. Disappointing, but I’m sure it will get fixed up and be perfect.

Parker Duofold Demi – started right up!

Montblanc Solitaire – perfect!

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 – I really thought this big wide music nib would have dried out over the two weeks that I didn’t use it, but – no! It wrote like a champ! So happy about this.

Pilot Elite – Gah, I love this pen. I’ll review it soon. Until then, go buy one for yourself. This one started right up, too.

Montblanc Boheme Large Edition – I received this pen as a gift from Mr. Pentulant last Christmas. It didn’t write at all after having sat for two weeks. I’m not surprised, there is clearly an issue with nib – and perhaps with the twisty mechanism. I’m going to need to find someone to have a look at it. Ug.



Lamy Safari – no surprise, it started writing the instant it was touched to the paper.

TWSBI Mini (Rose Gold) – I was having trouble with this pen before it sat. It’s no surprise that those issues didn’t fix themselves while sitting in the pen tray. I think the issue is baby’s bottom and I have an urge to try to fix it myself. Will you posted on how that turns out!

Jinhao 159 – review coming soon – it started right up! A happy surprise. (I got this one from Goulet Pens.) It comes in black, orange, and yellow. The yellow is on sale as of this writing.

Monteverde Artista – one of two pens that kinda sorta wrote after having sat for the two weeks. I kept feeling like it would start writing well “any second now,” but that just didn’t happen.

Montblanc Solitaire Geometric – Another pen I’d been having a little trouble with before my break. It started right up, but the hard starts on some letters remains an issue. I’m going to need to take this one back to the MB Boutique for a look.

Finally, the TWSBI twins – red and green – they wrote wonderfully!


Overall, I’m pretty happy with how this went. The Nakaya is definitely the biggest disappointment – unfortunately, though, I wasn’t terribly surprised as I’d been having trouble with it.

Those Jinhao pens (the dragon and yellow) surprised me in the best way by starting right up.

IMG_4682.JPG I’m sure it’s not lost on anyone that some of the cheapest pens started up right away and some of the most expensive pens are an issue. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that.

IMG_4686.JPGI’m hoping life is at pleasant lull and I can get back to enjoying my pens. How is your summer so far? Busy, busy like mine? Relaxing and calm?

FOUNTAIN PEN REVIEW: Franklin Christoph Model 20 – Marietta


I have a bunnnnch of pens that I’ve been meaning to review here. The Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta is one of those pens.

Franklin-Christoph is a brand that I respect. They truly stand behind the products they sell and they offer amazing customer service. I own a few of their pens and several pen cases. I’m definitely a satisfied customer.

Let’s have a look at the Model 20 . . .IMG_3763.JPG

Such a simple and sleek design. The cap slips onto the body of the pen and posts nicely when writing.IMG_3762.JPG

Oh, and I had mine sent with a music nib . . .IMG_3764.JPG IMG_3765.JPG IMG_3766.JPG

But how does it write . . . IMG_3768.JPG

Like, OMG, that’s how it writes. I knew I wanted to use an ink known for shading and chose Noodler’s Habanero. IMG_3760.JPG

A closer look . . .IMG_3773.JPG IMG_3770.JPG

I’m not sure how practical this nib is. It’s so wide that my writing needs to be quite large for it to be legible. I’ve also noticed that unless I’m holding the pen just right, I end up with the the “streaks” that are visible below in the words “dude” (haha) and “the.” This is probably an issue specific to me – I notice that I tend to write more on an edge of a nib rather than on the direct center (is it just me?).IMG_3771.JPG IMG_3769.JPG

I also found that I was squeezing the heck out of the pen and perhaps pressing harder than I normally would. I lightened my grip and tried again . . .IMG_3772.JPGA light touch is definitely all that is needed.

Final Words:  I’m really into this pen. I’d like to review it again with a “normal” nib at some point. The Model 20 writes wonderfully and looks great. It would be terrific in a professional setting with a different nib. Visit Franklin-Christoph for pricing and technical specs.


REVIEW: Franklin-Christoph 80 Pen Master Case

80-Pen Master Case from Franklin-Christoph

I have, use, and love several items from Franklin-Christoph. There’s the Penvelope and the Command Center Folio. I also have the Model 2 Intrinsic fountain pen (haven’t reviewed it yet here, but love it), and the terrible (for me) Black Magic Ink.  Overall, I’m a fan of Franklin-Christoph – they are a small company doing really great things.

When I spotted this case at the LA Pen Show in January, I was definitely interested. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to buy, they were sold out. Blech.  (This is truly the nature of pen shows – if you see something you want and the price is right, you better jump on it before someone else does.)

I waited forever for these to come back into stock – and when they did, I ordered two. At $200 each, they’re a pretty big spend for storage of pens. Before the cases, I used black velvet jewelry trays in drawers to keep my pens (mostly) all in one place.  The jewelry trays worked for a number of years, but it wasn’t a perfect solution and the pens weren’t at all portable.

Some nuts and bolts . . .

  • Each case holds 80 pens
  • All 80 pens can be displayed at the same time with the fancy unzip, flip-flop, lay-flat design
  • Fancy “briefcase” look
  • Each pen is held in place with two elastic bands for added security
  • Dual zipper tabs on both sides
  • Handles can be pushed down to conceal

Once the pens are in the case, they are in the case and I don’t think anyone should be concerned about  smaller pens flopping around in there. In fact, if there’s a concern, it may be that the elastics are too tight. They are definitely snug and I’ve had some trouble getting some of my bigger pens into the case (difficult, not impossible).

Will being too snug damage a pen over time? I don’t know.  My kinda sorta guess is that if you take pens out of case a zillion time, that there will be some wear on the finish of the pen.

The craftsmanship of these cases is excellent. I’ve been using them for around five months at this point and they seem to be sturdy and functional. I am sure they will last a lifetime – or two.

I know that the cost will be a roadblock for some people. My thought is that if you have you 80+ pens and need a storage solution, you have probably spent a good amount of money on those pens and want a case that will protect them.

The Franklin-Christoph 80 Pen Master Case will definitely do the job.

INK REVIEW: Franklin-Christoph Black Magic

I have, love, and use Franklin-Christoph items. Huge fan here.

Black Magic ink from Franklin-Christoph, though? It has some amazing qualities, but I am not a fan.

Let me explain . . .

The above image sums it up nicely. Black Magic reminds me of writing with a felt-tip marker. The pen (a Lamy Safari with medium ink) would barely touch the paper and just like (black) magic, I’d have a tremendous spot of ink. If I paused even for a nanosecond, another huge spot of ink. 
On to the amazing qualities . . .
Black magic is crazy black. It’s incredibly saturated. Black inks aren’t my favorite, but if I’m using black, it better be black

And then there’s this . . . 

Black Magic don’t smear.  (You can quote me on that.)  It seriously, seriously, seriously doesn’t (Does. Not.) smear. I couldn’t get it to smear even when I tried.

Before writing with it for a few days, I mostly liked the ink.  However, after i few days on regular writing on a variety of paper brands/types, I was worn out from all of the bleeding and washed that ink right out of my pen.
I could see loving this ink. An extra fine nib or a pen with a super-stingy feed to control the flow combined with the right paper and it could be a perfect black.  I’m just way too busy to spend time with such a fussy ink when there are so many inks that work well, you know?

What is your favorite black?  I’m still loving Noodler’s Black.

REVIEW: Franklin-Christoph Command Center Folio

Franklin-Christoph Command Center Folio

Happy Monday!
As you saw in my LA Pen Show Shopping Spree post, one of the beauties I came away with was the Franklin-Christoph Command Center Folio pictured above. (As usual, click on the image or the caption to see the full-sized image.)
After having used the Folio, I’m here to says that I love it. Big love. The components are the high-quality you’d expect from F-C. The leather is thick, soft, and luxurious. The stitching is just about perfect in every area of the book. If you happen to have a Penvelope, the leather and fabric will be quite familiar to you. 
Let’s take a closer look . . . 
FC Command Center Folio – Opened View
On the left, there is a good-sized pocket/flap. The area under the flap is fabric. I’m told that this area can hold an iPad Mini. I don’t have one of those, but I know that it can hold a Kindle quite comfortable. I’ve used this area for boarding passes and to hold folded sheets of paper. If I had one wish for the flap, it would be that it had a couple of slots for credit or business cards.
On the right is place for a notebook – I chose a book with binding on the left, but the Command Center can also hold a top-bound notebook.
To the far right are the pen loops. Two loops to hold your favorite pen securely. The leather parts of the loops are showing, the underside features elastic and I’m glad to report that it holds all pen sizes quite nicely. Compare this with the Midori pen loop and, really, there is no comparison – Franklin- Christoph really wins big in this area.
Franklin-Christoph Command Center Elastic Band
The elastic band (see the first image above) is wide and feels very snug and secure.
I’m a tiny bit concerned that it could eventually pull away from the Folio. However, F-C is known to make high-quality products and also known to stand behind them.
Time will tell!
Moving on . . . 
The back features a zippered compartment

The zippered compartment was described as able to hold an iPhone. Yes, it will hold an iPhone, but it feels like that is stretching the limit of that pocket and made me a little concerned about the having a problem with the zipper down the road. In time, I think the leather would give a bit and more easily accommodate something like an iPhone. For now, I’ve used it to hold a few dollar bills, my drivers license and some receipts.

Gussetted Compartment

Iconic Franklin-Christoph Cut Corners
Continuing . . .
I was happily surprised to learn that I could choose a notebook to go with the Folio
The cut corners on the notebook and folio are not just a nifty design element, they are also intended to keep corners from bending and becoming worn.
So . . . the Franklin-Christoph Notebook isn’t perfect. I am 100% sure they’d replace it if I brought it up with them. However, it’s the Folio I was after, the Notebook was a bonus.
Another issue with the notebook
I should have looked at the notebook as closely as I checked over the folio. This one had probably been handled by others (though it was behind their tables at the show) before it found its way to me.
Another reason I didn’t bring this up with Franklin-Christoph . . . 
Franklin-Christoph Notebook
Franklin-Christoph Notebook Paper with Purple Tint
Above is a picture of the Franklin-Christoph Notebook paper with a piece of nice quality white paper under. As you can see, the F-C has a purple tone to it.  I don’t personally like this quality in the paper. 
Franklin-Christoph Folio with Clairefontaine Top-Bound Notebook
In the end, I decided to go with a top-bound notebook from Clairefontaine. Here’s why: the top-bound notebook can be pulled out just a bit and then the cover flipped over – flip the left side of the folio behind and I have a more compact solution. (I hope that made sense – it sounds complicated, but it definitely isn’t.)
I use (and seriously love) the folio everyday. It was just what I needed to organize my on-the-go writing.
Mine is the A5 Medium in Black and Brown. There are other options available at this link.
One final note – I won, I won!  When we were at the LA Pen Show, Franklin-Christoph had a drawing and I managed to win! The drawing was for $100 off any purchase. It’s going to be a few weeks before what I want is back in stock – I can’t wait to show you!
What would you do with $100 from F-C? 


LA Pen Show 2014 – My Shopping Spree

There they are. 
Click any picture in this post to see the full-size version. These are all iPhone photos – decent quality, but not perfect. 
Going to try to let the photos do the talking here and come back another time with detailed images. You all must be tired of reading my posts about the LA Pen Show, but, dude, it was massive.
And we’re off . . . 
Vintage Parker Jotter in Cab Yellow

Lamy Safari Flame Orange

Following is the pen that Susan Wirth recommended for Mr. Pentulant. I love this pen. I’m going to have to find a way to convince Mr. Pentulant to transfer ownership to me.   😉

Vintage Esterbrook with Needlepoint Nib

A peek at the marking on the pen above . . .

Vintage Esterbrook with AAA Logo

Susan Wirth proclaimed, “You are an italics waiting to happen, Number Five!” As I mentioned yesterday, I tried a bunch of pens with italics ends and ended up falling in (almost) love with fantastic pen, but the price was more than I wanted to spend. Blech.

No worries, I didn’t walk away empty-handed. Check it out . . .

Vintage Parker 51 Aerometric

The next item is from Franklin-Christoph. If you’ve never shopped there, you should. I love their high quality and impressive customer service. I have had nothing but good experiences with them and their items are very thoughtfully designed.

Franklin-Christoph A5 Medium Command Center

Annnnd this pen is also from Franklin-Christoph. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I have the little sister of this pen and love it. This one is equally cool. (This is the clipless version.)

Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic

Onward . . .

Vintage Sheaffer Snorkel Valient

The twins . . . Mr. Pentulant found the next pen for himself. I ended up with pen envy and made him run off and find one for me, too . . .

Vintage Parker Vacumatic 

Vintage Parker Vacumatic

The triplets . . . I have no excuse.


And that’s it!

All lined up . . .

LA Pen Show 2014 Purchases

A roundup of all of my LA Pen Show posts just in case you missed them . . .

LA Pen Show 2014 – General Overview – Part 1

LA Pen Show 2014 – General Overview – Part 2

LA Pen Show 2014 – Susan Wirth

The time to enter my Pilot-Iroshizuku ink giveaway has ended. I’ll be back on Monday to announce a winner!

Have a great weekend.