SAN FRANCISCO PEN SHOW 2014: Review and Haul

Mr. Pentulant and I decided to head down to the SF Pen Show over the weekend (Saturday) and I thought you’d like to hear all about it.

The show was held at the Sofitel Hotel in Redwood City. It was a bit south of SFO, but easy enough to find – just look for the Oracle campus and take a right on Twin Dolphin Drive.

There were probably 50-60 vendors. I’m wondering if some who were expected didn’t show up? There was a large empty area to the right as soon as we entered – as in about 10-15% of the floor space.

I wasn’t too surprised at the small size of the show. The DC Pen Show was just two weeks ago, after all. The crowd was decent Saturday morning (we arrived around 11:00) and it looked like money was changing hands – all good news.

The SF Pen Show is a on/off thing – meaning that some years there isn’t a show.   I’m so glad it was on this year and definitely wanted to support the vendors who showed up to sell.

There were many familiar names and faces. Susan Wirth was there, Franklin-Christoph,, Mike it Work, Wahl-Eversharp, Bittner, Arizona Pens, Carmen Rivera, Steve Curnow, and many familiar faces even though I don’t know all of the names.

Here’s what I ended up with . . .

I’m a huge fan of my friend Steve Curnow, what he does, and how he does it. These handy notebooks (think Field Notes, but better) are filled with Tomoe River Paper.  Three notebooks for ten bucks, yo.

Steve also had a sample of ink waiting for me. It seems he found a GALLON of vintage Skrip Washable Blue.

1. How does someone “find” a gallon of ink? (Maybe he wasn’t being literal?)
2. Do I trust this old old ink in one of my fancy pens?

Mr. Pentulant scored this sweet Sailor Pro Gear Mini. He loves a cap that screws to post and this one has been on his wish list for quite awhile.

At the LA Pen Show earlier this year, I was so tempted by George Butcher’s Arizona Pens, but ultimately decided to pass.  I didn’t pass this time!

I want to tell you all about George and his pens, but will save that for when I review the pen. I can’t wait.

Carmen Rivera has very good taste in pens. This is the smaller and slimmer version of the Pilot Vanishing Point – called the Sesenta.

I don’t know much about this pen, but I’m definitely willing to learn. I love the pattern – it almost reminds me of a leopard print, but not nearly as tacky as that could be on a pen 😉

Wahl-Eversharp has an interesting history and it was difficult to choose just one.  I’m really excited about this pen – and so many others in line.  Can’t wait to talk more about them and Syd Saperstein.

I ultimately decided on the clear demonstrator (look at that packaging!).

I picked up two bottles of ink.  Above – Sailor Jentle Grenade

Below – J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage

Lierre Sauvage (and Lily Tomlin) is responsible for one of my most popular Instagram posts ever. At the time of that writing, I only had a sample. Excited about writing a complete review of this one for you.


Rhodia makes yellow paper! I’m oddly excited about this because I’ve never seen it available.

Annnnd….I have no idea what I’m going to do with the paper below, but I had to have it. It’s huuuuuge – that’s a box of J Herbin ink sitting on top of the paper.

So! That’s it.

Bottom Line:  It was a good time, lots of super-friendly people selling some really beautiful items. I only wish the show was bigger.

Were you there?


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.


Susan Wirth at the LA Pen Show 2014

Do you know Susan Wirth? If you don’t, you probably should.

Mr. Pentulant and I attended her Saturday seminar on handwriting and fountain pens at the LA Pen Show. My only complaint is that I wish the talk had been longer – or that we could have had dinner together – or both. She knows her stuff.

Susan’s advice is sound. She’s trying to sell pens and she gives advice about the things she sells. I trust her advice much as I trust the advice of Brian Goulet at Goulet Pens.

Susan Wirth (after the seminar)

On oblique nibs . . . Susan seemed to be saying that most people (70%?) cannot write properly with an oblique nib – it just won’t work. So, if you’ve had trouble, there you go.

On boutique inks . . . These inks are made to be pretty and do not take the pen into consideration. Susan says that if you don’t mind cleaning your pen regularly and don’t mind potential problems between the pen and ink, they are probably fine. She’s a fan of Parker Quink (who isn’t?) and Sheaffer – not so much a fan of Private Reserve, Noodler’s, and Organics Studios.

I get what she was saying – that Sheaffer and Parker made inks that would work beautifully in their pens. Private Reserve can’t do that because they don’t make pens. Instead, they make inks that will work wonderfully in some pens.

(You all know how much I love inks – I don’t plan to change my habits at all and if cleaning pens is the worst of the “jobs” I have, I’m not doing too bad.)

On cartridges -vs- bottles . . . I’m paraphrasing here, but bottled inks rule, cartridges drool. Oh, and ink your pens regularly – keep those cartridges full, your pen will write better and you won’t run out of ink as a surprise.

(I use cartridges when I travel sometimes. Probably will keep doing it because it’s better than nothing, yo.)

On buying pens . . . You have to try before you buy. Dipping isn’t sufficient as you cannot tell if there is a flow issue with the pen. The pen must be filled with ink and written with for a good test. Of course, most pen sellers aren’t going to let this happen. Her suggestion was that before you leave a pen show, ink that new (to you) pen up and take it for a spin. If it’s just plain wrong, return it to the seller.

Oh, and sit. Sit down to test pens. Most of us don’t write all day standing up.

On pen show admission fees . . . A girl after my own heart. Why in the world would a show that wants people to come in and buy pens charge so much for entry? The passes we splurged for were $65. Susan offered the few of us in the room the opportunity to buy from her and receive $30 off of a $100 purchase. Again, trying to sell things, but what a nice gesture, yes?

Pens for Sale by Susan Wirth

As part of the seminar, Susan had each person attending write a sentence or two. She didn’t want us to scribble our names, or (heaven forbid) write about a quick fox jumping over a lazy dog. She wanted us to write something that means something to us – something we would write in our every day life.

Mr. Pentulant was the fourth person to write – he borrowed my pen (seriously, Mr. Pentulant? Seriously? hehe) and scribbled a fancy math formula because that is really how he spends his day. I wrote a quote about marriage because my job at Brush Dance has quotes dancing around in my head.

At the end of the seminar, Susan collected the paper, looked it over (and here’s the fun part!), and proclaimed, “Number Five, very nice block lettering. Very architectural. You are an italics waiting to happen!”  That was ME! I was Number Five!! I am Number Five! (How geeky am I to be excited about this?)

There was also a professional calligrapher at the seminar. “Number Seven, you don’t need any help from me.” Ha!  (I actually got a peek at her handwriting – it was lovely.)

And then she made it around to Mr. Pentulant. “Number Four, we need to get you a very fine nib to help you with those formulas.” Uh. Oh.

I wish there had been time for every participant to get personal feedback. Most people attending didn’t have the splurge pass and wouldn’t be able to immediately head to the show floor for help. Blech.

Sharing her wisdom

After helping rearrange the conference room (don’t ask), Mr. P. and I went directly to Susan’s booth/table at the show, plunked ourselves into chairs, and declared ourselves in need of pens.

Susan pointed out the italic nib trays for me and said I didn’t need any help – Ha! She then found the finest of fine nibs for Mr. P., and he explained that as a lefty side-writer (number six here), he has had Major Trouble with fine nibs. I think she ignored him or something, I don’t know – I was off in my own little world.

I’d guess that we each tested five or six pens.

Vintage Sheaffer Pens from Susan Wirth

I learned that her person (what a terrible phrase – I wish I could remember his name ) services and grinds/shapes all of the nibs.

Love the cap on that blue pen – and the black one, too.

There was an incredible difference between each of the italic nibs I tested. One felt completely unacceptable to me – but I’m guessing that someone else would love it.


Susan attends all of the major pen shows. If you don’t know exactly what you want/need, it’s worth a visit to see her. She doesn’t have much of an online presence (too bad).

Her pens are a bit more expensive. But. They write, they write well, and they come with advice and help from an expert. Paying a little more seems reasonable, right?

So. Did we buy? You betcha! Come back tomorrow to see an overview of all our LA Pen Show purchases. We bought – omg – ELEVEN pens.

In case you missed them, here are links to my other Pen Show posts:

General Overview – Part One
General Overview – Part Two

And, today is the very last day to enter to win an almost new bottle of Pilot Iroshizuku ink.

Thank you for reading – I know this is a longer-than-usual post.

Number Five!


The Shirt of Many Pens

Continuing my LA Pen Show pictures and report.  Here is a link to part one in case you missed it.

Also, I am still taking entries to my inky giveaway – if you haven’t entered already, please do.

Finally, just a reminder that you can click on pictures to see them in their wonderful full-sized glory.

And we’re off….

Pictures from LA Pen Show 2014

Russian Hand-Painted Fountain Pens

The pens above are gorgeous and hand-painted from Russia. Each pen on display was very different from the others (at least from my quick assessment) and one of them even had sterling silver inlay. From their sales director, Maksim Stulov, I learned that they have some limited editions and some one-of-a-kind pieces.  Here a link to their Facebook Page – when I tried to find their website, it wouldn’t load. Note that the maker’s name is ARTUS and there doesn’t seem to be a relationship to the Artus that was once Lamy.

Moving on…

Arizona Pen Company at the LA Pen Show

The pens above are made by George Butcher of Arizona Pen Company. I stopped by to talk with George twice and was thisclose to buying one of his creations. As soon as I update my wish list, you’ll find this pen on it. That stunning and unique green caught my eye.

George makes all of the pens himself. And he means it. Pen making is his passion and when he talks about what he does and how he does it, that comes through in a such a big way.

Those caps!

A Grouping of Vintage Fountain PensVacumatic, Anyone?

Look at That!

That Demonstrator is a Vintage Waterman’s Lever Fill
An Assortment of Jumbo-Sized Fountain Pens

A Closer Look
Penchetta KS – Kustom Safari

The above is from Penchtta Pen & Knife. Do you see what they’ve done? The cap, nib, and section are from Lamy Safari fountain pens and the barrel is kustom from them. An interesting idea – perhaps a bit weird for me. I also wonder what the  trademark/copyright people at Lamy think about them creating a derivative product from their original and then selling that.

Next up are a few crowd shots. These don’t really show the number of people at the show, though. When it was super-crowded, I wasn’t aiming my camera much at all.

That’s it for today!

Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about Susan Wirth and my delightful experience with her.   Stay tuned!


LA Pen Show 2014

Click on any image to see the big huge-tastic version.

On the heels of a fantastic business trip to Seattle, I spent last weekend in Los Angeles at the LA Pen Show.

I’ve attended other pen shows, but this may have been the biggest. It was impossible to see everything there even though Mr. Pentulant and I splurged for the fancy pass that got us in all three days. Still impossible.

I’ll have posts each day this week – so much to share with you. I’ll try to note where, who, when, etc., but there was so much that it was difficult to follow along.


A Colorful Assortment

Delta Fountain Pens – Impressive Displays
Bexley Tuck-A-Way Pens from Dimefast

Parker Fountain Pens with Parker Quink
An assortment of vintage fountain pens and mechanical pencils.What is that on top?
Sheaffer Buckskin Tan Snorkel is the subject of this picture. Mmm.

Parker 45 Convertible Pen – New Old Stock (NOS)

The above image may be my favorite from the entire show. There is so much going on there. Pen, sketch pencil, knives, accessories – so much. This was the actually the first pen I considered buying. So red, so pretty, but I saw it early in the show and wanted to look around a big before deciding. A couple of days later, I remembered it again, but couldn’t find it again. Whomp, Whomp.

Onward . . .


Case after Case.

Tray after Tray

OK…that’s all for today. I’ll be back soon with more – so much more.


LA Pen Show 2014

Hey everyone – I was at the LA Pen Show over the weekend – what a great weekend. I’ll have details, lots of pictures, and show and tell all about my great finds in coming days.

This trip was an “add on” to a business trip and I’m worn out.

Today, I’ll just remind about my fabulous giveaway – be sure to enter if you’ve not already!