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?

PEN REVIEW: Pilot Custom 912 – Music Nib

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Pilot Custom 912 – Music Nib

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The Pilot Custom 912 is a nice looking pen with classic styling. The body is black resin and the trim is shiny and silver in color.

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The cap screws on and posts easily to the back of the pen. The section is a bit shorter than average and this could present an issue for people with larger hands.

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Fill using the included Pilot CON-70 converter or Pilot’s proprietary cartridges. The CON-70 is unique in that it is a push-button / pump converter and it holds a bunch of ink (around 1 ml). I love it, but there are varying viewpoints out there.  The good news is that if a user hates it, one of the other Pilot converters can apparently be swapped in easily enough.

To learn more about the CON-70 pump converter, I suggest watching Brian Goulet’s video. Informative and entertaining:  “You have to really want it.”  “You have to attack it!” “BAM! BAM!”

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Music nibs are sometimes referred to as trident nibs because they have three tines. That is to say that this nib has two slits through which the ink flows. Lines drawn vertically are thicker with this kind of nib than lines horizontal lines.

Pilot Custom 912 Writing Samples

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With cursive writing, the pen writes wonderfully. But with printing I’m having some hard starts on some downstrokes. Arrgh.

The trouble can be seen in the image below. See where the M in “Music” and the I in “Nib” look a little off? It looks like there’s an issue with the left side of the nib.

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Now what?  Well, I love the pen and I’m not going to return it, but I will be looking for someone to tune the nib. Do you know a nibmeister with expertise making music nibs sing?

Also, if you have this pen, I’d love to hear what you think of it. Did you get the music nib, too?

PEN REVIEW: Pilot Parallel 6mm

I’m just going to blurt it out: I love this pen.

Let’s dive in . . .

I have two Pilot Parallel Pens – around ten bucks each, yo. I opened and played with both, but only inked the blue 6mm version.

Above: The pen comes with two Pilot proprietary ink cartridges (one red, one black) and a converter. These inks are mixable. I don’t get into it here, but Rachel Goulet has a terrific video that you should watch.

Converter? For cleaning the pen unit? Huh? What the heck? While I don’t know yet if it will help with cleaning, I am sure that the converter cannot be used for ink. The seal is not nearly sufficient to keep ink in the converter. Strongly suggest not trying it, but please take pictures if you decide to go for it – I love a beautiful mess.

My understanding is that the Pilot CON-50 converter will work with this pen. I plan to find out. Because, really, imagine big fat shaded or sheen line? Oooh…or maybe Diamine Flamingo Pink?

The Pilot Parallel also comes with a handy Nib Cleaner (it’s a piece of film that slips between the plates of the nib) and a somewhat informative instruction sheet.
I love this picture – the reflection of my yard, my fingerprint – what’s not to love. 

The Parallel is available in four different sizes. The different sizes have different colored caps. They are:

  • Blue                        6 mm
  • Green                   3.8 mm
  • Yellow                  2.4 mm
  • Red/Orange          1.5 mm
The size of the nib is clearly marked in a couple of places . . . .
The nib is made up of two plates that are parallel to one another. 
Get it? Parallel.

But how’s it write?

I love it! 
I was worried that the writing would be too wet – it’s not. The flow is terrific and on good paper, there was no bleeding.  After playing with it a bunch initially, I find that I’m using it for a few things:
  • separating topics/sections on a page 
  • crossing items off of my to do list
  • writing short (very short) love notes to Mr. Pentulant
It’s a fun pen. For regular use, I might change the ink to a bright yellow and use it a highlighter. Fun, yes?
Downsides . . . 
  • the pen cannot be posted – come on, pen manufacturers, help a girl out
  • doesn’t come with a converter that can be used for ink – arrrgh.
Highly recommended!  
One of my Pilot Parallel pens came from Goulet Pens. The other came from Jet Pens. Goulet’s price is less. Bought and paid for with my own pennies out of own piggy bank. 

Have you tried one of these? Do you love it?

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, Nibs.com, 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?

THIS OR THAT? Pilot Metropolitan Fine Nib Review

As soon as I heard that Pilot had released their popular Metropolitan in a fine nib, I knew I’d have to have one (or two – ha) and as soon as Goulet Pens announced they had them, I ordered.

Here’s a super quick look at the writing differences.  For pictures of the pens themselves, please have a look at my Instagram, particularly this picture to see the fancy new packaging.

So…how does it write? GREAT!

(Medium on top – fine under.)

I’m using Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium ink in each of the pens. This is one of my favorite blue inks and it’s exclusively available at Goulet Pens. (I swear, I don’t work for them. I work at Brush Dance.)

Flow is great. No skipping or hard starts. No scratchiness. And the line is significantly thinner than the medium.

In short – I’m glad I got two of these great looking inexpensive pens that work really well.

OK…this or that?  Pilot Metropolitan Fine Nib – or Pilot Metropolitan Medium Nib.  What is your pleasure?

Oh…here’s a link to the full-size review sheet. (It’s big.)

PEN REVIEW: Mystery Pilot Pen

You know how it is.

You order a pen that looks like a ton of fun.

You take it out of its packaging. Toss it (the packaging, not the pen) and any paperwork over your shoulder and into the recycling bin. This pen is meant for using and loving, not collecting.

You even take some pretty nice photographs of the pen.

Weeks – or maybe even months – later, you realize that you’ve never inked it.  By now, you can’t remember the model name. And that paperwork is long lonnnng gone.

Ink it up anyway. Write a review.  (You like the pen, but it’s not love. Stub may not be the best option for you.)

You do a little research on the pen and still can’t figure it out.

Oh…wait…that’s just me, hm?

So…help a slightly embarrassed girl out?  Which Pilot is this?

PEN REVIEW: Pilot Metropolitan

There’s a lot of talk about the Pilot Metropolitan being the next great cheapie fountain pen. I agree – mostly.

It has a nice sleek understated look and could be used in even the most conservative business settings. There’s nothing remarkable about the appearance.

At under $20, it is definitely one of the least expensive, readily available refillable fountain pens out there.

The pen comes with a squeezy converter and will also accept Pilot cartridges.  The pen will also take the Pilot CON-50 converter, though I don’t understand why it’s considered an “upgrade” by some when the squeezy converter is equally functional and a bit different from other pens.

The cap is friction fit and it posts nicely.

The pen is a tad on the light side for me, but seems well-balanced overall.  The nib is ultra-super-smooth. There is very little feedback when writing – a bit like writing on glass, perhaps?  The nib is very stiff – no spring at all.

The Metropolitan only comes with a medium nib. It looks like a thin medium to me – and that’s fine from my perspective.

After writing with it for awhile, my hand felt a little tired. This is probably due to a couple of things: the pen feels a little on the skinny side and there is that big drop off below the barrel of the pen that had me adjusting my grip.

So, overall, it’s a good writing experience. Take the crazy pricing into consideration and  it’s a pretty incredible value for the money.