Katherine: My pairing for the month isn’t thematic in any way, just a pen and ink combo I was (and am) excited to use — Pen BBS June Pearl (picked up from Straits Pens at the SF Show a few months ago) paired with a Pilot 742 FA sporting a Masuyama Needlepoint grind. Ignore the washi, I was trying to decide how something looked… and now it’s just there.
I love the pairing of the pale shimmer ink with the soft flexy nib of the 742. Written in a fine line, June Pearl is pretty light, but in the FA I get swirls of shimmer and more readable text. All in all, I really enjoy writing with the 742 and the FA nib, I’m just (unfortunately) not a big fan of the body.
Pam: For October, the month of Halloween, it would seem most appropriate to bring out the Sailor 1911, Nagasawa edition; a demonstrator with the ruthenium trim. Even the converter has the ruthenium trim! It is one my favorite colorways: monochromatic. Honestly, I was not a fan of the 1911, but this particular finish was so unique (at the time) that acquiring it from Claire was instantaneous. (Thank you Claire!!)
I wanted a dark ink to complement the “darkness” of the 1911, but not a black ink. The only ink that came to mind for me was Sailor Shigure. The dark and deep purple is a wonderful complement to the rhuthenium trim. It’s also one of the few inks that I adore that doesn’t have an obvious sheen to it. That only adds to the mysterious and haunting vibe of the ink when paired with this pen during the Halloween season.
Franz: This month, my pairing is more of a discovery and rediscovery of sorts. First, the pen. I haven’t written with my Lamy 2000 for almost a year and I’ve definitely missed it. The 2000 is easily one of my favorite black pens of all time. And now for the ink, I recently bought a bottle of Kobe’s #17 Shioya Blue without trying a sample but I figured it could be a suitable ink for work.
So a pen and nib I know very well, and a new ink. As expected, the Kobe ink flowed very well with the cursive italic nib. Actually, the italic nib showed the shading properties of this ink very nicely. I’m so glad I did this pairing and since I wrote with the 2000 a lot, the ink level is now below 50% . I’ll most likely top off the ink in a week or so. Thank you for reading our inky thoughts here.
Wishing you a Happy Halloween! And please comment what pen and ink combo are you are currently using.
HOTP Editorial: Please note that the Classic Pens LB5 were limited edition releases from 2012 and since then has been unavailable for sale from their authorized retailers. The LB5 pen can occasionally be found for sale in the secondary market, or at a pen show. Granted that because this is a limited edition pen, this may only happen a few times and far in between.
This review, and our pen blog is primarily focused on providing a point-of-view (or is it a grip-of-view?) from different hand sizes as well as compare the LB5’s size against other more common pens. Thank you for reading our thoughts and reviews!
Hand Over That Pen, please!
Katherine: This is a very sizable pen made out of a very unique and interesting material. The something or another fancy acrylic has a lot of depth, in a way that is totally unique from celluloid or other acrylics. I really like how this pen looks — I just wish it were smaller.
Pam: Holy nightstick Batman! That’s how big this pen is (at least to me). It’s one of the most notable features of the pen. The second thing that I noticed of this massive beauty is the material. The material has a lot of surface area to show off it’s depth and iridescence. Pictures can’t do this pen justice. One of my favorite materials of the LB 5 is the purple. The overall aesthetic of the pen is very much a classic shape with the traditional gold trim. However, maybe it’s the size or the material, but I wouldn’t consider the aesthetic of the pen to be “vintage” looking.
Franz: CHATOYANCE! Pardon my French. An over-sized pen with a beautiful acrylic material? Please tell me more!
The Classic Pens LB5 is an impressive pen to behold. Their unique material lures you in and the Sailor King of Pen nib performance keeps you coming back for more. As the blog photographer for HOTP, I tried my very best to show the beauty of the LB5’s material but nothing beats seeing it in person.
Background Info: Classic Pens was established in 1987 and has been known for collaborating with other pen brands, and artists to introduce stunning limited edition art pens. The pen in review is part of the LB Collection wherein LB is an acronym for Lambrou and Brown. Andreas Lambrou and Keith Brown are the two founders of Classic Pens. The LB5 series was introduced in 2012 and 2013 to commemorate the company’s 25th year anniversary and was aptly named, Classic Pens LB5 25th Anniversary Shizen (Nature) Pens.
The unique acrylic was made by two companies. First, Sintetica from Italy cast the sheets of pearlized acrylic and then Carville from the United Kingdom used an exclusive diffusion bonding technique to bond multiple sheets together and made the material more stable. The acrylic was then sent to Sailor Pen Japan to each be turned into a King Profit (King of Pen) pen. A difference to be noted is that the LB5 was made 5mm longer than the King Profit pen. And the pen was fitted with a 21-karat King Profit nib. The nib sizes offered were either a medium, or broad. There were a few Nagahara Cross Point nibs available at a premium price.
The LB5 was manufactured in six different colors: Tensui (raindrops) in Space Blue, Kaen (violent flames) in Flame Red, Midorigi (new green trees) in Forest Green, Tairiku (continent) in Marble White, Kouseki (metal ore) in Diamond Brown, and Tairiku (continent) in Amethyst Mauve which is the pen we are reviewing. This limited edition was issued only with 50 pens in each color. with a listed price of $1,600 in 2013. Important to note that in recent years, Classic Pens changed their name into Lambrou Pens.
The Business End
Katherine: I’ve tried LB5s with both an unmodified Medium and a Broad Cursive Italic, both were lovely. The first time I tried it, I was surprised by how soft and bouncy the nib was. I loved writing with it, though it is a monster of a nib. I tend to hold my pens pretty far forward, and the size of this nib means I hold it at the very lip sometimes. Not a problem, but an observation.
Pam: This nib is a Sailor nib, so it’s perfect. Actually, it’s not the typical size of the Sailor nibs that we know and adore so well. Like the pen, it’s bigger! With the extra size and material of the nib, comes with more bounce. Perhaps, it’s my natural bias to love all things Sailor but I really enjoyed the “oversized” nib with the “oversized” pen. (Oversized is in quotes because I know it’s the perfect size for bear paws.) Oddly enough, I felt that this nib was proportional to the pen and performed extremely well. It was a smoother nib than I expected and I didn’t feel the pencil-like feedback that Sailor nibs are known for.
Franz: The LB5 is made by Sailor so naturally, the nib used was their King of Pen line. As Pam mentioned, the size of the KoP nib was balanced against the larger size of the LB5.
Most Sailor nibs write perfectly out-of-the-box and this was no exception. The unmodified broad nib wrote smoothly and had a bit of bounce to it. The 21-karat KoP nibs are not meant to be used for flex writing but its springiness provided a little flair to my writing. As shown in the second photo below, the LB5 section is comparable to other over-sized pens and was comfortable for my grip.
Write It Up
Katherine: This pen is a littttle too large for me. It’s usable, but if I grip it tightly, my hand ends up pretty tired. If I grip it loosely though, it’s great! A fun nib in a pen that’s beautiful. Unfortunately, though, I tend to be a not-loose gripper by default, so I don’t think this pen will ever be a favorite for journaling.
Pam: The pen is easier to write with the tripod grip. My “iron fist” grip had the larger pen feel unbalanced. The tripod grip being a “secondary grip” for me did tire out my hand, however the width of the pen was still very comfortable in either grip. The threads were not sharp so I wasn’t so worried about my “iron fist” grip getting too uncomfortable. If only my hands were larger, this pen would be much more comfortable. This pen would be great for the “normal” or medium hand size. (Just not pixie hands.)
Franz: The bear paw… I mean, my hand wrote with the LB5 effortlessly in both posted or unposted modes. As mentioned earlier, the LB5 is 5mm longer than the “standard” Sailor King of Pen. This is because Classic Pens requested Sailor to lengthen the barrel to make the pen more comfortable to write with when unposted. I truly appreciate the extra length of the barrel and was sufficient for my larger hands. I do post the cap sometimes when i feel that I’d like the pen to be a little heavier and it was still a pleasant journaling session.
Katherine: This pen is too large for me to EDC comfortably. I tend to stick my pens in notebooks sandwiches, or occasionally in my jacket pockets… and this is just too big. It’s like having a hot dog in your pocket. But, if you have larger pockets than I do, it seems up to the task. Solidly made, and takes about 2.25 twists to uncap, so solid but not too tedious.
Pam: This pen is a bit too large for my pockets, whitecoat or jeans. I would also not recommend being rough with this pen given that the material is so beautiful and may be scratched by keys. This beast will need a home in a case.
Franz: Is the LB5 a good pen for Every Day Carry use? Well, it could be. As detailed by the two ladies above, it is a larger pen to bring along. When I used this pen at work, I had to make sure that the dress shirt I was wearing had a deep breast pocket and even then, it still stuck out semi-securely. I am able to conceal and secure the LB5 when I constantly wear a suit jacket at work though. Now for carrying cases, it barely fit in my Nock Co. Sinclair case that I use on the daily. It does fit nicely inside my Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Six case and is quite secure in my bag. The broad nib is a little too wet for the cheap paper used at work but I believe a medium nib would be perfect.
Just like most Sailor pens, it is a cartridge/converter filled pen so when I used this pen on the daily, I found that I needed to refill every three days or so. An advantage of the c/c filler is it makes the pen light weight instead of having a filling mechanism installed which potentially makes a pen heavier.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Katherine: I can see why this pen is a grail for many, but the size just means it doesn’t work for me. I wish pen makers wouldn’t only make their flagships massive… It’s gorgeous, has a fantastic nib and has a really unique material. But, I prefer smaller pens. :/ Womp.
Pam: I love the nib of this pen. Unfortunately, this pen wouldn’t be balanced to have a small pen with a large nib. I would highly recommend this pen to those who have the fortune of having a “normal” hand size and can find one of these pens looking for a new home. The way I see, if both criteria are met, the stars have aligned and you are meant to have this pen. ;p (Wallet protests aside.)
Franz: As we have noted in the beginning of this review, the Classic Pens LB5 has long been sold out. If you are interested in the pen’s unique diffusion bonded acrylic, Andy Lambrou currently has another edition of limited edition pens in these acrylics. The Lambrou Pens LB6 Virtues is slowly being issued in seven different colors. This edition however is more limited since they are releasing only 10 pens in each color.
My final thoughts on the LB5? I am channeling the thoughts of the people who had reviewed the LB5 before (Dan Smith, SBRE Brown, Matt Armstrong, etc.) when I say that, I love this pen! The Classic Pens LB5 has been a part of my Top 5 pens ever since I brought it home from the pen show. Why? Is it because: it’s a limited edition? the material? the pen size? the aesthetic? the value? the connection I have with the pen maker? I can’t specifically answer why but I feel that it’s the whole package that the LB5 delivers.
Welcome to another one of our pen reviews! This time, we are joined by our second guest reviewer and she is also our first left-handed guest, Roz Hung.
Roz is a techie by profession and enjoys writing and sketching as well. She’s always admired fountain pens but was afraid to use them until Pam took her under her wing less than a year ago. Pam let her write with a few pens to see what she might like and own. Roz primarily uses her fountain pens for journaling, and scheduling on her planner. Currently, she’s also using her pens to sketch and doodle for Inktober and tries to keep up with the daily prompts for October. When Roz isn’t busy writing or drawing, she spends her time baking in the kitchen. Thank you for joining the fun and helping us out Roz!
Hand Over That Pen, please!
Roz: My first impression of the Kaweco Perkeo was how attractive and friendly its colors were. While the colors are solid and the pen has no sheen or gloss to it, I think the facets really give it a subtle eye catching quality.
Katherine: The Perkeo is a little weird to me. My initial reaction was “ooooh facets!” then “hm… the facets on the body and cap are different…” I like the colors overall, but have clear favorites.
Pam: The Perkeo has a design that will appeal to both children and adults. The cap of the Perkeo heralds back to the beloved Kaweco Sports that we all know and love. The colors are eye catching and pretty sophisticated, in my opinion. The faceted body is an ode to Kaweco’s overall aesthetics. I am really impressed by this starter pen.
Franz: These Kaweco Perkeo pens fascinate me. It is a substantial pen compared to the Kaweco Sport and the colors may be subdued but at the same time they are enthralling. The fine facets of the barrel makes it an elegant looking pen and makes the Perkeo stand out.
The Perkeo currently has four finishes: Indian Summer (black and yellow green), Bad Taste (pink and black), Cotton Candy (light pink and gray), and Old Chambray (white and light blue). As we expressed above, the Perkeo’s finishes are captivating and I’d like to add that Kaweco’s naming of these colors are equally intriguing. The Indian Summer and Bad Taste are both supplied with a black steel nib, and black finial. And both the Cotton Candy, and Old Chambray sports a chrome steel nib, and chrome finial.
Note: The Perkeo pen we used for the In the Hand photos above was the Indian Summer finish. During our review process, we focused on using Katherine’s Cotton Candy Perkeo shown below.
The Business End
Roz: I admit at the top of my lungs that I know nothing about nibs! However, I liked the line width of the Kaweco’s nib and I only needed to make minor adjustments to my horizontal tilt for a smooth writing experience.
Katherine: The variability on these nibs is surprising — my boyfriend and I each own one, and mine writes like a dry EF, and his writes like a wet Fine, even when inked with the same ink. Both are smooth and decent writers, but the variability in flow and tipping was surprising!
Pam: For the times I “crave” for a “chubby” line width, I gravitate towards a Kaweco EF nib. What I love about the Kaweco EF nib is that it creates a very round line that can sometimes compliment my writing style.
The ones that Katherine had were F nibs. Unsurprisingly, they wrote well out of the box with no issues for me. However, between the two pens that Katherine had for us to try out, I did notice a difference in the line width despite both pens being marked as F. One was drier than expected and the other flowed quite well. Aesthetically, the nib seems to be disproportionally too petite for a “regular” sized pen. Or maybe that’s just me.
Franz: The nib on this Perkeo wrote with a very thin line width but it wrote immediately and quite smooth with minimal feedback for a fine nib. Visually, the nib is very slightly recessed and I initially thought that the nib was the same that Kaweco uses for the Sport model but I believe I was wrong. Side-by-side, the Perkeo nib is a size bigger than the nib on the Sport. The Perkeo is inked via a cartridge or a standard international converter and that makes it convenient since I have a few in my drawer.
Write It Up
Roz: I wrote as much as I could with this pen. The length of the Kaweco fit my hand nicely, and since it was so light I could write with it posted and unposted. My only (mild) struggle was with the triangular section. At the beginning, it would take me a bit to work my way to a comfortable grip on the section – after a few times of writing with this pen, I got to a point where only minor mid-writing adjustments needed to be made.
Katherine: I really expected to hate the Perkeo because it has a triangular grip, and the only other triangular grips I’ve used (and stronnnngly disliked) are the Lamy Safari and Jinhao x450, but surprisingly, I quite enjoy the Perkeo. Maybe it’s the shape of the triangular grip, or the angle or some other sorcery, but it’s a light comfortable pen for me. This is the “entry level” Kaweco folks should look at. I’m not sure why you’d buy a Sport anymore unless you want to carry it in your pockets. Or have a really small pen case?
Pam: The Perkeo is pretty light, just like the acrylic Kaweco Sport, which is both an advantage and disadvantage in my book. I find that in pens that are too light, I tend to bear down harder on the paper. Yet for portability and journaling purposes, the weightlessness of this pen made it really easy to start and continue using with little fatigue (if I don’t bear down). Interestingly enough, the disadvantage of weightlessness that I pinpointed on the Sport, was offset by the length and size of the Perkeo. It was a joy to write with.
The triangular grip didn’t bother me very much since the corners were well rounded. I find the triangular grip on the Perkeo to be more comfortable than the Lamy Safari with my grip.
Franz: Surprisingly, this is a pen that I can comfortably write with unposted for a long period of time. Posting the cap makes it a little long but the added weight definitely makes it better though. The Perkeo’s section is approximately the same width as the barrel and this let me grip the pen wherever I found comfortable. My fingers naturally landed right on the transition of the triangular grip as it ends toward the top of the section. I enjoyed approximately 20 minutes of writing on my journal and my hand did not cramp at all.
Roz: I kept the Kaweco in a Nock Lookout case and it did great! I actually did use it throughout my day, the lightweight feel of the pen made it easy to grab and made quick notes.
Katherine: I enjoyed this for the few days I carried it. It’s light, durable (yes, I dropped it. maybe intentionally) and the facets make sandwiching it in a notebook pretty secure — no worries about a rounded pen sliding out or shooting out of either end of my notebook (generally not a problem except with the fattest roundest and clipless-est pens though, tbh). And the lack of a fancy finish means it can go in a pocket with keys and come out looking the same!
Pam: Other than a clip, this would a great EDC. It doesn’t take much to uncap, it’s a postable pen (no lost caps!), and light! Again, some see the weight as a disadvantage, however, the construction of this pen should be able to stand up to a trip to the washing machine. Ink stains not withstanding.
Franz: Using the Perkeo at work for 2 days was quite nice. It’s a no frills kinda pen that just wrote which is what an Every Day Carry pen should be. I placed the pen in my dress shirt pocket and for most of the time, it stayed upright. The length definitely made it easy to grab and not fish out of the pocket like a clipless Kaweco Sport or something similarly sized. The facets on the cap made sure the pen did not roll on my desk. And even if the pen was open and cap unposted, the pen did not roll away as long as I place it on the desk gently.
The snap-cap allows for quick usage when needed and provides a positive snap when you want to close it. The fine Kaweco nib was suitable for the not-so-stellar copier paper found in our office. And as Katherine described above, it passed the durability field test. Two thumbs up!
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Roz: I think the Kaweco is a really fun pen and I enjoyed trying it out. It was an easy writer (after some adjustments) and it fit my hand size quite nicely.
Katherine: I like it! It’s not life changing, but if the aesthetic suits you, it’s a light and totally reasonable pen. Mine is somewhat sentimental, so it’s sticking around, otherwise though, it isn’t a pen I likely would have purchased on my own… but it’s really hard to say no to your non-pen-enthusiast boyfriend wanting to get matching pens as you stand in a cute stationery store after having driven ten hours to see a total solar eclipse. So it’s my eclipse pen. (Except he got the yellow and black, which is eclipse-y themed. I have the pink and grey, which is more… rubber eraser themed)
Pam: Honestly, the pen is a GREAT example of a starter pen for those who want to try out a Western sized nib. For the price, the design and the nib performance, the Perkeo is a contender to be a great starter pen. Will it surpass the Lamy Safari or the TWSBI Eco? Maybe not, but depending on what you are looking for, why not try the Perkeo?
Franz: The Perkeo joins the ranks as one of the recommended starter pens. The only thing to consider is the fact that a converter is not supplied with the pen and is an additional expense. But hey, the Lamy Safari and/or Al-Star does not come with a converter either. I love that the Perkeo takes a standard international one!
Well, what else can I really say differently about the Perkeo that the three ladies above haven’t yet? Ditto? Hehehe… =) The bear paw likes it a lot! But seriously, if the colors appeal to you and you’d like to try an inexpensive pen with some facets, go get one of these. I for sure did and not just because it’s blue. =)
One of the age-old (not really) questions of the fountain pen hobby is… which Nakaya shape is right for me? This post attempts to help answer that question, and do a comprehensive side by side of the different sizes available. There is an official comparison chart, but we have found that it’s not terribly helpful for getting a feel of what a particular shape might be like in hand.
We’ve included every Nakaya shape except the Desk Pen. (Please feel free to send us one… we promise to give it a good home!) It is worth noting that the Decapod Mini is discontinued, and the Dorsal Fins are both paused for new orders right now.
Favorite Shape and Personal Preferences
Katherine: Hands down, my favorite shape is the Decapod Mini. The shorter narrower grips (see pictures below) are super comfortable for me, combined with a light pen that feels very proportionate is a hands down winner. My second runner up (and much easier to find) model is the Piccolo — more or less the same grip and proportions, just without the facets. My preference for the Decapod Mini over the Piccolo is purely aesthetic. (Shameless plug: If you or someone you know has a Decapod Mini you might consider selling, let me know! >___>)
The Piccolo, Decapod Mini, Decapod, Decapod Twist, Naka-Ai, Long Piccolo, and Portable all have the same section, and I love it. Between those, it all comes down to aesthetics and balance — the longer pens are comfortable for me, but a little heavier, which depending on my mood, is good or bad. The Neo Standard’s section is a similar width, but longer, which is all the same to me, since I hold my pens fairly far forward. The Dorsal Fins, however, have both a longer and fatter section than the others — which is usable, but not quite as comfortable as the others. But, very cool looking — so that’s a trade off for me. (That I’m still not decided on)
I had initially worried that the “full size” Nakaya pens would be too long for me to use comfortably, but the ebonite and urushi are so light, that it really doesn’t make that big of a difference over the Piccolo unless I compare side by side. If you prefer heavier pens, the Piccolo/Decapod Mini are certainly not for you. Actually… I’m not sure any of the Nakaya are.
Pam: Not surprisingly, with my love for the pens that are either pocket or petite, my favorite shape to hold is the Piccolo. Honestly, Katherine’s Piccolo with the Negoro finish was so compelling to use that I was afraid to use it “too much,” in fear of wanting to purchase a Nakaya for myself. The threads are not sharp so despite my grip, it doesn’t dig in. My pointer finger rests comfortably on the section. Unfortunately, the Decapod Mini does have quite a step so my grip isn’t as compatible with that amazing pen.
I find some of the larger sizes of the Nakayas, like the Naka-ai, to be too top heavy, or too long for me. The Neo-Standard, likely due to having the same section as the Piccolo, is my favorite of the regular sized pens. It’s pretty comfortable despite being quite a bit longer than the Piccolo.
Now, for my “white whale/mother of all the grails” of a pen, the Nakaya Dorsal Fins. Unfortunately, orders for the Dorsal Fins are currently on pause due to overwhelming demand. Dorsal Fin version 1 has a completely cyclic barrel making it similar to the size of the Neo-Standard in hand. If you like the Neo Standard, the Dorsal Fin version 1 would be perfect. Design-wise, I prefer the look of version 2, where the “fin” is extended to the body. It didn’t occur to me until I got to try a Dorsal Fin version 2 in hand but the “fin” part of the body can be oriented to your hand! Just take the feed and nib out and set it (carefully, of course) to what is most comfortable for you! I prefer having the fin turned towards the fleshy part between my thumb and pointer finger for optimal comfort. The fin reminds me of the clip on a Pilot VP so if you don’t like the VP due to the clip, consider flipping the Dorsal Fin body or going for version 1, if the Dorsal Fin is the holy grail for you too.
Franz: As the bearpaw-ed person in this trio, of course I would prefer the larger pen models in the Nakaya line up. The Neo Standard would be my favorite Nakaya model but it really was a close competition against the Naka-Ai. The longer section of the Neo Standard slightly edged the Naka-Ai to be my second favorite. The Neo Standard just feels so nice and snug for my hand just like how a Pelikan M1000 does for me. I guess you could also liken the Naka-Ai to a Pelikan M800. Both pens are very comfortable to write and journal with.
The Decapod is such a fantastic design and those facets show off the underlying urushi lacquer very nicely. It is a slight step down in size from the Naka-Ai but the facets and the taper on the barrel and cap makes it so appealing to me. As a quick aside, almost a year ago, my facet-crazed friend named Katherine painstakingly searched for a Decapod Mini and when she found one, I’d say she wasn’t wrong to do so because it was worth it.
I have only recently held the Dorsal Fin models and was surprised how large they were. The Dorsal Fin (1 or 2) is a definite step up in terms of size from a Neo Standard, or Naka-Ai. The fins on them are remarkable to look at and just delightful to hold.
Size Comparison Photos
We are very fortunate to either own, or be able to borrow most of the Nakaya pen models. Having awesome pen friends is definitely a benefit of this great pen community. There are three sets of comparison photos and this was dependent upon the availability of the pens to be photographed. A big thanks to everyone who lent us their pens for this post.
We hope you enjoyed this comparison post. And please let us know which Nakaya model speaks to you!
EDIT: Photos comparing the new finless Dorsal Fin are available in an addendum post.
Katherine: I really like the material of this pen. It’s so pretty! The design of the pen isn’t my favorite though, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not bad. It’s probably worth noting that I’m not a big fan of what I think of as FC’s “chunkier” designs, or the indented rings they like putting on pens. I love their models with clean lines — the 45, the p66, 66 and (a little bit less) the 20, but the 31 just isn’t as clean. But, personal preference.
Pam: I was blown away by the size and material of this pen. The material of the pen is stunning with alot of iridescence and depth. I really like the shape of the pen, but the size of the pen is a bit much for me. I have mixed feelings about the indentations on the body and the placement of the nib. It adds texture to the body and interest in the eye, but also breaks up the lines of the pen shape. The nib is semi-hooded which baffles me a little bit. I didn’t notice this before on other FC pens and I can’t decide if I like it or not. Overall, I think the model 31 is a great add to the line up for those with larger hands or prefer larger pens.
Franz: “Holy swirly purple pen Batman!” Yep, that was my reaction when I saw this at the LA pen show in February 2017. This was the first Model 31 I ever saw and it was (at that time) the only prototype in the purpurae material. When I saw this pen, I knew I had to have it. Anyway, going back to the pen model, this is a fairly large pen size in the Franklin-Christoph line up. Their model 19 is still the largest of the group but I think the model 31 is just a level below that.
Now for the details that my co-bloggers have mentioned, I love the indented rings on the barrel as it’s quite distinctive. While I’m at a pen show hovering at a Franklin-Christoph table, I can immediately identify a model 31 from their display because of these rings. The nib is recessed just like their model 20 and provides a smooth transition from the section to the nib which I’m liking very much.
The Business End
Katherine: Like all FC nibs, this one was a comfortable and unproblematic writer. Franz had a steel medium in it and it was smooth, wet without being soggy, and an all around undramatic but very reliable writer. No complaints!
Pam: Like all FC nibs that I have tried, it wrote well. Smooth, saturated lines without getting too heavy. The black anodized nib is amazing. I particularly like how the logo stands out on such a sleek nib.
Franz: Surprisingly, I asked for a stock medium nib when I got this pen and Mr. Jim Rouse actually chose the Shadow (black) finish of the nib to match the pen. As with all Franklin-Christoph pens bought at a pen show, the nib is tuned by Jim to your writing preferences. So this medium nib is one of the smoothest, and perfect flow writers I have.
Thanks very much ROUSE! 🙂
Write It Up
Katherine: This pen was a wee bit top heavy when posted (the cap doesn’t post super deeply, so the pen ends up kinda long), but when unposted, is very comfortable. The threads are on the section, so I don’t even have to worry about gripping them when I hold my pen further forward. I could write for pages with this pen.
Pam: I preferred writing with this pen unposted. In my pixie handed fist grip I found it to be top heavy when posted. I had no issues writing with this pen as I found it relatively light (for it’s size) and well balanced. The width of the pen is quite comfortable for either the fisty grip or the tripod grip. For a larger pen, it is quite comfortable in petite hands.
Franz: As seen from the “In the Hand” photos above, the Model 31 is perfect for my hand with both the cap posted, or unposted. The elongated section is great because my grip comfortably lands right before the threads start when unposted. If I post the cap, it does get a bit long but it’s not unwieldy at all. The light cap doesn’t make it top heavy for me especially when I move my grip a little further back. #BearPaw
I wrote with the 31 unposted, and posted equally within twenty minutes and it was a very pleasant journaling session.
Katherine: This made a solid EDC carry. It feels solidly made, uncaps fairly quickly and has a reliable clip. I wouldn’t hesitate to keep this pen in my pocket, or even throw it in my jacket pocket with my keys (don’t worry Franz, I didn’t!).
Pam: Like all FC pens,I have no qualms using this pen as an EDC. It’s well built and should there be a clip, a great add on to any shirt pocket!
Franz: I have used the Model 31 at my workplace quite a few times already and it works nicely as an Every Day Carry type of pen. The medium nib writes nicely on the cheap copier paper and the cap twists off very quickly for fast writing requirements. The only issue of this specific pen is that it’s clip-less and at times I worried that It might roll away when I set it down. Thankfully it hasn’t happened yet.
Let me just add that when I bought this pen, Jim said that I can request to have a clip installed if I wanted to. So far I like it as it is but if I change my mind, I’m sure Franklin-Christoph will take care of it because their great customer service is legendary.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Katherine: All in all, I think (like most of FC’s pens) this is a very solid, well made pen. However, the aesthetics just don’t jive with me. I love the material, but ultimately found the pen a little too chunky and a little too busy for my tastes. But, if the look appeals to you (and now that I’m looking at their website… perhaps that yellow and black?) it’d be an easy buy for me.
Pam: Franklin-Christoph has a pen to suit every taste, hand size and aesthetic. The model 31 is a bit big for me and the material is not exactly my cup of tea. Although this pen doesn’t particularly scream “buy me,” I have been a fan of FC for a while. The pocket 20, model 45 and model p66 are totally up my alley. FC materials are also always amazing, so you really can’t lose! The model 31 is a great add for any collection really. You should really check out their table at your nearest pen show.
Franz: Dude… it only took me a couple years but I think I can finally say that I found a Franklin-Christoph pen that fits my hand very nicely.
If that last statement isn’t enough, let me just establish that I am very smitten by the Model 31. Before the 31 came out, I was leaning more towards their Model 03 and/or Model 02 but couldn’t decide which one I liked better. But I am thankful that I met this pen at the LA pen show and it has not been un-inked since I got it. I’m afraid that I might inadvertently start a Model 31 prototype collection if I’m not careful. (Channeling @murberdraws from Instagram)
As contrasted by the experiences of the two ladies above, I would recommend the Model 31 for people with medium to larger hands. If you think the model 03 is kinda small, and the model 19 is too big, try out a model 31. You never know.
“Twilight fell: The sky turned to a light, dusky purple littered with tiny silver stars.”
On Friday September 22, 2017, the Pelikan Hub for Palo Alto was held at the Lathrop Library in Stanford University. The Hub was organized by co-Hubmasters Lawrence C. and Glenn T. and it was definitely well organized. Thank you very much for a terrific event gentlemen!
Our group had a mixture of members of the San Francisco Bay Pen Posse, and also members of the Stanford Pen Club. It was a nice gathering and I was happy to meet new people interested in the hobby. As we introduced ourselves around the room, I found that there were people into pens for about a month and up to about 40 years so it was an eclectic group and a lot of people shared their experiences and knowledge.
Speaking of knowledge, we were very lucky to have Pelikan pen expert, Rick Propas aka The PENguin, a part of our hub. He had talked about the history of the Pelikan pen company, the first model Pelikan 100, and the evolution of the Pelikan pen models. He showed a few rare, or one-off pens that are in his collection.
Rick Propas attends a few pen shows in the United States. He sells pens at pen shows, and also via his website: www.thePENguinpen.com
I broadcasted an Instagram Live video and also uploaded to my YouTube account. Rick imparted a lot of information and I am very thankful he had taken the time to do so.
Rick showed his grail pen, the Pelikan 75th Anniversary. I got a chance to photograph this fabulous pen that evening.
Lawrence and Glenn were given Edelstein ink bottles by Pelikan and they made it available for participants to take ink sample vials of. Here’s some of the bottles emptied out.
A big thank you to Pelikan for once again hosting the Pelikan Hubs around the world and providing an avenue for people to meet and learn about fountain pens and Pelikan pens! Also, we appreciate the generous gift of the Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz ink bottle for each registered participant. I love this ink!
I have been attending the Pelikan Hubs since it started in 2014 and hope that this annual event continues to occur successfully. See you next year!
Hello friends! Thank you for hanging in there and I hope that you’re enjoying my detailing of the San Francisco pen show. This is the continuation of my SF Pen Show Report – Part 1.
This carries on to the events on Saturday afternoon and evening. And ends on Sunday’s last day of the show. Enjoy!
Saturday, August 26 – Continuing on the Second Day
Planner Meetup – Special Event
Around 1:00pm, Pam, Katherine, and Christina had once again hosted a planner meetup and had discussions with others on what they do to decorate, organize, and utilize their planners. There were some exchanges of stickers, washi tapes, and notebooks as well. Photos courtesy of Christina.
One of the vendors that were considered a big hit at the show was Atelier Musubi who traveled all the way from Singapore. Their beautiful journals are cloth bound, contains Tomoe River paper, and are handmade in Singapore. In addition, these journals are handmade by a person living with a physical disability.
Here’s Atelier Musubi’s table located in the Grand Salon and was visited by some artists that you may possibly know.
Within the same room, the table of the SF Pen Show principal sponsor, Wahl-Eversharp was there and were selling a lot of their Skyline pen models. Also displayed were the Magnificent Seven Decoband pens.
Right beside Wahl-Eversharp was the Armando Simoni Club (ASC) table. Pens and chocolates… mmm…
Pen World Magazine – Readers Choice Awards Ceremony
A first for the SF Pen Show, Pen World magazine presented a few of the Reader’s Choice Awards at the show. Editor-in-Chief Nicky Pessaroff presented the winners their awards below. Congratulations to all!
Best Every Day Carry Pen: Franklin-Christoph Model 31
Best Non-Fountain Pen: Cross Classic Century 170th Anniversary Ballpoint
Best Artisan Pen: Ryan Krusac Legend L-14
Best Writing Experience: Aurora Sole 88 Limited Edition
Best Metal Mastery: RiKwill/Conway Stewart Churchill Prisme and Jour et Nuit
Pen of the Year: Montblanc Artisan Edition Homage to Kandinsky Limited Edition III
Pen Addict Meetup – Pen Dash
This year at the SF Pen Show, the Pen Addict Brad Dowdy, and Lisa Vanness of Vanness Pens tried a different type of meetup. In most meetups, people sit down, show their pens, get to know each other, and learn from each other. The Pen Dash is somewhat of the same concept except for the fact that every ten minutes the participants will have to stand up and proceed to another table with a different host or as what I referred to them as subject matter experts (SME). Brad made a write up of it on The Pen Addict.
I was able to do an Instagram Live Video and post it to my personal YouTube. Please forgive my blunder in the video and know that the first room DID follow directions to move tables. I just thought they were signaled to move right then. Ah, the hitches of live television. Haha!
Here are photos I got to take before going live on Instagram.
Susan Wirth Memorial
First, a sip of water, deep breath, and go.
As most of the pen community knows, the passing of Susan “Susie” Wirth earlier this year had left a great big hole in the pen show world. Anyone who knew her knows that it’s not a pen show without her. In 2012, she was one of the first five people I personally met in the pen world. This was way before I became part of the SF Bay Pen Posse.
My friend Rebecca Joyce got the chance to film Susie at the 2017 LA Pen Show. If you’re interested, here’s that very informative video.
This was my first pen show to not see Susie’s table, to not see her face, to not smile and giggle as I saw her inky fingers, and to not hear her distinct voice. It felt weird to me and I’m sure to other people as well.
A week before the pen show, I decided to do something to honor Susie. I figured, what’s a small inexpensive thing that people appreciate at pen shows? Buttons! So I edited the picture I took of Susie’s identifiable shawl while she was wearing it and made it into a button. Saturday morning, I gave out these buttons to honor her. I told everyone, “This is her day!”. I’m sure everyone agreed.
I am thankful that the SF Pen Show Organizers allocated some time during Saturday evening to honor Susie.
I am also thankful to see John Martinson at this show. He worked with Susie at every pen show and has become a good friend to me. John brought some of Susie’s pens to show people and he also brought out Susie’s banner. I loved seeing it once again.
During the memorial, John M. spoke about Susie. He ended by saying that the best way to honor her memory is to share the love of pens, to write more letters, and share what an italic nib can do for one’s writing. Thanks John!
You were definitely missed Susie.
Groove Situation – Pen Show Concert
Each year, the show organizers gets a band and play a concert after the show. This year, due to the hotel renovations, the concert was held outside by the fountain. The band was different this year but their music, and song selection was still awesome. The band’s name is Groove Situation and their FaceBook page is here.
What’s pretty cool is that their bassist is Pen Posse’s very own, Jon R.
Overall, the turnout for the pen show concert was great and a fun time was had.
Inside the hotel, my friend Bruce Eimon introduced Taizo Yamamoto and his paper products. They are launching “Paper Tasting” (paper samplers) and they laid it out on an empty show table. Their website is http://yamamotopaper.com/index.html.
Saturday evening went on and we all just hung around and had great conversations. The evenings of pen shows are opportunities to reconnect, interact, and meet new friends. I eventually went home to rest up for another pen show day.
Sunday, August 27 – Third and Final Day of the Show
Wow, the weekend is almost over and this is the day I feel happy and sad. Shall we say, verklempt?
Not gonna lie, the past few days were tiring especially with the amount of sleep (or lack of) I’ve had. But Pen Show Time Zone prevailed and got ready for another fun filled day.
I once again arrived around 7:00am to assist the 8:00am class attendees (Sorry Nik!), as well as assist the registration desk. Duty calls! As a reward, I got my name on Masuyama-san’s list as well.
On Sunday, the show had another combination of paid classes, and free seminars.
Shodo Demonstration (Japanese Calligraphy) by Rui Saito (free seminar)
Journaling by Susan Thom (free seminar)
Creative Uses of Fountain Pen Ink by Leigh Reyes (free seminar)
What can turn a Good Nib into a Great Writing Nib by John Mottishaw (free seminar)
Here’s are some photos I got to take during the day.
John Mottishaw arrived in the morning and Joel Hamilton caught him at the registration desk.
The Nibsmith, Dan Smith was always busy with a customer.
Over at Ryan Krusac’s table, the prototype of the limited/special edition Legend Pen he collaborated with Cary of Fountain Pen Day was on display. It’s beautiful for sure! And the proceeds of this collaboration will be donated to Shawn Newton’s scholarship fund.
Here’s a bit of a penvangelism story. Jon, my co-worker, brought his kids to the pen show and I took the liberty of giving them a tour. Of course the first stop was the Pay-It-Forward table and the kids got their starter kits. One of Jon’s kids wanted a pink ink to match the pink pen and we eventually found J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen from a table of a pen posse member. =) We continued the tour around the ballroom and we eventually sat down and showed them how to fill a pen with ink, how a pen works, etc. It’s inspiring to see teenagers wanting to learn how to use fountain pens.
A bit of background, Jon got into fountain pens when he started to work with a pen addict (me) and he really wanted to come to the show and find a pen he’d like. We found a green pen with a 14k gold nib over at Peyton Street Pens with the help of Nivardo. Needless to say, Jon and the kids were happy.
As the show comes to a close, I got to walk around the ballroom a little bit and take some pictures again.
See? Even puppies want to see some pens at the SF pen show! =)
My final purchase at the show was at the Vanness Pens table. Replenished my supply of Akkerman 05 Shocking Blue, and Bungubox Sapphire. Also picked up these special edition Curnow notebooks with Joey Feldman’s artwork in the cover. During the weekend, Joey was doing individual art sketches behind the notebooks when people bought them. He actually did this special piece for me (of me) on Saturday and I just picked it up on Sunday.
Joey has dubbed me, Franzulini: Leader of the Free Pen World. I loved it! If you’re reading this, thanks again Joey! =)
Post Pen Show
As the show closed, I packed up the PIF table, and helped with taking home some Ink Testing Stations. Ink Boss Christina was pleased. =)
And I got a chance to have a photo with the legendary Cary of Fountain Pen Day. Thanks Ricky! =)
My Mother and I took a pen vendor friend out to dinner which has become a tradition now. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and found other pen friends coming back from dinner as well. We hung out at the bar for a bit.
Needless to say, I was tired but I was very happy. The photo below was the last one I took before I gave in to the fatigue and finally went home.
The San Francisco Pen Show has come and gone and I’m very thankful I was able to attend and be part of it. Pen shows for me have evolved quite a lot and it has now become a true social event that I look forward to attend. Whether it be SF, LA, Atlanta, or others, what makes pen shows is the people I meet, or visit with. I mean, pen people are so kind, generous, and cool. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with those kinds of people? There were a lot more stories that you can’t just place in a report and I treasure a lot of them.
A HUGE Thank you and Great Job to the show organizers: Ricky, Todd, and Syd. The SF Pen Show gets better year-over-year and it starts with them. To the amazing Pen Posse peeps, great job and thanks for the volunteer work! Just a reminder, 2018 SF Pen Show will be on August 24-26. So, plan your days off now! =)
And to you my dear readers, thank you for sticking around for this lengthy report. And again, I hope you enjoyed it.
For those who attended the show, comment what your favorite part of the show was and what you bought. For those who weren’t there, let me know if you have questions as well!
“Pen shows are about the people and the stories between each other. The pens start the story and the people get closer.”
Time for another pen show report! This will be another long read just like my 2016 SF Pen Show report so I dare not call it a “recap”. This year, I have become much busier working the show as the volun-told Class Registrar, assisting at the Registration Desk, and also being behind my registered table hosting the Pay-It-Forward table. So being busier means less time walking around the show and less photos taken by me. I’ve asked a few friends if I may use their show photos and they have obliged oh so kindly. Thank you!
Oh wait, for those who only want the short version? Okay, well, it lives up to their tag line, “THE FUN PEN SHOW”. And the post is done. j/k!
So go ahead and grab a snack to hold you over if you wish. This may be the lengthiest pen show report you’ve ever read. Quite lengthy that I had to divide it into two parts. I tried to be thorough and provide you the unique multiple perspective that I experience at this pen show. I hope you enjoy it!
Thursday, August 24 – The Day Before the Show
The Pen Show doesn’t really start until Friday but Thursday is typically the day when vendors, and attendees who travel from out of town arrive at the hotel. Thursday afternoon is a time for vendors to claim their badges, paperwork, AND table assignments. Some vendors with multiple tables and large displays start setting up so there would be less work to do on Friday morning. The show organizers also host food and drinks in the evening for the vendors. Just like last year, they served burger sliders as well as grilled cheese with tomato soup. Yum!
I arrived around 7:00pm to take care of some class logistics for the next day, as well as meet up with pen friends from all over. Some Pen Posse friends decided to have a late dinner and we trekked to the city of Millbrae for our favorite place, Peter’s Cafe. I think this may become a yearly tradition for Thursday night.
Afterwards, I hung out at the bar with a couple friends and got to check out some cool pens from different people. I also finally got to meet Leigh Reyes who arrived the same day all the way from the Philippines. A couple months ago when I knew Leigh was planning to attend the show, I reached out to her and “made” her do a free seminar which was on Sunday.
Friday, August 25 – Show Time!
On the first day, the ballroom opens to vendors to setup at 7:00am, and the All-Access Pass Holders are let in at 8:00am. The General Public was admitted at 1:00pm later that day.
Okay. This is no big secret but it still needs to be said. What’s one of the SF Pen Show’s secret weapon for success? The SF Bay Pen Posse. And I am very grateful to be part of this group. There were a number of volunteers months before, during, and even after the show. The people at the registration desk that greets and helps show attendees are ALL volunteers. No one gets compensated monetarily, but an attendee’s smile while being at the show would be enough for them. So friends, I’d like to take this opportunity and thank you all for your help! Also for the whole weekend, Desk Boss Margaret kept us in line so special thanks goes to her as well! =)
I arrived 7:00am (too early…) at the hotel to make sure I get to assist the people who pre-registered for the classes and also help out at the registration desk. Friday paid classes were:
Basic Spencerian in the morning, and Spencerian Flourishing Techniques in the afternoon by Master Penman Michael Sull
While at the registration desk, I get to see what people bought. This Pen Posse member came up to me and showed me his “First Blood” purchase from Stylo-Art.
Around 11:00am, I finally got to walk around a little bit at the show, took a few photographs, and visited with friends.
Steve Curnow and his family are back at their usual spot at the SF Pen Show. They have quality paper goods and a very good spread as you can see.
The show’s registration desk from above.
As you walk past the registration desk, Greg Weddig is back at the show and selling vintage pens as well as his Valley Oak Iron Gall Dip Pen ink. Sharing the table with Greg is Gary Naka who was also selling restored vintage pens.
Kenro Industries is back as well. This year they were represented by Neil L., and Cary Y. (Fountain Pen Day). Kenro is the US distributor for Montegrappa, and Aurora pens. They showcased the Montegrappa Game of Thrones pens, the Aurora 88 Flex pens, and a lot more.
While I was at the mezzanine level, I yelled down to Ricky to pose for a photo and this is what I got. I asked for captions from the SF Bay Pen Posse group and I’ll share the top three (IMHO). Which one would be your pick? ;-P
“Where the F— did the Mont Blanc carpet go?!”
“WHAT?!?! Do you think I’m in charge or something?”
“Trust me! Drop your Namiki Emperor, I’ll catch it”
Still within the foyer, our very own Katherine split a table with other pen posse peeps and was selling her hand carved stamps of pens, and ink bottles. She also created a Hand Over That Pen 2017 SF Pen Show stamp for friends to mark on their journals.
To complete the table, here’s Lawrence and Yuan who were selling pens, inks, washi tapes, etc.
Right beside was Claire R. (@writteninrice) who occasionally is a guest reviewer on our blog. She sells great quality pen wraps and she loves prime numbers. Her current wrap design holds 7 pens very securely. Her fabric combinations are just so cool!
Ink Testing Stations
A very unique feature of the San Francisco Pen Show are the Ink Testing Stations (ITS) set up for show attendees to enjoy. This year, round tables were scattered around the show for attendees to sit down and test the different ink brands, and colors. The pens used for the ITS were Dollar 717i. For 2017, there was a total of 783 inks available for testing. The ink lists for the past 3 years can be found on the SF Pen Show Ink Testing section of the show website.
Months before the show, the Pen Posse with the direction of Ink Boss Christina, all 783 pens were cleaned, labeled, organized, and inked up for the show.
We had different companies donate inks for the Ink Testing Stations. Luxury Brands donated their inks, Franklin-Christoph gave us their inks as well, Robert Oster donated 60 bottles of their inks, and Vanness Pens donated Organics Studio inks. Thank you very much for your generosity!
Right before the ballroom was an Ink Testing Station table. This table always had people sitting down. To my knowledge, one person successfully wrote and tested all 783 inks during the weekend!
At the show, Patrick represented the Robert Oster company from Australia. Here’s Patrick speaking with Brian and Christina of the Pen Posse.
Walking into the ballroom, you will find Andy Lambrou of Lambrou Pens (formerly Classic Pens) and his associate, Monica, to your left. He has been attending the San Francisco pen show since 2014 and brings exquisite pens. This year, he brought a case full of Classic Pens CP-8, Lambrou Pens LB-6, and a few of the LB4 Tahiti pens.
Walking over to the left was Itoya’s table. Itoya is the US Distributor of Sailor pens as well as Taccia pens. It was Itoya’s first time at the SF pen show and they brought a nice display of their Pro Gear pens inked up with their different inks.
A little further in to the ballroom was The PENguin’s table. That’s Mr. Rick Propas who is a very well-known expert of German pens especially Pelikan pens. I always try my best to visit with him and say hello. Also, to take a look at his pens for sale.
Classic Fountain Pens aka nibs.com came back to the SF Pen Show this year and had several Nakaya pens on display. There were testers with their different nib sizes inked up for people to try out. Jonella set the table up on Friday and was there to answer questions, and take in orders of their pens all weekend. I’ve known her since my 2014 LA Pen Show experience (Pen Posse OPM).
Also at the Classic Fountain Pens table was Pony Boy. He was guarding the Nakaya pens! Pony Boy does quite a lot of traveling too. Check out #adventuresofponyboy on Instagram
Here’s Matt Armstrong of The Pen Habit blog came back to the show! And once again, he helped the Vanness Pens team at their table.
Lisa Vanness and Leigh Reyes during a light moment behind the Vanness Pens table. Photo by Gary Naka.
Kick A$$ Calligrapher Nik Pang was at the show as well. He was selling nib holders and was writing people’s names.
As I walked out of the ballroom to do more pen show duties, I saw more people testing out the Ink Stations.
One of the SF Pen Show’s sponsors is Straits Pen represented by Sunny Koh. He brings in a lot of pens and inks from Asia. I caught him having a snack by the registration desk with a friend.
I had a registered table at the show and that was gonna be the Pay-it-Forward table. But I decided that I would set it up on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. So I had my friend, Mark C. sit at my table and sell his freshly roasted Monsooned Malabar coffee beans. He also, by request, brewed some coffee for people to try out what he was selling. I was very thankful he did that. And that’s my cup that he has the pour over dripper on. =)
Back at the registration desk, I met this nice fellow named Ralph and he got me beat with having two shirt pockets filled with pens. Cross pens at that! There were a couple Parker pens too. He showed me a Cross Townsend in Lapis Lazuli that I almost drooled on but I didn’t get to take a photo of it though. =(
I noticed these Kisses chocolates left out on a table. Let’s just say I got some much needed sugar boost! =)
Friday’s show went on, met more awesome friends during the day. The show ballroom closes down at 5:00pm and the Pen Collectors of America (PCA) held a pen auction at 5:30pm. I registered and got paddle 27 but I eventually didn’t go and just hung out with people. I gave my paddle to a pen posse friend and apparently paddle 27 was very active. Haha!
One of the reasons why I did not go to the auction was that I realized that I missed my reserved time with The Nib Smith, Dan Smith. So I waited to be the last person he’d help for the day and I picked up the only pen on my pen show list. The Fabulosa! I mean, the Aurora 88 Nebulosa.
After a fun first day, a large group of us went to the Pen Posse favorite, Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria for dinner. It was a quick 5 minute drive from the hotel.
I only got to take this one picture of the pizza before we devoured… ate it.
After dinner comes my favorite part of pen shows. Back at the hotel bar, it’s hanging out with the people you saw at the show. Sharing the items bought, and telling the stories of the day. As Eleanor said before, it’s Pen Shows After Dark!
Saturday, August 26 – Second Day
On Saturday, the ballroom once again opens to vendors to setup at 7:00am, and the All-Access Pass Holders are let in at 8:00am. The General Public was admitted at 10:00am in the morning.
After a late night of pen-joyment, I sleepily got ready for another fun day. Pen shows are the only events that I would look forward to going to bed in the wee hours of the morning and then wake up WAY earlier than when I have to go to work. It’s what I call Pen Show Time Zone (PSTZ) and I love it.
Typically, Saturday is the busiest day for the pen show and is the day when the most number of people attend. This year was no exception and with all the events jam-packed, it definitely was a busy show day.
I arrived around 7:00am once again for the registration desk and for the classes and seminars being held on Saturday. When I arrived, there were already a few people in line for Mr. Mike Masuyama’s sign up sheet. Masuyama-san did something different this year in that he asked the registration desk to do the sign up for him instead of it being at his table. So the sheet was brought out at 8:00am for people to write their names and phone numbers. The photo below was around 7:45am and good thing I got to take it.
For Saturday, there were a combination of 2 paid classes and 3 free seminars.
Pens 101: Pen Basics by Loren Smith (free seminar)
Pens 102: Vintage Pens by Ricky Chau (free seminar)
Here are examples of the special edition books that Virginia designed for the pen show. You can add or remove pages as you go.
Something new for the pen show this year was that there were volunteers each day to do calligraphy demonstrations. The volunteers came from The Pacific Scribes Guild, and Friends of Calligraphy Guild. Their tables were located at the foyer across the registration desk so I got to check them out and two ladies wrote my name.
Pen Artisan Guild Annual Contest
Another new event for the pen show this year was that the Pen Artisan Guild held their first annual contest for guild members and created one of a kind pens for the contest.
Show attendees had the chance to vote for the pen they like. And The People’s Choice Award went to pen number 11, by Jonathon Brooks of the Carolina Pen Company. Photos of the guild pens are courtesy of Ricky Chau.
At 10:00am. the General Public was let in to the show and it definitely got busier. Here are Ricky Chau’s photos of the ballroom around that time.
What is the Pay-It-Forward table you ask? Well, it is a table at a pen show fully motivated by kindness, happiness, and a great love for writing instruments. The PIF table was originated by Oscar, The PENthusiast, and a smattering of other generous pen folk at the 2017 DC Pen Show. If I am not mistaken, this idea was inspired as well by Rachel Goulet of The Goulet Pen Company. The PIF mission at pen shows is twofold. First is to create and give out Fountain Pen Starter kits to newbies young and old. Second is to provide an avenue for experienced pen people to donate items that are no longer loved, and to give these items a second chance to be loved by another home. Items encouraged to be donated are pens, ink bottles, notebooks, and other stationery related things. Monetary donations are also welcome either at the pen show or the PENthusiast’s website.
Right before the 2017 D.C. Pen Show, I reached out to Oscar to come to SF with the PIF table. But due to schedule issues he couldn’t make it. He did send a box full of PIF supplies for us to host at the show. We then put a call out on a blog post, and at the SF Bay Pen Posse group to ask for donations at the show. Let me tell you, a lot of people have come up to me and donated new pens, used pens, mostly full ink bottles, notebooks, and other items. Since Thursday night I’ve had items given to me for the table and I am floored with the generosity of the pen community. I decided to have the PIF table up by noon on Saturday and Sunday at the show. The table was located right before the ballroom so a lot of people stopped by, asked questions, and eventually left happy.
Because of all the pens and inks given at the table, we didn’t really use all of the supplies that Oscar sent. Which is great because the next planned pen show appearance of the PIF table will be at the Colorado Pen show in October.
I did make a big blunder that I should be burned at the stakes for. Out of all the excitement and busy-ness, I did not write down the names of the people who donated items during the show. I do remember and know a lot of the people who donated but at the risk of forgetting anyone, I shall just say a big… THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY! You all know who you are and your kindness is deeply appreciated.
During both days, a lot of people asked about the Give A Pen, Take A Pen racks. I explained that it doesn’t have to be exactly give and then take. If there was a pen (or two) that they would like to have, they may just take it. Now if they have a pen that they don’t love anymore, they may just leave (give) it on the rack for someone else to possibly love it as well!
Here’s a quick story. There was a young lady who wanted a fountain pen from the rack but instead of just taking it, she felt it necessary to give a pen so she left a ballpoint. #onelessballpoint ;-P
Another one. An awesome person was looking at the Give A Pen, Take A Pen and placed this beautiful pen on the rack. He made the pen himself and wanted to donate it. I’m glad I got to take a photo of it because someone had taken the pen not even five minutes after. To the awesome gentleman who left this pen and if you are reading this, please let me know your name for I missed it during the show.
On Sunday morning, Lisa and Mike Vanness came up to me and asked where the Pay-It-Forward table was. They had a crate full of empty ink bottles that they’d like to donate. I told them it’s not set up yet but we can definitely place them at the table for people to take. Et voila! Thank you!
In the photo below, the gentleman on my right is Mr. Ron L. and the lady behind him is his daughter. They helped sort out the donated pens and placed them in the starter kits with ink samples as well. Their efforts truly helped us out at the PIF table and made it possible to provide more kits to people on Saturday and Sunday. Thank you Ron! You are a gem for the pen posse, the pen world, and to myself.
I also would like to give special thanks to another person who helped out at the PIF table. None other than my mother, Edna or as she placed on her name badge, “Franz’s Mom”. She helped me out at the table on both Saturday, and Sunday. She was such a pro talking to the newbies at the show. Here she was on Sunday checking out at a nib with her loupe.
Thank you Mother! Big Kisses! =)
This Pay-It-Forward initiative by Oscar and company was such a great idea and I am glad to provide help as well. The PIF table was such a success at the show and we are planning on how to make it a much better experience for show attendees next year at the SF Pen Show.
With that, thank you for reading this far and I hope you are enjoying it! The report for the rest of Saturday, and Sunday pen show will be published on Friday, September 15, 2017 and will be found on SF Pen Show Report Part 2.
The San Francisco Pen Show took place from August 25-27. This is the second in a series of recaps. Check out one from my dog’s POV here.
It’s a little funny to go back and see what I thought I wanted to buy as of last, last week… Allegedly an Aurora Novum, but I saw zero of those at the show. Oh well!
All in all though, the show was a huge success for my pen collection, and a moderate injury for my wallet. I stayed under budget, but not by much. To cut to the chase (a little more on workshops and such below), here’s my haul:
Omas old style Paragon (date stamp ’97) in Arco Verde
Pilot Capless in Black Stripe
E Faber Permapoint in a cool brown striated material w/ yellow trim*
Spors glass nibbed pen in marbled pink
Brute Force Designs small (don’t remember model name) acrylic pen in a marbled brown
Vintage Sailor from the collection of Susan Wirth
Written in Rice octopus 7-pen wrap
Four bottles of Chinese ink: Pen BBS 226 June Pearl, Pen BBS 178 Rose Quartz, Starry Silent Corderite, Students Ink 25 (yellow, no sparkle) [swabs here]
Five grinds: (one each) Masuyama needlepoint, Masuyama formal italic, Dan Smith CI & two Dan Smith sharp-ish stubs
The Omas Arco materials have long been on my wishlist — last year at the show I asked around, but ultimately everything was out of my budget. This year, I found this one at Peyton Street Pens within the first hour or two of the show at a competitive price (and for reference, my budget for an Arco pen wasn’t significantly higher this year than last!). Teri was kind enough to hold it for me while I agonized over the price and dragged various friends back to her table to see it. In the end, I decided I’d regret not jumping on it… and I’m glad I didn’t, it’s a joy to use and to look at.
Above are another two pens I picked up on Friday, both from friends. The back pen is from Leigh Reyes, a glass-nibbed Spors pen from wartime Japan. Yep, that crazy material is vintage. The front pen is a E Faber “Permapoint”, from a fellow SF Pen Posse member and SF Show dealer, Gary Naka. It’s a pen I’ve been eyeing for months, and he finally restored it and was willing to part with it — yay! I love the unique finishes on both pens, vintage pens are so cool. I also had the brown pen ground to a fine CI by Dan Smith, so in addition to being cool looking, it’s quite fun to write with.
This show was also the first time I worked one-on-one with a nibmeister, and I was lucky enough to work with both Dan Smith (above) and Mike Masuyama (below). They have very different styles of working (see their different set ups), but both produced great nibs for me!
The grind I was most nervous about and most excited about was a formal italic on my Nakaya Decapod Twist, medium nib. I tried a friend’s formal italic several months ago and loved it — but they are notoriously sharp, and most people were surprised I wanted one, including Masuyama himself. I’ve had a few days with the nib now, and I really enjoy writing with it. Yes, it’s sharp — but I haven’t caught paper with it and writing with it feels… like it will keep me awake? I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s fantastic.
This year the show featured some new inks in the ink testing stations, and even a new model of ink testing stations for shimmer inks (though I failed to capture a picture). I didn’t spend much time with the ink testing stations this year, but they were consistently quite popular!
Loot and new shiny pens aside, the show has always been a place for friends new and old to connect and discuss a shared passion. This year I met many people I’d talked to online for the first time, which is always a little strange for me (I’m kind of awkward :P) but was overall a great experience. I also like to think I did a good job of introducing folks to each other — in the picture above, Todd (one of the show organizers, a local Pen Posse regular, also known as farmboy on FPN) helps a friend replace a broken nib, on the spot, no tools needed other than a shred of paper towel. He’s super cool like that.
No show would be complete without classes, seminars and meet ups! This year Pam and I hosted a repeat of the Planner Meet-up, which I thought went very well — we met ladies (why are there no men who show up?) from around California and shared washi tape, planner layouts and took a look at different brands and designs. I also attended Leigh’s workshop on Creative Uses of Fountain Pen Ink (picture above) where she shared some of her tips and techniques for “making a mess” and getting artistic with materials one already has… not that I really needed more help making a giant mess. And lastly, I attended the Hanko Making class lead by Rui Saito, who wrote part of my Chinese name for me in her beautiful calligraphy.
There will be many more pictures to come of the pens and inks I picked up, and maybe a little bit of house cleaning to help my wallet recover… But in the meantime, thank you so much to everyone who came to the show and said hi! And to those who I haven’t met, I hope to meet you at a future show! Sometimes I loathe to admit it, but this hobby is great because of the social aspect — sharing a love of shiny objects (and journaling, plannering and making ink blobs) while spending uncomfortable gobs of money. What else could a girl ask for?
The San Francisco Pen show is just around the corner for the HOTP crew! Here is a sneak peek of some of the things that will be at the pen show and what we are each looking forward to for 2017!
Pam: It’s odd to think that I met Franz at the registration desk of the SF pen show in 2015, 2 years ago! That said, my first full experience of the SF Pen Show was last year. With the knowledge from last year, I can say that I am really looking forward to:
Starting bright eyed and bushy tailed on Saturday morning! To start, I will be at the registration desk to greet you and very likely at the HOTP table soon after. Stop by to check out the amazing show exclusive stamps that Katherine has made! And the “Pay-It-Forward” loot!
I will also likely be making a majority of my pen purchases that day. I am most excited to get a “sea glass” pen from Troy at Brute Force Designs!! I hope to get the great Mike Masuyama to work on some of my pens.
Don’t forget the planner meet up! We will be meeting at 1pm on Saturday in Salon 4. The Pen Addict meet up is a must for me. It’s very surreal to see a face to go with the voice for me each time I meet THE Brad Dowdy (Downy). And finally, I will be ending the night by attending Susan Wirth’s Memorial.
Sunday is class day! I will be attending Nik Pang’s Copperplate class, the Hanko (Japanese seals) class by Rui Saito and a mystery class by the amazing Leigh Reyes. Oh, yes, Leigh Reyes will be at the SF Pen Show. May the fangirling commence. ::squeal!::
Itinerary aside, I am just really excited to meet pen friends, new and old, near and far. The pen show is a great time and place for me to nerd out with all things pens and stationary with nerds just like me. And at the end of the day/weekend, it’s just what it’s all about. See you all at the FUN pen show by the Bay!
Katherine: I’m mostly on the hunt for unusual pens and have been excited to hear that there will be a couple of European vendors that are new to the show AND Stylo Art will be there! My wallet quakes in fear. I’d love to pick up an Aurora Novum, but we’ll see if I can find one that fits in my budget. -____-
I’m also sharing a table with a couple friends from Pen Posse, where I’ll be selling washi tape and hand carved stamps. Keep an eye out for me in the lobby! 🙂
Franz: Whoa! It’s been a year already since the 2016 SF Pen Show and now I can hardly wait for next week! Year over year, the SF pen show seems to become much bigger and busier. I try my best to help out at the show with assisting at the registration desk. Pen Posse members try to take shifts in manning the desk to make sure that we help people get in the show, or direct them to classes and seminars. Being at the desk lets me see old friends when they arrive and make new friends as well.
This year, the pen show has more vendors attending that weren’t present in 2016. Some vendors off the top of my head: Shawn Newton (Newton Pens), Hugh and Karol (Kanilea Pen Co.), John Mottishaw (Classic Fountain Pens), Motoshi Kuzuno and wife, Shuko (Stylo Art Karuizawa), Claire Rice (WrittenInRice), Miroslav Tischler (Penkala Pens), and A LOT more!
Events that I’m looking forward for the weekend:
I will attend an actual live pen auction sponsored by the Pen Collectors of America (PCA) on Friday. I just don’t know if I can control myself from over-bidding on a few lots.
As Pam said, there’s a planner meetup on Saturday. I’m not a planner kinda person but I do use my Hobonichi Planner as a daily quotes, and gratitude journal. I’m curious to see what other people do.
Saturday afternoon, Pen World Magazine will hold a ceremony to announce this year’s Readers Choice award winners.
Of course after the show on Saturday, the Pen Addict Meetup is a thing to attend. I love getting to sit down and talk pens with the attendees and dealers. There are door prizes too! Last year, Pam won an ink bottle from Vanness Pens that is so awesome and I’m still secretly planning to steal…oops… ssshhh!
And yes, a memorial to the Queen of Ink Susan Wirth at 7:30pm Saturday.
On Sunday, I’m hoping to attend Leigh Reyes’ seminar in the morning and then John Mottishaw’s in the afternoon.
The San Francisco Pen Show for me has evolved into primarily a social gathering. I love seeing the different vintage and modern pens offered for sale and I may buy a pen, or two, or three! ;-P But what really floats my boat is seeing old friends, visiting with the pen show vendors, meeting Instagram friends in real life.
This year, we will have the Hand Over That Pen table to host the Pay-It-Forward initiative. The Penthusiast Oscar Rodriguez along with a lot of awesome pen people started this fantastic PIF table to provide beginners, and children who are attending the show with pen starter kits. It was a great success at the D.C. Pen Show a few weeks ago. There will also be a “Give a pen. Take a pen.” part wherein people can donate pens they no longer use and just want to donate instead of selling. People can also take a pen that they would want to own. This will be a little bit smaller than what they did at the recently held D.C. Pen Show but we believe it’s important to keep the ball rolling.