Pen & Ink Pairing: Sept ’17

Shall we say, #LATEPOST? Ha!

Our apologies dear friends. We skipped our August pen and ink pairing post for we all have been swamped for the past couple of months. We did not want to skip September as well no matter how late it may be. Thank you for reading and your kind words!

 

Katherine: This pen was the star of my SF Pen Show 2017 Haul — an “old size” Omas Paragon in Arco Verde. It has a smooth, relatively wet (but not puddle-y!) B CI. The nib is marked BB, but I think it was narrowed a little bit, but is realistically somewhere between a B and a BB, it’s wider than my other Omas B by a hair. I paired it with Waterman Tender Purple for both contrast and how easy to clean it is. The pairing has been very fun for me — a smooth broad CI putting down vivid stokes of purple, with a hint of sheen in the wetter spots. This might end up as a “one true pairing” for me, since I suspect this will be an annoying to clean pen. 🙂

 

Pam:  As a great fan of alliteration, it would only seem appropriate that September would herald in the Sailor Sky with Sapphire ink.  The Sailor Sky was my second Sailor Pro Gear Slim.  The rest is how we should say, his-ssstory.  This pairing is also one my first first “ink will match the pen” type of pairings.  (I am working on being more adventurous!) It’s one of my most sustaining pairings!

Sailor Sky is a special edition color, although I don’t think it’s limited.  It’s a special edition like the 4 Seasons. (I think.) The barrel color reminds me of a summer sky.  I originally paired this pen with Bungbox Omaezaki Sea.  However, what really stuck was Bungbox First Love Sapphire, an ink that Franz has introduced me to.  To say the least, it was love at first write. I absolutely love the sheen on this ink!  It’s a very distinct blue ink with a red sheen that comes through beautifully with the F nib of the Sailor Sky.  Some people have compared it to Akkerman’s Shocking Blue.  More than anything, I highly recommend trying First Love Sapphire, you might fall for it too.

Franz: So for the month of September, my pairing is the Pilot Custom 823 in Smoke or Black Transparent finish and Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku ink. Ku-Jaku/Peacock is a deep turquoise blue and is such a nice ink color for both work and personal use. The 823 is the first pen I’ve ever inked up with Ku-Jaku. Even though the nib on the 823 is a stock fine, I still appreciate the color it lays down on paper especially on Tomoe River paper in my Nanami Cross Field journal.

The Smoke finish definitely conceals the ink color inside the barrel but you can definitely see the ink level as you write. During meetings in a professional setting, this pen doesn’t call attention to itself but I still enjoy the subtlety of its transparency and places a smile on my face. Now on to trying to remember what that meeting was about.

 

Writing Samples (click to enlarge)

 

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Prospective Look at the 2017 San Francisco International Pen Show

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.

 

Pay-It-Forward

 

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.

To learn more about the PIF table, it’s all documented on Oscar’s site: https://www.thepenthusiast.com/dc-pen-show-pay-it-forward-table. If you would like to donate money, pens, notebooks, etc. please let us know via the comments or direct message Franz on Instagram: @franzdimson

 

Hope to see you at the #SFPenShow2017! 🙂

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Pen & Ink Pairing: June ’17

Katherine: This month my pairing is a Platinum 3776 in the red “Bourgogne” color, with Sailor Okuyama. I picked up the 3776 (I previously rated it one of my top pens) because of the C nib. C stands for “coarse” and is Platinum’s BB nib. It’s quite broad, but, out of the box, not a gusher — which I like. Additionally it writes smoothly when upside down, so I can use it at work too! Overall I’m really enjoying the sheen of Okuyama, laid down by a nib that gets the sheen going, but isn’t gratuitous.

 

Franz: A co-worker of mine once said that Purple is the color of royalty, and madness. I totally agree! So for the month of June, my royal pen and ink pairing is the Franklin-Christoph Model 31 Omnis in Purpurae finish, and the Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst special edition ink. The deep purple and black swirls of the “Purpurae” madly matches the dark purple of the Amethyst ink. The acrylic has chatoyance that just can’t be captured on camera that well especially on the lighter swirls of the pen.

A quick aside, I got the Model 31 at the 2017 LA Pen Show and it was (at that time) the initial color prototype. Scott Franklin of Franklin-Christoph commented that this was the first purple 31 out there. I initially called the color “Purple Soul” but Franklin-Christoph recently introduced it as a regular part of their Model 31 line up as “Purpurae”. The Amethyst ink was Pelikan’s 2015 special edition Ink of the Year and has become my top favorite purple ink due to it being a darker color, and its sheen when ink pools in the writing.

Will this pen and ink pairing become an OTP (One True Pairing) for me? We shall see!

 

Pam:  Summer is in full swing but I still miss the rainy season so this pen is a reflection of having the best of both worlds.  My choice for the June pairing is Sailor Pro Gear Blue Lagoon with Akkerman Hofvijver Gris (#29) ink.  This is probably one of my favorite OTP/pen and ink pairings since I started collecting pen.

The Sailor progear has a really unique and whimsical color pairing with the neon green and soft blue.  The gentle blue with such a vibrant hue reminds me of the “Unicorn Barf” colorway with the blue and bright pink.  I have been trying to get the term “Unicorn Snot” for this blue and green combination to stick…but alas.  The Sailor nib is perfectly wet enough to show off the wonderful gray ink, as usual.

Akkerman #29 is my first ink from Akkerman and I couldn’t be happier with this ink.  It’s practically my “gateway” gray, getting me more interested and more inclined to try out more gray inks.  I had thought that gray inks would be only dilute and dull blacks.  I am so glad to be have been mistaken! Originally obtained via ink sample from Vanness Pens, I quickly tried to obtain a full bottle of this wonderful gray.  The gray reminds me alot of pencil graphite and I really enjoy the shading available in this ink.  Not to mention, the bottle of Akkerman ink is always a treat in itself!

 

Writing Samples (click to enlarge)

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Inky Giveaway Winner!!

Hello Friends!

Wow! 136 entries for our Inky HOTP Giveaway. Thank you for your comments and Instagram entries and we were very happy to get to know your favorite pens and inks.

Without further ado, our giveaway winner is Sandra, who commented on the giveaway post!

Congratulations Sandra and hope you enjoy the ink samples and the Col-o-ring ink testing book! We will be sending you an email shortly to arrange shipping.

 

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Osaka Pen Store Recap

Hello Osaka! This follows my (Katherine’s) posts on pen shopping in Tokyo and Kyoto.

My very first stop was at Daimaru, but I apparently forgot to take pictures, and their pen selection was pretty underwhelming. Instead I bought a bunch of Jinbei-san stationary. And a plush. I do need things to write on!

Next up, Hankyu! This store is in Hanshin-Umeda station (right next to the JR Osaka Station), which makes it easy to access (Hanshin is also in the area, and Nagasawa is within walking distance). I think there’s also a Tokyu Hands nearby.

Hankyu stocks a large variety of pens — including some Nakaya and high end Sailor stuff. They still had a Sailor 105th year Zuisei in stock!

And a selection of Nakaya…

And their own store exclusive inks! Swabs and swatches will be coming soon. I got all three. I have great self control. Hah. 

Next up, Yodabashi in Umeda is actually one of those giant multi-level camera/electronics stores, so I was expecting a small display. But surprisingly they have a pretty extensive Platinum display. (As context, we kept going to electronics stores to look for Nintendo Switches)

And a selection of converters and inks.

Walking distance from Umeda Station is Nagasawa, which is inside a Maruzen. Nagasawa is by far my favorite store of this trip. And also the only store with interesting Nakaya in stock — they had several with rollstops and non-yellow gold nibs. Amazing! (And bad for my wallet. That toki-tamenuri decapod with the rose gold goldfish stop? It’s mine now.)

They also carry several limited edition pens — here is the Platinum Censke, in pink and yellow gold: (I was very tempted to get a yellow gold one to put a Nakaya Maki-e converter into!)

And the store exclusive Sailors in pretty pastel hues:

And, of course, their inks! 

In addition to their own line of Sailor inks, they also had a great selection of other brands’ inks. 

It’s actually a little kiosk thingy inside Maruzen. And they can handle tax free for you as you pay — so no need to shuffle around to another counter. 

Next was Morita, which was a ten minute walk from the closest subway stop from Hanshin-Umeda:

Mr. Morita was super friendly, but was also the pushiest person I met in Japan. He kept offering to show me different things. More funny than annoying though. He also has a line of exclusive Sailors — third row from the top, right and center of the divider — robin’s egg blue! And two exclusive colors of ink, Red Wine and Shade Green — swatches to come!

Also at Hanshin-Umeda station was Hanshin department store. They had a small selection, but I wouldn’t go out of my way and instead spend more time in Hankyu or at Nagasawa.

The Namba Takashimaya has a Maruzen inside it — in the basement and slightly across the subway station. Like the other Maruzens, a decent pen selection and they carry their Athena inks in black, blue, blue black and sepia.

And they had this Duofold on display. I think it looks a little derpy. But wow that’s a lot of money. 

I also made it out to Kobe, to eat beef. And we finally found a Nintendo Switch at the Toys R Us in Kobe Harborland. There is a Nagasawa there too, but it’s primarily a stationary store, not a fountain pen store. And they had a no picture policy. So, no pictures.

Instead, here are pictures from the Kobe Nagasawa Pen Style Den. It’s on the third floor of a small ish building (and one train stop away from Harborland), once again a kiosk inside a larger store. But, unlike the other Nagasawas, this one carries vintage! (At crazy prices) And two store-exclusive designs of Nakaya Maki-e converters.

And has samples of the different Nakaya finishes to touch and see: 

And a good selection of ready to go Nakaya, including one in the now discontinued Shiro-tamenuri. (But not as many pens will roll stops as the Umeda Nagasawa)

And a case of this year’s Oeste Prera. (Which the other Nagasawa had too, I just forgot to take a picture). 

We also stumbled upon this Stationary Store (that’s what Maps calls it, I can’t figure out what it’s called otherwise) that is ENTIRELY CAT THEMED. They do carry a small selection of fountain pens, but also cats everywhere!

And a small selection of pens, both fountain and not:

But omg so much cute cat stuff: 

Because I don’t know the name, here’s the address: (It’s also next to the “NMB 48 official shop”, which might be easier to map to)
3-10 Nanbasennichimae
Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0075

I had been warned that there wasn’t much fountain pen shopping to be done in Osaka — so I was pleasantly surprised. The Nagasawa stores had the largest and most varied selection of Nakayas, as well as their own interesting exclusives.

And Osaka was full of delicious okonomiyaki. But I forgot to upload pictures.

 

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Kyoto Pen Store Recap

My visit to Kyoto was fairly brief, and I’d done a lot of shopping in Tokyo, so I didn’t go out of my way to hunt down any pens. (I promise Osaka will be more exciting!)

My first stop was Isetan — it’s the giant department store attached to Kyoto Station. Fountain pens are waaaaay up (floor 10, I think) They have a small pen and stationary section, but nothing particularly interesting. There didn’t seem to be any limited edition anything… But if you’re in the area and want to pick up something at Japanese prices, not bad! Also, if you take the escalator all the way up, you’ll stop through several floors of random quirky stuff, like rocks with faces painted on for $15.

And a tray of “American Taste” pens on a side shelf. Hah.

The other store I made it to in Kyoto was Tokyu Hands. If you’re unfamiliar with Tokyu Hands, it’s not a Kyoto-specific store — they have branches all over Japan, and some in Singapore too! They sell a variety of things from cooking utensils to handbags to… fountain pens! The Kyoto branch is very close to Nishiki Warai, a well known shopping/eating street.

Tokyo Hands stocks a pretty generic selection of inks and pens — including ones at several price points, capping out at about $200. No Nakaya or Namikis here. But they also carry a solid selection of inks, no exclusives, but much more than a couple department stores that have seemed to only stock Pilot blue and black.

In addition to many of the usual subjects, Tokyo Hands also stocks Kyoto Celluloid — I didn’t see this at other branches, but I’ve been told that the Singapore branch also stocks these.

And, because I actually came to Kyoto to see temples, here’s a picture of one of the temples within Enryaku-ji, on Mt. Hiei. Kyoto was amazing, and I think there were a couple more ink places I could have stopped by, but priorities!

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Tokyo Pen Store Recap


Pelikan M805 demonstrator, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

As some of you may know, I, Katherine, am currently in Japan! I spent the last few days in Tokyo, and am now writing this from my Airbnb in Kyoto. I’m here primarily to see the sakura — so look! They’re so pretty! We lucked out and hit Tokyo right as the blossoms hit full bloom, but before it rained.


Chidori-ga-fuchi boat ride

But I know you’re here for my notes on fountain pen shopping in Tokyo, so I won’t bore you with any more pictures of sakura. 🙂 As a disclaimer, there are much more complete lists of fountain pen stores in Tokyo. This is by no means an exhaustive list — for that I like this one. This is my first time in Tokyo, so while I certainly hit up some fountain pen stores, I didn’t spent a lot of time pen hunting.

Ameyoko – Bruno (the link above) mentions that there are a couple stores here. I couldn’t find them. Instead I got distracted eating takoyaki, eyeing trays of sashimi and trying to figure out what the other edible offerings were. Fun place, but not terribly easy to navigate.

Maruzen Oazo
This was my first stop. I was trying to get to Maruzen Nihombashi, walked out of Tokyo station, crossed a street… and looked up to see a MARUZEN sign. The pens are on the top floor (I think? I was pretty tired) and while there’s only one long counter — there’s a lot of good stuff here!


They had all the brands I would expect and a handful I didn’t recognize.


And a small selection of beautiful Nakaya. That green + silver chinkin really caught my eye.


And an ink shelf to the right of the pen counter. The green boxes in the bottom left are their exclusive brand — Maruzen Athena. They had black, blue, blue black and sepia in stock. Each bottle is ¥2000 plus tax (8%).

Maruzen Nihombashi
This branch had a slightly larger (I think) selection of pens spread across several counters in the basement. Additionally, the Nihombashi branch has some exclusive inks (and they come in the old style Sailor bottles!) — also ¥2000.

Eurobox
Eurobox is a small and somewhat hard to find purveyor of used pens in Ginza. It took me a couple attempts at peering into different buildings to realize that it’s NOT on the ground floor. There is no street facing Eurobox sign. Walk into the door way in this picture (the right one, not the random antiques store next door):

Then go up four flights of stairs… and ta-da!

The owner, Eizo, wasn’t in when I visited, instead it was his son. I’ve emailed Eizo before and he’s always been helpful and speaks pretty good English. His son was also very helpful and nice. He insisted on ducking out of the picture above.

They carry a fantastic selection of vintage pens, primarily American and German. Their prices seem to be fair, but aren’t a bargain. They know what their pens are worth. 🙂 A couple pens caught my eye, but the one I want most still needs restoration, so I’ve been emailing back and forth with Eizo. Fingers crossed everything works out!

Mitsukoshi Ginza
The selection here is tiny — I’d suggest going to the Nihombashi branch instead. I didn’t make it because I ran out of time. The Ginza branch carries a handful of brands, but nothing super interesting or unique compared to other stores. And no ink that I could find.

Itoya Ginza
Itoya really deserves a post of it’s own. It’s a massive stationary/art/neat stuff store that spans two buildings. Fountain pens are in the main building, on the third floor. The annex still has a section where you can build a custom notebook. Neat!

They carry a wide selection of the typical brands you’d expect, but also a handful of less common brands like Manu Propria, Danitrio and Nakaya.

Sorry for the glare-y photos, the store is very well lit and my phone doesn’t know how to deal with that.

And, they stock Kobe inks! Only one bottle per person per color though. No hoarding. ¥2000 each.

Additionally, if you’re in Japan on a visitor visa and have your passport, you can go to the 6th floor and your 8% tax will be refunded to you. Just don’t be a late evening shopper like me — then you feel bad keeping people at work after store close. (More on that at the bottom of this post)

Kingdom Note
Kingdom Note is primarily famous for their incredible selection of custom inks. But they have quite the selection of pens too. As I was there, they were helping two people pick pens — each pen was lovingly handled and tested.

Here’s the crazy wall of inks behind the counter — the far bottom corner is the home of their custom inks. You can see the little black boxes with white labels. Each is ¥2000 plus 8% tax.

They also still had their current  line of vegetable sailor pens on display (though I didn’t check availability) and a handful of other exclusive designs.

Yodobashi Camera (Shinjuku, I think?)
Not worth a trip. But if you’re already hitting up electronics stores while looking for a Nintendo Switch — you should certainly pick up a couple bottles of Iroshizuku at a great price! (¥1620 + 8% tax)

Takashimaya Nihombashi
I know I said no more sakura pictures… but Takashimaya borders a beautiful street, aptly named Sakura-dori. Crazy. Why stand in a crowded park when you can eat delicious karaage (8 blocks down from Takashimaya), take a lovely stroll, then go buy some pens?!

Takashimaya has its own line of store-exclusive inks. I have no idea what availability is like, but they had all of them in stock when I went. My self control is terrible and I got three bottles. Each is ¥2000 + tax. Writing samples to come. Eventually. If you want a tax refund (more on that later), Takashimaya requires you to buy at least ¥5000 of “consumables” — and seals them so you can’t open them in Japan.

The pen selection is nothing special — but is decent and the staff were very, very nice. They also had a case of Namiki maki-e pens. No Nakayas though.

They did have this neat Pilot nib-tester thing! The only other place I saw this was Maruzen Nihombashi. Maybe the others had it and I just didn’t notice.

 

All in all, this is what I bought myself:

  • Maruzen Athena Hatobanezu ink (Nihombashi only)
  • Kingdom Note blue shelfy mushroom
  • Kobe #51 (Itoya)
  • Maruzen Athena Blue Black (Nihombashi and Oazo both had it)
  • Three bottles of Takashimaya ink
  • Pilot Sunset Blue Capless
  • 2 Nakaya Maki-e converters

A note on sales tax:

I mentioned this above, but I wanted to elaborate a little more, since I didn’t know much about the tax refund process when I started shopping. All the stores add on 8% in sales tax. I’m not sure if that’s Japan wide or just Tokyo. As a visitor (foreign passport and a visa that lets you stay less than six months) you can get this tax refunded if your purchase is over ¥5000. Some stores can process it for you in house (Takashimaya, Itoya, probably any of the big department stores) and some can’t, you have to go to a separate tax counter (Maruzen, Kingdom Note) somewhere in the city. But you have to get your refund on the day of your purchase. So plan ahead! Also, you should google the tax refund process yourself — I could be wrong. 🙂

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March: The Six Pen Challenge!

For the last couple years, Kata (@kataish) and  Franz (@franzdimson) have run the Six Pen Challenge on Instagram — this year we’re hoping that more people will join us!  This will be the first year that the Hand Over That Pen crew will be doing it together!

This year’s Instagram tag is #6PENCHALLENGE17. And the challenge will begin on March 1, 2017. Even if you start late in March, it’s perfectly fine. It’s all about the fun of it. =)

Tag your Instagram/Twitter posts to show that you’re joining in this fun challenge and to show your progress as well.

There’s only one rule in this challenge: Only six pens inked at a time.

Once you’ve written a pen dry, will you be re-inking it? Or choose another pen to ink up and use? That’s totally up to you!  It’s a great way to appreciate your pens and have a bit more focus and fun in this pen hobby of ours.

Check out #6PenChallenge on Instagram for past photos/posts. The Six Pen Challenge was first ran on October 2014, then May 2015, and the last one was March 2016.

Will you join us? Which are your six pens and inks? Let us know!

Franz: October 2014 #6PenChallenge line up/progress shot
Franz: May 2015 #6PenChallenge line up. Used the same six pens for the whole month of May.
Franz: March 2016 #6PenChallenge line up. Used the same six pens for the month of March.
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The $500 Game

 

From The Pen Addict’s Podcast Episode #233 (https://www.relay.fm/penaddict/233), we were challenged.

If you had $500 and you can buy three pens, what pens would those be? 

And, to clarify, this should be MSRP/fair prices for the pens — not 50-cent flea market Montblanc finds. (Katherine has only managed to do this twice…)

 

Katherine:

I’ll be honest — I didn’t listen to the podcast, but when Pam first asked me, my immediate question was “MSRP, or how much I paid for the pen used?” But, I guess to be fair, we’re going with fair prices, not crazy deals. 🙂 My three would be my Doric (I paid $275 for it at a pen show, so I assume that’s fair? :P), a Pilot Vanishing Point with a fine nib ($90ish off eBay) and a vintage Pelikan 400 with a fine nib, ideally a soft one (~$120 in green most likely, since I’ve never seen a Tortie one below $140 ish, but I have purchased two greens and a black for $120 or under).

If I was only allowed modern pens… A Pelikan M805 in extra fine (EF) nib (~$350 from the UK), a Pilot Vanishing Point also with an EF nib (~$90ish), a Kaweco Sport with a broad nib ($25), and, if it’s allowed, a 1.1 calligraphy nib for the Kaweco ($12).

Pam:

I loved the idea of the $500 game because it really highlighted to me what pens I would recommend to a budding pen lover who is on a relatively limited budget.  Or the better question for me was what would be the three pens I would want to buy and use regularly if I only had $500 to spend on pens for the foreseeable future.  (This is a possible future since my “new year’s resolution” for 2017 is to “Save more and eff up less.”)  I don’t see the “savings” part standing for very long when I am surrounded by such amazing pen friends, writing instruments, ink and stationery.

My choices are the Lamy 2000 in an EF nib (~$160 via Goulet Pens), a Sailor Pro Gear Slim, transparent model with rhodium trim, in EF nib (~$160 via Anderson’s Pens) and Brute Force Design’s Pequeño in Amber Tortoise acrylic with a fine or medium nib so that Katherine can experiment grinding the nib (~$145 from Brute Force Designs aka Troy Clark).

Leftover money would be for ink from Vanness.  My choices for ink would be: Bungbox Omaezaki Sea, Sailor Yama-dori, Pilot Tsuki-yo.

Franz:

This is sooo easy! Pelikan M805 Blue-Black with a medium cursive italic by Mr. Mike Masuyama… BOOM!! hahaha… I know, I know, that’s against the rule of the game. ;-P

Okay, it definitely was a difficult task but I think it became a learning experience and taught me what I would want other than Pelikan pens.  So the first pen would be an Edison Huron from the Signature Line of the Edison Pen Co. ($250), and I will ask him to do a cursive italic grind on a broad nib ($40). Next would be the Franklin-Christoph Model 03 Anderson Pens Special Edition with a medium nib ($165). That blue marble acrylic is just something else! And the last pen would be a black TWSBI Eco with a fine nib (~$30 from Goulet Pens). And I still have $15 for a nice bottle of Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium, or Sailor Yama-Dori.

 

What would you choose for the $500 game?  Better yet, what are you getting for the pen lover in your life?

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Tutorial: DIY Raden Vanishing Point

Hello world!

Today we’re taking a break from our usual reviews for a quick tutorial! This is my first time writing a tutorial, so please let me know if there are any questions or things I could explain to make this more helpful!

Your neighborhood VP modifier,

Katherine

To start with — you pick a pen to modify.

I chose to use a Pilot Vanishing Point. I did this for three reasons — 1. they’re easy to find lightly used, though not terribly cheap (I paid $37 for one with no nib, and $60 for the other, with a nib), 2. the cylindrical shape makes it easier to get an even finish. I don’t have to worry about the curved end of most pens and, 3. the clip is removable — it’s really hard to get UNDER a clip to sand and buff if you can’t remove it. (I guess you could hope no one notices your imperfect finish around the clip, but meh)

Next — remove the clip. If you chose to go with a Vanishing Point, I found Richard Binder’s tutorial here quite helpful. I used a piece of bike inner tube and a normal pair of pliers (I’m a cheapskate who doesn’t own section pliers) to wiggle the clip off.

If you chose to use a VP, you’ll now have the rubber trapdoor exposed — I found it helpful to wrap that in a cylinder of masking tape. This means that you can hold the area and not worry about damaging the trapdoor. During my first modification, I did push the wire that holds the trapdoor in out at some point… and spent 20 minutes squinting with a pair of tweezers to get it back in. Avoid that.

And, before you start, find a way that you can dry your pen so that none of the wet parts of the finish will touch anything. For the VPs, if you find a perfect sized box, it can be balanced on the clicky part and the masking tape cone. For other pens, you may need to take a box, stick some holes in it and have chopsticks hold up the pieces. (Assuming they have closed ends)

(bottom left is abalone shell, top right is glitter nail polish)

Now for the fun part — your new finish! You have a couple of options:

  1. Glitter nail polish (I used Revlon’s discontinued Moon Candy glitter flakes. I went for something with iridescent but not opaque flakes that came in irregular sizes. I’d love suggestions for other options!) Lots of pictures of this finish are in our Decimo review.
  2. Abalone shell (like actual raden!) — I suspect you could use any number of other types of shell that contain nacre, but I don’t know how well they flake, so it’s up to you to try. Oysters and certain mussels are apparently the common sources for mother of pearl. I’m a weirdo who ate a bunch of abalones a few months ago and kept the shells, so I used abalone shell.
  3. Something else — if you do a bunch of Googling and eBaying, you can buy pre-cut mother of pearl sheets that may be actual MOP (nacre) or mica, depending on what you buy. This tutorial should work with either.

(some of the dust from my abalone shell as I flaked it with a dremel… then you get to pick through it with tweezers for the bigger pieces)

How to flake abalone (ymmv with other types of shell, but I suspect it’ll be similar) — I found it easiest to work with a dremel and dremel off pieces of the shell, bit by bit, sometimes straight down, sometimes at an angle. Then, when you have a decent pile of abalone-shell dust (most of it will be dust), pick through the pile with tweezers and put them on a piece of black paper (in my case I used a dark grey plastic dinner plate). You want to separate out as much dust as possible, since you don’t want the dust on your pen. If you don’t have a dremel, you can probabbbbly hammer it into small pieces and pick through the fragments. (I haven’t tried it, but it seems like it should work!)

EDIT: Make sure you wear a respirator while doing this! Otherwise you’re breathing in a lot of icky dust and abalone powder.

And other supplies you’ll want:

  1. Micromesh (I used a lot of 2000 grit sandpaper, but having some variety will help you achieve exactly the look you want)
  2. Tiny brushes (I stole the brushes out of my mom’s Latisse kits, but any small brushes that don’t shed bristles should be good)
  3. Polyurethane and/or Polyacylic (both in gloss finishes)
  4. (optional) Acrylic paint

A quick note on polyacrylic vs polyurethane — polyacrylic is what I initially used for both pens, it’s easy to work with — washes out of brushes with soap and water and sands and buffs quickly. However, it’s not a very hard finish. This is fine on a matte finish pen, since small dings and scratches don’t stand out. However, if you want a high-gloss, glass-like finish, you have to work with polyurethane. It smells worse, is hard to wash out, harder to sand… but is much harder (even then, it’s not as hard as urushi or many other pen finishes, I’m still working on figuring out what my other options are). Also, polyacrylic dries clear, and polyurethane has an “amber” tone — so if you’re layering over a very blue finish, it could look weird.

I found that acrylic paint mixes into polyacrylic fairly well and gives it a nice tint — I used this to hide the blemishes in the base finish of the matte black VP I started with for the abalone-finish pen. This isn’t necessary, but I imagine some cool layering could be done.

Once you have everything… (some general instructions)

  1. Do a quick layer of sanding on the original finish. I used 800 grit sand paper and just did a quick pass.
  2. Apply the first layer of the finish (more on this below)
  3. Apply the second layer of the finish
  4. Apply the first layer of clear polyacrylic/urethane and let it dry for 6-12 hours minimum. I know the can says it’s dry in 2 hours or something, but it’s probably a lie.
  5. Sand lightly
  6. Apply another layer of poly
  7. Sand lightly — does the finish still feel very bumpy? If so, repeat layering and sanding until it’s reasonably smooth, then:
  8. Buff using successively higher grits of micromesh to get a mirror-like shine or be lazy and get lucky with a layer of polyurethane being smooth and glossy
  9. And you’re done!

How to apply the glitter finish:

I used two different “colors” of glitter, one that spanned most of the body (a mostly purple/blue glitter) and a multicolor one that I focused on the middle of the pen, to give it that “gradient” look. I did a layer of the purple glitter first, let it dry, then did the second multicolor layer. Then I let both layers dry and de-gas for a day. I’m not sure if such a long drying period is necessary, but something I read on the internet (and the internet never lies) said that drying nail polish releases gasses, and you want all of that gone before you seal it further. Seems plausible. After those two layers dry, you can start step 4 above. (I think it took me three “top” coats to get the pen more or less smooth)

How to apply a “raden” or abalone-flake finish: (Even getting flakes aside, this one is much more involved)

I first did two layers of tinted polyacrylic to cover up the wear in the finish. That’s totally optional, but gave me a very even base to work with. Then, I used a small brush and painted on a very small thin patch of tinted (you could use clear) poly, then placed flakes one by one using my damp finger and tweezers. You really want just flakes on a dark surface, ideally roughly sorted by size. If you go for the gradient look, you’ll want the larger flakes toward the middle and the thin layer of poly stops being tacky enough to hold a flake in a couple minutes, so work in small areas. I found that my damp fingertip was easier to get the flake on where I wanted it, then if necessary, tweezers could push the flake around. I finished the entire pen (patch by patch) in about an hour of lots of squinting with a bright table lamp. From here, you can go to step 4 above. (I think it took me 4-6 layers to get it smooth)

Tada! You’re done. Let the pen dry for a couple days (unless you’ve actually been spacing out each layer and letting things dry reallly well), reattach your clip (I used a smidge of sac shellac) and enjoy!

 

 

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