2016 San Francisco Pen Show: What are you looking for?


The SF Pen Show is less than a week away! There will be dozens of vendors, ink stations with over 600 inks & classes and meet ups.

What are you looking for at the show?


Katherine:¬†Well, to start with – I’m SUPER excited for the Planner meet up I’m hosting with Pam on Saturday. I’ll be bringing my planner & lots of supplies to show off, see what other folks are doing and hopefully swap some supplies. I’ll also have some (probably 20?) goodie bags, so drop by and say hi! ūüôā

On the buying side — I’m primarily looking for interesting pens, but don’t have a well-defined wish list. My focus is going to be on picking up a reasonably priced Omas (fingers crossed), and perhaps a new flex pen or nib (I have one with a nib I like, but a body I hate. hah!). I’m also very much interested in pens made with interesting materials (I do love those vintage celluloid pens!) and nibs (I’ve recently been very curious about hooded and inlaid nibs). So we’ll see what turns up!

I have a rough budget, and if I don’t use up all/most of it, I’m going to buy a Pilot Custom 823 with an FA nib after the show. I thought of buying it before the show and having the nib ground, but this will be an interesting way of judging whether or not I really want a pen at the show. This is my second time at a pen show and I’m a little wary of getting carried away — my first show was a year ago and SF was just overwhelming! All I bought was a converter.

Pam: I am trying really hard to be disciplined at this year’s pen show after this past year of pen gluttony. Thank you for the strong work in pen-abling Franz and Katherine! ¬†Therefore, if all goes to plan, I will be purchasing more inks than pens.

I am going to be making friends around the Franklin-Christoph table. Definitely looking to purchase a pocket 66 (in ice finish or a prototype material) and a Model 45 (in antique glass, if available at the show).
My Inky wishlist includes Bungubox Omaezaki Sea, Pelikan Turquoise, J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey, and Sailor Yama-Dori.

Additional pen lookout for a Pilot Capless with a special alloy nib, Pilot m90, Pilot myu.

Lastly, but definitely not least, to meet planner/pen-minded people and make more planner/pen friends!! Especially at the planner meet up!

Franz: Awww man! I’ve been so excited for the SF Pen Show ever since the 2015 show ended. On the final day of last year’s show, they already knew the 2016 show dates and I couldn’t wait.

To answer the question of what I’m looking for at the show, I’m looking for a pen (or two) that will grab my attention and won’t let me go¬†home without it. I don’t really have a specific¬†list of pens to acquire but I do have a couple pens that I wanna see how it feels “in the hand”. For¬†vintage pens, maybe a Wahl-Eversharp Doric or Gold Seal, or maybe a nice Parker Vacumatic, or a safety fountain pen. For modern¬†pens, I want to hopefully see the Visconti London Fog in person. That pen has been popular among the online pen community for a couple of months now.¬†Then perhaps a Pelikan pen I’ve never seen in person before. I’m also looking to sell a couple pens at the show. I haven’t decided which ones yet but maybe a couple vintage Parker pens, a couple Pelikan pens, and just other pens that other people will enjoy writing with and perhaps become part of their own collection. Hmm.. this is becoming a lengthy explanation of a very vague point. Sorry.

Now onto what I’m REALLY looking for at the show. I’m looking¬†to reconnect with old friends I’ve met from the past pen shows (SF and LA), and also to meet new friends either just from the pen show itself or meet a few Instagram (IG) friends in real life (IRL). True story: I actually met Pam and her friends at the 2015 SF Pen Show while I was helping out at the registration desk. So there you go, with each pen show I¬†attend, I am blessed to chat with people and gain more knowledge about this great hobby of ours.

I will try my best to post photos on Instagram during the pen show. The Instagram tag used is #sfpenshow2016 and #sfpenshow as well.


We’re looking forward to all the fun things planned like the free seminars, the planner meet up, the letter writing social, and many more. Even after the show closes,¬†there is a Pen Addict meet up on Friday at 7pm. And then on Saturday night, the Royal Deuces band is performing live music at 8pm.

So if you’re¬†able to attend the 2016 SF pen show on August 26, 27, and 28, please do and we¬†hope to meet some of y’all!¬†Thank you!


P.S. If you will be attending, what are you looking for at the San Francisco Pen Show?

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Behind The Hands (BTH)

It has been about a month since the launch of our blog!  It’s high time that we introduce ourselves a little bit more and get to know you all, our awesome readers.

What do you do and how does that affect your pen choices?

Katherine: I work at Sift Science as a Solutions Engineer and team lead. I work pretty closely with many of our customers, so I’m constantly on the phone, in and out of meetings and generally running around. As a result I tend to carry a notebook and prefer pens I can get to easily (not looooong unscrews) so I can jot down quick notes easily. My office is pretty close to paper free, so I bring my own notebooks to work (currently a Travelers Notebook and a Nanami Sevenseas Crossfield) and, of course, supply my own pens and ink.

Franz: I work in a bank as a customer service manager. I am that person who goes around the office to meet a client, or assist a co-worker. And the job requires me to be able to jot down notes or sign my name multiple times in one day. Before I got into fountain pens, I used to be that guy who kept on asking, “Do you have a pen?”. Now, I have a backup pen (or two) just in case I left my main pen of the day on my desk.

As for pen choices, as long as it is comfortable, the cap doesn’t take forever to unscrew, and it writes okay on cr-opy paper. I tend to choose either fine, or medium nibs on my pens as a compromise between Tomoe River paper for personal use and the copy paper used at work.

P.S. Now, I am that guy who tries to spread the joys of writing with a fountain pen (Penvangelism).

Pam: I am a pharmacist at a hospital.  I work both in the pharmacy itself and on the patient units.  At work, I have been called the “pen pusher.”  I have introduced Jetstreams and Pentel Energels to my colleagues in the hospital.  Sadly, our supply closet is still filled with generic, gummy, ballpoints.

The only paper available is cheap copier paper.  Luckily, I really enjoy EF and F nibs.  They work pretty well on the cheap paper and I prefer pens that are really fast to deploy for quick notes given how healthcare can go from 0 to 60 in a couple second flat. A finer and stiff (steel) nib really helps keep my lines consistent due to my small handwriting as well.

What was your first fountain pen?

Katherine: Ha. I had a cheap, bright yellow Sheaffer as a kid. I was about 9 when my mom got it for me, complete with a bottle of Skrip blue with the old-style side pocket to make filling easier. I loved the pen, but generally made a mess. Fast forward many, many years and I rediscovered fountain pens by buying a Pilot Metropolitan off Massdrop. It’s hard to believe, but I bought my Metro and a bottle of Noodler’s HoD because it was CHEAPER than the number of gel pens I was going through.

Franz: It was an onyx Cross Aventura with a medium nib and I still have it. As I wrote with it, I found that the writing was too bold and that it almost bled through the paper. I was a little bit turned off at first but I think I loved the idea of writing with a fountain pen more so I kept on it.

I later found out (probably the next day) that there are different types of paper and more fountain pen friendly paper exists, I also found that writing with a fountain pen does not require bearing down on the pen with pressure like I would on ballpoints. And so the pen addiction began.

Pam:  A green/grey Kakuno, F nib (of course).  That was soon followed by the Pilot Petit and the Metropolitan.

The Cross Aventura: Franz's first fountain pen
The Cross Aventura: Franz’s first fountain pen

How do you carry your fountain pens?

Katherine: I typically carry mine in either a zip pouch from Franklin-Christoph or a three-pen sleeve I made out of a piece of fleece. The former gives me more flexibility with pen sizes (it fits ALL of my pens). The latter gives me more protection from leaks, and if I want to bring multiple pens, stops them from rubbing together. Sometimes I’m lazy and just clip my pen to the inside of my notebook and throw it in my backpack… but I’m pretty sure this is how I end up losing a pen and try not to do it too often.

Franz: It has been a while now since I’ve been using a 4 pen leather case to carry my pens to work. I got this from the Andersons’ table at the 2014 LA pen show. This is my go to case and it’s just perfect for me.

More recently though, I’ve been slinging a bag that contains the 4 pen leather case, and a Nock Co. Sinclair. Also in the bag are a couple notebooks, and a planner. I guess I went from carrying four pens to ten (or more). Don’t judge… ;-P

Pam:  I have been using the Lihit Lab Smart Fit Actact Open Wide pen case. I also keep pens with my Hobonichi Weeks and Hobonichi Cousin. Interestingly, I have been carrying more pens since meeting Franz and Katherine.  Interesting indeed…

Franz's 4 pen leather case. It can carry 5 pens as well.
Franz’s 4 pen leather case. It can carry 5 pens as well.
Pam's Lihit Lab case
Pam’s Lihit Lab case

Dear reader, answer us this, what was your first fountain pen? 



Hello & Welcome!

Hello world!

This is our first post — the only people who will likely read it at first are Pam & Franz as they see their WordPress invites and go “what the heck is Katherine doing?!”

The goal of this blog is for us to review and share our opinions on fountain pens & associated things. I’ve found that my hands are MUCH smaller than average and many pen reviews call pens I think are totally normal “small” and pens that I can’t use comfortably “perfectly sized”. So here we are, I figure I can’t be the only one — and I’ve dragged two friends into it!

So welcome to my (our, because everything is better with friends) corner of the internet. And, bring on any & all feedback!