2018 Pen Wrap Up (Top 5s!)

Franz: Another fantastic year has come and gone and 2018 has been an interesting year for me in terms of refining my pen focus. I believe I can categorize this year as both the Custom/One-Off Exploration, and the Vintage Search/Education type. I’ve actually bought less pens this year against any other year however it has been more deliberate and selective. This may be an influence from Katherine. Haha!

And here are my Top 5 Pens for 2018. This isn’t my greatest pens of all time however these are the pens that have been acquired within the year and has been inked up ever since I got it. Also a quick note, one of my invaluable stationery finds for the year is the Musubi pen case (pictured above). This has been a daily carry case for me at work and it secures my pens well.

  • Newton Pens Moody (Fine M800 Cursive Italic Nib) – I got the chance to be on Shawn’s wait list and it took me a while to figure out what I wanted. I supplied the M800 nib to Shawn, I asked him for a longer section, and also found this fantastic material. I got this early on in the year and it’s been a favorite ever since.
  • Pelikan M800 (Medium Nib) – I got this from the LA Pen Show from one of the trusted vendors. He said that this was a one-off and it took a long time for him to decide on selling this pen. He dubbed it “Pelimatic” even if the material in the binde used was from a Visconti Wall Street celluloid. I found it on Thursday night but I did not buy it until Friday afternoon. So I know that this pen was for me.
  • Pelikan M805 (Broad Nib) – This is sort of a cheat. This pen was a Black M805 and has been with me since 2014. However this year, the pen took a trip to Japan around September and came back in November with new clothes! =) The entire barrel and cap was customized with urushi lacquer by Hiroko of Bokumondoh. The technique/finish is called Ginpaku (silver leaf). I love everything about it!
  • Pilot Custom (Broad Nib) – Here’s a vintage pen that’s always been on my list. I love the Pilot MYU Black Stripe but I found that posting and unposting wasn’t the best for work. Now this Custom Black Stripe is pretty much a perfect Every Day Carry pen for me. A snap-cap, smooth juicy nib, and a simple aesthetic.
  • Parker Vacumatic Oversize – Hello Parker! =) Parker Vacumatics have always been a pen model that I love. I started getting into Vacumatics even way before I got into Pelikan. But I’ve always had the Major/Demi models which are quite small for my hand. I then decided on just getting the Maxima/Oversize models. This Burgundy Oversize model was an unexpected find while helping out with Mr. Rick Propas’ new website photos. I couldn’t stop ogling and fondling… er… admiring the pen while photographing it. So… this pen eventually found its way to my hands during a pen posse meetup. Aside from the pen itself, the nib is so good as well. Nib was customized to an italic and was provided to have some flex to it. #lovethispen

However, the biggest find for me in 2018 are my Pen Friends! I was lucky enough to be able to once again attend both the San Francisco and Los Angeles pen shows and was able to meet new people either just from the show or via online. The San Francisco Bay Pen Posse pen group has also grown and I’ve met great people whom I see at least once a month. I really love that there is an active pen group that is local to me as it lets me talk to like-minded people in this hobby. So here’s to 2019 for more pen adventures, more learnings, and more fun! Thank you for your readership dear friends!

Katherine: It’s been a crazy year for me — both personally and in terms of pens. In 2018 I discovered a couple new brands and makers (a post about this to follow!) and hoarded acquired more pens than was probably responsible. Whoops.

For my top 5 I’ve chosen a mix of both interesting and super-functional pens: Nakaya ao-tamenuri decapod mini, Japanese vintage (kamakura-bori), Nakaya heki-tamenuri dragon thingy, Parker 51 with ishime by Bokumondoh & Stylo Art Saiun-nuri.

All of them are reliable and solid writers, but honestly some are more practical than others. The Saiun-nuri sports a fantastic PO nib that’s great for my small handwriting and all sorts of paper. On the other end of the spectrum, the carved floral pen is a lever filler, a decent writer but not a pen I’d choose to EDC any time soon. (Though some of that is due to how uncommon it is, I’ve never seen another one like it… nor has anyone I know)

They’re also from a variety of sources, which adds to the fun. The Dragon Nakaya was from my July trip to Singapore for the Aesthetic Bay Nakaya fair. The floral kamakura-bori was muled from LA by a friend who sent me a picture of a dealer’s case, which I zoomed in on and fell in love, and Paypaled them the money… all while brushing my teeth. The funniest story is the Ao Decapod Mini’s — it had been a grail pen of mine for a while, and one day I woke up to a message “This is really silly, but I think I’ve had your grail pen in a drawer all this time, do you want it?” (Clearly, the answer was YES OMG HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT FOR IT… then I ran around my parents house squeeing for a while while my brother’s corgi chased me. Yep, that’s my life.)

I’m excited to see what 2019 brings, and how my hoard evolves! And, I think it goes without saying, if you happen to find a decapod mini in your drawer and want to send it to a new home, you know how to reach me! ♥

Pam: 2018 was a year of big changes for me, which included in less acquisitions (darn adulting!) and exploring what was already in my collection. At least, that’s what my top 5 pens are reflecting to me as we wrap up 2018.

Pilot Custom 823, F nib. I haven’t explored Pilots more expensive pens despite my love of the Pilot Prera. I have become a bit addicted to using this pen when it comes to a writing experience. It’s such a comfortable and smooth writer. It’s also my first vac! Now, if only I could find it’s one true ink pairing…

Lamy 2000, needlepoint grind by Mottishaw. An oldie but a goodie. You know you love a pen when you part with it only to buy it again. I parted with my original Lamy 2000 with the EF nib to a friend who loved it more than I did, only to miss it. I was fortunate enough to find someone at the SF pen show who was willing to part with the needlepoint Lamy 2000 that I coveted since the 2017 SF pen show. It was fated! Yes, I absolutely inked it with Sailor Yama-dori.

Sailor Blue Cosmos, MF nib is a bit of a surprise to me in terms of how much I enjoyed writing with the pen despite it’s broader, relatively speaking, nib size. It is currently paired with my new blue obsession, Iroshizuku Tsuya-Kusa. I can’t get enough of this warm blue which reminds me of bright summer skies. The MF nib shows off the color beautifully. This is my favorite pen and ink pairing in 2018.

Platinum 3776, UEF nib was a gift by the infamous Thomas Hall who is also known for his tiny “hantwriting.” From one tiny handwriting person to another, I am so grateful for this pen. It has been inked with Pilot Blue Black, my ode to Thomas Hall himself. Platinum is a brand that I was introduced to through Katherine who has a bit of a Nakaya obsession and now, I definitely understand why so many love the Platinum nibs as much as they do. I greatly appreciate how different the nibs of the big 3 Japanese brands feel and how they distinguish themselves. I find that to be particularly true in the super fine and extra fine sized nibs. The difference may appear to be minute, but when nib hits the paper, it’s a whole new world.

Brute Force Pequeno with Montblanc 144 nib became one of my favorite SF pen show memories this year and resulted in one of my favorite pens of 2018. I loved the body of the Pequeno but found the standard nib to be lackluster. I really wanted to write with the Montblanc 144 nib more, but hated the skinny body. Claire came to my rescue by notifying me that the 144 nib would fit a Jowo housing if I could acquire one. The hunt was on at the SF pen show! It resulted in trips down memory lane for both Troy and me as I showed him the new improved Pequeno. I paired with with Sailor Rikyu-cha because the broader, wetter Montblanc nib showed off the green-brown color so well. I am still intrigued and mesmerized with this ink color.

2018 was the year of me getting over the Sailor limited edition FOMO. It was a tough year for resisting temptation! It also is making me reconsider parts of my collection that I don’t use out of fear of losing or damaging the pen, particularly when it comes to the vintage fountain pens. In 2019, we are going to fix that! I am going to start rotating in my vintage collection and continue to fine tune my collection. To more inky and pen adventures in the upcoming year!

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2017 Pen Wrap Up

Katherine: We’d agreed on a prompt of top five acquisitions, I think. But I’m rebelling. 2017 was the year of the Nakaya for me — I went from zero to six, so let’s talk about that.

To start, some insight into my head — I place a lot of value in things that aren’t mass produced and are made by masters of a craft (see also my love for fine dining). Second, I’m willing to pay much more for things I can’t make/do myself (see my love for absurd molecular gastronomy, much less for anything I could conceivably cook at home). Third, I’m pretty busy with work, but I’m obsessive and I tend to be willing to try to do a lot of things (see the hours I’ve spent in the kitchen making my own sous vide egg foams).

Given those things, and my love of pens, I think Nakaya are a natural fit for me. I won’t lie, I’ve dabbled with my own finishes and urushi lacquer, and it’s still something I want to learn more about.  Until then, Nakaya is a delightful mix of beautiful forms*, masterful craftsmanship and daily indulgence, all bundled together in a utilitarian writing instrument.

And, because the adventure doesn’t have to end — Nakaya I still want: another Mini Decapod (vaguely considering letting one go? let me know!), a pen in ishime suzu (black and silver) and a Decapod Twist in midori-tamenuri (a mini deca in midori-tamenuri would be amazing… but my odds are so low).

* I have a soft spot for pens with gently conical ends, and a (excuse my language) massive hard on for faceted pens.

Pam:  2017 was a year of acquiring and within that process refining what my writing preferences are.  It has been the most adventurous and sentimental year yet for me with 2 pen shows and great pen friends.  The five pens I chose is a reflection of my experiences in 2017 as well as the direction that my pen use and “collection” is headed in 2018.

No surprise to the Sailor ProGear Blue Lagoon.  It’s by far my favorite Sailor (don’t tell the Progear Slims) for it’s color combination and performance.  It has solidified my love for the Sailor Progear and Progear Slims.  With all the special limited editions that Sailor keeps coming out with, like the Purple Cosmos, all I can say is that Sailor is going to be keeping my wallet pretty slim.  The Pelikan m800 Ocean Swirl was a very pleasant surprise by my pen-spirators (Katherine, Franz and Roz) that included my non-fountain-pen-bestie getting me a very extravagant gift for my 31st birthday.  I am a very lucky girl. After having an m800 of my own I am wondering why I was so hesitant to try the m800 size before this year.  It’s a great size for pretty much any hand size and so well balanced!

I am actually surprised by the remaining 3 pens on my list given that I never thought of myself as a vintage girl. However, vintage pens have an affinity for small hands as the form factor of the pens are naturally slim and compact.  It’s a great match.  I am enamored by “short long” pens which are pocket pens that cap into a “normal” size pen.  There aren’t that many short long pens with Japanese fine nibs on the modern market; only the Pilot Elite comes to mind. This “gap” is actually well fulfilled by the vintage pens.  All three of the Japanese firms (Sailor, Pilot and Platinum) made short-longs/pocket pens back in the day, going as far as to mimic each other’s designs.  The black stripe Myu by Pilot and this unique Platinum black and silver pen really opened my eyes to treasures of the vintage world.  What I love about the vintage pen world is that everyone has a “niche” in terms of what they get excited about and what they collect.  With the influence of a fellow pen friend, Andrew, I may have slipped down this rabbit hole and I can’t wait to see where it will lead in 2018.

Lastly but certainly the greatest of surprises for me is the Parker 51.  I don’t typically talk about Parkers and why haven’t I?  The nib on this Parker is FANTASTIC, the smooth body and width of the pen is super comfortable for my handwriting, and it’s vintage?! This pen broke me of the idea that vintage pens were “stuffy.” How do you revive a “stuffy” pen?  Put a bright ink in it.  Inspired by Franz’s post of “black pens want pink ink” on Instagram and following that advice, I found great joy and a wonderful writing experience with this pen.

All I can say is that 2017 was eye-opening.  I think 2018 is going to be a year of continual refinement and potentially slowing down the rate of acquiring. Some people have a word of the year and if I had to choose one for my pen use/collection, it would be “intentional” and being more cognizant of my own pen habits and use case (at least until the next Sailor Progear  limited edition or vintage pocket pen comes my way).

Franz: Wow! 2017 is almost over and HELLO 2018!

I’ve enjoyed this hobby very much especially because of all the great people I meet along the way. Lots of highlights and events that passed this year. Here’s just a few I’d like to share.

  • In February, I went to the LA Pen Show and it was all about fun, and food! I mean, pens are great and all but you’ve gotta enjoy some great food too. That restaurant in Korea town with the awesome iced tea was a highlight. Tin Roof Bistro dinner was a success too. Got to spend some time with my sister as well.
  • In April, went to the Atlanta Pen Show for the very first time. I got to meet up with a family friend who has been into fountain pens long before myself and showed him around for his first pen show. Got to see the live Pen Addict podcast. Late night food at the Waffle House… yum.
  • In August, got to attend the SF Pen Show and once again assist with their classes and seminars. That show is just phenomenal. Got to host the Pay-It-Forward table with my Mom and a few other Pen Posse friends.
  • In September, Pelikan Hubs was held, and it was great listening to Mr. Rick Propas provide a history if my favorite pen brand.
  • All year round, Pen Posse meetups happen with the Food sub-committee meetups as well. The pen posse is a great group of people and happy to be part of it!

Also, I’m very thankful that this Hand Over That Pen blog continues to be. My friendship with Katherine and Pam is just… extraordinary.

Here’s my top 5 pens for 2017 in accordance to being inked up and mostly used during the year.

  • Classic Pens LB5, Tairiku (continent) in Amethyst Mauve, Broad nib. This pen was part of my top 5 last year as well. It just shows that I love writing with this pen. The 21-karat Sailor King of Pen nib is very nice especially on Tomoe River paper. The length of the pen is perfect for my hand. It still has Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst ink in it.
  • Nakaya Neo Standard, Kikyo, Medium nib. This is a new pen for me in 2017 that I got from the secondary market. Just like the LB5, the length of the pen is perfect for me. The dark blue is understated and it’s a pen I’ve been using a lot at work. The ruthenium clip and nib made it an even more subtle and beautiful pen for me. Thanks to J. of Classic Fountain Pens! The medium nib is perfect for either the cheap copier paper or Tomoe River paper that I use a lot. The Neo Standard is paired with Pilot Blue Black ink as it matches the dark blue finish.
  • Pelikan M1000, Green Striated, Fine cursive italic nib. I’ve had this pen since 2016 but I only had the nib turned into a cursive italic by Mr. Dan Smith at the 2017 LA Pen Show. Since then, the M1000 has not been un-inked and I’ve used it almost every day. The nib is springy and wet just like it should. I am a self-confessed Pelikan Addict and this flagship pen is perfect! It has been paired with my top favorite ink, Pelikan 4001 Turquoise.
  • Parker Vacumatic Maxima, Golden Brown, Medium nib. I have such a love for the Parker Vacumatic pens and I always have at least one Vacumatic inked up. The stacked coin design is so beautiful with these Vacumatic pens. I was looking for a Vacumatic Maxima during the 2017 SF Pen Show but couldn’t find one with a great price, and nib preference. But at a Pen Posse right after the show, I was presented this pen for a great price and it has a medium flexy nib. It also sports a Star clip which was a transitional clip in 1939 before Parker chose the Blue Diamond clip. The Maxima is one of the “bigger” pens in its time and I find it comfortable to write with even unposted. Posted, the length makes it perfect, but I avoid doing so because the cap lip might crack. I love using this at work and every time I use it, it places a smile on my face. It has been inked up with Akkerman 05 Shocking Blue ever since.
  • Wahl-Eversharp Personal Point Gold Seal, Lazulitic Blue, Medium nib. Ok, Parker pens seems to always get my attention but Wahl-Eversharp pens do so occasionally as well. I’ve been on the lookout for larger sized W-E pens but haven’t really seen much that is within the budget. I saw this W-E pen in person in early 2016 and did not act on it and thought that it was sold. Fast forward to July 2017, I found this pen again and I immediately sold a pen to buy it. That’s how much I wanted it. No regrets at all and has been in use since bought! The blue material of this Personal Point is just stunning especially for a blue pen lover like yours truly. Just like the Vacumatic Maxima, it has a flexy medium nib which writes oh so smoothly. Currently inked with Pilot Blue Black.

 

Happy New Year to you all and may 2018 bring you more blessings and happiness!

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