I’ve got 11 inked pens. Right now, that’s feeling like an achievement. With new pens and new inks to try, I’m fighting to keep to a manageable number. But I’m pretty happy with this loadout.
1: Visconti Homo Sapiens — Aurora Black
I admit, I’m struggling to find the right ink for the Homo Sapiens. Edelstein Topaz was nice, but a bright blue didn’t seem quite right for a pen like this. Smoky Quartz didn’t work at all — the line came out too light. KWZ Honey wasn’t working for me either. And Organics Emerson was too dry. Not the pen’s fault. I thought I’d give Aurora Black a whirl, mainly because I haven’t used a black ink in months. It’s a nice ink: well behaved and a true black.
The Visconti is proving a real pleasure, though. As well as being beautiful, comfortable and unique, it’s a consistently good writer.
2: Sailor Pro Gear — Bungubox Ink of Witch
The Pro Gear benefits from a lubricated ink like this. It’s still got the characteristic Sailor pencil-like feel, but it glides a bit more. Because the Sailor isn’t super wet, you can see the true colour of the ink, a dusky purple/brown.
3: Platinum 3776 UEF — Organics Studio Arsenic Grey
I’m on a bit of a grey ink kick at the moment. This one is pretty, and dark enough to be visible even in this UEF nib. It’s not the wettest ink, but much better behaved than its sheen-monster siblings like Walden. The 3776, as always, is proving utterly reliable and comfortable, and the UEF nib is proving a godsend when I’m trying to cram a growing to-do list on to a small sheet of note paper!
4: Pelikan M205 — Diamine Earl Grey
I know I’ve opined at length about loving big pens and gold nibs, but I’m kinda falling back in love with the M205. It’s cheap, reliable, and writes a line that somehow manages to be controlled yet wet enough to let inks shine. And it helps that Earl Grey is really nice. I felt a bit bad swapping away from Edelstein Smoky Quartz in this pen — it was a killer combination. But Earl Grey is a wonderful shader.
5: Pelikan M805 — Montblanc JFK
I didn’t like JFK when I got it. Of my dozen or so blue-blacks it didn’t stand out at all. What a boring sober blue! But I thought I’d give it another crack. It’s very well behaved, which makes it a perfect match for the equally well-behaved M805. I love this pen, and it’s helping move Pelikan up the ranks of my favourite manufacturers. When I need a pen that’s comfortable and gets out of the way, the M805 is it. No flex, no crazy grinds, no fancy anything — uncap and write.
6: Lamy 2000 — KWZ Azure #5
I had the Lamy inked with Sailor Souten and it was depressing me. I don’t know whether I’ve got a duff bottle or something, but Souten feels quite dry and it really lacks the pop of colour that I’m used to from Sailor inks. It made the 2000 feel like a chore to use. So I swapped in the most lubricated and saturated blue I know of, Azure #5. And wow, what a transformation. I’m actually enjoying writing with the Lamy again, and it’s given my handwriting flair. I don’t remember this ink being so well behaved, either: it seems to dry quickly without smudging.
7: Platinum 3776 SF — Sailor Yama-Dori
With all the excitement going on in my pen case, this combo has sat neglected for a while and it’s taking me forever to work through the converter. The SF nib is just that bit more work to use than the UEF, and I’m so familiar with Yama-Dori that it’s just not that alluring to me. The red sheen doesn’t come out much on a nib this narrow, either.
8: Pilot 823 Falcon — Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku
I’m nearly finished with this fill of the mammoth 823 barrel, largely because I accidentally discharged quite a lot of the ink while showing off the vac fill mechanism in the Dallas airport Montblanc boutique. Oops. Anyway, Ku-Jaku is like a fun younger brother to Yama-Dori, and the 823 is just about living up to my sky-high expectations… it was probably on my grail list for longer than any other pen. It’s certainly been trouble-free so far and the FA nib performs as well as on my 912, and with less railroading in fact.
9: Pilot 912 Falcon — Sailor Kin-Mokusei
This orange still makes me smile every time I write with it. It’s just my sort of ink: wet and really bold. The 912‘s not been getting much use, though; I feel obliged to use the 823 since it’s newer!
10: Pelikan M1000 — Diamine Blood Orange
I’m clearly in a bit of a red phase right now. I bought Blood Orange on a whim and I inked my juiciest pen with it to show it off. It really is a lovely colour, just on the border between red and orange. Definitely usable, and unlike, say, Ancient Copper, I’m not noticing any nib crud yet. Looks like a winner so far.
11: Kaweco AL Sport XXF — Noodler’s Tiananmen
Another red! This one is a bold, saturated clay red that’s really interesting and full of personality, with moderate shading. But (and this may be no surprise for anyone who’s tried some Noodler’s inks in the past) it’s not exactly well behaved. Even in this tiniest of XXF nibs, it smudges like crazy. A bit of a problem when you’re a lefty.
Nonetheless, the Kaweco is getting some serious writing time. There’s something genius about this design. I love spinning the faceted barrel.