The great uninking

I’ll admit it. Things had got a little out of control. I had eighteen inked pens this morning.

It’s not the first time I’ve had more pens inked than I know what to do with (when new inks and new pens turn up, they get added to the pile), but I don’t think I’ve ever had quite so many inked.

Time for a ruthless blitz. I set myself a goal of getting down to six pens inked.

Warning: serious beanplating ahead.

Here was the first batch against the wall:


Cracking through these first eight was easy enough. A few were nearly empty (M400, Dia2); a few had been inked for a while (Wall St, 823), a few I wasn’t enjoying (Duofold, Corail des Tropiques in the Dialog 3). So there we go. Down to 10.

The next few wouldn’t be so easy. I had some all-star pens inked, with some of my favourite colours.


But I held firm. The Tactile Turn Gist, inked with a custom brown ink I’d mixed myself, was first to fall. I’m not a fan of brown.

The Visconti Homo Sapiens Steel Age was next. It wasn’t getting on with the Sepia ink from Birmingham, and I already had one Visconti in my “must keep” pile.

The Kaweco Art Sport isn’t really in my main rotation anyway. It never dries out and it’s a cartridge, so instead of flushing it I just stuck it back in the pen drawer to rest.

And that’s me down to seven.

At this point I hit a brick wall. I decided that flushing out 11 pens was good work and I settled on a “magnificent seven”.


First up:

Montblanc 149 Platinum, Montblanc Homer Greek Blue

Ah, what a pen. You can read my gushing first impressions of this beast, but I’m still in the honeymoon period. And Homer Blue is still so relaxing to write with.


Montblanc 1912, Montblanc Red Fox

Still on the podium for me. Against other reds the Red Fox looks almost orange. I just love the writing experience of the 1912.


Graf von Faber-Castell Intuition Platino Ebony, Herbin Vert de Gris

Since I tackled the drying out problem with a drop of silicone grease, the Intuition has become a joy to write with again. The new Herbin Vert de Gris is a fabulous interesting green-blue-black.


Lamy 2000, Herbin Rouge Grenat

The good old 2000 is at the heart of my collection. It just writes so smoothly, and gets out of the way. And Rouge Grenat is up there with Pure Cadwaladr as one of my favourite reds. Herbin is having a great year.


Sheaffer Legacy Heritage, Montblanc Psychedelic Purple

This is an extravagant combo. The Beatles ink really pops, and the broad, wet inlaid 18k nib shows it off perfectly.


Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl, Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo

If I had any gap in this lineup, it would be for a true fine nib. This EF Pelikan will have to do. A beautiful blue pen deserves a beautiful blue ink, and the high-shading Tsuki-Yo steps up.


Visconti London Fog, Edelstein Topaz

Last but certainly not least. This is like writing with heaven. Topaz is one of my all-time favourite blues. Such a combo — it makes me smile every time.


So that’s it. A solid selection, in my opinion. With a palette of inks that work very nicely together. When the last pen was flushed and the chosen few were arrayed in my Galen Writing Box, I had a great sense of peace. All was right with the world, and I was back in control.

As I contemplated the array of pens I started to spot the common factors.

It’s no surprise to me that I picked a load of big pens. Or that there would be zero steel nibs in the final lineup. Or that all would have silver trim instead of gold.

But I was surprised that fully five of the seven pens were German. That four had a medium nib (with two of the remaining three being broad!). That there would be so many slip caps, or that they’d all have a clip. Sometimes your taste sings out in unexpected ways.


A visitor calls

But there’s one dark horse (not so dark, perhaps) that I’ve not mentioned so far. As well as the seven pens discussed above, I’m playing host this week to this gorgeous pen, thanks to the new service Pensharing.


The Delta Fantasia Vintage celluloid makes the Ocean Swirl look dull. It’s an epically chattoyant tropical vision, and as soon as I unpacked it I wanted to own it. Sure, it’s a C/C filler with a steel nib, but wow, what a steel nib! Above all, it’s just really comfortable, with a big fat section and great weight distribution. Naturally, it’s stayed inked as the carnage raged around!


12 thoughts on “The great uninking

    • 😊 I’m pretty happy with the collection — I’ve been ruthless about selling over the years so what’s left is stuff I love. Happy writing indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yep! The nib dries out quickly due to air passing through the hole behind the clip hinge. If you blow into the end of the cap, you’ll feel it. Dab some silicone grease behind the clip hinge with the end of a toothpick and you’ll seal the hole. Works a charm — it’s invisible and the drying out problem is completely solved.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank You Anthony,
    I’m in a dangerous acquisition phase of my FP love affair, and this article really helps me focus on what matters in a pen… In a word, quality and joy! I’m currently having fun with my slim ergonomics matches, which include a Waterman Hemisphere, a Pilot Cavalier, and a Diplomat Traveller. But next round I’ll come back to this article, because I appreciate your description of the pens and inks together, and the inspiration to take the caliber up a level. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I must be in serious trouble – I know I have at least 30 pens currently inked. However, I am retired, and I do a LOT of writing, so they don’t stay idle long. I’m in love with that blue Delta. I love blue with gold, it really pops. And the lights and darks…well, I’m swooning. Speaking of blue, I also love Edelstein Topaz ink, it’s one of my favorites. I really like the ink colors you have left after cleaning. Good job! Now if I could just get busy and clean out a couple dozen pens….

    Liked by 1 person

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