UKFP Uncapped: 26th August 2019

One of my favourite parts of the week is seeing the wonderful weekly posts that other pen bloggers put out. The Gentleman Stationer. Refill and Misfill from the Pen Addict. Link Love from Well-Appointed Desk. Trail Log from fpquest. Fountain Pen Love. Tom Oddo’s Ink Flight.

I don’t want to repeat their exhaustive work, but I do see a gap in my posts for something more… current. So let’s try this out. I’m calling it Uncapped.

Community

Today and over the weekend the SF Pen Show has been filling up my feed (moreso than Sydney). It’s amazing to see a pen show that’s so vibrant, with retailers from around the world exhibiting — including the lovely Kauru from Bungubox in Japan and Galen Leather all the way from Turkey. I wish we had a pen show that was so modern, cosmopolitan and bustling.

Happily, we may do next year. Roy from Izods has spearheaded a new pen show in London called The Capital Pen Show. I’ll be somehow involved, and I’m planning a post with more details shortly. In the meantime, follow The Capital Pen Show.

One of my most popular posts of the year has been my leaks post about Montblanc’s 2019 releases. And while the Kipling launched a while ago, the Montblanc Expression flex nib is only just trickling out. Lots of fascinating discussion in this thread.

And lastly, as if I wasn’t already incredibly envious of Japan’s pen culture, I read Fudefan’s writeup of a show exclusively for inks. You read me right.

Buying

I don’t use Iguanasell as much as I used to. I find their constantly changing discount structure confusing, and their prices are not as competitive as they used to be. But I still check out their new arrivals most days, and I eagerly hunt through their periodic sales. One thing I always notice is how the same products crop up in sale after sale. They must have noticed the same thing, and have launched a permanent Iguanasell Outlet, with 40% discount. Pretty good deals. Along with Endless Pens and Pen Sachi, are we seeing a new era of discount pen shopping? Maybe these are replacements for the defunct Drop.com pen category…

On my doormat

I made an unexpected acquisition this week. I spotted (as many of you might) a pen from Leonard Slattery appearing on Virtualpenshow a few weeks ago. I got into an email chat with Leonard about a possible commission. We couldn’t make my idea work, but Leonard sent me a couple of his designs to take a look at and review. I fell in love with one, which if you’d just shown me the photos I would have been dubious about. But it’s magic in the hand. Look for a review soon.

It took me ages to hunt down Montblanc Starwalker Exploration Grey, the tie-in ink for the latest Starwalker launch. It’s only available in cartridges, for a start (the Starwalker is not a piston filler), and it’s called various things online, for example Cosmos Grey. But I bought a couple of packs of cartridges from my old faithful Wheelers, and decanted into a Nalgene bottle with a syringe.

The colour itself is a high-shading grey, with pale violet tones. Think Sailor 123, Troublemaker Abalone and Petrichor, and the current trend toward complex and subtle colours. I’m liking it a lot.

GLP has launched two new colours of The Author notebook, a navy blue and forest green. I was a big fan of the bright red and turquoise colours, and these at first glance seem a little dull. But better for the workplace, probably. Look for a review in due course!

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On my credit card

Ian Schon and his Schon DSGN pens have a loyal fanbase. He’s just launched his first fountain pen, and sales went live on the 20th, in a range of fab colour splash combinations. I ordered one in silver and blue. What’s so exciting about this pen? It’s a tiny metal pocket pen — but with a full-size #6 nib. Cool.

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Arco celluloid is perhaps the most famous and lusted-after fountain pen material. Made famous by Omas, but since appearing in limited releases by Oldwin, Visconti and ASC, you’re looking at a lot of money if you want to own a pen in this material. There’s a feeding frenzy for it, and sellers know it. I’ve finally succumbed, buying an ASC Gladiatore Medio from the wonderful Bryant at Chatterley Luxuries. Where this new pen differs from the other ASC pens is that it’s a normal size, with a piston and #6 gold nib. It looks comfortable. I hope it lives up to the promo photos.

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I’m finding myself doing a lot more work on the pens I buy, and it was time for me to invest in a proper knock-out block for removing nibs and feeds from pens and housings. I was very pleased to stumble on The Pendragons on Etsy. A block and some micro-mesh are incoming.

On my mind

Some of you may remember that I bought my second Oldwin a while ago. I wasn’t happy with the fine nib this time around, and rather than go round the houses with Mora Stylos I sent it off to John Sorowka to work his magic. Can John win me over to the abilities of a seasoned nibmaster? Or will I end up buying a new nib? Only time will tell.

Honestly, fuck Pelikan. I recently re-bought an M400 white tortoise, with a medium nib. I should have just sent the damn thing back to Cult Pens: looking down the end of the nib with a loupe, the two blobs of tipping are noticeably different sizes, and the alignment was off. I’ve done my best with it, but it still needs some work to feel right. It’s simultaneously scratchy and overpolished, with a touch of baby’s bottom thrown in for good measure. While I’ve never had a bad nib from a new Montblanc, I think about 80% of my new Pelikan nibs have been crap. I think I’ll scratch the M1005 off my wishlist for good.

How did I miss the Nock Burton the first time around?! I’ve shot an email to Brad to see if I can get a review sample, but this looks like the perfect case for me: A5 notebook, several pens, Field Notes, padded. I’m in love.

I’m feeling special edition fatigue. Just today I got all excited about another limited edition Sailor, even though I don’t really like Pro Gears. I’ve been thinking about buying the Pelikan Star Ruby M205, even though the M200 series is tiny and plasticky. This post from TGS (which I commented on with a few additions…) really brought it home to me just how many FOMO-triggering special editions we are hit with each year.

7 thoughts on “UKFP Uncapped: 26th August 2019

  1. That ASC looks spectacular. Almost the same as an Omas Paragon but a bit smaller then?

    Regarding LE fatigue. Indeed! However 2 upcoming ones are very tempting:
    – Sailors Angel’s Delight – I think more sexy than the demonstrator you linked.
    – Aurora 88 Black Mamba. The pen for a James Bond villain.

    Like

    • Yes indeed, similar to a Paragon!

      The Black Mamba does appeal, but for me the Nettuno has set a very high bar. The Arctic Ocean might be the only one that comes close in my view!

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  2. I enjoyed this round-up of your pen news and activities. I cannot agree with your sentiments regarding Pelikan as my own experience of their nibs has always been good, although I have only a handful to go on. The account of you decanting all the ink from cartridges to bottle made me smile:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice article, very interesting a bit of a change of pace from your usual. I quite like hearing about what blogs other folks read.

    On the topic of Pelikan nibs I’m always curious about things like this, what proportion of the pens they sell go to people who will post about them, and then I believe people are more likely to post about a negative experience than a positive one as there’s the feeling of “nothing to report” if it acts as intended.

    I’ve also been chatting with Leonard, his “sectionless” design looks interesting as its section is a bit broader than the others. He’s also starting to play about with designs for #8 nibs.

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    • Yeah, the design I was discussing with him was a #8! I may have got the cogs whirring a little faster…

      As to Pelikan, the reason I linked to that thread on FPN was to show that I wasn’t alone. There seems to be more dissatisfaction about Pelikan nibs than even Visconti’s. I’m aware of sampling issues, but either I’ve got rotten luck or there’s a problem here!

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      • Maybe we’ll eventually be able to compare photos of his pens with big nibs. 🙂

        Yeah, it does sound like Pelikan have a bit of an issue, very strange of such a high rep company, hopefully they hear about it and improve QC.

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  4. Pingback: Sunday Reading for September 1, 2019 – ZE Links AMZN

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