State of the collection: May 2020

It’s been six months since my last proper SotC post, although I did incremental posts in December and April where I tracked a lot of ins and outs.

I’m really pleased where things stand with my collection (or should that be ‘library’?), although I can no longer say with any conviction that the changes I’m making month over month are objectively making it ‘better’. A better fit for my current needs, probably.

Here’s how the pen tray looks today (and one achievement is that the entire collection fits in the tray — it hasn’t always done so).

And here’s how the ink assignment looks:

Omas Milord Einaudi, F

The Omas is only infrequently used, but I always love the way it writes and how comfortable it is to hold. It feels long and light. Today I reinked it with Standard Bindery Road Trip, a heavy shading mid green. I normally would say I’m not a fan of green inks, but you’ll be able to tell from the ink shot above that I have four (!) greens in use at the moment. I know, I’m a maverick.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, F

This Pro Gear really feels like it’s stuck. The satin finish helps comfort and it just feels like better quality than the usual Pro Gears. The F nib is a wonderful EF, and I had been very happy with Noodler’s Air Corp in it — but today I inked it with Vinta La Union.

Montblanc Agatha Christie, M

Of course the Agatha is inked with Kobe #51 as it always is. I wrote yesterday’s journal with it, and oh it’s lovely watching the snake’s head nib slither across the page.

Montblanc Heritage 1912, M

The 1912 was almost on the chopping block in my last cull, because I simply wasn’t using it — and I couldn’t figure out why. Every time I picked it up I enjoyed the comfort, the springy nib and the understated style. So I figured it was the ink, and I went back to an old favourite: Herbin’s Poussiere de Lune. It worked — to an extent.

Montblanc 149 GT, EF

This was a new arrival last month. It’s a very special pen. Its architect-style EF nib is wet, sharp and I love it. For some reason I picked a green ink that I hadn’t previously clicked with, Bungubox Norwegian Wood, and it’s perfect. Loving this combo.

Montblanc Homer, F

The Homer is unique, and every writing session with it is an occasion. I haven’t found its ‘forever ink’ yet, though: Edelstein Aventurine was a good match, and now I’m on Pilot Hoteison, which is a lovely ink but maybe missing something. The one ink I have no temptation to load into the Homer is Greek Blue — I see the pen as suiting green, purple, something with presence… not a dusty blue.

Pilot 823 Smoke, FA

The 823 has really stuck in my library too, just like the Pro Gear it arrived with. It is long, sharp, and thanks to the work I did on the FA nib and its ebonite feed, it writes gloriously wet. I spontaneously inked it with KWZ Grey Plum and it was an inspired choice (if I do say so myself).

Pelikan M1005 Stresemann, M

Now we’re out of the blacks and into the greys.

The M1005 is my final Pelikan, after I sold my M600 and Ocean Swirl (and as pretty as they were, I haven’t missed them). The M1000 is a REALLY comfortable size for me, and this one has a very easy-writing nib. But like the Homer, I haven’t quite found the perfect ink for it. I last had it inked with KWZ Azure #5, which is one of my favourite blues. This fill I decided to try Greek Blue, and it’s not quite hitting the mark.

Lamy 2000 Black Amber, F

Have no fear: my original Lamy 2000 isn’t sold, it’s retired and sleeping gently in a case. My two much more expensive special edition 2000s are picking up the slack!

This Black Amber has finally settled into its groove, after I did some work on the replacement F nib. Now inked with Sailor Irori, my favourite pure red, it gets a decent amount of use. And the finish is subtly beautiful.

Pilot Murex, F

The Murex is a stellar little pen. I am more and more appreciating its agile and willing EF nib, and how quickly I can cap and uncap it. For meeting notes it’s hard to beat. Good things come in small packages.

I swapped from Namiki Sepia cartridges to a Namiki Blue-Black, which I am finding myself enjoying a lot. It’s not a wow ink, but it writes well and has pretty shading.

Montblanc Martele, F

There’s not much more I can say about the Martele. I still use it a lot. It still impresses me every time I pick it up. I’m in love with this pen.

Montblanc Geometry, BB

The Geometry has turned into my ink tryout pen, mainly due to its BB nib. Right now I have it inked up with the new Moctezuma ink from Montblanc, Pierced Sky. It’s a greenish turquoise much in the vein of Bungubox June Bride or Montblanc Maya Blue, and I’m enjoying it.

Visconti London Fog, M

I’m down to one Visconti, and I’m glad it’s this one. It’s really stood the test of time for me: I love its proportions, nib, materials and overall look. It writes really well, too, and I’m at the end of a fill of Robert Oster Fire & Ice, which is a classic ink for sure.

Montegrappa Extra 1930 Colori del Mare The Sea, F

My Monty is a gorgeous, comfortable, premium pen with a stunning nib. Its only Achilles heel is its tendency to dry out when not used religiously. I had it inked with a turquoise ink, Herbin Bleu Pervenche, until recently, but went back to Kuretake Ryuno Black in today’s reinking spree.

Platinum 3776 Chartres Blue Rhodium, UEF

I’m still glad to have a Platinum UEF in my tray again. My selection of EFs gets a lot of use at work, and the 3776 is a very strong contender: Platinum does an AWESOME needlepoint, and the slip and seal mechanism makes the 3776 zero maintenance, zero worry.

Scribo 3, 14k EF

Still one of my favourite pens, and it’s all down to that nib. Wet, flexy, yet precise. I just love writing with it and if I ever go bankrupt, it’ll be one of the last pens I give up.

Lamy 2000 Bauhaus, EF

This is a great pen, with Lamy’s distinctive architect-style EF nib, but I have struggled to find the right ink for it. Ama Iro was the wrong colour, not quite matching, and it felt too weak and watery. Then I compounded the error by trying Take-Sumi. A black ink just did NOT fit.

And then: HALLELUJAH! Today I loaded a brand new ink to me, Kobe #73. It is a truly gorgeous colour, it fits the pen perfectly, and feels just great. It sounds ridiculous, but that match put me on a high all day.

Aurora 88 Nettuno, Italic

This is a pen in the spotlight for me at the moment. It’s my last Aurora standing: just a couple of weeks ago it was one of three.

Since I bought it I’ve had it loaded with Pure Pens Celtic Sea, a pretty ink that flows beautifully and matches perfectly with the auroloide of the Nettuno. But I was bored of it. So today I loaded the 88 with my first ink from Papier Plume, Calle Real. It’s a striking colour that reminds me a little of Troublemaker Milky Ocean. I’m not sure I like it in this pen, but I am excited to have something new to try out.

Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Needlepoint

My latest arrival, and my sixth Franklin-Christoph pen over the years. I can’t say enough good words about this company: its innovative products or its legendary customer service. And I am thrilled with this latest acquisition. The Model 20 has an interesting friction-fit cap that so far I’m finding doesn’t trigger my OCD (for instance, in the way the Conid Minimalistica did). And it is fitted with a Masuyama Needlepoint nib that is a great addition to my EF armory.

I picked a resin called ‘Vintage Green’, which I have had my eye on for years, and I’m really glad I did. It has a charming translucency without having to worry about demonstrator staining. I inked it with a green that I have hardly ever used, Monteverde Olivine, and I simply love the combo. So pleased with this.

Desiderata Soubriquet Cocobolo, 0.6 Stub

The Soubriquet is out of retirement. This is my Mk1 Cocobolo with a cap from the Mk2 on it, and it’s fitted with a Nemosine stub that I worked on to make it smoother and wetter. I have it loaded not with Birmingham Celestial Blue, as usual, but a new ink from Berlin: the ‘Black Label’ edition of their Blue #1. Black Label means less sheen, which for me is a good thing. And I love this blue! It is wet and saturated and very well lubricated. I am enjoying it lots.

Nakaya 17mm Cigar Toki-Tamenuri, M

I’m out of the groove with the Nakaya. I tried it with a Platinum Black cartridge. Then with Birmingham Oxidised Brass. Now with KWZ Newky Brown. It’s writing fine, but none of these inks are grabbing me. I feel tense about picking an ink that matches the beautiful Urushi, but maybe I should relax and just find an ink that makes me want to write.

ASC Gladiatore Medio Arco Bronze, F

This blingy faceted piece of design has somehow made itself one of my favourite pens. The nib is just so great and so wet that it shows off every ink to perfection. I ran through a fill of the new Montblanc Rose Burgundy and loved it, so I thought I’d move on to Montblanc Encre du Desert, the sister ink. It’s still a blast.

Namiki Urushi 20 Vermillion, M

The Namiki is my Sunday best. It is so dignified, so perfect in every way. And I have no temptation to move away from the pure blue of Birmingham Truss Blue, which has been in the 20 since nearly day one. This dear friend is coming up to a year old with me… can you believe it’s been that long since I went to Tokyo? I sure can’t.

Carolina Charleston, M CI

And last but certainly not least…

This pen has proven to be a really good addition to my tray. Jonathon Brooks is famous for his resins, but the pens themselves are jolly good. The Charleston is a chunky pen with a comfortably large section and the cap spins off in quick time. If it wasn’t for the fact that Pilot Bishamonten feathers on the Stalogy B5 notebook I’m currently using for work, I would be writing with this pen even more. And wow, look at that Primary Manipulation, would you?

The bigger picture

So looking at the tray of 24 pens as a whole, what do I see?

  • Seven black pens, five grey or silver — the other twelve having some colour.
  • Thirteen piston fillers, two vacs, one pump, the rest converter.
  • Two urushi finished, two celluloid, one wood. Four metal, the rest resin or lacquer over metal.
  • Nine from Germany, six from Japan, five from Italy.
  • Nineteen gold nibs, one palladium, the rest steel.
  • Four pens I’d describe as an EF. Four I’d describe as a broad+ or broad-like stub. The rest somewhere in between!

A final note: I still have a few pens for sale, including my Delta Dolce Vita Stantuffo Oro and the Clyde Pen I mentioned in my previous post. Do ping me if you’re interested.

Thanks for coming on this tour with me!

3 thoughts on “State of the collection: May 2020

  1. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – May 10, 2020 | Fountain Pen Quest

  2. You are a very bad man. Tempting me with new shiny things and then I go deluding myself about supporting small UK businesses in difficult economic times…. 😃

    Thanks for the fascinating glimpse into the pen tray!

    Liked by 1 person

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