Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Handwriting with Fountain Pens

It is a new year and I need to approach it in that manner. 2018 was very difficult for my family and I will admit that this blog had to take a backseat. January 2019 is nearly over and I need to get back to making regular content.

There is a topic that I hear come up quite often. Does writing with a fountain pen improve your handwriting? Well, does it? I have found that this is not a yes or no answer and it really depends on your perspective and point of view.

I have been using fountain pens for over 5 years now and I have noticed an improvement in my writing but I didn't realize how much it has improved until I found my very first journal written with a fountain pen. Wow! what a difference a few years can make. Was it because of the use of a fountain pen?


Yes and no is my best answer. I used to only hand write things when I felt I needed to as ball point pens were not fun to use. I would hurry and rush whatever I was writing to really get the experience over with and write what needed written. 


Fountain pens, for me, really changed my thought process and right from the beginning. The effortless writing experience was just what I was looking for and it spoke to me. Obviously I was hooked and I fell down the rabbit hole here. My writing looks so much better but was it really because of the pen? Well, it is more the experience of the pen that made me write more often as it was more pleasurable to do. Practice is truly what improved my handwriting but the inspiration was due to the love I had for the writing experience that a fountain pen afforded me. 



It is truly amazing what regular practice can do and what rewards come from the diligence. My handwriting is nothing to write home about but the difference between the two scripts here is staggering and really looks like it is the result of two completely different people. Amazing.


Keep writing, keep practicing and keep enjoying the process that a fountain pen affords you. Handwriting is truly a lost art and is often referred to as a hobby, which is sad in its own right but your practicing will inspire others through your efforts. My script gets complimented from time to time and usually I see those individuals writing more, later on. That is a great inspiration there. Keep writing!

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Ohio Pen Show 2018

The 24th Annual Ohio Pen Show was this past weekend (Nov 1 - 4) and it was the first time I had attended this show as it is a 10 hour drive for me. I decided to suck it up and make the show this year and I was not disappointed. If you have never attended a pen show before, here are some reasons to go.

You can try products before you buy them to make sure it is really what you are wanting, since that cannot be done online. You can interact with the vendors and most importantly, the pen community itself. I believe the people you meet at a show are the best part of a pen show. The pen community is truly amazing.

@Allthehobbies and Pen Pal Amy

I arrived at the hotel on Thursday night, November 1, and it was late. I immediately ran into Ralph Reyes and he gave me a hug as he remembered me from the Chicago show. I found some dinner and called it a day.

Ralph Reyes

Friday was when the show opened to the public and I was excited. What would I find that needed to be brought home? Who would I see? Who would I meet?

I met a pen pal in person and it made my day. It is always nice to put a face with a name. Thanks Amy! I then made the rounds and immediately found my first purchase of the day as the deal was too good to pass on. I found a Pelikan M815 LE Metal Stripe at a phenomenal price. Bam! mine!



Anderson Pens is always a stop for me as they have a great selection and Lisa Anderson cracks me up. Brian is nice too but Lisa is a riot and so fun to be around. Here I fell victim to the Anderson's selection and bought the new Esterbrook Estie.

Lisa Anderson



After some lunch, I made it to the large ballroom and began browsing. So much selection here and many familiar faces. I was able to meet @Allthehobbies and @Penguintreats as well as Richard Binder. Jerry with Laban, The legendary Wahl-nut and many others. Here I purchased a Laban pen that really caught my eye and had to pull the trigger. I actually didn't make any other purchases this day. After the show, there was a pizza party and I was able to meet some members of the Ohio Pen Club and made some new friends.

Cary with Fountain Pen Day and Kenro

Darla with Private Reserve

Federalist Pens

Hall View

Edison Pen Co

Large Ballroom

Nibsmith Table


Saturday started with a bang! I had been pondering this purchase all evening and decided to pull the trigger. I went up to Syd Saperstein, The Wahl-Nut, and purchased the Wahl Eversharp Decoband with the Gatsby design. My mother was a skilled quilter and all of her designs were so symmetrical and geometric that the pen reminded me of her.

The Wahl-nut



Then I ran into Ryan Krusac's table and had to buy another scrimshaw pen. This one is a Legend 15 with a Dragon etched onto the moose antler barrel. His skills are truly amazing and he makes such a quality product. I was also able to meet Jake Weidemann and see their artist proof for their pen collaboration. It is stunning.

Ryan Krusac



Well, what do pens need? Yep, ink. So after some pondering and browsing I purchased some ink from Anderson Pens, Lemur Ink, Papier Plume and Opus. My wallet was on fire at this point.

Patrick with Papier Plume


Laura with the Chicago Pen Show

At 12:30p, we had a meet-up in the lobby for members of a facebook pen pal group to meet. Several showed up and we went to a local deli and had a lunch filled with stories, laughs and of course, pen fondling.

Friendly Meet-Up

The days were packed with activity and everyone was just so friendly and energetic. I had a great time but sadly had to make the 10 hour journey back home on Sunday so i wasn't out too late.

I loved the Ohio Pen Show and I believe I will go again next year.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Ryan Krusac Legend 16 Scrimshaw Pen

I had an opportunity to meet this family at the Chicago Pen Show this year. Ryan's pens are simply elegant and very well constructed. What strikes me about his pens are the interesting and unique materials used for the pens. I purchased this particular pen during the Krusac Home Pen Show they held when they were unable to make the San Francisco show. This Scimshaw is spectacular.



Scrimshaw is the term given to scrollwork, engravings and carvings done in bone or ivory. The body of this pen is Moose Antler with an engraving done with laser depicting Poseidon fighting the Kraken. The image is hard to photograph so I asked Ryan Krusac for a copy of the image file.

 The pen is a large pen, which is perfect for my hands and it has some heft. The Legend 16 moniker refers to the circumference of the pen which is 16mm. The cap is E. Indian Rosewood, if I remember correctly. It is simply gorgeous and is a numbered edition of #14/150.



 The nib is a Jowo #6 steel broad nib. In true Jowo fashion, it is a super smooth writer and has a great flow to it. 




 I would also like to mention the wonderful customer service I experienced with the ordering of this pen. I ordered this pen on a Saturday and received a call from Julia Krusac on Monday. The pen on the website was listed as #13/150 and the actual pen was #14/150 so she was asking if I still wanted the pen. That is great attention to detail and I love that they called to ask. Also, they were out of broad nibs and had placed a rush order of them so my pen wouldn't ship until Thursday of that week. Once again, all of this was fine by me but the extra attention to detail and customer focus really resonated with me. I am a very happy customer. 


 All in all, this pen is a masterpiece. It is simply gorgeous and writes like a dream. It is also a conversation starter. Ryan Krusac is a true artisan and has a tremendous family. I am hoping to see them at the Ohio Pen Show and will more than likely be making a purchase then too. I am a customer for life.



This review is based off of my personal experiences and opinion. I do not represent Ryan Krusac nor am I being compensated in any way.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Pelikan Hub 2018 in Iowa

2018 has been a very trying year for myself and it seems to also be very trying for other people who are close to me. All of this made it so I was ready for something wonderful to happen and it did. Des Moines, Iowa was chosen to be a hub city for the 5th Annual Pelikan Hub event of 2018. Yay! Something to look forward to and get excited about. This is the second year Des Moines has been selected by Pelikan as we had the required number of registered attendees.


For those who are not familiar, the Pelikan Hub is an event that happens worldwide for pen, ink and paper enthusiasts. The hub is held on a specific date and time and it is special to know that we were among 5,000 participants celebrating worldwide. According to Pelikan, there were 181 Hubs in 46 countries in 2018.



There is a person selected in each Hub to act as the Hub Master for the event in their city. I was lucky enough to be picked this year and happened to be the Hub Master in 2017 as well. I brought in a friend, who is also a pen enthusiast, to be my Co-Hub Master for the event. Knowing that I wanted this event to be grand and to help put a happy twist to the year, I knew I could use the planning help.



The event turned out to be a great time. There is a lovely coffee shop here that I frequent often and, as a venue, would be perfect. We were able to rent the space for the time allotted for the Hub and the price was super reasonable. We found a local catering business here that had a nice reputation and was able to secure their services for the event at a great rate also. 



Pelikan sends out some goodies to each hub participant and we decided to also create some goodies as well. Pelikan sent a A5 paper pad, a new Pelikan Passion magazine and a bottle of the Pelikan Edelstein Ink of the Year Olivine. Yes, very generous. We decided to make a pen cleaning kit for each participant which included:

  • 1 Cleaning Cloth
  • 1 5mL Ink Syringe
  • 1 Bulb Syringe
  • 2oz bottle of Ammonia Pen Flush
  • 5 Pipettes (5mL)
  • 2 5mL Ink Vials
  • 30 Q-Tips in a Travel Case


We also thought it would be fun to bring in some Iowa based companies to see if they would like to help sponsor the Hub and attend. We had a great response from the Tokyo Pen Shop (www.Tokyopenshop.com) and Iron Leaf Press (www.Ironleafpress.com). Each company provided a raffle item as well as a little goodie item for each participant. Danielle from Iron Leaf Press was able to attend the event and we were so happy to have her part of this evening. Kimberly with Tokyo Pen Shop happened to have a vacation already planned with her family and family always comes first. 


We had a great time during the Hub this year, which was September 21, 2018 from 6:30p - 8:30p. Acting as the Hub Master can be stressful at times but seeing all of the happy faces of the participants is what makes it all worth it. 
I especially loved that some attendees brought their kids along and they enjoyed drawing on the Pelikan banner. Pelikan sends a large Hub banner for attendees to sign as a keepsake. The kids took full advantage.



Thank you Pelikan for the opportunity to host this event in Iowa this year. I needed it and the community loved it. In 2017 we had 5 attendees and this year we had 20 registered. The love of fountain pens is growing and it is so nice to see a company like Pelikan embracing the community worldwide. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Jacques Herbin 1798 Cornaline d'Egypte Ink

Before we get into the ink and the color here, please allow me to apologize for being "vacant" for so long. 2018 has been a hard year for me and my family which has caused me to take some time away from the blog. 

Jacques Herbin 1798 Cornaline d'Egypte is the second ink from this 1798 lineup which features a newly designed bottle from the 1670 ink collection. The mouth is wider and I really appreciate that change.



Cornaline is the French word for Carnelian which is an orange to reddish-brown ranged mineral that is often used as a semi-precious gemstone. Its use dates back to Greek, Roman and Egyptian times and is very common in Germany, Serbia and Brazil.

Rhodia Paper

These inks will have shimmer in the bottle, which seems to be a popular trend, and so the bottle needs to be shaken before filling a pen in order to have the "glitter" appear when writing. I do not care for shimmer in my writing and tend to use these inks without shaking first.  

The J. Herbin 1670 inks and the Jacques Herbin 1798 inks all behave wonderfully and this Cornaline is no different. It has a nice flow, high saturation and it behaves nicely. Depending on the paper used, it can become a tad muted, however.

Leuchtturm Paper

Stifflexible Paper

Tomoe River Paper

There are a good many inks out on the market that are orange to a reddish-brown color. I have sampled some of the ones I felt were close.


And now just the oranges:


These inks are a tad pricey at $28 for 50mL. I can see the value in the nice bottle, shimmer (if you like that sort of thing) and how well behaved the ink is. Overall a nice dark orange color that I have been quite enjoying in my daily writing.

This review is based off of my own opinion and experience. I am not representing Jacques Herbin nor am I being compensated in any way.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Montblanc Swan Illusion Plume Ink

When this ink came out, I was intrigued by it as every photo of it looked different. Was it really a grey or a brown? It is a rather unique color, in my opinion and I purchased a bottle at the Chicago Pen Show. 


These special edition inks from Montblanc are a tad pricey but I got a great deal on this one. Once I purchased it, I filled my Diplomat Aero with it and it was gorgeous. I do have a love of grey colored inks but this one isn't a static grey. 

When I was doing my ink swabs, I looked at the napkin I was using and wow, for a grey ink, look at this. 


The chromatography shows brown, green, purple and orange. It is quite beautiful. The ink itself tends to lean grey but has tones of brown and red and green in it, all at the same time. 

Tomoe River Paper

It shades quite nicely, has a saturation that Montblanc is known for and flows well. It is also well behaved on various papers tested. What I did find interesting was how the color varies on different paper types. 

Rhodia Paper

Apica Paper

Leuchtturm Paper

Franklin-Christoph Paper


I showed the ink to a friend of mine and they said it looks similar to an ink they had. Kyo-Iro Stone Road to Gion and they are super similar. 

Tomoe River Paper

Tomoe River Paper

Tomoe River Paper


Stone Road to Gion has much of the same properties as Swan Illusion Plume but possesses more brown.  

I really like this ink and the properties it has. It is normally listed at $43 in the U.S. but I was able to get it for $30. 

This review is based off of my experiences and opinion. I do not represent Montblanc and I am not being compensated in any way.