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Thread: Comfort in a pen rut

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Comfort in a pen rut

    I'm in a rut.

    It's a comfortable rut to be in, though. I've had the same pens inked for months, 15 in my pen rack...give or take two that came and went when the Sheaffer Vac-Fill conical nib bug bit me. I've hardly looked to my pen chest. It's as though I've settled on my favorite writers after years of buying and and selling. I'm writing more and worrying less about my collection. My fingers aren't getting stained restoring pens. And yes, that means I've had less to offer for sale, but it's never been for the money anyway.

    I am confident this won't last, and those emptied drawers in my pen chest won't be that way for long. Something will catch my eye, and then off I'll go. But until then, it's nice to say to myself, "I finally have every pen I need." Um..., need is the operative word, here.

    IMG_2062.jpg

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    Senior Member carlos.q's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    If you don't mind my asking, what are those favorite 15 writers?

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Just look at that lovely paper.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    I know what you mean. To keep things fresh for me, I don't have so many pens inked up at any one time and out in view. I try to have only about five at a time inked up, and I keep the rest put away in boxes in drawers. I try to keep pens out of sight for at least three months so that I lose a working memory of what it is like to write with it (six months is a better length of time). Then when I get it out again and write with it there is a sense of rediscovery. This can be, if you work at it, an entirely adequate substitute for the briefer pop of pleasure from a purchase. At least that is what I seem to have found...so far...

    Ruts be gone!

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    At the moment I have three on the desk and five in the wrap in my bag. I write a lot and get through each fill quite quickly. Once they're cleaned and pout away I try not to use them again until I have gone through everything else. That takes quite a while - six months anyway.
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Every so often I get into a nice little rut like that. At the moment I've got a couple of Platinum 3776s, a couple of Edison Colliers and a couple of vintage Pelikans, and they're keeping me very happy.

    I'm sure in a while I'll be playing around with some other pens, but right now, these ones are enough. And it's nice to get to know them better. I think we often talk on this forum about the joys of collecting in breadth - how many pens, new pens, what we're waiting for or searching for - but it's when you use a pen for a good while that you really get to know it in depth, and that has its joys too.

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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    I've been settled with three pens for several months now. I don't consider it a rut. I consider it mission accomplished. I only own fifteen in total, and eight of those are duplicate spares of two of the favourites.

    Good to hear you are content for a while, Fred. While not a collector of pens, I have collected things in the past, and the periods of stillness help lend a perspective and focus.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    TSerbs and Deb make a valid point about the other pens. It's just that I seem to have found a group that sates the desire to pull others from the chest. For example, I know I love the nibs in my Conklin crescents, but I don't need to fill any of them as things are. But it's true; I may be forgetting just how good some of their nibs are.

    Okay, Carlos, here they are as I keep them in my rack. Keep in mind that I have a heavy hand when writing. If you’re not a Sheaffer fan, bear with me and tolerate my fanboydom.

    Antwerp Belgium:
    Conid Minimalistica steel F - very predictable flow, just perfect, with well-tuned Bock nib. Quality is second to none. Some might call such a thing boring, but it's nice to have one. If I want to grab and go with a single pen, this is it. Always filled with a highly saturated blue, right now it's Diamine Sargasso Sea, a clingy but lovely ink. Conid's are easy to disassemble and clean, so I'll load it with such "problem" inks.

    Hamburg Germany:
    Montblanc 146 upturned semi-flex 14k EF - from the 70s with its split hard rubber feed. I used to have a substantial collection of Montblanc from the 30s to the present, but as I shifted interest, I culled them down to this single Montblanc as my favorite MB writer. (I have a Spanish MB that I've yet to try.) The size and heft is right for my hand and the nib is fantastic. This is always filled with old MB IG blue-black. Though a great writer, I reach for this pen when signing checks and important documents.

    Hannover/Peine Germany:
    Pelikan M400 14c B ground to cursive italic - Actually, I have several of these nibs ground to similar specs, but this one is the smoothest. I choose this pen when I want some italic flair. It's filled with junglejim's custom-blended "Carlisle Blue" ink which is in my eyes reminiscent of Parker Penman Sapphire.
    Pelikan M700 14c B ground to cursive italic - Not as smooth as the prior Pelikan, but it's so pretty. (Who are we kidding? It's just an M400 Souveran with a pricey binde.) This one is full of MB Racing Green, which is used similarly to the M400 but when there's an urge for subtle green.
    Pelikan M200 Cafe Creme gold-plated steel EF - My smoothest extra-fine writer. Someone wrote recently that he/she thought Pelikan steel nibs are superb, and I have to agree. (I'd like to try a Conid-tweaked steel Bock EF to compare.) When I have an old 3x5 postcard with little room for the message, this is the pen of choice. I have one that's even finer (see below), but this EF glides better on rough soft old paper.

    Torino Italy:
    Aurora Optima 14k M - My last Aurora after selling off my Italians, not surprising I still have it because it was the pen that got me into all this fountain pen stuff. Its round smooth M nib is a delight, and the filling system is interesting with it's "reserve." (It's kinda silly, though, like the reserve in a motorcycle fuel tank which is really just part of the total capacity.) I fill this with Diamine Steel Blue, a turquoise ink that is suggestive of the blue-green Auroloide. It's for those times I want my penchant for blue ink to go a bit risqué. The Optima is another reliable writer (except for the cracked section that was replaced in Torino).

    Janesville Wisconsin USA:
    Parker 41 Vac14k factory stub nib - I had this pen assembled to spec. I wanted a black dual-jewel with hammered sterling cap and factory stub 14k nib, and I didn't care about correctness so long as it wrote the way a stub should. And it does. My only complaint is the ink capacity doesn't match the flow demand of this nib, so I fill it more often than most, with Herbin Perle Noir. It's not as sharp as my Pelikan B CI nibs, but you'd hardly notice.

    Fort Madison Iowa USA, oldest to newest:
    Long-barrel black & pearl OS Balance 14k custom EF flex - This is the pen that introduced me to the uncommon and under-appreciated Sheaffer flex nibs. When I bought it, this pen's nib became my all-time favorite writer and weaned me from my never-ending search for better and better celluloid-era Meisterstuck, Omas and Aurora EF flex nibs. Due to constant use, this pen went through two well-known penmeisters before ending up with twice-replaced threads with custom sections. It now holds a replacement totally custom-made EF flex nib fabricated from (I kid you not) a regular lifetime OS nib. I've owned altered nibs over the years designed to flex, but this thing blows my mind; I never thought vintage flex could be created. This pen used to be filled with MB Toffee, but right now it's Waterman Havana Brown. So what happened to the wonderful factory EF flex nib it originally held when I acquired this pen? It's now in another OS Balance made of my favorite material: ebonized pearl (see below).*
    Grey & red marble OS Balance 14k EF nib - Another of these uncommon Sheaffer flex nibs. This one is slightly less flexible than the other two (these nibs never perform identically), and I like it when I want more control. It's filled with R&K Verdigris.*
    Ebonized pearl OS Balance 14k EF nib - Here's the best nib I've ever found in a fountain pen. I'd move it back to where it came from, but I don't want to disturb the custom built nib and feed in the black and pearl pen. For flex fans who have tried this nib, it is Nirvana. It's the nib that formed the excuse for me to let go of my '40s and '50s Meisterstucks. This is where MB Toffee goes now, emphasizing that vintage sepia look.*
    Triumph Vac-Fill 14k sheath (conical) EF nib - This is the extra-finest nib I've ever had on a fountain pen. It's very firm, and it is so fine that it isn't appropriate for any paper that isn't hard and smooth. Old postcards are definitely out, but it is the right choice for fun writing tiny characters on modern postcards. I've been a recent convert to plunger-filler Sheaffers, and so I filled this for the first time in January after owning it for ten years back when Ron Zorn restored it for me! It is striated Carmine red celluloid with a wide gold-filled band. It is filled with modern MB Midnight Blue.
    Crest Vac-Fill 14k sheath (conical) F nib - My third Ron Zorn plunger-filler and most recent acquisition. I haven't delved into restoring these as I've been warned off the attempt. Besides, Ron has restored over a thousand Vac-Fills. I love their ink capacity and the way they fill with a thunk! These conical nibs are striking, firm and very smooth. This one is golden-brown striated celluloid with a gold-filled cap. I load this pen with Omas Sepia ink.
    Valiant Vac-Fill 14k sheath (conical) M nib - And my second Ron Zorn plunger-filler, . This one is another very smooth and reliable pen that holds plenty of ink. Its grey striated celluloid is accented with silvery reverse trim. I've learned the plunger “two-step method” and can really fill it up with Aurora Black ink.
    Burgundy Snorkel 14k M nib – This is my go-to red ink pen, filled with the last of my Visconti dark red ink. I’ve have difficulty with the mechanism at times, and I doubt it’s filling to half its capacity, but since it is dedicated to red ink, it stays on my desk until it won’t draw ink.
    Sterling solid overlay Nostalgia 14k factory stub nib – The ‘90s were a period of renaissance for Sheaffer when it comes to nibs IMHO. I have a few other ‘90s Sheaffers with factory stub nibs, but this one has the most interesting cap and barrel. This pen lays a nice broad line of Parker Penman Sapphire ink.

    So these are keeping me happy...for now.

    *If you want one of these flex Balances, contact Rob Morrison of Asheville NC (though he sells regularly on eBay, too).
    Last edited by FredRydr; April 18th, 2019 at 07:45 AM.

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    Senior Member carlos.q's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Thank you Fred for detailing your favorite 15 writers. For some time now I have felt the need to reduce my pen hoard to a more manageable 15-20 pens. I guess someday I'll get around to it. But not today.

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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    But all these are always inked? Why not put most of them away for a while? I'm an introvert: this is too many friends in a room!

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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    I agree with TSherbs... I just keep a few (three at the moment) inked. The rest are put away. When one runs dry, I clean it and pull another from storage. I only have 5 desk pens, so they rotate faster than the pocket pens (I always keep a desk pen ready on the desk). I guess I don't write enough to keep a dozen or more inked pens happy

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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Preferences! I take four pens with me to work and use different ones for letter-writing or other purposes. Three would never be enough

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    I will most certainly write more later (a head cold caught on a recent trip has me down) but thanks to my good friend Fred for pretty much nailing my situation, as well. I need to get rid of a lot of pens because I've finally, after a few years, hit a very sweet spot with both those that I want to write with, as well as those that I wish to admire and share as examples of the art and history of the pen.

    As to why X number of pens inked up at a time, I've got thoughts on that, too. My placeholder, here, will remind me to respond a bit later.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    ...As to why X number of pens inked up at a time, I've got thoughts on that, too....
    There're 15 slots in the rack.

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    Senior Member carlos.q's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    ...As to why X number of pens inked up at a time, I've got thoughts on that, too....
    There're 15 slots in the rack.
    Is that a pipe rack?

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    ...As to why X number of pens inked up at a time, I've got thoughts on that, too....
    There're 15 slots in the rack.
    I meant that in the general sense, as in "why *I* have X number...". Not a comment on your habits. I figured you out a long time ago.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

  27. #17
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    I know, but I couldn't resist.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Quote Originally Posted by carlos.q View Post
    Is that a pipe rack?
    No, it's revolving pen rack made by Bill Jackman. See: http://s90.photobucket.com/user/pens..._4386.jpg.html I doubt he's making them anymore.

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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Wow. I'm not much of a Sheaffer collector but that list of vintage Sheaffers has me drooling. Carmine and ebonised pearl... and the nibs!!!

    That's a rut I would be *very* happy to be in.

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    Senior Member VertOlive's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comfort in a pen rut

    Maybe, yeah, in a kind of rut, but uncertain that's the exact thing. I've been selling off pricey, unused pens to fund a harp purchase and was freed up to do that because I keep reaching for the same four pens every letter I write.
    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life"?—Mary Oliver

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