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Thread: Which way to go?

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    Default Which way to go?

    Firstly, just a quick update on my health. I am significantly better this week and am back at work full time. Still coughing a bit, but that should go soon, and I can get back to being more active!

    Many thanks to those who offered support, advice and well-wishing. I have been poor in communicating my thanks, so am doing so now. It was really, really appreciated.





    Right, pen stuff.

    How does one decide on a direction to take when one is at heart something of a generalist?

    Of late I have been able to give away 5 more pens (an Evan's 200, two English Duofolds, a Bexley Prometheus in a rare material, and a Parker 51 Vac). As can be seen, there is no pattern to the models chosen. Really, it just looks like a random selection of pens. The ones I have left are modern (Pilots 823, 912, Decimo; Lamy 2K; and two custom made pens) and a single vintage pen (Waterman 52). Again, there is no obvious pattern or point of commonality here.

    So, how does one conduct a hobby when there is no focus? I'm stumped.

    Of course I could talk about my lost custom pen, the Ghost Koi. Though that also wouldn't represent a direction.

    The thing is I am not particularly drawn to any specific types of pens - looks wise. As a result I tend to dither, looking first at one thing then another and unable to decide on anything. Ultimately, more so earlier less so now, buying without proper thought. That is not a good use of my finances, of course, and has now stopped.

    Even in terms of nibs I cannot settle on one thing. Fine nibs are great for note-taking, but not all that much fun for long letter writing. Stubs and italics are the opposite of this (for me).


    So, I am interested in what drew you into collecting certain things.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    My focus is/was Esterbrooks from the '40's and '50's. These are inexpensive and easy to restore. The j bar, sacs, and NOS nibs are readily available. After restoring several, I have all that I need and have given away two including a matching pencil.

    My secondary focus or perhaps primary is to use the pens to write letters and notes.

    I'm happy your health has improved.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Thanks!

    Were the ease of restoration and the low cost the main reasons for the focus on Esties?

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Why focus? A hobbyist doesn't have to have focus. Collect the pens you like to use and ones you like to look at. Specialization is for insects. (A Heinlein quote)
    Last edited by Paddler; October 21st, 2019 at 05:11 PM.
    Written on a real computer and real keyboard with capital letters, punctuation, and everything.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Glad you are feeling better!

    I seem to be narrowing my focus to Lamy pens and also to the actual use of them for writing and working on penmanship. That is my hobby - writing.
    I use a fountain pen and a paper planner - paperinkplan.wordpress.com

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    After I inherited my fathers sterling silver Parker 75, I started hunting down all manner of Parkers. I stopped doing that at 14 and began gathering up an assortment of new and vintage fountain pens. I developed a bit of an addiction to eBay and as a result made quite a few Iíll advised purchases. My collection now numbers 58 pieces at last count, with about half a dozen that see regular ink time. I havenít purchased a pen in over a year, nor have I sold any. I also inherited a fairly beat up 1940s vintage Rolex Oyster wristwatch when my dad passed. Once again that pesky collecting gene kicked in and after having the Oyster restored, I started into a watch collection. Managed to stop that at 13, several of which were a waste of money.
    So, I think that some of us are just born to collect. It can develop into an addiction just like any other addiction and sometimes it has to be kicked, or at least controlled.
    Good luck, and stay healthy.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Good to hear you are on the mend.

    For me, it is the aesthetics of the 1950's and 60's: post war futurism. Parker 51s, PFMs, MB's double digit line, L2K. Those designs really appeal. It doesn't hurt that it was also a golden age for pen making, and that each of those models has stood the test of time.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Answered prayers. Glad to hear you are better. I just went to my first pen show this past weekend. Three days of learning how to fix pens, seeing the wide variety (and prices - never knew there were $6,000 pens) of pens, and enjoying the wide variety of filling mechanisms and interesting designs. I was able to buy some pens with very neat ways of filling. The main thing I learned is there are two types of people in the pen hobby (well, maybe three, if you include those who make and fix pens): 1. Those who use and enjoy their pens (though I found out that some may be best used on special occasions) and 2. Those who collect and just put the pens away like an investment. I agree that there is nothing wrong with being a generalist. But there is something incredibly sad (to me) about not using a pen. Granted, some rare pen thatís never been inked and still has a price on it might have to be considered. But there is something wonderful about using a pen that is 50 or even 100 years old, and feeling the craftsmanship and imagining whom else might have written words - letters from war, notes in an apothecary shop, chapters in a book, etc.

    People are incredibly friendly in the pen community. Even some of the pens I could not afford to purchase I could still hold and try and, in some cases, even are taken apart to see how they fill and work.

    I am glad you havenít given up your passion for pens. Isnít the way the 823 fills amazing? There was a guy named Brian Gray who had a pen called a Menlo with a really unique filler. These two are on my future list, but one day when I have them I will simply take time to enjoy them. Just filling these pens with water was satisfying to watch. So maybe even just taking some time to enjoy cleaning or filling your pens could be ďtherapeuticĒ. And maybe you could rekindle your interest by specializing in what attracted you to your favorite pens in the first place. Or, like me, get curious as to how some of these older pens come apart or can be services.

    With regard to nibs, Linda and Mike Kennedy can pretty much make any nib into what you want. I had two of my pens ďgroundĒ into perfect 0.3mm extra fines and they are simply amazing to write with. Mike knows a lot about fixing pens, and I had an incredible time learning how to take apart and fix a Parker 51 with a vacuum filler button.

    In any event, even though Iíve not been in this hobby long, I can encourage you to collect what you enjoy, and challenge you to find out what attracted you to your favorite pens in the first place. You could even start a topic where you simply talk about your favorite pen of the week, what drew you to it, and why you enjoy using it. Iíd read such a topic. I heard so many people talk about their favorite pen over the weekend. Maybe Iím not one to carry a 1920s red pen in my pocket, but it still is great to hear the stories.

    Continue to mend. Keep passionate about the pens you enjoy.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    What is a Ghost Koi?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Good points and suggestions. I don't know what attracted me to fountain pens in the first place. Maybe nothing, as they were kind of compulsory when I was a child. Certainly from a writing point of view they are much more comfortable than ballpoints. I've mentioned elsewhere that I've never had an issue using any size or shape of pen (yet), so even there I am nothing more than a generalist.

    Not to be negative, 'cause this is really not, but filling systems only hold my attention briefly. They are all simple and easy to understand. Yes, I appreciate the design of them, but it is not a sustained interest. I think I would likely have more fun if I had easier access to trying out different nibs. Unfortunately that is not possible here.

    I've got a Wing Sung 698 on my desk that only (and rarely) gets used for red ink duties. For some reason I don't consider this pen as part of my regular toolkit, which is a shame as it is by far one of the best writing pens I've used!







    *the Ghost Koi was a custom made pen. Unfortunately, after I called out some less than satisfactory customer service I was effectively shunned by pen makers in the US. So, replacing it or going for something like a Menlo are not really options. We are several years down the road and I am still getting treated this way. Bit shabby really. That pen rankles even now. To recreate it would draw a line under the whole saga, but I suspect the customisers probably enjoy hearing of my continued unhappiness with respect to it.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    The Wing Sung looks like my Chinese clear piston pen with ďLuckyĒ on the clip. I think it has a Wing Sung nib.

    I can understand your comment on filling mechanisms, which is perhaps more my own interest. But maybe this kindled up an interest in nibs. You might try Birmingham Pens, which has a wide variety of nibs which are not expensive. These are steel nibs, but neat variety.

    I am starting my first restoration - a Sheaffer Triumph with a lever filler. I bought the parts over the weekend and got over any apprehensions I had.

    Hope this helps.




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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Thanks!

    Were the ease of restoration and the low cost the main reasons for the focus on Esties?
    At first I didn't know they would be easy to restore, but I decided to try and found them easy. I also like the company history. It seems Esterbrooks were the true everyman/woman FP.
    Last edited by Chuck Naill; October 21st, 2019 at 05:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Glad to hear you are feeling better!

    Goodness...where to start? I got into fountain pens when a I saw a friend writing a check and using a flex nib. So that sort of started the obsession: the hunt for vintage flex. I have since owned a number of very flexy pens and, while fun, I think are an overrated feature to a pen. I much prefer a nib that has a little bounce and personality these days.

    In the beginning, I tried to save money by going with cheaper pens, TWSBI and FPR specifically, but they just didn't do it for me. They both had their problems for me. They both wrote fine (for the most part), but felt cheap or had odd proportions. I ended up fixing a Sheaffer touchdown pen that I got for $15 on eBay and that became my regular user for a long time. It is still a great pen, but doesn't get as much rotation time these days.

    Around this time I wanted to start playing with broader nibs and ended up getting an OBB Pelikan 140. It was an amazing pen, but I wasn't experienced enough to use it well and sold it.

    Dozens of pens later, I've settled on what I like in a pen: piston filler, with a pretty material, and/or an interesting back story. Today I'm using a 400NN I picked up for a song from a woman from Germany. We chatted a bit about Germany and learned that where she grew up was near where I used to live. The pen was a gift to her sister when she started university, but never used it. So it sat around her parents home until they passed and she picked up things from their house.

    Anyways, after she sent the pen, I got a ping from Paypal that the funds had been refunded. She refunded the amount and sent a message thanking me for the good memories and that, of all things, I have the same name as her Grandfather, who she remembered writing letters at his desk when she was a child. This pen, a simple (albeit mint condition 400NN) is now in my "never sell" collection of pens simply because the story of the pen and that it meant so much to her to feel good about selling the pen to me.

    Anyhow, I'm not sure if that answers the question, but it is what occurred to me while typing. I like pens with stories.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Good to hear that you're feeling better!

    I won't bother to try advising you, as my own pen "journey" was and continues to be mostly mapless and meandering. I'm finding myself trying to fit the Pilot #10 PO nib into a TWSBI Vac Mini (hahaha) (I haven't given up wanting it in a Nakaya Piccolo and FINALLY sent an inquiry to flexiblepen.com, but I kindv think now I might prefer it in the TWSBI Vac Mini, cos 1) transparent barrel (seeing the ink level at a glance, something the Pilot 823 guided me towards seeing the benfit thereof), 2) ink capacity (cos I tend to pair inks and pens and seldom change them. Except now that I've said it in public, I wouldn't be surprised if I started doing the opposite, sigh.), and 3) no worries about UV rays. And 4) clip (which I do NOT like on the Nakaya Piccolo but the benefit of a clip for an OTR pen is obvious. OTR=On the Road.).)

    Good lord, I have a TWSBI again! Shaking my head.


    (To be fair, I did like the two Minis (piston-fillers) I had. I liked them so much, I sold them so that I wouldn't use them instead of my Piccolos. Thus... no advice from me, you're welcome!)
    Last edited by ethernautrix; October 21st, 2019 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Apparently, I will never learn to proofread first. Alas...!
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    Default Re: Which way to go?



    Your posts nearly always make me laugh!

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    My immediate response is ďNot all who wander are lostĒ. For me, itís been the adventure along the way. I am whatever kind of pen person that I am at the moment. Today that is a journaller with one inked pen. Next week Iíll start scheming how to afford that lime Sailor over on the For Sale thread.
    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life"?óMary Oliver

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    I echo the sentiments in general here that being a generalist (or having an eclectic taste) is not a bad thing.

    The only reason I ended up with too many vintage pens was because these are pens that I find cool, for many variety of reasons.

    I truly admire those who can maintain focus on a single brand or model, because I don't think I have the discipline to accomplish that. And good thing is, it matters little in this hobby.

    You can have a single pen for life, or hundreds of them in one color, or hundreds of them in hundreds of colors/size/nib type/filling type/material/whatnot.

    It's all good!
    - Will
    A place to look for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Talking Re: Which way to go?

    My accumulation has been part curiosity, part aesthetic attraction. Whether or not I get a pen that writes well, at least curiosity is satisfied and I have something that looks nice to me. My limited taste means I end up with a lot of pens that look similar, which fosters the illusion of focus. Iíve been drifting from EF nibs towards stubs and italics that mitigate my scrawl and are, as you say, more fun.

    So, follow your interests ó seek the stuff that makes you happy. Only you know what that is.

    Incidentally, if youíre looking for some reasonably priced stubs, check out the Nemosine sale. I recently got the set and have been enjoying them in a range of Chinese pens.
    Last edited by catbert; October 22nd, 2019 at 09:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Maybe it's time to be a little Zen and just stay open to whatever happens.

    As other posters have said, there's nothing wrong with being eclectic. I have a number of mini-collections, and favourite models like the Platinum 3776 and Pelikan 400s, but I'm quite open to trying something different.

    One of your issues may be not having a local pen meet. I'm lucky that I can get to the Paris pen meet a few times a year, and while other people's pens might not always be to my taste it's always great fun seeing what they've acquired and trying out different nibs. Besides, the cakes are fantastic :-)

    I also find sometimes I go off a pen for a while; it's like eating too much chocolate and losing your appetite for it. And then a few months later, I'll see it looking lonely in the box, and take it out, and ink it up ... and I realise I still love it after all.

    Plus, thank you catbert for the link to the Nemosine sale. I'm grabbing a handful of stubs.

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    Default Re: Which way to go?

    Good to know youíre feeling better. May your health continue to improve.

    I think itís ok to be a generalist. However, are you sure you really are? My stash of pens might look random. I have BCHR pens, old Sheaffers, Wahl-Eversharps, Parker 51s, old MBs & Pelikans, a few Sailors & OMAS, a few Indian eyedroppers... However, there is a unifying theme: interesting/great writers. My pens tend to be stubs, obliques or flex nibs, but there are some plain old M & F nibs in my stash just because they feel so great to write with.

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