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These are the pens that I am using for journalling and correspondence writing. In general, I choose inks that display some shading or have a sheen when dry. While this is not the case for all of the inks loaded, the first three are all good shaders.
From left to right:
Franklin-Christoph Model 65 with a Masuyama Broad Stub Nib:
This pen is inked up with Noodler’s Golden Brown which is a new ink for me. It has some of the same hues as Iroshizuku Ina-Ho but is warmer in tone. Having seen this ink now makes me want to try Kiowa Pecan which appears to be a little darker in the reviews that I have seen online. This pen is wonderful to hold. I have experienced some ink delivery issues with this pen but Franklin-Christoph has been very responsive and a replacement feed is in the mail.
Edison Nouveau Premiere – Summer 2014 Edition with a Fine Nib:
This pen is inked up with Private Reserve Blue Suede. Even though the line width is quite narrow, this ink still displays good shading on the Clairefontaine and Tomoe River papers that I use for letter writing. This pen always starts up right away, even when uncapped for several minutes at a time. A true pleasure to use. I expect that more Edisons are in my future.
TWSBI Diamond 580 with a Broad Nib:
This pen is inked with Private Reserve Ebony Blue. I received a sample of this ink through the Goulet Ink Drop subscription. After working through the sample I ordered a full bottle and have really enjoyed using it. As for the pen, well more on that below.
TWSBI Diamond 540 with a 1.1mm Stub Nib:
This pen is inked up with a 1:1 mixture of Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa and Salix. I heard about this concoction via Brad Dowdy’s twitter stream (@dowdyism). Being comprised of two iron gall inks, it is permanent and gets regular use for addressing envelopes. I find the colour a bit sombre but it is the first pen I reach for if I have to write a letter to someone in a professional context. Probably a good choice for sympathy notes too. This pen’s feed has a hard time keeping up with the stub nib and you end up having to prime the pen several times per letter.
Kaweco Al Sport – Raw Aluminum with an Extra Fine Nib:
This pen is inked up with Sailor Sky High, a very cheerful blue. It’s too bad that this ink has now been discontinued. The pen was purchased as a jeans pocket carry pen but it hasn’t seen much daily carry use since I picked up a Brass Wave Liliput. I find the section of this pen to be a little too short and my hands feel a bit too close to the paper when I write. Because of this, it gets held more it the threaded region of the barrel rather than the section.
Pilot 78G with a Medium Nib:
This pen was an Ebay purchase and arrived at my door for under $10. The fine nib which it originally came with now sits in my Metropolitan. This pen writes well but is too light. The section has a tendency to want to unscrew from the barrel and is overall a bit creaky. For $10 I can’t complain. It is loaded with Parker Permanent Blue Black ink which was the first bottle of ink that I ever purchased. This ink is decidedly teal in colour. There is an argument to be made for the blue component but whoever put black in the name was smoking something at the time. The colour is similar to the Blue Suede currently in the Edison but it has none of the shading properties of the Private Reserve ink.
All of these are held in a NockCo Brasstown pen case that makes its way to and from work every day. It is a great case and I’m really glad that I backed its creation on Kickstarter.
For my daily carry pens, I have standardized on pens with snap caps and pigment based inks. The red/burgundy pen is a Pilot Stella90s with Fine Nib. In the US this pen is known as a Stargazer. This is the only pen that I own which has a gold nib. It’s small size makes a fantastic pen for daily carry and I always have Sailor Kiwa Guro loaded up in it. The second pen that lives in my shirt pocket is this Pilot Metropolitan. It was purchased before the fine nibbed variant was available so I swapped the Metropolitan’s medium nib for the 78G’s fine. This pen is always inked up with Sailor Sei Boku, a great blue/black ink. These two pen and ink combinations were chosen because they perform so well in pocket notebooks and on office grade paper. While they are not my choice for correspondence writing, they get used every day for the tasks for which they were chosen.
Finally there are two paper products that I use regularly. This pocket notebook made by Hitlist Books has awesome paper in it and I prefer it to the papers found in the Field Notes Shelterwood Edition or the Doane Utility notebooks. A great product that almost nobody has heard about. For journalling I have standardized on the Apica CD11 notebooks in A5 size. They are thin, stitch bound notebooks that contain good, fountain pen friendly paper. At less than $7 for three from Jet Pens, I don’t think you can find a better bang for your dollar. I burn through one of these books every month; good stuff.
Least Favourite Combo:
I am not in love with my TWSBI pens. When they were new I bought into the whole system, inkwells and all, but I think there are definite engineering flaws in the nib/section design. I know of no other pen design where the nib holder is used to attach the section to the pen’s barrel. I have had warranty work done on my 580 and the creaky section of the 540 doesn’t give me confidence.
Wow, this is one detailed loadout! Thank you so much for explaining in depth the pens you’ve been carrying. I think notes like this are great – they really give people an insight into how a pen holds up over time.
Thanks for sharing!
If you would like to submit your Weekly Loadout of pens, ink, and paper, please share by clicking here and filling out the form!