Day #16: Vintage Copper!

I know by now I sound as though I like all the inks from this calendar. I really do! Today’s ink is no exception. When some shimmers are added that’s always a joyful bonus.

Inkvent Day #16: Diamine Vintage Copper

Vintage Copper is a shimmering ink.

Of course I have to turn the bottle over to see what was going on inside. Wow!

It’s quite mesmerizing to watch the swirls of colors.

This is a gorgeous ink color and Vintage Copper is an appropriate name for it. At first, the shimmers appear to be subtle on paper.

My swatch card shows gold shimmers and black sheen. The golden shimmers is a good match to the gold sparkles in my Estie pen.

Another view with just my beautiful swatch card.

Here’s a close up from my writing sample showing also the shading.

There’s plenty of shimmers in my bottle and in my pen. It’s evident as it shows up in my ink wash nicely.

Vintage Copper is an absolutely gorgeous ink with plenty of gold shimmers, shading, and some black sheen. The ink itself is a lovely bright coppery color. Compared to Diamine’s Brandy Dazzle, Vintage Copper is bolder and brighter. This is now high on my list of favorites and on my wish list to get a larger bottle.

Ink: Diamine Vintage Copper (shimmer)

Pens: Esterbrook Estie OS Dreamer Purple with Stub 1.1 nib. Automatic pen

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Another Van Dieman’s Ink

You might have noticed that I’ve been accumulating several bottles from the Van Dieman’s Ink brand. They have some gorgeous and vibrant ink colors that I could not pass up.

Here is Black Tongue Spider Orchid from their Wilderness Series line.

This is one gorgeous deep magenta & pinky purple color! Beautiful shading with a bit of dark sheen that almost looks black to me. This is a wonderful wet ink that I’m sure will be lovely to sketch with.

I have three other colors from this Wilderness series including Azure Kingfisher (a gorgeous shimmer), Eucalyptus Regnans, and Devil’s Kitchen. Devil’s Kitchen might sound familiar as I wrote about this ink color a few days ago.

In all, I have around 15 bottles from this brand. That clearly shows how much I enjoy using Van Dieman’s Ink for writing and journaling.

I’ve been filling my TWSBI GOs with the my new Van Dieman’s Ink. So far, I’ve been using three colors in my pen and ink wash sketches: Eucalyptus Regnans, Beetroot Relish, and Devil’s Kitchen. They’ve been performing beautifully. Lovely wet inks.

I’m hoping to dump use up my current inks in my remaining seven TWSBI GOs and fill them all with Van Dieman’s colors. I will have to keep one TWSBI filled with Robert Oster Thunderstorm (my fave) to use for base shadows in my sketches.

I enjoy seeing an ink plan come together and I can’t wait to use these vibrant and stunning colors in my creative journey.

Pen: Esterbrook Estie OS Dreamer Purple with Franklin-Christoph 14k Extra Fine Flex nib

Ink: Van Dieman’s Ink Black Tongue Spider Orchid

Paper: Rhodia

Day 2 at the Pen Show

Did this get your attention?

I was up early with Hubby and we went down to the hotel restaurant to have an early breakfast.

My gluten-free breakfast

After breakfast, I walked Hubby out to the garage as he was heading home for the day and then coming back the next day to check out the pen show and to take me out to dinner.

I had my ink journal with me and decided to head to the Ink Testing Tables to swatch some inks. Back in 2019, the ink tables were located in the small ballroom. This year, they had relocated the ink tables along the hallway outside the main ballroom. That was a brilliant idea! That meant the smaller ballroom had the custom pen turners and and fountain pen blank designers all in one room. How convenient!

Also, there was a lot more room in the main hallway to jump from table to table to test out the inks from different ink manufacturers. One of the reasons for getting up early is I had the ink tables to myself. Each table had a few nib holders, q-tips, small pieces of paper to swatch on, empty cups for used q-tips, dog bowls filled with pen flush, and cups filled with water.

I came prepared with my ink journal, regular pen, and my water brush. I have my own efficient process for swatching inks and I don’t enjoy spending the time to clean out the nibs in between ink colors. That’s why I bring a ballpoint pen to write out the ink names in my journal. Time is of the essence when at the Pen Show. Hahaha!

I made sure I to swatch the Pilot Iroshizuku inks. The small bottles are so cute!

Pilot Iroshizuku inks…look at all the beautiful colors!
Noodler’s inks
J Herbin inks

I knew I only had a small amount of time to myself at the tables and selectively picked certain brands to swatch from. I still had two more days (early mornings) to circle back and get the remaining colors swatched.

I checked my watch and knew I had to walk around, get my laps in and stop by a few tables before getting ready for my workshops. I immediately headed over to the Franklin-Christoph table. Scott’s tables are alway busy with fellow pen folks.

One of the busiest tables during the show

I inquired about a specific pen model and saw a pen that caught my eye. It did not have a clip, but I was told I could have one installed and they could mail the pen to me. I decided it was time to do a few laps and not make a commitment as I had other tables to visit. My gut instinct told me to move away from this table. Little did I know there was something else for me a few tables down.

Who could not resist the colorful pens at the F-C table!

I strolled along the back wall past BG Artforms, Bexley, Wahl-Eversharp, ASC, and Bittner’s tables.

A few months ago, I read about some lovely flex pens from Stylosuite. I saw some gorgeous writings with the lovely line variations as well as the interesting nib with the cut outs. Based on my personal experience, I knew some modern nibs could flex a bit with some amount of pressure like my Pilot 912 with FA nib. After writing a few lines, my hand would get tired and my writing would get sloppy.

I came across a tray of lovely pens. They were absolutely gorgeous to look at. I immediately recognized a few brands. Can you name the brands in the following picture?

I introduced myself to Les (owner of Stylosuite) and took a seat at his table. I answered a few questions about my writing style and pens I tend to favor. Les handed me an Opus 88 Omar with a JoWo nib that had fancy cutouts along the nib’s shoulders and sides and a cut that goes past the breather hole. The minute I put pen to paper, I realized I became one with this pen! Very little pressure and effort was needed to make this pen write with broad lines on the downstroke. I immediately had that “rhythm” and bounce in my handwriting.

Les laid down a few more pens in front of me that had different nib sizes (Fine and Medium) and also one with a cursive italic nib. I tried them all, but I still came back to the first pen I tried. That Omar had the Stylosuite Extra Fine Xwing Harpoon nib. It was an extremely smooth writing experience. Les complemented me on my writing. I told him it was the pen and his lovely nib in my hand that allowed me to write effortlessly across the paper.

All the nibs I tried at his table kept up with my fast writing. Les modifies the nibs and then tunes it with the particular pen that will house the nib unit. This is important to remember and I do not plan on swapping this nib unit around with my other pens. His Xwing Harpoon nib was perfect with this particular Omar. Oh and let’s not forget that the Opus 88 Omar has a “tank” that holds a lot of ink!

Not knowing how Les handles purchases and orders, I asked if I could buy this particular pen. When you become one with a pen, it’s the one that you have to take with you, right?

My Stylosuite Extra Fine Xwing Harpoon nib! Stunning & gorgeous!

A writing sample with this flex nib with very little pressure. Amazing!

I was done with my shopping for the day. Or so I thought. I still had to get ready and grab my bags and head down to my meeting room to setup for my workshop.

After my first (of three) workshop was finished, I immediately packed up my supplies and papers and dropped them off in my room. I still had to do a few laps around the main venue and to also check out the small pen turners and pen blank designers in the small ballroom.

I took a few more pictures and then stumbled upon another table. Turnt Pen Co. His trays of pens were shouting my name. I slowly scanned each pen in their trays and came across one that caught my eye.

I asked and Tim confirmed that his pen was made from a Primary Manipulation 4 blank by Jonathon Brooks. I needed to feel the whole pen in my hand and Tim was gracious enough to install a JoWo #6 Stub 1.1 nib unit and a converter into the pen. He wanted to dip the pen in some ink and I told him no need to do that. I can sense how good a pen will be by just holding it in my hand and going through the motions of writing on paper.

Then a very familiar sensation hit me! I became one with this pen! It’s a similar feeling as I had with the Stylosuite pen, but that pen will be used for my fancy handwriting. My Turnt pen was about the “whole package” for an EDW (everyday writer) including comfort, balance, and weight. Could I write with this pen for hours? Yes! This feeling almost reminded me of holding a Franklin-Christoph pen in my hand. It was that good! The writing experience was just lovely and it did not hurt that this particular Turnt pen was just absolutely stunning. I can’t believe I managed to get a PM4 pen that was on my wish list. The stars were definitely in alignment and I was meant to be at Turnt’s table. I was so thrilled to have met Tim. (Thank you Tim for a wonderful pen show experience and I enjoyed chatting with you!)

After my second purchase for the day, I had to wear “blinders” and walk by many more tables. I did see some fun Esterbrook patches with the lovely Aqua Fun! theme and the Esterbrook clip. Next thing I knew I was given a lovely Esterbrook tote bag, washi tape, and a plain white nautical hat to along with my purchase. When I was wearing the hat the next day, Hubby said I looked like I belonged on Gilligan’s Island! Yeah, I’m not sharing any pictures of me wearing the hat. Hahaha!

My Esterbrook accessories

I was so tired from the day’s activities that I ordered a meal to go from the lounge and spent some quiet time in my room. I ended up practicing my fancy handwriting with my Stylosuite pen and twirling my Turnt PM4 pen. Okay, not at the same time.

Here are additional pictures I forgot to add when I published this post.

More to come….

Private Reserve Inks

I jumped on another fountain pen ink bandwagon. This time with Private Reserve Inks. This ink brand has been showing up on my radar and social media feed for awhile. I did some research and found the original owner had passed away in 2018 and the remaining ink bottles at the pen shops eventually sold out. Sometime in 2019, a new owner took over the Private Reserve Inks and partnered with Yafa Brands to produce the bottles of ink.

I’ve heard there were a few issues with some of the ink colors (like mold) and that was prior to the new ownership/management taking over this line of ink. I have not seen nor heard of any recent issues with the new inks.

I naturally wanted to get a teal and a pinky/raspberry/purple ink. I ended up selecting Blue Suede, Arabian Rose, Shoreline Gold, and Naples Blue to try out. Another ink color is arriving later in the week and I will be adding this ink color to this blog post.

My Private Reserve Inks

I initially swatched the colors on my Col-o-ring card and in my Stalogy 365 ink journal. I was amazed at the bright and bold ink colors that popped on the paper. Some slight bleeding occurred on the Col-o-ring card which is normal for me to see. I noticed that the ink was quite wet and my automatic pen saturated my swatch cards.

Stunning colors!
Shoreline Gold is a pretty and bright orange color with lots of shading
Arabian Rose if my fave color with beautiful shading and black sheen
Blue Suede is an absolutely gorgeous teal color with pink sheen and beautiful shading
Naples Blue is a beautiful medium blue ink with lovely pink sheen and shading

When I did my swatches in my Stalogy ink journal, I immediately noticed the feathering around the edges of the ink. This was the first time I experienced a huge amount of feathering on this paper. I flipped through the pages of my ink journal to see if I have experienced this with any other ink manufacturer or maybe an ink color. Private Reserve Inks are the only ones feathering.

I inked two pens to see if I would see similar feathering when I write with my fountain pens. I selected my two Taccia Spectrum pens. One with an Extra Fine nib and the other with a Medium nib. I also cleaned my Estie OS and filled it with Arabian Rose.

Adding my writing samples to my swatch page

As expected, writing with the Extra Fine nibs hardly shows any feathering. Writing with my Medium nib, I could see a bit of feathering.

As expected, writing on my Tomoe River Paper (TRP) did not show any feathering.

My Tomoe River Paper ink log

Here’s another writing sample using my Ayush Paper. I’m starting to come down from my fence with this paper. I like writing on this paper and especially with my Pilot Parallel pens. That’s another post for another day.

Can see the lovely shading on my Ayush paper

So I have a slight issue with Private Reserve’s jar. It’s a round squatty shaped jar. When I placed my pen into the bottle to fill with ink, I noticed there was not a whole lot of space between the tip of my nib and the bottom of the jar. Eventually, I will have to decant the ink into my Pineider or Visconti travel inkwells. I just remembered I have a few TWSBI inkwells that I could use. A better solution.

Private Reserve Ink jars are short compared to my sample vials and my small Diamine bottle

Update: A late add to this blog entry. Here’s my fifth bottle that arrived late. Lovely color!

An interesting copper color with character
Lovely shading with black sheen

I will have to spend more time with this ink brand. That includes creating a few pen and ink wash artwork to see how this ink behaves on different art paper. The ink colors are definitely gorgeous with a lot of sheen and shading characteristics I enjoy seeing.

Inks: Private Reserve Inks in Shoreline Gold, Blue Suede, Arabian Rose, Naples Blue, and Copper Burst

Papers: Col-o-ring swatch cards, Ayush Paper, GLP Creations TRP journal, and Stalogy 365 B6 journal

My Maiora Impronte OS Posillipo – the Good/the Bad

Update (05/24): I have received a package from Yafa. They sent me the wrong cap and it appears to be the regular size cap for their smaller Maiora Impronte pen. Unbelievable! I contacted the online pen shop and the solution is to return both (my defective OS cap and their regular replacement cap) to Yafa along with a nice letter. It looks like it will be sometime in June when I’ll get to use my pen again. Not a happy camper right now.

Update (05/22): In a few days I will be receiving a new cap from Yafa Brands. I cleaned my pen and have been patiently waiting to use it again. I can’t wait to see what this new cap looks like. Stay tuned!

Maiora is an Italian fountain pen manufacturer based in Naples, Italy and is managed by former co-founder and president of Delta Pen Company, Nino Marino. Maiora also produces fountain pens under the Netunno brand. I have to mention here that the other former co-founder of Delta was Ciro Matrone. Ciro and Salvatore Matrone (Ciro’s son) are the brain child behind Leonardo Officina Italiano Pens. To me, the Maiora pens remind me of my Leonardos and look a bit similar, but are quite different.

I saw a few Maiora Impronte OS pens on my social media feed. Someone had posted a picture of their Posillipo pen and the colors reminded me of the Caribbean waters. Yes, I’m a sucker for island and water related colors.

My Maiora Impronte OS in Posillipo

I did a bit of research to find out the meaning behind this color’s name. Posillipo is a town located near the coastal region of Naples. This pens’s blue and green flecks represent the surrounding waters and the rolling hills of this coastal town in Italy.

I’ve had this Posillipo for a couple of weeks and I wanted to share what I love about this pen, the good and the bad.

The Good:

The pen is made from hand turned solid resin bars and the pen’s clip is machined from solid brass and then hand polished. The pen has a curved grip/section which is made from the same matching resin as the barrel and cap. It has a really nice feel and my fingers rest comfortably in the curved section. I’m starting to prefer this kind of grip.

My Posillipo with silver clip and ring trim

I was happy to see the Maiora uses a threaded converter which is my favorite type of converter. This one is designed beautifully and well made. I had a lovely experience filling the converter with ink. That says a lot about the quality. Similar to my Leonardo Momento Zeros, there’s blind cap at the end of the barrel that allows quick access to the converter knob. The blind cap threads are metal.

Maiora uses JoWo #6 nibs. Swappable nib units? Yes! That means Franklin-Christoph, Esterbrook, Edison, Opus 88, Retro 51 and other pen manufacturers who use JoWo #6 nib units are swappable in my Maiora Impronte pen.

I took a picture of my pen disassembled. Notice the curved grip, the nib unit unscrewed and sitting in its section, the blind cap, and the lovely converter.

The nib is engraved with the Maiora logo and the converter has the etched name

Another nice feature of my Maiora pen is it can use the short or long standard international ink cartridges. I mentioned before I have a few boxes of the Jacques Herbin, Pelikan, and Waterman long ink cartridges that I like to use.

My Fine nib needed a slight adjustment as the tines appeared to be a bit off and I could feel the nib drag a bit on the paper (scratchy). After I realigned the tines, the nib wrote smoothly with just a tad bit of feedback. A lovely feeling for a Fine nib. It writes slightly wet and I filled my pen with Diamine Enchanted Ocean to show off all the shimmers.

The Bad:

Yes, there is a big issue with my Maiora Impronte OS. It’s with the cap. There’s a small opening where the clip attaches to the cap. That means air is flowing inside the cap. My beautiful Fine nib dries out in between writing sessions and overnight.

Picture of the opening where the clip is attached

There is also a floating rubber disk sitting inside at the end of the cap. It’s not secured and I’m not sure if it’s suppose to be there. When I twist my pen into the cap, the tip of the nib rubs against this rubber disk. After the first night when my pen sat on my desk, the tip of the nib (iridium) had developed some crust and the nib was covered with ink. It wrote for a bit and then I decided to clean off the gunk. It took several attempts to wipe it off and then I ended up dipping the nib into some water. I did the dipping into the water about three times before I could remove the ink completely from the nib and the iridium tipping was shiny again.

I sent this picture of the inside cap to the pen shop

After spending some quality time writing with my Maiora, I sent an email to the online pen shop and included a few pictures of my pen and my sample writing where I documented the issues. I received a response that included some options: request a new nib and a new cap. I provided additional pictures of the cap include a gap/opening where the clip joins the cap. I actually blew some air into the cap and sure enough the air came out of the cap.

I went ahead and requested a new cap. I did not request a new nib as my Fine nib writes beautifully and I have no issues with the nib. As a few of my pen friends know, when a beautiful writing nib is in my possession there is no letting go. My only problem with the pen was the cap and its two apparent issues. The pen shop is waiting to hear back from the distributor, Yafa Brands.

Why didn’t I return the whole pen? There were too many positive and feel good qualities I was experiencing with this particular pen. Besides checking off all of my pen requirement boxes, this nib writes beautifully. Plus the pen feels comfortable in my hand after several long writing sessions. I’ve become one with this pen minus the cap. Hahaha!

I will be back to post additional updates and the solution to this major cap problem.

Pen Comparisons:

I wanted to include a picture that shows my Esterbrook Estie OS and my lovely Maiora together. They are both “over sized” pens and look somewhat girthy, but they are extremely comfy pens to write with.

My Esterbrook Estie OS in Dreamer Purple and my Maiora Impronte OS in Posillipo

Since I’m displaying my current favorite pens, I thought I would add another favorite to the mix from Franklin-Christoph.

For comparison: Franklin-Christoph 31 (Candystone), Esterbrook Estie OS, and Maiora Impronte OS

After looking at this picture, I realize that my Candystone pen contains my favorite colors and it also incorporates the colors from the other two pens.

Tips/Additional Comments:

  • My Leonardo Momento Zero pens have friction fit Bock nibs. Leonardo included the Bock #6 nibs with their pens until earlier this year (2021) when they switched to JoWo #6 nibs. The JoWo nibs in the Leonardo pens are also friction fit meaning you can pull the nib and feed out to change the nib. The nib collar unit is still secured into the section. No unscrewing of the nib unit/collar on the Leonardo Momento Zeros.
  • I have no issues with using shimmering inks with a Fine nib as long as the feed and nib can handle it. Most of my JoWo nibs (Extra Fine, Fine, and wider nibs) do well with shimmering inks. If I can see daylight between the tines and through the tip of the nib, I know the shimmering ink will flow. I mostly use my Diamine Shimmertastic and Jacques Herbin shimmering inks with my Extra Fine and Fine nibs.

Pen: Maiora Impronte OS Posillipo with Fine nib

Ink: Diamine Enchanted Ocean

Esterbrook Estie Fountain Pens

Update: I saw Esterbrook post a picture about an upcoming new Gold Rush series color in what looks to be a “sparkling teal” color. It looked like a pen blank and not the actual pen. Not that I’m enabling….

(Note: I’ve added two “update” notes at the bottom of this post. I will also add a picture with a few of my other pens next to the Estie for size comparison. Enjoy!)

I want to introduce my family of Esterbrook Estie fountain pens. My regular Esterbrook Estie and two lovely Estie Oversize (OS) pens.

My Estie Trio (Honeycomb, Montana Sapphire, and Dreamer Purple)

My first Esterbrook Estie fountain pen was the Honeycomb with flecks of amber and golden colors. It’s a regular or standard sized pen I found on sale and it turned out to be the last one in a Broad nib from one of the online pen shops. My first Broad nib pen. A double first for this wonderful pen.

My Broad nib felt like a gushing wet writer. I was not used to having a wet writing experience especially since I started out with Extra Fine and Fine nibs at the beginning of my rabbit hold adventure. It’s a perfect pen to use with sheening and shimmering ink to go with the lovely chatoyance in this pen material.

Estie regular in Honeycomb with silver palladium trim

Last year, Esterbrook announced their “Sparkle” collection of pens and their Montana Sapphire immediately caught my attention in a big way.

Esterbrook partnered with Tim McKenzie of McKenzie Penworks (a custom Alumilite blank maker) to create a stunning and sparkling Diamondcast fountain pen collection. The sparkle pens are made from a mixture of resin and reclaimed diamond particles. Besides the Montana Sapphire offering, the other pen colors include Garnet (red) and Tanzanite (blue). Tim created something unique with this particular Montana Sapphire color. He added bits of holographic silver particles to the resin and reclaimed diamond particle mix which resulted in this pen having an over the top sparkling look. I can vouch for this as my pen sparkles in different amounts of lighting.

Estie Oversize (OS) with silver palladium trim

Three apparent pen qualities came to my mind the more I used my Estie pens: quality, feel, and function.

The Esterbrook Estie is a well made fountain pen. Overall this cigar shaped pen feels solid and smooth in my hand. Inside the cap they have something called the “cushion cap”. As I slide the barrel into the cap, the section meets a cushion inside the cap and I can feel a tiny bit of resistance as I twist the cap on. This helps to seal the nib and keep it wet and ready to write. There is also a nice smooth feeling when I twist off the cap from the barrel of the pen.

The interior of the cap

The section threads are metal and there’s an o-ring in place. The Esties cannot be converted to an eyedropper pen because of this metal part in the section. Having an o-ring in place provides a nice smooth feel when screwing the section into the barrel. Perhaps the o-ring prevents wear and tear on the threads from constant twisting and use when refiling the pen with ink. Sounds like I will be doing additional research on this.

Here’s the o-ring

The Esties can use a short or long standard international ink cartridge as well as the included converter. The ability to use a long standard ink cartridge is an added bonus for me as I have a few boxes of Jacques Herbin, Pelikan, and Waterman long ink cartridges that I can use in this pen. The longer cartridges come in handy when traveling and more convenient to carry. Especially when my converter runs out of ink and I can install a long cartridge and continue to write in my journal.

The only slight issue I have with Esterbrook is their converter. I wish the converter was a screw type instead of the push in. That’s just a preference I have and for all I know maybe the JoWo nib units do not work with screw in converters. If anyone has information on this, please let me know in the comments. In the mean time I will add this to my research to-do list.

The Esties use the JoWo #6 nibs/nib units. Another nib swapping pen! I can unscrew this standard nib unit and put in one from another pen manufacturer that uses the same such as my Franklin-Christoph Italic or SIG nib units. I can also use my Opus 88, Edison, Schon, and other independent pen manufacturer nib units.

The barrel threads between the regular and the OS pen models are different. The regular Estie has resin threads while the OS has metal threads.

I swapped out the nib unit on my sparkling pen
Close up view of the barrel threads

I skipped the previous Estie sparkling collection which included Rocky Top and Peacock. I found the multicolored swirls of color with the diamond particles did not appeal to me. Maybe it was the combination of colors used in the pen and I did not notice the sparkling diamond particles as much. Besides me, I do not see too many folks twirling their pens and capture it on video. I gave Peacock several looks, but I already had Montana Sapphire. I wanted something a bit more different in color.

When I recently saw the new Esterbrook Gold Rush series and the color combinations they used, it took my breath away. This new series is available in Prospector Black (black and gold) and Dreamer Purple (purple and gold). In my personal opinion, they are absolutely stunning and very elegant looking pens.

I went with my gut instinct and selected the Dreamer Purple color. Depending on the lighting and how much this pen sparkles, I can see the purple leaning towards red-violet with a medium to darker range of purple colors.

Stunning to look at near my window
Sparkles under my desk light

While waiting a few weeks for my pen to ship, I had pulled out all of my ink swatch cards with the purplish colors I thought would be a perfect match with my new pen.

My initial ink choices

After receiving this beautiful pen, I was surprised to see not one swatch card jumping out at me. I went back to my Col-o-ring and flipped through the color ranges until I stopped at one. That’s when Diamine Brandy Dazzle spoke to me.

I pulled out my loupe to check the nib and everything was perfect. My medium nib on Dreamer Purple writes extremely smooth. The shimmering ink just flowed from my pen. No issues. It feels like a dreamy pen writing experience.

My Esties are lovely pens and a joy to write with. Having the metal clips and metal trims gives the pens some additional weight and a lovely finish. The pens are well balanced in my hand. They do not feel light in comparison to some of the other independent pen manufacturer’s pens. The weight of the Estie regular is around 24g while the Estie OS is 33g.

My Estie Trio

There is not much else to say about Esterbrook Estie pens. They are reliable writers and gorgeous pens. They have become my EDWs or everyday writers.

Update #1: I have to add this paragraph. I typed one with the original post, but deleted it. I am now re-typing it again. A small number of pen acquaintances have mentioned several times about the cost of the Estie pen. I had posted a picture and then a video in a social media group. One person immediately commented on both about how expensive this pen is (making me feel bad for purchasing it) and it really made me sad for a few minutes. Sad for the person that commented. This person who could not afford this pen, bought a Sailor last year and complained about the Sailor pen not writing to their expectations. I know there is one in every bunch and sometimes “filters” are turned off or do not exist. Everyone has different tastes and preferences. Okay. Enough said.

I decided to go ahead and publish this post to help others who are on the fence about purchasing an Esterbrook pen or any pen from another manufacturer. I hope to provide insight into what to look for in a fountain pen. I always believe in “you get what you pay for” and many times it’s always good to pass on things when the “salivating time” lasts for only a few minutes.

A few pen manufacturers are worth a second look like Franklin-Christoph (independent pen mfg) and Esterbrook. Both pen manufacturers have different pen offerings and price points. I mention them because I have had an overall wonderful experience with both.

Update #2: I just heard from Tim that there are a few more collaborations in the works with Esterbrook. I cannot wait to see what amazing blanks Tim will create for their next series of pens.

Shimmering Ink Month and My EDWs

Two weeks ago, I had cleaned all of my Everyday Writer (EDW) fountain pens. It didn’t take long before I started to fill them again with different inks. This time it was mostly with shimmering inks.

The first (left) and last two pens (right) are filled with normal inks. The rest have shimmering inks.

Notice in the picture, I have eight EDW pens inked at one time. This is a personal restriction I have placed upon myself. Not to go overboard and have 30 EDW pens inked at one time. I used to do that when I first started out in this crazy rabbit hole. The thought of cleaning 30 pens was overwhelming. It took me awhile to clean 30 pens and at the same time I kept filling my pens with ink. The 30 pens would drop down to 20 and then back up to 30 again.

Last year I set a goal for myself to create good habits. One of them was to only have 10 EDW pens inked at one time. This of course did not include my pens that I use for my artwork. Change is good, right? So far, it looks like it’s working!

Documenting my EDW for future reference. Check out the shimmers!

For those of you following my RO Rose Gold Antiqua shimmering ink adventures, I have paired that ink with my TWSBI Diamond 580 RGII pen. For the second time, this ink has clogged my pen on Day #2. If you remember, my first pen that I paired with this ink clogged as well on Day #2. That was with the Platinum Procyon with a medium nib.

I’m now beyond Day #2 and my TWSBI and Rose Gold Antiqua ink are playing nicely together.

My TWSBI filled with Rose Gold Antiqua

Love my shimmers!

If you’ve noticed, I am no longer calling my currently inked pens EDCs or Everyday Carry. They are now my Everyday Writer or EDW pens.

Looks like I need to create a writing sample with all my currently inked pens I use strictly for my artwork. I better get to it!

Paper used: Rhodia #16 Paper Pad Blank. GLP Creations Journal with Tomoe River Paper Lined.

Fountain Pen Modern Flex Nibs – My Thoughts

Note: I wanted to let you know that I have been updating this post. I will continue over the next few days as I uncover additional information, add a few more pictures, and additional writing experiences from the nibs I have. Enjoy!

For the last year and a half, I’ve been doing some research and looking at affordable modern flex nibs for fountain pens. A few of my pen-friends have inquired or looked for information and reviews about flex nib pens, but I’ve mostly held off from forming an opinion or making any recommendations. Until now.

When a pen manufacturer labels their nibs with the word “flex” it conjures up images of doing fancy line variations while writing. Many folks feel the need to flex their nibs right out of the box not knowing what the nib can actually do and not do. There are limitations to how far a nib can flex and that depends on the nib material used and how the nib is cut/designed.

My Calligraphy Pointed Dip Nibs Experience

Let me step back a bit. Before I ventured into the fountain pen rabbit hole, I was using pointed dip pens for my other rabbit hole calligraphy adventure. I learned and practiced with using Zebra “G” dip nibs to create the line variations: heavy pressure on the down strokes and light pressure on the upstrokes. My heavy pressure would cause the tines of the nib to split allowing more ink to appear on the paper. On the upstrokes, the tines would spring back and normal ink would appear on the paper.

My “G” pointed dip nibs used for Calligraphy writing. They are thin and sharp nibs.

This was a great learning experience for me as I got to know how a dip nib feels and how much pressure to apply. The pointed dip nibs are disposable because they will eventually corrode which is why I was looking for a better fountain pen nib solution. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled post.

Back to the Fountain Pen Modern Flex Nibs

My first experience with fountain pen flex nibs was when I uncovered a fairly young boutique fountain pen company called Fountain Pen Revolution (FPR) based in Texas. That was back in July of 2019. I purchased a Himalaya pen in a pretty Peacock color with a #5.5 Ultra Flex nib. Shortly after that I picked up a Himalaya in Saffron Orange with a #6 Ultra Flex nib. Both had hard starts when the nib hit the paper. I flushed and clean the nibs. Still had some issues. I contacted FPR who referred me to a video and I learned about heat setting the nib and feed.

I was able to get both pens writing for a bit. Then I started having hard starts all over again. I sent pictures to FPR who then suggested I needed to push the nib further into the section. Another heat set with the nib and feed. I was still having issues with the Himalayas. That was getting old.

During this time a friend of mine, “M”, had gifted to me her two Noodler’s Ahab. She had the pens inked with of course Noodler’s Apache Sunset and Black Swan in Australian Roses. Both pens wrote beautifully, but I never tried to flex the nibs or even thought I should. I was thankful for “M’s” thoughtful gift and enjoyed the pen and ink combination.

I’ve read mixed reviews about the Ahab fountain pens. Similar issues with the FPR pens. Plus the Noodler’s pen line had an interesting odor that was hard to get used to or get rid of. My Ahab’s still have this distinguishable odor almost two years later.

My next pen adventure led me to a few Conklins including the beautiful Duraflex Elements in Water and Fire. The Duraflex (omniflex) nib on the Fire wrote brilliantly, but the nib that came with Water was a dud. It did not write at all.

My old Conklin Omniflex nib units that did not write for me.

Conklin JoWo #6 Omniflex Nib

In the Fall of 2020, Conklin came out with their JoWo Omniflex nibs. I loved the look of this new nib. Plus with the JoWo branded nib I knew this would be a nice writing experience. I ordered the Goulet exclusive Endura Abalone with Chrome trim and the new Omniflex nib. This turned out to a be an awesome combination!

Conklin’s new JoWo Omniflex nib. Notice the cutouts on the shoulders of the nib.

You can see from the two previous pictures how much different the Omniflex nibs look.

This new nib is a stiff steel nib and I knew right away it might flex just a tiny bit. It does. About less than double its normal line width. I did not buy this nib for the “flex” that folks normally think of. I wanted this nib for the writing experience. The feel of the nib bouncing across the paper while I write. The springy-feeling when the nib goes up and down on the page.

I knew of this “bouncing” and “springy” experience when my friend “M” let me use her Pineider gemstone pen for a few minutes. This was a beautiful writing experience and especially with a gold nib. Pleasurable writing was the first thing that came to mind as I handed the beautiful gem back to her. Thanks “M” for sharing your lovely and beautiful pen that made a lasting impression and set the bar for what kind of nib I wanted.

Franklin-Christoph 14k Extra Fine Flex Nib

At the end of 2020, I treated myself to a fancy gold nib from Franklin-Christoph. I had this nib on my radar for a few months and when I saw they had a few in stock, I ordered one. I wanted to pair this grail nib with my Esterbrook Estie OS Sparkle. My grail pen was needing a grail nib. Hahaha!

Franklin-Christoph 14k Extra Fine Flex nib on my Estie Sparkle

I had issues with hard starts with this beautiful gold nib and my Estie Sparkle. The hard starts would happen on the first down stroke when I started to write a sentence and sometimes a few words later. It was a consistent problem with this gold flex nib. I cleaned and flushed the nib. Filled my pen with a wet ink (Sailor’s Sailor) and still had issues with the hard starts. It felt like something was starving the nib. I was not going to give up on this nib.

A lightbulb went off in my head. Maybe it’s not an ink issue at all, but something about the pen that I was using and preventing the flow of ink. I pulled out my Opus 88 Omar and swapped the Opus nib unit for the F-C 14k Flex gold nib unit. I filled my Omar with Sailor’s Sailor. Guess what? This combination wrote brilliantly.

My Opus 88 Omar and F-C 14k Extra Fine Flex nib

I believe the problem I was having with my Estie was the converter filled with ink that could not keep up with the nib and basically starved the nib. Not enough ink flowed out. With my eyedropper (Omar) pen, the ink gushes out perfectly and keeps up with the nib as I write.

Same nib. Same ink. Different pen. Writing beautifully.

Franklin-Christoph #6 HPS Extra Fine Flex Nib

After the holidays, I had been watching and waiting for another Franklin-Christoph nib to appear in their inventory. I managed to snag their steel nib called: #6 HPS Extra Fine Flex nib. This nib reminded me of the FPR EF Ultraflex nib in appearance. I had a gut feeling that this F-C nib would be the affordable modern nib that actually works. Plus I read their nibs go through a multi-step testing process before it goes out the door.

Franklin-Christoph #6 HPS Extra Fine Flex nib. A familiar looking flex nib.

Of course I needed to include a writing sample with this steel flex nib. I filled my Opus 88 Omar Tainan Blue with Rohrer and Klingner Verdigris blue black ink.

My flex writing sample with the Franklin-Christoph HPS Extra Fine Flex nib
Can see some line variations in my writing and the lovely shading from my ink
Close up of my writing sample

As you can see, the steel flex nib kept up with my handwriting. The ink flowed flawlessly through the nib and feed. No hard starts at all. I was able to flex this nib comfortably and without any hesitation. With that being said, this nib does not flex like the Zebra G dip nib or other calligraphy dip nibs. There is a difference in the thickness of the nibs with the Zebra G being thinner and lighter and disposable.

While I’m discussing the Zebra G nib, I did some research on some calligraphy dip nibs inserted into fountain pens. Desiderata Pen Company is known for this. They call their pens “vintage style flex” with modern design. It looks like a great idea, but you’ll end up replacing the Zebra G nibs frequently because they do corrode and wear down from use and I’m not sure how difficult it is to change out the nibs. Also, they are limited to the pen material/style. Right now, you will not see all the lovely resin designs and colors that are available for regular fountain pens. FYI. I haven’t seen any sparkly stuff. Hahaha! I’m starting to see more videos on their pens and it’s an interesting concept and I’m sure this idea will continue to evolve.

Final Thoughts

Based on my personal experience so far, it looks like an eyedropper pen works beautifully with both Franklin-Christoph flex nibs. If you want to do calligraphy writing with a fountain pen, you need a pen that has a wet nib and feed and it doesn’t hurt to use a wet ink as well. It’s also why I believe an eyedropper pen will work brilliantly as the ink will flow straight to the feed.

Update: I do want to add that I have purchased a second HPS #6 EF Flex nib that I upgraded on my F-C #31 Candystone pen. I used a converter with this pen and steel flex nib combination. Beautiful writing combination and no issues.

I have to add a note about Franklin-Christoph’s nibs. When purchased separately on their website, the nib comes with its feed and screw-in nib unit or collar/housing. This screw-in nib unit is a generic JoWo nib unit. That means it will fit other fountain pen manufacturers pen models (e.g. Esterbrook, Retro 51, Opus 88 Omar (#6) and Picnics (#5), etc). Just need to make sure you are matching the correct nib unit size with your pen. I also recommend double-checking with the pen manufacturer to make sure your pen uses JoWo nib unit.

Franklin-Christoph included a slip of paper with my order. Audrey had tested my nib. Nice touch!

So, am I out of luck by not having my grail pen with my grail nib? No. I’m curious by nature and will continue to figure out how to make this pen and nib combination work.

I’m extremely happy to have fantastic modern flex nibs in my collection. They each serve a different purpose. If you are interested in flex writing with the line variations, I do recommend the Franklin-Christoph #6 HPS Extra Fine Flex nib. I was pleasantly surprised how well it wrote and without any issues. No need for heat setting the nib and feed at all. That’s a huge plus for me.

For true Calligraphy writing with all the glorious flexing to get some of the finest thin lines and brilliant wide lines and let me include beautiful flourishes, I will still go with my pointed dip nibs (e.g. Zebra G, Tachikawa G, and others) with an oblique dip nib holder. Yes, there is a bit more you have to do for maintenance and setup and of course dipping frequently and writing slowly. For me, there is something wonderful about spending the time to create beautiful writings.

Here’s another writing sample. Bottom left shows how the nib writes with my normal writing and no pressure on the nib.
A close up of my writing.

My Favorite Fountain Pen Carrying Case

I wanted to write about my favorite pen carrying case. I have tried several different brands and styles and they perform different functions for me. I actually classify my fountain pen cases into two different functions: pen storage and pen carrying.

Today, I will share my favorite pen carrying case. Quattro. Made by Lochby.

The front of my Lochby Quattro cases. Pilot Metropolitan in Turquoise Dots and Champagne Gold.

From Lochby’s site here’s their description: “The Quattro fits your favorite four pens for when you’re on the go. Lightly padded, fully zippered, and wrapped in our dry waxed canvas.”

I first purchased the black waxed canvas case as they were sold out of their popular brown version. Once I received the case in hand, I was immediately impressed with their product. The quality and workmanship and especially functionality. You already know. I’m all about product function. As a sewist, I always look at workmanship and how a product is sewn together. I was surprised at how thin this case was when zipped close. It’s not at all a chunky case.

On the outside, there are pockets galore. You can see from my first picture that I have my Pilot Metros in the narrow front pocket. In the flat pocket I have my Robert Oster Blotter Card which is similar in size to a business card.

On the backside of the case, there’s velcro pocket. Here I have inserted my tiny Rhodia booklet (3″x4.7″).

The back of my Lochby pen cases

There’s a nylon YKK zipper that zips around the case to hold my pens safely inside. You can see the double stitching and bar tacking. A rugged and sturdy case.

In the next two pictures, I show the interior of each case.

The black case has a beige interior. Notice I have the two pens stored upside down on the right clipped into the slot. That way the pens don’t fall out when I open the case.
The brown case has an orange interior

Why is this pen case a favorite of mine? I mentioned in a previous post that I prefer larger pens. This Lochby case can accommodate them.

The two pens on the right are a bit girthy and requires a wider slot for the pens to slip in. Lochby took care of this in their Quattro case. (Cross Peerless 125 in Titanium Gray, Esterbrook Estie OS Sparkle in Montana Sapphire, Montegrappa Elmo in Blue Cross Gentian, and TWSBI Diamond 580ALR in Prussian Blue)
My Opus 88 Omar (2nd from the left) is the largest pen I own. For awhile this pen sat on my desk because it would not fit in my other pen carrying cases. Now it has a home. (Pineider Avatar UR in Angel Skin, Opus 88 Omar in Clear, Platinum 3776 Century in Chartres Blue, and Visconti Breeze in Plum)

There are two negatives I have come across for the black case. My black version is prone to showing lint as you can see in the above pictures. Also, I wanted to let you know not to store any light colored pens on the external pockets. The black dye from the canvas can transfer onto the pen. It has not happened to me, but my blotter card is showing black around the edges.

I love my black Lochby Quattro so much that I added the brown case to my collection. Now I don’t have to worry about where to store my girthy pens.