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Filtering by Tag: Sheaffer

Atlanta Pen Show Recap

Fr. Kyle Sanders

Franz Dimson ,  Jeff Abbott , and myself (photo courtesy of Franz Dimson) 

Franz Dimson, Jeff Abbott, and myself (photo courtesy of Franz Dimson) 

I was looking forward to the Atlanta Pen Show all year. It was a long Lent, and I was anticipating a good time with my pen friends as we geeked out about extra-fine nibs and primary manipulation, knowing those were not underground sexual references.

It was different this year. Many of the regulars from the two previous years didn't come down, choosing, rather, to wait for the Chicago Pen Show. It opened up the space for something new, which included cupcakes and a contingent from San Francisco. The nights were filled with conversation and alcohol and pens. It felt like war. Back in the day, before the gun and the lamp, battles ended at sun down and all sat at camp recovering, licking wounds, and consuming comforting liquids, talking about the scars acquired and comrades lost. Thankfully the only thing spilled was Diamine Oxblood. In those camps was a communal atmosphere of 'we survived together' and it brought those soldiers closer.  We didn't experience violence, but like comrades in battle there was something shared that those outside camp wouldn't understand.

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My first purchase was six-months in the making. I comissioned Shawn Newton to make me a holy water dispenser pen. (I'm going to spend another post on this and the full story behind it. ) It left Shawn's hands in February and travelled to the Vanness Pen Shop for a relief engraving, after which it was sent to Jonathon Brooks, of Carolina Pen Company, to do an abalone inlay on the cap. Jonathon delivered it to me on Thursday night as we all prepped for the show. I was ecstatic. I showed it to every person I could, and probably a few people multiple times. I was super excited about it. It's made it two years in a row that I've gotten a holy water pen at the Atlanta Show. 

This was my first year at a Friday of the show. It was evenly paced. It didn't seem overcrowded but was sufficiently attended. The only money I spent was on a brown luminescent Franklin-Christoph 45 to replace the one I purchased last year. The first disappeared (Sad face). I had Jim Rouse put the same grind on the nib, a stublique, as he calls it, or a SIG (stub italic grind) as F-C calls it. I have found the 45 to be my favorite of all the models Franklin-Christoph makes. I love the size and the grip. I promise I won't lose this one too.

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I brought a few more pens for repair. I'm not ready to jump into the next 'stage' of pen geekdom, repairing my own pens. I know it's possible, and with practice anything can be done. However, I am more into seeing what can come out of the pen then what is in it. Not to say I don't appreciate a pen design, but rather I'm interested in creating sentences not pens. Anyway, I had an Esterbrook desk pen that needed repair and resaccing and an old Sheaffer Jade pen that needed a new sac and nib. The Esterbrook could be done at the show. I left the Sheaffer with Sharrell Tyree to restore. I'm looking forward to getting that pen back and playing with it. 

In my aimless wandering through the show (I wasn't lost, I just found myself talking to people rather that looking at pens), I came across Brad and Myke, of the Pen Addict Podcast, talking with Detlef Bittner. He was showing them the new line of Wahl-Eversharp pens. They've managed to design a semi-flex and full flex nibs to put in their Decoband model. This pen is a monster of a pen and makes a Montblanc 149 look like a Kaweco sport. I was impressed with how well the semi and full flex worked. Aurora's semi-flex had trouble keeping up. Being that the Decoband runs just shy of a grand. I'd have to save up get one.

Friday night was off the chain (did I use that slang right?). I've never seen so many Sailors in one place and there not be a boat. I was introduced to the King Eagle nib. The lower the angle of the pen to the page the wider the line, and it can be flipped over for a nice fine line. It's technically extraordinary not terribly attractive.

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Saturday was the busy day. The rooms were packed for most of the day. It felt more frenetic. There were a lot of people who came up for the day which gave the show a high energy. Limited time, expendable money. I only picked up two things that day. I had been eyeing one the Karas Kustoms delrin models. It had a purple delrin body and a gold aluminum cap. They made it for LA as an homage to the Lakers, but in SEC territory purple and gold only has one team, the LSU Tigers. I couldn't not buy it. I prefer the Fountain K model to the bulkier Ink and in LSU colors it makes it a great daily carry pen. I also traded (my first trade) a Visconti Rembrant, I was trying to sell, for a seafoam green Sheaffer Snorkel. I love the color but the nib will need some repair. The Snorkel gives me more delight than the Rembrant. I was also able to sell two other pens that evening to fund a Sunday purchase.

Saturday evening was sushi and pens and pens and alcohol. Jim Rouse brought out some of his unique pens, like a demostrator Parker Vacummatic and a pen from the original run of Franklin-Christoph. Dave Rea also shared his brand new LB5, which about as large as the Decoband from the day before. Mr. Lambrou makes beautiful pens, but the more I handle the less I want one (and my pocketbook takes a big sigh).

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I found Sunday tobe uncharateristically quiet. A storm did blow into the city which prevented some of the tentstive locals. Most of those there were vendors qnd weekend passers. Having been there for two days, I appreciated the slower pace. I spent the morning in front of Mark Bacas, the Nib Grinder. A few years ago I purchased a Visconti Salvador Dali. It never wrote well for me (I've owned 5 Viscontis and only the Rembrant I sold the day before wrote well out of the box), but I liked the body too much ot sell it. I also wanted a funky nib grind in homage to the king of surreal. Mark ground the broad nib into an italic, and, if flipped over, it becomes a fine. It's a cool little nib and makes the pen much more enjoyable to write with. I also had him turn the new Fountain K into a needlepoint. 

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I ended the day with two purchases. All weekend I had been eyeing the special edition ebonite pens Johnathon Brooks brought. One in particular, with waves of light bluegreen at the bottom of the barrel, caught my eye. I must've picked up the pen 30 times over the weekend and Shea, Jonathon's wife, just egged me on each time. I liked it too much and had to have it. I had him put a 1.5 mm stub on it to just lay down ink. I left knowing I have a unique pen that is exquisite in a material I love. 

Over the course of the weekend, I documented every ink I possibly could. I had made it my goal to become a bit more familiar with various inks. I'd never laid down so many inks in so short a time. I enjoyed seeing the subtleties in different shades from the same brand. A few caught my eye, but I only purchaed one, the Franklin-Christoph Blue 72. It's a simple straightforward, bright blue. I enjoy its simplicity. While getting the ink, Jim sweetened up the feed and nib of the 1.5 stub in the Brooks pen. Sunday night I went to dinner with some friends in Atlanta. When I returned there was a small remnant, i.e. Ana Reinert and the Cali crew (who I'm pretty sure hadn't adjusted to Eastern time by the time they flew out.)

Usually a pen show does not satiate the thrist for pens. In my experience it drives it. I got to see great specimens of the OMAS arco celluloid I wished I could enjoy. I'm still in search for a Montblanc Heritage 1912 I could afford. Other than the new Decoband, I've added two more pens to the wish list, neither of which I could've bought on my limited budget this year. The first is the Maui Makai from the Kanilea Pen Company. They have multiple pens one can desire, but this particular material piqued my fancy because of the translucent blue in the middle of the pen, transporting me to memories of swimming in the Florida Keys. The second is the Earth pen in Carl Fisher's, of Fisher of Pens, four elements series. The green galaxy look of the pen captured my eyes and my imagination. 

 On a final note, I apologize to those who followed this blog on a regular basis. I've gone through a transition time in my life, and blogging became less of a priority to allow me to work on other things in my life. I can't promise you regular writing, as much as I would want to, but I hope snd intend to make this a regular part of my life again. For those of you who have emailed me or told me at the show that you miss the blog, I appreciated that more than you would know. Thank you. 

Calligraphy by  Nikola Pang

Calligraphy by Nikola Pang

DC Pen Show Recap

Fr. Kyle Sanders

Forgive me if I get sentimental. Forgive me if I wax poor poetic of a weekend that was full, filled to the brim leaving me with less than adequate amounts of sleep, full of beautiful people whose beauty comes not from runway looks but from good hearts, full of beautiful pens and beautiful inks, full of laughter and joy, full of many things that we seek in life: friendship, community, leisure, joy, generosity, kindness, mutual benevolence. I came away from the nation's capital filled with hope, which is itself a gift.

This may seem an odd, and terribly sentimental, response to a pen show. I left full after spending three days around writing instruments and paraphernalia? To capture why I feel this way would be difficult. And, although I have been bereft of words on the blog for many months, I will try to paint cabinet pictures to welcome you into why it is I feel this way. 

Our fellowship started small, Lisa Vanness, her daughter, Cassie, and myself. Through rain and through mountains we traveled. Being from the swamps of South Louisiana, anything resembling hills is impressive to me. Traveling through mountains for an extended period of time always garners images of Aragon, Legolas and Gimli hunting down the Urukai in The Two Towers. Tennessee and Virginia still maintained lush greens in the height of summer. Rolling foothills of Sailor Bungbox Norwegian Wood and Caran d'Ache Delicate Green meeting the Visconti Turquoise sky made most of our drive a pleasure. Even when the skies darkened to Iroshizuku Kiri-Same or the lighter shades of Perle Noire, the mountains pushed through as immovable forces fighting against the falling rain. After hours amidst the Shenandoahs we greeted the new lining of the highways, stone, metal, and glass of the DC suburbs, if only because they announced a coming end to our journey. 

We arrived to a show already abuzz with traders and some familiar faces. We didn't spend much time catching up as we took the metro out to DC proper to tour museums. The rest and relative quiet was an intentional calm before the storm. I spent my three hours amidst the tempura pain of the late Medieval and early Renaissance paintings of Italy. The blues of the Madonna and the reds of the Crucified Christ still stand out in my mind. By the time we arrived back, the fellowship was completed by Brad Dowdy, Ana Reinert, and Matt Armstrong. 

Friday morning came and our crew of bloggers and Vanness assembled to peddle pens and ink. Being familiar with most of the pens and at least some of the ink I found it easy to slip into salesman. Matt and Ana, the ink experts, spend their time helping match inks to pens or shades to inks. Ana with her bright pink hair and Matt with short almost imperceptible blonde hair navigated well the seas of magenta, blue/black, and sepia guiding ink-farers by their lighthouses to the safe shores of Akkerman and KWZ. Lisa flitted around lending her expertise to wherever it was needed. Brad and I found ourselves, most often, trying to sell pens people picked up but didn't care to buy. Cassie often enough became the exchequer ensuring proper funds were exchanged. All weekend there was a conviviality about our lovely band of misfits. Despite the long days and constant stream of customers, we were jovial. We were content being at a pen show, surrounded by the people and things we love. 

Because of the busyness of the table, we all didn't have much time to go shopping. This made it a very different show. It wasn't about the deep search and find for a gem. This show is made for this particular type of shopping because there are so many pens. I came having preordered two pens and having two more on my shopping list. I preordered the new Visconti Homo Sapiens London Fog from Chatterly Luxuries. I chose a broad nib when I picked it up. I also preordered a blue Aurora Optima from Dan Smith who ground a fine architect on the nib. Both are gorgeous pens. I also reserved a bottle of Lamy Dark Lilac from Vanness. 

There were two surprises on Friday. Franklin-Christoph has made a name for themselves at the beginning of shows by having prototype materials; that is now an expected at every show. The buzz was immediate when everyone heard Kobe-Nagasawa had brought their full line of ink. Their popular inks went in the first day. I was able to pick up #32 Tamon Purple Gray to add a second bottle of purple to my DC collection. The second surprise came from the debut pen company, Kanilea Pen Co. They represent a step forward in this continued movement in small American pen makers. Edison Pen Company and Franklin-Christoph started a new trend using great nibs and beautiful materials. They've gone a step farther by providing a story and meaning for each material used. They provide a few different body styles. They have a fantastic logo. They did it all right. Some of the most sought after pens of Friday, their stock was widdled down after one day. It will be interesting and exciting to see how they move from here. Once the Pen Addict talked about them on Wednesday, their website was overwhelmed, a good sign indeed.

Late in the afternoon, when people had seemed leave to eat or take naps, I took advantage to browse a bit with Thomas Hall. We passed Chatterly and Edison Pen Co. perusing but not committing. It was at this point he asked if I had a shopping list. I had seen a pen in the Atlanta pen show that was an OMAS limited edition commemorating the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. OMAS is know for beautiful simplicity in their pens this one is no different. The same retailer was there at DC, Toys in the Attic. After taking a good look at with Thomas, I couldn't pass it up, It's my favorite of the whole haul. It needed a bit of work which Dan Smith helped with, and it writes wonderfully. 

Saturday was supposed to bring a rush at the beginning of the day. Some of that was lessened by higher traffic on Friday, but the organizers also didn't allow massive line to form. It was busy the whole day. The fun came after hours. The bar was populated with awesome people. A possible conversation with an outsider looking in, would've gone something like this:

What's going on? Where are you from?
We're from Canada, the Philippines, and at least a 3rd of the states in the US. We're here for pens.
Pens? The bystander pulls a Bic out of her purse, her face contorting in confusion.
Her responder pulls out a recent purchase, say the Aurora Optima, More like this.
The confusion mixes with wonder as her eyes grow wider.
We like to use and collect fountain pens, Aurora held out as a token of honor. 
But you're all so ... happy.
Yes, the pens brought us together, but we have made good friends with our fellow pen addicts.
Yearning grows on her face as the fear of looking an outsider fades, Can I join you?
Hooked

Such was the atmosphere that night. In fact, Brad told me one guy arrived that very evening apprehensive at attending his first show. He saw us at tables boldly walked up and introduced himself saying, "You must be here for the pen show." 

I spent most of the night under the tutelage of Thomas Hall, learning about urushi and how it charges per master using it. I learned about how to search for what you like and pass along what you don't, an idea I am more convicted of leaving DC. In the midst of the lesson, we dove deep into his collection of TWSBI 580's. Thomas has a large collection of Danitrio and Nakaya and all sorts of fine writing instruments. He loves the 580 body, but he has done brain surgery on them replacing the Jowo nibs for vintage flex. Oh my! Those nibs certainly wouldn't work for my everyday handwriting but neither is does M1000 (a pen quickly moving up the rankings). Stick with what you love is a great model. As I go back home, I'll start looking at what I love and what I don't. 

Sunday was more restful. It was filled primarily with goodbyes. Many had to get back to work for Monday returning to using their pens in the midst of the digital age. Sunday felt like a day of transition. There's some back door deals between sellers for leftovers, but you can tell everyone is preparing  to move on after a frenzy of two and a half days. For some stock has depleted, for others it's disappointingly unchanged. The Vanness table slowed for the first time the whole weekend. Most had gotten the inks they were looking for. Robert Maguire, a Canadian confrere, had generously passed along to me a Shearer Tuckaway with a military clip and faulty filling system. Mike, of Indy-Pen-Dance, coaxed it back to life. My final purchase was one I planned on making. I sat down at the Franklin-Christoph table to look at Jim Rouse's Sheaffer Legacy Fantasy pens. I pulled the whole case to me. At first, I was attracted to the orange material because its vibrancy makes itself known. As I looked through the materials though, I returned to the cracked ice material because there were small shimmers of blue like water bubbling up from rock. I might call it my Meribah pen. 

As we all parted, Sunday night was bittersweet. We so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We enjoyed sharing our mutual love sans much drama, anger, and bitterness many had experienced at previous shows. I really think DC 2016 is a turning point in our community, and my hope is, despite different cultural backgrounds, we grow in unity through our mutual love of pens. 

my haul from the show

Arkansas Pen Show Recap

Fr. Kyle Sanders

taken by Lisa Vanness

It would seem odd to drive fourteen hours in two days to go to a show about pens, especially if the show had a mere twenty-seven vendors and only a few recognizable people. Despite the lower price of gas, it doesn't seem, to the 'sane person,' worth it. 

I posted last week how there is this awesome community that, at times, seems divided, and the division comes from fear and pride and a depersonalization of 'the other side.' Joe Crace, the Gentleman Stationer, furthered the discussion by highlighting the differing motivations of each 'side,' user or collector. All of this has generated much discussion amidst not only the Pen Addict Community, but beyond it into Facebook groups and no doubt elsewhere where I personally don't dare to trod due to prevalence of trolls, who, unfortunately, don't turn to stone when enlightened. All of these thoughts were bouncing around my head as I walked the tables of pens, had conversations with a great many people, and made a few purchases. 

Taken by Lisa Vanness

I arrived in time for the Friday night afterparty at Vanness. I was struck by the sheer number of things Mike and Lisa Vanness sell, from pens to cupcake tins and a myriad in between. That night  was a good chance to ease into the show. I knew some of the people by face from the Dallas Pen Show, a few years ago, and got to connect with some people I befriended there, namely the Newtons and the Nesbits, both awesome couples, one young, one old. 

Despite spending time on social media talking pens, a show can be a bit overwhelming because there is so much talk about the things we love. We can geek out and not get the upturned eyebrow. The night at Vanness made a good transition because it was as much about people catching up, person to person, as it was about the pens. I got to see people just hanging out talking about everything from mission trips to cooking supplies, of which Vanness had many. It allowed me to move from regular life and into the pen world. This insight gives new meaning to the fact that the publication, Pen World, greets every person who registers for the show, its name indicative of the subculture one is about to enter. 

At Vanness, I fell into a small conversation with Patrick, who has one of the few pen stores in New Orleans, Papier Plume, and who came up to the show as a vendor. We marveled at both the size and diversity of product in this family run store. As a store owner, he was amazed at especially the baking supplies they sold. He carries pens and pen related things, paper, bags, stamps, etc. This seemed almost contrarian. Why would a pen shop sell a large selection of cookie cutters and cupcake toppers? My answer was practical. It allowed them to stay open since 1938 and gives the shop a country general store flavor without the wooden Indian outside advertising a cigar brand. As I think now about it, at Vanness, pens aren't their own world but part of the world in which we live. It integrates them into daily living, on a subconscious level. When we enter a pen show, we step into a world of fantasy. There's certainly some hyperbole in the previous statement, but there's also some truth to it as well. Describing a pen show as magical isn't false.

It's somewhat appropriate, then, that the pen I purchased from Lisa, that first night, was, in a sense, connected to 'real life.' In the vast array of Bexleys she had, one with a woodgrain ebonite caught my eye. It was a limited edition commissioned by a local Arkansas outdoorsman and tourism entrepreneur, Jim Gaston, who apparently loved the New York Stock Exchange enough to call his limited edition pens, "The Bull and the Bear." The bull, the lighter, orange-ier of the two ebonites, caught my eye, and the lines and feel of the Bexley stub caught my heart. To boot, Vanness had all 100 of both Bull and Bear so I was able to get the number of my birth year. I'm not really a follower of the NYSE but the material and nib sold me. The pen had a story and connected me to Little Rock and New York. 

The next day, instead of entering the Castle Camelot or the Shire or Hogwarts, I entered into something smaller, like Merlin's hut or Bilbo's hobbit hole. It was cozy, homey, still full of magic but in a degree this little hobbit priest can handle. (I have this secret fear that going to DC is like entering the Lonely Mountain with Smoag inside. There's treasure to be found but you might wake a sleeping dragon. Forgive my imagination.) I had a few goals: a few pens needed fixing, I had my eye out for an OMAS 360, and I needed more storage for these pens I use. One day might not seem like enough time, but the show's smallness allowed me to take my time, both to browse and to talk. 

The magicians at shows are said to be the pen repairmen and nib workers. They can turn a broken pen and unusable nib into something new and glorious. Although this show lacked a worker of nibs, it did have two repairman, Jeff Powers and Danny Fudge. Both have wealth of experience and bot are fantastic guys to talk to. Danny had worked on a pen for me while at the Dallas Show so I figured I’d see Jeff, whom Lisa had introduced to me the night before. He was able to cox life out of an Esterbrook LJ and an Arnold Pen (I can never find which model), both of whom needed new sacs. I also left another pen with him to work on when he returns home. I dropped the pens off to him at the beginning of the day. Mid-afternoon found them in tip-top shape. I was grateful for the work he did, but, and this is what makes this community so great, he was even more thankful to me for the life I lead. What happened makes me feel uncomfortable because I don’t feel I deserve it. He waived his repair fee and then proceed to give me a Sheaffer Balance that he had restored, a beautiful little green pen. I am still both humbled and in awe of his generosity.

Generosity is something I think characterizes this community as a whole, whether it’s with information or with actual things. It’s one of the reason I love being in this community, not that I’m looking for handouts, but rather, generous people are people you want to be around. They build you up, recognize your dignity. It was the virtue that characterized my experience of the whole show. Everyone was generous, with time, with stories, with sharing experience, or trying pens. I think when an ungenerous person is encountered (I didn’t experience any in Little Rock) it comes as a shock to us newbies because our experience has been so overwhelming positive. 

I caught up with the Nesbit and Newtons at the show. It seems I get something from the Nesbits every show and I get something from Shawn a few month after the show. I saw an acrylic on his table that I really like, that will probably turn into a dip pen or one of his new pocket models. 

The Nesbits are a sweet couple in their 70’s from Oklahoma City. Dr. Nesbit found himself with quite a collection of pens, new and vintage, many of which he purchased from Mike Vanness. In Dallas, I got my first Esterbrook from them. Since then, he started converting cigar boxes into pen cases much like BamaPen. In fact, he connected with John Hubbard, of BamaPen's, when visiting a child or grandchild. He had a few of John’s pieces as well as a few of his own. One caught my eye for its being different. The cigar box turned pen cased didn’t have the profile of a warehouse viewed from 500 feet in the air but rather looked like an apartment complex that you can open from the top.  It stores 20 pens vertically. I determined it was mine. I also spied three OMAS 360’s in one of his trays. I returned three or five times to their table throughout the day, both to talk and to eye those pens. Aesthetically, I settled on the yellow one, over and above white and red. The 18k fine nib was dreamy, and they gave me a price I couldn’t refuse. It was my prize purchase and was the last one I made that day.

Most of my day, though was spent browsing the vintage offerings. I spent a good 30 minutes looking at some old pens one vendor had. I didn’t know how old, and the prices weren’t labeled. He had them on photocopies with a letter/number system to designate the pen. It worked well for him but not so well for me. I’m attracted to shiny and really liked these overlay pens he had. So I picked one up, examined it, and asked him about it. It was beautiful. I didn’t notice, until I look back in hindsight, how nervous he was as I handled his pens. One I really liked. I didn’t know the price, but I asked if I could try the nib. He promptly told me the pen’s history, late 19th century Parker, and the price, well above my budget. At that moment I was scared and no longer intrigued. He said something to the effect of, “I’d be afraid to break it if I used it.” And I realized, I didn’t want to buy a pen I would never use. 

Manning the Franklin-Christoph table while Jim was away. I guess he could trust the priest ... (Taken by Lisa Vanness)

This whole exchange happened across form the Franklin-Christoph table. I wonder if Jim Rouse, their penman extraordinaire, overheard our conversation. Later in the day, as I was playing with KWZ blues (Lisa gave me a bottle for review) at the Vanness table, I overheard my name. Jim was talking to a man in his seventies who wore an extra bushy, white mustache that floated out beyond either side of his face with spectacle sitting atop the bridge of his nose. Jim was explaining what I had read from the Gentleman Stationer earlier in the day, while at lunch. Us newer folk are more about the writing experience of a pen. We want a pen that writes well and looks good. A collector wants an old pen in pristine condition, whether the writing experience is good or not. Our goals are different. It was interesting to hear similar things from different quarters both from voices I respect. The conversation online about this has been great to follow. I think the commonality between collector and user lies in the fact that we both love pens. Our love may be for different reasons, but its mutuality bonds us together. I found that to be the case during my day in Little Rock.

Earlier in the day (forgive my non-linear storytelling), I had gone out to my care to deposit the cigar box I didn’t want to carry around. I stopped by the men’s room on my way back in. While there, I get a text from Lisa saying I won a door prize. Thankfully, although I wasn’t physically present, they didn’t pull another name. I came back to a large 13”x13” box with a whole Sheaffer No-Nonsense Calligraphy set and a gift certificate for pen repair from Danny Fudge. Again, the generosity of the community proved great. I was actually looking at generating a set for a calligraphy project I’m working on for my parish.

Sheaffer seemed to be the brand of the show for me: the No-Nonsense, the Balance, and then, a Sheaffer Triumph. One of my favorite pens in my collection is a Sheaffer Triumph Desk Pen, which is the only pen I own that is always inked up. The nib is quite unique, being intentionally upturned in what can leave the ignorant afraid the nib is bent. I was attracted by a Sheaffer (I didn’t know at the time it was a Triumph) with a very large cap band. I asked the vendor about the band. He then casually turned to the vendor to his right who seemed to me a fountain of knowledge not different from Merlin himself. The bushy white eyebrows furrowed and the stooped shoulders shifted and a worn voice opened up the annals of scribal history. This particular pen began production in the summer of ’41 only to be changed in design as the war machine took most of the metal. This design then is a special reminder that things changed drastically after December 7, 1941. I already knew I loved the nib. It didn’t take much more for me to make the pen my first purchase of the show. When I use it, I will write in the knowledge of the history that frames the pen and the freedom I still have to write what I please and publish prose on pens in the open forum of the internet.

I said goodbye as the show wound down, I walked out of this pen world and back into the real world (a phrase forever colored by MTV). In so doing, I came to the awareness of why this hobby and love of pens and pen culture has captured our imagination, our attraction to beauty, and ultimately our pocketbooks. The fantasy and magic of pens allows us to see the truth of the world in greater clarity. The colors and the lines, the letters and their shape give us the means to see the world. Despite the present mood of fear, bright greens and block letters remind us there is still brightness and solidity. So I leave you with a quote that fairly describes what I mean to say in betters words than I can compose.

“Can you not see that fairy tales in their essence are quite solid and straightforward; but that this everlasting fiction about modern life is in its nature essentially incredible? Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming.” - G.K. Chesterton

My haul. 

Today's Tools - 8/8/15

Fr. Kyle Sanders

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Saturdays are usually homily prep days so I'm doing a lot of writing. My current Homily Prep journal is the Nock Co DotDash A-4 notebook. I'm really liking that ruling Brad and Jeff designed. It fits my handwriting perfectly and really allows me to get the most out of one page. I was filling it with my Sheaffer Triumph Desk Pen with a fine nib filled with De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes. 

Now that I have my ideas down. I'll turn to the Rhodia n. 19 Dotpad to write my delivery notes. The detachable pages make it really easy. I'll be writing those out with my borad nibbed Lamy Joy which is filled with Pelikan Edelstein Adeventurine.  

What are you writing with this balmy Saturday?

Pens - How I Let Things Flow

Fr. Kyle Sanders

flow_page1

For two years or so, I have gone from full on digital guru amongst my friends to the largest proponent of analog gear. It started with my first fountain pen, then a second, then a third. My equipment continued to grow so much so that is seemed obvious for me to begin sharing my experience of these writing tools. 

It seems appropriate that, before I continue with other topics like reviews or other creative endeavors, I share should with you how I use my pens paper, and ink on a daily basis. Today, I will start with my fountain scribal workflow. 

1) My Daily Carry

This has different connotations in different areas of the internet world. For me, it is the two pens that are always with me, sitting in my breast pocket ready to be used at a moment's notice. 

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Around the time I started in regular ministry as a priest two years ago, I started carrying around a fountain pen in my pocket. For about a year that was just one pen, the Monteverde Jewelria Mini, with a fine nib. I lost one and purchased another and lost it as well. It still is one of my favorite pens, but I couldn't stand losing another so I haven't purchased a third. For nearly a year now, I have been rotating my daily carry fountain pen. 

I have a few requirements for this particular pen in my scribal workflow. First, it must have a fine nib because my normal handwriting is small, and the fine nib works well on all assortment of paper, qualities good and bad. Second, it needs to be durable. I don't want a pen in my pocket that can't handle an accidental fall. Thirdly, it needs to be insulated. What I mean by that is in the South and due to my body heat a pen close to my chest can evaporate into the cap the water component of the ink, leaving the dye alone in the feed, which make things difficult to clean. Pens with cartridge converters or sacs are preferred over piston fillers. Finally, it can't be too large because some the clerical shirt manufacturers make shallow breast pockets making it difficult to hold something like a TWSBI VAC 700.

About eight months ago, I was convicted by someone (I don't remember who) that fountain pens are not the best in all situations. So I began carrying either a ballpoint, rollerball, or gel ink pen in my shirt pocket as well. This leaves me with two pens on me at anytime for any occasion. 

Currently using - Lamy AL Star Fine Nib  with Lamy Choral and Retro 51 Tornado Eisenhower

2) Homily Prep

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I have one pen that is never rotated and is always in use. That is my Sheaffer Triumph Desk Pen. I purchased it on eBay for a steal of $30. It has a gold nib and write a fine somewhat boxy line. I use it as my main creative instrument as I'm preparing my homilies. It takes down all my thoughts and seems to organize them in a cogent pattern. It is definitely one of my favorite pens, and so is always in use. 

3) Desk Pen

This describes not a species of pen, as above, but rather its use. This pen rotates as ink is used up (I don't like to waste ink.) It's role in my scribal workflow (sorry, I love that phrase!) is to man all normal pen duties at my desk: signing checks, free-writing, Bullet Journaling, brainstorming, note taking, letter writing. 

Currently using - Edison Collier Medium Nib with P.W. Akkerman Hopjesbruin

4) Thank You Pen

I am very grateful to have generous parishioners, and so I find myself regularly writing thank you notes. That regularity seemed to warrant a dedicated pen. This role requires a stub or italic nib for pretty characters. 

Currently Using - Online Calligraphy Pen .8 mm Stub with J. Herbin Perle Noir
From left to right: Edison Nouveau Premier, Bülow X-30, Edison Collier, Online Calligraphy

From left to right: Edison Nouveau Premier, Bülow X-30, Edison Collier, Online Calligraphy

5) Meeting Pen

As in any office, I have meetings. I like the idea of assigning a separate pen to take notices within a meeting. This separates and highlights the notes within my Bullet Journal and of course it gives me the opportunity to ink up another pen. 

Currently Using - Edison Nouveau Premiere 2014 Summer Edition Fine Nib with J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen

6) Delivery Pen

As a priest, I'm preaching often. I have found that handwriting my homilies helps me to remember the flow of the homily as well as helping my internalize how I want to say each sentence. I usually deliver the homily from a full written text, as opposed to an outline. One of the important things in that regard is readability, so I write larger characters than I normally would. To help make those characters pop out I use a broad or sub nib. Because of this, one of the most important things I do end up looking the best with those big, bold lines. 

Currently using - Bülow X-30 Fine Nib with Franklin-Christoph Black Magic (yeah, I know, a fine nib, but that FC ink spreads so wide it turns the fine nib to a broad.)

7) Computer/Phone Pen

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I'm blessed to have two desk in my office. One is dedicated to normal everyday work and the other hold the later technology, the phone and my laptop with its accessories. I have a notebook dedicated to my notes from phone messages and notes take from whatever I'm doing on my computer, and a notebook always needs a pen. For over a year, my Carbonesque Pilot Vanishing Point stayed here, that is until I let a bride use it without proper caution and the nib wasn't the same (yes, that's the pen I had Mr. Masuyama work on at the Dallas Pen Show). Now I rotate when ink runs out.

Currently using: Yellow Vanishing Point Fine Nib with Aurora Black
The Visconti is to the right of the G-2

The Visconti is to the right of the G-2

8) Home Office Pen

Most of my fountain pens remain in my work office, but I assign a pen a month at a time to reign as my home fountain pen. It is used all over the house, but sits at my desk. 

Currently using: Visconti Rembrandt Medium Nib with Montblanc Alfred Hitchcock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9) School Pens

I have a third office at the high school where I have been assigned as chaplain. Last year, I dedicated two pens each with one of the school colors (yellow and green) to that office. 

Pelikan M215 Green Demonstrator Fine Nib and Mandarin Parker Urban 125th Anniversary Medium Nib

Written with:

Esterbrook J 9556 Nib with Sheaffer #42 Washable Blue

Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen Medium Italic with Sheaffer Blue/Black

Waterford Eclipse Medium Nib with Mix of Sailor Jentle Blue and Chesterfield Ruby

Zebra Sarasa Clip .3mm Red


Dallas Pen Show - Day 2

Fr. Kyle Sanders

Me and Ms. Vanness hiding behind the Akkerman

Me and Ms. Vanness hiding behind the Akkerman

I didn't think it could get any better than day one, but now that I had scoped out everything. I made a game plan for day two. 

- visit the Edelstein's, whom I had met the night before

- get a Ryan Krusac pen. 

- bid on Retro 51's in the auction

- if the budget allows, get a Shawn Newton pen

I started the day with my Hawaiian shirted buddy. He had sold one of his nice pens and had already replaced it with a gorgeous Visconti Divina. He allowed me to test the nib and try out a pen, that for me at least, would be out of the question. It reminded me however of the day before. I had spotted another grail pen of mine, the Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal. He and I got to talking about that pen, about Visconti Dreamtouch Nibs, and he let me know that our now mutual friend Lisa Vanness had one in stock at her store in Little Rock. The pen costed a bit more than the Dolce Vita, but I decided it would be worth the extra expense, because I probably wouldn't get one otherwise. After our conversation (he might have sold me on it) I was determined to get the Crystal. 

Geha (right) Sheaffer (left)

Geha (right) Sheaffer (left)

On my way to Lisa, I stopped by the Edelstein's table. The elder took me through their bargain boxes and I found three pens for $60. One was for a friend (can't reveal that because he hasn't received it yet). One was an old Sheaffer Calligraphy pen, and the final was a lesser know German pen called Geha, who made neat little piston filler pens. All three pens were great little buys. The Geha is surprisingly smooth. The Edelstein's bread and butter, though, were vintage Parkers in good condition. I haven't reached that level of collector. 

dallasvisconticrystal

I moved from them to Ms. Vanness. The previous day was a good day for her, and overnight her husband had driven from Little Rock to deliver more ink. They are the only American retailer of P.W. Akkerman ink and people flock to her to get the bottles before they're sold out. She confirmed that she had the pen at the store and ... I bought it. I actually bought it. I never though I would go for such an expensive pen, but I found myself giving her my money. I got a bottle of Diamine Mediterranean Blue to compliment the pen. The ink would be the celebratory ink of a new stage in the fountain pen journey. I'm afraid this might have opened a door to getting a Nakaya. 

Unfortunately, that purchase ruled out the possibility of a getting one of Shawn Newton's pens. However, he had this really cool pen that was mostly black, with a marbled black and white grip that brought you a nice surprise when you uncapped the pen. I told him if he could get a yellow and black material I would buy that pen. So, hopefully, if you continue reading, you will eventually see that on the blog. 

I had already made up my mind to get a pen from Ryan Krusac. Ryan, from the Atlanta area, turns pens made of rare woods and of harvested naturally shed elk antler. The elk antler pens were especially beautiful due to the scrimshaw work in them. Over the two days, Ryan and I shared some things about our lives, and we even had a connection of a particular crater lake north of Lake Granada in Nicaragua, that for him held special significance. We have some good conversations about mission trips. The first day, there were three of his pens that stuck out to me. I told him I would sleep on it. The one I decided on was the scrimshaw one depicting a ship in a tempest, which reminded me of Scripture and the Sea of Galilee. It has a good weight to it due to the metalware but as I quickly found out it suffers the smudge of inky fingers, so I will have to be very careful with it. It is definitely a display pen, but I don't buy a pen that won't be used. 

KrusacDallas

Ryan came to the show accompanied by his best friend, who is a chocolatier. He paired some of his chocolates with some of Ryan's pens. Although I didn't go that route, he had some delicious flavors of chocolate: French Roast Coffee (which brought me back home in an instant), Irish Stout (it felt like biting into Guinness), and Mango with chili pepper. I definitely got some. 

I ended my floor purchasing at the Anderson's. I wanted some silicone grease to convert the Franklin-Christoph to an eyedropper. I had also eyed a notebook on their table I could use for NANOWRIMO this year that had nearly 400 pages. It's an Italian company called 360° and supposedly it can be bended every which way. I will definitely put it through the ringer in November. Finally, at the very beginning of the show, while the Anderson's were still setting up, I noticed one of the new pens from Pilot, the pocket pen E95. I love pocket pens and at the price with a gold Pilot nib I couldn't pass it up. 

You might notice there was one thing left on my original list, a special edition Retro 51. Retro didn't have any on display at their table, but they did donate two to the silent auction which benefited the Dallas Pen Club and the continuation of the show. One was an old Retro 51 Abbondanza. The appeal of this pen was its box which is made of bamboo and displays the pen nicely when opened. The other pen was a special edition of 200 pieces the Double 8. It has a gold trim and tortoiseshell celluloid with eight facets. It seems to me very Omas-like, and definitely fits Retro 51's slogan "Life is too short to carry an ugly pen." I was able, with some bid lurking, to win both pens. All in all, I felt my first show was a success. I got some pens, but more importantly I made some new friends.

The whole quarry. The Abbondanza is on the left. The Double 8 is on the top. The E60 is on the bottom. 

The whole quarry. The Abbondanza is on the left. The Double 8 is on the top. The E60 is on the bottom.