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Filtering by Category: Fountain Pen Community

Winner of the 2015 Fountain Pen Day Giveaway

Fr. Kyle Sanders

I loved hearing all of your stories. The fountain pen community is such a gift to us. You made me smile, one of you even made me cry (you know who you are). A few of you left me wanting to hear more. I have "hearted" a few of the comments in the last post. If you see your comment "hearted" shoot me an email, I would love to do a whole post on your story.

Without further ado, the finitely almighty number generator gave me the number 21 which corresponds to Nicklas Abrahamsson. Congratulations! I'm glad I can add another pen to your arsenal. Nicklas send me an email (just click the letter on the top right of the site) so we can talk inks and shipping address. 

Thank y'all for entering. Keep reading and commenting. 

Fountain Pen Day Giveaway 2015

Fr. Kyle Sanders

I remember the first time I realized there was a group of people like me who liked fountain pens. It was at a time in my life when I couldn't go out and do things like normal 20-somethings because of a freak basketball injury that left me immobile for 3 months. Moving from freedom of movement to dependence was not an easy thing, especially for someone who had never been seriously injured before.  

It started with videos from Brian Goulet about his products and the Fountain Pen 101 series. I realized from the comments on his videos there were others like me. Youtube, as it does, then led me to S.B.R.E Brown with his analysis and shenanigans. Comments on his videos led to the Fountain Pen Network. I realized, then, how much of a newbie I was as guys and gals talked pens that cost more than my annual income at the time (which in seminary was quite meager and rightly so). I found a place I could geek out in and learn safely. It is from there that I grew deep into this online fountain pen community. I am grateful for this community both in the mere pleasure of sharing a mutual love of something but even more so in the genuine friendships that have arisen from all quarters. 

Now we have a day (thanks to Cary) we can call our own, a Fountain Pen Day, which is only solemn in some quarters but those quarters have hymns, incense, and ritual to honor the gift of this community we love. Yes, it says Fountain Pen Day, as if we honor these little pieces of beauty and utility, but, in essence, it is a communal celebration of what fountain pen people mean to each other (or at least that's the meaning I pass along to you). 

So in honor of this community that has give so much to me in genuine pastime, friendships, and support, I offer as tribute one of my fountain pens, an unused notebook, and some samples of inks.

Whatcha get:

  1. a Waterman Eclipse Fountain Pen with a Medium Nib
  2. a Furrow Books Great Plains Notebook from the Kickstarter with guidesheet
  3. three ink samples of the winner's choosing from my collection

How ya win:

  1. You make a comment about your experience of the fountain pen community
  2. You make only one comment
  3. On Monday. November 9, at 9 am CST I will close the bidding.
  4. I will choose a random number via a generator. 
  5. I will post the winner on the blog and he/she has a week to respond to me before I randomly choose another winner. 

Atlanta Pen Show

Fr. Kyle Sanders

Here's a picture so you can mentally walk around with me from space to space. 

I planned on arriving at 10 AM, right at the beginning of the day, but as Myke Hurley, of the Pen Addict Podcast, and Jeff Bruckwicki, of Nock Co, found out, I'm not good at counting. I didn't factor in the time zone change, nor that there would be a traffic stopping accident on the interstate. So I arrived on the show floor just before noon. I missed some of the travelers who needed to get back for work the next morning. As my first interaction proved, this show was about the people, more than the pens. 

Obligatory selfie. 

Before I could even get to the show floor I ran into the Pen Addict himself, Brad Dowdy who was seated with his Nock Co. partner Jeff being interviewed by Pen World. I knew I was in the right place. They both gave me warm welcomes despite the obvious import of the interview for getting their little brand to the pen community that isn't on social media. I digress (it'll probably happen again). 

On finally arriving at the show, I see two people: my friend Andre, who lives in Atlanta and whom I helped ease into this hobby, and Myke, who was manning the table for Nock. After a few minutes conversation with Myke, Andre and I made our way over to Franklin-Christoph. As I said in the prep post, I was looking to replace my Model 29 Bellus that Erin now greatly enjoys. Come to find out, the model has been discontinued! What was a casual thought became a virtual necessity. When you are choosing from the end of stock of a discontinued pen, you don't have the luxury of options. All they had was the maroon body with the black clip-band. There was nothing more than for me to choose but the nib. I figured I shouldn't mess with what doesn't already work so I choose the same nib I gave away, a medium cursive italic ground by Mike Masuyama. The nib went over to Jim Rouse to be made sweet. I happened to get the final medium italic nib of the show (which came out of the tester pen.) While we were talking, we came upon the subject of pocket holy water dispensers. Parker, Esterbrook, and Sheaffer made models of holy water dispensers out of the popular pen models. Jim had found one at the Atlanta Pen show last year. I am currently on the lookout for any of those. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I got so caught up in conversations I didn't get a good scope of all the tables to see if one was there. Eventually, I will find one. 

Jim Rouse smoothing Andre's nib.

I went from there to introduce myself, in person, to Dan Bishop, the designer for Karas Kustoms. He had come to the show with his wife setting up a table with his machined wares. We joked around for a bit. (There was a Colonel Sanders look-a-like at the show.) I ended up completing my collection of his pens by picking up a Retrakt in two-tone, aluminum and grey.  

I quickly learned his table and the Nock table were the de facto meeting places for the Pen Addict community who had travelled to the show. I got to meet Jeff Abbot, Thomas Hall, and Leigh Reyes before they left to travel home. All three are people I wish I could've spent more time with, but it wasn't to be. I was struck that, in the 5 minutes we spent together how comfortable all three were despite having only online interaction. They greeted me as old friends. Although I was sad I missed the epic Nakaya party from the night before, their immediate hospitality assuaged me. It highlighted that this show was very different from Dallas. Dallas was about the pens. Atlanta was about the people. 

After saying hello/goodbye to them, I went into the second room to visit Lisa Vanness and her partner in crime, Wendy. Lisa has been busy most of the weekend because of her being the only American retailer that sells Sailor Bung Box and P.W. Akkerman inks. Lisa is an awesome woman. She has bubbly blonde curly hair and a warm personality that syncs well with her hair. What I like most is that she shoots things straight. If she likes something, she lets you know, if she doesn't, she lets you know that too. I find her honesty a delight in its somewhat incongruity with her bubbly personality. I guest I fear the falsity of bubbliness (Mean Girls). Okay, enough of Lisa's character study. It was great to see her.

 Like I said in the prep post I asked her to save two bottles of ink for me. They just started carrying two new-to-them lines of ink, the aforementioned Bung Box and an Italian brand named Califolio. I looked through their site and found two inks that I was ready purchase. For some reason I really like rusty inks and Califolio makes one called Itzamma. It comes in a triangular bottle like Diamine 150th Anniversary inks. The range of Bung Box is so vast that I had trouble settling on one (by choosing one I quelled the temptation to buy them all because that temptation is real). I ended up going with a green, Norwegian Wood. I like both the color and the Beatles reference. I am slowly amassing a collection of dark green so if you have any feel free to suggest. 

After Lisa and I caught up, she asked me about the Homo Sapiens Crystal I had purchased from her at the Dallas Pen Show. I had mentioned to her that the nib seemed scratchy, which wasn't what I remember from my experience of the Dreamtouch nib. I chalked it up (pun not intended) to the ink, but even with a new ink the pen didn't feel right. I brought it with me to the show hoping we could talk about it (I didn't tell her that ahead of time.) I wanted someone else to validate what I was experiencing, because I am still somewhat new to his (the blog is a prideful front of expertise). She wrote with it and agreed that is didn't feel right. So she decided to take it to the Visconti table. I watched over her table for a good 7-10 minutes. She arrived back with a brand new nib, and I subsequently turned into the wicked witch of the west when she lost her battle against water. Lisa had to do everything she could to keep me together so she didn't have to mop me up from the carpet. The nib now lives up to its name. I didn't think a writing experience could feel so good. I showed Brad the pen later on in the day, and he nearly got mad at me for adding another pen to his list. "Get this away from me,"  he said.

When I passed the Visconti table letter (at the behest of Lisa), I thanked them for the new nib. I found out there was a batch of nibs that had poor tipping. I was kind of disappointed at the slip in Visconti's quality control, but, on the same token, they didn't hide the mistake. They graciously replaced the nib (as a side note: I was also delighted to see the two Visconti reps, a guy and a girl, were around my age). 

 I also had to say hi to Ryan Krusac, the scrimshander and pen maker, and his partner in crime Brandon Lee, the Modern Choclatier. I got to briefly meet Ryan's wife at the end of the show. His children were playing around his table and his wife was complaing because one of them bought a few pens that were in need of restoration. It was great to hear the unbridled desire of a child to be like their father, and, on the other side, to see the parent look at the difficult reality of a very detail oriented hobby. I'm excited for the kid. The pens will be much more useful that a model airplane (admitted hobby bias). 

I moved on to the Cursive Logic table.  Linda had sent me an email asking to review her program before the Kickstarter ended, but I balked. I think a lot was going on, and I couldn't really do it justice. She showed me how the program works. It takes some of the concepts of calligraphy in letter creation and organization of strokes and applies them to regular handwriting. It focuses on four basic shapes, and from those shapes you can write the whole lowercase cursive alphabet. I got a book from her and hope to share it around with parents in my parish. 

 I walked around the room simply looking and staring at pens. I stopped a table filled with restored Parkers and Sheaffers. The guy behind the table, Nathaniel, asked me what I was looking for. I told him that truth: vintage pens scare me. I can't tell what is quality and what is not. He proceeded to give me a 20 minute lesson on different vintage pens and a few things to look for in seeing if there are cracks in the material or degradation of a filling system. I feel more confident now and will probably spend more time in vintage the next show I attend. (These thoughts will spurn a whole separate post because this thins is already long and if you're still reading thank you). 

I returned to the Karas table to watch Ana Reinert, of the Well Appointed Desk, and Kasey Kagawa (@punkey0 on Twitter) play with new inks. Ana is one cool cat (I'm pretty sure she's okay with me calling her that). Her interests aren't just in the stationary realm. We ended up talking soccer. I found out she's a part of US soccer history. I'll let her tell the story if you're interested. Kasey is one of those guys that knows not just a little bit about some things but a lot about a lot of things. He had information on far ranging topics from grooming, to beer, to food, to gamma ray saftey (maybe not so comic book-y but the science language was beyond me). I wish I would have had more time to spend with them just to hear them share their stories. 

One thing I must say, both Ana and Myke were left-handed. I had never seen a left hander use a fountain pen and know what to do. It was one of those things where I was both uncomfortable and fascinated in a brand new experience. Because of the nature of left-handedness, one can be scared at lending a fountain pen, but I had no qualms with either person. I would entrust all my pens to them before lending one to a newbie. It was little experiences like that that set this day and a half apart. 

As the show was packing up, I got some notebooks and a gift for a friend from Nock. My last purchase of the day though was of utmost importance. Since I had seen one on IG and then heard Myke talk about it on the podcast, I had to get the Retro 51 Swoosh which is a Tornado wrapped in basketball rubber with the pimples and black recessed lines. I've been a basketball fan for most of my life and to have a pen like that is pretty cool. It added to my growing collection of Retro 51's.  

I ended the show with some nib work by Mike Masuyama. There was a possibility because of my late arrival that I would not be able to get anything done, but due to Mike's incredible work rate I was able to get things in. Over the course of the year, I had found the nib that came on the Krusac pen I had gotten in Dallas had hard starts. I'm pretty sure it was baby's bottom. Mike smoothed it out and turned it into a much more enjoyable pen. It's now both good look at and nice to write with. Then, I asked him to grind the nib of my Giuliano Mazzuoli Moka Chiarracsuro in a needlepoint. It's such a small pen and the nib was subpar to the beauty and was way to wide. It didn't feel right. So now the line fits the size of the pen. I couldn't be happier. 

That night we talked pens but most of all we just talked. I knew they would be somewhat tired after full pen enthusiasm for over 48 hours. I enjoyed getting to know everyone. Pens brought us together, but growing friendship kept us together. Pens were the gateway, but friendship was the end. 

Kevin and I. I'm short. 

The party continued the next day where Myke, Kasey, and myself joined Jeff at the Nock shop. The three of us were free labor for a day helping just gather inventory from what was left after the show. I'm surprised Jeff trusted me to count after listening to me count poorly the day before. If you ordered something from Nock only be subsequently informed they were out of stock don't blame Jeff. It's probably my fault. While we were there, I picked up Nock's collaboration with Ti2 Design a tri-camo Techliner. I love the sound of the click of the magnet. Kevin Penley, of the Gear Compass, joined us for lunch from Hankook, which had this awesome calamari taco. 

The tiredness I had next two days was worth the time I get to meet and spend with these awesome people. So much so I totally forgot to take pictures. I'm looking forward to a full weekend next year. 

The whole loot minus the Swoosh (he didn't get the photo shoot memo)

Atlanta Pen Show Prep

Fr. Kyle Sanders


I wasn't planning on going to the Atlanta Pen Show. The Saturday of the show, I'm celebrating the weddng of a girl who is ostensibly my younger sister. It promises to be a great celebration for my family and for hers. I was going to miss the majority of the show so I ruled it out. Then, Myke Hurley and Brad Dowdy decided to make it a party. Anna Reinert, from the Well Appointed Desk, Dan Bishop, from Karas Kustoms, and Mike Dudek, from the Clicky Post, all signed on, and surprisingly but awesomely (that phrase grinds on my English sensibilities but fandom is ultimately coming through) Leigh Reyes, the Southeast Asian collector extradordinairess, will be there, with her Nakaya collection. Plus all the usual pen show suspects will be in attendance: Mike Masuyama, Lisa Vanness, Shawn Newton, and the Anderson's. When I saw how much of the Pen Addict community would be there, I decided to do something foolish, for the sake of celebrating with this awesome group of people. 

I decided I would leave the wedding reception a little early (New Orleans wedding receptions go into the wee hours of the morning) and drive to Mobile to stay with a friend. I would, then, wake up early the next morning and arrive in Atlanta right at 10 am as the doors open on the final day of epic penness. I realize I will be arriving after the party. I realize some the of the peeps I wished to meet will be gone before I arrive. I also know that I will be that guy who shows up after the Thanksgiving meal ready to eat, when most of the hosts and guests are in tripophanic coma (only instead of turkey it's pens.) I'm okay with being that guy. The experience will still prove to be worth it, and as Anna said, when all others have blown their budgets I can get the deals as sellers don't want to return home with as much merchandise. 

I am no longer a rookie at this pen show thing so I think the overwhelming aspect of the show will be easier to handle (at least I hope). Much of my focus will be on the people. To be able to hang out with these people whom I know through the interwebs will be a delight. I'm looking forward to expectations being broken as I move from avatar to person. I know this won't be a get-to-know-you camping trip (we will be surrounded by 1,000's of cylindrical distractions), but I look forward to those conversation which I can't really have with many people. I'm looking forward to noticing the quirks about those people who online seemed so polished in their writing/typing. 

1) Shawn Newton Orange Oil Slick Gibby 2) Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal 3) Parker Vacumatic 4) Parker Duofold 5) Giuliano Mazzuoli Moka Chiaroscuro 6) Noodler's Neponset 7) Montblanc 146 8) Moore Lever-Filler w/ Flex nib 9) Pilot Metal Falcon 10) Aurora TU 11) Montegrappa Parolo 12) Visconti Rembrant

1) Shawn Newton Orange Oil Slick Gibby 2) Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal 3) Parker Vacumatic 4) Parker Duofold 5) Giuliano Mazzuoli Moka Chiaroscuro 6) Noodler's Neponset 7) Montblanc 146 8) Moore Lever-Filler w/ Flex nib 9) Pilot Metal Falcon 10) Aurora TU 11) Montegrappa Parolo 12) Visconti Rembrant

I'm also looking forward to sharing some pens, to allow people to enjoy or try out a pen they've never seen or used before. I must say my collection, on the whole, is pretty average. There are a few pieces that I would consider extraordinary. One would be my Giuliano Mazzuoli Moka Chiarrascuro, which is a unique pocket pen that most people haven't seen. I will certainly bring my Shawn Newton Orange Oil Slick Gibby along with my newly acquired Noodler's Neponset. I'll probably bring my Montblanc so someone can at least experience it since. On the whole, most the guys and gals don't see the price point. I'll also bring my currently inked pens. I'll probably bring my Parker Duofold and Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal. I haven't decided how many I'll bring but it'll either be twelve or thirty-six, due to my case options. I'm looking forward to that inking party. 


I have a few pens that need some nib work. Two have misaligned tines and another seems to have baby's bottom. I'm hoping I can get them ironed out. There might be a fourth or a fifth that need work that I'll bring as well (but they are less pressing). 

The pen show comes at the best and worst possible time in the year. I just got back my rather generous tax return. Having all of this extra, unplanned money going into the show presents danger to my temperance, and prudence for that matter, and fortitude as well. Okay, so my virtues will either grow considerably this weekend, or I will set back my pursuance of human excellence through the virtuous life.

I've already talked to Lisa Vanness. She's holding two bottles of ink for me. I'll let them be a surprise for the post-show post. I will certainly make a stop by Franklin-Christoph, first to play with all the different nibs but also to contemplate the purchasing of a Model 29 Bellus. I really did fall in love with that pen only to give it away. I'm also actively looking for a solid Sheaffer Snorkel; it's a pen I definitely want to add to my collection. I'm hoping to try out some of the peeps' Nakayas to see what I like. I'll give the Delta Dolce Vita another chance (I'm a priest. I'm always giving second chances). After that, I'm going to browse and hopefully find a deal or two.

If you don't already, follow me on Instagram at @colonel4God. I will hopefully be flooding my feed with photos and videos. 

Fountain Pen Community - Table Five

Fr. Kyle Sanders

Part of what makes the hobby of collecting fountain pens so awesome is the community. I quickly found that this community was different from others. I didn't see backstabbing or malicious intent. Instead I found helpfulness, joy, love, and other such attractive attributes. Often pen blogs can be about the pens (not always); without the community, though, vintage pens would be in garbage dumps and modern pens would be as rare as, well, diamond rings or something (I couldn't think of anything else). But no we have this awesome community of people, that not only supports the business, but even more importantly supports each other. 

So to start of this series, I enlisted my friend, Kata. I met Kata (as I did many of my fountain pen friends) on Instagram. We soon became pen pals, and one day, I haven't told her, this, I plan on visiting cold Canada to hang with the Canadian fountain pen peeps. About four months ago, her and a few other fountain pen friends were posting pictures en masse of a wedding of a fellow pen lover. So I got her to talk about it.

Kata is the one in the glasses in both pictures.

I don’t consider myself new to the fountain pen community. I’ve been around for a while, but here’s the thing – I’ve never been to a pen store or a pen show. At least, not until a few months ago.

Until I found forums like FP Geeks and the #fountainpen Instagram community (an idea of what that looks like, FK), I was wandering through this hobby with very few folks, mostly pen-pals, to write about my passions with. And then I found these wonderful online communities filled with so many amazing and supportive people, a lot of who I am happy to now call true friends.

Through FP Geeks I not only found a local pen group of folks who meet every Saturday morning over coffee and breakfast to discuss and share pens, but I’ve met a handful of new pen-pals, some on the other side of the world, but others just two hours down the road from me. I wouldn’t have met these great folks without fountain pens OR technology.

My friendship with Gerald began on Instagram. We both posted a lot using the #fountainpens hash tag and started following each other and then we started exchanging letters. He was only a few hours from me, but we both shared a passion for writing and pens. We’d write about our lives, but also about our fountain pens – our favourite pens, inks and paper. After a short while, he wrote about his engagement to his partner Katie. After that, while wedding planning was taking place, I was asked if I’d be able to make the trip to attend their wedding. Absolutely, I said! I was honoured to be invited!

The wedding was set for November 22. It just so happened that there was a PEN SHOW scheduled in Toronto just three weeks prior to the wedding. I was excited – more about meeting these fantastic people than the pens to be honest. I met three penpals and countless numbers of “fountain pen people” from forums and social media. I had a wonderful time! I me Gerald and his fiancé, a small group of us went out for dinner together.

Three weeks later, I was traveling back to Toronto for their wedding. A few other pen people were invited in addition, some who I met at the pen show but one couple traveling all the way from Florida to attend the wedding! I had actually just started writing her a few months prior to that, so we got to meet and hang out before the reception. We were all seated at the same table, of course, Table Five. The “Fountain Pen Table”, we dubbed ourselves. There was a lot of bonding and pen sharing going around the table that night. Some of us had met before and others hadn’t, but we all shared the passion for one thing – fountain pens – and it brought us all together.

It was an honour to attend the wedding of my friend, to be a part of their special day. In this digital age, it is easier to find others who share the same passions you do, but we bond through letter writing. We are friends, even if we have not met, and that is a beautiful thing.