The pens selected for November all got similar usage throughout the month since it was only in the last few days where they ran out of ink. That said, it was the Namiki Capless that saw the most day-to-day use. This pen lived in my shirt pocket all month long. The engineering and aesthetic of this pen really appeals to me even if its writing comfort is compromised by the clip placement. I keep vacillating about purchasing one of the current models. While the thought of having one for the collection is appealing, I know that it'll just mean that I'll use my current one that much less. I purchased a Hobonichi Techo for 2016 and I have been considering matching a pen to the book for the year, if I proceed with this, I think that the Capless will be that pen. I have been happy with the Pilot Blue Black ink in both cartridge and bottle form so that will be the ink of choice.
The next pen to give up the ghost was the Edison Hudson that had been loaded with Organics Studio Gregor Mendel. This ink had been sent to me as a sample from a fellow blogger. I like earth toned greens and this was an interesting one to try out. If it was still available I would likely buy a bottle for myself but alas, the company shuttered earlier this year so that isn't an option. The one problem that I had with the ink was that it wouldn't dry on Tomoe River paper at the end of the load out. By this point it had been in the pen for the better part of two months so it is likely that the water to dye ratio was off due to evaporation so I can't be too hard on the ink. I have had similar issues with Noodler's inks so this wasn't a new phenomenon. The moral of the story is to use your pens more often so the ink doesn't have a chance to evaporate in the converter.
One ink that hasn't seen any ill effects from being in a pen for a long time is the load out of J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor that has been in my Lamy Safari since the DC pen show. This pen gets used fairly regularly for correspondence but it took until now to run it dry. I can only think that this is due to it having a broad nib. While the nib is what is required to deliver the ink's sparkle to the page, broad nibs just don't suit my writing the way that a medium does. This ink really does look interesting on good quality, fountain pen friendly paper but this also limits its use day-to-day when you work in an office environment; especially with a broad nib installed. I'm glad I have this ink in the collection but I don't think it will get a lot of use in the rotation.
This next pen was a penvangelism experiment. In past months I have written about a work colleague who had been going through a tremendous amount of ink. To reduce the number of times that he had to refill I decided to convert my Pilot Kaküno into an eyedropper and let him use that. To do this I sealed the barrel's breather holes with epoxy. Once cured, I was able to fill the barrel with 4.5 ml of Pelikan Blue Black and let him go at it. Well, the idea of an eyedropper, and the potential mess, put him off so the pen sat for a month before he returned it unused. With the pen back in my possession, I started to use it for day-to-day writing as well as correspondence.
Initially everything was going great, flow was excellent and the writing samples were as to be expected, but then for no reason that I can think of, the flow of the pen markedly increased and drops of ink would form on the tip of the nib and leave blobs of ink on the page as I was writing. After a couple of pages of this I deemed the experiment a failure and emptied the pen. I'm not opposed to trying this again with another pen but I really don't have need of a pen that holds 4.5 ml of ink when I usually have multiple pens on the go at any one time.
During last month's load out post I mentioned that there was one slot left open for an as yet to be purchased pen from the Scriptus pen show. I had thought that this new pen would be a Montblanc 146 but I came home with a Sailor Pro Gear instead. The Sailor's nib has some feedback to it and I have been going at it with micromesh to improve the situation. I'm no Mike Masuyama but I am zeroing in on the feel that I am hoping for and the enjoyment of the pen is increasing in step with the nib's smoothness. Being as it is a Sailor pen, I figured that it was only fitting to fill it with Sky High. It's a nice enough ink but I don't go bonkers over it the way some people do. The build quality of the pen is fantastic, as it should be for a pen in this price range. Its geometry is close to perfect; nice weight, good looks, it's always ready to write with no skips or hard starts. When it ran out of ink it wrote perfectly and then just stopped part way through the word as the last drop was expended. It has been a pleasure to have in my pen case this month.
While at Scriptus I talked to the folks at Staedtler Canada about their ink offerings and they were nice enough to mail me a sample pack of their blue and black inks in bottled as well as cartridge form. Having never used an International Long cartridge before, I broke out my Franklin-Christoph Model 65 Stabilis and popped in a black. It took some coaxing to get ink through the feed but this isn't too surprising when using a cartridge, and once the flow was established, I used it to write a letter without problem. The problems arose a few days later when I tried to use the pen at work. The nib had dried out and much nib tapping and pen shaking was required to re-establish a fairly hesitant flow. Later that afternoon I had to go through the same dance to use the pen again. The next morning when I had filled an A5 sheet with scribbles and the flow was still skippy I said nuts to this, pulled and flushed the cartridge and then syringe filled it with Aurora Black. The pen has worked great since then so I know that the problem wasn't due to using a cartridge rather than a converter. I have no patience for an ink that doesn't work so I think that Staedtler will be disappointed with the review that their black in will receive. The blue has yet to make it into a pen but I'm not rushing to try it based upon my experience with the black.
The other two pens that were included in the November load out are still going strong. The Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta was loaded with Diamine Autumn Oak. It is a nice ink but an orange ink is a little challenging to use up in day-to-day writing. It does look great on my favourite papers so it is seeing regular use in letter writing, just not at work. The other pen is my Pilot Custom 74 that is filled with Aurora Blue. This had been my pocket carry pen in past months but this role was filled by the Namiki Capless in November. Due to this, the pen has seen little use beyond letter writing. I'll make a point to focus on this pen in the month ahead.
For this month's new pens to enter the mix I have brought back my Pelikan M605 with medium nib. I purchased a bottle of Waterman Mysterious Blue ink (aka Blue Black) while I was in Toronto at the beginning of November and this is the first chance that I have had to try it out.
I also received some Noodler's inks from Luxury Brands for review; the first of these is Noodler's Cactus Fruit Eel. I pulled the nib from a Pilot Plumix and fitted it into my Prera so that I could have an italic nib in the rotation this month. The ink is a hot pink with heavy magenta leanings so it will be fun to use even if it is completely impractical for work use. As italic nibs go, the 1.0 mm width of the Plumix's nib is just about the perfect compromise between expressive letter forms and legibility.
The other Noodler's ink that I loaded up is American Eel Blue. It is a bright blue in line with Diamine Asa Blue or Iroshizuku Kon Peki. This has been loaded into a Noodler's Konrad that has been fitted with a medium JoWo nib that was purchased from Anderson Pens. This pen was originally sent to me for review by Luxury Brands in the spring. Upon initial filling I could not get the pen to write with the supplied nib. After much futzing around with heat setting the feed to the nib I was able to get the pen writing but the experience was pretty crap. With switching to the JoWo nib, the pen was much improved and I had planned to write up a post about hacking together a low cost piston filler. Fast forward a few months and the TWSBI Eco is launched. With the Eco on the market I simply cannot recommend that people go the route that I did, even if the end result is good. The value proposition simply isn't there. I'll use what I have and enjoy it but the market for low cost piston fillers now belongs to TWSBI.
I'm still using the Hobonichi Memo Pad for my daily carry pocket notebook. I freaking LOVE this notebook! Okay it takes a while for the ink to dry on the page but every ink looks fantastic and it is a true pleasure to write in. The grid is 3.7 mm which is too small to use as one square per line but it is great at two. This is something that the typical 5 mm dot grid spacing frustrates me with. I'm a shirt pocket carry so my books stay in pretty good shape, the Hobonichi is no different and looks nearly as nice as it did on day one. I'm glad that I bought a few of these, they will be great to use over the next year.