August has turned into a month of Penvangelism. At the beginning of the month I showed a co-worker a bottle of Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue that had been sent to the blog for review. He was quite taken with the heavy glass bottle so I offered to fill a Jinhao 126 with the Cobalt Blue so he could try it for himself. Two days later he said that he liked the pen but it no longer worked. Being empty will do that!
I next gave him a Pilot Custom Heritage 92 to use. It had a load of Pilot Blue Black in it that I had been working away at for over six weeks and there was still lots to be used. This pen, being a piston filler, lasted him the better part of a week before he was back for his next fix. Having tried two blues, I now set him up with a converter full of Aurora Black in an Edison Hudson. This was just before I left for the DC Pen Show and a smile spread across my face when I got a text message on my phone requesting that I buy him a Pilot Metropolitan, a Pilot Plumix and some black ink while at the show. Achievement unlocked; level up.
For myself, I managed to empty my Pilot Stella 90s and Pilot Prera this month. The Stella was filled with Sailor Sei-Boku, a fantastic blue black that should be part of everyone's ink collection. The Prera had been using a Pilot blue cartridge which has now been expended but was great while it lasted. If I had known what a good pen the Prera is, I may never have bought the Stella 90s. When ordered from Japan through Amazon, the Prera is about CAN$30 (Shipped) this makes it a 1/4 of the cost of the Stella 90s which tends to hang around CAN$120 (Shipped) on Ebay. The Stella has a 14K gold nib and a metal barrel, but the size of the pens are very comparable and they both fit into a shirt pocket wonderfully. I believe that the Prera's US$56 price tag has severely limited its market penetration.
In terms of the pens that I use for marking up technical drawings, I ran a pair of 78G's dry. The red had been filled with De Atramentis Document Fuchsia and it was refilled with this same ink. I like this ink but the De Atramentis Orchids that I had been using was more lubricated. The teal pen had been filled with Noodler's V-mail North African Violet but I found this ink to be very dry so it got replaced with Rohrer & Klingner Solferino.
When I left for the DC Pen Show I thought that I might try to sell some of my collection while I was there. The candidates that were going to be let loose were my Lamy 2000 with Fine nib, Edison Premiere outfitted with a Medium nib, and a TWSBI Diamond 580 with both Medium and Broad nib units. As it was, I felt awkward going up to someone and saying "Hey Buddy, you wanna buy a pen?" so the pens never left my Brasstown. I did however give the above mentioned Pilot Custom Heritage 92 to a fellow blogger. The pen's nib was simply too fine for me to enjoy and since it was given to me for review purposes, I felt that it should be passed onto another pen lover rather than being sold.
While at the show I purchased three pens; a 2004 Flame Lamy Safari that is currently loaded with J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor, a Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta with Medium Stub nib which is currently filled with Montblanc Blue Hour and finally a Pilot Custom 823 with Broad nib that is loaded with Pilot Blue Black. I am happy with these new pens and I feel that some of them will be permanent fixtures in my rotation.
On a related note, I started a Field Notes Workshop Companion before heading to DC. My initial thoughts on the book were negative since the Retro 51 I tried in it simply would not lay down a consistent line and was plagued with skipping. I'm glad to say that fountain pens perform wonderfully in this book. I had the chance to try many new pens in this book while in DC and nothing would show through the page, let alone bleed through. Even a Nakaya with Music nib and a Double Broad Visconti held up well on the page. If you like fountain pens and you like Field Notes, the Workshop Companion series is the one to stock up on. I prefer ruled to this edition's dot grid but that is a small niggle and I think that I am in the minority.