Entering January, I had a huge stack of pens that had been carried over from December, in fact it was only the Sailor Pro Gear that had been newly inked up. Having so many carry over pens meant that the ink levels were low in quite a few and the pens were emptied in quick order. January is the first month where I have emptied all of the pens that I had loaded up and as the end of the month approached, I was able to ink up a clean slate of pens.
Both pens that were loaded with the Noodler's Eel series inks were giving me heart ache when it came to drying on Tomoe River paper so when it came time to draft up our family's New Year's greeting I pulled out a Doane Paper writing pad, some of the most absorbent paper in my supply, and got down to work. Both the Prera and the Konrad were empty before I had drafted 1000 words so the month was off to a good start.
The next point of focus was the Pelikan M605, this was by far my favourite pen for the month. It is a fantastic writer and the Waterman Mysterious Blue was great too. It's a blue with teal hints and it sheens red on Tomoe River. I wish that this ink had decent water resistance but çest la vie. I carried this pen in my shirt pocket until it ran dry in the middle of the month. This pen has now been cleaned out and returned to the drawer. It was hard not to just fill it again. If I could only just keep one pen in my collection, this would be the pen.
In mid December I started my Hobonichi Techo using my Namiki Capless. I quickly found that the medium nib unit wasn't well suited to the 3.7mm grid in the Techo so I placed an order for a fine nib unit from John Mottishaw. The nib unit arrived on January 7th and I swapped in the Pilot Mixable Blue Black cartridge from the medium. The cartridge lasted until the 13th and was immediately replaced with the same ink. It is my plan to use this ink and pen combination for all of 2016 so you can expect it to have regular attendance in these load out posts for the next year. So what are my thoughts on the fine nib unit? It performs well for a fine nib but medium is my preference. I'm happy to use it on a daily basis in my Techo, where it is the right tool for the job, but I don't actively seek it out when I want to do some long form writing. The flip side to this is that I'm now in the market for a Vanishing Point barrel to hold my medium nib unit. We'll see if this comes to fruition since it is a fairly low priority in the grand scheme of my pen collection.
Now that it is winter here in "The Great White North", the humidity has dropped and it is playing havoc with some of my pens. The Franklin-Christoph Model 65 is one of those pens which has been affected. What had been a good writer in December turned into a pain in the ass during January. Hard starts were the norm rather than the exception. Once you started writing it was fine but stopping and picking the pen up again would mean another hard start. I'm sure a lot of this has to do with the loose fitting cap on the pen, the block threads that are the hallmark of the pen's design simply can't seal as efficiently as the multi-start threads found in the cap on most pens. Stephen Brown's review of the yet to be released Tactile Turn Gist had the same complaint so I guess I can expect similar winter issues when that pen arrives.
This all leaves one final pen for January, my Sailor Pro Gear in medium. This pen ran out during the rough draft of this post. It's another great pen that I love. The nib has more feedback than I would prefer but not so much that I felt compelled to do any additional nib smoothing this month. It just writes and writes until the converter runs out of ink, no hard starts, no skipping. This one is a keeper.
With these six pens all emptied before the end of January it meant that I got to select February's pen and ink combinations early. I was missing having a brown ink in rotation so I picked Diamine Sepia to fill my Edison Hudson. I don't have a lot of experience with this ink, the last time I loaded it in a pen, over a year ago, I found that the pen had skipping problems, likely due to the nib having a slight case of baby's bottom. We'll see how the ink performs this time. The colour reminds me of J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie.
The Pilot Custom 74 is back in rotation this month. It is filled with Noodler's V-mail Birma Road Brown, an ink that skews green with heavy grey tones and positively no brown content. I like the colour and I like the pen. Prospects look good for a month of writing.
Having a Tactile Turn Gist on order made me think that I should put my other Kickstarter fountain pen into rotation. The last time I inked up my Karas Kustoms Ink I loaned it out to a co-worker so I haven't really used it recently. I chose J. Herbin Bleu Ocean, 2013 formula, for the ink. I used to really like this ink so I hope that I feel the same way as I burn through it this month.
Of course the Capless is still in the mix but this time with the newly acquired fine nib. It will see daily use in my Techo but not much use outside of it. The Pilot Mixable Blue Black looks decidedly black in this nib. That's OK since it makes for good contrast on the page but I would have enjoyed it even more if the blue component was able to shine too.
February is InCoWriMo and I have standardized on mailing out postcards. Since the writing will be exposed to the elements I have loaded up my Sailor Pro Gear with Super 5 Darmstadt. I had considered Sailor Kiwa Guro but Darmstadt is even more waterproof in my testing and sticks to glossy paper too. It's too bad that Goulet pens gave up on this line of ink, you'll have to order it from Europe if you want some.
Rounding out my Pilot pens this month is my Pilot Custom 823 with broad nib. This nib is super smooth and glides across the page. After receiving a sample of Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo from my friend Andi at the Purl Bug blog, I went out and bought a bottle of my own. It is a nice teal hued blue black. The broad nib in this pen is thirsty so it will be interesting to see how far into the month it lasts. This pen feels great in the hand but it would see more rotation if it had a medium nib. I've been mulling over the idea of having it turned into a medium stub when I'm in DC this August but I'm hesitant. Better the devil you know?
The final pen for the month is my Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta. This pen was purchased with a medium stub but I wasn't feeling that this month so I pulled the Franklin-Christoph branded nib and exchanged it for an Edison No. 6 medium. J. Herbin Poussière de Lune is the ink of choice for this red tiger stripped pen. I had considered Black Swan in Australian Roses but I thought the less saturated J. Herbin ink might perform better in the dry winter conditions that we are experiencing. I'll report back in a month.
On the paper front, I'm wrapping up my Hobonichi Memo Book. It has been great to use and is far superior to Field Notes. I was gifted a Story Supply notebook that I am about to start and it looks to have promise too.