2016 DC Pen Show Events

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If like me, you could not attend the 2016 DC Pen Show, I have collected some links. Have fun living vicariously through some great people in the pen community.

Starting with the #dcpenshow2016 Instagram tag generates mouth watering lust for the beautiful pens, inks, and other goodies. You will also discover pictures of the people that really make the shows great.

You will find more pictures and a nice write-up by Ana at the Well Appointed Desk. Ana’s post highlights some of the interesting people.

At the Gentleman Stationer,  2016 DC Pen Joe has broken his report into two posts, both loaded with pictures. Start with 2016 D.C. PEN SHOW RECAP: FRIDAY AND SATURDAY and finish up with 2016 DC PEN SHOW RECAP: SUNDAY AND OVERALL IMPRESSIONS.

Fountain Pen Quest also has a Washington DC Pen Show 2016 Recap.

The Inkdependence mega post shows many, many pens and goodies along with the people making, selling, and buying them.

My favorite write-up comes from Father Kyle waxing poetically at Reverenced Writing. For example:

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.

If you get tired of reading, these video posts could be for you: Figboot on Pens and The Purl Bug.

Reading and watching all these reports differs greatly from actually going to the show. Sometimes it is the best you can do. Take the time and enjoy the show from a distance.

Write down your upcoming plans for connecting with pen people.

Caligraphy Jack



Desk Pens

Two Sheaffer SnorkelsSheaffer Snorkels Desk pens adorn my desk at work. Desk pens on a desk, imagine that. I didn’t want them to be only decorative so I keep them inked. These pens have been restored but being from the 1950s, like me, they can be a little finicky, again like me. They screw into the trumpets so they don’t dry out too bad. I try to use them at least a little every week to keep them flowing. I have Anderson Pens Green Bay (a great name for an ink from a Wisconsin-based company) in one and DeAtramentis Alexander Hamilton in the other. I will point out that I had Hamilton ink before the musical became a sensation.

Sheaffer Desk Set

I plan to keep these in service. I don’t want them to be just show pieces. So no desk pens to eliminate. But next up is pens just inked so I have color choices. Maybe I can cut down those.

Since these are vintage pens, write to the oldest person you know.

Caligraphy Jack

Good Writers

good writers

I am not talking about people who are good writers, but pens that write well. A few of my pens I think of as primarily good writers. I like keeping them ready for a cardletter or note. Each one of these pens deserves a quick mention.

section and nib

My Karas Kustoms INK with a Franklin-Christoph Masuyama cursive italic nib writes great. The combination of heftflow, and italic often matches my mood for quick card or note.


nib by cap

often reach for my smooth writing Edison Nouveau Premiere with a stub nib when writing a letter. This beauty is the Majestic Pine special edition from Goulet Pens. This light weight pen produces less fatigue in longer writing sessions.

Legacy Posted Small

My next good writer is a Sheaffer Legacy with a 14k fine nib. One of my first fountain pens, I bought it new in 1995. The fine line writes smaller than the cursive italic or stub nibs.


Another good writer, my Lamy Studio, belongs in this category. I know this medium nib is the same as a Safari or AL-Star, but something about this Studio I really like. I tend to keep DeAtramentis Sherlock Holmes in it which matches the pen nicely.

nib on cap

My last good writer is my Pelikan M205 Amethyst. Another medium nib, it lays down a nice amount of ink. So far I have only tried Edelstein Amethyst ink, but any ink with shading or sheen should look nicer coming out of this Pelikan nib.



These five give me choices for most normal writing tasks. If I were to pare it down, I could alternate between the INK and Nouveau – cursive italic and stub – and also between the Lamy Studio and the Pelikan M205 – both medium nibs. Of course, that would only give me 3 color choices instead of 5. Having many colors available is what I will talk about next time.

Read more in this series: Currently Inked

Pick up one of your good writers and write someone a letter.

Caligraphy Jack

Note Taking Pens

While I will use any pen and ink that catches my fancy for note taking, I have two pens specifically configured for this task: a Franklin-Christoph Model 02 and a Pilot Vanishing Point. Right now I have a blue-black in both but typically I keep a black ink in the 02.

The Franklin-Christoph Model 02 is the Anderson Pens Edition. It has a marble blue finial and section. This pen helps me realize I prefer a medium diameter, light weight pen. The XF nib works well but after testing the different Franklin-Christoph nibs at pen shows, an even finer nib is in my future. I foresee outfitting this pen with a 14k Masuyama needlepoint nib and laying down a very fine line, perfect for small notes.


My other note taker is a Pilot Vanishing Point Blue Carbonesque purchased at the 2016 Atlanta Pen Show. I immediately took it to Mark Bacus for an architect grind. The architect grind excels when printing and for me note taking involves a lot of printing. The retractable nib is handy when taking notes. Summer time finds me using this pen less. The Vanishing Point is a natural for a shirt pocket. Alas many of my short sleeve shirts lack a pocket.

vp combined
Pilot Vanishing Point Blue Carbonesque

While I have been experimenting with various black and blue-black inks, I have decided to emphasize note preservation. In particular one incident leads me to deciding on a permanent ink. So far for permanent, or at least water resistant, black I favor Noodler’s Heart of Darkness. The search for a good blue-black continues.

Reducing the note taking pens I keep inked from two to one, would involve alternating between the Franklin-Christoph 02 and the Pilot Vanishing Point. The Franklin-Christoph 02 takes a long time to deplete a convertor of ink. The Pilot Vanishing Point, not near as long. So alternating would not be very even. I expect to try it as an experiment, but I suspect I will miss having the Vanishing Point available while waiting to empty the Franklin-Christoph.

So far, I am not doing much to reduce the number of inked pens. Perhaps tomorrow’s category, good writers, will produce better results.

Read more posts in this series: Currently Inked

Pick a favorite pen and take some notes today.

Caligraphy Jack

Pocket Pens

I am examining the number of pens currently inked. Today I will look at the pocket pens. IMG_1774

I almost always carry a pocket pen. Slipped in my front right pocket, a pocket pen settles in deep and safe. I can quickly access it on demand. Currently, three pens, including two fountain pens, fill this role.


I primarily choose my Franklin-Christoph Pocket 40, an ice model. I prefer to keep a bright colored ink in it because it is just so much fun to tilt back and forth and watch the ink. Curre
ntly, I am enjoying watching OMAS turquoise. The Pocket 40 ranks as my number one favorite pen. The 14K Masuyama cursive italic nib contributes to the
top ranking. Several times I feared the Pocket 40 was lost. This freaks me out, so I need an alternative.

I IMG_1771recently purchased a new Kaweco Sport, a good fountain penalternative to the Pocket 40. But what ink? Currently the Sport is filled with Cross Blue. I bought the Cross Blue ink on the same trip and I wanted to try it. The Sport holds ink in a small cartridge which I fill with a syringe. Even with the Sport’s fine nib the ink empties quickly. Since I would rotate ink quickly, the Sport makes a good pen to try new inks.

IMG_1772For the most rugged conditions, I pull my Fisher Space Pen out of its special spot in my computer backpack. Small, tough and always ready to write on any surface describes the Space Pen.


So will I reduce the pocket pens I keep inked up? I think the two fountain pens with the Space Pen backup works for me. I like using a fountain pen but there are time I don’t want to put my favorite pen at risk. Having the Sport for those times, means I still get to use a fountain pen. I can save the Space Pen for the most challenging conditions.

Maybe I will find a pen to eliminate in the next group – note taking.

Get out your pocket pen and write down what is on your mind.

Caligraphy Jack

How Many Pens Must I Ink Up?

Recently I started writing a line with each of my currently inked pens. The completed list contained twenty pens and inks. Keeping twenty fountain pens writing properly proves difficult. I decided to reduce this number. Documenting why I inked each of these pens inked gives me some insight into how to reduce this number.

Pondering the various uses for my pens, I distilled it into the following categories:

  • pocket pens
  • note taking
  • desk pens
  • good writers
  • color choices

Some pens fit into more than one category but I assigned each to the predominate category for its use.

Here is the list of pens and inks in the order I picked then up. I will be talking about each category soon and finish with a post discussing what I learned and modifications to how I ink my pens.

2016-07-27 currently inkd list

  • Pelikan M205 medium nib – Edelstein Amethyst
  • TWSBI 580 extra fine nib – Diamine Florida Blue
  • Waterman Expert medium nib – Caran d’Ache Vibrant Green
  • Waterman Expert medium nib – Iroshizuku tsuyo-kusa
  • Waterman Expert fine nib – Caran d’Ache Infra Red
  • Pilot Metropolitan fine nib – Sailor Shigure
  • Edison Nouveau Premiere – Setz-Kreunznach Dark Orchid
  • Franklin-Christopher 02 – Franklin-Christopher Blue Denim
  • Sheaffer Legacy f nib – Ackerman 23 Bekakt Haags
  • Retro 51 Postmaster medium nib – R&K Sunfower
  • Aurora Style medium nib – Lamy Blue
  • Pilot Vanishing Point – Mont Blanc JFK
  • Lamy AL Star fine nib – Lamy Copper Orange
  • Lamy AL Star medium nib – Edelstein Adventurine
  • Lamy Safari extra fine nib – Lamy Dark Lilac
  • Karas Kustoms INK Masuyama cursive italic – Lamy Green
  • Kaweco Sport fine nib – Cross Blue
  • Sheaffer Snorkel Desk Pen medium nib – Anderson Pens Greensboro Bay
  • Sheaffer Snorkel Desk Pen medium nib – DeAtramentis Alexander Hamilton
  • Franklin-Christopher Pocket 40 – OMAS Turquoise

2016-07-31 currently inked

Check back for more in this series.

Pick up one of your pens and write someone a letter.

Caligraphy Jack

All Fountain Pens, All the Time?

I was listening to Brad and Myke on the Pen Addict episode 202 and was intrigued by the pre-fountain pen discussion. Almost every thing I had at my desk was a fountain pen.

* Franklin-Christoph 02
* Pilot Vanishing Point
* Franklin-Christoph Pocket 40
* pair of Sheaffer Snorkels in a desk set

I did have my iconic Retro 51 Jack, a Karas Pen Co EDK, and a Palamino Blacking Pearl readily available. But what I had been using that morning were fountain pens. So I had the feeling that gel pens, roller balls, pencils, etc. were not part of my daily use. But as I paid attention to the rest of my day, I discovered I was wrong.

The first things that happened was I realized that my A5 notebook, used for a mix of work and personal items, did not have all the pages numbered. In fact I had used lots of pages past the pages I had numbered. Since I keep the first page as a table of contents to important items, this is a problem. So I decided to number them. A fountain pen is too slow for this because it takes much longer to dry than to turn the page and number the next one. So I turned to my EDK for this duty. Score 1 for roller balls.

Next, when I got home my lovely bride was planting some new plants. I helped her with the last couple and then when to get my landscaping notebook to document it. For that I use a Uni Style Fit with 3 gel refills: brown, green and red. Score 1 (or is it 3?) for gel pens.

Later in the evening, my phone reminds me to test the aquarium water. Working around the aquarium and water samples I use a Write In The Rain notebook. I used to use a Fisher Space Pen for that but have switched to a 0.3 Hi-Tec C in black to allow smaller writing. Score another 1 for gel pens.

This got me to thinking and I found a Sharpie Pen, 0.38 Signo DX in brown/black and a Kura-Toga mechanical pencil at the ready in my computer bag. I also remembered a 0.7 Uni Power Tank blue ball point in both our vehicles. The Power Tank is known for working even after months in a hot or cold car. It can be found with a original Field Notes in the glove box.

So while I use fountain pens a lot, I still have plenty of uses for my other pens.IMG_1289