My Nakaya is on it’s Way!

I have been a pen nut for 20+ years but only in the past couple of years have I acquired the fountain pen obsession. I had spent a fair amount of my toy budget on alot of fountain pens. After finding a few good ones that I enjoy the subsequent purchases were just no excitement anymore. More of the same and most not as enjoyable as what I had discovered thus far in my TWSBIs, Lamy 2000, we all know the iconic models. Back in March of this year I was a ferocious reader on grail pens, what they were, what they meant to other people, etc. I wanted a grail pen and after much research mine became the mighty Nakaya Cigar Long. Probably the most money I will ever spend on a writing instrument. At the time there was a Aka-tamenuri Cigar (no clip) Long available at Nakaya’s sole US importer, Classic Fountain Pens.

I stalled and sold some other toys to justify the purchase and by the time I was ready to pull the trigger yep you guessed it, it sold out.  I had mixed emotions but placed the order anyway and the wait began.

In the meantime I decided I would not settle for another color Nakaya that was available, for that type of investment I would wait.  I looked at the Visconti Homo Sapiens and the Pelikan M1000’s thinking those may substitute.  Then an M1000 in black popped up for a great price and I bought it. Nothing but disappointments that I’m hoping will turn around when I get it back this last time from Chartpak.

My wallet was lighter but my grail pen holster is still empty so it was with great surprise when earlier this week an email popped up that a new stock had arrived at Classic Founatin Pens. I read my original order and got a headache trying to decide if I wanted to stay with the stub I originally specificed or change to a safer, more standard medium. The medium won out and I asked for John Mottishaw’s best smoothing with a wet line. Before I could change my mind on the nib again, dreaming about that Mottishaw stub, I got the shipping confirmation email that said it would land in Tampa Wednesday July 3rd. GREAT customer service for sure.

I’m very excited to say the least and hoping I’m not underwhelmed. Here is the link to the pen on Classic Fountain Pens website.

I would love to hear about your grail pen hunt.

Remember: Write something nice.



Iroshizuku Ink on Sale @ Amazon

Shoutout thanks to Dan over at FPGeeks.  Gave us a lead on an Amazon deal for Iroshizuku Inks for $21.99 a bottle and free shipping. I pulled the trigger on a blue. Click on the link above and you’ll see the Amazon link.

Some are reporting long lead times because I guess some colors are coming from Japan.

You have any experience or love for the Iroshizuku inks?  Never tried them myself but love a great deal.

Remember: Write something nice


Ink Logging

I learned alot from my dad and the more I age the more I discover tendencies that I got from my dear father.  My dad logged everything. From the mudane dates like when he changed the oil in the mower, to the more traditional major accomplishments of his children and loved ones. I think this was a natural byproduct of his fascination, and mine now, of measuring everything he could and more importantly the gadgets that performs this the measuring. I currently toolboxes full of tape measures, thermometers, light meters, sound meters and spreadsheets to log everything those gadgets track.

In the gadget weak hobby of fountain pens there was not alot I could measure but I explored many ideas on how to log my inks. The biggest advantage was to be able to recall what ink was in what pen in case I enjoyed the combination. I have learned that the fountain pen experience is 33% ink, 33% paper and 34% nib defines the joy or horror.  The other advantage to logging my ink was knowing what inks I had and what they looked like as my collection of hues grew.

Looking online I found a journal specifically design for cataloging inks. Find it here at   Cool idea but it was just far more information than I wanted and it really didn’t address my need to identify what ink I had in what pen at the time.

I started with something really simple fully expecting it to be a temporary solution until I found something better. A year later I’m still using it. Not fancy but it works for me.

A regular $3 Clairfontaine side staple notebook

Ink Log Outside

Inside I header each page with the pen name then each line on the page is the date and the ink name written right after I load the pen up with it. The third value this gave me was knowing how long my pens in rotation have been inked up. After a while they need a good flush.

Ink Log Inside

When I fill up a page I just start a new page with the pen name at the top again. My collection has not gotten so large that this has become unruly but I suspect over time it will. Until then I like it.

Do you log your ink?  and if so what is your system like?

Remember: Write something nice


What I’m Packing Today

Still love to write slowly and curvy with my TWSBI stubs in the early morning shared with a cup of coffee.

inked 6-19-13

Any pens / inks you enjoy with your morning cup of Joe?

Remember: Write something nice and have some coffee with your sugar

Little Brother Zebra

In my last post I reviewed a small Zebra ball point pen called the Expandz. I liked it a lot for its intended purpose. When shopping for it at Jet Pens, (I love those guys), they pulled a “you might like this also” on me which usually works in their favor.

The result was my acquisition of a Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint Pen which in the picture looked a lot like the Expandz but at less than $6 I bit and took the hook. When I received it I realized my confusion was based on photography perspective. You know like when you see the cheeseburger picture on a fast food sign, you think you’ll need a truck to get it home but when they pass it through that drive through window it MAY be two bites worth.

I’m hungry now so back on point. I like this new pen for it’s intended purpose, portability. Not as much as I like the Expandz due to the even smaller size but this one can really be hidden in a lot of places.  Here is a size comparison next to a common rollerball to give you an idea.

Baby Zebra Size Compare

This pen was a bit too small for my larger than average hands. That doesn’t mean I won’t carry it but I like the feel of the Expandz a little better. I’m sure I will find a good use for it where I need a very small but very usable writing instrument. Like the Expandz, the SL-F1 had a good friction feel when fully extended or fully compressed so the pen doesn’t slip open or shut when being used or stored. Nicely engineered for a sub $6 pen.

The output quality of this pen I actually preferred over the Expandz. The ink line appears to be a bit darker black and I think the pen needed less pressure. They also call this one a .7mm tip.

Baby Zebra Writing

All in all a nice little pen if you need deep concealment, quick deployment and reasonable ease of use. Another homerun from Zebra in my book.

Any suggestions for my next pocket rocket pen?

Remember: Write something nice.

Pocket Pals

My grandfather always carried a pocket knife. He would often joke if someone asked if he had his knife. He would quip “Do I have my pants on?” and then smoothly pull out the largest pocket knife I had ever seen as a young boy. He was a big man and carried a porportionally sized knife.

I may have acquired that gene though not the girth or height of my beloved grandpa so mine are more normal size.  I always have a pocket knife, a mini sharpie and some type of pen on me at all times. Below is part of my small collection of pocket pal writing sticks. I prefer a smaller size for my front jeans pocket so the Lamy Safari on the left is for size reference only.


Cruising one of my favorite sites the other day, Jet Pens, I was trying to get up to the $25 free shipping limit and came across a couple of Zebras that perked my interest.

My Zebra Expandz Ballpoint Pen came in the other day and I must say I’m impressed. It has derailed my normal pocket rotation as I’m really enjoying this pen. It’s a telescoping style with a fairly standard .7 mm ballpoint refill.  The beauty of it is the small dimensions to fit in my pocket without fear of thigh stabbings and deployment is very convenient by just stretching the pen. Good detents at the full open and a slight friction catch on the close so I’ve had no trouble with it opening in my pocket. Here is a picture with some crude photo shopping to show the size open and closed and compared to a conventional rollerball.

Little Zebra Compare

For convenience I give it 5 stars and writing with it is equally good. I found it needed a bit more pressure to the paper than I’m used to but it is a ballpoint and that may be tainted by my nearly 100% use of fountain pens in my daily routine. It’s advertised as a .7 mm but the line looks a little thin to me and I would prefer a little more black in the ink color as it puts down more of a dark gray.

write sample

Again this is a ballpoint built for convenience, not a writers pen. For the whole package I still give it five stars. It’s attractive with stainless steel construction, has a clip and sells for less than $6 !  A steal really.  For under $6 I won’t be worried about scratcing up a new pen rattling around in my pocket with other hardware either. One other feature I like about it is even small pens tend to get twisted around in my pocket and can do the dreaded thigh stab. This one has a more blunt end by design that really helps in that area.

little zebra tip

I’m not sure if that is the intended purpose of the design but it integrates well into the body when the pen is fully extended so maybe it’s double duty.

All in all a real home run for me. I received another small pen at the same time which is even smaller. I’ll work on a similar review for it. The Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint. Identical concept just smaller.

Any pocket rockets you really like that I’m missing?

Remember: Write something nice



My Pencil Quiver

Recently I joined many with a fascination for the common pencil. I thought I was called weird and a geek alot before when I just played with fountain pens. At least they were pretty but try to tell someone you’re into pencils. WOW….but I was not deterred and amassed what I believe is an example from most of the major brands on the market.  I would love to hear from anyone if I missed a brand.

Here is my current arsenal
I have not played much yet with the wide variety of lead hardness. I did try an 8B which I believe is the extreme and that was like a crayon. The Staedler Mars seems to offer the best variety in lead hardness.

With my very limited experience I must say they are all very similar to me in the actual writing experience. The Staedler “Made in Germany” is kind of cool. None are terribly expensive except all I could find was the Palomino’s by the dozen so at $19 you could get some stares for admitting that.

The one I will probably draw from the drawer most often though is the Palomino Blackwing for a variety of reasons. Several senseless.

  1. I have 12 of the darn things and I won’t feel so bad ignoring the other brands where I have a whole dollar thirty invested.
  2. They seem to have the most passionate cult following out there (yep another senseless reason)
  3. The eraser’s cool and I make alot of mistakes
  4. Last I just think it squeaks by the others in the smoothness category, maybe it’s all in my head next to the other three reasons but I have to pick one right?

Do you have a favorite pencil or one I haven’t tried?

Remember: Write something nice (in pencil even)

Today’s Pen Case

Here is what I’m carrying today. I do wish I could come up with enough things to write so that I may enjoy each of these pens everyday.

  • Pelikan M1000 Fine – Noodlers Bad Belted Kingfisher
  • Bexley Corona Fine – Noodlers ELL
  • Edison #76 Medium – Rohrer & Klingner Verdigis
  • TWSBI 540 1.1 stub – Noodlers 54th Mass
  • TWSBI Vac 700 1.5 stub – Noodlers Burgundy
  • Esterbrook J Medium – Noodlers Saguaro Wine


What are you carrying today?

Remember: Write something nice

Come on over to my pad

I think I have a new scratch pad. Since contracting the fountain pen bug a couple years ago I have learned and come to appreciate the importance of good paper to realize my full fountain pen joy. I know I’m not alone in having collected MANY journals and pads of stationery. Through a lot of reading and thanks to FPN most of my purchases have been good decisions. My challenge is I just don’t write that much. I want to, and I’m constantly working on excuses to write more but the fact is I have more journals and blank notebooks than I will probably ever use. I have settled in the Clairefontaine and Rhodia camp for the construction quality,  paper quality and the ink interaction.

With a birthday gift certification from Goulets I decided to broaden by horizon and order my first dot pad. I have read many reviews and articles about a dot pad and never got the allure until I got one.  It frees you from lines, if you want to write straight lines of text you can. You can build your own connect the dots. You can draw lines that actually look straight.  It’s great. Maybe a bit expensive for a scratchpad but I figure using it for anything is better than realizing it’s coolness factor then throwing it on the shelf because I don’t want to use my good paper. What a concept actually use them!

Rhodia Dot Pad

Another nice feature of the Rhodia is the fold over cover and how well that has been thought it. It comes with pre creased bend points to fold over perfect and lay flat against the back.

Creasesfolded over

Not rocket science but a nice touh for those of us that typically prefer a spiral notebook for the lay flat value.

Now when I need to jot down a quick size or phone number I’m reaching more and more for my dot pad.  Try one, I think you’ll like it. Here is where I get mine.

What’s your favorite go to scratch out a quick note pad?

Remember: Write something nice.

Asiago Cheese

I love Panera Bread. Every Sunday it’s an Asiago Cheese bagel with plain cream cheese for me. Always fresh and fattening. They have a great relaxing atmosphere so it got me thinking the other day. I walked in for my Sunday regular I saw a gentleman sitting at a table with his drink of choice, several books opened up and what caught my eye was several pads of paper out with handwritten lists.

I had no idea what he could have been doing but I immediately tried to zone in on his writing instrument of choice as there was alot of ink flowing. As expected I frowned at the sight of some generic smooth writing plastic rollerball.

For a brief moment I envied that gentleman sitting there minding his own business and I faintly dreamed of a writing project that would require so much use of my own writing sticks where the finished product would be more than a page full of “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” pangram sentences.

I guess it wouldn’t be that hard except I go to work each day before Panera Bread opens. I could bring my various journal projects, get me an Asiago Cheese Bagel and a free expresso from my MyPanera card. Find me a little corner table and listen to the soft music. I might even come up with something else to write about.

Good news is I leave work before Panera closes so all this Asiago talk has me hungry. Now if I could convince them to get a drive through!

Any place, other than home or work where you like to put ink to paper?

Remember: Write something nice.