Five Fountain Pen Rules You Can Take to the Bank


We’ve talked about some fountain pen “rules” that I think we can safely ignore. Here are some that, to the contrary, make a lot of sense to me. Feel free to chime in.

Rule Number 1. “Use a light touch.”

Your pens really will do better if you write with a light hand. The good news is, it’s pretty easy to get in the habit.

Rule Number 2. “It’s safer to try before you buy.”

If not, be prepared to cycle through some pens.

This isn’t something to bemoan, necessarily, but just something to recognize. Some people positively love cycling through pens. Others don’t, but we may live too far from fountain pen dealers to test everything in person. So we may end up with some unexpected disappointments.

It may help to think of buying before trying as my friend does, which is to analogize it to fly fishing. Some fish end up in the creel, and some you will catch and release.

Rule Number 3. “A nibmeister is worth the time and money.”

Very often the only difference between a pen that is just okay and a pen you love is the nib. Very often a good nibmeister can do something about that.

Rule Number 4. “It’s not just the pen, but also the ink and paper.”

This is part diagnosis, part treatment. If a pen isn’t writing as you like, try changing the ink. Pen writing too wet and wide for you? Try a dry ink. Pen balky? Try a wetter ink with good flow. And try a different paper, while you’re at it.

Sometimes a ink and pen are both great, but not together. Or maybe a pen and ink combination is perfect, except on one particular paper dry time is glacial.

You can have a great ink, a great pen and a great paper, but that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily bring out the best in each other.

Rule Number 5. “Remember to have fun.”

It’s not brain surgery. It’s not even driving. We can just have fun with pens and inks, right? We can wield our empty Sheaffer Snorkels as water guns against teenage daughters or other enemies. We can put blue ink in red pens. We can ignore the clearly worded warning from J. Herbin, and dare to mix two different inks. We can.


Photo by Alumnos de la UPC – Fotografía propia, GFDL, Link

Pen of the Day: Edison Custom Herald with KWZ Hunter Green


Edison Custom Herald ebonite with KWZ Hunter Green ink

Edison Custom Herald with medium nib. Here’s an old favorite pen of mine, a custom Herald by Edison in a gorgeous green-brown ebonite, with silver-colored clip and nib.

This custom Herald has a medium 18k nib, set to Edison’s usual juicy flow, which really shows off any ink. Right now I’m using it with a new-to-me ink, KWZ Hunter Green.

Edison Custom Herald ebonite with KWZ Hunter Green ink

Hunter Green is khaki, but it’s fairly saturated, and with a wetter writer like this Edison, Hunter Green can look very dark indeed. Which I like. But the color is, of course, lighter in pens with less ink flow.

Shading is minimal. Here’s a writing sample of Hunter Green.

KWZ Hunter Green ink writing sample

Pen of the Day: Kaweco Classic Sport with KWZ Iron Gall Orange Ink

Kaweco Classic Sport fountain pen with KWZ Iron Gall Orange ink

Kaweco Classic Sport with broad nib. Not so much a Pen of the Day this time, because I’m more interested in the ink, the new-to-me KWZ Iron Gall Orange.

KWZ Iron Gall Orange ink writing sample

If you read this blog regularly, you will not be surprised that KWZ Iron Gall Orange is not so much orange as brown. After all, this is KWZ, the imaginative ink maker that offers a black ink called Dark Brown and a fairly purple ink called Brown-Pink.

I look forward to putting Iron Gall Orange through its paces. This pen is my old reliable, the Kaweco Classic Sport, here with a broad nib.

KWZ Iron Gall Orange ink writing sample with Kaweco Classic Sport fountain pen

Pen of the Day: Montblanc 146 (Another One) (Maybe for the Last Time)

Montblanc 146 with Montblanc BMW ink

Montblanc 146 with broad nib. This is actually not the same 146 with broad nib that I was using last week with Caran d’Ache Infra Red. Because, currently, I have two. Sigh. Bad Fountain Pen Follies.

Would you believe that I have two by accident? And if not, what would you believe? Aliens? Amnesia? Feel free to tell me, so I can use that instead.

Montblanc 146 with Montblanc BMW ink

This is my newer 146 with broad nib. And I have been intending to sell it. But, see, it’s lucky that I’ve been dragging my feet on that. Because it’s such a good pen. And because when this Montblanc BMW ink arrived, I had the perfect pen to put it in.

And they say procrastination is bad.

Montblanc BMW ink writing sample

Pen of the Day: Parker 51 Double Jewel


Parker 51 Cedar Blue with fine nib. This is a vacumatic 51. It belonged to my mother. When we found it this January, it hadn’t been used for decades. It was inside an old jewelry box, unseen and forgotten. The body jewel and tassie were missing, and I didn’t have to test the filler to know it needed a new diaphragm.

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