Cleaning Day

anna-aspnes-potpourri-paperie-2001Love this gaggle of pens, all needing a good clean. And love my new loupe in dusky pink.


Franklin-Christoph Pocket 66

I went to Take Note on the weekend to pick up a Lamy stub nib. The prior weekend I had bought a Lamy lilac Safari in lieu of a Kaweco (which Take Note did not sell) and I got a steel black EF nib to replace the one that got lost with my yellow Safari. But I wanted a stub nib which wasn’t in stock at the time. Fast forward.

As soon as I approached the pen case, a group of three pens caught my eye. Bright yellow-orange, green and blue toned semi translucent. What are they? I asked. Franklin-Christophs came the reply and my heart sank a little because they are not cheap. I could not stop my (grasping) hand from reaching out for the orange one. It only came with a 1.1 nib.

I put on a brave front. I explained that my stub for my 580 AL was ginormous, more like a bucket, and this nib looked ginormous too. But the proprietor did not miss the gleam in my eye and she inked it up. Oh my. It was wonderful. The nib does look LARGE on this small pen but it wrote like a dream. Needless to say, the Pocket 66 left the store in my pocket along with a small bottle of J. Herbin Lie de Thé. My passing nod to austerity. And my Lamy stub nib. And a Midori diary paper journal.

I decided to do some research on this pen and on my Model 20. A definite cart before horse approach to purchasing. I could not find my pen on the internet. It seems, from reading their site and bits and pieces that the company does limited runs of whatever catches its fancy from time to time. Everything I read praised the company for its service and dedication to quality.

Max thinks the pen is ugly but I dare to differ.img_0335

No one has described the scuffed up interior of the FC acrylic pens better than Leigh Reyes, “The irregularity of the inside surface makes me think of a transparent moon, with ink leaving mysterious tracks.”




According to their website, their design philosophy is to achieve austere simplicity while maintaining uniqueness. I think they accomplish that in spades.

This pen is much smaller than the Model 20. It has a threaded cap (thank goodness) but the threads are located at the very bottom of the section, out of the way of fingers. Apparently this is not only good for fingers but is designed to limit the amount of air in the cap thus slowing the process of the pen drying out.


It walked out in my pocket even though it had no cartridge and no converter. Given my debacle with my Model 20, this is an indication of how smitten I was. So far, I have not had any leakage at all. I did stumble on the FC video on how to set up an eyedropper pen and I had done it backwards both times (why am I not surprised to discover this?) but regardless, it has not leaked with the Pocket 66. It has given me the courage to try again with my Model 20 once I have run out of ink (it is inked in Ajasai which I only had in a sample bottle and it is so beautiful I cannot bear to waste it).

I have not stopped writing with my Pocket since I got it. Even my current ambivalence about the ink has not stopped me from grabbing it and usually that is a show stopper for me.

Since its initial acquisition, this pen has never been un inked. Max bought me a bottle of Sailor Jentle Kin-Mokusei for Christmas. It has had a variety of browns tossed in it. A couple of greens. And some turquoise. For whatever reason, I have just not found the “perfect pairing” for it yet.

Lamy Turquoise

This is one of the oldest inks I have. I bought it years ago. I forgot about it, even after my recent fall down the rabbit hole. I saw a glowing review of it and it dawned on me that I had a bottle on hand. The review was not hyperbole.

For those who care about such things (me! me!), the bottle is quite interesting. It comes with a roll of blotting paper hidden in the bottom. Terrific for wiping off the nib and section after inking up. For all of that, the price is very reasonable.

This ink shades like crazy! And it is a beautiful colour in a clear pen. A knock-out colour. Super saturated and bright but definitely capable of being used daily. Well behaved. A reviewer at Gorgeous.Ink  claims, “Lamy inks are unremarkable but the shading properties of this turquoise make it stand out.” Check out that review to see a proper ink review.

Moleskine Volant

I have never been a Moleskine fan. I have owned a few in my day but they were nearly all problematic in one way or another. I never even considered getting into them when I got into fountain pens because the general lore was that they, like their famous brother Field Notes, were not fountain pen friendly.

The other week I found myself at the end of my first Leuchtern 1917 desparately needing a new journal and on the road. I couldn’t find a Leuchtern anywhere but Chapters had tons of Moleskines and I took a chance on the Volant because I was desparate and they were relatively cheap: two for $17.00.

A pleasant surprise. The paper is not that great, really, only 70 gsm but it works just fine. On the plus side, the two colours are cool and they come in a great range of colours, two to every pack. They have a full sheet of labels that you can use to organize your book and, neat-0, all the pages are perforated. They are an odd little size (5 x 8 1/4) but it is not bad for a journal. I will definitely pick up more of these.

At first I was cautious and used a fine nib and one side of the paper but then I threw caution to the wind and have been using just about everything in them and yes, both sides.

Stub City

I am incapable of resisting the lure of a fresh notebook. Especially with a newly inked newly acquired pen in hand. New pen, new ink, new notebook. Pretty close to bliss.

Today is stub day. I bought a small yellow-orange Franklin-Christoph Pocket 66 from Take Note. It just caught my eye in the display case and before I knew it, I had brought it home. It has a ginormous nib and yes, it is a stub. I had the presence of mind to try it out first. I swore it wrote finer than my TWISBI 580AL 1.1.

I looked at both of them and the F-C looks much bigger but it does write finer. Regardless, I popped the stub on the TWISBI too. And I swapped out my Lamy for a 1.1. So now I have five stub pens: two Lamy’s, two TWISBIs and my new Pocket 66.

The Pocket 66 has to be eyedroppered which I did, despite not having fantastic success with my Franklin-Christoph Model 20. I am hoping that the screw cap on the Pocket will make all the difference. If it continues to work, I will retry with the Model 20 because it really does look totally amazing to have the entire barrel filled with ink.

My limited edition pink Lamy (I will tell that story some day) is now inked with Private Reserve Arabian Rose. And stubbed. Perfect. My lilac Lamy is inked with Sailor Jentle Shigure. And stubbed. Perfect. My mini TWISBI is now inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin. And stubbed. Perfect. My TWISBI 580 AL is now inked with Pelikan Edelstein Tourmaline. And stubbed. Not quite perfect but certainly interesting.

And my new Pocket 66 is now inked with J. Herbin Lie de Thé. And stubbed. Perfect. So far, I find this ink more greyish than taupish but that may be a function of many things including not cleaning the nib out enough before proceeding. I am like a kid at Christmas and can never bring patience to bear with a brand new pen.

Max has declared my new pen ugly. Ha! I think it is gorgeous.

Still working on a system. So far, I have:

  1. An ink journal. It has a page for each ink. The facing page is where I can add examples of the ink in different pens. I am doing my best to make the reviews informative but I do find that a lot of reviews are nothing more than opinion. I have no problem adding mine.
  2. A pen journal. It has a page for each pen. So far, all I have are examples of the pen with different inks. I don’t feel like I know enough about anything to do reviews yet.
  3. My Midori has a Tomoe River paper insert I bought at Wonderpens where I track my currently inked pens.

I am trying to cut down on the number of pens I have inked but it is very difficult. I would like it to be three but I normally have nine. In part it is because I take such comfort in the whole process that sometimes I will feel an urgent need to write with a particular pen and ink and I just have to do it. The life of an addict.

Midori Diary (MD) Paper

Quoting from the wrapper: The cream colored paper is easy on the eyes while creating a beautiful contrast with black or black/blue ink. Crafted using traditional Japanese binding techniques and original methods, it opens for easy writing and is highly durable…this notebook was first developed in the 1960s as Midori Co.’s (now Designphil Inc.) original diary paper and has continuously gone through quality improvement until today. The paper is adapted for high writability.

I cannot quarrel with any of the above. Here is a link to their notebook site.

Noodler’s Rachmaninoff

This ink is pink. Hot, hot pink. I am liking it in my Noodler’s Ahab. But I can’t see using it very often. I am not sure if it is clogging or not but it is not flowing smoothly after a week of being in the pen. Trying to troubleshoot this stuff is a bit like troubleshooting anything else; there are too many possible causes and it will take forever to figure out which one is the cause. I suppose the other alternative is to try another bright pink and see what I think. No matter what, back to the drawing board.