Archive for the ‘Fountain pens’ Category

A while ago I ordered samples of different greys from Goulet Pens. I really like the opportunity to compare inks. If shipping to Sweden weren’t so expensive, I’d order more often. My favourite grays were J Herbin Gris Nuage and Noodlers Lexington Gray. J Herbin is more blueish, without wandering too far into blue territory. I found the full bottle of ink at Sandbergs Pappershandel in Umeå, where I passed through for a job interview a week or so ago. Great little independent shop with knowledge of fountain pens and ink, but no homepage.

My new EF Parker 51 I bought via Ebay to replace the one that broke has a slightly different personality than the original one. It is drier and doesn’t like Noodler’s black. I tried Pelikan Black, which works a lot better in the pen, but for drawing I still like Noodler’s Black better. Maybe I’ll try J Herbin Perle Noir or some other black ink in the upcoming months. Noodler’s does have a couple of different blacks as well, I might try Borealis Black if it still exists. Have to look that up. Finding the right black is very important.

Sockbird Teaser

A proper Drawer of Sockbirds post is upcoming, as soon as my scanner arrives. This is just a teaser of the next group of sockbirds, the Grey Gang. The Grey Gang specialise in wool socks. The pens are my new “Birger” black extra fine with a gold-filled cap and the other a translucent fantasy Parker 51 demonstrator from the Argentinian seller Kullock on Ebay. The latter pen has a broad, wet nib and I used it for the Gris Nuage ink. The brush is series 7 W&N, I have forgotten the size. It is small, perhaps a 2? A great brush. Also, I really like the design on the Clairefontaine sketch pads, I am glad I picked one up on looks alone. Fortunately the inside matched the outside in terms of quality.

Kiruna Church

Last but not least, an image from the very last evening I spent above the Arctic Circle (unfortunately not with Aurora Borealis). The building is the church of Kiruna, a very special building you can read more about here. I now reside down south, soon signing the contract for the upcoming position I have accepted in a small coastal town in the south of Sweden, by the Baltic Sea. I begin in August. In the months that remain until I start working again, I plan to read, make a lot of art and hopefully travel to Colorado, Gotland and Köln. Of all places. 🙂

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Here is the drollery from the previous post, but in its natural habitat. I really like doing long, complicated lists and decorating them.


I really like the hanging dragon in the bottom of the picture. As you can see, this is reminiscent of the background art of the blog. I have some plans on making another complicated, detailed work of art with pen and ink, but this time with fountain pens in A3 (background was made with fiber-tipped pens in A4).

When I get my next job I think I am going to sponsor myself with a modified Namiki Falcon XXF (spencerian modification) from Richard Binder. I’d like to see what I can make with that kind of instrument. I am planning om spending some more time on Fountain Pen Network and perhaps getting a used one. They somtimes show up in the marketplace. In this review by The Penny Writer there is some pictures of a modified Namiki Falcon that got me interested in this pen. Here is another on the calligraphy blog A Place To Flourish by Jane Farr, a very inspiring artist. There is also some reviews and more photos on Richard Binders homepage and on Fountain Pen Network (take a look in the subforum with Japanese pens, Pens from the Land of the Rising Sun where I found this impressive Youtube review of the pen).

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I had doubts using the word “loot” as a category, since I am aware that it can have negative connotations. Sometimes, making finds on Tradera and Ebay, I almost feel like a looter, getting amazing stuff for next to nothing. Just almost, though. I am content with the fact that I buy to use and that I take care of my things according to their proper value (e g not letting them rot away somewhere dark and dusty).

This is from my latest netlooting:

Ink: Burma Road Brown (same as the blog header, BTW. The header is scanned and the above image is obviously a photograph. BRB is a chamelon ink!). My penmanship is a bit shaky since I spent about 10 minutes trying to separate the section from the barrel before making the text sample.
Pen: Mabie-Todd Blackbird Self Filling pen. The cap, the section, the feed and the barrel are all marked “blackbird” with a fine imprint. The black hard rubber parts are faded, but nicely coloured still, I think. No clip. Lever not gold, I think this is the original furniture. Sac perished, of course.
Nib: Nib 14ct, not numbered. Seems to be a medium with some flex. Standard (but oh, so wonderful) fare for these pens (just like the Moore L-92 I wrote about earlier this year).
Spectacles: one of my other obsessions that has not appeared on this blog before. I collect them. These were a good find. They are genuine, in very good shape and will do nicely in the spring. I have another similar pair but I like having a second pair in reserve.
Shameless boasting: I paid about 6 dollars for the pince-nez and 15 dollars for the lot containing the Blackbird (an enourmous lot with, among other things, Caran D’Ache leads, two antique lead sharpeners (pics a-coming) and eight (8!) old drafting compasses). Making finds like this is obviously one of my greatest talents.

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Real Life (TM) has recently intruded on my intrest in fountain pens. Too much work. No time to practise calligraphy, no time to purchase and investigate repair equipment, etcetera. Contributing to this fact is also that I haven’t been able to make any good finds lately. I am not sure if this is because I have had bad luck, if there has been an increase of informed and financially secure people manically bidding on the pens I like, or if I am simply less likely to enter bidding wars lately, having had much else to occupy my time with.

With that said, the other week I lackadaisically bid on a brown (black) hard rubber Moore FP at the Swedish auction site Tradera. Just throwing in a low bid of app 8 dollars to see where it would end up. The two photographs (cap on, cap off) of the pen were a little blurry. Imprint, nib status and such not really clear. A bit of a gamble. To my great surprise, I won the pen. Could have been that the auction ended on a weekend before seven O’clock in the morning… Anyway, I am glad I got ahold of it.

Manufacturer/model: Moore fountain pen, a BCHR L-92. Not by any means the most fancy Moore model, but a classic shape.
Body and Section: Strong imprint: Nice wave-chasing with a tiny bit of symmetric fading at the top of the cap.
Cap: Cap closes firmly with one and a half turns.
Nib and feed: Nib says “The Moore Pen 2” I would call it a medium with good flex. Butter-smooth.

Furniture: No brassing at all! Clip yellowish gold, lever is a more reddish golden hue (maybe not original?). I love how the ball on the clip is folded together, see pic (click to enlarge).
Internal organs: J-bar intact. No sac.
Age: 1910s-20s
Scent: Classic BHR scent, a little metallic, a little burnt.
Verdict: A super nice user for a great price. I am tempted to use this pen in experimenting with recoloring the rubber back to black with the special colors available for this purpose. I do like the look of the old hard rubber pen however. In fact, I appreciate this colour more than black, but there is also tempting to restore a pen to look more like it did when it was brand new.
In other news: I have made one other nice find since starting to prepare this post. A Penol Ambassador, a very nice classic shaped black fine writer. Also from Tradera, from another collector. Post about this pen probably coming up in a while.

More pictures, close-up on back of nib and a writing sample below: (more…)

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Ever since starting this blog I have hinted on a post focusing on me finding a grail pen in the wild. I have never seen one of these on Ebay and never really anywhere else either. I have seen some similar Watermans and Mabie Todds. But never an Edward Todd BHR clipless, silver overlay pen. I am going to make a post about this pen on FPN as well, so we’ll see if I get any interesting comments or more information (please comment if you have any information!).

I found this pen in a truly sumgai way, maybe not technically in the wild since it was on the Swedish equivalent of Ebay. The main item of the auction was an extremely ugly and broken (!) ceramic pen stand glazed in a hideous beige-light brown-grey colour, “some pens included”. The pens were huddled in a miserable heap in the shadow of the monstrous pen stand. I took a chance and made a bid. I won the whole lot for less than 20 dollars (shipping included). Amazing, I can hardly believe it myself.

The metal is slightly discoloured at the breathing holes (two in the cap) resistant to polish. The BHR has become brown/olive with age. I did polish the silver (marked sterling on the cap). The pen is not marked except for STERLING printed on the barrel.

Here is a writing sample in my own bastardized Spencerian/Copperplate/nonsense scribble…

Yes! I misspelled “whiskey’s”, due to making a jumble of the last three letters…

Pen: Edward Todd silver overlay pen. Nib no 2. I dare claim this is a wet noodle. It does railroad sometimes, but not in writing the sample above. It is (of course) an eyedropper.
Computer manipulation: Exposure +0.25. Removal of stuff from left hand corner and top middle (not engaging the text).
Ink: J Herbin Cacao du Bresil. I love the shading.
Room for Improvement: I could still use some practise to perfect the readability and the flourish detailing. I would also like to have more continuity in my lines and lettering, making the end result more orderly. On the other hand, I do like a little irregularity and whimsiness as well.
Verdict: Instant feeling of I-am-not-worthy-ness and joy.

Close-up on the nib (click on the image to see it REALLY big).

One more pic (just because it is so wonderfully gorgeous) (more…)

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My little Griffin came on pen-and-ink-rewarding place in the Noodler’s Art Competition. I was really happy to recieve the fantastic letter with the custom sticker depicting my own contribution, the burgundy Konrad flex pen, and a bottle of Rome Burning ink. I am in the middle of another move, but broke it out of the box immediately yesterday (it took a couple of extra days to reach me, overseas, recent address change and above the Arctic Circle).

Here is the video with an introduction, all the entries and Mr Nathan Tardif showing off the properties of Rome Burning.

Here is my prize (ink bottle not shown) and a writing test (and a very small monster, for propriety’s sake).

Konrad pen, Rome Burning ink

There is some shading, more clearly visible in the scanned writing sample below. Right-click images to make them bigger.

Scanned. Konrad flex pen.

I also experimented using a dip pen. See behind the cut for (more…)

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Ah well. As the year rapidly draws to an end I manage to produce something that has been on my mind almosts the whole year. An entry to the Noodler’s Artist Prize. As I finished my entry I discovered that the original has to be sent in by snailmail and thus, I believe I am too late to enter the competition. So, I’ll post my drawing on the blog instead, but I am still not too proud to send a message to Noodler’s Ink by their Contact Page informing of this post.


1) I love Noodler’s ink and I am happy informing everyone of this.
2) I appreciate the incentive of this competition. It has moved my muse, of which I am grateful. I’d like those responsible to know this, even if I can’t participate in the contest.
3) I’d like to show you my Noodler-Griffin.

Now, to the drawing:

Title: Noodler’s Griffin
Size: about 10×10 cm (I tried to make a bigger one, I really tried!)
Inks: (all Noodler’s inks) Zhivago (which is great as a black-with-only-a-hint-of-green in a pen but really shows its large capacity when used in water washes), Apache Sunset (also great shading alone as well as in washes). For the pillow the majestic Purple Martin and for the tassle Red Rattler and Lexington Gray.
Pens: Noodler’s brush pen. Noodler’s flex pens.
Paper: Seawhite of Brighton.
Computer alteration: Scanned and cut, heightened brightness as well as contrast a little.
Inspiration: Mythical creature meets Catfish. I had several other ideas as well, but this one inspired me the most today.
Notes: I think this went rather well, although the griffin is a tad more youngish than intended. Maybe the holiday spirit made me veer off from the regular scary-monster theme. I blame Christmas. But approach this little one with caution, it could very well bite your head off.
In Other News I must confess that I wish there were an Artist Prize of 2012 as well…

Apache Sunset

Noodler's Zhivago - Can you believe this came from ONE bottle of ink?

Happy New Year!

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“Grail pen” is jargon for a very desired pen. Perhaps a pen too expensive, or a pen too rare to hope to find. Example of the former might be a Graphyscaph (which I find weird and oddly attractive, but so very over-the-top. Like many other ltd ed modern fountain pens) and an example of the latter a mint Parker Duofold in the colour Mandarin Yellow (which to me seem, sorry, mostly very yellow). Google it! Or follow this link to Bill’s pens for a picture and a description of the Duofolds.

I had the incredible luck to find one of my grail pens very early in my fountain pen-obsession career. I made a “sumgai find” (jargon for incredible find, more on that later). A pen I have written about before on the blog, an Edward Todd silver overlay wet noodle. I am planning a separate post on this pen shortly. Also, I plan a page on wanted/for exchange. Or I should just try to be more active at Fountain Pen Network where you can find out just about anything related to fountain pens and aid in the search for your grails.

Of course, I still have other grail pens. One pen I know I am going to own in the future is a Wahl-Eversharp Gold Seal green and bronze pen. I like the colour very much. There is a couple of different models I can think of that I like, among them the Personal Point. I love the details (take a look at the pocket-clip!), the silhouette/shape and the colour! Thanks to Bill Acker at Bill’s Pens for the use of the two pictures below.


Image with permission, from http://www.billspens.com

Other designs I like is all-metal, the various overlays/filigree pens. The latter terms are used a bit sloppy (especially on Ebay), but make it in metal with engravings on it or interchanged with black, orange or mixed colour hard rubber and I’m sold. This picture in an article at parkerpens.net describes the different filigree/overly designs adequatly. I especially like the #14 and #32

Wahl-Eversharp, which by the way is one of my very favourite brands, also makes this lovely all-metal very Art Deco model called “Coronet”. This is definitely also one of my grails. I love how pens from different time-periods tend to reflect the architechtural/industrial design of that period. You just have to glance at the Coronet, or the (also Wahl-Eversharp) Doric, or the 50s pens to make a rather accurate guess of when they were designed.

Image with permission, from http://www.billspens.com

I am very drawn to Art Deco and Art Noveau in pen design as well as in architechture, industrial and furniture design. In the future I hope to live in one of those big houses from 1890-1910 with glass windows and stone stairs and walls with the jugend decorations that is so common in Stockholm houses from that time-period. I guess my penchant for Art Noveau gets through when I am drawing fairies, although I wouldn’t say no to living in a giant pond either.

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Soon there will be dark 24/7 here for a while. Can’t say I’m that disappointed. The Northern Lights makes up for it. Quite nice the other night, I will try to get some good pictures of it the next time it happens.

Since getting my tremendous view I am very inspired by the sky and clouds. Not so much fish and sea, since I live far from any water. Case in point, see my winged creatures in my last two posts. There is a couple of pictures of strange and monstrous clouds awaiting publication in the weeks to come. With drawings inspired by them of course.

Oh, and I added a new picture to the “about”-page. It is from 2010 and I am wearing one of my favourite hats toghether with my favourite pince-nez. It is anonymous enough to make me comfortable publishing it, yet (re)presentable.

Speaking of glasses, I have never ordered from Eyeglasses Warehouse, but I definitely will in the future. More pince-nez, but I also need new, round glasses. They are impossible to get in standard shops. The best you can hope for is the kids’ department Harry Potter-inspired frames. Not working for me. Thanks to my optician uncle I got two pairs of nice, small and round spectacles with my prescription strength glasses a couple of years ago (sic). They suit me well and I get complimented on them quite often. Next in line is photochromic glasses in frames like the ones I own. Perhaps in gold as well as silver. Green, gray, amber, perhaps even purple?
Oh, a language-related enquiry: is it eyeglasses, glasses or spectacles, or frames even? I am confused.

I feel I messed up the grammar in this post spectacularly (hehe). I worked Friday night to Saturday morning and then Sunday morning to Monday morning this weekend. Still a bit tired and feverish today, so I stayed at home sleeping between 7 pm to 4 am. Tough but rewarding work, especially on friday. But as you might have noticed, I am starting to post more regularly again.

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A while ago I decided to extend my Parker 51 family. Found one online and bought it without knowing anything of the nib. Once again using Parker51.com for identification I believe this is a Parker Aerometric because of the colour, called Teal Blue. The Aerometric is a later model than the Vacumatic. The gold-filled cap has five tapered lines merging together at the bottom, and a grey jewel. The black Vacumatic Demi presented more closely in the post called My first Parker “51” has an almost identical cap. The arrow on the clip is longer on the blue pen than on the black Demi, as is the barrel, which makes me think the blue pen is full-size, not demi-sized. The line pattern is more deeply ingraved on the cap of the black pen, just as suggested for earlier pens on this ninth page on different “51” caps by the aforementioned site. On page ten you can see the black demi vacumatic cap in the second pic. I can’t find an exact match for the cap on the blue pen (despite going through alla 14 pages on different caps. Ah, I love this hobby), which makes me think it is a frankenpen, with a demi-vacumatic cap on a later production aerometric model but a later model of the demi-vacu-cap than the demi-vacu-cap of the black pen. Eh. Did anyone except me read through that?

Both pens and the cloth I wipe nibs with as background

Just the nib, front

Just the nib, back

Luckily, it turned out to have a very broad, fat nib, just what I needed to complement my first Parker 51, which is an EF (extra fine – or even finer?). I find the images above really pretty for some reason. There is an aesthetic appeal to this nib. I am not sure if it is a B (B for “broad”) or a BB (?). It is rather wet. The line is sometimes uneven, I am not sure if this is because of the grain of the paper, or if it can be blamed on the pen. Maybe I am too light and irregular of hand. A writing sample:

Please excuse the grammar...

For a drawing made with these pens (and a brush), see the previous post “Evil Man Under Dying Sun (Wearing No Hat)”.

I haven’t decided if I want to keep the blue pen. On the other hand I’d like a set of four Parkers in black, blue, grey and burgundy. Hm, I have to think this over.

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