Saturday, May 27, 2017

Side Street Treasures

Vancouver Pen Club member Stephen B sent me an email about a recent trip to a little shop in Hong Kong.

He writes : "On one of the tiny back streets in Yuen Long is a watchmaker, he sits day after day almost motionless. I have decided to actually step inside and have a look at some of his pens ..."

...and this is what he found:
(click on photos to enlarge)

More Postcards from Hong Kong...

Some more recent photos of pen shops in Hong Kong from VPC member Stephen B:
(above) Hop Cheong pen shop, which was featured in this recent blog post.Tiny, but packed to the brim with pens, it is probably the most well-known pen store in Hong Kong.
(above) Chun Kee Stationery Co. Ltd.
(above) Winner pen store, located just a few minutes' walk from Hop Cheong's. Both pen shops are mentioned in VPC member Glenn Marcus' handy list of worldwide pen stores (link here)
(above) Fen Yuan Co.

Many thanks to Stephen for the photos!

Monday, May 22, 2017

New German pens

A few weeks ago, I stopped by one of my favourite gift shops, Nikaido (located in historic Steveston village) to see if they had the new Lamy Safari in "Petrol", the dark bluish shade selected as the 2017 Safari colour.

Happily, the pen was in stock (and in the nib width I wanted--Broad) so I purchased it, along with a Faber-Castell "School+" fountain pen:
The Faber-Castell also comes in red and blue, and is a good starter fountain pen. It's a lightweight writing instrument with a smooth steel nib that uses either ink cartridges or a converter (that allows you to use bottled ink). I only saw the model in black at Nikaido (that may have changed since my visit), but I believe in Toronto sells them in all three colours on their website .
The Lamy Safari in "Petrol" is one of several Safaris I own, and it's as reliable and smooth-writing as the others. I really like the way this colour looks in the matte finish. Well done, Lamy!
(click on photos to enlarge)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Made in China

I picked up some inexpensive Chinese-made pens at the April meeting from Harry---from top of photo to bottom: Jinhao X450, Wing Sung 659 (a smaller, cartridge/converter cousin of the Wing Sung 698), and two Jinhao 599A fountain pens:
(~ click on image to enlarge ~ )

I have a clear lime-green 599A that has a hooded nib, but these two came with open nibs. I discovered, upon doing some research (and I do realize how incredibly esoteric this is... trust me) that there were three generations of Jinhao 599A fountain pens---the original one with a slide-on nib, followed by one with a traditional friction-fit nib and finally, the latest incarnation with a hooded nib.

Regardless of the nib type/style, all of the Jinhao 599A pens write well and would make excellent fountain pens for beginners. Both the Jinhao 599A model and the Wing Sung 659 (and the Wing Sung 698) are very light pens, and can be used for extended periods of time without tiring your hands. If you're looking for a much heftier, larger fountain pen, give the Jinhao X450 (or its slightly-smaller & skinnier counterpart, the X750) a go.

Cardinal Darkness pen & Double-skull case

A couple of shots of my new pen case (with double-skulls!!!) from eBay and my new Noodler's 'Konrad' fountain pen in the "Cardinal Darkness"---love that name---pattern.
(~click on images to enlarge ~ )

The Konrad is a lightweight fountain pen, but is chunky and very comfortable to hold. It was originally made of a celluloid derivative, but acrylic models and ones made of ebonite (both of which are slightly larger than the celluloids) were later added to the lineup.

All of the Konrad models come with a large, flexible steel nib that can provide line variation. It should be noted, however, that the flex is not quite as dramatic as that produced with some older vintage pens with gold nibs. It's a fun pen to use, though, and if you ever get a hankering to take it apart for a very thorough cleaning, you can do so without any tools.

I have a few Konrads (mostly purchased locally from Perks ) but I got this one online from The Birmingham Pen Company in (...wait for it...) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They come in a multitude of colours and patterns, so if you're looking for a low-budget, well-made, piston-filling fountain pen with good ink capacity (~ 1.1mL), give it a try!

Friday, May 19, 2017


Continuing on with my current obsession with English chocolate-based candy...

The scrumptious Walnut Whips... or my delectable new Martemodena 'Dolcevita Federico Oro' rollerball?

Decisions, decisions...

B & W

I love the black and white aesthetic...
From left to right: Pelikan 'Style', Faber-Castell 'WritINK', Delta 'Journal', Nemosine 'Singularity' and Lamy 'Logo' ballpoint.
(click on photos to enlarge)