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 that strongly resembles a Pilot 78G), 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)

April meeting photos - Part 2

As promised, more photos from our April meeting! These were all taken by Ricardo (many thanks, Ricardo!):
Counterclockwise, from left to right: New VPC member Steven, Andrew, Tim, Lionel, Tony, Mindy, Bruce and Dana.
From L-R: Mindy, Bruce, Dana, Barry, Maja, Kiyoshi and Mido.
From L-R, Dana, Barry, Maja, Kiyoshi, Mido, Alejandra, Richard W, Harry and Jerred.
That's me (Maja) showing one of the two door prizes donated by Christopher (seated, on far left), a calligraphy set (won by Bruce, who kindly gave it to Tony because he already had that set!). The other prize--a leather wallet with pen loop--was won by new member Kai. Many thanks again to Christopher for his generosity!
A nice photo of my Pilot M90
Another nice picture of my M90 :)
Two Sailors---Ricardo's clear ProGear Slim and my black Sapporo.
Dana's red Pilot Falcon, a modern fountain pen that comes with a nice flexy (flexible) nib. Dana also brought in a cool Pilot E95S fountain pen (not pictured), one of the so-called "long-short" models---fountain pens with short barrels & long caps that, when posted, create full-sized fountain pens.
Mido's Pilot VP (Vanishing Point) SE (Special Edition) in purple, with matching box.
New acquisitions is always our secondary topic. This is Stuart's new TWSBI Mini AL Blue fountain pen.
Dana's lovely Pelikan M200 in the special edition Café Crème colours. It writes as nice as it looks :)
New VPC member Kai brought some nice pens (both modern and vintage) for us to see. This is his Rotring 600 fountain pen.
A closeup of my Pelikan M800's nib, reground to a cursive italic by nibmeister John Mottishaw of
A nice closeup of Stanley's Visconti Homo Sapiens LE demonstrator's nib.
And here's a photo of Stanley...
New VPC member Steven came to his first VPC meeting tonight.
Sadly, it was Harry's last meeting before his move overseas. Hopefully he'll come back to Vancouver for a visit and another VPC meeting in the future. Any of our old members are most welcome to come to any of our meetings, and of course, we welcome newcomers to our club. It's free to join---we have no membership dues (or duties!)--- and we're very casual. If you have any questions, please email us at

Thursday, May 18, 2017

April meeting photos--Part 1

Our April 2017 meeting (held at the Vancouver Public Library's Terry Salman branch) had a very good turnout, with 25 members in attendance, including newcomers Eva, Jessica, Kai and Steven. Christopher R generously donated two door prizes---a calligraphy set and leather wallet with pen holder, won by Bruce and Kai, respectively (thanks, Christopher!).

Now, without further ado, here are the photos I snapped that night (more photos--this time from Ricardo-- in Part 2, which I will post later)....
Richard W's mystery Pilot fountain pen in green lizardskin made in the 1960s/1970s.
Kiyoshi's Platinum 'Balance' in lovely wine red acrylic.
Another shot of the Platinum 'Balance. Kiyoshi also brought in a Pilot 'Plumix' and the ever-popular Pilot 'Metropolitan' for our meeting theme.
(from top) Stuart's Pilot 'Petit', newly-acquired Waterman 'Lady Taperite', and new TWSBI 580 AL in a soft metallic blue.
Another new acquisition of Stuart's a nifty Waterman C/F set (fountain pen and ballpoint), with original box.
(from top) Mohammed's Pilot 'Vanishing Point' in matte black, Pilot '823' in Amber (one of the pens on my Pen Wish List 2017 :) and a Pilot 'Metropolitan' in the Retro Pop Turquoise colour. Mohammed also brought in his new purchase, a vintage Waterman '52' for us to see (not pictured).
Tony's Japanese pens--an all-metal Muji fountain pen (cylindrical body with a knurled section--I love that feature), a Pilot 'Kakuno', and a glossy black Pilot 743 with an FA nib (note the cutout-nib design).
Alejandra's pen case, filled with some wonderful modern (and one vintage) fountain pens...
Mindy's intriguing bone dip pen and Pilot Heritage '912'. Her clear Pilot 'Penmanship' fountain pen is in the upper-left-hand corner.
Alejandra's orange pen case with some recent acquisitions--- a clear TWSBI 'Vac Mini' (middle pen), and a golden Lamy 'LX'.
Harry brought in some pens and ink for sale, including the grey Penol fountain pen, and a black Parker '45'.
Harry's EDC (Everyday Carry) pen case.
Christopher with two vintage beauties---a reddish-orange Eclipse flat-top with a replacement accommodation clip and a green marbled Swan (?).
Some lovely vintage fountain pen brought in by new VPCer Kai---(top to bottom) a Conway Stewart fountain pen, a Waterman '94', and a Waterman '54'.
(from left to right) My--Maja's--favourite Japanese fountain pens--a Pilot '74', a Pilot M90 and a Sailor 'Sapporo'.

I didn't photograph their Japanese fountain pens, but thanks also to Bruce for bringing his beautiful Pilot 845 (ebonite body, covered in urushi lacquer---Pilot's top of the line pen model), Barry for bringing his Itoya 'Blade' (I hadn't heard of that model before!) & Pilot Metropolitan pens, Andrew for bringing his Sailor 1911 with uber-cool music nib, and to Jerred for bringing in his Pilot 912, Pilot Legance (the only celluloid pen in Pilot's lineup) and Platinum 3776 pens for us to see...and for explaining the Pilot pen model numbering system ;)

Jerred also brought in some new pens---a resin Pilot 'Falcon' with flexy nib, a Waterman 'Forum' (not a very common brand), and a Parker Sonnet 'clone'. I didn't snap a photo of it either, but Angela brought in a cool "Einstein" fountain pen (purchased at the Vancouver Art Gallery's gift shop) as her new acquisition. Don't forget---new pen-related acquisitions are always our secondary topic, so if you have any new pens, ink or paper, please bring it in for us to see!
Don't forget our meeting tonight (Thursday May 18) at 6:00pm, at a brand-new venue (ie. not a library meeting room!)---full details here, at this link . Hope you can make it!