Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Handcrafted Hawaiian Pens

With some colder weather and snow arriving this week, I thought this email from longtime member Christopher (who's vacationing in Hawaii with his wife Chris) might be welcome :)

Christopher writes:

"I wanted to pass along this Waikiki pen option which we ran across before our dinner at Duke’s restaurant in Waikiki last night. Although there are not any fountain pens, the ballpoints illustrated in the attached photos are gorgeous. And if you enlarge the photos, you will see what I am talking about. The pen seller goes under the banner of ‘Simply Wood’ and sells her pens out of the Royal Hawaiian Centre in Waikiki. She assured Chris that she can be found on the internet. Nice stuff and worth considering!


(photos courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on images to enlarge)
( ...and yes, the seller's website can be found easily on the internet--it's ) Our thanks to Christopher for this blog post!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Lots of photos from our February meeting!

We had a nice turnout for our second meeting of 2024, which was held at the Kitsilano branch of the Vancouver Public Library on Thursday February 15th. Seventeen VPC members --including brand-new members David L, Garrett and Peter R-- showed up, and we had a good time chatting about pens, inks and all things writing-instrument-related.

Our primary meeting topic was "Pen & Ink Combos That You Love" and our secondary theme (which is our *permanent* secondary theme) was "Newest Acquisitions". In all the excitement, I forgot to take a group photo of us, but I did snap lots of photos of what we brought to the meeting, so without further ado, here they are...

(all photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Paul (and his wife Villoo) attended their first VPC meeting last month (that's the meeting that was almost cancelled due to the awful weather), and he returned for this meeting (which was held in much nicer weather!). Paul brought some interesting things for our little "show & tell", like this Christmas "self-gift" -- an elegant Montblanc 'Oblesse' fountain pen, which he found in a thrift shop!

Another item Paul showed us -- this clear Sheaffer Cartridge fountain pen (often referred to as a Sheaffer "School Pen") and the accompanying booklet--also produced by Sheaffer-- entitled "A Booklet to Help You Improve Your Writing"...

Brand-new member David L. only started collecting fountain pens last August, but he brought some really nice ones to show us, including a Benu 'Euphoria', a handmade pen from Bonecrusher 7 Studios, and a brown Pilot 'Prera' filled with Diamine "Chocolate" ink, one of his favourite pen & ink combos.

I forgot to photograph the fountain pens David brought, but I did snap a photo of his cool Titanium bolt-action ballpoint (seen in the photo above) made by Big Design, a company located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The red pen next to David's is my aluminum bolt-action ballpoint made by Bastion that I purchased from Blades Canada (formerly Warriors & Wonders) in Vancouver (Note that the bolt mechanism on mine is on the opposite side of the clip as David's; David later said that the clip on his pen can be moved to the other side--one of the many useful design features of the pen).

(Above) Two beautiful sterling silver fountain pens by Sheaffer! The top one is Grant's Sheaffer 'Silver Imperial' Touchdown-Filler model, and the pen below it is a Sheaffer 'Silver Imperial' cartridge-filler model owned by Karen. Both pens have 14K solid gold inlaid nibs and diamond-shaped etched patterns, but if you take a closer look, you can see that the diamond shapes on Karen's pen are elongated.

Karen introduced brand-new member Garrett to our pen club, and he showed us two fountain pens and a ballpoint he'd inherited from his grandfather ---two Montblanc 149s and a lovely Montblanc ballpoint! Not a bad way to start a pen collection πŸ˜‰ (side note: I asked Garrett why his grandfather had two identical Montblanc 149s, and he said that they were filled with two different ink colours!)

David C. (who joined our club late last year) always has some nice vintage fountain pens to show, like this handsome Parker 'Vacumatic' in "Silver Pearl" (above).

Jerred also showed us a really nice vintage Parker 'Vacumatic' of his own -- the one in "Azure Blue Pearl" in the above photo. Jerred bought it from fellow VPC member Brian at a recent meeting of the South Fraser Pen Club, a new pen club based in the Lower Mainland.

Jerred also showed us a new acquisition that you don't see very often---a wonderful vintage Parker 'Royal Challenger' in Burgundy (with the later "spade" clip and broad cap band). The 'Royal Challenger' was the top-of-the-line model for Parker's 'Challenger' line, but was only around for a few years (1937-1941).

...and here's the last of the three new fountain pens Jerred brought to the meeting -- his Pilot 'Justus''. This Pilot model came out around 1981, whereas the Justus' larger cousin, the 'Justus 95' (which is still in production) came out in 2013. Both models have a cool feature -- adjustable nibs! Turning a collar at the nib-end of the sections changes the amount of nib flex, allowing the user to adjust it to their needs/preference.

Two vintage Parker Vacumatic fountain pens (both in the 'Maxima' size) --David C's "Emerald Pearl" and a glossy black Vacumatic belonging to Mark-- on either side of Yang's eye-catching bespoke fountain pen, handmade by Stephen Just of Just Turnings in Brisbane, Australia.

As for our primary meeting theme (favourite pen & ink combinations), Yang said that she enjoys using shimmer inks in her TWSBI ECO fountain pen(s), while David said he loves using iron gall inks (esp. Diamine Registrar’s) in his vintage Parkers.

Look at those sparkles! The pen's material is a custom resin called DiamondCast® 'Moissanite', made by McKenzie Penworks using Alumilite (a high-quality resin), various pigments and real diamonds! The nib is a #6 size (which looks smaller in my photo because of the camera angle) two-tone steel Cypress nib, made by Mr Cypress Pens in Taiwan.

Longtime VPC member Mark brought a wonderful assortment of vintage fountain pens to show us, including this demonstrator Parker '51' that utilizes their Vacumatic-filling system.

Another great vintage fountain pen --- a lovely smaller gold flat-top, also belonging to Mark...

(Above) Two vintage Sheaffer fountain pens --a timeless Sheaffer 'PFM V' (the "Pen For Men" model, fifth version) in black, sporting Sheaffer's beautiful inlaid nib and a blue Sheaffer 'Crest' Touchdown-filler, which has Sheaffer's iconic Triumph nib.

Back to modern pens now! That's Luc's Pilot 'Custom Heritage 92' transparent blue fountain pen (the lone piston-filler in Pilot's current lineup) and Phil's black Aurora 'Ipsilon Deluxe' fountain pen. Phil said that the regular 'Ipsilon' model comes with a steel nib, but that this model has a gold nib.

Regarding his favourite pen & ink combos, Luc said that his picks were the Pilot 'Custom Heritage 92' with a Sailor Studios ink (I forgot which number), and his Pilot 'Custom 823' (not pictured) with Pilot's Iroshizuku "Tsuki-yo" ink.

(Above) Julian's black Sheaffer 'NoNonsense' fountain pen and a classy Montblanc ballpoint that belonged to his late father. Julian also brought in his Wing Sung '699' (not shown), a clone of the Pilot 'Custom 823'. Julian's Wing Sung is the same colour as Luc's Pilot 'Custom 823', so it was neat to compare the two side-by-side.

Asifa's favourite pen & ink combos--Lamy 'Safari' "Aquamarine" and two TWSBIs (a Navy Blue TWSBI 'Diamond 580ALR' and a very pretty TWSBI 'ECO' Lilac) filled with matching inks.

I brought my pens to our meeting in this newly-acquired fabric 5-pen pouch, purchased from etsy seller "ChinesePen". I like the design because each pen has its own soft, lined "tube" that prevents the individual pens from touching each other. Total cost for this well-made pen pouch was $26.65 CAD including shipping.

For our primary theme, I brought my ivory Jinhao X450 (with a custom 0.7mm stub nib reground by Tyler Dahl) filled with Sheaffer's Amethyst ink and (below it, in the photo above) my gorgeous cream-coloured Waterman 'Elegance' (which I got from Lawrence---thank you SO much, Lawrence!
😁) filled with Noodler's #41 Brown ink, a dark sepia colour. The new pens in the pouch are: my red Bastion bolt-action ballpoint, a black Cross 'Scuderi Ferrari Townsend' with a matte black honeycomb etched pattern (a pen I've wanted for a /very/ long time), and a very colourful (and very beautiful :) fountain pen in DiamondCast® "French Quarter" resin, handmade by Jay Moffat of Tangent Pens in Kanata, Ontario (Jay also sells them on his Etsy storefront)

My very newest acquisition --- the Lamy 'Safari' "Violet Blackberry" special edition fountain pen I bought at Buchan's Kerrisdale Stationery an hour before our meeting (the cotton Cavallini pencil pouch was also purchased at Buchan's, but on a different occasion)

Last, but not least, a pen holder made by Jerred from a repurposed waffle-patterned dish-drying mat he purchased at Dollar Tree. Jerred stitched it himself and added the Velcro closure. (Nice job, Jerred!)

Many thanks to everyone who came to our February meeting! Whether you brought stuff to show or not, thank you for sharing your pens and/or the stories behind them with all of us. I'm sorry I didn't photograph everyone's pens (Stuart's new Graf von Faber-Castell & Garrett's Montblancs--my apologies, guys :( but I'll try to at least take a group photo of everyone who comes to next month's meeting. πŸ™‚

Speaking of which...Please check the top of our homepage for info about our March meeting -- it'll be posted there (in big red letters) as soon as I finalize the venue booking.



Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Reminder re: our meeting tomorrow!

Happy Valentine's Day! ❤️ Just a little reminder that our next meeting will be held tomorrow, Thursday February 15th (Singles Awareness Day!), at the Kitsilano branch of the Vancouver Public Library from 5:30pm to 7:30pm (full details here). Hope you can make it! πŸ™‚

Monday, February 5, 2024

Montblanc 'Inspire Writing' Webinar Series!

Here's a nice write up by Sherman about a recent free webinar on handwriting sponsored by Montblanc that he attended...

Montblanc 'Inspire Writing' Webinar Series – Flourishing Part 1

This webinar was available to those who subscribed to the Montblanc newsletter.  I hadn’t joined in probably a year now, but I attended this one on Jan 29, 2024.  I like flourishing my signature, but it wasn't good enough, so I believed I should be able to learn something from the experts.

What a surprise - the calligraphy artist/instructor was Mike Ward, who moved back to Vancouver just prior to the pandemic!  I encouraged him to join our club! 😜  He agreed and said he should get back into the community, but still hasn’t done much yet… Well, we’ll see.

During the 1 hour webinar, he illustrated some basic guidelines on flourishing, and it really opened my mind for sure.  It was so worthwhile to join.  And I so look forward to Part 2 now.

Then, I also took the opportunity to examine my humble MB collection, and found that I only needed to refill and prime a hard starter with MB Leo Tolstoy Sky Blue, Limited Edition ink.  That's all!  Hurray, wohahaha.....πŸ€£πŸ™πŸ–‹


 (photo courtesy of Sherman ~ please click on image to enlarge)

Many thanks to Sherman for sharing this with us! If you're interested in attending a future virtual event, or just wish to rewatch past webinars (on topics like Copperplate calligraphy, Spencerian script, Modern calligraphy & more) check out this page on Montblanc's official website - 
(I registered to watch a webinar replay--on architectural lettering--and yes, it was free, too ;)

Whether or not you use a Montblanc, may you always enjoy using your fountain pens!

Thursday, February 1, 2024

February meeting information!

Where: the Branch Meeting Room (located in the basement) of the Vancouver Public Library's KITSILANO branch at 2425 Macdonald Street (between Broadway and West 8th) in Vancouver, B.C.

DateThursday February 15, 2024

Time: 5:30pm to 7:30pm
(We can start setting up the tables and chairs at 5:15pm, but we have to leave the room by 7:30pm, as per the library's room rental policy).
Primary Topic:  Pen & Ink Combos That You Love ❤️
Bring your favourite fountain pen and ink combinations, but please try to keep it to two examples (2 pens, 2 inks) per person as I'd like to leave the last hour of the meeting for socializing (thanks in advance!

Secondary Topic: Newest Acquisitions! (please don't worry if you don't have anything new to show)

** If you have any pens/inks you wish to sell/trade, please feel free to bring them with you. Food & drink (except non-alcoholic drinks in closed containers) are not allowed in the library meeting room.

Parking: There is free parking in front of, and at the side of the library, as well as on nearby residential streets, but please check street signs for parking limits and/or regulations. There's also customer parking at the Safeway store across the street from the library, but check their signs for parking time limits. Parking on West Broadway is metered pay parking.

Hope to see you there! (no RSVPs required!)