So much ink, so little time

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I’m so glad Margana described her fountain pen cleaning routine at Inkophile last week, cause it’s something I’ve been wondering about ever since I ditched the plain blue cartridge that came with my Phileas and filled it up with Bleu nuit.

Now, I’m a creature of habit, and Bleu nuit suits most of my writing needs just fine”it’s pretty and unobtrusive, and it takes great to my Clairefontaine work notebooks and my personal Habana journal. But I find myself staring wistfully at the other bottles of ink that would serve those purposes, too: the exquisitely named Pousierre de lune and Cacao du Bresil, which both seem like they’d be right at home in the taupe Habana Karen sent me recently, or Terre de feu… All attractive, subtle shades that could lend a bit more flavor to my everyday activities.

Of course, at the moment, I only have a single fountain pen, and since I haven’t yet been foresightful enough to clean it at night (and thus give it enough time to dry before refilling) or patient enough to commit to going without it for a day (and accomplish the same thing), inertia runs high. I’m in awe of our ink reviewers, who take so much time and care as they test different shades with different pens and paper!

Personally, though, I think my low-maintenance (read: lazy) ideal would be to have 3 or 4 “everyday” pens that more or less have specific colors living in them”and I love Margana’s idea of using the change of seasons as an excuse to rotate the shades”and use my glass pen to experiment with crazier hues. I guess that’s why a lot of seasoned FP users refer to this as an addictive habit… I can totally see myself adding new colors to the “everyday” list as time goes on, and thereby justifying a new pen purchase.

What’s your pen routine? How many pens do you own/use regularly, and how many kinds of ink?

8 thoughts on “So much ink, so little time

  1. I have 20 pens inked. 6 of them I keep at the office, the other 12 are filled with different colors of ink and use for various journals, notetaking, etc. When I change out inks, I usually flush the pen and let it sit overnight in a cup of paper towels to draw out the last few drops of water/ink mix.

  2. Well, I would be cycling through cleaning different colors out, but I love Gris Nuage SO MUCH that I just keep refilling with that. I also have a Pilot Cavalier that I just use red cartridges in for marking up documents, but for general writing I am consistently using my A.G. Spalding pen from jetpens with Gris Nuage!!

  3. Glad my cleaning routine and ink rotation turned out to be useful for other pen people. With twenty pens inked at a time, easy cleaning is a preference. When there are thirty in play, it’s a necessity.

    My pen collection has changed quite a bit since I started Inkophile and has recently been downsized to 50 or so. I have a lot of ink samples but many bottles, too. The total is over 100 but in many cases, the fluid amount is only a few milliliters which is all I need for a comparison.

    When it gets down to it, there are twenty or so inks that get regular use though never all at once. Usually half of my rotation is selected to my personal preferences and the remainder is selected for testing purposes. Sometimes I will use an ink for a month or two before commenting on it. Often a pen or two will be filled with a competitive ink so there is that, too. If that sounds like a lot, it truly is but it is the best way to give an ink a fair evaluation.

    My inked pens are on my desk or in a felt pen wrap in a nearby drawer. Whenever I leave home, I carry a couple in a leather case along with a Rhodia pad. If I left pens around the house, they would surely get mislaid or appropriated by a family member. I’m sure you know how that goes. 😉

    I hardly remember the days when I had only a few pens. It is so much more fun to have lots of choices but if I had to downsize even further, it would take at least twenty pens to keep me from feeling quite keenly that something was missing. The same goes for inks. Am I ruined or what!?

  4. 28… 50! My goodness. I knew I was a babe in these woods, but the numbers are still surprising.

    Do you keep your pens in one place, Okami? Like Beth, I tend to keep different (rollerball) pens in a bunch of different places–one in each bag or backpack that I own, one near my writing/reading chair, a couple at my desk, etc. But in spite of that system, and my own best intentions, I’m constantly toting them around and losing track of them… So for now, my Phileas lives and works at my desk and nowhere else.

  5. I have over 50, but then I collect AND use them. Normally 5 are inked and waiting by my writing chair, 2 more on my desk for phone logs, 2 more in my purse for class, and another 2 in my bedroom for my journal.

    For the expensive, limited edition pens, such as Visconti, Montblanc, Krone, Marlen, Yard o Led, and Delta, I generally stick to the J. Herbin inks as they’re the safest [as well as the most classically beautiful shades]. I don’t worry about them causing staining on ivory or light colored resins.

    For business pens on the road, I stick to my 7 Waterman Carenes in sizes ranging from M, to B, to stubs. I buy multi colored packs of Waterman Cartridges from France, as they’re better behaved when I’m literally slinging them around.

    I have Private Reserve as well, as there’s times when only super saturated colors will do, but I have to be careful which pens I load it in, as it can damage some of the high end pens between staining and clogging if left in the pen too long.

    Some folks rave about Noodlers, but the brand has so many behavior problems that I’m pretty much weaning it from my collection. Pretty colors, but messy, and the nib creep is extreme on my inlaid nibs.

  6. ONLY ONE FOUNTAIN PEN?!?!?! How can you have only one fountain pen? I have 28 and am trying to empty them all, I tend to keep them all filled with a different color so that I can always use the color I want at the time I want it – so far I’ve managed to get down to 12, but it has been a real struggle. I don’t think that I would survive with only one pen and one ink to use.

  7. Most of my pens are all inked at the same time with different inks. Most of my inks are J. Herbin, although I do have some Diamine, Private Reserve and Mont Blanc. I usually repeatedly fill vintage pens with the same ink because I know it will behave well. I have other, newer pens that I will fill with different inks. I usually like to match the ink color to the pen color. I do not like wasting ink, so I do my best to use up all the ink in the pen before flushing to fill with a new ink.

  8. I’ve currently got two Lamy Safaris with different colors in them (and the other two are waiting on converters). I’ve got two Parker 21s and a 51, each with different colors in those, and just bought a 10-pack (for $15!) of Hero 616 clones of the Parker 51, primarily to use for testing new/different colors of ink.

    My problem at this point is not enough ink to test, rather than not enough pens to test with!

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