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Raleigh Pen Show, Day 2

Whew, it was a great day at the show. Audrey was dubious about my wanting to go back after having spent 3 hours or so there yesterday. We ended up being there for about 5 hours today, and we didn't even know it. If you haven't been to a pen show, but you're reading this blog, then you need to go. Just do it.

This year Raleigh's Pen Show saw lots of new custom pen makers. The variation in style makes each of these pens unique, and that's a feature that we can all appreciate.

I didn't take my good camera to the show. I should have, and I'll know better when it comes time for the DC show. These pictures are of some of the really nice pens made by Randy Fike at Cravelli Pens. He makes a wide range of pens in several different styles. The material is a secret, but I can tell you it has great depth and shine. Randy says that the material is made specially for him. They start at under $80, and go up from there.

The two pictures above are from Van Horne Pens. We spent a long time talking to the Van Hornes, and we learned quite a bit about their business and the pens. They're also a custom pen maker that uses a super-secret material to make their pens. There are swirly pens and pens that look like carious sorts of feathers. We watched them sell a rollerball with piano keys and a musical score on the barrel. He'll custom-make a pen with your choice of score, if that's what you're into.  And then there are some real stand-outs.

 The top picture is of a few of their new limited edition line. They run in the $800 range, but the material, detail, and workmanship are pretty fantastic. The barrels are very ornate, but I love the hammered look that he gave to the sections. These pens are art that you can write with. All of their nibs are Schmidt nibs (in steel or gold).

I really like the idea of this pen. It's made to look like a cigar when it is capped. The barrel is really fat because he wanted to make it fit the ring from one of his favorite cigars. The ring is actually loose on the pen so that one can change it if one wants. Pretty cool if you know someone who is a cigar smoker and a pen collector.

I put up a picture of Ryan's hand-made pens yesterday, but I didn't get a clear picture of these two pens at the bottom. They're clip-less pens with an asymmetric almost-cone shape. They feel nice in your hand, and they'll look really nice on the desk. Definitely worth a look at the webpage for much better pictures than I got.

We spent a long time talking to Hirsch and Terry Davis. He buys and sells vintage pens and she makes custom jewelry. Hirsch and I talked fountain pens while Audrey and Terry talked nail polish. Fun times for all. He introduced me to several different iterations of the Conklin Crescent filler that I'd never seen before.

And here's Pendleton Brown. He was sans ink-splattered jacket, but his pants made up for it. He's a character, and it's hard not to talk to him for a long time while he alters nibs and sells pens. I actually ended up buying a Conklin Crescent with a 1.1 stub nib from him. I've wanted one since I first saw them a year or so ago, and his price was awesome. I might have him alter my TWSBI nibs at the next show.

I actually didn't think to take any pictures of the Andersons, but we always love talking to those folks at the shows. They're awesome, and I don't know what a pen show would be like without them. If you want anything vintage or modern, you should check them out at They've also got a great blog in both print and video.

I chatted with the guys from Franklin-Christoph for quite a while, and I found out a good deal about this super local brand. I ended up going home with one of their pens and all of their inks. Totally psyched about that. I hope to get out to their Raleigh office to look around and interview them about what they're doing and what's coming up on the horizon.

I also talked to Tyler from Organics Studio ink. He's a great guy, and set me up with several of his new inks. I tried some of them about a year ago (with mixed results), and I'm excited to see his improvements. Just from swatching these inks, I can tell they're vastly improved. He's been branching out, too. Pendleton Brown's new inks are OS, and I can tell you I wish I'd gotten a bottle of the Red Rubber Ball ink that I dipped my Conklin in to try out. It's still on the nib, and it's a nice red ink.

I'll have pictures of my new pens up soon, but here's a few pictures of our new inks to tide you over. Be looking for these in the near future.

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