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Days 2 & 3 of the Raleigh Pen Show

I fully intended to post about Day 2 last night, but I got home from the show and fell asleep before 9pm. Slept for 12 hours. It was awesome.

I also didn't really intend to go back to the show for it's final day, today. I did though. Audrey said "You should go back to the show today" and I said "You know what? I should." And I did.

First, some pictures of the ballroom.

And here's Pendleton Brown. The first picture is what he looks like when you walk up to his table. Notice the tell-tale magnification goggles of the professional nib-smith.

And here's what happens when you say "Hey Pendleton!" He stops what he's doing, greets you warmly and gives you a fist-bump (or a hug, if you're Audrey). He's such a nice dude to talk to at these shows. He also grinds some really nice nibs. Those grinds have crazy names, but they're also really good.

The next few pictures are the work of Ryan Krusac. Every time I see Ryan at a show, he's got something new and cool. There are pens made from interesting woods, some with inlaid mother of pearl, and pens that bear Ryan's original artwork. He's super-talented, and y'all should check him out.

This one is my favorite. The combination of the dark wood cap and the lighter barrel is stunning. I was afraid to ask the price on this one. 

I learned a lot about Sheaffer vacs from this next fellow. Gerry Berg is rumored to be the authority on (and best fixer of) these pens. I found a pair of these desk pens in my Grandma's desk, and I've given him one of them to restore for me. They're (apparently) a bear to restore, and I don't think I could do it myself. I can't wait to get it back in working order.

These are some of the pens that Gerry has restored. 

Look at the stripes on these. Some of the best looking pens ever, I think.
Franklin-Christoph make some of my favorite modern pens. Scott runs the joint, and he's local, so it's always cool to talk to him. We're always excited to see the new things that he has on the tables. I've heard rumors that there are new things in the pipe from Franklin-Christoph, so stay tuned. 

I'm pretty sure that the lady in this pic is Lori. I spent a while talking to Lori about pens and ink and such on Sunday. (If that's not you, Lori, then let me know!)

I told Scott to look mildly pleased, but also a little surly. It worked. 

Franklin-Christoph's tables cover most of a wall at the show. There are 4 trays of pens available to try out all of the nibs that they offer. LOTS of nibs. Go to a show and try them.
Next up: Rainey Horne of Van Horne Pens. He is another custom pen-maker who is always trying something new. Audrey and I talked to Rainey and his wife for a long time about all sorts of things. Teaching, small-block engine competitions, feathers, and pens. He's a really interesting dude. 

Needa hand-made pen for that cigar-lover in your life? Get one from Van Horn. When you screw the cap on, it looks just like a cigar. 

This line of pens actually has feathers worked into the acrylic. They're beautiful. 

Audrey really liked this one. It's made with a sort of Japanese paper in the lacquer, and there's something like a gold leaf worked into the paper. I didn't end up capturing the shimmer of that gold in these pictures, but I didn't know that until I'd gotten home. 

These pens are a custom acrylic. They pour the plastic themselves, so the designs are totally unique. 

I also met a reader at the show. That doesn't happen all that often, and Tim Brandon Brendan is a good guy. We chatted for a while, and I just kept running into him all weekend. I hope to see him around. ( I could NOT get this guy's name wrong any more than I already have.

There are some people that I didn't get pictures of, so I'll just have to mention them here. Jim from Franklin-Christoph didn't end up in any pictures that weren't hopelessly blurry (I was having some focus problems for some reason.) And, of course, the Andersons. Lisa and Brian are a highlight to every show we go to, and Audrey and I spend hours distracting them from their sales. If you want to get great pens at a good price while supporting a real mom & pop shop, then you need to look them up. They've recently opened up a brick&mortar in Appleton, WI and Audrey and I are going to visit them at the end of the month. It's going to be lots of fun to hang out with them without a pen show table between us.

So, what'd I get at the show? Inks, mostly. I don't buy all that many bottles of ink, but sometimes I love a sample enough that I have to have a bottle (as with 54th Mass, Salix, and Cacao). Other times, the ink is one I've not seen before (the two bottles of Duke), or limited edition with a color that I have to have (like Leonardo).

I also picked up a pen that I've been wanting for a long while. It's a Pilot Custom 74, and it's pretty darn sweet. I haven't had time to use it much, but it's very smooth and I really like the feel of the pen. I'll review it in the future when I've had some time with it.

Well, that's about it. 2014's Raleigh Pen Show. It was a great one, and I'm looking forward to the DC show in August.

Post Comment
brendan said...

Hey, great post Mike! Glad you got that custom 74, you'll love it. I'm jealous of that bottle of Leonardo; I almost got one myself.
Oh btw, it's BrEndan--but at least you didn't call me Tim ;)

Mike Matteson said...

Gah. I fixed it BrEndan. I've had good experiences with the other special edition Mont Blanc inks (though the jury is still out on Swift), so I pick them up when I see them. I'm kicking myself just a little for not getting the grey.