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#21Questions from Well Appointed Desk

A graphic that says "21 questions"

 My friend Ana has started a pen community hashtag, and I thought it would be fun to participate! Here goes! 

1. What is the pen they'll have to pry out of your cold, dead hands?

I don't have a single answer for this one. There are a whole cadre of pens that I won't give up. The prototype Franklin-Christoph Panther 40 that Audrey got me ages before she worked there.  The pen that my friend John Albert made for me out of ultem and then re-made with an even more beautiful clip. The pen that my friend Brian gave me that he made with a weird sample vial ink chamber. The pens that I made with various vendors, and all of the others that have individual stories behind them. No way to pick just one favorite. 

Three of my favorite pens.

2. What's your guilty pleasure pen?

I actually don't even believe in this concept for things like pens, music, or TV shows. If something brings you pleasure and doesn't harm anyone else: Don't Feel Guilty About That Thing. Just enjoy it. I love Rotring Cores, reality dating shows, and k-pop. No guilt! 

3. What's the pen you wish existed?

 One that is self-cleaning. Or creates world peace and feeds the hungry. I don't know.

4. What pen would you give to a new enthusiast?

Probably whatever I have in my pocket. I love sharing pens with people, especially when they're new to pens, and that excitement is extra fresh.  As for what a new enthusiast should buy? Probably something like a Platinum Preppy, Lamy Safari, or TWSBI Eco. They're not too expensive, they let you try out lots of inks, and they're dependable writers. 

5. What pen do you want to get along with, but it just never clicked?

 I have a couple of Pelikans, and that's probably enough for me. They seem like the sort of pen that would be my absolute favorites. The m800 and m1000 are big, kinda heavy, and they have notoriously wet nibs. And yet they don't get used as much as you'd expect. They're just not my favorite pens to use most of the time. You really have to match inks to them, and they hold more ink than a pen/ink reviewer wants them to. They're nice, but my wallet is pretty safe from buying any more of them.  

6. What pen do you only keep because it's pretty? 

I think this question has to point to a pen that you don't really like or use, but only keep because it's cool looking. That has to be my Lamy Persona. I bought it from a friend in a really beater condition. The nib is kinda loose, and it doesn't work very well at all. It does look cool, though, and they don't make them any longer, so I keep it for that reason. 

I like it so much that I just bought a good version of this pen at the Triangle Pen Show.  

The Lamy Persona

7. What pen (or stationery item) did you buy because everyone else did?

That Amazon Basics Fountain Pen. It's not great, but lots of people were looking at that pen and it felt like something I should review. It's not something folks should buy, though. There are better ways to spend the money.  

8. What pen (or stationery item) is over your head or just baffles you?

I don't really get the Plotter hype. It seems like a fine notebook cover, but the prices are just way to high for what you're getting and there are other things in that price range that just seem like much better options if you want to get into a pricey notebook cover/system. 

9. What pen (or stationery item) surprised you?

That one is easy. The TWSBI Eco. I bought one when they were released because it seemed like something I could put on the channel and then into a drawer. That pen is great, though. I loved it instantly, and I have a whole lot of them now. They're dependable, collectable, and relatively inexpensive. They never dry out, and they can handle all sorts of inks. They're just really good pens.  

10. What pen (or stationery item) doesn't really work for you, but you keep it because it's a collectible?

 I think that has to be my Esterbrook desk pen. It looks like something from the retro-future, and I love the style. I just don't use any one pen enough to keep the darn thing from drying out and so it's mostly furniture instead of a pen that I use very often. 


An Esterbrook Desk Pen

11. What is your favorite sparkly pen (or ink)?

 I'm bad at picking favorites, and you know that. The Diamine Inkvent this year had these inks called "chameleon" inks, and a couple of those are absolute bangers that I've been using for 6 months now. Solar Storm and Olive Swirl are going to be on my short list for acquiring full bottles. So much sparkle! 


A pair of the awesome chameleon inks from Diamine!

12. Which nib do you love - but hate the pen? (or vice versa)

 I honestly can't think of any of these. I looked through my collection, and I can't think of anything that fits.

13. What pen (or stationery product) gives you the willies?

The Muji fountain pen. That silver one with the matte finish. It feels like nails on a chalk board and I hate it. <shudder>

14. What's your favorite pen for long form writing?

It's probably the Pilot 823. The medium nib is one of my all-time favorites, it holds a bunch of ink, and it's really comfortable to write with.  

15. What pen (or stationery product) do you love in theory but not in practice?

Really fancy notebooks. I think there are some beautiful ones out there, but I would never bring myself to write in a notebook that I paid $100+ for. I just couldn't do it, and it'd go to waste. 


16. What pen (or stationery product) would you never let someone else use?

 I don't think I have anything like that. There are some that I'd give some instruction on, and there are probably some people who I wouldn't let use my stuff, but that's a different thing. 

17. What pen (or stationery product) would you never use for yourself?

 Human blood? Yeah. Probably not blood-as-ink.

18. What pen (or stationery product) could you NOT bring yourself to buy?

 I haven't gotten my budget-mind around pens like the Namiki Yukari or Nakaya pens yet. Maybe if I win the lottery. They are beautiful, though. 

19. What's your favorite vintage pen?

I have my grandfather's Parker 51 and my grandmother's Sheaffer Vac desk set, and those are my favorites.  

20. What is your favorite EDC/pocket pen?

 I usually carry a couple. One fountain and one not-fountain. Lately I've been carrying my Schon DSGN Smoltem pen and one of the Tactile Turn Side Clicks

21. What's the pen (or stationery product) that got away?

oof. It was an OMAS Milord in brown arco from (probably) the 90s. It was a gorgeous pen and it was way under-priced. That was a long time ago, though, and my pen-budget was much tighter than it is these days, so I hesitated. Made a lap of the pen show, and came back. Of course, it was gone. I'll never see that price again, and the current prices are way out of my range.

Whew! That's it! That list was longer than I thought it would be!

Diplomat Pine Tree


Written Review



Copy Paper Test

This is a really good result.

Wheat Straw Paper

Tomoe River Paper

Domtar Bold 28

Col-o-Dex Comparisons

Video Review

*This ink was given to me for review by Dromgoole's. I try not to let that sort of thing sway my reviews. What you see is what I got.**

Aurora Sepia Special Edition


Until a few years ago, Aurora was a company that only had 2 inks. They had a Black (that is great) and a Blue (that is not good). Then they expanded to a Blue-Black that I wasn't a big fan of. Now, well, there are several colors! This brown is a little too dark to be a sepia, I think, but it's a nice brown. 

I actually wrote and filmed this review back in 2020, and then it got lost in the shuffle. Oops!

Written Review



Copy Paper Test

Wheat Straw Paper

Tomoe River Paper

Col-o-Dex Color Comparisons

Video Review

**This bottle was given to me by Kenro, the Aurora distributor for the USA. I try not to let that sort of thing influence my reviews. What you see is that I got.**

Wearingeul x Pen Chalet Taming of the Shrew


Written Review

I knew as soon as I saw this ink on social media that this was an ink that I really wanted to try out. Penn Chalet was kind enough to send it out for review. Thanks Pen Chalet! This was the first Wearingeul ink I'd tried, and it is a bit of a weird one. Maybe not the best place to start with the brand, honestly. 

Taming of the Shrew is a light yellowish-green with rose gold shimmer. The shimmer is nice and fine, and I didn't experience any clogging with this ink. In fact, that shimmer is the star of the show. The green goes down on the page almost invisibly, but it darkens over time to a comparatively readable color that is really set-off by the shimmer. 

At the end of the day, I wish this one were darker. I know there are going to be lots of people that are going to love this Pen Chalet Exclusive, but I prefer my inks to be more heavily saturated and more readable



Honestly, I think this one is better in real life than it is in photos. The shine off of the shimmer make the text a bit hard to read on these photos. In actuality, it's easier to read with your eyeballs than with a camera.

 There's just about zero water resistance with this ink, so keep your coffee and iced tea far away from your journal. Some of the shimmer will stick around better than the ink does.


Copy Paper Test

This ink is pretty darn good on the copy paper. Very little bleed or feather on this bottom tier paper.

Maruman Croquis Paper

Wheat Straw Paper

 Often, these low-saturation inks are going to look better on more absorbent papers, and that's the case here. It soaks in a bit more and it makes it look darker than it does on the preceding papers.

Tomoe River Paper

 And, weirdly, it looks great on Tomoe River. I didn't expect it to look very good here because it can't soak in, but it proved me wrong.

Color Comparisons

I don't have a lot of inks that were close enough to show off here. It's not a hue that I gravitate to, but it does look a little like a couple of these. No dupes, though.

 Video Review