Loadout Update: End of March Edition

Since it’s getting near the end of the month I figured I’d update what I'm using from the January post. Given that I’m not buying a ton of stuff these days and am trying to focus explicitly on using what I have and giving myself time to really get to know a pen or an ink before moving on to the next shiny thing, it hasn’t been a HUGE shift. But I started off with a few rules (wanting to keep my number of inked pens down below 5, focusing mostly on three as daily users, notebooks should have a purpose, and they should be used until full, finally no new pen purchases until April 1st at the earliest), so let’s see how I’ve done.

Notebooks

This has mostly kept to the plan. Field Notes or similar for daily work/life notes and a separate small notebook for writing snippets, quotes and such, etc. I’ve started keeping my work/life book in my Nock Co. Sinclair, which means the leather cover  and the attendant “quotes” notebook is getting less use. 

Otherwise, still using the Hobinichi, averaging three or so days a week, which I’m fine with compared to my “use it for two weeks and not look at it again until May” strategy of last year. Life Notebook is really really great and has been my companion throughout The Focus Course.

The only real change has been an addition. In my Lilliput review I used the Writing Pad from a local bookstore as a background item. (the Book/Shop pad above) The paper has a ton of tooth, so it’s not great with some nibs, but I really love how beefy the paper is. This has become my go-to for just ‘writing’. Usually when trying a new ink or when I have the urge to write but don’t have any sort of purpose. I’ll write out poems I like, write about some passing frustration or just doodle and scribble all over. It’s a satisfying object and feels great to write on especially with any of my bigger, wetter nibs.

Writing Instruments

I’ve kept myself to a small number, writing some things close to dry and other things getting flushed. And even though my numbers are pretty much the same there’s been movement.

Started with the Edison Herald, the Kaweco Lilliput, Levenger L-Tech Stealth and finally the Parson Italix. 

The Edison was written dry and cleaned out. Replaced it almost immediately with my Parker Vacumatic inked up with Akkerman 7. I love my Vacumatic but it’s not been restored as well as it could have been I think, so it stays at home.

The Lilliput received a BB nib midway through this time span and I had a lot of fun with that crazy huge nib. But for everyday use I wanted the EF nib back. I decided to build off the unexpected love for a pocket pen and see if I’d get along with them better. So I switched the cartridge over to my aluminum Kaweco Sport in the denim blue. I have a clip on it so it’s a great fit for both a pocket or my beloved Sinclair.  Inked with the same Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses. I’m nearly out of my sample vial, and I like this ink enough that I may end up getting a full bottle.

The Levenger is a really nice looking pen that I just don’t seem to like very much. It’s got a good weight, but the nib could use a bit of love from a nibmeister. And overall I want to like it but after writing through about half the converter it got cleaned up and set in the pile to be sold. I’ve given it four or five attempts to win me over, and when I see it on the to sell pile it still catches my eye, but somehow that doesn’t translate to use. It’s a mix of a bunch of things, the nib issues, the section isn’t the most comfortable, and while I do love a heavy pen, this one feels both heavy and maybe just a tad too traditionally masculine/tactical. 

So the Levenger was replaced with the Namisu Nova when it arrived. I love this pen quite a bit. It’s beautiful to look at, and while I did have SOME issues with the titanium nib, I flushed it and set it aside once my replacement steel EF nib came in. It’s got Noodler’s Black in it because I inked it while at work and that’s the only bottle I keep at work. 

That leaves me with the following load out:
Parker Vacumatic - Akkerman 7
Namisu Nova - Noodler’s Black
Kaweco Sport Aluminum - Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses

I have been itching to ink up another pen, something a little bigger or heavier, but we’ll see. I’m very pleased with using a smaller number of pens, I feel like I’m getting to know them better and getting to know the inks better as well. 

Still using the Ti2 Techliner and have been using the Bohemia Works Blacksun 1770 HB pencil. I got it from the CW Pencils POTM Club when that existed. It’s a great looking pencil and the graphite is dark but retains a point pretty well.

Carry It All

Still using and loving my Nock Co. Sinclair. It’s the primary home for pens and pocket notebooks. As mentioned above the leather case isn’t getting a lot of love anymore. 

The big change here is that I upgraded my bag. I really liked the briefcase in my last post, but it was showing signs of wear and I had a hard time blaming it. I wasn’t overloading the bag necessarily but I think I did push its limits a bit. One day after work I noticed someone from my building with a really nice looking briefcase style messenger bag. It took me a couple of weeks of following him and frantic googling but I determined it was a Herschel Supply Co. bag and probably the Clark. Happy I had solved the mystery I tried to buy one and discovered it was out of stock, and appeared to be discontinued. So off to eBay I went. I’ll spare you the long saga and just say I ended up with a “like-new” one in Navy and this is hands down the best bag I’ve ever owned. 

It’s a briefcase style bag, with a shoulder strap that has a nice comfortable pad. The leather enclosure has a very satisfying magnet to keep the two short handles together. A huge pocket on the outside that closes, and an open slim pocket on the back. Inside a very cushioned laptop sleeve and an array of pockets with mesh and zippers. It fits everything I want for most days at work or on the weekend and feels sturdy and comfortable. I love this bag and am already stressed out about what I’ll do whenever it falls apart.

Purchases

I figured I’d touch on this too, more for posterity. While I received a new pen in the last few months, it was purchased last year via the Namisu Nova kickstarter. Otherwise I’ve not bought any pens save for a pilot penmanship that was a gift to a friend (for the EF Pilot nib). I’ve gone in on two ink massdrops though, getting three bottles of Rohrer and Klingner as well as a couple of Super5 inks. Inks have been the smaller part of stationery purchases and the R&K stuff especially are long overdue since I know I love their inks and have been hoarding a couple of ink samples. Otherwise I’ve only bought the new Field Notes Colors Edition. Sweet Tooth looked fun and I had wanted to get the new Tournament of Books FN because I like the little Rooster guy.

I’m pleased with my reduction in stationery purchases and it’s been great to focus on what I have. That said, I am kind of idly gearing up for some pen purchases post April 1st. I know I am going to get myself my reward pen from Edison, and then will probably focus my energy on saving up some money for the SF Pen Show in August. I am hoping to have this year be mostly a trial sort of pen show. Get some nib work done finally and then try to write with a few Nakaya’s and figure out which of the larger Pelikans I think would fit my hand the best. I’ll take a look at some vintage stuff again I’m sure (another Vacumatic is calling to me, ideally a shadow wave one) and will probably be unable to resist a Franklin Christoph Model 20 finally.