email inbox gets a plethora of interesting pen related questions, and I
spend a good deal of time crafting thoughtful responses to each person
who writes to me. A lot of times, the questions I get are good ones that
I feel are worth sharing with you! I’ll be posting highlights of some
of my more interesting email questions every Mailbox Monday. These are
some emails of mine from the past week or so:

Your new Pen Plaza is FANTASTIC! The only piece of constructive advice about the Pen Plaza I might offer is this: perhaps you could include some not-for-sale pens that are fountain pen standards–Parker “51”, Esterbrook, Sheaffer, etc. This would help with a further comparison. For instance, I don’t have any Monteverde pens or any Lamy pens. But, I have quite a few “51”s
and knowing what that feels like (size-wise) can help me conceptualize what any other pen might feel like. Perhaps this is in the future. I can’t imagine all the work that went into getting the Pen Plaza up and running. Perhaps the “classic” pen comparison can be done in the future.

That’s a really good idea. I don’t actually have any of these pens, otherwise I would have included them! I’m definitely open to including pens outside of what we sell (you can see several pens we don’t carry in there already), especially the ‘classics’. I just need to get my hands on some! Maybe I’ll look at some at the DC pen show next month.

What is the status of the J. Herbin blotter rocker? It has been out of stock for a while. Just wondering.

Sigh, I know, we’ve been out of them forever. Our J. Herbin distributor has been out of them for a long time, and they’ve been waiting on a shipment of them to come in from France. I know they just got in a big container recently, so hopefully their working through it and can get us restocked on some blotters soon. We’re waiting here impatiently for them :)

Do you know if Nathan is planning on making any more fountain pens with standard nibs or is he just focusing on specialty nibs?

For the time being it’s just flex nibs. I don’t know if he’ll plan to make conventional nibs again, I would say probably not in the short-term.

Will Nathan be making any more of the aerometric/eyedropper ebonite fountain pens?

I’m also a little unsure about these. We haven’t been able to order them for a loooooong time, I would say they’re probably not going to be available for a while yet. I think that Nathan’s had some issues with the ebonite and he’s working on it, but it’s taking a while.

I see that Noodler’s Upper Ganges Blue is an Eternal ink. Does it run on the dry side like some of Noodler’s other eternal inks, like the Russian inks?

I actually haven’t had the chance to ink it up yet, but I do believe it’s going to behave much like the other eternal inks, like the UK and Russian inks. It’s similar to the them, in price, properties, and permanence. I would fully expect it to write a bit dry. There are a couple of threads going on about the ink on the Fountain Pen Network here and here.

Every year Pilot comes out with a limited edition color for their vanishing point fountain pens. Do you have any info on what this year’s color will be. Last year it was around this time that they made the announcement on what the color is. Also, will you be getting any of them in or will it be a special request thing only?

September 15th is the target release date for this year’s LE VP, so it’ll be announced somewhat soon. Yeah, it was a little earlier than this last year. We’re not supposed to talk about what it is yet, so I can’t spill the beans for you, but we’ll be posting it on our website and blog as soon as we have the go-ahead from Pilot to talk about it. We are going to be getting some of them, though I’m not sure which nib sizes. Last year we only were offered medium nibs of the LE, which we happily took, but we were a really new retailer for Pilot then. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to get a better selection this year!

I just watched your YouTube video about the Platinum 3776 Century Black in Black SF fountain pen. I’ve been using Platinum Carbon black in my rigid nib Pelikans for some time now and am VERY pleased with the results I achieve in my artwork (which involves applying watercolor washes over the dry ink drawings.) However, I’ve recently been thinking about purchasing a new pen that could handle the PC ink and could offer me more expressive line variety (i.e., a flex, or at least a soft, nib).

I had been leaning toward the Falcon but wasn’t certain it would handle the PC ink well, and the 3776 Century seems to have been designed specifically with this ink in mind.

Platinum Carbon Black is pretty awesome for ink washing! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. The new 3776 Century pens (which include the black, bourgogne and the LE Shoji) have a specially designed cap that seals the pen to keep it from drying out, that’s the biggest advantage it has over other pens, and why the pigmented inks work well in it. The biggest problem with pigmented inks is that they are a pain to clean if they dry out in a pen, so eliminating that as a problem is a big win for these pens. The new LE Shoji even comes with Carbon Black and Pigmented Blue ink cartridges WITH the pen, a first for Platinum. That’s how confident they are with their new cap design.

As for the soft fine nib, it’s similar to the Falcon but not quite as broad when you flex it. Here:

The 3776 feels just as soft, but doesn’t give the same line variation on the page. As far as the Falcon handling PCB okay, I think it would do just fine, you’d just want to make sure you flush it out regularly to keep it from drying out, probably once a week (maybe more if you are in a very hot, dry climate). I have a review of the Falcon here

for taking the time to read my emails! I’d love to hear what you think
in the comments. I’ll be compiling this coming week’s emails into next
week’s Mailbox Monday post!