My 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:

When are you going to review the Pilot Custom Heritage 92 since it’s a new pen for you and rare in the market place and not just an old pen with a new color. I think the 92 has the same nib as the Custom 74 so the nib widths are the same, yes?

Haha…funny you should ask this….looking at the time stamp of your email, I literally was shooting a video on the Custom Heritage 92 as you were emailing me about it! I need to edit it and process the video, so it’ll be probably wednesday before I get it up, but it’s coming. It’s pretty comprehensive too, I compare it (with writing samples) to the Custom 74, Custom 823, and Prera. The nib on the Custom Heritage 92 is exactly the same one as the Custom 74, and it writes so well…the Custom 74 is one of my favorite pens, and the Custom Heritage 92 is right there with it. 

I have a quick question for you. I get confused sometimes between stub and italics. I’ve noticed that sometimes people or sellers write stub/ italic nib together in the description of the pen’s nib. I was wondering if the invincia stylus has an italic nib (semi crips) or a stub nib like that of a platinum music pen. Thank you!!!

Most manufacturers use the term interchangeably, but really they all make stubs. It sounds like you already understand the difference, but I have an explanation of it (with video) here. I don’t know any pen manufacturer that makes true (crisp) italics, they’re usually just varying degrees of smooth-edged stub nibs. The Invincia is no exception, it is a rounded stub nib much like the Platinum Music Pen. I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

Are the leuchttum 1917 large notebooks going to be available with the grey cover?

Right now they aren’t, Leuchtturm isn’t making them that way. But the gray linen is a pretty new cover style, so i’m going to encourage them to offer it in the large style. Hopefully it’ll be something they’ll make soon, but I don’t know of any immediate plans to do so.

I was really wondering if there was a permanent marker ink for use in fountain pens ( for curiosity not practicality).

No, not that I’m aware. Most permanent markers work by using solvent-based ink (hence why they smell so bad), and that would be really bad to use in a fountain pen. There are basically only 3 types of fountain pen ink, water soluble dye-based, water soluble pigment based, and iron gall. Probably 98% of all fountain pen inks are conventional dye-based inks.

Sometimes we encounter glossy surfaces in our lives. What do you use to write on glossy surfaces such as the backs of pictures, clay coated papers (some college textbooks) stickers/gift tags and those coated bookmarks that you send (Brian Gray’s are even glossier). I tend to end up using a sharpie marker for those sorts of things. Do you resort to something other than a fountain pen or do you have some trick up your sleeve for that.

I’ve always used a Sharpie, I believe there are markers that are made for photo paper (Pilot Photo Marker Pens come to mind). As far as fountain pens go, they aren’t going to be able to do much of anything on photo paper. Photo paper is inherently resistant to moisture, and fountain pen ink is water based, so there’s not really anything that can be done to make it work on it. 

Hello, I was wondering if you could inform me if a Lamy Al-Star fountain pen (section and z24 converter) will fit into a Lamy Al-Star rollerball barrel. If it does then will the rollerball cap fit on the new fountain/rollerball barrel pen? I hope this is not confusing but I am wondering if you can convert a Al-Star rollerball into a Al-Star fountain pen. Please advise.

Yes, the rollerball and fountain pen Al-Star should have interchangeable front sections of the pen. Lamy USA is the only place that carries pen parts, and they may be limited in what they offer, but I suppose if you’re buying old parts on eBay or something like that, you can swap to your heart’s content : )

Why do you instruct that JB’s perfect pen flush be returned to the bottle after cleaning? Wouldn’t it make more sense simply to eject the solution down the drain? Just wondering.

Those are the instructions from the JB’s bottle. I personally don’t use it that way. I actually decant small amounts of flush into sample vials and clean from those, so I keep my bottle fresh. Since the JB Flush is meant to be used in between two clean water flushing steps, it doesn’t particularly matter if the flush is inky or not (until the flush gets REALLY saturated with ink). Use whatever method you prefer.

Thanks 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!