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:

Say, while I’m thinking about it, does the Custom 74 have more ink capacity than the dadgum (I’m a grandma now, I have to watch my language I’m told) VP converter?

Why it sure does! The Custom 74 uses the Con-70, which holds about twice what the daggum Con-50 does (used in the VP). That’s part of why I enjoy the Custom 74 so much more…

I’ve noticed that ive had a certain affinity for a color recently. That color is Lime Green. The brightest one I can find. And I have no idea why but I digress. What is the brightest shade of Lime Green ink that you have that won’t break the bank (>15 $ and at least 50 mL)? Thanks and as always, keep up the amazing work!!

Here are all our greens. I don’t know which of these you’d consider lime, but the brightest green without question is Diamine Apple Glory. It’s punch-you-in-the-eyes green! Diamine Meadow is also pretty vibrant. Diamine Kelly Green would probably be next in line. Diamine has a lockdown on vibrant greens!

My birthday is coming soon and I was thinking of a new pen. I am considering one of the following: Black Lamy 2000, Lamy Accent Briarwood, or the Studio, in the new red limited addition. I write a lot and have a lot of high end pens. I use generally medium , broad, etc. Have some good flex (vintage nibs). I am also intrigued by Stipula T-Flex nib. Of the three above which one have you had the best experience with or do you prefer. I respect your judgment because I can not handle the pens. I like wet nib. Would you recommend another brand, such as pilot, in the same price range. Let me know. I am due for a new pen.

I’m more than happy to share my pen experiences with you. I personally have a Lamy 2000 and a Lamy Studio with the same 14k nib as on the Royal Red, and I have experience with the Lamy Accent (though I don’t have one in my personal collection). The Accent and Studio are going to write very similarly, as the feed/nib is exactly the same on both pens. Those 14k Lamy nibs are really great, incredibly smooth and wet writing nibs, they’re some of my favorites. The broad is VERY wet, almost too wet for me. But the medium is just right. I tend to prefer mediums and broads myself.

The Lamy 2000 uses a different nib, though still 14k, and they do write smoothly especially in the mediums and broads. Mine is a medium, and I do enjoy it. The Lamy 2000 has kind of an understated elegance to it…a very simple design that it’s flashy but rather industrial, it’s very Bauhaus (German design). It’s been a very popular pen for over 45 years, and for good reason. It’s just a solid pen. The Studio is a little flashier, and while I do love the shape, the color (oh, that color!), and the nib, the one thing I really don’t like about it is the grip. It’s a smooth metal grip, which is fine for short notes but after a few minutes, my oily fingers begin to slip and the pen is not as comfortable for me to hold anymore. Some people don’t mind this, but for me, I do. Aside from that one issue though, the Studio is a great pen. The Accent is really nice, too. In the early days of the Goulet Pen Company, I was actually hand-turning pens out of wood…this was before fountain pens, ink, or paper were on the horizon. So to me, the wood grip on the Briarwood is particularly enticing, it reminds me of my pen turning days, which are now (unfortunately) a thing of the past for me.

I’m also big fan of Pilot pens. The single pen I’ve used more than any other is my Pilot Custom 74 blue with a medium 14k nib, I just love it! It writes well, is smooth and wet, and the nib has a little bounce to it. Not enough to write like a flex pen, but it just feels a little springy so it feels kind of like when you have shock absorbers on your car. The Custom Heritage 92 is a similar pen to the 74 but with a piston mechanism, and the Custom 823 is another favorite of mine with a larger nib and very neat vacuum filling mechanism. It holds a lot of ink!

I personally have a Stipula Model-T with the T-Flex nib, and it’s pretty nice. It writes pretty wet, so wet that it’s hard to use on ‘normal’ paper. I actually use the same T-Flex nib in this video I made of the Stipula Etruria Alter Ego, if you want to see it in action. I actually do a write comparison with a soft Namiki Falcon and Noodler’s flex pens, so that’s probably something of interest to you.

A friend is bringing me some Platignum Studios from the UK and I understand these don’t come with converters and use an irritatingly proprietary variation of the standard international cartridge. Over on the FPN, some people say standard converters will fit, others follow your advice on the monteverde mini converter, but there always seems to be a problem with converters fitting these pens. So my question is, does the monteverde mini fit the Platignums tightly? I carry my pens in a backpack right next to a camera and a laptop, so you’ll understand I need some degree of safety on this!

Yeah, it’s a little confusing. Some retailers are advertising that they accept standard international converters….but they don’t. The Platignum cartridges look REALLY similar to standard international, but they’re just a bit narrower at the neck. The pens actually have a slightly more narrow opening on the back of it where the cartridge connects, so you need a thinner cartridge to fit it. What’s interesting is that I’ve read from others that some standard international cartridges fit, others don’t because they’re too wide to fit that neck. It’s weird….so while I can’t fit a full-size standard international converter on a Platinum pen, the Monteverde Mini converter is slightly narrower at the neck and does fit, though snuggly. You probably don’t have anything to worry about carrying the pen as you will…the mini converter holds a pretty small amount of ink, so even if you have a spill, it won’t be much. You can always play it safe and put the pen in a plastic ziplock bag or pen sleeve if you’re worried about it though : ) 

I’ve got a little pen money stashed away and I’m just wondering if you have any ‘Special Editions” coming up with Edison pens. If you can’t write anything about it, I understand. I’d like to know before I spring for anything from Edison. I’d much rather get a limited edition from you people if one is coming up in the near future.

We just wrapped up our Encore LE last month, but we don’t have anything else in the works right now. Even if we conceived of something right now, it would be several months before anything happened with it, especially because Brian just released his Beaumont pneumatic filler…so he’s likely going to be a bit busy for a while!

I’m looking at the Aston 20 pen case. I have no experience with these cases. I’m looking to use it at home for long term storage. I’m worried about damage to the pens. Is this case safe for long term storage? Is there any worry of the elastic pen loops damaging the pens finish? Does the elastic get stretched out with prolonged use? I had heard that you use a similar case and was hoping for some first hand experience to help make my decision. Thanks.

I do in fact use Aston cases for all of my pen storage, and have been for about 2.5 years. Even after constant use and a fair amount of transporting, the first case I started using still looks practically new. The loops are still tight, but they don’t scratch my pens. The cases hold up well…they do get a little softer over time as leather will do, but it doesn’t at all affect the case’s ability to protect the pens. The only downfall of a case like this, and it’s nothing against Aston, is that it’s not crush-proof. It’s a leather case so it’s very durable, but if you had the case sitting on the sofa and someone sat on it, that would be really bad. But, short of a hard wood case or something of that nature, you’re going to face that issue. For transporting and storing 20 pens in a well-crafted case that will hold up for many years, look attractive, and be priced reasonably (for genuine leather), Aston is tough to beat. Other cheaper leather pen cases you see are imported from China and India where acid-tanning is the method of choice, because it’s faster. The acids used though are not good for the metal hardware on pens, especially silver. Aston’s are all hand-tanned with vegetable oil, here in the US using US cowhide. I’m a big Aston fan, and not because I sell them….I sell them because I’m a big fan and use them personally with great enjoyment.  

I appreciate that you put my VAC700 question in the mailbox section verbatim. That was nice to see. Do you ever edit the questions at all for brevity?

When it comes to Mailbox Monday I try to keep the integrity of the original question intact, but sometimes I have to edit it down in some fashion because the question needs context referenced in another email or part of an email, the question is good but the grammar is terrible, there’s a typo that changes the meaning of the question, or something like that. But sometimes I get lucky and can more or less copy/paste ;) 

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!