Here’s one to think about on a Friday. How you decide what pens you use. I was considering an update on my daily carry, except I realised there was no change from last time, which was back last November. Personally, where things have changed is at my PC/desk, where the number of pens grows and shrinks depending on what’s new and if I’m reviewing something.
I’m quite bad when it comes to rotating pens. I find myself entering the comfort zone and rarely looking to disturb the balance. As a result my pens do suffer with being left hidden in drawers (sitting in pen trays before you worry too much). Change tends to come when I get a new pen and decide it’s a user rather than an occasional, else when I look in my drawers and realise there’s something in there I need to or want to use. I must admit I do have some ‘event’ pens – ones I use on specific occasions, and like so many others, should use more.
So with my pen case and travel journals retaining the same pens, what’s at my desk…
This Franklin Christoph 66 Stablis, my first from that pen maker, was actually bought for use as a desk pen at my PC and has been there ever since. Sporting a fine SIG nib and presently loaded with Montblanc Lucky Orange (from a sample I was given). Much of the time it was loaded with J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune, which was only swapped out as I was using a second pen for a while (a FRI Bronze) which was loaded with Organic Studio Uranium and I needed a more contrasting colour.
Also behind my keyboard I have two recently reviewed pens, but ones I’ve kept out to keep using – the Worcester Pen Company Serenity (bottom) loaded with Franklin Christoph Sweet Maroon and the Yard-O-Led Astroia Grand (middle) loaded with Diamine Cornflower. The third pen I received mid December from Brian Chu at the Red Dragon Pen Company and is a broad nibbed Wyvern (his largest model) from a Blue Bronze Lava Lamp acrylic blank, and loaded with Krishna Inks Christmas Eve.
I also have a pen in my kitchen …
a trusty and robust TWSBI ECO loaded with the last of a sample of Diamine 150th Carnival. This pen is used for note and lists in the kitchen and once empty is refilled with what ever sample I need to finish next.
So I could be considered guilty of not switching my pens around enough. The question for my readers here, Facebook, and where this is linked/cross linked – are you as bad as me or do you rotate regularly. What methods do you use for organising and allocating your pens? I’m assuming that even with a few pens you can start hitting this problem, even if all are taken to work with you (I remember carrying 3/4 pens with me to work and still just using the one).
I track how often I’ve used a pen and when I’ve inked it up last time on http://fpc.ink. Then I have a script that determines what pen to ink next by taking these two data points into account. A pen that hasn’t been use for a long time gets a high ranking, one that I use often also gets a high ranking (as it seems to be a favourite). Eventually I’ll add this as a proper feature on FPC as well for everyone to use. Although I’m not sure if there are any people out there that are as geeky about pen selection as I am.
I would like to say you are the only one, but we both know that not to be true.
BTW – didn’t realise your site also offered that functionality (tracking what’s loaded in which pens) – I always thought it was for ‘just’ keeping track of ink collections.
(I use a spreadsheet for what is inked, so not legacy tracking)
Ha Ha. Yeah, there are enough weirdos in our community that would do this. 😉 By now you can track inks, pens, currently inked, and what you used on a given day on the site. I tried to improve the copy on the home page, but it appears that that wasn’t enough. Documentation is always the last thing I do.
Are you able to import from a spreadsheet (google in this case) ?
I can import inks and pens without a problem. I guess the “currently inked” would also work but it will be a bit more tricky as you have to make sure that the exact same names are used for the inks and pens everywhere so that the system can match them up.
Debi Humphrey said:
Wow. I don’t do anything nearly as elaborate as all that. I have an A5 notebook that I made up with small paper slips that have the same holes in them, so they fit right in. Each slip is about the size of a 3″ x 5″ card (all of this purchased at JetPens.com). I write down what the pen is, what nib it has, what ink is in it, and the date. I file them alphabetically in my notebook, subdivided into various brands. For pen brands I don’t have many of, they go into a section for either Asian-made pens or pens made in other countries. Then when I change an ink, or need to know what’s in one of my pens, I can easily find the slip for that pen.
I know I have WAY too many pens inked at any given time. But I write a lot at home, so when I’m writing in my A5 journal, I switch pens for every page. The reason I got into fountain pens in the first place was because I wanted to use all those pretty inks! So my journals end up being very colorful. But at least I give most of my pens fairly regular use this way.
On second thought, I guess I’m pretty geeked out on all the pen/ink details, too. But hey – it works for me! It’s very easy to keep up with.
C Dyson said:
I have kept a “Currently inked” notebook for a year now and found it works quite well. I use a dot grid notebook and make a swatch page at the beginning of the month so that I can see the colours I’m using and then section off a couple of page for noting Pen, Nib, Ink, Date inked and Date cleaned plus a scribble area for testing pens (tbh I copied some online pre-printed books). The one thing it doesn’t do easily is tell me what pen/ink combos I use the most and I recently found the Currently Inked section on the Fountain Pen Companion site listed above, which I’m trying out in addition to my paper system. I mainly use fountain pens in my Hobonichi and change the main ink colour each month to match the (Japanese) printed pages. This usually prompts me to change the pen I’m using too so I’m really looking forward to seeing some usage stats in a few months. Thanks to both of you for an interesting post and a useful website!
Thanks for trying out FPC and let me know what you think of the site. Hopefully in a few months time I will have some statistics on the site, but even without that you should be able to see what you used the most as you can download the data and the import it into a spreadsheet application.
Jerome Tarshis said:
Except when something new arrives (another pen, another ink) and I simply can’t wait to put it to use, I have two pens inked. Normally one Parker 51 and one of something else. Each pen is filled once or twice, then laid down and replaced with another.
This doesn’t result in all my pens seeing frequent use, because there are some I am not eager to use, for one reason or another. It needn’t be revulsion: my Montblanc 342 is rarely inked because it is so wonderful an experience that I feel it is going to skew my expectations of writing with a fountain pen. “The even tenor of my days” is something I wish to preserve, and neither the unimpressive pen nor the spectacularly impressive pen contributes to the desired evenness.
No system. Just look among the pens and see what happens to appeal right now.