2017 turned out to be a pretty challenging year, full of new experiences and old comforts. Here we are, a few days into 2018, and I find myself with an abundance of free time on my hands. Nodes is a good time to take a brief look back at some of my favorite things from 2017, and a few things I’m looking forward to in the future.
So, in no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things from 2017.
The Lamy Safari – Petrol Edition
There have been many Lamy Safari fountain pens, and there will be many more. My first Safari just happened to be the limited edition Petrol, which is a dark green (or blue, depending on who you ask) limited edition that was released with a matching ink. Although my first Lamy was an AL-Star, a slightly thicker aluminum version of the Safari, I’ve had that piece sitting empty on my shelf for some time now. Something about the feel of the plastic in the Safari, the slightly slimmer profile, and the fact that it lays down ink consistently and reliably every time has kept it inked since the day I opened the box from Pen Chalet. You can still track down a Petrol edition Safari, but there are several color versions available to suit your tastes.
Here is my review of the Lamy Safari Petrol.
The Baron Fig Confidant
I have a lot of notebooks. I wouldn’t say I have quite as large a collection as others may have, but I do have a small bookshelf that is at least half filled with blank or mostly blank journals and notebooks. I’m not sure what it is, but the feel of a good book, the cover, the pages empty with potential. It’s always been a draw for me. In the past few years I’ve learned to be a little more discerning, and a little more thoughtful when it comes to my paper purchasing habits. When I buy a notebook, it has to have a few key features to be worth my money. Paper that can handle fountain pens, a comfortable size to carry either by itself or in a bag, and a quality cover just to name a few.
The Baron Fig Confidant notebook checks almost every box for me. Its unique size makes it great for dropping into a bag for work, and writing in hand without a desk. The cover material is comfortable and looks great. The paper quality isn’t perfect, but it’s far better that most store-bought notebooks, and the price point is very competitive. Baron Fig has since launched The Confidant in multiple sizes and several limited editions to fit your needs. It’s a pretty great notebook.
Here is my review of the Baron Fig Confidant.
Karas Kustoms Render and Fountain K
When I decided to buy a pen in the over $50 price range, Karas Kustoms was an immediate contender. I had been browsing their site for a while after hearing so much about their work from The Pen Addict podcast, I was eager to check out their work for myself. A huge draw for me was the compatibility between the Fountain and Render versions of the pen. Several weeks of consideration and one pen show later, I had a brass Render K with an aluminum grip, and an aluminum Fountain K with a brass grip. I picked those up during a Christmas sale and at the LA Pen Show respectively.
While I’ve found the brass pen to be a little too heavy for a daily carry, the aluminum Fountain K has been inked consistently since I brought it into the collection. They’re a solid piece of equipment made by a small team of passionate individuals at their shop in Arizona, USA. It was an easy choice. Eventually.
Robert Oster Signature Ink
I was introduced to Robert Oster ink by way of a random Blue Denim sample from Goulet Pens. After that, I was hooked. Blue Water Ice, Caffe Crema, Fire & Ice, River of Fire, and Astorquiza Rot have all spent time in one pen or another. These vibrant and expressive inks have more character that anything I’ve tried before. In addition to shading, these inks seem to evolve as they dry. Blues gain a red tint. Reds go black around the edges as if being singed by fire. It’s difficult to explain, but shops like Goulet, Vanness or Anderson Pens offer fairly priced sample sizes of these inks so you can try a few before putting down $17 for a full 50ml bottle. I cannot recommend Robert Oster Signature Ink enough, it’s a fantastic product.
The Los Angeles Pen Show
Last year was my first time experiencing a pen show. The experience of seeing rows upon rows of pens from all different vendors and manufacturers and generations. Collectors selling pieces that have been around for half a century or more. Small shops selling their new hand-made pens. Inks made by smaller shops in batches like a regional craft beer. Meeting members of the community in person and finally putting a face to the Instagram handle. If you have even a passing interest in pens and stationery, you must check out one of these shows.
Here is an article I wrote on my experience at The LA Pen Show.
I am very thankful for the community that I interact with online, and you wonderful readers who are on this pen journey with me. And a HUGE thanks is owed to The Goulet Pen Company for giving me my first chance to review products for them, and to Baron Fig for continuing to give me a look and hands-on time with all of their new equipment. Moving on into 2018, I’m excited for the road ahead. I’ve got conventions, family trips, at least one pen show, and a ton of free time directly in front of me. So keep an eye out for a few updates coming up. It’s going to be a great year!