Sept. 19, 2021

39. Pen Acquisition Overload

39. Pen Acquisition Overload

In today’s episode, we will be catching up with pen acquisitions and the Postal Bulletin.

New acquisitions

John (better grab a Snickers)

Aurora Optima Abissi JE 2016

Pilot Vanishing Point

Pilot Murex

Red Dragon Pen Company Pocket Parallel

Kickstarter Drillog


Calipers and thread gauge set (for a future pen related project), custom pen makers, I may be reaching out for an odd request soon. 

New letter lock I found

New Stamps and postmarks (last two bulletins)
Ernest Hemingway’s 6,000 letters

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39. Pen Acquisition Overload

[00:00:00] JOhn: Welcome to episode 39 of station or orbit where we are all here to learn more about creative letter writing. I'm your host John West. And I am joined by our cohost Evan Harris. In today's episode, we'll be catching up with pen acquisitions and the postal bulletin. So welcome Evan

[00:00:15] Evan: great to be here. 

[00:00:17] JOhn: Everyone grab yourself a Snickers. John has been on a buying spree ever since I got back from the Philippines and it wasn't entirely planned, it just happened. And so I've got a a good number of pens to talk about the first one being a pilot vanishing point carbonesque that I picked up off of the Pen addict slack.

And this was a one cat dad looking after another cat dad, and somebody ended up with an emergency vet bill. So I I have a tendency to step in and help folks on slack that are in a financial trouble by picking up pens that normally I wouldn't have been on the lookout for. 

[00:00:58] Evan: Yeah, you told me this is your [00:01:00] first vanishing points. 

[00:01:02] JOhn: Yeah, it is. And it's a pleasant surprise. It's a fun to see that, that mechanism and operation.

[00:01:09] Evan: Yeah, I don't have the carbon S I've got a vanishing point as well, and I love the pen, not quite great for long writing sections , but for anything less than an a four page. 

[00:01:20] JOhn: Yeah. And for work notes, it's really great. It's because you don't have to worry about uncapping it. You can just click it open, like in your normal, a ballpoint pen and you take your quick note and you under the knock on it and it's done. And yeah, just a really fun writing experience at work with that one.

And I really like the carbon esque finish on it that almost carbon fiber look to it. That's a really nice finish for it. And then the next one also from the Pen Addict slack, which just happened. And I did mention this briefly on the last episode, But I just happened to [00:02:00] stumble into slack and there was a pilot Murex that was available, and it had only been up for about 25 minutes.

By the time I DMD the guy and asked him to sell it to me. So I gotta be on your toes and gotta be careful about Looking for stuff like a Murex on slack, but every once in awhile luck, just trips up and let you have one. If you're all still looking out for one of those, keep your eye out for it.

I got it in hand and it is just what I've been hearing for years. It is. Such an interesting pen because at least for a lot of us we're used to gold nib pens, and that's what you consider to be the apex. And this one is the whole body is stainless steel, which means the nib is stainless steel.

And for it to be completely integrated from the body into the nib. And still have an amazing writing experience with it, which it took me a little while to get that pen started. But once it started, [00:03:00] yeah, it's a fine line, but it's a wet fine line. And it's a really good fine nib on that Murex.

So that one was a lot of fun. And then the last two that were. Like in hand pen purchases. I had mentioned on the last episode that a Kirk had a pen in his inventory that was a one of my grail pens. And so it actually did make its way home with me. I picked up the Aurora Optima Abissi limited edition from 2016.

And it's a blue, green, aurielide, and it's a gorgeous pen. It's a really wet, broad nib on thing. The only hard time I've had with it. I also picked up a pad of the Cosmo air paper from him. And I think the Cosmo air light paper has some free threads in. In the paper, [00:04:00] because they're getting caught in between the nib, in that the tines.

[00:04:04] Evan: Interesting. If not, I've not heard that from anyone else's used cosmos. 

[00:04:08] JOhn: yeah, it might just be the way that pens reacting to it, but it is acting like it's picking up fiber off of the paper and jamming between the times I've tried it on other paper and I'll have to do a little bit more with the Madori and Kukoyo paper that I have to see if it's going to do the same thing, but every time I started on that Cosmo air light it writes about a line and then it jams up and I have to clear it again by reverse writing and then scribbling circles on it to try to get clear yep.

Mileage may vary. So I don't know if it's just the user error or what the deal is, but I've got a little bit of a working to deal with that. And then the other one Brian Chu from a red dragon pen company who goes by Chewbacca on the pen addict, slack was kind [00:05:00] enough to reply to a letter that I wrote in because we're, we are occasional pen pals whenever I get around writing again.

And I wrote him because we had just gotten back into. pen show season. And I remembered that his pocket parallel pens pretty much only show up at pen shows. So I can't make it out to the east coast, which is where he's going to be selling those. So I actually asked him if he had any extra stock after one of the pen shows, which he did.

So I managed to pick up a pocket parallel from a man. Those are just hilarious, little pens.

[00:05:36] Evan: Yeah,

I see them occasionally on slack, not always for sale, but just showing them off because they are really cool pens. And they look neat. I'm not sure how useful one would be for me, but they do look neat. 

[00:05:48] JOhn: there, there are a lot of fun. The the pen I got is a blue body and he matches his colors to the nibs styles for those. So this one, the [00:06:00] blue one is the big six millimeter flat parallel nib on it. And oh, it's, it is something else to work with. And I went ahead and. Probably not the greatest idea in the world, but I have been able to write with it on a consistent basis.

I just need to rewet the nibble a little bit once in a while, but I didn't get up with the stationary orbit deep space. So you've got all of that glitter coming through that huge nib. It works.

[00:06:26] Evan: That, and that's a feed that can handle that much glitter I'd imagine. 

[00:06:31] JOhn: Yeah, it does a pretty good job. The only thing, the only difference between that one and the other parallel setup I have is the other parallel is on an Opus 88. That is one of the Japanese eyedroppers. So I can seal off the section and shake up the pen something that has a lot of glitter in it.

The pocket parallel, I'm a little scared to try to shake up the glitter

[00:06:56] Evan: yeah, I would agree with you. 

[00:06:59] JOhn: But [00:07:00] it's still a fun pen and it might just be something where maybe I just do a half cartridges at a time and then clean it out after I'm done with it. So yeah, just actually, that's a really good point. Here I'll let you talk about some of your recent acquisitions, but we definitely need to talk about pen hygiene.

Cause I've been a bad person.

[00:07:19] Evan: Same when we talked about it too, as we say, not as we do. 

[00:07:22] JOhn: Yeah. Yeah. Or try to learn the same lessons we did without having to actually learn the lessons. Just listen this, and now believe me later.

[00:07:31] Evan: Yeah.

What I got is a little inspired by some of the discussion we had after recording last time with Kirk and not actually directly pens or stationery, but I got some engineering tools, calipers, and a thread gauge set, which is, I have a pen that I. The takes roughly a number six nib but the feed is not great.

And the section is fine, but not great. But it's a pretty simple design and I presume some [00:08:00] sort of standard thread and Kirk has taps for various nibs though. I've also realized maybe I'll, if I can, I might be able to 3d print the entire thing, including the internal threading. If not, I might try reaching out to a custom maker first, this, he can just send you a custom 3d printed section and you just tap the internal for me 'cause that's a lot easier than me getting the various taps and tap handles for nibs, but I could probably make custom. Number six sections for a few pens. I have where the nibs are. Okay. 

[00:08:34] JOhn: Yeah,

[00:08:35] Evan: Like my Olympic pen is the one I'm mostly talking about. I was like, it can hold a nit, but the feed is not great.

But imagine if I could do that or there might just be enough room inside my Jin Hao to fit a number eight.

[00:08:49] JOhn: there you go. 

[00:08:49] Evan: I already holds the number sits, but imagine a Jin Hao? At seven 50 with a number eight nib, there might just be enough room. I need to do some more measurements. But so I'm going to boot up solid [00:09:00] works and design these and get them 3d printed. 

[00:09:03] JOhn: Oh, that's cool. That's really cool. I'm glad that somebody out there is doing that stuff with the 3d printing stuff. I'm just not quite brave enough for, or have the, what I consider to be enough time to actually learn that. So that's cool. That's cool to hear.

[00:09:19] Evan: I do a lot of work in solid works and 3d modeling. So this is a, the initial design is a 10 minute project. For me to design the initial section and I'll probably start with the local libraries 3d printer, just to see if I, the external threads should be large enough that I can print on almost anything.

The internal are more specific. And I'm not as worried about it as say, building a whole pen because I'm not building. Piston or an eyedropper pen. So don't have to worry about being watertight because the dection will the housing with the feed and section will automatically 

go to a cartridge converter.

And then I don't have to worry. 

[00:09:58] JOhn: Nice. Yeah. That's a [00:10:00] cool project. You'll have to definitely keep us updated on how that one goes. My, my first thought is, and I could be wrong about this with the custom makers, but if you send them something that's already. Printed. I'm wondering how hard that's going to be for them to check up in order to thread.

[00:10:18] Evan: It probably won't be much harder to threat depending on how exactly the threading them. It should be no harder to thread than a standard section that they made. Because I would imagine most of them are threading the internal. They might be threading the internals after the external, but if they're not, they have a Chuck section that they can screw the section into on.

If not, I can also 3d print a mate section that would work. So it also, so it depends on exactly their setup, but it would not be incredibly difficult. And also the taps are not that expensive. I just don't want to buy that many tools for not that many pens. 

[00:10:50] JOhn: right. Yeah. It was definitely fun getting to talk to Kirk because he was getting more and more into carrying the bock nibs and then [00:11:00] realized that. A lot the sellers that were selling taps over here for those bock nibs we're selling stuff, that was just really bad quality. So he was going out and finding stuff from England in order to just talk 

[00:11:14] Evan: or makers would have to get custom made taps, which is very expensive. And internal threading on that.

size is not something you can easily do on a Lathe without a tap. So external threading significantly easier on a lathe than as internal, especially in the larger you go. The easier it is to do lathe, threaded but taps for such and sizes is easier. 

[00:11:39] JOhn: Yeah. Even as I understand it from listening to a, as the pen turns the. Even for the external threads, that is usually something that they do using taps and dyes because you hear about the single start and triple start varieties. And those are two different sets of taps and dies.

[00:11:57] Evan: So yeah, that

I'm to get into [00:12:00] machining talk from my mechanical engineering backgrounds technically the external threads would be a die not a tap. But so tap and dies, a matching set, basically. And yeah, again on the size that you're doing the size you're doing for most sections .

 Dies significantly easier than doing a lathe thread. But in general, a lathe threading is significantly easier on the external side than the internal. And as you get larger, it becomes easier. 

[00:12:26] JOhn: Yeah, cause it, I'm sure it's hard to to cut something using like a dental pick, which is essentially what you'd be trying to do that with.

[00:12:32] Evan: basically, cause I think yobo nibs or you have a sections are something like M 7.5 thread, which is not very wide. 

[00:12:43] JOhn: Oh, okay. So you actually just gave me a great segue into the the pen hygiene section for this. The pen that started this whole thing for me, this whole journey of, oh dear Lord, what have I done? And realizing how many pens I had [00:13:00] that had been just stuffed into pen cases, not cleaned out properly.

And some of them were put away full and ended up evaporating. And I almost lost my, Atelier Luso pen because the thing had seized together. The cap had seized onto the section. The section had seized onto the body and I had to soak both of them in water for a significant amount of. Just to get the threads to break back loose.

Again, I was very fortunate and saved the pen, but it was not after a, not a non insubstantial amount of concern over whether or not I was going to get that pen broken apart again.

[00:13:45] Evan: Yeah. That's that can be a concern. 

[00:13:49] JOhn: Yup. And with that one, I don't know if he's changed his threading on the pens, but the Corino that I have, I think is one of his [00:14:00] older models and it has got a very fine thread to it. So once it ended up with ink drawing in it, in any amount, it just seized up the threads on it. That one was bad.

And then I've been going back through my pens cause I haven't like, all right, fine. All right. I need to actually do this. I did a full inventory of my pens. Try to figure out where everything would gotten stowed off to. And as I was going through the inventory, I was finding more and more of these pens that had been put away with ink in them.

So if you're out there listening and listen to land, please, like Evan said earlier, please do. As we say, not as we do, please clean your pens before you put the things away, make sure you only have a known number of pens inked up at any given time 

[00:14:48] Evan: Oh, yeah. 

[00:14:49] JOhn: because that stuff will get away from you quick.

[00:14:52] Evan: Yeah, it definitely does. I hope I think when I moved, I cleaned all of the pens that I put away. I wish I'll find [00:15:00] out eventually. 

[00:15:01] JOhn: So anyway the next things on the list here is we found a new letter locking a rather unusual. I was in, on the instructable site looking for something else unrelated, but I thought while I was there, I would go ahead and search for a letter lock.

And lo and behold, there was a single letter lock to be had in the instructable site.

[00:15:24] Evan: Yeah, that's right. So if anyone doesn't know, Instructables is basically a how to website that anybody can submit to I haven't used it in a while, but I remember loving searching through it and just looking looking through. Whatever seemed interesting. And so this one is a take on the tuck-in fold that I use as my standard lock mine normally has the both sides full over, and you tuck the top in this one.

Instead, you rotate it and instead tucked one side into the other as they show it, it is an offset touch. So it's not quite symmetrical. But it is another simple letter lock using the same basics [00:16:00] and another variation that people are , more than able to try. 

[00:16:03] JOhn: Yeah. And the thing that I thought was interesting about that particular letter lock is having done a number of tuck and fold packets, not as full sized envelope items, but just as packets to go into another envelope. I found that you're right. I had to make something that was asymmetric a little bit, just to get the one side where it was like a tab that would go into the.

Fold of the other side easily. And I think that particular letter lock actually takes care of part of that because it has the center line where there's a, an open face there. So it actually allows it to expand and contract without folding the paper. It'll just bypass it.

[00:16:50] Evan: Yeah. 

[00:16:52] JOhn: So I think that was, I think that was probably the most unique feature I saw in that particular letter lock. So that was nice. And then we've [00:17:00] had two postal bulletins since the last time we talked and we've got quite a bit going on.

[00:17:06] Evan: That's right. One thing that there were three of that we found interesting in the pictorial postmarks where the date meet zip stations. 

So these are all stations in the Western states starting with an eight or nine. So August and September, the next two digits, of course, being the date, the final two digits being 21 the year. Unfortunately my current postmark that doesn't work with because there's no 40th day in August. 

[00:17:30] JOhn: Yeah. And mine won't work either because I'm not going to be around in 2103. 

[00:17:36] Evan: You can always hope. But So

those were th those were all pretty neat. I also personally liked the fudge station out of Mackinaw because Can I have spent quite a bit of time in Michigan and I've been to Mackinaw and the fudge is very good and Makena, both island and city are beautiful places, especially in the fall, which we are rapidly approaching. 

[00:17:56] JOhn: Yeah, absolutely. And some of the mentioning, changing of [00:18:00] seasons, we have got a number of really cool stamps that are coming up here shortly. First of all, the day of the dead stamps out of El Paso, Texas will be released on September 3oth. And which is coming up rather quickly and that one's going to be, those are really beautiful stamps.

I love that. I love the whole idea of day of the dead in Mexico, so that one's going to be fun. And then there's also a visit from Saint Nick. That's going to be coming around. And then the winter stamps, which are otters in snow stamps that are going to be released October 12th from Otter Montana.

[00:18:37] Evan: thats correct and believe we've seen the day of the dead and the visit from Saint Nick stamps before, but the more expanded literature on them and everything. So of course, we've got El Paso and a visit from Saint Nick of course are being released from Santa Claus, Indiana. 

[00:18:53] JOhn: Okay. There we go.

[00:18:55] Evan: and I am a big fan of these Otter and snow stamps because they're really [00:19:00] cute. 

[00:19:00] JOhn: Yeah. Every time I see those stamps, especially in the postal bullets in the way that they highlighted them. I always go back to the Dennis Leary thing. It's So what do you do? That's going to make you so special that you should survive. And it's I do cute little human things with my hands.

All right. You can live,

[00:19:17] Evan: Yeah, I will be getting these stamps. 

[00:19:19] JOhn: Good. 

[00:19:20] Evan: I don't need more stamps right now, but I will be getting them. 

[00:19:23] JOhn: Yeah. I should be through my solar science ones by them to where I can start investing in some.

[00:19:29] Evan: Yeah, I have a enough letter piles, but I've got more stamps than letters to send right now 

[00:19:35] JOhn: I don't think I'm quite that well off, but my reply pile has been shrinking.

[00:19:40] Evan: that's this quite a bit with the reply pile I have right now. 

[00:19:44] JOhn: Yeah,

[00:19:44] Evan: I have managed to write some recently. 

[00:19:47] JOhn: good deal. And actually I ended up getting a. Postcard that had been postmarked with the Mars Rover and helicopter. So that was a fun little thing to get in the mail.[00:20:00] 

[00:20:00] Evan: That's very fun. 

[00:20:02] JOhn: Yep. And also mentioning changing of seasons. We are looking at. I think it's some like a hundred and maybe 20 days till the end of the year. And the folks over Vanness I know that everyone else has been like on hobo nichi watch, but the folks over at Vaness just announced that they were pulling in the Midori planners for 2020.

[00:20:25] Evan: As of release will be 104 days from the from the new. 

[00:20:28] JOhn: Yeah, if you, if any of your out there that are into the planners and that kind of thing definitely gotta be on your toes this time of the year. You gotta be looking out for the and all the other planner stuff. If you're not if you're not rolling your own, you got to go by.

[00:20:45] Evan: Yeah, they're all hitting the market now. 

[00:20:48] JOhn: Yep. And my favorite thing out of the Midori planners, because I'm not a huge planner person. I prefer loose leaf and I prefer very minimalist bullet [00:21:00] journaling, but I do like their Midori stickers. They have one of the sheets in here and it's called chatty cats and it's a whole bunch of different cats and different cat expressions.

How's the cat owner. I love those kinds of things

[00:21:13] Evan: They've got a lot of both cat and dogs for anyone who prefers dogs or has both 

[00:21:20] JOhn: yep. Yeah, you can't you have to, as a company, you have to be agnostic on the cat and dog front. 

[00:21:27] Evan: Exactly. 

I know retro 51 has a harness that by releasing cats versus dogs. 

[00:21:35] JOhn: Oh, yeah. And I actually I've got, at least I've got two of the cat rescue pens. I didn't get the third one or I think there might even be an up to a fourth one now, but I did get the first two, and those are a lot of.

[00:21:49] Evan: Yeah, I don't have the only retro 50 ones I have were designed by him. Matthew. 

[00:21:56] JOhn: Ah, very good. Do you have the pink [00:22:00] robots? 

[00:22:00] Evan: No, I don't have the other two. 

[00:22:03] JOhn: got it. Yeah. Pink robots. I had one and it was not being used, so I sent it off to a loving home. For that one. And so for some folks collecting retro 50 ones can be a bit of a hobby and mentioning people who apparently needed a hobby. Our last thing of the day is we saw an an article that said that Ernest Hemingway, during his lifetime had written 6,000 letters and Evan's initial reaction to that was that is a person who needed a hobby.

[00:22:37] Evan: Yeah, that's about right. So letter writing is a hobby in itself. And I, keep most of my, the letters I get, but 6,000 letters is quite a lot that is very active correspondence. 

[00:22:50] JOhn: yeah, I think that is well above and beyond anyone else that I've ever heard of. I know that Lincoln was a prolific letter writer. But I don't even [00:23:00] know if he touched that kind of a overall number mark in his lifetime, 

[00:23:05] Evan: I would be surprised. 

[00:23:07] JOhn: yeah. And then he has everything else with the, all the books that he's written and everything else that he wrote.

Yeah, that was a, that was definitely Ernest Hemingway's hobby was writing. He wrote everything on everything about everything. I'm sure. 

[00:23:23] Evan: His hobby was getting drunk. I think that was more just the state of being. 

[00:23:27] JOhn: Oh, it was part of a state of being his thing was a write drunk, edit sober. 

[00:23:31] Evan: That's true. 

[00:23:32] JOhn: was part of the 

[00:23:33] Evan: is true. 

[00:23:34] JOhn: Yeah, 

[00:23:34] Evan: is true. 

[00:23:36] JOhn: if I'd imagine that if his his letter writing was done in the first state that most of the, his letters were, would probably have fallen by the guideline of, I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn't have the time.

[00:23:47] Evan: Yeah. I'm familiar with that with letters there too long from myself. 

But he having ways, an interesting character. 

[00:23:57] JOhn: he is. So for all of you that are out there, [00:24:00] go have yourself a nice drink if you are a of the persuasion to do so, and go write yourself a letter, be proud of your snail mail

[00:24:09] Evan: Absolutely.