Category Archives: Fountain Pens

Ottawa Pen Posse – April 10th

Today I attended my 2nd (the Posse’s 3rd) Ottawa Pen Posse meeting and it was another great opportunity to get together with other pen enthusiasts nuts and talk shop. The highlight for me was working my way through Gerry’s box of ink and expanding my ink journal.



There was plenty of sharing going around as I had a Piccadilly Journal to give away as well as a bottle of Diamine Amber. Scrawler gave me a couple of Hero 266 and not to be out done his friend Mike gave 2Hearts a Montblanc 146. Now before everyone rushes to Ottawa for the Posse meeting next month Mike does not regularly give out Montblanc’s and he and 2Hearts know each other from outside the posse.

There was a great variety of inks and pens at the table but I believe that Scrawler’s giant bottles of Akkerman Oranje Boven and Simplisties Violet stole the show. The bottles are enormous and quite stylish. A quick writing test proved that the ink in the bottles backs up the promises made by the bottle. What a great ink!

I had brought a camera to this meeting but as I turned it on the batteries died, fortunately 2Hearts had a camera and we got the waiter to snap this group picture.

Ottawa Pen Posse- April 10



Filed under Fountain Pens

Lamy Safari

Lamy Safari – Orange with M nib and Charcoal with 1.5mm

When I first felt the desire to dive into the world of Fountain Pens I decided I wanted to buy my first pen at a brick and mortar retailer because I wanted to talk face to face with someone and I wanted to see and feel my potential pens. Over the Thanksgiving weekend last October I visited Phidon Pens in Cambridge, Ontario and received excellent service. Manu discussed with me entry level priced pens and suggested that I look at the Lamy Safari , Lamy Al-Star and a Pelikano. I instantly fell in love with bright orange Safari and picked it up. I like the feel of the Safari and I really enjoy writing with it.

Orange Lamy Safari

Orange Lamy Safari

A few weeks and months went by and I felt the need for another pen. The Writing Desk was having a sale on the Safaris and I wanted to try an italic nib for an inexpensive price so I got my second Safari, a Charcoal with the 1.5mm italic nib. This pen is great and I carry it almost daily. I love the texture and the 1.5mm nib is so much fun to write with.

Charcoal Lamy Safari with 1.5 mm Nib

Charcoal Lamy Safari

Lamy Safari Writing Sample

Lamy Safari Writing Sample

Appearance & Design (8)

I like the look of the Safari but some find it too utilitarian.

Charcoal Lamy Safari

Charcoal Lamy Safari

Construction & Quality (8)

The Safari is a well built pen but it does have that ABS feel. The Charcoal version does have a more solid feel due to the matte finish and texture.

Weight & Dimensions (9)

I find the Safari to be very well balanced and comfortable to write with

Nib & Performance (M: 7 , 1.5mm: 9)

M nib: The medium nib doesn’t stand out but it is a solid performer and lays a nice line.

1.5mm: This is the nib that got me hooked on Fountain Pens. I love writing with this one. I love the way it makes ink perform. This is my favourite nib for writing in my journal and letters.

Filling System & Maintenance (6)

This is of course the failing of the Safari and many modern pens. The seller of both the pens included converters but C/C pens are average.

Cost & Value (8)

I think the Safaris are a good value.

Conclusion (M: 7.7 1.5mm: 8 )

I believe the Safari is an excellent starter pen. I like the look and feel and the nibs are solid performers.

Orange Lamy Safari

Lamy Safari

1 Comment

Filed under Fountain Pens, Reviews


Paper-Papier Bag


Paper-Papier is located at 178 Clarence Street in Ottawa’s famous Byward market. It is a lovely store and has many fans, some of whom have already said a few kind words about it, but I thought I would focus on their Fountain Pen and Ink related products.

As you enter the store many people will notice how beautiful the store is. It is well lit, well decorated and most importantly well stocked with paper of every colour. The store is elegant and very well configured. I am drawn, of course, to the rear corner where the glass cabinets containing the Fountain Pens, Inks and Sealing Wax are kept. They carry a variety of brands and a large selection of each.

There are pens from Monteverde, Waterman, Lamy, Diplomat and Shaeffer. The Day I visited the store co-owner Gary Stern was happy to show me the newly arrived Faber-Castells. The pens are well displayed and lit and the staff is more than happy to open up the cabinets and let you have a good look (and feel) at your potential purchase.


Waterman Pens and Ink


Lamy Safaris


Lamy Al-Stars and Rollerballs


Monteverde Pens

The ink selection is also quite good as they carry Waterman, Lamy and a large selection of J. Herbin. You should be able to find an ink for any taste or mood. One interesting find was a bottle of J. Herbin’s anniversary ink, 1670 Rouge Hematite. There are conservative business blues and blacks and adventurous reds and greens. Most of the inks are available in bottles but there are some cartridges available.


J. Herbin Inks

Pens and inks are great but for your fine instrument to perform at its best you need proper paper. In case you couldn’t guess from the store name, they have whatever you could need. They carry a HUGE variety of papers, but the ones that most Fountain Pen users are familiar with are; Rhodia, Clairefountaine and G. lalo. My personal favourite is the Clairefountaine Triomphe pads that I love to use for my correspondence. I was also happy to learn from Gary that anything that the suppliers carry that isn’t in stock can be ordered. I will be taking him up on this as I am anxious to try some of Clairefountaine’s Seyes ruled notebooks.

One of my favourite aspects of Paper-Papier is the personal touch. I love going in, being greeted and browsing with the knowledge that the staff is always glad to answer questions or to demonstrate a product. Some of the pens and inks they carry can be found online for slightly less, but when you are looking at buying a pen and spending a significant amount of money on it (especially for first time buyers) it is really great to be able to handle the pen and feel its weight and fit before purchasing. This is the service and intangible qualities embodied in a brick and mortar store like Paper-Papier.

Monteverde Prima Selection

The Whole Package


Filed under Fountain Pens, Paper, Reviews, Vendor

Baoer 517

I have just received and inked a Baoer 517 from eBay. I purchased it for a Dollar and figured what I had nothing to lose at that price.

Posted 517

517 Posted

Capped 517

517 Capped

Writing Sample

Wrting Sample

Appearance & Design (7)

The 517 is a nice looking pen. It is a deep red with a black marble pattern and black and chrome accents. The most unique aspect of the pen is the interesting Clip design which I think will be love it or hate it for many people. The nib is two toned and is pretty enough.

Construction & Quality (7)

The pen seems to be constructed well enough. Nothing jumped out at me upon inspection as seeming fragile or of poor quality. The only real weak spot is that the converter seems a little poor but functions and holds ink well.

Weight & Dimensions (5)

This is a small pen. It is about 2 CM shorter than a Safari unposted and about 4 CM shorter posted. It is very close in size to the Pilot Vpen. The weight is nice and gives the pen a nice feel in the hand. This pen is not for those looking for a large pen.

Unposted Size Comparison

Unposted Size Comparison

Posted Size Comparison

Posted Size Comparison

Nib & Performance (5)

The nib seems to write fairly dry but smooth none the less. I did have some issues after letting it sit, it took some time to start but once started it flowed nicely. When writing there were a few instances of ink skipping but nothing major.

Filling System & Maintenance (6)

The 517 is a C/C pen. The included converter is a little on the cheap side but functional. Seems to hold a decent amount of ink.

Cost & Value (8)

This a decent pen for a great price. I cost me a bit more than a Vpen with shipping but offers far more flexibility as it comes with a converter and requires no hacking to refill. The styling and feel is better than I would expect for a Dollar. I am very satistfied with the product I received at this price point.

Conclusion (6.3)

I certainly would not tell anyone to rush out and buy this pen but I do not think it will disappoint if you do. It is nice looking and functional little pen that offers a good value.


This review was written for the “out of the box” 517. I have since removed the breather tube adn cut a wider notch in the top to feed more ink to the nib. These modifications have corrected the skips and dry starts.


Filed under Fountain Pens, Reviews

Gift Pen

Gratuitous Nib Shot

Esterbrook 1554 Nib

I was lamenting the other day on FPN how I wanted to buy a Esterbrook but would have to wait until the holidays to make the purchase, well it turns out that a kind soul on the board took pity on me and sent me one of his Esterbrooks, gratis!

I have been a recipient of many random acts of kindness of late and they have all made me happy and thankful.


Esterbrook SJ


Filed under Fountain Pens