Issue#13 Keeping and letting go of Fountain Pens
Nahvalur Schuylkill, Demonstrator and an imitation Covenant
Issue 13 | 6 August 2023
Thank goodness the Fountain Pen Weekly doesn’t go out on Fridays - imagine how scary the 13th issue would have been then!
Last week’s pen cleaning led me down a long and convoluted rabbit hole - that of trying to streamline my pen collection. I decided I would significantly cut down on the pens I have. A big part of this was inspired by my pen choice for the week - the Namisu was such a pleasure to write with that I regret not having inked it up for such a long time - more than 2 years to be precise. That led me down the path where I am trying hard to cut down. I made a very simple cut of pens I did not want to keep, and that list was surprisingly easy to make.
More complicated was trying to cut down the list of pens that I am left with. After spending some time trying to pick the ones I would want to keep, I devised a matrix where I compared every pen on the list to every other one, and that resulted in a numerical value that represented my relative liking for every pen. I just completed it, and it definitely is a strong data point I will consider when making my final list.
A couple of interesting inputs played a part in this process as well. One was Stephen Brown’s latest Consult the Doctor episode, where he answers the question, “How do I cut down pens that I’m emotionally attached to?” His answer put things in a perspective that I had previously not had. Another was when one of my fountain pen buddies was talking about how much they enjoyed a specific pen that was important to them, and how it was passed on to another enthusiast who got a lot of joy out of it as well. Both these were helpful for me to deal with pens that I had hitherto marked as “always keep” in my head even though I had grown past them and hadn’t used them in a while.
All said and done, the journey continues, and the final disposal has not begun yet. So you will hear more about this from me in upcoming issues.
Nandini Ramchandran | Instagram
One of the things I did in a ham-handed way while cleaning two Nahvalur pens - an OG Demonstrator and a Schuylkill Asfur Bronze - was that I managed to disassemble the piston assembly. It started with the Demonstrator - once I disassembled it to clean, I realized I was not putting it back correctly. To figure out the ‘right’ way, I disassembled the Schuylkill and then realized I now had two pens I had no idea of how to reassemble.
Thankfully, I remembered a video I had watched years ago that showed how to reassemble a TWSBI piston, and it had a couple of points to be careful about that were not intuitive - you had to know it to know it. I found the video from JetPens, and was able to reassemble both my pens without any issues. This is a really good reference video - do bookmark it if you plan to do any sort of piston disassembly of TWSBIs or Nahvalurs.
Style and shoot
I’m making a separate section for styled and shot images of fountain pens and related paraphernalia. Do send in your styled and shot images if you wish to share with our audience.
This week’s shot is of a Taccia-Covenant-inspired pen made for JK Pen Stores by PLP. The beautiful rippled ebonite lends a completely different dimension to the Covenant’s design. I am very fond of the Covenant’s long-cap design, and Shreyas was kind enough to lend me this pen to use. The nib is an Ambitious EF and it’s inked with Waterman Serenity Blue.
As always, this was styled by Vidya and shot by me.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of the set-up. I have realized that no matter how good a picture shot with a mobile phone looks, it really loses detail and the computational photography really messes with small details.
Technical info: Shot at 70mm f/14 with a 1 second exposure and ISO 100. Natural light from a west-facing balcony while the sun was overhead. When shooting I used a white cardboard reflector opposite the light source to even it out.
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