2014 Atlanta Pen Show: The Experience

I know those people (Image via Mark Bacas)

I know those people (Image via Mark Bacas)

My Saturday at the Atlanta Pen Show was so great I feel that it deserves it's own title. I hereby dub it "The Experience", as in my experience was so awesome I will never forget it.

My day started out early. 5am alarm, out the door at 6am from Macon, GA to Sandy Springs, where I met my friend Aaron Mahnke from Wet Frog Studios and the Home Work podcast. We try to catch up in person at least once a year and I am glad we were able to make it happen again. I always learn a lot talking with him, but the highlight of our meal was when a group of guys rolled up in a Lamborghini, a Lotus, and two Aston Martins. The fifth guy rocked a Corvette - he must have been the personal assistant.

After my fill of blueberry granola pancakes I drove the 10 minutes over to the hotel where the pen show was located. I was a little early so I checked my Twitter feed and it was go time:

Pierce (@mysticalthing) @dowdyism just got my badge and waiting for the show to start! #atlpenshow

I headed inside around 9:30, paid my $8 entry fee, got my name badge, and headed over to talk to Pierce until the doors opened at 10. While we were chatting, long-time internet friend Grey Williams joined us, and I finally got to meet Heath Cates from Pen Paper Ink Letter in person. We were chatting about Field Notes and Heath's drive up from Auburn when the doors opened and we got our pen show on!

Mike Masuyama was in his usual spot - immediately to the left when you walk in the first door. I double-checked my name on his nib work list (#2!) and headed over to see Brian and Lisa Anderson to get my #LisaHug.

Meeting with the Anderson's was one of the highlights of my 2013 show and they were great again this year. We chatted for a while, I dropped off some Nock Co. goods and they gifted me a Field Notes America the Beautiful edition after listening to Episode 101 on their long drive down from Wisconsin. Hopefully Myke and I gave them a little entertainment!

Right when I left the Anderson's table I turned around to be greeted by the one and only Jeff Abbot, aka my savior. I'm not sure where this blog would be right now without his weekly post so I was excited he made the drive over from Alabama. He and I hung out for most of the day during the show as we browsed around.

Speaking of Alabama, John, aka Bamapen called me up to handoff two new cigar box storage cases I had on order. They turned out great as usual, and I guess you could say that was my first purchase of the day.

My second purchase came from Lisa Vanness from Vanness Pens. I had put two bottles of Akkerman Inks old hold before the show via Twitter and there they were behind the table with my name on it. Lisa and Wendi were super nice and liked the Nock Co. products I dropped of to them as well. I can't wait to see them again in the future.

By this time it is almost noon and I haven't looked a pen yet. I did get my Lamy 2000 nib tweaked again by Mike Masuyama, where my favorite picture of the show was taken by Heath:

Listen here Masuyama!

Listen here Masuyama!

Business was handled, now it was time to shop! I had my list committed to memory, which was easy because it was fairly short. I picked up two secret-for-now Franklin-Christoph pens and two nibs from the F-C table. Hopefully Myke will be happy with what I got him, but it is a secret until it arrives in London.

My largest single pen purchase of the day was a Visconti Opera Typhoon, a pen I have fawned over since its release. I actually had the Visconti Wall Street on my mind as my main purchase of the day but got a deal on the Typhoon I couldn't pass up. There is always next year for the Wall Street.

Typhoon warning

Typhoon warning

I also picked up a Waterman 52 with a flexy nib, another item from the shopping list. I'm in the process of giving it a good cleaning so I haven't fully tested it out yet. It looks great though.

The full loot list:

-- Visconti Typhoon Opera, F nib

-- (2) Secret F-C pens

-- Waterman 52, flex nib

-- (2) F-C nibs

-- (2) Bottles of Akkerman ink

-- (2) Cigar box pen cases

-- Mike Masuyama nib grind on Lamy 2000

-- Pendelton Brown nib grind on Pilot Custom Heritage 912 stub

-- Bottle of Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki

-- Bottle of Organics Studio Blue Merle

-- (2) Sailor convertors

-- (2) 12000 grit nib smoothing sandpapers

Bag Dump

Bag Dump

It was an amazing show for "stuff" but nothing I bought can compare with the experience I had and the people I met. I had several people introduce themselves to me throughout the day saying they read the blog and listen to the podcast. That was humbling, and cool. I am grateful for everyone who reached out and glad you came!

Post show meet-up. Getting WILD!

Post show meet-up. Getting WILD!

The pen show ended at 5pm, but the fun continued well after the doors closed. I set up an informal meet-up in the hotel bar where we showed off our purchases, nib work, and traded pen and life stories. Mark Bacas, one of the cogs in the wheel at the pen show and a friend of mine, showed up for a drink, along with the aforementioned Grey, Heath, Jeff, and Brian and Lisa Anderson. We were also joined by @heymatthew and my Nock Co. partner Jeff and his wife Rachel. What had tentatively been scheduled to end at 7pm went on until 8:30 when I HAD to get on the road. You can see more pictures of the meet-up on the Atlanta Pen Show Facebook page.

I learned more at this pen show than the last two combined. My most important takeaway is that friends and friendship are more important than any pen I own, or will ever own. Pens are the sideshow at an event like this. The people are the real reason to be there and even if I didn't have a dollar to spend it would have been an amazingly successful day.

What an experience.

Posted on April 14, 2014 and filed under Atlanta Pen Show.

Ink Links

I will be at the Atlanta Pen Show from 10a-5p today, followed by a Pen Addict Meetup in the hotel bar from 5p-7p. Look for the guy with the blue and red Topo backpack and say hi! I'll do my best to post a few pics throughout the day on Twitter and Instagram as well.

-- The User Experience (UX) Of Sketching In Prototyping (Ben Nadel)

-- The Bolt – Copper (No Pen Intended)

-- Montblanc Lavender Purple (inklode)

-- Monteverde's Artista Crystal (Inkdependence!)

-- Kaweco Allrounder Fountain Pen Quick Review (THE UNROYAL WARRANT)

-- Pentel Ain Clic (Bleistift)

-- Flexible Fountain Pen for Calligraphy (Katrina Alana)

-- Review: @1901FC Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic Smoke & Ice - Broad (Gourmet Pens)

-- Comparison of D1 Refills (Part one) (Pens! Paper! Pencils!)

-- Prussian Blue - Diamine Ink Review (Ink of Me Fondly)

-- Uni-ball Signo UM-151 Review - Revisiting an Old Favorite (Office Supply Geek)

-- Hero 100 Fountain Pen (The Frugal Fountain Pen)

-- Palomino Golden Bear #2 Wood Cased Pencil (The Clicky Post)

-- My new Navy Blue Cover by Cody Williams (Blank And Write)

-- Soft Landing: Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip Ballpoint (From the Pen Cup)

-- Kokuyo CamiApp Notebook Review (Inktronics)

-- A cure for pen and ink addiction is needed: Diamine Graphite ink review (Peninkcillin)

-- Baron Fig Confidant Is The Best Paper Notebook I’ve Used (Cult of Mac)

-- Review: Hahnemuhle Travel Journal and Travel Booklets (Notebook Stories)

-- A clear winner: A review of the TWSBI Diamond 580 (A fool with a pen)

-- Rohrer & Klingner Salix Iron Gall – Ink Review (Ed Jelley)

-- White-ink Pen Tests (Burning Monster: A Sketch-Blog)

-- On My Desk: Field Notes Expedition Edition (The Newsprint)

-- First Papermate Retractable Ball Point Pen (My Supply Room)

-- Why I Use a Fountain Pen (Reverenced Reading)

-- Review: Sheaffer Intensity Carbon Fiber (Fountain Pen Quest)

-- Weekender: A Review of Myself Trying to Use Field Notes (Overthought)

-- Pen Review: Fountain Pen Revolution Triveni (The Pen Habit)

-- Review: Uni-ball Signo 207 .7mm (in honour of The Pen Addict’s 100th) (Blessed Are The Geeks)

-- Ti2 TechLiner Prototype Pen by Mike Bond (The Clicky Post)

-- Pensieve: Nakaya Ao-Tamenuri Decapod Twist: A Review (Scribalishess)

Posted on April 12, 2014 and filed under Links.

JetPens $100 Gift Certificate Winner

The only thing I love as much as JetPens is giving away some of their awesome products to readers of The Pen Addict. Who doesn't love filling their online shopping cart with tools of greatness? I know one person that will have fun doing that this weekend:


Congratulations Jeremy! Get in touch via the Contact Page and I will email your gift certificate ASAP.

Don't worry if you didn't win - there are going to be many more opportunities like this very soon!

Posted on April 11, 2014 and filed under Giveaways, JetPens.

Leuchtturm 1917 Soft Cover Notebook Review

This week, I'm really pleased to talk about one of my favorite notebooks: the Leuchtturm 1917 Soft Cover Large Notebook. I've had this particular book for about two years now, and it's always a joy to use. When this one is full, I'll buy a replacement or two (or twelve).

Look and feel

There's something about a simple black notebook that catches my eye. It's not trying to be fancy or flamboyant. I'm neither of these things either, so maybe that's why I like it so much – we're two peas in a pod.

The synthetic cover is soft and pliable in the hand. In my years of using it, the cover hasn't discolored or worn at all. It sill looks new. Of course, there's an elastic closure and a black ribbon marker to hold your place. The sides of the notebook are completely square, and by that I mean that there aren't groups of pages that are misaligned due to hasty cutting at the shop. From the outside of this book, you can tell that quality was one of the top three requirements.

One thing I don't completely understand is the length of the page marker ribbon. It extends about 4 inches below the book and tends to get in the way when open or closed. My guess is that this can serve as a dual page marker, meaning you can tuck the end into a different place in the book. This is a small quibble, but worth mentioning.

On the inside, the Leuchtturm has a page dedicated to your name and address, a blank page, and then another page that has a pre-printed table of contents. This is really useful, and I know that several people have mentioned that this is really handy when using the Bullet Journal method. The back cover has a sturdy pocket for holding loose pages, which I've never used. Pages 107-121 are perforated.

One of my favorite features is the page numbering. Yes, the Leuchtturm notebooks have the page numbers printed in the bottom corner of each page in a light gray ink. I number all my notebooks, and this is a huge convenience for me.

The book also came with a sheet of stickers that you can place on the front or spine to label the notebook. I haven't used them yet, but plan to once it's full and I store it away for reference. Another cool thing that is included is a ruled card that can be placed behind the blank page so that you can have a rule to follow on the page. I haven't used it, but it's a nice thing to include. I have a plan paper version, and I'm not sure if they include this card with the other types.

Like I said, my notebook has plain paper, but this seems to be slightly difficult to find sometimes. Goulet Pens has a softcover book, but only with lined paper. Amazon has the Large Squared Soft Cover, which I'm sure Brad is all over.

Now, on to the paper.

Writing performance

In my testing, this paper has worked splendidly with every pen and ink I've tried with it. It's an 80g ivory paper, so it's a tad bit thin and allows heavier inks or pens to show through, but I haven't seen any bleed-through. I also haven't seen any feathering or bleeding on the paper.

It's a thin, bright paper that is enjoyable to write on. The paper tends to have a small amount of tooth with some pens, but it's nothing that bothers me. It gives a sense of feedback, which is usually helpful. Any pens that caught a bit more tooth were somewhat scratchy on other papers anyway. Overall, it's an excellent paper.

Being thinner than other papers like Clairefontaine, the dry time is slightly faster. The color and properties of the paper also show what I think of as the "true" color of the inks being used. Some papers make inks appear more or less saturated, which can be annoying.

Overall, this is a fantastic paper. I don't have any complaints.

Wrap up

Leuchtturm 1917 look like Moleskines on the outside, but they're so much better in quality and writing experience that it's not even funny. What is funny, however, is that the Leuchtturm notebooks usually cost a couple of dollars less than Moleskine. Now, if only Leuchtturm were in every major book seller in the states...

If you haven't tried a Leuchtturm book, it's a worthy risk to take. They have larger and smaller sizes, soft and hard covers, as well as different colors.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Posted on April 10, 2014 and filed under Notebook Reviews, Leuchtturm.

The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 101 - Lots of Brad's Face

If there is one thing I know for a fact it is that the readers and listeners of The Pen Addict are awesome. Is it so wrong I plastered my face all over Myke's timeline thanking everyone for their kind words last week? I don't think so, Mr. Hurley!

Aside from the wonderful Episode 100 feedback, we got back down to pen business and discussed my Atlanta Pen Show prep. C'mon Saturday!

Show Notes & Download Links

Posted on April 9, 2014 and filed under Podcast.