Saturday's are typically the first "public day" at pen shows, meaning that there's a bigger crowd because the doors are open to anyone who pays the $5-10 admission. Thursdays and Fridays are usually restricted to "weekend pass" holders, who pay $30-40 for early access to the show, as well a invitations to dinners and after-parties throughout the weekend. I always buy the weekend pass if I will be attending for more than a single day, since it more than pays for itself in food and drink expense alone (not to mention the ability to get in early and get your name on Mike Masuyama's list).
After my adventures on Friday, I thought I was tapped out for the weekend, but I was wrong. On Saturday, I made what I think was a fairly well-thought out purchase decision. I've been wanting a Pelikan M800 for years, and I couldn't pass up Pelikan's special edition "Burnt Orange" pen before it was retired. A couple years back, I passed on the Brown Tortoise M800 Special Edition and have regretted it ever since, so I pulled the trigger. Tom Baley, who doesn't have a website but is a Pelikan specialty dealer, made me a great deal. I had Mike Masuyama grind the broad nib to a .4mm cursive italic, and the pen is an outstanding writer.
To go with the Burnt Orange pen, what better than Diamine 150th Anniversary Terracotta ink, right? I then spent thirty minutes or so at the ink testing station, and had the opportunity to try a handful of KWZ Inks. They're quite nice. As a direct result of the ink testing station, I bought a bottle of Bung Box Ink of Witch (a purple black color that's now in my Pilot Custom 823), and a bottle of KWZ Green Gold (which is in my Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel). KWZ inks might be the find of the show for me: they behaved well on any paper I tried, and the colors really pop.
While I was waiting for Mike Masuyama to free up, I wandered to the end of the room and visited the Franklin-Christoph table. Scott and Jim had their typical pen show setup, with two trays of tester pens, their standard line of pens for sale, and assorted ink and leather goods. As they have in recent years, they also brought several trays of prototype pens in experimental acrylics that may or may not enter the regular line at some point. Right now, the only way to snag one of these pens is to visit the Franklin-Christoph table at a pen show, or to keep checking online in The Stock Room section of their website. I personally didn't pick up anything this year--they had some nice acrylics but none of them really spoke to me. They were, however, running a pen show special where you could purchase a pocket pen (I believe the 45?) with a standard nib for $90. Those are the deals you can only get at a show!
Mark Bacas probably thinks I'm crazy, because I visited him twice and had three pens ground. As I mentioned in my last update, I had him grind one of my Deltas to a medium "smooth cursive italic," which is a classic cursive italic grind with the edges smoothed out to make it somewhat less crisp. It's a great writer. I was in the mood to experiment a bit, so I also had him put a reversible cursive italic/extra-fine point on my Lamy 2000 stainless steel, and a "Concord Turk" (i.e., basically an ultrafine architect's point, which is surprisingly smooth) on my Pelikan M600. All of these new nibs will get their own write-up at some point.
After spending every dime I brought with me (and more), I took the opportunity to wander around the show and take pictures of the vendors and all the various pens, inks, and paper they brought with them.
Live Broadcast of the Pen Addict Podcast, 200th Episode
The show didn't close until 5:00pm, but I figured it would be a long night and ducked out an hour early to rest. Myke wasn't kidding when he said their was a sizable crowd waiting outside the door (and yes, he did visibly shudder when the doors opened). If you haven't listened to the live broadcast yet, do so. It's more or less impossible to describe the experience unless you were there, but let's just say that a lot of people commented on how they were overcome by the sense of friendship and community in the room. It was a fun night.
AND, shock: I won the door prize! I'm pretty sure I've never won a drawing for anything in my life, and certainly not one this nice. The featured prize was a commemorative Cube by Dudek Modern goods. (My old Dudek Block will shortly go to its new home with Charles Anderson in Atlanta.) The box of prizes, which was provided by PenChalet, also included a Lamy AL-Star in Charged Green, with a bottle of the charged green ink, a Quo Vadis Habana Notebook, and a Monteverde Mountains of the World Ballpoint Kilimanjaro Edition.
I didn't have a chance to stay through Sunday due to a family conflict, but two full days of this pen show did enough damage to my wallet! A bunch of us went out to dinner Saturday night following the live recording and had a great time. I turned in relatively early, but there was still a lively scene at the bar. If I had one recommendation for this show next year, it would be to make sure the hotel has more seating and tables available for people. I probably would have stayed out later had there actually been a place to sit, but after being on my feet for 12+ hours I just couldn't do it anymore. At one point we had bottles of ink and paper spread out over the piano in the lounge! Overall, however, this was a great pen show, and Atlanta has become a fixture on my annual calendar alongside D.C. I'm already counting the days until August.
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