Pen & Paper: Black Forest

Digital notes are great, but there is still something to be said for good old pen and paper --- and writing notes with a nice fountain pen on good paper with a well behaved ink can be a pleasure. To that end, I'll highlight a pen, paper, notebook, or ink that I enjoy writing with on occasion for those who might be interested.

Back in my university days I had a black Rotring 600 series fountain pen and it was my favorite writing device for a few years for pretty much everything (research notes, editing, sketching, and even field notes in dusty museum basements and in the Egyptian desert). Alas, someone stole it. I was pretty bummed. These days the same pens can be had for several hundred dollars on ebay ... often listed as vintage (well, that doesn't make me feel old at all). I never did replace it, but ever since I've had penchant for simple black metal pens.

A while back I picked up a rather inexpensive pen, inline with that penchant, that feels and performs far better than its under-30 dollar (CAD) price would suggest. The Hongdian matte black Forest series fountain pen:

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You can find these on ebay or amazon. It is a metal pen with a nice matte black finish, knurling on the barrel, and weights in at 31.7 grams capped (about 3/4 inked), and roughly 10g less capless. I got the extra fine nib and it writes very smoothly with just a touch of feedback. The pen comes with a converter (Hongdian also sells cartridges for it if you prefer) that works smoothly, and the pen provides a very consistent ink flow. It might be on the slender side (11mm diameter on the barrel) for some people, but I like the feel, balance, writeability, and simple aesthetics of this pen. Since this one has proven itself as a nice everyday/everywhere writer for a while now, I have ordered a very similar Hongdian 6013 to see how it measures up.

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