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Commonwealth Pen Show – Boston

See what you missed…

pen poster3The Commonwealth pen show went down his weekend in Boston (actually just to the north in Somerville, MA). The show had about 16 vendors offering quite a lot of vintage pens and vintage parts, stationary, ink and repair services. Being my first show I decided to get there early so I could scope the show out before it got busy – and so did about 50 other folks. For a small show the turnout was really great – I think a lot of that had to do with Noodler’s offering up three new limited edition inks just for the Boston show. The majority of the show was smaller independent pen folks and so the show had a ton of vintage but seemed to lack a lot of modern pen offerings – not a huge issue with new stuff a click away online.

IMG_0819I started off in Nathan’s line and prayed there would be some ink left when my turn came – luckily he brought a good amount and I snagged 2 bottles of each color. Myles Standish (Blue), Plymouth Wilderness (Green), and King Phillip Requiem (Magenta) are great colors and Nathan was throwing in a Charlie pen and eyedropper for only $12 – quite a bargain! While I was there Nathan was showcasing some interesting pens including some rare Konrad Ebonite colors and some Neponset models with a 14k music nib he never pushed into production. I settled on a Konrad in “Nantucket Chimneys Afire” (an old whaling reference) that Nathan outfitted with a slew of different nib widths. I also picked up a Neponset in “Lake Baikal” with one of the few 14k music nibs he had left. While we talked he made some adjustments to the extra steel music nib that came with the Neponset to add a little flex.

beliveauAfter talking with Nathan I stepped over to Andy Beliveau’s table. Andy makes some of the most beautiful pen modifications I have ever seen. Andy wraps the outside of vintage pens with hand crafted sterling silver designs. I say designs but these pens are works of art – the level of detail in each pen is amazing. Andy also makes custom clips and roll stops in silver – everything from squids and skulls to angels and snakes. We talked for a bit about how to build a “Frankenpen” from a Victorian era dip pen nib with a body and feed to allow longer writing sessions with the nib without constantly dipping – I think I know what my next project will be.

Richard Binder was there doing nib magic for the crowd – his table was constantly busy and he was booked up with work by the time I got back over – so get on his list early or you may miss out as well.

Tomoe River JournalMy last stop was with Jay Potter from If you are not familiar, Jay makes Tomoe River paper available in pads and hardcover journals. Tomoe was one paper I didn’t have on hand last week for the “Chivor Shimmer Showdown” and so I stopped to give the paper a try. Jay was happy to let me take out my Pilot Parallel loaded with Emerald of Chivor and give it a shot. We both sat there entranced as we watched Chivor do it’s thing. Jay looked at me and laughed, “You realize we’re watching ink dry?” – but it was worth it, Tomoe is just amazing. Part of the reason is that Tomoe has a very vellum-like surface–smooth as silk and no real tooth to it. This ink resistance is what lets the Chivor spend lots of time on the surface setting up all that beautiful red sheen. I ended up grabbing two pads of white paper and a smaller journal for ink testing.

So the show, while small, was still a fantastic time, and well worth the trip down from NH. If you are in the Boston area I would highly suggest hitting up the show next year and meeting some of the great folks in the Boston pen community.



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