Fountain Pen Database revisited

I last blogged about my fountain pen database in July 2015. I thought now over two years later would a good time to revisited the subject. The 2015 post is here. Rereading that post I was surprised how much had changed in the algorithm I use to determine the pen, nib and ink combination to use. I seemed to be always tweaking the algorithm (its almost a hobby in itself).

An interest note from the 2015 post - I said my collection at the time was 90 pens, 116 nibs and 279 inks - my current collection is 56 pens, 65 nibs and 426 inks! A 147 ink increase in 26 months...

Though many details change some things remain the same - the primary factor for the pen, nib and ink is still days since last used (DSLU). I could simply use this value to select my next pen each time but that is a bit boring so I have endeavoured to spice things up.

So how do I currently calculate things?

For a pen the base value (sCalc) is derived from the DSLU value modified by:

• subtracting the number of days this pen has been in use in the last 12 months (DU12M).
• subtracting the number of pens of the same model already in use (PIU).
• subtracting a calculated value that relates to number of inks that have a higher rating than highest DSLU pen (IRS).
• adding a calculated value if this pen is able to use the current highest DSLU nib (TNBS).

This is the simplest calculation for deriving highest rated pen I have had in years. The sCalc formula is expressed in the database as:

Round(If(Status =1 or Status =3 ;-999;DSLU - DU12M - PIU - IRS + TNBS ) ;0)

The pen selection table

For a nib to calculate its base value the DSLU is modified by:

• subtracting the number of days this nib has been in use in the last 12 months (DU12M).
• subtracting the number of nibs of the same model already in use (NIU).

The sCalc is expressed in the database as:

If(Status = 1 or Status =3;-999;DSLU ) - DU12M - NIU

The nib table

For an ink to calculate its base value the DSLU is modified by:

• subtracting the number of days this ink has been in use in the last 5 years (DU60M).
• subtracting the number of inks by the same manufacturer already in use (IIUM).
• subtracting the number of inks of the same colour grouping already in use (IIUCC).
• adding a calculated value if this ink has been used less times than the number of years it has been in my collection (DOYTU).

The sCalc is expressed in the database as:

If( Status=1 or Status =3;-999; Round(DSLU + DOYTU - DU60M - IIUM - IIUCC ;0))

The ink table

What do the colour fills in IC column signify? They are simply a representation of the far right column in the table above. Dark Green is rating 1 (the safest), light green is a 2, the yellow a 3, orange a 4 and not shown is red for a 5 (Two inks score a 5 - the two Noodler's Baystate inks)

Next pen, nib and ink combination table

To derive the next pen, nib and ink combination I take the top ranked pen (Pelikan M620 Piazza Navona), select the three top ranked nibs that can be used with it and then select the top four inks that can be used with each combination of pen and nib. In the database the outcome of these series of calculation is shown in the above screenshot (I have only included the screen of the nib I used - a M600 14K Medium). You will notice that the two top ranked inks (Noodler's American Eel Red Rattler and El Lawrence) from the previous ink table are missing from the selection screen, Why? They have a rating number (4&3 respectively) greater than the pen rating of Pizza Navona (2) so are banned from use in this pen.

Currently in rotation table

As you can see from the above pens in use screen I chose to not select the top ink suitable (Lamy Blue-Black) but rather the second one (Noodler's Walnut). Why? Well I had just inked up Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black in the M815 Wall Street LE and it and the Lamy are almost identical and a brown ink looks good in the semi-transparent body of the M620 Piazza Navona.

I have left out a lot of detail of how 'the sausage is made' because the post would be more tedious than it is already. I hope this gives some further insight into my pen database madness. :)