Posts Tagged ‘fountain pen’

Ka-Week-O! Review: 14K Gold BB Nib

Kaweco 14K Gold BB Nib

Have you heard about the new 14K gold nibs available from Kaweco? Ooh la la! I got the chance to try out the BB, double broad nib. By eye, it looked like a stub nib, wide and flat but when I put it to paper, it created a wide soft line. Not hard edged at all.

Kaweco 14K Gold BB Nib

The ink just poured out of this nib. It really was quite wet and super smooth. There’s a little bit of a spring to the nib but as you can see from the writing sample, it doesn’t actually flex. I suspect it has as more to do with the overall broadness of the nib than how flexible the gold nib is. I’ve never used a BB nib before. It was a lot of fun but with my small writing, it might be a bit too much nib for me.

Kaweco nib size sampler

As I was testing all these Kaweco pens this week, I was able to compare the line widths of all the various Kaweco nibs I had on hand. I have almost the full gamut available (just missing a B and the calligraphy nibs). I’ve often commented that there is very little difference that I can see between the Kaweco steel EF and F nibs and, from the sampler page, I think that stands true. It also makes it abundantly clear how much wider and darker the BB 14K nib is.

The BB nib I received is a full unit, not just the nib so, out of the box, its designed to fit onto the higher-end Kaweco fountain pens like the AL-Sport, Luxe Sport, Special, Allrounder, Elegance, Student or the Dia2. It could probably be wiggled out of the housing to fit into a standard Sport but since its a nib that will retail for around $100, is it really something you’ll add to your $25 Sport?

The 14K nib is available in the full range of sizes: EF, F, M, B and BB. There is a two-tone version available in M only.

Overall its a gorgeous nib and speaks to Kaweco’s commitment to advancing their pen line, staying true to its historical roots and listening to the numerous requests of its loyal users. And that makes me very happy.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ka-Week-O! Review: Kaweco AL-Sport RAW

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW

The Kaweco AL-Sport in Raw is the same size and shape as the other Sport models but with a raw aluminum body with a high gloss finish. Its gorgeous in the hand.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW & Aluminum Liliput

When compared with the brushed aluminum finish on Liliput, its obvious how much more polished the RAW AL-Sport is. Shiny!

The RAW finish will show scratches and patina with wear and pair beautifully with a leather notebook like a Midori Traveler so that they could age together.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW M nib

This is my second medium nib on a Kaweco. I had a little trouble with the nib on this one out of the box. I removed it from the pen and rinsed it completely and that fixed the problem completely. I suspect that, with the aluminum finish, there may have been a bit more oil or some other lubricant on the pen that may have transferred to the nib so I definitely recommend rinsing this nib before inking it up for the first time.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW writing sample

Once I got it going, this is another lovely medium nib. Its a bit stiffer than the medium nib on the Dia2 even though they are both steel nibs with an iridium tip. I definitely think that Kaweco medium nibs are not as broad as a comparable Lamy medium. Kaweco medium nibs are not as fine as Japanese nibs but not as broad as some other European medium nibs.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW writing sample

The AL-Sport is definitely a more durable option compared with the plastic Sport models. If you’re looking for an Everyday Carry pen, you can’t get a better option than the AL-Sport.

If fountain pens aren’t your thing, the AL-Sport RAW is also available in rollerball version with a cap as well. Click models are available in pencil, ballpoint and the touch model with twist and clip.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ka-week-o! Review: Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen M Nib

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

I know Kaweco is pronounced “ca-vek-oh” but I thought it would be fun to play on the habit I have of saying “ca-week-oh” and start the first ever Kaweco Week – KA-WEEK-O!

To get the week started, I thought I’d show you a fountain pen I’ve always wanted to try: the Dia 2. Its got such beautifully classic looks. Kaweco hasn’t changed the physical look of this pen since it was introduced in the 1930s. It has the streamlined details inspired by the era, like the soft curve of the chromed brass clip, etched with the Kaweco script logo and decorative feather lines.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

At each end of the pen is the classic is Kaweco logo mark inlaid in chromed metal on the plastic. There is knurling at the ends of the pen which gives it a little grippy area and a functional but elegant look.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

There are some simple chrome rings around the base of the cap and on the ends of the pen which echo the look of all the streamlined designs from the 20s and 30s.

There is a simple stamped logo name on the cap, on the reverse side from the clip that simply states “KawecoDia Germany”.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

The nib is etched with the same decorative lines and text found on the Sport line and the nib is the same size. The nibs are not interchangeable from the Dia to a Sport, however.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

I’m a little ashamed to admit it but this is the first time I’ve used a medium nib on a Kaweco despite several people recommending it to me. The nib is buttery smooth and writes very well. There’s a little spring to the steel nib. It gives the writing experience a pleasing quality overall.

The Dia is a bit heavier than my usual go-to pens at 19gms unposted but, for me, is perfectly weighted for writing. Posted and filled the pen weighs 28gms. The Kaweco Student is 27gms capped but most of the weight feels like its in the chrome grip area to me, making it feel a little off balance when writing.

Kaweco Dia2 comparison

From top to bottom: Kaweco Student, Kaweco Dia2 and vintage Estrbrook

The Dia2 is just a hair longer than the Kaweco Student model and a little bit bigger overall than a vintage Esterbrook. I used to think a Pelikan M200 would be my dream pen but I’ve changed my mind. The Dia2 is my dream pen.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Levenger for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

Fountain Pen Day Poster

There are so many sales and events going around the internet today that I’d be surprised if anyone has time to actually use their fountain pens. That said, my good friend Chris sent me this fountain penned greeting for the day.

Post your own fountain penned greeting and post it on Instagram. Tag your photo with  #fountainpenday and tag me in the post with @tuesday_next if you want. Can’t wait to see all the fountain pen goodness.

Happy Fountain Pen Day

Fountain Pen Day: Nov. 7

Fountain Pen Day is Friday, November 7th 2014. The first Friday in November is a day to celebrate, promote and share the love of fountain pens with the world. Celebrate in your own way by writing with your fountain pens. If you don’t own one, November 7th is the perfect day to go out and buy or order your first pen. For more information about Fountain Pen Day and to find retailers and resources participating in Fountain Pen Day, visit FountainPenDay.org.

There will be lots of ways to celebrate the upcoming Fountain Pen Day including giveaways, sales and goodies. Check with all your favorite retailers and bloggers for more details. Here’s what I know so far:

Any orders placed to the Well-Appointed Desk Shop will include free Fountain Pen Day swag until I run out.

There are still five days left to order an official Fountain Pen Day t-shirt from Cotton Bureau ($28 for charcoal, $27 for red shirt — available in men’s and women’s sizing).

Pen Chalet is sponsoring a bevvy of coupons and discounts and an epic giveaway in honor of Fountain Pen Day. There will be a special coupon on Fountain Pen Day for use on ALL items. Check back on their site on Friday, November 7th, 2014 for the coupon code and then place your order. There will be special discounts on select items. Enter your email in the “Special Offers” at the top of their page or enter the giveaway to the right to receive notification of the Fountain Pen Day Deals. There will be freebies in each order while supplies last.

And then there’s the epic giveaways! Pen Chalet is giving away about $1000 in prizes including the following(enter to win here):

  • Platinum President Fountain Pen ($275 retail value) Blue w/ gold trim, Broad nib
    Sailor Reglus Fountain Pen ($140 retail value) Marine Blue w/ chrome trim, Medium nib
  • Sheaffer Prelude Fountain Pen ($100 retail value) Brushed Chrome w/ 22K Gold Plated Trim, Medium nib
  • Field Notes Cherry Wood Notebook ($9.95 retail value) Cherry wood w/ graph paper
  • Clairefontaine 1951 Blue Notebook ($4.50 retail value)
  • Pelikan 205 Fountain Pen ($195 retail value) Black w/ chrome trim, Medium nib
  • Taccia Covenant Fountain Pen ($129 retail value) Jet Black w/ gold trim, Medium nib
  • Lamy Safari Fountain Pen ($37 retail value) Charcoal, Medium nib
    Rhodia Ice No. 16 Notebook ($5.50 retail value)
  • J Herbin Vert Empire Fountain Pen Ink ($10 retail value)

Are there any other events, giveaways or special deals for Fountain Pen Day? Leave a note in the comments and happy penning!

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen: Emerald Pearl M Nib

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Writing Sample

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

When the Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen ($52) arrived I could not wait to load it with “good ink.” I installed the stock blue cartridge that shipped with it on the counter at the post office and started doodling on the back of my junk mail. Who says pens aren’t an addiction?

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

I got the Pearl Green version of the IM Premium, of course. No one is surprised about that. The pen shipped in a simple paperboard box with a faux velvet lining and ribbon wrap to hold the pen in place. Its not expensive packaging but its fitting for the price point.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Nib

The pen was only available in the medium nib which I was a bit worried would be too wide for my taste but I was pleasantly surprised. The nib is beautifully etched with a classic Parker design and super smooth. Its a steel nib but felt good on the paper and caused no issues for this left-hander.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

The look of the Parker IM Premium is inspired by the vintage Vacumatics, which if I’m honest is the WHOLE reason I got it. I have one vintage Vacumatic and I love the look and feel. I am easily swayed by anything that is retro- or vintage-inspired so it was a no-brainer for me to grab this pen.

Of course, its not the Vacumatic. Besides the nod to the Vacumatic with the etched lines on the aluminum barrel (which are horizontal not vertical), the lovely etched nib (which is pretty but not the same etching used on older Vacumatics) and the arrow shaped clip (still used even on the Parker 5th line), there is nothing about this pen that makes it truly inspired by the Vacumatic. It takes cartridges or a converter, its metal not plastic or resin or whatever material was used with Vacumatics, the nib is not 14K, there is no ink window… need I go on? I do appreciate that Parker recognizes that a lot of the modern appeal is from pen collectors like us so I want to support their efforts to trip down memory lane occasionally.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Writing Sample

Now that I’ve said that, I really like the pen. The aluminum body is light in my hand (just 16 gms filled and capped) and the overall width of the pen is on the smaller side (about the same as a Sharpie marker fine point). I can hold it comfortably in my hand and write with it unposted. The cap will post but it makes the pen a little top heavy in my small hands. My husband took it for a spin and his big “monkey paws” found the pen a little too small for him.

  • Capped length: 5.5″
  • Uncapped length: 4.625″
  • Posted length: 6.125″

This was my first foray into modern Parker fountain pens and I’ve come away pleased. I don’t know why I thought they would be bad except that I often only see them in office supply big box stores which I associated with low cost/low quality. At the sub-$100 price point for a fountain pen, this is a really good option. The medium nib might be a breaking point for some folks but I like that it gave me an excuse to break out of my EF or F nib rut.

It’s been my daily carry fountain pen for a week now. I’m not thrilled with the blue ink cartridge included with it. When the pen has sat overnight, the ink comes out quite dark at first and then gets lighter and lighter until its sort of a washable blue/washed denim pale.  I need to swap out the ink so that I can experience this with an ink I actually like.

I should have purchased the Parker converter ($9.25) too but I forgot to check if one was included with the pen (only a cartridge is included with the pen).


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Pen Cleaning

Pen cleaning

Every once in awhile I realize that I have every fountain pen in the house inked up and haven’t used most of them in months. This inevitably leads to maniacally cleaning every pen. All the cartridges come out and every pen is disassembled to its smallest possible pieces and dropped into water. I even syringe out a lot of the cartridges so that I can reuse them.

This photo is only part of the pens that got cleaned. Some of the nib units are still soaking since they were left filled until the ink dried. All my Kaweco pens were cleaned first and refilled so they are not pictured above. The Kawecos are probably better maintained than any of my other pens. My growing collection of Lamy and Monteverde pens were also pretty well maintained. The most neglected were the budget fountain pens bought early in my fountain pen collecting that got cleaned last.

In the process of cleaning, I realized that the Lamy Logo and Lamy Accent do not accept the Lamy Converter. It a good thing I cleaned out the stock Lamy cartridges that came with the pens so that I can fill them with bottled inks. Lamy ink colors are pretty limited.

How many pens do you keep inked at any one time? Are you fastidious about cleaning them or do you leave them until it gets this bad? Are there certain pens that get more “love” than others?

LWA Fountain Pen Laboratory

LWA Fountain Pen Workshop

The Letter Writers Alliance is hosting a Fountain Pen Lab next Saturday in Chicago at the amazing Greer Stationery Shop. The lab is limited to 6 people and the lab fee includes a Kaweco sport demonstrator pen with a medium nib as well as all their experiences and knowledge about using fountain pens and improving penmanship.

Fountain Pen Laboratory
Saturday, Oct. 11th from 1-3pm
Location: Greer, 1657 N Wells St, Chicago, IL
Fee: $75

Go to the Letter Writers Alliance blog to register.

Review: Noodler’s Ahab Flexible Nib Fountain Pen

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

I have had the Noodler’s Ahab flexible fountain pen ($20) for a couple months and have tested it with Goulet Pen’s replacement nibs but hadn’t posted about the flex nib. As others have mentioned over the years, trying to use and learning to use a flexible nib pen is very different than how we use modern day pens, be they fountain or otherwise.

Over the years I’ve used a lot of different flexible nib tools. I have a few vintage pens that have some flex and I’ve used a lot of dip nib pens which are the least expensive and most flexible option in modern tools. Dip nibs are a little fiddly to use those because I frequently have to stop and dip and try to pick up my thoughts and my stroke where I left off. So there is a lot of appeal in getting the Noodler’s Ahab to work for me.

I got the Ahab in the Amazon Pearl finish but there are dozens of color options in the Ahab so there is bound to be one you like. The Amazon Pearl finish is a shimmer metallic forest green with some darker green threads in the color. Its really pretty.

The Ahab pen body feels likes plastic but is actually a celluloid derivative. This may explain a slightly acrid smell upon opening the pen. I noticed the smell most when removing the cap but it dissipated quickly.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

The Noodler’s flex nib (found in the Creaper, the Ahab and the Konrad models) is split down the middle to give it its flex. By nudging the placement of the nib in the feed, its possible to adjust how much flex. However, the higher you place the nib in the feed (creating more flex) the more likely that the ink flow might become choked causing skipping or inconsistent ink flow.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

In order to get the benefits of the flex nib, I needed to change my writing position from the left-handed overhand method I normally use to position where my hand is below the line I’m writing. Otherwise, the thicks-and-thins of the flexible nib are in the wrong places or non-existent entirely.

Using the piston filler, the Ahab will hold about 2ml of ink which is twice what the Creaper holds. Its possible to eyedropper fill the Ahab for even more ink capacity but I didn’t attempt that. I change my mind about ink color too frequently to want that much ink in one go. The piston filler is not a twist fill mechanism common to cartridge converters but rather a plunger mechanism to pump ink into the reservoir. It’s easy to use but might take a couple tries to get accustomed to the filling technique. This also means you must use bottled inks with this pen. No cartridges can be used.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

While the pen felt light and a little plasticky in my hand, it looks like a more expensive material than some of the clear plastic pens in a similar price range.  Overall, I like what Noodler’s is doing with their line of flex nib pens and, for its small price, the Ahab is a good way to venture into flexible nibs. If you discover that flex nibs are not for you, Goulet Pen’s replacement nibs will fit in the Ahab and can turn the pen into a standard writer.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Lamy Accent Fountain Pen

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen & Packaging

Thanks to Fontoplumo for  sending me the Lamy Accent for review recently. I had not seen this Lamy before so it was a treat to get a “first peek” at it. Its an aluminum body with a soft sheen finish and the center grip section in a dark grey stained wood. The pen is so light in the hand that I would assume the wood is bamboo.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen box packaging

I’m not always inclined to talk about the packaging on a pen. There’s an expectation that the more expensive the pen, the better the packaging. As the Lamy Accent is in the lower mid-range fountain pen prices, I think its nice packaging. The box is a soft grey paper board with a window that peeks to a metal embossed logo that acts as the box lock. Once unfolded the pen rests on a flannel grey flocked  paperboard wedge. Its suitable for a gift and makes me feel like Lamy cared enough about the pen and the craftsmanship in making it to send it in in a pleasing package.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen packaging

In the other groove in the package was a standard Lamy blue cartridge which is now installed in the pen for testing purposes. The pen did not include a cartridge converter but one can be purchased for an additional 4,75€ (about $6.50).

When capped, the pen is 5.625″ long. Uncapped and unposted, the pen is 4.875″. The cap screws on to close.

The clip is a shiny silver chrome and is slightly hinged to make it easy to clip to a pocket or notebook. The only branding on the exterior of the pen is on the cap, in line with the clip hinge. It reads “LAMY” in grey-black print. The branding is also etched on the nib but that’s it. It makes for a very elegant and understated look.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen nib & grip section

I received the fine nib and it met all my standards for a Lamy nib. I installed the cartridge included with the pen immediately and started writing with no issues.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen posted

The cap easily posts on the end of the pen thanks to a small black notch on the rear of the pen. This creates a well-balanced tool at a sizable length of about 6.5″ . I found it quite comfortable to use posted which I don’t normally do (not even with Kaweco Sports. Seriously!).

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen writing sample

In writing, the only potential issue is that the wood grip section is not particularly grippy. I prefer Lamy pens without the molded grip area but the added plastic at the nib pushes the grip area back from the nib a bit more than most pens I’ve used. It you tend to grip your tools further from the tip or nib, this might be a great pen to try as its really designed for a higher grip. If you tend to grip lower with your fingers touching the nib, you may need to noodle a bit. I found that I rested my knuckle (at the writer’s bump on my middle finger) and my first finger on the black section above the nib and my thumb on the wood grip. It ended up being surprisigingly comfortable but took a couple tries to find the best way to hold this pen.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen

One oddity was the way in which the pen disassembled. The aluminum section below the wood loosens the nib unit but the pen separates above the wood section. It felt like I was doing something wrong but it seemed to work and reassemble with no issues. It’s just feels a little odd.

Overall, I really like this pen. Its nicely sized and aesthetically beautiful in a modern way. The sort of classic good looks that will age well over time. Which reminds me, I’m really curious to see how this pen ages — if the wood darkens or the aluminum barrel gets any dings or scratches and how that affects its looks. Since I do not tend to swaddle my pens, give me a few months of rough use and I’ll post some photos to see if it changes at all.

The Lamy Accent in Aluminum/ Grey Wood is 65€ (about $86US) and available in EF, F, M, B and Italic 1.1mm. Don’t forget: If you enter the code WAD2014 you get a 10% discount on anything you order from Fontoplumo. This offer is good through the end of 2014.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Fontoplumo for the purpose of review.  Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Noodler’s Ahab with Goulet Pens 1.1mm Italic Stub Nib

Noodler's Ahab with Goulet Stub Nib

The Noodler’s Ahab pen is a good plastic fountain pen option for the price point.  And to be honest, though it is light in the hand like a plastic pen, it doesn’t look cheap or plastic-y. The metallic sheen in the color makes it look like a pricier pen. The chrome trim looks good and the construction is clean and well-assembled. Compared with the Dilli pens, this is a much nicer looking pen.

Its has a large-capacity, piston-filled ink reservoir. This gives you lots of opportunities to play with bottled inks.

At just $20, its also a great way to try a flexible nib. There are lots of color choices with the Ahab line but I chose the Amazon Pearl. There were actually several green options available so it was hard to pick just one.

Noodler's Ahab with Goulet Stub Nib

If you find that a flexible nib is fun but not something you are inclined to write with everyday, the Ahab is a great way to try out one of the Goulet Pens #6 nibs. I’ve already tested out the Goulet Pens EF nib on my Jinhao X750. I used the 1.1mm italic stub nib from Goulet Pens($15) with my Ahab. The Goulet Pens nibs are chrome nibs with the Goulet ink drop logo and some etched, decorative scrollwork. They are quite pleasing and matched the chrome trim on the Ahab.

Noodler's Ahab with Goulet Stub Nib

The nib worked as soon as I swapped it out and the line quality is pretty crisp thanks to the 1.1mm stub nib. It was super smooth and even left-handed and upside down, I had no trouble getting the pen to lay down a steady flow of ink.

I really like the quality and pricing of the Goulet nibs. I might buy one of the Noodler’s Acrylic Konrad fountain pens in order to have a full-time pen body for Goulet Nibs and keep this Ahab as a dedicated flex pen. (PS: A review of the Noodler’s Flex nib in this pen is coming soon!)

I tested the nib on my Rhodia No. 18 Uni Blank pad with Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku teal-y blue ink.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Monteverde Prima F Fountain Pen in Green Swirl

Monteverde Prima in Green Swirl

The Monteverde Prima is another of the gloriously swirly body designs from the Monteverde line. Like the Intima, the colored resin is beautifully done. While the Intima is lime green blended with white and kelly green, the Prima is blended with black. For some reason the luminous, almost iridescent quality to the resin is more noticeable in the Prima.

Monteverde Prima Green Swirl

The Prima has black accents with small chrome details. The clip and the nib on the Prima are silver toned instead of black. Overall, the Prima has a more traditional fountain pen look even though the colored resin is very contemporary and vivid.

There is a slight transparency to the green resin so I can see the shadow of the internal workings of the pen. I don’t think its noticeable unless you’re looking intensely at the pen. I suspect in darker resin colors, this effect is probably less evident.

The pen is heavier than I expected, it feels solid. The Prima and Intima are my first experiences with resin fountain pens rather then plastic or metal. The material feels sturdy.

Monteverde Prima in Green Swirl

The nib is super silky. I am continually being surprised by how nice the Monteverde nibs are. I’ve now tried the medium nib, the 1.1mm stub nib and this, the fine nib. It easily writes in almost any position. If I grab it to jot a quick note, there is no needing to find the “sweet spot”. Its also so slick that when combined with good ink and high quality paper, I have to work a little to keep the nib from getting ahead of me. I think this makes this pen a good candidate for a drier ink (or a not-necessarily lubricated ink) and the assorted, everyday papers found in the average office. I tested it on a few copies — the standard 20-24# bond found in most pritners and copiers — and the nib had a bit more “traction” which worked out well. It definitely makes this a good option for an office pen, where you may have less control over exactly what kinds of paper you may have to write on.

Monteverde Prima in Green Swirl

The nib is labelled “Monteverde Monteverde USA” and feature the jagged mountain range logo across the nib.  Why they need the brand name twice in that wretched Architect font, I do not know? That said, the branding on this pen is also very subtle. It only appears etched in the chrome ring around the base of the cap and on the nib. On the end of the cap is the mountain range branding mark which, while I don’t love it, I can tolerate it.

Monteverde Prima in Green Swirl

Like the Imtima, if lime green isn’t your thing, there are a lot of other colors. I particularly like the turquoise and the tiger’s eye colors. I’m getting lured by the purple though. Who’d a thunk?

The Monteverde Prima is available at both Goulet Pens and Pen Chalet for $56 in the full range of colors and nib sizes.


Thanks so much to Jon who very kindly decided I might want another green fountain pen. He was so right.

Review: Pelikan M205 Fountain Pen

Pelikan M205 comparison

First, I have to say thanks to Mr. Mike Dudek at The Clicky Post for letting me borrow his Pelikan M205. His review of the M205 suggested that the pen may not live up to its hype so I was pleased to have a chance to try it before I invested in my own. Mike had purchased two different M205s and sent me the one that worked better for him right out the box.

I was so excited to try it. I have to admit, I hoped that maybe Mike wrote with an unusual angle or pressure and that my experience with it would be perfect. I pulled it from the package like Excalibur with a magical thrum and a radiant glow. This pen is so dreamy to look at.

Pelikan M205 pen comparison

The pen itself reminds me of the classic looks of vintage Esterbrooks. The M205 is still just a plastic body fountain with chrome accents and I’d definitely describe it as understated for the over-$100 average retail price. But its a smaller, subdued pen. It doesn’t scream “expensive” or “fancy” and I like that. I love the look of the old Esterbrooks so a modern pen with these classic lines has a lot of appeal for me. The translucent ink window reminds me of some of old fountain pens as well. The simple piston filler is also a holdover from the days before cartridges and converters. It seems like Pelikan has just continued to make the same good-looking pen since the early 20th century. This makes this pen everything that would be a “holy grail” pen for me.

Pelikan M205 nib

Mike sent me the white body with a fine nib which was exactly the one I would have ordered. I inked it up with a good lubricated ink — Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku — and hoped for the best.

The nib has some spring in it which is really quite amazing for a modern steel nib. On the nib, is a beautiful swan emboss and a classic script logo as well as the nib width. How irresistible.

Several folks asked to compare the Pelikan M205 to the Pilot Prera, as well, which has a similar-sized nib and the pen, overall, is a similar size. It’s a fair comparison as they are both plastic bodied, with a small steel nib. There’s a bit more chrome detailing on the Prera and it does take Pilot cartridges or a converter. The price for the Prera is even much less, even after my Plumix modification. The Pilot nibs run much finer and stiffer than the Pelikan though.

Pelikan M205 nib comparison

And then I started writing and the whole experience started to sour.

My first experiences were on miscellaneous office paper, 3x5s and the like. And I was not getting good results. Not a good sign. My experiences, while not exactly the same as Mike’s were definitely less than stellar. The ink seemed choked. I would get flow with some strokes but not with others. I had a feeling that the M205 did not approve of my overhanded lefty writing position.

Pelikan M205 writing sample

When I switched to my “I’m doing calligraphy” below-the-line writing position, the pen behaved much better. But…. I shouldn’t have to do that. There’s shouldn’t be just one sweet spot. None of my other pens, modern or vintage, require that the pen be held in a very specific position. Modern Kawecos? They don’t care what angle I write. Lamy? It will withstand my divergent grip even while digging into my knuckle. Monteverde? Whatever angle is fine and it glides across the paper. So why should a pen made for decades be so fussy? Oh, M205? Why are you trying to ruin my dreams?!?!

I cleaned it out and refilled it hoping maybe a fiber got under the nib or something innocuous but nothing seemed to improve the performance dramatically other than being very very specific about the pen’s position on the paper. So other lefties, be warned.

To quote Mike:

Are your torches lit yet?… Has someone piled up the wood for the fire?…

I know that the Pelikan M205 is often the gateway pen to higher priced modern fountain pens. I just don’t have the capital to spend $100 or more on a pen that only “sort of” writes for me. Sadly, I think I will have to cross the M205 off my grail list and move on to some of the other candidates.


I forgot to mention that Mike purchased the Pelikan M205 from our fine sponsors, Pen Chalet at a deeply discounted price. If you’re ready to give one of these classics a whirl, be sure to use the code “wellappointeddesk” at checkout to get an extra 10% off. And also know that Pelikan/Chartpak has good customer support and will swap out your nib unit should you have an issue like Mike did initially.

The Tinieist Fountain Pen

tiny fountain pen necklace

Inside this miniature 1.25″ fountain pen charm is a real working nib. It can be dipped and will write. Comes with a tiny ink bottle charm that can hold ink to ink the pen nib. Pretty charming.

Pen comes on a 18″ silver plated chain.

($34.99 from YougNeek on Etsy, tip o’ the hat to Dan at Karas Kustoms for the link)

Review: Jinhao X750 “Shimmering Sands” + Goulet Pens Nibs

Jinhao X750 Shimmering Sands

The Jinhao X750 “Shimminering Sands” ($9.90) is a sturdy, solid pen. Looking at it, I never would have guessed it’s a budget fountain pen. The celestial sparkles embedded in the black body are truly amazing. I had to take it outside into the sunlight just to watch it catch the light. It reminded me of black nail polish with multicolored sparkles embedded in it. That sounds really girly. How about black auto paint with metal flake? Are you getting the idea?

Jinhao X750 outside

The hardware is chrome and the clip is super sturdy. The branding is subtle and unobtrusive. Its pleasingly weighty — 36 gms posted and 23 gms filled with cap removed. Without the cap, its about the same weight as a capped Lamy Al-Star, with the cap posted, its heavier than a Lamy Studio. So, its substantial. The clip is stiff and unlikely to fail.

The pen had no packaging at all but that’s not a make-or-break for me, especially not at this price point. I’d rather the money I’m paying go towards the pen and not the box its packaged in. It did come with a cartridge converter though.

The cap is a snap cap and it snaps really tightly. I don’t know if it will loosen up over time but it takes a bit of effort for me to pull the cap off. At least, I know it won’t fall off accidentally.

Goulet Pens EF Nib close-up

I tend to find medium nibs way too wet for me so I swapped out the medium nib that comes stock on the X750 with a Goulet Pens #6 EF nib ($15). The nib is super smooth but pretty stiff. Its good for day-to-day notetaking but its not as expressive on the paper as a softer nib. If you have a pen with a #6 sized nib then I definitely think that the Goulet Nibs are a perfect way to plus up a fountain pen.

Jinhao X750 + Goulet Pens F Nib writing sample

So, for less than $25, I was able to build an awesome fountain pen. The sparkles give it a very unique look but its subtle enough not to look like a raver at the next board meeting.

Jinhao X750 + Goulet Pens EF Nib

Overall, I am very pleased with this combination.This is a fun, reasonably-priced fountain pen option. It feels durable and classy. No one has to know it cost less than dinner for two at Chili’s.

I also have a Goulet Pens 1.1mm stub italic nib to try out with this pen and I’ll post that in detail soon.

The nib was tested on Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank pad with J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe. The ink is very wet but set up nicely on the Rhodia paper. It seemed like a good ink to combine with the EF nib. I’m looking forward to trying other inks in this pen.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm Stub Fountain Pen

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

You may be asking yourself “Why didn’t she own this pen already?” Trust me, I’ve been asking myself the same question since it arrived. The Monteverde Intima ($52) is a stunningly swirly mix of lime and kelly green colors with a white opalescent sheen embedded in the resin. All the hardware is black including the nib. I just hold it in my hand and admire the swirls.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The pen arrived in a cardboard slip case (which I sort of destroyed trying to get it open) which protected this epic presentation box. Its a deep forest green shimmery clamshell box with silver metallic edging and logo. Its a box that one would expect to find a much more expensive pen inside. And probably a little more dignified than my Willy Wonka green swirl, St. Patty’s Day-is-everyday pen. But that’s beside the point. The box looks impressive.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

Inside is a white faux velvet lining. The bottom section with the band lifts out to reveal the box of cartridges (only two were in the box) and instructions for using the included converter which was in the pen. The box could definitely get a second life as a storage box for pens and accessories. Its durable.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

This is only the second Monteverde pen I’ve used and with each experience, I’m becoming more impressed with the quality and diversity of the Monteverde product line. I was initially skeptical  of the black anodized nib but as I used the Intima, I grew to appreciate the understated-ness of the nib and hardware next to the brilliant showiness of the neon green swirls. Its a really beautiful combination.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The weight of the pen is heavier than I initially anticipated. Somehow I thought the pen would be light like a plastic Kaweco but the resin is weightier than plastic. It feels good in the hand. The nib is astoundingly smooth. I am thrilled with how well this wrote right out of the box.

The cap can be posted which makes the pen a sizeable 6.375″ long but I found the weight of the pen unposted to be most comfortable in my hand and plenty long enough (4.675″). The length of the pen capped is 5.25″.

This has immediately become my go-to pen. It writes beautifully, its perfectly weighted for my hand and its the PERFECT color.

My biggest gripes with Monteverde is a dislike for their logo. The branding on the Intima is so subtle that it is barely noticable. The black anodized nib disguises the cheeseball “architect” logotype and the pen name is silkscreened in white in a miniscule font on the reverse side from the clip on the black edge of the cap. Its completely ignorable which is a delight to a design snob like me.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The Intima comes with a converter but will accept standard European cartridges. I immediately inked mine up with a coordinating green ink, Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green ($32) and it is the perfect combination. Both are bright and vibrant and make me insanely happy. (A review of the Delicate Green ink will be posted soon.)

I tested this on the Rhodia Uni Blank No. 16. Its the smaller version of the Rhodia Uni Blank No. 18.

The Monteverde Intima fountain pen in neon green is a thing to behold, at least for someone like me with an uncompromising love of the color green. But don’t be frightened away, the Intima is also available in more dignified colors like Glacier Blue and Volcano Grey, both of which I like too.

The Intima is available in a variety of nib sizes and other colors if green is not your thing for $52 each at Goulet Pens. The Intima takes a #6 nib and replacement nibs are also available for $24 each in black anodized or silver. Or try out one of Goulet Pens signature nibs with the Intima. The Goulet branded nibs are available in six different nib widths for $15 each in silver or gold toned.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Lamy Logo F Fountain Pen in Brushed Aluminum

Lamy Logo capped

I recently spotted the Lamy Logo fountain pen in brushed aluminum and clicked on the Buy It Now button before I knew what I was doing. I love the Lamy nibs for their smoothness and easy interchange-ability but I don’t like the molded grip featured in the Safari/AL-Star lines so the Logo series was a perfect upgrade. The Logo features a brushed aluminum body and a ridged grip area more conducive to overhanded (hooked) lefthanders. The cap, end, clip and grip are accented with polished chrome.

Lamy Logo Brushed Aluminum

The Lamy Logo is also a little narrower shaft overall compared to a Safari or Al-Star. If you’ve found the Safari/Al-Star to be a bit bulky in your hand, than the Logo may be a good option for you. I’d compare it to the width of a round pencil maybe a little bit wider but considerably more slender than the Safari.

Lamy nib fine

The cap is a snap cap like other Lamy pens. Its a tight snap but I suspect it will loosen over time. As it is, it will be some time before it loosens, if ever.

The Lamy Logo accepts standard Lamy ink cartridges or the Lamy comverter for even more ink options.

I purchased the fine nib version which to my writing style feels more like a medium, even in comparison to the Kaweco fine nib fountain pen. The fine Lamy nib writes smoothly so the broadness is not really a downside. Just different.

Lamy Logo writing sample

Fountain Pen Weights

The Lamy Logo weighs 17 gms, filled with a cartridge and capped so its a bit lighter than the Lamy Al-Star and unposted it weighs in at 13 gms — as light as a capped Kaweco Sport Classic.

Its a bit of an upsell at $45 from a Safari which is under $30 and the Al-Star which is under $40. But its still a good deal less expensive than the Lamy Studio or Lamy 2000. If the look of the TWSBI is not your taste, the Lamy Logo is a good alternative at a similar price point.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Hands On: Kaweco Skyline in Mint

kaweco sport line up

Its a well-established fact that I love Kaweco pens. As fountain pens go, the Kaweco Sport line ticks all my boxes:

  • great nib
  • not too big/heavy
  • reasonably priced
  • pocket-able
  • classic looking
  • clip is optional
  • interchangeable nib system

The only downside with Kaweco was the lack of appealing body colors. Beyond black, white and aluminum, I wasn’t all that keen. I currently own two out of three of the colors mentioned, so I was starting to run out reasons to add any more Kaweco Sports to my stash. Until now.

kaweco skyline mint

When I saw the new Skyline series in Mint, I knew immediately I had to have it.  The Grey model was a very-close second. The silver hardware and nib just add to the appeal for me. I’ve enjoyed my gold-toned hardware but I’m so glad to finally have the option for silver.

The color is the softest mint turquoise color. It looks luminous even though its a simple, opaque plastic body. A ghostly almost supernatural color. I love the color. I mean LOVE it!

kaweco skyline nib

The writing experience is consistent with all my previous Kaweco Sport pens – it writes smoothly, is comfortable in the hand (when posted) and generally makes me happy to use it. I prefer to use my Kaweco Sports posted with the clip which adds just enough weight to make the pen feel more substantial. I either use cartridges or reuse an old cartridge using a syringe to fill it with bottled ink. The Skyline is no different.

Despite the likelihood that the Skyline series may be limited edition, the price point makes it a pen I’m comfortable carrying around with me on a daily basis.

kaweco skyline comparison

The Kaweco Skyline series is currently available for pre-order at Fontonplumo in the Netherlands. The Skyline is available in Mint, Grey and Black for €16.95 (about $23 US). Frank kindly sent me the first one he could get his hands on so that I could share it with you. Estimated delivery is early July.

Also, Fontoplumo is offering all Well-Appointed Desk readers a 10% discount if you enter the code WAD2014 on anything you order. This offer is good until the end of 2014. Thanks, Frank!

Link Love: Four P’s and some I’s

Link Love Link Mascot

Inks:

Pens:

Paper & Notebooks:

Pencils:

Penmanship:

Esterbrook 9314F: Fine Stub

Esterbrook 9314F writing sample

Do you ever come across a pen or a nib you think “this is my signature pen?” The one that makes your handwriting look better without doing anything but using it? That’s how I feel about the Esterbrook 9314F Relief Fine Stub. Its from the “higher end” line of nibs from Esterbrook, the Master series and I was lucky enough to borrow a NOS version from Harvey  from the blog, My Antique Pens.

Esterbrook 9314F nib

The 9314F  has a nib that is flat at the tip like a stub but its angled slightly down to the left. I had previously fallen in love with the 2442 Falcon nibs which also have the angled nibs but this was my first opportunity to compare Durachrome (the 2000-series) to Master Points (the 9000-series) Renew nibs in a head-to-head. I guess its almost a head-to-head since there is also a 2314F nib that is labelled a “Fine Stub”. I am not sure what the difference is between the 2442 fine stub and the 2314F fine stub so I guess this is as close as I’ll get at the moment.

Esterbrook 9314F writing and comparison

It became obvious when comparing the three nibs that my original, well-worn 2442 is definitely lost its crispness but it writes very smoothly and consistently. The NOS 2442 writes similarly to the 9314F but I noticed that the finest cross strokes were not quite as fine in the 2442.

Esterbrook nib drawing

I still feel like I’m learning about falcon nibs, this sub-category of nibs. Some say the Falcon (also called Relief) nib is designed for people who write with a backwards slant. Others say it was meant for left-handed writers. For a bit more information about Relief/Falcon-style Esterbrook nibs, this thread on FPN is quite enlightening.

What I discovered with all three of these nibs is that I can easily write with them and get a broader stroke with some pleasing thins without altering my left-handed, overhanded writing position. I often have difficulties with broad nibs entirely and wider stub nibs are a challenge as I can’t always get the nibs to make even contact with the paper. Ah, the challenges of lefties!

Esterbrook 9314F writing close-up

(A huge thank you to Harvey at My Antique Pens for letting me take this little rarity out for a spin)

(UPDATE: Corrected post title and link to Harvey’s blog. Sometimes, I swear I should not be allowed near a keyboard before 10am and a WHOLE pot of coffee!)

Top Five Best (and Worst) Round-Up

@mrmikedudek the groove came to work. Contains an assortment of pens and my Wacom pen which would only fit upside down.

There’s been several new Top Five pen lists pop-up on the web in the past few weeks so I thought I’d share them here.

Alt.Haven’s Top 5 Pens. The list is fountain pens but its a great assortment. Brad’s collected Top 5 Pens list includes his top five fountain pens, micro gels, plastic-tipped, inks and more. These lists will keep you busy for awhile. The Pen Habit made a video of his favorite pens for his first year of using fountain pens. While we’re talking about videos, Goulet Pens did a Top Five Graduation Pens video.

And of course, Mr. Dowdy’s Worst Pens list. I was surprised by some of the pens that made his list. I got an Ohto Dude and did not have any problems with it. I found it to be a decent low-priced fountain pen but, in general, I think fountain pens in the $25 range tend to be hit-or-miss in terms of quality control. I concur with Brad’s opinions about the TUL ballpoint but I have also had major issues with the dry time on the TUL gel and rollerball pens. If you’re left-handed or prefer quick-drying inks, I’d give the whole TUL line a miss. As for the Sliccie Multi-pens, I haven’t had any of the issues that Brad had. I’ve used the Pilot Hi-Tec C, the Pentel Sliccie, the Uni Style Fit and the Zebra Prefill and all have worked well for me. They all orbit my desk at work and get used on-and-off for meetings. I’ve not had any issues with any of them. I have even had to replace cartridges in all of them. (I did notice that I have not written a review for the Sliccie singles or multi-pen so I’ll remedy that soon.) The other pens Brad mentioned, the Bic A1 Gel and the Caran D’Ache ballpoint I have not tried because I just can’t use 0.7mm or wider gel pens without making a smeary mess and ballpoints and I do not get along.

Should I do a Top Five list? Do you have a Top Five list of your own?

Happy Ester(brook) Sunday!

esterbrook-sunday

Spring is the perfect time to pull out the Esterbrooks, dust them off and see which ones need a little spring cleaning. This is my whole Esterbrook collection and I can see a gaping absence of a brown or rootbeer model as well as a need for several more pastel pocket pens to fill out my collection. And I don’t have even one mechanical pencil.

Happy Ester(brook) Sunday!

Of the eight shown, five are in full working order with nibs installed. Two have my favorite stub nib, the Falcon Fine Stub 2442, the gray on the left has the legendary 9128 flex nib, the pastel pink has the 9788, the blue has the 9550.

Of course, while I had the pens out, I felt it necessary to do a little record keeping so I created a little spreadsheet inventory of the nibs I currently have and which pen they are residing in.

nib #

description

box?

in pen?

1550

Firm extra-fine, Bookkeeping

no

2284

Firm Stub, Signature Stub

yes

2442

Fine Stub, Falcon

yes

grey pearl

2442

Fine Stub, Falcon

no

red pearl

2556

Firm fine, Fine Writing

no

2556

Firm fine, Fine Writing

no

2668

Firm medium, General Writing

no

2668

Firm medium, General Writing

no

9128

Flexible Extra Fine, Fine penmanship (Pitman shorthand) 

yes

grey pearl

9550

Firm Extra Fine, Bookkeeping

no

blue pearl

9555

Firm Fine, Shorthand

yes

9555

Firm Fine, Shorthand

no

pink pastel

9556

Firm Fine, Fine Writing, Records and charts

no

9668

Firm medium, General Writing

no

Clearly, I have more nibs than pens but not nearly all the possible nib options that are available:

(image via Rick Binder)

(image via Richard Binder)

I would really like to try the 9314F Master Point version of the Fine Stub, the 2048 or 9048 “Shaded Writing” and several others. Like jelly beans, with Esterbrooks, you can’t have just one!

Happy Ester(brook) Sunday!

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