Posts Tagged ‘fountain pen’

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!

Link Love: Official Mascot and more catch-up

Link Love Link MascotFirst, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!

Now, on to the links:

Paper:

Pens:

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Pencils:

Misc:

 

Kaweco Skyline in Mint

kaweco-sport-skyline-fountain-pen-mint

Have you seen the Kaweco Skyline series? Look at this gorgeous color? Its listed as mint and despite the fact that I need another pocket-sized Kaweco like I need a hole in my head, I’m thinking I might have to order one.

So far, the only place I’ve found them is the Fontoplumo site out of the Netherlands and the pen is listed for €16.95 (about $23US) so its in the range of the standard Sport models, price-wise. Its listed on the Kaweco site in gray and black as well — all with silver accents rather than the gold on the standard Sport models.

Ask The Desk: Dilli Flex vs. Noodler’s Creaper

Dilli Flex Nib Fountain Pen vs. Noodler's Creaper

M asks:

I’m new to flex pens and am looking to get an inexpensive one. I know this is a common question but was wondering what your thoughts might be on Noodler’s vs FPR? I’m looking to get either the Konrad/Creaper or Dilli/Guru. So far the consensus seems to be that the Noodler’s pens need quite a bit of tweaking and that quality control is variable, while the FPR pens feel cheaper but generally work better out of the box. Some also say that the FPR flex pens are dryer and have less give.

Would appreciate your thoughts on this!

What I discovered upon receiving this question is that I’ve never actually written up a review of the Noodler’s Creaper. I did a review of the Dilli flex though so I thought I’d use this opportunity to dive deeper and share my opinions about both of these pens.

Dilli Flex Nib Fountain Pen vs. Noodler's Creaper

Both pens use a split nib to create flex. The Dilli nib is a brushed finish while the Noodler’s nib is a shiny silver. The Dilli nib is slightly larger nib. Both pens use a twist piston fill mechanism which need to be filled with bottled ink. Neither pen can be fitted with cartridges or converters.

Both pens are lightweight plastic bodied pens. The Creaper has some chrome metal detailing on the pen that  makes it look like a bit higher end and a bit more durable. The Dilli just feels plasticky to me.

The Dilli nib is in a set spot, it seats into the feed in a specific location.

Alternately, there is a lot of play in how low into the pen barrel you can move the Creaper feed, thus allowing for more or less flex. The further into the pen you move the feed though, the more likely the pen is to write dry or not apply ink to the paper. As I cleaned and re-inked it, I could tell that finding the “sweet spot” for the placement of the nib and feed might be a series of trial and error experiments. I did my best to place the nib and feed in a “normal position” comparable to my non-flex nib pens and it worked well.

With both pens, I had no issues getting ink on the paper. Goulet Pens has some detailed information and videos about working with the Creaper pens and notes that they need to be completely flushed upon purchase to remove any traces of machine oil from the manufacturing process.

Dilli Flex Nib Fountain Pen vs. Noodler's Creaper

When writing, the Dilli had less resistance on the paper but I didn’t get as much thick-and-thin line variation on the paper. The lightest line width seemed a little wider than the lightest line with the Creaper. The Creaper had a little more resistance on the paper and a bit more spring but I liked the line variation a lot more.

I prefer the Creaper to the Dilli for a lot of reasons. Part of the joy of fountain pens is a pleasant visual experience and, to me, the Dilli looks and feels cheap. At some point, when filling it, some ink got inside the body of the Dilli pen, between the piston screw and the ink reservoir, and I cannot get it out. It now has dried ink inside a demonstrator body so it looks gross (you can see it in the top photo at the beginning of the post).

There are a few other options fro Noodler’s for the flex nib as well. The slightly larger Noodler’s Konrad can be fitted with one of the Goulet Pens #6 nibs, if your adventures in flexible nibs takes a turn for the worst, so you’ll still have a usable pen.The Ahab was specifically designed to allow for a larger ink reservoir. The Creaper, the Ahab and the Konrad are all available in a wide array of colors and finishes that will create a pleasing visual experience as well.

FPR also offers a few other pen models that feature their flex nib and that might be more visually appealing. The Triveni line look more upscale with prices in the $38-$45 range and available with a flex nib. The Guru is a bit less expensive than the Dilli and looks like it can be completely disassembled which might eliminate my crusty ink issues.

A flex nib Dilli is $18 and the Creaper is only $14.

Review: Nock Co Lookout 3-Pen Holster

Nock Co Lookout Pen Holster

I’ve always been a bit hesitant to invest in a holster-style pen case. Most of my pens retail for less than $50 so it seemed like overkill to invest in an expensive carrying case for my hacked Metropolitan or my TWSBI Mini. But thankfully, the Nock Co Kickstarter campaign put the Lookout Pen Holster in just the right price point for my assortment of loved-but-reasonably-priced pens. I selected the navy blue case with gray lining. Most of my pens are clear, silver, grey or black so the simple, classic color scheme seemed like the right choice. Besides, the initial offering from Nock Co did not include ANY green cases (hint, hint, Mr. Dowdy!).

Nock Co Lookout Pen Holster

The case feels slightly padded which makes me feel like my pens are getting even more protection and the flap tucks easily under the strap. There’s no snap or velcro to make opening and closing the case distracting in a classroom or meeting which is a big plus for me. Even with the padded feel and the three divided slots, this is still a svelte, compact case. Just enough room for your three “daily carry” pens/pencils — nothing more, nothing less.

Nock Co Lookout Pen Holster

My longest pen is the Lamy Studio but I think the clip placement has more to do with how high it sits in the case than the actual pen length. I think the green Karas Kustoms Render K looks especially nice against the grey and blue. I even tested the ginormous INK! fountain pen in the case and there’s plenty of room to spare both in height and in the width of the stitched pockets. The only pens that don’t fit quite so well are my tiny pocket pens like the Kaweco Sports and Monteverde Poquito. Maybe there will be a Little Lookout in the future?

I’m not sure what the pricing will be on the Lookout when the Nock Co store opens but I’d venture to say that $20 seems like a reasonable price for a well-made, made-in-USA pen holster case.

Review: Pilot Plumix 1.1mm

Pilot Plumix 1.1mm writing sample

I confess that I quite specifically got the Pilot Plumix Medium Flat Italic (comparable to a 1.1mm) fountain pen ($7.25) to cannibalize the nib for the Pilot Metropolitan ($14.50) pen I have. I had the chance to try out the Plumix thanks to a local pen geek (Thanks, Geoff!) and immediately went home and ordered one. While the shape and overall outside aesthetics leave me wanting, the nib was silky smooth. I had heard other folks mention what a great nib it is for the price point and after trying it, I was sold. It is really as good as everyone says it is. Silky, silky smooth.

Pilot Metropolitan and Plumix

My first order of business was to disassemble both pens in order to swap out the nibs. While I think the medium nib on the Metropolitan is a fine nib, it doesn’t make my heart sing so I was ready to swap it out. I like the metal body of the Metropolitan line over the plastic of the Plumix and its weird, stumpy, wingnut cap even if my Metropolitan is a bit blingy in metallic gold.

Pilot Plumix disassembled

I couldn’t be bothered to clean the pens before disassembly so I used a shop rag to grasped the nib and feed and gentle shimmy it out. Its basically help in the grip section by friction so it didn’t take much force or effort to remove it.

There is a notch inside the grip section that keeps the nib and feed in a specific spot but otherwise it was just a matter of shimmying it back into the other pen body to make the swap. I’d have diagrammed it more if there was anything else to it but really its: grasp, pull and then grasp and push. Also, we are talking about a combined retail value of $22 so I wasn’t too concerned about potential damage if I didn’t do it correctly.

New Improved Pilot Metropolitan

Voila! The completed and fully customized Pilot Metropolitan italic! Total cost: $22.  This same surgery can be done if you want an extra fine nib on a Metropolitan by purchasing the Pilot Penmanship pen ($8.25).

Pilot PLumix 1.1mm writing comparison

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.

(Tested on Rhodia Pad No. 18 Uni-Blank)

Link Love of Epic Proportions!

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

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