Posts Tagged ‘review’

Review: Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen (F Nib)

Pilot Custom 74

There have been a lot of sturdy little boxes that entered my life in the past couple of weeks. Let’s just say that the Pen Addict Podcast Annual Gift Guide episode was hell on my wallet.

Pilot Custom 74

Inside the simple paper sleeve with the big P logo on it was a clear window box so that I could marvel at my new Pilot Custom 74 fountain pen before I could even touch it. I purchased the clear demonstrator model with the fine nib during one of Pen Chalet’s epic discount sales.

Pilot Custom 74

The packaging was sturdy without being ostentacious which seems appropriate for a pen like this.

Because most of the pen is plastic, its quite light overall. Its just 15gms filled and uncapped and 24gms posted and filled. I found the pen comfortable to use unposted at 5″ long. With the cap posted, the pen is almost 6.5″ long which is a little unwieldy for me. Its not a particularly wide body so I think its a good option for people with smaller hands or looking for a pen comparable in diameter to a Sharpie marker. The Custom 74 might be a smidge wider than a Sharpie but you get the idea.

Fountain Pen Weights

Pilot Custom 74

The pen feels quite sturdy but I wonder if the demonstrator clear is not as pricey looking as it could be. When my husband saw it, he said “You paid how much? It looks like a $20 pen!” I think Mike’s blue one looks a little fancier than the clear. I did explain that really what I paid for was the 14K nib but it would be nice if it actually looked like a higher tier pen. That said, let’s talk about the performance.

Pilot Custom 74

I immediately filled the pen with Kaweco Paradise Blue using the CON-70 converter that shipped with the pen. Its an unusual cartridge converter that somewhere between a vacuum mechanism and a push-button system. I’ve never had a converter like it. To see it in action, check out Brian Goulet’s video on filling a CON-70.

There is lovely etched filigree on the nib and it looks very fine indeed. The nib alone looks like  a million bucks.

After a less-than-stellar experience with the Pelikan M205 with the gold nib that Mike loaned me, I was a little concerned that the gold nib on the Pilot would be equally underwhelming. Boy, was I in for a surprise!

Pilot Custom 74

On my standard Rhodia test paper, it writes like buttah. I felt so relieved! The Paradise Blue ink shaded nicely even with the narrow fine nib. And it is fine, but because there is a little spring in the nib, I get a little line variation too.  I am definitely starting to understand why this is such a popular pen.

Pilot Custom 74

This sample above was written in my standard, over-handed left-handed writing method. Looks good but I wanted to try to flex this a little bit which required trying a more “under handed” method… and by that, I mean I needed to change my writing position and work from below the line I’m writing on.

Pilot Custom 74

I was able to get some pleasing shading with just a little bit of pressure. I did not flex a lot since this is not really a flex nib pen per se and I didn’t want to break the tines. Overall, the ink color is darker for me when writing from below the line but the smoothness was the same. With a darker ink, I think I wouldn’t notice much color difference between overwriting and underwriting.

I’ve been loving this pen. I’ve used it all week on office paper, in my Leuchtturm1917 notebook, on Rhodia paper and pretty much anything else that passed in front of me this week. The fine nib even held its line cleanly on cheap office paper which was awesome. Its a great introduction to 14K nib modern pens and has restored my faith in 14K nibs for sure.

Pilot Custom 74

Review: Rotring 600 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil

Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil

During the whole Black Friday hullabaloo, Jet Pens had a special offer for some of the Rotring Mechanical Pencils. It was an offer too good to pass up as I’d always wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I went for it.

The Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil ($33)  came in a taste, simple black, triangular, cardstock box with the Rotring logo stamped in red and white foil on the end. When I pulled the tabs on the bottom of the box the whole thing unfolded. Good packaging and yet not over-packaged. Totally recyclable box too.

Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil

Inside was the matte black finish version of the classic mechanical pencil. Initially, I was worried that the pencil would look and feel too masculine, too tactical but when I held it in my hand was when it all became clear. The knurling on the grip is super fine so it did not feel harsh or prickly, just slip resistant. And the pencil is spectacularly well-balanced. It did not feel excessively heavy and yet it felt sturdy and solid. The Rotring 600 is an all-metal body as opposed to the less-expensive 500 model ($18) which features a plastic body but metal grip and cap.

By pulling the click button on the end out and twisting, I can change the lead hardness label to an assortment of common sizes (HB, B, 2B, 2H, etc). This is the reason to have more than one — one loaded with a softer lead and one loaded with a harder lead. Win win!

Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil

The 600 is the lesser expensive version that does not feature a retractable tip. The Rotring 800 has a retractable tip but I decided to start with the lower priced model and see if I liked the pencil before I considered upgrading to the retractable 800.

The tip has a short thick support that is part of the body of the pencil in black plus a longer-than-usual tip sleeve that creates the feeling of having exposed a good deal of lead without actually needing to have that much lead out. This eliminates the likelihood of breaking the fine 0.5mm lead.

Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil

The lead the pencil shipped with was a smooth HB grade and made the writing experience a pure joy. The feel of this pencil in the hand is really extraordinary. I get why this is such a coveted tool.

I completely forgot that under the click button is a teeny tiny eraser. But really, pairing a Black Pearl with the black Rotring 600 is the classy way to go.

The Rotring 600 is available in 0.35mm, 0.5mm and 0.7mm lead sizes and replacement knurled grips ($11.50 each) are available so its possible to change the lead capacity of your pencil without having to buy a whole new pencil.

Review: Kaweco Sport Skyline Fountain Pen in Black F Nib

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

The Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen is one of my favorite tools. With the introduction of the Skyline series this year featuring silver hardware, its rocketed to the top of a lot of lists for good quality, reasonably priced fountain pens.

Of the Kaweco Sport Skyline fountain pens, the black model is the most classic of the three colors currently available.

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

The logo on the cap, the end cap and the nib are all silver tone but all maintain the looks of the classic Sport line.

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

I got the fine nib model and it features the same scroll work etching on the nib that is on other models of Sport fountain pen. It really is a lovely nib, especially at the price.

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

In writing, the Kaweco Sport Skyline in Black performed as expected. Ink went down easily from the first fill and the nib is smooth. Since its a steel nib, its not the most flexible nib in the world but for everyday writing, its a great option.

I received the Skyline in black within days of losing my Guilloche 1930 model Sport. While not the same pen, the Skyline in black did fill a gap in my heart.

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

If you’ve never tried a Kaweco Sport fountain pen, the Skyline series is a great place to start. Prices for the Skyline series start at about $25 with the EF nib selling for a few dollars more.


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.

Review: Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice Fountain Pen (F Nib)

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Inside this large paper board box is a reasonably priced fountain pen treasure.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

After removing the outer shipper, there is a matching leatherette box of epic size… the suspense and tension builds.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Opening the spring-loaded lid reveals a white satin bed that reminds me of a coffin but contains a beautiful Conklin Duragraph fountain pen in the Cracked Ice finish. Tossed into the coffin is a plastic baggie with two standard international cartridges filled with blue ink.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Once I disposed of the coffin box, I finally get to see the Duragraph in the cracked ice finish in all its glory. It reminds me of tumbled stones with glossy black caps and silver hardware. So pretty!

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

I got the fine nib with the expectation that Conklin uses the European nib sizing. The nib looks pretty fine! Engraved on the nib is “Conklin Toledo USA” and a tiny “F” on the side of the nib. Its a stainless steel nib and it does not have much flex to it.

I was able to get a two-tone fine nib which are currently out of stock at Goulet Pens. There is a black fine nib available or a two-tone medium. The 1.1mm italic stub option is available in silver tone.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

The cap will post on the end of the pen but it makes it very long — 7 inches!

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Upon opening the pen, I discovered that a standard cartridge converter was included with the pen. Pretty impressive for a pen that cost a mere $44.  I filled it with some Kaweco Caramel Brown ink which I thought might look coordinated with the exterior of the pen.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice writing sample

When I put the nib to paper I was totally blown away. Its a smooth, fine writer — finer than most European/USA nibs and there is a sharpness to the nib that gives it a slight italic quality, even at this fine nib size.

Fountain Pen Weights

Capped and filled, the Duragraph weighs a substantial 26gms. Uncapped, it is just 15gms which is just slightly heavier than a posted Kaweco Sport. For me, pens under 20g,s are the most comfortable so the Duragraph is definitely in the sweet spot and being 5 inches unposted makes it long enough to be useable for me.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice Writing sample

The Duragraph is definitely one of the best pen surprises of 2014. The price point is perfect for a gift, the nib sings and the looks are top notch. This is a pen that you should definitely add to your wish list and maybe even pick up one for a friend or family member. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Duragraph is also available in Amber and Forest Green and nib sizes are fine, medium and 1.1mm italic. I will definitely be ordering a Forest Green model too.

Review: Karas Kustoms Tu-Tone RETRAKT

Karas Kustoms Retrakt Tu-Tone

In a pinch, today’s review was photographed with my new iPhone 6. Pardon any wonkiness but I had a wicked migraine yesterday and didn’t get a chance to pull everything together until today at lunch.

Karas Kustoms retrakt tu-tone in green

Behold! A pen, matched polish (before anyone asks, its OPI Gargantuan Green Grape), psychedelic office carpeting and my shoes!

 

retrakt-tu-tone11

And its here! The amazingly cool Karas Kustoms RETRAKT in the new Tu-Tone Colors… green, of course. And its oddly, fittingly Christmas-y in it colors. I filled it with a Zebra Sarasa 0.3mm in Viridian Green to match. I suppose this means I need a red one too?

And the almost-silent retracting mechanism means that I can nervously click without making everyone in a meeting want to murder me.

retrakt-tu-tone10

The aluminum body is comfortable to hold, not too heavy and well-weighted. After the brass INK, I was worried that the RETRAKT might be too heavy for me but I think its perfect. Very much like the weight of the Render K — enough weight to feel solid without feeling like I’m carrying a billy club.  I had to doodle this twice because of a typo so I was writing for a while and the pen remained comfortable throughout. (No Command-Z on paper!)

retrakt-tu-tone13

The RETRAKT in Tu-Tone Colors accepts any Pilot G2 style refills or Parker-style refills. Some refills might require a little jiggering to get them to fit just right but luckily the folks at Karas Kustoms include so extra parts to help with this including an extra spring, a black plug to lengtht he Parker refills and a length of translucent white piping that can be cut to length to fill any gaps. I’ve been know to cut down a too-long refill to fit as well. Finally…a way to use the great G2 refill without the cheap plastic aesthetics!

The fact that the RETRAKT can be filled with an unending array of refills, in a variety of colors, tip sizes and even style of refill (ballpoint, rollerball and gel) there’s no way you can’t love this pen. You get to make it your favorite just be picking your favorite refill.

The DISCOUNT: If you just can’t wait to see if you’ll win the giveaway RETRAKT Tu-Tone, you can place an order at Karas Kustoms today and receive 15% off your order with the coupon code “HappyHolidays” (although that code really should be “ANAROCKS”).

The GIVEAWAY: So, the fine folks at Karas Kustoms are letting me giveaway ONE RETRAKT Tu-Tone to ONE lucky reader.  You all know the drill… answer my question in the comments to be officially entered to win one RETRAKT Tu-Tone in your choice of color. Here’s the question: What do you like best about Karas Kustoms’ pens? If you’ve never owned a Karas Kustoms pen, what about their pens interests you most?

The FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Saturday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Open to US residents only in order to ship in time for Christmas!


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

Review: Pentel i+ 3 Multi-Pen

Pentel i+ 3 multi-pen

I’ve got a soft spot for multi-pens. Especially Japanese gel multi-pens. While the Pilot Hi-Tec C multi-pens are often the most talked-about, followed by the Uni Style Fit line, I still find a little space in my multi-pen universe for Pentel and their Sliccie line of gel pens. The individual Sliccie pens are not much to write about with a plain, narrow, hex-shaped plastic barrel but the actual gel refill is quite good. The Sliccie refills don’t clog or dry out like the Hi-Tec Cs do. The colors available in the Sliccie line are good, they go down smoothly and dry pretty quickly so smudging is not often an issue.

When I heard about the new Pentel i+ series of multi-pens, I was very excited. The plain two-tone plastic bodies are wider and more comfortable to hold than a standard single Sliccie. Aesthetically, the i+ body is clean, simple and unobtrusive. Would a soft rubber grip be an pleasant added feature? Sure, but every Pilot Hi-Tec C multi-pen I’ve purchased has shed the rubber grip in less than a year leaving a bumpy plastic grip. Maybe it’s better to do without the rubber grip?

Each i+ pen body holds three refills and you’re not limited to just the Sliccie-style gel refills. The i+ system also offers the Vicuna, the Energel and a mechanical pencil refill. I test drove my first i+ with three 0.4mm Sliccie refills in coordinating colors of blue black, sky blue and lime to go with the Emerald Green body (which is actually more aqua mint than emerald) but it was hard to decide just which refills to use in the i+.

Pentel i+ 3 multi-pen writing sample

The Sliccie refills (despite their difficult-to-determine pronunciation) are so ridiculously smooth to use. The Sliccie refills come in three widths: 0.3, 0.4, 0.5mm in about a 10 different colors. I find the Sliccie gel inks to be pretty reliable and they stay wet in the pen more often than comparable Pilot Hi-Tec C refills, at least in my experience.

The mechanical pencil component is available in 0.3mm or 0.5mm. Both the Vicuna and the Energel refills are available in 0.5mm in red, blue or black. All the refills cost a $1.35 to $1.65 each and the mechanical pencil component is about $3. The pen bodies are $2.55 and available in ten different body colors. So for about $10, you can have a completely customized multi-pen.

Pentel i+ 3 multi-pen

I plan on adding a second i+ to my arsenal. This time I’ll get a black body with an Energel refill, a pencil and a black Sliccie refill. How would you trick one of these out?


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.

Review: Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point

Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point

The Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point ($2.50) is a pen I can’t believe I had never tried or owned before last week. I’ve heard others talk about them but I’d never tried one. It was about time!

In the past, I’d only ever seen the larger point sizes (0.5, 0.7 and 1.0) and I knew they would not be well-suited to my left-handed tendency to smear. So, I wasn’t compelled to try them until I found the Needle Point version at 0.35mm.

Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point

The tip immediately reminded me of the Pilot Precise V5 or the Morning Glory Mach 3 0.38 pens — with the needle point tip and rollerball feel.

The body of the pen has a rubberized grip area which makes it quite comfortable to hold. The rest of the aesthetics of the pen are as non-descript as most “supply cabinet” pens. While not offensive, the looks are not unique or interesting.

Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point Writing Sample

When writing, the experience vastly exceeds its humdrum looks. Its practically glassy on Rhodia paper which means on your average office photocopy, it will write smoothly with minimum friction.

Even on the high-quality Rhodia paper, the ink dries quickly so I had no embarrassing lefty smears or smudges.

When compared to the Morning Glory Mach 3 and the Pilot Precise V5, the Energel was the smoothest on paper. The Morning Glory Mach 3 felt a little toothier on the paper, especially on slick paper, but the Pilot Precise V5 took longer to dry and caused some smudges.The Precise V5 also tends to get a little gloppy on the tip over time which I didn’t notice with the Energel Needle Point at all.

Aesthetically, the Energel is the least appealing but the writing experience more than makes up for its looks. One can hope that its so ugly no one will try to steal it off your desk.

Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point 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.

Review: Tombow Airpress

Tombow Airpress Comparison

The Tombow Airpress is another contender in the “extreme conditions” pressurized ballpoint pen race. Other tools in this category are the Fisher Space Pen, the Uni Power Tank, Pilot Down Force and Rite in the Rain All-Weather Pens. The Airpress body design is pretty unusual. The length of the pen is relatively short but quite wide. The Airpress is just a little longer than a Kaweco Sport capped but the width is comparable to a large capacity multi-pen.

The body creates a pretty comfortable grip, despite the short length, thanks to the ridged windows on the grip section.

The clip is a large hinged clip that will attach to just about any notebook or binder cover. On the opposite side from the clip is a loop that could be used to attach the pen to a lanyard.

Tombow Airpress disassembled

Inside the pen is a small refill that would be easy to replace when the need arises. I test drove the pen on appropriately-tough Rite in the Rain notecards. Deeper in the pen body is a pressurizing chamber. By pressing the button on the end, the ink is pressurized to write upside down for up to about 500 feet.

Tombow Airpress

For the price point (about $10), the Tombow Airpress is about the middle of the price range for pressurized pens with the Fisher Space Pen being at the upper end ($20 or so) of the price spectrum and the Uni Power Tank being the lowest, starting at $3.30.

The writing experience was good for a ballpoint. I didn’t have any real issues with it and the point was pretty fine. I like the Airpress better than a lot of ballpoint pens, pressurized or otherwise though I find the body shape to be a bit too wide for my hands.

Giveaway: Would you like to try out a Tombow Airpress? I have TWO to giveaway. Leave a message in the comments and tell me what extreme writing you would do with a Tombow Airpress to be entered to win.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, November 29, 2014. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. US readers only this time, thanks!

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

Book Review: Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

While I’ve been under the weather, I’ve been catching up on my back log of reading, including Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing by Liz Williams. Its a pretty book with short pieces about the history of letter writing as well as common references, quotes, books and movies where letters feature prominently and other tidbits about our favorite paper missives.

“Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.” – Lord Byron

This book is definitely for the letter enthusiast though it will not probing new information on the subject. As a gift to a young person, it might spur them to start writing but does not necessarily provide compelling analysis or deep investigation about the topic. Kind Regards is written in short blubs, often less than a page, which makes it easy to thumb through or read an entry or two over coffee in the morning.

Williams clearly loves the written word and provides enough interesting facts to inspire me to tackle that pile of incoming correspondence again. If you’re looking for a little something to nudge you back on to your letter-writing path, then Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing might be the ticket.

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 Skyline Rollerball in Grey

Kaweco Sport Skyline Grey Rollerball hack

With pens, I tend to choose silver and grey as my go-to colors since there are seldom options in green. With the new Skyline series for the Kaweco Sport line, I went straight for the Mint color. I did not pass GO, I did not collect $200 – or a grey pen.

Most people are excited about the Skyline series because they feature silver-toned nibs and chrome silver hardware instead of the traditional Sport series’ gold-toned nib and hardware. So when the Skyline series was released, lots of folks were just pleased to purchase the black or grey Skyline model with silver hardware.

Its only now that I see the appeal of the neutral grey color of the Skyline series. In an effort to expand my horizons, this time, I’m test-driving the rollerball version.

Unfortunately, the Kaweco refill was not the least bit left-handed friendly – at least not on the Rhodia paper I use for most of my testing. The Skyline rollerball refill is probably about a 0.7mm in black and I smudged for the word “go.”

So, it was time for a hack. I found a Uni-Ball Sign RT 0.38 refill which looked to be the right length in the point section but the barrel was a little too long. I used scissors to trim the end and then put the spring on the tip and loaded it back into the Skyline body. Voila!

No smudges and a great new pen!

Kaweco Sport Skyline Grey Rollerball hack


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 Skyline Clutch Pencil 3.2mm in Mint

Kaweco Clutch Pencil 3.2mm Mint

Everyone knows how much I love my Kaweco Skyline Fountain Pen in Mint so you can imagine how tickled I was to see the 3.2mm clutch pencil in the same gorgeous mint color. I’ve got a matched set!

Kaweco Clutch Pencil 3.2mm Mint

This is my first experience with a large diameter graphite pencil and it was a pleasant surprise. I was worried that the point would wear down too quickly but it stayed sharp through a page or more of writing. I will definitely need to look into a graphite point sharpener because this pencil will definitely be getting a lot of use.

The wide lead was smooth and easy-to-use. I think it will be great for writing and sketching.

Kaweco Clutch Pencil 3.2mm Mint

These two beauties snuggle up beautifully together in my leather soft case. Now I’m thinking all my Kaweco pens need pencil pals.


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.

Review: Levenger Circa Leather Pro Folio Notebook in Black

 Circa Pro Folio

Honestly, the Levenger Circa Pro Folio is the most posh thing I think I’ve ever owned. Its a letter-sized, black leather folio with a Circa notebook inside. I’ve always been intrigued with the Circa system. It seems to be a great way to have flexibility with a notebook – add, rearrange or remove pages easily without the inconvenience of a 3-ring binder. The Pro Folio takes this to a whole new level.

 Circa Pro Folio Presentation Box

I’m not inclined to go into a lot of detail about packaging but the box that the Pro Folio came in deserves notice. It felt like a box worthy of the product inside. The Pro Folio came in a heavyweight, glossy bronze box with an fabric elastic closure and subtle “Levenger” embossed on the box – prestigious without being fussy.

 Circa Pro Folio in box

Inside, the leather Pro Folio was wrapped in a felt cloth to protect it. The wrap was tastefully stamped with the Levenger logo.It reminds me of how high-end handbag manufacturers provide a felt bag for storing purses when not in use. Very elegant.

 Circa Pro Folio

By the time I had completely unwrapped it, it felt like my birthday. Inside was this beautiful, black leather folio. The Pro Folio is made of a soft-to-the-touch leather but has a sturdy material stitched inside to keep the covers rigid. It would be easy to use this folio on your lap in a lecture or meeting, if necessary. The leather along the spine is supple and the folio easily opens flat. I suspect the cover could fold back on itself but I can’t bring myself to mar the leather spine trying it.

 Circa Pro Folio detail

 Circa Pro Folio

Inside the front cover are two pockets for business cards and a larger slot for loose papers. The back cover has a full-length slot for holding the Circa notebook in place. The folio came with a standard Circa notebook with black rings and a clear, frosted plastic cover. The Circa notebook has 0.5″ rings and contains 60 sheets of 90 gsm soft white paper. The paper is lightly lined in a pale grey with a wide left margin left blank and spaces at the top for date and topic headers.

The folio will accommodate up to 1.5″ rings and 200 sheets of paper so there’s definitely room to grow with this folio.

 Circa Pro Folio Paper

I was so grateful to discover that such an extraordinary leather folio contained equally stunning paper. It took ink beautifully. Since Levenger does sell fountain pens I would have been surprised if their paper didn’t behave well with fountain pens. However, I was delighted with how well it behaved. The lines were light enough to accommodate even the lightest ink colors and pencil without obscuring legibility while keeping all the fountain pen lines crisp.

 Circa Pro Folio Writing Samples

I had the tiniest bit of show through with the Mont Blanc Meisterstück 90 Years Permanent Grey ink in my 1.1mm fountain pen but all the medium and fine nibs didn’t have a hint of show through which means this paper really can be used on both sides.

The Levenger Circa Pro Folio retails for $109-$129 depending on size.


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.

Review: Productive Luddite Notebooks Part 2 (and Giveaway)

Productive Luddite Notebooks

This is part two of the Productive Luddite notebook reviews. If you didn’t get a chance to read Part One, check it out.

Productive Luddite Blog Paper

The first up is the Blog Paper notebook ($14.95). Its another soft cover book with 108 pages between the 7×10″ glossy black covers. (I completely forgot to photograph the cover so I’m using the promotional image. You can see the spine in the stacked photo and the glossy stock like the New Daily Planner reviewed in Part One). Inside is bright white paper with tinted areas to plan a blog or a post or just employ the various sections for your next project.

Productive Luddite Blog Paper

The pages are laid out to emulate a traditional blog page with a header at the top, a notes section for writing, a sidebar area, a footer and a section for tags for your post. The layout allows for other kinds of note-taking too beyond blog posts or blog planning as each section allows for various content — the sidebar for to-dos, the center section for project, class or meeting notes and the header can just be for date and subject.

Productive Luddite Blog Paper writing sample

I find the form factor very interesting but, sadly, the books are glue-bound so it does not lay as flat as I’d like it. I’m more inclined to work on the left-hand facing pages as a result which makes me feel even like a weird lefty. Oh well.

The paper is good with most pens. Rollerballs, ballpoints, gel pens and pencils all worked great and fountain pens did not feather but there was a little show through on the reverse of the stock with wider nibs.

Productive Luddite Freestyle Really Big Notebook

The Freestyle Really Big Notebook $29.95 (and available in ten different colored covers) is an extra large notebook boasting over 800 pages of space for your biggest projects. The book is 7×10″ and as thick as a New York City phone book (when NYC still had phone books). The paper is the same bright white as the Blog Paper notebook but the only printing on the pages is a small grey page number in the lower corner of each page. With no lines to mar the paper, you can easily use a guide sheet or two behind your page to turn each page into lined, grid or whatever your whim.

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In the front of the book is an index to help organize and locate your idea in the massive book.

Productive Luddite Really Big Notebook  writing sample

I found the paper particularly receptive to whatever tool I threw at it, even some juicy brush pens with minimum show through. Colors stay true and there’s enough heft to the paper to tackle some light washes, colored pencils and other art-making tools.

Productive Luddite Really Big Notebook  writing sample

There was a little feathering around the edges of my Lamy Studio 1.1mm writing with the Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Permanent Grey but overall, with finer tipped tools, the writing was really good and would make this paper a good candidate for writing or drawing.

Because of the size of this book, there can be some awkward writing angles if you’re working at the very front of the book or the very back but there are some compromises if you need 800 pages in your notebook.

With the soft covers, I don’t know how well this book will hold up after you fill all 800 pages, the spine and covers might show some serious wear. If you finish a whole Freestyle Really Big Notebook, I want to see pictures!

Productive Luddite Really Big Notebook reverse writing sample

Overall, I think Productive Luddite is doing some really unique things with their products and the prices are really good.

Giveaway:
Productive Luddite is kindly allowing me to give away three Freestyle Really Big Notebooks and three Matte Black Star-Studded Samplers. Six winners in all. Winner’s of the Really Big Notebook can pick the color of the color. Just “like” Productive Luddite on Facebook to be entered to win and then add your entry via the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest eligibility limited to US Continental addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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

Ink Review: J. Herbin Poussière de Lune

J. Herbin Poussière de Lune

 

If you’d told me five years ago that I would like purple inks, I would have scoffed. The older, wiser me nods agreeably. “Indeed, there are some purple inks I do quite like.” J. Herbin’s Poussière de Lune (Moon Dust Purple) is one such purple. This is another ink I purchased in the little 10ml shooter bottle ($4.75 each) which is just such fun. Any day now, I think I’ll own the whole spectrum of J. Herbin inks just because I can purchase them all in these little snack-sized bottles.

Poussière de Lune is an eggplant-y purple black. The photos show a bit more luminance and a touch more red than it appears in person.  When I first touched the ink to paper, I was immediately struck with the complexity of the color and it reminded me of the original formula of Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses. When I compared the inks though, Poussière de Lune is actually closer in color to Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa without the iron gall. This might be a plus for some people who want the color of Scabiosa but are worried about damaging their pens with an iron gall ink.

J. Herbin Poussière de Lune

The color does dry a flat, matte color but I think that’s to be expected with any inks that aren’t in the J. Herbin 1670 line with the metallic flakes in them.

Overall, I like the performance of J. Herbin inks. They are wet enough for my fine nib pens and have a good amount of shading. Poussière de Lune is no exception and may actually be one of my favorite J. Herbin inks thus far.


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.

Faber-Castell Neon Pink Pencil Set

Faber Castell Neon Pink Pencil Set

The last time I was in my local pen shop, The Pen Place, I saw this box set of Faber-Castell Grip pens in neon pink sitting on a high shelf. I made the clerks pull the box down for me and I insisted on taking them home. The box set included three neon pink triangular-shaped Grip pencils with laser foil dots along the body, a pink fold-out sharpener and a matching pink fold out wedge eraser. I paid $30 for the set which was probably more than I should have but the Faber-Castell Grip pencils are some of my favorite pencils ever so I had to try this version.

I did find a two-pencil set on Amazon in pink and black for about $15 with the sharpener and eraser. I also found a set that looked more purple-y than pink but did include the three pencils for about the same price on Amazon as well.

Faber Castell Neon Pink Pencil Set

In my testing of this version of the Grip pencils, I realized that I much prefer an eraserless pencil. Sorry, Palomino Blackwings! I love the look of those wedge erasers but I find myself reaching for the pencils without the eraser caps more than the ones with the erasers.

Faber Castell Neon Pink Pencil Set writing sample

The pencils aren’t labelled with the hardness but I’d guess these were a HB or #2. Because the dots on the grip area of theses pencils are actually hot foil, they are slightly debossed compared to the raised rubber dots on the standard grey Grip 2001 pencils. This makes them a little less comfortable out of the box. I do like the triangular shape a lot and I have a feeling that, with use, the grip area will feel a little smoother and I’ll notice the foil debossed areas a little less. That said, I’m more inclined to stock up on the classic 2001 pencils with the grippy rubber dots, even though they melt in the heat. The pink pencils can be my “extreme weather” 2001s.

The sharpener worked well and created a short but sharp point. The blade was not labelled but since Faber-Castell is a German company, I wouldn’t be surprised if the blade was from KUM. I didn’t test to see if I could swap it out or not but there was a screw holding the blade in place so I hold out hope that it can be replaced when needed. The closing mechanism covers the sharpener hole so that shavings and graphite chips are less likely to coat the inside of my bag. It won’t hold a ton of shavings but its suitable for on-the-go sharpening needs.

The eraser is a great wedge shape that folds into the plastic carrier to keep it from picking up dirt and lint. The wedge shape also gives it a sharp edge that’s easy to use on a single word or line of writing. I’m sure it will blunt over time but this is definitely one of the most pleasing travel eraser configurations I’ve come across. It works pretty well. The Staedtler Mars Plastic still outperformed it but it is more the adequate for most purposes and the shape and plastic travel cover help make it an eraser that will get a lot of use in my collection.

This unique neon set makes me smile everytime I pick them up.  I love Faber-Castell Grip pencils so I’m glad I bought this. I’d recommend seeking out the less expensive sets which are probably a better value though.

Ink Review: Rouge Opera

J. Herbin Rouge Opera Ink Review

These little shooters of J. Herbin ink are just so addictive! This is the Rouge Opera ($4.75 for 10ml bottle) which came highly recommended by a friend as a “good red”. I paired it with my Kaweco Student with an EF nib. What’s black and chrome and red all over? (HA!)

J. Herbin Rouge Opera Ink Review Writing Sample

In the swab and the brush lettering, the red looked a little pinky but when writing its a good clean red. It doesn’t lean too pink or burgundy. Even with my EF nib, I got some shading which is nice.

The J. Herbin Rouge Opera Ink is also available in a larger 30ml bottle ($12) and tin of 6- European short cartridges ($5.50). Tested in Rhodia No 18 Uni Blank pad with a Kaweco Student EF.


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.

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.

Review: Productive Luddite Notebooks Part 1

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The folks at Productive Luddite sent me a massive pile of notebooks to try and share with you. When I mean massive, I mean MASSIVE. The Freestyle Really Big Notebook is letter-sized and features 800 pages. So they are serious when they say “REALLY BIG”. The Matte Black Action notebook features ten different styles of paper in ONE BOOK. So, its a complicated task to review — its like reviewing a dozen notebooks.

I decided the only way to give each notebook its proper due is to split the review into two parts. First up is the New Daily Planner ($8.99) and the Matte Black Action Notebook($9.95).

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The New Daily Planner is an interpretation of the Chronodex-style daily planner. It’s a soft cover, perfect-bound, 6″x9″ with 104 bright white pages. The cover is a gloss black cardstock with bold white lettering.

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Inside, on the first two pages are places to include your personal information and instructions on using the clockwork-style planning system.

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The first few pages include monthly and yearly planning on a clock which I am not sure how useful that would be but the rest of the book is daily clockwork pages. Because of the perfect binding, the book does not lay flat easily but the soft cover means that its easy to fold the cover back if you prefer to work that way.

Productive Luddite New Daily Planner

I tested an assortment of pens in planning out my day. There is some bleeding with fountain pens on the paper but rollerballs, ballpoints, pencils and gel pens all performed well. The paper is thick enough that with non-fountain pens, there was no show through on the reverse side of the page.

Productive Luddite New Daily Planner

I use a lot of fine and exra fine nibbed fountain pens so you can see that the ink does spread. As cool as the planning calendar is, this notebook definitely requires a specific set of writing tools for best results. I think I’ll pair it long-term with one of my multi-color gel pens like the Zebra Prefill or Uni Style-Fit so I have lots of color options and no need to worry about bleed, show through or squishy-looking writing. I might assign specific colors to specific sorts of tasks: blue for work, green for blog, red for home, etc.

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The Matte Black Action notebook has a matte soft-touch coating on the cover. I believe my husband’s exact words (as a printer) was “matte aqueous soft touch coating on coated stock”. Thank you , Mister Specific. The bottom line is it gives the book a pleasing feel similar to the finish on the Field Notes Drink Local Colors Edition. Inside the book is 100 ivory-colored pages in ten different form factors including blank, lined, grid, dot grid, and many more.

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I tested the 8″x8″ sized notebook but the Matte Black Action Notebook is available in several other sizes if square is not your cup of tea.

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Toward the back of the book is journal and list-making pages with grey printing to demarcate the header area from the rest of the page.

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In the very front of the book is a page for personal information and pages to index or tag the pages in the book. This would be particularly helpful if you are using blank pages for sketching, list pages for to-dos and lined paper for writing — all for the same project. You can list the page tags in the front of the book to make it easy to find the various pages.

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

All the pages have page numbers in the lower right hand corner unless you are a contrarian left-hander that flips the whole book upside down regularly to get the best writing angle (see above).

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

I tested most of the various paper styles. What I found quite exciting is that the paper was quite fountain pen friendly. I had no issues with bleeding, feathering or show through with any of the pens I tested. The paper did seem like it was slightly heavier than the white stock in the New Daily Planner so maybe that little extra weight made it epically more fountain pen friendly?

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

The paper styles, though, seemed to have inconsistent line weights. I found that the dot grid dots seemed overly large for my tiny writing. I mostly wanted to play connect-the-dots with these pages. The graph paper lines seemed much heavier and darker than the plain lined paper. I quite liked the color and thickness of the lined paper which is at the front of the book so when I got to the grid and dot grid I was a bit disappointed.

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

Towards the back of the book was reverse grid  and dot grid paper (grey with white lines) which I much preferred to the lines on the regular grid and dot grid.

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

The great thing about the Matte Black Action Notebook is that its a great introduction to all the various forms that Productive Luddite offers in their Everyday Carry Notebook line.  All the EDC line notebooks are available in ten different sizes ranging from 4×6 up to 7×10 in horizontal, vertical, square and some variations. There are definitely lots of options!

With one $9.95 purchase, you have the chance to try all the form factors and determine which is your favorite. If you’re inclined to use some grid, some lined, some lists and so forth the Matte Black Action notebook may be the right choice for you.


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

Ink Review: J. Herbin Vert Réséda

J. Herbin Vert Réséda and Kaweco Skyline in Mint

Jet Pens recently started carrying the 10ml small bottles of J. Herbin ink and I’m absolutely mad for the little things. They are just the right size for my insatiable appetite for inks. I can fill pens several times with the quantity but it won’t stick aroud indefinitely like larger 30, 50 or bigger bottles. They remind me of bottles of nail polish — little colorful treats!

Sometimes an ink color was just meant to be paired with a pen. J. Herbin Vert Réséda is just such a color. Its a turquoise green-blue (not a blue-green) and it immediately made me think of the cool glacier mint color of the Kaweco Skyline in Mint. So, a pen/ink match was made. I bought the dainty 10ml bottle, slightly more than a sample but not the full commitment of a full 30ml bottle. I’m running out of place to store all my ink bottles anyway!

J. Herbin Vert Réséda

The color is a little bit lighter when wet then it is when its dry. So, at first, it seemed almost as light as the pen but it dries much darker and frankly, looks fantastic once dry. I did notice that in the fine nib of the Kaweco Skyline, the ink was a bit too light, even dry but when I dipped my vintage Parker Vacumatic with a slightly flexy 14K nib into the ink, I got a deeper color that I just loved.

The Vert Réséda is similar to De Atramentis Mint Turquoise but the Mint Turquoise is a bit more blue and darker. If you’re looking for a minty color that is good for finer nibbed pens, then I’d probably recommend the Min Turquoise over the Vert Réséda. Diamine Soft Mint swab is as light as the writing sample of the Vert Réséda with a fine nibbed pen so I suspect it would be too light for anything but a stub or calligraphy nib.

J. Herbin Vert Réséda

This is definitely an ink I’d recommend for nibs in the medium width and above for best results but if you’re looking for a light, bright turquoise green, it will even look pleasing in a finer nibbed pen.

($4.75 for the 10ml bottle, $12 for 30ml bottle)


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.

From The Archives: Pilot Envelope Pen

Pilot Envelope Pen Writing Sample

from-the-archivesI have been using the Pilot Envelope Pen in both the Fine and Extra Fine models for many years. These are rolleball pens. I’d most likely compare them in feel to a Pilot Precise V5 but a little bit slippier. The ink is silky smooth but because of the ink, the tip can get a little gunky. So why suffer a gunky tip? Because these pens are fine line AND waterproof and not prone to feather like a Sharpie Marker. In my writing test, the water test portion was wet with a water brush and dried. Not even a smudge!

The ink does have a bit of an odor but no worse than an alcohol-based markers and there may be some show through or bleed through on some papers but for envelopes or file folders, its not a big deal.

These do use ink quickly so buy two at a time. Stock up now before holiday card season.

Pilot Envelope Pen

I like the extra fine better for addressing envelopes since its easier to write long addresses small and neat. The fine is quite a bit broader.

Each model is just $2 and there is also a broad version and available from Jet Pens.

Ink Review: MontBlanc Meisterstück 90 Years Permanent Grey

Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 90 Years Permanent Grey

I was having one of those weeks at work where all I really wanted was a pick-me-up. So, at lunch one day, I ventured across the street to the Pen Place and bought a bottle of the MontBlanc Meisterstück 90 years Permanent Grey ($22 for a 60ml glass bottle). I bought it sight unseen (no test swab or anything), spurred entirely by how much I like the Daniel DeFoe ink and I wanted something new, different and special. I don’t know much about MontBlanc and their heritage but I was inspired by the moment, so I bought a bottle of this ink.

Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 90 Years Permanent Grey

The ink swabbed almost black so I was a little concerned that in writing, it would appear to be black. I was pleasantly surprised when I started writing with it that the ink is a watery grey-black with cool undertones (leaning a little green). Because of its lighter coloring, there is some nice shading when writing. I suspect in a finer nib pen, some of the shading might be lost. I definitely recommend using this ink with a medium nib or wider to get the full benefit of its color quality.

I don’t normally look for or purchase black inks. There are so many color options with fountain pen ink that I can’t bring myself to buy plain ol’ black. But I really like grey so I make an exception for grey inks. There aren’t a lot in my ink library so the Meisterstück Permanent Grey is an excellent addition. It is also a fairly water resistant color so it would make a good option for signing documents or addressing envelopes or anything else that might be exposed to the elements. When wet, there was a little grey washing around the writing but it stayed pretty true, enough to withstand getting caught int he rain or spilling some coffee.

This ink was tested on a Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 pad with my Lamy Studio with a 1.1mm stub nib.

From The Archives: Sharpie Pen

Sharpie Pen writing sample

I can’t believe its taken me so long to warm up to the Sharpie Pen. As a Marvy Le Pen loyalist, I just couldn’t see what the big deal was about the Sharpie Pen. It’s similar in overall design; a fiber-tip pen with a slightly wider barrel than Le Pen and not available in nearly the array of colors. However, what Sharpie brings to the table with the Sharpie Pen in that’s its fairly water resistant and widely available for purchase. If what you want is a good quality fiber-tipped pen in black, you can’t really go wrong with the Sharpie Pen.

The tip is generically labeled as “fine” and I was able to compare it to an assortment of other fiber-tipped pens. I would say the Sharpie Pen is comparable to the Le Pen which is also unlabelled and an 03 Sakura Pigma Micron. Like most fiber-tipped pens, the point will blunt over time so I’ve had to make a “best guess” since all my pens are in various states of use.

Sharpie Pen

The simple shape of the pen and the clean graphics are all plusses for me. I’d prefer a nicer clip than the molded plastic provided but overall, its a good pen for the price and can be purchased at any drugstore, stationery shop or big box store. Other ink colors are available and the Sharpie Pen is non-toxic, archival and fade resistant as well.  All-in-all, definitely one of my go-to tools.

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