Ink Review: Private Reserve Old vs New Part 2

Ink Review: Private Reserve Old vs New Part 2

Last week I presented the first group of the new ink line from Private Reserve inks under the Yafa brand.  This week I will finish the PR inks that were sent out and just like last week, I have the old versions of each ink save one – Avocado.

This group consists of 7 inks – Daphne Blue, Blue Suede, Avocado, Buttercup, Orange Crush, Copper Burst, and Chocolate.

The new Private Reserve Daphne Blue is a great match for Monteverde Caribbean Blue. A touch of shading with this one but not much of it in writing.

The older version of Daphne Blue was a bit more even in tone – there was less variation in the shading. The new Daphne Blue is a a nearly perfect match.

Blue Suede is the next ink. it’s a bit darker than Noodler’s Turquoise and has some great shading! There was just a tiny touch of sheen in some letters as well.

The new Blue Suede is definitely darker. The color and shading variations here make it tough to compare the underlying color, but they are close. This is another great update.

Avocado is now being spelled correctly! Don’t worry – I know why it was misspelled in the first place. Something about a guitar…

The new Avocado ink is close to Birmingham Schenley Park Thicket Green although considerably darker. Again, there is a bit of sheen on this one. a beautiful black sheen.

Good yellow inks that are legible and still yellow are so hard to find. The original Private Reserve Buttercup was a great ink for this requirement. The new Private Reserve Buttercup is also great – close to the yellow ink from the Pineider Alchemy ink mix kit.

Comparing the new and old Buttercup inks, it is easier to see the change. The new Buttercup ink is darker with a touch of orange. I did see feathering in this ink but I need to test it further on various papers to see how it behaves on those.

The new Private Reserve Orange Crush is beautiful. A dark pumpkin orange with plenty of red mixed in. Orange Crush is close to Robert Oster Orange Zest – another great orange.

This color received quite the update. The old version of Orange Crush was a much lighter orange and was much closer to yellow than red. I’m not sure these two should go by the same name! I will miss the old Orange Crush tone, but the new Orange Crush is definitely one to check out.

Copper Burst is close to Monteverde Canyon Rust – a great color. Copper Burst has a bit less red than Canyon Rustand more extreme shading. There’s a bit of black sheen that shows up in writing, at least in wider nibs.

The color change between the new and old versions of Copper Burst isn’t quite as extreme as the change with Orange Crush. However, these are completely different colors as well. Copper Burst was originally lighter and closer to orange. The new Copper Burst has some dark halo effects in writing and lots of shading.

The final color in this week’s post is Private Reserve Chocolate. I realized my ink smudge looked like I had left a bit of chocolate on the swatch card – I’m sure it was on purpose! Chocolate is darker than Lamy Topaz but similar in color. It has dramatic shading in wide nibs, going from almost black to a milk chocolate shade of brown very quickly.

The new and old Chocolate inks are a fairly good match. Once again, the new ink is darker and the shading more pronounced.

I’ve lined the new Private Reserve inks up on the bottom row and the matching old version on the top. Each ink has more shading and is darker. Buttercup is the ink that stands out in this comparison.

Orange Crush and Copper Burst – these inks I would definitely refer to which generation you are using. These two colors are the biggest change I have seen in Yafa’s change.

Once again I am overall quite happy with the updates to the Private Reserve ink line. Each color is darker and shades more dramatically. Other than the elevated levels of red in Buttercup, Orange Crush, and Copper Burst, the changeover has been quite successful at color matching.

Private Reserve inks have increased slightly in price but are still an amazing deal. Any of the bottles above retail for $15 and are sold in 60mL bottles. That comes in at $0.25/mL, slightly less than the $8 for a 30mL bottle of Diamine.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: Squirrels in my ink

I can’t tell you how tickled I was when I saw the story about the young girl who rescued the baby squirrels after Hurricane Ida (below in “Other Interesting Things). It had to be the thing that brought me the most delight this week. That, and the re-broadcast of an episode of Every Little Thing podcast about astronauts when they return to earth. Even if you’re not a space nerd, the pure joy emanating from this episode is palpable.

In other news, I am finally taking my laptop to Apple on Sunday after living with aa janky keyboard since I bought it 3 years ago. If you have had issues with keys repeating randomly like I have, check to see if your laptop is covered by the recall. This might make posting next week a little challenging. I’ll keep you posted or borrow my office laptop. (I had to correct at least FOUR cases of repeating aaaaaa’s in this paragraph alone. And a double O where I didn’t need it.)




Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

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Notebook Review: Laine My Knitting Notes

In the past year or two, Laine, a company that produces Nordic knitting patterns (magazines and gorgeous books), has also produced a knitting journal. This past weekend when Ana and I went on our local yarn crawl, we decided to pick up a copy and review it!

My Knitting Notes (€19 or $25) is designed as a notebook for knitters who want to keep a journal of the projects they work on. Ana and I were particularly interested in this because of late, we’ve been contemplating the best method to track our projects.

A small sidebar:

You might be wondering why we would need to track projects and what use such a record would be. As crafters, we often make projects more than once, so recording what patterns, needle sizes, and yarns we used, as well as any notes we made during the project, make a tidy reference point. Ana and I have been using Ravelry, a social media site and database for crafters, to track our projects, but recent developments have made us worry a bit about the longevity of that platform. The nice thing about an electronic journal is that we can add pattern PDFs, photos, links to needles or yarn, whereas in a physical format you’d have to print some of those items out to append them to a journal. That said, electronic platforms (particularly those social ones) are impermanent and can disappear (often faster than the written word). So what is the best method to track things?

Back to the review at hand:

My Knitting Notes is a small journal, measuring 6 x 8.5″ (15 x 21cm) and about .75″/2cm thick. It is hardbound, with a woven cover in Mustard, and embossed in gold on the front cover with My Knitting Notes and the back cover with Laine’s logo. The journal itself contains 156 pages divided among reference materials, entry pages for 31 projects, and a small section of grid for noting schematics or charting patterns. The end papers are in a soft peach with no additional printing, and the main paper of the journal is off white. Finally, there is a yellow ribbon bookmark for place keeping.

I find the layout very practical actually. There is a small reference section at the front which includes among other things needle conversion tables (the US uses needle “sizes” and the remainder of the world mostly uses measurements in mm), a printed ruler for small measurements and some common abbreviations and definitions. However the bulk of the book is devoted to project pages. The first 2-page spread of the project pages has spaces for some basic information, and then lined areas for notes. The second 2-page spread is blank, which could allow for doodles, sketches or more notes. It also might be a nice place to add yarn tags and snips with washi tape? Or a printed photo of the completed project?

Let’s talk about the paper. The journal touts “156 pages of high-quality paper” which to me often spells trouble. To be sure, in my larger nibs and more heavily pigmented fountain pen inks, there was some feathering. But I was pleasantly surprised that in my smaller nibs, the paper did fine. And even with a bit of feathering, nothing bled through. I used fountain pens in varying nib sizes, fine liners, gel inks, rollerballs and pencil so I feel like I did put the paper through it’s paces. I didn’t test any water resistance (I expect not much because the paper feels fairly porous) or heavier markers because I don’t know that I would use them in a journal of this sort.

Overall, I think this is a well made and reasonably priced book geared towards knitters. As I continue to mull over where I track my projects, I’m going to give this one a go for the remainder of 2021 and see where I end up!

DISCLAIMER: The notebook in this review was purchased by The Well-Appointed Desk from our local yarn store, Yarn Social Kansas City. You can also find it at Laine. Please see the About page for more details.

Pen Review: Pilot Spare Sign Pen

Pen Review: Pilot Spare Sign Pen

What if you could refill a Pilot Sign Pen ($16.50) with a cartridge or even a fountain pen ink? You can! With the new Pilot Spare Sign Pen. The pen ships with four blue-black fountain pen cartridges (and a spare tip) but will also accept a Pilot converter (I recommend the Con-40) so you can fill or refill the pen with an ink of your choosing.

Pilot Spare PSign en

I’ve been enjoying filling the various refillable pens in my collection with fountain pen inks. They allow me to use more of my existing ink and experience the vast array of colors in a different form factor. Super light fountain pen inks can now be used to underline passages in a book or sections in my notebooks where the ink may not be as useful in an EF fountain pen. I can experiment with super sheeners or shimmer inks in an inexpensive tool as well.

Pilot Spare Sign Pen

Pilot Spare Sign Pen

Once the Con-40 was installed, I filled the Spare Sign Pen with Colorverse Matter, a lovely grey ink. I wanted to play with a color not commonly found in felt tip pens. The color has a range of hues in it and dries a little darker than it appears when wet so it was fun to play with it in the Spare Sign Pen.


Pilot Spare Pen writing sample
Writing sample on Tomoe River 52gsm and Col-o-ring card with samples of Kuretake Karappo refillable pens for comparison.

I also wanted to compare the writing experience of the Pilot Spare Sign Pen with the Kuretake Karappo with Wick and with Cartridges. The Pilot Spare Sign Pen tip is a bit wider than the Kuretake Karappo Felt Tip and the Karappo with cartridges felt tip. Obviously, the brush/bristle tips are wider but I wanted to include sample writing just to show the range.

I have not yet tried to clean the Pilot Spare Sign Pen but the replaceable tip will make it possible to reuse the converter and pen barrel even if the tip needs to be swapped out with each color change.

I enjoy the opportunity to use fountain pen inks in different ways, particularly in work environments where fountain pens can seem a little “fancy”. I still get to use fun ink colors but in stealthy packaging.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ask The Desk: Sharpeners, Skripsert Converters and Staples Legal Pads

Ask The Desk: Sharpeners, Skripsert Converters and Staples Legal Pads

Geoffrey asked two questions:

1) What would your recommend for a short point pencil sharpener? Think the stubby point on a golf pencil. My husband is obsessed with short point pencils, but his current method of using a wider sharpener to make a short point isn’t always ideal.

adjustable sharpeners

There are three readily available adjustable pocket sharpeners: The Kutsuwa Stad T’Gaal ($6), the Sonic Rachetto Capsule ($5.50) and the Dux Adjustable ($22 with leather case). Each has a dial that will allow you to adjust the pointiness of the graphite tip.

If you are looking for a manual crank sharpener, I can’t recommend the Dahle 133 (approx. $20) highly enough. The Dahle will also adjust the point by rotating the dial on the crank handle.

2) Can you recommend a leather traveler’s style cover (with the elastic loops to insert notebooks) that would fit 8.5×11 notebooks? 

Your second question was a bit of a stumper. I got some help from our Patrons during our monthly Zoom meet-up. The first suggestion was to reach out to the Curnows for a custom-made cover.

Rustico and Levenger stock some padfolios that might work though they are not specifically designed like a Traveler’s Notebook. The slats designed to hold a legal pad or notebook would work to hold a large notebook.

Another option would be to look on Etsy for “Traveler’s Notebook A4” for other custom made traveler’s style notebook options.

Isabell asked:

Hello, I own a lady sheaffer skripsert fountain pen and would like to know what ink converter goes with it – if there isn’t a converter for it then simply what cartridges fit would be great. 

Skripsert converter?

The sad truth of the matter is that Skripserts take a slender Sheaffer converter which is no longer produced. Often, folks at pen shows swill have a converter  available for sale but but will sell them for upwards of $30 per converter. They are squeeze-style converters so used or NOS converters might need to be repaired or have sacs replaced which will be an additional cost.

Skripsert converter?

What is often not known is that standard cartridges are still produced by Sheaffer and will fit into Skripserts. Most online and brick-and-mortar shops should have an assortment of these cartridges available for purchase. I save these cartridges and refill them.

I received a tip from one of our Patrons that other converters might be modified (like a standard international converter) by building up the material around the lip of the converter with UV curing glue. If you want more details about modifying or making your own converter with this technique, drop me an email and I will put you in touch with our Patron.

Peter asked:

Hi! Staples has discontinued my favorite legal pads and i’m wondering if you have a recommended replacement. …what I like about them is 1. college ruled 2. thick paper 3. lines are very faint… so far cannot find any other yellow legal pads that meet those three criteria!

Peter, your question was the hardest of the lot. Our Patrons suggested I reach out to some of my favorite Legal Eagles and ask their recommendations. When asked, Gentleman Stationer said, “There are none. Unless you can find bagasse or sugarcane, save yourself the headache and go Rhodia (No. 18 is A4 sized and No. 19 is legal sized, available in white or yellow) or Blackwing I honestly use the Write Notepads letter size memo pads.”

Marla asked our lovely Jesi:

I love your beautiful calligraphy (this comment comes especially from the Monteverde Jungle review, but applies in general)… especially on the Jungle test strips. Is there a special name for that style? Biz work has severely degraded my speed-print/cursive blend and I’d love to be able to write and letter beautifully. I’m sure that I can improve with practice towards a goal.

Jesi taught herself a more refined style of handwriting using books and worksheets by the much-revered Michael Sull. She utilized The Art of Cursive Penmanship particularly but Mr. Sull has produced another books of note; American Cursive and Learning to Write Spencerian Script (available for order via his web site). She uses a dip pen for her swatches with Nikko G ($3,85 for a pack of 3) or vintage Esterbrook dip nibs.

If you have questions for the Desk, use the link at the top of our site to submit them. 

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this post were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review.And some items in this review include affiliate links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Review: Private Reserve Old vs New

Ink Review: Private Reserve Old vs New

Private Reserve ink has had its share of controversy. I won’t elaborate on past issues in this post but instead, I will show some of the new colors and compare them with the original Private Reserve colors.

Private Reserve inks can clearly be divided into old and new versions. The brand was purchased by YAFA who has updated the line but kept the ink color names. I was curious if these colors stayed true through this change, especially some of the more popular inks. I recently received a bundle of the new PR inks from YAFA for review and this is the first batch: Burgundy Mist, Arabian Rose, Black Cherry, DC Supershow Blue, Tropical Blue, and Naples Blue.

First up is Private Reserve Burgundy Mist. This is the only ink in this batch where I do not have a swatch of the original ink, but I have compared it to other inks to see the color. Burgundy Mist is very close to Mercury Noir with better shading. I did see feathering with Burgundy Mist.

Black Cherry is up next. The new Black Cherry is close to Monteverde Blueberry Muffin. No feathering was present here and the shading is wonderful.

The new Black Cherry ink is a great match for the original Black Cherry but the shading has been enhanced. This is a great change, in my opinion.

Arabian Rose. This ink is the one that worried me – Arabian Rose is one color where I have never found an adequate replacement. ColorVerse Einstein Ring is the best I’ve found

Here’s a comparison between the new and old Arabian Rose inks. I like the new color, but I’m not completely satisfied with the change – the original Arabian Rose had a dusty finish that isn’t present in the new version. New Arabian Rose is darker, contains a bit more blue, and there is a sharper differentiation between the light and dark shades.

Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue was originally made for the DC pen show (supershow). It is a brilliant medium sheening blue that stands out on white paper.

This ink is one that has made a positive change in the move to YAFA. The blue is a touch more brilliant and the sheen has been played down just enough to deal with the smearing problem. I found no smearing in my use of Supershow blue.

Tropical Blue has just a bit more green in the undertone than DC Supershow Blue and is one of my favorite blues ever. The shading makes the color pop in writing.

I believe the old and new Tropical Blue inks are identical although new Tropical Blue has more shading.

Finally, Naples Blue. This is the lightest blue in this batch and seems to be an almost perfect match for Pelikan Edelstein Topaz in writing. It has a hint of red sheen as well.

Again, the base color is a perfect match here but the shading is better.

Here’s a look at the changes in the red/pink inks in this batch:

And a comparison of the blues.

The trend here is that the new Private Reserve colors are very close to their older versions but each one shades more readily or dramatically. So far the change is overwhelmingly positive, but I will mourn the loss of my beloved Arabian Rose ink.

Private Reserve inks have increased slightly in price but are still an amazing deal. Any of the bottles above retail for $15 and are sold in 60mL bottles. That comes in at $0.25/mL, slightly less than the $8 for a 30mL bottle of Diamine. I’m looking forward to seeing more of what YAFA has in store for these inks!

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.


Link Love: For CW

Link Love: For CW

News dropped this week that CW Pencils would be closing up shop for good by the end of 2021. Caroline Weaver and her devoted team of pencil enthusiasts have been an inspiration to the stationery community. Caroline launched a beloved stationery subscription service, published an amazing book on the history of the pencil and appeared in dozens of publications (“A store that sells pencils?!?!” often being the some variation of the headline). If you ever set foot in CW Pencil Enterprise, Caroline was gracious and knowledgeable and ready to share her enthusiasm with you.

While my heart is breaking that the pandemic has broken yet another small business, I know Caroline is smart, talented and passionate. Whatever she does next will be amazing. Send your best wishes to Caroline and her employees. Next year will be a mix of exciting, bittersweet, scary, and sad for them all and even they will need our support and good wishes.

Links of the Week:

On closing (via CW Pencil Enterprise)

Shop Closing FAQ (via CW Pencil Enterprise)




Notebooks & Paper:

Other Interesting Things:

We need each other. Please support our sponsors and affiliates. Your patronage will let them know you appreciate their support of the pen community. Without them, and without you, we could not continue to do what we do. Thank you!