Another Look at the J. Herbin Rollerball

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My friend, fellow pen lover and mail art/postal princess, Carolee, of Make Everyday a Good Mail Day offered to take a second look and test drive of the J. Herbin Rollerball pen which allows the user to use any cartridge-based fountain pen ink. She is also a left-handed writer so she was skeptical that she would have any success with the pen. She had also just ordered her own pen so I offered to send her the pen I had to try before she opened hers so that if she had bad luck with mine she could choose to send hers back unused.

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Ink used is actually Rouge Opera, not Rouge Caroubier. Correction noted by Carolee, I’m not that good with my ink recognition…yet.

Alternately, this also meant that Carolee was able to test more than one pen and compare the different pens and various inks. Her discovery is that some of the pens felt smoother. Was this a result of the ink or the actual rollerball in the pen? I suspect that it remains to be determined with future writing and some trial and error.

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One other thing to note is that Carolee is what is known as an underwriting left-hander. This is considered a preferable method for writing but some lefties have had the unfortunate luck to be what’s called overwriters (that would be me), who hold the pen at a twisted angle from above the line they are writing. This tends to cause more smudging and other writing challenges. One of those challenges may be getting the J Herbin rollerball to work properly. Or it could just be me.

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Finally, I would like to give you a chance to try the J. Herbin rollerball. I am giving away TWO J. Herbin rollerball pens, thanks to the generous support of Jet Pens. Let me know what inks you’d like to try in the J. Herbin Rollerball to be officially entered.

FINE PRINT: Giveaway ends at 10pm on Thursday, March 21, 2013 (US Central Time). All comment must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Friday. 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. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money.

(All photos by Carolee.)

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66 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Oooh Thank you for the chance to win! I really really like the idea of a rollerball that uses fountain pen ink! Because I have a plethora of ink hehe. But what I’d really like to try in this rollerball is J. Herbin’s Larmes de Cassis

  2. I am intrigued by the rollerball using fountain pen ink. I also like the transparent barrel. I would like to try Bleu Pervenche.

  3. I have a few new J. Herbin Vert Pre and Gris Nuage cartridges that I’ve been itching to try. But I have already matched up my regular-use fountain pens with their inks… The roller ball would be a good opportunity to give the green and grey inks a test run.

  4. Hmm… that’s interesting. I’d love to try aurora black in there. (would use it at work so can’t really try too many colors).

  5. Pensive Violet Purple sounds intriguing as an ink color. I’ve never used a purple ink before and I love to look of this pen as well!

  6. I too am left-handed and an overwriter, although I’m teaching myself to underwrite when it comes to fountain pens. 🙂 I’d be especially keen to attempt using this pen with a converter if possible because my dad has so many bottles of beautiful Iroshizuku ink (they came from Jet Pens!) that I would love to be able to try. He’s the one that got me into fountain pens in the first place and he’s always bragging on those gorgeous inks! 🙂

  7. I’ll stick with boring ol’ Pelikan 4001. If I really like the pen, I might spend some bucks for a bottle of Pelikan Edelstein Amber.

  8. i love color! i’d choose green, and would probably do well for a sharp, clear line and vibrant color if i went with the J. Herbin Vert Olive i saw in a post once. i loved that color then, and would love trying it out.

  9. Hmm. I really like Pelikan inks, so I’d go with one of those – maybe the 4001 violet or brilliant black.

  10. A roller ball pen that uses fountain pen ink – that’s the best of both worlds! I would love to win one, and that J. Herbin Rouge Opera ink looks like the perfect ink to start with – I love a pretty pink ink.

  11. I’m a left-handed overwriter too…but I’d still love to try these pens. I’d put a converter in it and use my De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes.

  12. I’d love to try out these pens. I don’t actually use rollerballs all that often–but it’s never too late to try, right?

  13. I love to try it with J. Herbin Rouge Opera. And the fact that it’s a roller ball makes it super cool! 🙂

  14. I’d love a chance to use this pen, and I would use the J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink – Perle Noire.

  15. The giveaways always generate so many comments. I think I’d try the Noodler’s Ink Baystate Concord Grape. I love all purple inks.

  16. I’d love to try the pen. I’ve only tried one J Herbin ink, so it seems only appropriate to try another in this pen. How about Lie de The?

  17. I have been tempted to purchase one of these for a while now. The inks I am thinking to try are all J. Herbin: Lierre Sauvage, Lie de Thé, Eclat de Saphir, and Eclat de Saphir.

  18. Oh my. This is an exciting give away. Thanks for the opportunity! Here’s a short list from my longer list that’s in my planner: Bleu Myosotis, Bleu Nuit, Eclat de Saphir, Larnes de Cassis, Poussiere de Lune, Rose Cyclamen, and Violette Pensee… Oh.. here’s to fingers crossed and good luck. 🙂

  19. Pens are my new obsession, so I’d order $25 worth of ink at JetPens to get the free shipping. Love this blog!

  20. Wonderful giveaway! Thanks for the review, nice to see that it writes fairly fine line. I would love to see how it writes with Poussiere de Lune or Aubergine. Anything purple would make me happy.

  21. They look amazing I would love to try to win these pens!!! I’m unsure of the ink colors name but pink, purple…whatever color would do! 🙂 Thanks

  22. I just tripped over this site while stumpling around the internet, and it may just have renewed my love for paper & ink journals. I thought I was cured after High School, but, nope, you’re dragging me right back in.

    I don’t have a cache of inks to try out with this, but, clearly, I’m perfectly willing to start! Just from that site, I think the Blackcurrant Purple and I will get along juuuuuust fine. =)

  23. I have wondered about this pen. I would try it with a Watermans brown, J. Herbin bleu mystos, and the dark purple I have still been choosing. What a fabulous giveaway!

  24. I’d love to try J. Herbin Rouge Hematite, Scribal Work Shop Nessie, and Rohrer & Klingner Smaragdgrun with this rollerball. Thanks for the giveaway!

  25. I like the look of the De Atramentis Deepwater Obsession in the sample. I’d like to try that in person or pop in an Empyrean blue cartridge from Levenger.

  26. I love the idea of a rollerball using fountain pen inks. I’m thinking some fun spring color! Diamine Eau de Nil has been on my wish list and I’m thinking its going to be the perfect spring buy.

  27. I think J. Herbin’s cafe des iles would look lovely coming from the rollerball. (And it goes so well with the [inevitable] coffee rings.)

  28. If I were to use a rollerball pen, it’d be with fountain pen ink! I’d fill it with PR Ebony Purple or Diamine Eclipse.

  29. I like the look of this pen. I normally use a Retro 51 rollerball, but I love the thought of combining ink carts with the rollerball pen. If I won, I’d like to try the De Atramentis Deepwater Obsession that you used in the sample above. It seems a nice blue-black ink.

  30. I would love to try this out! Being a fountain pen newbie, I would love any black, blue black, or blue ink with this. Definitely prefer a smooth writer, but not too wet.
    Thanks a lot for the giveaway!

  31. I’d really love to try that Gris Nuage (sp) try do. Or the red LE that isn’t LE anymore. Mostly I want that one anyway and I’d be interested if it would shade in a rollerball.

    Thanks for the giveaway! J. Herbin carts were my first adult foray (gateway drug) into finally now being a total ink addict (even if I can’t remember the names of them.)

  32. I’m still very new to fancy pens and nice ink, so I’m not sure what I would want to use, though I’ve been very intrigued with Rome Burning since I saw your review of it

  33. i imported this from Amazon to my country via a friend , used it for sometime then didn’t use it for maybe a month or so . The other day i tried to write with this pen and it won’t write! (I haven’t swapped another ink in its cartridge) I washed it thoroughly, even pulled the nib (with it’s feed out) and let it soak for almost two hours. Then reassembled it and still to my despair, the pen wont work.

    I am heartbroken because i really liked the writing of this ink pen. Can i do something about it or should i throw it away

    1. I wonder if the rollerball itself is jammed in place due to some dried ink? I know when I have refilled these its required a bit of effort to get it rolling again (no pun intended). Try a bit of warmer water run over the tip of the pen. Fountain pen ink is not as slippery as regular rollerball ink and therefore may cause the rollerball to freeze in place. If you have pen flush and a syringe to try to force liquid through feed and roller, you may be able to get it rolling again. Also, just applying a little soapy water (a drop of dish soap in water) to the tip and rolling the tip on paper may be enough to get it rolling again. If its between force it to roll and throwing it away, it can’t hurt to try.

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