Ink Review: Lennon Tool Bar Summer Collection

By Jessica Coles

Have you ever considered inks to be perfect for a season or time of year? Pastels for the spring, dusty colors in the winter, rusty oranges and browns for the fall? Kelly over at Mountain of Ink does a lot with seasonal palettes (I love those). Lennon Tool Bar seems to think this way as well – each season they release a small group of limited edition inks that are perfect for the said season.

Recently I was sent three bottles of Lennon Tool Bar ink from Shigure Inks – thank you, Alex! Two of the bottles belong to the Summer 2020 group. I also had a sample of the third ink in the set so I’ve included it in the post.

The inks shown below are Hue-Kim-Koo (fireflies) and Pacific Ocean. The third ink, Watermelon, is shown further down. The boxes are card stock with a flower emblem pressed under the labels. The name of each ink is on the top of the label and on the bottle label (so you won’t forget even if you don’t keep boxes). The boxes are a tad tough to open – but I did win in the end.

The bottles themselves are glass and 30mL each. The color on the labels is a bit darker than the actual ink, but a very close match.

Watermelon is a dusty rose color or possibly a slightly unsaturated red that leans towards purple a bit more than towards orange. Fireflies is a bright spring green that is plenty readable while Pacific Ocean is a blue-leaning blue-black.

Pacific Ocean is very close to Robert Oster Tokyo Blue Denim and a bit brighter than Sailor Shikiori.

Fireflies reminded me of Diamine Meadow but is lighter when writing with it. The swatch looks very close to Noodlers Dragon Catfish but the textures of the inks are completely different. All three Lennon Tool Bar inks here are not lubricated but are wet writers. While using a dip nib, the flow was too fast but I loved that quality when in a fountain pen.

Watermelon is close to both Pilot Iroshizuku Momji and Papier Plume Garden District Azalea but writes darker than either ink.

My favorite part of the three inks was using them together. The contrast between the three inks sets off the colors beautifully. I was surprised at the readibility of Fireflies. I used a Pilot medium nib and loved it. The wet flow of the ink was perfect, especially at covering up my mistake spelling limited. Maybe I’m the one who needs to go back to school instead of the kids!

The smearing below came from adding the firefly wings before the ink was totally dry. Pacific Ocean and Fireflies each had nice levels of shading while Watermelon didn’t show much. It is a good medium red that is not eye-searing. Pacific Ocean is a great blue-black. On Tomoe River paper there was no feathering but the dry time was long- over 45 seconds for Fireflies, slightly under 40 seconds for Pacific Ocean and Watermelon. Show through on the back of the paper was normal for Tomoe River and there was only spots of ink that came through where I had pooled ink while writing.

I love the huge varieties of ink colors that are available at this point in the fountain pen world! With so many inks, it’s hard for me to fulfill my quest to collect all the inks. I’m grateful that Alex at Shigure Inks offers not only a huge variety of hard-to-find inks but also offers samples of the inks he carries – I would be much more limited if I had to purchase bottles of each ink!

To order the samples you fill out the super-secret ink sample page (not really secret – it’s on the Ink dropdown menu) and samples can be ordered by the mL typically 1-5 mL. I also learned that earlier this month, Shigure hit the one-year anniversary! Congratulations!


DISCLAIMER:  Some of the items in this review (Pacific Ocean and Fireflies ink bottles) were provided for free for the purpose of review. Other items were purchased by me. Except for the Col-o-ring which was provided to me by a wonderful person who pays me to write blogs by keeping me supplied with Col-o-rings, Dippers and occasionally stickers as well. Please see the About page for more details.

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  1. You compared Fireflies and Diamine Meadow. How about Diamine Jade, which was renamed Calligraphy Passion (I have both, but not Meadow) ?

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