Fountain Pen Review: Ranga Abhimanyu Premium Ebonite

Fountain Pen Review: Ranga Abhimanyu Premium Ebonite

Every time I have a Ranga pen in my hand, I am reminded how much I like them. The Ranga Abhimanyu Fountain Pen (starting at $72) is no different. This cigar-shaped pen is available in both brilliant acrylics and subtle ebonite colors. The pen has a long, tapered grip section which is very comfortable in the hand. It’s not a long pen but is wider than a lot of smaller pens making it comfortable for a range of hand sizes.

The pen comes with a standard international converter. The pen can be converted to an eyedropper filler by using the accompanying silicone grease and eyedropper that Teri includes with each order (we received the grease and eyedropper kit but we are sending it out with our Peyton Street Pens Miwok 2 pen so I don’t have it here to photograph).  There are a lot of threads on the barrel to remove the body from the grip section to get to the converter but that’s probably my biggest criticism of this pen. The cap screws on with only a quick twist but removing the body from the grip section took me about 11+ turns. At least it’s unlikely to ever become untwisted on its own, especially if it’s eyedropper filled.

I tested the Premium Ebonite model in Green-Yellow with a broad cursive italic nib that was custom ground by Nivardo, the Peyton Street Pens in-house nibmeister. The color of the ebonite is a shamrock green with a yellow-gold marbled swirl. Initially, it wasn’t a color combo I would have picked for myself but I am warming up to it. I tend to like to color coordinate my inks with my pens and I tend to not use any bright green inks. However, there is also a thread of teal in the ebonite as well as the yellow-gold and those are both colors I’m inclined to use.

I have another Ranga Ebonite pen and I like that the ebonite finish can become more matte over time. I’m sure you could polish it up if you prefer to keep it shiny but I like the softer finish. It’s a nice alternative to all my shiny acrylic pens. If you prefer shiny acrylic, the Abhimanyu is also available in an array of beautiful acrylics.

Ranga Abhimanyu Premium Ebonite Green Yellow Fountain Pen

The Abhimanyu is pretty lightweight and can be posted. In my small hands though, it made the pen a little too back heavy. If you have larger hands, using it posted will probably be more comfortable.


  • 29 gms capped/posted
  • 20 gms uncapped

Pen Weights


  • 5.325″  (13.5 cm) capped
  • 4.625″ (11.75 cm ) uncapped
  • 6.625″  (16.8 cm) posted

I think the long, tapered grip section is of particular interest for a lot of pen enthusiasts. If you have an unusual grip, long fingers or find that threads often press into your fingers, this pen may be for you. Because the grip is long, the threads are much further back on the pen making it less likely for them to press into your hand.

Ranga Abhimanyu Premium Ebonite Green Yellow Fountain Pen

Can we talk about the nib?!?! The nib is a stock #6 JoWo nib but can be upgraded to a custom ground nib (approx. $45). If you have not ever tried a nib by Nivardo, what are you waiting for? I honestly think this soft spoken gentleman is one of the most under-appreciated nibmeisters in the pen community. I have several pens from Peyton Street over the years and while the pen brands and bodies catch my eye for their shape and color, it’s the delicious writing experience of Nivardo’s nibs that keep me coming back.

Ranga Abhimanyu Premium Ebonite Green Yellow Fountain Pen

Ranga Abhimanyu Premium Ebonite Green Yellow Fountain Pen

The nib on the Ranga Abhimanyu is a Broad Cursive Italic and usually, as a lefty who writes small, I tend to stay away from broad crisp italics for a number of reasons: too broad and my letter counters fill in (the insides of e’s and o’s and such), my writing angle is such that if an italic nib is too sharp then I just dig a corner into the paper and finally, really broad italics and calligraphy nibs are often difficult for me to keep both sides of the nib on the paper consistently (think of an ice skater moving from the inside to the outside of the skate blade) which means the feed isn’t in contact with the paper so no ink!

All of that is to say that NONE OF THAT HAPPENED with this fantastic broad cursive italic nib. It wrote smoothly at all angles, didn’t dig into the paper and wasn’t so broad that my letters filled in. I’d call that a win, wouldn’t you?

Ranga Abhimanyu Premium Ebonite Green Yellow Fountain Pen

Finally, I’ve always been a fan of Peyton Street Pens’ simple, understated pen packaging. They use a paperboard box with magnetic closure, foil stamped with their web address. The pen is wrapped in plastic, inside and there are two small foam bumpers inside the box in case your pen experiences a bumpy ride on its way to you. This box is small and protective without being overly fussy. I know the packaging does not make or break the sale of a pen but I appreciate it when the packaging doesn’t make me cringe.

I realize that I pretty much summed up my feelings about this pen at the beginning of the review but I’ll reiterate it here: Ranga pens are a good value, available in an array of colors and materials and getting one of Nivardo’s custom nibs is the cherry on top. Let me know if you try one of these out and if you like it as much as I do.

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

Ink Review: PenBBS Season 29 Part 1

Ink Review: PenBBS Season 29 Part 1

Today I will let the pictures speak for themselves. PenBBS Season 29 is out with 2 shimmer inks included in the lineup – 12 inks in all but I’ll be showing the first 6 in the series today. Each ink comes in the standard 60mL hexagonal bottle.


#406 Moon and Stars Shimmer

I didn’t really find much shimmer in this ink. but the coppery sheen is beautiful and plentiful.

#407 Carpodacus Roseus

#407 and my camera had a tough time agreeing if a color this bright should be photographed. It is bright but not neon.

#408 Xiamen

I don’t have a great match for #408 here. It’s closer to purple than either of these comparisons, but the saturation level is the same.

#409 Spring Lake

Another PenBBS ink, #272, is the closest color I have to #409. It is bright, minty and may be a bit too light for normal writing unless you have a broad nib or a stub.

#410 Year of the Rat Shimmer

Plenty of shimmer here in #410! Year of the Rat is a great gray ink with very fine silver shimmer.

#411 Purple Sky

Purple sky is the last of the six inks for today. This is another ink where my camera and I had words. it is a gorgeous royal purple that isn’t so dark that it looks black. The swatch of Dragon Night is close, but in writing, Purple Sky keeps the purple color.

Purple Sky is my personal favorite here, although Spring Lake and Xiamen are close seconds. I’ll be sharing the next six in this season next week before going on to season 30!


DISCLAIMER: The ink in this review was purchased by me because I am obsessed with ink. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Preview: Papier Plume Carolina in my Mind (Triangle Pen Show 2021 exclusive)

Papier Plume Carolina on my Mind

In honor of the Triangle Pen Show, Papier Plume has created a special ink: Carolina in my Mind.  This beautiful smoky teal ink will only be available at the Triangle Pen Show which opens on Thursday, June 10 and runs through June 13 this year. Any bottles remaining after the show will be available for purchase on the Papier Plume web site or in their brick-and-mortar shop.

Papier Plume Carolina on my Mind

Carolina in my Mind is a teal blue leaning slightly green with a good deal of shading. There is no noticable sheening but it does pool into a nice halo in spots on certain papers like the Col-o-ring card above.

Papier Plume Carolina on my Mind
(on Tomoe River 52gsm paper)

On Tome River paper, the shading and range of color is evident. I confess this is one of those colors that I can seldom resist.

Papier Plume Carolina on my Mind

Because Carolina in my Mind was in a color range which is widely represented in my ink collection, I had WAY too many swatches to compare it to. Probably the most noticeable similarity is to the coveted Lake Michigan Winter from Papier Plume which was a Chicago Pen Show exclusive in 2019. If you missed getting a bottle of Lake Michigan Winter, than I would recommend jumping at the chance to pick up a bottle of Carolina in my Mind. The other ink that is very close is the Edelstein Aquamarine. The other inks shown above are either bluer, darker or lighter, or in the case of Colorverse Photon — greener but they show where Carolina in my Mind sits in the inky color spectrum.


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

Link Love: Desk AV Club?

Link Love: Desk AV Club?

I’m always surprised by what I find in my RSS reader each week and this week was no different. First, there were many posts I didn’t include. Suffice it to say they were many posts that made me sad, angry or frustrated with the state of the world. My wish is that we are kind to the world, to those that are different to us, who might not understand or agree with.

In more happy, positive posts, Studio Ghibli made multiple appearances. Nothing makes me happier than Totoro so that vastly improved how I felt. There are several new films coming soon: one about Foley artists and one about chef Anthony Bourdain. I’m adding both to my “to watch” list. Should we start a Desk Film Club?

In the pen community, Joe at Gentleman Stationer posted a follow-up to Jesi’s post about the End of Tomoe River paper and the Fountain Pen Pharmacist reviewed one of my all-time favorite inks Pen BBS Tolstoy.



Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

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Fountain Pen Review & GIVEAWAY: Peyton Street Pens Miwok 2

Teri at Peyton Street Pens has been generous enough to send us lots of pens and paper for review and giveaway. We’ll be sharing them all in the next few weeks, but today I’ll talk about the Miwok 2.

Teri actually designed this particular pen which is super fun! It’s called Tortuga, so named for the tortoise-shell look of the acrylic used in the body. The pen comes with a standard cartridge/converter filling system, but if you’ve got silicon grease and an eyedropper, you can also fill it that way (remember to great the nib section as well!). Teri uses Jowo #6 nibs in this model, either in steel or gold, and nibs are available in extra fine, fine, medium, broad or 1.1mm or 1.5mm stub.

This pen feels a bit chonky in the hand, but in terms of measurements it’s not that far off from a lot of others. Capped it comes in at 5.5″, and uncapped at about 5.25″. The cap is a screw on cap and does post (friction posting), but given that the cap is wider than the body, I find it makes the pen too long and unwieldy. While a large pen, this one weighs in at only 23g. Gotta love those acrylics.

For comparison, I pulled out a TWSBI Eco since that’s a pen many people have in their collections. I also pulled out my Townsend from Shawn Newton and my Charleston from Carolina Pen Co. Frankly, they’re all about the same length even though the widths differ between the pens.

Which brings me to how I feel about this pen. I actually really enjoyed writing with it! It’s lightweight, and while it’s a bit big for my hand, it wrote nicely. The body is super smooth and the section is nice to hold in your hand. While it’s big, it’s not heavy which is a huge plus. The nib was very nice, and had a little bit of spring and feedback which I found really pleasant. I compared this pen to two other acrylic pens I own that are also hand-crafted by smaller artisans. While the Townsend and the Charleston are a bit more polished (and the acrylic blanks are often also made by the artisans), I was impressed with the quality of the Tortuga for what is a more budget-friendly price. Honestly, if you love the look of acrylics but aren’t ready to make a more expensive purchase, this is good starting point to get into hand-crafted pens.

The standard acrylic Miwok 2 retails for $72 and the premium versions retail for $87. The Tortuga pictured is made of premium acrylic, and has a gold nib in fine.

(The ink I used is Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-ho and the notebook is Write Notepads Dot Grid Steno.)

Remember I said GIVEAWAY? That’s right. Teri has generously offered this pen up for giveaway! This pen has been used briefly for this review, but will be sent to you in like new condition.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling us what ink you would put in your new Tortuga!  (Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay?) One entry per person.

If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, June 11, 2021. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. ONE winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual 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 5 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. 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. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this post were provided free of charge by Peyton Street Pens and other vendors for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Rethinking the Stationery World Post-Pandemic: Overcoming Burnout

Rethinking the Stationery World Post-Pandemic: Overcoming Burnout

It really doesn’t even need to be said, but I’ll state the obvious: the last 15 months have really been something. And just like everything else- the stationery hobby has looked significantly different over that time than we imagined it would have in the early days of 2020. While we are not out of the woods entirely- we are cautiously but increasingly optimistic. We are beginning to see signs- even in our little stationery world- of things returning to “normal.”

There are a lot of unanswered questions we could discuss about what the stationery world will look like as we attempt to slowly and safely climb out of our homebody shells over the next many months. But there is one small, but personal and important question that’s been on my mind that I wanted to address first.

There are signs everywhere of new and creative things to arise out of this time in our hobby, and many people increased their stationery use during the pandemic or maybe even dipped their toes into the stationery world for the very first time. But it’s also possible that many of us are experiencing a bit burnout- both in life overall and specifically in relation to our hobbies.

Even though the pandemic was an all-encompassing shared experience across much of the human race- I think it’s important to remember that each of us experienced it a little differently. The pandemic gave rise to increased engagement in a variety of hobbies like baking bread and playing video games and gardening. However, that doesn’t mean that engagement with the stationery hobby was the same for each of us over this long, and difficult time.

Speaking as a healthcare provider on the the tail end of the longest year of my working life- I’ve struggled at times to remain as connected as I would have liked to be to the stationery world. I haven’t been as active in online communities, or even text chains with my closest pen friends. I haven’t sent as many packages or letters or cards as I wanted to, and I haven’t kept up as much with the stationery news or new releases like I used to. I was in survival mode.

As I try to get back into the swing of things, I’ve found myself stuck in the “mehs,”which is usually always cured by a “booster shot” of enthusiasm and connection at an in-person pen show. Realistically, I probably won’t get the opportunity to attend a show until at least the very end of this year or early next year… so in the meantime… now what?

I’ve been collecting and trialing a few ideas over the last couple of weeks. If you’ve been struggling to re-engage with any of the things you love or you’ve felt like you’re on the outside looking in- I hope these will remind you you’re not alone and spark a new idea or two about entering or re-entering the stationery world.

Give Yourself a Fresh Start

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I STILL had a few pens inked from all the way back at the last pen show I attended in Little Rock 2020. I also had a couple of notebooks that I had started and had been attempting to continue journaling or planning in for many months with very little progress.

So last weekend, I took every inked pen I could find- and cleaned them all out. And then I took some of my half-finished notebooks and I **gasp** put them back on the shelf and replaced them brand new blank ones.

Sometimes even the smallest actions can act as a signal to yourself that it’s time for a new phase or a new start. I’ve used more pens and paper this week than I have in the rest of all of 2021.

Get Back to the Basics

If you’ve been in the hobby for a while, and especially if you happen to have an increasingly large and unwieldy collection- it might be time to just get back to the basics.

For me that’s any TWISBI Eco (sorry Ana!) with a matching ink, my Kaweco Brass Sport inked with Platinum Carbon black, and a 0.38 Signo DX Gel Pen. Maybe for you it’s a Platinum Preppy or a Lamy Safari or the first ink you ever purchased. Whatever it is, removing the complexity and getting back to the basics can help remove the mental blocks to getting started- and remind you of the simplest joys that got you into this hobby in the first place.

Find a Hobby within the Hobby

If nothing else, this stationery world is a hobby of a million rabbit holes. Even if you’ve been around forever and seen 15,000 new releases come and go, there’s still likely something about the hobby you haven’t explored.

Maybe it’s dip nibs or glass pens or bank paper or one very specific vintage pen brand or model. Maybe it’s even pencils. If you’re just not that excited about the barrage of limited edition everything hitting your inbox every other day, maybe it’s time to temporarily narrow your focus and learn more about something you previously overlooked.

See the “Who” Behind the “What”

In some ways, the stationery hobby uniquely prepared us for pandemic life by teaching us to stay connected with friends all over the world both online and through the written word of snail mail. But I still think it’s easy to lose sight of the “who” when it’s been so long since we’ve seen each other’s faces and seen the actual physical products that come across our screens each day.

Yea, I’m psyched about Ian Schon’s latest experiments with ultem- and I love all his Instagram stories from his shop. But it’s still not the same as seeing how freaking excited he is behind a pen table holding one of his latest designs in his hands and showing it to someone new.

And yes, I love joining in on and watching Jonathon Brooks’ live Instagram streams explaining his pen turning and urushi processes- but it’s still not the same as seeing the smile on his face when he’s sold out of every as pen at his table 24 hours into a pen show.

And yes, I love meeting up with Well-Appointed Desk crew online but it’s not even close to the same as playing with pens and inks with Ana and Jesi until we pass out asleep with pen still in hand at a show at 1am (or sometimes 8pm).

For one thing, I think this continues to the the reason that getting back to in-person meet-ups and brick-and-mortar stores and pen shows as it becomes safe is so important for this hobby in the long-term. The entire hobby is built on the benefits of physical goods in a digital world- and now more than ever I feel the necessity of being face-to-face with not just the products- but the people behind them. You know what brings meaning to all the pen and ink releases that don’t really personally speak to me and my tastes? Meeting the person who is not me who those products DO speak to.

But until we can get back to all those crucial in-person events, I’ve still been working on shifting my focus to the “who.” Next time you go to ink up a new batch of pens- pick them based on what they mean to you for a week or two instead of just your favorite looking pen or the best writing pen in your collection. Maybe even instead of just writing the name of the pens and inks you are carrying once you ink them up- write about who made them or sold them to you or gave them to you- and where and how you acquired them.

Just Start. And then, Start Again.

If you feel like you’ve been out of the loop and can’t jump back into the community or the conversation for any reason, I urge you- just jump in. Comment on a post if you have something to say. Join a live Twitch or meet-up even if you can only be there for a short time and your office isn’t perfectly organized for the video (that’s what they make backgrounds for)! Ask the question you’ve been dying to know the answer to on a blog or a video or a Slack channel. Text your pen friends back even if it’s just a quick hello (earth to Jaclyn). Write a sentence or two on post card and slap a stamp on it if a letter is long overdue.

And if you get stuck in the “mehs” once again- when you’re ready- just start again.