The much anticipated J. Herbin Stormy Grey ink has taken the fountain pen community by storm. So much so that it is on backorder at most retailers. If you didn’t get in on the initial shipment, Gourmet Pens has done a thorough review with lots of images to whet your appetite for the next time it is available from your favorite ink source. I think it would look smashing in a stainless steel pen, especially one with gold furnishings. Indeed!
Archive for the ‘Ink’ Category
Yesterday was pen cleaning day. Of the dozen tackled, only two required overnight soaking and one still isn’t clean. The stubborn ink? Sailor Nioi-sumire.
The color and performance are good so my review still stands. However, it is a bear to clean. Just ask my Lamy Safari and Sheaffer Taranis. This isn’t a reason to forgo the ink, but it is a warning to plan ahead when choosing a pen for it. Make it one that is easy to clean and expect to soak the nib since it will probably be necessary.
And this is important. Do not let this ink dry out in your pen unless you have oodles of time to rinse it out. Keep the ink flowing and cleaning should be much easier.
Monologue offers a variety of notebooks and was kind enough to send several for review. Their generosity provided ample opportunity to test two grades of natural white paper, the 80 gsm ruled and the 140 gsm blank version. There are pluses and minuses to each.
The form is very well executed for all of Monologue’s notebooks. Details are available elsewhere and there was nothing disappointing in my use of their products. Okami covers the subject very well so head over there for info on those attributes.
Notebooks in this line include elastic closures, ribbon bookmarks, pen loops, and inner pockets. Some have paper with gilded edges for those who like a little bling. The handsome bronze covered notebook above is pictured with a Platinum #3776 Century Nice fountain pen, an eye-catching couple to be sure. All of the notebooks have unadorned covers with the Monologue imprint placed low on the back cover. My favorite is the green Contrast Ruled Notebook with its orange elastic closure that is perfect with orange ink and an orange fountain pen. (Don’t mind me. It’s a seasonal affliction.)
My experience with the paper is slightly different from Julie’s. My acid-free, 80 gsm Platinum notebook showed less bleed-through and show-through though performance was inconsistent. Finer nibs produced the best results and Noodler’s Black with a Lamy EF was perfect. Other inks and pens were almost as good displaying faint marks on the reverse. Diamine Royal Blue, Violet and Aqua Blue as well as Sailor Nioi-sumire are worth recommending. Unfortunately, there was mild feathering with a few inks from wide or free-flowing nibs.
All other writing instruments tested had no issues though they did produce very faint show-through at a level that would not interfere with writing on the reverse. I wouldn’t call it even a whisper and for writing purposes it would be insufficient to bother me.
Monologue Basics paper is great for fountain pen ink as well as art tools including light washes of watercolor. The acid-free, 140 gsm Italian paper is heavy enough to tolerate a decent amount of abuse. The texture claims to be rough but I found it quite smooth. The binding is sewn and the book will lay flat, an important feature for the artist. The paper did buckle with paint from a traditional brush, though it did not buckle when using a waterbrush. It really gets down to how much water is applied to the paper. Dry media like charcoal and graphite won’t trigger that effect. Even crayons will do nicely. Journals are made for having fun, no?
A notable difference between Monologue Basics sketchbooks and most other brands, is that the paper is perforated. Detach a sheet and it won’t affect other pages. That makes it easy to remove a drawing that turns out especially well or to hand a sketch or notes to a companion. So much better than a napkin or the back of an envelope and the paper has no issues with fountain pen ink.
Both grades of paper have lots of applications. The variety of sizes and forms is another plus. Monologue should appeal to both those who journal as well as those who make a journal an art form.
When it comes to bang-for-the-buck fountain pens, Noodler’s has a lot to offer. My new Konrad Ebonite Dixie #10 is no exception.
It is a piston filler made of ebonite and biodegradable plastics. The pen is medium sized, but does not need posting for comfortable balance. That’s a big plus for me since it keeps the weight down and the number of hours I can use it up.
The stainless steel fine-medium nib writes smoothly and with good flow. It has a little give but isn’t flexible or even soft though it is a very comfortable writer. I did rinse it well with lukewarm water prior to its first fill to remove any remnants from the manufacturing process. Note that the pen needed not one bit of tweaking to perform perfectly. That might not hold true for every Noodler’s pen, but none of the half dozen I own has worked any less well.
With little effort the nib can be swapped for another Noodler’s like one from the Art Nib Pack. Some modern nibs will fit and even a variety of vintage nibs. There are extensive instructions included both for nib swapping and long term maintenance.
Unlike some pens the inkvue window is large enough to see easily when it is time for a refill. For a quirky twist, my pen is filled with Noodler’s General of the Armies, the green ink that turns blue. The window shows one color while the nib puts down another. It’s good to have a bit of fun while writing.
Some users have objected to the odor of Noodler’s pens. It isn’t present with all models and the pen I received has no scent. Yea!
The style of the Dixie #10 Methuselah reminds me of a wood paneled library so it’s a bit retro and a good contrast to my mostly black arsenal. This is one Noodler’s pen that is going to get a lot of use.
Thank you, Carol and Luxury Brands USA, for sending the Noodler’s pen, nibs and ink. The sturdy pen and all-purpose ink have become my travel companions as well as fixtures on my desk. They haven’t bumped aside the Platinums, but it is the pen that goes with me everywhere while the Plats live the soft life at home. Variety is so sweet or is it spicy? Not that it matters since either way is fine with me.
Noodler’s Ink has a new release with a split personality. General of the Armies is dark green when wet, but blue when dry. If your pen has an inkvue window or it is a demonstrator, this ink will confuse your senses. For an audience, it looks like a magic trick so make the most of it. Thank the ink wizard, Nathan Tardif, for the admiration you will receive.
As for other inky qualities, it is well-behaved on a variety of papers. No shading with the Noodler’s Dixie #10 Methuselah Ebonite on absorbent paper, but it did shade nicely on Rhodia. No feathering, show-through or bleed-through on any paper except to a mild degree on Moleskine. The color is green-blue when dry and not highly saturated. Like many inks from Noodler’s, it does not budge when smeared with water. Frankly, what more could you ask from an ink?
Thank you, Carol, for the ink and pen. Luxury Brands U.S.A. has been a good and supportive friend to this blog. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
The new Noodler’s Ink is called General of the Armies and it has a unique twist on color. It changes over time!
First seen at the Dallas Pen Show 2014 and now available in wide release, this ink starts out green but changes to blue. I received a written sample that is green-blue along the lines of Waterman Blue Black and Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo or perhaps a faded version of Noodler’s Navy or The Big Blue Bear. This may only be a transitional color, but it certainly is pretty today.
Luxury Brands released this image today noting, “The color of the third swatch still has a touch of green as it is drying. Also don’t be surprised by the color in the bottle as you can see. Very green until it changes to cavalry blue.”
Like most of Noodler’s Inks, there is a backstory. In this case it has to do with Army uniform colors, but that tale can wait for another day. Retailers just got word of the new ink so don’t expect to find it on the shelf just yet, though it might not hurt to encourage your favorite source to stock up. I mean they should want to enable you, right?