Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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Noodler’s General Of The Armies Ink

10/18/2014

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Graf Von Faber Castell Ink Water Test

10/11/2014

Graf Von Faber Castell Ink performed fairly well on printer paper when saturated with water from a paintbrush. Even hung vertically to dry, there is minimal color run. Some of the inks faded though not the black or the grey. Considering I scrubbed a little with the brush, the performance isn’t bad at all.

Note that back-lighting from a monitor will make faded areas appear more pale than would light on paper. In natural light at my desk, only the brown looks truly faded. The red less so and falls within an acceptable range for many purposes. A spill on a journal page would leave easily read writing. The ink that faded passed through to the reverse side of the paper though almost imperceptibly for the grey. It’s a surprising effect that I might explore in future.

Review of Graf Von Faber Castell ink.

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Graf Von Faber Castell Ink

10/10/2014

Recently, Bert Oser of Bertram’s Inkwell sent samples of Graf Von Faber Castell ink. Unlike many lines, this one is almost thematic with its mellow colors.

The tubes containing the ink are too narrow for my pipettes and test pens so swatches made with swabs will have to do. The colors might be a tad too blue. However, any deviation is miniscule.

Garnet Red is somewhere between the discontinued Mont Blanc Bordeaux and Noodler’s Tiananmen. Hazelnut Brown is similar to Diamine Dark Brown and Moss Green resembles Diamine Woodland Green. Stone Grey is a match for the discontinued Sailor Grey and Cobalt Blue is close to Diamine WES Imperial Blue. Carbon Black looks like J. Herbin Perle Noire though slightly more saturated.

Eventually, Stone Grey and Garnet Red will become replacements for Sailor Grey and Mont Blanc Bordeaux in my collection. Nice to tick that off my To Do List.

What makes this ink line different is the harmonious selection. The lack of purple and orange leaves a hole in the range, but the six offered colors comprise a most useful palette. For many fountain pen fans, this group is all that would be needed to make a complete ink wardrobe.

According to Bertram’s, these are the key points about Graf Von Faber Castell inks:

  1. Permanent for documents
  2. Large size 75ml
  3. Not visible on the back of standard paper
  4. Non-correctable; not removable without traces
  5. UV-resistance: Color still readable after exposure to Ultraviolet light
  6. Fast drying on standard paper
  7. Resistant to certain chemicals and solvents
  8. Water resistant; writing lines still visible after exposure to water.
  9. 6 amazing colors
  10. 2 Light Fast colors Garnet Red and Hazelnut Brown

Retail is $30, but the bottle is attractive and substantial. No accidental tipping over for this design.

Consider Graf Von Faber Castell a premium ink with a commensurate price. For the permanence and resistance to chemicals and solvents as well as the color range, this looks like an excellent ink for business and academic use or anything else for that matter.

Thank you, Bert, for giving me the opportunity to play with these inks. Now I know where to go when I’m ready to purchase a bottle or maybe that will be two. I keep glancing at the grey swatch and thinking it would be just the thing for a certain rhodium trimmed demonstrator that is watching me from its box. Kismet?

My water test of Graf Von Faber Castell ink.

 

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The Stamford Notebook

09/21/2014

The Stamford Notebook Company offered me the opportunity to test the paper used in their handsome notebooks. How could I refuse?

Paul Sloggett, one of the partners, had this to say about their choice of paper:

It is what we use in all our main range featuring around 70 colours and textures of notebook cover, in four different sizes. The paper is a 100 gsm off-white wove. It is so smooth because it is calendered during manufacture.

We also personalise notebooks with an individual’s initials using original letterpress type and bind many different special editions for retailers and visitor attractions.

Despite the blue slant of my photos, the paper has a slight warmth to it that is easy on the eyes and quite neutral under fountain pen ink. The lines are faint and offer a guide, but not a distraction. The surface is smooth posing no obstacle to the flow of ink and nib. Even the finest Japanese nib should glide across it. In my test the paper accommodated a variety of pen widths from extra-fine to medium with aplomb. However, my flex nibs laid down too much ink showing mild feathering and bleed-through. The ink dried well enough with finer nibs, but was slow with the wide and free-flowing ones.  Still it handily puts Moleskine to shame.

So if you like fine or dry-writing nibs, this paper should work well. The notebooks come in a variety of colors with good attention to detail based on images from the website. Free shipping if you live in the U.K. Lucky you!

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J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen Meets Kyokuto Expedient Notebook

05/29/2014

It’s that time of year when pink wriggles its way into my rotation. With excellent timing, Karen at Exaclair sent a bottle of J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen while Elaine at Jet Pens offered a Kyokuto notebook and the two became fast mates. Not Karen and Elaine. The ink and notebook.

J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen

The images tell the story well enough, but a few points bear mentioning. Rose Cyclamen is a strong pink. Nothing pale or wimpy about it. It is on the cool side with a blue bias that stands out on while paper, but softens a bit on cream colored paper. It has good coverage, but no shading from the Platinum #3776 music nib. Even from a fine nib, it should provide strong color. Especially during the summer, I prefer it to red for editing or margin notes. But if you’re going to use Rose Cyclamen for correspondence, it should be to a really close friend, really close, or your intentions might be misunderstood.

The color was difficult to photograph. On my monitor it is a bit too bright. The color on the bottle is more accurate so go by that.

J. Herbin makes some very pretty inks and Rose Cyclamen is a memorable one in its lineup. If you like pink, this one should make you happy and be a good mate for any pen. Just ask my Platinum #3776. It keeps asking for more. Really!

Kyokuto Expedient Notebook

The B5 Kyokuto Expedient Notebook is available in three colors, black, silver and white in ruled, dot grid and plain styles. The form is excellent with a plastic cover, stiff cardboard back, double ring binding, and rounded corners. White paper and gray lines make the ruled Expedient a neutral fit for any ink color. There was a little feathering from some inks, but I’ve seen Diamine Emerald and Teal misbehave elsewhere. The paper is very smooth and the 7mm line spacing excellent with my stubs and italics without any scaling back on my letter forms.

However, there is a caveat with fountain pen ink. Most produced considerable bleed and show-through though my trusty Sharpie Pen suffered no such indignities. I have no explanation for the lack of such problems with Noodler’s Black and Zhivago. The pen used with the latter has a rather dry nib, but the one used with Black has an average flow. Rose Cyclamen and Waterman Florida Blue performed the best of the remaining inks. Gel pens and ball points should present no issues. Narrow felt tips will work, but pens that lay down a lot of ink are iffy.

The white paper and gray lines are perfectly suited to pencil especially wide soft lead for which I admit a weakness. On Expedient paper, my Autopoint mechanical pencil with 0.9mm HB lead glided effortlessly and produced a satisfying line.

I absolutely love paper that works with all inks, but this isn’t one of them. If you don’t mind a few uneven outlines here and there, and you only use one side of the paper, the Expedient could work well for you. Some of the inks I use the most showed no issues, so it will fit in my rotation especially for pencil notes and that’s something that happens every day.

Thanks, Karen and Elaine, for the opportunity to test your products. Your generosity is much appreciated.

 

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Markings Journals Meet Fountain Pen Ink

04/22/2014

Three C.R. Gibson Markings journals have been on a shelf waiting review for more than a year. To be sure they are attractive which could be the reason they never got properly filled. My used journals are destined for the recycle bin and Markings are just too nice for that fate. But since you guys like paper so much, putting them to the test made a good project for this month.

The first is a Markings sketchbook (MASA-2) with a Monet Waterlily Pond cover. It contains 130 pages lightly ruled on one side and blank on the reverse. The paper is 6.8″ x 8.9″ and held together with large double rings. Line spacing is 7.5 mm and pale blue so it doesn’t interfere with writing. The paper is soft white and has no tooth but does have a somewhat velvety texture. It’s a comfortable surface for fountain pen nibs and good with other writing instruments as well.

Ink did not show through or bleed through so double-sided use is assured. This is a very nice notebook I will enjoy filling.

The two bound Markings journals are the same style though sporting different covers, one leather (MJ5A-1) and the other embossed metallic (MJ5A-3). Each has 240 pages, a storage pocket, elastic band closure, ribbon marker and lays remarkably flat. Both journals look great and are well made for the price though the 6 mm line spacing might prove too narrow for wide nibs.

The paper color is slightly more yellow than Moleskine though the lines are identical in spacing and color. The weight is similar to Moleskine, but the paper seems to be lightly coated which causes fountain pen ink to suffer inconsistent coverage. Some inks feathered significantly and all of those tested bled through except Noodler’s Black. A Sharpie Pen in black performed well, so other writing instruments ought to get along fine with these journals.

These Markings journals are readily available, attractive and well-made, but unreliable for fountain pen use. Since the feathering and bleed-through are evidence of ink incompatibility, a narrow nib won’t improve performance enough to get a recommendation. However, the right ink will write well enough even with a o.7 mm nib.

What’s the takeaway from these pen tests? Don’t expect uniform paper performance from a manufacturer. Frustrating? You bet. Waste of money? Yep. Add to that the variability of ink performance and it’s hard to recommend any brand without reservation though there are exceptions.

Not for the first time this year only Noodler’s Black performed well. It’s reassuring that there is at least one pen on my desk that should write on most anything. However, it is not fun when my other pens are loaded with pretty inks that won’t work with the journal at hand. Better to stick with what has earned the approval of my inks and pens. That makes me more productive and my pens much happier. Go team!

 

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Sailor Peach Pink Ink And A Maruman Croquis Notebook

04/13/2014

Jet Pens sent a bottle of Sailor Peach Pink ink and a Maruman Croquis notebook in the same box. Naturally they got paired for product tests, following a quick go on a Staples pad, and became fast friends immediately.

Sailor inks have a deservedly good reputation and an expanding catalog of lovely colors. The characteristics are well-matched to smooth Sailor nibs. Not that other inks don’t work well in Sailor fountain pens, but the flow and degree of lubrication seem especially well-suited at least to the Sapporo and the 1911 in my collection.

 

The photos don’t reflect the color well, but Peach Pink is a slightly warm pink that goes well with aqua and turquoise. It is pretty on cream paper and suits the Maruman Croquis very well.

It’s a good ink for a wide nib and showed some shading with a cursive italic nib, a dry-writing straight-cut affair. The ink isn’t very lubricating and would be a good match for a free-flowing pen that could use a bit of taming.

The Maruman Croquis S163, 4.2″ X 6″, notebook makes a useful sketchbook, but since it works beautifully with all of the pens I tested, it would make a good journal, too.

Of course Sharpies bled through, but they do that on most paper.

Watercolor sketching with a typical amount of water did cause the 45# paper to buckle. Using a dry brush lessened that effect.

Paint straight from the tube did not buckle at all.

The cardboard cover is strong enough to make the Croquis suitable for use in the field though the size is at my limit for a width I can hold without strain.

Colored pencils would be a very good match for the paper as would graphite. Ink produced some show-through, but it is at a tolerable level for a writing journal. For artistic purposes, one-sided use would be better so that nothing interferes with the appearance of the drawing or painting.

A pale painting could be a good backdrop for a haiku poem or an inspirational quote.

The performance was good enough to make the Maruman Croquis a multi-purpose journal in a very convenient size and Sailor Peach Pink makes a very good mate for the pale cream paper.  Neither will go to waste around here. Not at all.

Want a bottle of Sailor ink, but can’t decide which one? Let me make it harder for you.

Oh, and a big thanks to Jet Pens for the ink and paper. I am always a sucker for both.

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