Posts Tagged ‘Luxury Brands USA’

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How Did This Happen?

11/16/2014

Times certainly have changed. My rotation of mostly black pens has been invaded by demos sporting jewel toned inks. How did this happen?

The term demo or demonstrator comes from pens with clear barrels that were used years ago to reveal or demonstrate the inner workings of a fountain pen. Stores might have had a few, but not customers. In the past ten years or so, clear pens have become available from a few manufacturers and have caught the fancy of many collectors.

I used to avoid demos thinking the potential for stains would make them high maintenance and only good with low maintenance inks. While that may hold true for some pens, those in my collection tolerate a variety of inks and have shown no signs of staining with normal pen hygiene.

The Lamy Vistas don’t get much use due to inconsistent flow so they are semi-retired. But thanks to the generosity of Luxury Brands USA, a Platinum Nice M (pink gold), a Nice Pur B (rhodium), and a Noodler’s Ahab Flex have nudged aside more mundane black pens. With three grades of nibs, I hardly need anything else. Well, except for the Platinum #3776 music nib. When I want a bold line, nothing is quite as sweet.

Seeing colorful ink at a glance is a gentle reminder of what’s in store when a pen is put to use. The Nice is inked with Waterman South Sea Blue and the Ahab is inked with Noodler’s Apache Sunset. The Pur is awaiting a fill. What do you think would be luscious from that broad nib pen?

Demos haven’t overwhelmed my rotation so far, but the more somber black pens aren’t happy to be displaced. Do you suppose they will be exceptionally well-behaved to maintain their dominance? Now wouldn’t that be a nice turn of events.

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Noodler’s Konrad Dixie #10 Methuselah Ebonite Fountain Pen

11/01/2014

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.

More: Review of Noodler’s General of the Armies.

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My Short List Of Favorite Fountain Pens

08/12/2014

Few new pens have landed on the Inkophile desk in recent years resulting in a scarcity of pen reviews. So a bit of pen praise will have to suffice.

Much as I enjoy a wide variety of fountain pens, certain ones stand out. The frequency with which they find slots in my rotation is the proof, but the ease with which I use them is just as telling. For stock nibs, Platinum is the clear winner especially the Century broad nib and the #3776 Music nib models.

My Platinum pens came from Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands a year and a half ago. Best gift ever!

The Century has never found its perfect ink companion. The #3776 has never met an ink it didn’t make look good. Funny how some pens struggle to find the perfect mate while others will mate with any ink perfectly.

The Pelikans took many years to collect and came from auctions and private parties. The M250 has a fine italic nib that might or might not have been modified. The M215 was ground to an italic as was the nib on the blue M200. The gray M200 has an oblique broad nib that was not original to the pen. The M400 has a stock fine nib that is amazingly smooth.

The Pelikans are a bit more finicky though work well with Waterman, Diamine and J. Herbin. Not that any brand won’t do, but I like less saturated inks in the Pels, especially those with ink windows.

Efforts to enable aside, both pen manufacturers make well-constructed pens of very different styles. The nibs from Platinum are more narrow than those from Pelikan, but that is typical of Japanese and western pens.

So that’s the core of my rotation. Other pens come and go especially the Namiki (Pilot) Falcons, a couple of custom Lamy Safaris and an assortment of single pens. I’m not a brand snob though I would gladly become one with enough of the right pens. Or at least I would like to try.

Just for fun, drool over these Pelikan and Platinum maki-e fountain pens. Are they not gorgeous?

 

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G’bye 2013 – Hello 2014

01/01/2014

Pens, inks and paper make a terrific hobby, but you already know that. Writing about them is my way of sharing the fun of using these tools. You make it worth the effort and for that I thank you.

Some names and numbers…

Thank you for the generous donations that helped keep Inkophile going last fall. My hobby has become a financial challenge. Really. Who wouldn’t want the newest colors of ink and several pricey pens every year? Sometimes retailers or manufacturers offer their newest creations or items they want to move off the shelf for review and that’s very much appreciated. When that doesn’t happen, I would like to purchase new items. Sponsorships and other sources of funding would allow me to do that. So moving forward, there will be some changes at Inkophile. Hopefully, that won’t estrange too many readers, but if you fancy an unsupported pen blog, there are plenty in the sidebar from which to choose.

As my interests have evolved, so has the content of my blog. Watercolor painting plays third fiddle to writing and using fountain pens, but painting in my journal has made it an integrated hobby. If nothing else, the addition of lively color to my wordy journal entries is a creative embellishment that is both intriguing and satisfying. More to come.

This is my favorite doodle of the year. It started as two comma shaped lines at the top and the rest was pure luck.

Copyright © 2013 Margana Maurer. All Rights Reserved.

Gene Kelly in Rose Ink

May your new year be filled with joyful dancing and colorful friends. Hello 2014!

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Fountain Pen Experts And Their Favorite Pens

12/31/2013

Well, five experts and an inkophile of much more limited experience get quoted at Best Fountain Pen. It just so happens that my list of Really Good Fountain Pens will post on New Year’s Day. No vintage pens in the lot, but a number of models that are currently available.

Oh, and thank you Jennifer for including me in your post and Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands for the pen gift last year. My Platinum #3776 Music Nib is blushing at the notoriety.

Platinum #3776 Music Nib

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Warming Up To Red

10/12/2013

After years of resistance, I am finally warming up to the color red. Call me biased, but red is not in my color wardrobe. However, last night I painted a birch tree and felt compelled to add a few red dots to the branches, leaves and a blush of it to the sky. Am I a convert? Not exactly, but I am open to possibilities beyond apples and stop signs.

It started about six years ago when I was introduced to Diamine Monaco Red, a dark, brooding color, that has good properties for drawing. Then Ann Finley sent a small bottle of Diamine Vermilion, a lovely orange-red. Eventually I purchased a bottle of Rohrer & Klingner Morinda, a more saturated slightly pink-red. With those three my red range was serviceable. Noodler’s Cayenne, a spicy, orange-red, sent for review by Jet Pens fit in nicely. Last year Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands sent Noodler’s Tiananmen, a saturated dark red, and my red rotation was set. Even so, red rarely got used.

Red Ink

Once a doodle journal became part of my routine, it was evident that I could go through a large quantity of ink in a very short period of time. Using paint was the logical next step. I could lay down a lot of color with a brush, but reserve ink for my pens. With the addition of watercolor to my casual sketches, closely matching some of my inks was the next step and promised to add more dimension to my doodles. I started with red.

Red Watercolors

These are similar enough to work together in a monochromatic drawing.

  • Diamine Vermilion – Winsor & Newton Scarlet Lake
  • Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk – Daniel Smith Quinacridone Coral
  • Noodler’s Cayenne – Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrol Orange
  • Rohrer & Klingner Morinda – American Journey Alizarin Crimson
  • Noodler’s Tiananmen – Daniel Smith Anthraquinold Red
  • Diamine Oxblood – Daniel Smith Perylene Maroon

So far I haven’t found a companion for Diamine Monaco Red. Neither have I found an ink that is comparable to Winsor & Newton Winsor Red, my favorite red watercolor. If you are a Cadmium Red fan, I tried to match the paint from Schmincke, M. Graham, and American Journey. They look like entirely different colors in my paint swatches book though they have the same name. Diamine Vermilion comes close to AJ Cadmium Red Medium. Nothing on hand matches the other two.

No one needs as many red inks and watercolors as I have. But if you have a favorite red ink, try a watercolor substitute in your journal. Anything from pink puppies to red skies goes. Make it reflect your imagination. After all, it’s your journal.

Watercolor and Fountain Pen Ink DuosTake these as relative – not accurate colors.

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Noodler’s Ahab’s Pearl Fountain Pen

03/21/2013

Noodler’s hit the mark with the Ahab model. It’s attractive, chunky, and sports a stainless flexible nib for around $20. What’s not to love about that?

Noodler's Ahab's Pearl and Noodler's Konrad Fountain Pens

Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands USA sent an Ahab’s Pearl for review. Its silvery, pearlescent white color and stainless appointments make an attractive and neutral pen. Headed into spring it’s a great match for seasonal colors but it’s just as good with the rest of the spectrum. Absolutely every color works well with it.

According to Peyton Street Pens the Ahab “is made of a celluloid derivative and is technically biodegradable and formed from a “renewable resource.” Given the material, care in cleaning is recommended. However, if you don’t let ink dry out in the feed, a rinse with cool to lukewarm water is all it takes to make the Ahab ready for a new ink.

Noodler's Ahab and Konrad Fountain Pens

The Ahab is larger than the Konrad but has the same slightly flexible nib. Previous remarks about it apply. The upside is that employing a light touch, the nib is stiff enough to be used like a normal fine nib. Put a bit more pressure on the nib and the line turns broad. That makes it versatile.

The downside is that the nib is too stiff to make supple lines easily. It improves with use and, for writers new to soft nibs, this is probably a benefit. It is easy to bend a really flexible nib too far and either release a flood of ink or overextend a nib causing damage. The Ahab nib should stand up to that learning curve quite well. Another benefit is that the Noodler’s nib will adapt to your hand as you grow accustomed to it. Use it enough and you will become a team. Use it rarely and you may enjoy the outings less. Reaching full potential will take a little effort.

Noodler's Ahab Filler

The Ahab’s pump filler is simple and easy to use. The instruction sheet explains the process. The pen has a significant flow of ink which indicates the filler is a good type for the nib. No restrictions, skips or railroad tracks which is not something all flexible nib pens can boast.

Noodler's Ahab's Pearl and Kiowa Pecan on Rhodia paper

On the Rhodia Bloc No 16 tablet, it deposited so much ink that I had to leave it for a bit to dry but I’ve experienced longer drying times. However, unlike some inks that dry slowly, I couldn’t feel a layer of ink when I ran my finger over it.

Noodler's Ahab's Pearl and Kiowa Pecan on Apica

Noodler's Ahab Pearl with Kiowa Pecan on Apica - closeup view

Without flexing, the amount of ink on Apica 6A10 is just right but it is very free flowing when flexed. Too much ink resulted in some fuzzy edges but that’s happened with other combinations on Apica in the past. Anticipate some trial and error when looking for a good combination. If your Ahab doesn’t flow as freely as you would like, the ebonite feed can be adjusted according to the included instructions.

Initially, my daughter thought the Ahab’s Pearl smelled like cheese and the Konrad Tortoise like baby powder. A couple of weeks on my desk and the Ahab is now fragrance free. The Konrad is less aromatic but still mildly scented.

The Ahab comes in a variety of colors so it’s easy to find one that suits your favorite Noodler’s ink. Not that an Ahab won’t match well with another brand but the degree of lubrication with the Noodler’s inks I tested was a pleasure.

At around $40 for the Ahab, a bottle of ink, tax, and shipping, this is one sweet deal.

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