Posts Tagged ‘stationery’

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A Handful Of Links For A Midweek Break

12/28/2011

Whether this week seems short or long, here are a few things to help you over that midweek hump…

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Paper, Pen and Ink – Get The Best For Your Money

11/24/2011

There is nothing quite like getting your hands or eyes on something before you buy it. With few pen stores in any community, online retailers are the only option for most aficionados and reviews the only substitute for that hands-on examination. Before the holiday-rush-to-buy strikes, it’s time for a few tips before adding to your collection.

How often have you been disappointed by fountain pen performance on your newest pad of paper? Your favorite reviewer loved it so what’s the deal? Not foolproof but do check the date of any paper review. The current batch may be vastly different from what was used for an older review. This is particularly true of planners since they are printed new each year. Look for recent reviews for the best skinny on your product of choice.

Ink varies less over time. Formulas may get slight modifications but this is rare for most ink makers. With few exceptions, older reviews should be just as valid today as when written.

Though dye batches can vary, colors remain remarkably similar from bottle to bottle. Ink makers just don’t tamper with their offerings. Nathan Tardif of Noodler’s Ink is the most prominent exception. Recently his #41 Brown had a reformulation that by all accounts is an improvement. The same is true for Baystate Blue as evidenced by samples I received in February.

Noodler’s isn’t the only company to modify a formula on occasion. A few years ago I noticed a subtle change in the color of J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil though the properties remained the same. The difference is hardly noticeable in the more saturated line a fountain pen produces.

That makes three inks that have changed in three years out of over two hundred samples in my collection. “Infrequent” really does apply.

None of this should deter reordering these inks or any others that have been updated if you liked the original formulations. There is little difference in color and performance is often improved.

J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil

J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil

Pens are another matter. Few manufacturers change a design once established. When they do, it is often with fanfare. Search the web to determine whether the pen you covet has been “improved.” If so, check reviews to see whether the new model will fit your requirements.

Quality control seems to be the bigger failing with pens. Getting a stinker stinks but it does happen. Reviews will help you find the worst offenders. Most retailers and manufacturers will back up their products so be persistent and get what you deserve, a delightful fountain pen that will give you years of fine writing.

  • Paper – Check review dates for the most recent evaluations. Some manufacturers are very consistent. Others – not so much.
  • Ink – Look for reformulations that improve color or performance. Make sure your retailer ships the version you want.
  • Pens – Consider design modifications or quality issues before you purchase. What is an improvement for someone else, may be a deal-breaker for you.
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A New Bunch of Links

10/13/2011

Ink, stationery, calligraphy, and a bunch of other cool links…

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Eclectic If Not Entertaining Links

09/02/2011

From science to fountain pens to lending a hand, a little something for everyone…

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Half-Price Sale At Swisher Pens

08/02/2011

Chuck Swisher has a half-price sale on some really nice pens and other items. Anything interest you?

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Find The Best Pen Deals On The Web

01/18/2011

Don’t you just love a great bargain? To make your shopping easier, Inkophile will offer a home for retailers and shoppers to share time-limited online deals with the pen community. Just post a comment with the details of the sale or special offer at Pen Deals & More! That way we can all be duly enabled to spend our hard earned cash on the best of the best deals.

Any discounts or sales related to writing instruments, paper, ink, calligraphy, writing, and accessories will be accepted. Since there are some upcoming reviews related to watercolor paper, art supply offers may be posted as well.

The more folks participate, the better this idea will work. Consequently, it will start with a 90 day trial and a button in the sidebar. If there is enough interest, Pen Deals & More! will become a permanent feature but that will be up to you.

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Inkophile’s Favorites for 2010

12/08/2010

Some new, some old, here are a few of my favorite things…

  • Rohrer & Klingner Ink – Two colors have been in my cabinet for years so this was not a brand new find. However, when Pear Tree Pens began to offer it this year, I started to expand my collection and am happy to report R&K has earned several places in my regular rotation. Solferino, Verdigris, Alt-Goldgrün, and Magenta are my current favorites but Morinda and Blau Permanent are not far behind. The palette is a well-round offering with something for every need. At $12.50 for 50ml the cost is in my acceptable range especially considering the quality.
  • Iroshizuku remains the ink that tops my guilty pleasures list. For color and performance this one is hard to beat. Ku-jaku joined my collection this year and instantly won a place on my favorites list displacing several turquoise and aqua inks.
  • J. Herbin Ink continues to be my mainstay. There isn’t a dud in the bunch plus they are exceptionally easy to clean from a pen. Lie de Thé is my favorite and most-used brown with Poussière de Lune in my rotation nearly as often.
  • A sample of the Rhodia dotPad (courtesy of Karen at Exaclair) quickly earned a place in my paper arsenal along with anything from G. Lalo now that I’ve tried various weave samples from Jean Elie at Pen and Co.
  • For calligraphy or flex nib practice, Clairefontaine French-ruled paper rules here. Thick, juicy ink lines dry slowly but it is definitely worth the wait.
  • This was a lean year for me when it comes to new pens but a Noodler’s Fountain Pen was a nice addition to my collection. I am fond of ebonite so that added to its appeal.
  • Courtesy of the generous Peggy Love (who also insured I have a lifetime supply of Apica Journals), I got my hands on a trio of Levenger True Writer Rollerballs with Fiber Tip refills. They won’t replace my fountain pens but they certainly are convenient and very easy on my hand. These pens are useful for writing situations that include frequent stops and starts since they do not have to be capped as quickly as a fountain pen. I have enjoyed filling pages with doodles and even managed a bit of line variation by playing with the angle at which the nib contacts the paper. A girl’s gotta have fun, you know?
  • An old favorite has taken up residence in the number one position in my rotation and it isn’t a fountain pen. Shocked? Well, sometimes you’ve just got to go with what’s convenient and a mechanical pencil is hard to beat. No uncapping, no flow issues, no muss, no fuss. While I only use it for notes to myself, that is what I write most often so why not use the best tool for the job? Besides anything that works on a Post-It gets high marks from me. After trying several mechanical pencils, I’ve concluded that my old Autopoint Jumbo All-American Pencil, with a 0.9mm HB lead, is just right. Because the wide lead does not dig into paper, it erases easily. Unlike my other MPs, the lead has never broken. Not once! While that is in part attributable to the chunky lead, it is also a result of the design of the pencil. Years ago I bought the ivory and the red. The former blends in while the latter stands out. Both are winners in my book.

 

Inkophile's Favorite Products for 2010

Inkophile's Favorite Products for 2010

 

So that’s my list of new or rediscovered items for 2010. Unlike in years past my regular rotation remained the same led by a Sailor Sapporo, a 1911 and a couple of Pilot Pocket Pens. The Pilot 742FA and Montblanc 220 OB are off for repair so we shall see how they work out on their return in January. There is one Lamy Safari with a custom cursive italic nib that is always inked with Montblanc Racing Green. It remains my #1 writer though I wish the nib had a snazzier body. Two Namiki Falcons with soft fine nibs are always close at hand and a Levenger True Writer is usually inked as well. That makes my core rotation total seven pens, give or take a True Writer or two.

Inks come and go but I am consistently pleased with Waterman Blue Black in my vintage pens especially those with flexible nibs. At the price point and with its easy availability, WBBk is an excellent match for pens that go through a volume of ink. It is also a good one to include with a gift pen. It won’t cause damage and it writes well from any nib. If the recipient loves it, a new bottle can readily be found.

Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Quo Vadis Habana, and Apica continue to be my favorite brands of paper. Triomphe and G. Lalo are excellent stationery though often I use a lined Rhodia pad for casual letters. For variety I have a few pads of Japanese paper that are lovely with even the roughest nibs. Lastly my stock of the long discontinued Exacompta Black Block is waning so I don’t use it as often as I would like though it has a softness that suits me perfectly. If you run across this one, do let me know. I would love to add a few tablets to my reserves.

So that’s my list of favorite things. Rumor has it that Santa just might have on his sleigh one of the new Noodler’s flex nib pens with a bottle of Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses. Yeah, I know. That’s a mouthful but can you picture that pair? The demonstrator (clear) model with plum ink should be lovely. Hopefully, it gets delivered to the right home. I don’t think any of my neighbors would appreciate this dynamic duo but I could be mistaken…maybe…

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