Archive for the ‘Japanese Pens’ Category

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Pilot Kaküno Review

04/23/2016

Recently, a Pilot Kaküno found its way into a small Amazon order. For $10 and change, it was a steal of a deal. The soft blue and white are a refreshing combination for the summer ahead, but looks aren’t everything. So what else does it have going for it?

Key points:

  • clean, simple design
  • very light weight
  • no clip
  • octagonal shape keeps it from rolling on a flat surface but it has a tiny stop molded into the cap as well
  • medium-sized section is comfortable in hand
  • long enough to use without posting
  • slip cap posts securely without overbalancing
  • despite three holes in the cap and two in the barrel, ink does not dry out in the nib
  • smiley face on the nib is cheerful and a nice touch
  • comes in a variety of colors
  • workhorse nib is stainless steel and solid
  • can pop the cap off one-handed which is very convenient
  • comes with a single cartridge so purchasing a converter is essential

After a thorough search of the blue inks on hand, Diamine Mediterranean Blue emerged as the best choice to fit the summer-at-the-beach look of the pen. Some other inks that would be lovely with it are Iroshizuku syo-ro, Platinum Mixable Aqua Blue and Diamine Soft Mint. Contrarian? Diamine Peach Haze, Vermilion or Wild Strawberry would be unexpected colors for this model. Montblanc Pink Ink would be very eye-catching, too.

Unlike some entry level fountain pens, the Kaküno wrote perfectly from the get-go. It did get a water rinse before the first fill, but that’s just good practice with any new pen. The flow is perfect for the medium nib and produced some nice shading. No skipping or false starts. It isn’t butter smooth, but with a light touch it is neither scratchy nor squeaky. For an all-purpose carry anywhere pen, it writes quite well.

If you buy two, you can swap the caps for additional variety. I think a black cap on a white barrel would look very cool. But the pink and white model reminds me of cotton candy. There are many choices, but at the price point, it’s hard to go wrong.

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Platinum Nibs, Diamine And Leuchtturm1917

02/07/2016

Last night two Platinum Century pens shouted for attention following weeks of being on the back bench. How could I refuse?

The good news is that the nibs wrote beautifully from the first stroke despite a lack of recent exercise. The Century certainly can go a long time without attention. Both are smooth, but there is a slight difference between the medium and the soft medium. The latter has a cushioned feel to it which reduces feedback. The line width of the soft medium might be a tad more narrow, but that could be attributed to the ink. Both nibs are in the workhorse category. Use them for anything.

Next to Noodler’s and J. Herbin, Diamine is the brand of ink that got the most time in my pens last year. Wild Strawberry and Merlot were gifts from Beth Treadway and have proven good additions to my regular rotation. Merlot dries more slowly, but for the saturated color, I can be patient.

The Leuchtturm1917 remains one of my favorite journals though it could be better. If you look closely, the inks found threads to follow and produced more bleed-through than I would like. The previous night I used a Platinum #3776 music nib with J. Herbin Cafe des Iles that produced neither feathering nor bleeding. Pelikan Violet, Waterman Florida Blue, and Noodler’s Apache Sunset performed better on the paper than any ink except Noodler’s Black.

Does this mean Diamine inks have a problem or is the Leuchtturm paper inconsistent? Either way it’s a reminder that testing ink is valuable. The last page in a notebook is a convenient place to write the names of pens and inks for future reference. My sample page produced mixed results, but I now know which duos would be best to grab for a long day of note taking.

The Platinum Century M and SM are delightful to use and I love the soft Leuchtturm paper even with its imperfections so I want to pair the paper with inks that will not feather or bleed. Noodler’s Black and Lexington Gray might just do the trick. Not colorful, but oh so reliable. Sometimes that’s all you need.

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Brush Pen Writing Samples

12/20/2015

Brush pens are fantastic for swirls and doodles as well as lettering and sketching. My small collection earned a bit of exercise this week with the Midori providing the platform. The birds were intrigued, but kept their opinions to themselves.

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Sunday Links From Pens To Watercolors Plus A Book

10/18/2015

I do love a worthwhile petition…

Wednesday will be a big day here when Tessa’s first book becomes available at Amazon.

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Review: Platinum #3776 Yamanaka Fountain Pen

10/11/2015

Carol at Luxury Brands sent a Platinum #3776 Century Yamanaka for review several months ago and it has been a joy in every respect. But then I am a sucker for a clear demonstrator with silver furnishings and a nib that makes writing a pleasure.

The Yamanaka was designed to “reflect the image of a ripple of the brilliant” Lake Yamanaka near Mount Fuji. It’s a beautiful medium sized, light-weight pen, well balanced and comfortable in the hand. The textured effect reminds me of rain on a window pane and makes this pen very stable in the hand. No slipping whatsoever. Posting makes it slightly less well balanced in my smallish hand. For most users that won’t be an issue.

Loaded with Platinum Mixable Silky Purple, this is one of the smoothest nibs I have ever used. With practice, the soft medium nib will produce a very fine line to a bold 0.8 line. Typical of modern soft nibs, a little effort is necessary to achieve that range. However, it is good enough to create flourishes and a unique signature. When flex writing isn’t needed, the nib offers a hint of feedback and yet a nice grip of the paper. That makes it excellent as a daily writer.

The pen is a relatively wet writer so the line is just a little wider than a typical Japanese nib though not so wide as a Western nib. Throttle back just a tad and the line can be better controlled. Even an extra fine line is possible. Loaded with Platinum Carbon Black, it would make a useful pen for drawing expressive lines whether doodles or something more artistic.

Some users claim that matching ink and pen brand can produce ideal results. Filling the Yamanaka with Platinum ink might have made a believer out of me. All I can say is WOW! Match made in heaven and my little sample bottle of Silky Purple won’t last long. In addition, the ink is gorgeous in the transparent barrel though any colorful ink will look jewel-like.

Like other Century pens, this one can rest uncapped for several minutes without the nib running dry. Brand or color may contribute to how long ink will remain fluid. If you tend to pause while considering what to write next, this could make writing a much more enjoyable and relaxed experience. If you are a casual user, the Slip & Seal cap keeps ink from drying out even when stored for extended periods of time. No burps or hard starts either.

While I like the soft medium nib, it won’t suit everyone. My experience with a Platinum medium nib has been no less satisfying and I think it’s a size many writers could enjoy. It is a little less free-flowing so the line is a bit more narrow. Both pens make excellent daily writers.

Such perfect timing. The Yamanaka review is ready to post and the pen is in need of a refill. The breeze is gently tapping the shutters against my window and the lighting at my desk is as good as it gets. Time to close my laptop and put the pen to best use writing a long overdue letter. Life is good!

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Platinum #3776 Music Nib With Colorful Inks

06/25/2015

The Platinum music nib remains my favorite pen after more than two years of use. This sample of ten colorful inks shows how well the nib works with whatever I toss in it even on cheap paper.

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The New Platinum Pens Plus Nibs, All Sorts

06/09/2015

Sometimes email brings exciting news. If you have been waiting for the new Platinum #3776 pens, Pen Chalet has just the thing for you. Not only do they have the Century Chartres Blue with rhodium trim and the Century Black Diamond, they have lots of nib sizes in the other models including my favorite music nib on three Century models, Black with gold trim, Bourgogne and Chartres Blue. I’m tapped out, but you aren’t, right? So what are you waiting for? Oh, Pen Chalet has free shipping on orders over $50. Go for it, pen friends. Go for it!

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