Archive for the ‘Fountain Pens’ Category

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Pens, Journals And Poop

05/01/2016

Yes, you read that right…

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Sunday Links From Inks To Pens To Giggles

04/24/2016

March winds have invaded April. The intermittent tapping at my window is a reminder that there is an outside world and the Internet mostly entertainment…

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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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Spring And A Lively Ink Palette

03/27/2016

Chancing upon a written sample of Rouge Caroubier got things started. Quickly, the list grew to this first pass at spring inks:

  • Diamine Meadow
  • J Herbin Rouge Caroubier
  • Sailor Jentle Souten
  • Noodler’s Dostoyevsky
  • Akkerman #22 Hopjesbruin
  • Diamine Peach Haze
  • Sailor Peach Pink
  • J Herbin Violette Pensee

The group ought to get winnowed to five at most, but it is hard to eliminate even one of them.

Five pens were already filled. So rather than waste ink, the palette got changed to Sailor Yama-Dori, Noodler’s Dostoyevsky, Diamine Mint, Diamine Violet, and J. Herbin Cafe des Iles. Those aren’t the inks from my initial list, but they will do.

Rouge Caroubier and Meadow are looking through the pen drawer for suitable partners. Oh, wait, we have winners. Meadow chose the Pel M215 and Caroubier chose the Platinum Nice Pur. Peach Haze is flirting with the amber Conklin Duragraph. Peach Pink remains undecided so that one will have to wait. It’s a pretty color that deserves a clear demo with a wide nib like the TWSBI 580. Perhaps at the next fill. Souten is sulking because his favorite pen, the Pel M215, isn’t available. It will all get sorted eventually.

My three pen rotation has turned into a bouquet of color. What a lovely way to celebrate spring!

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A Little Noodler’s On Noodler’s Action

03/23/2016

This was a Noodler’s month with a gift of three Konrads and three inks from Luxury Brands USA. The little dears went right to work quickly doubling the number of fountain pens on my desk and adding some color to a sedate, black rotation.

Just a couple of days before the shipment arrived, I almost bought an 1820 Essex Konrad, but got sidetracked. Then I was lucky enough to receive one from Carol. Happy me!

Noodler’s labels are miniature works of art. Who needs a fancy bottle when a dramatic label can say so much more?

Playing matchy-matchy for initial matings was easy except for one ink. El Lawrence is truly an odd color. Some folks say it looks like dirty motor oil. With certainty it is a chameleon looking black to charcoal in some lighting conditions and very dark green in others. It is bulletproof, eternal, highly saturated, and slow to dry from a wide or very wet nib. Diluting it with distilled water seems a natural.

Experimentation with fine nibs was in order so the ink went into a vintage Platinum Karakusa EF that brought out its paler side. Even on cheap copy paper, El Lawrence from the narrow nib performed flawlessly revealing a medium charcoal tone to best advantage. With the stingy Plat nib, the ink dried almost instantly which makes it an option for my non-FP notebooks.

Berning Red is a good match for the December 25th Konrad Flex. The ink is eternal and bulletproof and red, red, red. Unfortunately, it feathered on some brands and grades of paper with the strong flow from the Konrad. A more narrow nib and dry flow tamed it as well as improved the drying time. I am a bit hung up on Noodler’s Park Red so Bernie will have to wait for access to the red ink slot in my rotation, but its time will come.

The Essex was a whaling ship out of Nantucket, Massachusetts, that was sunk by a sperm whale in 1820. The event became the inspiration for Herman Melville’s 1851 novel, Moby-Dick. It’s an interesting back story should someone ask about your 1820 Essex. The barrel is in the teal family, though more green than blue, and so is the Dostoyevsky ink. They are quite a pair with shading here and there, as well as outlining in a Leuchtturm1917 journal. However, the heavy ink flow produced bleed through and mild feathering in the journal though not on other brands of paper. Drying time was generally good but not in all cases. With a fine or extra fine nib, that should be less of an issue. This ink and pen combination is so pleasing that they might be mated for life.

Qufu is a city in China’s Shandong province and known for being the hometown of Confucius. The Qufu Jade Konrad Flex represents dark green jade nicely with its deep color and pale swirls.

The Qufu Jade had limited ink choices with only two green Noodler’s on hand. Army looked good with both the barrel and the cap colors so I opted for that one. It’s the brighter green version that Beth Treadway sent last year. Rumor has it that the original drab yellow-green version has been reissued so if your Army doesn’t match the Qufu colors that might be the reason.

As for fit and finish, the Konrads had no manufacturing defects and the pistons slid smoothly from the first twist of the knob. All of the nibs were properly aligned and wrote well at first contact with paper. Note that two received a water bath before being filled and experienced no flow problems. The third did not get a bath and clogged after a half page. Oops.

The Konrad is made from a cellulose derivative and is biodegradable, not that you would allow yours to wind up in a landfill. But it does make the pen light-weight. Even with the cap posted on the end of the barrel, the balance is good creating a comfortable writing experience.

All three pens are rated flex. However, it takes some effort to produce varying line widths. Writing with normal pressure yields a fine-medium line. Over time it may take less effort to flex the nib, but I have found that trying to make the pen flex beyond a certain point will thereafter widen the unflexed line width. The nib isn’t as narrow as an Esterbrook 9128, but it is more smooth and useful for general writing than many of the lower-end vintage flex nibs.

Noodler’s pens have a distinctive odor that usually dissipates over time. The Essex is slightly less fragrant than the other two, but all three are much less powerful than pens from a couple of years ago. Leaving an empty pen uncapped for a time should hasten the reduction of the odor.

These latest Konrads are a great value and Noodler’s ink is no less. Add a little distilled water and that 3 ounce bottle will last ages. Whether you flex your nib or not, it’s hard to beat this bang-for-the-buck duo.

Thank you, Carol, for sending the pens and inks. My desk is now remarkably colorful and so is my writing.

 

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A Few Links From Maple Syrup To Pens

03/20/2016

My pen time this week was devoted to a review that is pending an approval to share some ink news with you. In the meantime, here are some good reads to keep you going…

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Ink Samples And The Rice Trick

03/18/2016

This is so simple and useful. Fill a small jar with rice and push an ink sample to the bottom. Remove the bottle cap and fill your pen. Voilà!

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