Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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Review: A Few Chinese Fountain Pens

05/25/2022

Over a year ago, I decided to expand my collection of fude nibs. During the research phase, I ran across the Delike New Moon 2. Nothing in my collection was as fine as the Delike fude appeared to be and I was willing to gamble $20 to find out if this pen would fill that niche. In its favor was a very appealing design and color. Even the size and weight of the barrel are in my preferred range. So I plunked down my money and waited for its arrival.

When the package showed up at my door, I wasted no time and opened it immediately. First impression? Wow, what a beautiful pen! After a thorough rinsing, I filled the converter and was delighted to find that the nib was as good as the rest of the pen though it took several tries to find its best ink mate, Iroshizuku syo-ro.

More than a year later, this dynamic duo has been my daily companion completing nearly 300 pages in my journals. It has been filled dozens of times and is still going strong.

The green cracked ice pen was so enjoyable to use that I bought a blue marble so I could have two colors of ink ready to write. That pen has a tad more feedback, but otherwise is identical in performance. Rumor has it that the fudes are hand ground from Dlike extra-fine nibs and I wondered if the standard nibs were as good. So I bought a burgundy marble extra-fine that was beautiful but had a nib that was a stinker. After several emails with the seller, they decided to send a replacement nib that works perfectly.

Despite being the happy owner of three new pens, I decided to explore a little further and purchased a purple wave Moonman S1 with a fine nib. That pen had flow issues from the beginning that I addressed by widening the slit. I overdid it and the flow is a bit excessive. The build quality is not as good as the Delike New Moon 2 and feels more like a $20 pen that I could lose and not care about the loss.

Recently I noticed that Jet Pens carried the Moonman N6 though their inventory was low. I zoomed in on a photo of the nib and to my surprise the fude had the same imprint as the Delike New Moon. However, the design of the pen was quite different with no metal furnishings, not even a clip. Such a lightweight pen might be handy in my handbag or on days when my grip is uncooperative. So I ordered one along with a bottle of matching ink, Private Reserve Shell Pink, two packets of Tomoe River paper and a corner punch to make the paper look more like stationery when I want to write a letter. The pink pen came with a glass dip nib that I haven’t tried yet. Maybe someday my fascination with the fude will subside and I will swap the nibs. Or not.

Just to see what would happen, the blue fude and the burgundy extra-fine were set aside filled with Colorverse Crystal Planet and Andromeda. After seven weeks of no use, they both wrote instantly though the flow from the EF was a tad light for the first few words. Perhaps I just hit on the ideal combination of pens and inks, but it is still an impressive result.

This is not a full review because the pens have become difficult to find in the last six months and generally my reviews are about currently available products. However, I promised a review of the Delike so here it is. The bottom line is that these pens are inexpensive but the build quality varies. You might hit the jackpot as I did with my first two or you might get a stinker. If the retailer is one you can count on to back up its products like Jet Pens does, your risk is reduced. The Delike is hard to find, but there are a few at Amazon and eBay. At the price point, there are a number of other options including the Pilot Metropolitan. I have three of them and all of the nibs are good but none is a fude. The Delike fits my hand better and has more visual appeal so the Pilots are in the pen drawer. However, I am fickle so that is always subject to change.

More about the New Moon from Rupertarzeian at Early thoughts on the Delike New Moon bent nib fude pen

and More thoughts on the Delike New Moon fude nib fountain pen.

Pen Vibe: The Beginners Guide to Delike Fountain Pens

JanineScribbles: Delike New Moon fountain pens

Fountain Pen Blog: Early thoughts on the Delike New Moon bent nib fude pen.

 

 

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A New Notebook For Fountain Pens From Lollipro

02/21/2022

The Lollipro notebook is a relative newcomer, first appearing less than a year ago at Amazon. It is nicely put together and comes with 120gsm fountain pen-friendly paper. What sold me on ordering the Lollipro was the way they described how well the paper works with fountain pen ink. While it wasn’t a sure thing, neither was it a gamble since the binder would work with another A6 brand of paper that I already knew was good with fountain pens.

This A6 notebook lays flat, fits easily in my handbag and comfortably in my hand thus meeting my basic form requirements. The spine is a bit stiff, not supple, and will need a little breaking-in. Quite serviceable as is but it does not flop open like a cover made with cloth. The stitching is even and consistent in its distance from the edge. Like every other binder with stitching I have owned, a couple of stitches are imperfect. Not enough to be of concern, but in fairness, worthy of mention.

The cover is comfortable to the touch and has a light suede texture. The six-ring, loose-leaf design is convenient for someone like me who is constantly reorganizing notes. The binder mechanism is attached with two screws and can be removed should the need arise.

Despite the dullness of the image, the paper is ivory with gray lines spaced 7mm apart. The surface is smooth and velvety making it suitable for any nib. No feathering, no bleeding, no ghosting with fountain pen ink. My 0.5 HB mechanical pencil is another satisfactory mate for the paper and the Tombow MONOgraph in coral pink is a good color match.

The front cover has an outside pocket for a slim phone or papers. The Lollipro is stiff enough to use on my lap or on an uneven surface which makes it more versatile than a floppy A5 binder I have from another seller. I am looking forward to the spine becoming more flexible and sufficient use should improve that over time. It comes in transparent and bright orange editions in addition to my rose pink lined in gray.

There are several configurations. The bundle I purchased includes three packets of paper and two plastic, backing sheets like pencil boards, that will make a firm surface whether writing on the front or the back of a sheet of paper. They are also useful for post-its and washi tape, both of which peel off easily from the plastic surface. Think of them as mini bulletin boards.

The heart on a string could be used as a bookmark or as a simple decoration. It is easily detached and I am putting it aside for now.

In the paper world, there are two A6 sizes: personal (6.75 x 3.75″) that fits the small version of the Filofax system and the standard or European size (5.83 x. 4.14″) that is 1/2 the size of A5. I cut paper in those sizes as a test and found the personal size like the Lollipro better suited to my list-making penchant.

If you don’t usually buy from Amazon, note that it is where I found the Lollipro product line. It is a small company trying to make a go of it and the binders are good value for money. Currently at around $10 for the binder alone, I haven’t seen anything better or even close for that matter.

J. Herbin Rouille d’Ancre looks like a good mate for the Lollipro rose pink cover. The only question now is which pen to use. A transparent barrel might be just the thing like the Platinum Century Nice. Sounds like eye candy for a fountain pen lover.

Please view the images here for better color rendition.

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A Word About Platinum Classic Ink

02/06/2022

Sometimes I do dumb things, but then something good comes of it. This time I filled a Delike New Moon fountain pen with Platinum Classic Lavender Black and forgot about it. Such things happen as we grow older. (sigh)

Lavender Black was in the pen for a month without use and with most inks, that would be perfectly fine. But this is an iron gall formula so OMG did I kill my pen? Not even close. It wrote immediately and cleaned easily with just a water rinse. In fact it cleaned up more quickly than one of my favorite inks in a Moonman pen that was just as ill-treated. That nib is still soaking 24 hours later.

This isn’t a recommendation for any ink other than Platinum Classic Lavender Black and I am delighted with it. Much appreciation to Luxury Brands USA for sending it and feeding my ink addiction.

 

 

 

 

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Stipula Ink Meets A Levenger True Writer

01/27/2022

Out of rotation for a long time, the duo of Stipula Verde Muschiato in a Levenger True Writer CI caught my eye recently while browsing through my photo archives. In keeping with my 2022 plan to use what’s on hand, the two were reintroduced to each other a few days ago. No wedding bells but a long-standing friendship was renewed.

Verde Muschiato ranks as my favorite yellow-green ink for its color as well as its compatibility with any pen. It does lean towards brown so it can appear dark depending on nib size and flow. Though it has had assignations with a variety of pens, the 0.7mm custom cursive italic brings out its best qualities including mild shading. True for Stipula Sapphron as well which has long been my favorite for a yellow-orange ink.

Though the plastic caps have leaked on occasion, Stipula’s 70ml bottles are reasonably priced for the volume. Just keep the bottle upright and it should be fine.

Stipula Calamo inks lack sheen, shimmer and other flashy properties, but do offer pleasing colors and solid characteristics. It’s the kind of ink I would load in an eyedropper filler with its large capacity and just write and write and write. No glitzy distractions. Just easy-to-read lettering for pages of notes or long journal entries perfect for the writer in you.

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Waldmann Xetra Vienna Fountain Pen Review

12/13/2021

Luxury Brands of America sent a Waldmann Xetra Vienna Black fountain pen for review quite some time ago and now it’s time to share some thoughts about it.

The Xetra Vienna is a handsome pen that has a layered, lacquer finish and hand engraving that makes every pen unique. The Vienna pattern sparkles against the black finish. To say it stands out on my desk would be an understatement.

With certainty, it is one of the most well-built pens I have ever used. It is both elegant and solid. It is not a large pen, but heavy for its size. Given its length, diameter and balance, I still found it useable even though I prefer pens that are half its weight. It posts securely and has a spring clip that grips snugly.

The broad, iridium tipped, rhodium plated, stainless steel nib is very wide creating lines that are bold and strongly colored. There is no definition as is found with a stub, so it is a true, round nib. Initially it experienced hard starts,  but that has disappeared with use. In fact, after over a month of idleness, it wrote as soon as put to paper though that was with the very well-behaved Waterman Blue-Black ink. Writing more slowly than usual allowed the ink flow to keep up with the broad nib, but I have found that to be helpful with wide nibs in general.

Quite a few retailers carry Waldmann pens, so it should be easy to find this model. It comes in white as well as black, both neutrals so any ink will look fine with it. Admittedly, I am partial to the black and silver that puts my matchy-matchy urge to rest. One of these days I’m going to introduce it to a pale pink or orange and see how the wide nib handles a softly colored ink. It should be very pleasing and appropriate come spring.

The Waldmann Xetra Vienna Black would make a beautiful addition to any collection. Thanks Luxury Brands for sending such a fine pen for review.

Dimensions from Waldmann:

  • length closed in mm: 137,00
  • diameter in mm: 10,80
  • weight in g: 38

Fill Mechanism: Cartridge/Converter Cartridge Type: Standard International

Waldmann Xetra Vienna Fountain Pen Unboxing.

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Review: BENU Scepter Fountain Pens

07/22/2021

The BENU Scepter has received a lot of attention and interest, and rightfully so. If you like colorful pens, these can’t be topped and sporting Schmidt nibs, they write well, too.

Fountain Pen Quest has an in depth review including measurements and a performance comparison between the Scepter II and the Grand Scepter X. I would concur except for the nibs.

The Scepter has a #5 medium nib that writes a bit wider than expected with significant flow. The Scepter Grand has a #6 fine nib that is perhaps slightly wide for a fine with just the right amount of flow to make it a pleasure to use. I usually like wider nibs, but in this case, the fine beat the medium for my purposes.

These pens are surprisingly lightweight. The only real differences between them are the patterns and the nib size. The Scepter I is red, blue and gold and the Grand Scepter IX is blue and pink. In my hand, the Grand was a little over-balanced due to the angle required to use the large nib. It is comparable in size to the nibs on the Platinum Century pens that I use daily, so the larger nib doesn’t deter me. It’s that I had to adjust to the balance between the nib and barrel for the best writing experience. The smaller nib on the Scepter just fit my hand from the first mark on the paper. It is such a personal thing that other writers might never even notice. Both nibs had a touch of feedback, but were still quite smooth.

The pens wrote well with Iroshizuku ink, but Noodler’s Eel Blue was a little too free-flowing for the Grand’s medium nib. So like all pens, it’s trial and error to find the best ink, but isn’t that part of the fun?

Given the brilliant colors of BENU pens, it was challenging to find inks that suited them without detracting from the stunning barrels. Colorverse Glistening Stars and Stripes worked well in the Scepter. The Grand eventually got filled with Iroshizuku yama-budo and the Scepter was complemented nicely by asa-gao. Both are deep colors without sheen or other special characteristics. Too little inventory here to find matches of that sort beyond the Colorverse ink.

As for the pen, it is eye-candy of the highest order. There are a number of color combinations available making it easy to find a BENU that is just right for you.

Note that the wide barrel end makes the cap too narrow for posting and that might make the pen a bit short for really large hands. The section is average sized, but I hold pens quite far from the nib so the threads fell under my fingers. With a light grip, this was not a deterrent for short writing sessions. There is no clip, but the hexagonal shape prevents rolling. On my cluttered desk, that is a definite advantage.

The BENU Scepter is an eye-catching pen that writes well and could make a worthy addition to your collection. Or do you already have one? If so, what do you think of it?

Thank you Luxury Brands USA for sending the Scepters and Colorverse ink. I am now firmly spoiled for any other colorful pen. In other words, none need apply.

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Links To Inks, Pens, and Watercolor Supplies

06/01/2021

Getting back into the swing of things after a long holiday weekend…

From the archives:

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