Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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Sometimes A Rollerball Beats A Fountain Pen

01/21/2020

Yes, you read that right. Sometimes a fountain pen isn’t the best choice, especially when a pen might be idle for months at a time. Recently, I became acquainted with the Uni-ball Signo 307, a gel pen that suits such situations admirably.

The 307 was recommended for use with watercolors due to its permanence and saturated black color. Unlike some gel ink, the Signo does not produce globs that dry slowly. It is smooth, archival, and skip-free. According to Uni-ball, the 307 contains “Super Ink™ that protects against water, fade, and fraud.” In addition, rollerball pen tips do not fray or wear down on textured watercolor paper like felt tips do. The combination of permanence and durability makes the 307 a useful addition to my collection of watercolor tools. It is a bonus that it fills my need for a maintenance-free, always read to write pen.

It is comfortable in the hand, extremely light weight, and should tolerate normal use easily. It has been many years since I used a rollerball and it is good to see there has been improvement in the quality of the ink.

My 307 has a medium 0.7 nib that comes with black, red or blue ink. The kicker is that it requires absolutely no pressure to write a consistent line. My hand is very happy with it even if it is an inexpensive plastic pen. My fountain pens aren’t remotely jealous. The little stinkers have no fear of being replaced by a no-class upstart. Have they been raised right or what?

You don’t have to take my word for it. The Pen Addict posted a review in 2015 if you want to learn more from a trusted source.

On Amazon, I bought several to keep in locations where I write only on occasion but don’t always have a fountain pen handy. Note that there is an earlier model 207 that does not seem to have the same ink though it is a smooth writer. It does come in more colors if that is important for your needs.

Inkophile is an Amazon Affiliate. If you buy through these links, I get a tiny commission that will help finance new products to review.

Signo 0.7mm black ink

Signo 0.7mm assorted color set

Signo 0.5mm black ink

Signo 0.5mm assorted color set

Signo 307 Refills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Herbin 1798 Shimmery Inks Meet A Dip Pen

11/27/2019

Dip pens caught my fancy recently and J. Herbin’s 1798 inks have been just the thing to add some sparkle to my efforts. The current colors in the series are Cornaline, Amethyste, and Kyanite and they look beautiful alone as well as together. As a longtime fan of Herbin as well as anything silver, I was very happy to see this group of inks introduced.

My Fellowship dip nib has a fountain pen feed that holds a significant load of ink, enough to fill a page, and with a quick swish of water, it’s ready for another color of ink. The pen produced lively passages by switching between the turquoise, coral, and amethyst colors on a per word or line basis.

Next, I tried a small, synthetic watercolor brush to create softly edged doodles, swatches, and swirls without feathering or bleed-through. Not my usual approach, but it did provide a sufficient test of ink characteristics.

Swirling the bottles before each dip kept the shimmery bits in suspension. If they settle in your fountain pen, a gentle motion will redistribute them. Note that they appeared more well-distributed on the page than particles from some of the other sparkly inks I have tried.

The colors are among my favorites and I would be happy to see them in a non-shimmer version, suitable for mundane tasks and business use. These are not super-saturated but deeply colored and very easy to read. It isn’t even necessary to tilt the paper to see the silver glints.

Kyanite du Népal falls in the turquoise range and with its flecks of silver, brings to mind jewelry or a fountain pen with silver-colored trim.

Orange ink can be shy but not Cornaline d’Egypte.

Améthyste de l’Oural is a deep, mid-range purple. The silver flecks stand out well making it the most dramatic ink of the three.

All three inks performed admirably on Clairefontaine paper demonstrating good flow and lubrication. If you like fat pens, the bottles have wide openings to accommodate the larger ones in your collection.

Herbin 1798 Ink would make a lovely holiday gift for the inkophile on your list.

There are lots of reviews and dozens of images at other sites in case you are not yet convinced to add a bottle to your collection. However, be forewarned. Resistance is futile.

Ed Jelley: J Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal Ink Review

Pen Chalet: J Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal Ink Review

The Gentleman Stationer: Ink Review: J Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal

Doodlewash: REVIEW: Jacques Herbin Kyanite du Népal Ink by Life Imitates Doodles

The Well-Appointed Desk: Eye Candy: Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Nepal by Ana

Chris Saenz: Herbin Kyanite du Nepal – Ink Profile – Viewer’s Choice

Pen Boutique: J Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal Ink

Goldspot Pens: Herbin 1798 Kyanite du Népal Fountain Pen Ink Unboxing and Review

Ink courtesy of Exaclair USA.

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BENU Tattoo Fountain Pens

09/17/2019

Although I haven’t gotten my hands on one, the new Tatoo design from BENU looks intriguing. Luxury Brands of America is bringing it to the U.S. and it’s already getting some buzz. Teoh posted a review yesterday showing each of the eleven tattoo designs quite clearly. What do you think of it?

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Herbin Vert de Gris Ink

09/03/2019

Exaclair, Inc. sent a bottle of Herbin Vert de Gris ink to review and it did not disappoint.

Caveat: I am a longtime fan of Herbin inks but I set aside my bias when putting ink to the test. Mostly.

Herbin Vert de Gris bottle and writing sample.

According to the website, the color is “based on the lovely gray/green patina that appears on aging copper”. It is a deep, dark teal. A free-flowing nib will bring out its dark side while a dry nib will make it a little less saturated and encourage a more subtle look. I shook the bottle before testing both the Herbin glass pen and the Namiki Falcon SF just in case there should be any settling. Oddly, results were slightly more green than online examples or the color swatch on the top of the box.

It is not an extremely lubricating ink, but rather a moderate one that will be more than satisfactory in most pens. I think my Parker ’51’ in Navy Gray is going to love it, especially the color. No bleed-through, show-through or feathering on Clairefontaine. A doodle on the back of a cheap envelope showed mildly uneven outlines, but that isn’t the surface on which my fountain pens get the most use.

No fancy-schmancy, two-toned, glittery look to Herbin’s Vert de Gris. Rather it is a well-behaved ink dressed in teal that could easily augment an everyday-carry (EDC) selection of blue and black. At least that’s what my pens recommend and I would not disagree.

For a second opinion, Paper Girl has a good review of Vert de Gris.

From the ExaClairUSA YouTube channel:

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Fountain Pens Are Cool

11/02/2018

Last week, HisNibs.com shared a link to a Bloomberg article about fountain pen ink that stated, “Worldwide, fountain pen sales are forecast to total $1.15 billion this year, up 3 percent from 2017 and almost 31 percent from a decade ago, according to market-research company Euromonitor International.” Yes, fountain pens are cool and so is ink.

An inkophile needs a stable of pens to test and compare several colors at the same time. A five-pen rotation works well for me and for a reasonable investment, these are some of my favorite models.

  • Pilot Metropolitan – My three are good writers, but might seem slender in a large hand.
  • Pilot Kakuno – Mine has a good nib and adds virtually no weight to my kit.
  • Platinum Plaisir – Good nibs and attractive colors. Slightly larger than the Metropolitan.
  • Kaweco Sport – Modern pocket pen works well in small spaces. Nibs can be swapped.
  • TWSBI Eco – Small nib and simple design, but folks swear by the Eco. The Diamond 580 is my preferred model.
  • Lamy Safari – Sturdy build, but the grip is awkward for some users. Nibs can be good if finicky about ink. The Studio is my preferred model for an everyday pen.
  • Nemosine Singularity – Good build for the price. My italics work best with well-lubricated inks.
  • Conklin Duragraph – The stub nibs are smooth and juicy. I liked the design and performance well enough to purchase two.

Although I have owned a few inexpensive Chinese pens that wrote well enough, most brands have been too inconsistent to recommend. However, for the modest investment, they could be worth the gamble. Amazon and eBay offer quite a few, but you might have better luck at His Nibs.

The Pilot Metropolitan has emerged as my favorite fountain pen for ink testing because it cleans easily and flows well with every ink. The Duragraph with its wide nib is good for general writing so it will often get filled with an ink I would use for a journal or correspondence. The Kakuno or the Singularity come out to play when aqua ink is on the menu. The Nova Orange Plaisir is happy with orange ink or sometimes a fill of Noodler’s Lexington Gray. Either way, it makes my desk look cheerful.

My current pen rotation for testing ink includes

  • Silver Pilot Metropolitan – green ink
  • Aqua Pilot Metropolitan, Kakuno, or Nemosine Singularity – blue/aqua ink
  • Plaisir – red/orange ink
  • TWSBI – purple/burgundy ink
  • Duragraph – black/brown ink

That makes five pens for under $150. Or a mix of Metropolitans and Plasirs could be put together for less than $75. Add a selection of ink samples and you are on your way to being a collector. Now wasn’t that easy!

Though I have never needed to make a return, do purchase where that would be easy. Low-end pens can be imperfect by some accounts though I suspect that is less common with the pens on my list.

Most of the links are to Amazon from which Inkophile receives a tiny commission when you buy within 24 hours of clicking the link. Thank you for your support.

 

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A DIY Journal With Tomoe River Paper

03/02/2018

It is always satisfying to assemble a DIY journal for a new year. For 2018, I discovered a leather passport case that will accommodate two Traveler’s Notebooks. It makes a small and lightweight companion that takes up little space, but looks great and offers enough pages to keep the writer in me creative and content.

The notebooks come in diary, blank, grid and lined editions all with fountain pen friendly paper. I prefer the Traveler’s #005 with Tomoe River paper that Leigh Reyes introduced me to a few years ago. Tomoe takes fountain pen ink like a champ, but also holds up to a light watercolor application which makes it fine for small sketches or to add extra color to written pages.

The Sea Green (more teal than turquoise) cover from Banuce is eye-catching and just the right size for the Traveler’s Notebook. It has lots of slots for credit cards, stickers, and other bits and pieces. Another passport-sized cahier might fit, but the Moleskine does not. I might purchase the coral to house all those lists and task notes that clutter my desk. Two notebooks doesn’t seem excessive when it comes to being organized, does it?

The leather is smooth to the touch, but firm enough to give the journal a solid writing surface. Either a writing board or a piece of blotting paper will protect lower sheets, but Tomoe has rarely bled through in my experience. The cover folds back easily for notes on the go.

The snap clasp will keep everything firmly inside. The corners are slightly round, and the stitching consistent. The black edging offsets the striking color and gives the journal a finished look.

The only drawback is the over-sized stamp of the manufacturer’s name. It would have been more subtle centered on the lower edge of the back cover.

This is not a pricey item and durability is hard to predict, but it should last through the coming year. It arrived attractively packaged should you want to give it as a gift. Add a Traveler’s Notebook and any writer would be happy to fill the pages. For less than $15, the cover and notebook make quite the bargain.

Banuce passport covers here and here. Traveler’s Notebook with Tomoe River paper. J. Herbin Blotter Paper. Taroko Design Pencil Board. All links are to Amazon. When you purchase through my links, I get a tiny commission but every penny helps keep this Inkophile supplied with new items to review.

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A Fountain Pen In “Bad Taste”

01/20/2018

The Kaweco Perkeo is an entry-level fountain pen that comes in four color combinations. The “Bad Taste” model is black and a warm pink, the color of Rohrer & Klinger Fernambuk or J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier. I couldn’t resist the name. It’s kind of cool and raunchy at the same time. And an good wake-up call on a gloomy winter’s day.

“Come play with me! I’ve got trouble written all over my sleek body and colorful cap.”

Renowned for quality craftsmanship, Kaweco has been in business since 1883 so they know a thing or two about pens. The lightweight, matte plastic Perkeo is solidly made and comfortable in the hand. It is long enough to use without the cap and well-balanced enough to be used with it. The faceted snap cap is designed to rest solidly on a flat surface so it won’t roll away. All and all, it’s a well-thought-out model that should prove a sturdy companion for years to come.

The stainless steel, iridium tipped nib is stiff, but will give slightly with pressure. It puts down a consistent line thanks to its steady flow. The fine glides well with a little feedback on Rhodia paper. On junk paper, it is a little less smooth. My Lamy Safari nibs might glide a little more easily, but I prefer the grip on the Perkeo. The Pilot Kakuno is comparable in most ways except flow. The Perkeo might be a bit more controlled, but that could just be slight differences in the nibs that only someone who is incredibly picky would notice.

With a light touch, I found the Perkeo pleasant to use on any paper whether for sketching or writing. It scores bonus points for an instant start following a month of no use. That’s a significant advantage for casual writers.

The black and pink model seemed to fight with many colors of ink. However, a stroke of luck paired it with my favorite non-black drawing ink, Noodler’s Lexington Gray, and that settled its future. Not that Lex Gray hasn’t had many suitors, but the Perkeo makes an especially attractive mate and offers a very enjoyable nib for the ink.

The Perkeo uses Kaweco cartridges and converters though International carts should work as well.

Who knew a pen in “Bad Taste” would be such a find?

Your purchase from Amazon helps support An Inkophile’s Blog. Thank you!

Kaweco Perkeo “Bad Taste” fine nib

Cartridges in grey and black

Kaweco Converter

Noodler’s Lexington Gray

The Well-Appointed Desk has a review, too.

 

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