Posts Tagged ‘Iroshizuku syo-ro’


20 Refills Without Cleaning My Pen!


It’s true. My Delike New Moon fine fude has been filled twenty times without cleaning. How is that possible? First of all, the ink is Iroshizuku syo-ro so much of the credit goes to its quality. The pen has been used in my journal almost every day for nearly six months filling 200 pages. The nib allows the ink to flow well though I hold it upright keeping the line at its most narrow width. Most often it has been refilled as the ink fades rather than when it is totally empty. If I write it dry, I immediately refill it and it has never complained.

In the days when people owned only one fountain pen, that pen was used regularly, ink was not heavily saturated, and pens were not cleaned before each fill. Think about it. One pen. One bottle of ink. Just like my New Moon and syo-ro. Interesting, eh?

There are other pens and inks that might work as well, but I am not inclined to tinker with what is working so well.

This surprising number of trouble-free refills resulted from using an ink that isn’t highly saturated, writing regularly, and never letting the nib dry out. It’s like having the largest filler ever made. More time writing, less time cleaning.


Lessons From 2021 And Plans For 2022


2021 was my year to reorganize and consolidate making the most of what was on hand. The result was a lean kit of basic tools that make writing a pleasure.

Honestly, it was pretty simple. Selling pens financed the purchase of four inexpensive Chinese models one of which has become my favorite daily writer. A contaminated bottle of a favorite ink was replaced. Paper purchases included identical replacements for completed journals along with paper for two A5 loose-leaf notebooks. Hardly adventurous, but it was satisfying to use familiar tools. All of this led to more writing and less fiddling. And that’s a good thing.

Writing more slowly improved my letter forms and my hand was less stressed during rare longer sessions. My softer touch created less drag so extra-fine nibs were less scratchy making them useful again.

Lessons from 2021 that will apply to 2022:

  • Sell pens that will never receive the love they deserve.
  • If a pen doesn’t thrill me but I am not ready to sell it, there is a drawer where pens-in-waiting can commiserate. In the future, it might be perfect for my needs.
  • Converter fillers with satisfying nibs are best for me. Keep no more than three to five filled at a time including pens for testing ink.
  • If an ink is terrific, keep using it! Iroshizuku syo-ro in a fine fude is #1 these days with eighteen refills in recent months. Platinum Classic Lavender Black is getting a lot of love, too.
  • Stick to my paper niche of Tomoe River 52gsm, a planner with MD paper, and only an occasional tryst with a new brand.
  • Write slowly with a soft touch and don’t worry about how my writing looks so long as it is legible.
  • Handwritten notes spark ideas for my websites so do it daily if only a sentence or two.

2022 plans include only one new addition, a watercolor journal. In the past, notes, swatches, sketches, palette ideas went in all kinds of places including unrelated notebooks, my personal journal, backs of envelopes, napkins. You name it and I wrote and painted on it. Time to change my ways most likely with a Stillman & Birn Beta or Zeta Sketchbook. Both have paper that will handle watercolor swatches and sketches as well as notes made with fountain pens and pencils. A single notebook is all I will need.

On a different subject, social media can be entertaining if sometimes brutal as I experienced when a narcissistic, delusional FB bully attacked me. Anyway, no one and no topic is worth being the target of that kind of abuse. The lesson here is to trust my instincts and ignore or block people sooner. I am worth it and so are you. On the plus side, this episode encouraged me to reevaluate and expand my plans in a way that I would not have done without the bully’s attack. Instead of doing less, I am doing more. Ironic, eh?

Now you know how my 2021 tool selection evolved as well as the year’s life lesson. The opposite may be better for you with lots of pens, constantly changing inks, a huge variety of notebooks and paper, and handwriting that does not need tweaking. You might even like interacting with a bully. Hey, whatever makes you happy!

Lastly, I learned that I have a namesake. Cute, eh?

Margana, the Camel



Too Many Inks


Anyone else challenged by the number of inks on the market? So many brands. So many colors. A few have piqued my interest including several offered by Colorverse and Robert Oster, but I cannot begin to follow all of the Sailor inks and so many others now available. A few days ago, I was looking for an ink for a 1970’s Pilot pen and found myself wishing there was another color in the spectrum. Absent that, I decided to revisit inks that have been around for decades.

Reliable inks from Herbin, Iroshizuku, Diamine, a few Noodler’s and older Sailor colors beckoned. There isn’t an ink in the bunch that I haven’t known for at least ten years, and some are on their second or third bottles, a testament to their properties and characteristics. One of those old inks might be just the right mate for a newer pen.

Iroshizuku syo-ro has been a constant on my shelf since it was introduced. Despite having a number of partners over the years, no pen had proven to be its ideal mate. A few months ago, a Delike fude joined the crew and despite dancing with a variety of partners, the pen with syo-ro has proven to be a terrific match that invites writing in a daily journal, an activity that had fallen out of my routine quite some time ago. Now I look forward to it and the fude is on its fourth fill of syo-ro. Isn’t that the best evidence of a perfect pairing?

Other inks that have new pen mates are J Herbin Larmes des Cassis, Violette Pensee and Rouille D’Ancre. Diamine Raw Sienna continues to look for a companion. Perhaps a mink (brown) True Writer will take to it or a Japanese fine nib or even a Platinum Century. More experimentation is in order along with a bit of restraint or the number of pens on my desk will get crazy.

Are you willing to give some of your earliest inks a chance to play again? I bet none of them will turn you down.


Playing With Ink


Some folks play with their food. Not me. I’d rather play with ink and paint.


Platinum Pen from Luxury Brands USA. Kuretake Waterbrush and Midori Traveler’s Notebook from Jet Pens.


Fountain Pen Inks That Stain But Shouldn’t


Just because an ink is considered good quality doesn’t mean it won’t leave a stain. Is it any wonder that most pens are black?

Diamine Steel Blue

Iroshizuku syo-ro

Private Reserve Arabian Rose

Oh, these inks still go in my pens, but usually in black ones that sport converters so replacement is easy. Learned my lesson with the aqua Esterbrook desk set. Hrumph!


Noodler’s Konrad Flex Fountain Pen Earns Kudos


Not long ago Dick Egolf at Luxury Brands USA sent a Noodler’s Tahitian Tortoise Konrad (#14009) for review. My first impression was that the colors were dark, beautiful and in line with my favorite inks. It got a quick fill of Noodler’s Turquoise that was also in the shipment producing a very nice duo indeed.

The build quality of the Konrad is fine and the value for money better than one might expect. Everything is fitted together nicely and the low weight makes a pen that can be used for hours without strain. It does not require posting to achieve good balance and that’s a decided plus. The nib is stainless and engraved simply “Noodlers Ink Co”. There is a handy ink view window in this piston filler and both Noodler’s Turquoise and syo-ro added harmonious color to the caramel-teal-green barrel. Diamine Teal looked attractive in it and worked well, too.

Today Iroshizuku syo-ro was feeling neglected so why not shake things up by loading the Konrad with a luxury Japanese ink?

Noodler's Tahitian Tortoise Konrad Fountain Pen

Noodler’s Tahitian Tortoise Konrad Fountain Pen

Noodler's Tahitian Tortoise Fountain Pen

Noodler’s Tahitian Tortoise Fountain Pen

The flexible nib gets better with use as is true for most flex nibs. The line width range is greater than with my Namiki Falcon SF pens as well as the Pilot 742 Falcon and the Platinum Century FF. With more use, the Century may produce the greatest variation between thin and thick lines but that has yet to be proven. However, it costs ten times as much so there is that to consider. The ink flow from the Konrad is easily superior to the Pilot 742 but the nib isn’t as smooth. The Pilot costs more than the Century so if you are on a budget but interested in getting acquainted with a flexible nib, the Konrad is the best way to go. Even if you have the resources for the Pilot 742 FA, I don’t recommend it. The flow just can’t keep up. The Konrad has no such issue so it’s a lot more fun to use.

Just to be clear, the Pilot 742 FA, Namiki Falcon, and the Platinum Century are all well constructed pens and none will disappoint in that regard. It’s the nibs and flow that are different. If you just want a little flair to your signature, the Namiki Falcon and the Platinum Century will do. With lots of use both will soften and produce wider lines with little loss at the narrow end. The Konrad will reach that point faster and possibly with the widest variation of the three. None will be as soft as a vintage flex nib but they are easily controlled for everyday writing as well as the occasional flourish.

The Namiki, Century, and the Konrad all work nicely for drawing where expressive line work is especially welcome. Again, these pens need some breaking in to get as flexible as possible. Don’t overextend but do put them to use with very gentle pressure to awaken the artist’s tool in them.

The piston filler is stiff and can stick so it takes gentle, patient twisting to get a proper fill. If I had Noodler’s Eel Turquoise, I’d use that a time or two to see if it improves the filler’s ability to slide in the barrel. With use the stiffness may disappear so this issue isn’t a deterrent.

There is one caveat to the Konrad. It has a strong and distinctive odor. That fades somewhat with time but after two months, it is still quite evident. For someone who is sensitive to such things, this could be a deal-breaker. For anyone else, this is a fun and handsome pen that comes in a variety of colors. Whether you access its flexible nature or use it as a straight writing pen, at $24 it’s a very good deal.

Noodler's Konrad Fountain Pen

Noodler’s Konrad Fountain Pens

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