Posts Tagged ‘pocket pen’

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Do Your Pens Make You Want To Write?

08/31/2021

Do your pens encourage you to write? In the past few months, old favorites as well as a few pens that never received much love got together and invaded my rotation. The final group is a bit different from my usual selection and I am now using several pens that were set aside long ago.

For years stubs and italics with a few exceptions were all I used. No fine or extra-fine nibs suited either my grip or my letter forms. That wasn’t a problem since my writing looked fine and the range of inks I was drawn to were lovely with those pens.

Then I decided to write notes for projects as well as personal musings in a journal, but which one to use?

A Traveler’s Notebook #013 with unlined Tomoe River Paper looked like a suitable size for my needs. So I popped the wrapper off of one, grabbed a 1.1mm stub with vivid ink, wrote a page and was affronted by the result. The journal size and the paper quality were fine but the writing overwhelmed them. It was simply too large and too dark. At the end of the day when I want to capture thoughts on the day’s accomplishments and make notes for future endeavors, something calming and relaxing is in order. In addition, I wanted to use both sides of the paper with a lined guide tucked beneath to keep my writing on the straight and narrow. To do this would require a finer nib and less intense ink. To the pen drawer I went.

Pens from my early days have very fine Japanese nibs, especially Pilot pocket pens and various 1970’s Platinum pens. The more recently acquired Pilot Metropolitans are also fairly narrow. In the western fine nib category, several Levenger True Writers were promising. A Delike New Moon fine fude received a test run as well.

Inks that were certain to be appropriate included several from Herbin, Iroshizuku and Sailor. Diamine had a lock on the brown range with Dark Brown and Raw Sienna. Lots of trial and error and attendant pen cleaning produced a pleasing rotation even if the pens are unusually narrow for me. What counts the most is whether they encourage writing and these are doing just that.

Do you think my wide nibs are jealous from having to cede part of my rotation to their skinny brethren? In truth, there are more inked pens on my desk than in recent memory. So much for my vow to maintain a minimalist rotation. The pens are winning. Who am I to disagree?

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Sunday Reads: Pens, Inks And Giant Doodles

04/08/2018

Long missives on luscious paper written with the perfect fountain pen and luxurious ink may well be the ideal antidote to the censorship strategies of social media titans. Write what you like where no prying eyes or arcane algorithms can label your thoughts and relegate you to the dustbin of irreversible membership cancellation. A pox on all of their houses or did someone already say that?

 

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Pen Links Including The End Of Omas

02/21/2016

The demise of Omas is sad, but not unexpected. If you’ve always wanted one of their pens, grab it while you still can…

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I’m In The Mood For Green – Ink That Is

03/20/2012

There are four green inks that form the mid-range of my green rotation. Each is different enough to get its own time usually in one of my Pilot Elite ‘Socrates’ pocket pens and when I’m in a bold mood, a Lamy Vista 1.1 mm calligraphy nib.

  • Diamine Kelly Green has the most yellow of the green inks and shades incredibly well from light green at the tops of letters to shamrock green at the bottom.
  • J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage is less yellow and might be considered the truest green of the bunch. It shades less and offers more consistent coverage than Kelly Green.
  • Rohrer & Klingner Verdura starts the transition to blue-based green. The blue isn’t strong but is definitely present in greater measure than yellow. Shading is more subtle and the flow a bit dry compared to the other green inks.
  • Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku is the most blue of the group. Depending on the paper it can produce excellent shading with excellent flow. Even though it leans decidedly blue, it is definitely a green.

In that same color range ,Diamine Umber, J. Herbin Vert Empire, and Diamine Emerald get high marks, too.

No one has done a better job of comparing green inks than geoduc with two outstanding posts (#1 and #2) at FPN. Be sure to scroll through all of the graphics. It’s an amazing body of work.

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Starting Out The New Year With A Clean Sweep

01/02/2012

What better way to start the year than with a thorough cleaning. Ten pens got the treatment and are drying, nibs down, in a wad of paper towel. That leaves a mere five for general use and two for testing. Does that sound like a lot? I assure you that is lean for me.

  • Parker ’51’ Aero F with Noodler’s Zhivago
  • Parker ’51’ Aero Special XF with Noodler’s Black (pen test)
  • Sailor 1911 F with Noodler’s Red-Black
  • Lamy Vista 1.1 with Iroshizuku shin-ryoku
  • Levenger Mink True Writer Masuyama CI with Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan
  • Montblanc 220 OB with Rohrer & Klingner Magenta
  • Pilot Elite Socrates F Pocket Pen with Diamine Presidential Blue (ink test)

When a fountain pen won’t do, there are four more writing instruments at hand.

  • Levenger Starry Night Roller Ball with a black felt tip refill
  • Autopoint Mechanical Pencil
  • Pentel Pocket Brush Pen with a black cartridge
  • OXO Pink Highlighter

Elena sent a couple of Mitsu-Bishi 9800 2B pencils that will get some playtime soon. It’s likely the Levenger Kyoto True Writer Masuyama Stub will get a load of Iroshizuku syo-ro or possibly Private Reserve Ebony Blue in the near future. I love writing with this pen so it never stays clean for long.

That’s my winter rotation. What’s on your desk to start the new year?

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Inkophile’s Favorites for 2010

12/08/2010

Some new, some old, here are a few of my favorite things…

  • Rohrer & Klingner Ink – Two colors have been in my cabinet for years so this was not a brand new find. However, when Pear Tree Pens began to offer it this year, I started to expand my collection and am happy to report R&K has earned several places in my regular rotation. Solferino, Verdigris, Alt-Goldgrün, and Magenta are my current favorites but Morinda and Blau Permanent are not far behind. The palette is a well-round offering with something for every need. At $12.50 for 50ml the cost is in my acceptable range especially considering the quality.
  • Iroshizuku remains the ink that tops my guilty pleasures list. For color and performance this one is hard to beat. Ku-jaku joined my collection this year and instantly won a place on my favorites list displacing several turquoise and aqua inks.
  • J. Herbin Ink continues to be my mainstay. There isn’t a dud in the bunch plus they are exceptionally easy to clean from a pen. Lie de Thé is my favorite and most-used brown with Poussière de Lune in my rotation nearly as often.
  • A sample of the Rhodia dotPad (courtesy of Karen at Exaclair) quickly earned a place in my paper arsenal along with anything from G. Lalo now that I’ve tried various weave samples from Jean Elie at Pen and Co.
  • For calligraphy or flex nib practice, Clairefontaine French-ruled paper rules here. Thick, juicy ink lines dry slowly but it is definitely worth the wait.
  • This was a lean year for me when it comes to new pens but a Noodler’s Fountain Pen was a nice addition to my collection. I am fond of ebonite so that added to its appeal.
  • Courtesy of the generous Peggy Love (who also insured I have a lifetime supply of Apica Journals), I got my hands on a trio of Levenger True Writer Rollerballs with Fiber Tip refills. They won’t replace my fountain pens but they certainly are convenient and very easy on my hand. These pens are useful for writing situations that include frequent stops and starts since they do not have to be capped as quickly as a fountain pen. I have enjoyed filling pages with doodles and even managed a bit of line variation by playing with the angle at which the nib contacts the paper. A girl’s gotta have fun, you know?
  • An old favorite has taken up residence in the number one position in my rotation and it isn’t a fountain pen. Shocked? Well, sometimes you’ve just got to go with what’s convenient and a mechanical pencil is hard to beat. No uncapping, no flow issues, no muss, no fuss. While I only use it for notes to myself, that is what I write most often so why not use the best tool for the job? Besides anything that works on a Post-It gets high marks from me. After trying several mechanical pencils, I’ve concluded that my old Autopoint Jumbo All-American Pencil, with a 0.9mm HB lead, is just right. Because the wide lead does not dig into paper, it erases easily. Unlike my other MPs, the lead has never broken. Not once! While that is in part attributable to the chunky lead, it is also a result of the design of the pencil. Years ago I bought the ivory and the red. The former blends in while the latter stands out. Both are winners in my book.

 

Inkophile's Favorite Products for 2010

Inkophile's Favorite Products for 2010

 

So that’s my list of new or rediscovered items for 2010. Unlike in years past my regular rotation remained the same led by a Sailor Sapporo, a 1911 and a couple of Pilot Pocket Pens. The Pilot 742FA and Montblanc 220 OB are off for repair so we shall see how they work out on their return in January. There is one Lamy Safari with a custom cursive italic nib that is always inked with Montblanc Racing Green. It remains my #1 writer though I wish the nib had a snazzier body. Two Namiki Falcons with soft fine nibs are always close at hand and a Levenger True Writer is usually inked as well. That makes my core rotation total seven pens, give or take a True Writer or two.

Inks come and go but I am consistently pleased with Waterman Blue Black in my vintage pens especially those with flexible nibs. At the price point and with its easy availability, WBBk is an excellent match for pens that go through a volume of ink. It is also a good one to include with a gift pen. It won’t cause damage and it writes well from any nib. If the recipient loves it, a new bottle can readily be found.

Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Quo Vadis Habana, and Apica continue to be my favorite brands of paper. Triomphe and G. Lalo are excellent stationery though often I use a lined Rhodia pad for casual letters. For variety I have a few pads of Japanese paper that are lovely with even the roughest nibs. Lastly my stock of the long discontinued Exacompta Black Block is waning so I don’t use it as often as I would like though it has a softness that suits me perfectly. If you run across this one, do let me know. I would love to add a few tablets to my reserves.

So that’s my list of favorite things. Rumor has it that Santa just might have on his sleigh one of the new Noodler’s flex nib pens with a bottle of Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses. Yeah, I know. That’s a mouthful but can you picture that pair? The demonstrator (clear) model with plum ink should be lovely. Hopefully, it gets delivered to the right home. I don’t think any of my neighbors would appreciate this dynamic duo but I could be mistaken…maybe…

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So What’s The Deal With Iron Gall Ink

10/19/2010

Iron gall ink is old. Really old. Traces of it have even been found on the Dead Sea Scrolls. It has been around that long but does it belong in your fountain pen?

Iron gall became the ink of choice during the Middle Ages and was common well into the 20th century. Made from iron salts and tannic acids from vegetable sources, the blue-black is the quintessential vintage color.

Originally used with tools like reeds, quills, and later dip pens, these inks fell out of favor with good reason as fountain pens and modern formulations emerged. Not only do iron gall inks have a reputation for damaging pens but writing surfaces as well. In other words, those old formulas did not play well with paper.

Recent inks are less risky because they contain only small amounts of the offending components. Diamine, Montblanc, Lamy, and Rohrer & Klingner offer blue-black colors with R&K adding a purple version as well.

That iffy reputation made me reluctant to risk pen damage. However, when Pear Tree Pens offered an appealing discount on ink, I couldn’t refuse.

For the past week I’ve tested the two made by R&K. The colors are excellent for conservative uses and the properties are in line with some of my favorite brands. Flow, drying-time, coverage, show-through and bleed-through all measured well for me. There is some question about how light-fast these inks might be but I haven’t used them long enough to have an opinion. If you like shading, both Salix and Scabiosa are lovely.

Some people use iron galls with good success though others report these inks can do serious damage to pens if maintenance isn’t regular. Then there are those pen users who report no issues despite infrequent cleaning but I suspect they use their pens often enough to prevent ink drying out in the feed or nib. Or perhaps they are exceedingly lucky.

Despite those good reports, I find it hard to make a full-fledged recommendation for what is likely a high maintenance ink. It is worth noting that the companies that offer them are top-notch so that is an endorsement of sorts. Thus if you practice careful pen hygiene, you might enjoy Salix or Scabiosa in your regular rotation.

Using these Rohrer & Klingner iron gall inks has been a bit like tapping into history. In fact one of them could be just the mate for that vintage-looking leather covered journal I’ve been considering. Hmmm…

 

Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa Inks

Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa Inks

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