2012 was a very lean year with few items to review and no ink or pen purchases. So there is little new to recommend. Still there are some favorites worth mentioning along with a few new products on my list of
Really Good Stuff
- Best new tool that came my way was the InkJournal.
- Best new paper product was any Stillman & Birn Sketchbook.
- Martha Stewart cahier – The batch I bought was fountain pen friendly and very attractive.
- Canson Art Book cahier – Surprisingly good performance for both pens and watercolors.
- Daycraft Gold Slab journal may not be perfect or easy to source but it sure is gorgeous.
- Rhodia pads got the most action. The orange covers make them a standout in my messy office.
- My regular ink rotation expanded with the inclusion of Noodler’s Ottoman Azure and Black Swan in Australian Roses. No new ink colors came my way but Karen at Exaclair sent three reformulated J. Herbin inks for comparison to what I had on hand that were produced prior to EU meddling. I still enjoy all three, Vert Empire, Lie de Thé, and Poussière de Lune, but they are a bit different.
- Current model pens with stock nibs that were consistently in my rotation included the Lamy Safari with an EF or 1.1mm italic and the Vista 1.1mm italic as well as the Levenger True Writer fine nib. Most of my other pens are no longer in production or have been modified. The greatest difference in my rotation this year was that fewer fine nibs like Pilots and Sailors got used while the Montblanc 220 OB never fell out of favor.
- Custom nibs can be heavenly or not. Nearly all of mine were crafted by different people and in some cases I don’t even know who did the work. However, one Masuyama stub and one Binder cursive italic rose to the top. The former was a dream from the first fill though Iroshizuku ku-jaku is its current best friend. If ever there was a fickle pen this one is it for it will mate with darned near any ink. The Binder sat unused for years until on a whim got paired with Ottoman Azure. Now that Pelikan M-215 Rings is a delight to use. Some nibs are finicky and the right ink can make a huge improvement in performance. Admittedly, a little inspiration helps or that Pel and Ottoman Azure would never have met. So don’t discount what you think might work. Just try it and see what happens.
- The pen that resided in my handbag was the Kaweco Classic Sport. If it accommodated a converter, the Kaweco would get more use and take up residence on my desk.
- Best new (to me) non-fountain pen writing instrument was a tie between the Sanford Uniball Gel Grip medium (utilitarian) and the Pentel Libretto (attractive). The Autopoint remained my favorite mechanical pencil in large part due to its 0.9mm HB lead. The Levenger True Writer Rollerball sporting a felt tip refill continued as my first choice when a fountain pen or mechanical pencil wouldn’t do.
That wraps up 2012. My wish list for 2013 is simple. Buy or trade for another stub or italic nib and acquire a few new inks, mostly Noodler’s or perhaps a Diamine or two. A bottle of Iroshizuku kon-peki might be nice but on that I can wait.
Did you get some “really good stuff” this year? What’s on your list for 2013?
Noodler’s Ottoman Azure and Black Swan in Australian Roses, J. Herbin Poussière de Lune, InkJournal, Stillman & Birn Sketchbook for Pen & Ink, Levenger True Writer, Autopoint Mechanical Pencil, Rhodia pad, Pelikan Tradition M-215 Black Rings fountain pen.