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  1. Notes - Having produced a nicely formatted article in LibreOffice Writer, I found that the only way to transfer that to the FPN without losing the formatting was to save the pages as JPG, and attach the images. The photos of the products are arranged alphabetically as they are first mentioned, so you know what to look for if you want to get any of the products. I will try to add some scans of representative bleeding and feathering examples.
  2. sakshi__reddy

    Diamine Marine

    Hey there! This is my very first ink review so it's very possible that I have left out stuff. Suggestions for future reviews are very welcome! The ink I will be reviewing today is the Diamine Marine. It has been well documented, but it is such a bright, happy blue with such beautiful shading that I couldn't resist adding another to the list. Coming from the Namiki Falcon onto Rhodia, Marine is a beautifully shading ink. The colour ranges from a light turquoise to a pretty dark teal. Dry time on Rhodia is fairly extended with the ink completely drying only around the 25- 30 second mark. However, writing with a pen that has a more controlled flow yeilds a dry time of around 15- 20 seconds. The ink is not very saturated and there was no bleedthrough (and only minor showthrough) on the back of the paper after the third pass. Water resistance is negligible. Lubrication and flow are very good, as with all Diamine inks I have used. There are no start up issues even if I do leave my pen uncapped for up to fifteen minutes. I've mis-written one of the cons(oops!): it does feather on copy paper, but only very little and there is no bleedthrough. The ink is comparable to Diamine Soft Mint, but it is more blue-ish. Shading from a flex pen! Oh, on a final note, my 30ml bottle of Marine isn't the plastic I've seen in other places, but a rather more attractive glass one. Just thought it worth mentioning; hope you liked the review
  3. As per the request of Sailor Kenshin, a review of Noodler's Squeteague - on Rhodia dotPad N°16 paper - with a TWSBI Diamond 580, medium nib - from a 2 ml sample Moderate shading: Noodler's Black < Noodler's 54th Massachusetts < Noodler's Squeteague < Noodler's Navajo Turquoise front: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7311/8975678076_e79efb00dc_o.jpg Noodler's Squeteague by jakoblwells, on Flickr back: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5326/8975704972_9a0d4c4e11_c.jpg Noodler's Squeteague [back] by jakoblwells, on Flickr rough draft, front: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3705/8977234977_1fc5cb4758_o.jpg Noodler's Squeteague, rough draft by jakoblwells, on Flickr rough draft, back: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2854/8978428820_07de65b6fe_o.jpg Noodler's Squeteague, rough draft [back] by jakoblwells, on Flickr
  4. Review of the Hero 711 A gold nibbed offering from the brand behind all the Parker Clones you know and love… or hate. The Shanghai Hero Pen Company is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting fountain pen brands in the world. They do not make the highest quality pens, and they are almost never recommended as a “first” pen for beginners. They make gold nibbed offerings which are compared only to steel nibbed cousins. Hero pens are either loved or hated, and their discussion always brings some who believe they are a great value for the cost and some who believe they are foolish, low quality knockoffs who shouldn’t even be considered. I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Their low-end pens are just that, low-end, and are interesting for nib-grinding experiments, cheap giveaways, and that’s about it. Hero’s high-end, gold nibbed offerings, however, warrant some consideration on their own merits as real, useful, enjoyable pens. The Hero 711 is one of these gold-nibbed Hero’s, and despite some fixable flaws I think it is a very interesting, compelling, and ultimately worthwhile pen. Due to the recent discussions about reviews and some of the flaws with them, along with my own thoughts on the nature of this pen, I will not be providing number scores with this review, because I believe that using quantitative observations for such a pen would introduce even more subjectivism. I will only be providing my own qualitative observations, with the hope that you will be able to draw your own conclusions from them. Initial Observations/First ImpressionsThe Hero 711 arrived, shockingly, in a box. I say shockingly because every other Hero I’d ever ordered had arrived in an envelope, so I wasn’t expecting much in terms of packaging. Inside the box, to my great surprise, was another box! Although it probably matters very little to most of you, the Hero 711 did indeed come with its own Green 70’s-style case, branded with the Hero logo. Once I opened that second box I got to finally see the pen. Small. That’s the first word that came to my mind. The pen is rather small. I uncapped the pen to find an even smaller nib, smaller than I would expect even for a small pen. It isn’t pocket pen small, in fact it’s nearly the exact length of a Noodler’s Konrad, but it is much thinner. Also, the Konrad comes with a big, mighty #6 nib, the minuscule thing on the 711 just adds to feeling that the Hero is a shrunk down version of a pen that was always intended to be slightly larger. An initial view of the capped Hero 711 Build Quality/Feel in the HandDespite being small the pen is not light. The barrel is painted, not made of black plastic, and the entire pen is made of metal. This made the pen feel of higher quality than any other Hero I’ve tried before I even had a chance to put nib to paper. Despite the problems I will get to in a later section, despite the frustrations the pen gave me, the one thing I never once had a problem with was the build quality. It really is a very nicely made pen. The cap is shiny, polished steel. It itself weighs more than an entire Hero 616 yet it doesn’t feel overweight. The clip is springy, durable, and just entirely excellent. The cap closes onto the pen with a satisfying click, and the only cap I know that’s more satisfying to put on is the Pilot Prera’s. (Side note: I LOVE the cap on the Pilot Prera. I could literally sit there clicking the cap on and off for hours on end.) The Hero 711 with its cap. The metal threads of the section screw nicely into the metal threads of the barrel, and the pen feels very sturdy. My one complaint with the pen body is that the section is rather slippery, and gathers fingerprints easily. Pen manufacturers, if you’re reading this, which you almost certainly aren’t, please stop making pens with chrome sections. Chrome sections are just the worst. Everything else on the pen’s body, however, is excellent, and the 711 has the unique distinction of being the most well-made Chinese pen I’ve ever held. A profile view of the 711. Nib/Writing PerformanceThis is where things get a little dicey for the Hero. The 711 comes with a 10k solid gold nib, albeit a tiny one. I was very excited to see just what the folks in Shanghai could do with gold, as I had in the past enjoyed the steel nibs on their cheaper offerings. For the first few lines, just after being dipped in ink, the Hero was brilliant. Smooth, dark, medium line, an overall enjoyable writing experience. Then the problems began. Within a few lines the Hero’s nib showed its true nature, that of a horrible, horrible hard starter. Nearly every word would have half of its first letter missing, and although it was smooth after that, it was an immense irritation. The problem was temporarily solved by flooding the feed, and that fix lasted for a couple lines at best, but it just isn’t practical to have to flood the feed every twenty seconds when you write. (I have a feeling I wouldn’t have been a pen lover in the era of only dip pens). So, the 711 was banished to the pits of my desk drawer. Several months, tens of pen acquisitions, and the purchase of a loupe and some micromesh later, I remembered the little gold-nibbed Chinese wonder sitting in my desk drawer. I diagnosed the pen with a case of “Baby’s bottom”, and sorted it out with micromesh rather quickly. Now, the pen is a wonderful, smooth writer, and I have not had any issues with skipping or hard starting, nor have I had to flood the feed. Despite being made of gold, the nib is a nail, and there is no line variation whatsoever. The nib on this pen almost made it unusable, but with a little adjustment it can be an enjoyable writing experience. A close up of the nib of the Hero 711. Filling System/MaintenanceThis is always my least favorite part of a review for these types of pens. It’s a cartridge converter pen. It comes with a converter, which works. The pen can be flushed with the converter or a bulb filler, which also works. Not much else to say here. Moving on… CostFor the excellent build quality of their high-end pen, a 10k nib, and a nicely made box/carrying case, the folks at Hero charge an immense, wait for it… $16. That’s it. $16. For a new, gold nibbed pen, this is an immense bargain. Yes, there are vintage 45’s for cheaper if you shop around, and yes, the pen didn’t technically work at first, but it is a bargain regardless. If you don’t mind using micromesh a little bit (and that’s even if my pen wasn’t an unfortunate mistake that doesn’t represent the norm), the pen is a good, gold nib on a well-built pen for under $20! The Hero 711 posted. Would I recommend the pen?Only if you have small hands. Despite the build quality, despite the (now) excellent gold nib, the pen will likely not get much use from me. I have rather large hands, as I mentioned before, and the Hero is uncomfortable for me to use for long periods of time. I have lent the pen to people with smaller hands, however, who found the pen very comfortable. So, if you have small hands and a bit of micromesh, then yes, I would absolutely recommend this pen. There is excellent build quality and once tuned the nib really is enjoyable. It has been low-maintenance, the converter it comes with works well, and it is durable enough to take around town and cheap enough to not be an immense tragedy if lost. This pen did have some problems, but ultimately I think it was more than worth the price I paid for it. The higher end Hero’s really can be nice pens at bargain prices, and we shouldn’t let the low quality of their cheaper cousins delegitimatize them.
  5. Hello friends. Up for review today are two Classic Pens LB5 fountain pens with Sailor Nagahara Cross Point nibs. The two finishes are Kouseki (Metal Ore) in Diamond Brown and Tairiku (Continent) in Amethyst Mauve. There have been a lot of words exchanged as of late regarding these pens so I decided to offer my own thoughts, too, which hopefully will provide additional context and perspective. Stephen Brown (Hey there!), Matt Armstrong from the Pen Habit (we met at DC 2016 and he's a cool guy), David from Figboot On Pens, and many others have already weighed in on these pens--some expressing that these pens are "perfection." Perhaps I will take up video reviews myself, but until then, being camera shy, here we go... Appearance & Design: 9 (with Bio): As you may know, the LB5 pen is modeled after the Sailor King Of Pen ST (KOP) King Profit line. Andreas Lambrou (a Classic Pens founder and well-respected pen expert) partnered with long-term friend and Sailor executive Kunio Ishizaki to bring this project to life. If Andreas' name sounds familiar to you it may be due to seeing one of his many encyclopedia style printed volumes--"Fountain Pens Of Japan" and "Fountain Pens of the World" are my two favorites. Being a special project, only 50 numbered pens shall be produced in each of the 6 colors (300 total, world-wide). A major factor with the finish of the LB5s (whether one cares for it or not) is the diffusion bonded acrylic process/product that is used for the body of the pen. Supposedly, these materials can cost 20-70x what standard acrylic blanks cost to produce for turning. This special bonding process and, I think, a cutting of the material more vertically instead of horizontally yield the fascinatingly deep color tones that seem to dance across these pens. I formally submit these process-oriented comments as lightly-researched speculation and hearsay, but I think I've got the right idea. If pushed to reduce my comments, the word custom would truly be the biggest takeaway I could offer. The size is different than the KOP, the materials used are different in both substance and color from the KOP, the pen caps are numbered (up to 50), and, in my case, each pen came with a matching special edition volume of "Fountain Pens Of Japan" (a book also numbered to correspond with the specific finish and number of the pen I received). FYI, the only things special edition about the book are that the standard cover-jacket has been replaced with a picture of all 6 LB5 "Nature" pens and then, of course, an interior page bears the same number and pen model as each LB5 pen (hand-written and signed by Andreas, which is a nice touch--photos below). I submit all these points as a respectful pushback against those who have posted comments like, "It's a little bigger than the KOP and a different color...that does not justify the extra expense." More on that matter to come... In the photos section I have included comparison photos of the Classic LB5s (LB5s) next to the standard KOP Profit and the KOP Professional gear (demonstrator). This should be helpful. The LB5 is a large pen. It's 5cm longer than the "already bigger than the Mb149" standard KOP Profit series. This gives the LB5 a great presence and a bigger canvas to display the specialty finish. The LB5 section is also .02mm wider than the KOP which makes a positive difference for someone with medium large hands. However, if you have small hands, or if you prefer understated pens, this may not be the pen for you. For example, admittedly, the cap band is quite elaborate and hefty, approaching gaudy, but I like it as is. Theres lots of information on the gold cap band to display so I think it deserves some extra heft since it is, after all, a special edition. (The words Sailor, # of 50, LB5, and the Japanese finish name all appear on the cap band.) FYI, there is only one finish with a white (rhodium) finish for the nib, band, clip, et. all, and thats the Tensui, which is blue. And then finally, we come to the appearance of the cross point nib...I mean, wow! The double-layered nib provides a spectacular site to behold every time the pen cap is removed. The base layer is, of course, the same as the KOP, a beautiful 21kt soft nib (don't think flex!) that bears the Sailor anchor design as well as the labeling NAG on the right side (after the acclaimed nibmeister and designer Mr. Nagahara who has since retired from Sailor but whose legacy lives on). But it is the top layer of the nib (causing the cross point) that really makes the nib visually pop, and I really enjoy viewing the extra pair of shoulders every time I unscrew the cap. Construction & Quality: 8 I totally fear what would happen to this pen if I dropped it on a hard surface. It doesn't feel like a tank. I have dropped a Visconti Homo Sapiens and a Delta Dolce Vita onto asphalt and both were (somehow) unscathed. This pen might shatter. It might not be fair to say this as the only way to test this is to actually drop it....not gonna happen! I believe the bonded acrylic is probably high quality, perhaps even durable; I just am scared to use it in places where there is not carpet under my feet. In all fairness, part of this hesitancy is due to the price, which isn't a quality issue. The clip is tight, but not too tight to slip over a pocket; and, most importantly, the clip nob that touches the pen cap is quite snugly pressurized and pointed. Translation: this is a better clip than Visconti offers with its visually appealing but functionally destitute "bridge design" that makes a smooth/flat contact with the pen cap ensuring that whatever the clip latches onto slips off with ease onto the floor when bending over. Nothing is loose on this pen. The finish is well-polished with zero micro-scratches upon delivery. Regarding the filling system quality, the LB5 and Sailor KOP (much like Waterman Edson pens) have an extended metal piece under the barrel to provide more support and even a viewing window for the CC filler. This is a nice touch and brought the quality score from a 7 to an 8. If a company is going to "go converter" they should at least be intentional about it and purposeful with the design execution. This pen does not have just a wobbly converter under the barrel that's ready to fall out at any moment. So, well-done Sailor. Photo provided. Weight And Dimensions: 8 I think this pen is just a little big for what I want to do with it. But I subjectively scored this high because I love huge pens (see my FPN Namiki Vermillon "Emperor" review for proof), and for the price, I do not expect or want a small pen. That being said, because of the incredible abilities of the cross-point nib, I desire something a little more nimble and precise in the hand to help guide precision writing. Without the cross point nib in place I would probably score this as a 9 since it's well-balanced, not silly light or silly heavy, and there's zero cramping with writing. Bear in mind, though, that if there were no cross-point nib on this pen the score would go up here but drop substantially under the nib performance section, the appearance section, and the value section. Measurements: Length (capped): 155.0 mm/6.10″ Length (uncapped): 137.6 mm/5.41″ Length (posted): 174.1 mm/6.89″ Diameter (barrel): 13.2 15.2 mm/0.52″ 0.59″ Diameter (section): 12.4 12.9 mm/0.48″ 0.50″ Weight (all): 44 g Weight (cap): 16 g Weight (body): 28 g (Source Of Measurements: Stephen Brown's Website & YouTube Review) Nib & Performance: 11 Perfection (or as close as is humanly possible) describes the nib and feed experience. Sorry. I gave it an 11. Deal with it! For context, I am quite familiar with the standard KOP 21kt nibs. They are very nice, precise, soft nibs (no flex) that perform extremely well with sometimes just a hint of feedback; I would rate those KOP nibs a 7 or a 7.5. On the two LB5s, both Nagahara cross point nibs perform as smooth as butter (zero feedback, which is what I like). They write under their own weight (zero pressure needed), and are perfectly tuned out of the box, which makes me suspect that Andreas and/or Kunio place a special eye on all these before they go out to customers. Again, being custom and limited to only 50 pens each, LB5s are not mass-produced. They also bear individuals' real names instead of just a brand name, a point not to be glossed over. It's easier to allow mediocrity to pass through one's desk if he or she is simply one cog in a large wheel where responsibility for quality control can be diffused. If a Classic Pens LB5 experience stinks, all eyes go to Andreas. So he delivers quality (at least he did for me). This nib offers a range of EEF lines up through BB or BBB lines (pending if you're using a European scale or Japanese scale of evaluation) with zero pressure. This is not a flex pen so please don't try to flex it. Line variation is determined by how one holds the pen; more specifically, the angle at which one holds the pen is what yields different results. The higher the pen is held, the finer the line. The lower the pen is held, the broader the line. Examining the cross-point nib photo close up can help explain this. If one writes more vertically (perpendicular to the page) then only the top of the two nibs is being used, but if one writes more parallel to the page then both nibs are hitting the paper at once and the marker is unleashed! The feed has not failed to keep up even once. There are no hard starts, but it's also not an uncontrollable wet noodle whose lines take 5 minutes to dry. This is the best writing experience I have ever had, and I am an avid collector of fine writing instruments. For this reason, I need to find a way to experience the Sailor King Cobra nib to see if its three stacked nibs furthers this joy or if it somehow it provides too much of a good thing (so to speak). If you have a King Cobra nib, please post a writing sample in response to go along with my cross-point writing sample! Filling system & Maintenance: 5 On an instinctual level I strongly believe a pen at this price should have a piston filler or some other nifty gadget on it. I have become a huge fan of pneumatic (or even touchdown style) fillers such as those used on the Visconti Opera Crystal; also, I love the rudimentary (but highly efficient) plunger-style eyedropper fillers (think Danitrio Genkai and Namiki Emporer). A cartridge/converter setup on a pen like this makes me feel like Lebron James dribbled impressively down the whole court simply to miss a layup. So close, yet so far! This would have been an awesome opportunity for Sailor to bring back their somewhat rare Realo/piston filling system, especially at this price point. That being said, the longer I enjoy (and endure) the fountain pen passion the more I have come to appreciate the CC system. In defense of this filling system I have only two thoughts. One, Sailor does not typically offer a non-CC system, and, after all, the LB5 is a collaboration with Sailor (not a totally new pen from the ground up). And two, Andreas Lambrou isn't an idiot. The more gadgets a pen has, the more things can break. Also, with an ink-sucking nib like the Nagahara Cross Point, it is nice to be able to very quickly flush the pen and change or refill inks without having to twist a piston nob carefully back and forth 20-50x. I am becoming less "piston snobby" and more practical as a result. I mean no offense, of course, to those who are "piston only!" What is less up for debate, however, is the fact that the CC simply has too small of an ink capacity for a nib that can write this wet. 0.7ml is not enough ink for this pen. This is a Sailor issue. However, I am curious what, if anything, Andreas said or thought on this matter. One solution (though at this price a work-around shouldn't be needed) is to use a 1.2ml Sailor cartridge. The cartridge has almost double the ink capacity of the converter and can be refilled with different color inks using ink syringes. The one positive thing about this CC system is that the Sailor KOP line (and the LB5) offers a metal ink window and an all around beefier presentation/support system for these pens than the average CC pen. Photo provided above. This brings the score to a 5 instead of a 2. Cost / Value: 8 I wrestled with this category the longest. These pens are expensive to the point that one could have 2-3 other high-end pens for the price of an LB5, whether with or without a cross point nib. IMHO, LB5s are currently overpriced. I say "currently" because in the past new LB5s (with and without cross point nibs) were being sold by certain sellers (I personally verified this claim) for about $600 less than today's direct price from Andreas. I'm not going to name names. In defense of this, however, supply and demand is a real force. There are fewer pens available today than in 2012-2013 when I believe this LB5 "Nature" series hit the scene, so the retail price (market value price?) is what one must pay. Why would any seller drop his or her price on something desirable that's in scarcity? But, concerning an LB5 with a standard KOP nib, for my money, at full retail prices, I sympathize (but do not fully agree) with those who say things like, "There's not enough special here to justify the extra price above the standard KOP." Put another way, I would take an LB5 in trade for my standard KOP any day (even if I had to pay more to make the trade happen); but, I would not: 1) make the trade if the amount of extra money I had to pay amounted to the full retail value of the LB5, nor 2) purchase an LB5 without a cross point nib at full retail instead of a KOP at full retail. So, why the score of an 8 instead of a 5? Well, in my case, I do have the Nagahara cross point nibs on my pens. While there are cheaper ways to put together something like this (i.e., buying a KOP with a cross point nib for about $500 less than an LB5 w/cross point), the total package of the amazingly vivid LB5 acrylic colors, the extra 5mm size, the limited edition factor (not everyone has them), the cool special edition large book that comes with it, exceptional direct service from Andreas, and a flawless writing experience make this a pen I cannot stop reaching for and must keep inked up at all times. This is why, despite the current market prices, I believe these pens are actually worth the money. I believe something can be overpriced and still worth the money. Being overly dramatic by way of example, one might pay too much money for the last loaf of bread on Earth, but it'd be worth it. On value, I suppose only time will truly tell, for the way I will ultimately answer this question is whether or not I choose to sell these pens. I would like to have the money back in my bank account; however, offer me a check for one of them at the price I paid and I don't think I'll take it. Seriously, message me if you want to buy one with an offer. Just be prepared for me to probably say, No! This might be a far better gauge of value than a 1-10 scale. These pens invoke emotion. (Though, it's still just an earthly possession--something to remember...) Conclusion/Average Score: 8.16 I like these LB5 pens. I have nothing more to add here by way of conclusion so please provide comments and engage one another (and me!) in a discussion about these pens. Respectfully yours, Ebonite And Ivory For the record: All the below photographs were uploaded with the correct orientation and upon posting a few of them turned horizontally. Apologies. Also, I couldn't underline or italicize the book titles or my headings. And, some of my words "rantogether" when I pasted my text into the FPN window from my Word doc so I had to manually space out many of my words a second time. Then, some punctuation (like all apostrophes and ellipses and dashes) disappeared during the copy and paste to this window. I also couldn't indent paragraphs. FPN is such a blessing, but the posting process isn't always seamless. So please pardon any typos and thank you for reading my review! Here are two photos of the standard KOP Profit between the two LB5s: Here is a photo displaying the LB5s with some other very large pens for context. Left to right: YOL Viceroy Grand Victorian, Waterman Edson, Pelikan M1000, Visconti Homo Sapiens Maxi, Sailor KOP Professional Gear Demonstrator, Sailor KOP Profit, LB5 Diamond Brown, LB5 Amethyst Mauve, Namiki Vermillion Urushi "Emperor." Under the hood... Here is a close-up shot of the business-end of the LB5's Nagahara cross-point nib: Here's a shot of the massive book. I have two of these, one for each pen, but included is just shots of one book and the corresponding numbering system that matches the numbered pens:
  6. sakshi__reddy

    Frankin Christoph Terra Firma

    Terra Firma is one of Franklin Christoph's new "Special Colors". This is how they're described on the website: "These are our new inks. These are generally lubricated inks, with moderate shading and some sheening". If this is their version of 'moderate shading', I'd really like to see an ink that FC calls highly shading. More on that in a bit though. First things first: their bottle is very practical, with quite a wide neck. Their label is decent too; its nothing fancy but it certainly is not ugly like the Private Reserve bottles are. I did find it odd that it comes without a box- isn't keeping ink bottles exposed to sunlight supposed to harm inks? At any rate, the ink bottle lives at the back of my book shelf. The ink itself is beautiful. Like I said earlier, there really isn't anything 'moderate' about the shading. On Rhodia paper, it is very much there and visible. This is a really pretty reddish-brown colour that reminds me of the iron rich earth of my home town, and also brings to mind rainy afternoons spent on farms with coconut water . I'm incredibly fond of this shade. The ink is pretty well behaved. Dries on Rhodia in about 30 to 33 seconds. It has no resistance to water so even though it is relatively subdued, I would be hesitant to use it on anything that is important or that may be subjected to water spillage. Lubrication and flow are both good and the ink performs surprisingly well on cheap copy paper. No bleedthrough, only some showthrough, and very limited feathering. However, on leaving the pen uncapped, the ink dries out on the nib causing a bit of a hard start. It isn't anything major though, and it starts off again after about half a downstroke. It's also worth mentioning that in any nib finer than a Conklin Medium, the ink appears rather flat, showing none of its pretty shading. The ink comparison is more for hue comparison though on my monitor, the colours all appear true. More shading- these samples were written with the Namiki Falcon <SM> and you can see the greater shading even in the un-flexed portions. I really do love this ink, so there are a lot of photos in this review *sheepish smile*
  7. Less than a year ago, after buying several Pelikans and a few other brands of pens, I discovered Nakaya. I blame ethernautrix (who doesn’t?) Initially I bought a neo-standard in heki-tamenuri. But, believe it or not, I didn’t like the pen! I know! It’s blasphemy. But, it’s the truth. I didn’t like it. Besides, I had fallen in love with another Nakaya. Browsing the Nakaya availability chart, I found a pen I hadn’t seen when I first started researching Nakayas. At first sight, I knew I had to have this pen. I had found Enjoying the Moon Cat. Classic Pens decided to name the pen using Japanese syntax, a decision I deeply appreciate since I teach Hebrew. There’s something special about preserving the syntax of a foreign language idiom instead of conforming the language to suit English. Thus, instead of “The Cat Enjoying the Moon” the pen is called “Enjoying the Moon Cat.” I returned the neo-standard and applied the credit to Moon Cat. My husband agreed to pay for half and I paid the other and Moon Cat would be my Christmas present. So, even though Moon Cat arrived in early October, I didn’t open the box. I put the pen of greatest desire in the closet, sight unseen, and waited until Christmas. When Christmas morning 2012 arrived, I was as excited as the kids. I finally got to open Moon Cat, and she was gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. I gingerly filled her with Diamine Dragon Red and started writing in my journal, “It’s Christmas morning and I am writing with Moon Cat!” http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2809/8912991415_b5996af6d3.jpg The next day, tragedy struck. Being a photographer, I wanted to take pictures of Moon Cat to post on Facebook and pen forums. I had taken several pictures in the dining room where the light was best. I was almost finished. I placed the pen on my grandmother’s china cabinet to take one final picture, and Moon Cat dropped onto the tile floor. I knew immediately she was broken. In tears, I picked her up and examined her. The pen was intact, but a large chunk had broken from the cap. I was devastated. The pen still wrote, thankfully, but the beautiful aesthetic of the smooth Japanese pen was gone. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8220/8311885235_f858b94b7a.jpg http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8362/8311882843_01189c9509.jpg I contacted Classic Pens immediately, though I had no idea if they could help. Jonella (bless her to the moon and back) contacted Nakaya and sent them my pictures. They asked me to send the pen to them. I waited at least a month before I heard anything back. Nakaya contacted Classic Pens with two options. (1) I could purchase a new cap ($490) or (2) they could use a special string technique to repair the pen ($90). You can guess which option I chose. As it turns out, the accident turned Moon Cat into an even more beautiful pen, as the pictures below demonstrate. A month and a half later, Moon Cat returned to me. And this is the pen I’m reviewing. 1. Appearance and Design. Enjoying the Moon Cat is an extraordinarily beautiful pen. The pen is ebonite with heki-tamenuri Urushi. But it has a special design. On the body of the pen is a black cat seated next to a mouse. These are created using the Yakoh-Maki-e raised technique, so you can actually feel the figures on the surface of the pen. The cat and mouse are looking up at a reddish-gold moon which is made using the Tame-sukashi technique. Over time, the moon will glow brighter and brighter. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8091/8601270532_dd0a4e947d.jpg Uncapped, the grip sports little Yakoh-Maki-e kitty paw prints, a feature that immediately endeared the pen to me. Who doesn’t love kitty paws? http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2813/8912932597_628d9a696c.jpg In addition to these features, my Moon Cat has a special addition because of the broken cap. The Nakaya craftsmen used a special string technique to repair the cap. This addition, meant as a repair, actually made the pen even more beautiful and unique. I cannot express how impressed I am at the craftsmanship and creativity of Nakaya. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8098/8601275706_140f1e375a.jpg I consider this pen a 10 in appearance and design. It is simply stunning. 2. Construction and Quality. I think anyone who has held a Nakaya knows that these pens are well made. The ebonite is hand-turned and the Urushi technique takes months to complete. While the pen looks like it might be quite heavy, it is actually deceptively light. Writing with it creates no fatigue whatsoever. For whatever reason, my Nakaya could not withstand a fall of about three feet. After the accident, I discussed this on forums with others who own Nakayas. Without exception, everyone else said that their Nakayas had withstood drops and accidents with hardly a scratch. I don’t know why my cap broke. It may simply have been due to how it hit the floor. But I have to knock off a couple of points for this. My pen may be the exception to the rule, but when you pay $1000 for a pen only to have it break from a three-foot fall, you have to be concerned. 8. 3. Weight and Dimensions. The Nakaya Piccolo is a small pen (only 5.12 inches long, capped). It isn’t meant to be posted, so it’s even shorter when you write with it. I have small hands, so the fact that this pen is small doesn’t bother me one bit. It fits perfectly in my hand and I love its beautiful proportions. As I said earlier, the pen is deceptively light (22 grams), so people who like large and heavy pens shouldn’t consider the Nakaya Piccolo. For me it is perfect. 10. 4. Nib and Performance. I originally ordered a 14K medium nib ground to a cursive italic. It wrote beautifully that Christmas Day. But after I broke it, and while I awaited Nakaya’s response, I purchased another Nakaya (a Naka-ai in heki-tamenuri) with a nib ground between a cursive italic and a stub along with some other modifications. So, when Moon Cat arrived back at Classic Pens, I asked Mr. Mottishaw to make her a CI/stub “tweenie.” She writes purrfectly, as my sample below demonstrates (though please don’t critique my handwriting; I’m trying; I’m trying). The nib is smooth and the flow is just right. 10. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7285/8913557038_ebcdc7971b.jpg http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3752/8913560826_be099c2f32.jpg 5. Filling System and Maintenance. All Nakayas are cartridge/converter pens. I’ll admit this is my only real criticism of Nakayas. I much prefer piston fillers. The converters are well made, but they don’t hold much ink (0.9 ml). I’ve found that it’s easier to fill the converter directly rather than trying to suck ink up through the nib. I get a better fill that way. Of course, cleaning is a breeze since you can separate the converter from the nib and flush both. 9. 6. Cost and Value. Well, this is a tough one. I think everyone has different opinions on whether a pen is worth what it cost. For me, Enjoying the Moon Cat Piccolo was well worth $1000. This isn’t just a pen. It is a piece of art. And the art expresses something deeply significant to me: love of nature. I also love cats. But the beauty of the cat and mouse sitting beside one another (harmony) gazing at the moon (appreciation of nature’s beauty) simply speaks to my heart. When I brought Moon Cat to show her to my Honors students, they swooned when I told them what she cost. Does anyone use the word “swoon” anymore? Well, no matter. They swooned. And probably most people would. But Moon Cat is my most treasured pen. 10. Final Rating: 57/60 In conclusion, I think it’s important to express how wonderful Classic Pens and Nakaya were in helping me when Moon Cat broke. Jonella grieved with me. The craftsmen at Nakaya provided options for me. The pen was treated with respect and care. I can’t speak highly enough about my experience. Even if you aren’t a fan of Enjoying the Moon Cat, I recommend any Nakaya pen. They are all works of art and the nibs (especially when artfully worked by Mr. Mottishaw) are simply the best. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8531/8600175667_d4997de6f1.jpg
  8. Having a few #52 Watermans in full and 1/2V sizes, I felt the inclination to try a couple of different nibs from Waterman pens in the same era. I bought a #55, the same style as a 52 with a different (No. 5) nib, and a #94, a thicker pen also with a nib (No.4) different from my other old Watermans. It is the latter pen I am reviewing here. My comments and scores mean to reflect the context of a vintage pen, not today’s pen new out of the box. My comparison point is mostly other Watermans and to some extent Onotos of the same era (Onotos have their own virtues and foibles). Observing worse pens on ebay and other sites also influences some of the ratings. Appearance & Design Style is fairly typical of the era, which would be the mid to late 1920s as near as I can date it. The #94 is slightly shorter and fatter than a #52. It is only a millimetre thicker but visually looks to be more, especially in the cap. Furnishings on this pen are nickel, in good condition. The clip is a Waterman item, double-pinned to the cap, very probably an option with the purchase rather than universally fitted on #94 pens. The holding ring on the clip does not go all of the way around the cap, and there is no recess or other provision for it, so these suggest it was a Waterman option (marked with the Ideal globe symbol) added on order or by the retailer. The ball end on the clip suffers brassing, the rest is in excellent shape. There are the common four breather holes in the cap which undoes in a single full turn. Notably missing is the original dress ring on the bottom of the cap. The recess for it is present, so that knocks down marks for appearance. Actually, it all looks a bit boring but I do not mind that. I see the pen as a workhorse which will not raise eyebrows for most people when I take it out, but looks as practical as it is. The gold nib is a good large-ish size, well proportioned to the pen and in good condition with clear writing on it. There are no fins visible under the feed. On balance, I think the appearance and design wander below average, perhaps disadvantaged by prominent stylishness in my #52 pens. Score 3 Construction & Quality This #94 is BCHR which I read is a little unusual for #94 pens around today. Apparently the majority are celluloid, so probably score far higher in the previous category of appearance. Imprints in the HR are finely cut but all quite distinct with no part worn away. The barrel says on its longitudinal axis “Watermans // Reg U.S. (Ideal) Pat Off // Fountain Pen”and radially around the end cap the same first two lines then “Made in USA” as the third. On the end is a clear “94” as pictured. Chasing on the barrel and cap are present but not prominent, and the pen as a whole has that slightly faded look, a slight olive hue in the black. The end caps remain shiny. Everything is tight where it should be. The filing lever is straight and still closes with a click. Cosmetically there are no apparent scratches, no cracks, and no bite marks. Apart from a lack of polish, there is really nothing wrong with quality; definitely well above average. Score 9 (with due consideration for its age over its original appearance) Weight & Dimensions I do not post pens anyway unless they are exceptionally small. In this case I doubt I would want to even if it were a prior habit. The cap sits firmly on the barrel but very high. With the weight of the large clip this shifts the pen’s balance point by a few centimetres as the total length moves from 122 mm uncapped / unposted to 165 mm posted. Weight (without ink) is nearly 18g capped or posted dropping to a little over 10g uncapped. Unposted, it is a nice, light pen with a good thickness of grip for my taste. The section below the threads is thinner than the barrel of course, with the classical flared shape. It is easy and comfortable to hold and to control for any amount of time. For me I might score it 9 but if you really insist on capping your pens then you might be thinking of 3. Score 7. Nib & Performance What I like is that the nib is smooth and the pen writes first time every time with none of the vintage temperamentality one can find. The nib is well adjusted, in great shape, and behaves well despite the visible ink on it in the picture (Waterman Serenity Blue). See the picture of writing to glean more. Flex is not my thing so I find it hard to comment on that sensibly. It appears to me that flex is minimal although I rarely add pressure to pens. Certainly the No. 5 nib on my Onoto 6234 flexes significantly more than this without much pressure. My score is 9. Reduce that score if flex is important to you or you like to compare with a brand new high-quality pen. Filling System & Maintenance This is of course a lever fill pen. It had been serviced before I received it. The mechanism works as it should and the pen fills enough to satisfy me, which means it does not need to hold a lot of ink. I rarely fill pens entirely. I have not tried removing the section, having no present need. It should not be difficult, having been done somewhat recently. Given everything fits and works properly with no leaks, I score this above average. Score 7. Cost & Value Converting to a currency most people use or can index readily, the 94 cost me about US$148 plus modest freight. I do not assign a score to a cost, because that makes no sense at all. The value is in the pen which is then compared with cost to determine a value-to-cost view. Your position on marginal affordability will be of far more weight in the “value” of the dollars. Conclusion The average and median score of the first five items is 7, rating it comfortably above average, and not great. I like this pen. It will lead me to sell the #32 which is even more boring in appearance and less pleasing with which to write. Then again, the #32 cost far less so what did I expect? I am content with the particular purchase and commend the #94 style and nib for those with an interest in trying a vintage pen or expanding their range. It is highly likely to retain a normal place in my rotation, perhaps a little more often where I might be taking it out of the house as a practical, smooth, reliable, and largely bling-free pen. A note on methodology. I used a classical 5-point scale for scoring, then expanded it to use nominally 1-9. People have trouble using or processing 10-point scales or scales with no true neutral point, where my neutral is 5. The real problem in most scales is failure to use the available range, compressing to the upper end. I think 7-point might have been a better option for this.
  9. There are a few reviews of the regular, and kingsized Bulkfillers, but to my knowledge there is little reference to the slimline on the English speaking boards. So below I submit my opinions on this writing instrument: When I first heard that there was a new filling system on the block I was immediately intrigued. The bulkfiller mechanism is reminiscent of the telescoping piston mechanism used in vintage Montblancs. For those that don’t know: The telescoping piston mechanism differs from your modern piston fillers in that the volume of all the moving parts is reduced by having the stroke recess into itself, aka telescoping. A smaller footprint in the barrel results in a higher ink capacity. A true mechanical marvel. These pistons were typically made out of brass giving those pens a very nice heft. Fountainbel has a very nice schematic of this ingenious filler here. In fact, I think that comparison is quite appropriate. In my humble opinion the telescoping piston system was the best engineered ink intake system up until now. Conid’s website has a nice video demonstrating how their filling mechanism works. It is really simple to use. The new Bulkfiller just slightly edges out in front due to the ink shut off valve and double reservoir. My apologies for my bluntness, but I am trying to give really high praise here. The specific model I have is the Slimline. I have never been a fan of huge pens. Posted the Slimline is the perfect size for me. The size is almost identical to a vintage Montblanc 142 with the previously mentioned brass telescoping piston filler. Shown below my gray-green striated celluloid 142. The build quality is top notch. The Delrin plastic truly is a new tactile sensation. Silky is a great way to describe it. The titanium trim is titanium...light and strong. I’m a metallurgist so I’m not as impressed perhaps Titanium is not the most scratch resistant material and difficult to work with. Anodized Aluminum would has a nice matt finish that is quite scratch resistant, but not nearly as sexy sounding. Posting of the cap feels extremely stable and I have no fears of the cap falling off. They sit on the double O-rings on the filler knob. Functional and aesthetically pleasing. I prefer a little more weight toward the front of the pen when posted so all the metal trim throws it off just slightly. But here I am being nitpicky. Anodized tantalum threads in the section would be something that catches my attention and add some quality heft to the front end, but that single modification would probably increase the price of the pen by 50-75%.... The laser etchings of the cap bands and are simple, understated and elegant - although not particularly deep. Production volume of these pens is small and they are made completely from machined parts. I believe that the titanium clip is machined using a wire EDM (electric discharge machining). If you look closely enough you can see the signs of machining on the cap and clip. Not defects, but signs that these are indeed turned individually. You might have noticed that my Slimline does not have a Bock nib. I ordered the pen with both B steel and F titanium plumes. Both nibs wrote beautifully and I would highly recommend both. However like most modern nibs, they lacked the character of vintage gold. Luckily I have a Waterman Ideal no.5 nib that was easily outfitted to the pen (some modification of the feed was required). And now it writes a beautiful XF flex line. The Bock feed does an excellent job keeping the flex nib happy with wet modern inks (iroshizuku inks notably). However the very dry iron gall inks I tend to use (R&K Scabiosa) leave me with railroads on occasion. At the end of the day, I do not actually flex very much so it is not an issue. This set-up does an excellent job! The Slimline is supposed to be a "smaller pen" but besides being ~1cm shorter than a Lamy 2000 or Pilot Vanishing point, it is still a great size. Overall the Conid Slimline Bulkfiller is a fantastic pen: engineered to perfection, completely self-serviceable. Industrial is a good way to describe it. To me at least, pens are tools so I for one can’t imagine higher praise.
  10. Below a very brief and very preliminary review of the Ranga Designer Pen from the currently still open group buy. The pictures are poor (and: how do you turn this????), but the best I can do at the moment (and yes, my photographic skills are non-existant). Hope my handwriting is legible.
  11. Hi, here is my second part of the Roterfaden Taschengebleiter review, hope you like it: https://youtu.be/R3fjuO82fZM
  12. I found this paper at my school and decided that I just had to share it here. It's SOL copy paper, made in Australia, suspiciously unavailable online, but there's tons at my school so I'm happy about that. Since I assume it's not readily commercially available, this'll just be a short blurb about the paper in case other people chance upon it. Specs: Brand: Australian Made (?) Name: SOL copy paper Recycled: 30% Size: 8.5x11 letter size but also available in A4 size Brightness: 96 ISO Weight: 20lb (74 gsm) Format: Loose leaf copy paper, 500 sheets/ream URL: http://www.australianmade.com.au/licensees/australian-paper/sol-copy-paper Summary of the review: Good shading, some sheen in a Japanese F nib, very little feathering, allows for a fine line that's a little rough around the edges. Fairly white and fairly light.This paper makes me happy. So the outside is very unassuming, to put it nicely. Here's a picture from the internet: http://www.eurobiuras.lt/media/dynamic/img/preke_319842/18135_large_po-dau-35573.jpg The paper's light like one would expect, and it's something I like in a paper. The pen and ink here is a Pilot Metropolitan F with Diamine Blue Velvet. "But Tea," you exclaim "Japanese fines don't hardly feather on ANYTHING!" Okay, kind of true, but they still do better on some papers than others, and I only have one pen with me, and some review is better than nothing. Enough talk, time for show and tell. The paper isn't slippery smooth but it's smoother than most copy papers. From my experience it feathers* a tiny bit, maintains a good line width, and shows shading and what little sheen I can expect from a Japanese F nib on something other than Tomoe River. No bleedthrough and barely any showthrough. http://i.imgur.com/mDKbwpTh.jpg yay shading yay thin lines! The two most important things to me tbh. The lines look fuzzy but trust me it's not spreading. I'm pretty sure it's cause the paper's not smooth enough so when the ink pools it settles in the weird cracks and dips on the paper's surface. When the ink comes down thicker it smooths out some. Close-up. http://i.imgur.com/BCnXzcUh.jpg Comparison with a Red Uniball Signo DX 0.38. http://i.imgur.com/mDKbwpTl.jpg If you look closely you can see sheen. Picture has been edited because the colors wouldn't come out right; the first pics are more accurate but this one shows the pinkish red sheen like it appears irl. It's not very obvious and looks kinda like jpg compression artifacts but it's there. http://i.imgur.com/mF7eCKWh.jpg Comparison to the same pen and ink in a Campus mid-grade notebook. yes, the line here is thicker than on the SOL paper. http://i.imgur.com/o3VM7pSh.jpg That's it! Anyone else have this paper and have opinions on it? Have you seen it in stores before? I sure haven't but I'd like to.
  13. titrisol

    Bexley Flat Top Bamboo

    I had the pleasure to visit the Bexley Pen CO. In Columbus OH. Howard Levy was a gracious host, showing me his love and passion for the pens they make, as well as the fine craftsmanship that goes into them. While there I bought a pen from his special-run collection. A blue Bamboo Flat Top (#28 in the picture)http://cdn3.volusion.com/sgntb.nvkjz/v/vspfiles/photos/categories/1864.jpg?1466705502 1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS I chose the pen from a display in which he had several non-production examples, I was struck by the material and combination of colors.I bought the pen based on this impression.. Howard fitted a F nib to it, and allowed me to test it and fine tuned it to be sure I was happy with it. I was surprised by how light the pen is, I expected a pen this size to be heavy. The balance is very good and it fit my grip comfortably. 2. APPEARANCE & FINISH I love the appearance of this pen, looks like a classic Parker Duofold, or a Sheaffer Old timer from the 40sThe color was of my liking so there, perfect!The craftmanship is very good, the acrylic has benn polished to jewelry grade shine, and the joining of the sections appear seamless.The clip is very cimple, and feels nice and springy.I like the screw-on cap and the two tone nib with the Bexley logo on it. 3. SIZE & WEIGHT Size: 5 1/8" capped, 4 7/8" uncapped with the nib, and 6 3/8" posted. The barrel is about 1/2" diameter and the grip section tapers from 7/16 to 3/8"The weight is nice, being it much lighter than I'm used to, I feel more comfortable with the cap posted.Howard explain to me that he keeps the pens light to help avoiding cramps, and preventing "over gripping" the pen. 4. NIB DESIGN & PERFORMANCE Nib is a good two tone german nib. I chose the F size and it delivers as I expect it to.With waterman ink (blue), good ink flow, nice feel on the paper, smooth and with a bit of springiness. 5. THE FILLING SYSTEM This Flat Top uses a standard Cartridge/Converter system. International cartridges fit into it. 6. COST/VALUE I can't put a value to the experience of having this pen straight from the factory, I thought it was a bargain at below $100! 7. OVERALL OPINION & CONCLUSION For now, the pen is a great compromise between styling and comfort. The looks and finish are superb; and the writing experience is so far great. I will have to use it for more months before giving a final verdict.
  14. Prithwijit

    Asa I-Will Review

    Introduction After commissioning some customized designs via ASApens I decided to change track a bit and get a few of their standard offerings. Looking around, there seemed to be a few models that had got consistently good review in FPN. One of them was the I-Can design which has been reviewed favourably here, here and here. I quite liked the classical lines of the design and decided to order it. There is one concession I made for myself, which is to use the wild cheesecake acrylic blank from theturnersworkshop.co.uk instead of stock ebonite. Also, since I prefer to use CC instead of ED pens, I requested the CC version. The cartridge converter version of the pen has actually been christened I-Will by Mr. Subramaniam and hence my review of an I-Will instead of an I-Can. Design One of the reasons I went for this pen is the design. It is a simple cylindrical barrel with the cap diameter which is slightly more than the barrel diameter. The pen is adorned with simple straight lines for the cap and with only a hint of tapering of the barrel. The top of the cap and the bottom of the barrel are flat and polished. The body of the barrel and the cap are polished smooth and shiny. Aesthetically it is simple, elegant, purposeful and the design remains an all-time classic. One can go back at-least a 100 years in fountain pen history and see pens of this design being produced by almost all manufacturers of the early era. The most famous user of this design is probably Wahl-Eversharp with their Classic 1920s gold filled, Olympia and Art Deco designs. Waterman too has numerous pens such as 12, 52 and the jumbo 20 which are variants of this design. Even Parker and Sheaffer too has used it from time to time as have numerous other known and unknown pen makers. The moment I saw it, I knew that I wanted this since it pays homage to the era or origination of fountain pens. From an usage standpoint, it is a utilitarian design. It is a full sized pen fitted with a hourglass type concave section design which is a personal favourite for the comfort it offers. The clip used is the same vintage brass ball clip that is usually a staple of the Azaadi. I must mention here that this is not the normal clip used in I-Can and I had specially requested it. The blank used for this pen is called “Wild Cheesecake”. The expectation was that the pen would not only be a fine instrument, but also look like a yummy confectionary. Unfortunately, the final outcome was far from being so elegant. Various adjectives were used to describe the pattern which ranged from “troll snot” to “unicorn barf”. Finally some kind soul described the colour as “dal fry” to ascribe it a modicum of dignity and we decided to stick to that moniker. Those of you whose culinary interests range from Pâtisserie to the standard Indian cuisine, would doubtless be able appreciate the implied travesty. Size and Balance At a capped length of 152mm, the pen may seem oversized. However, it is a completely kitless pen with very little metal being used in it’s construction. This makes it a very lightweight and that makes it a perfect EDC (Every Day Carry) pen. The shape of the pen and especially the section design is also meant to accentuate the feeling of comfort. This is a pen that you can happily use for extended writing periods. Nib I got a Schmidt #6 nib with a fine tip in golden finish. From a design standpoint, the clip and nib complement each other quite nicely thanks to the golden hues. The nib is tuned nicely and lays down a consistent fine smooth line on paper. Filling Mechanism I make no secrets about my preference for pens that accept standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. In my opinion they the optimum combination of value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility. It no surprise that this pen comes with a Schmidt K5 convertor out of the box to work with the FH-452 Schmidt nib unit. Build Quality The pen exhibits the standard ASA focus on quality while retaining the handmade quirks. The fit and finish and the tolerances are fine for a handmade pen. The joints are seamless and only discernible due to pattern variations. You can sense that the pen has been made with care and a considerable amount of time has gone into polishing and buffing to ensure a very high quality of the finish. However given that the pen is entirely hand-made, there is likely to be some fine trace marks or quirks if one inspects very minutely. Writing Experience Schmidt sells excellent nibs and their wide user base are a testament to their quality. Normally, I am not a big fan of EF or F nibs since I find them too scratchy. This particular nib however is very smooth so long as you can keep the nib within its relatively small sweet spot. It almost prompts you to rethink your nib preferences and encourages you to improve your grip to keep enjoying its sweet spot. As you can realise, I am a happy camper. While it is unlikely to make me a regular user of F nibs, I would however have no hesitation of reaching out for this pen should I be in the mood for some writing with a fine nib. Price and Value The i-Can and i-Will are extremely competitively priced. In my opinion they represent one of the best value propositions amongs't ASA’s current line-up which is even otherwise composed of an impressive catalogue of excellent VFM pens. Grab an ebonite I-Will before you get anything else and you are likely to be hooked for ever. Specifications The measurements mentioned in this section were not taken with any precision measurement instruments and you would have to settle for my efforts with a simple ruler. Hopefully, that should be sufficient to give you an indication of what to expect from the pen. Length (capped) – 152 mm Length (uncapped) – 141 mm Length (cap) – 68 mm Length (section) – 22 mm Maximum width – 12.5 mm Minimum width – 9.5 mm Maximum section width – 10 mm Minimum section width – 8 mm Conclusion The ASA i-Will is a quintessential design that has existed for over a century with periodic resurgence in popular imagination. Such a longevity would not have been possible had it not been for the elegance, beauty, balance and convenience that such a pen offers. Combine that with modern niceties such as a cartridge-converter system and outstanding nibs from Schmidt or Jowo, and you have a writing experience bar none. It is little wonder therefore that the model is so popular and has been oft reviewed before. I would definitely recommend this pen to others and more so for the ebonite version of the pen given the light weight and tactile nature of ebonite as a material. Go ahead and grab one if you already haven’t. This pen will put a smile on your lips.
  15. tru

    Deli S680

    It's been ages since I've posted here, and tend to lurk a lot. Hopefully this review will pay back some small portion of the wisdom I've received over the years. A minor (ha!) obsession with Korean office supplies (mostly notebooks, planners, organizing apparati) as taken me to many far corners of the internet. Among my adventures I've found and taken a chance on a few fountain pens from various sites in the $2 - $5 price range (including shipping). The best so far has been the Deli S680. The Deli S680 caught my eye as it reminded me of a Parker Vector, which was my first fountain pen and I still love the feel of them. I got two of the Deli S680's, one in mint and one in white/ivory. They are gorgeous in person. The bodies are a pearlescent enamel over a metal body (aluminum is my best guess). The nib, grip, clip and accents are all chromed metal.The nib is hooded and looks elegant. They are slimmer than a Vector and feel to me like that old favorite decided dress things up a bit. A converter is included with each pen. There is no formal packaging to speak of, but the seller did make sure they were well protected for their international journey. From order to arrival in Southern California was about two weeks. I just inked them up today and gave them a quick tryout on a little Kokuyo Campus notebook. I used Irozuki Ama-iro (sky blue) and Levenger's Cocoa. One of the pens was a wee bit skippy, but nothing to really complain about. The other wrote smoothly, no skips or scratchiness at all. I'm terrible with judging line width, but I'd say these are medium. They post well and also write fairly comfortably unposted. Removing and replacing the cap is a little bit of a struggle, but again, not difficult enough to make these pens a no-go. For $4.60 each, they're definitely in the everyday rotation for me and I will probably give a closer look to other Deli pens in the future. For comparison, I got a Pilot Vanishing Point for Christmas this past year and it is my most favorite pen. I hesitate to carry it with me though as I'm prone to losing things. The only other fancy pen I have is a TWSBI Vac 700. My usualy dailies include Parker Vectors, Pilot Metropolitans, Lamy Safaris & Al-Stars and some Jinhao 599s. I would say that I like them better than the Jinhaos and even the Lamys and consider them comparable to my Metros and Vectors for everyday use. I got these through Ali Express and this listing - prices change a lot on the site so definitely look around. http://s.aliexpress.com/qaUzuAVn (from AliExpress Android)
  16. My first review has to be handwritten, hasn't it? http://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8501/28971094030_76a56e0ff4_c.jpg This is the most unlikely pen in my collection. More than a year ago, at the very start of my pen craze, a friend gave it to me and said: "I'm sure it's no more than a novelty piece, but try it - maybe the funny thing can write". Well, it can! The fine hooded nib is smooth as glass. Inked with Parker Quink Black, this little croco wasn't funny at all. A serious writer. However, after the second filling the Caiman started to misbehave. There were problems with ink flow, and I had to "boost" it with the piston. http://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8538/28971103310_d6b1898236_c.jpg Besides, the pen proved itself unsuitable for long writing sessions. The section is too thin (for my hand at least). Of course, there's an ornamental band you can grip at, but after a page or two you begin to hate it all: the section, the crocodile ornament, your fingers. The shape of the pen, its dimensions - all seem fit for posting. Save the cap itself. It refuses to sit on the barrel, so you have to use the Caiman unposted, no matter you like it or not. Back to the appearance. The hooded nib is "guarded" by two little jewels. Putting some imagination into gear, we can suppose that together they represent the caiman's head (eyes, snout, open mouth with a nib protruding from it). OK, so we've got a zoomorph pen here! The barrel and the cap are metal, laquer-coated. The coating is rather thin and prone to scratches. The clip is stiff, and it's very hard to slip the slip-on cap off. VERDICT: hardly usable. Smooth nib doesn't justify an ugly design and uncomfortable body. For laughs I received it, for laughs I keep it. http://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8428/28643899243_e22f3a889a_c.jpg What a shame! I wrote "Cayman" (like Cayman Islands), and the little pet is called "caiman", yes, with an "i". Shame on me! A bit of trivia: Caimans live in Central and South America, rather far from the river Nile, so the choice of ink (in French, Eau de Nil means "Nile Water") is not SO obviousDo you know that Crocodile's flagship pen, a Duofold wannabe, is marketed as "Fierce Alligator", no less? http://c5.staticflickr.com/9/8602/29230639036_9b5a3a0928_c.jpg http://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8075/29230625896_439455563b_c.jpg http://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8484/29164393702_38d1421763_c.jpg Specs: Length - Capped 5.375" - Uncapped 4.75" - Posted 5.875" Diameter - Grip .34" - Barrel .48" Weight - 22 g. (source: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/235187-chinese-pen-reviews-c215-y016-j163-j3000-specifications/) Another review, more positive: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/234955-chinese-pen-reviews-crocodile-215/ And one more, very positive: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/287824-crocodile-215/
  17. This is another review for an ink in the Gunma Joyful 2 shop special series by Sailor. 四万ライラック Shima Lilac. It is a bright purple with lots of shading. Text (spelling corrected) starting on Graphilo A5 notebook paper: Shima Lilac Sailor Joyful 2, Gunma series This is a nice, bright, summer purple that certainly lives up to its lilac name. It is a Sailor "Jentle" ink and as such has good flow and lubrication. It is easy to clean out of pens. There is no feathering on any paper quality and only some ghosting on thin paper. No bleed-through has been observed. It is not very saturated. This leads to a lighter base color with lots of shading, especially with wet pens. It is not very water resistant. Text is still legible after a spill, barely, but the paper will be purple. It drys in around 5 to 10 seconds dependent on the paper absorbency. Final thoughts, on Tomoe River cream. This is a fun ink. It is much too light to be used professionally, at least for me. But the shading makes it wonderful for letters. Some may be turned off by its light color, especially if you use it in a dry pen on non-absorbent paper. But in a wet pen, it is a blast to use. -Kanayama P.S. If you write in print or in Japanese (or any pen lifting script) the shading is much more prevalent. 群馬から世界へ Here are some other inks for color comparison on Graphilo A5 notebook paper. I apologize that I don't really have access to many purple inks. To compensate I tried to include some inks that others might have access to for reference. My scanning situation is such that I can't really set any color correction. You may have noticed that "Tomoe River cream" comes out as white. The scanner I have access to automatically white balances and I haven't found a way to stop it yet. The name for this ink, Shima, comes from Shima Onsen. Shima onsen is a small hotsprings town in the mountains of Gunma. It is a very small town and as such has avoided the large block-concrete hotels that dominate most other hot-springs towns. It is a very beautiful place and is my favorite hot spring in Gunma. if you have a chance I highly recommend visiting. It is not so popular recently so you should be able to find a good rate at a hot spring hotel there. Once again, this ink is available at the Nitta Joyful Honda 2 store in Ota-shi, Gunm-ken, Japan. It is also available on the Joyful 2 Rakuten website. I welcome any questions or comments. Thanks you!
  18. First of all, I've gained Rishi's (T2MR guy) permission to post this video here. As he is very busy with his work, I am sharing this link here. Glare India, after successfully launching Glare Pens, have come up with the Glare Inks. They come in not just a handful, but 15 different ink colors. You can view all of them in the following video: Now, these inks seem to be of fairly high quality as the flow and ink saturation both look very good. They come in plastic bottles (something i don't prefer, and can see the reasons why plastic bottles is the future) and carry 60 mls of ink. Also, the quality (of the bottle) looks better than that of Krishna Inks. I will order the New Ochre bottle from their ebay store (for Rs.250 i.e. $4) and hope it would not disappoint me. I've talked personally to Rishi, and he seems to be fairly impressed by the inks. And finally - This video is a proof of the hardwork that this guy puts in his every video. His mobile review videos are bringing him a lot of notice (and subscribers). And i hope he doesn't stop reviewing fountain pens. We need people like him to review fountain pens related stuff.
  19. Here's one I found interesting. I've only played with J. Herbin's 1670 series of inks, so it was nice to try something a bit more conventional. I had bought an empty bottle just for the style. I'm surprised I was able to get so much leftover ink out of it.
  20. Introduction During the early phases of my renewed fascination for all things fountain pens there was one model that reigned supreme amongst my list for grail pens and that was the Sailor King of Pens. Everything about it seemed to be just about perfect – the torpedo shape, the ebonite material and the large sized fabulous Sailor nibs. It was just a matter of time before I got one for myself. Two sailor pens and their less than perfect nibs later, my enthusiasm for the KOP started to wane a bit. I had realized that the tip shape and design of the stock sailor nibs (Naginata Togi or Nagahara special nibs excepted) was something that just didn’t suit my grip. The relatively small sweet spot meant that I quickly ended up in the scratchy zone and calling it feedback wasn’t about to change my opinion. I had also realised that the KOP actually wasn’t a full ebonite what with its plastic feed, plastic section and the section-barrel joint made of metal. When fellow FPNer Sudhir allowed me to write with his stock Broad nibbed Sailor KOP, I seized the opportunity to assess my purchase decision. I decided that while I may still go for a special nib KOP later, right now I would not enjoy a KOP with any stock nib. While that decision was made, I was not about to give up so easily on getting my grail pen even if that meant getting one made to my specs and sourcing everything myself. With unwavering focus, I started procuring everything to get the pen of my dreams – I scoured for the best possible ebonite material available for pen-making and zeroed down on some vintage Italian mottled reddish-brown ebonite from a source in the Europe. For some time I toyed with the idea of going with SEM Cumberland or Eboya, but this one just seemed better.I decided to go with a Jowo #8 nib in western medium with a hand cut ebonite feed from WIN. Rather than going for the stock motifs, I decided to source an absolute plain one so that I can have my own design engraved on it.I wanted a roller clip like on my Omas or Delta rather than the stock KOP clip design. Luckily my pen-maker arranged for gold plated roller clips.In order to make the pen I approached Mr. Manoj Deshmukh of Fosforpens. He had made a few pens for me before and was willing to take up the challenge. I decided to call the pen Rajendran which means King in Sanskrit as a homage to original KOP which inspired it. Design The KOP design is a classic and all of you are well aware of it. So instead of wasting any time typing about it, I will let the pictures do the talking. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Fosfor%20Rajendran%20Review/IMGP2148_zpsv4kcczjn.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Fosfor%20Rajendran%20Review/IMGP2142_zpsem9s8tav.jpg Size and Balance At 155mm capped, the KOP/Rajendran is the leader of the oversized pens club. But the ebonite build and absence of metal anywhere other than in the nib and the clip means that the pen is delightfully light. It is nicely balanced and is very comfortable to write for extended periods. Writing with the pen makes you completely forget it’s considerable length and the customized section design adds considerably to the comfort quotient. I don’t write with the cap posted, but it can be done if so desired. But posting such a large pen does result in a slight rearward weight bias. Nib I had looked around for a nib that would be similar in size and stature to the large Sailor nibs used in KOP and finally decided on a #8 sized Jowo nib made of 18K gold material with medium tip. The complete nib unit is sold by WIN through their distributors (Fpnibs and Asapens) and comes with a nicely finned ebonite feed. Unlike most nibs which comes with pre-embossed or engraved motifs, I actively scouted around for a nib that would be absolutely plain with no design. This allowed me to engrave on the nib a small monogram of my own. The design is one that I made myself and it is essentially my initials enclosed inside a tiny shield akin to the coat of arms of yore. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Fosfor%20Rajendran%20Review/PC20Logo200120JPG_zpsbayvjecq.jpg Image: Monogram design – Initials enclosed inside a shield Manoj doesn’t do engraving himself, but he actually looked around for people who do so and was able to replicate my exact design on the nib. Needless to say, I am elated that my dream has finally been realized and the gamble (of a plain nib) has paid off. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Fosfor%20Rajendran%20Review/IMGP2138_zpse1q5xpao.jpg Image: Monogram design successfully replicated on the nib – the ultimate customization Filling Mechanism I love cartridge converter pens and that is one of the reasons I like the original KOP as well. The Rajendran beats the stock KOP in this regard by using the standard international system for cartridges and compatible convertors rather than proprietary ones. I like this system better than the original because of the wide compatibility, system life longevity, value and convenience. The ebonite feed of this pen is paired with a Schmidt K5 converter to use bottled inks and it can also accept cartridges from a host of brands. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Fosfor%20Rajendran%20Review/IMGP2147_zpsiv2mfcoa.jpg Build Quality Manoj has built a reputation for himself as a craftsman with unparalleled focus on quality. He has demonstrated that in all my pens, but has somehow managed to simply surpass all his previous endeavours with this pen. The shape, the fit, the threading, buffing/polishing and the finish are impeccable for a handmade pen. The allowance to tolerances have been kept to a bare minimum and it is obvious that the pen has been made with considerable care to ensure a very high quality product. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Fosfor%20Rajendran%20Review/IMGP2145_zpsdnklgzno.jpg Writing Experience This where the rubber hits the road. I have always been very happy with Jowo nibs and quite naturally the expectations from this nib was pretty high. I am happy to say that the nib has met its potential and then some. This is a tad wider than #6 Jowo medium nibs but still can comfortably be considered a medium nib. It is smooth, wet and lays down a nice wet line without any skips or false starts. The pen is a superb writer and a better performer than the stock Sailor nibs as far as my grip is concerned. I have been using this pen with Waterman serenity blue for about six weeks now and six fills later, I can safely recommend it to anyone who might be interested. The ebonite feed in this pen was a revelation. There is something about good ebonite feeds that just adds magic to your pens. This feed is very much like those of OMAS and is super wet without being a gusher. The extra lubrication afforded by it makes the writing experience that much more enjoyable. I particularly like the sheen that ebonite feeds seem to exhibit as ink droplets percolate into the fins. The only drawback is that the feed isn’t flight safe like the plastic Jowo feeds and there is some leakage on high altitude flights. Price and Value The Fosfor Rajendran is not a cheap pen. No expenses were spared in procuring the best material, the best nib and the best workmanship and all of this adds to the pens price. I could have bought a few very nice and expensive branded pens for the price I paid for it. But none of them would have been able to offer me the satisfaction and the value that this pens offers. So it is only fair that I make a clear distinction between the value proposition of the pen as made by Fosfor versus the cost of materials that I have procured myself. As a standalone pen shaped like the classic KOP, it is incredibly VFM. I am aware of no other pen maker in India who offers this level of quality and individualization at this price point other than Manoj and Mr. L Subramaniam of ASA Pens. In this particular case, Manoj was simply outstanding in hearing me out, understanding my needs and wishes and what is likely to give me the sense of satisfaction and pleasure. He even went out of his way to procure taps and dies for my special nib. That must have cost him more than what I paid him for4 this pen. Such service and customer orientation remains imprinted in your mind long after the cost is forgotten. Specifications The measurements in this section have not been taken with any precision instrument or laboratory techniques but should suffice to give you a fair idea of the size of the instrument. Length (capped) – 152.5 mm Length (uncapped) – 131 mm Length (cap) – 73.5 mm Length (section) – 20 mm Maximum width – 17.5 mm Maximum section width – 13.7 mm Minimum section width – 12 mm Conclusion Not everyone can understand why I paid substantial amounts on getting a KOP made to my specs rather than getting a stock one. I guess to me the importance of the attributes of the pen far exceeded any brand name it carried. As I look back as to what I have gained over a stock pen by going the custom route, I can safely tabulate quite a few pros - True vintage Italian reddish-brown mottled ebonite rather than stock black or expensive Urushi coated models.A wonderfully wet and nicely finned ebonite feed rather than a plastic one (this may not very important in the overall scheme of things, but would certainly be useful if I ever have to do any heat setting).Complete ebonite body with no plastic or metal parts. This means the pen is very lightweight and supremely balanced despite being oversized.A section that has been designed and sculptured based on my preferences.A nice oversized and dependable (to me) western nib.The “PC Shield” that would not be possible in a normal nib.A nice and smooth roller clip.International standard cartridges and converters instead of proprietary ones.To summarize, I have certainly been able to fulfill my objectives with this pen. It is nice oversized but comfortable and well balanced torpedo shaped pen. The writing is super smooth thanks to the beautiful Jowo nib paired with the wonderful ebonite feed. The roller clip is a wonderful thing to have and Fosfor quality and finishing comes through. This is certainly the right pen for me. Whether it will be the pen for you will depend on what you value in a pen. If you would love a Sailor KOP as a brand then you should certainly go for that instead of this. But of you value your personalization and writing comfort (in such cases where it is applicable), then you can certainly evaluate this option. Useful Links Very good Woodgrain ebonite blanks can be sourced from www.theturnersworkshop.co.uk German nibs of your choice can be sourced from www.beaufortink.co.uk or www.asapens.in Pen made by www.fosforpens.com
  21. Introduction The cigar shape has been an all-time fountain pen classic. Whether it is the Sheaffer Balance of 1920s or modern Meisterstruck or KOP, the shape has an enduring appeal and is often the signature design for top of the line pens from their respective pen marques. The shape and form have morphed into being a hallmark of quality exemplified by such storied models such as MB 149, Sailor KOP, Namiki Emperor or even the platinum president line. Not all cigar shapes however are created equal and there are many variations within the broader design. Intrigued, I dug a bit deeper and this source provided an enlightening education on the topic. To summarize, there are two basic cigar shapes: "parejo" and "figurado." A parejo is a cigar that has straight sides and a rounded head.A figurado is any shape other than a parejo.http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/Parejo_zpsulicy0zv.jpg We can further classify figurados into Belicoso: A figurado shaped cigar that tapers sharply at the head like some kind of munition.Pyramid: A pyramid starts tapering right at the foot of the cigar.Torpedo: A torpedo has a longer and more gradual taper than other figurado designs. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/Torp-Beli-Pyra_zpskt0vci95.jpg There are many torpedo shaped fountain pens. These tend to be cylindrical in shape with smooth tapering towards rounded ends. Nothing exemplifies the genesis of this shape than the classic torpedo shaped Sheaffer’s pens such as the Balance and the Sovereign series. There are many contemporary pen makers who are churning out excellent torpedo shaped pens. From top of the mind recall, a few like Ranga, Edison and Guider come to mind. I wanted a few such pens to be made from different materials and requested Mr. Subramaniam of ASApens to make a variant of the torpedo shape. This was the genesis of the pen I am about to review. Fellow FPNers Kapil (@springrainbow) and Pradeep (@pdg84) christened the pen “Santulan” which means “Balance” in Hindi and is an obvious homage to the pioneering model of this design language. Design In case my rather lengthy and rambling introduction doesn’t make it clear enough, the Santulan is a cigar shaped pen. To be a bit more pedantic it is a cigar shaped pen with a torpedo like barrel and a pyramid like cap. There is a discernible step between the barrel and the section with a fairly large area where you have the threading for the cap. The section itself is long and comfortable. It is a new design by ASA and is mildly concave with the diameter at the barrel side being just a tad larger than the diameter near the nib, thus allowing for a gentle inward slope. The material used is the Conway Stewart Red Whirl acrylic. It’s a beautiful shade of emerald green with hues of pearlescent effect. The red swirly patterns add to the mystique and brilliantly complement the Stahl Rot (“Red Steel”) nib that has been used with this pen. The entire pen has been buffed smooth and gives off a nice shine. Trims have been kept deliberately to a minimum and there is just a clip for utility purposes. It’s a beautiful regular sized, light and robust pen that is meant to be used daily. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2037_zpsbikd6ct5.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2042_zpsvft7oudt.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2040_zpsmxrptdar.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2041_zpsy69fe6hc.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2048_zpsbjvqy8k4.jpg Size and Balance At 153mm capped, the specifications may indicate that this is a heavy oversized pen. Nothing can be further from the truth. This is one of the lightest, slimmest and most comfortable ASA pen that I have ever used. Partly the reason for it’s lengths is the inherent length required of torpedo and missile like shape at the two finials. But a very slim barrel width of 10mm and section width of 8mm should leave no doubt about the fact that this is firmly an EDC (Every Day Carry) pen. This is the slimmest section in an ASA pen that I have ever used and should put to rest any concerns that anyone might have with regards to the thicker than normal girth of Indian handmade pens. Not only the thickness, but also the shape of the section is meant to accentuate the feeling of comfort. Nothing beats the feeling in hand once you start writing with it and realise feather-light weight and the comfort. Needless to say, the pen is well balanced and provides comfortable writing for extended periods. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2051_zpsoexo6bjv.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2049_zpsjnj5vh21.jpg Nib Lately I have developed a fascination for experiencing nibs made of different materials. Given that The Bock 250 triple system seems to have the widest range of conceivable material options, its hardly surprising that I have embarked on developing a collection of different Bock 250 nibs. For the Santulan I had opted to use the “Bock 250 Stahl Rot” unit in medium width. This is essentially a steel nib with an anodized red coating. The coating process gives the nib a matte red outer appearance. The nib colour brilliantly complements the red whirl finish of the material. A big thank goes out to fellow FPNer Tervinder (@romee_win) and his brother Rajdilawar who took great pains and got it for me from Germany. Filling Mechanism Like most pens that I order, the Santulan too comes in a Cartridge-Converter system and accepts standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. In my opinion this provides the the optimum combination of value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility. The pen comes with a Schmidt K5 convertor out of the box. Build Quality The Santulan exhibits the standard ASA quality attributes. As usual, the fit, finish and the tolerances are excellent and the joints are seamless. A lot of attention and care has been put into polishing and buffing to ensure a very high quality of the finish. However one has to keep in mind that it is an entirely hand-made pen and there is likely to be some fine trace marks under minute inspections. Writing Experience Bock is one of the most (if not the most) renowned independent manufacturer of nibs in Europe and worldwide. Their clientele include who’s who of leading pen brands in the world. Naturally expectations were very high from the nib. Unfortunately, out of the box the nib was extremely dry and maybe even a bit scratchy. While the initial experience was underwhelming, Mr. Subramaniam assured me that once properly tuned, this nib would be a joy to use. True to his words, he has done magic with this nib. Post tuning, the nib is smooth and glides over the paper. There is just a hint of feedback and that too the sort that is usually so enjoyable and adds character to the writing experience. I am very happy with how the pen writes now and can heartily recommend a tuned Bock to all. The only additional ask if I may add would be a slightly increased ink flow which would make things perfect. The nib does not have any softness or flexing characteristics and can be considered a nail. Overall, a great nib and a wonderful writing experience. There has been one major drawback of the tuning process which I feel compelled to highlight. While flossing the nib and adjusting it, the nib started to loose its red anodized coating and some flakes of paint have chipped off revealing the steel nib underneath. This is a big disappointment and severely undermines the aesthetics of the finished pen. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2050_zps0rtjibja.jpg Price and Value The Santulan was a limited run based on orders given by myself and a few other group members. While we each paid a premium for our pens, much of that premium went towards the special material and the nibs that we had ordered. ASA however made it easy thanks to the affordable pricing for making the pens. The price reflects the price of components and the effort that goes into making each pen. To summarize, the pen represents good value at an affordable price point. Specifications The measurements shared below have been taken with a simple ruler and my bare eyes. While they may lack precision, they should still be adequate to give you an overall picture of the size of the instrument. Length (capped) – 153 mm Length (uncapped) – 137 mm Length (cap) – 71.5 mm Length (section) – 23 mm Maximum width (cap) – 11 mm Maximum width (barrel) – 10 mm Maximum section width – 8 mm Minimum section width – 7 mm Conclusion Mr Subramaniam of ASA pens has been very gracious in entertaining the Santulan order even though it is not part of the standard line. The very few who have owned or used this pen, have appreciated it’s balance, comfort and overall writing experience. It is an elegant pen oversized pen this is still lightweight. The design lends itself to using most #6 nibs that are available. With the risk of inherent bias clouding my judgement, I would still have little hesitation in recommending this pen to others. I am sure all of you would enjoy it too. The only caveat I would add is to opt for other standard Bock or Jowo nibs and not the Stahl Rot colour due to the fact that it’s a poor performer out of the box and while tuning it is likely to suffer flaking or loss of coating during tuning. Useful Links Conway Stewart Red Whirl blanks from www.theturnersworkshop.co.uk Bock 250 Stahl Rot nib from www.starbond-europa.de Bock nibs are also available at www.beaufortink.co.uk Pen made by www.asapens.in
  22. First of all, i would like to thank SnehSab for posting all my other "pen reviews" on my behalf. I have been very occupied with my work, and i am glad he did that for me. I really appreciate it And now, i would like to share with you the new review that i have just posted. Its of an amazing "Indian fountain pen" named the Glare T7. Here's the video review: Now, this pen is indeed the costliest Lamy Safari's lookalikes, but still for that price, it amazing value for money. Everything about this pen is amazing - its extremely solid build, premium transparent resin body, great looks, the way it sits in the hands and finally - the way it writes. Its an extremely good "Fine Nib" that lays down a SUPER SMOOTH, WET and DARK line.So, i think for $15, it's a great pen and I highly recommend it. P.S. The link of the pen is in the description box. Also, please do like the video if you find it useful
  23. Looks like the t2mr guys have posted one more review, this time of a very popular pen called Noodlers Ahab. I just received it in my inbox. Didn't know Noodlers Ahab is made in India. Its called Kanwrite Heritage Flex Pen, it seems. I did check the seller's shop on ebay and he has this pen in a range of colors. Btw, here is the review: I don't understand one thing. These guys call themselves 'the two minute reviews', but this review is of 9 minutes . Nonetheless, i love their style of review .
  24. Hello everyone... For my first review I will start with the Estie J. I have owned this pen for about a year so for those of ya who haven't bought a J yet and are worried about it being 'fragile' or prone to cracking like other pens from this era, (not mentioning any pens, Parker 21!) Now moving on to the review... PART ONE: Da Nib - The nib is real nice! The nib is a 9555 and writes smoothly with just a hint of feedback - enough to let one know that one is writing with a fountain pen. The nib isn't buttery smooth though, but is impressive reconsidering that a lot of fountain pens these days that cost as much as an Estie, (I find this to be prevalent in modern American pens, unfortunately Parker and Sheaffer seem to suffer from this the most,[Chinese manufacturing?]) have an uncharacteristic writing experience... No, this pen won't skip for those who write fast. An enjoyable nib to write with, though. 8/10 PART TOO: Quality - This pen is solid. Very solid. The accents on this pen, (thank goodness), are stainless steel, meaning that they aren't going to suffer from plating loss. The cellulose, (it isn't celluloid), is solid and feels warm, so using this pen for long writing sessions is no big deal. The pen is somewhat light so flexing your muscles with it would be embarrassing, to say the least. I go to school and use this pen A LOT. Just look at it! No worries, this pen will survive through everything! (I have heard that it is not a good plane pen, though.) 9/10 PART FREE: Fill 'er Up! - The pen uses a lever filling mechanism and is self-explanatory to use, (and that is coming from a guy who is used to C/C filling!) Please, if you buy this pen, buy it restored, a leaky pen is not ANYBODY'S idea of fun... Cleaning the pen is a cinch - just unscrew the nib and feed and fill the body up with water... Then SHAKE - A SHAKE - A SHAKE! believe me, cleaning this pen makes you younger! 10/10 PART FFFFOOUR: Pocket-ability - The clip just looks pretty. Just shove the pen in your pocket. Clipping the pen in your pocket will result in an ink stain, like the one in my jacket... 3/10 PART FAAVE: Conclusions - In all, I love this pen. Really. This pen is a keeper and as many Estie fans know these pens make for great daily writers. Excluding the clip, the pen is fantastic and I would recommend this pen to anybody. This pen makes for a great all-rounder and is appropriate at school, work, and at formal occasions. Overall, this pen gets a 75%. And that is coming from a very critical man. (I really love this pen's charm, though...) Thanks for readin', Al.

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