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  1. A little over a month ago I finally managed to get my hands on a small bottle of Blackstone Barrister Blue Black - an ink I'd been wanting ever since I first saw it come on the market. The new formulation of Barrister Blue (for which I've just posted a review, see https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/346668-blackstone-barrister-blue-permanent-ink-new-formulation/) is a lovely ink, but almost leans turquoise. I really liked the old Blue formulation (and still have a nearly full bottle of it), so was sad to see it discontinued / replaced - and wondered whether this might make for a good replacement. As you'll see from the written review below, I really like this ink. The nano-pigment formulation has been flowing smoothly and trouble-free in my pens for more than a month now, and I love the richness of flow and the 'texture' of the ink. It's not like-for-like with the old Blue - the latter really was a dark blue / blue black, whereas this (in common with a lot of older / vintage Blue-Blacks) has a greenish tinge to it - but I find myself really appreciating it. At the moment it's only available in 25 ml glass bottles (at least on the Just Write website - https://justwrite.com.au/Blackstone-Fountain-Pen-Ink/Waterproof-Fountain-Pen-Ink) - but at AU$16 for a fully waterproof ink, I think it's a pretty fair proposition. Below is a photo of my written review, plus the water test in action - the water had little to no effect on the ink, even though I'd laid the lines down less than 10 minutes earlier. Pretty impressive performance! Standard disclaimer: Though I've occationall received review samples from Kevin / Just Write Pens / Blackstone Inks, I paid full price for this bottle with my own money!
  2. Jamerelbe

    Blackstone Lights Red

    Australian ink manufacturer, Blackstone Inks, recently released its latest suite: Blackstone Lights, a range of inks designed to appeal to those who prefer less saturated inks than their standard fare. I've been following Blackstone's progress since it released its first inks a few years ago, and have had the opportunity to test some of their inks before they were released to the market. This time around, I didn't see the inks till they were up on the JustWrite.com.au website - and I immediately placed an order for four of them. The proprietors kindly sent me bottles of the two inks I chose not to order (Violet and Black), so I could check out the entire range. My favourite three inks in this range are Blue, green and orange - all of them bright, vibrant inks that stand out on the page. Violet would be my least favourite, and Black I haven't tested yet... which leaves the subject of this review, Blackstone Lights Red. I've struggled to find an ink that I consider to be a "true red" - not pink-leaning, nor orange, but the kind of red my PhD supervisor used to mark up my thesis with when he wasn't happy with my prose or analysis. It somehow seems to be a difficult colour for fountain pen ink manufacturers to replicate! My current favourite reds are Montblanc Corn Poppy red (though it's a bit orange-y), and Diamine Wild Strawberry - and sad to say, Blackstone Lights Red doesn't quite live up to their standard. I'd call it a "true" red, but just a little undersaturated, a little on the pale side. That's especially notable in the Q-Tip swab sample - but (thankfully) somewhat less so in the FPR Triveni pen I tested it in. If you like your reds to shade - and/or if you're more worried about getting a "true" red than a "strong" red, this could be a good option for you. I expect I'll use mine, because it's near enough for me to "true", and the ink flows nicely in my pen without drying out or hard-starting. But I have to say, in honesty, there are other inks in the market that are more bright and more vibrant. A writing sample, photographed in strong (spring) sunlight with my Samsung Note 8, and not retouched or recalibrated [sorry for the stray bits of blue on the page!]: I'll try to get around to black sometime later this week - I'm just having a bit of trouble getting excited about it, given the number of pens I already have inked up with grey, or black, or somewhere in between...
  3. Jamerelbe

    Blackstone Lights Orange

    The 'Blackstone Lights' are a new range of 6 inks (thus far) from Blackstone Inks / JustWrite Pens. As the name suggests, these inks are designed to be lighter and less saturated than the inks the company is becoming well known for - though some of them are still quite vibrant in their own right. Blackstone Lights Orange is a good example of what I'm talking about - along with the green and blue inks, it's quite bright and cheery. Add to that its wetness and flow, and you have the makings of a really good ink. Won't bore you with additional details - here's a photo, taken in full sunlight with my Samsung Note 8, no attempt to adjust the colours:
  4. Jamerelbe

    Blackstone Lights Violet

    This is the second in a series of reviews, looking at the Blackstone Lights inks that were released in recent weeks. If you're familiar with Blackstone you'll know that their previous ranges of inks were highly saturated inks with bold, strong colours. This range was designed to appeal to those who prefer their inks lighter, and/or brighter, and generally less saturated. It certainly succeeds in that aim - especially with their Violet colour, which is the most delicate / least saturated in the range. Kevin from JustWrite.com.au very kindly included a bottle of this ink with my order - I didn't order it, because I didn't expect to enjoy it. Violet is a pale lavender colour, and in all honesty, it's not a shade I'm drawn to. But it's a more pleasant shade than I was expecting, and as with the other inks in the range, it has a very pleasant flow. So, if you're into delicate lavender shades... this might be just your thing!
  5. Jamerelbe

    Blackstone Lights Green

    This is my third review of a new range of inks manufactured by Blackstone Inks, and distributed through JustWrite Pens - based in Blackstone, Qld. When I saw these on the JustWrite website, I placed an order for 4 of them - Kevin, the 'brains trust' of the operation, kindly sent me the other two so I could check out the complete set. Blackstone Lights Green is one of the four inks I ordered and paid for - and it's already rocketing to the top of my list of favourites. If you're familiar with the inks produced by Blackstone in the past, you'll know that they're mostly highly saturated, smooth-flowing inks - which, in the case of the reds, can sometimes need a little coaxing to get started (I have no such problems with the blues, browns, yellows or greens!). The Lights range is designed to fill a gap in the line-up - inks that are less saturated in colour, but still relatively bright. These inks are smooth and well-lubricated, with no tendency towards drying out, and are a pleasure to write with (check out https://justwrite.com.au/Blackstone-Fountain-Pen-Ink/blackstone-lights-fountain-pen-ink for the manufacturer's summary). At this stage I'd say Blackstone Lights Blue is my favourite - a vibrant, bright blue that 'pops' off the page - but Green is a close second. Though not heavily saturated, it's a very bright, light green that likewise stands out on the page and is easy to read. At AU$7 for a 30 mL bottle (plus postage!), it's reasonably priced, and well worth a look! Feel free to ask if you have any questions - either about this ink, or about the Blackstone range. Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the company, but have received samples from Kevin in the past, both to test and review, in addition to the inks I've purchased with my own money. All opinions expressed are my own!
  6. Jamerelbe

    Blackstone Lights Blue

    A couple of weeks ago, while trawling the internet for pens and inks, I discovered that Blackstone Inks have come out with a new range of inks. Their "Colours of Australia" and "Scents of Australia" collections feature intensely coloured, highly saturated inks, some of which (mostly the blues!) produce a fair degree of sheening. The "Lights" range is designed to cater to the tastes of those who prefer their inks to be less saturated - but with smooth flow and reliable performance. I immediately placed an order for four of the colours (Blue, Green, Orange and Red) - and Kevin, the brains behind Blackstone, very kindly included the other two colours (Black and Violet) for me to try out. I've received free inks from Kevin in the past, but as always, my opinions are my own. The first cab off the rank in this multi-part review is Blackstone Lights Blue - which I have to say has become an instant favourite. It reminds me of Toucan Bright Blue (I understand the ink is made using dyes provided by the manufacturer of Toucan - so perhaps that shouldn't be a surprise!) - but the colour saturation factor is higher, and the ink flow is much wetter and smoother. Overall it's a delight to write with. The following photo was taken in full (late spring) sunlight with my Samsung Note 8 and, apart from cropping, has not been colour-adjusted. The AU$7 plus postage I shelled out for this ink was worth it - I'm looking forward to using up the bottle! [Which won't take all that long, sadly, as I lost more than half of it in an accidental spill.... ]
  7. JustWrite Pen Company

    The Australian Fountain Pen Community

    The Australian Fountain Pen Community is a small one and pen makers, ink makers and retailers are part of that community. They play their role in the community by providing products and services that enable and enrich the passion we all follow. When I first became interested in making ink back in 2013, there were no Australian made fountain pen inks available and the range of imported inks was limited and expensive. Now we have Robert Oster with his amazing array of colours, Bookbinders, Van Diemens and Blackstone. And now, there is a steadily increasing number of enthusiastic pen makers, making unique hand made pens and James Finniss of Pensive Pens is one of them. James is the guy who worked with Robert Oster to develop the Serendipity Pen, a unique, Australian designed and made pen. Recently James took a bad hit when his workshop was flooded and Yagan Kiely (Macchiato Man), another well known figure in the Australian Fountain Pen Community has started a GoFundMe Fundraiser to help James replace his equipment so he can get back to making pens. As Yagan pointed out, James isn't the kind of guy to ask for help but we're a small FP community here in Australia and we should support each other to help keep our passion and our industry alive and flourishing. If you can help by supporting the GoFundMe Fundraiser or by patronising Pensive Pens, either would be great. Here is what Yagan said on the GoFundMe website: Good friend of the Australian Fountain Pen community, James Finniss, owns the business that many of us have enjoyed and used, Pensive pens in the NSW Southern Tablelands. Flooding this year in his region has caused the destruction of the equipment he uses to turn pens. James was insured but the insurer won’t pay for the specific machinery to be replaced. While James is saving to replace and repair as much as he can, there is still a long way to go to make right was was destroyed which he puts at a little over AU$50,000. James isn’t the person to ask for help but the fountain pen community is a great community and I’m sure we can help James recoup the costs. If the funding goal isn’t reached, James will still get what is raised. There’s no obligation for James to immediately replace the equipment but it was his goal to eventually do so; whatever is donated will hasten that end.
  8. JustWrite Pen Company

    New Australian Made Fountain Pen Ink At Justwrite

    I'm delighted to announce we have a new locally made fountain pen ink available at JustWrite. Toucan Fountain Pen Ink comes in 14 colours and is made right here in Brisbane by Dye Manufacturers of Australia, a company that has been around since 1918. Toucan fountain pen ink is formulated with water soluble dyes, with absolutely no pigments, no harmful additives and is pH neutral (7). Toucan Fountain Pen Inks can be freely mixed with each other to make your own custom coloured inks. All 14 colours can be blended together in varying ratios and can be diluted with distilled water to create an almost infinite range of unique coloured inks. We've been testing this ink for about 3 months and it's not a highly saturated ink, but that's our only minor criticism - it may not suit people who like highly saturated inks. Available in: 2ml individual samples: $1.25 5ml individual samples: $1.60 2ml sample packs of all 14 colours: $14.00 (Free Postage) 5ml sample/mixing packs of all 14 colours: $18.00 (Free Postage) 30ml plastic pouches: $3.50 30ml plastic pouches pack of all 14 colours: $40.00 150ml plastic pouches: $8.50 (Available soon) 400ml plastic pouches: $15.00 Postage is $5.00 per order and we're offering free postage on the sample packs of 14 colours for a short time. If any Australian FPN members would like to review the ink or just check it out, send me an email with your address and I'll send you a free sample pack. (Only for a limited time though.) Unfortunately we can only ship this ink within Australia. Australia Post packaging requirements for liquids and their costs for International postage make it prohibitively expensive to send overseas.
  9. Just realised I'd posted this in the 'Th-INKing Outside the Bottle' forum instead of the Ink Review forum (original review https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/321154-blackstone-australian-bush/) - so am putting it up here as well. This ink looks set to be available on the market soon - so here's a preview! ========================== A couple of weeks ago I received some ink samples from Kevin at JustWrite Pen Co, from a new line of inks he was developing - with a request for feedback on what I thought. At the time, Kevin asked me to hold off on publishing any reviews - but as of 1 April, the word is out: the Blackstone 'Scents of Australia' line will soon be available for purchase (see the announcement at http://www.fountainp...e-scented-inks/). Kevin has given me permission to publish a review (an advance preview?) of one of the inks I received - Blackstone Australian Bush. Though the ink sample was provided free, the review is my own initiative - and I hope a fairly impartial one, although it's hard to be impartial about inks I really enjoy using! I may be able to publish a second in the near future - though I understand the scent of the second ink (Brown Boronia) has been changed from the prototype formulation I received. Both inks perform really well, and to my eyes, both are really attractive colours (and shades) that don't quite match anything I have in my collection. Without further ado, here's the review sheet - which will be followed by some additional shots on other papers: http://i.imgur.com/tMRtpkX.jpg The ink really is what it says on the box: a kind of 'gum tree green'. A dark, intense, green-with-a-hint-of yellow kind of eucalypt / gum tree green, that comes out significantly darker in broader nibs and lighter in F/EF nibs. Here's an 'action shot' of the water test - which shows significant amounts of ink lifting from the page: http://i.imgur.com/sDFpu0s.jpg Here's a series of comparisons with my other green inks, on Rhodia paper - I initially thought it was a reasonable match for Rohrer und Klingner Alt-Goldgrun, but it's quite a bit darker, and leans a lot greener (though that khaki / yellow tinge is still there): http://i.imgur.com/s3iiR56.jpg Finally, here's a "day after" shot of Australian Bush on creamy Tomoe River paper - I tried to lay the ink on fairly thick with a 1.5mm stub nib. No sheening, as such, but the 'pooled' areas are almost green-black: http://i.imgur.com/szI2SYF.jpg Needless to say, I really really like this ink - it's a unique (in my collection) shade of green, and the eucalyptus scent is an added bonus. The moment I uncap a pen containing this ink, the refreshing aroma catches my nose - even though I don't have a particularly good sense of smell. I'm looking forward to buying a bottle of this ink, as soon as it becomes available - in the meantime, I'm grateful for the sample provided, which will hopefully tide me over. Thanks to Kevin and JustWrite Pens for sending this to me!
  10. A couple of weeks ago I received some ink samples from Kevin at JustWrite Pen Co, from a new line of inks he was developing - with a request for feedback on what I thought. At the time, Kevin asked me to hold off on publishing any reviews - but as of 1 April, the word is out: the Blackstone 'Scents of Australia' line will soon be available for purchase (see the announcement at https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/321002-new-blackstone-scented-inks/). Kevin has given me permission to publish a review (an advance preview?) of one of the inks I received - Blackstone Australian Bush. Though the ink sample was provided free, the review is my own initiative - and I hope a fairly impartial one, although it's hard to be impartial about inks I really enjoy using! I may be able to publish a second in the near future - though I understand the scent of the second ink (Brown Boronia) has been changed from the prototype formulation I received. Both inks perform really well, and to my eyes, both are really attractive colours (and shades) that don't quite match anything I have in my collection. Without further ado, here's the review sheet - which will be followed by some additional shots on other papers: http://i.imgur.com/tMRtpkX.jpg The ink really is what it says on the box: a kind of 'gum tree green'. A dark, intense, green-with-a-hint-of yellow kind of eucalypt / gum tree green, that comes out significantly darker in broader nibs and lighter in F/EF nibs. Here's an 'action shot' of the water test - which shows significant amounts of ink lifting from the page: http://i.imgur.com/sDFpu0s.jpg Here's a series of comparisons with my other green inks, on Rhodia paper - I initially thought it was a reasonable match for Rohrer und Klingner Alt-Goldgrun, but it's quite a bit darker, and leans a lot greener (though that khaki / yellow tinge is still there): http://i.imgur.com/s3iiR56.jpg Finally, here's a "day after" shot of Australian Bush on creamy Tomoe River paper - I tried to lay the ink on fairly thick with a 1.5mm stub nib. No sheening, as such, but the 'pooled' areas are almost green-black: http://i.imgur.com/szI2SYF.jpg Needless to say, I really really like this ink - it's a unique (in my collection) shade of green, and the eucalyptus scent is an added bonus. The moment I uncap a pen containing this ink, the refreshing aroma catches my nose - even though I don't have a particularly good sense of smell. I'm looking forward to buying a bottle of this ink, as soon as it becomes available - in the meantime, I'm grateful for the sample provided, which will hopefully tide me over. Thanks to Kevin and JustWrite Pens for sending this to me!
  11. This review of the Blackstone Maxim II is long overdue – I’ve had this pen in my possession now for nearly 5 months, and have been meaning to ‘write it up’ for that past few… When the JustWrite Pen Co first started developing pen designs a few years ago, Kevin (the proprietor) was kind enough to send me some prototypes to trial, in return for honest feedback. Those original pens (which were eventually released under the name ‘Maxim’) didn’t quite fit the bill for me: I found the chrome grip sections too narrow to be comfortable for me, a little too slick. Much as I liked the look of the pen, I decided not to purchase any. That all changes, though, when the Maxim II ‘Heavy Metal’ pen was released, in an antique brass finish. With a larger (#6) nib and a slightly larger diameter grip section, I decided to pull the trigger. And thus far, I’ve been very happy with this pen. In the interests of full disclosure, JustWrite have provided me with free ink and pen samples in the past – usually prototypes for testing and feedback. However, this pen I purchased at full price with my own money. All opinions expressed are my own – this is my attempt to provide a (personal but) impartial review. ______________________________________________________________________ 1. Appearance & Design As with JustWrite’s other pens, the Maxim II is built around a fountain pen ‘kit’ – in this case, the brand of the manufacturer (Dayacom) is imprinted on the nib, and also on the underside of the clip. The ‘rustic’ / artificially aged look of the pen comes from the pen kit materials, which have been ‘married’ to a brass cap and body, machined from a solid brass bar according to the JustWrite website. http://i.imgur.com/HVTniaQ.jpg I was very impressed with the overall look and feel of the pen. There was already a patina coating the entire pen body when I received it, with some kind of ‘blackening’ of the grooves in the threaded parts of the pen. The brass body and cap look like they’ve been treated to match the colouring of the clip, finial and other ‘kit’ parts. You can tell they’re not made from the same material, but they’re a pretty close match. http://i.imgur.com/syDPaUs.jpg 2. Construction & Quality The Maxim II Heavy Metal Pen is an absolute beast – solidly constructed, with good fit and finish. It feels very substantial in the hand, and is made from quality parts. 2. Weight & Dimensions I said a moment ago that this pen is a ‘beast’ – and it’s a weighty one at that! Capped, the Maxim II weighs in at nearly 66g; the uncapped weight is 35.9g. For that reason, although the cap can be threaded securely onto the rear of the pen, I’d advise against it – it becomes far too heavy for comfortable writing, and significantly back-weighted. Lovers of light-weight acrylic pens won’t be thrilled by the heftiness of the Maxim II – but I quite like heavier pens, so this is not an issue for me. The capped length of the Maxim II is 137mm; uncapped it’s an ample 131mm, while posted it’s an unwieldy 170mm. http://i.imgur.com/Ib7yqtE.jpg The pen is relatively slender for its size and weight – the cap diameter is 14mm and the barrel 12mm, while the grip section is only around 8.5mm (closer to 10mm at the threads). For me, that’s a bit on the thin side – but I still find it very comfortable to hold. 4. Nib & Performance I’ve accumulated a stash of replacement #6 nibs in recent years, so I decided to go for the cheapest option – a stainless steel OEM nib. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) it arrived with a two-tone nib – but aesthetically, that seemed like a good fit so I decided to stick with it rather than ask for a replacement. http://i.imgur.com/RV1qFwI.jpg As it turns out, the decision to go cheap was a good move for two reasons. In the first place, the two-tone Dayacom nib was a beautifully, buttery smooth writer that just glided across the page, laying a generous amount of ink. http://i.imgur.com/WjrLSQg.jpg http://i.imgur.com/FoA2tfY.jpg It’s worth noting that the Maxim II grip section is designed to be compatible with the kind of screw-in #6 JoWo units that can be obtained from places like fpnibs.com, meisternibs.com, and Edison Pens. I like to ‘mix and match’ when I can, so I’ve enjoyed swapping different nibs in and out. http://i.imgur.com/9AW8cFY.jpg 5. Filling System & Maintenance The Maxim II will take standard international cartridges, but comes with a standard international converter. My larger Schmidt converters are too large (in terms of diameter) to fit inside the barrel, but the converter provided is of reasonable quality, and works just fine. I’m not overly fussed about filling systems – I like the larger reservoir provided by piston fillers (like my TWSBIs), but tend to get impatient before the ink runs out, so… the smaller ink capacity of a cartridge converter is fine by me! http://i.imgur.com/w5EYJc0.jpg 5. Cost & Value The Maxim II with standard OEM nib sells for AU$99 (incl. GST) – which translated to around US$66 ex tax on current exchange rates. It’s not cheap, but compared to the Karas Kustoms INK ($100 for the aluminium model, $155 for brass) it’s very competitive. I know that’s not comparing apples with apples (the Karas Kustoms pens are machined completely in-house), but it’s the best point of comparison I can think of. 6. Conclusion Of the Blackstone models I’ve tried just far (I’ve also trialled the Maxim and the Axiom), I have to say this is their most appealing design to date. It’s a hefty metal pen, no doubt about it, but sits comfortably in the hand, writes well, and looks and feels great. For people who like a more ‘antique’ look to their pens – and/or who like a weightier pen – the Maxim II is definitely worth a look.
  12. JustWrite Pen Company

    Blackstone Inks Now Available At Justwrite

    Blackstone Inks are very much a product of the FPN. They have their genesis back in 2013 in a thread discussing powdered inks. The original SuSeMai powdered inks evolved into Blackstone ink concentrates and the Colours of Australia are based on those concentrates. The evolution of these inks has been directly influenced by the feedback and advice of FPN members who tested this ink in its different forms. I've always believed that the people who use fountain pens on a regular basis know best how a fountain pen ink should appear and how it should behave. We will continue to invite and encourage feedback, comments and advice from the fountain pen community as we refine, improve and develop new inks. These five inks are just the beginning. Prices: 30ml Nalgene Bottles: $7.95 60ml Pouches: $11.95 Complete Set of 5 x 30ml Bottles: $35.00 Complete set of 60ml pouches: $54.95 5ml samples: $1.75 Complete set of 5ml samples: $7.87 Domestic Shipping: $7.15 International Shipping: $25.00





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