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Found 24 results

  1. bobje

    Experiments With Flex

    Affordable flex is difficult to find. My recent practice in learning copperplate script makes me appreciate flexible nibs as writing tools. Dip pen nibs offer both affordability and ultimate flexibility and line variation, if the writer is willing to carry jars of ink. Vintage flex fountain pen nibs offer portability at the price of a vintage flex pen. In this thread I will present results of informal experiments with nib flex modifications that start with the well-documented “ease my flex," and then include a central cut-out inspired by dip pen nibs. This thread will ultimately contain a se
  2. Pilot Parallel italic nibs perform wonderfully in italic calligraphy applications, and they can be successfully ground, hacked, and shaped for a variety of effects. With simple shrink-wrap tubing usually used for electronic connections, the diameter of the nib unit can be expanded to fit snugly into the section of a Penbbs 456 fountain pen. This enables calligraphers to place the high-performing Pilot Parallel nib in a more elegant pen, and to add wide italic functionality — from 1.5 mm to 6 mm — to the Penbbs 456. Use scissors to create a 5-mm-long “collar” from 7-mm heat-shrink t
  3. FILCAO Atlantica, a Chilton-type pneumatic filler I'll save you some time. The FILCAO Atlantica writes smoothly, feels balanced in the hand, and is carefully constructed from an elegant material. These are fine qualities, but they aren't the reason you should write with one, if you get the opportunity, because they aren't made any more. You should write with one because it's interesting, and it's interesting for three reasons. First, this particular Atlantica uses a filling system you've probably never heard of, and it's slick, quirky, and makes a lot of sense. It's called a Chilton pneu
  4. The no. 6 flex nib from Fountain Pen Revolution fits in a Penbbs 456, this one in the absinthe material. The ebonite feed was shaved slightly to fit the plastic section housing. I modified this nib with wing scallops along the lines of the flex nib experiments in the thread below. FPR now sells these ultra flex nibs with wing scallops included. The ink is Diamine umber, and the paper is from MUJI. https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/324910-experiments-with-flex/
  5. In one of the world's largest cities, there always seems to be a place to take a break. At the Hakusan Shinto shrine in Tokyo. A week in Japan makes me think stationery stores are the retail urban planning equivalent of zen gardens. They provide an analog break in days filled with digital noise. We have only a few stores left in the United States, in Appleton, Wis., and Little Rock, Ark., of all places, and Houston, and Nashville, and another north of Pittsburgh. A couple in New York and New Jersey. Two in Maryland and one in Washington, DC, and that’s about it. I’m probably leaving
  6. bobje

    Three Oysters Giwa

    Writing sample of the Korean ink 3 Oysters giwa, rather than a full review. Giwa is dark gray with a tinge of green. North Americans would describe it as slate. Fans of murky greens will like this one. Kim Jong-hae is a poet born in Busan, South Korea.
  7. Like many people, I love the idea of Sailor Cigar from the Pen & Message shop in Kobe, Japan, but am exhausted by the idea of finagling a way to obtain it. The legend and scarcity have grown so large as to make one consider pitching a tent on the sidewalk outside the shop on Kitanagasadori and waiting, like fans of a new iPhone. But this is an ink revolt, and we are not going to do that. The work of Chrissy, Tas, dcpritch and others inspires us all to mix an ink that matches the color of the world's best cigars, rolled from tobacco grown in Vuelta Abajo, Cuba. I did not succeed in my first
  8. ASA Azaadi in opal Creating a new ASA Azaadi in opal gave me a four-part tutorial in pen design. I commissioned the Azaadi after reading an account of a stunning similar pen in casein by Prithwijit Chaki, a prolific contributor to the Fountain Pen Network. Inspired by the fine white-on-ivory veins of the casein, I set about looking for a material that would simulate the elegance without the fragility. [/url] Capped, the Azaadi is about 1 centimeter longer than a Lamy Safari. Uncapped, it’s about the same length, and considerably thicker. Lesson No. 1 – Material Selection The Azaadi, as
  9. The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games start in a few days, which is a good time to write about a pen that celebrates the last city to host the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro. In August 2016, I led an award-winning program in digital storytelling to Rio, for 25 students from the United States, Brazil, Germany, and Italy. The students, mostly journalism majors, collaborated on multimedia stories about the impact of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on the host city. To commemorate this adventure, I asked several people for ideas on a Rio-themed pen. Among them were Prithwijit Chaki, Ian Roberts, Laksh
  10. One of the great qualities of fountain pens is that they combine utility with beauty, in a tool we use daily. The material is a key factor in this formula, and a recent discussion on Fountain Pen Network gave people the chance to name the most beautiful materials they had ever seen. Italian celluloids topped the charts: Tibaldi Impero, Omas Arco, and Omas Burkina, for example. This month I began writing with a Ranga Model 8b pen made from a blue, red, and pale yellow ebonite recently created for the company, based in Thiruvallur in southern India. Its a gorgeous ebonite, layered in rich comb
  11. A new pen Ive been using recently reminds me of a concept in psychologist Daniel Kahnemans book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. The book starts with the idea that we have two ways of thinking. System 1, the fast way, is instinctual, prone to snap judgments (which are often valuable and sometimes not), and kind of lazy. System 2, the slow way, is methodical, detail-oriented, analytical, and focused. The Ranga Emperor is a System 2 pen. The Emperor is capable, understated, elegant, and precise. The lines, proportions and materials stake the pen at the polar opposite of flash and exhibition. The Em
  12. Ebonite. We keep using that word. I do not think it means what we think it means. We love pens made with ebonite, but ebonite was originally a brand name for hard rubber. Now it’s the name of a company that makes bowling balls, mostly from polyester, polyurethane, or reactive resin. Bowling balls haven’t been made from hard rubber since the 1970s. But the blue, orange, and green hard rubber of the Ranga Model 8 is so evocative of time and place that it reminds me of going to the Fireside Lanes in Wichita, Kansas, with my Cub Scout den in the late 1960s, lacing on soft leather shoes with re
  13. The ASA Bheeshma is named after a mythic Indian commander, an archer who ultimately died on a bed of arrows. Suspended in mid-air, his head unsupported, Bheeshma asked for a pillow appropriate to a warrior. That turned out to be three more arrows, tips up. The architect Vaibhav Mehandiratta named the pen after this epic character, after collaborating with passionate friends in India to design it. They included Prithwijit Chaki, a financial consultant; L. Subramaniam, founder of ASA Pens; and other pen warriors. These two themes, arrows and friendships, define the pen for me. After completi
  14. In December 2014, the Fountain Pen Network contributor "Masque" offered a recipe for a highly shading teal ink that he named "Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater." The mix is composed of three Noodler's Inks: Navajo Turquoise, Massachusetts 54th, and Old Manhattan Blackest Black (an exclusive to Fountain Pen Hospital). I enjoy Nathan Tardif's Black Swan inks, both the Australian Roses and English Roses versions, which embed a mysterious black shadow in a subtle, lovely color, as well as another mix by the FPN contributor "crunchmaster," called "Black Swan in North African Violets." It's
  15. Ebonite is a wonderful material for pens, combining lightweight solidity with a warm texture that absorbs moisture without becoming clammy. It's an irregular material that lends itself well to the fountain pen, an analog technology that hasn’t changed much in 50 years. Most of my ebonite pens originated in India, and they all write well and display an understated, old-fashioned integrity. But the Bexley Prometheus is as American -- and as Midwestern -- as a Ford Mustang (Michigan) and a Cessna Citation (Kansas). Or a Rawlings baseball mitt (Missouri). Bexley was founded in 1993 in Columbus,
  16. The Hua Hong blue belter, vaguely Pelikanesque, stands on its own design. Also available in red The Hua Hong blue belter raises as many questions as it answers. We can start with the answers, because that’s a shorter list. The Hua Hong is a medium-sized, cartridge-converter pen with a black lacquer barrel and a snap cap. The barrel is lightweight, probably brass, and provides nice balance while writing. The manufacturing standards are high, with tight tolerances, and the finishes are smooth, glossy, and durable. I’ve had the pen for nine months, and it holds up well. The pen's proportion
  17. ASA Nauka in blue and red ebonite Can a humble pen offer a homily in human imperfection? This is one of the questions that the ASA Nauka, turned by a penmaker in Chennai, India, makes me want to answer. Lakshminarayanan Subramaniam runs ASA Pens, an online and bricks-and-mortar retailer offering multiple pen brands and at least 16 models specific to ASA. It is difficult to type the 16 letters of his first name, and even tougher to pronounce, so well take his lead and just go with L. In 2015, Subramaniam began collaborating with Joshua Lax, president of the Big Apple Pen Club in New York, t
  18. The ASA Nauka in Dartmoor acrylic. For a simple fountain pen, the ASA Nauka offers at least two important lessons. It shows how design can be rediscovered and reinvented over a period of several decades, and how online forums and social media are creating a renaissance of collaboration. That’s an ambitious, rather academic argument for a humble review, so let’s just start with the pen. The Nauka is offered by Lakshminarayanan Subramaniam of ASA Pens in Chennai, India. It echoes the design of the early Sheaffer Crest and the more recent Oldwin Classic, with a graceful barrel that integr
  19. Vicarious geographic exploration is one of the underestimated joys of fountain pens. Fill a pen with Diamine Sunshine Yellow and you're not that far away from Liverpool, where the Beatles got started and Diamine still makes ink. Intrigued by the economic development of Germany after reunification? Use a pen by Cleo Skribent, made in Bad Wilsnack, a village northwest of Berlin, in the former DDR. A new ink brand, Robert Oster Signature, transports us to Naracoorte, just north of the Great Australian Bight, or open bay, midway between Melbourne and Adelaide. The name Naracoorte is apparently d
  20. Purchasers of the popular Italix pens from Mr. Pen in the United Kingdom receive an instruction sheet that recommends the use of Diamine ink. They may not realize that the company also offers a custom Diamine blue ink blend. The ink, Radiant Blue, recently accompanied my purchase of an Italix Churchman's Prescriptor. The ink is a cerulean blue, lighter than both Waterman Inspired Blue and Chesterfield Antique Oxford (itself supposedly a version of Diamine Majestic Blue). The founder of Mr. Pen, Peter Ford, describes the ink as the result of adding four drops of a special ingredient to a Diamin
  21. Americans love underdogs. We revel in stories about how the British had their hind-ends handed to them in the American Revolutionary War, 240 years ago, and it was us – poorly clothed mongrels – who did the handing. This idea of underestimated integrity comes to me when I consider two unlikely subjects: the Italian city of Torino, and a fountain pen that originated there, called the FILCAO Roxi. When non-Italians think of Italy, four cities come first: Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan. For a century or so, Torino came in fifth or sixth, somewhere in a tier with Naples and Bologna. Then, two
  22. Citizens of the United States don't invest a lot of time thinking about the shade of green ink used to print their currency. Go ahead, pull one out of your wallet, we'll wait. If you're not an American citizen and still hold U.S. currency in your wallet, well, thank you for the loan. You probably don't think much about ink shades on your currency, either. (Unless you're from Norway. In that case, congratulations, kroner are the most aesthetically gorgeous currency designs on our planet, and pretty darn solid, too.) A close examination of a U.S. paper note actually reveals two shades of gree
  23. Peter Ford deserves an award for inventing the most evocative, magnetically Anglophile names in the entire category of stationery products. As a fountain pen user, being able to deliver the words Parson's Essential, Churchman's Prescriptor, and Imperium State is worth at least $5. "Wow, that's a shiny pen you're using today. What is that?" "Oh, this? It's called a Churchman's Prescriptor. Comes from a guy in Northwest London." Staples and Office Depot should hire Ford to re-label entire rows full of products. Those notebooks bound from paper made from sugar cane waste, sometimes called "bagass

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