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  1. Hello everyone, I am from India, and ever since I can recall which is my early childhood, I've loved stationery and over a period, I developed a special bond for pens, and specifically fountain pens. Some 6 years back I chanced upon Fountainpennetwork.com but however silly it may sound; the truth is that I began drafting that perfect introduction to put out here and it's been six years since... (LOL). So today, I decided I will write from my heart, whatever strikes me to say now in my introduction and I think it's better late than never. I am humbled to be a part of this wonderful community of fountain pen enthusiasts, and I hope to learn and discover so much more about fountain pens from all of you over the coming years. Just to share, my current fountain pen collection comprises pens from these brands collected over the years: Hero, Parker, Lamy, Platinum, Sheaffer, Schneider, Muji, Kaweco, TWSBI and Jinhao. Of these, my favourite (and my daily use pen) is the Lamy Safari, nothing's come as close as that pen in terms of the smoothness of writing and for the price it sells in India.
  2. I received an advertising email from Endless today, promoting a new product called the "Creative Block"; it's a memo pad with dot matrix and is fountain pen friendly. It looks like a good product. I am curious if others reaction to the ad is the same as mine - I feel patronized at being told how to use a memo pad. It irks me. Thoughts? Maybe I should set it up as a poll. Here's the copy: Am I just being a curmudgeon?
  3. I am trying to find planning pads that are the notebook equivalent of an Excel spreadsheet(though I don't expect them to do calculations for me). I want horizontal orientation, in chart form, that I can use for a number of projects. It doesn't need to be wall mounted or self-propping. Something like a household chore chart one would give to children, but with no pre-filled boxes or days of the week. Yes, I know I can print out my own pages, but I'd rather buy a notebook with nice paper and use the sheets as I need them - which means they should probably be perforated so they can be detached. I have found horizontally-oriented notebooks that I could draw out, but I don't want to do that every time. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.
  4. Cursive Child

    Inkwell and Brew - Estes Park, CO

    Accidentally found this nice store in Estes Park, CO. Coffee, Stationary, Ink and Pens. https://inkwellbrew.com/ The coffee was excellent, staff very friendly. They carried a nice selection of notebooks, journals, and assorted things, in FP friendly paper. They also had a selection of J Herbin inks and Retro pens. Have a room upstairs to sit and play board games, drink coffee, and I suppose write. I wanted to sit and write my journal there, but didn't have time. Nice, different shop.
  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 out a couple, but my point is that in a really big country, there are fewer than a dozen bricks-and-mortar stationery stores. Unless you count Staples and OfficeMax, which are great for laserjet paper, printer cartridges, and office chairs. Japan, on the other hand, is stationery mecca. I was in meetings in Osaka where team leaders handed out agendas and summaries in elegant transparent folders, and erasable gel ink pens, and we realized that every one of us around the table was a geek who, in elementary school, undoubtedly loved the fragrance of promise and hope in a new box of yellow No. 2 pencils. Kyoto In Kyoto, the spiritual heart of Japan, there are more than 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines. TAG’s headquarters stationery store is in Kyoto, and there are five other TAG shops around the city, filled with paper for calligraphy and art projects and school assignments, and racks of washi tape and fountain pens. Kyoto specialists in natural dyes, who got their training in textiles, created the TAG line of inks. Remember indigo? Around 900 AD, people in the imperial court of Keian in Heian-kyō, the former name for Kyoto, fermented leaves to produce indigo. I digress, but here’s my point: if you really like writing, it’s entirely possible that, like Matsuo Basho, your heart is in Kyoto. On a walk through the Arashiyama bamboo grove, I’m talking with a friend about how Japan offers up so many details that would make great visual pauses in films. Breathing space. They’re like the short musical interludes, sometimes called buttons, in radio news broadcasts. She asks why I like calligraphy. It’s an analog break from digital chores, I tell her, and she responds, “Oh, like a button.” A few meters away, we walk by a home where the poet Matsuo Basho hung out with one of his students. Even in Kyoto -- Hearing the cuckoo’s cry -- I long for Kyoto. -- Matsuo Basho Tokyo One of the great things about Tokyo is that even though it’s one of the 10 largest cities in the world, with almost 14 million people, there always seems to be a green place to take a break -- a playground or a garden, a bench on a shady patch of street, or a shrine with a fountain for prayer. Stationery shops are air-conditioned and filled with students and bookish people, and they are wonderful quiet spaces. I found myself in two of them, the Maruzen bookstore, located a hundred meters from Tokyo’s central station, and the TAG store on Tennouzu Isle. Maruzen is a Japanese chain, and half a floor in the main Tokyo store is devoted to stationery, pens, and inks. Lovely display cases show pens from global brands as though they are objects in a museum, all, it seems, at retail list price. But a section of ink is tucked away on one side of the pens, a closet full of colors from Pilot, Platinum, Sailor, Montblanc, Faber-Castell, and Pelikan. Hiding away in one corner are inks made for Maruzen by Sailor -- Athena sepia, and renga, an urushi red. They’re considered unobtainable everywhere else. I buy them both, again at retail price, which in the case of Japanese inks is 30 percent less than everywhere else. The notebook section offers funky composition notebooks by a brand called nanuk. I’m not sure if the paper works well with fountain pens, but they have a sample copy for testing. At the pen counter, a salesperson helpfully pulls out a Platinum Preppy pen, and as it turns out, nanuk paper is terrific. On the late afternoon of another unbelievably hot July day, I stumble upon the TAG stationery store on Tennouzu Isle, just off the monorail to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. The store offers envelopes and paper in pastel patterns of coral and indigo, designed for writing letters, lined or unlined. The store manager is playing an entire Beatles album -- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band -- and for 20 minutes, I’m lost in a bliss of washi paper and “I’ve got to admit, it’s getting better.” Then, it gets better. Next to the cashier there’s a display of every TAG Kyoto ink, from Moonlight of Higashiyama, a brick red, to Aonibi, a blue-black. The manager gives me a pen with a glass nib for testing ink. (Let me repeat that -- they keep a glass-nibbed pen for testing inks.) I realize that one ink, Nurebairo, is a black that shades blue, with a subtle golden halo sheen. When I’m confused about whether Nurebairo actually shades blue, she explains that it depends on whether the paper is cream or stark white. Then she wraps it up, adds it to my other purchases, and agrees with me about The Beatles. I walk out onto a boardwalk and as the sun sets on Tokyo Bay, I eat a wagyu hamburger with an old friend.
  6. Good day. A quick query: I'm sure many of you enjoy having a tidy desk and also having your regular/common/(inexpensive/everyday stationery handy. Maybe you would like to share a picture of what's going on on your desk, or in your office or home. Here's mine; I have... - a glass that's just pencils, - one for scissors etc., - an empty one (save for some plastic) for the FP of the day (They reside inside a sleeve in the top drawer), - and a big one for whiteout, protractor, (spoon?) etc. - There's also a bottle I still need to clean out, decorate, and fill with paperclips. Lastly, everything is decorated with leftover paper, and collected stamps. Oh and one very nice, user-grade Estie (Copper/9556/Sailor Black), that's allowed to stay right there.
  7. Having settled on 100g A3 Colotech+ Xerox paper I started by cutting it in half to make A4 sheets to write with. The next step was to fold it in half Then I started using my paper rounder - a paper punch to give a 10mm rounded corner - to round the corners of the folded A3. The final stage was to fold the A3 twice, into an A5 format. I wasn't entirely sure that my paper punch (rated to 200g card) would cope with the twice folded paper (4 x 100g)but it did and I ended up with an A5 format eight page letter. Anyone else doing creative things with paper? (Kinda saturated with pens and inks)
  8. I'd like to write a letter using one of my pointed dip pens (or possibly the glass dip pen, although that's still relatively new to me), and I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on a good cream or ivory colored stationery or paper to use? In particular, I am choosing to break out a dip pen as opposed to a fountain pen as I know the recipient does some US Civil War reenactment and I think it might amuse him to get a pointed pen letter in either walnut or iron gall ink. (He has not requested any such thing, I just think it would be a nice whimsical surprise... And I am not myself a history buff and am not sure I would be able to produce a period-appropriate hand anyhow if he did ask for such.) As such, if there is stationery that would be kind of a good match for that time period that also holds up well to dip pen use (bonus if also good for fountain pens), that would also be appreciated, because hey, why not go all out on a fun letter, right? (Write?)
  9. I live in the Twin Cities MN area and need to get some new envelopes. I'm currently using generic business envelopes which really suck with fountain pens at least the ones I have lol. I've had real good luck finding smaller envelopes since there seems to be more out there, however, the selection of No. 10 sizes seems to be smaller. I know I can order some online through most of the pen sites since some of those sites have good paper selections. Anyone in the Twin Cities have any suggestions? also, would love to hear in general envelope brands people like. I'm open to go to target, walmart, staples, michaels, etc... but honestly, don't want to buy some from those stores and find out they also suck with fountain pens. I figured many of you have some knowledge in this are and I would like to lean on your personal experiences.
  10. While I appreciate the experience of writing on high quality paper, I’m not keen on paying full price for it. And since I imagine many of you feel the same, perhaps we can alert each other to any great deals and deep discounts we come across at various retailers, particularly the online ones. Do you know of any great deals on paper and pen paraphernalia happening now? Let's share!
  11. I've been lax in posting these reviews back to FPN. Sorry for the delay. This is Part 4 of my Mega Monster Review series on Pocket Notebooks. Here's the review for the Fabriano EcoQua pocket notebooks along with a few pictures. Below are links to the full review, the main Mega Monster page, and the master spreadsheet (still very light as I ramp up on this project). As this is a work in progress that will likely take me a couple months to complete (I'm not that fast), I'd love any feedback you have that could help me make these reviews more useful. Thanks & enjoy! Full Review Mega Monster Review - Pocket NotebooksSpreadsheet of specs & results Introduction: Despite the dearth of decent options available in most US office supply & big-box stores, there are actually a ton of companies out there producing interesting, high-quality paper products in a range of shapes and sizes. Some companies are very prominent and well known (Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Leuchtturm), while others fly under the radar. One of these lesser-known gems is Italian stationery wizard Fabriano. Fabriano has a pretty nice range of art and stationery supplies, but you might never know about them because they don't get much press or recognition. Plus, for some reason, a lot of common retailers don't carry them. I've been using several A5 and pocket-sized notebooks from their EcoQua line, and I'm extremely impressed with them. Description: Intended to be 100% environmentally friendly, Fabriano's EcoQua line is, at first look, unassuming and minimalist. There are two things that immediately jumped out at me about their design. First, where most saddle-stitched pocket notebooks are bound by three staples, these use only two. Second, the covers are almost completely blank. There is a small logo printed at the bottom of the back cover that reads "FABRIANO Made in Italy" That's it. There's no other printing, embossing, stamping, or letterpressing. While I'm sure this leads to a better carbon footprint, I think an obvious side-effect is a pretty big reduction in production costs from the unused staples and ink. Fabriano turned around and invested some of that savings back to the notebooks: Very high-quality cover and paper stock64 pages per book (most others have 32 or 48)FOUR books per pack (I haven't seen anyone else do this)Back half of the pages are perforated for easy removal Speaking of the covers, these are fantastic. They're made from 290 gsm, scratch-resistant stock. They're very firm and durable. The texture feels great and the stock is stiff enough so you can write in the book while holding it in your hand. The Fabriano EcoQua pocket notebooks come in four-packs of warm colors (red, orange, yellow, green) or cool colors (blue, wine, black, gray), and you can choose either dot grid ruling or blank pages. Pencil Results: As with all the notebooks I've already covered and (probably) all the ones I will, pencils were perfect. Practically no ghosting from the pencils. Palomino Blackwing: Very smooth, with a soft swishing sound. I do have to rotate the pencil more often than usual, as the paper seems to wear down the graphite quickly. Strange issue with erasing: The first few swipes of the eraser did nothing. Eventually, the graphite started coming away, but it never completely erased.Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil (0.5): Smooth yet feedbacky. Very fine, crisp line. It's nice and dark, too. I can write very tiny, which is great given the 4 mm ruling width. Ballpoint Results: Pretty much flawless performance and minimal ghosting. Uniball Jetstream (0.7): Dark and consistent line. It feels smooth when writing, but there's this underlying "crunchy" feedback feeling that I'm not finding with other papers.Fisher Space Pen (0.7): Nothing special, but solid performance. Smoother (less crunch) than the Jetstream. Gel Results: Typically excellent, although the Sarasa was almost too much for it to handle. Uniball Signo 207 Ultra Micro (0.38): Typical performance. Very dark, which is nice. Super fine line. Gives some feedback from the paper's texture, but still very smooth.Pilot G2 (0.5): Perfect. Like there was any doubt.Zebra Sarasa (0.7): Not quite as sloppy as it is on most other papers. It gives a bit more control, although it was the only pen I used that bled through the paper (not really enough to notice, just a pinprick here and there). Feels slicky-smooth when writing. Does give a little bit of spread that you can see under a loupe. Liquid Ink Rollerball Results: For as much as I hate rollerballs, both of these pens yielded excellent results on the Fabriano paper. Pilot Precise V5 RT (0.5): Excellent performance. Very smooth. Crips, clean line with no spread or feathering.Uniball Vision Elite (0.8): Surprisingly solid. It actually resembles black ink on this paper. The line seems fine with the naked eye, but under a loupe, you can see a little spread and feathering. Fountain Pen Results: The fountain pen results are so mixed. On one hand, pen and ink performance were beautiful. Easily the best so far. But it comes at a price: dry times. It ain't good. (EF) Platinum Preppy with Noodlers Midnight Blue ink: Completely perfect. Up until the dry test. It smudged! I couldn't believe it. Surely not the EF Preppy!? Could this be true? It's true. No spread, feathering, or bleed. Minimal ghosting. Slightly scratchy with the paper texture.(F) Lamy Safari with Lamy Petrol ink: As close to perfect as it got. The Safari was my only fountain pen to pass the 10-second dry test, but it did show a tiny bit of spread under a loupe.(M) Platinum Cool with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo ink: Perfect up until...you guessed it...the dry test. Quite a bit of smearing. Even though this is a really wet medium nib, I could still feel the paper's texture as I wrote.(0.6) Nemosine Singularity with KWZ Standard Turquoise ink: Another perfect performance...right up until the dry test (it's like a trend or something). Although, this pen/ink combination wasn't that bad for drying time. Another couple seconds would have probably been enough. Gives a very crisp line with no feathering or spread.(1.1) Conklin Duragraph with Robert Oster Midnight Sapphire ink: This paper handled the sloppy, wet stub nib exceptionally well. There were a few random spots of spread, but not feathering and no bleed. Dry test? Failed miserably. Conclusion Fabriano obviously took the "bang for your buck" approach with these notebooks. They shaved off some expenses that you see in other brands, and in return you get really nice cover stock, 64 pages per book, and four books per pack. Plus, the paper is fountain pen friendly and half the sheets are perforated. They pack a lot into this little $10 product. The paper in these Fabriano EcoQua notebooks is probably the most fountain pen friendly paper I've seen in any pocket notebook that I've used so far. The downside to that is dry time. Of the five pens I tested, only the Fine Safari fully dried within 10 seconds. If a fast dry time is critical to your needs, either stick with dry pens or find another notebook. The only other potential downside (for some people) is the ghosting. The paper is relatively thin, so you can see most writing on the backside of the page. There's no bleedthrough at all (except for one or two pinpricks from my juicy 0.7mm Sarasa), but you can see where the writing is. I'd put it on par with Leuchtturm paper. If you're comfortable with the ghosting from a Leuchtturm notebook, then the EcoQua won't bother you. I consider the back side of the page completely usable, but others might find the ghosting too much. Bottom line: If fountain pen dry time is not a concern and you can handle the ghosting, you really can't beat these notebooks. You get a lot of high-quality paper for $10 (and I'm even seeing these go for under $9 in some places). But if you need a true grab-and-go EDC choice and you insist on using fountain pens, then I probably wouldn't recommend these for you.
  12. This is Part 6 of my Mega Monster Review series on Pocket Notebooks. Here's the review for the Scout Books pocket notebook along with a few pictures. Below are links to the full review, the main Mega Monster page, and the master spreadsheet (still very light as I ramp up on this project). As this is a work in progress that will likely take me a couple months to complete (I'm not that fast), I'd love any feedback you have that could help me make these reviews more useful. Thanks & enjoy! Full Review Mega Monster Review - Pocket NotebooksSpreadsheet of specs & results Introduction: This series is all about the collision between the Fountain Pen and EDC worlds, and finding the notebooks that are most appropriate for fountain pen users who want to write on the go. The perfect pocket notebook handles ink well, never feathers or spreads, showcases shading and sheen, dries immediately, and is durable. That notebook is hanging out in Imaginary Land with Sasquatch and Nessie. Generally speaking, "handles ink well" and "dries fast" don't go hand-in-hand. Most notebooks fall somewhere in between, leaving us to weigh which side of the spectrum is more important to us (and honestly, that probably changes, too, depending on the situation we're in at the time). About Scout Books: It took a while for me to get my hands on some Scout Books notebooks. I've seen the brand name a lot over the last few years when I search the Googles, but I've never run across them in any physical store or online shops I frequent. Typically, with pocket notebooks, I toss a pack or two in my cart when I'm buying other things. But with Scout Books, I had to intentionally go and find/buy them. Although Scout Books sell a few "stock" notebooks for retail (including occasional collaborations with artists), their bread and butter is in printing customized notebooks. They consider themselves a "tool for sharing your own story or brand through custom designs." You can see some pretty spectacular examples on their site. They also sell some with completely blank craft covers that you can customize yourself with markers, ink, paint, stickers, or whatever else you fancy. One of the hallmarks of the company is sustainability: Description: I have to admit, I went into this excursion somewhat skeptical that their recycled paper would work well with fountain pens. I've often found recycled paper to be porous and not very uniform, leading to some pretty brutal feathering and spread. But the paper used in Scout Books notebooks is pretty hearty and surprisingly kind to liquid inks, as long as they're not too wet. The paper they use feels thicker and stiffer than Clairefontaine, but not as thick (or as smooth) as the paper used in the Story Supply Pocket Staple Edition 407. In these reviews, I'm using three pens that seriously put paper to the test: Uniball Vision Elite 0.8 (a feather monster), Platinum Cool in medium (juuuuuuuuuicy), and the Conklin Duragraph with a 1.1mm stub (lays down a lot of ink). All three pens suffered some spread, yielding lumpy lines on the Scout Books paper, but honestly, they all performed better than I expected. I still wouldn't pair those pens up with this notebook (especially the Cool), but they didn't really make a mess, either. In addition to being recycled, the paper in the Scout Books notebooks doesn't appear to have any sizing/coating, so it's pretty absorbent. The downside to that is that fountain pen ink doesn't get much of a chance to show off it's goods. But this paper really shines on the other end of the spectrum: dry times. I had one tiny speck of wet ink from my Safari (fine), but everything else was completely dry within 10 seconds. A big win for those "write it and run" type of people. One surprise is that it shows a little shading.Shading typically gets lost with absorbent paper, but I got a bit from my Nemosine Singularity and KWZ Turquoise. It's not what you'd see from Tomoe River, but it was a nice surprise, nonetheless. In addition to shading, that last image also shows the bumpy/mushy spread from the Platinum Cool (top of the image). There's too much spread for me to use this pen with this paper, but feathering is minimal and the dry time is excellent. Specifications In typical pocket notebook fashion, Scout Books pocket notebooks are folded in half and staple-bound with rounded outside corners and hearty cardstock covers. The off-the-shelf offerings come in a few colors/patterns and you can get them in blank, ruled, or DotGrid versions. Typical pocket notebook size is 3.5 x 5.5 inches (9 by 14 cm). Scout Books pocket notebooks are a little shorter at 3.5 x 5.0 inches (9 x 12.7 cm). I'm not sure that makes any real difference in usage; however, if you're the type of person who hates it when a sliver of notebook peeks out of your shirt pocket, then this more compact size may be right up your alley. There is very little branding on these notebooks. In fact, the only branding on the outside covers is a tiny, nondescript logo on the bottom of the back cover, although you'll find another logo and a little more info inside the back cover. The one area where Scout Books pocket notebooks really fall short is in their number of pages. While most pocket notebooks include 48 pages, Scout Books only have 32. If you're looking at buying a three-pack, that works out to 48 fewer pages per pack than most of their competitors. If you're someone who blows through pocket notebooks fast, this is a significant difference. Pencil Results: Pencils work well on the Scout Books paper. The paper is a bit toothy, though, so the soft graphite in my Blackwing did wear down a little quicker than with smoother papers.Palomino Blackwing: Works just fine. As I just mentioned, the toothy paper wore down the graphite, making my lines a little fuzzy (you probably wouldn't notice if you have larger handwriting). The line is dark, though. Erasing took a few swipes to get going and some graphite was still left behind.Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil (0.5): Perfect. Nice and dark; slightly less so than the Blackwing. It's definitely a crisper line, though. The graphite erases faster and more fully with the Kuru Toga. Ballpoint Results: I often joke that ballpoint pens should be outlawed. But seriously, as unenjoyable as they are, they really do work just about everywhere. Can't argue with their success.Uniball Jetstream (0.7): Works great. Dark and consistent. No complaints.Fisher Space Pen (0.7): Surprisingly smoother than the Jetstream, but also a bit "sludgier" in that the pasty ink causes some drag on the paper. Works fine, if unremarkable. Gel Results: I expected the gel pens to perform perfectly. My expectations were largely met, although the wet-ass Sarasa caused some spread.Uniball Signo 207 Ultra Micro (0.38): Wonderful, as expected. Fine and consistent line. And for as fine as the line is, it comes out really dark, especially against the bright white paper.Pilot G2 (0.5): Solid. Very dark. I'm finding that some of my tighter loopy letters are filling in, which I haven't seen on other papers. Otherwise it's excellent.Zebra Sarasa (0.7): Does okay. Very dark black. I am seeing some spread, even without a loupe. But it is a super wet pen, so I'm not surprised. With a loupe, I can see a bit of short, blobby feathering. Liquid Ink Rollerball Results: I had super low hopes for how the rollerball pens would perform on this recycled paper, but they were better than I expected.Pilot Precise V5 RT (0.5): Very good. There's a minimal amount of spread and a few random feathers, but you have to look under a loupe to see them. Very smooth writing experience.Uniball Vision Elite (0.8): Not quite as good as the Precise, but still better than I expected. There's some spread and a bit of tiny feathering, but it performs about as well as the Sarasa gel. And although it's not as black as the Sarasa, it's still dries darker than it usually does. Fountain Pen Results: I really anticipated that this paper wouldn't like fountain pens. The paper is recycled and not coated. I was pretty surprised, though. Fine/dry pens worked well, and the dry times for all pens were beautiful.(EF) Platinum Preppy with Noodlers Midnight Blue ink: Lots of feedback on this paper. Although not consistently scratchy, the nib caught on the paper once or twice. With a loupe, I can see some very minor feathering around all my letters, and I can see some spread around the starting and stopping points of my lines. It's not enough to notice during normal reading, though. No bleed-through.(F) Lamy Safari with Lamy Petrol ink: Way smoother than the Preppy. Can still feel the texture of the paper, but it's negligible. Some spread is visible, along with a few tiny feathers. But again, it's better than I thought it would be. One or two specks still wet during the dry test.(M) Platinum Cool with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo ink: Quite a bit of spread and feathering. Strangely enough, though, it does retain a bit of shading...but just a bit. This is one of the wettest pens I have, and the dry test was flawless. Significant bleed-through to the other side of the paper.(0.6) Nemosine Singularity with KWZ Standard Turquoise ink: Tiny bit of spread that you can see with the naked eye, and a tiny amount of feathering. The ends of strokes are especially rough. Dry test was perfect and I even got some nice shading with this combo. Small amount of bleed-through, but nothing that would prevent you from using the other side of the paper.(1.1) Conklin Duragraph with Robert Oster Midnight Sapphire ink: Lots of noticeable spread, feathering, and bleed-through. There were a few random tendrils extending out from the letters, but you have to look hard to see them. There is some shading, but the edges of my letters are pretty mushy. Interestingly enough, the dry test was again perfect...a big surprise for as wet as this pen is. Conclusion As I was unwrapping these notebooks, I was pretty sure they wouldn't like my fountain pens. While liquid inks do creep a bit on this absorbent paper (especially with very wet pens), the dry times are fantastic. Even if you use a sloppy, wet stub nib, you can write and go without having to decipher a Rorschach Test the next time you open your notebook. If you mostly use fine/dry fountain pens and you need a durable notebook with fast dry times—or if you're in the market for custom notebooks made with your own designs—then you should definitely check out Scout Books.
  13. Catching up...This is Part 5 of my Mega Monster Review series on Pocket Notebooks. Here's the review for the Kokuyo A6 Systemic Refill notebook along with a few pictures. Below are links to the full review, the main Mega Monster page, and the master spreadsheet (still very light as I ramp up on this project). As this is a work in progress that will likely take me a couple months to complete (I'm not that fast), I'd love any feedback you have that could help me make these reviews more useful. Thanks & enjoy! Full Review Mega Monster Review - Pocket NotebooksSpreadsheet of specs & results Introduction: I know, I know. I've already heard from some of you that A6 shouldn't be considered a "pocket notebook." I have pretty average-sized pockets, and an A6 fits in almost all of them. The only ones it won't fit into are the shirt pockets with a built-in, stitched pen pocket...but Field Notes doesn't fit in there, either, so I say A6 is fair game. And that's a good thing, because this unassuming little notebook is quite the gem. About the Company: Kokuyo is a Japanese company on a mission "to enrich the world through our products. We are constantly looking for ways to make people more creative through careful observation of their lives and work." As such, they deal in two main types of products: stationery and office furniture. I can't attest to any of their furniture, but I've used several of their notebooks, and I've never been disappointed. Probably most well known for their Campus line of notebooks, Kokuyo got their start by supplying businesses with accounting ledgers, and moved into all sorts of other stationery and art supplies. Although headquartered in Osaka, Japan, they have operations in many other countries, such as China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and India (where they acquired the company Camlin in 2011). Description: This notebook is actually intended to be a refill for their Systemic line of notebook covers. They're kind of reminiscent of the Filofax system, where there are about a million inserts and items that you can put into it to customize your EDC experience. I've never used any of their Systemic covers, but there were two things that caught my eye on these refills: the price and the number of pages. Clocking in at a mere $2.35, this notebook is less than half the price of the industry-leading pocket notebooks ($12.95 for 3 = $4.32 each). Of course, these are regular production books and have no fancy design changes every quarter, so that helps keep manufacturing costs down. But the real kicker is that they cram 96 pages between the covers. That's twice as many as a standard pocket notebook. The Systemic refill cover doesn't sport any real design elements. The front and back covers are just plain black, although the company logo, model number, and UPC code appear on the back. It uses a really simple glue binding with a textured black tape around the spine. I've been bending this notebook all over the place to see if it would lay flat (it does) and then go back to sit closed (it sits open a little, but not as much as I expected). So far, the binding seems durable, with no pages separating from the glue and no cracking in the spine itself. The paper is a very light ivory color. Not dark enough to be considered cream, but definitely not white, either. Unfortunately, this refill notebook only comes in one configuration: black cover + lined ruling. I'm not a big fan of lined paper, but at least the rules reasonably spaced at 6mm and printed in a VERY fine and very light gray line, so they're fairly easy to ignore if you so desire. The top and bottom rules are darker and thicker than the rest, and they have these cool little spacers printed below them. They consist of alternating dots and vertical dashes and include a small triangle to indicate the centerpoint of the page. I guess these are intended to help keep consistent indentation, or even help in writing out tabular data. They're nice to have if you're looking for help with page structure, but easy to ignore if you don't need them. It's a nice touch. Now I know some of you will get heartburn over me calling an A6 notebook a "pocket notebook." But I have yet to find a garment that will accept a 3.5" x 5.5" notebook but not an A6. And although this notebook has 96 pages, it's not really that much thicker than a standard pocket notebook. And really, it's only like a half-inch wider and a quarter-inch taller, so it's not really that big a difference. The only point of contention for me is that the corners are all square. Rounded corners are better because they won't catch on the fabric. I'm sure if you put the Kokuyo Systemic refill in your pocket every day, the corners would undoubtedly get beat up. Pencil Results: Perhaps you prefer pencils to pens. Pencils perform perfectly on this paper. Probably not a peculiar proclamation, given the propensity for pencils to perform impeccably by putting down a plethora of prose and poetry on practically all pages of pulp. Palomino Blackwing: Creamy & Dreamy! The paper is really smooth, and the pencil tip stays relatively sharp while still putting down a dark and surprisingly crisp & consistent line. Erasing had a really stubborn start, but once it kicked in, a good amount of the pencil came away. And if I do say, writing on this paper with the Blackwing produced a lovely swishing sound that I found quite enjoyable.Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil (0.5): Precision writing going on with the Kuru Toga. The line is super fine and super crisp, although a little lighter than I'd like it to be (still plenty dark enough against the light ivory color of the paper, though). Erases nicely. Ballpoint Results: They pretty much work everywhere. Uniball Jetstream (0.7): Such a smooth writing experience. It's like writing on butter! The line comes out really thin on this paper, and the ink is nice and dark. Despite it being a ballpoint, the Jetstream gave a pleasurable writing experience.Fisher Space Pen (0.7): Also smooth, but gives bit of resistance on this paper. The line comes out very dark...actually looks like black on this paper, where it's usually more of a very dark gray. Gel Results: Much like ballpoints, gel pens tend to work spiffily on most papers. Uniball Signo 207 Ultra Micro (0.38): The ink comes out a little light, but it otherwise performs flawlessly. Very smooth, even with the Ultra Micro 0.38 mm tip on it.Pilot G2 (0.5): I don't even know what to write here. It's perfect, like it usually is. It puts down a dark and very crisp line. Excellent.Zebra Sarasa (0.7): The American version of the Sarasa is a pretty gushy 0.7 mm gel pen. Once in a while it gets pretty sloppy, but not on the Kokuyo paper. It's actually a really good match. Despite a tiny bit of spread that you can see under a loupe, the line remains relatively crisp. Liquid Ink Rollerball Results: The more I use rollerball pens, the less I like them. Had mixed results with these two pens on the Kokuyo paper. Pilot Precise V5 RT (0.5): Another winning combination. The V5 glides effortlessly across the paper and puts down a crisp and consistent line. It performs every bit as well as a gel pen. No spread or feathering at all, although it does lighten up a bit and looks dark gray instead of black.Uniball Vision Elite (0.8): I've come to the conclusion that the Vision Elite is just plain awful. It feathers everywhere. EVERYWHERE. No other pen feathered on the Kokuyo paper...but the Vision Elite did. Performance isn't horrific, but it's not great either. There's a fair amount of spread and feathering, and the ink dries to a flat, ugly gray. The pen is serviceable, but if you're annoyed by any amount of feathering, you'll probably want to avoid this pen & paper combo. Fountain Pen Results: Other than a not-so-great 10-second dry test, this paper works amazingly with fountain pens. I wasn't sure how good it would be at 70 gsm, but the paper must be coated/sized because it handles fountain pen inks beautifully, providing clean, crisp lines and excellent shading. (EF) Platinum Preppy with Noodlers Midnight Blue ink: Excellent. The EF nib will catch on rougher papers, but it's smooth as silk on the Kokuyo paper. There's zero spread or feathering. The ink does seem a little light on this paper compared to other papers I've used.(F) Lamy Safari with Lamy Petrol ink: Excellent writing experience. No trace of any feathering or spread. Super smooth. It's an excellent match for this paper. Almost passed the dry test, with just a tiny drop that didn't dry.(M) Platinum Cool with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo ink: I got amazing shading out of this combination. No feathering or spread with a super crisp line. Didn't do so hot in the 10-second dry test.(0.6) Nemosine Singularity with KWZ Standard Turquoise ink: The edges of the letters are so incredibly crisp: No spread or feathering at all. And this is another combo that produced some excellent shading. The dry test was actually pretty close, but still didn't completely dry.(1.1) Conklin Duragraph with Robert Oster Midnight Sapphire ink: Awesome shading! Wicked crisp lines, with absolutely no spread or feathering. Strangely enough, this combination sailed through the dry test (although my wife was asking me a bunch of questions, so I may have been distracted and let a few extra seconds slip by). Conclusion While this notebook was intended for use with a larger organizer system, it works beautifully as an EDC pocket notebook, too. It's got a whopping 96 pages of excellent, fountain pen-friendly paper, and it's way affordable. It only comes in ruled, and it only comes in one color: black. So it's not going to win any beauty contests. But it's not hideous, either, and there's a lot to love about it. Dry times are an issue, though. If you use fountain pens, and you often need to write something down quickly and Get out of Dodge, you might end up with some smeared ink where you expected to find notes. But if you can afford a few extra seconds to let the ink dry, the smoothness and shading are well worth it. Other than fairly slow dry times, every writing instrument I used was smooth on this paper. It seems to love just about every pen...even the Vision Elite somewhat behaved. And with fountain pens, I got all crisp edges and lots of gorgeous shading. I will say that at 70 gsm, the paper does allow a fair bit of ghosting with all the pens. But there was no bleed-through at all and the back side of the page was very usable with even the wettest pens.
  14. BlkWhiteFilmPix

    Crane Stationery

    The Boston Globe recently interviewed Crane & Co. creative director John Segal. http://postscript.crane.com/paper-habits-boston-globe/http://postscript.crane.com/paper-habits-boston-globe/ Reminds me of visiting my Uncle John's print shop as a kid. Happy reading and writing.
  15. Big thanks for everyone in this forum for their suggestions and ideas regarding my Mega Monster Pocket Notebook review. I've now published the first review for the Story Supply Co. Edition 407 Pocket Notebook. I've also built out a main Mega Monster review page to aggregate basic data from all the reviews in this series, and I've put together a spreadsheet that will contain all the specs and performance findings for all notebooks in this series. Of course, there's only one in there right now...I'll be fleshing that out as I publish the other reviews. Here's the review for the Edition 407 Pocket Notebook along with a few pictures. At the bottom are links to the full review, the main Mega Monster page, and the spreadsheet. As this is a work in progress that will likely take me a couple months to complete, I'd love any feedback you have. I want to make this whole thing as useful as possible, so your feedback is really important. Thanks & Enjoy! Story Supply Co – Edition 407 Pocket Notebook Story Supply Co. is a small stationery manufacturer in York, Pennsylvania, founded by Vito Grippi and Gabriel Dunmire. Initially they set out to develop a line of pocket notebooks that were fountain pen friendly and filled some gaps in the larger notebook market. But knowing that there were a million companies already making pocket notebooks, they knew that they needed to do something to really stand out. As their name implies, Story Supply Co. is centered around providing high-quality analog tools that inspire people to tell their stories. In addition to their desire to make great products, they actively seek to support sustainable manufacturing in the U.S. and building better communities through their Story Supply Kit program, where they partner with several non-profit organizations to distribute notebooks and writing instruments to kids in underserved communities with the goal of helping them improve their writing skills and find their voice. Every time you purchase a Story Supply Co. notebook, they provide a writing kit to these organizations. Pretty awesome. There are a few different versions of the Pocket Staple notebook. In this review, I'm taking a look at the Edition 407, which is an homage to the 407 backers that funded the Kickstarter campaign that essentially launched the company. Description: The Edition 407 is a standard "American Pocket" size (3.5" by 5.5") notebook, bound by a pair of staples, and sporting nicely rounded corners.The first thing you notice about the Edition 407 is the beautiful cover. It's a deep, dark cranberry color made from pretty stiff (100#) linen stock. It has that crosshatched pattern found on high-end linen papers that really lends a fair bit of class to the overall look. Beautifully embossed logos adorn both the front and back. Even before I open it, I get the feeling that I'm holding something of great quality. The paper, though, that's where this notebook really shines. It's filled with 48 pages (24 sheets) of smooth, 70# Cougar Natural (cream) paper. And when they say it's smooth, they mean it. Through a completely unscientific "drawing circles with my finger" exercise, the paper feels noticeably smoother than both Rhodia and Fabriano paper. It's downright silky. I thought this might be an indicator of slow dry times, but that's not the case. All of my fountain pens, including a super wet Platinum medium and a juicy 1.1 stub, passed the 10-second dry test with absolutely no smudging. A great feature I really like is that with a slight bit of bending backward, the notebook will lie mostly flat on a table. Thankfully, you don't have to wreck the spine or cover to do this. The Edition 407 only comes in 5mm Dot Grid ruling, although they do use the same paper in their regular edition, which comes in graph, lined, and blank. The dots are printed in a light gray that's perfectly visible, yet completely unobtrusive. Just looking at the page with the naked eye, the dots look like single dots. But if you look at them under a loupe, you'll see that each dot is actually a pattern of 12 microdots. I imagine this saves them a little bit in ink costs, but it also allows the dots to be really light on the page. Pencil Results: I've heard tell that really smooth paper isn't great for pencil. I always assumed those people smoked shrooms. This paper is wicked smooth, and both my test pencils performed quite well. So this notebook really didn't do anything to change my negative views of these vicious, shroom-smoking rumor-mongers.Palomino Blackwing: I'm not a woodcase pencil person because: sharpening. But damn, the Blackwing writes beautifully on this paper! The graphite goes down nice and dark, and the tip of the pencil feels silky smooth riding along the paper. It feels creamy. Seriously. Creamy. Pencil, by nature, is often toothy and sometimes downright gritty. Not this pencil on this paper, though. Seriously: it's creamy. The only problem with the Blackwing was that it didn't fully erase from the paper. Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil (0.5): Geez, the Blackwing puts the Kuru Toga to shame. The Kuru Toga isn't as dark and nowhere near as smooth as the Blackwing. It works perfectly fine, though. It put down a nice, fine line that's plenty dark enough to read. And the Kuru Toga almost completely erases off the Edition 407 paper. Ballpoint Results: Ballpoints are dirty things. I really find the ballpoint writing experience to be rather gross. You have to apply pressure for the pen to write, and the ink smells awful once it's on the page. I hope you appreciate the torture I'm putting myself through to bring you this information. The good thing about ballpoints, though, is that they pretty much write on any kind of paper.Uniball Jetstream (0.7): I actually don't hate this pen. It's the smoothest ballpoint I've used, and it puts down a nice, dark line. It works exceptionally well with this notebook. Fisher Space Pen (0.7): This pressurized ballpoint pen is designed to write on any kind of paper, in any gravity, even under water. So I can't say that I'm surprised it worked well on this paper. It's not as smooth as the Jetstream. It feels like the paper grabs the tip of the pen a bit. But the line is fairly consistent and trouble-free. Gel Results: I chose three gel pens for these tests because I wanted to include a super-fine point (0.38 in this instance) and the super wet Sarasa.Uniball Signo 207 Ultra Micro (0.38): This is my go-to pen at work when I'm not using a fountain pen. It's not the smoothest experience on this paper...it seems to have a little of the "grab" that I mentioned with the Fisher Space Pen. But the line is absolutely perfect. Pilot G2 (0.5): Probably the second most popular pen in the word after the Bic Crystal. On the Edition 407 paper, the line is perfectly dark, perfectly crisp, and perfectly consistent. Zebra Sarasa (0.7): These pens are gushers, and really put paper to the test. Extremely smooth to write with and only gives minimal ghosting. In fact, not counting the fountain pens, the Sarasa is easily the wettest pen I used...and the ghosting was less than either rollerball. It did did produce some of the blobby-style feathering (vs. the thin tendrils usually seen), but you've got to look at is under a loupe to see it. Liquid Ink Rollerball Results: Whenever I look at a rollerball pen, I can't help but wonder why they hell they even exist. I know some people love them, but I seriously can't understand why. I've never had a good experience with one. Not on any kind of paper. The best I can say about these pens on the Edition 407 paper is that they're "serviceable." They work.Pilot Precise V5 RT (0.5): Far and away the better of the two rollerballs. The line it puts down is mostly clean, although it did spread a tiny bit for me. Very light ghosting, although not enough to prevent me from using the back side of the page. The Precise V5 also experienced some of the resistance/grabbiness that the Fisher Space Pen did. If you're a fan of this pen, it definitely works well with this paper. Uniball Vision Elite (0.8): Big mushy mess, this one is. I'm biased though...I freaking hate this pen. It did spread a little, and it did feather a little. And this ink is NOT coming out black: it's gray. Still very dark, but not what I'd want from a black pen. Little bit of ghosting, but nothing obtrusive. I will say that the Vision Elite does give a glassy-smooth writing experience. It's a little weird feeling...almost a little greasy...but super smooth. Fountain Pen Results: Okay, here's what you've all been waiting for. We all know that ballpoints and gel inks will be fine. But what about our beloved fountain pens? Read on!(EF) Platinum Preppy with Noodlers Midnight Blue ink: Absolutely perfect performance. No skipping or weird behavior, and the EF nib just glides over the paper. It takes about 3 or 4 seconds for the ink to completely dry. (F) Lamy Safari with Lamy Petrol ink: Another outstanding performer on this paper. Very smooth writing experience with perfect ink flow. Takes about 5 seconds for the ink to completely dry. (M) Platinum Cool with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo ink: The Cool is a really wet medium. I noticed a little bit of spread and feathering on the Edition 407 paper, but it's pretty minor and is really only noticeable through a loupe. Dry time is about 6 or 7 seconds. (0.6) Nemosine Singularity with KWZ Standard Turquoise ink: Tiny bit of feathering, but again, you have to look under a loupe to see it. There's no ghosting at all from this pen, which surprised me. (1.1) Conklin Duragraph with Robert Oster Midnight Sapphire ink: The good news is that the paper shows off the ink's lovely shading quite well. Unfortunately, the broad, wet nib did produce some noticeable spread and feathering. It's not terrible, though. You can still use the back side of the page, as only a few small spots of bleed made it through. Conclusion This is one phenomenal little notebook. It looks great, feels great, and handles pretty much everything. Fountain pen performance is outstanding, although I'd recommend not using extra wet pens if you want to comfortably use both sides of the paper (or if things like minor smudging and spread give you nightmares). I love how smooth the paper is and how fast ink dries on it. You don't find both of those things together very often.And in addition to the Pocket Staple Edition 407 being a great notebook, I really like what the company stands for. I like knowing that by buying these notebooks, I'm supporting several small businesses and helping put writing supplies in the hands of kids that might not otherwise get the opportunity. Links Full ReviewMega Monster Review - Pocket NotebooksSpreadsheet of specs & results Again, keep in mind the main page and spreadsheet are pretty empty now, and will be fleshed out over the next several weeks.
  16. According to this article, Southworth closed its paper mill. http://www.masslive.com/business-news/index.ssf/2017/08/southworth_paper_closing_leaves_gap_for.html The company's website is still active, mentioning they are part of Neenah Paper. The brand and its paper, which is fountain pen friendly, may soldier on.
  17. BlkWhiteFilmPix

    World Letter Writing Day

    Bonjour - Barb Marshall of WriteWhileUCan posted that September 1 is World Letter Writing Day. The founder would like to receive letters from different countries. http://www.ritewhileucan.com/september-1st-world-letter-writing-day/ Merci, et bon journée!
  18. Last week the Boston Globe published an interview with Crane & Co. creative director John Segal, who mentions a 30 year old Montblanc pen his father gave him. http://postscript.crane.com/paper-habits-boston-globe/ Happy reading, and may this inspire ...
  19. I found this sparkle paper on (Who'd have guessed?) a site that sells electronic parts overstocks. The paper is difficult to photograph. To the eye, it looks like silver glitter. To the camera it shows reflected light in several colors. All the photos are of the same sheet of paper. The paper is 22 or 24 pound. I use it when making greeting cards, but it takes fountain pen inks, too. YMMV. http://www.allelectronics.com/item/spp-1/sparkle-paper-8.5-x-11/1.html
  20. My first post in the forum after consulting the posts here (redirected from Google search) a number of times. I have always wanted to write using a nice fountain pen because my deceased father was a secretary for an admiral in the navy, and he has admirable script handwritings. I had no luck in fountain pens because all those I tried were all too scratchy - either kind of clogged or with ink that are too dry. Things have started to change when I am in Germany: even the small book stores or stationeries stores will have some nice notebooks and fountain pens (e.g. those approachable LAMY models) and they actually write, and quite smoothly indeed! I start to have hope in getting my first fountain pen - those that don't use cartilage, to try to write more beautifully and perhaps even to start learning calligraphy! And most importantly learn to enjoy writing in pen and paper and ink more. There is a post about some of the more chic stationery stores in Berlin, probably not the most up-to-date but will still apply: Top 6 Stationery Stores in Berlin Hope to write more in ink! M
  21. Hello all, I often print postage labels for small packages from the US Postal Service website and as I was perusing the area where you can purchase stamps, I came upon this very nice-looking souvenir sheet called "Classics Forever". It's a sheet of six stamps commemorating US postage and "in appreciation of stamp collectors and philatelists everywhere". They feature Washington, Franklin and Lincoln in various styles as based on postage from the mid-19th century. They are very handsome stamps. The mediocre cellphone pics just don't do them justice. What really strikes me is that they are printed with the intaglio method as with the originals (and as with paper currency). It's a method not often used with your regular run-of-the-press stamps: a metal plate is engraved with an image. It is inked up and then wiped clean. This leaves ink only inside the grooves of the line. Paper is then pressed hard against the plate and the ink from the grooves is transferred to it. The method produces a fine line and a slightly textured surface as with freshly printed money. The overall effect is elegant. Artistic. They make your letters look particularly classy and old-timey. (Especially when used on C6 envelopes like those made by Clairefontaine.) You can just about see the raised surfaces on the stamps as the light reflects off of it in the following detail. Interestingly, in the last picture, you can see further evidence of the intaglio method as one peels off the stamps to see the underlying backing. It seems that the whole sheet - stamps, backing and all - were printed in this manner as reflected light reveals the embossed effect. Despite their premium look and feel, and worthiness of discerning collectors (IMHO), these six stamps are priced at the going rate (US$ 0.49 each as I write this). They are "forever" stamps and can be used as 1st-class postage despite any future fluctuations in rates. One does have to order it from the website and pay for delivery, however. It doesn't seem to be available at Post Offices, very unfortunately. Was this topic the first ever stamp review on the FPN? Regards, Rich I have no affiliation with the USPS. I have purchased these stamps as would have anyone else. (In fact, I bought two sheets: one to use and one to just keep wrapped up and perhaps frame one day!) Neither was I compensated in any way.
  22. We just got these new paper clips that are shaped like a fountain pen nib! https://www.penchalet.com/pen_accessories/pen_parts_accessories/samson_graf_fountain_pen_nib_paper_clips.html
  23. Hi all. So, despite my insistence at the start of every year that my students produce their work on FP-friendly paper, many of them use some pretty horrific stuff - it's invariably grey, opaque and sponge-like. I will not mark in ballpoint as it cripples my hand, so I've spent ages trying to get the perfect combination and I reckon I've found it: Pilot Plumix with standard Pilot/Namiki red cartridges. I'm not fan of cartridges at all, but these are cheap and Pilot ink is pricey in the UK. Surprisingly, the next best combination is my Platinum #3776 Century (broad nib) and Platinum Carbon Black - that ink just STAYS. I'm a bit scared to use it in anything else though! What about you?
  24. Hi all, My partner's office just had a major clearout, and he's brought home about 20 desk blotters (with blotting paper attached) Anyone who wants one, for the price of postage (about £3.00 but I need to measure & weigh to be sure) is welcome to one - just drop me a PM. They're about 16" x 10" or thereabouts, half are black, half are dark green.
  25. Just wanted to share an excellent customer-service experience I had with Baron Fig. I ordered a limited-edition journal and some pocket notebooks. Everything arrived quickly and well-packaged, but the journal had dot-grid paper rather than the blank paper I ordered. I sent an e-mail from the company's website about the issue, and they e-mailed back right away, apologizing, telling me to keep the wrong journal and saying they would send a replacement by priority mail. Two days later, a package arrived with the correct journal, some extra pocket notebooks and a handwritten note of apology. Mistakes happen, of course, but Baron Fig went above and beyond the call of duty to make everything right. No affiliation to Baron Fig, just a very happy first-time customer.

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