Sunday, December 3, 2017

Why Choose a Fountain Pen?

I have been seeing articles more and more lately concerning the rise in fountain pen sales both here in the United States and Internationally. This got me to remember a blog post I did early on called Why Fountain Pens? but what about from a different point of view? I put out a call to some of my fountain pen friends and one has responded and given me permission to use. Here is why my friend Chris loves fountain pens and chooses them over other instruments of writing.

"I considered myself a bit of a pen snob; my father had a good taste for nice ballpoint (and later gel) pens which I inherited (and would often "steal" his pens when able). I remember specifically mentioning being a bit of a pen snob to a co-worker a few years back, and it wasn't but a month or so later and he shows me a fountain pen. I was immediately enamored! I ordered one of my own at his suggestion, and once it arrived I was struck by how much joy it brought back to writing. I've even begun practicing calligraphy.

I've noticed a few benefits for myself by writing. First it's a stress-reliever. My mind is always going, and writing down my thoughts helps calm my mind down. Second I have experienced mental benefits in regards to thinking (forcing you to contemplate things as you write them), and to hand and eye coordination. In fact, I'd highly recommend public schools bring back handwriting to students.

Thanks to being introduced to fountain pens I now write almost daily, and don't even think about using a computer for taking notes. My handwriting has also dramatically improved, to the point where it's a little weird getting compliments on it as a dude. I also like the idea of using permanent inks on high quality paper. The idea of having your words continue on, short of fire or extreme water damage, is pretty neat. Handing your words down to the next generation, old school style."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Crossfield A5 Notebook

Every now and then, I come across something new to me and this is one of those events. A friend of mine showed me their Crossfield notebook and I loved it. What did I do? Yep, I ordered one.





The Crossfield is obtained from Nanami Paper, which is a company located in California specializing in fine Japanese stationery. They have a wide selection of products but this notebook really caught my eye. 




It comes in this protective sleeve, which is a nice touch, and it adds a bit of class. I guess I am a sucker for nice packaging. 

The notebook itself, is more of a burgundy and the cover is semi-flexible coated fabric cover. The cover, binding and back cover are all the same color and material. That is my only complaint on this notebook. Until you open it, you are not quite sure if it is backwards or not. There is no indication on which is front or back.


The binding is stitched and the book does lie flat easily, which is great for an added writing experience.



The corners of the book are cut at an angle, much like the Franklin Christoph Firma Flex but is more gradual and not as drastic.

 
 The paper on this notebook is white Tomoe River at 52gsm and is in a grid layout. There is a bow in the upper right corner of each page and four rectangles at the bottom of each page which ultimately allows the user to use this notebook for a multitude of formats.



As with Tomoe River paper, it is super fountain pen friendly. Since the paper is the white version, there is more ghosting on the back of the page than the cream color but it still is not much, in my opinion.
 





This notebook has 480 pages of Tomoe River paper and the grid is 5mm. It is a great value for $24.00 + shipping, in my opinion. It is a quality book, with a huge amount of paper and it even ships with a full A5 sized sheet of blotting paper too!


This review is based off of my experience and opinion. I do not represent Nanami Paper nor am I being compensated in any way.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Papier Plume Samhain Limited Edition FPD Ink

Halloween has come and gone this year as well as Fountain Pen Day (FPD). My only purchase on FPD were a couple of inks from Papier Plume as one of these inks was a special limited edition for FPD inspired by Halloween. Samhain is a Gaelic festival that celebrates the harvest season and the moving into winter and is the inspiration for Halloween.


Papier Plume made this ink in a very limited quantity and they were going to be hand-outs to the participants at a get together for FPD. After an inquiry, I learned they would put about 30ish bottles on the website at noon that day so I was diligent and was able to get a bottle ordered.






The photo on the website showed a dark, murky purple ink and it looked amazing and so appropriate for Samhain, which is what the ink is called. When I received the ink, I was super disappointed as it was more of a greyish, faded purple than anything.



I then visited the Papier Plume website again to see if I was hallucinating the ink color and then I read the description. “It has great shading qualities going from a thin purple (the thinning of the veil) to a dark purple (the longer nights).  We've found best results in a wetter nib, or even some sort of flex nib.” Well crap!



I then swabbed the ink with a small paint brush and I was able to see more purple but it is still more muted and I also compared it to Bayou Nightfall which is also a greyish green color.




The only time I was able to get a darker purple out of this was when I had to prime the piston on a Twsbi Diamond 580 and 2 large drops of ink came out. Yes, the ink does seem a tad on the drier side.




I will say that the ink shades quite nicely and does have some saturation visible on certain papers. It is a decent ink but it was not what I was expecting and I am very disappointed. At this point, I doubt I will keep it. 

This is based off of my experience and my opinion. I do not represent Papier Plume nor am I being compensated in any way.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Franklin-Christoph Firma-Flex Journal Notebook A5

All of my faithful readers know I have really taken to the pens made by Franklin-Christoph but what about the notebooks? Well, I purchased one of them at the Dallas Pen Show and it is a wonderful notebook, plain and simple.





This is the A5 sized journal notebook which is always the size I prefer and it is in the graph format on the page. It has a very elegant and classy look and it is stitched together which adds to the entire quality of the book itself. I also love the celtic knot with the 4 diamonds debossed on the cover.


 The book is sturdy like a hardcover but is still semi-flexible, which  is a nice feature. The binding, much like the cover, is sewn and not glued so this book does lie flat for convenience and overall writing access. I also like the angle cut corners as it is a nice touch.






How is the paper though? That is a great question. The paper is quite smooth but with a very small hint of feedback. There are 96 sheets here for a total of 192 pages. The paper is pH neutral and it is also acid free but the most interesting aspect of the paper is that it is made from sugar cane extract. Franklin-Christoph has a secret paper formula and that is all I know about the intricacies here. What I can say is the paper does not feather, bleed or spread with ink and I tried a wide assortment of inks and nib widths here.






This paper also shows off nice shading in an ink as well as sheen.

It is another fine quality product from Franklin-Christoph and I will definitely be purchasing more as I fill up this one. A true pleasure to write in.

This is based off my experiences and opinion. I do not represent Franklin-Christoph nor am I being compensated in any way.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fountain Pen Day 2017

It is Fountain Pen Day! 

This is a day for all fountain pen enthusiasts to celebrate their passion and it is a great time to help enlighten others to the joys of fountain pens. To celebrate, there is not a special activity that is required other than enjoy writing. That is it.



I was sitting and thinking about some ideas for celebrating this day and here are a few:

  1. Put the computer away, get some paper and your favorite fountain pen and write a letter. It could be to a parent, family member, dear friend, anyone.
  2. November is NANoWriMo so if you are an aspiring writer, grab a pen and start that novel.
  3. Gift a pen and ink combo to a friend that would appreciate the gesture and would like to try a fountain pen but may not know where to start.
  4. Draw. There is no reason you cannot use a fountain pen for the expression of self through art.
  5. Try to take notes with a pen and paper rather than a laptop or tablet

The theme here is write, it is that simple. 

There are also many wonderful giveaways or discounts from fountain pen vendors all over the world. This could be your lucky day!

Fountain Pen Day happens once a year on the first Friday of November. It is a great time to promote fountain pen use and a great excuse to go a tad silly with your love of pens. 

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Montblanc Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Limited Edition Ink

I have often been perplexed by ink colors named after famous figures from history. Why is DeAtramentis Edgar Allen Poe a green color is one of those questions that gives me a headache. I could name others but it is what it is. When this Antoine de Saint-Exupéry limited edition ink was released by Montblanc, I was intrigued but all of the ink swatches online did nothing for me. A friend of mine has this ink and allowed me a sample and that is when I wanted to know more as I liked it.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a French writer and pioneering aviator. It appears he is most notably known for his novella The Little Prince. What I did not know what that Antoine was pilot, namely commercially before WWII and then was a pilot in the war flying reconnaissance missions. He flew for the French before the German armistice in 1940 and then again for the Free French Air Force in North Africa until 1944 when he was shot down around the Mediterranean.

I do love a good story when it comes to ink but how does this rich burgundy color relate to this famous person? According to Montblanc, the color is inspired by the color of the desert at sunset. Oddly Montblanc terms this color a dark saffron which is more crimson to me and this looks like a dark burgundy.


It has some sheen when there is a substantial amount of ink deposited on the paper but all in all it is a nicely saturated ink but it is not crimson.



It flows nicely, as do most Montblanc inks that I have tried and it behaves well. I tried it on Midori MD paper, Clairefontaine, Rhodia, Tomoe River, Leuchtturm, Franklin-Christoph and 100g Col-O-Ring paper without bleed, feather or spread issues. 

The color is similar to some other burgundy colors but definitely has more blue in it, compared to the others, for a more purple-like base. 


Out of these four inks, the Noodlers American Aristocracy was the closest candidate, well this bottle anyways. Sailor Oku-Yama is a beautiful burgundy but the sheen took over here. 

I really love the color and I find the story behind it or more the inspiration behind it quite interesting. I believe I need to buy a bottle here as I do not have a burgundy quite like it. I may have an ink problem....but ...but...I can quit whenever I want!

This is based off of my experience and opinion. I do not represent Montblanc nor am I being compensated in any way.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis - Solid Ice

I guess it is safe to say that I really love Franklin-Christoph's products. The 66 Solid Ice is my third F-C pen and that goes along with my F-C inks and journal. This review will also showcase some customer service points as I had a goofy cap. Let's take a peek.


This is the 66 Stabilis fountain pen in the Solid Ice finish. A very attractive pen and I had to jump on this pen when I saw this finish was available. The Italian Ice and Antique Glass finishes are special and have waiting lists for them but this one works for me.

After unboxing this pen, as seen above, I noticed that the cap was goofy. It was very frosted and was more so on the threads then elsewhere as well as some areas in the cap that did not have the frost.






I emailed this picture to Franklin-Christoph wondering if this was normal for this finish and the response I received was a resounding no. Now customer service can make or break a company, regardless of the business you are in. The service experience I went through with Franklin-Christoph was exceptional here. The email response was within 10 minutes of my sending and they offered to send me a new cap. All I had to do was send the wonky cap back upon receipt of the new one. This may not sound like much but what I greatly love here is that I did not have to send the entire pen back for the exchange to happen which seems to be the norm elsewhere. Phenomenal. Oh and when I received the new cap, the box already has a USPS Priority shipping label on it so I do not have to pay for shipping. Great service here Mandy and Franklin-Christoph!


Loving the new cap!




The pen itself is their longest pen and for someone with larger hands, this is perfect. It feels well balanced, has a nice weight and writes like a champ. The pen itself does not have a clip but the pen body has a nice flat area on one side that keeps it in place and at rest on a desk with the pen model listed in it.


I decided to eyedropper this pen since it is clear and I personally dislike seeing a converter in a clear pen. I put some silicone grease on the section threads and filled it with Franklin-Christoph Terra Firma initially but then moved to Franklin-Christoph Loden as I believe it looks so much better in this pen.






The nib I went with was a steel broad and oh man is this nib wet, juicy and super smooth. It has a generous flow but not excessively so and it is legible in normal writing.



I have nothing but praise for this pen and this company. High quality products, great customer service and one happy customer. I have three F-C pens at the moment, but I will continue to buy more from Franklin-Christoph in the future.



This review is based off of my experience and opinion. I do not represent Franklin-Christoph nor am I being compensated in any way.