Sunday, March 24, 2019

Kunisawa Notebooks

I received a shipment from Kunisawa in Japan that contained several notebook samples to try and review. It was a very generous shipment and I did not expect to receive so many but it has been a lot of fun using these. I was also sent a prototype sample that contains some new paper. How are they with fountain pens? Let me show you.

I was blown away by the generosity here. I was sent 5 notebooks, a catalog of all their products and a small desk calendar. 

Here is what was sent.

This is the Find Slim Note with the Midnight Blue cover. It is A5 sized and has 40 pages with a 5mm grid. The cover is stiff but semi-flexible and has a nice tactile feel. 

Here is the Find Note Hard with a Grey colored cover. This is also A5 sized with 192 pages with a 5mm grid. Much like the Slim Note, the cover is stiff but semi-flexible and has a nice tactile feel. 

This is the Find Ring Note with a Grey colored cover. A5 sized notebook with 80 pages and a 5mm grid. The cover is more of a cardstock and is ring bound rather than sewn for the binding.

This is the Find Note Soft with a Grey colored cover. This is measured at 120x210mm, has 192 pages and has a 5mm grid. Definitely a more flexible cover compared to the other notebooks. 

This is the notebook prototype that contains the new paper formulation. 

The Find Note Slim and the Find Note Hard have a copper gilding to the edges, which adds a classy feel to the notebooks.

So What do I think? These notebooks are made quite well. The bindings are sewn, the paper feels nice and the books themselves look professional with a touch of class. I am really enjoying using these. 

The paper is overall fountain pen friendly but there are some caveats. I tried to test the papers with a varied vendor selection of inks and my preferred nib width on pens is broad. Most inks were fine and behaved well. There are some inks that did not behave the best but I have had issues with these on other papers as well. 

There is some ghosting but the bleed through was from Papier Plume ink. I have seen feathering and bleed with Papier Plume in the past with other paper so I am not concerned and I love Papier Plume inks. I also noticed that heavily saturated inks tend to feather a bit as well here. 

Overall, the paper behaves quite well. 

So I tried the new prototype paper with the same inks and there is a noticeable improvement. 

The new paper has a heavier feel and is smoother to the touch. As you can see, there is less ghosting and the bleed is almost nil. The prototype is blank but I would expect that when this paper is fully tested and rolled out, the standard ruling will be used on the paper. 

I have been using these notebooks now for approx 30 days and I love them, I really do. These are well made and the majority of ink that I own behaves quite well in these notebooks. I use them daily for both work and personal use and I will be purchasing this brand of notebooks for years to come.

Give them a try, I doubt you will be disappointed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Handwriting with Fountain Pens

It is a new year and I need to approach it in that manner. 2018 was very difficult for my family and I will admit that this blog had to take a backseat. January 2019 is nearly over and I need to get back to making regular content.

There is a topic that I hear come up quite often. Does writing with a fountain pen improve your handwriting? Well, does it? I have found that this is not a yes or no answer and it really depends on your perspective and point of view.

I have been using fountain pens for over 5 years now and I have noticed an improvement in my writing but I didn't realize how much it has improved until I found my very first journal written with a fountain pen. Wow! what a difference a few years can make. Was it because of the use of a fountain pen?

Yes and no is my best answer. I used to only hand write things when I felt I needed to as ball point pens were not fun to use. I would hurry and rush whatever I was writing to really get the experience over with and write what needed written. 

Fountain pens, for me, really changed my thought process and right from the beginning. The effortless writing experience was just what I was looking for and it spoke to me. Obviously I was hooked and I fell down the rabbit hole here. My writing looks so much better but was it really because of the pen? Well, it is more the experience of the pen that made me write more often as it was more pleasurable to do. Practice is truly what improved my handwriting but the inspiration was due to the love I had for the writing experience that a fountain pen afforded me. 

It is truly amazing what regular practice can do and what rewards come from the diligence. My handwriting is nothing to write home about but the difference between the two scripts here is staggering and really looks like it is the result of two completely different people. Amazing.

Keep writing, keep practicing and keep enjoying the process that a fountain pen affords you. Handwriting is truly a lost art and is often referred to as a hobby, which is sad in its own right but your practicing will inspire others through your efforts. My script gets complimented from time to time and usually I see those individuals writing more, later on. That is a great inspiration there. Keep writing!

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Ohio Pen Show 2018

The 24th Annual Ohio Pen Show was this past weekend (Nov 1 - 4) and it was the first time I had attended this show as it is a 10 hour drive for me. I decided to suck it up and make the show this year and I was not disappointed. If you have never attended a pen show before, here are some reasons to go.

You can try products before you buy them to make sure it is really what you are wanting, since that cannot be done online. You can interact with the vendors and most importantly, the pen community itself. I believe the people you meet at a show are the best part of a pen show. The pen community is truly amazing.

@Allthehobbies and Pen Pal Amy

I arrived at the hotel on Thursday night, November 1, and it was late. I immediately ran into Ralph Reyes and he gave me a hug as he remembered me from the Chicago show. I found some dinner and called it a day.

Ralph Reyes

Friday was when the show opened to the public and I was excited. What would I find that needed to be brought home? Who would I see? Who would I meet?

I met a pen pal in person and it made my day. It is always nice to put a face with a name. Thanks Amy! I then made the rounds and immediately found my first purchase of the day as the deal was too good to pass on. I found a Pelikan M815 LE Metal Stripe at a phenomenal price. Bam! mine!

Anderson Pens is always a stop for me as they have a great selection and Lisa Anderson cracks me up. Brian is nice too but Lisa is a riot and so fun to be around. Here I fell victim to the Anderson's selection and bought the new Esterbrook Estie.

Lisa Anderson

After some lunch, I made it to the large ballroom and began browsing. So much selection here and many familiar faces. I was able to meet @Allthehobbies and @Penguintreats as well as Richard Binder. Jerry with Laban, The legendary Wahl-nut and many others. Here I purchased a Laban pen that really caught my eye and had to pull the trigger. I actually didn't make any other purchases this day. After the show, there was a pizza party and I was able to meet some members of the Ohio Pen Club and made some new friends.

Cary with Fountain Pen Day and Kenro

Darla with Private Reserve

Federalist Pens

Hall View

Edison Pen Co

Large Ballroom

Nibsmith Table

Saturday started with a bang! I had been pondering this purchase all evening and decided to pull the trigger. I went up to Syd Saperstein, The Wahl-Nut, and purchased the Wahl Eversharp Decoband with the Gatsby design. My mother was a skilled quilter and all of her designs were so symmetrical and geometric that the pen reminded me of her.

The Wahl-nut

Then I ran into Ryan Krusac's table and had to buy another scrimshaw pen. This one is a Legend 15 with a Dragon etched onto the moose antler barrel. His skills are truly amazing and he makes such a quality product. I was also able to meet Jake Weidemann and see their artist proof for their pen collaboration. It is stunning.

Ryan Krusac

Well, what do pens need? Yep, ink. So after some pondering and browsing I purchased some ink from Anderson Pens, Lemur Ink, Papier Plume and Opus. My wallet was on fire at this point.

Patrick with Papier Plume

Laura with the Chicago Pen Show

At 12:30p, we had a meet-up in the lobby for members of a facebook pen pal group to meet. Several showed up and we went to a local deli and had a lunch filled with stories, laughs and of course, pen fondling.

Friendly Meet-Up

The days were packed with activity and everyone was just so friendly and energetic. I had a great time but sadly had to make the 10 hour journey back home on Sunday so i wasn't out too late.

I loved the Ohio Pen Show and I believe I will go again next year.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Ryan Krusac Legend 16 Scrimshaw Pen

I had an opportunity to meet this family at the Chicago Pen Show this year. Ryan's pens are simply elegant and very well constructed. What strikes me about his pens are the interesting and unique materials used for the pens. I purchased this particular pen during the Krusac Home Pen Show they held when they were unable to make the San Francisco show. This Scimshaw is spectacular.

Scrimshaw is the term given to scrollwork, engravings and carvings done in bone or ivory. The body of this pen is Moose Antler with an engraving done with laser depicting Poseidon fighting the Kraken. The image is hard to photograph so I asked Ryan Krusac for a copy of the image file.

 The pen is a large pen, which is perfect for my hands and it has some heft. The Legend 16 moniker refers to the circumference of the pen which is 16mm. The cap is E. Indian Rosewood, if I remember correctly. It is simply gorgeous and is a numbered edition of #14/150.

 The nib is a Jowo #6 steel broad nib. In true Jowo fashion, it is a super smooth writer and has a great flow to it. 

 I would also like to mention the wonderful customer service I experienced with the ordering of this pen. I ordered this pen on a Saturday and received a call from Julia Krusac on Monday. The pen on the website was listed as #13/150 and the actual pen was #14/150 so she was asking if I still wanted the pen. That is great attention to detail and I love that they called to ask. Also, they were out of broad nibs and had placed a rush order of them so my pen wouldn't ship until Thursday of that week. Once again, all of this was fine by me but the extra attention to detail and customer focus really resonated with me. I am a very happy customer. 

 All in all, this pen is a masterpiece. It is simply gorgeous and writes like a dream. It is also a conversation starter. Ryan Krusac is a true artisan and has a tremendous family. I am hoping to see them at the Ohio Pen Show and will more than likely be making a purchase then too. I am a customer for life.

This review is based off of my personal experiences and opinion. I do not represent Ryan Krusac nor am I being compensated in any way.