Sunday, December 25, 2016

Northbound Notebook Review

I came across this notebook company earlier this month and really liked what I saw. Today I opened a present for Christmas and there was a Northbound Notebook for me to use. So allow me to share what I think about this new notebook.

Northbound Notebooks is based out of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. They have a simple business model and philosophy of using quality products from local sources and making the products by hand.  This notebook uses buffalo leather and it is hand cut and assembled.

What I really like is how a little bit of the profit from each notebook goes into a payout pool and the payout goes to someone that has a passion for creating, like an artist or artisan. I love how this company retains their roots and is wanting to help out others that share a creative passion.

On the website and with the notebook itself, Han Solo is mentioned and I am a huge Star Wars geek (I am wearing stormtrooper socks right now). Embracing the inner geek is always a plus with me.

This notebook is using brown buffalo leather in A5 size. The binding is rather unique here as it is refillable through the use of screws. How simple and smart is that idea? This is a refillable notebook and the user gets to decide how much paper to place inside.

The paper is A5 and is 80# and 100% recycled. Due to the weight of the paper here, it should be fountain pen friendly and it is. I used a variety of nib sizes and inks on the paper and this paper took it like a champ. There was a slight bleed through in 2 spots from very broad nibs and Diamine Deep Dark inks. These spots are very small and barely show through. I take that as a success.

Overall, I really like the design of this notebook. I like that it is refillable, sturdy and well made. I also like how flexible it is to help facilitate different writing situations and needs. That front cover can easily fold back and add some support to the writing surface, if need be. I really like the versatility here.

I love the notebook and I cannot wait to use it everyday. Today was a great day of testing this book out and I look forward to using it on a daily basis. A great gift to receive and I highly recommend this notebook to you. It is classy yet extremely functional plus you are helping out your fellow humans. I will definitely be purchasing more in the future.

This review is based off of my experiences and opinions. I do not represent Northbound Notebooks in any way nor am I being compensated.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pelikan Souveran M800 Fountain Pen Review

The grail has landed! This pen has been my grail pen for a good long time and I was finally able to make it happen. Was the wait worth it, oh yes!

There are times we place something up on a pedestal and when we finally are able to get that special something in our grasp, well, it did not live up to our expectations. That is not the case here. This Pelikan lived up to my expectations and surpassed them actually. I have always heard Pelikan placed into such high praise and regard. Now I understand why.

Green has always been a favorite color of mine and I do love how well green looks next to black. The body material on the barrel is transparent between the green lines so you can somewhat see the piston mechanism and ink inside. This is also the smoothest piston mechanism I have ever used.

The M800 is a good size pen which is wonderful for large handed people. The M800 is the first model in the Souveran line to have a metal based body which adds some nice weight to the entire pen, which I also prefer. The pen is classic in form and the overall look of the pen is very elegant. It is quite nice to actually see the iconic pelican billed clip in person as well as the Pelikan logo on the finial.

Now you may be asking or wondering, how does it write? well, it is a pen after all and let me describe the experience in a single word, butter. This nib is the smoothest nib I own, hands down, no exceptions. The line is made without any effort and I have not had a single hard start nor any skipping. The nib here is a medium and the M800 features a tow-toned 18kt gold #6 nib here. The Pelikan brand is German and this nib is a beautiful work of art.

The nib writes moderately wet, definitely not like some of the other German based nibs that are gushers. This medium is as expected from a medium and it puts down the right amount of ink.

I love this pen, but I think that might be obvious. Now let me tell you the best part readers in the United States. I purchased this pen from Cult Pens and they are located in the UK. Why? It was so much more affordable than what it sells for here in the US. Should I spend $600 or $360, yeah, a no brainer. I ordered this on a Thursday morning and it was in my hand Monday afternoon which is simply amazing. My experience with Cult Pens was very positive and I will order from them again.

If you ever get a chance to try one of these lovely writers, you will understand what I am saying. It is an amazing writing experience from a very elegant looking pen.

This review is based off of my own experiences and opinion. I do not represent Cult Pens nor Pelikan and I am not being compensated from either company in any way.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Pilot Vanishing Point Review

The Pilot Vanishing Point pen is not new, by any means. This pen has been around and is quite functional in purpose with a clever design. This pen is a great starter for a gold nib and is a wonderful value for the price.

A capless fountain pen? What? Clever design here. It works like a ballpoint pen with a “clicky top” action to extend and retract the nib. There is a small door mechanism that closes when the nib is retracted to keep it from drying out. It is angled so when the nib is extending, the nib tip opens the door to allow the nib to come out and write. This design allows this pen to be a wonderful choice for the user who needs a quick note to be taken.

When I was first looking at the Vanishing Point, I was concerned about the clip design being an issue since it is part of the section. I could see it being an issue depending on how you grip the pen. For me, it does not get in the way and I don’t even notice it is there.

The pen unscrews from the mid-section, much like a ballpoint does and the nib unit looks much like a refill. It has a Pilot Con-50 converter included and that really is the only down side that I can see. The Con-50 holds a tad under 0.5mL of ink which is not a lot. Ink capacity is an issue here.

The nib is a 18kt gold nib which is amazing for the $148 price tag. Depending on the finish of the pen, the nib can come in gold, rhodium or a black coated finish on the nib. Additional nib units can be ordered separately, which I did so I could try out the Pilot stub nib. The Pilot 1.0mm stub is subtle in the line variation but is noticeable from the medium nib I purchased the pen with originally.

All in all, the pen is sleek, balanced and very functional as an everyday carry pen. Aside from the ink capacity, this pen is a solid purchase and great writing pen. Give it a try, you may love it as much as I do.

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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Twsbi Diamond 580 RB Edition Review

I have mentioned Twsbi on this blog before and I have 2 of their pens. After a surprise gift this morning, I now have 3 Twsbi pens and the new one I received is not seen often, so let’s have a look.

This is the Twsbi Diamond 580 RB edition. The RB, I believe, is for red/blue? As a demonstrator pen, the coloring makes it look red, white and blue which could evoke patriotism for both France and the US. When filled with ink, however, the red and blue is more prominent and are also colors on the Taiwan flag which is where the Twsbi company calls home.

To further drive the Taiwan theme, the sun from the Taiwanese flag is featured on the finial of the pen. The cap is red, the section is red and the knob on the end of the pen is blue.

As all of Twsbi’s pens, this is a piston filler based pen and for the price of $55 is a great value. The nibs are super buttery smooth as is this 1.5mm steel stub. It is a nice, juicy, wet nib with great line variation and so effortless to use.

The pen itself is light and well balanced. The RB edition is fun and I appreciate receiving it as a gift from a great friend. Twsbi makes wonder and affordable piston filling pens. If you haven’t already done so, give them a try.

This review is based off of my experience and opinion. I am not representing Twsbi nor being compensated in any way.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Noodlers Whaleman's Sepia Ink

Whaleman’s Sepia or Manjirō Nakahama is quite a special ink that I have mentioned before. This is an ink with a historical inspiration that Noodlers Ink is great at producing. This ink has some caveats but also has some interesting properties based off of Manjirō Nakahama’s significance as well.

As Sepia inks go, this one is tough to beat, in my opinion. This ink, after it dries, looks like a true sepia and embodies exactly what I think of when I think of a sepia toned image. Per Nathan Tardif of Noodlers Ink, it is a bear to make and so small batches are made here and there and The Goulet Pen Company is one of the few places I have found it for sale. It is a tad finnicky in certain nibs due to the consistency on the ink. Generally, if you can see through the tines, this ink will flow through the nib. I currently have this ink in a Lamy Studio and it works beautifully.

The story of Manjirō Nakahama (aka John Mung) can be found here. To summarize, he is the first Japanese man to visit the US after shipwrecking with 4 others and being rescued by a US whaling vessel. Japan at the time was locked from any visitors so going home was not an option. Manjirō worked on whaling ships and participated in the gold rush where he made $600 and bought a ship, picked up his 4 friends in Hawaii and ventured to Japan. He made it back in and was an integral part on Japan to US relations going forward, among many other things.

The ink is based from a whaleman’s logbook, specifically Nathan Tardif’s Great Uncle Reginald. Squid ink is one of the major components of this ink and the ink used back then as it was plentiful seeing as squid was a main food source of whales. Nathan Tardif used the ink in the logbook to re-formulate this sepia ink for a true sepia color in tribute to the whalemen of the age as well as the accomplishments of Manjirō.

In keeping with the theme, this ink has a couple of fun properties that tie all of this together. It is a security based ink meaning it reacts to bleach tampering. If bleach touches this sepia ink, it will turn red. This is representative of the Japanese red sun on their flag in honor of Manjirō. If a purer form of bleach is used, it will turn to a purple color indicative to the royalty of Japan who visited Fairhaven Massachusetts in honor of the relationship between countries due to Manjirō Nakahama.

Pretty cool, right? I love this type of stuff. Ink is fun and fascinating as it is but when you can manufacture a high-quality ink with this intricate of historical influence is exceptional. 

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Parker Vacumatic Vintage Fountain Pen Review

1939 was a very historic year, from a world perspective. From a pen perspective, it was the year that this Parker Vacumatic was created and sold. This is my first Parker pen and this is the pen I purchased from Bradford Ink which I featured in my previous post.

I love this finish. I want to say it is celluloid but I am not 100% on that. What I do know is that it is brown and pearl and looks stunning in direct light. There is a small amount of translucency into the filling mechanism under certain light which is useful, especially when trying to clean it. This finish is reflected in the more modern pen offering by Visconti in the Wall Street model.

This pen is very well balanced and for the age of this pen, has held up wonderfully. There is some wear on the cap band but otherwise is almost new looking. The classic Parker clip is present and has been cleaned and according to the gentleman I purchased it from, it has been fitted with a new sack so it was ready to fill and go.

The nib is a 14K gold nib and needed some tuning. It was a typical fine tip as was common to the time and had quite a bit of feedback. I generally prefer a smoother writing experience with a hint of feedback and after some tuning love, it is now butter smooth and a pure joy to write with. The nib has the Parker arrow etched into the nib with the arrow body pointing to the page when writing.

The vacuum filling mechanism works well and has a nice amount of resistance and holds a bit of ink but not a copious amount by any means. The flow is moderate and not a gusher which is fine but the flow is adequate for standard writing and fast writing sessions.

I love the pen, I am very happy with the purchase and once again, I will definitely purchase from Bradford Ink again.

This review is based off of my experience and opinion and I am not representing Parker nor am I being compensated in any way for this review.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bradford Ink is a Great Little Oklahoma City Secret

I had some traveling done last week and over the weekend and our travels took us to Tulsa, OK. Being the pen enthusiast that I am, I looked to see if any pen stores could be found in the Tulsa area but alas, none. My wife then found a place in Oklahoma City that specializes in vintage fountain pens called Bradford Ink. We decided to make the side trip to OKC, as it was only 90 more minutes away and wow, what a pen collection.

Bradford Ink is a small shop owned and run by a husband and wife team. This shop is much more of an overall antique shop but features over 1000 vintage fountain pens. Robert Bradford was working and is an extremely friendly fella that loves fountain pens and we had a great time talking all about the world of pens.

He has a website for the business where you can view the inventory of his pen stock but he does not play in the online sales arena and has little desire to do so. As a vintage pen dealer, this makes a ton of sense as making sure the pen works is a huge part of the buying experience. 

I found Montblanc, Parker, Sheaffer, Waterman, Pelikan and so many more with even a rare find mixed into the stock. I walked away with a Parker Vacumatic from 1939 and a bottle of ink and I will definitely stop there again anytime I find myself in the Oklahoma City area.

If any of you find yourself in the same area of the US, please stop into Bradford Ink and check it out for yourself. I love my “new” Parker, BTW.

2838 Wilshire Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73116

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

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fountain Pen Day 2016

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!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Delta Journal Fountain Pen Review

After using my friends Delta Dolce Vita, I was wanting a Delta for myself. I had seen the release of the Delta Journal a couple months ago and was really drawn to the ivory finish and the matte finish on the Journal was intriguing. It was so intriguing that I purchased one for myself and here is what I thought.

This finish is quite interesting. It has a matte finish which I really do like but the texture on this resin has a very pleasing feeling to touch. It is a bit hard to explain but it is unique from any other pen I have. The material is very pleasing. It appears to be more brownish than ivory, or what I envision ivory to look like, and the swirls really brings the eye into the material.

This pen, much like the Dolce Vita Masterpiece, has a blind cap at the end of the barrel which allows you to use the converter like a piston filler which is fun. My only complaint with the pen, however, is that the blind cap is a tad wonky. It is definitely not uniform in shape and does not sit flush with the metal ring it is supposed to be resting on when closed.

The nib is steel and is not a disappointment. The writing experience is smooth with a bit of feedback but the feedback is minor and pleasant. The nib here is a medium width and from what I have experienced with Delta, it is a wet medium and juicy. There is no line variation to speak of but it is not meant to be used in that manner anyways.

I am very pleased with the pen and I find that I will put it down and will immediately pick it back up. My fingers just like holding the pen as if the resin is crack for my fingers. I would definitely purchase this pen again based off of this experience and the price is a great value at $120.

This review is based off of my experience and opinion. I am not representing Delta nor am I being compensated in any manner.