Monday, May 30, 2016

Visconti Homo Sapiens Review

This weekend I finally had the opportunity to obtain one of my "grail" pens. I have had my eye on the Visconti Homo Sapiens for quite some time and now it is in my collection. I figured it would be fitting to review this pen as I am experiencing it for the first time.

The Visconti Homo Sapiens is quite unique as it is made from a very unusual material and that is Basaltic Lava. Yup, volcanic rock from Mount Etna in Italy. Visconti found a way to take this hard material and make it into a resin for pen creation. The material itself is hefty, slightly warm to the touch and it is a bit absorbant as it will wick the sweat or oil from the hand.

This model is a midi size which is the smaller of the 2 sizes and uncapped is 4.8" long and it still fits my large hands nicely. This is a piston filling pen with steel accents and these accents make this pen the "Steel Age". There is a "Bronze Age" and a new "Dark Age" version. The bronze only comes in the Maxi size model and the "Dark Age" pen is all black. The main drawback here is the capacity on the piston as it can only hold 1ml of ink. The piston cap is nicely accented and muted, which I like.

The best part of the pen, aside from the material itself is the nib. This pen features what Visconti calls the "Dreamtouch" nib and it is aptly named. It is 23kt Palladium and it is quite soft and springy. The writing experience is very enjoyable as the nib glides upon the paper. The ornamentation on the nib is also what one would expect from a Visconti pen.

This nib is quite a wet writer so I went with a medium sized nib. I normally like a thicker line and this medium fits the bill. I wrote with the broad nib first and i feared I would drown.

With the Visconti "My Pen" system, a magnet can be used to remove the finial of the pen and you can replace it with a myriad of options. I chose my initials to really make it mine. A nice touch.

Overall I love the pen, which is good as my previous experiences with Visconti have been less than stellar. Great pen, smooth writer and one of my new daily carries.


  • Heavy Pen at 37g (if you like heavy pens)
  • Piston filler
  • 23kt Palladium "Dreamtouch" nib
  • Made of Basaltic Lava
  • Wet writer
  • Rather pricey
  • Only holds 1ml of ink per fill

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tekker Ink Review

Tekker Ink is relatively new to the fountain pen ink community and have come up with an interesting idea, choose your own color and they will make a 100ml bottle of it. You even get to name it.

A good friend of mine ordered a bottle and chose color #C10505 and entitled it Roman Red after his new grandson Roan Michael. I was given a sample to review and I was also granted permission to share his experience with Tekker Ink.

Let's look at the ink first.

This is an interesting ink. It writes wet and appears to want to shade but then it doesn't. Really no shading of any kind which is weird as it looks like it sure wants to when it is being written with.

The color seems to be a tad under saturated but overall the color is a nice red. Tekker claims they have tested their formula to work on most papers and I tested this ink on several papers. The only paper tested that was a disaster was really cheap copier paper. Overall, it behaves well.

The ink is not overly water resistant but better than some. It did explode a bit but this is definitely recoverable if it needs to be.

Ok, let's talk about Tekker Ink, the company. My friend ordered this ink and was very excited. It took exactly 1 month to receive it from order. After around 3 weeks of hearing nothing, he emailed the company several times with no response. He finally sent an email stating he was going to have the order cancelled. Now he got a response stating that they were a bit short handed and they would ship it before weeks end. That didn't happen, at least who knew as there was no shipping emails sent. 

My friend finally got fed up and filed a complaint with PayPal. He had the ink 2 days later. After receiving the ink, another email was sent to Tekker Ink thanking them for the ink and some friendly feedback on his experience. Once again, no response.

Will my friend order from Tekker again, nope. After seeing this, will I order any? I am thinking I don't need the headache. There are plenty of companies making ink that want my business and deliver in a timely manner with great customer service. 

It is a fine ink but I don't feel it is worth the hassle.

This review is based off of my opinion from my experiences. I am not affiliated with Tekker Ink and I am definitely not being compensated in any way.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Black and Red Review

A friend of mine, who is also into fountain pens, gave me a notebook to try out for the purpose of a review. It is this Black and Red notebook.

The notebook is a hardbound book containing paper that is 90GSM (Grams per Square Meter) which is the equivalent of Clairefontaine paper. It feels amazingly smooth, much like Clairefontaine and Rhodia paper is.

I do enjoy the color scheme and the tie in to the branding name. All of it is black and red with the exception of the paper, obviously. The bookmark is even a red ribbon. I am loving the thought here that went into this cohesive branding attempt, which is successful.

The spine is case bound, not cloth bound but it is bound in such a way as to stay flat on the surface for note taking. 

The inside of the book is somewhat similar to notebooks like Leuchtturm where there is an index place, planner etc on the inside endpapers.

Now let's get to the paper. I remember asking my friend how it held up to fountain pen ink and he said beautifully. I put it to the test with 21 pens with varying nib widths and 21 inks from different manufacturers. I am impressed.

No feathering, no spread and no bleedthrough. Only a touch of echo on the scrubbies.

Overall, I really like this notebook and they are quite affordable. I found them on Amazon for under $10 a piece which is dramatically cheaper than its well known competitors. For those of you who bullet journal, this is a fine alternative to the Leuchtturm books. Thanks Chris for the notebook to review and I will be using one of these from now on.

This review reflects my opinion based off of my experience. I was not compensated by Black and Red nor do I represent them in any way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Edison Pen Company - Mina Review

The Mina comes in two sizes, the Mina and the Mina Extended. The Edison Pen Company is known for high craftsmanship, exquisite materials and some of the smoothest nibs around. The Mina is all of these.

I purchased the Mina Extended as I have larger hands. The Mina itself is a smaller pen compared to the bulk of the Edison Pen Company's line of pens and that is by design. Brian Gray, the owner of Edison Pen Co., wanted a smaller pen that appeals to both men and women. The pen's design is a small waist with a slow flared out taper on either end which causes an interesting curved silhouette. This curved silhouette is also why the pen does not come with a clip.


Weight w/ Cap20 grams23 grams
Weight w/o Cap14 grams16 grams
Diameter at thickest.596″.596″
Diameter at thinnest.520″.520″
Length Capped5 1/4″6″
Length Uncapped4 3/4″5 1/4″

Now you may be saying "wait a minute...I don't see this pen model in online pen stores. What the heck?" The online stores carry what the Edison Pen Company calls their production line. These pens are the Collier, Pearlette, Premiere and Beaumont. The Mina is part of the Signature line and has to be purchased from Edison exclusively whether from emailing the team what you are wanting or finding the team at a pen show.

What is really nice about this method is the ability to choose the material the pen is to be made from which gives it the custom feel. They have some amazing materials from ebonite to acrylic resin. This pen was made with the cappuccino mesh acrylic material and is simply stunning.

The nib also comes in choices from steel, 18k gold and run the gamut from extra-fine to 1.5mm stubs. I chose a two-toned steel nib with a broad tip and the nib glides on the page. The Mina does not come fitted with the standard #6 nib as all of the other models do, this has a #5 nib. It is smaller but still very smooth and a solid performer.

Overall, I love this pen and is my second Edison pen. These pens are easily my smoothest writers and I cannot put them down. The Edison Pen Company was a joy to work with in choosing the pen, ordering and shipping the pen to avoid any damage. I will order from Edison again and perhaps you should give them a look too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Lamy vs. Pilot Shootout for the Beginning Pen User

Many pen people have done this comparison and it is still somewhat a heated debate. Which is better for the beginner, the Pilot Metropolitan or the Lamy Safari? Here is my take on it.

The Pilot Metropolitan is a great pen that is made in Japan. As all pens go, it has some pros and cons associated with it.

  •         Made out of metal (durable) and heavier than plastic
  •          Comes with a converter and cartridge
  •          Comfortable grip
  •          Classic design
  •          Fun colors and designs

  •          Nibs are ground by Japanese standards and are finer than its western counterparts
  •          Cannot change out nibs
  •          Converter/cartridges are proprietary
  •          Only available in F and M nib sizes

The Lamy Safari is also a great pen but this company comes out of Germany. Let us look at the pros and cons here:

  •          Fun colors
  •         Ability to change out nibs with other Lamy nibs
  •          Light in weight

  •          Does not come with a converter
  •         Converter/cartridges are proprietary
  •          Triangular grip
  •          Made of plastic

When comparing these pens, I prefer the Pilot as I like a heavier pen but since we are looking at a starter pen, I would go with the Lamy. Why? The ability to change nib sizes is a huge advantage to a new pen user. The nibs are not expensive and allows a new pen user to easily try different line widths to see which they prefer without having to buy multiple pens with specific nib sizes. In my opinion, this ability is invaluable to a new fountain pen user. It is even a wonderful thing to the experienced pen user as well.

So there it is. I put it out there. I really like both pens and both pens have a specific niche in the pen community. I just like the Lamy better for beginner pen users.

This post is based off of my opinions and experiences. I am not representing Lamy or Pilot in any way nor am I being compensated by either company.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tips For the New Fountain Pen User

I remember when I was new to fountain pens and I did tons of research but I had a lot of trial and error before gaining the knowledge that experience lends us. I would like to help make that a little easier for the person reading this that may be new to fountain pens. They can be intimidating, but trust me, it is all good.

I recently emailed Brian Goulet with to ask permission to use his videos entitled Fountain Pens 101. Brian took the time to make some excellent videos that take a new user step by step through all aspects of daily fountain pen use. I may be a bit biased, but Goulet Pens is a wonderful pen store. They have a great staff, solid corporate foundation and awesome customer support. I highly recommend using them for your pen needs.

Ok, let's get to it. This first video is an introduction to what the videos are going to cover and why the playlist was created. This link will take you to the Goulet Pens Fountain Pens 101 YouTube playlist where you can view them in order.


If you want to pick and choose, here is a list of each individual video: 

These videos are extremely helpful and full of wonderful information. I would like to thank Brian Goulet for allowing me to post these here as an aid to all of you. I could have done all of this here but there is no reason to reinvent the wheel when it was already done very well. 

Happy writing!

I am not affiliated with at all and I am not being compensated by Goulet Pens. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ink With A Story

I really do appreciate it when I learn that a product has a story which influenced its development. It could be described as a gimmick perhaps, but I do enjoy history so when an ink has those worlds combined, I buy them.

The first one I bought was Noodler's Manjiro Nakahama aka Whaleman's Sepia. This ink is exactly what I envision as a true sepia color, nice and rich. This ink is a reformulation of the squid based inks used by Asian Whale fishers from long ago. There is much more to the story here and I welcome you to watch the video Nathan Tardif made that goes into great detail about the history and influence here. Apparently this ink is hard to make and so very small batches are made. It took a while before I found a bottle.

The second was Noodler's Dark Matter. This ink is another reformulation of the ink used by the members of scientists involved in the Manhattan Project. The ink is nice and actually is a little dry but when it dries it has a vintage look to it. It is a bit hard to explain, but I do enjoy it.

The third one I purchased was Noodler's 54th Massachusetts which is an ink influenced by the volunteer infantry unit during the American Civil War. What makes this special is that the 54th Regiment Massachusetts was the first official African-American units in the Civil War fighting for the Union. This ink is a wonderful greyish blue and one of my favorite inks.

Noodler's Heart of Darkness was next. This black ink is my most favorite black ink and as I always say, this ink is the blackest black that has ever blacked. This ink is based off of a novella written by Joseph Conrad about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, which lies in the heart of Africa.

Another one I purchased was Blue Upon the Plains of Abraham by Noodler's Ink. This ink is exclusive to Canada and represents the famous battle of the same name that took place in Canada and was instrumental in the Seven Years' War. It is a gorgeous blue, just stunning.

I cannot forget Noodler's Antietam which is based off of the Battle of Sharpton during the Civil War. This battle holds the unfortunate title of bloodiest single day in American Military history. This ink actually kind of looks like bloodied mud. It is very interesting.

There are several others that I know of but have yet to purchase and keeping with the theme, yes they are all by Noodler's Ink. Park Red is about a North Korean defector, Bernanke Black and Bernake Blue are influenced by Ben Bernanke who was elected to head the Federal Reserve. Berning Red is a new ink influenced by Bernie Sanders and the "Socialist" nametag. Year of the Golden Pig, Rome Burning, Tiananmen, the list keeps going.

Noodler's Ink makes very unique inks and I love the history used in the creation of these inks. I am a sucker for history and a gimmick.

I am not being paid by Noodler's Ink and I do not represent them in any way. These are my opinions and I have not been compensated in any way.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Modern Form of Permanence

We spoke about Iron-Gall inks and their long lasting archival qualities here and there are some new inks on the market using Iron-Gall. What about permanence of an ink without resorting to paper rust?

I have not hidden my love of Noodler's Ink and there are many reasons as to why I prefer these inks but the main one reason is all of the wonderful, permanent inks made by Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink.

Noodler's Ink caused a stir in the pen community with these inks and Nathan still likes to push the envelope and to rustle feathers. I see no issue here. In my opinion, ink should be permanent. Why bother to write anything if it can all be erased by a water spill, an encounter with bleach or even light fading it over time? The whole purpose of ink is the preservation of thoughts and ideas. Non-permanent inks have a purpose too and tend to have amazing shading qualities and bring out the whimsy I am fond of.

Nathan even took it a step further and once offered up a challenge where top prize warranted $1,000. The challenge was to remove his ink from the page without damaging the paper. One person did this and became $1,000 richer. This fella used a laser to remove the ink from the paper making it look like it was never there. Nathan's answer? Make ink that is laser proof. So was born the Warden series of ink and are noted by the word "bad" in their names. Bad Black Moccasin, Bad Blue Heron, Bad Belted Kingfisher and Bad Green Gator make up the warden series of ink.

Noodler's Ink has Eternal inks which are archival and fade resistant. Bulletproof inks that are UV resistant and waterproof. Forgery proof inks are a staple of Noodler's Ink and I love that. Not all of Noodler's Ink products are permanent and even those inks are special as Noodler's Ink makes some very unique behaving inks. Noodler's has put out a PDF file with all of their inks properties. Check it out here

Other companies have come out with "document" inks which are to be their archival type inks and they are fine but so many ink manufacturers have little to no water resistance in their inks and depending on your preference is fine. I prefer a more permanence to my journaling, thoughts and stories. When I wish to play around and be creative, I will pull out the fun inks like Apache Sunset which looks like you are writing with liquid fire and has no permanence.

My point is Iron-Gall is not the only way to have permanent, archival ink as was used for centuries. Modern ink can bond to the cellulose of paper without oxidation and is much more pen safe. It is good to know what is out there when you want to preserve a part of you for generations.

This post is not solicited by Noodler's Ink nor by Nathan Tardif. These are my opinions based off of trial and error and my experience. I have purchased all of my inks and have not received any compensation for this post.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Gall of that Ink

Who knows about Iron-Gall ink? Anyone? Hello?...Bueller?

Iron-Gall is a permanent type of ink that has been used for hundreds and hundreds of years. Many rare handwritten texts were written with Iron-Gall ink due to its permanence. What makes it permanent?

Well, what makes Iron-Gall ink? Iron and gallic acid are the main ingredients to these inks. These inks are very acidic, obviously but what makes the ink permanent on the page is what happens when oxygen and iron combine which is oxidation or what we call rust. Yup, this ink rusts on your paper which is kind of cool when you think about it. When you write with a Iron-Gall based ink, the ink will go on one color and then will darken as it oxidizes into the paper.

Simple and cool right? Sure, but keep something in mind. Iron-Gall inks need to be used with some caution when using it with a steel nibbed fountain pens as they could oxidize too. Who wants a rusty nib? 

Now will the nib rust with normal use? Nope. If you fill a pen with a steel nib and write with it off and on for a day, no big deal. If you happen to leave the Iron-Gall ink in the pen for a while, then you might have a problem with rusty nibbage. 

My rule of thumb when using an Iron-Gall ink is to clean the pen thoroughly when finished using the pen which gets to be a pain in the butt. I understand and that is why I really don't use them personally. Sometimes these inks can be a real burden to clean completely out of a pen, nib and feed on a pen. 

DON'T USE BLEACH! Did you know bleach is an oxidizer? If you are cleaning a pen that was filled with an Iron-Gall ink, do not clean with bleach or you are asking for the gift of instant rust. We don't want that. Don't do it unless you want some rusty pens.

Iron-Gall inks are not very prevalent as they used to be and you may be wondering why I am going in depth then. Iron-Gall inks are starting to show up more and KWZ is one of those brands. KWZ is an ink brand from Poland and have quite a few Iron-Gall offerings which is great, they are fun. 

Now you know about Iron-Gall. Is this all you need to know, nah, but you know the main points to these inks to be able to use them responsibly without damaging your pens. The idea of damaging pens with ink just galls me.