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.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Pelikan Hub 2018 in Iowa

2018 has been a very trying year for myself and it seems to also be very trying for other people who are close to me. All of this made it so I was ready for something wonderful to happen and it did. Des Moines, Iowa was chosen to be a hub city for the 5th Annual Pelikan Hub event of 2018. Yay! Something to look forward to and get excited about. This is the second year Des Moines has been selected by Pelikan as we had the required number of registered attendees.

For those who are not familiar, the Pelikan Hub is an event that happens worldwide for pen, ink and paper enthusiasts. The hub is held on a specific date and time and it is special to know that we were among 5,000 participants celebrating worldwide. According to Pelikan, there were 181 Hubs in 46 countries in 2018.

There is a person selected in each Hub to act as the Hub Master for the event in their city. I was lucky enough to be picked this year and happened to be the Hub Master in 2017 as well. I brought in a friend, who is also a pen enthusiast, to be my Co-Hub Master for the event. Knowing that I wanted this event to be grand and to help put a happy twist to the year, I knew I could use the planning help.

The event turned out to be a great time. There is a lovely coffee shop here that I frequent often and, as a venue, would be perfect. We were able to rent the space for the time allotted for the Hub and the price was super reasonable. We found a local catering business here that had a nice reputation and was able to secure their services for the event at a great rate also. 

Pelikan sends out some goodies to each hub participant and we decided to also create some goodies as well. Pelikan sent a A5 paper pad, a new Pelikan Passion magazine and a bottle of the Pelikan Edelstein Ink of the Year Olivine. Yes, very generous. We decided to make a pen cleaning kit for each participant which included:

  • 1 Cleaning Cloth
  • 1 5mL Ink Syringe
  • 1 Bulb Syringe
  • 2oz bottle of Ammonia Pen Flush
  • 5 Pipettes (5mL)
  • 2 5mL Ink Vials
  • 30 Q-Tips in a Travel Case

We also thought it would be fun to bring in some Iowa based companies to see if they would like to help sponsor the Hub and attend. We had a great response from the Tokyo Pen Shop ( and Iron Leaf Press ( Each company provided a raffle item as well as a little goodie item for each participant. Danielle from Iron Leaf Press was able to attend the event and we were so happy to have her part of this evening. Kimberly with Tokyo Pen Shop happened to have a vacation already planned with her family and family always comes first. 

We had a great time during the Hub this year, which was September 21, 2018 from 6:30p - 8:30p. Acting as the Hub Master can be stressful at times but seeing all of the happy faces of the participants is what makes it all worth it. 
I especially loved that some attendees brought their kids along and they enjoyed drawing on the Pelikan banner. Pelikan sends a large Hub banner for attendees to sign as a keepsake. The kids took full advantage.

Thank you Pelikan for the opportunity to host this event in Iowa this year. I needed it and the community loved it. In 2017 we had 5 attendees and this year we had 20 registered. The love of fountain pens is growing and it is so nice to see a company like Pelikan embracing the community worldwide. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Jacques Herbin 1798 Cornaline d'Egypte Ink

Before we get into the ink and the color here, please allow me to apologize for being "vacant" for so long. 2018 has been a hard year for me and my family which has caused me to take some time away from the blog. 

Jacques Herbin 1798 Cornaline d'Egypte is the second ink from this 1798 lineup which features a newly designed bottle from the 1670 ink collection. The mouth is wider and I really appreciate that change.

Cornaline is the French word for Carnelian which is an orange to reddish-brown ranged mineral that is often used as a semi-precious gemstone. Its use dates back to Greek, Roman and Egyptian times and is very common in Germany, Serbia and Brazil.

Rhodia Paper

These inks will have shimmer in the bottle, which seems to be a popular trend, and so the bottle needs to be shaken before filling a pen in order to have the "glitter" appear when writing. I do not care for shimmer in my writing and tend to use these inks without shaking first.  

The J. Herbin 1670 inks and the Jacques Herbin 1798 inks all behave wonderfully and this Cornaline is no different. It has a nice flow, high saturation and it behaves nicely. Depending on the paper used, it can become a tad muted, however.

Leuchtturm Paper

Stifflexible Paper

Tomoe River Paper

There are a good many inks out on the market that are orange to a reddish-brown color. I have sampled some of the ones I felt were close.

And now just the oranges:

These inks are a tad pricey at $28 for 50mL. I can see the value in the nice bottle, shimmer (if you like that sort of thing) and how well behaved the ink is. Overall a nice dark orange color that I have been quite enjoying in my daily writing.

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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Montblanc Swan Illusion Plume Ink

When this ink came out, I was intrigued by it as every photo of it looked different. Was it really a grey or a brown? It is a rather unique color, in my opinion and I purchased a bottle at the Chicago Pen Show. 

These special edition inks from Montblanc are a tad pricey but I got a great deal on this one. Once I purchased it, I filled my Diplomat Aero with it and it was gorgeous. I do have a love of grey colored inks but this one isn't a static grey. 

When I was doing my ink swabs, I looked at the napkin I was using and wow, for a grey ink, look at this. 

The chromatography shows brown, green, purple and orange. It is quite beautiful. The ink itself tends to lean grey but has tones of brown and red and green in it, all at the same time. 

Tomoe River Paper

It shades quite nicely, has a saturation that Montblanc is known for and flows well. It is also well behaved on various papers tested. What I did find interesting was how the color varies on different paper types. 

Rhodia Paper

Apica Paper

Leuchtturm Paper

Franklin-Christoph Paper

I showed the ink to a friend of mine and they said it looks similar to an ink they had. Kyo-Iro Stone Road to Gion and they are super similar. 

Tomoe River Paper

Tomoe River Paper

Tomoe River Paper

Stone Road to Gion has much of the same properties as Swan Illusion Plume but possesses more brown.  

I really like this ink and the properties it has. It is normally listed at $43 in the U.S. but I was able to get it for $30. 

This review is based off of my experiences and opinion. I do not represent Montblanc and I am not being compensated in any way.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Monteverde Monza and Monteverde Canyon Rust Review

Yafa Brands were kind enough to send me a Monteverde Monza fountain pen along with a 30mL bottle of Monteverde Canyon Rust ink to review. I promised to provide a fair review. 

i am going to start with the ink first. This is a nice reddish-brown ink with nice flow, great saturation, nice shading and is very well behaved on different papers.

Tomoe River Paper

Apica Paper

Leuchtturm Paper

Franklin-Christoph Paper

As far as comparisons go, this ink is fairly similar to some other ink colors . 

Montblanc Toffee Brown is still my go to brown ink color but Canyon Rust is a nice fill in and has an amazing value at $8 for 30mL. 

Rhodia Paper

I really like the Canyon Rust ink and I do really like the new Monteverde ink formulation.

 Now the Monza fountain pen, however, was a disappointment. The pen itself is a nice starter-based pen which is valued between $16 - $20. When I opened the box and took the pen in hand, it felt light and the plastic feels like plastic. The pen itself reminded me of something but I had some trouble deciding what it was. Then it hit me, this looks, feels and writes just like a Jinhao 992. 

Jinhao 992

Monteverde Monza

This is a 992 fountain pen but the feed is clear and the cap band is branded with Monteverde. 

The pen has a #5 sized nib that writes very smooth and I am forced to post the pen, due to the size of my hands. I do not like to post my pens so keep this in mind if you are like me. This pen requires posting if you have larger hands. 

I am disappointed that the Monza is a re-branded Jinhao 992 but it is what it is. The Jinhao 992 is valued anywhere between $2 and $8, depending on where you look to shop. The Monza is more than that price, obviously, but depending on what you are looking for, this pen could be for you. The Monteverde Monza seems to be more readily available for purchase here in the U.S. than the 992 and that could factor in to the decision as well.

Yafa Brands was very generous in sending this box of goodies to me for the sake of a fair review and even sent a nice note. Thank you Yafa Brands and Bob the cat loved the box a little too much.

I do not represent Yafa Brands nor Monteverde. I am not being compensated by anyone for this review.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Chicago Pen Show 2018

Last year I made a journey to the Dallas Pen Show and had a great time. This year I decided to attend a show a little closer to home and a 4.5 hour drive seemed more appealing than an 11 hour one, quite frankly. 

The Chicago Pen show is much larger than the Dallas show. I arrived Thursday night so i could be there bright and early on Friday. The show opens to the public on Friday at noon but if you purchase a weekend pass, you can get in at 8am. Wait...I can get 4 whole hours before the general public? sold. 

I spent that time browsing all of the vendors and looking to see what i would be interested in. I had a budget, of course, and did not want to spend beyond my means. So many lovely items on display but the first purchase was ink. Papier Plume made the trek from Louisiana and had two show exclusive colors. Da Blue and Bootlegger's Sacrament.

One of the best parts of a pen show is meeting people and the pen community is one of the nicest around. I was able to meet Mandy from Franklin-Christoph with whom I had emailed many times. I had a lovely discussion with Lisa Anderson about pen shows from the patron point of view. Shawn Newton and Liz were there and so was Leigh Reyes. Ralph Reyes was also there with his amazing nib creations and Lisa Vanness was nearby. Love her Hi Y'all greeting.

I also was able to meet some pen pals and people who follow my Instagram page. I met some new friends and made some great connections. One of which was one of the show's organizers, Laura. Laura is a kindred spirit in the art of sarcasm. We hit it off and are now planning on sending each others ink samples of our favorite inks.  

Along with the great people here, some wonderful deals can be found. I found one of my grail pens and I could afford it so after some deliberation, i pulled the trigger on a Sailor King of Pen in ebonite. Oh man does it write like an effortless dream.

I ended up spending all day Friday and Saturday at the show with a great pen mixer Saturday night which was sponsored by Vanness Pens and the Chicago Pen Show. There was even an appearance by an 8 foot long, 30 pound gummi snake. The things that can be purchased on Amazon. 

I had a great time at the show and will go again next year. Here is what the haul consisted of:

  • Papier Plume Da Blue ink
  • Papier Plume Bootlegger's Sacrament ink
  • Sailor King of Pen
  • Pilot Custom 74
  • Monteverde Smoke Noir ink
  • Monteverde Jade Noir ink
  • Montblanc Swan Illusion Plume ink
  • Monteverde Olivine ink
  • 2 pen wraps by NOIA
  • 6 pen penvelope by Franklin-Christoph
  • A5 Clairefontaine Flying Spirit notebook
  • A5 Stifflexible Berlin subway notebook
  • A5 Franklin-Christoph notebook
  • Colorverse Matter/Anti-Matter ink set
  • Architect nib grind by The Nibsmith
I recommend attending a pen show at some point if you have not ever been. Great people, great pens and great stories.