Tachikawa Straight Nib Holder Review

Now this was one item that I was really excited to try out. I had purchased a pack of Nikko G nibs a while back, and had used them in another holder that I just couldn’t get used to. They stayed in my desk drawer in limbo, until I found this holder that was quite cheap, and had a lot of good reviews on JetPens. I tested it out the moment it arrived, and the performance was amazing to say the least.

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Out of box, it looked magnificent in all it’s shining glory. The wood glistened when the light shined on it, and the grains were noticeable, and added a natural look to the holder. The golden branding is not to flashy, and adds a nice contrast to the color of the wood. The pen feels really nice overall, the smoothness can be attributed to the glaze-like coat that adds to the wood’s luster.

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The installation of the nib is simple and user intuitive. Instead of the traditional rosette insert widely used in many dip pens nowadays, Tachikawa opted to fuse the rosette holder and pen into one piece. This makes it easy to swap out nibs without having to the clean the nib holder insert, and it also prevents the loss of the insert. I tried inserting nibs of varying sizes, and the pen accepted them all without any major fuss.

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This was an initial test of the nib, just some simple flourishing practice. The ink I used was Sailor Kiwa-Guro black, the paper was Rhodia Ice graph.

Overall, this is one of the best nib holders in its price range. It’s affordable, functional, durable, good-looking, and versatile. The fact that the integrated nib holder can adapt to nibs of many sizes is a huge plus for those who use multiple nibs for their work. The white grip, while a little bit of a dust magnet, does it’s job properly. I would recommend this to beginners and professionals alike, as it can handle whatever is thrown at it. Long story short, if you want a reliable straight holder, get this.

Pilot Juice 0.5mm Review

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The Pilot Juice was one pen I didn’t have too much hope for. Initially I bought this to get the free shipping from JetPens. I was off by just the cost the cost of this pen. I had heard a little bit about how vibrant the colors were in this specific line of gel ink pens. So I purposely selected a color I never thought I would use: green. I have seen a lot of green ink pens during my time in high school. It was almost a staple among the girls especially. I never understood the allure of having a green pen at all. To me, the standard black, blue, and red was always enough for my purposes. I still hadn’t awakened to my adventurous side when it came to flamboyantly colored writing instruments.

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One of the first things I noticed straight out of the box, was the brightly colored grip and clip that matched the color of the ink. The barrel is transparent, allowing one to see the ink inside. While this is pretty common, it provides some nice advantages. Firstly, while using the pen, it is easy to keep track of the ink level inside. Secondly, it’s really nice to look when not in use. The ink inside is deceptively dark. When laying down the ink onto the page, the color is quite the opposite, a rich, bright green that reminds me of freshly sliced cucumber. This can be good or bad, because depending on the color of the paper, it can be very easy, or very difficult to see.

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The nib was quite stubborn at first. After being greeted with numerous hard starts, I almost gave up on this pen completely. However, I pushed forward, thinking that maybe with more use, it would become softer. My effort was not in vain, because after the fourth day of consecutive usage, it started flowing. After this small “grace period”, the hard start problem disappeared as if it never existed.

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While the grip is thin, it still manages to do a relatively good job. However, due to the thinness, my fingers started hurting after long writing sessions. One major complaint I have, is that the grip is a dirt magnet. It is very hard to clean with you fingers as it tends to clump up and stain the grip. As you can see in the picture above, no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to fully clean it to the pristine condition it was in when it first arrived. Other than that, I have no other problems with it.

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The clip is spring-loaded, so it’s rather strong and won’t slip very easily if carrying in the pocket or in a case. At the same time, it doesn’t take too much effort to use it. Rest assured, it functions perfectly.

Overall, I feel that the Pilot Juice is a very nice gel ink pen. The various colors it comes in, all seem to be nice and vibrant, allowing for a lot of different uses. I can see this as a sketch pen in the hands of an artist. While it is a little stubborn initially, the end result is a smooth and consistent ink flow that will make the pen glide across the page. I recommend checking it out.

Lamy Safari Review

Let me start this review by saying that this pen was an impulse buy. I wasn’t exactly thinking I would love it with all my heart, but it was pretty cheap, so I decided I may as well add it to the family. What started off as an impulse buy slowly turned into something I could never have imagined. What pen could possibly have such a profound effect on me you ask? It’s the famous Lamy Safari.

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This pen is one of the most highly recommended beginner fountain pens in the entire pen community. All one has to do is Google “best beginner fountain pens”, and this pen will have a spot on every single list made. After extensive use, I can see why it holds its own against all the other contenders.

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This pen redefined the word “workhorse” for me. It’s been nearly 5 months since I purchased it, but I have used it for the whole of spring quarter for all my notes, assignments, and side projects. I was impressed by the quality as well as the durability of this seemingly cheap looking fountain pen. When I first took it out of the case, it felt too light, and plastic-y for me. I didn’t imagine it would hold up too long, so I used it without hesitation, waiting to see its limits. Needless to say, I’m still using it to this day, but have yet to experience a drop in quality.

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The biggest reason this pen is so highly recommended is, in my opinion, the interchangeable nib system. For beginners, finding the right nib size is an arduous task. I also had to struggle to find the perfect size that was complimentary to my writing style, as well as providing the writing experience I desired. It took me about 2 months and scouring innumerable reviews from other pen bloggers to finally narrow it down.

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I tend to prefer a Japanese medium which is equivalent to a Western fine, so I chose to get the Safari with a fine nib. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth it was. I had heard a lot of complaints about Lamy’s nib QC, but apparently, they’ve fixed their problems because I found nothing wrong with all the ones I tested.

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Let’s talk about the grip. Now this was something that confused me. I have seen a LOT of fountain pens, but none of them have the particular shape of the Lamy Safari. the triangular grip is pretty unique to Lamy pens, and I find that while slightly annoying to adjust to in the beginning, it becomes pretty natural after extended use. Initially, this grip had me hating this pen, as I could never grip it comfortably without it stabbing into my fingers. So for those of you who grip differently than the norm, be aware of this before you get this pen.

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Another aspect of this pen that makes it perfect for beginners, is the simple maintenance. This pen can be easily taken apart and cleaned. It takes me less than 2 minutes to take it apart and clean it thoroughly before leaving it to dry.

Overall, the Safari has got to be one of the best beginner pens out there. These words have been repeated many a time among those of the pen community, and today I join their ranks as a fellow admirer of the Lamy Safari. Beautiful, simplistic, and durable. These three words describe my thoughts on the Lamy Safari. While I’m probably not going to get a another one in a different color, one never knows what the future holds. 😉

Field Notes Unexposed Edition Review

As I was thinking through what to review for this weekend, it suddenly struck me. I haven’t done a single paper review since I started this blog. Appalled at my lack of content regarding that area, I took the closest thing I had in reach and decided to review it. That item happened to be the Field Notes Unexposed edition I picked up in February, but didn’t start using until recently. So on to the review.

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I was initially a little hesitant to get a pack of Field Notes. I had heard all the praise people had for it. The convenience, utility, and benefits all seemed like it was well worth it, but something held me back. for the longest time, I didn’t know what it was, but I found out after I had bought this pack at the L.A. Pen Show. I had no idea what I should use it for. I mean don’t get me wrong, I do jot down notes and new ideas for business plans all the time, but I end up typing them on my phone. I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t have my phone to take notes or record down an idea on the fly. It became an ingrained habit, and after I bought these, I struggled to take one out and use it.

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I can tell you the struggle was real. Many times I found myself questioning why I needed the little notebook, but I reluctantly carried it around with me anyway. After 2 weeks of continuous use, I can only say, that I can’t wait till my next pack. This notebook completely surpassed all expectations I had for it. the ruling was crisp and contained a generous amount of space, the paper was nice and bright, and the cover was durable. I find myself thinking “Why didn’t I try these earlier”?. As they say, it’s never too late to make a change.

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The particular edition I got was called the Unexposed Edition as stated on the front cover. Out of the many varieties offered by Field Notes, I was completely entranced with this one. The bold color scheme drew my eye, and the reticle graph ruling intrigued me. So far I’ve been really happy with it, but I also can’t wait to try other versions with different ruling.

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This is the first page that greets the user when they crack open a fresh notebook. It’s a convenient way to both identify your notebook and it also helps when it comes time to store it. the detailed information regarding the start and end date allow the user to be able to easily access a time frame that they desire.

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This ruling, called “reticle graph”, was one of the main reasons I picked this edition to be my first foray into Field Notes. I had never seen anything like it, and it reminded me a lot of Rhodia’s dot grid ruling. The spacing is about the same, but the reticles help me center my writing better, and also give nice guidelines for drawing check-boxes (I draw a lot of these).

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Aside from a little feathering with the thicker tip pens, the paper holds up very well to a myriad of mediums. I have no doubt that it can handle almost any gel pen I throw at it. Fountain pens, on the other hand, tend to smear and feather a lot, making it near impossible to use them with this notebook. I tried using an extra fine tip fountain pen to no avail, and also tried all the inks I have. All of them feathered and bled through. However, the fact that it can’t handle fountain pens is but a small drawback that it makes up for by accepting nearly everything else without a hitch.

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Overall, I feel that getting a pack of Field Notes was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. After strenuous testing, it held up surprisingly well, and surpassed all my expectations. I look forward to getting a few more packs with different rulings and covers. I find myself using it nearly everyday to keep track of all my college work. It took me a while to embrace the concept, but one I did, I don’t see myself going back to typing stuff in my phone in the near future. I highly recommend this to anyone who needs a quality pocket notebook to keep track of their daily activities.