Horizon Folded Pen

Sorry for not being as active as I would have liked. I’ve taken a rather intense course load for the semester and tests keep barreling towards me like trains and I have to do my best to study as hard as possible. I’ve had next to no free time in between studying and I’m ending up still awake at 2 in the morning doing calligraphy drills to calm down before heading to sleep. It’s nearing midterms week so, there’s going to be more and more thrown at me right before that time, so this might be the only update for the next two weeks (hopefully not). Thank you all for your outstanding patience and I will endeavor to get another review in today if possible.

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This was a nib that I really wanted to get my hands on for the longest time. So when I finally did, I went absolutely nuts with experimenting. Different inks, angles of the strokes going for the splatter pattern I see so many of my favorite calligraphers make when they use it. So far, I have not been able to get it yet, maybe it’s all in the flick of the wrist as the letter ends.

A folded nib is a rather unique nib when it comes to calligraphy as the style of writing is very different from say, a broad edge pen. It’s relatively new innovation in the calligraphy industry and it definitely has a unique charm that other current nibs can’t provide.

The center fold of the nib acts as the ink reservoir and it can really hold a lot of ink. I did a full dip and was able to write 3 capital letters before running out. As it’s running out, if the ink has nice shading, like Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, then the color will start getting progressively lighter with each stroke allowing you to view numerous gradations as you write. Depending on the angle you hold the nib relative to the paper, the stroke could be thin or brush-like. Also, how much control you exert over the nib changes the way the ink flows, as heavy pressure from the hand, results in more ink on the page. Pacing is also important, as a fast pace can result in choppy lines. All of these variations can be seen in the first picture.

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You can choose to either buy one or make one. I chose to but from Paper Ink Arts as I tried making one and it just didn’t come out right no matter how many times I tried, so I defaulted to buying one. There are instructions to make one too though they typically won’t be as consistent as a store-bought one. The end result, however, is similar so if you just want to try it out to see the possibilities, you can just make one and experiment with it.

 

Jinhao 159 Review

Sorry for posting so late guys. Had nearly 8 hours of classes for today and was so tired by the time I got home, I had to delay finishing it for a while. Anyway, here’s your weekly review. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

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The Jinhao was a pen I ordered from Goulet Pens, which meant that it was coming to me packed safely enough to withstand a blizzard. Inside the box, the Jinhao was just inside a little plastic sleeve. No special box or packaging of any kind, not that I expected any at that price tag. First impression was that it was a hefty pen. The design reminded me of one of my dream pens the Montblanc Meisterstuck 149. If you saw the Instagram photo I posted yesterday, then you would know that it looked like a dead ringer for a typical Montblanc. I really enjoy this style while others may feel put off by the size and heft. It fit comfortably in my hands, but I think it would be a little difficult for those with small hands to use.

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For a cheap $13 pen, I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the nib. I was expecting to have to smooth it out with some micro mesh, but it was perfectly smooth and juicy straight out of the box (I didn’t even rinse it out). I opted for the medium nib, which has a very generous amount of tipping. The line wrote larger than a standard Lamy medium, yet smaller than a Lamy broad. The design stamped onto it tends to take on the color of the ink it’s loaded up with. I really like it, but it may be something others won’t.

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After twisting open the cap and seeing the section, I cringed on the inside a bit. It brought me back to my Metropolitan experience where the transition was too sharp and ended up biting into my hand. Thankfully, that was not the case with the Jinhao. It’s rounded, ensuring that no matter how hard you grip it, it won’t bite into your hand. The same goes for the threads which I really appreciate.

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The biggest drawback for me personally was the converter. While it does hold a decent amount of ink, it feels very cheap and breakable. I didn’t expect a Platinum quality converter, but this one almost immediately broke apart in my hands. I was pulling the converter to fill it up with some Iroshizuku Shin-Kai(I fill via syringe, ensuring a complete fill). As I was pulling, the twister pulled out of the metal section and the plunger flew out with it. I started panicking a bit, but calmed down after I figured out that I could pop it back in. However, I would recommend using this pen with a standard cartridge. The converter is just too flimsy to hold up for long term use.

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The branding is minimal, being present only on the cap band. The model number is also indicated on the opposite side of the company brand. The clip is very malleable and fit without any signs of struggle into my Hightower. It is also very securely attached to the cap, ensuring it doesn’t wiggle around in the slightest.

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Overall, I would highly recommend this as an excellent beginner’s fountain pen. It’s cheap, running in at about $12.50USD, solidly built and has a quaint design, reminiscent of the Montblancs of yore. While I’ve heard of people having nib issues, it’s nothing a bit of micro mesh and mylar paper wouldn’t fix. It’s also a popular frankenpen prospect, making the possibilities endless. Get one and experiment! Have fun and as always, write on, my friends.

Platinum #3776 Nice Pur Ltd Edition

DSCF6797When I was at the L. A. Pen show back in February, I was absolutely thrilled to purchase my first pen from Classic Fountain Pens (nibs.com). I was wide awake, unable to sleep, wondering which pen to get. I was still in my developmental stage as a pen addict, so I was looking for a different experience. When I say different, I meant a smaller nib size, as I had gotten too used to my binderized VP medium nib. After my jaw hit the floor when looking at the price tags on the Sailor pens, I looked into offerings from Platinum. At the time, the Nice Pur was the latest edition in the #3776 Century models. It was a variation on the Nice, which was the previous iteration. I was briefly attracted to the Nice, but the rose gold plating made it seem a bit too gaudy for my taste. I just couldn’t bring myself to get a pen with gold hardware.

DSCF6799When I was testing the nibs, I was asking advice from John Mottishaw. I told him about my medium VP that I adored, as well as the Franklin-Christoph Masuyama medium CI I had bought that same day. My request was to recommend a nib that gave me an entirely different writing experience from the pens I already had, but was smooth at the same time. He handed me a Platinum fine nib and told me to test it out. I put the pen to the Rhodia pad and it glided across, but provided a decent amount of feedback. I asked to try the medium next, and after a couple of scribbles, decided that it felt too similar to my VP. I narrowed it down to the broad and fine. After mulling it over for nearly 40 minutes, pacing back and forth, I went with the fine. As John was optimizing the pen for me, I was giddy with excitement to test it out and review it. I thanked him for his patience and went on my way.

DSCF6816Fast forward a few months, the Platinum was lying inked up, yet unused in my desk drawer. How did this situation come about? Right after going home, I inked it up and put it into my note taking rotation. I was taking my first class in Spring quarter, and was eager to put this baby to use. I started writing and stopped abruptly. The smoothness had completely gone, leaving it scratchy as a nail. I thought it may have been a problem form the factory, so I went home, rinsed it out, flushed completely, and inked it up again. Same problem, and all the inks I had at the time made this pen seem dry and scratchy. Disappointed, I put it in my desk drawer and forgot about it.

DSCF6829After nearly 7 months of lying in my drawer, I finally spotted it during my pre-Fall quarter stationary inventory. The painful memory of it’s scratchiness surfaced, and it almost went back in. However, in a split second decision, I decided that I had to at least review it for my blog. I uncapped it and tried writing, lo and behold, it worked perfectly without any hard starts. The Slip and Seal mechanism that Platinum heavily advertises as one of this pen’s features really isn’t just marketing hype. After 7 months, it worked the moment the nib touched the paper.

DSCF6813Any bad experience I had with this pen had to be let go, to be able to review it and form an unbiased opinion. So I flushed it and inked it up with a new ink I had bought, Sailor Souten. When trying it out again, I was reminded of the buttery smooth dream nib I had tested way back when. Mystified, I tested it with my standard Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, resulting in it being smoother than the Souten. It was at that moment I realized how stupid I had been. The performance of a pen can be affected depending on the ink inside. I had completely forgotten about this, which resulted in me ignoring one of the best pens I’ve ever purchased.

DSCF6814I was never one for demonstrators, as I felt they looked cheap due to the plastic. The aesthetic of this pen completely rejects that supposition. The striated frosted plastic looks absolutely gorgeous. My only complaint is that the lines tend to dig into my skin when I try to twist the cap on and off. Other than that, it’s one of the best looking pens I’ve had the pleasure of using.

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The first 2000 pens are engraved with a number, as you can see above. Mine is #1597. The engraving is very minimal and I didn’t even notice it until I checked. It’s also very hard to capture a photo of it, as the slightest amount of glare tends to reflect off the top.

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No matter how hard you try to keep the nib free from ink, it’s near impossible. Unless it’s uninked, I have yet to see a Platinum #3776 not have small specks of ink all around the slit. I initially wanted to gripe about it, but realized that it’s not too big of a deal.

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The clip is one of the tightest I’ve ever used. When I’m sliding it into my pencil case, I have to put a bit of effort and bend the clip upwards, otherwise, it’s impossible to force it in. It has kept it’s shape and tightness pretty well over the last month. I feel reassured that it won’t slip regardless of whether you’re wearing it in your shirt/pant pocket, or a pencil case.

Franklin-Christoph Model 40P Review

There was once a boy, who had a big dream. His dream was a to get a Model 40P from Franklin-Christoph, so he set out to pursue this goal. Knowing his wallet was crying out in hopelessness, he traversed the internet for a solution. That solution came in the form of a group buying site known as Massdrop. A sense of jubilation rose through him as he started a poll for Franklin-Christoph pens. However, he needed 200 votes, and his only counted as one. The road to 200 seemed like a long and arduous journey. He spread the word, hoping to get more votes, and steadily as the days went by, the number of votes rose. Within 2 weeks it had passed 200! The boy smiled, at the winning choice, his dream pen, the Model 40P. Patiently, the boy waited to see whether Franklin-Christoph would be able to accept the demand for the pens. Alas, it was not meant to be, as instead of all 3 top choices, Franklin-Christoph chose to provide the Model 27 Collegia.

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Jim, the kind gentleman who adjusted my Model 40P

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Clips are now just a $10 add-on. I didn’t want one, but for those of you who do…

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These are the testing pens with all the nibs Franklin-Christoph offers

Heartbroken, the boy was faced with a choice. Forget about the pen, and get something within his price range, or work hard and earn it. He ultimately chose the latter, and after half a year of saving, he finally had enough to go to the L. A. Pen show. He ended up buying the pen of his dreams, and now he’s going to review it.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

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The Ice look maintains under any lighting, outside or inside

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I love that script! Simple and elegant branding.

Beautiful. Stunning. Simplistic. These are the words I think of whenever I see the Model 40P. The P in the name denoting that it’s a pocket-sized pen. While I haven’t yet used it as one, I am sure that it would work out fine. I first saw this pen on Fountain Pen Network, and was instantly smitten with its understated beauty. No fancy gimmicks, just a simple, acrylic pen with a dark grey finial. It accepts short international cartridges, but can also be used as an eyedropper, which this pen begs to be used as.

NIB PERFORMANCE:

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This makes an amazing eyedropper. Pictures don’t do it justice.

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Close up of that juicy, smooth nib

For the nib selection, it was a no-brainer. I had already known I wanted a Masuyama cursive italic. It was just a matter of medium or broad. After extensive time with the tester pens, I knew the medium was perfect for my style of writing. I tend to write smaller than average when taking notes. I think it may have something to do with my rather powerful glasses. What I can read perfectly, other tend to struggle. When I first tested the nib, it was scratchy. I asked Jim if he could make it smoother, and he went to work. Three tests later, it was gliding across the page. It is the perfect blend of smoothness, combined with the sharp lines and variation of a cursive italic. This nib is very forgiving, allowing beginners like me to easily adapt to writing with it.

DESIGN:

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The “ice” texture is one of the greatest aesthetic assets of this pen. No matter what color ink you decide to use, it will look great sloshing around in the barrel if you’re using it as an eyedropper. As you can see above, this is one of the qualities that automatically drew me to this pen.

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The finial seamlessly blends into the main section. Franklin-Christoph now offer this part in many different colors. Some of them look really nice, and it became a difficult choice for me. I went with the Smoke color because it was the original color scheme that had bewitched me.

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The most annoying part of this is cleaning it. It is the biggest task I have undertaken, and it is very difficult to properly get all the ink out. That’s why I suggest to not use an ink that tends to be difficult, like the J. Herbin 1670 series, Noodler’s bulletproof inks, or any pigmented inks. If you do decide to use these inks, make sure to use it up as quickly as possible, and put it in an ultrasonic cleaner (I used an electric toothbrush with some success).

OVERALL:

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I would recommend this pen to everyone and their uncle. It is versatile, beautiful, and durable. It is the perfect balance between form and function. The HP steel nibs are a great value and perform nearly as good as the 18K gold nibs. Getting a nib ground by Mike Masuyama for an extremely small premium makes this pens one of the best purchases I have made.

Iroshizuku Yama-Budo Review

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

I would like to express my gratitude to all my readers and followers for encouraging me from the start to keep this blog going. I’m feeling a lot of stress now that it is transfer application time, and I’ve been bogged down with so much homework. Every time I get an email from Facebook or Twitter that says “_____ is following you” or “____ likes your page” it makes me happy that my efforts to put out good reviews are being appreciated by the pen community. One thing that I would like to mention is that I rarely ever see you guys commenting on posts, so I really don’t know whether I’m going about this correctly. I’ve always tried to engage my readers but it doesn’t seem to work. So I would appreciate it if you guys could leave your comments on this post in honor of this great day. I am very prompt with replies, and would love to hear what you guys have to say.

P.S. I will edit this post with my ink review around 3:00 tomorrow. I have to leave for school now, but in the mean time, check out the Fountain Pen Day website for inspiration on how the international fountain pen community is celebrating today.

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Yama-Budo is a color I have been dying to try out, and I knew from the first post I published on my blog that it was the first ink review I wanted to do. The script is basic Copperplate that I have been practicing.

I have to say, when I first saw pictures of Yama-Budo in action, I wasn’t immediately wowed like I was with Kon-Peki. The color was “meh” (not too bad, not amazing either). The lighting made the ink look several shades lighter than it turned out for me. After scouring reviews from other pen blogs, I noticed that it is a characteristic shading property of this ink. The thinner the nib size, the brighter it looks. With my extra fine flex nib it was noticeably darker, a shade which suits my taste perfectly. This is not too bad though, as it opens up areas of experimentation with ornamental lettering. Several different shades ranging from magenta to wine colored purple makes Yama-Budo a very good ink for sketches or drawings.

As the ink flowed out of the pen onto the paper, for some reason it seemed dry to me. So I cleaned the pen out, loaded it up with some Kon-Peki, and it was smooth as butter. For some reason, Yama-Budo seems a little less lubricated than I would like, as I require smooth strokes to properly write. The ink does make up for less lubrication with very good behavior onΒ  standard Rhodia paper, although there was quite a bit of ghosting, which had more to do with the pen I was using than the ink. Nevertheless, something to look out for if wet noodle flex pens are your passion.

Dry time was around 15 seconds, and there was a just a little smudging for me, again, more to do with the pen, but I’m surprised at how fast it dried considering how much ink I put down on the paper.

Overall, Yama-Budo is another classic Iroshizuku ink, well behaved, vibrant colors, nice shading, and decent dry time. This is one ink that I wouldn’t hesitate to splurge on if I have the money. Before doing so, I would suggest that all of you buy ink samples first to test it out in the pens you use, as ultimately it is your experience of the ink’s performance that counts.

Pilot Falcon SF Review

Pen: Namiki Falcon SF nib with Rhodium trim

Ink: Iroshizuku Kon-Peki

INTRODUCTION:

I was introduced to the Namiki falcon while perusing YouTube for calligraphy videos. I stumbled upon one which showcased the Falcon with Mr. John Mottishaw’s Spencerian customization. As of this blog post the number of views on the video has gone past 4 million. Here’s the link if you guys are curious Custom Namiki Falcon. Anyway, by the time I watched the video and decided that I wanted one, Pilot was debuting the new rhodium version of the falcon, so I jumped at the opportunity and got one. I opted for the resin version, but there is another full metal version of the same pen which runs on Pilot’s CON-70 converter which holds a lot more ink than the CON-50, which is what the resin version comes with. I was tempted to get the metal version, but a $100 more in asking price, I decided against it.

APPEARANCE:

Namiki Falcon in Rhodium trim

Namiki Falcon in Rhodium trim

I guess it’s a personal preference, but I feel that a gold and black color scheme makes a pen look much more gaudy than it needs to be. Silver, (or in most cases, rhodium) and black have a very subtle contrast that really grabs my attention. A silky, svelte black with a few pops of shiny silver really appeals to me in a way a black and gold pen never can. This smart looking pen looks like it would be perfect for any occasion, whether you’re taking notes in school, or signing autographs at a black tie dinner.

Falcon hooded nib

Falcon hooded nib

Underside of the nib

Underside of the nib

NIB & PERFORMANCE:

Despite the numerous compliments I gave this pen for it’s appearance, I have little in the way of praise for it’s performance. I really looked forward to using this pen as a quick note taker. I had asked Brian Goulet of the Goulet Pen Company (no affiliation) on what nib size I should look into after he did a promo video for the incoming Falcons. I wanted a quick note taker, but didn’t want to consume too much ink. He recommended I get a soft fine, and almost immediately, I pulled the trigger. After the pen arrived, I inked it up and took it to school the following day. The first few lines were velvety as the nib glided across the page, laying down a relatively thin, yet visible line of ink. 5 lines in, the experience took me straight down the gutter. The smoothness had lessened considerably, and the nib couldn’t keep up with my writing speed. Now I DO NOT write fast, in any sense of the word. At least not as fast as most people think. I tend to take my time when I form the letters to ensure the legibility. The frustration I experienced as I tried to keep on writing cannot be described in words. (Well it could, but then I’d have to censor everything past this point) After that first day, it has been sitting in my drawer collecting dust until I dug it up for this review. Even as I was making the handwritten review, I was running into problems, as you can see for yourselves.

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OVERALL:

This is one of the best looking pens I own, but I am not at all satisfied with the performance. I know it can’t be a problem with the nib as Goulet Pen Company ALWAYS checks the nib before sending out an order. Any suggestions on how to improve the experience? Should I send it to a nibmeister and ask for improved ink flow? Should I sell this pen and get another one that will make me happier? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Pendleton’s Pens “Lumi” Review

INTRODUCTION:

The TWSBI Diamond 580 series. Not much can be said about the diamond series pens that hasn’t already been said. The current version I am reviewing is the 580AL. The difference between this and the older 580 is the material used. Instead of the traditional plastic we saw used for the grip and piston rod all the way from the 530, TWSBI has opted to reconstruct them with aluminum. How did I know it was aluminum? The chemical symbol of aluminum is Al (β€’_β€’) / ( β€’_β€’)>βŒβ– -β–  / (βŒβ– _β– ) (*YEEEEEAAAAAHHHH) I’ve definitely learnt something from chemistry class.

This change gives the pen a nice heft, making it feel very solid and sturdy in my hands. The weight of the pen is also directed towards the front, which helps me write with less overall pressure. I purchased this pen from Pendleton’s Pens, and was extremely satisfied with the professionalism demonstrated by Mr. Brown, as well as the fast shipping.

*drools*

*drools*

APPEARANCE & PACKAGING:

The TWSBI 580AL has a very simple yet elegant appearance. The chrome pieces and aluminum grip section provide a subtle, satisfying twinkle when it hits the lights at the perfect angle. When capped, I noticed that there was a stark contrast between the plain cap and the multifaceted diamond pattern found on the body. When uncapped, this pattern helps the pen not roll off the table (almost happened to me, I completely freaked out >.<).

Finally Here!

Finally Here!

Simple, appropriate for price range

Simple, appropriate for price range

NIB & PERFORMANCE:

I had mentioned in my teaser post that there was something special about this pen. Well here it is! The nib on this pen is absolutely mind-blowing. I was dubious whether a stub nib was what I needed, but now I can say with certainty that they are perfect for notes. Now being a college, I am expected to write a LOT of notes. On average I write almost 11-12 pages per subject everyday. I was thoroughly confused about the nib size that was ideal for me, so I sent an email to Mr. Pendleton Brown detailing my quandary. I wanted a nib that had decent line variation for my calligraphic pursuits, but did not consume copious amounts of ink. Smooth as butter, but crisp enough for intricate details. Fine, but not too fine.

In all honesty, I didn’t know whether what I was asking for was possible, or even realistic. However, within 24 hours, Mr. Brown emailed me with his recommendation. He was prompt, concise, and professional with his recommendation. The nib size he recommended for me was not something that was shown on his website, a “Fat Fine”. His description of it was “fatter than a fine, thinner than a medium”, which turned out to be 0.5mm width. Putting my faith in his expertise, I pulled the trigger. 3 days and $110.00 later, I find myself in nib nirvana. He really knows how to identify what a customer is looking for! Kudos, Mr. Brown πŸ™‚

Nib Close-up

That nib looks so beautiful up close!

I have very limited experience with stub nibs, so at first I found the nib to be really scratchy, and I was disappointed as I was expecting something buttery. Then after 20 minutes of experimentation, I realized it was because I was a total noob, that it was even doing that. I took a few deep breaths, relaxed my grip, brought the nib to a light hover on the paper and moved my whole arm when writing. Instantly the nib glided across the paper with almost no effort. I got a sense of pure joy and elation as I wrote out my first comprehensive handwritten review for this pen.

Handwritten Review

Handwritten Review

Cursive and Line Variation Tests

Cursive and Line Variation Tests

OVERALL:

Pros:

  • Solid construction
  • Juicy, and springy nib
  • Interchangeable with standard TWSBI nibs
  • Great ink capacity
  • Comes with silicone grease and wrench for disassembling

Cons:

  • More expensive than a standard TWSBI 580AL
  • Doesn’t post well

CONCLUSION:

I would recommend anyone to get a custom Pendleton Point BLS Italic nib. They are juicy, springy, and smooth. I couldn’t be more happier with my purchase. This pen has earned a permanent spot on my EDC list. I look forward to trying out a few new scripts with this pen, which I will hopefully be able to show you guys later on.

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with Mr. Pendleton Brown, and was not compensated in any way for this review. I am just another happy customer. πŸ™‚