A small but spiffy slate of pen mail this week. Hot on the heels of the latest Field Notes edition, the Fall 2017 Write Notepads “Fingerprints” edition quietly arrived. And all the way from Japan, my Platinum #3776 Century Nyhavn came in like a yellow ray of… Read More
From the “No, it’s not the 3776 Century” file, I present the…
Platinum 3776 Balance Maestro Fountain Pen (PTB-5000B)
Nib: Extra Fine
Filling System: Cartridge/Converter (proprietary)
About the Pen:
Before I start telling you what this pen IS, let me begin with what it ISN’T. This is not the 3776 Century, Platinum’s highly lauded, entry-level gold-nibbed pen that’s at the top of many a “Recommended Fountain Pens” list. This review is for the Balance Maestro, the Century’s little cousin. It’s still part of the 3776 lineup and still an excellent writer. But unlike the Century, it’s more of a general entry-level fountain pen. It has a simpler design, sports a steel nib instead of the 14k gold nib found on the Century (although it is gold plated), and is does not have the… Read More
A Comparison of Blues Similar to Noodler’s Navy
Google+ has a really nice fountain pen community going. It’s not super busy there, but a group of dedicated regulars keep the conversation going. There’s a lot of information sharing, show-and-tell, and (of course) questions & calls for recommendations. Regular contributor Nathan stopped in to ask for recommendation: He was looking for a blue similar to Noodler’s Navy, but that was even more water-resistant.
I knew that Noodler’s published a
… Read More
Right out of my “I always wanted one of these” file, please give a warm welcome to the…
Pilot Falcon Fountain Pen (a.k.a. Namiki Falcon)
Nib: Soft Fine
Filling System: Cartridge/Converter (Pilot Proprietary)
Disclaimer & Giveaway
This pen was provided for review by Pen Chalet. Because I don’t want you clowns thinking I’m handing out artificially inflated reviews in exchange for free products, I decided to give this pen away to one lucky reader (details at bottom of post).
About the Pen:
I’ve been using fountain pens for…oh, just over two and a half years. My first was a total impulse buy. I was wandering through Staples, noticed a $7 Sheaffer Viewpoint calligraphy fountain pen hiding on the bottom peg, and decided I couldn’t live without it. Two hours later, I had blown through half a cartridge and was completely engrossed in YouTube, watching video after video from Brian Goulet, Stephen Brown, and a few others. Pen reviews, how-to videos, disassembly/repair instructions, and Q&As. I was hooked. I began researching different pens and started a list of those I “had to own.”
One of the more interesting pens often mentioned was the bold & mysterious Pilot Falcon, with its strange and unique-shaped nib, its soft springiness that allows you to get some line variation with just a little pressure (don’t you dare call it a “flex” nib, though!), and its $150 price tag. At $7, my still-freshly-inked Sheaffer was probably the most expensive pen I had in the house, so the thought of spending $150 on a pen seemed ludicrous. I put the Falcon on my “When I’m Rich” list and went on binge-watching videos.
Over the course of the last couple years, I heard many things about the Falcon, both flattering and not-so-flattering. The most common argument against the Falcon was… Read More
Pilot Iroshizuku Inks: Blue, Green, and In Between
Pilot is arguably the biggest name in pens. If you’ve ever put a long, pointy thing in your hand and wrote with it, you’ve undoubtedly used a Pilot product along the way. Pilot is a Japanese company, and regardless of whether you’re using a cheap, throw-away ballpoint or a $5,000 makie fountain pen, their products are all made with impeccable quality, and you’re sure to experience a nice, trouble-free writing experience.
In addition to pens, Pilot makes a wonderful line of bottled inks for fountain pens. While other brands shoot for vibrant, highly saturated color palettes, Pilot aims for colors that mirror the beauty found in nature. Here’s a description from the Pilot web site:
The name Iroshizuku is a combination of the Japanese words Iro (Coloring), expressing high standards and variation of colors, and Shizuku (Droplet), that embodies the very image of dripping water. Each ink name derives from the expressions of beautiful Japanese natural landscapes and plants, all of which contribute to the depth of each individual hue.
… Read More
Dippin’ my toes into the higher-end waters to bring you the…
Sailor 1911 Standard (Profit) Fountain Pen
Nib: Extra Fine
Filling System: Converter / Cartridges (Sailor Proprietary)
About the Pen:
I’m starting to get obsessed with Sailor — and I’m not sure why. I only have one Sailor pen (this one). It’s the entry-level pen for their high-end line and I’ve only had it for a few weeks. I’m sure part of my obsession stems from the fact that Sailor’s EF nibs are extremely fine, but I don’t know what else could be fueling my obsession. Maybe it’s because… Read More
Bung Box Inks: Hard-to-Find Liquid Treasures
There’s a small, boutique stationery shop in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan called Bungubox that opened it’s doors in 2012. They were pretty much a mom-and-pop type of place, catering to local residents looking for nice pens and other writing supplies. Bungubox started commissioning various manufacturers to create exclusive items for their store.
One of these partnerships was with the company Sailor, who they commissioned to make a line of inks for them under the name Bung Box. Sailor’s Jentle inks are widely regarded as beautiful, high-quality inks, so it’s no surprise that the Bung Box colors were also very popular.
Sailor is one of the “Big 3” Japanese pen & ink manufacturers…with Pilot and Platinum being the other two.
Sometime last year (2015), word got out about the Bung Box inks, and all hell broke loose. People from all over the world began ordering the inks, making the shop proprietors scramble to fulfill orders and cleaning the inks off the shelves. The availability of Bung Box inks goes in and out as supplies run out and the inks need to be reordered & made. At this moment, at least some of them are available, so I ordered a pile of samples to check them out (at $42 for a 50 ml bottle, they’re extremely expensive inks…so I just stuck with samples).
Holy Gosh! I see why they’re so popular.
Below are images and descriptions for six of the Bung Box inks. There’s not a dud in the bunch.
The short version of this review: Oh my God! For a slightly longer version, keep reading…
Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen
Nib: Extra Fine (Oh my, yes!)
Filling System: Pilot converters & cartridges
About the Pen:
Around 1964, Pilot introduced a high-tech and remarkable writing instrument: a fully retractable fountain pen they called the Capless. Over the next 60 years, they’ve made a number of refinements and design changes, such as changing the original twist-to-retract mechanism to the pushbutton style we see today.
A note about the “Vanishing Point” and “Capless” names: The official name of this pen has gone back and forth a number of times (as has the brand name between Pilot and Namiki). I believe it is still called the Capless in many parts of the world, but it’s marketed as the Vanishing Point in the US.
The current incarnation of the Vanishing Point is as technologically advanced as it is elegant.
A Tale of Six Notebooks, a Chinese Pen, and a Whole Lot of Feathers
This was supposed to be a short, quick review. But it turned into a genuine saga.
I love notebooks. I have piles of them that I’m not sure I’ll ever get to use. But I keep buying them because I’m looking for the PERFECT notebook. As I’ve been trying different brands, paper types, styles, and bindings, I think I’ve identified exactly what I’m looking for. Unfortunately, I don’t think it exists. With the thousands of different types of notebooks out there, you’d think I could find a handful of options that suit my needs. But you’d be wrong…. Read More
From the “I know there are a million reviews of this pen already, but I’m writing one anyway” files…
Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen
Nibs: Fine & Italic
Country of Origin: Japan
Filling System: Aerometric / Squeeze-Type
About the Pen:
The Pilot Metropolitan is undoubtedly one of the best “starter” fountain pens out there. The street price is $15, making it very affordable. But it’s also a hallmark of quality: durable, dependable, reliable, and comfortable. The Metro is available with either a Fine or Medium nib; however, it used the same nib as several other Pilot pens, which are available in other grades: the Pilot Plumix has an Italic nib, and the Pilot Penmanship has an Extra Fine nib (Note: the Plumix and Penmenship cost about $8 each). The nibs can be swapped from those pens into the Metropolitan, giving a total of four nib options.
For this review, I’m using two different variants of the pen:
- Bronze Lizard with a Fine nib
- Black Crocodile with an Italic nib (that I swapped from a Plumix)