A while back, I published a post describing my experiences with iron gall ink and how one specific ink ate a pen and a spare nib. If you haven’t read it, I’d recommend doing so before reading this post. This is going to be a long, photo-heavy article, so I’m not going to rehash the initial story, which has proven to be really popular. It’s sparked quite a debate across reddit, including one in which a lovely redditor repeatedly called me… Read More
Is iron gall ink Public Enemy #1, or just a poor, misunderstood schmuck caught up in an unfair war of opinions?
Some people avoid it like the plague, flat-out stating that it will eat your pens, paper, pets, and children. Others use it exclusively, saying it’s perfectly safe and they bathe in it and pour it over their cereal with no ill effects… Read More
Well, it finally happened. I can take some small amount of solace in knowing it’s Amazon’s fault and not mine. But there’s still a giant blue stain on my carpet, and I’m not happy about it.
I’ve wanted to check out Levenger products, but unfortunately, none of my usual, go-to fountain pen retailers carry them. I decided to buy a couple Levenger inks (their bottles are so cool!) and had to decide whether to get them directly from Levenger ($14 per bottle + shipping) or from Amazon ($12 per bottle with free shipping). No brainer, right? (I’m referring to the decision being a no-brainer at this point…I’ll get to the box-packing Amazon employees being no-brainers in a bit.)
Getting back to some good, old-fashioned inexpensive Chinese fountain pen action. Is it cheap? Or is it good? Could it be Both?
Baoer 508 Fountain Pen Review
Nib: Medium (on the finer side)
Filling System: Standard International Converter & Cartridges
About the Pen:
Exploring the world of Chinese fountain pens is an adventure. Some are inexpensive, others are less so. Some are outstanding performers, while others are absolute disasters. And there seems to be no real correlation between price and quality. Some of my best finds were in the $4 to $7 range, while some of my biggest disappointments cost between $12 and $19.
Some Chinese pens lead to adventure not because of the price-to-performance ratio, but because of some of the crazy things that happen with them. The Baoer 508 is a perfect example.
I filled the 508 with ink from a sample, so I used a syringe. I was also filling another pen, so I stood the 508 up on its cap to let gravity help the ink find its way to the nib. After about three minutes, I came back to it and took the cap off. Ink went flying… Read More
Before I start complaining, I just want to say that I am NOT including shimmering inks in this discussion. Sheen and shimmer are two different things, people. Let’s just get this out of the way up front:
Sheen = Ink takes on a different color (1) at different angles (usually after drying); (2) around edges; or (3) where ink pools
Shimmer = Glittery particles added to ink for sparkle (like J. Herbin and the Diamine Shimmertastic inks…although J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor has both sheen and shimmer, and I do mention that one below)
And if you’re a fan of analogies and/or vampires:
Shimmer : Sheen :: Twilight : Necroscope
Yeah I know, that doesn’t make any sense. I just wanted to cram Necroscope into the conversation. If you like vampires and haven’t read that series, you should. Faethor & Thibor would eat those other glittery sissies for lunch and… Read More
Some Things Are Way Harder Than They Should Be
Moby Dick: The great, white whale who for so long eluded and tormented Captain Ahab, invading his dreams, becoming the subject of his infamous obsession, and eventually leading to his demise. We all have one, don’t we? That one thing that’s always on our mind…that just eats at us night and day until we capture it, defeat it, or figure it out.
For some in the fountain pen world, the white whale is a rare pen model, color, or date of manufacture (or a combination of all three). For me, it’s about 1/100 of a penny’s worth of plastic: a simple … Read More
After I got into the hobby of collecting fountain pens, I (of course) started sampling all kinds of ink to go with them. After ordering like two batches of samples, I started reading these horror stories about a condition called SITB, or Slime (or stuff or s#$t) in the Bottle happening with a brand of ink called Private Reserve (PR). There were a few reports of it happening with other brands, but PR seemed to be responsible for the bulk of these reports.
After hearing about this issue, I decided to just avoid the brand, although I still had a few samples that I bought before hearing about it.
Fast-forward to tonight. I wanted my eight-year-old son to practice his penmanship, so I brought out his Kakuno and asked him what color ink he wanted. He chose dark red, so I grabbed my sample of Private Reserve Black Cherry and a syringe and went to fill it up.
I had trouble sucking up the ink in the syringe, and I was thinking “what the heck is going on?” I pulled the syringe out of the sample bottle and found a semi-solid wad of ick crammed into the needle.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that tonight was my first and last experience with Private Reserve. Gross.
Have any of you experienced SITB with PR or any other brand? Leave a comment and let me know!
Today, my heart breaks. Not just because one of my most coveted grail pens is on its way back to the vendor within a week of my receiving it, but also because my three-pen grail list is now reduced to a single, lonely entry…. Read More