9/13/14

Caran d'Ache Organic Brown


The next installment in the Caran d'Ache series is this chocolaty brown. It's also sort of a rich, loamy brown, I think. Maybe I've been digging in the garden too much, though.

The first nib I had this in was the Franklin-Christoph music nib, and it worked pretty well. I actually wrote the top portion of the review, got distracted, and didn't finish it until the next day. The first line next to "Thoughts" is sorta weird. I think the ink got a little dried up in one side of that three-prong nib, and it just wasn't flowing well. I blame the TWSBI 700's feed. It just wasn't meant to feed this nib. I also had the choke closed on the pen, so that'll do it.

Anyway, the shade of this ink is great in that huge nib. It's rich and it's solid.


And...I totally forgot to fill out a couple of the spaces in the review. There's no real problem with the flow. It got going again, even in the music nib, and it worked out fine. There's a little bit of feather and bleed on the copy paper (you'll see it below), but nothing major.

Close-ups





Not pictured, below, is the Graf von Faber-Castell Hazelnut Brown. I'd already taken it out of my pen by this point. I think I like Hazelnut a little more, but you can decide for yourself.



Chromatography



Copy Paper Test



It behaves pretty well, but not as well as the Hazelnut I reference above. It's not a huge difference, but it's there.

Check this ink out at Anderson Pens and other fine retailers.


Water Test and Review Video


The ink for this review was provided free of charge by Anderson Pens. The review was all mine, however.

9/11/14

Caran d'Ache Vibrant Green

This ink sample was provided, free of charge, by Anderson Pens.

I'm slow to get on the Chromatics train. These inks came out a while ago, and I'd always meant to try them but I'd never gotten around to it. I've heard that some people were upset that they cancelled the previous line of inks, but I never got to try those, so I can't comment.

I think that it was the high per-bottle price tag that kept me away. It's fairly steep. A 50 ml bottle goes for $36 at Anderson Pens. That's $.72 per ml. That's more than the Graf von Faber-Castell inks I just reviewed, and more than Iroshizuku. It's also more than Montblanc's limited edition inks. So, these reviews are likely to be...colored...by that fact. Ya gotta expect a lot from an ink with that price tag.

Here's the bottle-shape:
I linked this picture from FPquest.com, which is an excellent blog, if you don't know it already. 
I only have samples of these inks, so I don't have a bottle for them. The bottle and the box are really neat. The bottle is angled at the bottom which should let you get more fills out of the bottle before you have to start to use a syringe. It also looks cool, so there's that. The box has a corresponding angle, so it looks like it's sitting up straight when it's in the box. I'm sure that has something to contribute to the prices.

Alrighty, enough with the packaging and price. How about the ink?

The Ink


I'm a fan of this green. It's bright and it's really, really green. I do love green inks. This one feels great on the paper, and the color is good. It shades a bit on good paper, but don't expect to see that on average papers. As I mention above, Vibrant Green does tend to bleed just a little. It's not a huge deal, but it's enough that I have to mention it. There's not really any feathering or spreading, so that's good.

Also, this ink isn't the best at resisting water. You can see that in action on the video at the end of the review, but you can see the damage above. Sorry for the spoiler, folks.

Close-ups!





Chromatography

You can see the really faint line at the right-hand side of the paper below, and that's where the ink started. You can also see that it's almost entirely gone. Not going to be much left once water hits this ink on a page. At the top, though are some really nice color bands. It's green tempered by blue. Again, give me that blue! What is this blue ink that so many of these manufacturers start out with?



Average Paper Test

 Not much bleed through, but there is some. 


Water Drop Test and Video Review




The Conclusion

So, do I recommend this ink? Sorta. I like the color, and I like the behavior. As far as true greens go, this is a darn good one. I've found that a good green is kinda hard to find, and they're often not cheap. This particular one reminds me of Noodler's Hunter green (I should really re-do that review, it's really showing its age!) and the Franklin-Christoph ink that I just showed off with the Christoph nib. The Noodler's ink is a little over half the price, and for the F-C ink I don't know the price per ml. 

If you have a place to display cool bottles, then this is a very cool addition. If the price tag doesn't worry you, then this is a good ink. There are cheaper alternatives, though, so maybe check them out. Certainly get a sample of this one, though. 



The ink for this review was provided free of charge by Anderson Pens. The review was all mine, however.

9/10/14

Birthday Post!

Hi folks,

It's my birthday, and I've been a little bit of a slacker on the blog. That's coming to an end tomorrow. I'll have a bunch of Caran d'Ache inks to show off from Anderson Pens. They've been really good to me.

When I got home today, there were some boxes waiting for me on the porch. One was from the Andersons, and it had all sorts of ink samples in it. All of  the Toucan inks are going to show up on the blog (eventually). I missed an FPN group-buy for these inks a while ago, and I'd really regretted it. Fortunately, my good friends Brian and Lisa are the exclusive North American distributors of this Australian line, and they've hooked me up.




I've also gotten my first box of things from the Pen Boutique. They contacted me about writing some review for them recently, and I've got some really interesting paper as a first-up. These are both made from Lokta paper which is made, by hand, in Nepal. It'll be coming to the blog as soon as I've had a chance to play with it a bit.



Anyway, that's a little bit of a preview of what will be happening on the blog in the near future. I hope you've had a good Mike's Birthday. I have.

And I haven't even opened any presents from family yet!

9/6/14

Graf von Faber-Castell Hazelnut Brown

This ink sample was provided, free of charge, by Anderson Pens.

This is it, the last of the inks from Graf von Faber-Castell. So, let's finish with what is probably my favorite from the set. I was taking an interesting poll that was posted in the fountain pen sub on Reddit, and I was surprised that "brown" wasn't an option for "Favorite ink color" and I was surprised that I wanted to pick it. I think I really like browns right now.

Anywho, this Hazelnut is an excellent ink. The flow was excellent in my sometimes-dryish Lamy, it behaved very well on copy papers, and it exhibits some shading. There's no sheen, but that's okay. (I don't actually know of any brown inks that have a sheen. Do you?)

This picture kinda spoils the water-test, but my original pictures turned out a little green. Oh well. 

This is certainly a brown brown. It's not yellowish or greenish, and it's not so dark that you'd think it was black. If you're looking for an office-brown, then this isn't the one for you. (Check out Sailor Doyou for an awesome brown-black.) If you want an ink that's clearly a brown, then you should give this one a try.



I didn't have any other browns inked up when I wrote this review, but Copper Burst is kinda close. I think Hazelnut Brown is more brown than copper, though. 


Copy Paper Test

Excellent performance from this ink. It's a fine nib, but there's nothing coming through the other side of the page. I sorta doubt that there would be a problem with bigger nibs. This isn't one of the partially document proofed inks, but it performs like one when it comes to bleed-feathering-spreading on cheaper paper.


Chromatography


Neat combination of dyes in this ink, huh? I expected to see the reds, browns, and the dash of yellow, but I didn't expect to see the blue in there.

Check this ink out at Anderson Pens where it sells for $30 per 75ml bottle.  (3ml samples and cartridges are also available.)

Video Review and Water Drop Test





 There's not a lot of resistance to this ink. So, not document proofed, but still dang good. 

The ink for this review was provided free of charge by Anderson Pens. The review was all mine, however.

9/4/14

Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue

This ink sample was provided, free of charge, by Anderson Pens.

Only a couple more of these Graf von Faber-Castell inks left to show, and today we've got the blue of the collection.  It's nicely wet in my Wahl-Eversharp Skyliner 50's nib, and it's very smooth. The color is a purple-ish blue that tends to show some shading and sheen when you lay it down heavily. As one of the document proofed inks, it doesn't have any bleed, feather, or spread on average paper. 

All of these are excellent qualities, but there's something about this ink that just makes it not for me. I think it's the heavy purple influence in the blue. If you like a purple-ish blue, then this one is excellent. 


Close ups!





Xtreme close-up!
Chromatography!

The chromatography of this ink shows the purple base layer of this ink, with a really nice bright blue floating to the top of the strip. I'd like an ink that was just that blue layer, though the water resistance would be nil, I suspect.


Copy Paper Test

There's some show-through, but no bleed with this ink. Impressive from a fairly wet nib with a fairly wet ink.


Check this ink out at Anderson Pens where it sells for $30 per 75ml bottle.  (3ml samples are also available.)

Video Review and Water Drop Test










The ink for this review was provided free of charge by Anderson Pens. The review was all mine, however.

9/2/14

Delta's Limited Edition Unica for Anderson Pens


This is my first foray into the Delta brand, and I think I'll be back. In fact, it's my first Italian pen of any kind. You might be familiar with the Unica in its other colors (blue, white, and hot pink). I think the white one is the best looking white pen around, and I probably would have gotten one if this red model didn't exist. Just look at that acrylic. Awesome.

Stats

Body: Acrylic Resin (translucent).
Nib: Steel in fine, medium, and broad.
Hardware: Chrome
Length: 5 1/4" (capped) 4 3/4" (uncapped) and 6" (posted).
Filling System: Cartridge/Converter (both of these are included)
Price: $85


Looks

I think this is the best looking of the available colors. The red acrylic looks really deep and there's a lot going on inside that resin. There's really minimal branding on the pen, with just an engraved "DELTA ITALY" on the bottom of the cap and a subtle "AP" on the back of the cap with a number. Mine is 37/50. That's right, there are only 50 of these things being made. It's a limited edtion, not a special edition like the Franklin-Christoph pens that they have (or are coming soon). I actually didn't notice the brand's name on the pen until this morning.

There's minimal hardware to distract from the acrylic, and I like that aesthetic. I'm a fan of really funky design but, sometimes, you don't want the distractions of facets and hardware. This pen has a chrome clip with a little roller at the bottom. It's a great feature that i wish more pens would have. Secure in the pocket, but easy to clip and remove. The only other hardware on the pen is a chrome ring that sits below the edge of the cap.

Please excuse the finger nail in the above picture. I was cleaning brown ink out of another pen, and my nail is a little stained. The perils of pen maintenance and macro photography. 

The top of the pen is unadorned, aside from my finger prints. 

The section unscrews right below the threads, so it never unscrews the pen when you're trying to remove the cap. The fit/finish is so tight that you don't see the seam, either. 

The nib would be a little busy if it weren't for the satin finish. As it is, I think it looks rad. You can also see the black of the feed and the silver of the threads in this picture if you look at the very bottom. The acrylic is translucent if you look closely. 

Dat acrylic, tho....  Also, a very functional clip. 

I wanted to show the sunlight through the cap, and I think it came out nicely. Almost blinded myself. Don't look at the sun, kids. 

I really wanted #42 of this pen, but Brian and Lisa didn't have it at the table. Oh well. If you've got #42, then you're a lucky duck and I envy you. Wanna trade caps?

The picture below is the break-down pic. As you can see, the threads inside are metal, and that's going to stop this from being an eye-dropper, though that doesn't bother me at all. The threads on the section are smooth and not sharp on your fingers, and the metal threads inside are really well fitted so that they don't scrape or grind as you unscrew the pen. Good fit/finish.


Comparisons

The nib stands out in my collection. The only other nibs I've seen with this finish have been titanium, and I don't have any of those just yet. One day. 

Capped, this pen is on the small side of average. Perfect shirt-pocket size.


Uncapped, the pen is the same length as a Skyliner or a Parker 51. It's a little longer than the TWSBI 540, and shorter than a Lamy Vista. The weight is really low, though, due to the material of the body.


 It's comfortable for my large hands either posted or not. The cap doesn't really add any weight, so it's nothing to worry about. 

 Side-view comparison of the Unica and a Lamy Vista.

Writing experience and sample:

I really like writing with this pen. The fine nib was a little too fine, but the medium is jus tright for me. It's on the finer side of medium, and it's very smooth and slightly wet. I'm using the limited edition Delta Skeleton ink that they were giving away at the DC show, and I really like it in this pen. It starts every time and doesn't seem to dry out at all. The nib is steel, and it's not particularly stiff. There's some nice give to it, though I wouldn't call it flex.




I'm a big fan of this pen, and I urge you to jump on one if you have any inclination to do so. It's a limited edition, so I don't know how many are left, but all three nibs seem to be in stock at press-time. The only draw back is that this pen is in the high-medium range for many people. It does come with a converter, though, and the LE pen is only $9 more than the regular Unica which lacks a converter. I think $85 for this pen is a good price point for a LE pen of this quality.


I bought this pen, and was not compensated for the review.