The Regal Oxford

***You can find this pen on Massdrop until about 10/6. The cost there is much better than the full MSRP.***

This is the second of the Regal pens that Massdrop sent out for me to review. The Oxford, named for the university, is a big, heavy pen. It's one that will make an impact on those who see it. If you're looking for understated, then you're in the wrong place. If you want classy black lacquer and chrome, then you're in the right place.


Franklin-Christoph's Terra Firma vs. Montblanc's Leonardo Red Chalk

I reviewed Franklin-Christoph's Terra Firma last week, and a reader (Hi Mark!) asked me how close it was to Montblanc's Leonardo Red Chalk, which is a limited edition ink from a year ago.

My first reaction was "They're completely different. Not even close." 

Then I got to thinking about it, and then I got to looking at pictures of that Montblanc ink, and then I said "You know, they're not that far off!"

Today I've inked up another pen with Leonardo to test them side-by-side, and they're really close. Terra Firma isn't a dupe of Leonardo, but it's just down the street from it.

Check it out:

These are the popular Mnemosyne Word Cards from Maruman. It's an interesting paper that seems to soak up ink while still showing the shading.

This last picture shows the two side-by-side on a Lamy tester pad that has some really smooth paper. It shows shading in a way that lots of papers miss. They're a bit further apart on this paper, but it's really just in the shading. Terra Firma is more brown, but it's really close.

So, if you missed Leonardo, or you just want a slightly more brown version of that ink with a lower price tag and a larger bottle, go to Franklin-Christoph's website and grab some Terra Firma. It's pretty rad. 




Franklin-Christoph Terra Firma

This is one of the four new inks that I got from Franklin-Christoph at the DC Pen Show (Thanks for the samples, y'all!). It's a great reddish brown. That's the third brown in ink this collection.  Franklin-Christoph knows what I like. Seriously. Audrey asked me what my favorite ink was, and I went "uhhh..." So she decided to narrow it down: "What's your favorite brown ink?"


There are so many good browns out there. Three of them are in this one set of inks. Bravo, FC.

Written Review

The hue of this ink really seems to change depending on the nib you use. The Franklin-Christoph 27's broad stub makes this ink appear to be a really beautiful red-brown, while the medium italic on the 03 makes it appear much darker.


 Full Sun Pics

It was a really beautiful day in NC, so I took some pictures in full sun to really show off this ink. There's no sheen or anything, but it still looks rad.

Copy Paper Test

There's more bleed with this ink than there was with the other two browns, but it's still not over-the-top. There was some with the broad stub nib, but it's a wet nib so I wasn't surprised.


Ink Comparisons

You can really tell the difference between this reddish brown (which reminds me of the clay in my back yard) and the Tsukushi below it. Tsukushi is a great brown too, but it's a really different flavor.

Video Review &Water Drop Test

You can (and should) get this ink from Franklin-Christoph's website where it goes for $12.50 in a 2oz bottle.

******Also check out this post to see how it compares to Montblanc's Red Chalk Limited Edition.*****

**This ink was given to me as a review sample. The review can only reflect my experience with the ink, and your mileage may vary.**


J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor

Oh, the fountain pen community loves their sparkly inks from J. Herbin. This is the fourth in that series of 1670 inks with their bright gold sheen. I would love to see them switch to some other color, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

This one is a bright blue with some really great sheen (if you have a wet nib and good paper). Look around online and you'll see some really fancy writing with this ink.  The folded nib work is the best, I think.

Written Review

 You'll see that there are plenty of errors in this review. I wrote it late at night when I should have gone to bed. I just didn't want to mess with getting the pen writing again the next day. This particular ink is great at first, but it tends to stop up the pen real good if you leave it in the pen overnight. I have to pull the nib and feed and rinse them off every time to get it going again. That's kind of a bummer.

This was taken indoors with full-spectrum lights.

Also indoors.

I was super tired when I wrote this review. Thus the errors. Oh well.

This one was outside. You can really see the red sheen and some of the glitter in this one.


Copy Paper Test

The Flakes!

You tend to get a lot of glitter settling to the bottom of the bottle in these inks. Same thing happens in a converter. Just give it a little rotation or a little bit of a shake to re-suspend those flakes.


Video Review

At the end of the day, I don't think I'll be buying this one. The color is nice. The glitter is fine. The sheen is really good. The problem is that it doesn't flow for me, and I don't have the patience to clean out a pen all the time.

On the other hand, it seems to work really well in a Nib Creeper, so there's probably hope for this ink.

It goes for $26 in a 50ml bottle.


Cursive to the Classroom

Last February, I posted about a Kickstarter (which succeeded, by the way) that would be used to launch a new tool for learning to write in cursive. That book was successful, and the new step is getting it into the hands of kids and teachers.

Lots of people that I talk to are concerned that kids won't be taught to write in cursive. Teachers have a lot of demands on their teaching time, but a system that can teach kids to write cursive more quickly and efficiently might just make it into a packed curriculum. 

Check out this site for information about the Indigogo campaign and to see how you an help out.


Regal George Fountain Pen

The Regal brand is a new one to me. That's actually why I offered to review these for Massdrop a few months ago.  As a result, I'll have several of these to show you in the next several weeks.

First up is the George. It's a simple name, but this pen is fancy. It's mostly silver and gold with just a little bit of black fill in the scroll-work at the base of the cap.It's not the sort of pen that I would generally pick up. Too much silver and gold for my tastes. After carrying it around for a while, I've grown to like it.



Diamine Onyx Black

I can't believe that I haven't reviewed a Diamine ink since July of last year. Crazy, right? That's especially odd since I use their Salamander ink regularly, but I guess I haven't reviewed it yet. It's weird how things slip through the cracks, right?

This is an ink that came to me through the Triangle Pen Club. We had an ink-sample sharing event a few months back, and someone brought this ink to the swap because they hated it and would rather give it away than keep it. I ended up taking it home, and I actually really like it. It's been in my Vac 700 ever since.

Onyx Black isn't the darkest black that I have, but that hint of shading is an interesting touch for a black ink. That little bit of shading is slightly on the green side, though the ink doesn't look green otherwise. A black ink always needs something extra for me. It needs to be glossy, or matte, or have a sheen or something. Well, this one flows extra smoothly and it has a bit of shading, so it's one that I keep using.

Written Review

These pictures were taken outside in the shade, so there's no glare on them. The flow is really the standout on this ink, I think. Otherwise it's just a slightly shady black. 

Color Comparisons


Do you see a hint of green hiding in the middle just under the black band? I think I do, but it could be my eyes playing tricks on me. 

Copy Paper Test

There are a couple of spots of bleed through on this 20lb paper, but it's nothing serious. I use this on all sorts of papers without issues. 

The Bottle

I think these are pretty cool bottles. They're a little shallow, and the neck is a little narrow, but it's not a big deal. They might be an issue eventually if you have a pen with a big nib and it can't be syringe-filled, though. 

Review Video and Water Drop Test

So, I don't hate this one at all. The water-resistance leaves everything to be desired, but the overall performance of this ink is stellar, and the color isn't boring (for a black). Check it out at your favorite Diamine seller. It runs about $15 for an 80ml bottle.

Anderson Pens for bottles and samples.


One2Ten TiScribe Copper Fountain Pen

Kelvin at One2Ten sent this little pocket pen out for me to review so: Thanks, Kelvin! As always when reviewing something sent to me, I'm thankful but I do my best to be objective.

You'll notice right off that the pen is pretty seriously patina'd already. It had a bit of oxidation on it when it arrived at my door, but it's a prototype that's been handled a bit, I think. That's fine with me. I trust that your pen (if you back the Kickstarter) will arrive all shiny like a new penny. Mine has been banging around in my pocket for a week or so, but no damage to the pen or unfortunate uncapping incidents. It's a very solid knock-around pen for the EDC folks who want to toss a pen in their pocket with their change and pocket knife without worrying that it'll be messed up.

You can see the fresh copper at the threads and inside the barrel and cap. The rest has been oxidized by my hands and humidity. Cool.


Capped Length: 4.45"
Uncapped Length: 4.15"
Weight: 26g (copper)


I didn't get packaging with this pen, and that's fine with me. Most packaging goes in the bin or in a closet, anyway. I don't know what will come with the final product.


It's a stylish little pen. The rings carved around the section of this pen are very nicely done, and the edges aren't sharp at all. I think they provide adequate grip without being slippery, but you're unlikely to be using this pen for long periods of time anyway.

 This is actually my first copper pen, and I really like that material. Copper is antibacterial, though I don't know if that is true of non-nano copper. If it is, though, that is a cool feature in a pocket pen. It's got a smell to it, as you'd expect of raw copper, but I don't find it objectionable.

The Kickstarter page says that the pen doesn't post because the threads at the end of the barrel were ugly. I believe it on a pen like this. The slight taper to the end of the pen looks nice and it feels much better in the web of your hand than a squared-off or threaded end would feel.

The barrel is seamless. The break between barrel and section is right at the last set of grooves, and you can't see it until you unscrew it. That's a really good trick. Well done, I say. 


Fresh copper on the threads and the Bock nib.

The cap is fine. It's small enough to hold in-hand while you write with the pen, though the lack of post-ability will be deal-breaker for some. That Titanium clip is really stiff, but I didn't have any problem hooking it on to jeans or whatever. The single screw is a nice, minimalist touch. There can be a little bit of horizontal play in the clip, but not much. Certainly not enough to worry about it coming off of the cap.

That's as much play as you'll find, really. Hardly off-center at all.

Gratuitous patina shot.

Nib Performance:

It's a Bock nib and this pen writes just as it should. Smoothly and reliably. I can't see a size marking on the nib, but it seems like a fine nib. It's probably just below the collar of the section, and I haven't pulled the nib/feed to check it. I haven't even seen ink in the cap, which I fully expected to see in a pocket pen that's constantly jostled around. Good stuff, Bock.

How's it Feel?

It is smaller than I thought it would be, but my hands are bigger than the hand-model on the Kickstarter page. I think the full-sized version (now available on the Kickstarter as a free upgrade with multi-pen pledges) would be better for me, and I hear that lots of people have upgraded since that stretch goal was reached.

I only had a couple of non-size-related complaints, and both were minor. The first was that the barrel threads and the cap threads ran in the same direction. That meant that I was unscrewing the barrel most of the time when I wanted to unscrew the cap. Kelvin fixed that by threading them in opposite directions. He did that on the very day I suggested that, so thanks for listening to your reviewers, Kelvin!  That bodes well for things to come from One2Ten.

The other is that the threading between the cap and section could be smoother. It's sometimes difficult to re-cap the pen because they're not as smooth as they could be. This isn't likely to be an issue with the production versions, though, because they'll have much smoother threads than my prototype pen.


I think the pictures say it all in this section.


 When I've gotten a pen for free I try to refrain from buy-recommendations. The price seems reasonable to me, and it's in the ball-park of other machined pens out there. The workmanship of the pen is solid and well-done, and the creator seems to listen to the community. I'm interested to see how these fare out there in the market, and I'm really interested to see what comes next from One2Ten.

As with all reviews on pens that are sent to me for review, this review was not paid-for and the opinions expressed are mine alone. They're also based on my own experiences,  so your mileage may vary.

Video Review!