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Kaweco Classic Sport

This is my go-to pocket pen. The Kaweco Sport is a small, sturdy pen. It is all-plastic, but it's a pretty sturdy  plastic. The Sport takes the short international cartridges (available from a bunch of makers) but, if you're like me, it also makes a really good eyedropper pen. I've heard that there are some really small converters that you can use with these, but I've never bothered to try.

The nib is steel, but it is gold plated and the tip is iridium. The combination makes for a stiff, but smooth, writing experience. I bought two nib units for it, and both the Bold and Medium nibs are excellent. The Bold is a little wet with most inks, but if you're writing on good paper then you're going to love the shading that it puts down. The medium puts down a substantially thinner line, and it a fair bit less wet. Even pretty thin inks seem to flow well in it.

The only draw back, and this is due to the eyedropper-setup, is that you will occasionally get a drip from the nib. It seems to happen mostly when the ink is low in the barrel or it gets heated up while pointing down. I keep it in my pocket most of the time, but I take care to keep the nib pointing up, and I haven't had any problems. As you can see in the picture below, when you get a little ink in the cap of the clear model you can really see it. I'm sure I could clean it up, but it doesn't bother me so I don't.

I doubt that you would have that problem with a cartridge, but I can't really speak to that.

Goulet only sells one of these, and it's not the clear one that I have, so here's a link to the Jetpens site with the clear demonstrator version.

Esterbrook J

One of the kind folks over at the FPN lent me their Esterbrook J pen for a couple of weeks. I had seen Esties at the pen shows, but I had never used one before. The J model is the largest of the line (I think) and it's still a little smaller than I really prefer, but I've found that most vintage pens are a little small. It's also a very light pen. I didn't open it up, or anything, because it's a lever-filler, and I don't know enough about these pens to fiddle with anyone else's pens.

Anyway, I couldn't wait to ink it up and use it. The owner mentioned that he had Waterman ink in it, and I only had one Waterman ink in my collection, so I inked it up in Mysterious Blue. It was an ink that I hadn't used before in a pen that I'd never used. 100% mystery!

Here's a little bit of writing that I did with it. 

As I note there, there is a huge difference between the nibs that the owner sent me. I tried the 2556 (fine) nib, and it just wasn't for me. It was way too fine, and it seemed scratchy. Perhaps with the right ink it would work well. I didn't use it much. I think that if I had better penmanship I might have liked it more. These nibs were really interesting. They had a very sharp edge on them, so the sweet-spot seemed limited. (You can see it a bit in the picture below.) It was pretty easy to find that spot on the medium nib, but not on the fine. The 2668 medium nib was way better for me.

The color on the barrel is really nice. It's a shimmery copper swirl, and my camera had a difficult time focusing on it. 

All told, I really liked this pen, and I'm keeping my eye out for one in the future. I'm a little leery of the repair-needs of these, but it might be fun to learn how to take care of a lever-filler. 

Inks that I picked up at the DC Pen Show

I have a ton of pictures that need to be organized and re-named and uploaded. So, while I'm doing that, here are some of the inks that I'll be blogging about in the future.

I picked up a lot of inks at the DC Pen Show. Many of these are from the Organics Studios line. A dude named Tyler makes these in Maryland, and he's gone on hiatus for the fall semester. He's a student, and I guess school trumps making ink with your bare hands, so I hope to see more inks from him in the future.

I picked up a couple of free inks at the show: a black from Private Reserve that they were giving out samples of, and a sepia that you had to hunt down. Stipula was giving out free schwag-bags, but you had to ask for them so I don't know how many people ended up getting them. I've used that sepia for a week or so, and I've got a review coming up for it.

The other ink is Aurora Black. It's the only full bottle that I ended up buying at the show. I had planned to get a few other colors, but I watched the last bottle of Black Swan in English Roses get bought up by a person who had never even tried it before. She just liked the name. Dang it. She'd better like it. Anyway, I got the bottle of Aurora Black because Ron Zorn told me to. He said it was great in my Parker 51 (that he had just fixed up), so I got it. It's a good black. I'm not a huge black-fan, but it does look really nice from the P51.

Habanero's Elysium (Frankenink)


I haven't really done any ink-mixing before, but I was curious what would happen, so I added some Liberty's Elysium to some Habanero, and the green that resulted is really nice. It's a deep green that's a bit like a forest green, and a bit like an avocado green.

I've been told that mixing the Noodler's inks with bulletproof-properties can result in some undesirable consequences, but I didn't see any here. From what I hear, it is a good idea to mix up the inks in a small vial and leave that vial to sit for a while to make sure that it doesn't solidify or precipitate anything nasty that might gum up the works in your pen. I got lucky with this mix, perhaps, but it has been several weeks, and there weren't any problems with the ink.

The flow and shading in this ink are really nice, and I'll be using it again, I think. Here are some pictures.

I'm not sure what to say about the water-resistance of this ink. Habanero isn't at all resistant, but Liberty's Elysium has a fairly high water-resistance. You can see, in the photo above, that the green washes away almost completely and leaves a bit of blue behind. It's not particularly impressive. The thing is, I used this ink on some regular (non-Rhodia) paper, and it seemed to stick around pretty well even under running water. I have a hunch that it just couldn't bond very well to the coated Rhodia. Unfortunately, I used almost all of the ink before I got around to water-testing it. I might mix some up again (at some point), but I have a lot of inks to review so I don't know when that'll be. Best of luck with your own mixes!

Sorry for the delay.

Hi folks,

It's been a busy week in this professor's house. The beginning of classes always makes it difficult to find time to blog. Rest assured that I'll be back online with more pen-goodness very soon. I just have to get everything in order for my fall classes so I can find the time to do some blogging.


The Esterbrook Loaner Program

A few of the folks in the Esterbrook subforum at the FPN started a program to loan out some Esties so that people like me can find out what the fuss is all about.

Well, the fuss is about a pretty sweet pen. 

Back from DC!

Whew! That was a great trip, but it was exhausting. I think I might still be kinda tired from that one. We drove up to DC on Friday afternoon and stayed at my Aunt's place for the weekend. We don't get to see her enough, so that was great. Got up early on Saturday, and we were at the Sheraton where they were holding the show by 10am. I wanted to get there early because I was on a mission to have Ron Zorn fix up my Parker 51.

My mother and aunt unearthed my grandfather's 51 for me about a month ago, and it hadn't been used in at least 30 years. Maybe longer. It's in great shape but, even after I cleaned it out as well as I knew how, it wouldn't write. I know how to open one up (in theory), but I wasn't willing to learn on this particular 51. Anyway, we got on the list (16th! on the list) and Ron fixed it up in a jiffy. It turns out that the (gold!) nib was just too tight for some reason. Anyway, it writes like a charm now. I'm super-happy about that.

After we put our names on the Zorn-list we went back and scoped out the vendors who were giving away things at the show. We got a nice, free messenger bag from the Sheaffer table, and entered a drawing for a pen. Then we walked around forever trying to find the Stipula table because they were giving away a bottle of ink to the first 200 people to ask for one. We didn't find it until much later. We must have walked past this particular table 15 times before we stumbled on it. They gave us a goodie bag with a huge (70ml?!) bottle of Calamo ink (it's a nice light-coffee color), some ink cartridges, and some ball point refills.

Then we worked out way through all of the tables in the lobby (mostly brand-tables) and found some seriously nice pens from a Swiss company called Edelberg. The guys at that table were a pair of really-friendly Europeans who were pretty psyched to tell us all about their carbon fiber and Ti pens. Every table should have a team like these guys. We didn't buy anything from them (since we were a little scared to ask for prices), but they were still awesome.

We drooled over the Visconti table, and we got to play with some of their pens. That Homo Sapiens pen is strictly awesome. It's made of lava and genius. I'll have to win one in a contest of some kind, because I'd need lottery-money to buy one.

We tried out some Conklin pens (made in Toledo, OH), and Audrey discovered that she loves a stub nib. It makes her handwriting look pretty awesome. Mine is okay with a stub, but hers is really good. We'll have to find a stub for her one of these days.

We checked out some Sailor pens at their testing table, and they have some fantastic nibs. The one pictured here at the right is from their website. We were having too much fun to take pictures of them. This nib is called a "cross emperor" nib, and it's probably the best thing ever. That clip on top is an over-feed that makes sure the crazy nib doesn't run out of ink. Seriously, why use one nib when you can use two at once?

Next to them was Tree Ring Pens. These pens have barrels that are made from cores taken out of old trees. They're taken from trees that are cut down as parts of forest restoration projects. If you want something that is a unique piece of natural history, then you should check these out. They're beautiful pens, and they write like a charm. Of course, they're a little out of our price-range.

Audrey got a Diplomat Traveler in a really nice pale green color. We'd met these reps at the Raleigh pen show, and they remembered us. We scored a pretty solid discount, and they threw in some ink cartridges and a converter. It's a nice pen, and I'm going to have to convince Audrey to write a review of it after she's had a chance to use it a bit.

We got to meet Tyler, the guy behind Organics Studio Inks. We had a nice chat, and I picked up samples of everything he had. They're some really nice colors, and it's going to take some time to work through all of them.

We also got to meet the Goulets at the show. Brian and Rachel were really nice, and took a moment to take a picture with yours truly. Aww. It's good to meet people that you think are great and have them live up to your expectations.

Anywho, we also visited with the Andersons from Anderson Pens. They're also really nice folks, and it was cool to chat with them again. We met them at the Raleigh show, and I bought a TWSBI 700 from them at that show. This time they talked me into a TWSBI 540, and that was my major purchase at this year's show. I'm looking forward to using it. We also picked up some Aurora black ink, a Platinum Preppy, and a Sheaffer with some cartridges from them.

The Sheaffer is going to be a first FP for Liz, who is a new student in Audrey's lab. She rode along with us to the DC area to visit some friends, and we can't resist roping more people into our FP habit. We were all a little punchy on the drive back to NC, but a good time was had by all.

Here's a picture of our haul from the show:

All told:
  • 2x 15ml Private Reserve Invincible Black inks  (gratis)
  • 1 giant bottle of Stipula ink (gratis)
  • 1 bottle of Aurora Black ink
  • 10 samples from Organics Studio ink
  • 3x black cartridges from various places
  • 2x sailor gel pens  (gratis)
  • Platinum Preppy FP
  • Diplomat Traveler FP
  • Rose colored Sheaffer for Liz
  • Unknown silver aluminum Sheaffer FP
  • Fixed! Parker 51 
  • Wing Sung 613 (a P51 knock-off)
  • TWSBI 540 fine in orange
  • some free bags, magazine, catalogs, and a million cards
  • Good times x100
If you can hit that show, then you should. 

The Big DC Pen Show

We've been having a great time at the DC show. I've picked up a bunch of freebies, but we have managed to stave off the impulse to buy anything yet.

Now it's time to have some kabobs for lunch and wait for the call from Ron Zorn to get my Parker 51 fixed up.

Rotring Tikky

Okay, this is the last of the non-FP posts for a little while. I'm about to head to DC today for the DC Fountain Pen Show. I'll be posting from the show (if I can find the time), and perhaps I'll meet a few of you there. Let me know if you're a reader! Alright, on to the pen.

The Rotring Tikky is a liquid ink rollerball pen along the same lines as the Uniball Vision or the Pilot V5. It's a pretty average size and weight. The grip is alternates between smooth and textured in a way that doesn't let the pen become slippery. It has a black plastic barrel with a pretty glossy finish. The design of the clip and cap is a little more distinctive than the more common pens on the market. It's a fairly classy pen for its class.

The performance of the pen is pretty solid. The blue ink is a really nice blue that might tend a little more towards violet than the other blue rollerballs that I have in my pen cup. It flows really well, and it doesn't have very much spread even in the recycled paper that I am using for these reviews. It doesn't have much in the way of penetration, though. Perhaps some ghosting on cheaper copy papers.

As you can see in the written sample, I went a little overboard with the comparisons. It turns out that I have a lot of rollerballs in my cup. Of these, the Tikky is probably the second best. (My favorite is the Pilot V Ball Grip. That pen always makes my handwriting look great.) It is most similar to the PreciseGrip (which is really just a V5 with a rubber grip on it), though I think the color and overall look of the pen is superior.

The bottom line on this pen is that it's really good. The ink flow is awesome and I really like the color of the ink and the feel of the pen. It's a pen that I like using, and it's one that stands out from the rest of the bunch. I don't think that justifies the price.  I wouldn't have bought it if it didn't have the Rotring name on it. At $5.75 it costs as much at a pack of several of the others.

A new name!

Hey folks,

I've been trying to find a better blog title for a long while now, and I've finally settled on one. "Pens, Ink, Books, and Beer" is now ""! There will be some changes to the blog's layout and such, but I'll still be talking about pens, ink, and other things that come up.

Thanks very much to my beautiful wife for helping me find a name that fits! 

You can update your links to the much more memorable and efficient name, if you please.