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Organics Studio's Jules Verne Nautilus Blue

I've been a big fan of the Organics Studio inks that I've tried this summer. Edgar Allen Poe and Jane Austen are both really good inks. Walt Whitman is good, though I haven't reviewed it yet.

Jules Verne is a medium-light blue ink with a slightly dusky tone. It's a bit too light for me, I think. It also seems to bleed and spread more than I want it to. In an extra fine nib, it's pretty well-behaved. In fine, medium, and my broad stub it has too much spread.

Overall, this is my least favorite of the OS inks that I've tried recently. It lacks something. Some punch, some impact, that thing that makes an ink special. It does have one feature that I didn't expect, and I'll get to that in a bit.

Here's the flood of pictures.

The swatch at the bottom of this page looks like an ink I'd be really into. The problem is that you have to put down a lot of ink to get that color to come out, and that much ink will spread and bleed (a little).

 As you can see below, there's some bleed-through on this Anderson Pens paper. Given that this paper stands up well to some other very bleedy inks, you can see what might happen on regular office or notebook papers. It's not out of control, but it's not well-behaved.

So, is it water-resistant? Well, you might be surprised.

My final impression is that I'm not a fan. This ink might work for some people who want a light blue ink that is water-resistant for their very fine point pens. It's not going to get much of any use from me. 

Organics Studio's Arsenic


This isn't a review (since I don't have it in a pen yet), but this is a link to my wife's lab-blog. She was behind Tyler's naming of this ink, and he gave her a bottle of it at the DC show. Follow the link to check out the story, and check out some soil science while you're there.

I'll have some reviews up soon. School started this last week, and I've been up to my ears in work. I'll post when I recover a bit.


DC Fountain Pen Supershow (Part 3)

Okay, let's get finished with the Show! I don't know how anyone gets to that balcony in the picture below, but maybe next year I'll find out. These were just a couple of pictures that I snapped as I walked into the main ballroom. For those that haven't been there, the Supershow takes up two ballrooms and the lobby of this very nice Sheraton in Tyson's Corner, VA. It's pretty immense.

The person sitting behind the display is Deb Kinney. She repairs pens and grinds nibs, and she's from Raleigh. 

I didn't even get to look at these pens (in the picture above). They were right by the door, but I got distracted and never went back to the table. Anyone know anything about this brand? I'm not familiar with Classic.

These pictures are of the Taccia table. The pens in the glass box (below) are inlaid with mother of pearl, and they're pretty fancy. The big pen in the middle is actually a rollerball, but it looks pretty cool anyway.

These pens are also Taccia, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that they were Rotring 600s with wood inlay. They have the same hexagonal barrel, and the same clips (I think). The nibs and such are different, though. They're called the "Timeless Collection" and I couldn't stop fiddling with the ballpoint version. They twist at the middle, and it's a really satisfying twist-mechanism. It's smooth, and you can really feel the German engineering on this Japanese pen. Good combination.
 As you can see, these are the same pens. The reason we don't have more Taccia pictures is that they were in a corner of the ballroom, and the lighting was weird. Ballrooms, man. Not good for photography.
 Taccia also has pens that look like a stick of bamboo (or some kind of tree) that are made from "sustainably harvested buffalo horn." I don't know what this means, exactly, but the pens look nice. I'm a little hesitant to endorse pens that are made of horns instead of antlers (horns don't fall off, antlers do).

There's also a pen called the "Covenant" that reminds me of the Franklin-Christoph 33. I (somehow) didn't get a picture of it, but Taccia might be sending me a pen to test out in the near future, so I'll have plenty of pictures then. The trick of it is that most of the pen is actually the cap, and you unscrew it from the bottom and pull out the pen-body. Unlike the F-C 33, you can post the cap back onto the body to write. It adds a little extra heft and width to the pen.

Next to Taccia was Diplomat. Audrey got a Diplomat last year, and she still loves it. I've got it in my bag right now, as I keep forgetting to review it because it usually lives at her office. We really like the Diplomat reps. They give you the impression of a good, solid company that stands behind their product.

 The pens below are part of their standard line. They're classy, but with a bit of flair. The nibs are steel, and they're very smooth. The pen above is the new Aero. It's not available yet, and they didn't have any of the fountain version of the pen at the table. I think they're on pre-order now. The pen feels solid, the grooves are really comfortable, and they come in a brown color that I kinda need to have.

We spent a lot of time talking to our buddies the Andersons. Brian and Lisa are great, and you should check out their store, blog, and podcast. Lisa said she'd make me some paper if I send her a design to print on them. So, if anyone is an artist, send me a design! (There's not much in it for you, but you can say "I made that!" when you see the paper on my blog.) I bought a bunch of paper, some Sailor ink, and a Pilot Metropolitan/Plumix set from them. (My mom liked my original Metro-Plumix so much that I gave it to her. Hi Mom!) I feel like I might have gotten something else, but I can't think what it is.

 Anderson Pens is also selling Sailor now. I couldn't decide which one to get, so I didn't get one this time. I've heard only good things about their nibs, so they're on the list of things to get one of these days. Any suggestions? Also, since Sailor and Goulet had their falling-out, you can use the Andersons for your Sailor pen and ink needs. (I didn't see the Sailor rep at the show, oddly. They were there last year with all of their nibs, and it was quite the layout.)

Audrey got me a Laban PF-900 as a gift a few months ago, which I need to write about one of these days, and we were kind of surprised to see them at the Show. I don't remember them being there last year, but I didn't know the brand at that point so I might have missed them. They're a Chinese brand, and the rep was dealing with a bit of a language barrier at the table. I really like the way that my Laban writes, but I didn't see anything like mine at the show.

These are a couple of limited edition Mont Blancs from the Fountain Pen Hospital's table. They didn't have as much stuff out on their table as they did last year, but I think they were focused on getting rid of their vintage parts this year, and I bet lots of their stock was bought up before the show opened to the public on Saturday.
 I really love the Jonathan Swift pen. It's got this fat, conical cap that I really like. It's like a tricorn on top of your Mont Blanc. Very neat.
This is the Honre de Balzac pen, and it's less impressive. This is the rollerball version, but the style is the same on the fountain. It's too fancy for me.

These two pictures are of the custom rack at Edison Pens. I still don't have any Edisons, but they sure are pretty. Brian Gray makes these pens, and you can get them in a dizzying array of acrylics. Really beautiful. (Also, I don't know why these pictures are oriented the way they are. Blogger does that to me, sometimes.)
Below are some of the finished pens. The custom pens start at $220ish and go up from there. Some of these are piston fillers and pump fillers and all sorts of interesting systems. I like the engineering, but I'm not up to the price-point on these pens. 

Mike, from Michael's Fay Boy makes some really interesting pens. They're a little wild, and a little artsy. Some of them are modeled on pistol silencers, some of them are precisely modeled on Civil War cannons (which are mostly solid brass and super heavy), and some of them are spirals. The mechanism in these ballpoints and rollerballs is really nice, and the fit & finish is excellent.

We also got to see Tyler from Organics Studio at this show, and Audrey talked him out of a free bottle of Arsenic ink because she named it for him. He was the other guy there in a bowtie, and we got a shirt and some Jules Verne ink from him while we were there. I've reviewed several of his inks over the last year, and his new ones are definitely worth checking out.

A few last pictures:

 We're both very excited at the start of the show!

And here's our haul. Hooray for pens! Can anyone name the stuff in this picture?

Of course, after we left the show we needed some food so we went to the Tyson's Corner Mall. Well, we thought that's where we were. We were actually at the Tyson's Corner Galleria. It's fancier, but not as big. And there's not much food there outside of restaurants. What they DO have is a Mont Blanc store. I didn't get a pen, but I did get each of their limited edition inks. I came away with Albert Einstein, Jonathan Swift, and Honre de Balzac. They're a grey, dark green, and turquoise. I haven't tried the Swift, but I like the other two so far.

Here's a picture of the inks we ended up with from the show/weekend. Quite a haul. A couple of these were free, and the Arsenic that Audrey got isn't in there. She'd already taken it to work to show off to people in her soil science lab (where they study arsenic).

 Whew...that's it. That's all of them.

DC Fountain Pen Supershow (Part 2)

Alright, get ready for a glut of pictures. 

This is Sam from Edelberg. Sam was there last year, too, and he's a really interesting guy. Edelberg pens are pretty awesome. They're the high-tech end of the pen world, using materials like carbon fiber, titanium, and superluminova. The price-point is really high, but these pens are extremely well-made and well-designed. You turn the top piece of the Sloop pen (above) and the clip retracts into the body as ballpoint comes out. It's very smooth.

I've never considered spending this kind of money on a ballpoint, but Sam is a heck of a salesman. He sells hard. We had a great time talking to him, and we learned a lot about the company and their work.

For instance, Edelberg designed and built the cases for the Omega watches that went to the moon. It was a huge undertaking by a small number of people, according to Sam. Let this dude tell you a story. You won't be sorry.

The fountain pens are just as beautiful as the ballpoints, and the titanium nibs are pretty awesome. They're smooth and they flex. If you have a lot of disposable income, and you want some Swiss engineering, You have to check out Edelberg's pens.

These last two pictures are of a prototype Sloop that honors the tiger. There are only 46 of these being made, and they're hand-painted and lacquered. Part of the profits will be donated to a foundation to save tigers. The bottom side of the pen is much lighter, like a tiger-belly. I'm not sure if the pen comes with the awesome stand but, for the price Sam gave me, it ought to. Don't get your hopes up for getting one of these, though. They're mostly pre-sold. Next year: Giraffe. Yeah. 

Ryan Krusac was at this show, and he has some really beautiful pens with him. The picture below was the best of the lot we took. Ryan was in the main lobby room. That's good placement for traffic, but it's terrible for taking pictures. There are can lights, and halogen lights, and daylight, and all sorts of things there that make picture-taking a big challenge. You should go to Ryan's site. His photos put mine to shame. He's got hand-painted pens, and pens made from neat materials and all sorts of things. Most of them (maybe all) are kit-pens, but that's not really a problem. If you want a fancy nib, you can get one to fit these. What you're paying for is Ryan's awesome craftsmanship.

Speaking of craftsmen, you have to check out Von Moos. The Von Moos table was manned by a Swiss fellow (whose name I didn't catch), who struck me as a bit of a mad-scientist-engineer, and he showed me some of his work. These pens are fancy. Fancy. Diamond-studded fancy. Oddly, the pen he let me try out (he was wearing white gloves) was fitted with a steel nib because he was a little worried that someone would walk off with a gold one. I said, "Man, you just handed me a pen that is encrusted in diamonds and you're worried about a nib?" He shrugged.

Neither of these pictures came out right. The lighting in that area... You gotta put the diamond-encrusted Swiss engineering art-pieces in a place when humble bloggers can take a picture or two. Try to combine these two images in your mind. That's more-or-less what the display looks like.

In the well-lit area we met Syd, the Wahlnut. Our buddy Tyler of Organics Studio told us that we needed to check out Syd's wares, and he was right. The new Wahl-Eversharp pens are classy. I'll be talking about my new Skyliner 50 at some point in the near future, but the short story is that these pens have a distinct 50s vibe. Mine came with a green Corvette whose paint matches the pen. He's matched the old-school pens with new technology like the ceramic-coated semi-flex nibs. I've got a little bit of a story here, but the short version is that Syd's customer service is top-notch.

More later.

DC Fountain Pen SuperShow (Part I)

Whew. It's Wednesday, and I'm only just feeling recovered enough to write a blog post. Audrey and I drove up to Maryland on Friday night to stay with my Auntie Marge. She's awesome, and she always lets us camp on her for the Show. She loaded us up with plants for our new house, and I've been planting this week (in between rain storms).

Saturday, we were at the Show from about 10am until well after it closed. Last year we went to lunch at this awesome Gyro place, but this year we didn't leave the floor until after 6:45. There was always more to see. In fact, I'm sure that there were lots of tables in the center of the big ballroom that we didn't even see. I really wish we'd been able to go back for Sunday, but that just wasn't in the cards.

Alright, we took a whole bunch of pictures, and talked to tons of people. I'm not going to try and cram all of this stuff into one post, so this is just Part I.

We swung through the Stipula/Delta/Monteverde/Conklin table and tried out a few of the Conklin and Monteverde pens. Audrey had gotten a Monteverde Artista at the Raleigh show, and she's a big fan of them. (She did end up picking up a Monteverde Regatta later on.)

Right next to them, we found the Write Notepads & Co. Chris and Marc are really cool guys, and we chatted with them for quite a while. I'll be writing a post about them in the near future, but the short story is that they're 3rd generation book binders who decided to start making notebooks. They're a very small operation (I think it's just the two of them), and they were doing a soft-launch at the DC Show. They'll be opening up their website at the end of this week (I think), and they will be donating a notebook (like the orange one in the picture below) for each notebook bought. Pretty awesome project, guys. They gave me a bunch of notebooks to try out, and I'll be giving some of them away on the blog (soonish).

From there, we swung by the Indy Pen Dance table and chatted with Mike & Linda (my parents' names, by the way). They're nice folks, and always busy at these shows.

Making our way around the inner circle of the lobby, we passed lots of interesting things, including the S.T. Dupont table. They weren't as chatty, but they had some really classy looking pens on the table.

Visconti always has a table full of awesome things. I can't afford any of those things, but I really like being able to see and play with them. I didn't get any pictures of the Homo Sapiens, but that's really a grail-pen for me. The price is just a bit out of my range until I win the lottery.

The Pininfarina. This thing is cool. Over-designed, and super-priced, but cool.
Something new from Visconti this year: Watches!

These beautiful watches are priced between $4000 and $4700. I mean, I they're super-cool, but there are cars that cost less than this. While I was talking to the Visconti folks, a guy came up and asked me about my watch, which he liked. I had to tell him that it was a Relic watch that I got at JC Penny. The Visconti rep behind the table was a little revolted by that, and we had a good laugh.

Alrighty, that's enough of a picture-glut for today. More tomorrow!