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Blackstone Sydney Harbor Blue


I wrote and photographed this stuff about a week ago. Then I went on a surprise vacation to the Outer Banks with my cousins and their 6 kids. It was great. It turns out that some kids are great! (Also, my cousins are awesome.) (Additionally, I hardly got sunburned at all.)

Anyway, this is the second blue ink from the Blackstone collection. I think it's not quite as good as the Barrier Reef Blue that I reviewed before. BRB had better flow (though still a few hard starts). This one seems to be thicker, more saturated. That  gives you some nice sheen, but it can be irritating if you don't have a wet nib with a great cap-seal. Anyway, cool color but the flow could be better.

Written Review!


 Try out a Sig-nib if you get a chance. It's sort of in-between a stub and an italic. Jim does good nib-work.

Dry Time on Rhodia?

 Do you care about Dry Times? If so, then let me know in a comment. Otherwise they might disappear again.
Tomoe River

 Plenty of sheen on the right papers.

Copy Paper Test

 The performance was passable, but I think it bleeds a little too much for such a dry-writer.

Color Compare!


Gratuitous Sheen!

...cuz we always want to see more of that.

Water Test and Video Review!

Alrighty. Check this ink out at Anderson Pens in the USA (because they're awesome, they provided this ink sample for me, and because you can't get it anywhere else in the USA).  I would suggest a sample of this ink, but it's really low-priced so you might just go for a full bottle. I mean, $8.50 for a 30ml bottle is a low barrier to entry.

Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black


This is the first ink from the regular Pelikan line (4001) that I've tried. It's a perfectly okay black. It's not making my "favorite black inks" list, but it's perfectly fine. It's a little bit dry for me, and its performance is a little spotty on copy paper. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's not blowing my doors off.

 Brilliant Black didn't work all that well in the Monteverde Impressa that I first used it in, but it works really well in my Pelikan m800, so perhaps it really needs a wet nib to work well.

Do you have any experience with this ink? What did you think of it and what pens did you use it in?

Written Review

Close Ups!

 As I said, it's not bad but it seems like it begrudges me every line of text. Not super-pleasant.

 Just a little bit of sheen on this pool, here.

Tomoe River
 A little sheen here, too, but you expect that on Tomoe River.

 If you're looking for a great black in, get Sailor Kiwa-Guro. It's rad.

Copy Paper Test

 Pretty good behavior, but not great.


Water Test and Review Video

You can find this ink at your favorite Pelikan distributor. I suggest getting a sample (Anderson Pens link), but a bottle is 2oz for $12, so it's not a big loss if you don't love it.

I was on Pen Habit's Currently Inked this week!

Hey folks,
I've got a bit of a wrist injury right now, so I'm not able to write at the moment, and I've gotten a little behind. I'll be back on the horse soon, though! And I have some very cool things to show you. So cool.

Anyway, check  out the video in the meantime. And remember, leave comments when you like a thing. We live on comments!

Quick Writing Samples with some new pens.


After I posted the "What I got" blog, I was asked for some writing samples. Well, here they are!

This last one didn't fit on that sheet of paper, so I did it separate. It's super-good-looking, but I don't have the light to fully capture it right now. It'll be featured in future posts and instagrams (where I'm Inkdependence). 

Tekker #4e373d "Smokin' Hot"


 I've reviewed one of these Tekker inks before so, if you read that one, you'll have heard about the company already. The idea is that you go to their website, use the color picker (or enter a hex code), and they'll make an ink that matches that color. It's a really cool idea. It takes a little time, and you can't really be sure what your ink will be like before it arrives (a couple of weeks later), but all three of the inks that I got were excellent.

Smokin' Hot is patterened after a nail polish by Essie that my wife really liked. (She has a blog about nail polish. Check it out.) I wanted something in the grey-brown area, and this one looked cool, so I used a website to get the hex code for the color from a picture of the polish. It's not a perfect match, but I tried to pick the color that was closest to what I was looking for. Overall, I think they did a great job on this oddball color.

My experience with Tekker has left me really excited to see how this takes off. the concept is cool, the price is low ($14.95 for 100ml bottles), and the ink works really well. The most difficult part is picking the color that you want. Soooo many options.

Written Review


 I'm not really sure what color this is. It's a light-black / dark-grey with purpleish-red undertones. Either way, I really like this color.

Copy Paper Test

 There's some show-through (ghosting?) from the wet, broad nib on the L-Tech, but I think it did pretty well on this copy paper.

Color Comparisons


This is a cool chromatography strip, right? Lookit all them colors!

Video Review & Water Drop Test

What we came home with:

Okay, yesterday I was showing pictures from the show. Today, I'll show what came home with us from the show. 

Rotrings? Yep! Two Esprit pens and a 600 Newton. I love these pens. I really wish they were still in production, but they aren't.

Oh! I also got a Rotring Core from the show, and I forgot to take a picture of it. Y'all know what those are like. It was a black/white one just like my first pen.

This one is a Caran d'Ache 849. It's a  really slick little ballpoint with the Goliath refill. I hear they last forever, and that's good because the refill costs about half of what the pen does.

This one is a review pen. Diplomat just released the Aero in this cool black finish, and Larry and Hillary gave it to me for review. You'll be seeing more of it soonish.

A Sheaffer "Dolphin Nose" 500. This one is a cartridge pen with a stub (maybe an italic, actually) from the factory. I've just inked it up, and it's a great writer. There's a little flex in the nib, too. 

A Sheaffer Balance Vacumatic 500. I got this from Gerry Berg, and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  It's really old (1930s, I think?) and it's had the nib straightened at some point, so there's a bit of a wave in the tip. It writes okay, but I might see if I can find a new nib for it at the DC show. There's a name inscribed in one of the sides, too, but I don't mind that. I am sure that it's restored perfectly. It filled almost entirely on the first go. The vac filling mechanism is excellent.

There are a couple of neat features on this pen that are neat. The vac knob on the end has some beautiful cathedral arches, and there are translucent panels on the sides of the pen that act like ink windows. I hadn't seen that in one of these pens before. You can see it as the dark areas on the side just under the engraving.

This is a Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Demonstrator that I won in the auction on Friday night. I got a great price on this pen, which has an unusual 18k nib. I was expecting a gold plated stainless steel nib because I thought it was one of the newer ones. It doesn't seem to have any flex, but it's older than I thought it would be. Syd (Mr. Wahl-Eversharp) says it's from around 1992, and that's before he took over the company.  I haven't gotten the nib working quite right (it's mega-dry), but it'll be great when I do.

This is the last pen I picked up. It's a Ryan Krusak pen, and we've always wanted to get some of his work. This pen model doesn't have a name yet, but it's beautiful. It's made from cocobolo wood, and that shape is super cool. Maybe not the best for carrying around in a pocket, but I'm not doing that anyway. This is going to be a pen that I use at my desk.

This little pen boot from Franklin-Christoph is sorta necessary for my Franklin-Christoph 45. I like the pen a lot, but it tends to jangle around in my pockets more than I like. This little $10 boot is the answer. 

The next two are just Audrey's pens. This first one is the Cat Rescue pen from Retro 51. She'll probably end up getting the Dog Rescue one, too. It glows in the dark, and part of the proceeds from the pen go to rescuing cats. That's cool, right?

 Aw...a paw print.

The next one is a Franklin-Christoph 66 in antique glass. It's one of the ones that has a waiting list a mile long, and it took a few months to get into her hands. It just happened to be ready around the time of the show, so she picked it up there so she could figure out what nib she wanted Jim to put on it. She went with one of Masuyama's needlepoint nibs. It's not the needle-y-ist needlepoint, but it is mega smooth, and a great writer. As an eyedropper pen, it's going to take her an age to get through all that ink.

I also found an "old" Franklin-Christoph 1901 pen from the early 2000s at a vendor's table. It has a really great gold stub on it, but I gave it to Scott to work on because it's got a wobble in the cap. He's got a plan to get it all worked out, so I'll show it off when it's done.