All posts by edjelley

Tactile Turn Gist Fountain Pen / Kickstarter Launch

Tactile Turn
“Gist” Fountain PenTactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-10


  • Description: A machined fountain pen that POSTS!
  • Nib: Steel, Titanium, or Gold, EF, F, M, B.
  • Materials: Polycarbonate + MANY metals
  • Refillable: Yes, via converter
  • Measurements: 5.15″ closed, 4.64″ open, 6.10″ posted

Tactile Turn on Kickstarter


Tactile Turn Gist Fountain Pen Review Kickstarter-4I’m starting this review off with a big disclaimer, just so everyone knows where I stand before the review. Will, the man behind Tactile Turn, is not just a friend, but a photo client. I was hired to take the photos for his Kickstarter campaign, so yes, I was paid for my services. I’ve been speaking to Will about this fountain pen for the better part of a year, whether it was giving advice, input, or simply just being excited about it. I’ve had a prototype of the pen for about a month now, and I really, really enjoy it. I have backed the Kickstarter myself, with my own money, because yes – I really like the pen. I have no further financial motives, I don’t get anything else if the Kickstarter hits a million dollars. I just think that this pen is a breath of fresh air in a somewhat-stagnant world of fountain pens. My intent is not to steer people wrong because of the involvement I had in this project, but fill them in about a pen that provides something different than what’s out there. Please keep this in mind as you read the review, enjoy!


Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-4This pen is SOLID. I’ve been carrying around a polycarbonate/titanium grip model for about a month and there are no issues. The plastic feels robust, the pen walls are thick, and the Ti grip is exactly what it should be. This pen utilizes acme threads, which are a good but chunkier than what you may be used to seeing on a fountain pen. Not only does this add to the overall industrial aesthetic of the pen, but it provides a smooth, secure method of keeping the pen capped. What’s unique about this pen is the fact that it posts. Most Kickstarted pens do not have this ability, but Will included that as a must-have trait in these pens. The cap posts on nice and secure, maybe a bit more-so on the polycarbonate versions. To me, this pen looks like a cross between the Pilot M-90 and the Lamy 2000. This is definitely not a bad place to be in. It has that modern design that I love so much. While the all-metal versions are stunning, I personally prefer the mix of polycarbonate and metal. I’m stuck between the Poly & Ti Grip/Finial and Poly & Brass Grip/Finial as my favorite version…


Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-14The Gist both looks and feels familiar. It’s similar to the Lamy 2000 in size, shape, and weight (the poly/Ti version at least). The one glaring difference is the ridged pattern seen on Will’s pens that adorn the entire length of the body. If you’ve used a Tactile Turn before, you’ll be familiar with the “bite” and control that this grip gives. The pen is nicely balanced, comfortable to write with, and I really like the fact that it has a #6 nib.

Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-11The grip section of these pens are mostly metal. Typically, metal grip sections can get slippery real quick. That’s not the case with the Gist. The ridges allow you to grip the pen without squeezing too hard, making them comfy for longer writing sessions as well as quick notes. The grip tapers into the nib section, so be careful about choking up too much on the pen. You may encounter inky fingers if you aren’t paying attention. I haven’t found this to be much of an issue, as it’s comfortable to grip the pen slightly above where the feel and grip meet.

Writing Performance: 

Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-18
The Gist pens feature a #6 Bock nib in either steel, titanium, or gold. I’ve been using the Ti version for the better part of the month, and I was surprised at how smooth it wrote. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the titanium nibs, but the extra fine one I have is smooth, has good flow, and the springy nature of titanium adds a nice amount of cushion to the writing. Once the entire batch of pens showed up, I swapped out the EF for a B just to see how it is. The B isn’t as great as the EF was, I experienced a few hard starts, but once you’re writing, it’s great. I couldn’t resist trying out the steel and gold nibs, both were smooth. The gold provided a little bit of additional cushion and had slightly better flow than the steel. These pens fill with an international size converter, the experience was standard, no complaints here.

Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-1Pros:

  • Excellent design
  • Solid construction
  • Unique features like ridged grip, acme threads
  • Cap posts for a comfy, balanced experience


  • Body is a bit short if you don’t post
  • Metal versions require some extra force to post cap


Tactile Turn Gist Fountain Pen Review Kickstarter-3I’ve been looking forward to this pen for a long time, and I can honestly say it delivers. I’ve backed the project for a polycarbonate w/  brass grip/finial for myself. The pen is comfortable, well-balanced, robust, and looks great. There’s not much else to say other than it feels both fresh and familiar at the same time. I can see myself adding more of these to my collection as time goes on, there are so many great options and after handling each and every one, it’s honestly hard to pick. The Gist starts at a reasonable $59 and can be customized all the way up to $228 (full Ti pen w. 14k gold nib), so there really is something for everyone.

Head on over to the Tactile Turn Kickstarter to secure one for yourself!


Disclaimer: Did you not read the first paragraph? Because you should totally read the first paragraph…

Topo Designs Daypack Review

Topo Designs Daypack Review

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-12


  • Dimensions: 12″w x 19″h x 6″d
  • Volume: 1368 cu. in./22.4 L
  • Materials: 1000d CORDURA® fabric outer with coated pack cloth liner.
  • Features: Natural leather lash tab, heavy-duty hardware, comfortable contoured padded shoulder straps, zippered exterior pocket, inner organizer pocket and laptop sleeve.
  • Origin: Made in USA
  • Price: $149

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-5Intro:

The Topo Daypack is a mid-sized bag meant to get you through a full day of activity. Inspired by vintage outdoor goods, this bag blends retro looks with modern construction and functionality. I use a Topo Mountain Briefcase as my EDC bag, and the two can interchange quite well. This backpack features a padded laptop sleeve, a fully lined interior, and super heavy-duty zippers throughout. The folks over at Topo were kind enough to send this pack over for review, so thanks! Note: I’ve added a few patches to the bag, so don’t expect yours to come with these! Read on to see how the pack worked out…

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-11Design, Fit, Finish:

The Topo Daypack is a fairly plain-looking bag. The pack has a minimal aesthetic with only a few things decorating the outside of the bag, which I happen to like. There aren’t too many zippers, pockets, or gimmicky features that may get in the way more than they are used. The bag features a large main compartment with a padded laptop sleeve, a zippered pouch, a few pen slots, and two other sleeves for various items. The main compartment is large enough to accommodate a 15″ laptop with a bit of room to spare. I do have a gripe with the laptop sleeve, and that’s in the padding. There’s padding on the back and front of the pouch, but not on the bottom. It’s happened to me multiple times – I go to put my laptop away a bit too gingerly, slide it into the pouch and SMACK…it hits the surface I have the pack on with no padding. I would really like to see further iterations of this bag with some padding on the bottom. I’m generally careful with my stuff, but I think I expect there to be some sort of padding at the bottom and forget every time. Topo Designs Day Pack Review-7

The bag is made from 1000D Cordura fabric, and I have no reason to believe that the fabric will fail. It’s tough, yet has some give to it. The bag doesn’t feel stiff and it didn’t need any breaking in like my Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon II. I’m sure there’s a bit of built-in water resistance, I wouldn’t be too worried about getting caught in the rain. The stitching on the bag is decent enough, nothing is frayed, all the seams are clean, and it doesn’t look lopsided or off in any way. It’s also made in the USA (Colorado, specifically) which is a nice departure from most outdoor gear.


The Daypack fits my 5’11”, average frame quite well. It’s large enough for ample storage, yet not so big and bulky that it gets in the way. It’s a great sized pack, and a good way to lug around my daily gear. The straps are comfortably padded, and adjustable for a good fit. The straps feature bartacked nylon reinforcement straps that run the length of the strap.

There two d-rings for gear attachment on each shoulder as well. The bag does not include a sternum strap, but Topo does offer one. I’ve found that the bag is comfortable to wear fully loaded, and that the straps do a great job of supporting the weight of the pack. I went away for a long weekend and used this as my only “luggage”. It held all my stuff, was easy to carry, and never got in the way. Topo Designs Day Pack Review-4


While I did give the Daypack a go as my everyday bag, I found the Mountain Briefcase to be more suited to my job and daily requirements. Both bags carry a laptop and have similar organization, but the it all came down to the fact that I feel more comfortable carrying a brief into my office rather than a backpack. I do like the Daypack as a fill in for my camera bag. After some looking at measurements, I found THIS PADDED CAMERA CASE on Amazon that perfectly fit inside the Daypack. This allows me to carry a laptop, camera body w/ attached lens, and two extra lenses with ease and security. The camera case only takes up about a third of the bag, so there’s a ton of room for chargers, flashes, or whatever else I want to bring with me. I love using a bag that isn’t meant for cameras, as they don’t scream “HEY THERE’S A TON OF EXPENSIVE GEAR IN HERE, STEAL ME!”. Topo Designs Day Pack Review-8

Also worth noting are the super awesome, heavy-duty, buttery smooth zippers. These things feel like they should be on a bag many times larger than the Daypack. They’re a bit oversized for the bag, but damn they feel great. This is one of those things that may not sound like a big deal, but any time you want to take something out of the bag, you have to go through one of the two zippers. Topo could have went with a smaller zipper, but they just don’t feel the same way that these do. There are also two side pockets, but they’re a bit tight. It’s hard to get things in and out of them when the bag is full. The leather lash tab and red nylon strap have come in handy a few times for a tripod or light stand. I wish there was a bit more organization inside the front pocket, it’s just a large pouch and there isn’t anything to keep small items from banging around inside. I’ve found that the GridIt makes a great organization solution, and is easily swapped from bag to bag.

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-9

Pros & Cons:


  • Great styling
  • Slim, yet enough room
  • Solid construction
  • Hi-vis yellow interior makes it easy to find stuff
  • Comfortable to wear


  • Bottom of laptop compartment isn’t padded
  • Stitching could be more robust
  • Lacks front pocket organization

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-16Conclusion:

The Topo Designs Daypack definitely gets the job done. I’ve found that it’s ideal for hauling camera gear, especially with the insert I found on Amazon. The vintage-inspired design and simple looks result in a bag that isn’t too loud or tactical for everyday wear. I love the styling, and it’s quite comfortable, even when fully loaded. I absolutely love my Mountain Briefcaseand this bag is a close second. I’d like to see a bit more padding in the bottom of the bag and maybe some beefier stitching. Overall, the bag is stylish, comfortable, and the perfect size for my needs. Thanks again to Topo for sending the bag over for review, it’s been great!

If you’d like to see other colors, more bags, and to pick up a Daypack of your own, head over to Topo Designs. 

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-2Specs: 

Weight 5.0 ounces
Manufacturer Lihit Lab
Exterior Color Black
Features Book
Interior Color Brown
Material Polyester
Number of Compartments 8
Pen Capacity 23
Size – Depth 4.5 cm / 1.8 inches
Size – Length 20 cm / 7.9 inches
Size – Width 12.5 cm / 4.9 inches

$14.50 from JetPens

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-7Notes:
The Lihit Lab Teffa pen case is a great option for those looking for a grab-and-go solution to carrying all of their stationery essentials. The case is small, yet organized and can fit a surprising amount of stuff inside. Everything in the photo above fits into the case without bulging or jamming anything in there. I’m very happy with the amount of stuff that this case carries with ease. The inside dimensions are large enough to accommodate both large and small writing utensils, and plenty of them. Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-3 Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-4The case has some nice details, like a double zipper and rubber patch. The zippers are smooth and feel like they’ll last a long time, I’m not worried about long term durability issues. There are also two small pockets on the front of the case, the larger one is ideal for business cards. This makes it especially easy to grab one or two without opening up the whole case. Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-1 Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-5

What makes the Teffa unique is the internal divider. It allows you to separate items if you wish, but also allows for more organization. This case is great, but not without a few downsides. The pen storage section has no protection between pens – I wouldn’t be putting my Nakaya in there. The pens are in contact with each other, so be mindful of what you keep in the case. I’d hate to see a machined pen knock the finish off of a Pelikan or scratch up a Montblanc.

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-6

I like this pen case quite a bit. It’s a great solution for grab-and-go. I find it especially useful when switching between bags. It’s also pretty great for moving from my desk at home to at work, or from my desk to the couch. The Teffa is reasonably priced at just under $15, and the construction is nice for the amount they’re asking. I’d definitely recommend the Teffa for lugging around those pens that you might not mind dinging a bit!

Thanks to JetPens for sending the case over for review!



Disclaimer: This was received as a review unit, free of charge. All opinions are my own.

TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review

TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen

  • Review Paper: Rhodia No. 18 Lined Pad

TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-13Specs:

  • Description: An updated version of the TWSBI 580 featuring an aluminum grip and piston mechanism, for added durability and a classier look
  • Refills: Internal piston mechanism
  • Body:  Plastic / Aluminum
  • Measurements: 5.6″ long closed, 7.0″ posted
  • Weight: 32g
  • Color Options: Clear with silver aluminum accents

Writing Samples:
TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-12


TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-1My past experiences with TWSBI have been hit or miss, mostly on the miss side. I was impressed by the price point of the ECO, but it just didn’t click with me. My old Diamond 540 was plagued with cracking pieces, I’ve given up emailing customer support. The Mini was cool, but once again, it just didn’t get used. My Vac700 was a very poor writer, and in my opinion, not very comfortable in hand. So I’ve had a good amount of experience with several of their pens. I figured the “AL” version with aluminum parts would be more durable, better looking, and overall more reliable. Read on to see how the 580AL has held up to over a year of ownership and use!

Appearance and Packaging:

TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-7The TWSBI 580AL is a sharp-looking pen. I’ve always loved the way the Diamond series looks, and in my opinion, it’s even better with the blinged out updates. There’s an aluminum grip section that’s made of two pieces, and an aluminum piston rod and mechanism. It definitely looks more premium than the old 540 and 580s. The faceted barrel is crystal clear, allowing you to see whatever ink you have sloshing around inside. In the photos, it’s filled with J. Herbin’s Emerald of Chivor – an awesome ink to have in a demonstrator. TWSBI has won awards for their packaging, and this one is no exception. The box is made of plastic, with the pen sitting on a pedestal inside. It looks very Apple-esque and I like it. Overall, the pen looks great, and has an awesome presentation. It would make a great gift, and it looks great on my desk.

Filling System / Nib Performance:

TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-5The filling system in the 580AL is an integration piston mechanism. It’s fully removable, whether it be for cleaning or tinkering. This updated aluminum piston replaces the plastic version seen on the standard 580, but I don’t believe it’s much of an improvement. I’ve had the piston get stuck (like REALLY stuck) a few times, and it’s definitely an annoyance. It’s nerve-racking to have to apply pressure to the piston knob, not knowing if it will give way and shoot out ink everywhere. It looks great in there, but I think the plastic version on my 540 was much smoother. Please let me know in the comments if you’ve had similar experiences with your TWSBI’s aluminum piston.

TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-8I went for the medium nib on the pen. TWSBI uses western nibs, so the line width was right about where I’d expect it to be. The 580AL didn’t go un-modified for long. Straight out of the box, I found the pen to be a bit dry and I knew it could definitely have been smoother. While at the DC show in August of 2014, I had it adjusted by Mike Masuyama. I requested that the pen have increased flow, and be smoothed a bit. He informed me that the slit in the nib was not perfectly centered, which is what was causing the sub-par flow. After a few minutes on the grinding wheel, the TWSBI was writing perfectly. Given that the pen was a reasonable $65, investing another $30 in a perfectly smoothed nib wasn’t a bad decision. Steel nibs in this price range can be hit-or-miss, but luckily they’re easily fixed.


TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-11TWSBI’s 580AL weighs in at a comfortable 32g. It’s nicely balanced, and provides a good amount of heft. It weighs enough so you know it’s there, but not too much to the point where it will tire you out. The grip diameter is comfortable, and flares out just a bit before the nib. I have found the aluminum to be slippery though. There’s no texture to the grip and it tends to get slick. If you have sweaty hands or prefer to a tight grip, be wary of this one. I prefer to write with the pen unposted, but it is capable of posting. There’s a silver ring on the back of the pen that the cap securely posts onto without interfering with the piston. For me, it makes the pen very off-balanced and way too long. If you want a TWSBI that posts, definitely consider the Mini. The molding on the plastic pieces is nicely done, with no visible seams or blemishes. It’s polished to a high-shine and smooth to the touch. The materials appear to be quality, but time will tell if they start to get the signature TWSBI hairline cracks over time.

TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-10Pros:

  • Price is reasonable
  • Nice weight
  • Comfortable in hand
  • Looks awesome when paired with interesting ink

TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-4Cons:

  • M nib was dry and scratchy out of the box
  • Piston has stuck multiple times
  • Slippery grip section


TWSBI 580AL Fountain Pen Review-14I’m very on the fence as to whether or not I like the TWSBI 580AL. There’s just about as many Pros as there are Cons, and my experience hasn’t been great with TWSBIs in the past. At $65, this pen is not terribly expensive, but it’s also not in the “impulse buy” range. I’d definitely say that I like the pen, but I don’t love it. Since getting the nib adjusted, it’s been much better. It doesn’t see a ton of use, but for some reason I’ve held onto it. There aren’t enough negative aspects as to not recommend the pen, but there aren’t enough positive aspects to suggest it either. Overall, this pen is really a true middle ground fountain pen for me. Not bad, not great, really just okay.

If you’d like to support the site, you can pick up a TWSBI 580AL through this Amazon Affiliate link.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the TWSBI 580AL in the comments below!


Super Analog: Platinum 3776 Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review

Platinum 3776 Black Diamond
Fountain Pen Review 

  • Review Ink: Sheaffer Peacock Blue
  • Review Paper: Rhodia 4 Color Book

Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-2Specs:

  • Description: A 14k nibbed, translucent black pen with a unique slip and seal cap mechanism to prevent drying out.
  • Nib: Broad, 14k gold, rhodium plated
  • Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / Converter – Proprietary
  • Weight: ~21 grams
  • Measurements: 5.50″ closed, 6.25″ posted
  • Color Options: Translucent Black with Rhodium Trim

Handwritten Review Scans:


Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-10First off, I want to say that this review is different from all of the other reviews on the site. The images you see throughout the post were all shot on film (Kodak Gold 400, with a Nikon N50 and 50mm 1.4G lens) and scanned with minimal color correction. Since we’re all here for analog writing in all its glory, I wanted to take it one step further. It was definitely a cool feeling to finish off the roll of film, hear it wind up, and take it out of the camera knowing that there were physical negatives of a review in there. It made me shoot the review much more carefully, as it does end up costing an extra bit of money and effort in doing so. That being said, I enjoyed the process and I’m definitely going to be playing with film more in the future. Anyway…on to the pen!

Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-9The Platinum 3776 has always been in my sights, but I’ve always opted for another pen in the price range before jumping at this one. Why? I’m not so sure, maybe it was the gold furnishing? When the Black Diamond came out, I was definitely more intrigued. The translucent black body and rhodium trim is super classy, and just muted enough to grab my eye. It looks awesome right next to my Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black and Lamy 2000. There are plenty of things I love about the pen, some I like, and even a few I’m not so huge on. Read on to find out how the 3776 fared!

Huge thanks to Ron at Pen Chalet for sending me a
Platinum 3776 Black Diamond over for review!


Appearance & Packaging:

Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-16The 3776 comes in a nice presentation gift box. It’s nothing crazy, and nothing in the packaging implies that the Black Diamond is any more special than any of the other 3776 models. The pen itself is a rather classic looking cigar shape, having been in production in a similar form since the late 1970’s. Theres nothing extraordinary about the pen, but it looks great. The cap and tail are nicely rounded, resulting in a tapered cigar shape. Inside the cap is Platinum’s unique “slip and seal” technology to prevent the pen from drying out. Essentially there’s an internal cap that creates an airtight seal with the grip. Above the internal cap is a spring, which ensures that there’s a tight seal. Over the course of using the pen, I haven’t noticed any drying, but I haven’t exactly let this one sit for extended periods of time.

Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-17  I really like the simple look, especially with the silver trim and ever-so-slightly see through black body. The translucency of the cap and body are only visible in bright light, or when backlit. I think it’s the perfect balance of being “translucent” and “full on demonstrator” – it’s understated just like the rest of the pen. The cap band has some text imprinted on it, and it’s bordered by a thinner band on the top. Overall, I think it’s an awesome looking pen.

Nib Performance & Filling System:

Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-8The Japanese broad nib is smooth, wet, and just a tiny bit springy. In my opinion, it’s an ideal nib. The line width is similar to a Western medium, which is right inside my comfort zone. The writing on the nib looks rather plain, and I’m not a huge fan of the typeface used on it. The rest of it is quite cool though, I really love the heart-shaped breather hole and lines that run around the perimeter of the nib. The size of the nib fits the proportions of the body well, not looking too big or too small.

(warning: not film)
(warning: not film)

The 3776 fills via converter or proprietary cartridge. The included converter is high quality, and has a decent capacity. I really wish that the gold accents on the converter were silver, so they’d match the rest of the pen…oh well.


Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-13The pen is definitely comfortable to write with for extended periods of time. Actually, I’ve had a hard time putting it down… I’ve only kept a few pens inked up over the past month or so (I bought my first house, moved, did a bunch of freelance work, man I’m busy) and this pen I’ve actually refilled as soon as it’s emptied every time. The pen is comfortable posted or un-posted, but I prefer writing with the cap on the back. It adds a nice amount of weight and balance without throwing off the feel of the pen.

Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-12The one thing I’m not thrilled with is the finishing of the pen. For a $150+ pen, the finishing should be as close to flawless as you can get, but that’s not the case. The grip of the pen has some very obvious manufacturing lines from injection molding. They’re not terribly noticeable when writing, but just knowing that they’re there irks me. The rest of the pen has no noticeable issues, perhaps they just crank out the grip sections on different machinery and just call it a day. It’s not a make-or-break issue for me, but definitely worth noticing.


  • SUPER smooth nib
  • Color is killer
  • Good balance/feel in hand
  • Pen shouldn’t dry out


  • Rough finishing on the grip


Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-15
3776 next to a Pilot Custom 74

The 3776 is a good pen, but it doesn’t really achieve greatness. The picture above shows it next to Pilot’s Custom 74, which is very, very similar. I prefer the build quality of the 74 is just a bit more, Pilot tends to have excellent finishing. The nib on the 3776 is great though. When it comes down to it, I slightly prefer the 3776. Why? I’m not sure, but I find myself reaching for this pen more often than any others at this time. Would I recommend it? Absolutely.

Platinum 3776 Century Black Diamond Fountain Pen Review-1Thanks again to Pen Chalet for sending this over to review, if you’re interested in picking one up for yourself, check out the product page for more info!


Disclaimer: This pen was provided to me as a review unit, free of charge, by Pen Chalet. I was not compensated for this review, and this did not have any effect on my thoughts and opinions about the pen. Thank you for reading!