Category Archives: Reviews

The master list for all fountain pen, fountain pen ink, and stationery reviews:

Modern Fuel Design Mechanical Pencil – Review and Kickstarter Launch

Modern Fuel Design
Mechanical Pencil
Review and Kickstarter Launch

Modern Fuel Pencil Review Kickstater Launch-1

Andrew over at Modern Fuel Design got in touch a few months back about an exciting new pencil project. I’m not huge on mechanical pencils, but this one sounded interesting and I happily agreed to check out the project. The pencil is machined out of brass or aluminum, made in the United States, and perfectly weighed and balanced. The 0.5mm lead advances through the solid brass conical tip with precision. There is not an ounce of wiggle to be found or felt. I thought it was one of the coolest parts of the design because the tapered tip comes to a nice point and has a very small, 0.5mm hole drilled in the end.

Modern Fuel Pencil Review Kickstater Launch-2The pencil looks a lot like a classic mechanical pencil, and I think that’s why I like it. It’s very simple, no knurling, grips, plastic colored pieces, or crazy lines. It’s a clean, simple pencil that is brass, rubber and steel. I think it looks great, but most importantly, it feels great in hand. The brass adds a nice amount of weight that I am not used to in a pencil. It practically disappears in hand during longer writing sessions, and it’s not so heavy that fatigue sets in. When speaking to Mike Dudek about the pencil, he had mentioned that the internal tube a few other pieces inside are plastic. I was slightly upset at first, but then I realized that the plastic internals are dead silent and do not rattle around like the Kaweco Special mechanical pencil, which I have since retired because of the annoying sound. I’m sure the plastic will hold up to daily use and abuse.

Modern Fuel Pencil Review Kickstater Launch-3What I initially thought could have been a weak point may have actually contributed to why I like the pencil so much. Admittedly, I’m not thrilled with the click mechanism. I like more of a tactile click, and the knock is a bit mushy. The lead extends easily with every click, but it’s just not that satisfying. Perhaps a strong spring in there would make for a more solid “click”? Other than that, I love the pencils slimline design and how it feels in hand.

Modern Fuel Pencil Review Kickstater Launch-6
Can you say “well-balanced”?

If you’re interested in getting one for yourself, head over to Andrew’s Kickstarter project. A $60 pledge scores you an aluminum pencil, and you can add an additional $5 for brass. The project has three weeks to go and has far surpassed its initial goal. Thanks again for sending the pencil over for review!

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2014 – The Year In Review(s)

Top 10 Fountain Pen Reviews of 2014

2014 Fountain Pen Year in Review(s)-2

I had a lot of fun doing the year-end roundup last year, so I figured I would do it again. Some pens have maintained their presence in the top 10 list and with good reason. Each of these posts got the most page views out of all of the posts I’ve made this year. The blog has continued to grow, and there were twice as many visitors and twice as many page views as there were last year. There were well over HALF A MILLION PAGE VIEWS and I want to thank you guys so much for checking out the site! Don’t forget to subscribe to the site using the “subscribe” box located in the right hand menu to get emailed every time I make a post!

So here we go, the Top 10 posts of 2014:

2014 Fountain Pen Year in Review(s)-410. Buying a Grail Pen

One of my favorite posts, this guide to buying a “grail pen” ended up being very popular. I go through my system of deciding what the right pen is, the process of freeing up some funds, slimming down my collection and obtaining the pen.

Click here to check out the original review.

2014 Fountain Pen Year in Review(s)-149. and 8. Rotring Rapid Pro Ballpoint / 800 Pencil

This is the first of three Rotring posts that made the top ten list. The Rapid Pro Ballpoint is a slimline pen with a metal body and a knurled grip that looks and feels great. Admittedly, it didn’t see too much use following the review. The pen takes a Parker style cartridge and uses a click mechanism to deploy the writing point. The number 8 spot went to the Rotring 800 mechanical pencil. It’s of very high quality, also features a knurled grip – but has a retractable tip and gold accents.

Click here to check out the Rapid Pro review.
Click here to check out the  Rotring 800 Pencil review.

2014 Fountain Pen Year in Review(s)-127. Lamy Safari Fountain Pen

The Lamy Safari was my first fountain pen, and it is still one of my favorites. It makes a great starter pen and really helped me in narrowing down what nib size I like due to the relatively inexpensive swappable nibs. The modern design still resonates with me and there is usually at least one inked up Safari in my arsenal. I picked up this discontinued Griso Grey model at the DC show for only $15!

Click here to check out the original review.

2014 Fountain Pen Year in Review(s)-96. Tactile Turn Mover / Shaker

The Mover and Shaker are two of my favorite machined pens. They take a huge range of refills and I love the grip pattern machined into the pen. They look and feel great, and they’re now available in a ton of different colors and materials.

Click here to check out the original review.

Rotring 600 Lava Fountain Pen Review5. Rotring 600 Lava

The Rotring 600 Lava was an awesome looking pen. I say was, because I no longer have it. It wasn’t seeing as much use as it should and I’m more of a user than a collector. The pen was sold to help fund my Nakaya purchase and while it was nice, I don’t miss it one bit. The pen is long-discontinued and can be found on eBay.

Click here to check out the original review.

2014 Fountain Pen Year in Review(s)-84. Seven Seas Tomoe River Pad

The Seven Seas Tomoe pad remains on the list, and for good reason. The silky smooth, fountain pen friendly paper is some of the best out there. It’s impossibly thin and is a pleasure to write with. I photographed the Seven Seas Writer journal instead of the pad again. Both are full of the same paper, but this one has ruling and is bound like a book. Check them out at Nanami Paper.

Click here to check out the original review.

2014 Fountain Pen Year in Review(s)-133. Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black Fountain Pen

The stealthiest pen of all. When this was announced I knew I needed to have one. Don’t feel like spending $400? Do some homework and find a retailer in Japan. I got the pen for much less off of eBay straight from Japan than I would have had I purchased it from the States. I haven’t been using this pen as much, but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. I got the fine nib adjusted at the Long Island Pen show to slightly increase the ink flow and smoothness. It’s a great writer, and this post makes me want to go ink it up now.

Click here to check out the original review.

2014 Fountain Pen Year in Review(s)-102. Pocket Notebooks / Fountain Pen Friendly

This post was another fun one to write and I’m glad it made it onto the top 10 list. The post outlines what “fountain pen friendly” really means when dealing with pocket notebooks. Check the post out to see the differences!

Click here to check out the original review.

2014 Fountain Pen Year in Review(s)-111. Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen

Once again, the top post is the Lamy 2000. It’s still my favorite pen and it is still always inked and within reach. I absolutely love the design and writing experience. The 2000 is one of the first “expensive” pens people buy and I’m not surprised that the review is as popular as it is. Look for an updated review of the 2000 in the coming months!

Click here to check out the original review.

Conclusion

This was another great year for the blog. Thank you all for your continuing support and readership, it means the world. Even with a lower post count this year, the blog has still grown and continues to do so. I’d also like to thank the sponsors of the site – JetPens, Pen Chalet, and all of the independent retailers and companies that have sent me products to review for providing me with a steady stream of goods to review! I have a lot of great content in the pipeline, so make sure to come back and check it out!

Have a safe and happy new year!

Best,

Ed Jelley

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Pilot Juice 0.7mm Gel Pen Review

Pilot Juice 0.7mm Gel Pen
Dark Red

- Handwritten Review -

 

  • Review Paper: Doane Flap Jotter

Pilot Juice Dark Red 0.7mm Gel Pen Review-2

Notes:

 

I’ve heard so many good things about the Juice and thanks to JetPens, I and finally trying one out. The pen is very similar to the Pilot G2, but with a beefed up, spring-loaded clip. The pen has a similar plastic body and rubber grip, but there is one big difference. The ink in the Pilot Juice line of pens is a pigmented gel ink! This means that once the ink is dry, it will be much more resistant to water and will last longer on the page. If you’ve accidentally spilled something on a page of gel ink writing, you know how messy it gets. This water and fade resistance puts the Juice well ahead of the gel pen pack. It’s very smooth and a pleasure to write with. The plastic body is sturdy and has a nice slightly textured rubber grip. The refill is the same size as a Pilot G2, which means that it will fit in a wide range of machined pens – This is a big plus for me. At $1.65, it won’t break the bank. Head over to JetPens to see the 36 colors and line widths of the Juice line!

JetPens Banner
Check out JetPens for tons of awesome Japanese pens and stationery. Free shipping on orders over $25, and hitting that is pretty easy with all the great stuff they have. Stop by!

Pilot Juice Dark Red 0.7mm Gel Pen Review-3

Pros:

  • Pigment based ink
  • Many colors
  • Many line widths
  • Great price point

Cons:

  • Nothing!

Thanks again to JetPens for sending this over to review, check out their site for more info on the pen!

Pilot Juice Dark Red 0.7mm Gel Pen Review-1

Disclaimer: This pen was provided to me as a review unit, free of charge, by JetPens. 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!

Montblanc “Power of Words” Film Premiere – Event Overview

Montblanc Power of Words Event-1On Friday, December 5th I was invited to the Montblanc “Power of Words” film premiere in New York City. The films were made as a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and each film was inspired by one of his quotes. Admittedly, the event didn’t have so much to do with pens as it did the films. While they were all good, I really enjoyed three of the five – “Lift you Up”, “Of the Unknown” and “Truth Booth” were my favorites. You can watch them on the Tribeca Film Institute’s website here. There was a calligrapher present who was writing out holiday cards for attendees.

Montblanc Power of Words Event-11The screening and celebration, co-hosted by Caroline Rupert, was attended by Tribeca Film Institute Co-Founder Jane Rosenthal, Africa Rising Foundation Co-Founder Kweku Mandela, Chrissy Teigen and participating director Nabil Elderkin, members of the Tribeca Film Institute and an intimate selection of international guests.

It was a fun night out, thank you to Montblanc for inviting me!

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Winter 2014 Holiday Gift Guide for the Fountain Pen Lover

Winter 2014 Holiday Gift Guide for the Fountain Pen Lover

It’s the gift-giving time of the year. I’ve put together a list of stuff that will make great gifts for your fountain pen loving (or soon to be) friends and loved ones. What are you getting for the stationery fiend in your life this year?

Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen Review

Entry-level for the new FP user

Lamy Safari / AL-Star – Fine or Extra fine – The Safari was my first pen. It features a triangular grip to promote proper writing form and is reliable and cool looking. It’s also available in an aluminum version if you like the looks of that better. I’d suggest an extra fine or fine nib for a new fountain pen user so they don’t get discouraged by feathering and bleeding on cheaper paper. At around $22, it’s a nice entry level pen. Don’t forget to pick up a Z24 converter so they can use bottled ink!

Pilot ParallelMy recommendation for those interested in calligraphy. They come in a range of widths and are easy to set up and use. They look cool and perform well. They’re cheap enough to pick up a few - check out this set that has all the sizes for right around $35.

Christmas-colored Inks – Why not match that new gift with some holiday colored inks. Two of my favorites are Diamine Evergreen and Diamine Oxblood. Both inks perform great and come in around $13 for a 50ml bottle.

Rhodia No. 18 DotpadFountain pens are best accompanied by smooth writing paper. Rhodia is my favorite paper for writing on and it comes in a bunch of sizes and rulings. I love the DotPad – it’s like a hybrid graph paper, but has dots instead of lines. The dots are unobtrusive and the bright white paper really shows off the inks color on the page. Price varies by size.

Quo Vadis HabanaIs there a person in your life that absolutely loves their Moleskine notebook? Well get them one of these and they will never go back. The faux-leather cover and high quality paper really is a step above the rest. It looks professional and is a pleasure to use. They’re not cheap, but they are built to last.

IMG_5884

Maybe something a little nicer?

Lamy 2000This is my all-time favorite fountain pen. It’s a design classic that is shown at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and still looks futuristic, despite being launched in the 1960s. The gold nib performs great and it’s built like a tank. The pen fills with an integrated piston and has an ink window to see how much you’ve got left in the tank. I can’t recommend this one more. I recommend either a fine or medium nib. They run about $130 and are worth every penny.

Pilot Vanishing Point - Another cool pen in the $130 range. This pen is unique in that it has a fully retractable nib – no losing pen caps here. I find them great for taking quick notes without sacrificing the nice writing experience you get from a fountain pen. This pen is neck and neck with the 2000 for best pen in the price range. The nibs on these run finer because they are from Japan, so keep that in mind when ordering.

Karas Kustoms INK Fountain Pen Another made in USA product that I love. The INK is the perfect size and shape, boasting an industrial, yet classic design. Machined out of aluminum, then anodized. Available in tons of colors with different metal grip sections. I’m pretty sure that the INK could withstand an atom bomb blast. $85-$105 from Karas Kustoms.

TWSBI Diamond 580ALA cool looking demonstrator style fountain pen. You can see the internal workings as well. TWSBI has great customer service and are pretty much the best in their price range. It’s oddly satisfying to see the ink you’re using sloshing around inside of the barrel. The packaging is really cool too, making for a great presentation. At $65, they won’t break the bank. 

Nakaya Neo Standard Kuro-tamenuri Unboxing

Money is no issue.

Pelikan M600 - The Pelikan M600 is a super classic. It performs great and will make an excellent heirloom pen. Pelikans are great and will make a great gift someone will cherish for years to come. $400 from Fahrney’s.

Visconti Homo Sapiens
Another awesome looking pen that writes silky smooth. The Homo Sapiens is made out of real lava rock with bronze accents. It’s a heavy, oversized pen that comes in a nice leatherette box. They don’t come cheap at $650, but this is the “money is no issue” category after all.

Nakaya PensFunctional art. These pens are hand made in Japan and are coated in urushi lacquer. They look and feel amazing. How do they write? Perfectly. They’re distributed by Nibs.com in the USA and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This is one of my favorite pens. I’m a huge fan of the Neo Standard. 

The Clicky Post Cube Pen Holder

I know they like pens, but I’m afraid to pick...

Dudek Modern Goods Pen Stands – All handmade in Arizona by Mike Dudek. They’re superbly crafted from walnut wood and look great on any desk or shelf. Many sizes and configurations. Note, they are all handmade to order so there’s a chance they might not show up by the end of the month. I know I’d be perfectly happy with a picture of one printed out in an envelope to let me know what I’m waiting for!

One Star Leather Pen Sleeves – I absolutely love my pen sleeve from One Star Leather. I use it every day. It looks great, keeps my pens safe, and will last a lifetime. In addition to all that, you’re supporting a one man operation, made right here in the USA. $25-$40 in many colors and configurations.

NOCK CO. Pen Cases – Maybe you need to carry around more than one or two pens? Check out the awesome line of durable cases by NOCK CO. I’ve been using The Brasstown ($35) – it’s a pen roll that rolls up into a zip case. It’s well made and does a great job of protecting the pens. A close runner-up is The Lookout ($20) – a three-pen case with a flap closure. All made in the USA too!

Pen Cleaning Kit from Goulet Pens - Dirty pens? Keep them clean with this special solution from Goulet Pens. It will safely clean that ink out of the barrel. The task is made easier with the included bulb and syringes!

Goulet Ink Drop Sample Subscription - I had an Ink Drop subscription for a while and it was great. They send a curated sample pack of 5 inks every month. It’s a great way to try out new inks and it’s fun to get a surprise in every package month after month. Makes a great gift!

JetPens Gift Card – Tons of options. Like TONS. Mostly Japanese imported pens, and mostly great. They have everything from pens to pencils to paper. Free shipping on orders over $25 and great service.

 

Anything you think should be added to the list? Let me know!

 

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