Category Archives: Reviews

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

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review-3What is it? Well, it’s probably one of the most famous pencils out there. They’re made of genuine incense cedar, feature a matte black body, and a large golden ferrule with a replaceable eraser. You can pick them up on Amazon for around 2 bucks per pencil. Yes, pencils can be famous…this is one of them. It’s been cited by John Steinbeck as his favorite pencil, bringing a lot of attention to the brand. Read on to see how it’s held up in the hands of a fountain pen fan…

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review-4Notes: You hear a lot about this pencil, people love the brand, they release special limited editions, and there’s an “aura” around it that people are drawn to. The only reason I bought one was to see what the big deal was. The classic Blackwing is a nice looking pencil featuring a matte black body and a large, golden ferrule that you can even replace the eraser in. Initially, I found the pencil to be quite long and slightly off-balance. After some use (and sharpening) the pencil became easier and more comfortable to write with. The Blackwing pencil even has its own motto – “twice the speed, half the pressure” – which for the most part, I agree with. It’s very smooth, produces a nice dark line, and I can see how other pencils are “slower”. Rougher leads just lead to a less smooth experience overall, which does give the impression of writing slower.

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review-5-2There’s one glaring issue for me, and that’s the point retention / lead hardness. Since the lead is so soft (what makes it so smooth and dark), you need to constantly rotate the pencil to keep a crisp line. You can see a huge difference in the writing sample between the beginning and even the middle of the page. A harder lead will solve this problem, but those tend to produce a lighter line. To me, finding the right pencil is all about finding the right balance of hardness and darkness of the line. When the pencil is sharp, it’s great, but unfortunately that isn’t for a very long time.

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review-1Overall, the Palomino Blackwing is an okay pencil. It does write nice and dark, and super smooth. Unfortunately for me, that writing experience is a fleeting moment, as the line produced quickly becomes wider and significantly less crisp. There is light at the end of the tunnel, as Palomino makes a Blackwing Pearl. I’ve recently picked up one of these , so expect a review shortly! If you’ve been looking to add a premium pencil to your collection, and prefer a soft lead, definitely consider picking up some Palomino Blackwings!

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Disclaimer: This review contains Amazon Affiliate links. They provide me with a bit of revenue to keep the site functioning and help buy new products to review.

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Field Notes “Shenandoah” – Fall 2015 Colors Edition – Review

Field Notes
Fall 2015 Colors Edition
“Shenandoah”

Specs From Field Notes:

“Our Fall limited-edition seasonal release, “The Shenandoah Edition” features three green French cover stocks that match the leaf color of three trees found at Shenandoah National Park: the Sweet Birch, the Chestnut Oak, and the Red Maple. Our new friends at Platinum Converting in Itasca, Ill. fused each of the green papers to a contrasting French text-weight paper that matches the tree’s fall foliage.

Field Notes Shenandoah Colors Edition Notebook Review-12 copyThese extra-sturdy duplexed covers have a classic, beefy feel to them, reminiscent of early COLORS releases like “Mackinaw Autumn” and “Just Below Zero.” Beefier, actually, since we’ve upgraded our body paper to 60#T Finch Opaque “Bright White,” with a 3/16″ graph. Each features an illustration of a leaf on the back with some facts about the tree. The belly band is real birch veneer, just because it looked so darn good with all that green.”

Notes:

Field Notes Shenandoah Colors Edition Notebook Review-4 copySo, it turns out that I TOTALLY skipped coverage of the Fall 2015 Field Notes Colors Edition: Shenandoah. Maybe it was the excitement over the announcement of the color-changing Snowblind, or maybe I took the photos and forgot about them (yeah, no it definitely was this). Anyway, this edition is still available for sale from Field Notes, you can snag one here.  Shenandoah is made up of three books, each representing a different type of tree found in the national park. The inside of the book is the color that the tree’s foliage turns in the Fall. It’s a great edition that highlights some of the most breathtaking scenery around. If you’re not so into trees, you will enjoy the extra heavy, double layered covers and slightly thicker internal paper.

Field Notes Shenandoah Colors Edition Notebook Review-3 copyEach of the three books has a leaf on the back with a few facts about the tree, inside you’ll find the standard “information” page and some wacky uses inside the back cover.

The paper inside holds up decently well to a variety of pens, but your best bet here is either a pencil, ballpoint, or gel pen.

Field Notes Shenandoah Colors Edition Notebook Review-11 copyThe Shenandoah edition makes a nice addition to the Colors lineup, and it’s the little details like a real birch belly band and custom-made twin layer covers that set these apart from the rest. I’m sure at this point in time there aren’t quite as many books available as there were when they were announced, so don’t sleep on these.

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Review Redux – Three Years with the Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen

Review Redux
Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen

  • Review Paper: Rhodia No. 18 Lined Pad

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-14Specs:

  • Time Owned: 3 Years (since 12/25/2012)
  • Nib: 14k platinum-coated gold
  • Material: Makrolon and brushed stainless steel
  • Filling Mechanism: Piston with nearly invisible tail knob
  • Weight: 25 grams
  • Measurements: 5.5″ closed, 6.0″ posted
  • Ink Capactiy: ~2ml
  • Link to Original Review

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-1

Handwritten Review Scans:

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-19Intro/About:

I’ve mentioned throughout the site that the Lamy 2000 is my favorite pen…and well, three years later it still is. The initial excitement over getting the pen has long since worn off. The purpose of these Review Reduxs is to show how a pen has held up over time, if I still enjoy it, how much use it gets, and if I’ve gotten my moneys worth. This is the first entry in an ongoing series, so check back regularly for more extended-use pen reviews!

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-8Appearance:

The 2000 has held up quite well over the last three years. The brushed Makrolon body does a reasonably well job of keeping scratches at bay, but it does show some scuffs. The matte finish has smoothed out a bit, being polished by my hand after constant use. The finish is still very much matte, but if you look at a new pen and a used pen side-by-side, there’s a noticeable difference. Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-4The clip has held up well, still springy as the day I got it. I’m happy with how the 2000’s appearance has aged. It shows some wear, but by no means looks thrashed. I haven’t been overly gentle with the pen, so it’s good to see that something used so regularly can continue to do so for several years.

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-9Performance:

A common complaint about the Lamy 2000 is the nib. There’s a very apparently sweet spot, which can be easily confused for a scratchy nib. At first, the flow was a bit weak and the sweet spot was very small. I had the pen worked on by Richard Binder at the Long Island Pen Show, the pen is PERFECT. There are plenty of folks out there who work on nibs, so if you’re not happy with yours, it may be worth sending it out. The pen is easy to disassemble, making cleaning and maintenance easy. Every piece of the pen is either fitted with threads or friction-fit (feed/nib into the grip) and everything goes back into place easily. Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-20I’ve greased the piston barrel with a q-tip a few times, and it’s kept the knob turning smoothly with little to no effort. Worth noting, I’ve lost a piece of the pen during a cleaning in the past. There’s a small washer that has the two “ears” that keep the cap on, this piece is small and light, so it’s easily misplaced. A quick email to Lamy’s repair center, and a new one was on the way for $5. The pen is easy to maintain, parts are easily obtainable, and there really hasn’t been any consistent problems with it. The workhorse Lamy 2000 has really lived up to its nickname.

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-12Usage/Opinion:

The Lamy 2000 was on of the first pen over $100 I’ve added to my collection. It was a huge step into the hobby, and it’s never an easy purchase decision when making that jump. I was extremely excited when I got the pen, and I can honestly say that I still am. The understated and utilitarian design, solid performance, great reliability, and writing performance result in a daily-use pen that I’m still happy to pick up every time I to write. In the three years I’ve owned the pen, it’s barely gone un-inked. I’m still as excited to use it as I was when I first got it, which I’ve found to be rare in my collection. The Lamy 2000 has been in production since the 1960’s, and it’s gone relatively unchanged. There must be quite a few people out there who feel the same way I do to warrant this, and that’s a great sign.

Pros:

  • Still looks great
  • Ink Capacity
  • Reliability

Cons:

  • Nib needed some work
  • Some very small parts are easily lost

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-10Does It Hold Up?

Absolutely. The Lamy 2000 is a great value for a solid, dependable workhorse fountain pen. It never gets pushed aside, and for me, it’s almost always in use. Several years later, I’m still just as excited to write with it as when I opened up the package for the first time. I’ve since purchased an all original 1960’s Lamy 2000 and a new Stainless Steel model as well. This particular 2000 was my first, and I doubt it will be my last!

If you like what you’ve read, you can pick up your own Lamy 2000 through this affiliate link. Any purchases made through this link help support the site and they’re much appreciated!

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Field Notes “Snowblind” – Winter 2015 Colors Edition – Review

Field Notes
Winter 2015 Colors Edition
“Snowblind”

Specs From Field Notes:

“The covers (100# Sappi McCoy Silk cover stock) are silk-screened (a COLORS first in itself) with two custom inks. The Field Notes logo is a pearlescent “interference” ink that glimmers and sparkles, and the rest of the book is coated in a nearly-magical “photochromic” ink that changes color when exposed to sunlight. Indoors, they’re white, outdoors they’re blue!Field Notes Snowblind Review-7

PHOTOCHROMIC ink changes color when exposed to a specific range of ultraviolet light. The ink appears colorless indoors, but changes to blue in about 15 seconds when exposed to a strong UV source like mid-day sunlight. The color fades away in a few minutes when removed from the UV source. The change is not permanent, and can be repeated”

Notes:

I was pretty amped when I saw that Field Notes put out a color changing cover. We all had a bit of an “OMG” moment when the Unexposed Edition was announced, hoping they’d do something like change color, and personally I was a little let down when they didn’t. Field Notes has more than made up for it with their latest release, “Snowblind”.

Field Notes Snowblind Review-4

These white notebooks turn to a nice shade of light blue when exposed to UV light. They look great indoors and out, especially with the small details like white staples and pearlescent ink for the logo. Inside, you’ll find a very faint grid pattern which really lets your writing pop. The 60# Finch paper won’t hold up so great to fountain pen usage, but they play nice with a variety of other pocket-friendly writing utensils. It’s really cool to see Field Notes constantly innovating quarter after quarter for such a long time. They manage to keep their releases fresh, exciting, and consistent.

Field Notes Snowblind Review-5

I’m definitely a fan of the Snowblind edition, and as with all COLORS editions, these are limited. Head over to FIELD NOTES to grab a pack (or two, like I did…) before they’re gone forever!

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