Category Archives: Reviews

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

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!

Gallery:

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!

 

Disclaimer: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. You can support the site (maintenance fees, server fees, etc.) by shopping through these links.

Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review

Kaweco Sport Skyline
Fountain Pen

 

  • Review Paper: Doane Paper Flap Jotter

Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review-6Specs:

  • Description: A great pocket pen with updated colors
  • Refills: International short cartridges / Kaweco Converter
  • Body: Grey Plastic
  • Measurements: 5.270″ long, 0.360″ diameter
  • Color Options: Several! Check them out at JetPens!

Handwritten Review Scans:
Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review-4

Intro/About:

I’ve reviewed a few incarnations of the Kaweco Sport in the past, but when I saw the new grey model with silver trim I had to jump at it. This review is on the shorter side, as it is more of an update than anything. Huge thanks again JetPens for sending over the pen for review!

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!

Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review-7

Notes:

The Skyline Sport series is a refresh of the regular Sport line, but with new colors and a silver trim. It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Sport. Since then, Kaweco has improved their nibs. My original burgundy Sport needed some tweaking to write well, but the silver nib on this Sport is smooth and has great flow right out of the box. I’m not huge on gold trim in general, so the silver was a welcomed site. Top that off with a dark grey body, and you have a great looking pen.

Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review-8

The Sport is a smaller pen, shockingly small even. I remember when I took my first one out of the box I was very surprised. Since I knew what to expect, there were no surprises when I unboxed the Sport. I opted to use a Kaweco Aubergine cartridge and I really like the dark purple ink coming out of a grey pen body. I usually have at least one Sport inked up, they are the perfect pocket pen and they’re always reliable and work great.

Pros:

  • Small, pocketable pen
  • Smooth and inky right out of the box
  • New silver trim looks great

Cons:

  • Kaweco converter leaves something to be desired

Conclusion:

I’m a fan of the Sport series, and especially this new color-way. At $23.75, it’s a great entrance to fountain pens and also not too expensive to get one to devote to living in a pocket or with a small notebook. Thanks for reading!

Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review-3

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

Gallery:

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!

Omas Ogiva Alba Fountain Pen Review

Omas Ogiva Alba
Fountain Pen

- Handwritten Review -

  • Review Inks: J. Herbin Blue Pervenche, Orange Indien, Sailor Miruai

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-1

Specs:

Writing Samples:

Omas Ogiva Alba Writing Sample

Intro/About:

 

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-19Since hearing about the Omas Ogiva Alba, I was very interested in checking them out. Omas pens typically tend to cost a bit more than the $495 entry fee for these. There are plenty of reasons justifying the price tag, and I’m a huge fan of the brand. The pens are made in Italy, hand finished, and assembled with love. The nibs are some of the best I have written with as well. Huge thanks to my friends over at Kenro Industries (the US distributor of Omas, Aurora, Sheaffer and Montegrappa) for letting me borrow these beautiful pens for review. Full disclosure – I no longer work for Kenro Industries, but don’t worry, we’re still friends. Read on to find out how the Omas Ogiva Alba was and head over to Goulet Pens if you want to pick one up!

Appearance & Packaging:

 

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-10

 

The first thing that stands out about the Albas is their vibrant colors. I think the teal, orange and purple work together quite well. They’re definitely fun and will no doubt breathe some fresh air into a pen collection full of black and grey pens. When you look at (and feel) the pen after being blinded by the translucent cotton resin, you will notice that the body and cap are ribbed. Not only does this add some nice tactile feel, but it definitely makes the pen more interesting to look at and bounces light off very nicely. The Ogiva is a classic cigar shaped pen with very classy furnishings. The clip is sturdy and has a built in roller to ease the pen in and out of shirt or pants pockets. I really like how the step from the barrel to the grip is very gradual. There’s no sharp drop off and the pen looks just as sleek uncapped as it does when sealed up. The Albas come in Omas’ standard packaging, which is minimalist and nice. It’s a sturdy box lined with grey felt in a dark grey metallic sleeve. With the holidays coming up, it would make a great gift presentation.

Nib Performance & Filling System:

 

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-11

 

In my opinion, Omas has some of the best nibs in the business. They’re all tested and tweaked before leaving the factory and it’s not hard to tell that they really care about the overall writing experience. Omas nibs are definitely wetter than the standard pen, but this adds to the silky smooth experience. I was lent an extra-flexible 14k fine nib, a standard 18k medium nib, and an 18k stub. Out of the bunch, the medium is my favorite. But first, a little about each nib.

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-6

The 14k nib is extremely soft. When writing in cursive, you can get some incredible line variation when pushing the nib. However, be careful as the softer gold can easily be sprung. Admittedly, the extra flex was much better suited for cursive than it was with my standard small caps writing.

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-8

The medium nib is pretty much perfect for me. It’s got a nice huge sweet spot, it’s silky smooth, and has just a bit of spring to it, making for a nicely cushioned writing experience. The flow runs on the wet side, so make sure you load it up with an ink that will behave.

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-7

I’m not much of a stub guy, but this one is quite nice. It’s buttery smooth and it’s not too sharp at the edges. The pen lays down a nice line and there’s noticeable variance between the cross and down strokes. Overall, I’m extremely happy with the nib performance. They definitely hold up to my Nakaya and my all-time favorite Lamy 2000.

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-15

The Ogivas fill via piston, which is smooth to turn and holds a ton of ink. The translucent resin allows you to see your writing fluid of choice sloshing around inside the pen body. No complaints here and the large ink capacity is a good thing, especially when the pens tend to run wet.

Feel:

 

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-16

 

The Ogiva is a classic cigar shaped pen. The cap is capable of posting, but I prefer the length and balance without doing so. It’s very close in size and shape to my Pilot Custom 823, which I really like. It’s not an oversized pen, but it’s not small. Definitely right in the middle of the road. I’d say my hands are average size just to give you some scale. The fit and finish are both superb, there are no seams, no marks – just nicely polished and textured cotton resin. The pen is nicely weighted and balanced as well. My only issue with the entire pen is that I wish the grip had a taper at the end. I’ve found myself subject to inky fingers because of the straight grip. It’s definitely not an issue, but a personal preference.

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-18

Pros:

  • Great build quality
  • Great nibs
  • Bright colors
  • Fit and finish are great
  • Priced right for an Omas

Cons:

  • $495 is still expensive
  • I wish the grip was tapered at the end

Conclusion:

 

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-14

The Omas Ogiva Alba is a great pen. There are a ton of different nib options and the three colors are fun and refreshing. The fit and finish are on point and you can really tell that the people who make these pens care. At $495 it’s not a no-brainer, but if you’ve been interested in the brand and would like to see what the fuss is about with a relatively low barrier to entry for an Omas pen. You will not be disappointed by the writing experience. Pick one (in each color?!) up at Goulet Pens – the exclusive retailer until the end of the year today!

Gallery:

 

Disclaimer: This pen was provided to me as a loaner for review purposes by Kenro Industries. All opinions are my own.