Notes: This little book has been my go-to spot for doodles and notes. It’s small in size, I love the ruling, and it looks cool. The paper tends to feather a tiny bit with fountain pens, but I don’t mind it. The notebook is sturdy and the wire-o-binding has held up to being thrown in a bag and bounced around. I’ve gone through three full Doane Flap Jotters, so I figured I’d give this format a try. The paper inside this book isn’t quite as friendly to fountain pens as that in the Flap Jotter, but it’s not bad. If you’ve been looking to try out Doane Paper, definitely consider this capable little notebook.
Starbucks Roastery Edition
3 – pack
Line, Graph, and Dot Grid ruling
#50T bright white paper with grey ruling
Map and coffee facts for each region on the back
For any of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I enjoy coffee a little bit… Field Notes and Starbucks have teamed up again for some exclusive books – this time it’s a three pack of books, one for each of the coffee growing regions of the world. They’re very similar to the Unexposed Colors Edition in feel and looks. Admittedly, I bought these primarily to take coffee notes in, not to use them as an everyday pocket notebook. They’ll live in my cabinet with the rest of my coffee gear and come out when I get new beans in or to take roasting notes.
The #50T paper inside should hold up to ballpoint, gel, and maybe a finer rollerball alright, but don’t expect it to be the friendliest to fountain pens. I like that the pack includes a lined, graph, and dot grid book, it’s a nice touch. I thought I was seeing things, but upon further inspection, the staples are actually white. Another cool detail!
It’s rare that I pay more than retail for a Field Notes (I’m not THAT hardcore of a collector), but these were definitely worth adding to my collection. Since they’re only available at the physical Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, they have to be purchased second market online. Currently, the going rate is around $30 – not bad for something that crosses over into two of my hobbies as well as these books do!
Description: A brass version of everyone’s favorite pocket pen
Refills:International short cartridges / Kaweco Converter
Measurements: 5.270″ long, 0.360″ diameter
Color Options:Raw Brass
Handwritten Review Scans:
Upon seeing the announcement of an all-brass Sport, my excitement started to build. Usually they hit Europe first and then make their way over here. The day it became available on JetPens, I jumped at it. I already have several Sports in my collection in various colors and materials, but none with a broad nib. I added the pen to my shopping cart, and a few days later it was at my door. Read on to see how this weighty version of my favorite pocket pen holds up!
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Appearance and Packaging:
The Brass Sport comes in the standard Kaweco gift tin. It’s nicely decorated and has a cool vintage look. It’s small in size, simple, and gets the job done. It’s definitely in line with how a $100 pen should be packaged. Upon first picking it up, the weight and build quality immediately stood out (in a good way). The pen is precisely machined and has no visual flaws. I have always held Kaweco’s build quality in high regard. The raw brass will age and patina as the pen is used, as there is no finish to protect the surface. Since getting the pen, it has dulled down a bit and has taken on a wonderful vintage look. The steel nib is perfectly sized for the pen – not too big and not too small. It’s nicely decorated and stamped with the Kaweco logo.
Filling System / Nib Performance:
Kaweco Sports are most easily filled via international short cartridges. The pen includes a single blue cartridge to get you started writing immediately. While Kaweco does offer a converter, I’ve found it to perform poorly. It’s hard to get a good fill and it doesn’t hold so much ink – I’d rather refill an empty cartridge with a syringe than use the converter. Several ink manufacturers make international short cartridges, so it’s easy to find an ink brand and color that you like. Personally, I’m a big fan of Kaweco’s Summer Blue (used in the review).
I opted to get the Sport in a broad steel nib. The second I put pen to page, I knew the broad nib wasn’t for me. It’s smooth, but it’s more stubby than round – producing a slightly variable stroke. If you prefer a stubby broad nib, then definitely check it out. If not, take note. After a few pages with the broad, I swapped in a 14k gold medium nib. Kaweco’s nib units easily unscrew and swap out in seconds.
The brass Sport feels great in hand. It’s hefty, but not heavy (does that make sense?). The metal is precisely machined and the finishing on the pen is excellent. All of the surfaces are smooth, the grip is comfortable, and the cap threads are smooth. Kaweco has added a thin plastic sleeve to the inside of the cap that improves the feel of the threads when opening and closing the pen. This sleeve also protects the body from being scratched when posting the cap. The brass Sport is the ideal weight – it feels like a full-sized pen. I love the easy pocketability as well. In my opinion, brass is an excellent material for the Sport line.
Easy to use
A+ fit and finish
B nib was stubbier than I’d like
Not for those who like to keep things shiny
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Sport line. I have posted several reviews of this line of pens, enjoying all of them. Kaweco consistently puts out a solid pen – great fit/finish, looks, writing performance, and overall value. I think that the brass Sport does a great job of representing Kaweco’s heritage very well. It’s definitely worth the $100 (about $75 more than the plastic version). I have no doubt that this pen will last a lifetime. While the broad nib wasn’t my thing, some may appreciate the stubby nature of its writing.
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!
Pilot Custom 823 Fountain Pen
with Architect Grind Review
– Handwritten Review –
Review Ink:Sheaffer Peacock Blue
Review Paper: Rhodia No. 18 Pad
Description: Probably one of the best pens out there. No, seriously. It is.
Nib:Medium nib, ground to an architect point by Richard Binder
Filling Mechanism: Integrated vacuum plunger
Weight: ~29 grams
Measurements: 5.85″ closed, 6.37″ posted
Color Options:Amber, Smoke (Japan Market Only)
Handwritten Review Scans:
This Pilot Custom 823 with a 0.7mm architect grind was my big purchase of the 2014 Long Island Pen Show. It’s taken me a year to get around to reviewing this. Why? I don’t really know. What I do know is that it’s given me a really long time to get acquainted with the pen and provide you guys with a proper review. I knew going into the show that I wanted an architect grind, but I didn’t know what pen I wanted it on. After seeing and handling the 823 in person, it was an easy choice. I picked up the pen for $288 plus an additional $65 for the grind. The 823 is a classically cigar shaped fountain pen with a vacuum plunger filling system. The ink reservoir inside is huge and you can see the ink sloshing around thanks to the translucent demonstrator body. The main body section is clear, capped with dark brown opaque grip and section, separated by gold bands. It’s a great looking pen that is well outside of what I’d usually choose and I absolutely love it. It was great when I got it and it still remains one of my most-used pens one year later.
Appearance & Packaging:
The Custom 823 is an impressive looking pen with equally impressive packaging. The pen comes nicely displayed in a large gift box with a bottle of Namiki blue ink along side it. I would be quite happy to receive this as a gift – it really is that nice of a presentation. The pen looks really awesome too. What made me pick it out was the huge gold nib. Since I knew it was going to be a custom grind, I wanted something with a nib that I would look forward to using. The gold furnishing compliments the brown and amber resin perfectly. The cap is clear as well, but there’s a cap insert that hides the nib away. I’m on the fence about this detail – it would be nice to see the nib through the cap, but I suppose it makes taking the cap off that much more special. The gold ball-end clip is functional and the looks match the overall look of the pen well. The 823 is not something I would usually pick (all-black-everything, german design, etc.) but I really enjoy the way it looks.
Nib Performance & Filling System:
It’s not too often where both the nib and filling system on a pen are unique and special. First, let’s go through the nib. My Custom 823 started it’s life as a medium nib, but was quickly ground into a 0.7mm Architect/Hebrew Italic/Arabic Italic nib. Wow, so many names for the same thing. Richard Binder ground this nib for me at the Long Island Pen Show in 2013 (sorry, this review has taken over a year to do…) and it’s still one of the most fun to write with and unique pieces in my collection.
The architect grind is a nib grind almost like a stub, but flipped on the side. There’s a broad cross stroke and a narrow down stroke. It has a bit of feedback, but it’s still quite smooth for a fountain pen. I was told by Richard that the mild scratchiness is just the nature of the beast, but it is in no way unpleasant to write with. I think the grind suits my style of handwriting extremely well, it gives it a great look. The nib puts down a nice amount of ink, not too much, and not too little. It’s fun to see the ink level depleting in the clear reservoir. I really love this grind…
Pilot’s Custom 823 comes with an integrated plunger powered vacuum filling system. It’s very similar to TWSBI’s VAC700. To fill the pen, unscrew the tailcap, pull the plunger all the way out, submerge the nib fully, and press the plunger down. Once the internal vacuum seal behind the plunger is broken, the pen sucks ink through the feed and into the pen. It’s fun to use and extremely efficient. The pen holds a ton of ink, I find myself getting bored with the color before I run out of ink!
The pen is pretty large, there’s no getting around that. However, it is very well balanced and has a comfortable amount of heft. The grip section is comfortable and the step down and threads are barely noticeable. The cap posts pretty far down on the pen, making it usable, but it does throw the balance heavily towards the back of the pen. My preference is to write with the cap unposted, as it’s long enough and weighty enough to be comfortable. The fit and finish of the pen are top-notch. I’ve found Pilot to have some of the best quality control out there, especially in terms of fit an finish. You won’t be disappointed in how the pen looks and feels.
Awesome custom nib
Solid feel and build quality
Awesome filling system
None for me!
I love this pen, I really do. I’ve had it for a LONG time now, and it’s still great every time I pick it up. I thought the pen was too far outside of my comfort zone (never thought I would have bought an amber and gold pen) but it’s grown on me a lot. The solid feel, attention to detail, vintage feel, and excellent custom nib result in a pen that will always be in my collection!
Notes: So, I’ve found my new favorite ink…this one. J. Herbin’s Emerald of Chivor is an awesome shade of teal with the signature 1670 gold flakes. In addition to the gold, there’s an incredible red sheen seen around the edges of each letter and where the ink pools – resulting in an ink with intense depth. The ink flows well, if anything a bit on the wet side in my Lamy 2000’s broad nib. There’s so much depth to this interesting ink and I absolutely love it. Even my friends who have seen it (who couldn’t care less about fountain pens and ink) commented on how cool it looked. I think the ink looks best in a broad nib, and even better in a folded nib dip pen. On top of the gold flakes, the red sheen, and the high saturation, the ink has a nice degree of shading. J. Herbin really hit it out of the park with this intensely complex ink!
Be on the lookout for Emerald of Chivor in stores later this summer!
Check out this video I produced for J. Herbin for the new ink:
All photos are uploaded in hi-res, click to enlarge!
OMG GOLD FLAKE
Disclaimer: I received this bottle of ink pre-release for purposes of product photography and video production. I was not compensated for this post – all opinions are my own.
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