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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – Kaweco AL-Sport Fountain Pen Review

Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen ReviewThe Kaweco AL-Sport Fountain Pen

in Grey

– Handwritten Review –

Specs:

  • Description: The all-aluminum version of everyone’s favorite pocket pen.
  • Nib: Interchangeable Steel nib
  • Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / Converter (now available from Kaweco)
  • Weight: ~23 grams (8 more than the classic version)
  • Measurements: 4.1″ closed, 5.3″ posted – same as classic version
  • Ink Capactiy: Intl Short Cartridge, ~.75ml
  • Color Options: Raw aluminum, grey aluminum, silver aluminum, and black aluminum

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Handwritten Review Scans:

Intro/About:

Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen ReviewI’ve had this pen on my wishlist for what seems like forever…no really, I checked my wishlist on JetPens – it’s been there since October of 2011. Essentially, the AL-Sport is the same as the Classic Sport, except with an all-aluminum construction that oozes quality. The added weight and balance to the pen, along with a newly designed interchangeable nib/feed system makes this pen an absolute pleasure to write with and carry. Thanks for reading and enjoy the review!

kaweco Logo

I would just like to thank Sebastian at Kaweco for sending over a huge box of goodies, this pen included. I’m really enjoying the AL-Sport and I’m happy to finally have it in my collection.

Appearance & Packaging:

Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen ReviewLike my review of the Classic Sport, I was shocked by how small the pen is once you take it out of the box. It’s nearly identical to the Sport, except the threads are slightly different and the pen body is made entirely out of aluminum. The grey finish both looks and feels great. When capped, the pen is small, but when posted, it is very comfortable to write with. The pen comes in a nice gift tin, which is always welcomed over a cardboard box. The tin is small and compact like the pen, so it won’t take up much room in storage.

Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen Review

Nib Performance & Filling System:

Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen ReviewThe medium nib on the AL-Sport was smooth and wet out of the box. It was a much better writer than the fine nib on my older Kaweco Sport. There’s a new feed design on all of the newer Kaweco models, allowing for quick and easy nib changes. Simply grasp the nib, unscrew it, and screw the new feed in. It’s very easy to do, and once you know how the system works, it won’t give you any trouble. Just make sure the nib is properly seated in the groove on the feed before screwing it back in. The removable feed also makes for easy cleaning. Simply take it out, and rinse it off. It’s especially easy when using disposable cartridges. I’m love the smoothness and reliability of the medium nib that came on the AL-Sport. It’s definitely up there in smoothness, and I believe it’s as good as it gets when it comes to smoothness of less-expensive steel nibs.

Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen ReviewThe filling system. There’s some good news…Kaweco now offers their own converters! No more guess work, and “will it fit” with other converters. This is a huge deal, because they were never offered in the past. I’m currently using a cartridge of Kaweco Pearl Black, which I am very happy with. No more refilling old cartridges with a syringe either. The addition of a converter to the line makes using bottled ink much easier. I have the converter in another pen right now, and it’s performance will be tied in with an upcoming review.

Feel:

Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen ReviewI much prefer the weightier body of the AL-Sport to the plastic Sport. The build quality of the pen is impeccable and I have no concerns over it’s durability and construction. It’s great to have a pen I can throw in a pocket or bag and not worry about. It’s compact size when capped allows for the pen to disappear until you need it. The threads for the cap are not sharp, but the shorter grip section of the pen may result in more finger-to-thread contact than one is accustomed to with a full sized pen. The grey anodized aluminum body is smooth and comfortable in the hand, but the finish may get slippery should you have sweaty hands (I do, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about).

Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen ReviewThe weight, finish and build quality are all great, and it is a welcomed premium feel over the Classic Sport’s plastic construction. It’s definitely worth the extra money for the aluminum version. Another detail I found interesting about the pen was the small rubber ring inside the cap. This is so that the cap may post on the body without scratching the surface or slipping off. It’s nice to see that this pen was thoroughly thought over, down to the smallest detail.
Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen Review

Pros:

  • Great pocketability
  • Build quality
  • Now have available converters
  • Added weight (compared to plastic version)
  • New swappable nib/feed section

Cons:

  • Short grip section puts threads in contact with fingers more often

Conclusion:

Kaweco AL-Sport Graphite Fountain Pen ReviewThe AL-Sport is a great pen. The new nib, feed, and swap-ability makes up for the shortcomings of the plastic version of the pen. The availability of converters straight from the manufacturer makes use with bottled ink much easier. It’s really hard to come up with anything negative to say about the pen, I’m really enjoying it. I was going to say I wish I had picked one up sooner, but the new nibs, feed, and converter are all welcomed updates that make this pen that much better. Thanks again to Kaweco for sending me this pen, make sure to check out the rest of the Kaweco line, my review of the Kaweco Sport, and a list of online retailers where you can pick up this pen.

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

Field Notes “Two Rivers” – Spring 2015 Colors Edition – Review

Field Notes
Spring 2015 Colors Edition
“Two Rivers”

Field Notes Two Rivers Colors Edition Pocket Notebook ReviewSpecs From Field Notes:

“French Paper supplied four cover stocks for these books: Pop-Tone 100#C “Lemon Drop” and “Sno Cone,” Speckletone 100#C “True White,” and Dur-O-Tone 80#C “Packing Brown Wrap.” We hand-set several designs using Hamilton’s collection of vintage type and ornaments. Hamilton then printed our designs in two random colors on a 1961 Heidelberg GT 13″×18″ windmill press. Randomizing the designs, papers, and colors resulted in thousands of variations. Further variations were introduced thanks to the nature of wood type, letterpress printing, and the music playing in the print shop during the 200+ hours on press.

Back in Chicago, our logo and specifications were added with a hit of “Broadside Blue-Black” ink. Then the books were bound with 48 pages of Finch Opaque Smooth 50#T featuring our “Double Knee Duck Canvas” graph grid. Three copper staples hold ’em together. As always, they’re all-U.S.A.-made, with a lot of love from the shores of Lake Michigan.”

Field Notes Two Rivers Colors Edition Pocket Notebook Review

Notes:

This is less of a formal review and more of a “GO GET THESE BEFORE THEY’RE GONE!”. Field Notes are some of my favorite notebooks in terms of design, especially the COLORS editions. This one is no exception. I’m a sucker for all things screen printed, and these being a mix of wood block and letterpress immediately grabbed my attention. The books are all unique, in that they are all a random assembly of designs and text. Even cooler is that each one is hand-set, making the creation of the covers less of a set-and-forget and more of a hands-on process.

Field Notes Two Rivers Colors Edition Pocket Notebook Review I can definitely appreciate that. The subtle details like the dark blue inked “FIELD NOTES” logo on the front and the copper staples really stand out. I ordered three 3-packs and each book is different from the next. As far as performance, the Finch Opaque Smooth 50#T paper works well enough. I decided to use a book for doodling with my Lamy broad nib, and there’s a fair amount of bleed and feathering. The paper works great with ballpoint, gel, finer rollerballs and finer fountain pen nibs.

Field Notes Two Rivers Colors Edition Pocket Notebook ReviewThe graph inside is pretty standard, the 4.5mm spacing nicely compliments the size of the book. I’ve been using one to keep track of what episodes of the X-Files I’ve watched, rating them as I go. The graph definitely proves helpful for making a checklist. The cool factor on this limited edition is through the roof, go pick some up before they’re gone forever!

Check out more info, an awesome video, and pick up a 3-pack from FIELD NOTES here!

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J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche – Ink Review

J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche
Fountain Pen Ink Review

PenPilot Vanishing Point, Medium Nib
Ink: J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche
Paper: Kyokuto F.O.B. COOP – Dot Grid – B5

Notes:

When I saw that J. Herbin now offers small sample size bottles, I had to jump at it! Thanks to JetPens for sending over the bottle for review! As vibrant and nice as the color is, the performance of the ink is rather poor. The wet flow writes nicely, but results in some pretty bad feathering and bleed through. I haven’t had this issue with other J. Herbin inks, making this atypical. There are plenty of other blues out there, lots very similar. Unfortunately, I’d recommend passing on this one. If you like what you see and you absolutely have to have it, it does work well on Rhodia paper.

JetPens BannerCheck out JetPens for tons of awesome Japanese pens and stationery. Free shipping on orders over $25, and hitting that is always an easy task!

Pros:

  • Nice vibrant shade
  • Generous flow
  • Nice light to dark blue shading

Cons:

  • Only performs well on Rhodia paper
  • Lots of feather and bleed

J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-1J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-5J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-2J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-3J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-4J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-6J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-7J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-8J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-9J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-10J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche Fountain Pen Ink Review-11

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Nock Co. Dot Dash Pocket Notebook Review

Nock Co. Dot Dash
Pocket Notebook Review

Nock Co Dot Dash Notbeook Review-13

Specs:

  • Top-Stapled binding
  • 3.50″ x 5.50″ pocket-friendly size
  • 48 pages (24 sheets) of 50lb. white paper stock
  • Dot-Dash ruling (4.25mm grid spacing)
  • Blinding yellow 80lb. paper cover
  • $9 for a 3-pack

Notes: Further expanding their popular line of pen cases, Nock Co. has released the Dot-Dash pocket notebooks. Blindingly yellow covers and a unique ruling make these stand out from the pack. The top staple binding is an interesting touch that I ended up liking more than I had initially thought. Big thanks to my buddies over at Nock for sending me a three pack to check out!

Nock Co Dot Dash Notbeook Review-3The cover is very much yellow. This is well outside my comfort zone of muted, black, and grey, but I enjoy it. The 80lb. cover feels a bit thin to me for a pocket notebook. I don’t t know if it’s the coating, but it seems to get wrinkled much easier than others. It seems durable enough, so no real complaints. I like the subtle ‘n‘ branding on the front and the USA on the back.

Nock Co Dot Dash Notbeook Review-5The fact that the notebook is top staple bound makes it quite versatile. I find myself doodling in both orientations and it’s nice to have the extra room. Mr. Dudek over at Clicky Post said the same thing in his review, check it out! It’s also nice to be able to fold the top over the back (huh?) for some extra support when writing on the go.

Nock Co Dot Dash Notbeook Review-6The 50lb. paper inside does a reasonable job of holding up to ink. It’s nice and smooth, and I like how bright the white is. The ruling is in grey ink, making sure your writing is front and center, not the pre-printed lines. The paper holds up to gel, ballpoint and pencil with no problems, but rollerballs, fountain pens, and markers will bleed and feather a bit. I don’t mind this, as it means that the ink will dry faster. I wrote an entire article on what makes a pocket notebook fountain pen friendly, and I think it’s more of a pro than a con to have a quick dry time with a bit of bleed through.

Nock Co Dot Dash Notbeook Review-10 Nock Co Dot Dash Notbeook Review-11You can see that the back side would be a bit annoying to write on, but that really depends on the pen, nib, and ink you’re using. If you absolutely must use a fountain pen, an extra fine nib and a low-feather ink should be more than sufficient.

Nock Co Dot Dash Notbeook Review-7The Dot Dash ruling is very unique. It’s not quite as intrusive as a graph, but gives you all of the benefits. The light grey is easy on the eyes, yet dark enough to see clearly. 4.25mm spacing is ideal for the 3.5×5.5″ book size, not too big and not too small. It’s a pet peeve of mine when the ruling is not proportionate to the size of the notebook.

Nock Co Dot Dash Notbeook Review-12Overall, the Nock Co. Dot Dash book is good to quite good. The top binding is useful and allows you to use the book in a different way than most pocket notebooks on the market. The paper isn’t Rhodia in terms of ink resistance, but it will get you by. I’d definitely say that I am a fan of the Nock Co. books. Once again, thanks for sending them over!

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Have you tried the Nock Co. Dot Dash notebook? Let me know what you think about it in the comments below!

Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review

Kaweco 14k Gold Fountain Pen Nib Review

Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-4

Review Pen: Kaweco ART Sport Amber
Review Ink: Kaweco Summer Blue

Notes: Kaweco has recently added 14k gold nibs to their lineup and they are great! I’m a fan of their steel nibs (EF, F, and M – nothing bigger) but this gold nib is on a whole new level. It’s got great ink flow and it is silky smooth. It starts right up, even after being unused for weeks. Retailing at around $100, it makes a great upgrade for an AL or ART Sport – adding a premium look, feel, and writing experience. This is definitely one of the better stock gold nibs I’ve used. If you’re a Kaweco fan, consider adding one to your collection. The newest Kawecos all have easily interchangeable nibs, so you can swap this one in and out easily. Thank you to Sebastian over at Kaweco for sending the nib to check out!

Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-1 Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-5 Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-6 Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-7 Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-8

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