Hello? Anyone There?

31 May

Hi all,

It has been a very very long time since I have visited my blog let alone updated it. I fully intend on returning to blogging, but I’ve been going through some major life changes since I was last here.

I’ve received several kind messages and well wishes from you all, and I just wanted to say thank you. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Hope to be back blogging sooner rather than later,

DP :)

Will be away for this week and next

20 Sep

As you all know, my grandfather has been gravely ill.

I am sad to say that he passed away today at the age of 91. I’ll be traveling and dealing with family/arrangements for a while.

I won’t be able to blog. I think I have a couple posts auto-scheduled for the interim, but I won’t be around to answer questions, etc.

I will be back on October 3 with a  HUGE announcement that you won’t want to miss, so be sure to check back.

Take care,

Dizzy

Diamine Delamere Green

20 Sep

Up today is a fun green from Diamine Ink. It is Diamine Delamere Green. I’m not big on green inks, but I quite like this one. I think it is because of its blue undertones (I’m a sucker for blue-green inks). Make no mistake, it is definitely more green than blue.

My husband has to use a green ink for work, and this is one of his favorites to use. He usually uses a Lamy Safari with a fine nib or a Faber Castell Basic with a fine nib. He is a lefty over-writer, and he reports no issues with smearing.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleeding on good paper
  • Great flow and lubrication
  • Drying time is average with a normal sized nib, but was a bit extended with the fat stub on this Estie. There was no point in even trying to get a calculation. The time was well in excess of 30 seconds.
  • Shading is good especially with a fat juicy nib on a coated paper like Rhodia, et al.
  • Not waterproof or water-resistant.

This ink was sent to me for review by the good folks at Diamine ink. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

Diamine Chocolate Brown

16 Sep

My attraction to brown inks is a fairly recent one. I used to detest them. Why? I’m not really sure. I suppose I just built up a sort of brown ink block. Boy have things changed now. I recently reviewed Diamine Saddle Brown, it is one of my favorite brown inks. Well, Diamine Chocolate Brown is my second favorite Diamine brown ink and probably one of my all time favorite browns, up there with Caran d’Ache Grand Canyon Brown and Noodler’s #41 Brown (old formula). Now, I generally don’t care for browns that lean toward another color. Chocolate Brown, like milk chocolate leans a little toward red. It is subtle enough to not bother me, but not so subtle that you can’t notice that there is just a little something different about Diamine Chocolate Brown. This is definitely a good dark brown ink.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleeding.
  • Very good flow and lubrication.
  • Fast drying time.
  • Some shading on coated papers.
  • Not waterproof and really not very water-resistant either

(click to enlarge and sharpen the image)

This ink was sent to me for review by the good folks at Diamine Ink Co. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

Diamine Imperial Purple

13 Sep

Here is another great purple: Diamine Imperial Purple. This is another ink that is “just purple” to my eye. It is very similar to its label-mate: Majestic Purple, except that Imperial Purple has just a touch more red to it, and I find it to be a more vibrant color than Majestic Purple. As compared to the newest love of my life, PR DC Super Violet, Imperial Purple is similar, but a bit more red and somehow a bit less exciting. Still, when it comes to purples, this is also a very good choice.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleeding
  • Good flow and lubrication
  • Average drying time. This Lamy Studio is a very wet writer.
  • Shading is ok on coated papers and pretty much nil on absorbent papers.
  • Not waterproof. Some measure of resistance if you are quick to clean up any spill.

 

(click to sharpen or enlarge the image)

This ink was sent to me for review by the good folks at Diamine Ink Co. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

Clairefontaine Graf It Pad 90g

9 Sep

This is going to be a handwritten review of the 90g Clairefontaine Graf It Pad. This is one of my favorite papers for writing down quick notes, lists, etc. As you can tell by the cover and the name, this pad is intended for sketching, but I find it works very well as paper for fountain pens. I am not an artist, so you won’t see any sketches here, but I hope you find this review useful nonetheless.

The Details:

  • Pad is staple bound at the top.
  • Cover is made of card stock. Front is flexible and the back is stiffened by a piece of backer board.
  • Sheets are perforated for ease of tearing.
  • Pad opens flat, but it can be difficult to write on the back of the sheet.
  • Graf It paper is 90g and slightly off white.
  • Unlike other CF papers this has a light texture to it.
  • Takes fountain pen ink well with no feathering or bleeding.

 

(click to enlarge and sharpen the images)

I apologize for the ink color in these scans. I could not get the colors to show up any more accurately than this. The Levenger True Teal was a vibrancy to it that the scan has completely flattened.

I won this notepad in a Goulet Pens giveaway many months ago. I am not affiliated with them or Clairefontaine.

Diamine Registrar’s Blue, An Iron Gall Ink

6 Sep

Up today is Diamine Registrar’s Blue. This is one of very few Iron Gall inks on the market. I have previously reviewed two other iron gall inks: R&K Salix and R&K Scaboisa.

Iron gall inks have been in existence for many hundreds of years, but most were for dip pens only. However, with the advent of the fountain pen, at the turn of the last century, came fountain pen safe iron gall inks as well. Iron gall inks are waterproof, and have been proven to stand the test of time despite their acidic nature (can eat through some papers over the course of several decades). Diamine Registrar’s Blue is a fountain pen safe traditional blue-black. It goes down blue and quickly begins to color shift to a very dark almost black sort of color. Here is a picture of the color shift:

(click to sharpen and enlarge the images)

When I first attempted to use this ink I experienced a near immediate clog. When I filled my pen, I had dipped it all the way to the bottom of the bottle. Iron gall inks tend to have a lot of sediment in comparison to  conventional modern fountain pen inks, so I likely sucked some of that sediment into the pen. I flushed the pen without much difficulty, and filled it again with this time not dipping the pen too deep into the bottle. The second time worked out just fine, and I had no clogs. This potential for sediment and the acidity of the ink put iron gall inks in the high maintenance category. In my opinion, this ink is worth the extra effort.

 

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleeding. This ink performs admirably on poorer quality papers.
  • Flow and lubrication are pretty good, but iron gall inks tend to run a bit dry. This ink is no exception.
  • Drying time is a bit long with a wet writing pen.
  • Excellent shading.
  • 100% waterproof!

 

This ink was sent to me for review by the good folks at Diamine Ink Co. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

PS: I just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts and prays. I have made it back from my trip to see my grandpa. He is stable, but not doing well at all. I’m just glad I got a chance to spend some time with him before it was too late.

I’ll be away for the week

30 Aug

Hey everyone,

If you are a member of FPN you may know that my grandpa has been gravely ill. I had to fly home to be with him, so I won’t be able to post any new reviews for the next week.

I appreciate all the prayers and well wishes I’ve received thus far, and I ask that you please keep my family and I in prayer during this difficult time.

Thanks again,

Dizzy

Diamine Saddle Brown

22 Aug

Hello all! I just got a new monitor. I’ve been messing around with the color calibration. I think I’ve got it right, but I’m not all the way sure. If my scans start looking really off please let me know. This has been really frustrating!

Up today is Diamine Saddle Brown. This is one of my favorite brown inks. To me, it is a true medium brown with very slight reddish undertones. It doesn’t lean heavily one direction or the other. It’s also quite well-behaved with a little water resistance as well.

This is the ink I chose for my first fill of my newest pen: the Pilot Custom 823 in Amber with a Medium nib. These two inks love each other!

The Details:

  • Minimal to no feathering depending on the paper.
  • No bleeding.
  • Good flow and lubrication.
  • Average drying time at 5ish seconds.
  • Very good shading on coated papers like Rhodia. Otherwise, there isn’t a whole lot of shading.
  • Not waterproof, but it is resistant. See image below.

(click to sharpen and enlarge the image)

This ink was sent to me for review by the good folks at Diamine. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

Pilot Custom 823, One of my Favorites

19 Aug

First Impressions

I sought this pen out for its filling system rather than for its looks. Upon first seeing the pen I was struck by its simple elegance. This is a large pen, which really appeals to me.

My first 823 was the Smoke colored 823. I bought it used. The transaction was a bit of a debacle as the seller sold the pen to me with an imperfect nib, and he did not disclose it at the time of sale (big no no). Thankfully, Mike Masuyama was able to fix it for me. So, I have to admit that that experience affected my first impression of the pen.

My Amber 823 was purchased new. It came in a padded presentation box, and a bottle of Pilot Blue ink was included with the pen. The Amber translucent pen is really gorgeous. Pictures do not do the pen justice.

Appearance

Pens of this shape belong to a class  of pens whose shape draws its inspiration from the first cigar-shaped pen, the Sheaffer’s Balance of the 1930s. This design has persisted for so long because it is not only pleasing to the eye, but it is comfortable in the hand.

These pens come in three colors. Smoke, Amber, and Clear. All three are translucent. The Smoke and Clear 823s were imported into the US in very small numbers. They have since sold out. You can, however, get the Amber 823 at most Pilot retailers. If you want the Clear or the Smoke you have to order them from international dealers.

The nibs are 14k gold and the furniture is gold-plated. I usually hate gold plating, but it goes perfectly with the Amber resin. I just wish there had been a rhodium option for the smoke and clear versions.

Design/Size/Weight

This is a large pen at about 1/2 inch wide, 5 5/8 inches capped and 5 1/8 inches uncapped. Posted this pen is 6 3/8 inches. It is very well-balanced whether you write with the cap posted or unposted (I never write with my pens posted.)

In terms of size, this pen can be compared to the Sailor Full Sized 1911, MB 146, Pelikan M800, and the Edison Herald. This is the size pen I prefer.

Like the fountain pens of old, these pens are meant to be used as daily writers. Most of them were are not meant to be on display, and honestly, they aren’t meant for you to change inks constantly (although you certainly can if you want).

Nib

This pen comes with Pilot’s largest nib, the #15 nib. It is made of 14k yellow gold. This nib is soft, but not flexie. Impacts to the page feel cushioned. This pen is only available in Fine, Medium, and Broad.

Originally, I chose the Broad nib size. As I mentioned earlier, this nib was adjusted by Mike M. He did a wonderful job on this pen, it is now very smooth with a touch of tooth. It’s perfect for maintaining control of the pen without making the writing experience uncomfortable. The flow is quite consistent and juicy.

My new Amber 823 came with a medium nib. It is a superb nib right out of the box. Just like its big brother, it is super smooth with a little feedback to help keep the nib under control.

I’ve discovered, that I am very quickly becoming a huge fan of Pilot nibs. Really, it is hard to beat a Pilot nib especially one of their gold nibs. While the broad writes like a western medium, the medium nib writes more like a western fine. There is a considerable difference between the two. I love the broad nib most, but sometimes you just need something a little finer. The medium nib serves that purpose quite readily.

I use these pens a lot and for very long writing sessions. They perform admirably. I’d definitely recommend a Pilot Custom 823 to folks who also do a lot of writing. This is a great pen with a great nib!

Filling System

For me, the plunger system is the reason I originally bought this pen. I love integral filling systems, and the plunger system has to be my favorite of them all. This mechanism is very smooth, and you can add some silicone grease to the barrel to ensure it stays that way. This filling system is simplistic and efficient. With the right technique, these pens can hold a lot of ink.

I made a quick video to demonstrate how it works:

As I mentioned in the video, one depression of the filler yields 1.5ml of ink, but if you use the two-step method, you will get 2.2ml of ink, and the pen will  be filled to capacity.

Now, a word about cleaning these pens. I have heard it said that these pens are difficult to clean. The plunger filler takes in and expels a lot of water to get the barrel clean, and the nib and feed pull out so that you can clean out any ink that gets trapped in there. It is also possible to unscrew the section, but I wouldn’t advise it. If you are too rough with it you can crack the barrel at the section threads. The grease used to lubricate the thread will stain with ink. You will not be able to clean it out unless you disassemble the pen (I would not advise this since you may crack the pen). This little bit of grease staining has only been an aesthetic concern for me. It has never interfered with my ability to use different inks in the pens.

Cost and Value

These pens can be quite expensive. The MSRP is about $360. If I’d had to pay full price, I probably would never have owned one. My pen budget very rarely extends that high. Each of these pens was under $200. If you can find one for around that price, then this pen represents a tremendous value for the money. You get a super smooth 14k nib, an exceptional plunger filler system, and a well-crafted high quality pen. Those qualities rarely meet for $200 or less these days (especially with the skyrocketing price of gold and the depreciation of the US Dollar).

**Hint! Pam at Oscar Braun Pens is going out of business. She has the Amber 823 marked down to $199. Supplies are likely limited.**  Sorry guys. She is sold out!

Conclusion,  (10/10, A+!)

It’s not often that I buy two of any one pen. The fact that I have is a testament to how much I love these pens. The Pilot Custom 823 represents my perfect everyday writer. They are substantial pens with a girth of .5 inches or more, they have an integrated filling systems that work exceptionally well, they have gold nibs (my preference), and the nibs are smooth right out of the box. My smoke 823 has been inked with the same ink (Noodler’s Navy) for over a year now, and I use it just about everyday. The Amber 823 is new, but it is settling in as well. I fully expect it to be in permanent rotation just as soon as I find the right ink for it.

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