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The Fountain Pen Network Malware Saga Continues…

10 Jun

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I know a lot of you dare not go past of the bright red and Google warnings of malware. I went ahead and did it. I work on a mac, so I feel a bit more protected than a PC user would.

For those of you who can’t see it, here is the latest update from the FPN admin:
FPN update 061110

Hopefully they get it sorted out soon. It is such a shame that some people take pleasure in doing things like this…

Mont Blanc Toffee Brown Review and the Elizabeth I

9 Jun

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Photo from Wheelers

I don’t often get a chance to stop by the MB Boutique, but I was able to get over there on Monday. The man at the front desk was very friendly and helpful. I went in knowing I wanted the Toffee Brown or the Lavender Purple. They didn’t have LP so TB it was.

The salesman allowed me to use a MB146 with a medium nib to  dip test the ink  before I bought it. I immediately fell in love with it. Now it should be noted that I’m not really a “brown ink kind of person”. I generally don’t care for brown inks with the exception of R&K Sepia and JH Cacao du Bresil, but this one just sang to me.

This ink is true to it’s name. It looks a bit like homemade toffee. It’s a rich medium brown with yellow and red undertones. It’s well behaved as all MB inks are, and the bottle is super functional (click the above picture for more photos of the bottle and packaging).

The details:

  • No feathering or bleeding
  • Flow and Lubrication is average: not too wet and not too dry.
  • Average drying time at about 7 seconds on several papers including Rhodia/Clairefontaine
  • The shading is magnificent especially with a soft nib like this 18k medium VP
  • There is absolutely no water resistance whatsoever. Klutzes beware!



While I was at the boutique the salesman allowed me to handle fondle the Red Mont Blanc Elizabeth 1 (limited to 888 pens). Let me just say that the pictures don’t even come close to the beauty of this pen! The size, weigh, fit and finish are just spectacular. If only I could afford the several thousand dollars it would take to buy one…

From the MB website

Here are the specs from the MB website:

Introduction: May 2010
Limited to: 888 fountain pens

  • Body and cap of solid 750 rose gold, coated with crimson transparent lacquer and decorated with the Tudor rose
  • Body and cap, even underneath the transparent lacquer, decorated with ornaments recalling the binding of the book “The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul”.
  • Rose gold clip with a princess-cut green garnet (~0.21 ct.)
  • Hand made 18 K rose gold nib with engraved royal crown motif

If you get a chance to look one over you should!

No Affil.

Iroshizuku Price Hike and Finding Affordable Substitutes

2 Jun
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Now that JetPens has been forced to join the Pilot US price hike ( :glare: ) I thought it might be useful to make a post about ink colors that are similar to Iroshizuku.

If you are blissfully unaware of the recent price hike let me give you a quick run down. It used to be that you could only get Iroshi from JetPens, on Ebay or direct from Japan. In the US most were getting their Iroshizuku from JetPens for the high price of $22.50. But, this was doable because of the free shipping you got once you reached the $25 requirement. So, you ordered a bottle of Iroshi and a cheap pen and you got the free shipping.

Around the end of last year, Pilot US announced that they would start importing Iroshizuku, thus making it widely available on the US market. We all thought that was great until we found out that they set the MSRP at $35 a bottle! The ink was already expensive at $22.50, but $35 is ridiculous. Apparently, Pilot US will allow the ink to be priced as low as $28. That is still a lot of money for a bottle of ink.

At any rate, JetPens had assured us that they would continue to sell Iroshi at $22.50 because they had found a way to work around the Pilot US distribution network. Wel,l a couple weeks ago JetPens announced that they were essentially being forced to raise their price by Pilot US. They apologized, but notified us that the price would increase to $28 starting June 1. There was a mad dash to get Iroshi at the cheaper price; as of yesterday the price increase is now in effect.

Now, I know  many of us were price out of the ink at $22.50, so $35 or even $28 is just way beyond the amount many of us are willing to pay.  Many of us have decided that iroshizuku is not for us, so we are looking for alternatives (enter this post).

What follows is a list of inks that are in some ways similar to Iroshizuku inks. This list is complied from experiences expressed on FPN and from my own experience sampling inks.

NB: I’m only saying these inks are similar. They are not exact. Some of these inks are more similar to the Iroshi than others. These are the brakes. If you want the exact color you’ll have to buy the Iroshizuku. There are properties of that ink that simply don’t exist with any other ink on the market. This particularly applies to their green-blues and blue-greens. If you are in doubt I suggest that you order samples from Pear Tree Pens, Goulet Pens, or participate in the FPN Ink Sample Exchange so that you can “try before you buy.”


If you like x, then you’ll probably like y

If Ajisai, then ???
If Asa gao, then Visconti Blue or PR Lake Placid Blue or Diamine Sapphire or Herbin Eclat de Saphir
If Fuyu-syogun, then ??? [maybe Dia Prussian Blue in a dry writer. In the wet writer Prussian Blue is more blue than gray]
If Kiri-Same, then ??? [maybe J. Herbin Gris Nuage?]
If Kon-Peki, then Diamine Mediterranean Blue or Diamine Asa Blue or Noodler’s Eel Blue or Diamine Kensington Blue (in a wet writer)
If Ku-Jaku, then ??? [maybe ND turquoise (standard line mixed with Noodler’s Eel Blue?]
If Momiji, then Mont Blanc Love Letter
If Fuyu-gaki, then ND Dragon’s Napalm or Diamine Coral or Diamine Vermillion
If Tsukushi, then De Atramentis Sepiabraun or Mont Blanc Toffee Brown
If Yama-Guri, then R&K Sepia or CdA Grand Canyon
If Shin-Ryoku, then???
If Syo-Ro, then Dia Teal or Noodler’s Coral Sea, Australian Exclusive
If Tsuki-Yo, then PR Ebony Blue or Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris or Diamine Blue Black or Noodler’s Legal Lapis
If Tsutsuji, then ???
If Tsuyu-kusa, then ???
If Yama-Budo, then ND Saguaro Wine or PR Plum or JH Rose Cyclamen or Diamine Claret or Rohrer & Klingner Magenta or Caran d’Ache Storm
If Yu-Yake, then CdA Saffron or Noodler’s Apache Sunset

This list is incomplete. There are several inks I or FPN haven’t found a substitute for yet. As more information becomes available I’ll let you know. If you have any ideas please leave a comment below or send me a Tweet and I will add them to the list!


No affil.

My Arsenal

16 Feb

This is from a post I made on FPN. I’ve been thinking a lot about the pen, paper, and ink products I use. I have such variety that I though why not sit down and think about what are my essentials, my staples, the things I can’t live without. This is what I’ve come up with. I can safely say that, at this point, if any of these things go missing, get broken, or whatever I will be hunting down replacements just as fast as I can say "Charge It!"

My arsenal:

  • Pens- Levenger Plumpster, Pilot VP, Stipula Vedo, and Edison Glenmont bulb filler . I have 14 pens, but these pens represent my workhorse pens. At least one or two are always inked. Should any of the above pens break or be lost they will have to be replaced forthwith! All are fantastic writes and offer different conveniences. The Plumpster is fat, comfortable, and a c/c systems which offers some flexibility when traveling. The VP’s retractable nib makes it the perfect notes pen. The Vedo is a piston filler with good ink capacity, comfortable design, and a great custom nib. The Edison was designed to my specifications which makes it a staple by default. I mostly use it for journaling and letter writing.
  • Inks- Mont Blanc Violet and Visconti Blue. I have 32 bottles of ink and an equal number of samples. This one was hard to nail down, but out of all my inks these are the two that absolutely are never going to be allowed to run out. I have others near this category: Levenger True Teal, Noodler’s Turquoise, Diamine Prussian blue, but MB Violet and Visconti Blue are in a league of their own.
  • Journal- I don’t have a signature journal as yet, but I am very partial to theExacompta Basics Gold Edged journals and Paperchase journals.
  • Stationery- American Stationery Business Monarch. I have several I like and use often including Crane’s 90gsm Pearl White, Rhodia blank pads, and G. Lalo, but I always come back to the Business Monarch. It’s perfect for my needs.
  • Paper for everyday use- Staples Bagasse and HP LaserJet 24lb. These two papers are cheap, abundant, and extremely fp friendly. I have to say the HP LaserJet took me by surprise. It is superbly FP friendly with just about all my pens and inks: No feathering or bleedthrough. It’s surprisingly robust and available at a big box office supply store near you! I love Clairefontaine and Rhodia as well, but they are a bit more expensive than I’d like for everyday mundane writing.
  • Planner- Quo Vadis Septanote(Trinote). This is my perfect planner. It never fails to come through for me and the paper is fantastically FP friendly. It’s in weekly format which is perfect for me as I like to plan by the week. It has ample room for appointments and ample room for notes. There is also a side bar for other important notes. Really, I couldn’t live without it.
  • Misc- Circa Desk Punch, discs, and covers. Ok, this is pending. I’ve already discovered that I LOVE the disc bound system. My punch is coming just as soon as my simply irresistible kit gets off back order! :glare: I’m not shooting blind on this one. I have used the disc bound system before (Clairefontaine Clairing notebooks) and have been longing for a system I could customize. I just had to justify the cost to myself. The disc bound system is just perfection for me. It holds everything securely while allowing for a lot of flexibility since you can easily remove and relocate pages and add pages were need be. My notebooks will be filled primarily with HP LaserJet 24lb paper and Staples Bagasse.

I have no idea what my readership is like (if I have one at all), but if anyone is out there reading this please feel free to let me/us know what is in your arsenal as well.

NB: Many of these items have already been reviewed here and are linked where appropriate. All the others are in the works and will be appearing soon as I can get to them.

Items to be reviewed…

9 Oct

As I has sitting here thinking about what to post today I realized that I had lots of things that need reviewing, but I didn’t know what all they were. So, here is a comprehensive list of items I need to review. This is a much larger list than I realized!

You know, part of discovering fountain pens is also discovering a world of new products that you can use with them. When I was a rollerball user, I never had to think about which papers would work best with my nibs. Now, it’s actually something I enjoy. I really like writing on good paper with good pens filled with good ink.

Anyway, I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I really want to get my thoughts recorded about these products.


Rhodia N°18 pad, grid ruled and blank
Clairefontaine Puriture Spiral bound pad A5, line ruled
Staples Bagasse: 5×7 pad, college and wide rule filler paper, lined comp books
Neenah, Old Council Tree Bond Paper
Orginial Crown Mill, Bordered Correspondence Cards
Crane’s 90gsm ivory paper
HP LaserJet 24# paper
Quo Vadis Septanote planner
Paperchase, A6 Flexi Lined Notebook
Rhodia N°16 pad, Blank
Exacompta Basics Sketchbook with Madeira cover A5, Blank
Rhodia N°10, Lined
Quo Vadis Equology SapaX Weekly Planner

Visconti Blue
Diamine Jet Black
Diamine Poppy Red
Diamine Damson
Noodlers Polar Blue (gift from a friend)
Private Reserve Naples Blue

Stipula Vedo (gift from a friend)
Sheaffer’s Admiral Snorkel
Sheaffer’s Touchdown Desk Pen
Sheaffer’s Cadet TipDip
Sheaffer’s OS Flat Top
Sheaffer’s 825 Vacuum-Fil
Esterbrook: J/SJ

Levenger Circa System

*Those in italic are free samples from Exaclair. Everything else I purchased on my own with my own money and out of my own curiosity.

Updated 06-02-10.

In the Beginning…

2 Oct

This journal is really for my own personal use, but if it is helpful to others I’m pleased. This is basically going to be a holding place for reviews I’ve done of various fountain pen related items. This includes, but is not limited to, fountain pens, ink, stationery, and other paper products.

I am not affiliated with any manufacturer or distribution company. If anything I post is the result of a give away or something else I will fully disclose that. Otherwise, All my reviews will conclude with a simple "No Affil."

All of the reviews that appear here were posted on the Fountain Pen Network.


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