Tag Archives: mont blanc

My Writing Arsenal *Updated*

9 Dec

In February I put up a blog post about my arsenal. That is the list of the items in my accumulation that I could not live without. Needless to say, my opinions have changed with my collection. In addition, as I get deeper and deeper into my school work, my needs have changed tremendously. So, it’s time for a bit of an update (OK, more than a bit of an update. This is a long post. You’ve been forewarned!)

Pens:  Pilot VP, Pilot Custom 823, Pilot Prera, TWSBI Diamond 530, Edison Glenmont

Until I started this posted I had not realized just how much I use and rely on my Pilot pens. I would have never described myself as a Pilot fan, but I guess this makes me one doesn’t it?

The VP remains the perfect note-taking pen. The click/retractable nib mechanism makes it perfectly suited for jotting down quick notes in a meeting or when on the go.

I purchased the 823 (review forthcoming) specifically for use in drafting my long papers, articles, and chapters. It is really perfect for that task. It holds over 2ml of ink when I use my Visconti Inkpot (review forthcoming) to fill it. The Broad nib is juicy and smooth which makes writing fun while also forcing me to slow down.

My little Brown Prera (review forthcoming) is my editing, grading, and marginalia pen. It’s super fine and smooth nib makes it perfectly fit for that purpose. It’s also a comfortable little pen.

The TWSBI was also purchased with long writing sessions in mind. Boy is it a winner! I love that thing. I use it most everyday.

My Glenmont remains a favorite especially for letter writing, but then I designed it myself, so why wouldn’t it be?

The Stipula Vedo and Levenger Plumpster have fallen off the list. I still like them quite a bit, but as my workload has changed so have my writing instrument needs. The Vedo’s nib is a bit too sharp for long writing sessions and the Plumpster lacks the ink capacity I need for lots and lots of writing.

Inks: Noodler’s Navy, Noodler’s #41 Brown, J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune

Noodler’s Navy has become my workhorse ink. It’s near-bulletproof, so I don’t have to fear for my writing’s longevity. It’s an unassuming and relatively nondescript dark blue, so it’s not at all distracting. It’s extremely well-behaved no matter what I throw at it. To me, this is the definition of workhorse. I’m seriously considering ordering a 16 ounce bottle of the stuff… maybe I should make that 32 ounces just to be on the safe side?

Noodler’s #41 Brown is a great dark brown. It’s very well-behaved and bulletproof to boot. I’m entering a phase in my writing where I need to know that it will survive the odd spill (I’ve got a story behind this, but that is for another time).#41 accomplished this goal while still being nice to look at.

I love purple inks, so it’s only right that one be on this list. Poussiere de Lune is just the ticket. I have a lot of purple inks, but this is one of my favorites. It also has a good measure of water resistance. That is a must.

Visconti Blue has fallen off the list, but I still believe it belongs in every ink collection. It is the perfect medium dark blue to me. It is exceedingly well-behaved, and it is vibrant enough to set you part from the crowd while still maintaining its professional air. The only problem for me is that it offers absolutely no water resistance. It this point, water resistance is non-negotiable.

MB Violet has fallen off this list as well. I still love it and it still holds all the sentimental value it did before, but I just don’t use it as much as I used to.

Journals: I still haven’t found “the one.” I do still use and quite like my Exacompta Basics sketchbook, but I’m not sure it is the one. I’ve tried and loved the Rhodia Webnotebook, but I haven’t had it and used it long enough to know if it is really “the one.” After I finish the Exacompta, the Webbie is going to become my dedicated journal. We’ll see what happens.

Stationery: American Stationery Business Monarch and Crane’s 90gsm Pearl White

I still use the Business Monarch as much as I did.  I’ve also developed a fondness for the Crane’s paper. Lately, I’ve been using it almost exclusively. My pens and inks love both these papers, and the papers certainly look the part.

Paper for everyday use: HP LaserJet 24lbs.

I simply cannot say enough good things about this paper. All of my pens and inks love it. It is smooth and it resists feathering and bleed through. At $9.99 per ream of 500 sheets it is quite affordable. The local big box office supply stores often run 2 for 1 specials on it, so that’s 1000 sheets for $10. That’s some of the better rates I’ve seen for good quality consistent paper. I go through a lot of this paper, and it does not break the bank. This is always a good thing when it comes to the student budget.

Staple’s Bagasse has fallen off the list. It has become a bit inconsistent, and I’m no longer a fan of its thin crispy feel and lined rule. It also bleeds like crazy.

Planner: This category is presently in flux. I had been using and loving a Quo Vadis Septanote, but I thought I’d do better with a pocket planner. This academic year I’ve switched to the Quo Vadis University. It is quite similar to the Septanote, but it’s pocket-sized. So far so good, but I still need a desk planner I love. I’m trying out the Quo Vadis Principal, but I’m not sure I like it.

Misc.: Circa Desk Punch, Rollabind discs, Large Staples Rolla Notebook

When I made my first arsenal post I speculated that the Circa punch would become a staple. Well, it has in a big big way. I was able to get one of the older versions for $30 from the Levenger Ebay Outlet. That plus Rollabind discs also from Ebay had me all set to punch and organize. Covers were and are, to some extent, an issue. Levenger covers are expensive, so I went on a search for cheap cover options.

While at Staples I noticed a Rolla Notebook. It is, of course, disc bound with a stiff yet padded black faux leather cover. It fits 8.5×11 paper, so it seemed perfect. I got it home, and I tried it out. The paper sucks SUCKS, so I recycled it and refilled the Notebook with my beloved HP LaserJet paper. PERFECTION!!!


So there you have it. These are the writing products I cannot live without. How about you? What are you using and loving these days?


Iroshizuku Tsukushi v Mont Blanc Toffee Brown

30 Aug

Up today is Iroshizuku Tsukushi (IT) and MB Toffee Brown (TB). I have to admit that I had very limited interest in trying Tsukushi until a friend of mine offered to give me a sample. In general, I’m not a fan of red browns, and all the scans I’d seen online showed a very red component to IT. I much prefer a straight brown like CdA Grand Canyon or Noodler’s #41 Brown. Once I’d tried IT I found it to be a cool toned medium saturated brown with an understated red component.

I actually stumbled upon TB as a Tsukushi substitute while at lunch with an FPN friend of mine. She had a pen filled with IT and I had one filled with TB. It was actually a bit difficult to tell the two apart. There are some differences though.

MB Toffee Brown is

Darker that IT
Higher saturated than IT
a little more red than IT
warmer/more golden than IT

Although the swabs highlight the differences between these two inks, if you take a look at the writing samples you can see a bit more of the similarity.

(click to enlarge and sharpen the images)

Another possible alternative to Tsukushi is De Atramentis Sepiabraun, however, I haven’t had to chance to try De Atramentis Sepiabraun, so I can’t really comment on how close it actually is.

If you have another suggestion for an alternative to IT please leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

No Affil.

Mont Blanc Toffee Brown Review and the Elizabeth I

9 Jun

[tweetmeme source=”dizzypen” only_single=false https://dizzypen.wordpress.com%5D

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!

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Mont Blanc Violet

2 Oct

I received this ink as a gift and have been using it ever since. It is an absolutely fabulous ink not to mention the incredibly functional MB ink bottle! I find this ink to be smooth writing and very well behaved. I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking for a dark purple that is on the red side of the spectrum instead of the blue/grey side!

The specifics:
Very good saturation, excellent flow and good lubrication.
Average to quick drying time at about 5 secs.
No feathering and little bleed through (none on good quality paper).
There is some observable shading especially with a wet writer on a coated paper like Rhodia.
No ink build up, staining, or clogging.
If you are a lefty overwriter you might experience some smearing.
There is no offending odor.

This color is a little harmer in tone than it appears in this photo. Some of it’s subtle red undertones are missing, but this is still a fair representation.

MB Violet Card

No Affil.

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