Ink Flight Box #4

31 05 2017

I’m SORT OF trying to be SOMEWHAT more responsible this year in terms of gratuitous purchases, and focusing instead on enjoying the pens, papers, and inks I already have. So I don’t know what exactly Tom wrote in the Ink Flight announcement for May that made me overcome my sense of responsibility and decide that I had to have whatever extra mystery item was, but good job. The wheels of capitalism thank you.

I’d like to make a wheelie clever pun here but I’m too tired

My particular Ink Flight box decided to take some extra layovers through the US Postal Service for whatever reason, but Tom was super helpful in making sure my Ink Flight got to me (also super helpful in getting me sorted out when I somehow managed to accidentally place my order twice when trying to use ApplePay while half asleep). Prompt A+ customer service.

In spite of unforeseen flight delays, none of the surprise was spoiled for me online. A+ nice pen and ink community. The Ink Flight Box #4 came with 7 samples of J. Herbin ink —  4 regular colors, 2 special edition sparkly 1670 colors, and 1 scented color. All in all I think as good a representation of the brand as one can be expected to fit within 7 samples. Also included in the box: a Col-o-ring Ink Testing Book and a Neptune watercolor brush. The mystery items did not disappoint. I made squealy noises of excitement.

Please note if you want it to look like this, some effort will be required. But it’s worth it

My feelings toward J. Herbin inks have been all over the place throughout the years. I bought three bottles early on (Gris Nuage, Diabolo Menthe, and Vert Reseda) and some cartridges (Poussiere de Lune, Ambre de Birmanie), liked them well enough, then decided that they didn’t have enough shading or saturation for my tastes at the time and didn’t use them for a few years, got hooked on the 1670 anniversary editions (starting with Stormy Grey, the reformulated Bleu Ocean, and so forth), and have since gone back to my original bottles (plus a holiday gift of a bottle of Rouge Caroubier) and am loving them again. It’s a good time for more J. Herbin to come back into my life, even if only 3 of the samples are new colors to me.


Brief thoughts on the colors (asterisk for the ones new to me):

Emerald of Chivor — still haven’t reviewed it, though I have mentioned it in other reviews. It is magical and using it feels like I’m staring into the cosmos. It fills me with joy and I have no complaints against it.

Stormy Grey — love the shading, love the sparkle. I even have Stormy Grey in my bamboo brush pen right now. It’s like me: seems professional, but then the light hits it just right and you can see the mad gleam of insanity glinting in my eyes charming sparkle.

Rouge Caroubier — a very lovely slightly-pinkish-coral sort of red. Nice for spring and summer especially. Not a lot of very noticeable shading though.

Poussiere de Lune — a nice dusky purple. Writing with the paintbrush, it seems to have more shading than I remember when I last used a cartridge of it.

Eclat de Saphir* — what a vibrant blue! Much like Lamy Blue, but a bit more vibrant at its most saturated. Writing with the paintbrush has significant shading from a very vibrant blue to a slightly more muted one. I am intrigued to see how it will behave once I get it in a pen.

Bleu Pervenche* — it’s like a sky blue turquoise! The closest color I already have to it is Monteverde Turquoise, but not a lot of shading when writing with the paintbrush. I prefer turquoise and similar blues with more shading. But the color is so lovely, I’ll give it a chance in some pen on my next go-round of inking.

Cacao Brown* — it smells…kind of like vanilla extract?? But not quite. I like it. I don’t know that I really like this particular brown color. Can I add this scent to some 1670 Caroube de Chypre? That would be perfect.

Quick thoughts on the mystery items:

Neptune #2 Round Watercolor Brush — found it quite easy to use and write with. Could never seem to get it fully clean though. I’d think it was clean, and it would be clean on most of it except if I put a paper towel to where the bristles go into the metal ferrule (or whatever you call it), I’d always draw out a bit of ink. There’s probably ink stashed away up in there forever now. But using it didn’t seem contaminated with other colors so I’m just hoping for the best.

Col-o-ring Ink Testing Book — heckafreaking amazing. I am so excited to have one. I’ve already done swatches of every bottle of ink I own, Leigh Reyes-style, and am happy to report I own less than 100 bottles of ink and therefore have room to grow. More about the Col-o-ring by The Well-Appointed Desk here.

Here’s my calling card.

All in all a very satisfying purchase. I got to experience new colors, I gave away the two 1670 anniversary ink samples to a friend and spread the love, and I have a Col-o-ring now! The Ink Flight isn’t a subscription, so if I decide to go back to being responsible there’s nothing else I need to do. And if I decide I gotta have it, I can hop back on. The differently priced options for an Ink Flight are 1. just the 6 samples; 2. the Starter set including the 6 samples, a bonus sample, an InkJournal Black notebook, and a random piece of InkJournal swag; or 3. the 6 samples, bonus sample, and surprise mystery item(s) for fountain pen and ink lovers. The next Ink Flight is available to order now and ships out this Friday, June 2nd!

 





Lamy Dark Lilac Fountain Pen and Ink

2 05 2016

I could have reviewed the nib, but ive already swapped on a slightly crisp stubby italic that I ground ahead of this pen’s arrival, which gives you no insight into how it writes right out of the box

A review for the much anticipated Lamy Dark Lilac Safari doesn’t need to be long. Here it is: just buy it. Unless you hate purple, or purple murdered your parents outside a movie theater forcing you into a life of vigilante justice against purple-jacketed villains, then you can pass, but everyone else? You probably ought to get this pen, and the ink to go with it. I hate triangular grips, and I still think you should get this pen.

Heck, I might even get this pen again

Ultimately this is still a Lamy Safari, and my opinions about the Safari haven’t really changed (though it’s no longer the sole best contender for a beginner fountain pen, not since the Pilot Metropolitan hit the streets). But I will tell you what makes this particular Safari a winner among all other Safaris.

I recommend pairing this pen and ink with a Rhodia Ice pad for maximum cool factor

I don’t know if the success of the Pelikan M205 Amethyst led them to this conclusion or if Lamy came up with this one all on their own, but special edition pens can be made in colors other than green. With fantastic results! I couldn’t ask for a more perfect shade of purple.

I could ask, but no one would be able to give it to me

The entire pen is finished with the same matte texture as you’d find on the charcoal Safari. It’s a wonderful texture that doesn’t show fingerprints the way the glossy finishes do, and adds comfortable grippability to the plastic body.

I’m going to sleep now and dream of this most perfect purple

The black nib, clip, and finial seals the deal. Silver accents would have been too showy. The stealth scheme lends the pen an ineffable air of coolness.

SHEEN, BABY, SHEEN!

Lamy ink is one of my favorites for everyday use — it’s vibrant, it shades, and it’s fairly quick drying. The only downside to Lamy ink is the limited selection of colors available — or, that was the downside, prior to the arrival in the past few years of matching special edition inks. Now I have the purple I’ve wanted to exist since I first learned about Lamy inks. Bonus? The ink has a golden sheen.

This pen and its matching ink are everything I hoped for. My only problem is that they didn’t come out with it sooner.

And Tobi’s only problem is that the ink isn’t meat-flavored


I got mine from my local enabler, Crazy Alan’s Emporium. He might have some in stock if you give the store a call. Otherwise you can find this pen for however limited a time at any fine retailer where Lamys are sold, but not yet sold out. 





Noodler’s Berning Red

18 04 2016

I don’t mix politics and pens (pens are for everyone, regardless of whether our worldviews agree), nor did I have the attention span to watch the 35 minute opus YouTube video related to this ink (I’ve tried 3 times and only made it a total of 4 minutes in, but I’ve heard that “it’s a trip” – interpret that as you will), so I can’t comment thoughtfully on the political aspects of this ink. But it’s quite a memorable label, and I don’t think any other ink company has labels as fantastically strange and detailed as Noodler’s labels.

 

What does it all mean? Maybe if I could pay attention for over half an hour I would know

The big draws for me on this ink are the quick drying potential, and the red color (I still haven’t found a perfect fall red). Noodler’s Bernanke Blue is the current gold standard in my life for quick drying ink. I haven’t given it a formal review, but I can tell you when I need an ink I can count on, Bernanke Blue is what I load up. The trade-off with Bernanke Blue is that it has no shading, tends to bleed through all kinds of paper (some more than others), and is given to some fuzz and feathering. It doesn’t come out sharp. But it hits the paper dry, yet has no problems starting up even after I haven’t used it in a pen for weeks. How does Berning Red compare?

 

Well for starters Bernanke Blue is probably around 475 nm wavelength and Berning Red around 650 nm as far as visible light goes

Just as Bernanke is a strong, rich blue, Berning is a strong, vibrant red. It’s not quite firetruck red, more of a warm autumn leaf color. It also has no trouble starting up in my pens after time spent unused, and has given me no dry-outs or hard starts. Good ink flow. Most excitingly, Berning Red exhibits some shading…on Tomoe River paper. Better than nothing!

This picture is the tl;dr summary image of this post

On every other paper besides Tomoe River, Berning Red has the same less desirable characteristics as Bernanke Blue: a tendency to fuzz and feather, to bleed through the page, and just generally fail to deliver a crisp writing line. It’s not the worst, but I’m picky, and generally willing to sacrifice a few seconds drying time advantage if it means ink that will look crisp on the page. I could just use this ink on Tomoe River paper, but on that paper Berning Red loses all dry time advantage; whereas Bernanke Blue dried in about 5 seconds on TR (most paper it takes 1 second, at most 2), Berning Red took 15 seconds to dry, no better than most any other ink. On other papers, dry time for Berning Red varied from 1 second to 5 seconds, maxing out at 25 seconds on the InkJournal paper. It’s mostly a fast drying ink, except when it’s not, and definitely not as quick drying as its close relative, Bernanke Blue.

 

Shade-wise it clocks in somewhere near fall maple leaf

Your mileage will definitely vary based on what pen and paper combos you bring to this ink. If you’re looking to use it as a quick drying ink, stick to cheaper and conventional papers and probably lean toward a finer nib for a better looking line. If you want the best look out of this vigorous red, then abandon all hope of a quick dry time, and pair a broad and/or stub nib with Tomoe River paper. Ideal for lefties? Eh, it can be, with a thoughtful choice of pen and paper.

 

(Pen Boutique provided this product at no charge for review purposes)





Pelikan Edelstein 2015 Ink of the Year – Amethyst

20 05 2015
There you stood in the doorway. You didn't have eyes, but I could tell you were looking at me

There you stood in the doorway. You didn’t have eyes, because you’re an inanimate object, but I could tell you were looking at me

I don’t believe in love at first sight. Not between humans, anyway. Between a human and a bottle of ink is an entirely different story. As soon as I saw a sample of the Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst, I publicly declared my love. And lo, like an inky cupid, Tom Oddo of Goldspot Pens offered to send me a complimentary bottle for review. Thank you, Tom.

Love is pure

Love is pure

The ever-so-slightly oddly shaped box (it’s not an exact rectangular prism; there’s an extra almond-shaped concave plane colored to match the ink within. Not cool enough for a picture, though) notes on the back that this is “extra soft ink.” I didn’t know that “soft” was an adjective that applied to ink. Wet, maybe. Colorful. Finger-staining.

The ink may be extra soft, but an actual amethyst falls about at a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Actual gemstones not included with purchase

The ink may be extra soft, but an actual amethyst falls about at a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Actual gemstones not included with purchase

The glass bottle is designed to be viewed. Is it a pleasure to hold in the hands, as is claimed? It’s heavy. Its four vertical faces curve ever so slightly inward. I think it’s more of a pleasure to hold a pen in the hand and use the ink rather than sit around clutching ink bottles, but that’s just me.

Also thanks to Tom for this InkJournal! Review eventually forthcoming

Also thanks to Tom for this InkJournal! Review eventually forthcoming

I’ve tried the Edelstein Amethyst in 3 pens so far (Pelikan M205, Sheaffer Lifetime Imperial IV, and my Lamy 2000), and I’ve loved it in every one so far. When an ink is well-behaved, there’s little to comment on. It flows perfectly. Though in the InkJournal the dry time was around 15 seconds or so, in practical use I haven’t smudged it up any yet. It doesn’t lend itself to fuzzing, feathering, or other ill effects on the page; even with crappy copy paper it keeps it pretty well together (excepting some bleedthrough, which, what else can you expect with crappy copy paper?)

I love my Leuchtturm1917 notebook, but trying to accurately represent cream-colored paper using subpar equipment is quite the headache

I love my Leuchtturm1917 notebook, but trying to accurately represent cream-colored paper using subpar equipment is quite the headache

The color itself is a warm sort of purple, containing more red than blue—it’s the warmest purple ink I currently own. Combined with the darker shading, it’s a beautiful ink. If it weren’t for the darker aspect, it might almost border on magenta. It almost matches a baggallini I’ve got, and if I could remember the actual model and color name that might help. But I can’t. Sorry. You’d know it if you saw it. Lovely color.

Every purple is a lovely color

Every purple is a lovely color

If you’re looking for a warm purple with decent shading, then you too can find true love.

Pelikan Edelstein 2015 Ink of the Year – Amethyst – at Goldspot Pens





Ink Drop Soup: The Curious Case of the Moldy Sheaffer

8 03 2014

This story begins the slow summer of my first job, when I and my lab-mates tackled the task of cleaning up the lab and discovered, tucked away abandoned in a drawer, a few old Sheaffers that probably belonged to the previous professor of the lab. The current professor of the lab gave us his blessing to keep them, and thus the unknown Sheaffer entered my personal collection. This was also the summer I discovered JetPens—my memory is shoddy but I suspect the two are causally related.

If this looks like a classy old man pen, that's because that's probably exactly what it was

If this looks like a classy old man pen, that’s because that’s probably exactly what it was

For quite some time, the pen wrote well. We probably used some bottled black Cross ink from the university bookstore in the beginning, up until I found the converter sac had a leak, and I switched to self-contained cartridges. I ran through a pack of lovely turquoise cartridges, and then made the switch to the ill-fated brown.

Here they are, complete with ill fate. Or perhaps that ill-fated feeling was just the hot dogs and potato chips I unwisely had for dinner

Here they are, complete with ill fate. Or perhaps that ill-fated feeling was just the hot dogs and potato chips I unwisely had for dinner

What exactly happened, I don’t know. Perhaps the pen was low on ink, and I was intending to clean it before switching to the next cartridge. All I can say is that I opened the cap and found this:

Cue the terror-violins

Cue the terror-violins

That’s not cotton candy. That is the horror that haunts this earth. That is a waking nightmare beneath a twist cap.

SCREAMING WILL NOT SAVE YOU

SCREAMING WILL NOT SAVE YOU

My reaction beyond a wordless “HUAGHUHHGGH!” was to put the cap back on, mentally brace myself first, and come back to clean the pen once armed with some information.

euhghghhh??

euhghghhh??

Time only made it weirder. The cotton candy transformed into black crusts. The black crusts were probably the last step before the mold gained sentience.

White crusties was a new, but no less concerning color

White crusties was a new, but no less concerning color

With no end of conflicting advice available, I decided on a cleaning regimen: first water, then vinegar diluted in water, then water, then J.B.’s Perfect Pen Flush, then water again. The vinegar, I somewhere read, could turn the nib black if it wasn’t real gold; my nib is still golden, so either it’s real-deal gold or that tidbit of advice was bunk. But in spite of all the cleanings, the pen just wasn’t right. The flow was off—I suspected the feed, in which you could see new white crusties had formed, and got in contact with Sheaffer.

Old feed: misleadingly easy to take apart

Old feed: misleadingly easy to take apart

We were making good progress in resolving the situation (no, I don’t want new cartridges; cartridges caused this problem in the first place; yes, I do want a new feed because your nefarious ink killed this one), and it even seemed like I’d be getting that new feed around the beginning of December. I sent Sheaffer my address and waited patiently, while my contact at Sheaffer presumably embarked on an epic quest to hand-forge my new feed in the mouth of an active volcano, because I didn’t hear from her for about 3 months.

The squeaky bird gets the grease

The squeaky bird gets the grease

I sent follow-up emails to no avail, and had given up all hope of ever hearing back from Sheaffer when I tweeted my disappointment. And almost as soon as I sent the Sheaffer twitter people my contact information, lo and behold the person I’d originally been emailing suddenly emailed me back! She survived the Ordeal of the Mt. Sheaffer Feedforging! I was so worried.

Not exactly the same! But compatible! And the only reason I figured out what this Sheaffer pen actually was? Listed on the part inventory: Connaisseur feed

Not exactly the same! But compatible! And the only reason I figured out what this Sheaffer pen actually was? Listed on the part inventory: Connaisseur feed

And whaddaya know, I got the new feed and the pen works now, the flow back to normal. Granted, I can’t get the nib to go on this new feed as far as it would go on the old feed—probably need special tools, or at the very least the legendary Mjolnir because I swear this new feed was friction fit with the force of the gods and only Norse magic can get this nib to go all the way in. I certainly couldn’t get the feed to come out. I doubt Sheaffer could either, since they sent the whole screw-in grip section with the feed.

You may now cue your favorite mystery music as appropriate

You may now cue your favorite mystery music as appropriate

What was it about those fateful brown cartridges that caused the pen to mold? Why does Sheaffer probably use hard to reach volcano gods to create impossible-to-take-apart feeds and grips? These mysteries may never be solved. What matters is that this old Sheaffer Connaisseur writes once again, and with that I’m willing to conclude the curious case of the moldy Sheaffer.





Mini Review: INK SAMPLE – J. Herbin Rouge Hematite (1670 Anniversary Ink)

21 11 2013
20131121-080039.jpg

I was expecting more gold, less crusty ink pile

This color is supposed to be a pretty striking inky embodiment of red hematite (there’s a perfect picture over on the Fountain Pen Network review/thread by mhphoto; google results in several pictures that look like some kind of ground hamburger stone). I promise you I shook my ink sample before filling up my pen, but I never got any gold sheen; from what I’ve read around online this may be a function of this sample coming from newer, less golden-infused stock. The base color of the Rouge Hematite is beautiful and saturated (unlike most J. Herbin inks I’ve bought, which all tend to look a bit washed out), but all that pigment comes at a price.
20131121-080049.jpg
This happens. All over. The underside of the nib is completely covered in a layer of pink ink crust. This will be a project cleaning this pen back up again. Until I can get my hands on a sample that exhibits the lovely sheen of gold I don’t think I’ll be springing for a bottle of this stuff. But samples are always fun to try.

J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite Ink Sample at the Goulet Pen Company