Thursday, July 2, 2015

KAWECO BRASS SPORT REVIEW

Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen review
Brass. Probably the most underapreciated metal alloy in the pen industry. It's actually a pretty common material for making pens, that's not really the issue. The problem is that most brass pens get covered up with a layer of laquer or resin! Kaweco, as we all know, likes to do crazy, different stuff every now and then. Like making a pen that looks as if it got thrown out of a plane before being run over by a tank (The Al-Sport stonewashed), a pen that looks pristine for about five seconds (The AlSport Raw) and now this: the Brass sport! 
Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen review
Now the Brass Sport is, in essence, still exactly the same pen as all those other Sport pens I've reviewed in the past. So to keep things interesting, I won't bore you to death with the specs, because I know I've already mentioned those a million times before (Though feel free to check out my other Kaweco reviews if you want to learn more about them!) 
Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen review
What it looked like BEFORE use...
Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen review
...And after!
The big difference between this, pocket friendly powerhouse, and all the previous versions, is of course the use of a much heavier metal alloy (compared to the, relatively light Aluminium they normally use). This makes for some pretty drastic changes in how it feels in the hand. For me, the extra weight is a clear winner. It feels solid, which is something I've always enjoyed in a pen. And it's actually very well-balanced, which shouldn't be too big of a surprise since it isn't a huge pen, even when posted. 
Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen review
Of course the brass also adds a visual aspect to the experience: When it arrives, it's a relatively boring, bright gold-ish color, but that changes as soon as you start using it. After a few days you can clearly see dark patina will start to form. This aging aspect succeeds in giving this pen a unique and warm character. I didn't really expect to like the look of the patina, but boy, was I wrong on that! 
Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen review
A small detail I immediately noticed when I uncapped it for the first time, is that the cap on the brass sport has a visible plastic ring inside (I know the Al-Sport has this too, but it sits deeper inside the cap, this one actually sits flush with the edge of the cap). Now I can imagine some people would really dislike being able to see this plastic part, but I quite like it for one specific reason: Whereas capping and uncapping the regular Al-Sport pens results in a scratchy metal-on-metal sound, the brass one doesn't because of that plastic ring. I quite like how this small detail makes opening and closing it much smoother and feel almost 'cushioned'. 
Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen review
Now for the last aspect I think really deserves some attention: the nib! I went crazy, and opted for a double broad nib. Knowing that I usually didn't really like Kaweco's wider nibs because of their rather inconsistent performance(A problem other people also experienced)... Living on the edge! 

What I got blew my mind though. I expected nothing, but as soon as it touched paper, Iroshizuku Kon-peki started flowing in a way I had NEVER experienced a Kaweco nib before! I stood in awe (Well, I sat down actually...) Admitted, I did floss the tines a bit just to get the flow a bit wetter (it was good out of the box, but I like my nibs just a bit on the wet side). This BB is great, not just ok like I expected. It's extremely smooth, without a doubt the smoothest kaweco nib I ever used. And it has pretty decent flow. You can see in the written review that it does actually get a bit drier after a few lines, however it doesn't actually run dry.
Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen review
Wether or not the extra weight, and unique looks of the Brass sport are worth the premium is a pretty personal choice of course. I think this could very well be the best Sport pen Kaweco has come up with so far, so for me the price, 70 EUR/ 100 USD (15 EUR/ 20 USD more than the regular Al-Sport) is well-worth it.

Note: this pen was sent to me by Kaweco, so I could write this review.  I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own!
Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen written review

Friday, June 12, 2015

INKTASTIC: SAILOR JENTLE TOKIWA-MATSU

Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-matsu Ink
I'm a big fan of green inks, especially the  darker, less vivid kinds are where it's at for me. This Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-Matsu is exactly that! Man, do I like it! 
Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-matsu Ink
The translation for Tokiwa-Matsu is, as far as Iv'e read, Evergreen Pine. The name on itself is actually a perfect description of what this ink looks like on the page. The green ink isn't vibrant, at least not like some other greens I own. But it's also not as undersaturated as J.Herbin Vert Empire. It has a subtle, but rich pine green color. 
Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-matsu Ink
Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-matsu Ink
But apart from the great color, there's one aspect about it that really makes this a winner: Sheen! There's a rich, and easily noticeable red sheen where the ink pools, which gives some depth to the dark green ink! Flow seems to be a bit wetter than average. There's some nice shading to be had, and it behaves nicely overall. 
Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-matsu Ink
In short, Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu is a lovely ink with a lot worth going for. If you're as fond of dark greens as I am, this ink should definitely be on your wishlist! At 18 EUR / 20 USD for a 50ml bottle, Sailor definitely doesn't sell this stuff cheap, but it's well-worth it for me!
Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-matsu Ink

Saturday, June 6, 2015

INEXPENSIVE: PILOT VPEN

Pilot Vpen fountain pen review
I've been putting off these 'inexpensive' reviews way too long. I know there are a lot of people that aren't big on expensive pens, so I'm sorry for keeping those of you waiting for so long! To be honest, I actually forgot about this series of reviews (stupid, I know), with all things going on right now it's becoming increasingly difficult to focus on the blog.

That being said, let's talk pens, cheap pens! 
Pilot Vpen fountain pen review erasability test
I like fountain pens, that much is pretty obvious, but I never ventured into the world of disposable fountain pens. Why would I really? I don't mind spending money on nice pens, so why would I deliberately buy not-so-nice pens? I didn't see the point of it. 

A while ago, I came across these Pilot Vpens though, and I decided it was time to try one out. At 5 EUR, I didn't have to convince my parents that it would be money well-spent (Actually they've already come to the point where they know that their opinion doesn't matter if I want a pen. Smart parents!). 

Back home, I immediately popped the cap and grabbed a piece of paper, the result was quite unexpected. A slight grin appeared on my face, it wrote, and how! Not only did it start of straight away, with a nice flow. It was also much smoother than expected! The Pilot Vpen is probably the smoothest pen you can get for the money, I don't think you're able to get better quality for the price! As long as I've had it, it never skipped or hesitated. 
Pilot Vpen fountain pen review fading ink
The ink fades in a pretty weird way, leaving a faint blue halo around the letters
Other than the pretty great writing experience, there's also the fact that it has erasable ink. Something I've never seen for a black ink. It's easy to be able to erase it with an ink remover pen. On the other hand, the ink is not as 'stable' as regular black ink, and definitely not as permanent as, well, a permanent ink. After a while, the ink starts to fade (only slightly though) and leaves a faint blue-green halo around the letters. I wouldn't recommend using this pen to sign important documents! 

As far as looks go, I don't have much to say about it. It's a cheap pen, and Pilot clearly chose function over form. The all-plastic build feels, well, plasticky. And the clip feels like it can snap off every moment. The graphic printed on the barrel is relatively ok though, it's simple, modern and unobtrusive.

Price, as I said, is about 5 EUR. I haven't found them on any american website though, so I don't know if this erasable version is also available in the US.
Pilot Vpen fountain pen written review

Sunday, May 31, 2015

THE LISTS

Karaskustoms Cube with a Karaskustoms Retrakt, Lamy All-Star, and Kaweco sport
People are often intrigued by 'the best' of everything. Why not? I mean, if you're going to spend money on something, why not do some research to find out what will get you the best for your money! 

That's why, from now on, you can find -what I think are- the best fountain pens, pens, pencils, inks and accessories on 'THE LISTS' page. These Top 5's feature all products that I think are the best you can get, at least for the moment! You should of course, always remember that these lists are my personal opinion, and that my preferences are most likely different than yours. However they can still give a good general idea! 
Visconti Homo Sapiens Steel oversize, Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann, and Lamy All-Star Copperorange
PS: I've done reviews on a lot of the products featured on The lists, so you can click through to read the reviews. If I haven't done a review about a certain product, I'll probably write about it in the near future!

PPS: The ranking of each item within the top 5 has no specific meaning or value, they are all considered roughly equally good.

I hope you like what I came up with!
Lamy 2000 fountain pen on a bottle of J.Herbin Gris Nuage ink

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

NUUNA GRAPHIC NOTEBOOK REVIEW

Nuuna Graphic L notebook and Lamy Al-Star Copperorange fountain pen
Nuuna. Never heard of it? Well me neither! Until a couple of months ago, when Cultpens (not affilated) started carrying their notebooks. I was intrigued with the product specs on these: Jeans fabric covers, mirror covers, even heat-sensitive designs (you read that right! Heat-sensitive!). However their price also intrigued me! These things definitely don't come cheap, so they just had to be amazing quality, right?
Nuuna Graphic L notebook
Nuuna Graphic L notebook
Let's start from the beginning: These notebooks look good! I have to admit I bought it mostly for its looks. And it certainly doesn't dissapoint in that regard. The 'jeans' fabric cover looks and feels like a mixture of fibrous paper and felt, which is actually very pleasant to the touch. The soft material is covered with a bright orange paint that contrasts nicely with the subtle gray base color. As I said in the beginning, these notebooks come in a variety of different styles and colors, and they all look really nice. (I chose this one because I didn't really have much choice in the store I got it from.)
Nuuna Graphic L notebook
Nuuna Graphic L notebook writing test
One of the coolest things about it, is the fact that the dotgrid on the pages inside is actually matched with the color of the cover, so mine came with very bright orange dots.

These orange dots are actually really useful. I was somewhat afraid that bright neon orange would interfere like crazy with my writing, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all! My only gripe here is that -being the Large notebook (A5 size), I would have preferred the dots to be slightly more spread out.
Nuuna Graphic L notebook and Kaweco Sport Skyline
Nuuna Graphic L notebook bleedtrough test
Unfortunately, where it shines in build quality and unique design, it lacks in paper quality. Which is unfortunately the most important aspect of a notebook for us fountain pen users! I can say in advance that, if you're a ballpoint pen or pencil user, you won't have any issues with it at all.
Still noticeable feathering with my Kaweco Sport (medium nib)
On paper (Oh, the pun!), specs are surprisingly good: 256 pages, 120gsm paper (Munken paper, not sure if that's supposed to ring a bell). But in reality most fountain pens will still have a hard time. I found the biggest issue to be the fibrous nature of the paper, which makes pretty much every fountain pen feather (even the finer nibs). I wrote the written review with a Kaweco Sport Skyline with medium nib. The results with this pen were rather acceptable, though feathering and showtrough was still consistently present. As you can see in the writing sample, the Nuuna was no match for my Pelikan M1000 BB nib and permanent marker! These two did most damage (obviously), with considerable bleedthrough and pretty bad feathering.
Not completely flat, but enough to stay open on itself.
Now for the shocking part: these notebooks (this is the large size) cost as much as 24 EUR/ 28 USD! That's a whole lot of money, I can't remember ever paying more for a notebook! With the poor fountain pen results in mind, would I buy this again? Perhaps yes, but solely for the awesome and original design, not for the paper quality. I definitely wouldn't recommend using it with fountain pens. Fountain pen users beware!