Friday, January 13, 2017

METALSHOP TIMBERTWIST BULLET PENCIL REVIEW

Metalshop Timber Twist Bullet pencil review
Pencils are nice, but it can be so annoying to see your favourite pencil transform into a useless stub. Last year I reviewed the Metalshop Twist bullet pencils (read the full review HERE), which has proven to be the ideal solution to this problem.
Metalshop Timber Twist Bullet pencil review
But of course functionality isn't everything, a good design is almost as important. That's why Jon from Metalshop recently released the Timber Twist bullet pencils. A new take on the bullet pencil with a wooden barrel and aluminium parts. 

The Timber Twist is essentially identical to the Twist bullet pencil. Functionality, design and even even weight all remained almost unchanged. If you want to read more in depth on design, measurements and performance, you can head over to my review of the original Twist, the idea is still the same. 
Metalshop Timber Twist Bullet pencil review
The addition of the wooden section means that the pencil extender is now made from four parts: the bullet, a front section, a wooden barrel, and an aluminium top section. I was somewhat worried that this would mean a noticeable change in the weight and balance, but since the aluminium parts don't go all the way through the barrel, it remained pretty much exactly at the same weight. In terms of durability I guess the solid metal Twist is still the strongest, but the Timber Twist can definitely take a hit. 
Metalshop Timber Twist Bullet pencil review
The Timber comes in three wood types. The darkest is walnut, the warmer brown wood is Mahogany, and the lightest wood is red Oak. All wood types are polished, but the character and depth of the grain remains visible. The Timber twist is a more stylish take on the Twist bullet pencil, and steps away from the utilitarian -purely functional- design of the original, without losing any functionality.
Metalshop Timber Twist Bullet pencil review
Of course, all parts are interchangeable, so you can still mix and match with different bullet materials and colors. I chose to leave them all in the aluminium finish because I like the sleek look of the shiny aluminium in combination with wood, but of course that choice is entirely up to you.
Metalshop Timber Twist Bullet pencil review
The Timber Twist is a welcome addition to the Twist bullet pencil offering from Metalshop. As I said it offers a bit more flair to your everyday carry, but with an equal amount of functionality. The Timber Twist bullet pencils start at 46 USD, which isn't cheap for a pencil 'accessory', but it'll give your pencil nubs a second life and it'll prove more useful than you'd think as part of an EDC.

Note: This product was sent to me by Metalshop, free of charge, 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! This post does not contain affilate links.
Metalshop Timber Twist Bullet pencil review

Saturday, January 7, 2017

NAMISU NOVA EBONITE FOUNTAIN PEN REVIEW

Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review
Minimalism is a strange game in this day and age where everything has to become more functional and practical. That trend even goes in the pen industry when you consider thev ongoing 'hype' of EDC pens: solid, machined metal pens, with pimped-out-tricked-out features, filled to the brim with functional design. It almost seems a bit counterintuitive to try and make a pen that skip all the fuzz, and takes the writing utensil back to its' basics, like UK-based brand Namisu did with their new Nova fountain pens.
Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review
The pen comes in a simple black cardboard box, and includes a shmidt standard international converter
Minimalism is, or should be, a design choice above anything else. But it may also be a way to attract people to their product with a shiny title; 'MINIMAL PEN', sounds good, right? I personally don't think it's a way of life, zen, or whatever people try to make you believe. All marketing tactics aside, I do appreciate aesthetically pleasing design in a pen. That's also the main reason why I'm NOT that into EDC pens, and their more utilitarian appearance. They often don't speak to me on a visual level.

But this one definitely did speak to me! I had let a couple versions of the Nova slide when they were released(mainly the uber-cool titanium finish that is still on my wishlist), but as soon as I saw the release pictures for the new ebonite and titanium version on Namisu's Instagram page, I was hooked! I went to their webshop and immediately ordered one.
Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review
The design is everything I had expected. It's a sleek, clipless pen with a bulbous shape. It tapers down towards the ends, that are made up of conical titanium finials. The pen is made of black ebonite, that is described as a matte finish. In reality it's more of an unpolished machined finish that gives it a slightly satin brushed look because of the fine machining lines that remain. The machining pattern is very fine and even across the surface, it doesn't look unfinished, it's just not 'matte' in my book.
Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review
threads on the barrel of the pen are also titanium
The titanium machined finials give the pen some character, whereas the full aluminium and titanium versions are more plain. The combination of titanium and ebonite plays well together. The cap finial has the words 'studio Namisu' laser engraved in a small, unobtrusive font. Underneath the cap you'll also find titanium threads on the section. The cap has the threads cut directly into the ebonite. Being metal on ebonite, I have to say it opens and closes surprisingly smooth. The thick block threads are cut precisely, and I'm sure they will be durable enough to hold up to normal wear and tear.

There have been numerous reports and complaints about the Nova rolling off desks. I can't deny the fact that it rolls like crazy. If you place it very carefully on a level surface, it'll stay put, but give it some momentum and it's gone. That's the price you pay for a minimalist clipless design, so you'll have to choose between practicality or design. In this case I think the design wins, but obviously if you're looking for an EDC pen for intensive use, you should look elsewhere.
Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review
The Nova Ebonite is slightly larger than the metal versions, which brings it in at 14cm (5.5in) closed length. Without the cap, it's a respectable 12.8cm (5in). That's a sweet spot in length for me, it fits my hand nicely, but it shouldn't be much shorter. Especially if you grip it higher up, it might be a bit short. There's also a noticeable step behind the section, with a rather sharp edge to it. 
Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review
Because of the mostly ebonite construction, it's an incredibly light pen. At 21g total, that's less than the lamy 2000, which is already a fairly light pen! At times I think it feels slightly unsubstantial in the hand, especially because it's quite beefy (1.5cm at the widest point), which makes you expect a heavier pen. Of course that's something to expect with materials like resin and ebonite, so if you want more heft, you should opt for the metal versions.
Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review
The section is also made of the same smooth ebonite, and it has a straight cylindrical shape that tapers slightly towards the nib. This is an area where I don't like the minimal approach. I'm normally not that prone to this kind of thing, but the grip section can be a bit slippery at times. A more curved section might not look as sleek, but it's much more comfortable in the hand.
Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review
The nib is a standard #6 steel nib from Bock. I mentioned in previous reviews that I quite like the look of their nibs, which still holds true. The engraving is clean and subtle, I like it. I've had some issues with the ink flow with one of their #5 nibs, but this larger nib seems to work just fine. I went for a broad nib, which is smooth and juicy out of the box. The nib is polished just the right amount, with a hint of feedback, which makes for a responsive and pleasant writing experience. It's firm, so line variation is not something you'll see on this one. I found the line width it produced slightly on the finer side, compared to some other steel broad nibs, but the difference is almost negligible.
Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review
Compared to Namisu's previous pen project, the Orion, which was also a throw at minimalism, the Nova definitely has the upper hand for me. It's subtle and sleek, and the ebonite/titanium combination gives it a refined appearance. Especially in the comfort area, I think they can further improve on the section and the step towards the barrel. But for a brand that has only been around for a couple years, I'm already pretty impressed with the quality they deliver.

If you're looking for top notch minimalist design, the Namisu Nova Ebonite should be on your shortlist. It retails for 105 GBP, which equals around 130 USD. While that's not exactly cheap for a steel nib (Titanium nibs come at a premium), the great design has won me over.

This review does not contain any affilate links. The product reviewed here was bought with my own funds.
Namisu Nova Ebonite fountain pen review

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

INKTASTIC: KWZ MONARCH INK REVIEW

Inktastic: KWZ ink Monarch (fontoplumo) ink review
Monarch, a majestic name for an ink, but quite well-deserved in my opinion! Netherlands-based store Fontoplumo, released this ink in co-operation with the Polish Ink brand KWZ, along with the special edition Conid Kingsize Monarch fountain pen (both Fontoplumo exclusives!). 

I didn't get the pen (sliiightly over my budget), but I couldn't resist getting a bottle of the matching ink. I've only had a couple bottles of KWZ ink, but so far I'm a big fan of what Konrad, owner of KWZ, does. 
Inktastic: KWZ ink Monarch (fontoplumo) ink review
Inktastic: KWZ ink Monarch (fontoplumo) ink review
I like orange inks in general, but they can be quite in-your-face and difficult to read. This is definitely easier on the eyes. The color is more subdued and noticeably darker. It also shows more shading compared to a 'standard' orange like Diamine pumpkin. 

The color reminds me a lot of Lamy Copperorange and the new Kaweco sunrise orange. Especially the Kaweco ink is pretty close, but slightly less saturated where Monarch has a more intense color.
Inktastic: KWZ ink Monarch (fontoplumo) ink review
Inktastic: KWZ ink Monarch (fontoplumo) ink review
Inktastic: KWZ ink Monarch (fontoplumo) ink review
KWZ inks in general seem to have a pretty smooth and wet flow to them, which in this case translates in quite a good amount of shading to be had where the ink gets a chance to pool. In general it behaved quite good, I've had a few instances on lesser quality paper where it feathered a bit, but in most cases it performed as it should, without bleedthrough or feathering
Inktastic: KWZ ink Monarch (fontoplumo) ink review
Since it's a store exclusive, KWZ monarch comes at a slight premium over the regular colors, but at 13.5 EUR for a 60ml bottle it's still priced quite reasonably. You can get a bottle of KWZ monarch -or one of the many other KWZ inks- at Fontoplumo.com.
Note: I received a discount on this purchase from Fontoplumo, 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! This post does not contain affilate links.
Inktastic: KWZ ink Monarch (fontoplumo) ink review