Friday, January 18, 2019

REVIEW: TWSBI ECO T FOUNTAIN PEN

Review: TWSBI Eco T fountain pen
Believe it or not, but the TWSBI Eco (read my original review HERE) is perhaps one of my favorite everyday fountain pens. Sure, it won't win beauty contests, and it's not the most exciting writer in the world, but it's a powerhouse that simply functions extremely well. On top of that, the low price point makes it easily accessible for a large audience.

With the aptly named Eco T (T for Triangular), TWSBI aims to improve on the original design. Or well, maybe improve is a wrong way to put it. Rather, they are trying to make it more ergonomic for beginner fountain pen users, much like the Lamy Safari.
Review: TWSBI Eco T fountain pen
The design has largely remained the same, but the cap and blind cap now have a triangular profile instead of the hexagonal shape on the regular Eco. The grip section also has a slightly more triangular profile. Unfortunately, it's not an improvement on the rather meh design, but this yellow-green colorway is kind of fun (there's also a pretty neat light blue version available right now, but other than that, the color options aren't as varied as the regular Eco).
Review: TWSBI Eco T fountain pen
Can you see the difference? Left is the regular Eco, right is the Eco T
The more triangular shape of the section is supposedly to improve the ergonomics for beginner fountain pen users, but I found it difficult -if not impossible- to tell the new section on the Eco T apart from the old one (You be the judge in the photo above!). The improvement in ergonomics is equally minimal, but then again I never found the Eco to be uncomfortable in the first place. It guides your grip a bit more than the original, but not so much that it feels restrictive. It's definitely not as polarizing as the pronounced section shape of the Lamy Safari, so I think it should be a comfortable fit for most people.
Review: TWSBI Eco T fountain pen
Review: TWSBI Eco T fountain pen
L to R: Kaweco Brass Sport, TWSBI 580Al, TWSBI Eco, TWSBI Eco T, Lamy Lx, Lamy 2000
In terms of size, the Eco is a full-sized pen at 13,9 cm (5.5") closed and 13.2 cm (5.2") uncapped. The cap posts securely due to the rubber O-ring behind the piston knob, and it remains quite nicely balanced even when posted. However, I personally never felt the need to post the cap on this one. It's a lightweight plastic pen, coming in at 22g total, but it does feel surprisingly solid and sturdy.
Review: TWSBI Eco T fountain pen
The reason why I love the Eco (T) so much for everyday use is two-fold: For starters it's quite a tough pen. Even though it's one of the cheapest TWSBI offerings, it is also one of the most well-built and lacks the cracking issues that the more expensive models suffer(ed?) from. My original Eco is about three years old now, and it still stands strong after a LOT of use. The second reason I love the Eco is the massive ink capacity. The Eco is of course a piston-filler, and holds about 1.8ml of ink: more than twice the capacity of a standard international converter!
Review: TWSBI Eco T fountain pen
Not to forget, another good reason to look into TWSBI pens are the excellent nibs (I think they use JoWo nibs nowadays). I chose a broad nib on this particular pen, but have used pretty much all their nib sizes over the years and the writing experience is consistently reliable across the board. The broad steel nib is polished just enough to be both smooth and consistent. The ink flow is on the wetter side, but it's not a gusher. It's a stiff nib and it lacks character, but makes up for that with reliability. The rubber O-ring behind the threads helps to keep the cap tightly closed, but at the same time it also does an excellent job keeping the nib from drying out (even after multiple weeks of not being used, it starts up right away).
Review: TWSBI Eco T fountain pen
Even at 29$, you get a nicely presented package with wrench and silicon grease to service your pen
Few pens offer the kind of value for money that the TWSBI Eco does. More than 3 years after its release I still love everything about it: it holds up to everyday use, has a large ink capacity and writes reliably out of the box! The Eco T brings very little change to the original design, but why change something that is already quite excellent anyway? At 35€ (29$), it's one of the most affordable piston-filler fountain pens on the market. It's a great option, regardless of whether you are a long-time collector/user like me, or you just got into fountain pens and want to start using bottled ink.
Note: La Couronne Du Comte is a sponsor of this blog. I received this product free of charge. 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.
Review: TWSBI Eco T fountain pen

Saturday, January 5, 2019

PAPER REVIEW: STALOGY 365 DAYS NOTEBOOK

Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
The world of Japanese stationery is vast, and from my -rather limited- experience, filled with a LOT of fantastic products. Stalogy is a new brand to me, but I'm glad I got introduced to their products back in September when I visited 'Buiten De Lijntjes', a stationery/lifestyle shop in the Netherlands! 

The product that was recommended to me by the shopkeeper was the Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook. A seemingly simple and low-key notebook that didn't stand out much, apart from its bright-yellow packaging. It immediately reminded me of the Hobonichi journals, but it's in no way connected to them (at least as far as I know). 

"...Eliminating unnecessary ornamentation and function, we are taking a new look at what's really necessary, rediscovering essential elements and aiming to finally arrive at what should have existed all along. What should have been, is," -Stalogy

The Stalogy 365 journals are plain-looking, softcover notebooks with a black textured 'plastic' outside cover. A few Stalogy logo's and their slogan "what should have been, is" adorn the top left edge of the front cover, hot-foiled in gold. It's a fairly no-nonsense, industrial-looking product at first sight.
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
One reason why I love Japanese stationery is their excellent eye for detail, and Stalogy definitely does not disappoint in that regard. The 365 notebook is flawlessly put together with a tight stitched spine and neatly cut edges. The 365 Days notebook comes in 4 form factors: B6, A6, B5 and B5. All versions come with a massive 368 pages, yet are only about as thick as a regular Leuchtturm notebook (which is only approx. 250 pages!). Reason for that is the extremely thin paper they use. I have the urge to say it's Tomoe River paper (probably the 68 gsm variant), but I couldn't find any information to back this up. 
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
In use, the outside cover is flexible enough to fold almost 360° if you want to. The notebook lays open on itself, but it doesn't stay completely flat. I used the smaller B6 size and it's comfortable to use and take with you on the go, although I usually tend to go for slightly larger notebooks. 
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
Again in true Japanese style, we're seeing a notebook with very little features. The pages have a faint grey grid printed on them (5x5 mm). The ruling is very pleasant to write on, and doesn't interfere when reading what you wrote down. The 365 Days -as the name suggests- is subtly optimized to be used as a bullet journal or agenda. 
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
The top right of the page features a date system, and to the left of the grid you can find the hours 7 to 23 printed in a tiny and unobtrusive font. Together, these let you use the notebook as a planner where you can indicate the date and divide the page into the hours of the day (Unless you wake up before 7am, or have appointments after 11pm. In that case I guess you're out of luck...). It's a useful feature when you want to, but it doesn't get in the way when you want to use the notebook as something other than an agenda. Don't bother searching for a page marker, page numbers, index table... you won't find those here.
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
One way to add structure to your notebook are the Stalogy stickers and sticky notes. They offer a wide variety of plastic post-it's and tab stickers, among which these small (5x5 cm) square see-through stickers (available in blank, ruled or grid). They are made of some sort of plastic film with an adhesive back, yet their textured surface makes it possible to write on them, even with fountain pen.
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
These sticky notes let you add small notes or details throughout your notebook, without making a permanent mark. While I like the idea of these little 'add-ons', they do come at a considerable cost and I admittedly didn't find much use for them. They might be useful for bullet journalling, or important notes, though.
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
Some interesting shading going on in some places where the ink meets the grid ruling. And look at that sheen!
The paper is very smooth to write on, and behaves perfectly with fountain pen (perhaps a bit too slick for pencil use). Ink is handled without feathering and very little bleedthrough (ink swabs, very wet writers and a few flex nibs could give bleedthrough, but all in all it's very well-behaved). Ink dries with a crisp edge and the paper brings out the best of the ink with rich shading and sheen. With the paper being relatively thin, you should expect quite a bit of showthrough, which makes it a bit less legible when you use both sides of the page (it's possible, but not ideal). Overall, if this isn't Tomoe River, at least it's a damn good copy. 
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook
Quite some showthrough but little to no bleedthrough...except with a sharpie of course
The Stalogy 365 is an all-round excellent notebook. It won't turn heads with its design, but the build quality is bar none, and the paper is great for fountain pen use. Unfortunately quality comes at a price, with these 365 Days notebooks starting at 26€ for the smallest A6, up to 39€ for the B5 size (in the US they can be had for less). Regardless of where you buy, these are a good bit more expensive than, say, a Leuchtturm notebook of the same size (though you do get about a third more pages). The stickers and post-its also come with a pretty price tag, with the see-through post-its coming in at a hefty 9€ (about 6.5$ in the US). While I'm not a huge fan of the accessories at that price, the 365 Days notebook definitely comes highly recommended!

This product was sent to me by Buiten De Lijntjes 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 affiliate links.
Paper Review: Stalogy Editor's note 365 Days notebook

Thursday, January 3, 2019

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: OPUS 88 FANTASIA FOUNTAIN PEN GIVEAWAY (PEN CHALET)

Our giveaway of the Opus 88 Fantasia fountain pen has officially ended! I'd like to take a moment to thank Pen Chalet for sponsoring this great giveaway. And of course we have one thing left to settle: announcing the winner of the Opus 88 Fantasia fountain pen!

The winner, as chosen by the Random number generator: 

Marc McCoy
(@bluebusdrifter on Instagram)


Thanks again for all the support, and thanks for entering the giveaway! Didn't win this time, or missed out? Don't worry, there will of course be more giveaways in the future! Always stay up-to-date on current giveaways and new blog posts by following The Pencilcase Blog on INSTAGRAMTWITTERGOOGLE+, or subscribe to the NEWSLETTER!