October Sponsor Spotlight

Sponsor support is very important to me here at The Pen Addict. My sidebar advertisers put their faith in me to deliver good value for them month in and month out, and I want to shine the light on the best of the best for you. If you are shopping for pens, paper, inks, and more, please check out these great companies and see what they have to offer. Some recent highlights:

Goldspot has the full lineup of the new Pelikan Souveran 400 Brown Tortoise Series, featuring one of the most classic materials Pelikan has created.

Anderson Pens has received all of the new Sailor Inks, featuring wonderful shades of purple like Chu-Shu and Fuji-Musume, and of course the amazing orange of Kin-Mokusei.

JetPens has the latest pens from Karas Kustoms, including a rainbow of the Fountain K Aluminum Fountain Pen. You will be hard pressed not to find a barrel color that suits your style from this bunch.

Posted on October 27, 2016 and filed under Sponsors.

Midori Spiral Ring Notebook B7 Elephant Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

Midori always rocks the vintage minimal elegance. Those of us who like our analog tools to give us a sense of timeless utility are going to dig the Midori aesthetic. That being said, I think this little beauty is misnamed as a notebook. The Midori B7 Elephant is more of a sketchbook, I've found.

When I first opened this up and started playing with it, I really disliked it. The paper is very thick, like a hearty index card, but it doesn't take ink that well. There's quite a lot of feathering with fountain pens, and the paper is fibrous enough that fine-pointed gel and rollerballs feel snaggy. There are also only 20 sheets of paper. For me, that's a single-serving notebook. And when it comes to notebooks, I want the whole pie. Also true for actual pie.

What does work well in this wee book? Ballpoint pens were okay. Paint soaked into the paper fibers too much--even with paint liner pens. Pencils, colored pencils, and pastels worked the best. Suddenly, the 20 cardstock pages made much more sense--this is a sketchbook. And so the ugly duckling realized he was really a beautiful swan.

As a pocket sketchbook, it's pretty great. The cardboard cover is sturdy and folds over neatly or lays flat. The brass spiral coil is the most durable I've encountered and promises to hold up to some rough carry without getting smooshed and distorting the whole book. I do wish the sheets were perforated--the heavy paper and thick wire make page removal difficult and messy.

This particular model is the Elephant and has grey paper. A wee elephant is stamped into the corner of the cover. The Polar Bear has white paper and the Camel has brown. The books come in other sizes as well--B6, A5, and A6 in both horizontal and vertical binding orientations. This B7 is perfect for a back pocket or to slip into a day pack for an afternoon of sketching adventures.

I'm glad I kept playing beyond my initial impression of this book. But it does serve to illustrate how important a product's name is when it comes to customer expectations. I maintain that it's a dreadful notebook! A person who is new to the Midori brand who is looking for a notebook and who purchases this based on the Midori reputation may find themselves disappointed. I suspect wandering sketchers will find it to be a pocketful of joy.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

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Posted on October 27, 2016 and filed under Midori, Notebook Reviews.

The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 228 - Hashtag Snail Mail

We asked and you delivered - the first ever handwritten #asktpa episode! The USPS were actually the ones who delivered I guess, but my mailbox was stuffed with awesomeness from our listeners. Myke and I only got to about half of it today, but rest assured we will get through it all very soon. Thanks for sending your questions our way!

Show Notes & Download Links

This episode of The Pen Addict is sponsored by:

Harry's: Use code PENADDICT at checkout to claim your free trial set and bonus post-shave balm.

Pen Chalet: Click the ‘podcast’ link at the top of the website and enter the password ‘penaddict’ for this week’s special offer, and to get your code for 10% off.

Posted on October 26, 2016 and filed under Podcast.

Delta Unica Matte Black Fountain Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

The Delta Unica is my first exposure to the Delta brand, so it's fair to say that I didn't know what to expect. I've always seen Delta pens at the pen shows over the years, but I've never purchased one. They have some amazing, eye-grabbing designs, but nothing ever screamed "buy me" while at the shows. Well, I'm happy to say that my first experience with the Delta brand has been very positive.

While some of the Delta lines feature bright, colorful bodies that jump out as you walk by, the Unica is a matte black pen with subtle features. The matte finish on the pen creates a soft glow instead of a distinct shimmer, and the gunmetal trim adds character and a tasteful antique look. When looking at the pen, it looks like it has some heft, but upon picking it up, I'm surprised by how light it is.

The texture of the pen body is smooth but grippy, and it does a great job of resisting fingerprints. For black pens, this is a huge win.

Unscrewing the cap takes about one full rotation, and the action is smooth when removing the cap. One complaint I have with this particular unit is that putting the cap back on the pen can be a bit inaccurate. It sometimes misses the threads or becomes slightly cross threaded, which means you have to back up and try again. Not a big deal, but something I wouldn't expect from a pen at this price range. I'm guessing it's probably just a single defect in my pen, not the whole line.

The gunmetal clip is really strong, and features a small wheel at the end of the clip to aid in sliding across fabrics and latching on. With my pen, the wheel doesn't actually turn, but it's a nice aesthetic feature.

The shape of the pen is fantastic. The widest diameter is at the very top of the cap, and the smallest diameter is at the bottom of the pen body. It's thick, but not too thick. For my hands, it's a great size for writing. I use it exclusively without the cap posted, but that's the case for most of my pens. If you want to post the cap, it fits snugly at the end of the pen body.

As far as length goes, it's a fairly normal length for fountain pens. It's a tad longer than my Karas Kustoms Ink, and a bit shorter than a Lamy 2000. It was interesting to compare the finishes of the Delta versus the Lamy. They're really different, but beautiful in their own way.

Under the cap, there's a large nib hiding out with some beautiful scroll work and a nib point designation. The section is smooth and slightly tapered, and I find it to be very comfortable. For my grip, the cap threads do not interfere with my fingers. Like I mentioned before, this finish resists fingerprints, and it also maintains excellent grip through long writing sessions.

This pen comes with a standard international short cartridge, but it also comes with a nice cartridge-converter in the box so you can ink it up with something exciting. I chose a bright Akkerman blue to offset the unassuming matte black exterior.

The only branding on the pen is featured on the cap directly under the tip of the clip. "DELTA ITALY" is embossed at the bottom of the cap in a tiny size. It's really minimal, and I love it.

Overall, the pen feels really well made and comfortable. I have no qualms with throwing it in my bag or pants pocket. I'm interested to see if the finish changes over time with use.

Now, how does it write? With a reputation of a long line of Italian pen makers, you would expect to write wonderfully, and it certainly does. Straight out of the box, this pen has been smooth and delightful. It delivers ink consistently and can also be uncapped/unused for quite a while before starting to dry. I've never had any slow starts or skipping, and it can deliver the ink as fast as I can write or scribble.

This is a fine point nib, and it's right on the money in terms of line width. It's a smooth writer, but it does make some slight scratching noises on most papers. I'm not sure why it makes these noises, but I'm not very concerned about it since the writing performance is great.

The nib is a steel unit with little to no flex. The amount of pressure needed to flex the nib will result in deep indentions or tears in your paper. So, if you're looking for a flexy Italian fountain pen, look elsewhere (hint: Omas).

This is a fantastic pen, and I'm very pleased with how it's performed so far! If you're like me and have passed several Deltas at the pen shows because you're not very familiar with them, do yourself a favor and stop for a look next time! They have some great offerings and they're solid performers.

The Delta Unica in Matte Black is the most affordable Delta model (typically for under $80), so it's an excellent entry point to test the waters. Matte Black is the only color option, so keep that in mind as well. Goulet Pens have the Delta Unica in both a fine and medium point, so check them out if you're interested!

(Goulet Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Posted on October 26, 2016 and filed under Delta, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.