Noodler's Turquoise Ink Review

As I continue down the long and winding road of fountain pen inks, I'm learning that I actually enjoy trying new inks more than pens at this point in my journey. The good news is, there are hundreds (thousands?) of different, unique inks to try. The bad news is, well, there are hundreds of different, unique inks to try. So, as long as I ignore the part of this journey that involves paying for inks, it's a win-win situation. Tired of a pen you've had for a while? Find a new exciting ink for it. It's instantly a new pen (almost).

The latest ink that has landed in my daily rotation is Noodler's Turquoise. This is another ink from the awesome Joe Lebo – thanks Joe! He really does have great taste.

Noodler's Turquoise is a classy, interesting blue-green ink that delights me every time I use it. To the unknowing eye, you might think it's a black or dark blue on first glance. But, on second glance, you notice the green lying on top of that dark blue foundation. And after looking closer, you spy just a touch of shading in certain letters. It's turquoise! This is what keeps bringing me back to this ink. You can use it every day because it isn't wild, but it's still really interesting and adds some flair to the every day carry.

When you get down to it, this is a great ink. It's well-behaved, has nice writing qualities, and looks great. My main caution is for the left-handed writers. This is a slow-drying ink. I've definitely smudged a lot of writing while using this ink, and I'm right-handed. Fair warning.

That said, it hasn't stopped me from filling the ink into pens again and again. It's a new favorite.

The ink is saturated and a bit on the wet side, but not very. I never have any skipping or starting issues with it, and it keeps up with my fastest writing, scribbling, and doodling.

There's a tiny bit of shading when writing quickly with a small nib – XF to M. Wider, specialty nibs really bring out the personality of this ink. I only have a calligraphy nib (2.0mm!), but I know that this ink would be great in a small stub. I need to get one of those pronto. Despite my terrible attempt at some form of fancy script in the title, you can see some of the shading aspects from the wide 2.0mm nib I used.

This ink does not like cheap paper. It bleeds and feathers like crazy on cheap notebook paper and copy paper.

Lastly, there's a small amount of sheen to the ink that also adds personality. It's a very small amount, and absorbant papers pretty much remove all sheen, but it's great when it works.

I've never really settled on a real-life example for this ink color, but I keep coming back to something like the ocean on certain days. It's a dark blue with green swimming around in the dark depths. Maybe it's just me, but I like to get lost in colors like this. It's a favorite, and I'll be buying my own bottle soon, along with a stub-nib pen.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Noodlers Turquoise Review.jpg
Posted on July 23, 2014 and filed under Noodler's Ink, Ink Reviews.

Pilot Vanishing Point Gun Metal Black Matte Fountain Pen Review

I didn't need another Pilot Vanishing Point. I already had two: the famed Black Matte, which became one of the "pens who shall not be named" on the podcast, and a retro Black Faceted model, which is a mainstay of my collection. So why did I NEED this new Gun Metal Black Matte Vanishing Point? I rarely need any new pen, but this one I had to have.

It took a while for me to get on the Gun Metal bandwagon. I wasn't sure of the color scheme at first, but after seeing multiple pictures of it and checking it out in person I went for it. The barrel is slightly different than the full black matte version, with the grey area being smooth as opposed to a satiny matte feel, which is reserved for the tip, clip, middle band, and knock. It's quite a stunning look, especially in person.

It also sports one of the recently introduced black nib units, which I am in love with. I went for the EF nib, which is ridiculously small, even for me. I never recommend this size to anyone but I love it. Paired with a well lubricated ink like Sailor Nano Black, this nib writes wonderfully smooth and consistent. But boy is it fine. You really need to manage your writing angle with this one to make sure you are hitting the sweet spot.

Many people have asked what fountain pen best compares to the Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm/0.4 mm gel ink pens. Pilot's EF nibs, as found in the Penmanship (which can be swapped into the Metropolitan or Prera) and the Vanishing Point, are the closest I have found. Looking at the writing sample in my Field Notes it is closest to the 0.28 mm Uni-ball Signo DX and 0.3 mm Hi-Tec-C, so that seems like a good range. Ink and paper will cause this to vary of course.

But back to this whole idea of needing this pen. Although yes, I got this pen for free as part of my JetPens sponsorship, I still couldn't justify it without selling one of my current Vanishing Points. I didn't see myself actively using two similar pens, so my trusty black matte VP, one of my first big fountain pen purchases, has found a new home. More than any other fountain pen I own, the Vanishing Point is made to be used, anywhere and everywhere. That is this pens job, so having one sitting around collecting dust would be doing it a disservice.

My friend Mel found the words I was struggling to find about my Field Notes Butcher Orange, and it applies here too: "By using it, it is now truly yours and you've fulfilled its purpose." Words to live by.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on July 21, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Pilot, Vanishing Point, Fountain Pens.

Ink Links

-- What’s the best everyday pencil? (All Things Stationery)

-- Review: Pen & Ink Pocket Sketchbook (The Well-Appointed Desk)

-- TWSBI Micarta V2 (inklode)

-- Staedtler Noris Stylus Pencil (The Pencilcase Blog)

-- Melissa Gira Grant (The Setup)

-- Context (Crónicas Estilográficas)

-- Review: Sheaffer Balance (Alt. Haven)

-- Uni-Ball 5 Roller Ball Pen Review (THE UNROYAL WARRANT)

-- The Amazing Vanishing Point (Pen Pursuit)

-- Sterling Plastic #526 Roll Top Pencil Box (My Supply Room)

-- Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pen review (Peninkcillin)

-- Parker Duofold Centennial in Gold Godron (mycoffeepot.org)

-- Epic ink test - three months in (Fountain Pen Physicist)

-- Pencil Review: Grumbacher Sketching 4B and Charcoal Pencils (A Penchant for Paper)

-- Pilot Acroball PureWhite (The Pen Hunter)

-- Bic 4 Color Metallic Multi Pen (Office Supply Geek)

-- Lamy Safari (The Newsprint)

-- A caped crusader…Italian style (And All Other Tasks)

-- Review: Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green (The Well-Appointed Desk)

-- Pocket Department Notebooks, reviewed (Woodclinched)

-- Pen Review: Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black Edition (The Gentleman Stationer)

-- Ink Notes: Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine Cartridge (Fountain Pen Quest)

-- Always Open To The Possibility Of Writing (The Cramped)

-- Big Idea Design – XTS Raw Titanium Pen + Stylus Review (My Pen Needs Ink)

-- Kaweco AC-Sport fountain pen review (Pens! Paper! Pencils!)

-- Pen Review: Parker IM (The Pen Habit)

-- The Pilot Knight Fountain Pen (The Pen Hunter)

-- The 5-in-1 Staedtler Pencil for Paper and Tablets 2014 (Selectism)

-- Pilot Capless Fermo Retractable Fountain Pen - F Nib (The Clicky Post)

-- Pilot Metropolitan White Tiger Fine (The Frugal Fountain Pen)

Posted on July 19, 2014 and filed under Links.

Platinum Blue Black Ink Review

Platinum Blue Black is an ink I should have loved right out the gate, but it has taken me some time to come to grips with it. There is nothing inherently wrong with the ink. It flows well, dries fast, has some shading, and is a nice color. But it's not a blue black, and that bothered me more than it should.

Do you ever get hung up on something silly like that? I'm my own worst enemy when it comes down to the minutia of things. I've talked about my eye-opening experience with tip sizes recently and the enjoyment I am getting from branching out. I need to apply that type of thinking more often.

Like in the case of Platinum Blue Black. Despite high recommendations, I have barked about it in the past about not being a blue black ink, but almost a traditional blue or even royal blue instead. I don't even consider it a dark blue. But does it matter? If you ask me for a blue black ink recommendation I'll never mention this one but if you ask me for a good blue ink it ranks pretty highly for all of those reasons I stated in the first paragraph.

In fact, once I got over being a dummy about this ink I have committed to using it full time. In cartridge form. In my Kikyo Blue Nakaya Piccolo. Call me insane, but it seems like a perfect fit and I have been enjoying this combo for a month now, with no end in sight.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on July 18, 2014 and filed under Ink Reviews, Platinum.

Esterbrook SJ Fountain Pen Review

The Esterbrook SJ is the second of the two Esterbrooks I bought at the 2014 Atlanta Pen Show back in April. The first was an Esterbrook Dollar Pen, which I talked about back in May. Like I said then, Esterbrooks weren't on my list when I went to the show, but they snagged me while I was there, and now I'm pretty sure I've caught the bug.

Quick recap

Both of these pens were purchased from Carl Daniel, which I heartily recommend. Carl was friendly, helpful, and taught me a lot about these pens in the few minutes we spoke. He had dozens of Esterbrooks on display at his table, and it took me two or three passes to decide which ones I wanted. More accurately, it started off as picking one pen, but I failed at that goal and ended up deciding on two.

The SJ was the second pen that I picked up from Carl. I had already nabbed the Dollar Pen and spent several minutes looking at and handling the SJ models he had. For some reason, I enjoyed the size and weight of the SJ models compared to the regular J models. After that, I just had to narrow down the color. In the running was a blue, copper, and red model. I ended up going with the red because it caught my attention more out of the bunch. Today, I'm still extremely satisfied with my choice of color, but I'll definitely be expanding my collection to include other nice colors.

The pen

This particular pen came with a 1554 nib installed, which is a really fine nib originally meant for accounting work. With a regular grip and pressure, the line is very similar to a Japanese fine. I guess they designed the fine line to write in those tiny ledger lines. At any rate, it's a great nib considering how old it is. It isn't a new-from-stock nib like my other one, and it's also seen better days. It appears to have some damage to the point, but nothing that causes any performance problems. It's just a bit scratchy on some papers, which is normal anyway given the super-fine point.

Since it's such a fine nib, I don't use it nearly as much as my Dollar Pen. I prefer a smoother, larger nib when doing general writing, so I typically reserve this pen for more detailed stuff. With that said, I really want to find a new nib for the SJ because I want to use it more. Since the nibs are easily swapped, I can find something that suits my writing style and add this pen to the daily rotation.

With any Esterbrook, it can be difficult to pin-point an exact year of production, but this SJ was probably made somewhere between 1948 and the late '50s. Either way, it's doing a remarkable job of staying relevant and delightful. It still blows my mind that a pen this old can still be such an excellent writing instrument.

Size

The SJ is longer and slimmer than the Dollar Pen. The only other fountain pen that has a comparable width is the Hero 529, which the Esterbrook blows out of the water. Personally, I love the form factor. There are times when writing that I wonder if the larger cousin, the J, would fit my hands better, but I can't get over how sleek and modern the SJ design is.

The SJ is just a bit taller than the Dollar Pen, which means it's a small pen. Once posted, both pens are almost identical in overall length. They both feel spectacular in-hand.

Filling mechanism

Like the Dollar Pen, the SJ has a lever filling mechanism. It works just as well as the Dollar Pen, if not a bit better since the lever has more of a grip to it. The SJ lever has a semi-circle shape at the end, while the Dollar Pen has a flat, short grip. My clumsy fingers can operate the SJ lever much easier.

Again, it doesn't hold much ink, but that's not a big deal. At any rate, it's fun to fill and is hassle- and mess-free.

Writing

I've touched on it a bit already, but I'll go into some more detail about the writing experience with this pen and nib.

The nib is super-fine, and makes a crisp, sharp line. I currently have it inked with Iroshizuku kon-peki, which works flawlessly on all the paper I own. I've never had problems with it being clogged, skipping, or drying after a few minutes of uncapped rest. The ink does tend to become extremely saturated and thick if left for more than a week in the pen. That being the case, it gets cleaned pretty often.

Apart from being scratchy, the nib does a beautiful job. It's firm and dependable. From the naked eye, it looks like the point has a small slant to it. This creates an italic effect on some papers. It probably wasn't designed this way, but I love it.

This is a great pen, but I don't use it as much as I would like because of the nib. Super-fine nibs are useful in certain situations (for me), but I prefer something like a fine or medium for most writing. If I can find one, I'd love to swap the nib out for an Esterbrook stub nib of some kind. I hear those are really difficult to acquire, but I'll keep my eyes open for one.

Overall

The SJ is a fantastic pen, and I'm so pleased that I bought it back in April. I went from knowing nearly nothing about Esterbrooks to becoming a fan of the brand and learning everything I can about them. It's so interesting to show people these pens and hear them talk about how they remember one that their parents used or that they personally used when they were young. These pens are a legacy, and it's really awesome to own and use a part of history. And, at the end of the day, it's still just a pen, and it does that job remarkably well.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Posted on July 16, 2014 and filed under Esterbrook, Fountain Pens, Pencil Reviews.