Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brian's Mailbox #4

My email inbox gets a plethora of interesting pen related questions, and I spend a good deal of time crafting thoughtful responses to each person. A lot of times, the questions I get are good ones that I feel are worth sharing with others, so that's what this post is for! Here goes:


I would like to obtain a TWSBI medium nib for my Diamond 540 ROC, but I would like the new Bock nib as opposed to the Schmidt medium nib that it came with.  Do you now, or will you soon carry one?  I understand that these pens just arrived, but to me the difference in the two nibs is like night and day, and I want to "upgrade" the one on the ROC.
The new TWSBI color 540's that just came in all have Bock nibs, as well as the stub 1.1 and 1.5 nibs. The clear 540's that are coming in a couple of weeks will have Bock in the EF and F nibs, the M and B will still be Schmidt. They will be switching everything over to Bock soon. We only got in whole pens this go around, not nib units which you'd probably want for your ROC. The nib units that are sold individually only come with a clear section (intended for the clear 540), but you can actually remove the nib from the section if you wish to put it in your ROC. However, I don't have an official word on when the medium nibs in the nib sections that are sold by themselves will be switching over to Bock, for right now they are still Schmidt and I haven't heard anything otherwise yet.
I've been waiting for the coming of the TWSBI 700 Vac.  I see it's coming in blue and will order one when it comes in. Question:  I just saw a video on an Ink Filling Tool to fill the 700 fully.  Will you be selling these also?
The VAC 700 is set to arrive the end of February, so it'll be a little bit of a wait still. As far as the filling tool, it's basically like the TWSBI inkwell that's out right now for the 540, except it's made to fit the VAC 700. It's still in prototype stage though, so there's no estimated arrival date for them. The VAC 700 has been in prototyping stage for 2 years, so I wouldn't get too excited about the VAC 700 filler just yet, it'll likely be the end of the year before it's ready, maybe longer! But yes, we will carry them whenever they're available.
I have small hands, and I'm worried that the VP will be fat and heavy. Do other people (women in particular) with small hands find it comfortable to write with? 
The VP is hit-or-miss for most people, and you'll know it the first time you hold it. I always have my wife hold all of the pens I use to get her opinion because her hands are much smaller than mine, and she uses 4 fingers to grip her pens, where I only use three. She tells me that she does like the VP, and that if there's anything that is a nuisance for her it is the clip, but that has to do with her 4-finger grip more than the size of her hands in relation to the pen. The weight, balance, and diameter of the pen are all comfortable for her. The deal breaker for the VP is the clip, since most pens have the clip in the back and not where you would grip the pen. This clip is an obstruction for some men and women alike, so determine if the way you hold your pen would be interrupted by a thin clip on the top part of where you hold your pen. For me, it's not in the way at all. It's not a problem for most people.
I've read that the fine nib is ultra fine and can be scratchy. I like fine point pens, but I'm wondering if, in the case of the VP, I should go with medium. I've read that the medium is a pretty big medium. In other words, there's not an in between that's just right with the VP. 
The fine nib on the VP is really fine, actually finer than a Lamy extra-fine! It's just how Pilot does it. You can actually compare the writing width of each nib for every pen we sell (including all the VP's) in our Nib Nook: http://www.gouletpens.com/Articles.asp?ID=268
As far as if it's scratchy or not, it really shouldn't be. For some people who aren't used to fine nibs, it can seem scratchy just because the finer you go, the less nib there is that touches the page, but it also means that the nib tine alignment is very important. Brian Gray of the Edison pen company has a great article about nib adjusting: http://edisonpen.com/page.cfm/IPGnibs2 
I prefer a medium nib for myself though. Unless you REALLY want a fine nib, then a medium is nice. The medium Pilot nib is about like most other fine nibs. Here are the VP nibs compared to each other (like you'll see in the Nib Nook):
The jump from fine to medium is noticeable, but not overly dramatic. The jump from medium to broad is actually much more significant.
Why is Noodler's La Reine Mauve sold in 1 ounce bottles (as opposed to 3 or 4.5 ounces, like the rest of Nathan's inks), and why is it so expensive?  Is there something special in it?
The components used to make all of the 1-ounce Noodler's inks are more expensive, and if Nathan was to make them in the regular 3-oucne sizes, they'd be over $30 each. Nathan wanted to keep the price attainable still, so he puts them in 1-ounce bottles instead. As far as exactly what is in them that makes them so expensive, that's something that only Nathan knows as it's proprietary information! It is a waterproof and UV-resistant ink though, so whatever gives it that permanence is what makes it expensive.
Hopefully these posts are helpful to you! I'd love to hear what you think in the comments. Also, feel free to shoot me an email anytime, your question could end up in the next Mailbox! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

TWSBI 1.1mm stub, wow.


Just inked up the TWSBI 1.1mm italic (stub) nib for the first time. Wow. I'm a big fan of italics, and this might be one of the best I've ever used. It's incredibly smooth, wet flow, and it writes soft as if it was 18k gold (but it's steel!). It even has some flex with some line variation, that doesn't take a whole lot of effort. For $20, it is a no-brainer.

We sold out of ours at GouletPens.com hours after we got them in, and I saw that TWSBI on ebay and Amazon is out of them too, I'd be surprised if anyone has them left. The TWSBI italics are in short supply right now as they're brand new and TWSBI totally underestimated the demand, but in a few weeks they should be coming to the US in higher numbers.  I suspect once word starts to get out about how great these are, everyone will want one....at least ;)

Videos and more in depth reviews are forthcoming, this is just to wet your palate.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rohrer and Klingner Solferino


Rohrer and Klingner Solferino is a German ink that comes in a 50ml bottle. This ink is one of the most vibrant in the brand, and it is quite striking. It's fairly similar to Rohrer and Klingner Magenta, which I previously reviewed here.

There are some definite pluses with this ink, the biggest one being the very fast dry time, under 10 seconds on Rhodia! It's a fairly saturated color with little shading, so the color is going to look pretty consistent and even. The flow is fairly wet, not as much as some others but pretty generous. The one downside is the lack of water resistance, but that also helps to make it very easy to clean out of the pen.

I used a Ruby Lamy Al-Star with a medium nib for this review, mainly because it's a popular style of pen and the nib size is a good balance between dry time and shading ability.

Ruby Red Lamy Al-Star

Bright pinks like Solferino jump out on the page, and have a lot of pop to them. I like this color range for writing on paper where I want the writing to really stand out. It might be a bit much if you're journaling a whole page full of it on white paper, but that's a personal preference. Here are some of the colors similar to Solferino:



Solferino comes in a 50ml bottle, and is available at GouletPens.com in both bottle and sample form. I do sell this ink, so read my whole review with that in mind and use your own research and judgment to determine which inks are best for you.

Check out the other Rohrer and Klingner reviews I've done:

Alt-Bordeaux
Alt-Goldgrün
Blau Permanent
Blue Mare
Cassia
Fernambuk
Helianthus
Königsblau
Leipziger-Schwarz
Magenta
Morinda
Salix
Scabiosa
Sepia
Smaragdgrün

If you've used Solferino, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rohrer and Klingner Smaragdgrün


Rohrer and Klingner Smaragdgrün is a German ink that comes in a 50ml bottle. The name translates (roughly) to emerald green, and that's a pretty appropriate name for this ink. It's an attractive green, with just a little bit of blue to it.

The thing that surprised me is how fast it dries, it's quite fast! Under 10 second dry time on Rhodia paper is always impressive to me. The saturation, shading, and flow are all pretty average. The water resistance is pretty poor, but the flip side of that is that the ink cleans out of the pen quite easily.

I used a Ruby Lamy Al-Star with a medium nib for this review, mainly because it's a popular style of pen and the nib size is a good balance between dry time and shading ability.

Ruby Red Lamy Al-Star

I tend to like darker greens than Smaragdgrün, but it is still on my 'acceptable' list for a usable green. I like seeing a little darker shade of green ink. There are a few good greens in this range, here are some of the comparable colors:



Smaragdgrün comes in a 50ml bottle, and is available at GouletPens.com in both bottle and sample form. I do sell this ink, so read my whole review with that in mind and use your own research and judgment to determine which inks are best for you.

Check out the other Rohrer and Klingner reviews I've done:

Alt-Bordeaux
Alt-Goldgrün
Blau Permanent
Blue Mare
Cassia
Fernambuk
Helianthus
Königsblau
Leipziger-Schwarz
Magenta
Morinda
Salix
Scabiosa
Sepia
Solferino

If you've used Smaragdgrün, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rohrer and Klingner Sepia


Rohrer and Klingner Sepia is a German ink that comes in a 50ml bottle. Naming an ink "sepia" is one of the most descriptive ways to name an ink. I see a lot of different inks names a lot of different things, and most names only hint at what the color might be. But sepia is very descriptive, see how Wikipedia defines it here. Long story short, it can be defined as a toning method used for warming up a black and white photograph and enhancing its archival capabilities. I alway think of 'old-timey' photographs, like what you see around the turn of the 20th century.

Keeping in line with the sepia name's assumptions, this Sepia is a brownish-grey with an incredible dry time, under 10 seconds on Rhodia paper, which is fairly ink resistant and tends to take longer than most papers for ink to dry on it. Most of the other Rohrer and Klingner inks are not very water-resistant at all, they fade quite badly when wet (except for Salix and Scabiosa). Sepia holds up better than most of the others, though. When wet it does lose some of its color, but about 70% of it remains, leaving it quite readable. For not making any claims of water resistance, this ink fairs quite well.

The flow is wet, the saturation is low, and the shading you get is high. The easy of cleaning, like you'd expect with Rohrer and Klingner, is quite effortless. All around, it's a pretty well-rounded ink. I would venture to say that it would make a very nice work-appropriate ink as an alternative to the usual blues and blacks. It would change up your day a little bit without drawing undue attention to it by unsuspecting co-workers.

I used a Ruby Lamy Al-Star with a medium nib for this review, mainly because it's a popular style of pen and the nib size is a good balance between dry time and shading ability.

Ruby Red Lamy Al-Star
There are a few inks in the sepia color range, and some brands (like Rohrer and Klingner) just outright call it Sepia. Diamine, Private Reserve, Rohrer and Klingner, Platinum, Omas, De Atramentis, and Noodler's all have inks with Sepia in the name. It's a color range that may not stand out much, but is actually incredibly popular. You will notice a pretty wild range of color within the name 'sepia' across different brands though. So I'll break out my swabs into two groups, those with the name Sepia, and those that look the closest to Rohrer and Klingner Sepia. There are the Sepia named inks:



The Sepia inks are pretty much all over the place, right? You have yellows, reds, browns, greys.....it's nuts! Now here are the colors I feel are actually closest to Rohrer and Klingner Sepia:



As you can tell from the swabs, Rohrer and Klingner Sepia is very much leaning towards the grey end of the color spectrum. If that floats your boat, then you'll probably find it to be a very pleasing ink. Sepia comes in a 50ml bottle, and is available at GouletPens.com in both bottle and sample form. I do sell this ink, so read my whole review with that in mind and use your own research and judgment to determine which inks are best for you.

Check out the other Rohrer and Klingner reviews I've done:

Alt-Bordeaux
Alt-Goldgrün
Blau Permanent
Blue Mare
Cassia
Fernambuk
Helianthus
Königsblau
Leipziger-Schwarz
Magenta
Morinda
Salix
Scabiosa

If you've used Sepia, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa


Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa is a German ink that comes in a 50ml bottle. It's popular for two reasons, the first being that it's water resistant since it is iron gall, just like Salix. Check out what Wikipedia has to say about it, but know that this ink is not the same 'pure' iron gall that is known to be corrosive to metals, rather it is a modern formulation that behaves much more like conventional fountain pen ink. Rohrer and Klingner does recommend that you clean the ink out of your pen every week, and be aware that iron gall inks aren't ideal for all pen types and models.

Scabiosa's water resistance and ease of cleaning are every bit as great as Salix. There is one aspect where Scabiosa has a leg up on Salix, and that's dry time. Salix had about a 25 second dry time, but Scabiosa dries quite a bit faster, only about 10 seconds on Rhodia paper, which is quite ink resistant. This is a huge plus given that it's a pretty wet writing ink. And the shading is great, too!

I used a Ruby Lamy Al-Star with a medium nib for this review, mainly because it's a popular style of pen and the nib size is a good balance between dry time and shading ability.

Ruby Red Lamy Al-Star
Scabiosa is a great color, a dusty purple much like many of my favorite colors. Here are some of the other colors that are like Scabiosa. The only other purple that really has any water resistance in this color range is Noodler's La Reine Mauve, and that ink looks a lot 'dustier' and washed out on the page. Scabiosa has great vibrancy and shading like Purple Heart and Blackcurrant, but with the bonus of the water resistance. No wonder it's up there with Salix as the best selling Rohrer and Klingner color. Check out the other inks similar in color:



Scabiosa comes in a 50ml bottle, and is available at GouletPens.com in both bottle and sample form. I do sell this ink, so read my whole review with that in mind and use your own research and judgment to determine which inks are best for you.

Check out the other Rohrer and Klingner reviews I've done:

Alt-Bordeaux
Alt-Goldgrün
Blau Permanent
Blue Mare
Cassia
Fernambuk
Helianthus
Königsblau
Leipziger-Schwarz
Magenta
Morinda
Salix

If you've used Scabiosa, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below!