Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses Fountain Pen Ink Review

Here is a review of the new Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses fountain pen ink. I tried to scan my review but the colors came out totally wrong, so I took a picture of it instead. It looks a lot closer to real life than the scan did, but it's still not perfect. Never-the-less, if you view it at 100% magnification, it looks very close. Note: There is an error in the review. I wrote 9550 and it's a 2668 Firm Medium nib.

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For the second portion of my review, I did the standard water test. I simply ran the sample under a faucet for about 30 seconds or so. This ink is nearly bulletproof. The red tones washed away, leaving the black ink that is still completely readable.

Water Test
-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Update 5/16/11 - Turns out it was my pen that was the problem with the feed drying out. After this review I flushed the pen more thoroughly and cleaned it and refilled it with the same ink and it didn't give me another issue.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Platinum Preppy Blue-Black 0.3mm (Fine) Review

Black 0.5 (Medium) and Blue-Black 0.3 (Fine)

One of my Christmas gifts that I received was a Platinum Preppy with Blue-Black ink and a fine 0.3mm nib. I already had a 0.5mm Medium Platinum Preppy with Black ink, which I never really enjoyed because I felt it wrote too broad. It was my first real fountain pen, and it somewhat turned me off from fountain pens until I found some that I truly enjoyed in our garage. But I digress, I am very impressed with this 0.3mm Preppy and I wish I would've opted for this before I bought the 0.5mm. For only around $3, it's hard to beat this pen. Plus, it can double as an eye-dropper with an o-ring and some silicone grease on the threads. One thing I noticed that was different between this pen and my medium is that the medium Preppy says "0.5" on top of the cap, and this fine version of the pen has no size indication on the cap. I kind of liked that little added touch. This review was done on standard 20lb. copy paper.

Without further ado... here is my review of the Blue-Black Platinum Preppy with a 0.3mm Fine Nib.

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-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fountain Pen Ink Review -- Parker Quink Blue-Black

Here is a review of the newer formula of Parker's Quink Blue-Black fountain pen ink. It was purchased on Amazon for only $8.25 shipped. Note: I made a "typo" in the review. The nib on the Esterbrook is a 9550, not a 9668. I got it mixed up with the 2668 on my other Esterbrook I bought at the same time. Whoops. :) Without further ado, onto the review... 

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Ink blot on paper towel

The ink & pen used in the review, note: the color of the ink in this picture is lighter/bluer than it really is.

In conclusion, I really enjoy this ink. I have read other reviews stating that it had no water-resistance, but it does appear to have a little bit of resistance. Most of the ink washed away, but there was still enough to read what was written even after I rinsed it once, swabbed it, rinsed it again, and swabbed it again and let it dry. I also read in reviews that it was more of a dark blue than a blue-black, and while it looks that way before it dries, I found that after it dries it turns into a nice, true blue-black. A great ink for under $9 shipped. Recommended!

Any questions or comments are most welcome.

To purchase on Amazon: Parker Super Quink Permanent Ink for Parker Pens, 2-oz. Bottle, Blue-Black (3007100)

-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fountain Pen Ink Review -- Noodler's Zhivago

I ordered Noodler's Zhivago after wanting a dark, saturated green. I wanted to still be able to make out the green, though. I was slightly disappointed with the Zhivago as to me it looks just like a slightly less saturated black to me. The green is hardly noticeable at all, and isn't quite what I expected. The only time I notice the green is when I look at it in very bright light situations. In a regularly lit room, I cannot notice the green and all I see is black. I'm going to order Noodler's Green Marine in the near future and hopefully it will be more of what I'm looking for. Anyways, onto the review...

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An explanation of the water test:
The first sample was written, then passed over with a wet q-tip.
The second sample is just a control sample of ink that hasn't been in contact with water.
The third sample was first run under a faucet for about 15-20 seconds, then smudged with a q-tip afterwards.

Close-up of writing sample

Price paid: $14.99 on Amazon, but as of 12-23-10, it is on sale for $11.99 shipped if you're still interested: Noodler's Ink Refills Zhivago Bottled Ink - ND-19027

Update 12-28-10: Here is another scan using a broad italic nib in my Sheaffer NoNonsense:

-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Antique Store Finds -- Esterbrooks, a Sheaffer's and a Parker

The first two pens I bought a little under a week ago were two Esterbrooks from a local antique store. I ended up paying $15 each for them. Both were functional from the start with pliable sacs. They passed the water test with flying colors, but I have yet to actually ink them. I'm trying to wait until I get some new colors to match the barrels. One is a blue "J" with a 9550 nib. The nib, cap & threads were stained with old ink so after some cleaning, soaking and flushing, it looks good as new. The other is a red "LJ" with a 2668 nib and looked to be cleaned before the previous owner stored it. That one did not require any cleaning, and the water I put in it for the test came out clear. Why can't all fountain pen owners be this courteous when they retire their pens? :) I have to say, I am impressed that the sacs are still pliable after over 50 years. Great pens. Here are some pictures of them (please note that these were taken before cleaning, so you will see the ink stains on the blue J):

Red LJ
Red LJ; 2668 Nib
Blue J
Blue J; 9550 Nib (before cleaning)

For the 2nd half of my post, I'll refer to my Sheaffer's Balance and Parker Depression Era pens that I bought while out of town at another antique store. I also bought two vintage ink bottles. One is from a Rexall pharmacy (Rexall Graph Blue-Black), the other is an old bottle of Blue-Black Sheaffer's Skrip.

The Balance has a Jade Green barrel from 1929-1932, which is slightly discolored and has a few small cracks that don't appear to affect the functionality of the pen. It has a Feather Touch 5 nib, which I do not believe is original to the pen and probably from the mid 30s. It also has the wrong cap, one from a 1930-1935 Marine Green Balance. I also purchased an empty bottle of Skrip Blue-Black from the same store. The ink has crystallized inside the bottle to create quite a work of art. It looks like bubbles and ice with some precipitates.

Sheaffer's Balance with an old bottle of Skrip ink
Sheaffer's "Feather Touch" 5; two-tone nib

The second pen is a Parker Depression Era pen with a black/green barrel and cap. The clip has considerable scratches and brassing to it, as do the three rings on the cap. Other than that, it appears to be in fine condition. The nib appears to be gold, and there is no indication anywhere on the pen as to what the actual model name is. The part that throws me off is the little rubber/plastic piece on the end of the barrel where the button filler is. I do not know if it came like that, or someone added it? I've never seen another one with that on there. I love the pen regardless, and can't wait to get it working.

Parker "Depression Era" cap with scratched/brassed clip & rings
Parker "Depression Era" pen
Parker "Depression Era" pen, uncapped.
I have to say that I love the color of the Parker, it really depends what angle you look at it for the marbling to pop out at you. If anyone has any further information on it, as to an actual model name and what the little rubber/plastic cap at the end is, I would greatly appreciate the information. Also, if anyone has information about getting a Jade Green cap to match the Sheaffer's, that would also be most helpful!

Edit 12/21/10 - I found out that the Parker is most likely a Challenger De Luxe from the 4th quarter of 1935 (date code on the nib/barrel is "45"). The little rubber cap on the end is likely a replacement fix for a missing blind cap. 

Edit 1/5/10 - Both the Parker and Sheaffer are restored. I'm using Quink Blue-Black in the Challenger and I will ink the Sheaffer with either Skrip Green or PR DC Supershow Green. The restorer (Phil Munson of Munson Pen Restoration) actually hooked me up with a new blind cap for it too, so it looks like it originally did. The 3 rings on the cap cleaned up nicely, and the only flaw with the pen now is just the scratching on the clip.

-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fine Pentel RSVP Review

Here is a review I wrote before I started my blog, reviewing the black, fine-tip version of the Pentel RSVP. I will have to get another batch of these at a different store. Perhaps the reason they were sold at a dollar store was because they had a bad batch of ink? Has anyone else had issues with the ink leaving little globs in the fine-tip made in Mexico version? Anyways, enjoy!

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-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Friday, December 3, 2010

My First Parker Fountain Pen -- A Parker 45 From 1967

I was so excited to get this pen in the mail. Only paid a hair under $20 for it as well. It's a Parker 45 with gold trim from 1967 made in the U.S.A. The pen appears to never have been used and it's in mint condition. The barrel is dark blue and matches my 1986 Parker Jotter ballpoint that my dad gave me. The barrel was very tough to screw back onto the nib section, but I got it eventually. The cap doesn't go on all the way and leaves a tiny gap, I'm guessing due to the age of the materials. Does anyone have any insight for getting the cap to go on all the way? I can get it on all the way, but I have to push really hard and it's very tough to get back off.

The pen has a medium stainless steel nib which writes very wet and came with the original converter and Quink washable blue ink cartridge. Here are some pics:

Original Paperwork

Next to my Parker Jotter

Pen + Original Cartridge + Original Converter

Writing Sample

Cap fitment issue, won't go on all the way unless using a lot of force

-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sharpie Pen Medium

I bought these a couple of weeks ago on sale at Office Depot and finally got around to reviewing them. A little note I'd like to add in addition to my written review, is that it does indeed bleed through thinner paper despite what Sharpie says about it not bleeding through paper. However, I tried it on regular computer paper and it hardly bled through that. Just a word of caution in case you plan on using these pens on standard college ruled notebook paper, they will bleed through them. Still, they are very good pens, just a little too broad/wet for my liking. I prefer the fine tip version over these. They don't bleed through thinner paper as much, and they fit my writing style better. These would be great for writing addresses on envelopes or anything that would require not only bold writing, but permanence as well. As far as I am aware, they only come in the stick version, and do not come in the grip or retractable option.

Click the above scan to enlarge

To purchase the Sharpie Pen in Medium, click here

-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pilot Plumix Fountain Pen Review

When I went on a late-night stroll to Target, I saw the Pilot Plumix fountain pen on the shelves. Thinking that I already have a Platinum Preppy with a medium nib, the Plumix might end up being redundant. However, I liked the style of the barrel, which looks like a clear, plastic desk pen. So, I splurged and spent $6.37 on the Pilot.
Pilot Plumix, disassembled
            When I got home and opened the package and uncapped the pen, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t have just an ordinary medium nib. It had a medium italic nib! I had been wanting to try one for a while, so I was very pleased with my choice. Nowhere on the package did it say that it had an italic nib. It simply stated “Real Fountain Pen!” along with “Blue Ink, Medium Nib” and “Fine Writing” at the bottom of the package.
Pilot Plumix, Capped
            The pen is available in the following barrel colors: black, light blue, and purple. I opted for the black/clear barrel. The pen’s cap has little “wings” on it to prevent it from rolling around since it lacks a pocket clip.
            All barrel colors come standard with a blue Pilot cartridge, but I opted to use one of my black Pilot cartridges I had lying around instead. As far as I know, the Plumix sold in the U.S. can only use Pilot’s proprietary cartridges and cannot use international cartridges. However, I believe there are some sold overseas that can use international cartridges. One nice feature about the Plumix is that it can be turned into an eyedropper pen without much trouble. Just make sure yours doesn’t have a hole on the end of the barrel before filling it! I’ve heard it can be a 50/50 shot of having one with a hole or not. It can also use one of Pilot's converters, such as the CON-20 or the larger CON-50.
Pilot Plumix Italic Medium Nib
            I have been testing this pen extensively since I purchased it, and I have fallen in love with the italic nib. It makes my ordinarily bad cursive writing look amazing (to me, at least). However, there is one minor annoyance I have with the barrel design. It bulges slightly in the middle and causes my hand to hurt a little after a while. Usually though, this is just reminding me that I am gripping the barrel too tight and I need to relax my hand and just let the pen do the work.
            The nib on the Plumix is interchangeable with the nib on the Pilot 78g, however I don’t think I will be switching them because the 78g’s nib is gold plated, whereas the Plumix’s nib isn’t gold colored. If it was gold colored, I would probably make the switch on one of my 78gs.
            In conclusion, the Pilot Plumix is an excellent pen for the price, especially with its fantastic italic nib. Even if you already have a Preppy or a 78g (my other two favorite <$10 pens), those do not come with an italic option. Definitely put this pen on your list, especially if you’ve been wanting to try an italic nib. If you don't have a Target store nearby, you can also purchase it on Amazon: here.

From the back of the package:
-Advanced Ink Feed System for smooth writing
-Visible, long-lasting ink supply
-Available in Black, Light Blue and Purple barrel colors with Blue Ink
-Refillable-Use Pilot Ink cartridge UIC50BLU-K

-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I will return shortly!

I apologize for the lack of posts as of late. I have been very busy with the job-search situation and had to put my pen buying on hold. I did splurge and buy myself a Pilot Plumix and also have a few other newer items I'd like to review, so stay tuned. I'll try to make another post before the end of the week reviewing the Plumix or another pen. :)

-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pentel Champ Review

I've been hard at work for the past month or so on a guest review of the Pentel Champ at Dave's Mechanical Pencils.

Head on over to see my guest review of the Pentel Champ pencil here :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vintage Fountain Pens Restored + New Pilot 78G

If you've been following my blog these past few months, you'd see that just a little while ago I acquired two vintage fountain pens from the 1920s. They were found in the garage while my dad was cleaning it out. I believe they may have been from a great grandparent of mine, but I am not positive. One is a Moore Tuscan L-93, in excellent condition and the other is a Black/Red Yankee, which is in good condition and missing the screw-on end piece for the cap. I had them restored by Phil Munson of Munson Fountain Pen Restoration. He did a fantastic job in allowing these pens to write again, over 80 years later. I highly recommend checking out his blog for an in-depth post about these particular pens he restored for me.

Here are some pictures that Phil took showing the process, before and after.

First, the Yankee fountain pen:

Yankee Fountain Pen, Before Restoration

Yankee Fountain Pen, After Restoration, Posted

Yankee Fountain Pen, After Restoration, Capped

And now, the Moore Tuscan L-93:

Moore Tuscan L-93, Before Restoration
Moore Tuscan L-93, After Restoration, Posted
Moore Tuscan L-93, After Restoration, Capped

And now for the second half of my post, I will show writing samples of the above two pens and also highlight my new Pilot 78G (IMO, currently one of the best values in fountain pens on the market today). When I had the Moore and Yankee restored, I wanted to use Waterman Florida Blue in one, and Noodler's Bulletproof Black in the other. I was hesitant to use the modern Noodler's in an old pen, so I broke down and bought a more modern pen to use it with, a black/gold Pilot 78G. I ordered it from Stationery Art for just under $10 shipped, with a gold-plated fine nib. I read stories where people were claiming that the fine Pilot nib was actually the equivalent of an extra-fine, so I was expecting a scratchy nib like the extra-fine Moore Tuscan. Worrying I ordered the wrong pen and wouldn't enjoy another scratchy extra-fine nib, I ordered another one with a green barrel and a medium nib. I was pleasantly surprised when I received the one with the fine nib however, and inked it with Noodler's Bulletproof Black. It writes more smoothly than both of my vintage pens, and it looks great. It wasn't as extremely fine as I had expected, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm hoping the medium nib version will write more like my Yankee, which is the perfect size in my opinion.

Pilot 78G, Black/Gold Trim, Posted

If you notice in the first picture, the Pilot 78G looks and feels a lot more expensive than it really is. I would have expected to pay at least 5x as much as I paid for it. It truly is a bargain. The only thing I don't care for is the cheap-looking sticker on it, that is off-centered and says "Pilot, -F-" although I'll probably leave it on, for collecting purposes. You will also notice the bit of nib-crawl, which is characteristic of Noodler's Bulletproof Black inks.

And finally, the writing samples in a Moleskine sketchbook:

You may not be able to tell, but these actually improve my hand-writing!
*note* I just recently started practicing cursive again, I hadn't used it since elementary school!
Lastly, how do the two vintage pens write? The Moore Tuscan is probably the equivalent of an extra-fine, and uses the Maniflex nib. The Yankee pen writes fantastic, but it suffers from hard-starting and initial inconsistencies due to the missing cap piece allowing the nib to dry out between uses. I'm using Waterman Florida Blue in both, a superb ink that plays well with vintage fountain pens. As I mentioned above, I'm using Noodler's Bulletproof Black in the Pilot 78G. If you're in the market for a fountain pen, but don't want to spend an arm and a leg, definitely do yourself a favor and pick up one (or more) of the Pilot 78G pens. They're fantastic. A special thanks again to Phil @ Munson Fountain Pen Restoration for restoring my vintage fountain pens.

-Derek (ThirdeYe)