Accessory Reviews, Home, Ink Reviews

A Concise Review: Pelikan 4001 Violet Ink

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The Pelikan 4100 ink line is Pelikan’s less expensive line of inks, after their revered Edelstein brand. The 4100 inks are still quality, respected inks, though, and are simple colors that work in any fountain pens. I recently picked up a bottle of the violet ink at my hometown pen store, Fahrney’s, and inked up my Pelikan M400.

Bottle: The 4001 Violet comes in a glass bottle in the shape of a trapezoidal prism with an arch on top that leads up the screw-on cap. (See picture below.) On the label is a pelican feeding it’s young (The Pelikan symbol), the name of the ink, and a small circle displaying the color.

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Ink: The 4100 Violet ink is a nice, shading ink, something that is wet enough that it would make cheap paper miserable but looks very nice on a quality pad. On a Rhodia 5×5 grid notebook this ink looks great. The shading starts with a bright, cheery violet that is met with a deep purple when the nib is picked up off of the paper. This makes a very nice line and looks decent in any pen. The violet is dark enough to pass as a formal color, so this ink is an option for anyone who is not comfortable using a bright, colorful ink but is looking for a little something to spice up their writing. This ink, though, isn’t the deepest, most beautiful ink out there. It is a very nice violet, but is not as interesting as some colors available.

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Cost: This ink retails at around $13-14, a lower priced ink, and can be purchased for less online.

So, overall, the Pelikan 4001 Violet ink is a nice purple ink that has some shading and looks good on nice paper. It is a rather simple ink, but sometimes simple is good. For anyone looking for a quality violet ink, click here for this ink on Goulet Pens.

Signing Out,

Will

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Fountain Pen Reviews, Home

Pelikan M400 Fountain Pen: First Impressions

Pelikan is a company well known in the fountain pen world for manufacturing some of the nicest, most reliable pens available to purchase. Centered out of Germany, Pelikan makes many different types of writing instruments, from art pastels to fountain pens. The M400 is one of Pelikan’s higher end instruments, one that I was given the chance to purchase at a reduced price. I have only used it a few times as of now, so here are my first impressions.

First, for the appearance. The Pelikan M400 is a medium sized fountain pen with a cylindrical body. Above and below the body are two rings, one that separates the body from the grip section, and one that separates it from the knob of the piston filler. The cap is screw on, and posts easily over the piston to make up for the fact that the pen itself is on the shorter side. The M400 nib is a dual tone nib, with a brilliant gold towards the front of the nib and a chrome behind it. Engravings of the Pelikan symbol and some crisscrossing lines form a pattern on the nib. The pen is available in several different color options, including a gold striped body and white cap/grip section with gold trim, a green striped body with a black cap/grip section and gold trim, a blue striped body and black cap/grip section with gold trim, and a special edition tortoiseshell brown striped body with a black cap/grip section and gold trim, among some others. On the top of the cap is a gold circle engraved with the Pelikan symbol, a pelican feeding it’s young, and the clip of the pen is a forward facing pelican head.

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Now for the technical aspects. First, the filling system. In case anyone isn’t familiar with the iconic piston filler, I’ll lay it out right here. A piston filling system is a filling system in a fountain pen that utilizes the entire body as a house for the ink. It functions manually, as the user twists the end knob to extend the piston into the body until it is fully extended, and then twists in in the other direction to pull ink into the pen. The M400 piston system works like a charm, and the end knob does not come unscrewed if you post the cap. (which I do.) Because the body is translucent, if you hold the pen up to a light you can see the ink inside of the body, a beautiful and interesting feature. Additionally, the rivets above the grip, which is rather small, do not interfere at all with the writing experience, which is a major plus.

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Onto the performance. The M400’s nib is 14k gold, and at its price range you probably expect a smooth writing experience. Pelikan gold nibs are not just smooth, though. They’re butter. German nibs are known for their quality and smoothness, and Pelikan does not deviate from this reputation. The experience of writing with this pen is the smoothest that I have ever had. The medium nib is on the wetter side.

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I recommend the Pelikan M400 to anyone who is willing to spend a significant amount of money on a fountain pen or to anyone looking for a Pelikan pen to start out with. Do not purchase this pen for it’s retail price, $400! You can purchase it for $280 on multiple websites and at pen shows, which is the same price of the upgraded M200. Click here for the M400 on Pen Chalet.

Signing Out,

Will

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Home, Personal Experiences

2018 Washington D.C. Fountain Pen Supershow

As I live directly outside Washington D.C., I was ecstatic to learn that the largest pen show in the world, the Washington D.C. Fountain Pen Supershow, was held right in my hometown. The pen show is one of many, with a new location as of last year, Marriott Fairview Place in Fairfax VA, outside of D.C. I had been to one pen show before, the Baltimore Pen Show, and I decided to go in with low expectations, knowing that if I raised my expectations too high (which I was struggling not to do) I could be disappointed. What I was greeted with, though, was far from disappointing.

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The D.C. pen show consisted of two large rooms, a main ballroom that was off the the right, and a smaller room directly to the left. In the entrance hallway were a few stands. Upon purchasing tickets, my father and I were promptly handed two bottles of “D.C. Fountain Pen Supershow Blue” ink which we had been rewarded for being among the first people there (We came on a Sunday to avoid the large crowds.) The first room was small, but had some interesting vendors; Kanilea Pen Co, Herbert Pen Co, and Toys from the Attic, just to name a few. We walked around a little, scanned, and decided to move on, to come back if we felt the need. Taking a quick glance at the hallway, I discovered that the Nock Co. table was outside, run by Brad Dowdy, (Of The Pen Addict podcast) celebrity of the pen world. We looked briefly, and decided to move into the main ballroom.

 

 

The main ballroom of any pen show is the place where much of the magic happens. Here you will find vintage and modern pen dealers, nibmeisters, and many connoisseurs and collectors scanning the tables. Many vendors that I knew were there, as well as many that I didn’t. Some of the more prominent ones included Bittner, Fountain Pen Hospital, The Nibsmith, (actually in a hallway to the left of the ballroom) and Anderson Pens, as well as nibmeister Mike Masuyama. I ended up discussing vintage flex nibs with a nice man that collects and sells vintage pens he finds with wet noodles, as well as talking to people from The Nibsmith, Crazy Alan’s Emporium, and Karas Pen Co. Everyone was very kind and willing to share their pen knowledge. Next, we entered the hallway to the left of the ballroom where we examined some vendors (Sailor Pen Co., The Nibsmith) and then moved back to the main hallway. It had been a fantastic day.

In the end, I left with two bottles of Monteverde D.C. Pen Show ink, a Pelikan M400 green stripe fountain pen, (review coming soon!) and lots of business cards. I ended up seeing Brad Dowdy as well as Brian Goulet of Goulet Pens. Calligraphy classes were held on Saturday and there was an ink sampling room upstairs. Pen shows are a wonderful opportunity for pen collectors and others alike to learn more about pens, and a great time for a new pen or ink or to get a nib fixed/ground. There are pen shows all over the country, just look into one near you. The link to the D.C. show is here.

Signing Out,

Will

 

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Accessory Reviews, Home, Pen Case Reviews

Nock Co. Sinclair Pen Case

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I have only ever completed one review of a pen case, and the reason for that is because I only have a single pen case in my possession, the Monteverde 36 slot case. Although I have had the Monteverde case for a little while now, it is rather large, and without a handle it’s tough to bring places. I prefer keeping this case on my desk and using it for un-inked pens. Therefore, I decided to purchase a new pen case, a small one that I could transport easily. The following post will detail that case and tell all the ups and downs. Enjoy!

Nock. Co. is a small company run by Brad Dowdy (best known for The Pen Addict podcast, which I highly recommend) and Jeffrey Bruckwicki, of Project of Seamster. Jeffrey and Brad produce high quality nylon pen cases which are more flexible and durable than leather cases. Although many people are under the impression that leather is a more attractive, nicer, and overall better material than nylon, these pen cases are created with impeccable care, and therefore are just as comfortable as leather. The Sinclair is a small, rectangular pen case that has three high quality pen slots across from  a larger memo book size pocket. Although the pocket is intended for notebooks, owners of the Sinclair are encouraged to use their imagination with the pocket. It can really work for anything that fits the dimensions; the object must be thinner than 3.5″, and shorter than 5.5″. Since the zipper travels around the top edge of the pen case, starting halfway down the long edge of the case and ending parallel to it at the other long edge, (see photo), the middle of the case functions as a storage space as well, although it can only be used for small items like erasers and ink cartridges. The case is generally easy to carry, as it fits in one’s hand. (4″ wide*6.5″ tall.) The Sinclair comes in these color combos: Raven outside and Aqua inside (the case that I possess), Mandarin outside and Steel inside, and a Spa blue outside with a Lime inside.

 

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Well, that was a concise post. I guess it’s because I had little to say about this case. It is high quality, easy to bring around, and it does the job; it holds pens. Just a small note: I have a Pilot Vanishing Point, a Pelikan M400, and a Pilot Falcon in the case right now, and they all fit wonderfully. I recommend this case to anyone looking for a small, portable pen case, as this is one of the best you will find. You can find the Sinclair here on Nock Co. Thanks for reading, and tune in for upcoming posts!

Signing off,

Will

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Accessory Reviews, Home, Ink Reviews

Noodler’s Apache Sunset Ink

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This is my first fountain pen ink post, so hopefully it goes well! Please enjoy.

Of any item in the pen world that is best for noodling around with, fountain pen ink is high on the list. And what better ink to noodle with than Noodler’s fountain pen inks? One of many ink companies,  Noodler’s specializes in sheening and shading fountain pen inks (inks that change color within their line). Their inks are one of a kind, each with a specific label and name that contributes to the description of the ink. Noodler’s inks tend to be on the less saturated side of the ink spectrum, so they are safe for many different fountain pens (as you really have to try to clog a pen with them.) Furthermore, Noodler’s produces quite a few PH neutral inks, an interesting factor. Most inks cost around $12, (a bargain for the quality of the ink) though some prices escalate to as much as $30. Noodler’s inks are perfect for flex nib pens and calligraphy. In fact, the only two products that Noodler’s manufactures are flex nib fountain pens and inks.

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Now, onto the specifics. The ink that I own is one of, if not the most popular ink that Noodler’s manufactures. Apache Sunset is an amber, yellowey-orange ink that produces magnificent shading. It is a wet ink, so it is not the fastest drier, but it is not downright slow to dry either. Apache Sunset comes in a 3 oz glass bottle in the shape of a rectangular prism. A riveted cylinder leads up to the plastic screw-on cap on top. The label shows the Noodler’s logo and lists some other facts, while depicting an Apache man surrounded by cliffs. Once a line of ink or a letter is completed and the nib of the pen is removed from the paper, a rich, deep vermilion slowly creeps up the already visible line of golden-amber, stopping about 3/4 of a centimeter up the line. This creates a beautiful orange line, which looks almost exactly like the gradient colors on clouds in a Florida sunset (hence the name).

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Noodler’s Apache Sunset is a wonderful fountain pen ink that is available here on Goulet Pens. I recommend it to anyone looking for a nice shading ink that is not too expensive. Apache Sunset is great for anyone into flex nibs and calligraphy, but is also nice for normal fountain pens and everyday writing. It stands out on the paper, as it is a light color, but it is easy to read and use. Keep in mind that this ink does not come in cartridges, so you will want a fountain pen with a converter or a pen with a built in filling system like vacuum or piston to use it. Please check out this ink. I can almost guarantee you that you will not be disappointed.

Signing off,

Will

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Home, Opinions

Top 5 Pen Resources

Now, I often go onto the world wide inter-web to do some pen purchasing researching, or to enter some giveaways. In this concise post, I will reference what I think are the five best fountain pen resources online in order from 1 to 5. I will also attach links, so feel free to visit these sites. Enjoy.

  1. Goulet Pens

The Goulet Pen company is a blog, vlog, and online store that specializes in fountain pens and accessories to accompany these instruments. It is my personal favorite pen resource, as it is fun, interactive, and extremely helpful. Some cool features include the Nib Nook, where you can compare real size writing samples of any pen that Goulet Pens has in stock, the Swap shop, (the same thing as the Nib Nook but for inks) and the fun blog and Youtube channel that are always active and cranking out new videos and posts. There is even the occasional giveaway, so tune of for those. Links: Website/Online store: https://www.gouletpens.com/. Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPdFDFTd6P1a__tAr8CrpCQ. Blog: https://blog.gouletpens.com/?doing_wp_cron=1532466407.9179799556732177734375

2. Fahrney’s Pens

Now, I do have a little bit of bias here, because Fahrney’s is my hometown pen shop and one of the best known pen stores in the world. Fahrney’s specializes in–well, all sorts of pens and accessories. Fahrney’s has a storefront in Washington D.C. and a website linked below that I find to be very helpful. They have the occasional giveaway on the website, and host and annual pen show in the summers. Link: https://www.fahrneyspens.com/.

3. Pen Chalet

Pen Chalet is a helpful website with lots of pens to purchase, but my favorite aspect of the site is the free giveaways and blog posts every week! Many fountain pen inks are given away, and occasionally a pen is offered up. Link: https://www.penchalet.com/

4. Classic Fountain Pens

Classic Fountain Pens not only sells pens, but it also sells many fountain pen nibs (online) and allows the purchaser to get a custom grind on any nib. Custom fountain pens is the closest website to a real life fountain pen show, as you can get vintage nibs, used and new pens, and get nibs ground to your liking. Although I do not use Custom Fountain Pens much, it is a wonderful resource for those who are starting to get deep into pens. Link: https://www.nibs.com/

5. The Pen Addict

The Pen Addict is not only a blog, but it also has its own podcast with Brad Dowdy (owner of Nock Co.) and Myke Hurley. This podcast can be found for free on any podcast application, and always features Brad and Myke discussing the latest pen news. There is also merchandise available on the website, so check it out! Link: https://www.penaddict.com/

Please visit these websites and poke around. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. Enjoy!

Signing Out,

Will

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Fountain Pen Reviews, Home

Pilot-Namiki Falcon (Flex Nib, Fine) + Some Flexible Tips

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The Pilot Namiki Falcon is an interesting pen.
Flex nibs are both famous and infamous in the fountain pen world, known for their unprecedented ability to be carried around in a pocket while also being able to create beautiful calligraphy and to transform normal handwriting into artwork. Flex nibs are also known for inky messes, lots of smudging and skipping on paper, and, frankly, the fact that they are hard to use. While all of the latter facts can be true, there are numerous solutions. With a little practice and some tips, anyone can use a flex nib, and the Pilot Falcon is one of the best.

First off, let me talk a little about the Pilot Falcon pen itself. Afterwards I will address that flex nib issue and give some pointers. The Falcon is a flex nib fountain pen costing $152 (a little pricey, but very reasonable for a gold nibbed pen) that has a 14k gold nib available in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad sizes, that comes either with a red body/chrome trim, black body/chrome trim, or black body/gold trim. It is a considerably light pen, weighing just over 18 grams. The Falcon uses a Pilot Con-50 converter, a standard Pilot converter, and can also take cartridges. *I will soon be constructing a blog post on how to fill pens (converters, cartridges, and piston mechanisms), so tune in for that!* The Falcon has a plastic body (or metal, but that’s a different pen). Writing with a Falcon is not smooth, but the experience should not be expected to be smooth, as it is a flex nib. The Falcon is a wonderful pen for anyone looking for a nice flex nib, perhaps a next level flex pen (after starter) or a starter gold nib fountain pen.
Link to Goulet Pens Falcon HERE.

Now for some flexible tips. First off, it is a wise idea to initiate your flex journey with an inexpensive flex nib to get a feel for what that are like, the best being the Noodler’s flex series (click HERE). Secondly, never press down to hard too try to get maximum flex when writing with a flex nib. It is not in anyone’s best interest to break a nib. Just be careful. Third, the myth that lefties can’t use flex nibs is a MYTH! Although it may be slightly harder for us folk, lefties possess the same ability as righties to wield this flexible weapon. A tip for lefties: try to teach yourself to be an underwriter (keep your hand underneath your nib when writing) if you are going to use flex nibs. It helps immensely. For more information, refer to this great new video series by Goulet Pens about lefties, called Left Out. And last, do some research! There are lots of great resources on the interweb about flex nibs, all of which are waiting to be checked out by a new flex nib user. Flex nibs are a whole new world, and I suggest that you venture into it.

Signing Out,
Will

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