Stationery – Stationary Journey https://stationaryjourney.com One step forward, one step back Sun, 19 Aug 2018 09:22:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://stationaryjourney.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/greyscale-512-54a826c8v1_site_icon-32x32.png Stationery – Stationary Journey https://stationaryjourney.com 32 32 64970933 Galen Leather Traveler’s Notebook Cover Review https://stationaryjourney.com/galen-leather-travelers-notebook-cover-review https://stationaryjourney.com/galen-leather-travelers-notebook-cover-review#respond Fri, 17 Jun 2016 10:07:23 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13687

A review of the Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

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Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover
This is a review of the Galen Leather Traveler’s Notebook Cover, in Navy Blue leather.

Galen Leather provided the notebook provided free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not paid to write the review. The review itself is my honest assessment of the notebook cover and it was not influenced by the fact that the cover was free of charge.

A few weeks ago Zeynep from Galen Leather, based in Istanbul Turkey, contacted me offering a sample of their products to review. I gratefully accepted and after spending quite a while admiring their website I opted for a Field Notes sized notebook cover in Navy Blue. As well as stocking a range of notebook covers in various sizes, they also make iPad covers, Macbook sleeves, passport wallets and even pipe rolls.

Why did I chose this particular notebook cover? I already have a Midori Passport sized notebook cover that I don’t use any more. I bought it before my notebook preference was well developed. In time I found that I preferred Field Notes Pitch Black notebooks along with Word and Calepeno notebooks for variety. None of these fit the Midori. I tried my hand at making my own larger version (i.e. a “Fauxdori”), intended to hold three notebooks. I still didn’t use it regularly either as in practice I tend to only use one notebook at a time and a cover seems over the top just for that. So I though it would be interesting to try out a professionally-made cover for 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebooks as a comparison with my previous covers. Perhaps it would even coax me back into carrying more notebooks regularly again.

The cover arrived a couple of weeks later, and inside the UPS pouch was the box below, protected by bubble wrap.

Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

Regular readers of my reviews will know that I’m not a fan of ostentatious packaging. The box satisfies my sensibilities perfectly. It’s stout cardboard, and so protected the contents adequately, not that there was anything especially fragile inside. I like the traditional lettering on the box. While it could go in the recycling, I’ll be keeping it for organising small items.

Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

Inside the box was the notebook cover with a card band around, matching the style of the box.

Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

The band concealed the elastic mid-band and charm. Underneath was another card with name of the person who made the cover along with care and cleaning instructions. These are all nice touches which show that these are not mass produced items. Inside the cover itself was – an Evil Eye! At first this seemed an odd thing to include but after reading the accompanying card I found it charming. I suppose it could be used as a bookmark, although I’m not sure that’s the intention.

So we get to the cover itself, with its elastic mid-band and brass charm, which is in the shape of a moustache. In practice I found the charm a little cumbersome and will be taking it off. I also worry that the metal could scratch other items kept with the notebook cover. Other options are available, so take more care than I did when selecting the charm.

Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

A feature of the Galen Leather cover is that it has three holes at the top and bottom of the spine (compared to one on the Midori and my Fauxdori) which allows three separate elastic bands to pass through and in turn it’s easy to pass three notebooks through. While this is still possible with single holes, as on the Midori, it’s a bit more fiddly.

P6130991.JPG

The notebook cover holds three notebooks comfortably.

Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

The leather itself is smooth and shiny, and the Navy Blue colour is actually a little lighter than in the photos. The leather smell is strong but no unpleasant (at least to me). It will be interesting to see how it wears and how long the smell persists.

Another minor difference is that the hole through which mid band passes is on “spine” of the Galen leather cover, while of the Midori it’s in the middle of the back of the cover – which caused a “bump” under the writing surface. I think the placement is better on the Galen Leather cover.

Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

The holes are cleanly and precisely cut.

Galen Leather Traveler's Notebook Cover

The edges and corners are nicely finished.

Galen Leather Traveler’s Notebook Cover – Conclusion

My photographs really do the notebook cover justice. Take a look at the Galen Leather website, where you’ll be treated to lots of leather eye candy (that sounded a lot better in my head that it looks on the screen).

In conclusion, the notebook cover is a good quality item which I can thoroughly recommend. The base cost for the item, according to the website, would have been 22.20 Euro, which I consider to be good value. The shipping charges to the UK are reasonable. I’m not sure if the package would attract customs charges or VAT though – that’s unpredictable regardless of the supplier.

Finally, thanks to Galen Leather for the opportunity to review their product, and I wish Zeynep and Yusuf success for the future.

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-brown-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-brown-ink-review#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2016 18:16:58 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13666

A review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown Ink

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown
This is the sixth and last in this batch of reviews, for Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown.

For a description of the bottle and box, please see the review of Diamine Crimson ink and for the Cult Pens variants please the review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue ink. In this case there were no small labels on the box or the bottle cap. The sole supplier is Cult Pens and the ink is low priced.

The test pen in this case was a black Pilot MR with a medium nib.

Water resistance was minimal yet again. Only faint lines were left under running water and lines were obliterated by water drops. Cleaning was very easy. The drying time was around 45 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown - Rhodia Dot Pad
Nothing wrong with the performance of this ink, and I can confirm now that I have long since recovered from the cold I had – there is only a very faint chemical smell. I’m just not a fan of the colour. The scan looks darker than in reality.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown - Ryman Memo
Feathering is severe on this paper.

Yellow Post-It

Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown - Post-It
Not too bad on this paper though.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown - Field Notes
Unusually this is better than the Ryman Memo Block.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Cult Pens (Diamine) Deep Dark Brown - Word Card
A fairly true representation of the very dark brown, leaning very slightly towards red.

Cult Pens Deep Dark Brown – Conclusion

The performance overall is okay, with some reservations on the Ryman Memo Block paper, so worth a try if you like the colour. I’m very fussy about brown inks, and this isn’t one of my favourites, but I don’t actively dislike it.

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Green Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-green-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-green-ink-review#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2016 16:00:55 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13563

A review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Green Ink

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Green
After taking the long way round via 1986, this is the fifth in this batch of ink reviews, for Cult Pens Deep Dark Green.

For a description of the bottle and box, please see the review of Diamine Crimson ink and for the Cult Pens variants please the review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue ink. In this case there were no small labels on the box or the bottle cap. The sole supplier is Cult Pens and the ink is low priced.

The test pen in this case was a green Pilot Prera with a medium nib.

Water resistance was minimal again, only faint lines were left under running water and lines were obliterated by water drops. Cleaning was mostly easy but I did need to use an ultrasonic cleaner for the grip section. This may be due to the design of the pen as the problem area seem to be the metal ring which is a feature of the Pilot Prera. The drying time was around 50 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Cult Pens Deep Dark Green - Rhodia Dot Pad
The scan makes the ink look close to black but in reality its a very dark green with a hint of grey. I like it.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Cult Pens Deep Dark Green - Ryman Memo
Again this looks almost black in the scan rather than the dark green it is on the paper. Feathering is more of an issue here.

Yellow Post-It

Cult Pens Deep Dark Green - Post-It
This scan is more true to life, and performance is okay on this paper.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Cult Pens Deep Dark Green - Field Notes
The scanner is fooled again – even thought in reality it looks almost grey, there is still a stronger hint of green in the original.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Cult Pens (Diamine) Deep Dark Green - Word Card
This is the most accurate representation of the colour of the ink. The hint of grey and the shading is apparent.

Cult Pens Deep Dark Green – Conclusion

I don’t usually like inks with a hint of grey, but I’m happy to make an exception in this case. Another one in the series which would be useful as an unusual note-taking ink.

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-orange-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-orange-ink-review#comments Tue, 22 Mar 2016 18:48:35 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13471

A review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange ink

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange
This is the fourth in this batch of ink reviews, for Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange.

For a description of the bottle and box, please see the review of Diamine Crimson ink and for the Cult Pens variants please the review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue ink. In this case there were small labels on both the box and the bottle cap. The sole supplier is Cult Pens and the ink is low priced.

The test pen in this case was a yellow Pilot Prera with a medium nib.

Water resistance was minimal again, only very faint lines were left under running water and lines were obliterated by water drops. Cleaning was easy and the drying time was around 45 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange - Rhodia Dot Pad
The scan shows the attractive deep brownish-orange colour which really pops off the page. The slight restriction in the flow was really only noticeable in comparison to the other inks in this series.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange - Ryman Memo
Decent results on this paper despite the feathering.

Yellow Post-It

Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange - Post-It
Perhaps the slightly drier flow contributed to the patchy overage, but the results were still acceptable.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange - Field Notes
Feeling dry on this paper but the end results are still okay.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Cult Pens (Diamine) Deep Dark Orange - Word Card
This shows the range of shading possible although the darker shading is only likely to be achieved with a wet pen. No sheen is visible in this case.

Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange – Conclusion

The brightest colour in this series is also possibly the most attractive of all and the most suitable for markup. Although all the Deep Dark inks are meant to be appropriate for business use this is the least sober of all the inks so may not suit note-taking in a business setting. I’ll leave the reader to be the best judge of that.

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-purple-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-purple-ink-review#comments Sun, 20 Mar 2016 16:56:04 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13462

A review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple ink

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple
This is the third in this series of ink reviews, for Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple.

For a description of the bottle and box, please see the review of Diamine Crimson ink and for the Cult Pens variants please the review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue ink. In this case there were no labels on the box or the bottle cap. The sole supplier is Cult Pens and the ink is low priced.

The test pen in this instance was the Pilot Metropolitan Violet Leopard with a medium nib.

Water resistance was almost non-existent – only a few faint lines were left under running water and water droplets completely obliterated the lines. Cleaning was easy and the drying time for Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple was one of the lowest for this series at around 30 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple - Rhodia Dot Pad
On this paper performance is good and the ink dries to an attractive dark purple, which I described in the notes as aubergine but blackberry or blackcurrant purple would be equally appropriate.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple - Ryman Memo
Still okay on this paper and the spread doesn’t dilute the colour much.

Yellow Post-It

Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple - Post-It
This paper gives a good contrast and really brings out the purple.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple - Field Notes
This is a good result on this challenging paper.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Cult Pens (Diamine) Deep Dark Purple - Word Card
The shading comes out here, as does a green sheen which is not evident in the writing samples.

Cult Pens Deep Dark Purple – Conclusion

This is the best overall performer so far in this series on the most challenging papers. I also like the colour, but maybe not as much as Deep Dark Red or Deep Dark Blue. A really good ink.

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Red Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-red-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-red-ink-review#respond Sat, 19 Mar 2016 19:05:16 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13446

A review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Red ink

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Red
This is the second in the series of Cult Pens Deep Dark ink reviews, this time for Cult Pens Deep Dark Red.

There’s not a lot to add to my previous descriptions of the standard Cult Pens box and bottle given in the the Diamine Crimson Ink Review or the Cult Pens variants described in the Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue Ink Review other than in this case the box and bottle cap don’t have the silver ink name sticker, so the only place the ink is actually identified is on the front label of the bottle. The supplier is Cult Pens and again the ink is low priced. This batch of reviews will get very repetitive very quickly.

The test pen with Cult Pens Deep Dark Red was the Pilot MR White Tiger with a medium nib.

Water resistance was negligible leaving only faint grey lines, and water drops obliterated the lines completely. Cleaning was easy. Drying time was one of the best for the series at around 30 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Cult Pens Deep Dark Red - Rhodia Dot Pad
No quibbles about the performance of this ink on good paper. The notes describe this as a brownish red but on reflection I would call it more of a rich chestnut brown – very nice.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Cult Pens Deep Dark Red - Ryman Memo
This is probably the weakest of the writing samples on what is turning out to be one of the most challenging papers at the moment. The spread has diluted the colour almost to a wine red.

Yellow Post-It

Cult Pens Deep Dark Red - Post-It
This isn’t too bad, the coverage is quite variable though.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Cult Pens Deep Dark Red - Field Notes
Sorry for cutting off the left hand side. The spread again led to a more wine red colour, but the results are okay.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Cult Pens (Diamine) Deep Dark Red - Word Card
This shows some of the shading possible as well as a green sheen which didn’t appear in the writing samples.

Cult Pens Deep Dark Red – Conclusion

The more I look at this ink the more attractive it appears to me. The drying time and ease of cleaning are obvious advantages and I would consider it to be more suitable for general note-taking than markup. Although it’s reminiscent of one of my favourite inks, Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses, I can’t see it replacing the Noodler’s ink in my affections, at least not yet.

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-blue-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/cult-pens-deep-dark-blue-ink-review#comments Sat, 19 Mar 2016 16:39:39 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13434

A review of Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue Ink

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Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue
This is the first in this batch of ink reviews, which will focus on the Cult Pens Deep Dark series. This review is for Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue ink.

The Cult Pens Deep Dark series of inks are manufactured by Diamine in the UK – even if this wasn’t mentioned on the Cult Pens Website it would be obvious for the bottle and box which are exactly the same as those described in the review of Diamine Crimson ink. No surprise either that Cult Pens is the sole supplier of these inks, hence the direct link. For the avoidance of doubt, I bought the inks, they were not supplied for the purposes of this review. They all cost a shade under £6.00, the typical price for standard 80ml bottles of Diamine inks, so I would class these as low priced.

The only differences between the standard Diamine 80ml bottle and this example relate to the labeling. The normal front label has been replaced with a bespoke one showing the name of the ink. The Diamine logo is also present. There’s an additional label on the back of the bottle (not present on standard inks) which gives the volume of ink. the country of origin, a link to the Cult Pens website and the slogan “The write stuff”. Both of these labels look like small shipping labels, which may have been printed and added later, and haven’t been tailored to the arched side of the bottle, unlike the standard Diamine labels. The silver label on the cap which is normally the only indication of the ink in the bottle is missing in this case, although there is one on the box. This is inconsistent across the series – some have one or the other, neither or both. The label on the box obviously makes it possible to determine which ink it is without opening the box.

The test pen in this case was the Pilot MR Silver with a medium nib.

Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue showed negligible water resistance, leaving a few faint blue lines when held under running water, and lines were obliterated by water droplets. Cleaning was very easy, and the drying time was around a minute (the longest for this series of inks).

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue - Rhodia Dot Pad
The ink looks almost black in this scan – it’s only in the lighter shading that the blue colour can be seen. I wrote that that the blue looks “steely” but to clarify I mean that it’s reminiscent of the range of blue colours produced by tempering.
Differentially tempered chisel.jpg
By ZaerethOwn work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19914298

The Cult Pens website also indicates that the ink has hints of purple, which I can see now it’s been pointed it out, but possibly wouldn’t have otherwise.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue - Ryman Memo
Barely a hint of blue left in this scan.

Yellow Post-It

Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue - Post-It
Interestingly the yellow seems to bring out the contrasting purple here.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue - Field Notes
The spread brings out the blue here.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Cult Pens (Diamine) Deep Dark Blue - Word Card
Very dark here, and there’s even a reddish sheen towards the bottom of the swab. This didn’t appear in any of the writings samples though. It would be interesting the try this ink with a very wet pen to see if it does appear in normal use, but the drying time could then be an issue.

Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue – Conclusion

I do like this ink and it’s one of my preferred blue-blacks. Despite my comments in the Rhodia Dot Pad sample, this ink does hold some surprises regarding the colour, but on different papers ranging from almost black (with a red sheen), dark grey to purplish blue. The ink itself is a good performer overall, albeit with the slightly longer drying time, and to use my stock phrase again – more water resistance would be welcome.

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Diamine Crimson Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-crimson-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-crimson-ink-review#comments Sun, 28 Feb 2016 21:48:42 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13400

A review of Diamine Crimson ink

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Diamine Crimson

This is the last in this batch of three ink reviews, for one of my favourite red inks, Diamine Crimson.

No nonsense here from Diamine – the name is just “Crimson”, which according to Wikipedia is:

“a strong, red color, inclining to purple. It originally meant the color of the kermes dye produced from a scale insect, Kermes vermilio, but the name is now sometimes also used as a generic term for slightly bluish-red colors that are between red and rose”.

Crimson is also defined as an HTML colour corresponding to #DC143C, which looks like this:

While this is fairly close to the colour of the ink it looks a little lighter to me, but a lot will depend on the device this page is being viewed on.

The ink came from a UK supplier and is currently available for around £6.00 for a 80ml bottle, which I would consider very reasonably priced.

This is the first time I have had to describe the conventional Diamine box and bottle, as opposed to the “Anniversary” boxes. Where to start? The box is almost cubical, a combination of grey and black with white text giving the absolute minimum information. Even the name of the ink has been added with a small sticker on the top of the box. Although I couldn’t find a picture of a “vintage” Diamine box (or bottle) I wouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t changed much since 1864. On to the bottle, which follows the retro style, with flat sides fluted up to the neck. Even the cap (which also bears a little sticker with the name of the ink) looks like it’s been made out of something like Bakelite (I’m sure it hasn’t though). The label on the front matches the grey, black and white style of the box. The only concession to ornament is the fluting on the bottle, giving an even more spartan appearance than Noodler’s version, which at least custom labels (often quite elaborate). As somebody who was born in the industrial Midlands, it’s easy for me to conjure up a mental image of the kind of factory where such a design would originate, and looking on the old factory on the Diamine website I wasn’t far off. Considering the number of times I’ve criticised more ostentatious packaging it would be churlish of me to wish there was something a little more interesting about the boxes and bottles, even just to give me something to refer to in future reviews, so I’ll keep those thoughts to myself! The one practical criticism that I do have is that I find the neck of the bottle quite narrow. I’ve not emptied a Diamine bottle yet, bit I can imagine it will be tricky getting the last of the ink out, at least using a fountain pen. Well, that’s it – what will probably be my one and only attempt at describing the standard Diamine bottle and box. I’m amazed I managed to write as much as I did.

The test pen on this occasion was the Pilot MR White Tiger with a medium nib – I really like using this pen with red inks.

Water resistance was almost non-existent, running water left very faint lines and water droplets obliterated any lines. Cleaning was easy enough but in common with a lot of red inks it can be tricky getting the last of the ink out of the feed. Drying time was fairly quick at around 30 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Diamine Crimson - Rhodia Dot Pad

This is overall a very good performing ink, but the feature I really need to mention here (and which doesn’t really show in the usual scans) is that the ink shades in an interesting way, with a “fringe” on the edge of most letters which I think adds to the way the ink appears to pop off the page. This is most evident on Rhodia paper. Here is a magnified example, even here the scan doesn’t really do it justice, neither does my atrocious penmanship, but it is visible.
Diamine Crimson - Shading

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Diamine Crimson - Ryman Memo Block

Again good performance and again the scan really doesn’t do it justice,

Yellow Post-It

Diamine Crimson - Post-It

Another good result, this time taking on a brownish tinge.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Diamine Crimson - Field Notes

One of the better results on this paper, not even much dilution of the colour.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Diamine Crimson - Word Card

This shows the range of shading, and the fringe around the swab, especially on the top edge.

Conclusion

The colour of this ink means that it’s suitable not just for markup but also for taking the odd note. Once again water resistance would be a bonus, but even without this is a perfectly acceptable ink, if you like the colour.

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Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Gao Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/pilot-iroshizuku-asa-gao-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/pilot-iroshizuku-asa-gao-ink-review#comments Sun, 28 Feb 2016 12:11:17 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13391

A review of Pilot Iroshizuku Asa Gao ink

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Pilot Iroshizuku Asa Gao

The second in this batch of ink reviews is for one of my favourite blue inks, Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Gao.

As is typically the case with Iroshizuku inks, there’s no great backstory to the name of the ink. “Asa-Gao” means Morning Glory, so the name derives from the mainly blue coloured flowering plant. I say mainly blue because there’s not only blue forms but white, purple and pink too. Even the blue form varies a great deal, but the name is still appropriate for this deeply saturated ink with a hint of purple.

The bottle came from an Ebay supplier – this was before I was aware of a more reasonably priced Amazon supplier. At the time of writing the price can vary from about £15 to an eye-watering £90. Since there are still some lower priced suppliers around at the moment I’ll class this is moderately priced for the purposes of this review.

I have already desribed the typical 50ml Iroshizuku bottle and box in my review of Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki, so I won’t repeat myself. The difference here is that the labels on the bottle and box are coloured to fairly closely match the ink, although I think they look a bit washed out compared to the ink.

The test pen in this instance was a Pilot MR Silver with a medium nib.

The ink showed little water resistance although faint blue lines were left under running water. The droplet test obliterated the lines completely. Cleaning was easy, and the drying time was quite quick at around 20 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Pilot Iroshizuku Asa Gao - Rhodia Dot Pad

This really shows why I like this ink – no feathering, moderate shading without ever looking washed out, good flow and above all the colour is a really nice, no nonsense, business blue leaning towards purple. I typically use this ink in a Lamy 2000 with a fine nib, so there’s a quick writing sample with that pen (not that there’s any appreciable difference).

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Pilot Iroshizuku - Ryman Memo Block

Some feathering here, but still acceptable.

Yellow Post-It

Pilot Iroshizuku Asa Gao - Post-It

Looking a little bit washed out, but still okay.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Pilot Iroshizuku Asa Gao - Field Notes

This paper also drains the colour a little, but performamnce on this paper is still okay overall.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Gao - Word Card

This gives a good indication of the shading this ink is capable of.

Conclusion

As is usually the case, my liking for this ink comes down to the colour. It’s as close to my ideal blue as I’ve seen so far. It performs well on mosts papers and while more water resistance would be nice, I’ve yet to come across another blue ink that ticks all the boxes. Until I do this will suit me for everyday use.

Reflections on the colour

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Noodler’s Heart of Darkness Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/noodlers-heart-darkness-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/noodlers-heart-darkness-ink-review#comments Sat, 27 Feb 2016 18:37:59 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13372

A review of Noodler's Heart of Darkness Ink

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Noodler's Heart of Darkness

I’ve finally started the next batch of ink reviews and, spoiler alert, these are for three of my favourite inks. The first is for Noodler’s Heart of Darkness.

The ink gets its name from the novella by Joseph Conrad, which he based on his experiences of the Congo in Africa. The story in turn was adapted as the movie “Apocalypse Now”. I haven’t read the book, or watched the movie apart from a few clips on TV, I realise that the latter is such a major omission in my movie-watching CV that I’ve just ordered it from Amazon. What’s this got to do with ink? Probably nothing, but it’s a cool and approriate name.

The label shows a jungle scene, with an elephant (the ears look authentically African) and what I assume to be the lord of the demon catfishes. As I doubt that the latter has ever been caught on film instead we are treated to a lifelike drawing. The text on the label is limited to “Heart of Darkness” in English and French, “Eternal” and “4.5oz”. The latter is probably with most significant with regard to this review, as it gives me my first opportunity to review the Noodler’s 4.5oz, after having floundered when trying to say something new about the 3oz bottles in recent reviews.

Let’s get the fact that he box is a typical Noodler’s white box with black line-art, upsized for a 4.5oz bottle, out of the way quickly. So what about the bottle? It’s purely functional, which I approve of – no surprise there, but it’s a different functionality to the 3oz bottle. The 3oz bottle is fine for filling conventional fountain pens, whereas the 4.5oz bottle is pretty awful for this. The neck is narrow and the bottle is deep, not a good combination for a cartridge converter or piston filler, for example, but necessary for the eyedropper in the cap of the 4.5oz bottle. That’s where this comes into it’s own – for filling eyedropper pens. In fact, when I bought my first bottle I decanted some into an empty Diamine bottle, just to make it easier to fill more conventional pens.

I’ve bought two 4.5 oz bottles so far. The first came with an unbranded Platinum Preppy (the bottom one of the pens in the photo able) intended to be used as an eyedropper pen. The o-ring was broken, so I needed to replace it with one I had to hand, which was a more chunky one. The plastic on these pens is very brittle so the cap quickly cracked, hence the classy piece of sticky tape wrapped around it in the photo. Despite it’s limitations I really like this pen and have used it to label almost every one of the Word Cards on this site. The second bottle came with two free pens, one a free flex pen of the type which seems to have replaced the Preppy (the top one in the photo), the other a “Charlie” pen, which I will leave to Mr Tardiff to describe.

I’m not a great fan of the newer flex pens. I can’t get on with the nibs and find the sickly smell of the plastic offputting. Although the Charlie pen uses the same plastic it has a different nib and I look forward to trying it with Baystate Blue. I’ll report the results another time.

The first bottle was from my usual US Ebay supplier, the second was from Niche Pens in the UK. As Noodler’s inks are difficult to get in the UK, I took the chance when I had it to get another bottle, even though it will be along time before I need it. There’s no discount that I can see for buying a larger bottle, but the free pens make up for that. Ingnoring shipping I would consider the ink to be reasonably priced.

The test pen on this occasion was a Pilot Metropolitan Violet Leopard with a medium nib. Usually I would use the Pilot MR Black, and I did try using this pen initially for the review, but the flow was so heavy that it looked like I was using a broad nib. I can only assume that as this pen has received so much use that the tines have spread or become more flexible, whereas the Violet Leopard (being newer) seems to be more of nail-like and gave what I felt to be more representative results. It is true that this is a very free flowing ink.

Water resistance was almost total – running water made no visible difference, I assume because any ink that did move was washed away. The droplet test moved some of the ink, just giving a faint grey overlay where some of the ink moved. I hadn’t left the ink to dry very long either before running the test.

Cleaning was surprisingly easy. Drying time was fairly quick at 25 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Noodler's Heart of Darkness - Rhodia Dot Pad

The writing experience was great on this paper, I was however really surprised to see some feathering. I even tried a few writing samples on other sheets of Rhodia Dot Pad paper with the same results, although on Rhodia lined paper no feathering was apparent. I didn’t find it pronounced and maybe wouldn’t have noticed it if I wan’t looking for it. Maybe I’m just making excuses for an ink I already like. I usually use this pen with a Kaweco Dia 2 with a fine nib, which isn’t the most free-flowing pen, so I gave this a try too – some feathering was still visible. There can be no arguing with it being black though, with the minimum of shading.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Noodler's Heart of Darkness - Ryman Memo Block

Some spread here, and still some feathering but it looks even blacker than on Rhodia, if that is possible.

Yellow Post-It

Noodler's Heart of Darkness - Post-It

A little feathering again but the ink performed well on this paper. The black holds up too, not truning to grey.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Noodler's Heart of Darkness - Field Notes

Considering the feathering on better paper, I was expecting bad results, but although there was still some feathering it was acceptable. The blackness is diluted to dark grey, not a great surprise and still just acceptable.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Noodler's Heart of Darkness - Word Card

Only on the fringes of the swab is any real variation visible – on the rest of the sample it’s more the texture of the paper under the lights.

Conclusion

It’s always interesting to use an ink that I already liked under more rigorous conditions and to find a flaw. The feathering really was a surprise, but not one that’s going to stop me using the ink any time soon, mainly due to its other qualities. It’s still fairly quick drying and as water resitant as any other ink I’ve used so far, and above all it’s truly black with the minimum of shading – just what I want.

I’ve heard the phrase “as black as the inside of a coffin on a moonless night” used quite often, and it sums up this ink perfectly, so I tried Googling to find the origin, and got as far as the movie Beverley Hills Ninja (1997). I want this to be wrong – if anyone knows of an earlier source, please post it in the comments.

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Update February 16, 2016 https://stationaryjourney.com/update-february-16-2016 https://stationaryjourney.com/update-february-16-2016#comments Tue, 16 Feb 2016 16:42:34 +0000 https://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13343

Recent pen acquisitions

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Pelikan M205 Amethyst Fine Nib

Just a quick post to update on recent acquisitions.

It shows how out of touch I got with the pen world in recent months that I missed the launch of the Pelikan M205 Amethyst, so when I saw a review recently it was an obvious choice for my next purchase. It has joined my modest collection of M205s, which I plan to review all together one day. I even went for the Rolls Royce option of a rhodium plated gold nib, which was already on by “To Buy” list, and very nice it is too.

Kaweco Ballpoint

A belated Christmas preent arrived a few days ago. Kaweco kindly send me an Allrounder ballpoint pen, unfortunately as it was a surprise I hadn’t told them that my delivery address had changed since I last received a package from them, so it was returned. With admirable persistence they contacted me and resent the pen to the new address. Hopefully you can make out, despite the reflections on my rather sub-par photo, that it’s been personalised too. Thanks again Kaweco!

The is my first point to use the Social Networks Auto-Poster for WordPress Plugin, to replace the Mailchimp Social Plugin which has been retired. It was a a bit of a challenge to setup and I’m not sure it the settings are optimal yet. I’ve also left the Mailchimp plugin enabled out of curiosity, so if two posts appear on Facebook and Twitter that’s the explanation. As always seeems to be the case with WordPress another issue has now arisen and I keep getting messages to refresh the connection of the Jetpack plugin’s link to Google+, even though I’ve done that multiple times, with no effect. Ho hum, that probably means the syndication to Google+ has stopped working, at least for the time being.

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Tropical Green Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-tropical-green-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-tropical-green-ink-review#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 10:44:03 +0000 http://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13211

Review of Diamine 150th Anniversary Tropical Green Ink

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Tropical Green

This is the eighth and final in this batch of ink reviews, for Diamine 150th Anniversary Tropical Green ink.

The name of this ink evokes lush vegetation, although the actual colour is darker than I personally would expect a tropical green to be.

The ink cost £7.75 (including VAT), for a 40ml bottle, from a UK supplier, which along with the other inks in this series I would class as moderately priced.

I gave descriptions of the box and bottle of the 150th Anniversary series in my review of Diamine Anniversary 1864 Blue Black Ink, so I won’t repeat them here. The only difference is that the backgrounds of the box and bottle labels are a close approximation of the Tropical Green ink colour.

The test pen in this case was the Pilot MR White Tiger with a medium nib.

This ink showed minimal water resistance and water drops obliterated text easily. Cleaning the test pen was easy. Drying time was around 20 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Diamine Anniversary Tropical Green - Rhodia Dot Pad

The flow was excellent on this paper which led to a lot of ink being put down resulting in a very dark green colour which is almost black in places. I really like this effect. The downside is that this ink smudged quite easily.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Diamine Anniversary Tropical Green - Ryman Memo Block

Good flow again but not quite as dark – the feathering is disappointing though.

Yellow Post-It

Diamine Anniversary Tropical Green - Post-It

Much lighter on the yellow Post-It.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Diamine Anniversary Tropical Green - Field Notes

Feathering and bleeding but not too bad overall. Lighter again on this paper.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Diamine 150th Anniversary Tropical Green - Word Card

This gives a good idea of the shading this ink is capable of.

Conclusion

I really like this green ink and the range of shading is a nice bonus: I will be using it again in the future. Whether the smudging and feathering will prove to be much of a problem in future only time will tell.

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Terracotta Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-terracotta-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-terracotta-ink-review#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 13:32:21 +0000 http://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13202

Review of Diamine 150th Anniversary Terracotta Ink

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Terracotta

This is the seventh in this batch of ink reviews, for Diamine 150th Anniversary Terracotta ink.

Terracotta is a form of earthenware and the name is Italian for “baked earth”. According to Wikipedia, Terracotta is “brownish orange” making this a good fit for the colour of the ink.

The ink cost £7.75 (including VAT), for a 40ml bottle, from a UK supplier, which along with the other inks in this series I would class as moderately priced.

I gave descriptions of the box and bottle of the 150th Anniversary series in my review of Diamine Anniversary 1864 Blue Black Ink, so I won’t repeat them here. The only difference is that the backgrounds of the box and bottle labels are a close approximation of the Terracotta ink colour.

The test pen in this case was the Pilot Metropolitan Violet Leopard (maybe the worst colour match possible) with a medium nib.

This ink showed minimal water resistance and water drops obliterated text easily. Cleaning the test pen was easy. Drying time was around 25 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Diamine Anniversary Terracotta - Rhodia Dot Pad

This is an attractive ink which shades to dark brown where the ink collects. A small amount of smudging is present where the ink did collect.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Diamine Anniversary Terracotta - Ryman Memo Block

Some feathering, but good performance overall.

Yellow Post-It

Diamine Anniversary Terracotta - Post-It

The ink takes on an interesting sepia tone on this paper, maybe due to the slightly thinner coverage than on the others.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Diamine Anniversary Terracotta - Field Notes

Not too bad but moderate feathering and bleed.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Diamine 150th Anniversary Terracotta - Word Card

A fairly accurate representation but doesn’t show the darker shading possible, around the top extreme edge.

Conclusion

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really into brown inks, but this one sits in the sweet spot of reddish or orangish brown inks which I do like. As such, I would find it useful for informal note taking.

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Silver Fox Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-silver-fox-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-silver-fox-ink-review#comments Sun, 12 Jul 2015 08:43:42 +0000 http://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13167

A Review of Diamine 150th Anniversary Silver Fox Ink

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Silver Fox

This is the sixth in this batch of ink reviews, for Diamine 150th Anniversary Silver Fox ink.

I’m not sure if the name of this ink is meant to evoke the animal or the older gentleman, but it works either way. While an ink that looks exactly like the metallic silver would be too much to expect, this is probably as close as it’s possible to get.

The ink cost £7.75 (including VAT), for a 40ml bottle, from a UK supplier, which along with the other inks in this series I would class as moderately priced.

I gave descriptions of the box and bottle of the 150th Anniversary series in my review of Diamine Anniversary 1864 Blue Black Ink, so I won’t repeat them here. The only difference is that the backgrounds of the box and bottle labels are a close approximation of the Silver Fox ink colour.

The test pen in this case was the Pilot MR Silver (of course) with a medium nib.

This ink showed some water resistance, leaving very faint lines, but water drops obliterated text easily. Cleaning the test pen was easy. Drying time was quite quick at around 15 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Diamine Anniversary Silver Fox - Rhodia Dot Pad

This is an unusual silvery grey colour, on drying it’s quite like a graphite pencil. No smudging that I could see on this paper.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Diamine Anniversary Silver Fox - Ryman Memo Block

A little darker on this paper, and on looking again I see a little feathering.

Yellow Post-It

Diamine Anniversary Silver Fox - Post-It

Quite light on the Post-It – not great to my eye.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Diamine Anniversary Silver Fox - Field Notes

Okay performance but too faint.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Diamine 150th Anniversary Silver Fox - Word Card

This came out quite light compared to some of the writing samples.

Conclusion

There is a lot of variability here between the different writing samples. Overall the this ink performs well, my only problems with it is the colour. Grey ink hold no attraction for me, and this one hasn’t changed my mind.

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Safari Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-safari-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-safari-ink-review#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 16:32:10 +0000 http://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13160

A Review of Diamine 150th Anniversary Safari Ink

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Safari

This is the fifth in this batch of ink reviews, for Diamine 150th Anniversary Safari ink.

The name “Safari” suggests the khaki green colour of the ink. Googling “Safari Green” yields a few close matches to the colour.

The ink cost £7.75 (including VAT), for a 40ml bottle, from a UK supplier, which along with the other inks in this series I would class as moderately priced.

I gave descriptions of the box and bottle of the 150th Anniversary series in my review of Diamine Anniversary 1864 Blue Black Ink, so I won’t repeat them here. The only difference is that the backgrounds of the box and bottle labels are a close approximation of the Safari ink colour.

The test pen in this case was the Pilot MR Black with a medium nib.

This ink showed minimal water resistance and water drops obliterated text easily. Cleaning the test pen was more tricky than other inks in this series, but I wouldn’t describe it as difficult. Drying time was around 20 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Diamine Anniversary Safari - Rhodia Dot Pad

The ink gives a really nice shading effect from almost black to dark olive green. Not usually my favourite colour, but in this case I really like the effect. Still a bit of smudging, but I’m sure I’m looking too hard and would probably of overlooked this in my earlier reviews. Overall a good performer which would be suitable for personal note taking.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Diamine Anniversary Safari - Ryman Memo Block

Very similar performance to Rhodia paper – good overall.

Yellow Post-It

Diamine Anniversary Safari - Post-It

Coverage is a little patchy on this paper.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Diamine Anniversary Safari - Field Notes

Not bad at all on this paper.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Diamine 150th Anniversary Safari - Word Card

A good hint at some of the shading possible with this ink.

Conclusion

This is another good ink in this series, and one I can see myself using again as a note-taker. It’s dark and subdued enough not to shout out of the page, so is suitable for longer note-taking sessions.

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-carnival-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-carnival-ink-review#respond Sat, 13 Jun 2015 15:33:33 +0000 http://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13104

A review of Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival Ink

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival

This is the fourth in this batch of ink reviews, for Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival ink.

A Google search for “Carnival Red” yields results which a similar to this ink colour – slightly on the pink side of red, slightly darker than a poppy red.

The ink cost £7.75 (including VAT), for a 40ml bottle, from a UK supplier, which along with the other inks in this series I would class as moderately priced.

I gave descriptions of the box and bottle of the 150th Anniversary series in my review of Diamine Anniversary 1864 Blue Black Ink, so I won’t repeat them here. The only difference is that the backgrounds of the box and bottle labels are a close approximation of the Carnival ink colour.

The test pen in this case was the Pilot MR White Tiger with a medium nib (a nice contrast).

This ink showed no water resistance and water drops obliterated text easily. Cleaning the test pen was easy. Drying time was relatively quick at around 15 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival - Rhodia Dot Pad

This is a bold, deep saturated red ink, leaning slightly towards pink, which performs well on this paper. Unfortunately it’s another one in this series that smudges slightly.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival - Ryman Memo Block

Good performance but again some smudging.

Yellow Post-It

Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival - Post -It

A good contrast and smudging is minimal here.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival - Field Notes

Tolerable results on this challenging paper and it appears that the greater absorbance prevents smudging.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival - Word Card

This makes the ink look less vibrant than on Rhodia paper, but shows more shading.

Conclusion

This is a really attractive ink which is already high on my list of favourite reds. The only real drawback is the smudging, which still persists nearly a month after the writing samples were done. This suggests the ink is less suitable for general note taking and better suited to markup on more absorbent papers.

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Blue Velvet Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-blue-velvet-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-blue-velvet-ink-review#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 14:39:18 +0000 http://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13063

Review of Diamine 150th Anniversary Blue Velvet Ink

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Blue Velvet

This is the third in this batch of ink reviews, for Diamine 150th Anniversary Blue Velvet ink.

What is the name “Blue Velvet” meant to evoke? Probably not the 1986 David Lynch movie of the same name, although the shade of blue used on the poster (see the linked Wikipedia page) is quite similar. Beyond that a Google search yielded many similar colours, all indicating something closer to a lighter Royal Blue.

The ink cost £7.75 (including VAT), for a 40ml bottle, from a UK supplier, which along with the other inks in this series I would class as moderately priced.

I gave descriptions of the box and bottle of the 150th Anniversary series in my review of Diamine Anniversary 1864 Blue Black Ink, so I won’t repeat them here. The only difference is that the backgrounds of the box and bottle labels are a close approximation of the Blue Velvet ink colour.

The test pen in this case was a silver Pilot MR with a medium nib.

This ink showed no water resistance and water drops obliterated text easily. Cleaning the test pen was easy. Drying time was relatively quick at around 10 seconds.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Diamine 150th Anniversary Blue Velvet - Rhodia Dot Pad

Although this seems intended more as a mid-blue, it is still deeply saturated and with a wet pen on this paper came out quite dark. It is very attractive though. I was able to get it to smudge slightly, although based on my experience with other inks in this series I am looking for this more than I would normally. Overall the ink performed well.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Diamine 150th Anniversary Blue Velvet - Ryman Memo Block

Good performance but still a little smudging.

Yellow Post-It

Diamine 150th Anniversary Blue Velvet - Post-It

Good performance again and only slight smudging.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Diamine 150th Anniversary Blue Velvet - Field Notes

I’ve been hard on the ink again in my written comments – this really isn’t too bad.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Diamine 150th Anniversary Blue Velvet - Word Card

This shows a little more shading than the writing samples.

Conclusion

Of this series of 8 eight inks, two are blue, and another a blue-black (although in my writing tests it appeared to be almost black). They are all very different colours but still suitable for business use (smudging aside). If I had to choose, my preference from all three would be Blue Velvet, not least because of the faster drying time and a reduced tendency to smudge.

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Regency Blue Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-regency-blue-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-regency-blue-ink-review#respond Sun, 24 May 2015 15:24:10 +0000 http://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13026

Review of Diamine 150th Anniversary Regency Blue Ink

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Diamine 150th Anniversary Regency Blue

This is the second in this batch of ink reviews, for Diamine 150th Anniversary Regency Blue ink.

I had expected Google or Wikipedia to give some guidance on what distinguishes “Regency Blue” as a description from other darker blues, such as the traditional version of Royal Blue, but I drew a blank. Wikipedia itself doesn’t even have an entry for the colour, so I won’t read anything into special into the name.

The ink cost £7.75 (including VAT), for a 40ml bottle, from a UK supplier, which along with the other inks in this series I would class as moderately priced.

I gave descriptions of the box and bottle of the 150th Anniversary series in my review of Diamine Anniversary 1864 Blue Black Ink, so I won’t repeat them here. The only difference is that the backgrounds of the box and bottle labels are a close approximation of the Regency Blue ink colour.

The test pen was a Pilot Metropolitan Violet Leopard with a medium nib.

Water resistance was non-existent and text was obliterated by water drops. The pen was very easy to clean. Drying time was around 20 seconds on Rhodia paper.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Diamine 150th Anniversary Regency Blue - Rhodia Dot Pad

A good performing ink, and an attractive deep shade of blue, with a hint of violet. Some slight smudging, but not as pronounced as 1864 Blue Black.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Diamine 150th Anniversary Regency Blue - Ryman Memo Block

Good performance on this paper, with slight smudging again.

Yellow Post-It

Diamine 150th Anniversary Regency Blue - Post-It

Nice contrast, good performance, a little more smudging that on Rhodia or the Ryman Memo Block.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Diamine 150th Anniversary Regency Blue - Field Notes

No smudging this time. The written comments are a little harsh in hindsight – the writing sample isn’t too bad at all.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Diamine 150th Anniversary Regency Blue - Word Card

This shows much more violet than the writing samples.

Conclusion

It should be clear from previous reviews that I’m a sucker for deeply saturated blues, especially if they lean towards violet, so I’m taken with this ink. Yes, some smudging is present, but not serious enough to discourage me from using it again. I’m thinking of creating a new tag for inks like this along the lines of “challenging but worth it” – I need to find a more eloquent way of expressing that first.

No photos

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Diamine 150th Anniversary 1864 Blue Black Ink Review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-1864-blue-black-ink-review https://stationaryjourney.com/diamine-150th-anniversary-1864-blue-black-ink-review#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 13:23:27 +0000 http://stationaryjourney.com/?p=13005

A review of Diamine 150th Anniversary 1864 Blue Black Ink

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Diamine 150th Anniversary 1864 Blue Black

We are finally here. This is the first in a batch of eight ink reviews for the Diamine 150th Anniversary inks, in this case for 1864 Blue Black.

This is my first review of a Diamine ink, despite the fact that I own more of their inks than from any other manufacturer (including Noodler’s). It was even a Diamine ink that helped to restart my interest in fountain pens (but that’s a story for another time). So why has it taken so long to start reviewing Diamine inks? Since the are UK inks, and I live in the UK, perhaps it’s an element of “familiarity breeds contempt”, but that seems a bit harsh. Maybe it did take the release of the 150th Anniversary inks to give that extra spur to stimulate a review.

The inks were released to celebrate the founding of the Diamine company in 1864, and the Blue Black is unique in the set by including “1864” in the otherwise purely descriptive name.

The ink cost £7.75 (including VAT), for a 40ml bottle, from a UK supplier. This is more than twice the price of standard Diamine inks (which typically retail for less than £6.00 for an 80ml bottle). I would therefore consider this ink to be moderately priced.

The box is far more busy that the typical industrial Diamine box, with lots of coloured ink spots on both sides and a nice design on the back. The underside of the box credits the design to inkymole.com. On the front of the box is a sticker giving the name of the ink in white with a close approximation of the colour as the background. It was only when writing this review that I realised it was a sticker, and even then only because it had been stuck just outside the guides. I have one minor gripe about the box – because it contains a bottle that is shaped like a slice of cake or cheese a small piece of cardboard with bubble wrap has been inserted to keep the bottle in place. While this works, it doesn’t stop the box from deforming, increasing the wear and tear on the box over time. It’s a bit clunky and detracts a little from the obvious care that has gone into the outward appearance of the box.

The bottle, as stated before, is shaped like a cheese or cake segment, so all eight bottles can form a circle. I imagine almost everyone who has bought all eight bottle has tried that. The plastic bottle cap is the usual Diamine standard – I initially thought it must be smaller, but it isn’t. The neck of the bottle is also quite narrow (which is my only criticism of the standard Diamine bottle). The label repeats the ink spots, the design from the back of the box, along with the name of the ink on the background of the same colour.

As I’ve indicated before I’m not a great fan of ostentatious boxes and boxes, and I’m glad that Diamine resisted the temptation to go too far in this case.

The test pen on this occasion was a black Pilot MR with a medium nib.

The ink showed no water resistance and text was obliterated by water drops. Cleaning was very easy – which was a bit of a surprise considering that the pen had been inked for several weeks. Drying time was around 30 seconds on Rhodia paper.

Rhodia Dot Pad No 16

Diamine 150th Anniversary 1864 Blue Black - Rhodia Dot Pad

This is my first review using a new pre-printed template to improve the layout and to make it less likely that I will forget something important. I have taken this opportunity to lose “Nib Creep” which is a factor that’s never really been important to me and I’ve found difficult to assess in the past.

The ink performed generally very well on this paper, but there is once important issue – the ink still smudges easily even when dry. Maybe this is linked to the lack of water resistance and the ease of cleaning. The test pen is quite wet and the deep saturation actually makes the ink look almost black, with only a hint of blue.

Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm

Diamine 150th Anniversary 1864 Blue Black - Ryman Memo Block

Still generally good performance, but the ink still smudges.

Yellow Post-It

Diamine 150th Anniversary 1864 Blue Black - Post-It

Okay performance, but even smudges here.

Field Notes – Pitch Black

Diamine 150th Anniversary 1864 Blue Black - Field Notes

On this more absorbent paper the ink didn’t smudge, but it looks like ink has transferred from other writing samples done as part of the same batch.

Mnemosyne Word Card

Diamine 150th Anniversary 1864 Blue Black - Word Card

It’s only really on the Word Card that the blue comes through.

Conclusion

When doing the writing samples I really liked this ink, although in the test pen it came out as more black with a hint of blue rather than a blue black. It’s only when i came to write up this review, and I handled the writing samples again, that it became clear just what an issue the smudging could be. Although the deeply saturated colour is attractive, it’s not enough the counterbalance the smudging, so I wouldn’t use this ink for note-taking on a good quality paper – it could end up everywhere. Considering how easily the ink smudges, just from the moisture on my hands, it’s now less of a surprise that the pen was so easy to clean. I may try it again in a drier pen, possibly with a finer nib, to see if that makes a difference, but for the time being it’s not a candidate for my usual rotation, which is a shame.

No photos

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Lamy Al-star copperorange Fountain Pen First Impressions Review https://stationaryjourney.com/lamy-al-star-copperorange-fountain-pen-first-impressions-review https://stationaryjourney.com/lamy-al-star-copperorange-fountain-pen-first-impressions-review#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 16:20:09 +0000 http://stationaryjourney.com/?p=12326

This is a short first impressions review of the Lamy Al-star copperorange fountain pen, which is a special edition released in 2015. As this is intended to be a short review, I won’t dwell too much on my mixed feelings about certain Lamy pens. However, when I first decided to reacquaint myself with fountain pens … Continue reading Lamy Al-star copperorange Fountain Pen First Impressions Review

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This is a short first impressions review of the Lamy Al-star copperorange fountain pen, which is a special edition released in 2015.

As this is intended to be a short review, I won’t dwell too much on my mixed feelings about certain Lamy pens. However, when I first decided to reacquaint myself with fountain pens in 2012, my first choice was a Lamy Safari, which is identical in design to the Lamy Al-star (albeit with a plastic body rather than aluminium). Even though I bought three at that time (black, blue and red – to complete my favourite trio) I never really took to them. I felt the design gave few concessions to aesthetics, and I went for medium nibs with all three pens – my awareness of fountain pens at that time was so limited that it never crossed my mind to try a finer nib – that came later. So the Lamy Safaris when into storage and my interest in fountain pens laid dormant for almost another year until I became aware of the Penaddict Podcast – which is a story I return to another time.

I revisited the Safaris when I became aware of the other nib options and they have occasionally found their way into my rotation more recently. They still aren’t my favourites pens though. The Lamy AL-star black purple also caught my attention so picked one of those too in the intervening period. The lovely finish took the coarse edge off the spartan design, so that one stayed in my rotation more frequently. When I first saw the Lamy Al-star copperorange, I thought the time was right to dips my toe in yet again.

This pen was tested with a Lamy Orange ink cartridge, also released this year. The pen came with a blue Lamy cartridge, but to have used that would have seemed highly inappropriate. Of course with the proprietary cartridge converter (available separately) any bottled ink could have been used.

The pen cost £20.95 and the 5 ink cartridges cost £1.60, both from the same UK supplier.

So, what are my first thoughts about this pen?

  • The packaging is a minimal cardboard box – better than a blister pack and not overly ostentatious
  • A orange ink cartridge supplied with the pen rather than a blue one would have been a nice touch
  • The finish is really nice – I like it
  • The aluminium construction gives the impression of better build quality than plastic (an general advantage that the Al-star has over the Safari)
  • It’s quite a large pen (a feature of both the Al-star and Safari) which becomes somewhat unwieldy when posted/ The aluminium cap exacerbates this issue.
  • The plastic is poorly finished where it meets the aluminium body – photo below. I will trim off the excess plastic when I pluck up the courage
  • A black nib would have looked better than the polished steel one provided (more on that below)
  • The steel nib is typical of the LZ50 supplied with may Lamy pens – rigid with an almost no “give”. These nibs can be of variable quality the one supplied is okay – it didn’t need any adjustment.

Overall, despite my chequered history with Safari/Al-star range of pens in general, I am pleased with this one and it won’t be flushed immediately. Instead it will stay in rotation for a while.

What about the ink? Again this is not meant to be an in depth review, but it flowed well and gave a generally good writing experience with only the occasional skip. The colour is an attractive orange leaning slightly towards apricot once dry. There’s some nice shading too. Drying time was not measured accurately but didn’t seem unusually fast or slow. I’ve seen some comments that Lamy may release this ink in bottles – if they do I may well buy one, if it’s made available in the UK, in which case I will review it properly.

A few photos follow, with comments where appropriate. Sorry for the dust, more care will be taken next time.

Minimalistic packaging.

Lamy Al-star copperorange

While the nib matches the clip I would prefer it to match the grip.

Lamy Al-star copperorange

I suppose if the black nibs didn’t exist this would be fine.

Lamy Al-star copperorange - original nib

The poor trimming,

Lamy Al-star copperorange - fault

The cap.

Lamy Al-star copperorange - cap

With the replacement nib – that’s much better, despite the mood lighting.

Lamy Al-star copperorange - replacement nib

Definitely better.

Lamy Al-star copperorange - replacement nib

A writing sample.

Lamy Al-star copperorange - Lamy Orange Cartridge

Obligatory Word Card for the ink – with an accidental guest appearance from Noodler’s Kung Te Cheng as the labeling ink (back to Noodler’s Heart of Darkness for “Cartridge”).

Lamy Orange - Word Card

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