Will It Write?

IMG_4681.JPG As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been a busy season. Between work, travel, birthday celebrations, more travel, and general busy-ness, I’ve not had much time to tend to my fountain pens.

In fact, everything you see above has sat unused for at least two weeks. I thought it would be a great time conduct a small experiment:  Will it Write?

Here’s where things ended up . . .

J Herbin Rollerball – after a slow start, it started writing wonderfully

Jinhao Dragon Eyes (I have no idea what the real name of this pen is) – started right up! Want to get one of these for yourself? Amazon has them for under $15 right now.

Nakaya – this was my birthday pen from Mr. Pentulant this year. It’s gorgeous, but I’m having trouble with the flow and it’s going to have to go back. Ugg. More on this another day, but for today – it didn’t write – not even a little. Disappointing, but I’m sure it will get fixed up and be perfect.

Parker Duofold Demi – started right up!

Montblanc Solitaire – perfect!

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 – I really thought this big wide music nib would have dried out over the two weeks that I didn’t use it, but – no! It wrote like a champ! So happy about this.

Pilot Elite – Gah, I love this pen. I’ll review it soon. Until then, go buy one for yourself. This one started right up, too.

Montblanc Boheme Large Edition – I received this pen as a gift from Mr. Pentulant last Christmas. It didn’t write at all after having sat for two weeks. I’m not surprised, there is clearly an issue with nib – and perhaps with the twisty mechanism. I’m going to need to find someone to have a look at it. Ug.



Lamy Safari – no surprise, it started writing the instant it was touched to the paper.

TWSBI Mini (Rose Gold) – I was having trouble with this pen before it sat. It’s no surprise that those issues didn’t fix themselves while sitting in the pen tray. I think the issue is baby’s bottom and I have an urge to try to fix it myself. Will you posted on how that turns out!

Jinhao 159 – review coming soon – it started right up! A happy surprise. (I got this one from Goulet Pens.) It comes in black, orange, and yellow. The yellow is on sale as of this writing.

Monteverde Artista – one of two pens that kinda sorta wrote after having sat for the two weeks. I kept feeling like it would start writing well “any second now,” but that just didn’t happen.

Montblanc Solitaire Geometric – Another pen I’d been having a little trouble with before my break. It started right up, but the hard starts on some letters remains an issue. I’m going to need to take this one back to the MB Boutique for a look.

Finally, the TWSBI twins – red and green – they wrote wonderfully!


Overall, I’m pretty happy with how this went. The Nakaya is definitely the biggest disappointment – unfortunately, though, I wasn’t terribly surprised as I’d been having trouble with it.

Those Jinhao pens (the dragon and yellow) surprised me in the best way by starting right up.

IMG_4682.JPG I’m sure it’s not lost on anyone that some of the cheapest pens started up right away and some of the most expensive pens are an issue. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that.

IMG_4686.JPGI’m hoping life is at pleasant lull and I can get back to enjoying my pens. How is your summer so far? Busy, busy like mine? Relaxing and calm?

THIS OR THAT: Rollerball Edition



This or That – Rollerball Edition!

Lamy Safari or Pilot Metropolitan

 I was surprised when I learned that Goulet Pens would be carrying the Lamy Safari Rollerballs. Surprised and intrigued. Then! I saw that Jet Pens started carrying the Pilot Metropolitan in a Rollerball, too. (Sometime in the last couple of days, Goulet Pens also began carrying the Pilot Metropolitan Rollerball.)

In the way-back past, I was not a fan of rollerballs. More often than not, they just didn’t write well for me. I’ve since learned there can be a couple of reasons for this: 1) rollerball inks have traditionally been liquid and these can dry out quickly, and 2) depending on the user’s grip, the angle of the pen may put the ball in such a position that it doesn’t roll smoothly across the paper.

I was definitely feeling guarded when I ordered, but let’s dive in and see how things worked out.

Both pens are attractive and look very much like their fountain pen cousins. Brian Goulet has a terrific video about the Safari Rollerball where he talks about all of the differences between it and the fountain pen. You can see that video right here.



IMG_3789.JPG IMG_3783.JPG

Even the grips of each pen look familiar.


However . . . Those of you who have the Lamy Safari fountain pen(s) know that they have a unique grip section. The Lamy Rollerball has a similar (but different) grip that I am not finding 100% comfortable.


But how do they write?

Actually . . . quite well!  The Metropolitan came equipped with a black refill. Pilot G-2 gel refills are available in a variety of sizes and colors.

The white Safari comes with a blue refill – all of the Lamy rollerballs come with a black refill (I don’t know why). Refills are available in standard colors – black, blue, red, and green. I checked in with Goulet Pens – these refills are also gel.



And here’s a side-by-side comparison for you . . .


So which one? This or that?

Appearance:  Tie!

Writing Experience:  Metropolitan.

While each writes wonderfully, the Lamy rollerball grip isn’t going to be comfortable for everyone.

Refills: Metropolitan.

Not only are the refills available in a variety of sizes (.38, .5, .7) and colors (blue, black, purple, teal, turquoise, burgundy, pink, hunter green, red, caramel, navy, orange, periwinkle, green, lime), they are available all over the place. (Though ironically, I don’t see any on the Goulet website.)

Price:  Metropolitan.

The Pilot Metropolitan seems to be around $8-10 less than the Safari Rollerballs – even more if you’re digging the Al-Star Rollerballs.

Bottom Line: Easy decision for me – Pilot Metropolitan Rollerballs, for the win!

Have you tried either of these? What do you think of rollerballs in general? I’m a bit of a convert after experiencing these!

FOUND AROUND FRIDAY: Copic Marker Set Edition

On a recent “shopping trip” to Jet Pens, I picked up four packs of Copic Markers. Each set has four pieces.

I’m a total newbie when it comes to Copic Markers. If you read something somewhere else and it sounds better than what I’m saying here, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

Copic Ciao markers are alcohol-based. This is good. The alternative is water-based. Alcohol-based markers will not react with the paper – this means that no how many time you go over the same spot, the paper will not become saturated and tear or pill like more traditional markers.

Copic markers are refillable, the tips are replaceable, they have a long shelf life, and the colors can be blended quite easily. They also come in about a zillion different colors.

Let’s explore….

Above and Below: The Blue Doodle Pack contains two Copic Ciao Markers (B24 and B12), one Copic Multiliner (.3mm in Cobalt), and one Atyou Spica Glitter Pen in Baby Blue.

Above and Below: The Brown Doodle Pack contains a similar assortment  – two Copic Ciao Markers (E31 and E35), one Copic MultiLiner (.3mm – Brown), and one Atyou Spica Glitter Pen (Chocolate).

The Copic Marker MultiLiners are “Copic Safe.”  This means that they will not blend with the colored Caio and Sketch Marker.  Nice because sometimes, you want a darker outline and you want that outline to stay put.  (Sketch Markers are the bigger better sisters of the Caio Markers.)

Below: The Copic Marker Cool Gray MultiLiner set. The set contains the same color ink in the following widths: .005, .1, .3, .5.

(Why do they put the UPC sticker on each marker when it’s sold as a set? Rhetorical. I know why; I just don’t have to like it.)

Below: The Copic Marker Broad Black Multiliner set. This set contains markers in the following widths: .5, .8, small brush, medium brush.

But how do they write?

They really are terrific. And while I’m usually not a fan of brown, I adore the brown set – you just don’t see markers with such terrific colors anywhere else.

I posted this picture on my Instagram feed awhile back. This is my entire collection (except these new ones). I found the holder at Bed, Bath & Beyond – it’s for make-up brushes.


What do you think?  Do you have Copic Markers? Are you addicted and have all of the colors? Maybe you think it’s silly and the world should stick with fountain pens?

Have a great weekend, everyone!


I was at Staples a few weeks ago and picked up several items from a brand I’d never seen – Poppin. Last week, I reviewed the Poppin Gel Pens. Before that, I had a closer look at the Cahier Notebook.  I didn’t enjoy either those items.

And, here’s a surprise . . . I’m not wild about these ballpoint pens from Poppin either.

The pens are a dozen to a pack, the ink is black, the tips are medium (1 mm).  The barrel is solid purple and other than that, the style is exactly the same as the gel pens.  That is to say that the pens have that terrible “step down” grip that isn’t very comfortable for any sort of longer time spent writing.

Flow is good and there’s no terrible squeaking sound like with the gel pens. Surprisingly, the ballpoint practically skates across the page, providing no sense of feedback or friction. A bit odd for a ballpoint – and some people may enjoy that feeling – I did not.

I ended up putting the pen I used back in the package and gave them to a friend who loves purple.

So…that’s three failed items in the Poppin line for me. I’ll say again what a shame it is – the items are so pretty. If only they were also functional.


LA Pen Show 2014 – My Shopping Spree

There they are. 
Click any picture in this post to see the full-size version. These are all iPhone photos – decent quality, but not perfect. 
Going to try to let the photos do the talking here and come back another time with detailed images. You all must be tired of reading my posts about the LA Pen Show, but, dude, it was massive.
And we’re off . . . 
Vintage Parker Jotter in Cab Yellow

Lamy Safari Flame Orange

Following is the pen that Susan Wirth recommended for Mr. Pentulant. I love this pen. I’m going to have to find a way to convince Mr. Pentulant to transfer ownership to me.   😉

Vintage Esterbrook with Needlepoint Nib

A peek at the marking on the pen above . . .

Vintage Esterbrook with AAA Logo

Susan Wirth proclaimed, “You are an italics waiting to happen, Number Five!” As I mentioned yesterday, I tried a bunch of pens with italics ends and ended up falling in (almost) love with fantastic pen, but the price was more than I wanted to spend. Blech.

No worries, I didn’t walk away empty-handed. Check it out . . .

Vintage Parker 51 Aerometric

The next item is from Franklin-Christoph. If you’ve never shopped there, you should. I love their high quality and impressive customer service. I have had nothing but good experiences with them and their items are very thoughtfully designed.

Franklin-Christoph A5 Medium Command Center

Annnnd this pen is also from Franklin-Christoph. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I have the little sister of this pen and love it. This one is equally cool. (This is the clipless version.)

Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic

Onward . . .

Vintage Sheaffer Snorkel Valient

The twins . . . Mr. Pentulant found the next pen for himself. I ended up with pen envy and made him run off and find one for me, too . . .

Vintage Parker Vacumatic 

Vintage Parker Vacumatic

The triplets . . . I have no excuse.


And that’s it!

All lined up . . .

LA Pen Show 2014 Purchases

A roundup of all of my LA Pen Show posts just in case you missed them . . .

LA Pen Show 2014 – General Overview – Part 1

LA Pen Show 2014 – General Overview – Part 2

LA Pen Show 2014 – Susan Wirth

The time to enter my Pilot-Iroshizuku ink giveaway has ended. I’ll be back on Monday to announce a winner!

Have a great weekend.

PEN REVIEW: The Christian Dior Twins

Christian Dior Ballpoint Pens

I’ve been organizing my pen desk and came across these two. The Christian Dior twins, as I like to call them.  (These pics are from my iPhone – not the best quality.)

I’ve had these forever. I think they came from one of my very first pen shows in San Francisco. I remember showing them off to friends after the show.  Someone asked me if they were very expensive. “No, just $40 or so.”  I may as well have said $4,000.  Oopsie.

I’ve done a little research and I’m not finding these styles anywhere.  Curious.

They write great. You’re going to have to take my word for because I have no scans to show you. I just wanted you to see how pretty. Especially the red one – love that pattern, yes?

I believe they are enamel over some sort of metal. They have a great feel in the hand. Average length, but super-slim. I used them as my “purse pens” for quite awhile and they show very few signs of use.

That’s it for today. Just a quick look at a couple of fun pens.

There are some fountain pen collectors who would never ever ever consider using a ballpoint. I have a bunch – some I love, some not so much.  I do think ballpoints have their practical applications and they are certainly no mess, no fuss.

What about you?  Love? Hate? Or are you like me – depends?

REVIEW: Sharpie Refillable

click here for full size image

Click for super-size image

I’ve had this in my desk drawer forever. Not really sure why it was never opened. I love me a Sharpie. I paid around $10 for this one.

This item should not be confused with the Sherpa. This is a refillable item – meaning that one would need to purchase a specific refill. Oh, I tried to stuff a regular Sharpie (and several other pens) into the unit . . . no dice.

Would love to know how they decide that the regular (kinda fat) Sharpie is a fine point. I guess if you’re using one of the big fatty fat ones, this would be rather fine, but if you’re used to using any sort of fountain pen or even a broad gel pen, these are going to seem impossibly thick.

I love that the refill part number is so prominent on the packaging – and it shows that the refill screws in. I’m thinking this is to make it abundantly clear that this is a refillable unit.

Refills are available for a couple of bucks on Amazon. Looks like they only come in black – bummer.

click for ginormous image

My bottom line….

REVIEW: Sharpie Glitter Paint Set

Sometimes. A girl needs a needs a little glitter.

A little … scintillant.

A Sharpie. (Who doesn’t love Sharpies? Use them a lot. Mostly for work. But some because of fun.)

These were fun, too. Not sure I have a real use for them.

Each came individually wrapped inside the package. Pretty sure this is for one or two reasons…
1. leak prevention
2. protection from drying up

The big surprise? I thought they’d look WOW on black paper. Turns out, they are best on white. Probably a good thing considering I might be the only person around with a stash of black paper!

Have you tried these? The package says they’re available in six colors – I only saw the three-pack and white. What else is out there?

Are you like me and you sometimes buy cheapie things like this to try out? Even if you don’t have a real purpose for them?