Sunday, August 31, 2014

Preview: Monteverde Jewelria Brown Swirl

Well, it is time for a "Preview" review. I recently purchased this pen from the Goulet Pen Company a few days ago and was able to get some quick shots before I had to return to work again. Here is a preview with some pictures and a quick bit of info.

Quick Information

Pen Brand and Model: Monteverde Jewelria
Color: Brown (Swirl)
Nib Type: 1.1mm Stub

I haven only been writing with this pen for a few days and currently have it inked up with Stipula Sepia - Thank you Ink Nouveau for giving me the idea. My first impressions of the pen were pretty positive. This pen is gorgeous! It has a nice mocha looking color with a caramel swirl patter...and did I mention it looks like it was glazed with glitter too!

It does not feel cheaply made. I would say it is medium in weight. So far it has been comfortable to write with, however I usually prefer writing with an instrument for at least a week before I consider doing an online review with inks included.

The one thing that has been in any way negative is the cap. It is a twist cap. I like pull of caps, so this has definitely been something to get used to. Not something I usually enjoy in a pen, but considering how it feels and writes, I think it is something I could overcome.

Well, I am looking at doing a FULL review of this pen and how it performs in the very near future. Right now, it's just about aesthetics.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Private Reserve Vampire Red

Out of all the Private Reserve inks that I have sampled so far, this ink has got to be one of the more drier inks! Private Reserve -in my experience- generally produces nice wet, smooth flowing inks; which is something that I really like. However with this one... I am not sure what's going on.

Quick Specifications

Ink Brand and Name: Private Reserve Vampire Red
Color Category: Red/ Red-Brown
Price: $11.00 for a 66ml (2.23 oz approximately) bottle
Pen(s) Used: Lamy Al-Star Fine nib
Paper Used: Rhodia Ice No. 18 Graph
Flow: Somewhat smooth most of the time. Very finicky ink that chooses to come out heavier and wetter at times and lighter in color and drier other times.
Saturation: Medium

The Low-Down

I have not personally had the best experience with this ink. So it appears many others have not as well (will discuss further down). It is a very "finicky" ink and can't seem to make up it's mind from one word to the next. Sometimes, especially when first starting out, it writes nearly perfect - wet, dark, smooth. The rest of the time I get a really light and dry ink and it feels like I need to press harder on the pen (which I did not do, but wanted to) to make more ink come out. I also do NOT suggest doing that for most pens.

It doesn't seem to skip or have hard starts at all. Just...not enough saturation. Acts as if it is clotting a little bit in the pen with how it randomly performs. It is almost like the ink is too diluted most of the time. Which means I have little to no issue with feathering. No Bleed through and no ghosting.

Other people's experiences with this ink are also pretty negative...

"Do not expect this to be a blood red in any looks like the color seen on the knees and elbows of so many grade school kids: dried blood" - C.B. 11-19-2013

"It dries far too quickly and has a wierd clumping thing going on in the pen" - Faith

"It has formed a clot in every pen I've tried." -R.M. 07-09-2013


Sadly, it does not appear that this ink is real favorable among those who have tried it (myself included). If you want some nice reds, I would suggest Noodler's Red Black or Ancient Copper.

Other Reviews of Vampire Red (Links)

Pentulant (More Positive review)
Fountain Pen Network

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Noodler's Red Black Ink

First off, let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Noodler's inks. Not only do they have a large color selection, but most of the inks that I have experimented with perform absolutely beautiful!

In this review I used two different pens in hopes that it might show you some of the color characteristics this ink has to offer.

Quick Specifications

Ink Brand & Name: Noodler's Red Black
Color Category: Dark red or Burgundy
Price: $12.50 for 3oz bottle
Pen(s) Used: Lamy Joy 1.1mm Italic nib and a Lamy Vista Extra Fine nib
Paper Used: Rhodia Ice No. 18 Graph
Flow: Smooth as Butter! (Scale of 1-10, it rates a '9' - depending on the pen and paper used can depend on how well it flows and how wet the ink is)
Saturation: High

The Low-Down

While writing with this ink in my Lamy Joy, it did feel a tad bit dryer and scratchy at times... and only a few times. However this can be in part to the pen or part in how I was writing. I have used other inks with better performance. I guess it just depends on the ink.
I tend to like little to no feedback when I write. Being that I was using a 1.1mm stub italic nib...well, yea, that might have something to do with the feedback I was getting.

Now, put this ink in my Lamy Vista Extra Fine point nib and this ink just glides across the paper like butter. I wrote with this pen on Piccadilly journal paper, Clairefontaine, Apica, and Rhodia. The result was excellent straight across the board.

Feathering, flow, other issues.

As one would expect, there was some feathering on cheap photocopy paper (Bleed through as well). However, when fountain pen quality paper was used (Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Apica, and Picadilly high quality paper) show through (Ghosting) was minimal to none, and there was no feathering.

Now on Clairefontaine paper, this ink took some time to dry - longer than it would on other papers. It is not uncommon to hear the complaint that inks take way longer to dry on Clairefontaine paper than many others. 


Noodler's Red Black ink is definitely high on the list for saturation and has beautiful shading and characteristics. Yet another beautiful ink made by Noodler's. With such great performance, shading and price, you can't afford not to own a bottle of this ink!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pilot Prera Review!

Pilot Prera "Pink" in a  fine point nib

Pen: Pilot Prera Pink (fine point nib)
Ink: Noodler's 54th Massachusetts
Paper: Clairfontaine spiral bound notebook
Comparison Pens: Lamy Safari fine point, Lamy Vista extra fine point, and Lamy Joy 1.1mm Italic
Price: $56.00 at Goulet Pens

After putting a different ink in this pen (Private Reserve Blue Black), something that I figured to be a pretty wet ink as well, I noticed major improvement in the performance of the pen! It wrote much smoother, did not skip at all. No hard starts, even after sitting for a while. So I have thus come to the conclusion that there are just some inks that do not work well with certain pens.

It is about time I put in another review. I was extremely excited about receiving this pen in the mail. So I will do my best to be factual on what I experienced compared to what my personal opinion is. I would also like to mention that this pen was FLUSHED gently before every using it.

This pen is very lightweight. It doesn't feel too horribly cheap (like the $3 store bought pilots). I feel as if this pen is a bit more fragile than Lamy Safari's. However, that could have everything to do with how it feels and what I think of it.

This pen comes in many many colors. Currently at Goulet Pen they come in demonstrator colors. However, I have seen online that you can obtain one in a solid color.

The one thing that I am not too crazy about is the "doohickey" inside the converter. It does rattle when moved. However, when I write, I never notice it. Only when shaking or turning the pen does it rattle. This is supposed to apparently help prevent the ink from sticking towards the top of the converter when you have the pen upside down (or in a shirt pocket).

 I honestly can say that a fine nib, writes like an extra extra fine. Thus which is why it is probably a little bit scratchy at times. It can skip now and then, but this can also be the ink. I was using what I consider to be a fairly wet ink. If you do not use it regularly - like daily -  you might experience some hard starts (writing with it to get the ink started helps). There is some creepage on the nib, as you can see. It cleans fairly easy though. Inking the pen up was a bit tricky. So I just pulled the converter out and used a syringe to fill it up with ink, then popping it back into the pen.

The Pilot Prera definitely has a MUCH thinner line than my Lamy fine or extra fine nib pens. For the price, I think it is fair for what you get. However, maybe they could have it writing much smoother out of the box. I think, though, with some nib tuning that I might be able to get the pen to write much smoother. There are always great videos on Youtube about pens and maintenance. Youtube, here I come! With that being said, I will leave you with the rest of the pictures and some pro's and con's of the pen, below.

  • Fine nib is definitely a fine, more like extra fine!
  • Lightweight
  • Colorful, love the demonstrator models!
  • Easy to use (for the most part)

  • Can be a bit scratchy
  • It could have some hard starts after sitting for a while (like a couple days or so)
  • Ink can get in between the insert and the cap. Goulet pens has a great video on how to take care of that issue and makes it really easy!