Friday, October 30, 2015

TWSBI Eco (White) - Review

Pen: TWSBI Eco Fountain pen
Nib: Extra-Fine
Color: White (Available in Black)
Other Info: Does not take cartridge or converter.
 Has a piston mechanism

Every since getting my first TWSBI pen about 6 months back, I have sort of fallen for the TWSBI brand. Sure they have a few kinks that get me (but every pen I own does, even my favorite Lamy pens). What makes this pen so great (in my opinion) is that it is well made for an affordable price - which is probably how it earned the name Eco. I have had quiet some time to write with this pen, fill it with different inks, clean it several times, tinker with it and therefore am ready to share my experience and thoughts.

So when I first got this pen, the first thing I did was tinker. I tend to like to fill my pens with a needle and syringe - makes less of mess and quick work of things. That was not going to happen with this pen without getting significant air inside the ink reserve. So, I tinkered with it (and learned how important it is to keep that red wrench around). Once I figured it out, I proceeded with filling it up. Noodler's 54th massachussets is currently inked up and looks good in this pen. I did have J.Herbing Emerald of Chivor in anothe TWSBI - a 580AL with a fine nib - and I do NOT suggest using that ink in a TWSBI or anything with a Fine or Extra Fine. It took forever to clean that out, and even when I thought I had it clean, it still wrote with specks of gold for at least a week. Anyhow, moving on......

This pen cleans fairly easy - which is a plus. The nib does not disconnect (that I know of) like a Lamy or some other pens do. Actually, to my knowledge, the nib and feed are connected and not separable. So you do have to flush this several times to get the ink that was once in it, out. But considering what it takes for some other pens - cleaning is a cinch.

The material of this pen is something different too. This pen does not feel cheap. It is lighter than the Diamond 580AL pens. I would say that it is about the size of a TWSBI Classic - except lighter in weight. This pen is also really comfortable to write with.

One thing I did notice with this pen is that it does not write well or comfortably with the cap posted. It is way too long (in my opinion) and the cap loosens from the posted position real easily. I prefer to just take the cap off and hold it or set it aside. Thus brings me to another point about the cap - it twists off. I am a fan of pull/pop off caps. Sure I have pens that have twist caps and I love them. But for ease and usability, I prefer a cap that just snaps right off. It has the traditional TWSBI logo on the cap as well. I also noticed that at times, the ink reserve will get some moisture in it. I notice this when I see what looks to be like a foggy window in part of the pen. I blame this mostly on the extreme changes we have in temperature up here. It will go from really cold to warm (often).

The nib write fairly smooth - most of the time. There is a tad bit of scratchiness when writing in an upward stroke. I am hoping that some Mylar paper (or something similar) might fix that.It's not enough to make me stop using the pen though. When long writing is required, this pen is comfortable enough to do the job. The price also makes this pen a great and affordable buy! As it retails for around $28.99 and can be found at most pen dealers. The last thing I noticed was that this pen writes more like a Fine, not an Extra-Fine.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Platinum Balance - Review

Pen: Platinum Balance
Nib: Fine
Color: Blue with Gold trim. (Available in several other colors)
Ink System: Takes cartridge or converter
Other Info: Comes in several different colors

The Platinum Balance. This is a pen that I have been dying to try for quiet some time now (I know, a shocker for this Lamy lover!). I was able to try this pen with two different inks. Noodler's 54th massachusets and Diamine Shimmer Magical Forest.

I was quiet impressed with this pen. It feels really good to write with alone or capped. Maybe that is why they called it a Balance? Anyhow, the nib is beautiful. It is so smooth with just a hint of feedback - which is how I like it. And the best part...... it has some flex when you write! The nib will flex, which allows for some variation in my writing.

The pen is comfortable to hold for longer periods of time - which you do not always find on many pens. I notice that when I hold the grip section, even after some time, my fingers do not slip. They also do not cramp either. I am able to comfortably and freely write for long periods of time.

It is easy to fill and takes a converter or Platinum Cartridge. This pen is also very easy to clean and flush after each use. It's easy to disassemble and re-assemble. Another plus that I must mention is the cap... yes the cap. A good portion of the pens I have are twist cap. Which isn't  necessarily something that really bothers me one way or another. However, when you are taking lots of notes, it is nice to just pull the cap off and then snap it on when your done. A twist cap might take a few more seconds to put on/take off, but it's so nice to be able to just write. With this pen, I can do so. The cap also fits on the pen nice and snug, which helps to keep the ink from drying. You can also write with the cap on the pen, where it fits snugly.

Overall, I really like this pen and would definitely buy another one in the future. This pen retails for $53, however you can currently purchase this pen at Pen Chalet for $42.40. And if you click the link below you can save an Additional 10% on top of any sale prices(and fast shipping!).

Thursday, October 8, 2015

INK: J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor 1670 Review w/ pics ( Part 2) *Updated*

More recent, updated pictures of J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor in a Nemosine Singularity Stub nib. (11.08.2015)

It is time, finally, for the second part of my review of J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor 1670 ink. I briefly reviewed it about a month ago, and was just able to use up what I could in the pen it was in. So, without further ado, here is what remains of my thoughts and opinions on this ink.

Ink: J Herbin Emerald of Chivor
Pen: TWSBI Diamond 580AL Orange
Nib: Fine
Paper: Piccadilly, Tomoe River, and regular copy paper 
(Only one shown was Piccadilly cream paper - my journal).

This ink performed just as good in a pen with a Fine nib, as it did in a Pen with a stub nib. I would have to agree with the consensus that when a larger nib is used, you do tend to see more the different colors better. In a pen with a fine nib, it tends to be more dark green with gold specs. However when you put what you have written under some light, then you see the brilliance in this ink - the red, gold flecks, and beautiful deep green.

My Thoughts & Observations

This ink flows so very smooth from the pen and is heavily saturated (and wet). As long as the ink has not been sitting in the pen for an extended period of time, it starts right back up. Now let's get to the ink and the time it is in the pen....

If the pen goes unused for a day, maybe two at max, the ink usually starts right up with no troubles. Let it sit a week, well you might have to dab it a bit on paper to get the ink flowing again or draw some ink down from the converter. In my case, after it sat for a week, that is when I started having issues. The ink would dry and you would have a difficult time getting it to start. I eventually got fed up and removed what was left in the pen and put it in an ink sample vial.

The gold flecks up close

It doesn't end there. I flushed the pen repeatedly with luke warm distilled water. I flushed it once, twice, three get the point. I spent about 15 minutes or so dealing with flushing this pen. When I had thought that it was flushed, I put some Noodlers Burma Road Brown in the pen. The first time I went to write, I had gold speck in my Noodler's ink - likely left over from the J. Herbin ink. I would get a couple sentences down and the gold specs disappeared. The second time I went to use that pen, the same thing happened - more gold flecks in my Noodler's ink.It took a good 3-5 times of separate writing sessions, before the gold specs became very minimal to non-existent.

  • This ink is a bit pricey. At about $26 for a bottle, it definitely is not ink to waste.
  • It is beautiful and has lots of character to it.
  • Ideal for when you intend to write letters or use it often.
  • Do not let it sit in the pen too long with no use
  • Flush the pen  really, really good before re-using it.
  • Heads up, it is a fairly wet ink, so I would not suggest using it on paper that it will bleed and allow for ghosting.