Review: Diamine Safari

Diamine Safari is a part of Diamine’s 150th Anniversary collection. It comes in a cool triangular bottle that will form a complete circle if you buy the entire set. Packaging aside, let’s get down to the ink. Diamine Safari is an olive green hue that shades well. It goes from a deep greenish-brown to a lighter olive green. And as far as green goes, this is definitely my preferred kind of green. It reminds me of Sailor Tokiwa Matsu.

Similar Inks:

Posted on April 28, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Montblanc Golden Yellow

Golden Yellow is a limited edition Montblanc ink. Like how it is named, it is yellow maybe even golden when the ink pools and darkens. This is definitely one ink that would better in a broader and wetter nib. I am only having some luck with my Japanese SM nib but I definitely recommend something broader. Yellow inks are really an odd category because of its lightness. It can sometimes be super hard to read on white and cream paper. Montblanc Golden Yellow is no different. Personally, this not an ink for me but with the right pen and paper combination it can work.

Similar Inks:

Posted on April 25, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: One Star Leather Hobonichi Techo Original cover

It has always been on my mind to buy a One Star Leather Hobonichi leather cover. I didn’t buy it when I purchased the Hobonichi Techo Cousin last year because I wanted to try the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter and I also ordered a custom leather cover from Astrida, a local leather worker. Those I buy, I try and in the end I sold all of them. This year I chose to go with the Hobonichi Techo Original form factor and I know it was time to go with my gut.

I opted to customise my order instead of buying ready made ones on the store. I wanted to choose the leather for the interior and exterior. It was a simple matter of dropping Keegan of One Star Leather an email to make arrangements. Once everything is confirm, I pay via Etsy by purchasing the custom listing made my order. After that it is the waiting game for my order to be hand made, it took a few weeks for that. And more waiting while it winged its way over to Singapore.

I’ve opted for the blue Horween exterior with a chestnut interior and golden stitching. I even got my initial stamp in the interior front cover. The blue exterior leather is really thick and smooth. The blue is really dark and it is only obviously blue under strong light. Otherwise most of the time it looks like midnight blue. The interior chestnut leather is thinner but just as durable. The cover fits the Hobonichi Techo Original perfectly and the stitches are nice and even. The edges are nicely finished.

The sleeves which the front and back covers slip in are deep and it secures the book within the cover. One thing to note is there is a best way to slip the cover over the book. How I did it was to bend the book such that the covers are touching and slipping the covers into the sleeve in that way. Do not slip one side in and then attempt to squeeze the other into its place. I remember see a video of that on Instagram, possibly posted by One Star Leather, I can’t for the life of me find it to link to it.

Through constantly use for the past 4 months, the exterior suffered scratches though it lives on my desk most of the time. However, that’s the beauty of leather as a material. It ages and get worn and that’s how I make it my own. There isn’t any other cover out there that is exactly like mine. Yes, leather isn’t the cheapest material around. Horween leather is also not the cheapest kind of leather around. However, I enjoy suppleness and texture of Horween leather. This a cover that I expect to last for years to come. I probably wouldn’t need another one in my lifetime if I treat it right.

Posted on April 21, 2017 and filed under review, Stationary.

Review: Robert Oster Signature Blue Black

Another ink sample from Robert Oster, thank you once again Robert!

Robert Oster Signature Blue Black feels like a blue black ink with a strong purple undertone. It shades nicely and it is a lubricated ink. I quite enjoy this colour due to it’s unique colour. This is one interesting blue black ink.

Similar Ink:

Posted on April 18, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Affordable gold nib pens

So you started down the rabbit hole of a hobby known as fountain pens. You have got a stainless steel fountain pen or maybe more than a few. You write with them and you are enjoying the writing experience the pen provides you. However, you always read about the fable writing experience that gold nib pens seemed to give. You wonder, then you research but the price have always put you off. There is no way you can spend so much on a pen even if it is a gold nib one you might say but you know in your heart of hearts that is not true. You are afraid, afraid that you might be exposing yourself to the point of no return.

Enough melodrama, all that might be true but you can still find affordable gold nib fountain pens locally or online. Here are a few entry level (entry level only in terms of price) gold nib fountain pens if you are looking to dip your toe into the pool. The prices stated below are the manufacturer's suggested retail price for Singapore. You can get about 20% off if you visit the stores.

Pilot Custom 74 - SGD$160

This is one of the most common starter gold nib pen. Pilot is known for a good writing experience right out of the box. The Custom 74 is one of the more affordable gold nib pen they sell. Its design is one of the few models with a gold nib that has a little pop of colour. The orange, purple and blue models are exclusive to the US market. If I am not wrong, the clear and black barrel are the models available locally.

Platinum 3776 Century - SGD$208

If you are looking an alternative to the Pilot Custom 74, the Platinum 3776 Century is a good bet. Do note that both pens may look really similar but they provide a vastly different writing experience. The Platinum 3776 Century has a stiffer nib with more feedback than the Pilot’s. It have quite a few different colour option available as well. Personally, I lean more towards the Platinum 3776 Century maybe more for aesthetics and the feedback that the nib gives me. Who can say no to a heart shaped breather hole?

Pilot Vanishing Point - SGD$267 and upwards

Now this is the only retractable pen on the list and it is not a pen for everyone thanks to the clip’s position and height. However, the 18k nib that comes with the modern version is nothing to scoff at. Yes, the nib is tiny but it packs a punch. It is a wet and juicy nib that has very slight line variation. Like the other two pens above, the Pilot Vanishing Point has a number of colour options more so than the Pilot Custom 74 and the Platinum 3776 Century.

Lamy 2000 - SGD$305

This is the only non-Japanese fountain pen on the list and clocking in at $305 this is really on the border of affordable. Even so, the sleek and modern design of the Lamy 2000 speaks for itself. The nib is very good and mine wrote well right out of the box. However the nib’s line width can differ greatly even with the same nib size. I’ve seen EF that writes like how you expect it to and EF that writes like a M nib. This is one pen best purchase in store if possible.

Wing Sung 698

This is a made in China fountain pen and possibly the cheapest on the list. I’ve not personally tried the gold nib of a China made fountain pen yet. However for its price on eBay, it might be worth a try. It is cheaper than some stainless steel pens even. However, personally I would rather topping up a little more money and get a pen from a reputable brand.

Posted on April 14, 2017 and filed under Fountain Pen, thoughts.

Review: Montblanc Lucky Orange

Montblanc Lucky Orange like its name suggests is a bright orange ink. Lucky Orange is a great shading ink as well. I love the brightness of the orange. It pops right off the page. This is another great orange ink added to the collection.

Similar Inks:

Posted on April 11, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.