Review: Baron Fig Archer Pencils (Prismatic)

My thanks to Baron Fig for sending me the limited edition Prismatic Archer Pencils for review.

Baron Fig is mostly known to me for their paper products but they had launched a whole slew of non-paper products since. Among them are the Baron Fig Archer pencils. I was sent the Prismatic, they are the limited edition set of Archer pencils.

I love the packaging of the Prismatic pencils. It comes in a tube of 12 pencils with a mix of red, blue and yellow pencils. The lead grade is the same for all the pencils, it’s just a difference of exterior colours. The traditional smell of a wood cased pencil brings back memories of my school days. I’ll be the first to admit I am absolutely a novice when it comes to pencils. My experience with pencils are only limited to the my primary school years before I was allowed to use the dreaded ballpoint pen and later the occasional art lessons in my secondary school. In Singapore the common grade of pencil kids use is the 2B. Comparing my experience of the standard 2B pencils, the Prismatic feels harder and crisper. I think the lead grade is probably on the H spectrum of things.

Here’s link to find out more about the different grades of pencil leads.

I’ve accidentally done a drop test on my entire tube of Baron Fig Prismatic pencils by scattering the entire box onto the floor upon opening it. Totally my fault but I feared the lead would have break inside the wood case. However so far, I’ve sharpened and sharpened my pencils I’ve yet to encounter a single break in the lead. This is definitely a vastly superior pencil compared to the old 2B pencils I’ve used back in school.

The pencil is light, well comparing it with any fountain pen or regular gel ink pen, it will always be light. It provides a very tactile writing experience that can be missing in some fountain pens. The tell tale scratching of a pencil across the page can be really pleasant to the ears. I’ve been using the pencil for all my writing needs for an entire week and it performed very well. The pencil marks hardly smudge even running my finger through it, that’s important for a lefty. Using a regular Pental eraser, the marks can be remove cleanly and without much fuss.

I won’t say Baron Fig Prismatic pencils have made a pencil lover out of me but it has definitely open my eyes to the world of pencils. Baron Fig pencils are not just simply pencils but pencils made with intent and a guiding design philosophy. Aesthetically, they stand out with the bright colours on the pencils and packaging. These pencils are available on the Baron Fig site at USD$15 for a dozen pencils. Definitely on the pricey end of things, when you factor in international shipping but these are quality goods.

Posted on October 13, 2017 and filed under review, Stationary.

Review: Nock Co A5 Notebook

Nock Co A5 notebooks were launched as part of Nock Co’s Lanier Briefcase Kickstarter’s stretch goal. I didn’t back the Kickstarter for the briefcase but I did jump on the chance when the option was open for the notebooks only. It took a while but I got the notebooks in my hands since late May this year. Then I got bogged down with reviews for other products, it was only recently I broke one out for a test drive. My idea of a test drive is usually a trip with it with friends at a mini pen meet. There, any notebook will be put through its paces via juicy, broad nibs and wet inks.

Normally, Nock Co paper products are usually top bound or loose. The Nock Co A5 notebook is the first that breaks this mould. The notebook comes in a pack of 3 and retails at USD$15. It is A5 sized and triple side stapled bound. The exterior is a 100# French Paper Co. Chipboard Kraft with the Nock Co logo embossed on the bottom. I like that branding is so subtle and unobtrusive. Inside is 48 pages of 90 gsm 60# white paper with the Nock Co’s DotDash format in brown.

Nock Co’s DotDash is something unique to them as far as I know. It’s a hybrid between the dot grid that I love and the standard grid format I prefer for my to do lists. Somehow it provides the illusion of having lines to write on but breaks it enough to allow me to ignore them at the same time. It’s really hard to describe. The A5 size is a tried and true format. Personally, as a lefty I like the Traveler’s Notebook regular size because of its narrowness but the A5 is my next favourite format. The notebook is great as an everyday carry beater notebook. It’s not something you might want to baby like say a Baron Fig Confidant. It’s something for daily use in the rough tumble of life.

The paper is certainly fountain pen friendly. I’ve tried it with a friend’s Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal in B. Visconti nibs by themselves are pretty wet writers, having it in B is really overkill for me. Then it’s inked with KWZ Turquoise, which if I am not wrong is a lubricated ink. Imagine my surprise when the paper stood up to the juicy B nib just fine. No feathering, no bleed through just some ghosting visible from the other side of the page. The ghosting can be a little hard to see past if that’s something that irks you. One of the pen and ink combination that had a little trouble with bleed through was my Montblanc Heritage 1912 EF with Robert Oster Signature Blue Water Ice. I suspect the sharpness of the EF nib was the culprit than anything else.

Overall, USD$15 for a pack of 3 can be a little pricey for non-US buyers especially once you factor in international shipping costs. However, if you buy one, I am sure the notebook will stand up to the test.

Posted on October 6, 2017 and filed under paper, review.

Review: De Atramentis Myrrh (Scented)

My thanks to Glenn for the ink sample.

De Atramentis Myrrh is a bright turquoise blue ink that’s scented to smell like the Myrrh plant. Hence, the name. I love the brightness of the ink. It’s a happy colour that pops off the page. It’s a decent shading ink as well, going from a deep royal blue to a bright turquoise. I think this ink rivals Pilot Iroshizuku Kon Peki. I must say I’ve been overlooking De Atramentis inks on the whole. Now I plan to rectify that.

Similar Inks:

Posted on September 29, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Baron Fig Confidant - Flagship (Metamorphosis)

My thanks to Baron Fig for sending me the Confidant Flagship Metamorphosis for review.

I’ve reviewed the Baron Fig Confidant in the Pocket size a few weeks ago. I had basically praised their paper quality but found issues with their choice of having a fabric exterior.

The main difference between the Pocket and the Flagship is the size. The Flagship is basically the A5 size, though slightly smaller. The Metamorphosis is one of Baron Fig’s limited edition Flagship model. Thus, it has a radically different exterior and bookmark colour. The peach fabric exterior is a nice soft colour that’s not too girly. Personally I never enjoy the pastel pink sort of colour but that’s my personal preference. The bright blue bookmark stands out well against the peach exterior. It comes in a box with a similar colour scheme. The colour scheme continues on the inside with a custom graphic art.

I love the colour combination Baron Fig had picked for this particular release. It’s different and it definitely stands out from the crowd. However, my complain about the fabric cover still stands. I took it out for one pen meet and it came home stained. The peach exterior makes stains stand out more than the regular grey ones. The paper quality is similar to the ones I’ve tested in the Pocket size and the Mastermind.

The Metamorphosis comes in only one size with 192 pages of fountain pen friendly paper. It’s available either via Baron Fig’s website or via their subscription. However Baron Fig have terminated their subscription services a while back. It seems that this particular limited edition Flagship is still available on Baron Fig. Retailing at USD$20, I think it is a pretty good deal but do factor in shipping costs if you are not residing in the US.

Posted on September 22, 2017 and filed under paper, review.

Review: Baron Fig Nomad

My thanks to Baron Fig for sending me the Nomad for review.

Post-It notes is something that is very common in offices all over the world. However, from my experience, the ubiquitous yellow sticky paper do not work all that great with our beloved fountain pens. That’s where the Baron Fig Nomad shines! The Nomad is a sticky note pad made specifically to be fountain pen friendly.

It comes in a pack of 3. Each 3” by 3” (7.62cm by 7.62cm) pad has 70 sheets. It is neither yellow nor plain. It’s the same off white dot grid paper that can be found in the Baron Fig paper products. Though visually the paper used is exactly the same as the one used in other Baron Fig paper products, I found it performs slightly poorer than in the Confidant, Vanguard and Mastermind. It is more likely to suffer from bleed through. In terms of feathering, it is on par with the 3 other Baron Fig products that I’ve reviewed so far. Personally, I don’t think the bleed through is a major issue. I do not use the back side of any regular sticky note and these notes are meant to be disposable anyway. A little bleed through in my sticky note is hardly a major issue.

It functions exactly like a regular sticky note. The stickiness of the paper is just right to hold on to surfaces and not leave a mark after being removed. However, I found the note prefers glass like surfaces over laminated wood. It adheres to another surface easily enough when I re-arrange my sticky notes.

A pack of 3 pads comes in at USD$8, personally I found it a little pricey. Maybe that’s because I do not use any sticky notes on a regular basis and this isn’t something I have been needing in my day to day life. I dare say if you are someone who depends a lot on sticky notes, the Nomad will be a better investment for you. For me, I will be sticking (pun unintended.) to my random scraps of paper.

Posted on September 15, 2017 and filed under paper, review.

Review: Baron Fig Mastermind

My thanks to Baron Fig for sending me the Mastermind for review.

Here I am back again with yet another Baron Fig product review. This time I am reviewing the Mastermind. The Mastermind is basically a desk pad. I remember my father having a desk calendar which he used to dot down notes and events as the month passed. The Mastermind functions similarly but without the constrains of an actual monthly calendar format.

The Mastermind comes in only one size. It measures 12" X 8" (30.48cm by 20.32cm), that’s slightly longer than the length of my Apple Wireless Keyboard. USD$15 gets you 2 pads of 35 sheets each. They only come in the dot grid format.

Personally the Mastermind desk pad took me by complete surprise. I didn’t expect to have much use for it since my table at home and the office are littered with notebooks, Post-Its and scrap paper. I have no want of more paper, or so I thought. However, just by the virtual of having the desk pad right in front of your keyboard or underneath it as the case maybe, it changes everything. I take notes faster, I don’t have to keep track of my fluttering Post-Its or random pieces of paper. Anything that I needed to know is all written down right in front of paper. I don’t have to flip my notebook to an empty page thinking if this information should be here or there. The Mastermind gives me the freedom be productive without the constrains, it allows me to doodle if I’m bored, remind myself with my to-do list written right in front of me.

Personally I found the Mastermind works best with I am in the office. My desk there is larger and it can accommodate the Mastermind and a full keyboard without problems. At work I am expected to keep track of the hours I spend working on each individual project for billing purposes. I note down the relevant information as the day goes by. I run through my Mastermind at about 1 sheet per week becasue I use both sides of the paper.

At home, I have my Mastermind sitting under my keyboard. However this setup only allows half the Mastermind to be visible but due to space constrains that’s the way it has got to be. However, the other half of the paper isn’t wasted, I fill up half the page then I rotate it 180 degrees and I get a fresh space to write on. I notice that the pad at home is more prone to get dog-eared quickly but that’s probably due to the shifting of the desk pad on and off the desk whenever I need more space.

The paper is the same found in Baron Fig’s notebooks - Vanguard and Confidant. And it performs admirably as the paper found in them. There is no bleed through that I’ve encountered with my pen and ink combination and this allows me to use both sides of the paper. However, note that the dot grid pattern is only printed on one side of the paper. The dot grid is the same size on the Mastermind as they are in the notebooks.

The Mastermind is one product that I heartily recommend. It isn’t so large that it is hard to find space for on a regular desk and it is format to constrain you to date boxes or lines. Use it to doodle or jot down important information and everything else in between and the best thing? It is all fountain pen friendly paper.

Posted on September 8, 2017 and filed under paper, review.