Review: Kaweco Liliput - Copper

The Numbers:
Weight: 24g
Length (capped): 97mm
Length (uncapped): 87mm
Price: SGD$119 from Cityluxe
Body Material: Copper but also available in other materials
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: Short international cartridge
Colours: Various

Intro:
My thanks to Cityluxe for loaning me the pen for review.

The Kaweco Liliput is the ultimate pocket fountain pen. It is very small and compact but in particular with the copper model it packs quite a punch. The Kaweco Liliput comes in a number of finishes, namely the stainless steel (in silver and fireblue), copper, aluminum covered in clear lacquer (in silver and black) and eco brass (in regular or wave). Measuring only at a tiny 97mm capped, it fits in the pocket easily. With a metal body, it will be able to take the knocks of daily carry life.

Packaging:
The Kaweco Liliput comes in the standard Kaweco tin box. I really like the tin box because it can be easily re-purposed for plenty of uses. The design of the box reminds me of the mathematical instruments I have for school.

Performance:
The cap unscrews in less than 3 revolution. Though small when first uncapped, the cap can be posted by screwing it to the end of the barrel. By simply posting the cap the pocket pen morphs into a full size pen. Couple with the weight of the copper material that helps to centre the pen in your hand. The balance is just right for my hand, I can even use it unposted if I am in a rush.

This is a fountain pen that craves to be taken out and be beaten up by sharing the pocket with keys and coins. The copper body will be tarnished with constant use and it will acquire a more distinguished appearance like wrinkles on a face. However if that’s not your cup of tea, you can easily polish the pen up and return it to its former glory.

The Kaweco Liliput doesn’t come with a clip but you can purchase one separately if you prefer clipping your pen to paper or your jeans. The clip would work well as a roll stopper as well. Be careful of the Liliput, it tends to roll of the table especially when without a clip.

The Liliput is without a doubt a thin pen. Its section is long but narrow so people with larger hands I would recommend you check out the Kaweco Supra for a more comfortable grip. However the thin grip is by design, after all this is suppose to be the ultimate pocket pen. You are not meant to be writing long essays with this pen. This is for quick jotting down of notes while out of your home.

The Kaweco Liliput takes the short international cartridge only. If you prefer using your own inks, you will be resigned to refilling old cartridge if you like a decent ink capacity. I can’t be sure if the small Kaweco converter would be able to fit the Liliput. If it does, I doubt there is much ink capacity when compared with a normal ink cartridge.

The Liliput comes a variety of nib options. They are all stainless steel nibs ranging from EF to BB. I had requested for a B nib for the Kaweco Liliput. That’s not a normal choice for me. The B nib is well, board. Far boarder than what I am used to but it is on the other hand not overly wet that makes it next to impossible for me to use. The B nib wants you to write big and bold. The nib is, for me, serviceable. It’s probably a better idea to pair this with a narrower nib options since it is for writing on the go. You undoubtedly don’t want to hang around waiting for your writing to dry before you can close your notebook.

Conclusion:
The Kaweco Liliput is a very specialised fountain pen. It wouldn’t work in all regular situations. As long as you keep this in mind, the Liliput will not disappoint you.

Once again, my thanks to Cityluxe for lending me the pen for review.

Pros:

  • Tiny pocket fountain pen
  • Extremely durable
  • Cap posts, to make a full size pen

Cons:

  • Your hand is going to smell like coins
  • Be careful, it might roll off the table
Posted on November 17, 2017 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Chesterfield Emerald

My thanks to Marty for the ink sample.

Chesterfield Emerald is a strong and saturated green ink that’s a good shader. It goes from a saturated dark green to a pale light green. Personally, this kind of green doesn’t really do it for me. I prefer my greens to be in the yellow-green range. That’s of course no fault of Chesterfield Emerald. However, Emerald isn’t that unique a colour. I’m sure there are plenty of similar to pick from.

Similar Inks:

Posted on November 10, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Kaweco Perkeo

The Numbers:
Weight: 12g
Length (capped): 138.6mm
Price: $26.90 from Cityluxe
Body Material: Plastic
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: Standard international converter and cartridge
Colours: Various

Intro:
My thanks to Cityluxe for loaning me the Kaweco Perkeo for review.

Kaweco Perkeo is Kaweco’s foray into the world of entry level fountain pens. Previously the cheapest entry into fountain pens that Kaweco had to offer were the Kaweco Sport series. Those are a little niche to be an entry level pens, mainly because they are pocket pens. Fundamentally, that’s quite a departure from regular entry level pens. Now with the arrival of the Perkeo, Kaweco officially has a horse in the race. The Perkeo is basically standing up against the Pilot Kakuno, Lamy Safari and Pilot Metropolitan just to name a few well known entry level pens.

Performance:
The Kaweco Perkeo comes in 4 different colours namely, Indian Summer (black with yellow), Bad Taste (pink with black), Old Chambray (blue with white) and finally Cotton Candy (grey with pink). The names that Kaweco have for the pens are fun and interesting. They have a nib choice of F and M only. The nibs are either the standard stainless steel ones or a black coated stainless steel nib depending on the colour of pen you buy.

The Perkeo is a faceted pen. The cap resembles the Kaweo Sport’s with it’s iconic 8 sided shape which tapers to a flat top. On the top you can find the Kaweco logo embeded there. The cap comes off easily enough and closes with a satisfying click. The body is likewise faceted but significantly more than 8 sides. One thing to note, the Kaweco Perkeo doesn’t come with a clip so if you like clipping your pen to something you are out of luck, but I am not sure if the Kaweco Sport clips which are sold separate;y fit the Perkeo or not.

The entire pen is made of ABS plastic which makes it light weight but durable. The cap can be posted if you desire but personally I prefer using it without posting. With the cap posted, the balance of the pen can be slightly back heavy. Otherwise, the balance of the pen is rather good.

The grip section is moulded with a triangular grip. In terms of its need for your fingers to conform, it sits right between the gentle triangular grip of the Pilot Kakuno and the totally you must hold me this way of the Lamy Safari. Personally the triangular grip never works for me but I can easily hold the pen the way I am used to regardless of the grip. This is one part where your millage may vary. I’ll suggest dropping by a shop to try it out on your own to decide. The grip’s triangular-ness aside, it is long and wide enough to provide sufficient place for my fingers to rest on while I write.

The Perkeo takes the standard international long and short converter and cartridges. I had no problem using it with my standard international Faber-Castell converter instead of the standard blue ink cartridge it comes with. This opens up a wider world of inks to the Perkeo. Although Kaweco do sell their own short international cartridges there are plenty of other brands that sell their inks in the same format. By buying a converter for the pen, you won’t be limited to only brands that sell inks in the cartridge form.

As mentioned earlier, the Perkeo’s nibs comes in two sizes fine and medium. There is also the regular silver stainless steel ones as well as the plated black stainless steel ones. You will get the black plated ones comes with the pens with black in their body or accents. In general, I found the regular nibs write better than the plated ones. They write smoother and has a very very slight give when compared to the plated ones. These nibs are by no means soft so please don’t flex them. The plated nibs tend to feel stiffer. A nib being stiffer or softer isn’t a judgement on how they write. Depending on your use case, you might prefer a harder nib in some cases and a softer one in others. Strangely, the plated M and the regular F looks really similar in terms of line width so take care when choose the nib size.

Conclusion:
Overall, the Kaweco Perkeo is a decent entry level fountain pen. However it is standing up to some very compelling competition from Pilot Kakuno and Lamy Safari. The Kakuno has the advantage of being cheaper and their nib widths run narrower. The Lamy Safari has a ton of colour choices and a full range of nib options. It practically boils down to aesthetics from the way I see it. If you enjoy the way the Kaweco Perkeo looks, it will give you a decent view into the world of fountain pens.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Full sized
  • Colours!

Cons:

  • Limited nib options
Posted on November 3, 2017 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Kyo Iro Arashiyama

My thanks to Glenn for for the ink sample.

This is one of a set of five Kyo Iro inks. Arashiyama is a highly saturated shading orange ink. It goes from a deep saturated burnt orange to a light yellow-orange. It goes down wet and saturated but dries to a duller colour. Arashiyama is not my particular cup of tea in terms of orange inks. I usually prefer stronger and brighter oranges.

Similar Inks:

Posted on October 27, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Graf von Faber-Castell Intuition Platino Wood Grendilla

The Numbers:
Weight: 52g
Length (capped): 132mm
Length (uncapped): 123mm
Body Material: Wood and metal
Nib Material: 18k gold
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / converter
Colours: Brown or black wood

Intro:
My thanks to Louisa for lending me this pen. I’ve been eyeing this particular pen ever since I had a chance to try it out a long while back when Louisa first got the pen. Leave it to Graf von Faber-Castell to work so well with wood as a material. They are one company that consistently incorporate wood as a material in their standard pen line up. Remember the Ondoro I reviewed a long time ago?

Packaging: Graf von Faber-Castell is a premium fountain pen brand and it shows in their packaging. The wooden box looks deceptively simple. The logo of Graf von Faber-Castell is printed in a silver tastefully small size on the top of the lid. Lifting the lid, you will see a white bed with space enough for 3 pens. It’s elegant and classy. The box can easily fit onto anyone’s table and double up as a small 3 pen box. Weirdly, the pen doesn’t come in the wooden box. It comes in a cardboard box separate from the packaging itself. Regardless, I really love the way the wooden box looks and feels. This is one of the best packaging out there.

Performance:
The Graf von Faber-Castell Intuition Platino Wood (from here onwards referred to the Intuition Platino) comes in 3 colours namely the Grendilla, Ebony and Pernambuco. The first two are still available from retailer but the last will be way harder to find brand new pieces.

The Intuition Platino has a long shiny silver cap, a finger print magnet for sure. The clip is prominent and has a spring hinge for easily clipping. The top of the cap features the Graf von Faber-Castell logo. The words “Graf von Faber-Castell and Handmade in Germany” are etched at the other end of the cap. The cap can be posted to the end of the pen but it will cause the pen to be back heavy.

The snap on cap pops off easily and closes with a satisfying click. More on the cap later. There is no centre band on the pen because the barrel is a seamless single piece of fluted wood. At the end of the barrel is a ridged silver twisting mechanism that released the converter and nib unit from the barrel.

The wood barrel feels very nice to the touch. There is the additional nice touch of a tapering of the barrel towards the nib then it flares slightly before the nib. It forms a natural grip section for your fingers to rest on. I really appreciate this part of the design. The 18k bi-colour nib is nice and large and it compliments with the size of the pen. The scroll work on the nib is one of the prettiest I’ve seen in a while.

Now the special thing about the pen is the twisting mechanism at the end of the barrel. Twist that knob, the nib section with converter rises from the barrel. Once the entire section is freed from the barrel you can pull it free to wash or refill the ink as required. Once you have completed your task, re-insert the converter and nib unit back into the barrel and turn in the opposite direction. The nib will move back to its original position. This is certainly one smart way to prevent ink from staining the wood barrel by totally moving the operation away from the barrel itself.

Now the writing experience itself is a total joy. I love the EF nib a lot, really a lot. Can you tell there is a big fat but coming? BUT the ink is constantly drying up in the nib even though the cap is capped on properly. Sometimes it hard starts, other times it dries up so much that it causes feathering on ink and paper combination that has never has this problem before. This is one serious flaw.

Personally, I think the buyer has the right to be picky, more so for a pen of this price. It is retailing for £695 on Cult Pens. This isn’t a cheap pen, yes it writes flawlessly. Actually one of the best EF writing experience I’ve ever tried but this one flaw is a real deal breaker for me.

One other flaw that Louisa has encountered is the twisting mechanism sticking. Through her own experiments she has concluded the mechanism is highly sensitive to temperature. It takes about a week in standard non-air conditioned Singapore weather for the mechanism to get stuck. Sometimes she has to “cool” down the mechanism just so that she can twist it.

Conclusion:
I started my journey with this pen as one that is on my to buy list. I ended it with disappointment, utter disappointment. This is supposed to be a premium fountain pen and it looks for all the world to be one. It writes like one as well. However, the hard starts and ink drying up is a big no go for me. Add the sticking mechanism makes this pen out of the question for me. My wallet is definitely thanking me though.

Pros:

  • Wonderful writing experience
  • That wooden box!
  • Beautiful wood barrel
  • Interesting mechanism

Cons:

  • Hard starts
  • Drying ink though capped properly
Posted on October 20, 2017 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

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.