Bumper Post | Pens! Inks!

I've been working like a dog writing Press Releases and scribbling hundreds of notes and the downside of all that is that sometimes the last thing you want to look at when you are chillaxing with a lager shandy in the Lady Cave is another pen.

BUT - today I took my writing ennui and gave it a good slap and threw myself into looking at a couple of new pens, new inks and a glorious pen roll.

Let's start with the pen roll - it was made for me by my newest fountain pen friend, Emmy Gregory.  Who is as funny as she is talented.  She asked me whether I like cactus or roses and I went for cactus - because who doesn't like cactus?

I'd very much like one of these please if anyone has got some spare cash.

Cartier Cactus Ring.  I wants it BAD.
Then this lovely confection of greyhounds, cactii and roses arrived in the post and I luff it sick.

Nero (the black, overly hot-dog pictured) approves

Greyhounds and Cacti on the outside

Greyhounds and roses on the inside.
Where does she find this material because I WOULD WEAR THIS EVERY DAY IF IT WAS CLOTHING.

I digress - it's a fantastic little pen-holder and I shall treasure it for always.

So I bought myself a Deacon's Doodle with a Cursive Nib from Mr Pens.  Today was Try Out Day.

I also had a Jinhao 159 kicking around that I hadn't tried, so it got roped into today's mega bumper post too.

The inks tried out were:

Krishna Black Rose
Krishna Jungle Volcano
Organics Walden Pond (sample from Emmy - thank you!)

What a lovely grown up colour of ink.  The sort of thing a love-sick vampire might use to write his poetry with.

Quietly pleased with the cursive nib from Mr Pens too - I will need to spend more time with it when I am more interested in making the pen work beautifully than I am in watching the colour unfold beneath my nib!

Next up is Krishna Inks Jungle Inferno.  I confess that as I started writing I thought 'very red brown.  I don't like it.'  Then as it started to dry, wowzers! Did I change my tune, look at this!

God in heaven - it's such a lot of fun! Not only does it change colour, but the green shading has the loveliest SHEEN to it!

The Jinhao 159 was wheeled out for this one as a dipping pen and it's perfect for this ink - good-sized nib and nice and wet writer.  Perfect combination!

Sheen!! Look at the sheen!

I'll level with you, I was looking at the Walden Pond and thinking that it was going to be such an anticlimax after the Jungle Volcano .....

Extra large photo to show off the sheen.

I used the Jinhao again and had a quick dip into the sample phial.  It laid down as a beautiful blue green. So far so pretty.  But then, around the edges of the letters I started to see a tiny pink red outline.  What alchemy is THIS?!

I continued to scribble, but the genie had left the bottle.  Or rather, the genie was sitting inside the phial begging me to shake it properly.  Which I did.  And LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE.  You can definitely see the pink sheen on this ink now! 

What a day! I am no longer ennuied! I am revitalised and firing on all cylinders to be using these pens and inks.

Have you tried any of these? What do you think of them?! 

Elrohir Leather | Journal Cover

Elrohir Leather Journal Cover
So, this is what all the fuss is about! Elrohir Leather journal covers are chanted like a sacred mantra in the bullet journalling world and now that I've held, smelled and used one of their journal covers, I'm utterly smitten!

Let me tell you a little bit about Elrohir Leather. 

Faber Castell | E-motion | Fountain Pen

There's been quite a lot of writing getting done here at Her Nibs Towers this week so it was a perfect opportunity to unfurl the Faber Castell and put her through her paces.

First of all, there's an outer cardboard slip and then the presentation box, which is very smart.  A little pull ribbon loop helps the pen tray slide out - very civilised.  I hate trying to prise my way into boxes that results in a shredded box and a worse shredded temper.

All the presentation doofers

The pen is substantial, weighing in at 50g (with a little ink in it at this point).  The split between pen and cap surprised me - the pen is 28g and the cap is 22g.  The cap feels heavier to me!

It's a pretty cigar-shaped pen:

The cap is chrome with a pleasant sprung clip that helps keep it snug and secure in your pocket - you don't want your £100 pen dropping into your coffee ... or worse!  the words 'Faber Castell since 1761' and their two tiny jousting knights logo are engraved on the cap. 

It's a screw cap - nice smooth motion.  However, when you post the cap, it doesn't pop into place.  I confess to preferring pens whose lids post securely - I'm the sort of person who can lose a pen cap in 20 seconds from uncapping.

If you persevere and post the cap, it does make the pen feel top-heavy.  So, I am assuming that the cap is not really designed to be posted to the pen.

The pen itself is a smart blend of polished chrome and a black resin barrel in a sophisticated herringbone pattern.  I have noticed that the chrome cap does cause slight scoring on the resin. But I use a jeweller's loupe to examine pens very closely and you can barely discern the scoring without one.  So not too much to worry about.

Unscrewing the section from the barrel is as smooth as silk - the resin barrel has a chrome threaded insert.  Inside you can use cartridges or a convertor (the pen comes with a branded Faber Castell convertor if you like your ink to be wild!)  Note: Standard sized and giant cartridges are available.

The nib is medium, stainless steel - again with the two little jousting knights and an M clearly etched.  But there are other options available when buying - Extra Fine through to Broad.

The crucial question - how does it write?

juicy nibbage!

I had a lot of writing to do this week and unfortunately much of it I can't actually show you, but I did do some scribbly test writing:

oooh nice shading too!

I found the nib smooth and the flow to be good and a little wet.  It has been very hot in Scotland this week and there were, if I'm honest, a couple of times when the ink sputtered to a standstill, but started back up within a few seconds.  I'm attributing that to the heat and the speed with which I was having to record quite a lot of information.

Nib - still cannot master close up pix!

This is a quality pen that is lovely to write with, but for me the lid not posting securely is an issue and the scratching of the barrel might become more noticeable over time.

Tom Hiddleston As Fountain Pens

My new favourite person on Tumblr has found fountain pens that look like Tom Hiddleston.

And it's genius!

thank you Emmy Gregory for this!
Red Scharlach was inspired in her pursuit of fountain pens that look like gorgeous Tom because: " A Guardian film review described Tom as “tall, thin, blue-suited and looking somewhat like a fountain pen” and I decided to run with it…"  GENIUS I TELL YOU!

I am ashamed to call myself a Tom Hiddlestoner AND a fountain pen fan for not thinking of this particular fruitful seam of potential purchases myself.

And even better, my Californian friend Anastasia Haysler told me that Red had posted an update - with pens that reflect Tom in his Coriolanus mode:

And now you must excuse me as I go for a brief lie down in a darkened room as I contemplate Tom.  And the cost of all these pens! 

Ink Fight | Fire & Ice v Skull & Roses v Nitrogen

It's the day of Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle, so what better time to retire to the ladycave and let three inks duke it out for my favourite sheener?

I have seen these three being put up against each other by some very fine artists and in every case, I have plumped for the Skull & Roses, but when I made them fight it out myself, I changed my tune.

First up - this was the first time that I had held this particular broad nibbed calligraphy scratcher in my hand - it must be older than me, judging by its box and provenance (belonged to my Uncle James who's been dead since Marc Bolan was alive) and I haven't got the technique yet.

Anyway, let's look at the pix:

Broad nibbed calligraphy pen - dipped

Nitrogen is a delicious purple blue, Skull & Roses is a brighter blue and Fire & Ice is decidedly teal.  I like all three.  But what about the magic sheen?

Ah yes, there's the sheen - sorry that it's all a bit wobbly, but I was standing outside in the sun, angling the paper and trying to take a photo while the wind blew #naileditlikeapro

Nitrogen has the most glorious sheen of purple and red and combinations of both with Skull & Roses hot on its heels.  Fire and Ice isn't really sheening for me, although I do like the depth of shading that it gives.

Now, this is all very well using a big broad nib, but what if you like a fine nib? Time to try the inks with a glass dip pen.  

Look, Nitrogen is sheening!

Even with a fine nibbed glass pen, Nitrogen still gave off a pleasing amount of sheen (don't look at my feathering - shit pen skills, nothing to do with the ink!).  Skull & Roses and Fire & Ice are lovely colours, but with a fine nib they don't get to show off a sheening personality.

With a broad nib, the sheen is much more pronounced and Nitrogen and Skull & Roses are pretty much neck and neck on that score, imo.  I'd buy whichever one is easiest to get, to be honest.  If Diamine start selling Skull & Roses in the UK, it will give Organics Studio a run for its money!  However, with the hassle of importing from Germany, Organics Studio will be the winner as far as ease of ordering is concerned, I think.

Fire & Ice will probably show its sheening qualities on better quality paper, so bear that in mind too - if you have lovely paper, I reckon this one is a keeper.

So, who is the winner? I write with a fine nib though, so, for me, it's Organics Studio 'Nitrogen' that is the surprise winner!

Where to buy?

Fire and Ice (Robert Oster) - Executive Pens Direct   £14.95 
Nitrogen - The Writing Desk  (currently website getting a bit of a facelift!)
Skull and Roses is not available in the UK (yet!) but available from Germany here  8 Euros + P&P

J Herbin | Scented Ink | Violet

Something has happened to my camera!
An inky friend sent me a sample of J Herbin's 'Violet' scented ink today and I confess that this is my first foray into the world of scent and ink.

Unscrewing the cap from the sample, there was a definite waft of my childhood: Picture the scene.

To Screw Or Not To Screw | How to get a fountain pen cap off

I have one trouser leg rolled up.
Just tell me the secret!
Have you recently taken delivery of a pen - or even been handed a friend's pen - and you have that horrendous moment of not knowing whether this is a screw-on cap or a pop-off cap?

And you half-heartedly pull at it and twist at the same time because you don't know what to do for the best?

You don't want to damage the barrel by twisting and potentially scraping the finish and simultaneously, you don't want to pull too hard in case you damage the threads?

Just me?