Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tomoe River Paper Review at FPGeeks & A New Pen Blog

Yessir, I'm honoured to have a review up on FPGeeks of Tomoe River paper! Please check it out, and let me know what you think!

Also, please check out my friend Kayte's new blog - Delectable Pens! I think you'll find she's just as pen crazy enthusiastic as the rest of us! Her first blog post is up and of course, it's from JetPens. Since you're all such great people, and you all love pen blogs, please show her some support - leave comments, say hi, and check out Delectable Pens often!

Review: Allegory Pens Precision Collection "The Cap" Fountain Pen

This beautiful handmade fountain pen was a custom pen made for me by Chad Shumacher of Allegory Pens. Thank you Chad, for this little piece of art! Located in Chicago, Allegory Pens makes handmade wooden pens using reclaimed, ancient, and historical woods.

From Allegory Pens's Kickstarter page:
  • Our motto: Pens with a legacy, so you can leave yours. All our writing instruments are made with woods that have a story which is intended to connect with your story, so that you have something personally meaningful right out of the box.
  • All the woods we use are reclaimed or salvaged, none are fresh cut lumber.
  • We plant a tree through The National Forest Foundation for every 10 pens we sell.
  • All the refills in our pens are popular models that are readily available from multiple sources.
  • Each pen comes with an insert that explains the stories behind the woods.
  • We are die-hard believers that carrying well-made, personally meaningful objects with you on a daily basis can make your day better.
Brand: Allegory Pens
Model: Precision Collection "The Cap"
Body Material: Bethlehem Olivewood & Antique Walnut ("light scheme")
Trim: Gunmetal
Origins: Made in U.S.A
Length (capped): 5.5"
Length (posted): 6.25"
Nib type: German-made stock 0.7 mm
Nib material: Iridium
Weight: 49 g/1.8 oz
Barrel design: Round, normal
Fill type: Cartridge/Converter
Price: $90 via Kickstarter  (Will be available to the public, contact Chad for more info!)


The pen arrived in a triangular box, with "Allegory Pens" written on it. The pen was nestled in the little felt bed. The packaging is simple and effective at protecting the pen. The price of the pen reflects its unique materials and handmade nature, not the presentation. I have kept my box for easy organizing.
Allegory Pens Packaging
Allegory Pens in Packaging
Did I mention the box has a magnetic flap? Love.

Allegory Pens
Allegory Pens
I requested the light scheme for my Cap fountain pen because I absolutely love olivewood, making this a custom piece. In the light scheme, the antique walnut is mixed in with the olivewood, with the olivewood dominating. The pen has the Allegory Pens logo carved (I think?) into the antique walnut on the cap. It's quite neat and looks good. The gunmetal complements the warmth of the wood well. I am also a big fan of the magnetic capping and posting mechanism. I heart magnets. Clearly this pen combines a lot of things I like.
Allegory Pens Logo On Cap
Allegory Pens Disassembled
There is no real grip area to speak of, so your writing comfort will really depend on the way you grip a pen. If you need a large grip section or a soft squishy one, well, you're out of luck. The body goes straight into the magnetic threads, then nib. So you either have to grip the magnetic section or the body itself. Whatever works for you. I personally prefer a more tapered barrel towards the nib so the sudden step from the barrel to the nib is new to me, but I have I am able to easily adjust my grip (which explains why my handwriting can look like 10 different people wrote it...). 
Allegory Pens Uncapped
The clip is metal and works well enough although with the weight of the pen, I worry that the pen might slip off whatever it's clipped to. The clip works fine for securing the pen in a pen case or in a pen loop. 
Allegory Pens - Cap
The clip is attached in a very neat way.

The nib is a simple looking nib, with some writing on it (iridium point) and a few little swirls. Nothing outstanding but not entirely plain. It looks a little small for the size of the pen but it performs quite well. It is smooth and ink flow is wet. For an unadjusted stock medium nib, I was pretty pleased with the performance of the pen. The feed keeps up well with the ink demands of this nib. I did find I had to knock some ink into the feed after the pen sat around for awhile, or dip the nib in water to get it flowing again. This is not uncommon with caps that don't seal tightly though. My guess is the magnetic closure isn't tight enough to prevent the ink from drying out.

I personally feel the pen is comfortable to write with, both shape and weight wise. It is a substantial pen with a good, solid feel to it in hand, which makes for a pleasant writing experience. I write with this pen uncapped all the time, both because it's a decent length without the cap, and because when it is posted, I find it a little top heavy.
Allegory Pens Posted
When combined with the right ink, this wet medium nib is capable of producing really nice shading.
Allegory Pens Writing Sample


One thing to note about this wooden pen, and I'd suspect with most handmade pens that use old woods, is that it's a natural product and as such, the nature of the wood can result in cracks along the grain over time. When the pen first arrived, it was completely solid and I noticed over time, the cracks developed. They are small cracks and look quite natural to me, therefore I didn't realize they were even cracks. For $90, this may deter some folks.
Allegory Pens Cap
Don't step on the crack.
Allegory Pens End


Allegory Pens has done a great job of designing attractive fountain pens using historic woods. I very much like their motto and approach to environmental sensitivity. Depending on what kind of fountain pens you like, you may think $90 is steep for a fountain pen, but do consider it's handmade and a lot of work goes into it. I really like my Cap fountain pen, I love the color scheme, and I am pleased with its performance.

Full Disclosure: I offered Chad some suggestions in the makings of his fountain pens, and he kindly offered a Cap fountain pen to me. I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions here are my own! And thank you Chad for your generosity!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tyco Tries to Get Inside

Tyco Tries to Get Inside

Tyco Tries to Get Inside

Tyco Tries to Get Inside

Tyco Tries to Get Inside

Tyco Tries to Get Inside

Tyco Tries to Get Inside

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shades of Tuesday

It's not easy being green!
It's not easy being green!

Midori D-Clips - Elephant ............ Review
Lamy Safari Extra-Fine Nib - Lime Green Body ............. Review

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mailbox Goodies: INKED & Then Some

Since we were away for almost two weeks, I have neglected not only my blog but the mailbox as well. My birthday also passed, and while we don't celebrate our birthdays or exchange crazy (or any) gifts, Kevin always likes to surprise me. Good thing I'm so slow I never figure out what's going on, or his job would be a lot more difficult. This epic gift was waiting for me at home.
Pilot Iroshizuku Inks
All the inks! No doubles in this batch.
Pilot Iroshizuku Inks
Another pretty view.
Pilot Iroshizuku Inks
Including my doubles at the back!
Pilot Iroshizuku Inks
*Drool* How will I pick my favorites?? I guess it doesn't matter. MUAHAHAHA.
Pilot Iroshizuku Inks
How will Kevin ever top this?
I also brought home a few goods with me, including a Waterman Havana Brown ink (which has been on my wish list for awhile), and a few Jinhao fountain pens. I also acquired some goods from the University of Manitoba. Just some random fun things to experiment with. The Sailor comes from Goulet Pens after I was accidentally sent the wrong colour ink! Thanks Goulets!
Jinhao Fountain Pen
They're pretty cool.
Various Goodies - Sharpie, Faber-Castell, PaperMate
This would suggest I have artistic capabilities. But I do not.
Sailor and Waterman Inks

Also waiting for me at home were two Pawalla boxes I won for the kitties, full of surprises! Half of this stuff has been opened and the cats have already gotten into most of it. So helpful they are.
Pawalla Gift Box
This is like cat heaven. Food. Box.
Pawalla Gift Box
Oh, and catnip.
Last but not least, a big thank you to Pentel for sending this amazing parcel with some nifty marker pens I haven't yet tried, and a set of Sliccis in the 0.25 mm size! Awesome.
Pentel Slicci

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Reads - January 27. 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Currently Inked

Currently Inked
This is a bit disgusting, isn't it?
Currently Inked
Gorgeously disgusting.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Whiskers & Paws: January 2013 Edition

Ellie The Havana Brown
Can you see how she gets stepped on/kicked when she's not on the tiles? Poor thing.
Tyco the Ragdoll Curls Up
What a cutie.
Don't you wish you could fit on this shelf so you could snuggle with him?
Peaches the Bengal Warms Up
Peaches the Bengal Warms Up
Tyco on a tree
He almost looks intelligent here, doesn't he?
Tyco The Ragdoll Defends His Box
As usual, cat likes box that is too small for him.
Tyco The Ragdoll Defends His Box
And he will defend it to the end.
Koa and Ellie
All this stuff was up here while we were cleaning.
Koa and Ellie

Just Koa in a Box
Looks proud.
Guess where he was? Silly Koa.
Who needs TV when you have a cat?
Koa in a box, still.
Nap time draws near.
Koa The Bengal in a Cat Bed
Another nap.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen 0.7 mm Blue Body - Blue Ink

Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen
I have had the Uni-ball Power Tank ballpoint pen 0.7 mm with the blue body and blue ink on my JetPens wish list for far too long. It kept getting pushed aside for gel pens and pencil cases. I'm sorry, Power Tank. It's not you. It's me. Finally, a very thoughtful friend sent one in the mail (as a surprise) and I was like WHAA?!! <-- a sound of joy/excitement/happiness

The Uni-ball Power Tank really does look like a power tank of a ballpoint pen. It's a large, wide, thick pen at the grip, that is slightly thinner at the top. It is proportionally heavy as well. The grip is intriguing, with long, teardrop-shaped plastic set in the slightly textured grip. The grip is firm, not squishy. I think the grip could stand to be slightly softer, but I think slightly soft grips are fun to squish.
Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen Grip
Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen Grip
I think the font on the clip, and the strange bullet type logo that encircles the font, is hideous. Fortunately, this can be overlooked.
Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen Clip
What makes the Power Tank special? JetPens explains it well:
The pen writes in extreme conditions including wet surfaces, cool temperatures, and even upside down. Normal pens utilize gravity to create ink flow onto a paper. But the Uni-Ball Power Tank utilizes internal compressed air pressure to push out ink onto the paper. Revolving air inside allows it to continually push ink out until the end. The pen can write in weightless conditions such as in space, on wet paper and subzero environments. The oil based pigment ink is high density and comes out smooth and dark on paper.
Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen Insides
The ink flow is so smooth and controlled that there are no blobs. The result is a writing sample that looks very clean, tidy, and consistent. The only drawback, in my opinion, is that this blue ink is not dark enough. I love rich, deep blue inks in ballpoint pens and this one looks a little too weak. Nevertheless, the comfort and ease of writing wins out.

To test its ability to write upside down, I tried writing upside down. That was a failure. So instead, I wrote against a wall for a few minutes. The Power Tank kept writing as though I writing like normal on a flat surface! If I were writing with a regular pen against a wall, the ink would stop flowing. I'm sure this has happened to all of us before.
Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen Writing Sample
On wet paper, the Power Tank ink glides through the water with no problem. It doesn't smudge or smear or spread. It writes like the paper is dry. Awesome. I wish I could test it in subzero environments.
Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen
Uni-bounce over here for more reviews:
Notebook Loves Pen
Pretense of Knowledge
The Pen Addict

JetPens - $3.30 (refills are $1.65)

If you have any interest in ballpoint pens, or you are looking for one or two special ballpoints to keep in your pencil case, I think you should consider the Uni-ball Power Tank! It's cool and rugged looking, and writes very well. It is not a ballpoint you'll want to lend out though. The Uni-ball Power Tank comes in a variety of models, colors, and tip sizes if this particular model doesn't float your boat. My only complaint is the blue ink is not dark enough.
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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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