Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

November 30. 2016 - Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review: Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912

The Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule fountain pen is inspired by the classic Moscow Mule cocktail, traditionally served in a copper mug.
Review Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912 2
A big thank you to Montegrappa, Pen Chalet, and NYPenGuy (hi Bryan!) for making this review possible. I don't drink, so while you may think a copper mug is wasted on me, there's nothing like a cold glass of orange juice in a cooled copper mug when it's a hot, muggy, heat-wave day.
Review Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912 18

Body Material: Copper
Trim: Silver
Section: Brushed stainless steel
Nib material: Steel
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes
Length (capped): 137.3 mm/5.40"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 127.9 mm/5.03"
Length (posted): 155.0 mm/6.10"
Barrel Diameter: 9.8 - 13.2 mm/0.38" - 0.52"
Section Diameter: 10.3 - 11.0 mm/0.40" - 0.43"
Weight (all): 52 g
Weight (cap): 20 g
Weight (body): 32 g
Weight (Cup): 158 g
Fill type: Standard international cartridge/converter
Price: $375.00 USD
Where to buy: Pen Chalet
Pen Chalet Banner
Discount code for 10% off: GOURMETPENS


This is my very first Montegrappa - I have never used or reviewed another one. Montegrappa shipped this pen and mug to me directly, and it was very securely packaged, and very enticing.

The fountain pen and mug were beautifully presented. The Copper Mule included a copper mug. The mug is stored in a firm heather grey/peppered box. The outside is copper-printed with various things that are worth the read. It gives some grappa and company history! You'll also find the Montegrappa Mule logo. The mug was wrapped in tissue paper, so it arrived pristine. Most importantly, Montegrappa includes a Montegrappa Mule recipe card!
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Review Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912 1
The pen presentation was gorgeous. I am not often impressed by pen boxes but this one is classy, elegant, and very pretty. The pen comes in a large, solid box. It starts with a navy blue sleeve. The box is also navy blue with a grey geometric pattern on it. The top has Montegrappa Italia written in cream. The lid lifts off, and the base has an open front flap to easily remove the box inside. The main box is lovely. It's a solid, fairly large clamshell box with a metallic navy blue, slightly cushioned material covering. It has the same geometric design as the outer box. There is a brushed metal plate on the top, engraved with  Montegrappa Italia.
Review Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912 4
What's inside? The box is soft, velvety, and grey. The Fortuna Copper Mule is secured on the removable bed in a plastic sleeve - to preserve the clean polish on the copper. Under the bed, one will find: two standard international Montegrappa-branded ink cartridges, a yellow polishing cloth, and a booklet about usage, maintenance, warranty, etc. There is also a note from Montegrappa about copper pens and the patina.


The Fortuna Copper Mule has a classy, curvy shape, tapering towards the end of the barrel. Both ends are blunt and flat, with slightly rounded edges. the finial is a metal emblem with the 1912 logo. The brushed silver plated clip is attached through a snug cut out on the cap. It is short and simple, angled into a crest at the center with a rolling ball at the end.
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Review Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912 12
The center band is wide, located at the end of the cap. It has the same brushed effect as the clip and section and it's engraved with Montegrappa. The section has dark metal threads and it is smooth, round, and ends in a ridge before the nib. It looks attractive, especially against the copper. The brushed trim effect is similar to the vintage tubing and piping used in the process of producing grappa.
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The cap and barrel, upon arrival, are bright, shiny, polished copper. As soon as you touch it, the development of patina sets in. How, where, and the speed in which patina develops depends on your grip and how much you use the pen. Wth mine, the pen started out completely polished, bright, and glowing. My fingerprints started to darken very quickly. The patina is very interesting and if you prefer pristine pens, you could either polish the copper with the included cloth, or steer clear of copper. Or wear gloves!
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Review Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912 21
The copper mug is extra cool. I love when a pen comes with an ink but this is even better. The pen and mug look great together!


The steel nib is large, and fits the pen well. It is brushed steel with a geometric design engraved on it, which matches the boxes. It is also engraved with Montegrappa. It has a single slit and a round breather hole.

The tines were slightly misaligned and I found the nib quite dry and a little bit scratchy. Ink flow was too dry to comfortably write with the pen so I had to adjust it slightly - basically aligning the tines with a fingernail. This is something even a new user can do - it's just a matter of getting them symmetrical. Nothing complicated. Realigning the tines got rid of the scratchy feeling. It still had a fair amount of feedback but I don't find it unpleasant. It's a noisy nib with a tactile feeling. I prefer wetter nibs so I made this one a little wetter. It is a pretty fine medium, which is unusual for Western nib sizes. Drying times were average.
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Review Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912 11
It is a firm nib so with regular writing, don't expect something soft, bouncy, or yielding. With moderate pressure, you can squeeze out a little bit of line variation. Fast writing is possible, and it did hold up well without drying out during longer writing sessions.
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The weight of the pen means it easily passes the free weight test. I was surprised that reverse writing was possible - and it was actually quite pleasant!

The impression this pen's writing experience gives me is that it was tuned to be a conservative writer - ink flow was on the dry side, with feedback, fast drying times, and for use in shorter notes. Since I like broader, juicier nibs, I decided to adjust it slightly. I found it more enjoyable to write with when it was slightly wetter. I feel like this writing experience is more like an Aurora nib than a Visconti/OMAS nib, which in my experience have been very wet, soft, and juicy, relative to the Aurora/Montegrappa.

If I had dipped this nib in store, I wouldn't take it home. I'm pretty bummed it didn't blow me away, but that's ok. I want something wetter and juicier with a touch more softness. Since I've written this review, I have used another Montegrappa steel fine nib and it's so much more pleasant - softer and much smoother. I wonder if this has something to do with the nib finish/type of nib?


The clip is quite stiff and snug, but it can be slid on and off papers, pouches, and pockets using the rolling ball clip. It is a heavy pen but the tension of the clip holds it in place pretty well.
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The section is quite comfortable. The brushed finish gives the metal a bit of texture so it doesn't feel slippery. The threads are large but smooth enough that they don't feel uncomfortable. It feels suitable for large and smaller hands.
Review Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912 9
Unposted, the pen feels solid and heavy but well-balanced. If you have really small hands or dislike heavy pens, a copper pen might be too heavy for you. The cap can be posted snugly by friction. It sits deeply enough to look and feel secure. There is a plastic sleeve inside the cap that prevents the metal of the cap from rubbing on the barrel and so far, there are no serious scratches from posting. I do not use it posted for the most part as it is long and quite top heavy!
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Review Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule Fountain Pen @PenChalet @Montegrappa 1912 14
The pen is supplied with a converter and two ink cartridges. The converter screws in place, a feature I like with converters because they won't separate from the section if the pen is rattled around.

As the pen is copper, it will leave behind the smell of pennies on your hand! In addition, patina can have a slightly tacky feeling. With the help of two people, I have polished the patina off the pen with the supplied cloth - it took awhile and some serious rubbing. It was quite hilarious to watch, so it's not super easy to do without any chemicals, but it can be done.

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This has been an interesting experience. The packaging and presentation of this pen is luxurious and elegant. The copper mug to go along with the Montegrappa Mule is extremely cool, and adds a lot of fun to the pen. As I said, I don't drink, but I have found many uses for it.

The pen is beautiful, well made, and matches the mug perfectly. I love the design choices, especially on the nib. I am surprised the pen is tuned to be so dry and fine, and that it has so much feedback. After aligning the tines, I did not find it an unpleasant experience, just different from the ones I typically use. I actually found that when the pen was a little wetter, the weight of the pen makes it almost effortless to write with. I think you have to like this type of writing experience to truly enjoy this pen as a writer. Personally, I wouldn't buy a pen with this type of writing experience, although I'd be sorely tempted by the pen itself and the neat cup. Do you have this pen? What has your nib been like?

The copper is lovely - beautiful and it certainly develops into a unique writing instrument.

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I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Reads: November 27. 2016

Sunday Reads

Stuff I Looked At Elsewhere
Stuff I Apparently Did This Week
Stuff I Read This Week

If you're doing any browsing and shopping, please do check out my sponsors in the side bar, because they help make all this possible. Some of these links are affiliate links, which provides me with a small commission but does not add any extra cost to your purchase. Some links are just referral links, but there is no obligation to purchase through any of these links. Your purchases through my links help support this blog and allows me to fulfill review requests. Either way, I appreciate your readership and your support so much, so thank you!
Thank you to everyone who supports my weirdness.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Whiskers & Paws: November 2016 Edition

Whiskers & Paws November 2016 Edition (1)
Probably the most alert he's ever been.
Whiskers & Paws November 2016 Edition (2)
He has to make up for being so alert by being this.
Whiskers & Paws November 2016 Edition (3)
Coconut shells are upsetting.
Whiskers & Paws November 2016 Edition (4)
Whiskers & Paws November 2016 Edition (5)
And not trustworthy.
Whiskers & Paws November 2016 Edition (6)
Neither are people.
Whiskers & Paws November 2016 Edition (7)
Whiskers & Paws November 2016 Edition (8)
She seems disgusted.
Whiskers & Paws November 2016 Edition (9)
Another one of Koa's favorite spots.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Review: @Palomino @Blackwing Volume 24 Pencil @PencilsCom

A big thank you to for sending a few of these 24 pencils for review! I have previously done full reviews of the Classic Blackwing and the Blackwing 1138 so you can always check those for some serious pencil detail.
Review @Palomino @Blackwing Volume 24 Pencil @PencilsCom 2
If you haven't already, you should really, really check out for some true pencil knowledge. It's a lot of fun, and it's very enabling. There are worse hobbies out there than loving pencils and using them constantly.

The Volume 24 was a limited edition pencil and unfortunately I have missed the LE window. Blackwing creates new limited editions that you must keep an eye out for!
The Blackwing 24 pays tribute to Pulitzer Prize winning author John Steinbeck. Designed under the guidance of his son Thomas Steinbeck, Blackwing has created what they believe would have been John’s ideal pencil. Thom was adamant that his father would want it to be black, from barrel to eraser. It would also need to sharpen to a firm point without sacrificing much if any darkness . The Blackwing 24 is just that – an all-black pencil with a brand new graphite formulation perfect for extended writing. -
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Price: $24.95 USD
Pencil type: Graphite
Where to buy:

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These pencils are hexagonal with smoothly rounded edges. This is an all-black pencil: black body, black ferrule, black eraser. It is mega sexy.
Review @Palomino @Blackwing Volume 24 Pencil @PencilsCom 4

How do I use pencils? I try to draw with them. I am not an artist. I cannot draw, but I try. I find that softer pencils make me feel like I can draw better than I can. I do not like the feeling of hard, barely visible, light lead that doesn't really shade or vary with pressure. I like leads that provide variation with angle and pressure, that shade, that catches on toothy paper. I like to hand-letter with pencils. I don't really write with them (neither short notes or long letters), and I know a lot of people do, but I stick mainly to lettering, drawing, and doodling. I feel like soft leads are more forgiving of my mistakes. - From my Blackwing 1138 review.
Review @Palomino @Blackwing Volume 24 Pencil @PencilsCom 1
Review @Palomino @Blackwing Volume 24 Pencil @PencilsCom 9
In general, I find pencils boring on smooth paper. Or rather, smooth paper is boring for pencils. So now, I usually use a Clairefontaine Graf It pad. This pad has more tooth to it, so it's just more fun to write and draw on. The lead comes out a lot darker, and the tooth shows variation in the texture a lot better. By changing your angle and pressure while writing/drawing, you can change your line width and lead darkness. This lead is not so soft that it requires constant sharpening - it seems suitable for writing instead of just sketching and drawing.
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Although you may not be able to find this particular pencil, I still love the Blackwings in general. I'm not super knowledgeable about pencils, I just enjoy using them leisurely. However, the Blackwings are pretty attractive and make me want to create things. That can't be a bad thing. The main downside? They're pricy. I think they're worth it, but I don't burn through them.

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I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

November 23. 2016 - Wordless Wednesday
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