Monday, May 7, 2018

Ferris Wheel Press The Brush Fountain Pen Review

Ferris Wheel Press provided this fountain pen for review and so I could participate in their Brush Fountain Pen Campaign! If you have not seen the unboxing video, please do swing over to this post and check it out. I talk a bit about picking the pen kit up and give some first impressions.

To receive $20 off shipping on your purchase, you can use the code: GOURMETXFWP. I will not receive a commission, it is just a referral code that helps you out, too!
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Ferris Wheel Press is a stationery lifestyle brand where the whimsical sights, sounds, and nostalgia of the carnival dances with the rat-tat-tat of a traditional print shop. We exist to share our love for printing and stationery, and do so by being creative and artful, deliberately tactile, and deeply personal. 
In this highly digital age, we aspire for dreamers to pick up their pens to sketch their ideas, and a generation of techies to jot down their thoughts, so that the heart and hand can be reacquainted. 
The enchantment begins as the brass threads unwind, producing a sound that echoes the rat-tat-tat of a print shop. What follows is a stunning paintbrush-inspired silhouette, laser etched brass grip, and a medium tipped stainless steel nib that provides a perfectly balanced and luxurious writing experience. 
Debuting in three distinguished colours, the first set of Brush fountain pens are inspired by the ink in our letterpresses and the magic of the twilight carnival. - Ferris Wheel Press

ABOUT
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Body material: Brass, hard paint, clear lacquer coat
Trim: Brass
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, but not recommended.
Nib material: Steel
Filling system: standard international cartridge/converter
Length (capped): 143.31 mm/5.64"
Length (uncapped): 128.35 mm/5.05"
Length (posted): 147.19 mm/5.79"
Length (section): 24.43 mm/0.96"
Diameter (barrel): 5.94 - 10.71 mm/0.23" - 0.42"
Diameter (section): 7.93 - 9.09 mm/0.31" - 0.35"
Weight (all): 23 g
Weight (cap): 8 g
Weight (body): 15 g
Price: $ 183.00 CAD
Where to buy: Ferris Wheel Press

PACKAGING

The Brush fountain pen is presented in the type of box I really like. It is simple, not wasteful, small (or at least proportional to the size of the pen itself), and it can be recycled instead of being tossed in the garbage, should you choose to get rid of it. The box is small and rectangular, made of firm cardstock. This one is a cheery, vibrant yellow - or Sunset Yellow! It has whimsical, carnival doodles in a light grey printed on the background. The foreground is gold-foiled, all done in-house.
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In gold foil, there is the Ferris Wheel Press logo, "The BRUSH fountain pen", and a tiny, very adorable maple leaf. The color of the pen is printed near the bottom of the box. The back is also pressed in gold foil: "Designed in Canada  • Handmade in Shanghai, CN". This yellow sleeve slides off to reveal the pen sitting in a gold-colored bed. No plastic, for which I am grateful. The back of the inner box has more gold-foiling, including simple care instructions and a thank-you.
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The care instructions refer users to a Facebook page for further details. I like that this information is available online instead of being printed on another sheet of paper. It would be ideal if it was also available on the Ferris Wheel Press website, as not everyone is on Facebook.

The pen is accompanied by a small card containing details on the anatomy of the Brush fountain pen - this is useful if you are a new user. The back of the card is blank so it could be a cute postcard! Reuse!

Last but not least, there is a signed certificate of authenticity. It is a fun and thoughtful touch, complete with a theme that matches the pen and packaging. Overall, it's presented well. I appreciate it.
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APPEARANCE

The Brush fountain pen is a slender, elongated pen with a tapering barrel, just like a paintbrush! There is nothing on the finial and no markings on the cap or barrel. The pen has a brass nut for a center band at the end of the cap. It also serves as a rolling stop when the pen is capped. The nut has some cute detail, such as beveled edges that I think look quite classy.
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This sunshine yellow pen has a cheery, vibrant, solid yellow cap and barrel, reminiscent of a brilliantly sunny summer day at a carnival. It has a glossy clear coat over top. The section is on the long side, round, smooth, tapering slightly towards the nib before ending in a ridge. The section is brass with brass cap threads. The pen is inspired by a paintbrush, hence The Brush, but don't expect a brush under this hood! The section is laser engraved with "Designed in Canada" and the upper half of the Ferris Wheel Press logo (the letterpress rollers). I like the section detail a lot as it makes it fun and unique. From afar, you might not even notice the laser engraving.
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When the pen is capped, the rounded ends and long, tapered barrel truly make me think of a brush.

The pen is well made as far as I can see. Clean, smooth, and even. I think it's really cute and I like the three color options. It looks a little slender to my eyes but I find it comfortable in hand.

NIB & PERFORMANCE

The steel nib is a #5 fine/medium, specifically selected by the makers to be a nib grade that would be suitable for daily writing for most users. The nib has a single slit, no breather hole, and a seriously cute engraving: "Ferris Wheel Press" along with a tiny maple leaf, and Roman numerals V and VI. The size of the nib suits the size of the pen, and I think it looks proportional to this body. I prefer #6 nibs in general because of the versatility with what I own otherwise, but in this case, the #5 makes sense.
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SPOILER ALERT! 
SCROLL TO NEXT SECTION IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE SPOILER!



Ferris Wheel Press is a Canadian company based in Toronto. The two area codes 905 and 416 define the city and it is quite a historic rift. Those from Toronto will understand the fun of the V and VI. Those not from the area might find it silly, and perhaps it is, but I like the added touch.



END OF SPOILER!
SAFE ZONE BELOW!

The nib is a solid, dependable performer. It is smooth with slightly dry ink flow, though not frustratingly so. Drying times are fast. The nib is firm with little line variation possible. It is well tuned and adjusted for normal use. Great for daily writing, fast and long writing sessions, and can be used for reverse writing quite comfortably. Given the fast drying times and fine/medium line, coupled with the slim profile, this could be an ideal planner/organizer pen. 
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If you are concerned about the iron-gall Rohrer & Klingner Salix corroding your steel nib - and of course, I am not an expert on this - I am inclined to think it's not as terrible as we might fear. I think the older iron-gall inks were more acidic and Salix is pretty decent. I have never had any issues with this ink and I have been using it for years with both gold and steel nibs. At the very least, just practice proper pen hygiene. That is, flush your pen clean once a month or after every few inkings.

The converter included with the pen fits the section securely but the narrow barrel snags on some of its plastic ridges the first few times the barrel is removed. After a few times, the plastic ridge that stuck out on the converter was smoothed out and it was no longer an issue. There is no clip on the pen but the center band nut serves as a rolling stop. 

IN HAND

The brass section smells only faintly of brass, which is great for people like me who like the look of metal but do not like the smell. The section is a little slender, but I did not find it slippery to use. I found that I actually gripped the section with my index and middle finger and my thumb just a little bit further back. Neither the cap threads nor the ridge is particularly sharp or uncomfortable to hold unless you grip really tightly.

Unposted, the pen feels like a full size. Although it is on the slender side, the brass liner makes it feel more solid than I expected but not too heavy. It is balanced and feels good in the hand. Although the cap can be posted by friction, Ferris Wheel Press advises against it to maintain the finish of the barrel.
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Last note: if the section is not tightly screwed in after inking, it can be loosened while unscrewing the cap. If it is snugly closed - beyond just finger-tight - this does not happen. The section-barrel threads are all brass so I think they will be safe to tighten snugly over time.

Speaking of brass threads, the cap does indeed make a little rat-tat-tat. The rubbing of the brass threads produces a very satisfying rattle click that makes me want to uncap-cap-uncap-cap constantly. What a cute side effect of the brass threads! Another fidget pen!

PROS & CONS
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OVERALL

There are a lot of great things going on here. I love the simple and useful packaging and the fact that it was made in-house. The shape and color of the Brush fountain are cute, bright, and cheery. I can totally understand that these colors and the shape will not appeal to all users. That's completely understandable, however, I think it's cute. I like the simplicity of the bright color with the brass center band nut.

The writing experience is good and positive. I did not have any issues with the nib but as an avid fountain pen user, the selection of a fine/medium nib is not particularly exciting for me. The nib itself is really quite adorable and I enjoy the design a lot, but I would love to see more nib options. Possibly even a #6 size on a larger pen?

I appreciate that a Canadian company is offering fountain pens that are different from what is currently available (as in, not re-branding an existing pen). I am happy to see so much of the creation of the pen is done in-house and in Canada. I would love to see the production of these pens brought to Canada. If you are hesitant about a pen made in Shanghai, remember this is not a re-branded Jinhao (example: Jinhao 992 to Monteverde Monza), this is an all-new design. Ferris Wheel Press did try to find someone who could create this pen within Canada but no one is able to manufacture what they have designed. As such, they did as much as they could within Canada! I have passed along this feedback to them and they do recognize how great it would be to have this made in Canada so fingers crossed something works out! The craftsmanship is pretty solid and the pen performs well. Ultimately, as a Canadian company, I want to see it made in Canada. I would be happy to pay the asking price for a made-in-Canada pen.

Last but not least: the price tag of $183 Canadian. I think this is a little high to be an introductory pen for many, and still prohibitive even if it's not an introductory pen. This is a handmade pen, designed from scratch, with cute, in-house packaging and letterpress work, a re-branded and well-tuned nib that performs well, there are quite a few good things going for it. I do not find the price exorbitantly high but I don't think it's accessible to all interested users either.

What are your thoughts on The Brush fountain pen? Please share below!


I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. This is a sponsored post - I was compensated monetarily for my time in order to do an expedited review. I have done my best to remain as unbiased as possible. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

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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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