Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Citytrip to The Hague: Fontoplumo

Yesterday I talked about my visit to P.W. Akkerman, one of the most famous pen stores in the Netherlands. But that wasn't the only pen retailer I visited while I was in The Hague. I also met this beardy man, Frank van Krieken, the owner of another famous Dutch pen store: Fontoplumo!

Fontoplumo isn't a physical store though, that's why we met at a local coffee bar to chat about pens. And, as you can see below, Frank also brought his pen pouch with him, filled with lots of pen-goodness! So there I was, for the second time in one day, drooling over pens that would require selling organs on the black market!
This Montegrappa Chaos is probably the most detailed pen I've ever seen! The price tag? A sloppy 4ooo Euros!

Frank clearly chooses quality over quantity, being focused on a few high quality brands and their limited editions. His main interests are Delta and Montegrappa, along with brands like Lamy and Kaweco and smaller brands, such as Wörther or Tibaldi.

The Montegrappa side of his pen pouch. From left to right: Extra 1930, Ducale, LE Modigliani, Espressione, and two Fortuna's.
The Delta side (again from L to R): The Journal, Fusion One, Horsepower, two Dolcevita's, Fusion 82.
-Drool- sooooo pretty!
Frank was kind enough to let me photograph and inspect all these wonderful pens, but for some reason I kept coming back to this one: A pearled red 'The Journal' with Fusion nib from Delta! I hope my pictures do it any justice, because this pen is BEAUTIFUL! The resin is vibrant, but at the same time the silver marbling gives it a more subtle character, combine that with Ruthenium plated trims and... ding ding ding, we have a winner! Unfortunately, he didn't have the box with him, but I can't wait to get my hands on one at the Tilburg pen show next month!

With a Fusion nib for added magic and unicorns!
I had a wonderful time talking and trying out pens, Frank is a great guy and he knows a LOT about pens! You can check out his webshop here, he also ships worldwide!

So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed all this pen p0rn as much as I did! I had a wonderful time visiting The Hague, it's a beautiful city with lots of amazing architecture, great food and great shops (especially pen shops!)

I'd like to thank Frank van Krieken and the people over at P.W. Akkerman for taking the time to chat with me, and for letting me take pictures of the amazing pens they sell!

PS: For those of you who are wondering what pen Frank is holding, it's a Montegrappa Kazan LE, one of his favourites!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Citytrip to The Hague: P.W. Akkerman

Last week we went on a litle trip to the Netherlands, which is something we often do (it's a beautiful country and it's not too far!). But this year was extra special, because we visited the capital city (No, not Amsterdam): The Hague! This will be a series of two posts (I'll try to upload the other part tomorrow) in which I'll show the two highlights of my visit to The Hague!

But what does The Hague have to do with my pen blog, you might think... Well, In The Hague, not only you'll find the Royal palace, you'll also find The Royal supplier of pens, P.W. Akkerman, which is well worth mentioning to say the least!

P.W. Akkerman is a great shop to visit, and it's situated in one of the most beautiful 'Passages' of the Netherlands. (A passage basically is a shopping street covered with a glass roof!) It's also incredibly easy to find because of the GIANT orange Parker Duofold hanging in front of the shop (convenient)
Phoenix handpainted pens (I'd probably faint if I'd see the price tag of these works of art!
P.W. Akkerman has over 100 years (!) of experience (since 1910 to be precise), which is clearly noticeable as soon as you discover their amazing collection of pens, with known and less known brands (like Phoenix handpainted pens seen below), pens for the small wallet and pens for the slightly bigger wallet (you can easily burn through 5k and more!). If you can't find what you're looking for in this shop, you'll probably never find it! The people who run the shop are extremely friendly, and they'll gladly help you to find just the pen you're looking for! 

Another Phoenix pen!
A set of nine Phoenix pens depicting the Romanovs

Another Giant Parker, accompanied by a giant illuminated Pelikan Souverän!

OOOH shiny! Some Namiki Maki-e pens
Probably the biggest collection of Visconti pens I've ever seen!
Again some pens that will destroy your bank account, this time from Krone.

As you can see in the picture above, they gathered quite a nice collection of (vintage) inks over the years (and this is only about a third of their collection!)

Some of my grail pens from Graf Von Faber-Castell

But of course, my visit to P.W. Akkerman wouldn't be complete if I didn't get one of their P.W. Akkerman inks! These inks have become world famous for their unique bottles and convenient filling system. There's a variety of colours to choose from, and every color is named after a place in The Hague! (I'll be doing an ink review about it later!)

I had high expectations before I visited P.W. Akkerman, and I wasn't dissapointed when I left! If you want to get one of their inks or a nice pen, or if you just want to read about the fascinating history of their shop, I'd suggest visiting their website/webshop!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lamy Scala

The Lamy Scala is the kind of pen that might not immediately grab your attention. It's a very subtle, sleek, minimalist pen, so minimal that it might not seem like much at first, but believe me, this pen has a lot worth going for! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pennaquod - The Pen Blog Search Engine!

You want to find a specific blog post about a specific product, but Google gives you a list of useless search results!... I think pretty much everyone will understand this problem, so Ian Hedley, the man behind the great blog: Pens!Paper!Pencils! has created a useful Search engine called 'Pennaquod'.

Pennaquod only searches for results within a specific list of pen blogs, so you'll never get irrelevant results!

Currently the list of blogs is still small, but the results I got are already very good, accurate and fast! Be sure to go check it out, and give Ian a heads up if you have a pen blog that isn't featured yet!

Pennaquod - http://pennaquod.net/

Saturday, July 26, 2014

kaweco Ice Sport Rollerball

Woohoo! More Kaweco reviews! - Kaweco has returned with even more awesome products for me to review, including some brand new pens! So stay tuned because more Kaweco goodness will come in the future! Again, big thanks to Kaweco for providing these pens!

By now, most people will know that I'm not a huge rollerball-fan. But I'm always glad if I can try out something outside my comfort zone, because that's where I'll often find products that are much better than I expected! And this one is no different, especially the refill this little pink pen came with really surprised me! It's very smooth, and the flow and line width are very consistent, something that can't be said about many rollerball pens I used in the past! I would almost dare to compare it to the Schmidt refills that come in the Retro 51 pens, which are some of the best refills I've ever used! 

The pen itself looks pretty good, it's almost an exact replica of the Classic sport pens, except for the transparent plastic brightly coloured cap. The bright coloured cap gives the pen a different, not-so-serious and more modern look, which will definitely appeal to young people that are looking for a entry-level, but decent pen. There's nothing I dislike about the design aspect, however I would have prefered a smoky grey option or something similar instead of the bright hot pink ( not really my thing!), but that's just me and my fear for colour!

Build quality is on par with other Kaweco pens, which is a good thing. The only real problem I ran into, is that the section tends to unscrew from time to time, probably because of the spring that puts some pressure on it, making it easier to unscrew by accident. 

As I said before, the refill is excellent, but for those who prefer a ballpoint refill, it can be swapped with any Parker-style refill you want! Maybe check out this awesome refill guide Ana (from the Well-appointed Desk) made for more refill options that will fit this pen! 

Because of its relatively low price (10-15Euros / 20 USDollars), this pen would make an ideal gift for kids or people that are new to the pen scene! It's also perfect as an EDC pen if you want to stand out between the crowd with a flashy writing tool!

Note: this pen was sent to me by Kaweco, free of charge, so I could write this review.  I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, nor was I monetarily compensated. The opinions shared in this review are completely my own!.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Staedtler Noris Stylus Pencil

The staedtler Noris is quite a well-known pencil that has been around for a substantial time, but as with all analog writing tools, this piece of pencil goodness gets replaced by a stylus more often than not. So Staedtler found a simple yet brilliant solution to combine both and to keep the pencil tradition alive: the Staedtler Noris Stylus. 

The name says it all really, it's a triangular chunky Noris pencil with a stylus tip!

Buying one was quite a dilemma though: It's relatively expensive, especially when compared to the regular Noris pencils. But at the same time it seemed a bit too cheap to house a well-functioning stylus tip? It was only until I found one for sale in our local supermarket that I decided to give it a try!

So yeah, I was a bit sceptic at first, but so far I don't have any complaints about the stylus tip or the pencil in general. The stylus is soft and not sticky, it's narrower, and thus more precise than most other styli, and it seems to be quite responsive on most devices (although it appeared to be working better on my android phone than on my ipad!)

The pencil itself -being a Staedtler Noris- is quite great! The thick triangular shape is easy to hold (mostly intended as a learning pencil for children) and the matte lacquered body feels very smooth. The thick 3mm lead is smooth too, and it lays down a relatively dark line, especially when compared to other #2/HB pencils. I also found out that it requires very little sharpening, as you can see below, the complete written review was written without sharpening once! All things considered, this is a great pencil for kids, but I quite like it too!

Another nifty feature is the fact that Staedtler created an app to go with the pencil that helps children to learn how to write! A QR code is printed on the back of the packaging, which can be scanned on both Android and Apple devices. I tried the app once, and it works well. There are a couple of different excercises, as well as games. I could imagine that this actually helps to learn how to write in a fun way.

The Staedtler Noris Stylus is available for around 4 Euros, or 5-6 USDollars.

So here it is, my first (woodcased) pencil review, I hope you enjoyed it, and if so I'll definitely do more reviews about pencils in the future!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

inexPENsive - Uni-ball jetstream RT

For me, the Uniball jetstream RT is probably the only ballpoint pen that could beat a fountain pen. The reason for that is quite straightforward, I love the refill!

The Jetstream RT comes with a hybrid ink cartridge, which can be found in all pens from their Jetstream lineup. This Hybrid ink is supposed to be a combination between ballpoint pen ink and rollerball ink, which gives it unique properties that other ballpoint pens don't have. The most important feature of the jetstream ink, is the fact that it produces a much more consistent line, unlike other ballpoint pens, that often have a fairly inconsistent flow and thus a fairly inconsistent, skippy line. It writes incredibly smooth and without much pressure. I always buy mine in a 1.0 mm thickness, mostly because this is the only size I seem to find, however, according to some, the finer sizes perform even better!

And to be honest, it doesn't look too bad right? The complete body is covered in a layer of rubber, which provides a good grip, and it feels comfortable in the hand. The chrome-coloured accents look decent, however it's still a budget pen, so don't expect any fancy metal parts in this pen (except for the spring!).
The grip section has a slight bit of texture to it, and also a few small ink windows running lengthwise over the section, making it easy to see how much juice there's left!

There's only one thing I really dislike about this pen: the fact that you'll burn through a refill faster than..., well faster than anything! The refill has the same size as a cheap commercial ballpoint pen, but because it has a different ink in it, you'll find yourself emptying it within one or two weeks of heavy use!

Even though this is still a budget pen, you could consider this to be a slightly higher-end model. The price is quite high, at approximately 4 USD, especially given the fact that it only holds a small amount of ink. However, I'm pretty sure it would be a perfect fit for most people, and it won't break the bank!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Another Guest Post at ThePenCompany blog!

You can go check out my guest review of the Monteverde One touch tool pen at thePenCompany blog!

Now & Then Eco-essential Pen and Pencil

Out of every Hi-Tec C compatible pen body that has been launched on Kickstarter, the Eco-essential pen is definitely one of the most appealing designs that have come up so far. Apart from being a perfect drafting and sketching tool, they also look very good, with the distinctive bamboo and aluminum build. I've been eyeing these for quite a while, especially lately, when a lot of reviews about it popped up (on Gourmetpens, Pentorium,...)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

One Year Down, Many More To Come...

Unbelievably but true, this blog has had his first birthday! And I would like to thank YOU dear reader, for being awesome, for coming back every time I had a new post online, for writing fun, interesting, smart comments, but most importantly: for the endless support I've received from you guys!

I would also like to thank a few co-bloggers, especially Edjelley, Matthias from Bleistift, Brad from Thepenaddict, Mike from theClickyPost, Azizah from Gourmetpens, Anna from TheWellAppointedDesk, and of course a lot of other awesome people! Without the help of these awesome people, my blog wouldn't have grown to where it's at today!

And last but not least, thanks to all pen brands and shops that provided great products for me to review!

There are a few things I would like to show that I think would be interresting or funny...

First of all, here's how my blog changed throughout this one year:

(This perfectly illustrates how I almost never know what I want...)

Secondly, here is the top five of most read posts: (click on them if you haven't read them yet!)

  1.  Faber-Castell Emotion Pure Black fountain pen
  2. TWSBI Vac 700 fountain pen
  3. Kaweco Al-Sport RAW mechanical pencil
  4. Inexpensive: Pilot Sign Pen
  5. Rhodia Webnotebook 

And a small gift for you...

Last but not least, I have made a small 'gift', I made a few wallpapers of pen pictures I took last months. You can download them from this Flickr album. (Click on the picture, then click on the three dots in the right hand colmun and choose 'download/ all sizes')

Thanks again for being an awesome blog reader, and let's start another year of pen blogging!