Ink Dupes #3: Robert Oster and Diamine

When prepping this Ink Dupe, I discovered you can’t just leave the chromatography strips sitting and forget about them. The spreading goes too far. But, since it was an interesting accident, I included the original strips as well as the “proper” strips. I’m sure you can tell which is which.

The Inks

Robert Oster NG Special ’16
Price: ~$17 USD
Bottle Size: 50ml
Price Per Ml: $0.34
Availability: Readily available
Diamine Golden Honey
Price: ~$16 USD
Bottle Size: 40ml
Price Per Ml: $0.40
Availability: Readily available

Comparison swatches and chromatography strips for Robert Oster NG Special '16 and Diamine Golden Honey

If you have any suggestions for future comparisons, let me know in the comments.  And check out my other Ink Dupes posts.

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Ink Dupes #2: Organics Studio and Kyo-No-Oto

I’ve got a couple of notes on this comparison. 1) Hisoku is an odd ink. It doesn’t work well with dip pens, as you can see below. I also now understand the meaning of a “dry ink”. You can tell how much better flow/wetness there is with The Real Teal.  2) The Real Teal is a old limited edition. So it’s nearly impossible to get a bottle. In my opinion, Hisoku is a fairly decent dupe. When writing with a properly inked pen, you can’t really tell the difference.

The Inks

Organics Studio The Real Teal
Price: N/A
Bottle Size: 55ml
Availability: Limited Edition, Discontinued
Kyo-No-Oto Hisoku
Price: ~$25 USD
Bottle Size: 40ml
Availability: Readily available

Comparison swatches and chromatography strips for Organics Studio The Real Teal and Kyo-No-Oto Hisoku

If you have any suggestions for future comparisons, let me know in the comments.

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Ink Dupes #1: Montblanc and Diamine

Welcome to Ink Dupes. I’ll warn you now, this series will most likely feature fairly irregular posts. Make sure you subscribe to my blog or to the fountain pen category so you don’t miss an issue.

This week, I’m starting with red — my favorite color — with Diamine Matador and Montblanc Corn Poppy Red.

A bit of a backstory — since you all know I’m so fond of stories. I noticed a while ago that some inks are nearly identical to others. When Ink Journal shared an article about chromatography in their Flex Nib Friday newsletter, I was curious to find out just how similar these seemingly identical inks really are.

After the first comparison, it occurred to me that I’m not the only one who’d be interested in knowing which inks are similar (or identical) in color. So, I’ll be sharing my comparisons with you all. I’m hoping it will help those who are looking for expensive or hard-to-find inks.

That said, if you’re curious about how two inks compare, let me know. I may have (or be able to get) both inks for comparison.

Continue reading “Ink Dupes #1: Montblanc and Diamine”

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Green Nib Update

I mentioned in my 2018 DC Pen Show post that I purchased a green nib from Hinze Pen Company to match my Green Ivies pen from 18111. At the time, I thought I was purchasing an anodized nib. Turns out, it’s lacquered steel, which explains my experience. At the show, I was warned by a few people that colored nibs tend to experience flaking. Sadly, that warning held true for my nib.

I waited a while to write this update, because I was hoping that I could give you a positive result. At first it seemed as though the flaking was minor, and, if it had stayed like that, I could have lived with it.

With the first and second cleaning (both within the first month), a bit of green flaked off either side of the nib slit on the outer edge of the tines. It was noticeable, but it wasn’t really obvious, so I hoped that that would be the end of the flaking, and I’d have a good nib.

However, with the most recent cleaning, I decided to change the color in my pen. I found, as I cleaned it, that the ink was being particularly stubborn. After 10+ minutes of flushing water through it, I decided to pop it in my ultrasonic cleaner.

SIDE NOTE: You’re probably shaking your head. Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t have put it in the ultrasonic cleaner. But…I thought it was anodized, and an anodized nib likely wouldn’t have had a problem with a half “round” in the ultrasonic cleaner.

It occurred to me at the time that I may be making a mistake, but I needed to clean the nib thoroughly, and I didn’t want to spend forever to do so.

Sure enough, the ultrasonic cleaner was a MASSIVE mistake. Here’s the nib after about 45 seconds in the cleaner. As you can see, there’s no going back, the green is toast.

So…my thoughts on colored nibs. Seeing as so many people warned me about them, I’m going to wager that this type of problem is common. I really wish that the nib had come with a disclaimer of things to avoid, or ways to care for it that would keep the color from flaking off.

That said, if you’re VERY careful with the nib, you can probably get a lot of use out of it before the color flaking becomes obvious. Also, if you can find an anodized steel nib, you’re likely to get much more use out of the nib before you have color flaking issues (if you have any).

If, however, like me, you have a certain expectation of performance for your nibs, a colored nib probably isn’t for you, especially one that’s lacquered rather than anodized.

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Fountain Pen Series Wrap-Up

Happy Fountain Pen Friday, everyone. This is it for my fountain pen series. I’ve had loads of fun writing this series, and I learned far more than I expected.

Before I say good-bye to this series for good, I want to wrap up the entire thing in one, easy-to-share page. So, if you know someone who’s curious about fountain pens or wants to learn more about them, share this link: http://bit.ly/rdlf-fpseries. You can get to all three sections’ issues from the links below. Thanks for reading!

Fountain Pen 101: So you're interested in fountain pens?

  • Why Fountain Pens
    Why should you use fountain pens? Check out the benefits and detriments.
  • Anatomy of a Pen
    The basic anatomy of a fountain pen.
  • Where to Start (with Pens)
    The best pens (in my opinion) with which to start your fountain pen journey.
  • Nibs
    An introduction to nibs, including sizes; materials; and flex, fude, and music nibs.
  • Ink
    An overview of ink, including brands and commonly discussed properties.
  • Ink Reservoirs
    An overview of ink reservoirs in pens and my ratings of their capacity and ease of cleaning.
  • Cleaning & Filling
    The joys of pen cleaning!! ← Sarcasm.
  • Paper
    “Good” and “bad” paper and mini reviews of various notebooks I’ve tried.
  • Stores
    The benefits of brick and mortar stores, and a crowd-sourced world map of stores that carry fountain pens.

Fountain Pen 201: You've gone down the rabbit hole, what's next?

  • Pen Shows
    Learn about fountain pen shows and check out the international list of shows I know about.
  • Indie Pen Makers
    Learn about indie pen makers, including a list of indie makers I know about.
  • Nib Customization
    Learn about nib customizations, from the simple to the complex.
  • Inventories
    The benefits of keeping an inventory of your pen and ink collection.
  • Ink Swab Catalog
    “Fan requested” post covering my ink swabbing methods.
  • Community
    The fabulous fountain pen community.
  • Secondhand and Vintage
    Things to know when buying secondhand and vintage pens.
  • Selling Pens
    Things to know when selling pens.

Fountain Pen 301: Joining the maker community

  • DIY Nib Work
    How to get started with DIY nib work.
  • Pen Making
    How to get started with making pen bodies.
  • Pen Cases
    How to get started with making your own pen cases.
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Fountain Pen 301: DIY Pen Cases

Happy Fountain Pen Friday, and welcome to the final issue of Fountain Pen 301. There will be a final, summary issue of my series next week. But this week, I’m covering pen cases.

Speaking from experience, it can be tempting to look at Rickshaw Bagworks or Nock Co. and think, “I can do that.” If the thought stems from the idea that you can save money by making it yourself, let me tell you, unless you’re a master sewer, you’re wrong.Between the materials and the time you’ll expend, you’ll end up spending much more in the long run!

However, if you’re interested in the challenge or the process, I’ve got some hints for you.

Continue reading “Fountain Pen 301: DIY Pen Cases”

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Fountain Pen 301: Pen Making

Happy Fountain Pen Friday, and welcome to another Fountain Pen 301. This week, I’ll be discussing pen making, both pouring your own resin blanks and turning pens.

Once again, rather than relying on my own (nearly nonexistent) knowledge for this topic, I reached out to some significantly more knowledgeable pen friends for help. Thank you very much to Chet Herbert of Herbert Pen Co. (fabulous man and gorgeous pens!) who was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to share some of his expertise. And thank you, also, to Brian Chu of Red Dragon Pen Co. for pointing me in the direction of some fabulous information. Continue reading “Fountain Pen 301: Pen Making”

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Fountain Pen 301: DIY Nib Work

Happy Fountain Pen Friday, and welcome to the final set of my fountain pen series. Fountain Pen 301 is very different to its predecessors. 301 will be short, only three entries, and will give you some advice and suggestions on where to start if you want to become part of the maker community.

In this first issue, I’ll be discussing nib work, which seems to be the next step in fountain pen ownership, based on my pen friends, even if you don’t stick with it. There seems to be great interest in the fountain pen community right now in learning nib work, so I’m hoping some of this information will help those of you who want to know more.

Rather than relying on my own (nearly nonexistent) knowledge for this topic, I reached out to some significantly more knowledgeable pen friends for help. Continue reading “Fountain Pen 301: DIY Nib Work”

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People with Pens: Rachel de la Fuente

I’ve always been a fan of hand writing. I can type almost as fast as I can think, so there’s nothing to slow me down. Sometimes, that can be a good thing. But when I want to devote some thought to what I’m writing, I switch to hand writing so I have to slow down.

This is especially useful when I’m writing books and/or blog posts. Writing “stream of consciousness” isn’t typically great when you want what you’re writing to make sense. It’s much better, for me, to slow down some and make sure that what I’m writing is cohesive and coherent.

The biggest downside to hand-writing, though, is hand fatigue. Over the years, I’ve developed several different grips for holding my writing implement to increase the amount I can write in one go.

But the pressure and effort required to write with pencils and ballpoint pens increases hand fatigue. Fountain pens help alleviate that with the lack of pressure needed to write. Something about not needing to press down to write makes it easier to hold the pen in a looser grip, which also helps with hand fatigue.

Fountain pens, perhaps because of their design, or our association of nibs with older things, also tend to make people want to write nicer. They certainly did for me and many of my pen friends. But, despite my great love of fountain pens today, it’s a relatively recent hobby for me.

Continue reading “People with Pens: Rachel de la Fuente”

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Explaining Pens

“You spent HOW much on a pen?” Every pen person has heard it at least once. It can get a bit annoying to hear, mainly because you can hear the judgement in the tone nine times out of ten. If you aren’t a pen person, you’ve probably though it while reading my blog.

I used to just laugh it off and continue the conversation, but the tiny kernel of hurt remained. It seemed an unfair judgement. After all, I stay within my monthly budget. All my bills get paid. What difference does it make if I buy a semi-expensive pen? Semi-expensive in relation to the full spectrum of available pens, that is.

Granted, if you’re someone who’s spent their entire life using BIC ballpoints, it’s likely the idea of spending even $10 on a pen is too much. But we’re all different. We all have something we splurge on (when we can). The trick is to know what the person you’re talking to splurges on.

For example, I was talking to a friend the other day who was having the typical non-pen person reaction (basically, wow, that’s expensive). Knowing she’s on the girly side, I told her:

“Pens for me are like shoes and bags for other ladies”

It was really interesting to experience her near instant change in attitude with her new understanding.

“ohh got it 😉 they are like the jimmy choos”

I’ve had similar experiences with other friends, too. Once I can give them something to relate to, they understand me better and the judgement ceases.

How do you explain your pen habit/hobby to friends and family? Or if you aren’t a pen person, what’s your main habit/hobby, and how do you explain it to your friends and family? Leave me a comment to let me know. I’m really curious.

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