Skip to content

Tag: Fountain Pen Reviews

Cypress Dandelion Construction

Posted in Fountain Pens

No, this isn’t a duplicate post. I find the construction of the Dandelion pen so unique and interesting that I want to give it its own post.

Previous pens I’ve purchased from Cypress (formerly Mr. Cypress) have had a standard cartridge-converter construction (cap, section, and barrel). This Dandelion pen, however, is very different.

Cypress Eggshell Series Dandelion

Pen Porn: Sailor Profit Maki-e Maiko

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with high-quality pen porn. 😉

On September 1st, Goulet Pen Co. sent out an email announcing their Sailor “Don’t Miss the Boat” sale. I’m assuming it has something to do with Sailor’s upcoming price increase, but I digress. I wasn’t looking for any Sailor pens, but I decided to take a look and see what was on offer.

To my surprise, I found a pen I wanted. I’ve really been enjoying urushi art pens, and the Maiko caught my eye, especially considering it was approximately half price. The sale price put it at just a bit higher than a standard Pro Gear pen, so I bought another pen that I shouldn’t have. I’m not doing well at all in my quest to buy less pens this year.

Sailor 1911S Maki-e Maiko

Big Dropper Skull Review

Posted in Fountain Pens

When Ben introduced his polycarbonate, laser-engraved pens, I knew I had to have one. While I adore the appearance of my metal Gravitas pen, there is just enough of the metal-on-metal scraping sound that, over time, I’ve decided to let it go. Now that I have the polycarbonate pen, I don’t feel as bad about that decision.

For the time being, the polycarbonate pens are only available in the “Member’s Area” — available to those who have already purchased from Gravitas Pens. Hopefully they will be available to everyone at some point in the future.

A Stanford Wood Studio Commission

Posted in Fountain Pens

When I failed to check Stanford Wood Studio (SWS) off my 2021 wish list, I vowed to ensure I ordered from them in 2022. To that end, as I mentioned in my 2022 wish list post, I reserved a commission right at the beginning of January. But, before I dive into that, allow me to say that SWS was fabulous to work with. I believe I mostly, if not only, communicated with Di — she’s lovely. I appreciated the updates on my commission and her suggestions for making it better. And, once my pens arrived, I could — and can — see what fantastic work they — Di and Dave — do.

Pen Mini Reviews – BWIPS ’22 Haul

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Non-Fountain Pens

Well, I meant for this to go up on Tuesday, but I just didn’t get to it. You all seemed to enjoy my pen mini reviews of my DC Pen Show Haul, so I’m doing them again with my BWIPS 2022 haul. I hope you enjoy this one, too. FYI, I’m listing the pens in purchase order.

As usual, click on any image to view it larger.

all pens from my haul
A full rotation of pens in one haul.

Customized Custom 74 Review

Posted in Fountain Pens

As I mentioned in my Elabo review, I got two pens from Penwing Stationery. This time, I’m reviewing the second, the Custom 74.

Again, I’m not reviewing the pen itself. I already know I love that. I’m focusing on the aftermarket customization work done on the pen. As with my Elabo review, I’m judging the work based on the price difference. In this case, a Custom 74 sells for $200 MSRP ($160 retail). The Penwing Stationery customized version has a $205.99 list price, but seems to be on perpetual sale for $165. So, I’m judging the work on a $5 difference.

Customized Elabo Review

Posted in Fountain Pens

Of course, just after telling you I was going to scale back on the blog posts, two pens arrived, so you’ll get 2 posts a week for a little longer so I can do my reviews. Plus I have two more pens on order, and there’s BWIPS in two weeks, so… yeah. Lots to write.

Anyway, a while back I came across a very interesting pen on Instagram from Penwing Stationery. At first, I thought it was a Japan or China exclusive. However, it turned out to be a customized Pilot Custom 74. I showed Jim, and we ended up ordering three different pens, including that first one I saw.

It took about a month to actually ship our order, but they they arrived in only 4 days. We eagerly unboxed our pens. Jim’s Pilot Custom 91 is good. Of my two (the Custom 74 and a Pilot Elabo — basically a Falcon) one was lovely, and one was a disappointment. I’ll be reviewing the latter today. Save the best for last, and all that.

Benu Talisman Wild Rose Review

Posted in Fountain Pens

When the Wild Rose was first announced, I didn’t plan to get it. I’m not big on pink, and, as I’m trying to limit my pen acquisitions this year, it seemed silly to get it “just because.”

However, when I found out the material includes rose petals and heart-shaped glitter, I decided to get it. I pre-ordered from Pen Chalet and requested either #19 or #69 if they got either one. I was lucky enough to get pen #69.

So, I have a holy grail of pens, a Valentine’s Day pen numbered 69. On top of that, it was, by sheer coincidence, my 214th pen. So I can’t get rid of it. Ever. Well, unless someone offers me an obscene amount of money for it. But, enough backstory, you’re here for a review.

Mr. Cypress – Pushing Boundaries

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome to 2022! Once again, my first post of the year is about pens. And there are several more this month.

Early in 2021, I commissioned a Día de Muertos pen from Mr. Cypress. I wrote a 3-part series about that experience (part 1 | part 2 | part 3). At the end of the year, I purchased a second pen from Mr. Cypress, which also has a skull-based design. This puts me in the unique position to compare the two.

Loft Pens: Building a Rainbow

Posted in Fountain Pens

I first saw Loft Pens in May of this year. They posted a neat stacked ombre pen. I instantly knew I wanted one, but I needed to figure out the color scheme.

It didn’t take me too long to decide I wanted a rainbow. But, since I was trying to pay off some pens, I didn’t reach out to them right away. However, didn’t waste any time. They posted the rainbow pen they’d commissioned, and it was very pretty. Unfortunately, my contrary nature meant I no longer wanted one like that because it had already been done. I luv ya, PW, really, I do, and your collection! But I digress. I petulantly removed the rainbow pen from my wishlist and didn’t give it much thought.

Ranking Large Pen Brands

Posted in Fountain Pens

DISCLAIMER UPDATE (6/24/22): TWSBI and Narwhal have released a joint statement which I cover in my most recent TWSBIgate post. While not completely satisfied with TWSBI’s response to the situation, I no longer feel the need to dissuade people from purchasing their products.

DISCLAIMER (5/1/22): Since writing this post, TWSBI has been involved in some unsavory actions, and I am currently boycotting them. For more information, refer to the #twsbigate tag page.

I’ve seen this ranking system on YouTube a lot lately, and it seemed like a fun idea. I don’t know how well it will work in a blog post, but I’m giving it a try. Since I always want to jump to the end to see what the rankings are, I’ve started with that. You can continue reading after the ranking list if you want to find out why I placed a brand in any given ranking.

OK, so what am I ranking? Large/Mainstream pen brands. I’m not including Indie Brands because a) I don’t think that’s fair to them, given I have no idea how experienced any person is with pen making at this time and b) I think all Indie Brands that don’t have shady business practices should be shown more love, not shade. You can see the Indie Brand qualifications in my Indie Pen Makers Update post. For me, large/mainstream brands are those readily available in pen stores.

Let me know if I’ve missed any brands, I can write an update to include them. That said, I’m also not including defunct brands — sorry OMAS lovers. I’m also only considering modern experiences with vintage brands (e.g. Esterbrook, Sheaffer, etc.) not their vintage pens.

Let me know if you agree or disagree with my rankings. And if this looks fun, you can use my template to make your own ranking list.

A Surprising Joy

Posted in Fountain Pens

It’s not often I write a pen review — let’s be honest, it’s almost never — mostly because there are so many reviewers out there. However, in this particular case, I feel impelled to share my thoughts.

About a month ago, I realized that I no longer had an orange pen in my “Under $250” category. I can’t have a pen rainbow without orange. To try to fix that issue, I solicited some suggestions from my lovely local peeps in the DC Metro Pen Crew.

I received a lot of suggestions, and the Pilot Custom 74 is the one I ultimately decided on. By sheer coincidence, I had a birthday coupon for Pen Chalet, so that’s who I ordered from.

Día de Muertos, Pen Realized

Posted in Fountain Pens

I’m back with post three, so you know what that means. My pen arrived! If you have read my previous posts (1, 2), I suggest you do so to know how this pen came to be. Be forewarned, there is A LOT of pen porn in this post. And you can click/tap any image to view it larger. I take no responsibility for pen envy, pen lust, or pen purchases resulting from the content in this post.

Another “Step Up” Pen

Posted in Fountain Pens

As I stated in my TWSBI post, the Kaweco Sport series is another contender for best “step up” pen. I know several people who absolutely adore the Sport series, and I’ve come across photos of truly impressive collections.

I really like the non-satin finish metal-bodied Sports for their weight and durability. The nibs for the entire series are decent and come in a wide range of sizes, but the TWSBI nibs are definitely better.

Pen Opinions Change

Posted in Fountain Pens

DISCLAIMER UPDATE (6/24/22): TWSBI and Narwhal have released a joint statement which I cover in my most recent TWSBIgate post. While not completely satisfied with TWSBI’s response to the situation, I no longer feel the need to dissuade people from purchasing their products.

DISCLAIMER (5/1/22): Since writing this post, TWSBI has been involved in some unsavory actions, and I am currently boycotting them. For more information, refer to the #twsbigate tag page.

Nearly 3 years ago, I wrote the third installment to my Fountain Pen 101 series: Where to Start (With Pens). In it, I recommended the Pilot Metropolitan and Platinum Preppy as the best starter pens. I also promoted the Lamy Safari as the best “step up” pen.

While I stand by my assertions about the Preppy and Metropolitan, I’ve changed my mind about the Safari. This is because 2 years ago, I tried a TWSBI Diamond 580AL. In my opinion, it is by far the better “step up” pen. I now own 11 of the 580 series pens (full sized and mini), and I love them! In fact, if some freak occurrence were to lose me my collection, I’d likely just buy a few 580s and call it quits.

A quick note before jumping into the meat of this post. There is a third contender for best “step up” pen: The Kaweco Sport series. I’d put it as the second best, due to price and nib selection, and should have a post about it in the next week or two.

An 18111 Commission

Posted in Fountain Pens

Mid last year, I reached out to Yoshi Nakama of 18111 Pens about commissioning a custom pen. As the DC Pen Show was only a few weeks away, we agreed to discuss it at the show. At the time, I hoped to get a pen themed to my Exalted Bloodlines series.

I eagerly sought him out at the show. However, when I showed him the ideas I had in mind, he warned me it may not be doable.

The designs I showed Mr. Nakama at the DC Pen Show.
Left to right: My design idea for the rollstopper, the blood drop I wanted scattered around the pen, and the moon and star I wanted on the top of the cap.

The proposed roll stopper design, the blood drop I wanted scattered across the pen, and the moon and star I wanted on the top of the cap all have “sharp corners.” Apparently, 3D printing and laser engraving can’t produce sharp corners at that size.

However, I hoped we could reach a compromise with a modified design that I liked and could be executed. I agreed to modify the design before sending Mr. Nakama the files. He warned me that his waiting list was about 3 months long. Granted, considering the year+ waiting lists many pen makers have right now, 3 months is hardly an issue.

Stipula Etruria Prisma 88 Comparative Review

Posted in Fountain Pens

Last year I wrote about my Stipula Etruria Rainbow Prisma 88 and followed it up with an update. It’s one of my favorite pens, so when the Stipula Etruria Prisma 88 Magma was announced, I snapped one up.

Now that my Magma is back in action, I’m writing a comparative review of the two. I couldn’t find anything about the Rainbow when it first came out, and there doesn’t seem to be anything about the Magma, so hopefully, this will help anyone considering purchasing either of them.


If you know the history behind these two pens in my collection, feel free to skip down to the main review.

The Montegrappa Fortuna Saga

Posted in Fountain Pens

With one exception, my experiences with fountain pens have been fantastic. Today I’m going to tell you about that exception. Before I do, however, I want you to keep something in mind. I vacillated for weeks between sharing this story and keeping it to myself. I don’t want it to read as a smear on Motegrappa. What I want you to take away from this story is the amazing customer service offered by Cary Yeager of Kenro Industries.

Montegrappa Fortuna Heartwood Pear

I bought my Montegrappa Fortuna Heartwood Pear (FHP) on November 11 at Bertram’s Inkwell‘s yearly trunk show. I’d been eyeing the pen for a while. It’s beautiful. Cary had one at his table with the nib size I wanted, so I bought it. And so began the FHP saga.