Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium – Cheap Paper Review

 

Liberty’s Elysium – Cheap Paper Review

Paper isn’t cheap. In university, students can chew through hundreds of sheets in a semester, easily. What is a student to do? So here is Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium on the cheapest paper I could find, Hilroy loose leaf college rule paper. I am using a Japanese EF to write this review. You can already notice some slight feathering, but the level is very reasonable.

For comparison’s sake, here is the same ink in a medium Lamy Safari. Feathering is much more noticeable compared to the EF nib. So would I recommend Liberty’s Elysium for those of us on a budget? Yes! Even at a nib this thick, the feathering doesn’t detract from the hand writing. It is still clear enough to read. I probably could get away with a stub nib with this ink, but no more than a 1.1mm. 

In regards to bleedthrough, you can see a bit with the medium nib. There is some mild ghosting with the EF nib. With cheap paper, you probably won’t be able to get away with using both sides of the paper with most inks. Short of a very wet stub, the bleedthrough should never soak the next page. 

Pilot Matte Black Vanishing Point Review

A surprising fact! I actually own pens that aren’t demonstrators. Really, I do. However, black and silver bodies tend to be my staple. I’m just not really that adventurous. So, when I laid my eyes on the Pilot Matte Black Vanishing Point, it was love at first sight as the curved matte black body with the black plated nib reminded me of the famous SR-71 Blackbird.

In school, I tend to take my notes with a keyboard, but copying graphs and diagrams into a digital form is a time consuming task. It is a task best left for an analog input method. That’s where the Pilot Vanishing Point comes in. As probably the only click (is that an official term?) fountain pen in existence, the Vanishing Point deploys in a snap and tucks away as quickly as it appeared. 

The Pilot Vanishing point is a thick pen. According to my measurements, it’s 1.3 cm wide, 14 cm long and just a few mm shorter when the nib is deployed. Those who don’t use a traditional tripod pen grip may struggle with the Pilot Vanishing point as the pen clip sits on the top of the pen, providing an effect similar to the Lamy Safari’s triangle grip. The entire pen weighs in at a heft 30 g. Some have complained that the matte black body scratches easily, revealing the brass underneath. With gentle use, my body has yet to suffer such an extreme scratch, though a few faintly shiny black scratches have appeared.

Disassembling the Pilot Vanishing Point is a little different from most pens as the nib unit runs the length of almost the entire pen body. The nib unit could technically be considered a pen in its own right due to its size, though it would be next to impossible to use comfortably. To disassemble the pen, unscrew the body and slowly separate the two pieces as not to cause the nib unit to shoot out unexpectedly. Once the nib unit is removed, the cartridge/converter can be removed. The Vanishing Point is compatible with cartridges, the CON-20 converter, and the CON-50 converter. When using a cartridge, the metal cover included with the pen will need to be used to ensure the click mechanism works properly.  To reassemble the pen, simply line up the notch in the body with the protruding piece of metal in the nib unit, and screw the body back together.

Filling the pen will require disassembling the pen. The filler hole is actually located about an inch above the nib’s tip and will require a rather tall or full bottle of ink to fill the pen properly. It is pretty difficult to check the ink level in the Vanishing point as the CON-50 converter only has about a cm of exposed clear plastic near the piston to check the ink level. When using a cartridge, it is covered in by the metal cap, hiding the ink level.

Using the pen is very easy. The button is requires a long and solid press to deploy the nib. The nib then pushes open a trap door and pops out. The trap door does help slow evaporation, though I do not believe it is very air tight. I have yet to have the pen leak, even though it has been jostled around in pockets and backpacks.

One of the features of the Vanishing Point system is the ability to swap pen bodies and nib units with little hassle. The 14k gold nibs are available from Japanese EF to B with rhodium plated, black plated, and gold finishes, The bodies come in an array of colours and materials. Limited edition Vanishing Points are released each year, providing plenty of opportunity for collectors.

My nib of choice is the Japanese EF as I tend to use really cheap lined paper for most of my school note taking. Even for its fine size, the EF nib is incredibly smooth. There is no scratchiness to the nib, just the slight feedback expected from a nib so fine. The flow out of the box is nice and balanced. The line width is closer to a .4 Pilot Hi Tec C on Clairefontaine paper.

The Pilot Matte Black Vanishing Point has an MSRP of $175 USD and a street price of $140 USD. It is definitely not a cheap pen, but personally I think the unique click mechanism makes it worth it. However, I do wonder how much the price would drop if Pilot made stainless steel nib units available vs the 14k gold.

The Recap

 

Pilot Matte Black Vanishing Point, EF
Ink: Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium

Paper: Clairefontaine 90g

Likes
+ Unique click mechanism
+ Fast deployment
+ Smooth nib
+ Modular design
+ Great every day carry pen

Dislikes
– Hard to check ink level
– Difficult to use if grip is different from traditional triangle grip

Recommended?
YES!

Pelikan Launches Contest to Select the 2015 Edelstein Ink of the Year

Pelikan has started a contest that challenges internet visitors to mix their perfect ink colour. The German company will be selecting five entrants to join five Pelikan employees to choose the a winner out of the top fifteen contest entries. The creator of the winning entry will net themselves a M400 fountain pen in black-green. There are also bottles of Edelstein inks up for grabs for the finalists.

To enter, create your own colour using Pelikan’s design tools. Once you submit it, it will be added to the gallery of colours where visitors around the world will vote on it. The top fifteen most popoular entries will be judged and whittled down to three finalists. Pelikan will try to create Edelstein inks that best mirror the entry and choose one to release as 2015’s ink of the year. Good luck to all the entrants!

Pelikan Ink of the Year Contest

Inked Up – January Edition

Welcome to our very first edition of a new monthly segment called Inked Up. Every month, a member of the fountain pen community and I will share our current rotation that has been inked up!

Our very first guests are Jon and Liz Chen of Wonder Pens, hailing from Toronto, Canada. Wonder Pens is currently my local store and carries pens, pencils, journals, notebooks, office supplies, tons of fountain pens, and fountain pen accessories. I often plan to visit with the intention of picking up an item or two and end up leaving with a lighter wallet and bag full of ink. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, be sure to swing by their brick and mortar shop to pet Super the store dog in training while you stock up on ink. Liz gave us a peek at her very colourful rotation.

(Be sure to click the thumbnail for the full image in all its glory!)
wonder-pens-inked-up-001
Continue reading “Inked Up – January Edition”

Adventures in Nib Grinding – Lessons Learned in The Pursuit of the XXF Needlepoint

I love extra fine pens. The finer the better! I absolutely adore my extra fine Pilot Penmanship (XXF by Western standards)  as it is incredibly comfortable to hold and lays down a very fine line. However, in the search of something finer, I have begun grinding my own nibs. It started with nib smoothing and grinding stubs, but now my quest for knowledge has turned to creating needle point nibs.

There are plenty of tutorials teaching how to grind stubs and how to smooth nibs, but the information gets a little… thin (my apologies) when it comes to grinding needle points. When I grind my needle points, I try my best to replicate few pictures of needle points I have found online and my Pilot Penmanship XF nib.  This post is a compilation of lessons learned so far and my current method of grinding a Western XXF. I won’t go so far to call it a tutorial quite yet as I think I have a lot of practice left before I would be so confident. However, I hope this article may provide a starting point for my fellow nib grinding novices!
Continue reading “Adventures in Nib Grinding – Lessons Learned in The Pursuit of the XXF Needlepoint”

Noodler’s Apache Sunset Review

I’m testing out a new camera set up, I think this better reflects the ink’s actual colours.

Noodler’s Apache Sunset

Paper: Clairefontaine 90g
Pen: TWSBI Diamond 540 w/ FPR Fine Stub Nib
Flow: Wet
Shading: Lots
Bleedthrough: None
Feathering: None
Dry Times
1 sec: Lots
2 sec: Lots
5 sec: Lots
10 sec: Mild
15 sec: Minimal
30 sec: None

Cheap Paper Notes

Considering how wet this ink is, it is very surprising that there is barely any feathering and no ghosting. The amazing shading is less pronounced on cheap paper. 

Notes

Apache Sunset is considered a must own for all flex pen and stub nib owners because of its amazing shading properties. It goes from golden yellow to a dark orange. I also noticed this ink seems to get darker in the pen barrel over time. It looks fantastic in a demonstrator!

Welcoming in the New Year with a New Bullet Journal

After a very successful 2 month trial of the Bullet Journal system, I’m pleased to say my old wirebound Clairefontaine journal is being retired in  favour of a Rhodia Webnotebook. The Clairefontaine will now enjoy a second life for holding all my review notes for work. The paper is an off white dot grid that feels thinner than the Clairefontaine notebook paper, which is strange because both are supposed to be made from 90g Clairefontaine. Since the new notebook isn’t exactly pocket friendly, a 3.5″ x 5.5″ Davis Leatherwork notebook cover that is currently loaded with Fabriano Eco Qua has taken up pocket duty. I have a hand written review of the Eco Qua paper I will be polishing up with some typed content that I will be uploading shortly!

I usually don’t stick to organization iPhone apps for more than a week. My apologies goes out to Wunderlist, Toodledo, iStudiez Pro, and all the other apps I’ve abandoned after a few days. It’s me, not you, I swear! However, the Bullet Journal system has been going really well for me. I’m not 100% sure on why it has managed to work so well for me, but it does! I think everyone should give it a try for a week or two.