Another Review of the J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre

I got this bottle of ink from Pen Chalet for the purpose of reviewing it, and I did, but I was never that happy about the review. I’m not sure why, probably because this ink is so far removed from what I usually use.

My typical ink in the beginning was black, I used the Lamy and Pilot cartridges for a very long time. And I loved them for the convenience. I would probably have used cartridges in my Vanishing Point if the Iroshizuku line was available on that form(you can have that idea for “free” Pilot, just send me a red Falcon with a soft broad nib in exchange). Then I moved over to bottles, first Noodelers Bernanke (which I loved), then I moved over to the Lamy black (which I hate) before I ordered my first Iroshizuku bottle (take-sumi) and I have gone through two full bottles and two half bottles of Iroshizuku ink since then.

They have some shading, in the of their inks, but no glimmer or crazy colours. This J’herbin ink is all kinds of crazy, the colour is fantastic, it is a reddish brown, with gold glimmer.

This is probably the first time I’ve used “fantastic” and “brown” in the same sentence.

I have now used the ink quite a lot. First I used it in a Noodlers Ahab for a few weeks, and now I have used it as my only ink in all of the pens I have in rotation. And I enjoy it a lot.

The dry time is a little bit longer than what I prefer. But I think it is a great ink.

Diamine Tropical Glow: ink review.

I received an ink sample of this ink from Tudos.no free of charge for the purpose of reviewing it.

Diamine have been on the top of my list of ink brands I was going to look more into after I have used up some of my the ink on my desk. I’m down to two opened bottles now.

My interest in shimmer and shading inks probably started with the Tsuki-yo for the shading part, and I got very interested in shimmer when I reviewed J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre.

The writing experience with this ink is very good. Nothing to complain about when it comes down to the lubrication of the ink. And the colour looks fantastic. It is a beautiful turquoise with silver shimmers. They are very subtle, and you only see them if you know to look for them.

I did initially think that the colour was a little bit too light, but I have come around on that. Even though I would have preferred a darker colour.

I’m probably not going to buy a whole bottle of this ink, at least not now. I might do it in the future. But I’m just a little bit fed up on green at the moment, But I like it a lot more than the green ink I previously used (shin-ryoku).

One final note. I have not tested this ink as thorough as I usually do. I have only tested it with my board vanishing point. In contrast to how I usually test ink, which usually entails me inking up every single pen I own to get an impression on how it works with finer and broader; stubs; wetter and dryer.

I would without doubt recommend it, if you are looking for a turquoise ink.

What I expect from an A5 notebook

This is just a short list of what a A5 notebook should be like in order to be the most useful to me

  • Lined or grid
  • I prefer lined for long form writing and dot grid for tasks.
  • Hardcover; because it is much more convenient when I write somewhere I don’t have a flat surface available.
  • At least two markers
  • I prefer three
  • The paper should be good; Leuchtturm1917 or Rhodia quality is the standard I expect.
  • And then I mean both paper quality and shorter dry time.

Something between the sample and a bottle.

When I want to test an ink, I have two options either I buy or trade a sample or I buy a full bottle. I would probably just get the bottle because it is not THAT expensive.

What I want is something bigger than a sample, but smaller than a 50ml bottle. 10 or 15 ml would be perfect. Because a small sample is never enough for me to do a proper test. I like to test it in many different pens in order to get the full picture of how a ink behaves. But the problem with the full bottle, is of course to get rid of it, if you don’t like it or don’t see yourself using it all.

The reason I try to always test a ink with as many pens as possible is because to use a ink with a finer nib versus a broader one or a dry pen vs wet pen is very different. The colours are different. And the dry time is different.

Some inks look better with a fine line, while others look much better with a big wet one. And some inks are just unusable with a wet nib because you have to take a nap while you wait for a page to dry

Review: Code & Quill Origin

I received the [Code & Quill Origin](Code & Quill Origin Grey Dotted + Linjert A5 Hardcover Notatbok – Tudos) free of charge from Tudos for the purpose of reviewing it.

This is a A5-ish notebook with dot grid on the left side and lined on the right side – what I usually call dual layout. The paper is okay, but it bleeds through a little bit more than I’m used to. It’s not that bad, but a little bit worse than for example Leuchtturm1917.

The design of this notebook is not ugly, but it isn’t anything I like either. The only way to describe it is how iOS apps used to look before everything went “flat”. There are probably some people that love how it looks. But it isn’t my kind of thing.

My three big complaints of this notebook is:

  • The paper quality makes something to be desired. Close, but no cigar.
  • The lack of felt page markers is really annoying.
  • The format of the book is similar to A5, but a little bit shorter. This drives me nuts. Why wouldn’t you follow an established standard? This is the kind of thing where I mumble “fucking Americans”, we have the metric system and various other systems for a reason.

I have used dual layout notebooks before, mainly the Field Notes special edition from about three years ago, or something. And it never clicked with me. My opinion have been that people should get a Travelers Notebook and fill it with different refills if they just want multiple page layouts in their notebook.

The way I usually use notebooks are either long form writing or writing down lists. And to use a dual layout for something like that is either confusing or plain wasteful. So what I had to do in order to test out this notebook was find something I could use it for where it made sense to have one layout here and another one over there.

I decided to use it for creating “mockups” for app and web development stuff I do at work and for fun. This means I need to carry another notebook, and that was exactly what I needed…

The dual layout is good for some stuff. And my mock up notes are less messy and easier to understand when I use the grid for the mockups (crappy drawings) and the lined part for describing what it is.

Now. I’m not 100% sure if the improvement is big enough for me to justify carrying another notebook. I guess time will show.

How do they hold up?

In this post I’m going to take a look how various notebooks I have used hold up in use. How does they look when they are new versus after I’m done with them.

Field Notes

I think Field Notes are the gold standard for notebooks that look fantastic both new and even better when they show some wear and tear. While I think their design new look good, they are in no way my favourite.

As said, they look fantastic after being used. The only problem with them is that it isn’t that they don’t hold up that well if you have them in your pack pocket for months, instead of weeks.

Leuchtturm1917 (hardcover, A5)

This notebook looks okay or fine but not fantastic when you start using it. It isn’t ugly or anything, but it is just “utilitarian” and does the job. I don’t think anyone buys a Leuchtturm1917 for its aesthetics, but rather their fantastic paper and features.

The notebook does not look good after a few months of wear and tear, but I have never experienced that any of them are falling apart, even after carrying them in by bag for months.

Nock.co Pocket sized notebook.

This is based on the Blue limited edition one, but I expect it is similar on previous limited editions and their regular black one.

It looks amazing out of the pack. I greatly prefer it to Field Notes. And I think it has a Field Notes thing going for it where it looks cool as the colour are worn off after being in my back pocket for a few weeks.

I’m not 100% sure, but it seems like the material the cover is made of holds up better than Field Notes when it comes down to not falling apart.

Rhoda Webnotebook

Not unlinke the Leuchtturm1917, the orange Rhodia Webnotebook doesn’t look that great after using it for a while. It looks a little bit "dirty" and some posts of ink etc. The black one might not show it as well as the orange one.

Conclusion

If I would pick one of each category, one A5 and one pocket sized notebook based on how they look after being used for a while, I think Field Notes and Leuchtturm1917 is the obvious picks. Field Notes looks the best when they are worn down. And Leuchtturm1917 takes it a little bit better than the Webbie. It doesn’t look good on either; but it is much more visible on the webbie; and neither is made in a way where it looks good.

But this is of course not the way I pick notebooks. My prefence at the moment is Nock.co notebooks for my pocket sized needs, and Leuchtturm1917 for everything else.

Tomoe River Paper

This is probably the most impressive kind of paper on the planet. It is super thin, or can take more or less any ink you throw at it; I think I was pouring ink at it at some point. It is the paper used in the Hobonichi Planner. But the
other side of the impressive capacity to deal with ink without bleeding through or feathering is that the dry time is very long.

I get why some people love it, and it is the kind of paper everyone should try. But I consider it completely unusable for regular use, because it takes too long for the ink to dry.

Fantastic paper, but not for me, my kind of pens and inks I use.

Some thoughts on cleaning fountain pens.

How much and how often you clean your pens are up to you, but I think it is a good idea to do it now and then.

I try to do it myself not every time I refill my pens but every other to every third time. And I only do a full “flush water in and out until its 100% clean” when I change inks. I just flush clean water through the pen a few times before I refill it. Takes less than a minute per pen.

If you are using a cartridge converter type pen, then there is no damage to cleaning it every time you have the opportunity. But the more often you clean a piston filler, the shorter time it is between each time you have to grease the piston.

Like with everything else, there is something that is too much and something that is too little; the trick is to find a place in the middle.

You probably know why, but I am going to explain it anyways. The reason you want to flush water through your fountain pen from time to time is to make sure nothing dries up in the feed of your pen; and that is bad because it blocks the ink from flowing through your pen and onto the page.

If you use a piston or a converter, just suck water in and out a few times, and use a bulb syringe if you use cartridges.

But the most important thing is to do a thorough cleaning when you are switching inks. The first reason should be obvious to everyone, but it is to make sure that you see the proper colour of your new ink and not some weird mix between the old and new. But even more important is to make sure that your pen are completely clean when you start using your new ink, because some inks don’t mix that well. Everything from combinations that actually can damage your pen to combinations that clog up your feed.

When is bad paper a good idea?

Just a short one on bad paper.

They come in two forms, both of them bleed like crazy. That’s what make them bad. But they come in many different thicknesses. Bad thin paper is just horrible; think Moleskine; because you get bleed through on multiple pages at a time.

But. Bad think paper isn’t the worst thing in the world in some ways. Because bad thick paper have the shortest dry time possible. This is because instead of letting the ink dry on top of the paper like you see in the most extreme with Tomoe River, and in lesser degrees on Rhodia and Leuchtturm1917, the ink are just absorbed by the page.

I think it is a good idea when you are learning how to write with a fountain pen; especially if you are a lefty. And if you are in a meeting where you don’t want to stand out as the weirdo with arcane writing instruments and ink all over his fingers.