Review: De Atramentis Aubergine

This is one deep purple by De Atramentis. It’s so dark that at times you can even fool yourself that it is black especially with wetter nibs. De Atramentis Aubergine goes down dark but dries to a greyish-purple. It shade subtly and I think it would make for an excellent alternative to regular corporate black inks. This is an interesting colour by De Atramentis, I’m tempted to get a full bottle for myself.

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Posted on February 24, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Robert Oster Signature Lemon Grass

My thanks to Robert Oster for sending me the ink sample!

Lemon Grass is a strange blend of green and yellow. It’s more subdued than I had expected. It shades but only subtly. Lemon Grass has a grey undertone to it. I think it looks pretty much like its name sake. However I would really prefer if the colour was brighter or more vibrant. Not my kind of green but interesting nonetheless.

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Posted on February 21, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Culling the herd - Part 2

Check out if you have missed part 1 here.

So after all that hard work of actually using the pens day to day and deciding which pens you are keeping, you have to sell those you are not keeping. There are a few different places you can sell your pens.

  1. Fountain Pen Network Classifieds
    You have to be a Gold Member to post sales thread on Fountain Pen Network Classifieds. However, the classifieds is a high volume place, your post might get lost in the shuffle but it is also high traffic which will mean more eyes looking at your post. This means your item may sell that much faster. Note, since the forum is an international site, you have to be willing to ship your item overseas.

  2. FPGeeks For Sale
    Anyone can post a sale thread on FPGeeks. There are a good number of people looking at the posts but you might have to bump your thread up every couple of days. Also people tend to communicate via FPGeeks’ PM system so make sure to check your inbox there. Note, since the forum is an international site, you have to be willing to ship your item overseas.

  3. Pen Addict Slack Sell-Trade
    The Pen Addict Slack is free to join and anyone can post their item up for sale. Things tend to get lost and searching might be hard because of the post limit of Slack. However, the group have circumvent that with a Google Sheet. Sellers update the Google Sheet and post in the Sell-Trade room to give everyone a head’s up. Note, since the forum is an international site, you have to be willing to ship your item overseas.

    Personally, I have never sold a pen over eBay but it feels like a hit or miss type. I would probably only use eBay as a last resort to sell a pen. It feels more trouble than it is worth but it would open your item up to a wider audience. Note, since the forum is an international site, you have to be willing to ship your item overseas.

  5. Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers Black Market (Facebook only)
    Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers (SFPL) as the name suggests is the home base for most Singaporean fountain pen users. Selling your item here is the best and easiest way to sell locally. What I enjoy most is your dealing location is mostly “the next pen meet” and you can get business done easily. Note, this is a very Singapore centric Facebook group, so assume anyone replying you here is located in Singapore.

  6. Fountain Pen Market Buy and Sell (Facebook only)
    Another Facebook only group but this one is international. I’ve not personally sold anything off this particular Facebook group but what’s the harm of posting your item up if you are using Facebook anyway? Note, since the forum is an international site, you have to be willing to ship your item overseas.

  7. Carousell This is a buy and sell app and website. It is mainly Singapore and Malaysia focused. It’s also another great way to increase visibility of your item to local markets. It is similar to eBay but much easier to post things for sell. Communicate with buyers can be done via the app but I found their push notifications in constant which end up with missing out on offers on your item.

And finally a few tips on selling your pens and inks online:

Photos and more photos
Nothing entice a buyer more than pretty photos of the pen in question. I’ve been the receiving end of that plenty of times.

Provide close up photos
Every buyer will have to inspect the nib before buying. Of course there is no way to inspect it if you are buying it online, so provide photos of the nib and of every little detail on the pen.

Be honest
Be honest when you are describing your pen on your listing. Clearly state and provide photos of any flaw. You can only be dishonest once, it won’t be long before the community is wise of that fact. There is no gains in being dishonest. Plus, you will most likely be selling more than one pen.

Price accordingly
Do your research, find out what others are selling the same pen so that you do not overprice. Also when you set a price there is the listed price and there is the true price. The true price is what you are willing to sell for while the listed price is usually a little higher so that there is room for negotiation. It is best to set this true price early on so that you don’t get tempted with a low baller’s offer which leads to my next point.

Don’t rush
If you are in a hurry, you can get sucked into accepting an offer that is lower than usual. Selling should be done with patience. It is ok to wait a few months for the right offer to come along especially if your pen is rare and/or limited.

Price low to move quickly
Of course if you are in need of cash quickly, pricing them low will move your pens very quickly. This is usually universal.

Knowing where to list a pen is half the battle
Different pens would find their target market at different places. Such as trying to sell a Nakaya on Carousell is probably not the best idea, these should be sold on Fountain Pen Network or FPGeeks or SFPL.

How much is shipping?
If you are selling your pens internationally it is best to find out what’s the regular shipping cost. You can weigh your pen with all the accessories it is coming with before hand. It is just a quick check online for the shipping cost. Alternatively, you can just assume it is going to the US and it will weigh at least 500g and then add tracking. That’s usually a safe bet.

I hope these information has been helpful and you know what to do when you have to cull your herd.

Posted on February 17, 2017 and filed under Fountain Pen, thoughts.

Review: Sailor Jentle Kin Moku Sei

Another re-issued Sailor ink and one of my favourite from this series. Kin Moku Sei is a bright orange ink that shades well. It reminds me of Sailor’s fabled Apricot. This is a lubricated ink that works well even in my EF nibs. Kin Moku Sei goes from a deep orange like Diamine Pumpkin to a light yellow orange. Why do you do this to us, Sailor? Should I buy another bottle just in case? I love this ink!

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Posted on February 14, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Culling the herd - Part 1

I’m sure everyone who is into fountain pens and inks will find themselves the owner of too many pens and/or inks and/or paper. Personally, I have been forced to face the realities of my addiction not just because I do yearly tally of my spendings. I use my Dudek Block as a good gauge of when my pen herd needs some thinning.

Recently I’ve purchased and ordered two top tier fountain pens from Montblanc and Nakaya respectively. (It’s my first Montblanc fountain pen!) I began the process of culling the lesser used pens from my pen stand. This is in part to make space for the incoming pens of 2017 and also to free up some funds to acquire more pens.

So these pens are up on the chopping block right now.

Why these 4 pens? I have all 4 for some time (months if not at least a year for some)* but I almost always pass over them to ink up another pen. It can’t be because they are not gold nib pens because I use plenty of steel nib pens on a daily basis. The only way to find out is to ink them up and take them out for a spin. The Faber-Castell Loom is a gift from my aunt, it originally came with a medium nib which was too wet but super smooth. I swapped it out with my Faber-Castell Ondoro’s F nib and sold the Ondoro. That one I sold last year because of the grip section and the faceted barrel. After a week or so with the Loom I found the nib and the pen rather boring. Functionally, there is nothing wrong, it was just kind of regular. Since I didn’t have to decide to keep or sell the pen, it was easy to defer the decision by putting it into cold storage.

The Lamy CP 1 was next. Filling it with the Sailor Jentle Kin Moku Sei, it wrote beautifully. It even has a little stubbish quality in the 14K EF nib. The nib provides a nice feedback that I enjoy. However, I found I wasn’t enjoying the pen body as well. I didn’t want to keep the body but I balk at the thought of selling the nib. Luckily for me, Lamy’s nibs are interchangeable. It’s just a simple matter of swapping the nib out and selling the Lamy CP 1 with another nib.

I had backed Tactile Turn Gist Kickstarter for two pens - one bronze the other zirconium. The bronze that came with the 1.1mm nib was sold a few months after I got the pen. Stub nibs are seldom for me since they are usually too wide for my liking. The one I have left is the zirconium with a titanium EF nib. Now the titanium nib can be tamed with a dry ink but it sings in a different way from gold nibs. I am very gentle with the nib because I was afraid I will spring the nib. I decided that’s no way to live so that is going to go. Also, I found the cap cracked all by itself in the pen stand. After a week of use, the crack turn into a chip. Will Hodges of Tactile Turn will be sending me a new cap once my old one get to him. If you have the same issue, do drop him an email.

Finally, the Visconti Van Gogh Starry Night. This is a pen I’ve purchased during my Italy trip a few years ago. I got the Visconti Van Goh along with a Delta The Journal and Lamy Al-Star Copper Orange. Both of which have since been sold so this is the last pen standing, so to speak. The week of using this pen I re-discovered my love of the pen. The steel is slightly springy and also slightly stubbish in character. This I’m told is hard to achieve for an EF nib. I am on the fence for the Visconti. There is nothing wrong with the pen, it’s just being pass over for no good reason. Maybe it deserves a better home where it will be used? I’ll be keeping this pen for now.

So this is usually how I go about culling my pens especially once my Block gets full. Tell me in the comments, how you decide for your collection!Stay tuned next week for part 2 where I write about where I sell my pens and some tips regarding selling.

Posted on February 10, 2017 and filed under Fountain Pen, thoughts.