13 Jun 2018

pen comparison: wing sung 3008 and the TWSBI Diamond 580AL

The Wing Sung 3008 is an almost identical copy of the TWSBI 580AL Diamond. There are a few differences but these are fairly minor. These include that the grip section is clear on the Wing Sung but is a block colour in the TWSBI, then there is the TWSBI logo at the end of the cap whereas the Wing Sung one is blank and finally the nib has more engraving on the TWSBI offering.

When it comes to performance, the Wing Sung is lighter but it doesn't feel badly made either. Both are comfortable in hand and neither seem to feel evenly weighted when posted. In terms of writing experience, the Wing Sung seems to be better for longer sessions due to its slightly lighter design.

Both nibs are smooth and the Wing Sung nib is actually pretty amazing for a pen costing so little. It is  smooth, very little feedback and consistent - more than can be said for some other nibs on the market at a higher price point.

The TWSBI appears to have a higher ink capacity though I haven't formally measured the two pens to compare. Both piston mechanisms are easy to use and don't feel flimsy. The big selling point of TWSBI originally was that they offered fountain pens with a piston mechanism at an affordable price-point but I would argue that the Wing Sung is just as good an offering at a much lower cost, especially if you're new to piston fillers.

Both pens have their merits and it'll all come down to what you want. The ink capacity is similar, the design is similar and both nibs appear to write equally well. The main differentiating factor is the price difference.


6 Jun 2018

lamy safari limited editions

It all started in 2014 with the Lamy Safari in Coral Pink and since then, I've 'collected' every colour that has appealed to me. The only one I missed out on and sorely regret missing out on is the Copper Orange Al-Star. Otherwise, I'm in possession of all the colours I have wanted since 2014. Safaris and Al-Stars are inexpensive fountain pens that write well and work well for me so this is an (relatively) inexpensive hobby.

To see their individual reviews:



(I've left off the Blue Green as that was initially a limited edition but is now a part of the regular line-up.)

As bad as this will be for my future wallet, I do look forward to seeing what each year's limited edition colours are. Sometimes, I get excited and sometimes, I shrug my shoulders and go 'meh'. This year, I was half and half :)

30 May 2018

365 notebooks: 4 set in A5 plain paper

As a notebook and fountain pen junkie, I am constantly on the lookout for notebooks that may be fountain pen friendly. Especially now that I go through journals at the rate of knots! I saw these 365 Notebooks on the Cult Pens website when I was having a casual browse and decided to give them a go. They're not cheap - they are £27.99 for a set of four in the colours of grey, brown, blue and pink - with these colours representing the seasons of Japan.

Each notebook has 100 sheets, with the sheets possessing an almost tracing paper-like quality. As a result, each notebook is lightweight and thin. The paper is shiny on one side and matte on the other and how they fare with a fountain pen can be seen later in this blog post.

The notebooks come with a guide than can be slipped under each page - with one side lined and the other one grid. So in a way, you have the best of three worlds: the potential to use plain, ruled or squared paper.


Apologies for the slight blue tinge in the lighting of the next few photos! The first photo is of my fine-nibbed Pilot Metropolitan on the shiny side of the paper. There is considerable feathering, bleeding and showthrough. The three worst qualities paper can possess! However, when you write on the matte side, the feathering isn't as bad. The showthrough is present regardless of which side of the paper you use so even though this notebook possesses 100 pages, you can only use 50 if you decide to choose fountain pen as your writing tool of choice.


And this is how fountain pen looks on the matte side. Much less feathering!


Overall, if you're a fountain pen user, I would stay away from these notebooks. They look nice but are not worth the price tag if you use an inky pen. Rhodia, Clairefontaine and Oxford notebooks would be a far better options in that regard. I suppose they could be passable as a travel journal if you use one side for writing on and the other side for sticking in a momentos or souvenirs.

23 May 2018

re-visiting the TWSBI Diamond 580AL in Purple with a fine nib

When I first got this pen a few years' ago, I loved the design but I didn't particularly love the nib or how unsteady it felt with the cap posted. Fast forward to now and well, I actually really like it but due to already having many pens I love more, I am undecided about whether to keep it or sell it.

Design

This was my first piston filler pen and boy was it an introduction and a half! At the time, it was one of the cheaper piston fillers out there and the reputation was a good one. And it did not disappoint on this front. The purple accents were what initially drew me to this pen - this was before Lamy came out with the Dark Lilac Safari and the options for a purple fountain pen were limited. 

Usability

This pen is definitely a pen you can leave for a while, pick up and expect for it to start writing straight away. And with its huuuuuuuge ink capacity, this might be a legitimate thing that can happen to many of its owners. 

In hand, it is a fairly weighty pen to the point where it could even double as a paperweight! As someone who is used to the lighter pen in the form of the Lamy Safari or Al-Star (the pens I usually use for work), it does take a bit of adjusting initially. However, I've come to love this weight and it is a well-balanced pen with the cap unposted. 

Nib

I plumped for the fine nib and whilst it is fine enough, I do often wish it was finer. However, it writes smoothly and perfectly and it is still finer than my Lamy extra fine nibs (I think I have about five of them now!). There is some beautiful engraving on the nib too. 

Overall

The fact that this pen is a limited edition colour which is fairly difficult to find, writes like a dream and has a huge ink capacity makes it a huge winner.