1.25.2016

In Defense of the Noodler's Konrad Acrylic Flex Nib Fountain Pen

Ever since Noodler's Ink began their production of piston-fill fountain pens, I've wanted to get behind the brand's efforts in crafting an entry-level pen that spreads the pen-addiction bug to ordinary "muggles."  In the opinion of customers I've conversed with and my own opinion, the wizardry fell quite short of expectations.


Every time I was introduced to a new model, first the standard Creaper, then the Ahab, then the Konrad and the Neponset, I went into the experience with optimism that this would be an amazing experience for the cost. Plans began to formulate in my head to obtain one of every color, because it would be an iconic pen that was affordable enough to justify collecting the entire series. However, the moment I would open the package, I would be underwhelmed and disappointed.

OK, so I know most of the criticisms that I shall now list can be negotiated or modified to be suited for one's own needs. As someone who believes that a good pen should be a solid writer directly out of the box, unaltered, I approach my critique of the Noodler's pens with the same eye that a person with limited experience in fountain pens would have. As the Noodler's brand occupies the entry level market price point, it should also be accommodating of the entry-level end-user. Although Noodler's pens are typically considered to be the "tinkerer's pen," it shouldn't require a few hours of research on discussion forums and watching YouTube videos just to get it to function properly.



Noodler's Pen Criticisms :

  • The Smell - Right out of the box, the body material of the pen has a certain odor that is unpleasant to most people. Personally, I don't care for it. I've read and followed suggestions on how to help the smell dissipate, but each pen still had a faint stink, no matter what. 
  • The Flow (or lack thereof) - The feed of the pen has to keep up with the demand of a flex nib when it is flexing. In past experiences, not only would the Noodler's pen railroad constantly, but I would often get a complete seizure of ink flow that would result in having to prime the filling mechanism just to force more ink into the feed to write anything at all.
  • The Filling Mechanism - Having experience with a Pelikan piston mechanism first has me spoiled for this "you-get-what-you-pay-for" Noodler's mechanism. The piston head is often sticky and stiff to operate, requiring a bit more force to get it going. My own experience with the Ahab plunger system was the worst of all the models. I went to prime the feed after the nib went dry. I couldn't simply nudge the plunger forward a millimeter or two, it was stuck. I ended up having to rush to the sink just to get the pen working again, as pushing on the plunger any harder would result in the nib squirting with ink.

As you can guess, when I opened up the new Noodler's Konrad Acrylic Tinian Treasure fountain pen, my bar of expectation was set quite low, to say the least. Despite all my reservations about the Noodler's pens I've tried in the past, along with the feedback I get from our customers, I still remained optimistic that Noodler's has to be getting something right. After all, there are those who swear by their Noodler's pens and use them often.

In putting this pen through its paces, I went over my previous objections about Noodler's pens and was pleasantly surprised to see my criticisms were defied.

Noodler's Konrad Acrylic in Tinian Treasure

The Smell of the Acrylic Konrad is actually OK.
It smells like a normal pen would. The acrylic material is devoid of the odor that still plagues the standard Konrad. Comparing it to the new, limited edition Konrad Tahitian Tortoise with the Non-Flex vented nib, the Tortoise still has that distinctive smell while the Acrylic Tinian Treasure does not.

The Flow of the Acrylic Konrad is manageable for flex writing.
As you would be able to view in my video of the Konrad's flex test, the nib does railroad, but you have to find its sweet spot. Positioning the pen at a more vertical angle to the paper does limit the amount of line variation, but it does support a constant flow from the feed to manage the demand of ink. Please keep in mind this evaluation was done without any alteration of adjustment to the pen. These results are right out of the box.

As with any pen that touts "flex" capability, flex it responsibly. Imagine you're meeting a dance partner for the first time. You wouldn't go straight into a fast-paced, complicated number straight away. Take it slow, find out where the pen's sweet spot it is and accommodate your grip and speed to suit the pen's ability.

The Konrad Filling Mechanism is sound.
While being a little sticky at the start, the internal piston mechanism does respond smoothly and draws up a great deal of ink into its body. Having the ink view window is a fun and useful feature on this model.

Overall, I'm quite pleased, and surprised that this Konrad exceeds my expectations for a Noodler's fountain pen. True, it isn't one of their least costly models at $40, but it is a value buy in terms of obtaining a flexible nib fountain pen. Since your options for a flex or semi-flex nib pen are very limited and often expensive, this Konrad fits in nicely as a solid option for a value flex fountain pen.

I'm interested in hearing about your experiences with the Noodler's fountain pen. Love it? Hate it? Have you tried all the tips and modifications to enhance the pen's writing capability? If so, were you pleased by the result? What do you think of the smell? Please write us a comment below.

Review written & video produced by Tom Oddo @ Goldspot Pens

1.12.2016

5 Posts to Inspire Your Filofax Setup Organization

Getting a brand new Filofax to start off the new year is only part of the plan in getting organized and making it effective for your own needs. The modular system of being able to sort, divide and compartmentalize pertinent information means that you can tailor it a thousand different ways. Also, with a handy hole puncher and some downloadable templates, you can create your own style of inserts that better suits your organizer setup.

Here are some helpful Filofax setup links to get you started on your organizing journey.

Jagged Little Thoughts

My Home Filofax Setup - Laura (Jagged Little Thoughts)
Although a new Filofax does arrive with an assortment of inserts and refills to get you started, that's only the tip of the iceberg! Take Laura's organizer set up, for example. The at-a-glance "dashboard" at the front of the organizer puts important tasks and reminders front-and-center.

My Life as a Teacup

Anatomy of a Filofax - Kristin (My Life as a Teacup)
"Moving in" to a Filofax and making it feel like home is important to sustain the enthusiasm to keep one's life organized. Kristin takes a detailed approach to each feature of a productive, fun setup.


A Bowl Full of Lemons

My Filofax Organization - Toni (A Bowl Full of Lemons)
Being organized can be contagious and spread to your surrounding workspace. If you're serious about customizing your organizer, this is a setup that you need to take note of.

Wendaful

Personal & Business Financial Filofax Sections - Wenda (Wendaful)
There are a number of sources online that offer free printable templates for useful registers, tables and forms. One of the main uses of an organizer is to keep record of finances. Filofax does offer a couple of financial theme inserts, but these printable sheets are more specified.

Cre8tive Cre8tions

Planner Eyecandy - Andrea (Cre8tive Cre8tions)
Show off your flair and personality. Go to town with custom stickers, tape, printable pages and anything else you can imagine. Etsy can be a great resource for sourcing these creative, one-of-a-kind embellishments to your organizer.

Now that you've seen some creative uses of Filofax organizers, go forth and move into your own organizer and share the results with us on social media @goldspotpens



Use the hashtag #filofaxlove to show your setup to the Filo lovers everywhere.

1.11.2016

2016 Clean Off Your Desk Day

Some of us may not be so fortunate to start off our 2016 resolutions on the right foot. Your plate may still be filled with things left-over from 2015. To get a fresh start on our productivity, there is the unofficial holiday, "Clean Off Your Desk Day."


Every 2nd Monday in January, Clean Off Your Desk Day serves as a yearly reminder to keep our workspace simplified and our priorities straightened to be able to address the important tasks.

Besides having productive benefits, keeping a neat and organized desk also limits the risk of a security breach. When tidying a desk, make sure to lock away any secure documents that may have sensitive information. Some companies mandate a Clean Desk Policy that enforces this practice on a routine basis and is usually part of the employee handbook.

Other benefits to keeping a clean desk :

  • Saves time in finding documents & papers.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Provides an excellent impression to other co-workers and bosses.
Also, if you have pets that sometimes like to climb on top of your workspace, the cleaning can help keep pet hair out of unwanted areas.



Want to show off your neat (or proudly messy) workstation? Share a pic on twitter and tag us @goldspotpens with #CleanOffYourDeskDay

12.23.2015

Winners to our Letters to Santa Giveaway + Holiday Hours


As you can imagine, Santa had quite a few letters to read. He was quite taken by the number of handwritten letters that came in this year. It was a welcome sight for his old eyes.

Thank you to everyone who sent us a letter to forward to Santa. The jolly old elf was overjoyed at reading your notes.

Santa said it was difficult to choose just one letter as the winner of the giveaway. So many of you wrote such lovely letters! After much contemplation, he gave us the one letter that was picked as the winner.

The lucky winner of the Letters to Santa Giveaway is Kata from Canada! Congratulations! Santa will be on his way to pick up the pen she wished for, the Sailor Pro Gear Four Seasons "Winter" fountain pen.


We also picked our 5 runner ups that will receive a Goldspot Prize Pack, which includes the one prize pack we set aside for the Rafflecopter giveaway we were running on social media. The winners are :

  • Karen J.
  • Susan J.
  • Ken A.
  • Alec P.
  • Jeff L. (our Rafflecopter winner)

These winners will be receiving the items pictured below :




If you're curious to know what all the good little boys and girls asked for as their top Christmas wish pen, here are some observations :

Most boys and girls wished for a Visconti pen over all other brands. The #1 most wished-for pen was a Visconti Homo Sapiens fountain pen.

Pelikan came in a close second, OMAS third & fourth place shared by Pilot & Sailor.

Other notable pens that were asked for :


  • OMAS Arco Brown Celluloid - in the Ogiva & Arte Italiana styles
  • Pelikan M1000
  • Visconti Divina Elegance
  • Pilot Vanishing Point Raden
  • Pelikan M805 Stresemann
  • Namiki Yukari Moonlight


Thank you again to everyone who wrote in. This was quite an enjoyable giveaway that we most likely will be running next year as well.

We hope everyone will be enjoying family & friends this holiday season. Our office will be closed early on Christmas Eve, December 24th. We will be closed on Friday, Christmas Day, and will resume business on Monday, December 28th. We will also be closed on Friday, January 1st.

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa & Happy New Year! Best of health, happiness and fortune to you all!

12.22.2015

It's Not Easy Being Green - the New Lamy AL-Star Charged Green


Lamy introduces the "Charged Green" AL-Star for 2016!!!



Another green? Do we need another green in what seems like a never-ending procession of green Safaris and AL-Stars?

Does Germany have waaay too much green pen "batter" laying around that they need to use before it goes bad?

As many Lamy fans and collectors know in their hearts, the color won't matter much, it's a new Safari / Al-Star, and Charged Green must be assimilated into the Lamy collective.

So, what makes "Charged" Green different from any other green? See our photos below.

(From Left to Right) : Lamy Safari Neon Green (2015), Lamy Al-Star Charged Green (2016), Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Green (2015), Lamy Safari Apple Green (2012, 2016), Pilot Vanishing Point Metallic Green (2014), Lamy Al-Star Bluegreen (2014, 2016).

As you can see, the Charged Green has a mix of yellow that gives it an "underripe golden delicious apple" look. It's not nearly as saturated as the Apple Green, which is being reintroduced to the Safari lineup this year. It is also not as eye-stingingly bright as last year's Neon Lime.

In this shot, we see the Charged Green laid over the other greens to get more of a direct comparison. What are your feelings on this green? Write your opinions below in the comments.

The Lamy Al-Star Charged Green will become available early 2016, along with the re-issue of the Al-Star Blue Green, Safari Apple Green and the new Safari Dark Lilac. We will have more information on those new Lamy releases as they come to us. To be the first to know about these pens, subscribe to our blog.