10.17.2016

Noodler's Ink Proctor's Ledge Review



A Macabre History

Proctor's Ledge, and the illustrated bottle label, is a memorial to the 19 innocent victims of the Salem Witch Trials that were hanged at this particular site.

The ink is as dark as the theme. The center of the line is rich in saturation and appears almost to be a black. The warm, brown undertone comes through where the ink is less saturated.

An Ink with Secrets

As Nathan Tardiff (owner of Noodler's Ink) illustrates in his video, the ink has an interesting chromatography. When spread on a paper towel, the rich brownish-black separates into a fluorescent yellow and a fiery red. Using a blacklight, these color separations become more evident.



However, when one uses this ink normally, the saturation hides the fluorescence. Nathan's video may lead some to believe that the sheen and fluorescent tones would be common when writing on a standard paper. It isn't. When I asked about this discrepancy, Nathan clarified that this effect is best seen on craft paper, tag or poster board. Below, you will see a sample of the ink written on Rhodia 80gsm, plain paper.



Getting a little creative with this ink, you can produce the fluorescence by using a water brush to dilute the ink. This can be a particularly effective implementation when it comes to doing illustrations.



In the animation above, the black lines were done using a Pigma Micron waterproof pen and a Noodler's Konrad brush pen was dipped into a very small amount of Proctor's Ledge to wash the page and create varying layers of saturation. The lightest areas proved to show the fluorescence under blacklight.

Turn it up to 11

To amp up the fluorescence and make Proctor's Ledge a warm grey ink to use as a color fill for my InkTober drawings, I mixed approximately 1 part of Proctor's Ledge with 3 parts of Noodler's Whiteness of the Whale. The resulting drawing was posted as Day 14's illustration :



(Click on the image above to see the video on Instagram.)

You, too, can have fun creating UV reactive writing and drawings. We've put together a pen and ink set that allows you to brew this inky combination yourself. It includes the aforementioned Noodler's Ink Proctor's Ledge (3oz), Whiteness of the Whale (1oz), a Konrad demonstrator fountain pen, a small Rhodia notepad and a portable blacklight on a keychain.



Since Proctor's Ledge was created as a limited release during the Commonwealth Pen Show, we anticipate the ink will be gone for good once it sells out completely. For a Noodler's fan, this is a must-own bottle of ink (gotta catch 'em all!). For artists, letterers and illustrators, this ink has a number of fun, creative applications, especially when paired with a blacklight.

9.22.2016

Marrying Fountain Pens and Paper with the Cloud

This is a guest post by Brian S. Friedlander, Ph.D. You can find him on twitter @assistivetek and his blog assistivetek.blogpsot.com


As much as I enjoy my digital tools there is just something about using pen and paper that still feels just right! For the past couple of months, I have gotten back to using fountain pens in my work flow and have really enjoyed using a variety of fountain pens and ink colors that abound. The big question for me was just how could I integrate it with my workflow? You see for me to keep organized I generally keep everything in my iPhone and have been using Evernote for the past eight years. While this problem may seem insurmountable I did find a workflow that allows me to use my fountain pens and continue to use my Evernote account.


One of my favorite note taking tools is Evernote which I have been using for some time now. Evernote is a great way to capture ideas, notes, images, audio and store it on the web for easy access. Not too long ago, Evernote in collaboration with Moleskine came out with journals that allowed me to quickly move my handwritten notes to the cloud with full searching capabilities. The system is very easy to use and gave me the ability to continue to take notes using a fountain pen and paper. After writing my notes or tasks I can use Smart Stickers that come with the Evernote writing journals to quickly file my notes into the right notebook using the camera on my iPhone. The Smart Stickers are quite ingenious. Using the camera on my iPhone I can associate a sticker with a particular notebook. For example, if you associate the sticker that has a House icon on it with your Work notebook, then when you take a picture of that page that has the house sticker affixed, it automatically will file the note in your Work notebook. The Evernote system works great and one of the big advantages of this system is that you can easily search all your handwritten notes. Evernote will OCR all of your handwritten notes and make searching them very easy. Using the Evernote journal from Moleskine has allowed me to use my fountain pens and marry my need to keep my notes and to-do in the cloud.


While searching the web one day, I came across a relatively new solution that bridges the analog to digital world for note taking called Whitelines Link. Whitelines Link produces several different notepads with a grey background with whitelines, with a unique looking code on the four corners of each page. On the bottom of each page is a set of three icons in a box, which probably needs no introduction and includes one for Email, Evernote, and Dropbox. More about this a little later. The notebooks were designed this way so that when you write or draw on the page your words or drawings pop on the page. I have been using the Whitelines Link A5 Squared notebook for the last two months and have really enjoyed the experience. The Whitelines Link notebook is spiral bound so the pages lay flat and the paper quality is great for use with a pencil, gel pen or even a fountain pen. Once I have finished my page of notes - there is where the fun begins! First I decide what I want to do with my notes- am I going to send them to someone via email, or save them to my Evernote or Dropbox account? By ticking off one of the icons on the bottom of the page I can easily and automatically route the note without having to think about it. As a heavy user of Evernote this works great. When I'm done with my note, I simply tick off the Evernote icon and when I open the Whitelines Link app on my iPhone and take a picture of the note, the app using the codes on the corner of the page can senses where the note is and automatically routes it to my Evernote account for safe keeping. The Whitelines Link app is available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store and is free. I should mention that when you use the Whitelines Link app to capture your notes, the grey background and white lines disappear and all you are left with are your notes on a white background which really highlights your ideas! The ways to use Whitelines Link is only limited by your creativity. Whitelines Link notebooks are available on Amazon and are licensed to be used with Leuchtturm Whitelines Link Black Pocket Dots notebooks which are readily available in the United States. This is a great product and one that I know you will enjoy using.

If you enjoy using fountain pens to jot down ideas, journal, or for writing your to-do lists then you may want to consider bringing the analog to digital gap by using the Moleskine Evernote, Whitelines Link, or the Leuchtturm Whitelines Link Black Pocket Dots notebooks. All of the notebook solutions add a considerable value proposition and one that allowed me to continue to use fountain pens that are then married to my cloud based services!

9.20.2016

Pen Profile : The Visconti Van Gogh Mini (Pre-2011)

Van Gogh is quoted to have once said,

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.


Creating a masterpiece is no small feat. Neither is being a world renown artist. However, the route to each of those achievements is taken in the same way - one stroke at a time, one step at a time.

It may be little, but every conscious decision toward your big dreams is one step closer to making them real.

Keeping inspired with a positive mental attitude is key in following through and pursuing your goals. A painting will not look like the finished product until months (possibly years) of labor are invested. If the artist is discouraged after a lack of daily progress, then the masterpiece will never be completed.

Having a miniature masterpiece at hand can help keep the creative juices flowing.



Let your dreams manifest through your hands with Visconti's Van Gogh collection of writing instruments. The original styles produced prior to 2011 feature colorful, swirling, translucent resin with chrome trims and the classic, Visconti arc clip. These unique resins pay tribute to the artist's post-impressionist painting style, brilliantly translated into pen form.

The original Van Gogh collection came in three sizes : an oversized "Maxi," the standard "Midi" and the petite "Mini." When they were replaced by the VanGogh Impressionist collection back in 2011, we obtained the last of the Van Gogh Mini pens from the distributor. As of this writing, only a few dozen new, old stock pens are left.



Pocket-Sized Paintings

The Van Gogh Mini fountain pen measures 4.875" long closed, 4.375" with cap removed, 5.5" long with cap posted on back end. It is not as small as a Kaweco Sport pen, which measures 4.13" long closed and 5.3" long with cap posted, but it is smaller than the newer Visconti Van Gogh Impressionist pens (5.5" closed, 6.23" with cap posted). 



The Van Gogh Mini has a screw open cap that posts securely to the back end while writing. The fountain pen arrives with a single, international-sized ink cartridge to start with, but it can also use the Kaweco Sport piston converter to fill using bottled ink (sold separately). The stainless steel nib is as smooth and reliable as you would expect a Visconti worth 3X the value.

A matching rollerball is also available in select styles. The Van Gogh Mini rollerball uses the same type of Schmidt capless rollerball refill that accompanies the Retro 51 Tornado Pen. All Van Gogh Mini pens arrive in highly presentable Visconti gift boxes.

8.30.2016

NJ Pen Club Pen-B-Q 2016 Wrap Up

Thank you to all who attended our inaugural Goldspot Pens & NJ Pen Club Pen-B-Q cookout and mini-pen show that was held last weekend on Saturday, August 27th. We appreciate everyone who was able to make it and enjoy a sunny, Jersey afternoon with us. Anyone who wasn't able to make it, but wanted to come, this post is for you! We've collected the highlights of our meet up in this convenient, bite-sized post. Enjoy!


We set up on a beautiful, low-humidity Saturday morning. Our tents pitched and our tables clothed with white linen, we were set to bring out the pens and the food!


Thanks to the support of Kenro Industries and Blueline Rediform, we had two awesome reps from each company come out to set up their own tables and show off some of the latest and greatest pens. Below is Kenro Industries' Neil L. with his spread of Aurora and Montegrappa pens with a couple of Ballast Watches to throw in some luxurious variety.



Montegrappa pens (left), Aurora Pens (right)

Jennifer R. from Rediform enthusiastically represented Lamy pens and Filofax organizers at her table. This was her first "pen meet up" experience as a sales rep and she absolutely loved it.

Filofax organizers (left) Lamy Lx, Lamy 2000 and new Scala pens (right)


So, what did Goldspot have cooking? Besides our own table of closeout special pens, we also had ink bottles you can sample and a top-secret case of Parker pens that are expected to debut fall 2016. Plus, Tom was manning the grill, flipping burgers and turning dogs for guests. A special shout-out goes to our long-time pen club members, Karen and Debbie, for bringing several summer snacks and goodies to add to our spread of food. There was a lot of food to eat!


Tom was also demonstrating the Pilot Parallel modified 6.0mm nib that writes like a folded nib. "Ooohs" and "aaahs" could be heard from the gathering of on-lookers. The pen was inked with Lamy Dark Violet.


One of the highlights of the event was the huge door prize giveaway. We received great support from our vendors, who graciously provided us with plenty of goodies to giveaway. We raffled off a Retro 51 Spaceglow, which was released back in 2010 and we would estimate is worth now about $100. We also had a Caran d'Ache Essentially Swiss ballpoint pen, several Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop ballpoint pens, a Lamy logo ballpen, Filofax notebook, Pilot sport water bottles, totes and desk caddy organizers. We had so many prizes that everyone who attended received something!

Overall, it was a fun afternoon enjoyed by all. We're already talking about making it a bigger event next year. Perhaps this is just the beginning of a beautiful, yearly event. If you're in the NJ metro area, would you be interested in coming? Please let us know below in the comments.

8.16.2016

The First Annual Goldspot Pen-B-Q

Burgers. Dogs. Drinks. Pens and Inks.


Please allow us to introduce our inaugural Pen-B-Q, hosted by the NJ Pen Club and yours truly at Goldspot Pens.

We cordially invite pen enthusiasts from the New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania metro area to come and enjoy some good company on Saturday, August 27th at 1pm.

The pen meet / cookout is being held at our office parking lot at 1230 State Highway 34, Aberdeen, NJ 07747 (we're right next to Dyke's Lumber).

Come meet with local pen enthusiasts, check out our selection of writing instruments and sample inks. We will have door prizes that will be raffled off for all attendees. The event is totally FREE.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Tom@goldspot.com and let us know how many people you expect to bring with you. We need to make sure we have enough food and drink for all!

7.26.2016

Pens on Vacation

Last week, during our #WriteitWednesday giveaway contest on Instagram, our challenge was to share a picture of your pen on vacation. We enjoyed so many of your pictures of pens cutting loose that we wanted to share a few of them with you.

Ben Franklin is quoted for saying that you should "either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." It looks like these pen lovers were doing both last week!

Check out some of the entries that were posted on Instagram below.


A photo posted by Giovanni Gasco (@gazcom) on

A photo posted by Aukku (@aukkul) on

A photo posted by @dadpens on

A photo posted by Stephen Valcourt (@svalcourt) on


A photo posted by Beatriz (@beatriz.cmendes) on

A photo posted by brie griffin (@briegriffin) on

A photo posted by Nic (@nic_v5) on

We run a new Write it Wednesday challenge every week on, you guessed it, Wednesday. Follow us on Instagram and check out our feed on Wednesday morning for the new prompt. We pick one random entry to receive a prize pack of inky pen goodness.

7.23.2016

Edison Pearlette Lapis Lazuli Fountain Pen - a Video Review

In the week preceding our Nation's birthday, the all-American, Edison Pen Company debuted two new materials to their production line of fountain pens that are available to their network of esteemed retailers (like us!). One was a rich, subtle color in the larger Collier model, which was named as 2011's Goldspot Pen of the Year, called Burnished Gold.



The second finish is the topic of this blog post and review - The Edison Pearlette Lapis Lazuli.



Let's check out the video review we published a few weeks back. We unbox, fill and write with the Edison Pearlette Lapis Lazuli with an 18kt gold nib.



The Pearlette is the smallest of the Edison pen models, but by no means is a pocket pen like a Kaweco Sport. Here, we see the pen model comparison from the Edison Pen Co website :



The size has a vintage feel, as many models and brands manufactured pens of this size back in the mid 20th Century. I compare it closely with the size of my Parker Vacumatic, which measures about 5 7/8" posted.



While this Vacumatic would be considered to be around the "standard" size of pens made by Parker at the time, the Pearlette is seen to be a diminutive design in the modern age of fountain pens. For an average hand, this pen works is still a good fit. I would strongly recommend it for anyone that prefers a smaller pen with a thinner grip section. If you prefer a heavy hitter like the Collier, then the Pearlette would not be an enjoyable pen to hold.

Edison Pearlette Specifications
  • Nib : #5 Size, available in stainless steel or 18kt gold.
  • Filling System : Cartridge or Converter
  • Cap Diameter : .515in
  • Barrel Diameter : .515in
  • Length Capped : 5 3/16in
  • Length Uncapped : 4 3/4in
  • Pen Weight : 18g
  • Barrel only Weight : 12g
As one would expect from a quality Edison fountain pen, the attention to detail on the fit and finish of this pen is remarkable. The Lapis Lazuli acrylic is polished to a high luster. The cap threads on to the front section securely and posts on the back as well. The standard Schmidt converter fits snugly into the section to make filling the pen effortless.




The Lapis Lazuli material itself is splendid to behold. I argue it looks even better than the precious gemstone that carries its namesake. The rich, saturated blue has a shimmer and sheen when held up to direct light. The flecks of marbled acrylic are highlighted with gold veining that, matched with the gold clip and bi-color gold nib, create an elegant picture of a pen that carries the heritage of American-made writing instruments.

The smaller, #5 size nib doesn't have the grandiosity of the #6 nib that is standard on most other Edison fountain pens, but the performance is "write" on par. The 18kt gold nib that was used for this review flows nicely with a slight bit of feedback. The gold responds to the amount of pressure you put on the point, but I wouldn't recommend doing any flexing.

The Edison Pearlette is part of the production line of fountain pens, which are available at many fine writing shops (both online and brick-and-mortar). The advantage with the production line is the pricing. A custom Edison that is ordered directly (in any material of your choosing) will run you at least $250 for a steel nib. One of these production model Edison pens is only $149 for the steel nib and $274 for the 18kt gold nib. For their production line, the Edison Pen Co. usually picks stunning pen materials that appeal to a wide audience. The Lapis Lazuli is certainly no exception. Come check it out on the Goldspot Pens shop and enjoy free shipping on any Edison fountain pen shipped within the USA.

7.18.2016

Kaweco Supra Brass Fountain Pen - a Video Review

You may have seen the Kaweco Supra and dismissed the pen as simply another Liliput design. There's a lot more to this fountain pen that meets the eye. This review will take you into the details of this all brass pen that is made in Germany and why it would be a fidgeter's dream pen.

Before we go on, check out our video review on the Kaweco Supra that will show you the unboxing, filling and writing ability of this unique pen.


The first thing you notice about the pen straight out of the box, besides its polished brass appearance, is its weight. The pen weighs a hefty 1.8 ounces in all, which is 3x the weight of a Lamy Safari, for example. With a nearly half-inch barrel diameter, the pen feels quite significant in-hand and would certainly please those who prefer larger, heavyweight type pens.

(Additional measurements of this pen can be found, in detail, at Gourmet Pens' review of this pen.)

Once you uncap the pen, the second major feature of this pen is the larger, number 6 size nib in stainless steel. Most Kaweco pens, including the Sport and Liliput models, use the smaller #5 nib. The larger nib looks right at home with the profile of this larger pen.

The third and most distinctive feature about this pen that you would notice right away would be the middle, "extension" section of the barrel. Measuring 2.5cm in length, the brass extender piece is a game-changer on this pen. It changes the entire dynamic of your writing experience with the Supra and allows it to be adapted to your own personal taste.

As you would see in our video, the extender piece unscrews from the front grip section and the rest of the barrel. It removes 0.4 ounces from the total weight of the pen, and shortens it up to the equivalent length of a Liliput. When in "mini mode," the Supra is a heavy pocket pen, similar to the Kaweco Brass Sport, but still has the smooth, cylindrical features of the Liliput model. It is up to your own personal taste of how you would like to write with this pen, so you can test out the mini mode uncapped or posted to your liking.

Speaking of posting, the cap does screw on to the back of the pen, which is a great utility feature for those who like a pen that posts, since one never has to worry about the cap falling off and getting lost.

Personally, my favorite mode of writing with this pen was without the extender piece and with the cap posted on back. It gave me the most comfortable writing experience out of the four ways you can hold this pen.

The drawback of removing the extension piece is that the Kaweco Supra can no longer hold a standard, international size ink converter. You would have to resort to filling ink cartridges or using the Kaweco Sport Piston Converter, which holds a minuscule amount of ink.

So, just how does the Supra stack up to the two most popular Kaweco pen models (the Sport and Liliput)? Let's check out some comparison shots to show you the length and size of the Supra stacked against these Kaweco models you may be more familiar with.

Top to Bottom : Kaweco Sport Classic, Kaweco Supra, Kaweco Liliput Fireblue. Closed Position.
Kaweco pens with caps removed.
Kaweco pens with caps posted on back.
Kaweco pens with caps removed, the extender piece has been removed from the Supra.

Here, the Supra is Posted without the Extender Section. Pens Open with Caps Posted on Back



The last point of comparison between the Supra and the Liliput is one that you cannot see, but speaks volumes : price. An all-brass Liliput pen will run you $80. The blow-torched steel of the FireBlue Liliput goes for $180. The extra-large Supra sits in between at $140. Kaweco could have priced the Supra above the most expensive Liliput, but they didn't, which many wallets will appreciate.

The Supra fountain pen is also a fidgeter's dream come true because not only can you roll the smooth cylinder of this pen across your desk at your amusement, but you can also assemble and disassemble it to remove the extender piece, screw on the cap to the back end and take it all apart again. The Kaweco Supra can be your new best friend to occupy your hands during long meetings and webinars.

You can purchase your Kaweco Supra fountain pen from your favorite source for fine writing supplies - Goldspot.com for the street price of $140. Package it together with international size ink cartridges from Kaweco or many other brands (I would suggest Diamine, as they have a broader selection of colors). You can also add-on an international size Kaweco converter, as they are not included with the purchase of the pen. Put it all together with a travel-size, pocket notebook from Clairefontaine, and you're all set for your writing adventures.

Any questions about the Kaweco Supra? Please feel free to leave us a comment below or shoot us an e-mail and we'll be happy to help.

7.08.2016

How to Pronounce J. Herbin's Caroube de Chypre

Fountain pen enthusiasts have come to embrace the craze that has become J. Herbin's 1670 ink collection with open arms. Every year, a new ink has caused upstanding pen lovers to geek-out over the sparkle, saturation, shading and sheen of the 1670 Anniversary inks.



For 2016, J. Herbin has brought us a warm brown ink that is inspired by carob pods from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. This ink is aptly called "Caroube de Chypre," which is French for Carob from Cyprus.

Any non-French-speaking person may end up tripping over their tongue while trying to pronounce the name of this ink. Even the Pen Addict, Brad Dowdy, faced difficulty agreeing on a pronunciation on a recent Pen Addict podcast episode (at the 11 min mark).

Thankfully, we have an Asha.

Asha grew up in Senegal and is fluent in French. She's one of our customer care specialists that has been with us for 10 years. If anyone knows how to detangle this tongue twister, she does.

She confirms the correct pronunciation in our short video on our youtube channel.


However, we know that not everyone is a linguist, so we will also accept other alternate pronunciations, should you call up and place your order with us over the phone for this new ink.

Other acceptable ways to ask for Caroube de Chypre :

"Car-ooh-bay de Shy-pree"
"Carob de Shyper"
"Car-oob de Ship-ray"
"Carib de Chipper"
"the new J. Herbin ink"
"the brown, sparkly one"

So, now that we've cleared up the best way to pronounce this gorgeous ink, let's talk about the best way to write with it. J. Herbin 1670 anniversary inks are well-saturated and contain flecks of gold particles that are suspended in the ink. The more ink that is laid down on the paper, the more noticeable the effect is. Therefore, the thicker and wetter the nib, the better the result.



The East meets West as a French ink is paired up with its perfect match in the Japense Pilot Parallel calligraphy fountain pen. Pilot's parallel plate technology is a champ in getting a large amount of ink down on the page, while maintaining crisp edges of every stroke. If you're looking for a versatile selection of nib widths, check out the Pilot Parallel 4-pack with J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre combo. It includes the necessary CON-50 twist converter to extract the sparkly ink from the bottle.

On the more exotic side, where writing meets artistry, you can opt for a folded nib to put down a ton of ink on the page. Ed Jelley uses a folded nib in his video for the Caroube de Chypre, which looks so cool!


The only problem with folded nibs is that they require a bottle of ink close at hand. The whole purpose of a fountain pen was to carry pen ink within the pen so that it can be used without having to constantly dip from an inkwell. One solution is to take a Pilot Parallel nib and modify it to behave similarly to a folded nib. The large, 6.0mm Parallel nib lays down bold strokes as you attempt to control the beautiful chaos of ink on the page.



The modified Parallel nib, which we lovingly dubbed "Naifu" (Knife in Japanese) writes with raw emotion and has the advantage of being able to fill up with using the CON-50 converter. Packaged together with the Caroube de Chypre, this is a winning combination that will add a whole other dimension to your snail mail correspondence, journal entries and instagram pics.

If you're still struggling with trying to get the sparkles and sheen to appear with your anniversary ink, read our tips on how to get maximum satisfaction with your J. Herbin ink.

6.25.2016

Top 5 Beginner Fountain Pens (and Top 3 for the Risk-takers!)

So, you want to try out a fountain pen, or two...

The single most common question we get from intrigued fountain pen newbies is "which is the best, first fountain pen?" -- and this post should help narrow that down for you. 

As you venture into the fountain pen world, you'll soon notice that much of the appeal of these pens is how personal they can be; my idea of a perfect pen might have a fine nib and a moderate weight, while yours might have a medium nib and be as light as a feather. The point is, with fountain pens, there are many options, and within each pen, you'll find even more options.

The following are 5 of our best recommendations for your first fountain pen, including features, specifications, and thoughts on each pen. I suggest purchasing finer nibs if you are used to writing with 0.5 - 0.7 mm tips, as the transition may be easier. If you're feeling risky and want to try flex writing or calligraphy, scroll down to find three additional pens that are sure to bring excitement to your writing.

For Normal Writing:

1. Pilot Metropolitan

  • Cost: $14.95
  • Nib Sizes: fine, medium
  • Grip: round
  • Overall Weight: 26g
  • Filling Method: proprietary Pilot cartridge and con-20 converter included
  • Durability: metal, very durable (unlike thin plastic which may crack under large amounts of pressure)
  • Colors: comes in many colors, including classic, animal and retro pop styles.

The Pilot Metropolitan has quickly become the top recommendation for newbies. It’s a great value, smooth-writing fine nib, round grip, average weight, and strong durability makes the pen suited for the majority of new users. Two thing to look out for: 1) Pilot nibs are proprietary, meaning only Pilot cartridges and converters will fit into Pilot pens and 2) you can’t see the ink level in the con-20 converter, so you won’t know exactly when you are out of ink until the pen stops writing. If this bothers you, Pilot offers the transparent con-50 converter as a substitute.


  • Cost: $29.95
  • Nib Sizes: EF, F, M, B, 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm
  • Grip: triangular
  • Overall Weight: 17g
  • Filling Method: proprietary Lamy cartridge included. LZ24 Converter sold separately.
  • Durability: made of extremely durable ABS plastic
  • Colors: comes in many colors (can upgrade to Al-Star)
  • Ink window

The Lamy Safari is long considered a staple in the fountain pen world. It is a great value, with a nib known for being smooth, but with feedback (not glossy smooth, but enough to let you know the nib is touching the paper). The barrel of the Safari is made of ABS plastic, the material used to make the famous Lego toys, which can withstand large amounts of pressure -- making the Safari extremely durable. Many beginners choose this pen because later on, you can try out one of the many other nib sizes (ranging from EF to 1.9mm), which is always fun.


3. Kaweco Sport


  • Cost: $25.00
  • Nib Sizes: F, M, B (also, EF, BB, 1.5 mm, 1.9 mm, 2.3 mm)
  • Grip: round, good for all people
  • Overall Weight: 10g
  • Filling Method: standard international cartridges, can buy separate Kaweco Sport squeeze converter
  • Durability: durable plastic, perfect for pocket, workhorse
  • Colors: comes in many colors (can upgrade to AL, etc.)

4. Nemosine Singularity


  • Cost: $19.95
  • Nib Sizes: EF, F, M, B, 0.6mm, 0.8mm
  • Grip: normal, round, good for all people
  • Overall Weight: 17g
  • Filling Method: standard international cartridges and converters (comes with)
  • Durability: strong plastic, should withstand pressure
  • Colors: comes in many colors, including clear/blue/purple tinted demonstrators
  • Demonstrator looks cool, can see ink



5. Platinum Preppy


  • Cost: $3.95 - 4.95
  • Nib Sizes: EF (02) highly recommend for people who like very thin lines, F (03)
  • Grip: normal, round
  • Overall Weight: 13g
  • Filling Method: platinum cartridge (or buy separate converter but costs more than pen), eyedropper (but beware of cracking)
  • Durability: can crack if dropped hard or stepped on
  • Colors: 7 different colors, can come in pack too



Top 3 Beginner Pens for Risk Takers






  • Cost: $20 for most, $40 for acrylic materials
  • Nib: Fine/Medium Flex (can buy replacement nibs, some flex and some not)
  • Overall Weight: 13g
  • Filling Method: piston filler (recommended over the ahab for this reason)
  • Durability: relatively durable plastic
  • Colors: many
  • For the tinkerer, and for those interested in flex nibs (beginners)




  • Cost: $10, $26.95 for all four
  • Nib Sizes: 1.5mm, 2.4mm, 3.8mm, 6.0mm
  • Overall Weight: 10g
  • Filling Method: pilot cartridge (con-50 converter can be used, sold separately)
  • Durability: relatively durable plastic
  • Colors: four colors, corresponding with nib
  • For those interested in calligraphy, must get used to nib to use it well, can do color gradient, check out @seblester




  • Cost: $27.95 - 35.95 (for AL)
  • Nib Sizes: 1.5mm (fine), 1.5mm (medium), 1.9mm (broad)
  • Grip: triangular (not suitable for people without “normal grip”)
  • Overall Weight: 17g
  • Filling Method: comes with cartridge, but must buy separate converter (can see ink level), proprietary to Lamy
  • Durability: made of extremely durable ABS plastic (what legos are made of)
  • Colors: three colors