Montblanc William Shakespeare

After much talk about yet another Limited Edition Montblanc ink and another red I thought well I will see how others like it. William Shakespeare Velvet Red has been sold out from every retailer within a day of them receiving it. At the 2016 DC pen show I got to see it in person and since there were no bottles to be bought at the biggest pen show on the planet and I liked it I started hunting down sources. Well Fahrney's in Maryland got in a shipment and I ordered 3 bottles. It was shipped fast, well packed and there was no price gouging. Very impressed with my 1st order from them. 

The paper above has a blue hue to it in the photo but that is because I adjusted the photo so the ink swabs and writing sample were more accurate. The shading is amazing and it is close to the Hitchcock but it really does have a velvet red quality about it.

Lay this ink down on some Tomoe River paper and it takes a life of its own.

Some folded nib fun for the last photo. Really a fantastic ink. Now will they re-release a ton of it and flood the market like they did with the Tolstoy? That has yet to be seen but it is a great ink and Montblanc continues to produce great colors with good balance.

AND yes I really do wish I had even a sample of the Chalk Red to compare it to. Should I acquire one I will revisit this and update it.

J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre

Shake the bottle and enjoy this amazing new addition to the J. Herbin 1670 line up. Caroube de Chypre is so much fun to use with its rich brown color, deep red undertones and gold flakes coming through. This stunning and well behaved ink was provided to me for review by Pen Chalet where is it in stock and ready to ship!

This ink just begs for some Tomoe River though it flexes its depth on almost any paper.

A little folded nib play time with this ink is always fun!


Pelikan M1000 Sunrise LE ~ Overview

Here is a quick video over view of the new Pelikan M1000 Sunrise LE. It is #222 of #333 and was secured for me by Tom at Goldspot Pens. This stunning pen is based on the M1000 series and is coated with red urushi and the raden strips are applied. After that a clear coat of lacquer is applied and polished. The pen lies inside 4 boxes, the final box being a traditional Japanese Paulownia wood, and is presented in a bed of satin.

HAKASE Jade Celluloid ~ Overview

This is a quick unboxing and overview of an astonishing Hakase Jade Celluloid fountain pen. Made by Yamamoto San of Hakase. This pen has water buffalo inserts in the cap and barrel ends as well as a Pilot #10 nib in super extra fine. Current wait time for a Hakase pen is over 12 months.

While I will do a full review I thought it would be fun to test a different format.
For more information of this stunning pen and brand goto:

Shinobi by Newton Pens

 Shinobi in clear acrylic and Tsunami Alumilite section.

Shinobi in clear acrylic and Tsunami Alumilite section.

My 2015 guest post for On Fountain Pens "12 Days of Christmas".

Thank you Maybelline for inviting me agin this year to participate in the 12 Days of Christmas. This is about my quest for a custom pen. I had never had a bespoke pen before and never gave it much thought. It started at the 2015 DC Super Show when i saw a lot of people who had custom pens tucked away in their cases between the Visconti’s, Montblanc’s Sailor’s etc. Not only were the bespoke pens unique but every one had a story behind them. I found myself drawn to the beautiful Shinobi by Shawn Newton. Leigh Reyes and Thomas Hall both had stunning examples. It was then I knew I had to have one.

The Shinobi is a hand made pen created by Shawn Newton, the owner of Newton Pens. Each pen is made to the customers specifications. From the material of the body and section to the nib material and nib grind. You can even supply Shawn with your own nib and he will fit it to the pen.

So who is Shawn Newton? Shawn, a teacher, started making pens back in December of 2011. After selling off every pen he owned to buy machines, tools and parts he used Kickstarter to help get the rest of the way there. Starting Newton Pens while teaching was a challenge but one he took head on. He pursued his passion until in 2015 he found it necessary to stop teaching and run Newton Pens full time. While doing both though, he started a scholarship fund to help students with college expenses. He continues this now even though he is no longer teaching. This is just part of who Shawn is and the dedication he has to helping those around him.

The pen shipped in a thick box and in the box was a stainless steel travel mug that housed my pen. Talk about indestructible! What's nice is the travel mug, that has his logo on it, now goes to work with me in the morning. That's not all though. To protect the pen while in the mug it is put inside a handmade pen sleeve Shawn's awesome wife Elizabeth makes. I was pretty excited to see I got a Batman Sleeve. Lastly on shipping was that it was insured and needed a signature. This helps a lot in keeping the USPS honest.

The Shinobi is a pen unique to Shawn and has become a very popular request. As well the queue to get one is long with an approximate wait time of 4 months. Closed it is a seamless barrel design with an impeccable fit and finish. Here's where it gets interesting. The barrel has a flat edge on it. That edge runs the entire length of the pen right through the cap. This allows you to place the cap down without it rolling away. You can also do the same with the pen since the flat side is also on the barrel. Lining up the cap and barrel so this flat spot stays true only takes a minute to figure out so you will be able to put the cap on every time with the flat sections meeting up. It is a brilliant and simple design that serves a true purpose. The overall balance and feel is very comfortable and fits my hand well. Do note that the design of the pen does not allow for it to be posted. While posting it is not necessary due to its length there are some who like to have a posted pen no matter how long it makes it.

Material choices are limitless. While Shawn has plenty from Acrylic, Ebonite and Alumilite you are not limited to just those he has. Should you have your own material sourced he will use that if you like. While the cap and body are typically made from the same material the section can be another place to really make your pen stand out. With my Shinobi I chose a clear Acrylic for the cap and body with Tsunami Alumilite for the section. Clear acrylic adds another step of work to the process. Once the pen was made Shawn then had to spend over an hour just polishing the cap and barrel inside and out. Getting them to be crystal clear is a daunting task. It also means that the pen must be perfect. If any mistakes are made such as thread material not 100% smooth or even tiny scratches inside or out will be very easy to see. Special tools and techniques have been developed by Shawn to ensure the final product is perfect. There is no way to hide any mis-step when making a demonstrator pen.

The filling system is a cartridge convertor that is supplied. It is a standard Schmidt converter that works well and is easy to clean. The other way to fill it is to "eye-dropper" the pen. This means you fill the body directly with ink. This increases you ink capacity from about .7mls to 4mls. When doing this you should put some silicone grease on the threads of the section where it goes into the body of the pen to help prevent any ink from leaking out. Shawn has made fine and precise threads here to help aide in doing this. Having a clear version of this pen gives the eye-dropper filling a very dramatic effect. Seeing all that ink sloshing around inside is really neat. I will note here that using a quality ink is important as you don't want to stain the inside of this pen. I used Iroshizuku and Akkerman with both cleaning out very easily. 

Nib selection is up to you. Shawn uses #6 size JoWo nib units that have his logo "N" engraved on them. I requested a single tone medium nib with cursive italic grind. It is smooth and wet with some nice natural line variation. You can choose from stainless steel to gold to your own nib you want put in. When using you're own nib you will want to review the feasibility of it with the pen your having made. Once you have decided what nib you are going to have you will also need to choose the grind. Of course you can leave the nib in its stock form of XF, F, M, B etc or Shawn will grind it to what you like. CI, Stub, Oblique and so on.  Speaking of nibs there is yet another option. Shawn can make extra sections for a pen. Your extra section or sections can have a variety of nib sizes and grinds. This allows you the ability to simply change the section of your pen to have a completely new writing experience. An example would be a Waterman 100 Years nib I have that gives beautiful vintage flex. I want to have a section made so when I want to have a pen to flex I can continue using my trophy pen. 

Overall I am beyond excited about this pen. I am at the point where I feel privileged to own it. For me it is beautiful, well balanced, holds enough ink to write a book and is a bespoke pen made just for me. Should you decide this is a pen you want in your collection don't hesitate to reach out and speak with Shawn about your ideas. There are many other designs he makes as well. Pens that have clips and different filling systems as well. Piston fillers, Bulb fillers and button fillers. You are truly only limited by you imagination.

Video Review of the Shinobi in beautiful 4K resolution

NOCK Sinclair case


The Nock Sinclair has been a long awaited release. Those who were at the 2015 DC Pen Show got a glimpse of the Prototype of this case. Back then it was being called the "Half-Tower". The founders of Nock, Brad and Jeff, were at the show with a few prototypes to show off and get feedback from. The feedback they received was all positive and most of us were trying to figure out how to get the prototypes to take home with us. Yes they were that impressive.

So lets take a look at what makes this case so versatile. Looking from the outside in it has 2 zippers so you can open and close it either way. It only unzips 1/2 way down the sides of the case making for easy access and creating a well of space in the middle. The zippers are excellent quality that feel very strong and easy to zip. The teeth are large giving a nice secure feel. The edges of the case are well padded and have interior piping going around the edges on both halves so once you close it up the tops and bottoms of your pens are cushioned from impacts. This helps a lot if you drop you case on a hard surface.  The pictures below really show off the detail of the piping around the inner edges. You can also get a good look at the interior layout showing the pens slots and notebook slot.

The stitching is double and even triple in some places to reinforce the overall strength of the case. Note the top of the pen slot where the stitching is done multiple times.  When you really look at the detail work in what seems like a relatively simple case you realize the amount of work that went into it. 

There is padding between the outer and inner layer of material to cushion you're pens or whatever else you have inside. By giving the case a little bit of width you're able to fit plenty of your every-day-carry. I was easily able to fit a Delta Dolce Vita, Visconti HS Bronze & Classic Pens LM1 with a notebook as well as my iPhone 6. Again, by giving this case a little more width and using the right materials you have the ability to do what looks like over stuffing it without doing so. With all that in the case it still closed with no issues and without having me feel like everything was tight and rubbing against each other inside. 

The Sinclair is priced at $35. Quality is excellent and while durability is not proven, I can comfortably say it will last a very long time. This particular color combination is called Camo/Raven. The other two available colors are Barn Red/Midnight and Forest/Sunshine. The zipper pulls were extra as well. They are $4 for a 2 pack and there is a variety of colors you can order. Plus they just look great on the Sinclair.

For some up close and personal time with this case you can watch the video review below.

This Nock Sinclair was purchased by me. This review is based on my personal opinion and nothing more.