Friday, July 29, 2011

Lamy Nexx M Anthracite Fountain Pen

This is my first fountain pen, hence my first fountain pen review.  I was mystically drawn to the Lamy Nexx M Anthracite for a number of reasons, but paramount was its simplistic, yet fabulous design.
It is very clean in its appearance.  The lines allow for a writing experience that is in many ways quite sensual.  But I'll get to that a little later on, back to the design.  Aesthetically, when I first spotted the Nexx M, my first impression was: "yeah, it's a Lamy alright."  Then I began closely examining the aluminum barrel design and how the metal triangulated ever so smoothly, so that when capped, the pen would not find itself rolling off of my desk and on to the floor.  The rubber grip area is also triangulated, and provides the writer with an extremely comfortable positioning ability; and being a left handed writer, I most appreciated that touch, as it allows subtle finger / hand positioning and repositioning as needed.
Additionally, immediately apparent is the familiar quality associated with Lamy pens.  Having owned and used Lamy pens for over a decade, I am very familiar with the quality craftsmanship consistent with these writing instruments.  However, I was not familiar with using Lamy fountain pens, which is an entirely unique and noteworthy experience by itself.  The Nexx M literally glides across the paper like an ice skater on ice.  What a total joy using this pen!  When ordering the pen, I was trying to decide which nib to choose.  My choices narrowed between fine, extra fine and medium.
was out of stock with fine nibs, so I chose the extra fine nib instead.  After placing my order, I read many more reviews about  this amazing writing instrument.  All gave it extremely high marks across the board.  I could hardly contain my excitement of receiving the pen in the mail.  Four days later, there it was in my mailbox. 
When I opened the envelope, I discovered a gray cardboard box, vented,  a sticker with the price ($28.00) and the name Lamy Nexx Fountain Pen Ex-Fine Black.  Inside was a warranty slip with CEO and Founder C. Josef Lamy's name, address and phone number in Heidelberg, Germany.  Then I opened the box and behold, there it was.  Above the rubber grip was a cardboard ring with the word "remove" on it.  Once the ring was removed, I screwed the pen back together and began trying it out on paper.  It began inking after a few trys and behold, a smooth writing experience began.

As I began writing, I thought, I can't remember using a writing instrument that felt this good, with the exception of my Lamy Accent 4 in 1.  But this proved to be a totally different writing experience.  The aluminum barrel with its industrial look, felt smooth and sensual.  The rubber grip gave the feel of comfort in my fingers as though I could continue writing for hours on end. 

But alas, I had only the one ink cartridge, and ink seemed to be pouring from the Nexx's nib as I wrote.  So I sum this review up by saying, the Lamy Nexx is truly an experience to be had by those who enjoy the feel of pen to paper.  It is one of a kind, and highly recommended. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Multi Tool 4 in 1 Level Pen

I was looking for a pen that I could use when doing woodwork and one that would fit in a workshop environment.  It had to be a pen that was durable, but one that had the natural look, feel and function of a tool.  It had to have practical applications that would be used on a regular basis.

Enter the Mult Tool 4 in 1 Level Pen.  An offering by the Brink Collection, a trademark of Present Time, a company based in Holland.  This pen is constructed of brass and steel components, with a matte silver color and has a utilitarian appeal.  When holding it, it is somewhat hefty, not overly so, but is of average length at 14 cm.  There is a lot to like about this pen, so I will try and break down the highlights beyond the obvious.
Pen cartridge - The Multi Tool 4 in 1 Level Pen employs the Fisher pressurized gravity refill cartridge for multi pens.  Easily engaged, writing with this pen is simply a pleasure.  It literally glides across the paper.  Fisher is known for their pressurized cartridges which are able to write at any angle, on any surface, even underwater.  This is a huge plus, especially when using this pen in a workshop.

Pen Body - The body is mostly hexagonal in shape, which allows the pen to sit on a flat surface without rolling, even though it has a pocket clip.  But more importantly, it allows the ruler component to be effectively used in taking measurements on any surface.  The lower portion of the body is knurled to provide the writer with precision gripping and in many ways allows you to write better at those odd angles and surfaces.  The cap is also knurled partially and screws off with precision.
The overall pen body is one of the finest works of machine produced writing instruments I have seen and had the sheer pleasure of using to date.

Functions - The pen cap screws off to reveal a Phillips screwdriver which can be reversed with some effort to reveal a Flathead screwdriver.  It is a genuine micro tool and not a novelty, and when using, the cap will easily screw onto the pen tip area for safekeeping.

Next is the ruler, which is displayed in inches and centimeters - a total of 3 inches, or 7 centimeters, which is half the pen's body length.  Because of its hexagonal shape, using the ruler is an easy task.
As is its next function, the level.  Built inside the barrel, a green liquid provides enough contrast to visualize the bubble when level surfaces are in question, and a regular size level is not available.

I am thoroughly impressed with the quality and craftsmanship used in constructing this pen, and I look forward to having many years of use with it.  You can purchase the Multi Tool 4 in 1 Level Pen at the for $14.95 plus $5.00 for shipping.  You won't be sorry you did.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pilot Dr. Grip 4 + 1 (Series 1)

I read some reviews on the Pilot Dr. Grip 4+1 Multi Pen on and I was thoroughly impressed.  I had previously used the Dr. Grip 1+1 and found it to be rather generic, but this Multi Pen had four colors of ink plus a mechanical pencil, and much more pizazz.  Reviews also spoke to its superb writability which by itself was laudatory.  In addition, its form was sleek, like a sports car, especially for a 4+1 Multi Pen.
I was sold, and had to have it.  In the product description, it said: "this Dr. Grip 4+1 has not yet made its debut in the United States and doubt if it ever would."  I was even more intrigued.  Cult pen?  Possibly.  So I placed my order on a Friday at Jetpens.  The shipping was free as I had also purchased several other writing implements which I review at a later date.  However, I was supposed to wait 3 to 7 days for delivery.  I just figured I would receive it the following Friday.  To my surprise, the following Wednesday, there was a small white shipping envelope in my mailbox.
My first impression after opening the package was how long the pen seemed.  However, it measured 14.5 cm; an average size pen.  Then I was immediately drawn to the overall design and how the orange and silver colors enhanced its gorgeous architecture.  Yes it is constructed of mostly plastic material, but this is a quality plastic that feels solid in the hand when writing.  The silver metal area is covered by a white, soft to the touch rubber grip, and feels comfortable in my fingers.  On Jetpens its says this pen is recommended by the Arthritis Foundation; so it comes highly recommended.  The bottom is a shiny metal, and is a perfect contrast to the orange color barrel.  It also matches the pocket clip, which I will discuss later.  The top houses a small white eraser under its cap.  The familiar Pilot plunger system for changing ink color is incorporated here as well.  It works flawlessly.

However, this Multi Pen has one added feature not seen before by me.  The pocket clip slides down to engage the mechanical pencil.  Wow!  Who knew?  What a nice touch by Pilot.  Giving the pocket clip
a dual role in the pen's functioning was genius.  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
 Well, I could not wait to try this magnificently crafted instrument out on paper.   Just as I suspected, this pen did not disappoint.  The four 0.7mm color cartridges; black, red, blue and green, all flowed smoothly when tested on paper.  I found by having four colors to choose from allowed for a broader, creative toolbox.  Not having used green ink much, I was surprised at how it captured the essence of certain thoughts within the context I needed at the time of writing them down. 
The mechanical pencil holds 0.5mm lead refills.  The pocket clip easily slides the lead in place and writes as smoothly as its ink counterparts.  And surprisingly, I did not manage to break one while applying it to paper.  Not previously a huge fan of pencils, I find this unit easy to use, and one which I will call on more frequently.  The eraser is small in size, but there to use; and that is what matters.           
Overall, having this pen is the same as having a set of fine paint brushes ready to create written masterpieces on paper.  I highly recommend Pilot's Dr. Grip 4+1 Series 1 Multi Pen.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pilot Pentopia T2300-P 2 + 1

It was the year 2000 and I was in a campus book store buying office supplies.  There it was on a shelf at the cashier's counter.  I had recently purchased a Palm PDA and was not a real fan of the provided stylus.  But when I asked to see the Pilot Pentopia 2 + 1, lo and behold it had a built in stylus that when tested on my Palm's glass screen writing graffiti, it had the same feel as writing with a pen.   Additionally, pen and pencil were housed in the same chamber barrel side by side.  Not only that, it was constructed of very strong stainless steel.  The lower portion of the barrel ribbed for easy finger grip when writing. 
Well, needless to say, I had to have this pen.  I had not seen a pen like this in about ten years when I bought my first Pilot multi color pen while stationed in Saudi Arabia.  The same quality and craftsmanship was in the Pilot Pentopia 2 + 1. 
Fast forward to 2011.  The Pilot Pentopia 2 + 1 is still a relevant multi pen.  As I have stated in other posts, I am an avid user of a Palm PDA (T3),  and use the stylus to make entries on a regular basis. 
Also, the fine tip pen is able to make the sharpest of entries on forms while writing quite smoothly in narrative form.  The 0.5 mm pencil lead is strong enough to resist breaking during mid-stroke.  The eraser is large and swiftly removes pencil errors without leaving shadows on paper.  It is housed under a stainless steel screw on cap at the pen top.  The classic Pilot plunger mechanism for switching between pen functions also remains relevant and is easy to use when changing functions, without jamming or catching erroneously. 
A timeless writing instrument, and still available in both silver and matte black, the Pilot Pentopia T2300-P 2 + 1 is a worthy addition to my multi pen collection.