Fountain Pen Day Giveaway - Winner!

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I am once again humbled for the turnout for this giveaway - almost 300 entries!  Thank you all so much for your readership, and I hope you had an awesome Fountain Pen Day!

The winner is.......

UPDATE:  Mary did not claim her prize, so I've drawn a new winner - Brian S!  Brian, keep an eye on your email - I'll be reaching out to you to notify you that you've won!

Congratulations Mary!  Mary spent Fountain Pen Day inking up her new Lamy 2000 (love that pen).  Keep an eye on your email for a message from me - get your address to me by next Friday!  Thanks so much to everyone else for participating - I'll do another giveaway soon!

Fountain Pen Day 2016 Giveaway!

 Other ink bottles not listed below, and various desk accessories not included

Other ink bottles not listed below, and various desk accessories not included

The Desk has gotten cluttered once again! In honor of Fountain Pen Day, and as a thanks to all of my amazing readers, I'm doing another giveaway!

The winner will receive:

1) 1 bottle of (almost new) Noodler's Nightshade - I've taken maybe one filling out of the bottle.
2) Tons of ink samples in various volumes that I've reviewed on the blog - some may require syringing to fill a converter.
3) A Kaweco Skyline Sport in Grey w/ a Fine nib - this has been gently used a few times, and was reviewed on the blog.  It's been cleaned and will come with a Kaweco cartridge and the box (box says EF, but it's been fitted with a Fine nib).

Ink Samples List:
Faber-Castell Garnet Red
J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor
Platinum Pigmented Rose Red
Iroshizuku Ina-ho
Iroshizuku Chiku-rin
Sailor Kobe #3 Sepia
Platinum Mix-free Sunny Yellow
Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses
KWZI Green Gold
KWZI Iron Gall Green Gold
Diamine Bilberry
Private Reserve Avacado
Diamine Shimmertastic Magical Forest
De Atramentis Cucumber
Noodler's Squeteague
Noodler's Saguaro Wine
KWZI Foggy Green
De Atramentis Mint Turquoise

So what do you have to do?  Enter using the Rafflecopter widget above - the only requirement is that you answer the question "What are you doing to celebrate Fountain Pen Day?" If you would like an additional 2 entries, follow @thedeskoflori on Twitter, and for an additional 2 entries per day, tweet about the contest.

Fine Print: Contest will end Friday night/Saturday morning, November 5, 2016 at 12:00AM EST (midnight). Winner will be announced Saturday morning! Open to continental US Residents only - unfortunately shipping ink bottles outside the US is insanely expensive, and since this is out of my own pocket, it's not practical for me to ship overseas. My sincerest apologies for this!  The package will be shipped via USPS - I will not be responsible if the package is lost in shipping.  Please provide a valid email address for your entry so that I may contact you if you win - I assure you that your email address will not be sold, traded, given away or used in any way other than to notify you that you've won.  If I do not receive a response in 1 week from the close of the contest, I will draw a new winner.  I will validate your entries, and any invalid entries will be disqualified.  Thanks for entering!

This contest is not sponsored by any of the retailers/companies related to the products included - these are just products that I enjoy and that I've bought for review.  You should definitely go support these companies though, they make great products!

Review: Kaweco Leather Traveler's Case

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Kaweco Leather Traveler's Case
Size: 5.75" x 4.5"
Capacity: 6 pens + a few accessories
Material: Tan leather (outside) & tan suede leather (inside)

Most of you that have followed me probably know that I have a loyalty to Nock Co. and their awesome pen cases.  It would really take quite a bit for another case to pull me away from those, unless it fit a pretty specific use-case that Nock doesn't cover.  Still, I was eager to give this Kaweco case a try, because I love the products that Kaweco produces.  Unfortunately, this case isn't going to be replacing anything in my rotation any time soon.  Let's talk specifics...

The Kaweco Leather Traveler's Case is nice and portable in it's 5.75" x 4.5" stature, and features a slightly toothy camel-colored outer leather cover.  It feels like there is sturdy cardboard or maybe even some sturdy plastic inner liner for stability.  On the inside it features a nice suede tan leather inner liner, as well as a protective flap of the same material and a net holder for accessories.  You'll only be able to fit small things in the net like ink cartridge boxes, converters, etc.  Not a ton of room there, but those are the typical things you'd probably be carrying in there anyways.

A tight fit.

This case isn't a terrible case at all.  On the contrary, it's fairly well built, and protects pens quite nicely.  I did, however, find the pen slots to be fairly narrow and tight, which made it a little bit frustrating to use.  There's something to be said for a balance between being snug enough to hold the pens securely, and being just loose enough to be able to move them in and out without much fuss; this case kinda fails in that way.  I used this case for about 2 months, and the elastic of the pen slots loosened only ever-so-slightly - which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  If your pens fit perfectly, you really don't want them to loosen up, but I found it really difficult to get them in and out.  The slots are also pretty close together so once you get your pens in there, they're practically touching.  I can't help but think they intended this to be used with their line of pens only, which as you know are quite a bit smaller than most - Liliputs, Sports, etc. - even though the Sport even struggles to fit in there.

The flap lays off-center, to the left, even when pulled tight without pens in the case.

Another thing that bugged me a bit about the case was the protective flap on the inside.  It wasn't the flap itself, I actually find that to be a nice addition for extra protection.  The issue is that when the flap was sewn into to case, it was sewn just a tad off center.  So even when the case is empty, the flap lays off to the left slightly.  It may just be my OCD, but it does bug me.  With pens in the case, it can exaggerate the issue, and it can sometimes put the off-center flap in the way of the zipper.

Speaking of the zipper, the case does have a very nice leather pull on the zipper, making it easy to find when you're ready to zip/unzip the case.  I did find the zipper to be fairly stiff.  An (almost) square case like this doesn't lend to a very responsive or smooth zipper, because it tends to stop or "hang" at the corners; but I do think this one is especially stiff when compared to something like a YKK zipper that I've seen on other products.  This one doesn't have any markings on it, so unfortunately I don't what brand it is.

I hated giving this case a somewhat negative review, because when I first saw it I thought it was beautiful and I couldn't wait to try it out.  In use, it just didn't push my buttons like I thought it would.  The case wasn't a failure on the whole - it was just a number of small issues that bothered me enough that I just can't use this in my daily carry.  Along those lines, we should talk about the price.  This case retails for between $107 to $118 depending on where you purchase it.  I honestly do not believe for a second that this case is worth that kind of money.  As a rule, leather cases are quite a bit more expensive than most, but this case only holds 6 pens and has a couple fit and finish issues - I just don't see the value there.  If you like leather, you can pick up an Aston 10 pen case for $64 and an Aston 20 pen case for $90 from Goulet.  If you prefer no leather and some added color, go for a Nock Co. case - you can get the Lookout 3 pen case for $25, the Brasstown 6 pen case (plus extra storage) for $40, and others - all made in the US.  Both the Nock and Aston cases have more comfortably sized pen slots and are quite a bit less expensive.  I would really only recommend the Kaweco case if you love the look of it, and have some money to burn.  

(Kaweco has provided this product at a discounted cost to The Desk for the purpose of review.  My opinions are honest and without bias - visit the About Me page for more details).

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Pen Review: Kaweco Ice Sport (Black)

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Kaweco ICE Sport (Black) [M]
Paper:
Rhodia 80gsm #16 blank (top staple)
Ink: Kaweco Sunrise Orange
Length Capped: 105mm
Length Posted: 132mm
Length Uncapped: 100mm
Section at Thinnest Point: 9mm
Section at Widest Point: 10mm
Weight w/quarter barrel of Ink & cap: 10.5g
Weight w/quarter barrel of Ink & no cap: 6.3g
Fast writing: Keeps up fairly well; couple of skips
Upside down writing: Pretty dry.
Wetness: Dry.
Pros: Can be eyedroppered, lightweight, lots of color options & nib sizes
Cons: Nibs can be finicky, may be too light for some, no really *good* converter options (see below)

Kaweco's ICE Sport is a demonstrator version of their flagship Kaweco Sport.  The pen has the classic octagonal cap design, with the finial sporting the 3-syllable Kaweco logo.  The body is a clear plastic with a section matching the color of the cap, which holds a standard a steel Bock nib.  The pen is pocked-sized, which nice for portability, and it posts to a comfortable size for regular writing.  This version is one of the new colors that Kaweco has introduced to this line, and is my personal favorite.  They also have some other really neat colors like a florescent yellow, florescent orange, red, pink and many others. 

What distinguishes the plastic Kaweco Sport pens from their aluminum and brass counterparts is the fact that they can be eyedroppered.  If you're unfamiliar with that term, converting a pen to an "eyedropper" allows you to fill the barrel with ink instead of installing a cartridge or a converter (after adding a little silicone grease to the threads).  Many people buy the Sports just for this reason, and with the ICE sport being clear, you get the added effect of being able to see your ink sloshing around in the barrel - which also lets you know how low your level is!  The Kaweco pens are too short for a standard international converter, and unfortunately most of the Kaweco squeeze or plunge-type converters have been less than desirable to the masses, so eyedroppering is really the best option in my opinion.  I've used the Templar Skinny Mini converter in my Brass and AL versions, but for the plastic I much prefer to eyedropper for both the ink capacity, and the look.  Some folks have reported having burping issues with eyedropper pens; I've been fortunate not to experience that.  I use my pens more for burst writing sessions instead of longer ones, and usually the cause is when the air in the pen is heated up by the hands.

Like a lot of Kaweco pens I've used, the nib suffered from a case of baby's bottom.  It's a medium nib, but much to my liking, it wrote on the finer side of the spectrum.  I don't care for super wide nibs anyways, so it was a pleasant surprise.  I've heard a lot of people say that even Kaweco's broad nibs write closer to a western medium.  I'm not sure if this is the case for all Bock nibs, or if Kaweco's are slightly different.  Either way, I had to do some tuning on this one, and I still don't think I quite have it where I want it yet.  Because this is a medium I think the issue is a little bit worse than it has been on some of my fine nibs.  I will say that once they're tuned, they're really a pleasure to write with, just don't be surprised if you have to work on them a little bit.

The pen itself is very comfortable to hold and use.  It is very light, though - between 6 and 10 grams depending on whether you use the cap, and slightly more if you have more ink in it.  It may be a little too light for some folks, but I find it very comfortable.  It's a little too short for me to use comfortably without posting, but it certainly can be done depending on your hand size.

So far, I've found the pen to be easy to clean, even when eyedroppered.  I've had this ink in here for quite a while and it washed out just fine; I recommend using a q-tip to dry the barrel once you're done rinsing it, and at worst you can fill the barrel with some pen flush and let it soak a bit to get a more stubborn ink out. 

I really enjoyed this pen, aside from the nib troubles.  It's a beautiful design, and I'm a sucker for demonstrators.  Kaweco have a great selection of colors with the ICE Sport, so you're likely to find something that'll suit almost anyone's taste.  If you're interested in eyedroppering your Sport, I recommend Goulet Pens' silicone grease, but you can use just about any 100% pure silicone grease.  The Kaweco ICE Sport sells at most US retailers for around $25; if you love a good demonstrator and want a good pocket/purse pen with a high ink capacity, you can't go wrong at that price!

(Kaweco has provided this product at no charge to The Desk for the purpose of review.  My opinions are honest and without bias - visit the About Me page for more details).

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