Tip Thursday: Cataloguing Fountain Pen Inks – A Little Project

From the header image of this blog, some of you may have hazarded a guess that I like fountain pens. You’re not wrong ūüôā I first got into them in mid-2014, and even wrote a little post about it here.

A year on, I have a nice small collection of fairly affordable (to cheap) fountain pens, and as with fountain pen lovers, a modest little collection of fountain pen inks. I will probably never finish using them before they dry up, and yet, I will probably never stop collecting them.

Nicely catalogued fountain pen ink boxes

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My first Massdrop gives me My first Noodler’s

A belated post! Based on my photos, they were taken on 13 November *blush* well, what’s new, I am a well-known procrastinator.

So this is all about my first Massdrop experience, and some pictures of my first Noodler’s experience all rolled into one.

Noodler's Pen and Ink Massdrop (2 Pens and 2 Inks)
Noodler’s Pen and Ink Massdrop (2 Pens and 2 Inks)

First off, my very first¬†Massdrop. I have heard of them before, but never even signed up or explored it before this drop. ¬†They are great¬†at¬†gathering communities who have the same interests / want to purchase similar things, but are prohibited by high product or shipping costs. So it’s very ‘useful’ for stationery/pen/notebook people like me with niche interests.

Prices are reasonably cheap, since Massdrop is one party ordering in bulk from one supplier. Just do your maths by checking other sites for pricing.

What I did not realise was you can¬†actually commit¬†to join¬†drops once they reach a lower or lowest price point. Massdrop works in such a way where X number of purchases will¬†‘unlock’ lower price points. ¬†I think I was too excited about owning my first Noodler’s pens and inks, and I didn’t read properly¬†so I missed out on the¬†lower price point pledge (at least $5 lower). ¬†So if you’re new to Massdrop, remember to look out for that!

Here’s an example. If I joined this¬†Notebook drop now, I would pay $56.99. Whereas, to save some cash, I could commit to join (see the small little link) at the lowest price point of $52.99. ¬†Then enter all your necessary shipping and payment information. Once the lowest price point has been unlocked, I would be automatically (I think) added to the drop and payment is deducted.

Of course, the difference in price is not that much OR if you are concerned that the lowest price point will not be reached, feel free to join drops at any time.

Read the fine print!
Read the fine print!

I joined the Noodler’s Ink and Pen Drop on 14 Oct, which meant that I got the package of 2 pens and 2 inks for US$65 (The Ahab cost an extra $5). ¬†The drop finally completed on 19 Oct (yay!) and a second email update came the very next day, saying they had placed the order with Noodler’s.

Obviously, Massdrop does not have any of these items in stock. They place orders once drops are complete, and the supplier sends these items to Massdrop to be re-packed and shipped. I have seen a number of reviews and feedback where people received the wrong item so this worried me a bit. The process, obviously, also affects the speed at which you receive your package.

On 29 Oct, I finally received another email update saying that the items had been shipped. Boy, was I excited. However, for cost reasons, the shipping method they use for international packages do not have tracking numbers. So it had to be a guessing game as to delivery date.  Now, I have heard some reviews in my part of the world saying that Massdrop packages are notoriously slow, so I lowered my expectations and gave it 3 weeks or even a month.

Guess what! I was on holiday when it came! Of course!  I was away from 8 to 12 Nov, so it reached my doorstep on either the 10th or 11th (Mon or Tue).  Unfortunately, when I reached home, I had a raging fever and tummy due to some weird salmonella, and was out of it until the weekend.  It was only then that I felt human again to be able to enjoy the unboxing and photo-taking.

I have tried out the pens and inks. What is that smell??? But, due to a lack of good quality paper/notebooks, unfortunately I will not be giving a writing sample or review of the pens / inks for the time being. Flex pens = major ink flow = need for quality paper.

So, the verdict for Massdrop is: Join Massdrop! You will not regret it!

Pricing: Worth it! Just do your maths. Based on Gouletpen prices, 2 Noodler’s inks, an Ahab and a Konrad costs US$65. I paid US$65 including shipping.

Reliability: Great! Noodler’s inks are notorious for being full to the brim. I received them intact, not a spill in sight.

Speed: Great! It was not as slow as expected. 2 weeks shipping from US to here is not unreasonable, considering that Massdrop uses a cheaper option to keep costs low for buyers. I have shipped inks from China before, and due to limitations, only sea shipments are allowed. Economy sea shipping (Inks are heavy and hike up shipping costs!) can take as long as a month to reach Singapore, and you have to tack on another week or so for local handling too.

Here’s some pictures of the unboxing and the pens / inks! Click on the photos to see a slideshow.

It’s either serendipity, or there are Noodler gods testing me

I’m a big fat liar. In yesterday’s post, when I said¬†I wasn’t going to haul this month, I lied. . . . Because I bought something, and I’m really¬†EXCITED about it! ¬†Although…I have no idea when I’ll be receiving it.

What’s all this about? Well, I have been wanting for some time to¬†get¬†a¬†Noodler’s flex pen to play with. So last month, when I got a bit tired of trawling Taobao, I went to Gouletpens to shop around (most¬†girls go to Orchard Road, I hit up GouletPens, it’s bad, I know) and had some fun shopping for Noodler’s pens.

I also came across OFP’s¬†Noodler’s Creaper review, AND GourmetPen’s reivew also of the Creaper, and it just made me. WANT. ONE. EVEN. MORE. I just consider it serendipitous that both reviews came out JUST as I was shopping around for one. Or maybe I just blame them for making me spend more money ^_^ ¬†*kidding*

And just how much serendipity causes Massdrop to offer their Noodler’s Pen and Ink¬†drop again, JUST at this time, I don’t know. I think fountain-pen-powers-that-be find it fun to test mere mortals like me. I got hypnotised and mesmerized, and clicked on ‘BUY’ before I knew what was happening. I did not¬†even visit GouletPens to do a bit of calculation before my mouse went clicky.

Noodler’s Pen and Ink Drop (2 Pens and 2 Inks)

Noodler's Pen and Ink Massdrop (2 Pens and 2 Inks)

There were 8 inks (90ml) and 9 pens (3 Ahab, 3 Konrad, 3 Creaper) to select from. You select 2 inks and 2 pens. I paid US$65 including shipping (The Ahab and Konrad are $5 more).

By the time I had come in on it, a lot were not available anymore. So I finally settled for:

Bernanke Blue Ink (lucky me because I LOVE turquoise inks) / Bad Black Moccasin Ink  / Ahab Blue Lapis / Creaper Red

ahablapis-tile
Images are copyright to Goulet Pens, I’m only borrowing!

I really wanted a Konrad (Clear Demo or Hudsons Bay) because it’s a smaller pen, and a Creaper because of the 2 reviews, but no luck. I quite like the look of the Lapis, but am rather concerned¬†about the size of the Ahab.I am also concerned about this smell that Noodler’s pens are known for. What IS THIS SMELL? Does it stink or is it just uncomfortable? Will it get on my hands? So many questions! The suspense is killing me.

I can’t wait for the package to reach me, but apparently Massdrop isn’t known for quick overseas deliveries. ¬†i can’t blame them though, shipping heavy bottles of ink is an expensive business. Maybe I’ll receive it in time for Christmas, that’d be fantastic!

So if you are on the lookout for some Noodler’s flex pens and/or ink, go join Massdrop now! And then go visit the Noodler’s drop page and request for it because they will revive it when they hit 200 requests! I’m 70! Go,¬†click request, now!

October Taobao Haul! Pilot 78Gs and stuff

As per the title! But today’s is just a tiny little haul, because I’d spent just a bit too much on the last one (the ink one which I apparently didn’t blog about).

Anyway, onwards with this for now¬†and I’ll settle the inks¬†in another post…hopefully).

A mini October haul from taobao: pen roll, 2 Lucky pens, and 2 Pilots!
A mini October haul from taobao: pen roll, 2 Lucky pens, and 2 Pilots!

First off, a pen roll. It feels even cheaper in the hand, then it looked in the photos, but I needed something that gets the job done. Right now my pens, even the Lamy Safari Neon Coral, just jostle around in a pocket in my backpack. Luckily a colleague gave me a pen holder (faux leather, pigskin, something) so I could put my TWSBI Diamond 580 in it.

cheapie pen roll, nothing much to write about, it does the job
cheapie pen roll, nothing much to write about, it does the job

I’m just loving the whole ‘airmail envelope’ colours of red, white and blue (is there a name for it), which is why I bought this. It’s not even that cheap, after adding shipping; about S$5.

I just love it for the pattern outside
I just love it for the pattern outside

I have this weird love of trawling fountain pen seller sites on Taobao in the hopes of stumbling across¬†a nice antique Hero, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. In the meantime, I just pick up stuff like these ŚĻłÁ¶Ź2007 (Lucky 2007) pens. I also have a weird love of cheap fountain pens modeled after classic (expensive) ones.

2 Lucky (ŚĻłÁ¶Ź) 2007 fountain pens, made in china, nothing special
2 Lucky (ŚĻłÁ¶Ź) 2007 fountain pens, made in china, nothing special

They have screw caps, which is another one of my weird loves, which is why I picked these 2 up for about S$3 each (after shipping). On the gold ring on the cap, it says ŚĻłÁ¶Ź2007 in front, and ‘LUCKY’ at the back. They come with pretty big converters, albeit squeeze types. They fit quite tightly, which is good.

The quality of the pens is¬†questionable as with most MIC pens. The gold “o-rings” you see just on the screw threads of the section (below) aren’t even glued down, which meant I promptly lost one of them after taking the pen apart.

The converters are the same, but with different words etched into them. One says ‘Lucky’ on the squeeze bar, the other ‘ŚĻłÁ¶Ź’ on the converter body. Otherwise, the pens are just functional. The nibs write very close to the Pilot 78G M nib, although it feathered slightly more (same ink, same paper).

Exploded Lucky 2007s side by side. Big converter.
Exploded Lucky 2007s side by side. Big converter. Questionable QC.

Now comes the star! I’ve been hankering after the Pilot 78G after picking up the Pilot Tank (~S$7) from Mustafa a couple of months ago. Most people don’t, but I do love the gold accents of the 78G, and the colours even more! ¬†They cost slightly more than the Tank (~S$11 after shipping) so I only picked up 2. For now. I’m still drooling over the red one.

Star of the haul: 2 Pilot 78Gs - green and blue-green
Star of the haul: 2 Pilot 78Gs – green and blue-green

Apparently these are ‘fabrique au Japon’, but I believe it’s probably made for the China market or something. I’m not sure how it works though. Typically, only one of the boxes came with the yellow insert/instruction booklet pictured below.

fabrique au japon, apparently
fabrique au japon, apparently

I got the green and the blue-green,but as mentioned, I’m a dud at taking photos, so I can’t pick up the colours accurately. The blue-green you see in the picture above (in the box) is absolutely inaccurate, the acutal colour is a lot more muted. ¬†This filter below was the closest I could get.

I can't get my camera to depict the colours correctly
I can’t get my camera to depict the colours correctly
Wonder why the labels are in chinese even though it claims Made in Japan
Wonder why the labels are in chinese even though it claims Made in Japan

Even though it looks almost exactly like the Tank, only the nibs and feed are exactly the same (as with all Pilot pens under the S$100 mark, as far as I know). The 78G is just a tad heavier and the plastic feels thicker in the hand.

The 78G also comes with a Con-20 squeeze type converter (again as with the cheaper Pilot pens, again AFAIK), while the Tank has a built-in plastic insulation ring, so that you can fill up the entire body with ink, as its name says, like a tank.

Oh, and the 78G is also a screw-on cap (yay) while the Tank closes with a very satisfactory and slightly resistant click which feels very good.

The exploded 78G (blue-green) next to an exploded Pilot Tank
The exploded 78G (blue-green) next to an exploded Pilot Tank

I’ve done some writing with these pens, but can only scan and upload when I get back to the office on Monday!

In the meantime, I hear from the Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers FB group that 7 November is Fountain Pen Day! Happy Fountain Penning! Oh, Straits Pens is also having a FP Day sale¬†on that day for 4 hours ONLY, so be sure to check it out. It probably means that I won’t have a haul this month (sad ¬†face) because I want to buy another TWSBI! ^_^