Monday, January 31, 2011

Noodler's Blue Ghost

I apologize for the brief hiatus in blog posts, but a combination of school and college baseball have been a bit trying on my already hectic schedule. Hopefully I'll be able to get back on the horse and get more posts up!

Invisible ink. The tool of secret agents. Those of us ink nerds who aren't secret agents, I have a few questions for you. Do you deal with everyday problems such as forgetting account passwords, writing in borrowed books, writing in your own books (it bothers me at least) or glowing in the dark at parties! If so, this is the ink for you!

I promise to get a picture of actual writing with this ink
up soon, but since my photography capabilities are limited,
I should be able to edit it tomorrow!
A few weeks ago, I purchased from a 4.5 oz bottle of Noodler's Blue Ghost. I have been extremely curious about the UV qualities of many of Nathan's inks and as such, I was curious about this ink specifically because it is viewable in ONLY with the aid of a blacklight.  What could I possibly use this ink for?  Being ever the child at heart, writing secret messages to people immediately jumps to mind, even though realistically, I don't have anyone who would go through the trouble to read them.  The idea did spring to mind in a class with teacher who I especially dislike, that I could tell her in my own words on a homework assignment how I truly felt about her teaching and let her have it.  It would truly be a great exercise in stress relief... assuming my teacher never finds out.

One of the most interesting properties of this ink is that it is bulletproof. This ink is very difficult to wash off of your hands, but who's going to be seeing it anyway? On paper, the ink flows as well as expected from the included Platinum Preppy .03 and is as visible as expected under the blacklight.  The ability to write in glowing letters in the dark is really cool, and if I could video the process, I would, but since my only camera is my cell phone, it would be pretty difficult to do.  I suppose the possibilities aren't endless with this ink, but I suppose if you did want to make an ink uniquely yours, you could add this to it. There's no guarantee that the ink would remain bulletproof however, since they're very fragile in the aqueous state.  This ink without a doubt rocks the world of invisible inks.  Also, it isn't a ballpoint pen, so you don't have to worry about the telltale pressure marks left behind.

I can at least pretend to be the next James Bond, but who knows maybe I'll catch Anna Chapman's eye.

Eternally Inked,
The Classicist

Monday, January 17, 2011

Best Fountain Pens for writing the Arabic Language

One of the reasons that I find fountain pens to be useful is because they're the ultimate writing tool.  Not only can they be used for writing, but they can be used for drawing as well. They're the ultimate calligraphy tool, seeing as calligraphy is the art of writing.  Tracing the roots of the word calligraphy, we arrive at the Ancient Greek word καλλιγραφος which is a combination of the Greek words καλος and γραφος.  Καλος means "good" or "nice" and γραφος means "writing" or "letter". Together we get a word that means "nice letter".

I'm not good enough at reading Arabic to know what this
says, but it sure looks REALLY cool!
Now, Arabic is a language that is different from what we are accustomed to in English, because the script for the language is much more common as an art form.  Because of the religious devotion of early followers of Islam, the people in the Middle East were afraid to draw pictures out of fear of creating idols, something that The Prophet Muhammed warned against.  Searching for an outlet for creative endeavors, the Arabic speakers (since Islam and the Arabic tongue are inextricably connected) put all their energy into mathematics, architecture and handwriting.  The Arabic script can be as beautiful as English cursive or more beautiful.  Both have a lot in common in the way that they flow and rise and fall with twists of the pen and more pressure on down strokes.  While ballpoint pens may work alright with the Arabic language, a pencil is preferable over a ballpoint and a fountain pen over a pencil.
Practicing my Arabic alphabet. Each of the
28 letters has 4 different forms that must
be known. That doesn't even count the short
vowel marks.

I've been trying different fountain pens to see which ones work best with the Arabic language.  The Sheaffer Italic that I used was probably the best one overall, but as far as standard pens that I would carry around with me for use in other languages, I would say the Noodler's Nib Creaper Fountain Pen (filled with Noodler's Bad Green Gator) performed the best.  I was also able to apply more pressure with the throw-back nib and make line width variations, placing it at the top of the list for writing Arabic.  My Platinum Preppy .03 was the runner-up. It was filled with Noodler's Polar Blue.

I tend to use legal pads most of the time because of their convenience and price. Don't worry, I'm moving to bagasse paper as soon as I run out!  This pad has narrower lines than most and as such, wet writers or pens with medium nibs aren't as functional.  This isn't to say that the Parker 51 (medium nib/Noodler's Polar Black) that I used or the Pilot Petit1 (wet writer/Noodler's Polar Blue with a drop or two of Polar Black) aren't great for this writing, but they most certainly need more line space than this legal pad allows.  Other pens I used were my Lamy Safari with EF nib (filled with Noodler's Polar Black and my Noodler's Piston Filler (filled with my favorite ink, Noodler's Red-Black).  Both the Lamy Safari and Piston Filler were too scratchy for a comfortable flow that is necessary for the lines prevalent in Arabic. The Sheaffer Italic F was used as a dip pen in Noodler's Russia Series Ахматова.

I'm a student of the language first and foremost, not a calligraphist, but that doesn't mean that I can't have fun with practicing calligraphy in other languages from time to time.  Maybe someday I'll be able to write as well as in the picture above.
مع السلامة

The Classicist

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Noodler's Red-Black

I discovered this ink while perusing the Swab Shop at and I found it to be one of the most interesting colors that I could remember ever seeing. Reviews of the ink weren't really prevalent, so I got it at somewhat of a risk.  I have not been happier with an ink color and it is without a doubt my favorite ink.  It truly is a half and half combination of red and black inks that has some of the best shading that I've ever encountered.  The ink writes fairly wet and tends to behave on cheap paper just like a good ink should.  On Moleskine paper, the ink behaves very well, with no feathering, but average bleed through to the back of the page.

This ink has an incredible amount of depth when using an italic nib.  The colors of this ink look even more incredible on Moleskine paper, since it is ivory colored.2 This ink is extremely comparable to Waterman's Havana. At first glance on paper, the ink looks brown, but upon further inspection proves to have a stunningly deep mix of colors.  It could be compared to Private Reserve's Black Cherry, but that ink has very little shading, despite that it looks much more like a dark red. Noodler's Red-Black is definitely not a dark red, but exactly as its name states, a 50/50 mix of red and black.  This is my favorite ink for writing letters and for note taking as well.  This is not a color that I ever expect to be able to find in any rollerball pen and is so unique that every word I write seems just as unique and deep.

Walking into class on a snowy day, I accidentally dropped a vocabulary sheet on the ground and minutes later found it under my wet shoe. The red ink was running down the page and away from the letters I had written, but the black appeared to stay in place. I believe that the black in this ink is bulletproof and the red is not, as is common in many of the colored Noodler's inks that are bulletproof.

At times, this ink can look like almost like a blood red. Not, that I'm a morbid person, but I think it's one of the coolest colors I have encountered.  Fans of poorly written vampire novels (Twilight Series) rejoice!  Now you too can write vampire love letters in "blood", as vampires did before texting.

Eternally Inked,

The Classicist

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nomadic VS-01 Virgo-Attrezzo Standing Pen Case

The Virgo-Attrezzo reminds me of the Burj Al-Arab in the UAE

As the number of pens in my daily arsenal has increased, I have found myself wanting to prevent the loss of any pens and prevent jostling and subsequent ink leaking.  I also like to have a couple pens inked for certain classes and then in addition, have pens I can loan out, because of those non-fountain-pen users out there who want to borrow pens or pencils.  If I have the time I will teach people how to use a fountain pen, but they're usually uncomfortable trying it. I used to only carry a few pens around with me, but now that I have this case, I don't worry about carrying anywhere from 6-12 with me on the average day.  A pen case does make it easier to carry them around worry-free.  Now I have only to worry about losing the pen case.

Convenient little compartments
I bring this case with me everywhere and keep it tucked away on a pocket on the side of my messenger bag.  This type of bag is particularly useful because it stands on its own and can be peeled back to remain open, displaying the pens at your disposal.  This holds 12 pens, an eraser, 2 lead sleeves, and potentially a bottle of Noodler's Ink (or an undetermined number of pens if you prefer.  I don't usually walk around with a bottle of ink, but if I ever need to, I know that I can carry the bottle I use most around with me.  Today that's Noodler's Bad Green Gator.

Lamy Safari, Noodler's Nib Creaper Rollerball,
Converted Preppy .03 Eyedropper x 2, Parker '51,
Pilot Petit1,  Uni Kuru Toga, Pilot Frixion .4, Pilot AirBlanc
, Hero 285, Noodler's Nib Creaper Fountain pen,
Sheaffer Imperial II Deluxe, Noodler's Bad Green Gator.
Two lead sleeves fit as well as an eraser!
As far as design goes, this case is perfectly made out of extremely durable materials and is stylish, but does not challenge my masculinity.  I address that challenge to masculinity here though.  I specifically ordered this in black because it seemed like it would be the manliest of the bunch.

I've been looking at pen rolls, but they cost way too much money or they aren't practical for me. If the pens you use are mostly fountain pens or tend to be mostly in the upper price spectrum, that would probably be better because the pens are more likely to bump into each other in the Virgo-Attrezzo. For the price, this has been the best value I've encountered, especially considering that it was the cheapest of its kind that I was able to find.  A tip of the cap to Nomadic for a very well made and extremely practical pen case.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Carnival is in Town!

Check out this month's Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper at! There are some really good posts from other bloggers out there! Hopefully I will have a new post up tomorrow too!
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Noodler's Empire Red (UK series)

       The last of the inks I received for Christmas, Noodler's Empire Red, was an ink that first drew my attention because of its label. Noodler's inks usually have fantastic labels, but this one is particularly good.  In some instances you can judge a book by its cover.  I was also drawn to this ink because of its eternal qualities, because I use inks for schoolwork and can't have them coming off a page if it's a bit rainy outside.

They are a nice couple aren't they?

This ink is extremely smooth and writes a little wet on the page.  I'm amazed that this ink writes on Moleskine paper really well, just like Noodler's Axmatoba, which I recently reviewed here. There is no feathering on even cheap papers and the ink behaves very well in the few pens I tried it in.

The ink label that could stop a man in his tracks...

This color is pretty unique as far as reds go. It's paler than an ordinary red and isnt as dark as a standard red. It has pretty much no shading at all and dries after a couple seconds. I was surprised to have found that this pale red ink turned a sickly yellow-white under a blacklight. This led me to believe that this ink is a combination of standard red and Noodler's Whiteness of the Whale. I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to mix this ink with the right ingredients. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other inks in this series, such as Queen Victoria's mint and Socrates, but especially the latter because it seems like it will be a very unique ink with great characteristics.

Edited to add water test picture!

Aha! Finally an ink for comparison. Noodler's Red-Black will be featured soon!
You can somewhat see, how in the center of the blacklight,
 the ink "whites" out. Thar' she blows!
After a 5 minute soak, the ink held up exceptionally well!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sheaffer Imperial II Deluxe

Ah, the majesty of the unfurnished basement.  Upon its shelves can be found treasures beyond your wildest dreams strewn amongst the greatest junk one could ever find.  I haven't even fully searched the entirety of my basement, which means that there may be more vintage fountain pens and other gizmos and doo-dads.

Eye candy...
The next in the series of pens I found is the Sheaffer Imperial II Deluxe.  The pen's barrel is a very nice blue that feels comfortable in the hand, just like so many of the other vintage pens that I have been using.   Perhaps it is due to that "worn-in" feeling, but every pen thus far feels as if it has a unique personality of its own.  I intend to get to know each pen better, but for now, back to the Sheaffer.

This pen is somewhat similar to the Parker 51 in body design
but the nib and filling mechanism are different. The Parker 51
is a classic pen, but this Sheaffer is a pen that is similar and
This pen was found in fantastic condition, needing very little cleaning.  A quick inspection of the parts and then rinsing of the black rubber filler and I was ready to write and practice some language, but I wasn't sure which one, so I tried a couple. I found this pen worked really well for Arabic, because it has a smooth medium point nib.  This nib is absolutely fantastic and is much better than the medium nib that I have for my Lamy Safari.  I used Noodler's Empire Red which is a very smooth ink too. The combination was without a doubt one of the best combinations that I've been able to find for an ink and a pen.

 The Sheaffer Imperial II Deluxe is a pen that is made predominantly of plastic and as such weighs very little, and is a bit lighter than you would guess just by looking at it. A distinguishing feature of this pen is the smaller clip on the cap, which does make it a little less useful in a pocket, but still keeps it from rolling around.  The filling mechanism was new for me, but I absolutely loved it.  It's called the "Touch-Down Method" in which you pull the end of the pen out and then push it back down.  The trick to getting this to work is to leave the pen in the ink bottle for a few seconds after the lever is fully depressed because that is when the ink is being drawn into the pen.

                                                              Long live the vintage pen!

Bad Green Gator feathers a lot on Moleskine Paper and with a wet pen, but this pen is still fantastic.