Tactile Turn

My Fountain Pen Day Line-Up

The fist Friday of November marks International Fountain Pen Day. This year to celebrate I have decided to share the fountain pens I am using and the paper products I use with them.

Lamy LX, Tacticle Turn Gist, Kaweco AL Sport, Kaweco Skyline Sport and the Pilot Kakuno

Lamy LX, Tacticle Turn Gist, Kaweco AL Sport, Kaweco Skyline Sport and the Pilot Kakuno

Fountain pen and ink combinations

Lamy LX in Rose Gold with a medium nib and KWZ Brown Pink - this is a new fountain pen and ink combination both bought at the London Pen Show. The rose gold colour of this pen is gorgeous and works so well with the KWZ Brown Pink ink, it's a natural pairing. Over the past few months I have been enjoying broader nib widths and the medium nib on the Lamy LX is perfect. This was I get to really see and enjoy the inks I am using.

Tactile Turn Gist with a fine nib and Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai - this combination is left over from my 1 week 1 pen mini series. It’s my sensible combination that I can use is almost all scenarios.

Kaweco AL Sport with a fine nib and J. Herbins Bleu Nuit - I really love my AL Sport. The grey colour is so nice in person and the Bleu Nuit seems to be the perfect ink colour for this pen. It’s a very wintery fountain pen and ink partnership.

Kaweco Skyline sport with an extra fine nib and Diamine Ancient Copper - I love the mint colour of this fountain pen, it’s possibly one of my favourites. I have this loaded with a Diamine Ancient Copper cartridge, an ink colour I have been keen to try for some time. The thing is I am not sure that this pairing works very well, therefore I don’t see this partnership lasting long.

Pilot Kaukuno with a medium nib and Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-ro - I love my Kakuno. As it’s a simple, entry level fountain pen I don’t feel too precious about it and its one that comes on the move with me. I opted for Iroshizuku Syo-ro as it’s a nice deep green for the autumnal season.

The notebooks I am using

The notebooks I am using

My current paper choices

The Soukime plain A5 slim notebook is used for blog post planning and outlining of ideas. I have this with plain paper in the dark green cover.

I have a Midori Kraft notebook that I use as a photo journal. This is crammed with photos of my son documenting the small developments he is making and the things we are doing together. This isn’t a journal I use everyday and is somewhere I can experiment with different journaling techniques.

My Rhodia staple bound ruled notebook is being used for notes for my Open University course. I am using this in my Start Bay Navigator.

I have a Clairefontaine ruled notebook for morning pages, or my version of it. This is also in my Navigator.

I am using a Field Notes Lunacy edition notebook to capture notes on the move and for some journaling on the go.

I have the English version of the Hobonichi Techo which I am currently using as a sort of bullet journaling and planning notebook.

My Midori 019 free weekly refill is being used as a small memory keeper recording snippets of my day.

Fountain pen day 2016

I have found that my fountain pen usage has swayed towards Western brands and that I have begun to enjoy a range of different nib sizes. A year ago all of my fountain pen choices would have been extra-fine or fine nibs, but this isn’t the case any more. I have tried to align my current ink colours to the time of year enjoying Autumnal tones. As usual I am using a lot of different notebooks at one time, (I plan on streamlining this a lot next year). Due to my love of fountain pens I have found and acquired a range of notebooks that have the right types of paper for fountain pens.

This year I won't be celebrating Fountain Pen day by adding to my foutain pens as I am happy with my purchases from the London Pen Show. Instead I will be enjoying some time writing and appreciating those fountain pens I own.

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil: Week 7 Review and Final Thoughts

This week was my final one in the 1 week, 1 pen/pencil mini series. For the complete duration of this week I have been on holiday and unfortunately I have not managed to write the usual amount and so I don’t feel like I have given this weeks fountain pen and ink combination as much attention as I have done with previous weeks. To top this off it has also meant I have chosen to cheat this week. Alongside my designated fountain pen and ink I have been using a Blackwing Pearl and the Uni Pin drawing pen to sketch. This was a conscious decision as it’s not often I am in this scenic part of the world and I didn’t want this mini series to get in the way of my desire to paint. Now with these small asides explained, on with my thoughts for this week.

My feelings on the Tactile Turn Gist

The time I have managed to get with the Tactile Turn Gist fountain pen has been enjoyable. After a full weeks use I have found the brass grip section and finial the nicest parts of this pen. These brass accents make the weight pretty damn good balancing out the lightweight body to give you a comfortable writing experience. Too much brass could be overwhelming and heavy, but the Gist has struck the right balance.

The tarnishing on my brass grip section

The tarnishing on my brass grip section

The brass grip section has also started to tarnish nicely. This is one of the benefits of a brass pen and having this on the grip means guaranteed tarnishing, as long as you use it. My Gist is coming along nicely now. I’ve also thought that this pen could be considered a little understated. From an initial view and from the outside you have a plain looking black pen with a small brass finial, but then remove the cap and you get a real pop. It’s an understated look with the cool shiny parts hidden under the cap.

The one thing that bugs me with this fountain pen is the proportion of nib to pen. The Bock nib looks huge. I did point this out in my full review of this fountain pen initially but it doesn’t feel like I can shake this annoyance. Every time I use this pen it catches my eye and feels too overpowering in comparison to the fountain pens size overall.

Onto the ink…

I still love the Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. The colour is gorgeous and paired with a fine Bock nib it works really well. You get to see a nice line width on the page and can appreciate some of the inks shading. The ink flow is brilliant and it just writes so well. I have on the whole been using a good range of paper this week, tomoe river paper and Midori refills and as such haven’t had any issues of feathering or bleed through.

It feels a bit conformist loving a blue-black ink so much when there are so many different colours out there and I have no restrictions on what colours of ink I can use. However, the Iroshizuku Shin-Kai is just utterly lovely. The tone of this ink is just right. Its not too blue, or too black, it really does remind me of a deep sea blue. I also adore the Iroshizuku line of inks and I have several of their colours that I really like using for all the same reasons, good flow, wet inks and lovely colours. However with all my other inks colours I have situations or times of year when I think they work the best, with Shin-Kai it just works all the time. I can’t get enough of it.

Overall thoughts

I think I may keep this fountain pen and ink combination for a while as I have enjoyed the pairing. My initial thoughts on the Gist may have been a little harsh. I have found over the course of this week that I have warmed to this fountain pen a lot. It’s a great size and is a fountain pen I can use without worrying about damage too much. The Shin-Kai ink is still a real favourite of mine. I had gone for a period of not using it, and now I am not quite sure why. It’s safe to say that this will probably be an ink I use all the time moving forward and could be the first full bottle of ink that I actually finish.

Mini series final thoughts

All the mini series writing tools

All the mini series writing tools

I have really enjoyed planning and writing about this mini series. It has only involved a small collection of writing instruments that I use regularly but dedicating time to using them has reminded me what I do and don’t like about each one.

From this exercise I have learnt that I definitely couldn’t commit myself to one writing instrument. In itself this is a silly statement as I don’t think I will ever have to choose just one, but despite that this mini series has taught me a number of things.

Firstly I really do love using fountain pens. For longer form writing nothing beats the glide of a fountain pen nib on nice paper and watching ink settle on the page. It’s extremely satisfying. I get excited about fountain pens and enjoy using them. It’s the first choice for me and I have found my paper choices changing over time to allow me to use fountain pens more often.

I haven’t committed enough time to gel pens during this exercise but I have found that they work really well on the move and for general note taking purposes. I think this is the best option for that sort of task. They are fun to use and write smoothly and I feel like I should use them a lot more than I currently do. I haven’t found the right pen body to use with my gel refills. The Karas Kustoms Retrakt just didn’t fit the bill. I need something a lot lighter.

Finally I learnt some things about my pencil use. Pencils have always been a bit of an anomaly for me. I like using them and I now think I have liked the idea of the simplicity of a pencil probably more than using them. The weeks I found the most difficult during this experiment were the pencil weeks. I found I was getting bored and wanting to see a bit of colour on the page. I had to choose a Blackwing for this experiment as they are such an iconic pencil and a real presence in the pencil market. Overall I do enjoy these pencils but what I have found is that it cannot beat the Staedtler Mars Lumograph for me. This is a wonderful pencil that I really enjoyed using. I actually think I could put a stake in the ground and say this is my favourite pencil. Pencils definitely have their place for me but they are never a writing tool that I could use all the time on their own. The are the understudy in my writing arsenal.

What next?

I think this mini series has been useful and perhaps should be replicated semi regularly. I have found several benefits with using writing tools in this way rather than flitting from one thing to another. It reminds you what you like about a specific pen or pencil. Sometimes its nice to use one of the many pens or pencils I have for a full week and just enjoy it not worrying about what pen to use next. Most of the time I buy these things because I enjoy them and this exercise has reminded me of that simple fact. Therefore I am not annoyed at the times when I had to use a different pen for a specific task. Overall I think I completed this series pretty well.

If you have missed previous weeks in this mini series and would like to catch up, simply click here to check them out.

Tactile Turn Gist - Initial Impressions

The Tactile Turn Gist was a Kickstarter project that I backed last year. I received my finished fountain pen around three weeks ago, much longer than the proposed Jan 2016 ship date, and to be honest I had kind of forgotten all about it so it was a pleasant surprise when it arrived. I have spent a few weeks using this fountain pen and wanted to share my initial thoughts and impressions with you.

I decided to back the Gist as I had heard good things about Tactile Turn and the design of the Gist reminded me of the Lamy 2000 in style and shape. I don't own a Lamy 2000 and it has always been a fountain pen that has interested me. The Gist represented a low cost alternative and a chance to try out this style of fountain pen.

My Gist with the brass finishes

My Gist with the brass finishes

My Gist

There were lots of different barrel and finish options available during the Kickstarter project and half the battle was figuring out which one I wanted. In the end I went for the polycarbonate barrel with the brass finish. The barrel is super light, like crazy lightweight. The brass finial and grip section give this pen additional weight which it really needs. I'm really happy with my brass choice, it gives the pen a nice pop when you remove the cap and I am already seeing some tarnishing on the grip section.

One small concern I do have is around the longer term durability of the barrel. Being lightweight I could easily drop this pen accidentally or it could get knocked and I am not sure how much of a workhorse this pen is. I know polycarbonate is considered to be a strong and durable material and therefore these concerns may be unnecessary, but I am intrigued about how it holds up over time and with more use.

The rings on the grip section can be seen clearly here

The rings on the grip section can be seen clearly here

The grip section is made up of lots of small rings that give the impression that they could dig into your fingers when writing with the pen and become uncomfortable to hold. That however is not the case, they actually seem to help your grip and stops your fingers from slipping towards the nib. I presume this was a considered design aspect rather than a happy accident.

Handwritten review with the Gist on the Nock Co A5 notebook

Handwritten review with the Gist on the Nock Co A5 notebook

The Gist comes with a Bock nib. This is my first experience with a Bock nib and I have found mine writes really well. It lays ink down on the page smoothly with good ink flow straight out of the box. The one odd thing about this nib and pen partnership relates to its size. The nib looks like an oversized monster on the end of the fairly small barrelled Gist. I have almost been a little surprised each time I have used the Gist at how large the nib is. It takes a little getting used to.

Gist size comparison against the Lamy Safari, Karas Kustoms Ink and the Kaweco Skyline Sport

Gist size comparison against the Lamy Safari, Karas Kustoms Ink and the Kaweco Skyline Sport

Continuing on the theme of size, overall I have found that the Gist is verging on the small side. It's just ok but a small amount of additional length would have improved this fountain pen a lot. Uncapped and when writing the Gist is just long enough in my hand to make it comfortable to write with. It just fits into that sweet spot on your hand. When trying to write with the pen capped it messes with the weight distribution too much and ruins the writing experience a bit. Generally with my fountain pens I don’t cap them when writing anyway, so this odd feeling I get is not solely about the Gist.

All the Gist parts

All the Gist parts

Lastly the pen cap is practically as long as the body. It's huge. Again in some ways I feel this is odd in relation to the proportions of the pen, but I don’t think it hurts visually. The clip is extremely sturdy but I am not sure I could actually move it even if I wanted to, its set in place very securely. I'd break a nail trying to pry that thing away from the pen cap.

Overall impressions

The Gist is a good fountain pen for the price and writes really well. Overall I have enjoyed using it and pairing this with a lovely ink colour means I have enjoyed using it all the more. There are some things that I wish were a little different but for the price I can’t complain. I think this will be the only Gist I own, I am not tempted by other barrel and finish options unless over time some tweaks were made to the design.

A shot of the brass finial 

A shot of the brass finial