Tallahassee is a smallish town. We only have one real mall and even the Macy’s and Dillard’s at that mall have pretty generic merchandise. Generally, I don’t have real high hopes for cool stuff here. Imagine my surprise when I happened upon the Utrecht store in town. I had seen it a couple of times before and decided to stop in and see what it had to offer.
There was no fountain pen ink but they did have dip pen sets and calligraphy (India) ink. They also had a wide variety of Rhodia and Paperchase products. *Full disclosure* I don’t like Paperchase products. I’ve been told that they are fountain pen friendly but they are just too ornate and fiddly for me. Rhodia on the other hand are sheer perfection. I am pretty much exclusively into the orange. I occasionally buy a black Rhodia product but always regret it and end up wishing that I had purchased the orange. The paper is gorgeous and sets off my fountain pen inks beautifully. Even though I’m left handed and often smudge inks that dry slower on Rhodia paper, I still love the Rhodia brand. I generally buy my Rhodia pads from Brian Goulet at Goulet Pens but thought that I could avoid shipping charges by buying from this store. Alas, that is not to be.
How to put this? The staff at this store is straight up crazy. The first time I entered, they were threatening some random student who was upset that the store wouldn’t take her credit card since their credit card machine wasn’t working. They told her to come back in two weeks. Two Weeks!!! So I went in today, hoping that they had this fixed and walked past a girl about to make a delivery. She shouted as she left, “I can call him Sam or Douche! Which do you prefer?” on her way out. The other lady was trying to get her to call him Mr. Something or Other but clearly that wasn’t working. I almost left right there but was willing to do some extra work to get my Rhodia. So I bought a 4 x 6 case and a smaller (don’t remember the size case) and refills. On my way out I noticed that the refills I’d bought for the 4 x 6 case were in fact 5 x 5. So I tried to return them. Tried being the operative word. I was asked for the pin on my debit card several times. All along I asked if I was being double or triple billed. Finally, I was given my refund in cash but I have no security that I haven’t been re-billed for these items. I left. When I spoke to my mom just after leaving she asked that I never go back… and check my card for the next few days.
I bought a used Vanishing Point off of FPN (Fountain Pen Network) and had it customized with a .9 Binder Cursive Italic. Later, it went missing and I mourned it. So, I bought a .7 Binder cursive nib and Slate Grey pen body to replace the missing pen which may still turn up somewhere. I inked that pen with Pelikan Edelstein Jade. I’m thinking now that I like this Jade but not the .7 cursive italic nib. To me, it seems like the .7 misses the point of contrast in strokes entirely. Maybe I would have been happy had I bought the .7 first but I didn’t. I bought a .9 first and LURVED IT!! The .7 is just not doing it for me and I’ve had it here just a few hours. The Binderized VP nibs are $91 which may not be much for some but I’m a college librarian with two kids. It’s tons for me. So I’m gonna have to live with this one.
I do like the slate grey body. Seems to be one of those colors that won’t attract attention in a meeting. That is exactly what I was hoping for, I have a decimo in champagne pink which is also a subtle color in a meeting. A few people at work know I’m into fountain pens. One, even takes my leftover samples from the Inkdrop to use in his fountain pens. He found out I was into fountain pens and resurrected his old fountain pens. I now have a fellow convert in the Tallahassee area.
I haven’t had this pen very long. It just came in from Japan but I like this pen very much so far. Or should I say, I like this nib. The entire pen is still out for discussion. I got this pen from Engeika on Ebay. I like Fine and Extra Fine nibs and this nib is exceptional. It is both thin and smooth which is pretty much what I’m looking for. I think that for a budget pen this is a great nib. It skips much less than my extra fine Safari’s. Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of pens and I’ve had this pen for (literally) hours.
In terms of looks, the pen was described on Ebay as a demonstrator. It is not a demonstrator. The only clear portion is the cap. I have filled it with Iroshizuku Tsutsuji which came with the pen. The ink is the same color as the pen which is a fun little twist.
I don’t have a lot of cheap paper so I can’t tell you a lot about how it performs on terrible paper. I can say that it seems very, very thin on a Moleskine. I’m not a fan of this paper/pen/ink combo. On my Paperchase journal, the experience is much more pleasant. I am a lefty and had no problems whatsoever with the ink not being dry. However, this is a very fine nib and fountain pen friendly paper. I’m not sure the exact size of the nib since the auction didn’t specify and I don’t read Japanese however, it is finer than any of my other Extra Fines. It is my first Japanese pen so it could be a Japanese Fine. Dunno.
I’m a fountain pen newbie so I don’t know what this filling system is called but I really like it. You squeeze a section on the cartridge and it fills. Easy Peasy!
The one drawback that I have noticed so far is that the pen is very short and oddly balanced unposted. Posted, it is still an oddly balanced pen. I don’t know how I would like it for long writing sessions. For writing in a journal or writing notes, it is perfectly acceptable.