Robert Oster Signature – Ruthenium ink

Thanks to Roy from iZods Ink I was happy to review another Robert Oster’s ink called – Ruthenium. This is quite interesting colour, which is not that grey as you may assume keeping in mind that Ruthenium is a dark-silver metal (at certain conditions it has purplish hint).  The colour itself is rather matte purple grey, which to so me extend is resembling Robert Oster Signature – Barossa Grape ink. Therefore, Ruthenium seems to be slightly less purple and not that intense as Barossa Grape.  Interestingly in Ruthenium , purple tone is  much more pronounced  using wet nibs, whereas with finer nibs (or lighter strokes) ink looks greyish. There is a little bit of blue component. Similar inks are Herbin – Poussiere de Lune and Diamine -Damson.

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Legacy first! – Silvine Originals – a red notebook series

Silvine is a  British brand whose paper products are made in Yorkshire by well established (1837) manufacturer  – Sinclairs. The products line contains various types of notebooks, sketchpads, refill pads, writing paper, envelopes, cash books, etc. Silvine’s red notebooks line called Originals Collection  refers directly to the reinvented iconic British notebooks which had characteristic textured  red covers and were used and loved for decades by schoolchildren, artists, writers, craftsman and  shopkeepers in the UK since 1948.

Silvine Originals Collection contains five different size notebooks. This diverse collection is designed to tailor specifically different task and needs. It starts with handy Pocket notebook which can be easily kept in the shirt pocket and then increasing size gradually ending up at large Project netbook. All of them have common features, but each of them also differ from each other. I’ve already reviewed in depth ‘Pocket’ notebook (click here), so this following review is an extension to the previous one.   

Let’s start!

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Manuscript ML 1856 – Molten Lava – pen review

First time when I heard that Manuscript is working on  ‘luxury’ british-made fountain pens I was very intrigued, since I was always affiliating this company with relatively inexpensive calligraphy sets and other stationary related items you could buy here and there. Then, my curiosity raised up when I have seen first commercial pictures of the material and colours Manuscript is planning to use for these eye-candy creations. I must say – it looks very pretty.

ML 1856  is not officially released yet (May/June 2017). The retail price for fountain pen is planned to be around £ 125.0, which is not cheap but at the same time comparable with some competitor’s fountain pens in the market. There is already many discussions about this pen among fountain pen users and many of us is awaiting official release. Thanks to Manuscript I was lucky enough to put my hands on one of them before official release, test it hard and gather some ‘end user‘ thoughts.

Manuscript ML 1856 combines classic look and modern, contemporary material. ML1856 is designed for modern day-to-day penmanship. 

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‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 5. ‘…If You Only Knew The Power Of The Dark Star’

Continuing my little journey with pocket notebooks I kindly received for testing from Pocket Notebooks (UK) I got hands finally on Dark Star notebook made by UK based company (in Wales) who creates hand made notebooks.

Dark Star offers few different designs. Pocket notebook I received is called Nomad. They are available as set of three and cost in the UK  £ 8.0.


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‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 4. ‘Back to basics’

Clairefontaine notebooks pads and exercise books own reputation of  having one of the best paper around for writing and their products are well acclaimed in the world of fountain pen enthusiasts.

To celebrate the history of the brand, Clairefontaine has reinvented recently original notebook covers they made with a modern touch.  The 1951 Retro Nova series combines legacy of the original covers and beautifully smooth paper Clairefontaine is famous for, which resulted in a high quality moder-retro looking notebooks.

Clairefontaine 1951 Reto Nova pocket notebooks are available in six different colours and three vintage patterns:  ‘parallèles’, ‘nouvelle vague’ and ‘arlequin”. Notebook I kindly obtained for review from Pocket Notebooks (UK) is purple ‘nouvelle vague’.


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‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 3. ‘Retro-story’ to tell

Story Supply Co. is a small stationary company based in York, Pennsylvania who creates an interesting  packet staple notebooks, sketchbooks, pencils  and other stationary related items . Basically ‘analog tools for storytellers‘ to allow capture great ideas, designs and of course stories. I like that approach.

Importantly Story Supply Co. has also an interesting ‘story’ to tell. They partner up with several organisations who support free tutoring and provide high quality programs to students in the neighbourhoods where support is really needed.  So, whenever you purchase notebooks from them, they will send a ‘Story Supply Kit‘ to a kid which might have an interesting story to tell. What a great idea! More about Story Supply Kit program you will find on their website here. Cool stuff.

OK, let’s talk about notebooks created by Story Supply Co.

The one I was kindly supplied for this review by Pocket Notebooks (UK)  is available as a set of 3 on sell under pretty good price (£ 11.0 UK or  $ 10.0 in the US directly from the manufacturer).


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‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 2 – A British Icon

Among the other ‘stationary goodies’ I kindly received from Stuart at Pocket Notebooks (UK), there was a one ‘petite’ pocket notebook, which looked slightly understated and initially it did not bring much of my attention. Although,  over time I have learned my lesson – Do not underestimate small notebook…ever !

The notebook I misjudged is made by Silvine, an ‘iconic’ British company who makes wide range of stationary products including notebooks, sketchpads, refill pads, writing paper, envelopes, cash books and may many more. Their paper products are made in Yorshire by well established (1837) manufacturer  – Sinclairs.

What I learned (not being British) is that Silvine’s red notebooks refer directly to the legacy of the bold red books used and loved by schoolchildren, artists, writers and carpenters, shopkeepers since 1948. Recently, Silvine has reinvented these iconic British notebooks and and lunched them as a new line of products called ‘Silvine Originals Collection‘.

Notebooks from this line have quite simple and classic design. Simple cut, no rounding, nothing super fancy. Again, very simple, but elegant.  One I received from Pocket Notebooks belongs to the smallest Silvine line of notebooks called – ‘Pocket’.

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KWZ meta (mega) review


As a part of collective bunch of reviewers under UnitedInkdom umbrella, I have just finished quite extensive (and hopefully comprehensive) metareview of the KWZ inks. This meta-review summarises number of independent reviews of KWZ Inks made by my ‘partners in crime’.

We have tested number of KWZ inks in total and we looked at them from different perspectives.  We shown all positive and negative aspects of these interesting and quite unique inks. Interestingly our opinions were sometimes divided and even contradictory, which is not necessarily bad thing, because it shows how different opinions on the same product may be, depending on person and approach taken. 

I hope you will enjoy reading it.

KWZ inks meta-review





‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 1. Grizzly Bears!

The first two notebooks kindly sent by Stuart from Pocket Notebooks (UK) I would like to discussed today are exclusively made for Pocket Nonebooks by Curnow Bookbinding & Leatherwork small US based company  (Dixon California) who does handcrafted leather goods and journals. I know from social media for a while now, but I never had an opportunity to try notebooks made by them. Amount of custom materials and designs they do is pretty impressive. They look and feel handcrafted which I really appreciate, especially if these notebooks can be used as an inserts for traveller’s journals, which I am a big fan.

To some extent, two ‘California‘ notebooks I received are very similar to each other but at the same time are also very very different. Stay True, Staome as blank, lined, grid, or dot-gridy Wild edition are filled with creamy TomoeRiver  thin paper (80 pages), whereas California Medallion cover if filled with thicker 28lb (105gsm) HP paper (48 pages). Notebooks I received came blank, but these with HP paper Pocket Notebooks have in blank, lined, grid, or dot-grid.

Let’s brake them down and see how they performed. However, please bear in mind that all my comments about performance are is limited to fountain pens and fountain pen inks only and I am pretty sure overall performance and writing experience will vary depending on what writing tool you use.

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‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Prolog

Just before Easter, I received a small cool looking box full of goodies, kindly sent by Stewart from Pocket Notebooks which is a small British company who makes a great deal about portable good quality notebooks. The mission they have to bring back the power of hand written notes is very important and very close to my heart. The Pocket Notebooks slogan is:  Forget the App, there’s a Pocket Notebook for that … and I can’t agree more. This is actually why I am here dealing with inks and pens. This is why I returned to use fountain pens, which quickly became my passion three, or four years ago. I was using my tablet, phone and notebook as much, that one day I have realised  that I am missing something very important to me which I used to like a lot – a handwriting.

For heavy testing  purposes (which I did ! )  Stewart sent me a bunch of different notebooks he has in his store, made by different people and companies. Some of them are ‘big’ and ‘very small’ and here ‘small’ not necessarily means bad. Some of these notebooks are really good but also some are not that cool as they meant to be. But that is life, and I really appreciate the fact that I can compare them together side by side.

So, what I got? Well, I got seven notebooks total and I think they cover quite nicely a wide spectrum of different paper types, built and quality, which for me and as end user is one of the most important things. I got three Fieldnote size notebooks: ClaireFontaine Retro Nova, Story Supply  Co and Inky Fingers, then I got two completely different ones from Curnow Bookbinding & Leatherwork which have interesting size in between Fielnote and Midori passport. The last one is a fairly small but handy pocket notebook from Silvine. I will split this post into parts (likely 4) where I present some tests I did and what I honestly think about them.

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