Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why the Noodler's Ahab is One of My Favorite Pens

by Tony Thomas

I love Noodler's Ahabs. 

At around $23 or so, they are affordable and the epitome of frugality.  They are also very comfortable in my hand (and I have large hands).   Ahabs are sturdy, hold an ample amount of ink, and they can be easily converted to an eyedropper if you need a truly massive amount of ink.  They have a unique piston cartridge converter and can also use the recently released 2.7 mg re-loadable cartridges.  Also, I find the design very attractive and they come in a wide range of colors as well as a clear, demonstrator version.

Like many other pens from India, they are made of vegetal resin and have a funny smell.  The smell dissipates with time and I have found that it grows on you.  And if you throw an Ahab into a landfill, the pen body will reportedly biodegrade, making it environmentally friendly.

Besides its perfect size, one of my biggest attractions to the Ahab is its easily modified ebonite feed and its ability to use standard #6 nibs.  As I have a growing collection of these sized nibs, it makes it easy to change nibs "on the fly".

Currently, the two Ahabs shown are fitted with Nemosine fine and extra fine nibs.  I also like to use stock italic nibs as well custom-ground stubs.  Every once and awhile, I will also load up the stock Noodler's flex nibs to have some fun.  I heartily recommend the Ahab!

Buy the Noodler's Ahab demonstrator here: http://amzn.to/2kTkOrt

Full Discosure: This is an affiliate link.  You will help support The Frugal Fountain Pen and it won't cost you a penny more.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Letter and a Pen

by Tony Thomas

 One of my favorite You Tube personalities is Amy Schmittauer (@Schmittastic on Twitter). Her channel, "Savvy, Sexy, Social", offers plenty of valuable information on social media marketing.  I watch her channel regularly as she is a thought leader in the field.

Back in April of last year, I wrote her a short note with one of my fountain pens for which she thanked me on Twitter.

When I heard she was writing a book, I decided to send her another handwritten note and a Platinum Preppy fountain pen and refills.  

From watching her videos, I learned that she likes to write everything down rather than just putting it into a computer.   That made her the perfect candidate for a little bit of "fountain pen evangelism". 

To my surprise, she unpacked the pen and read my note on one of her You Tube videos leading up to the book launch.  You can watch it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBXXtsJsUwk

Amy's book, "Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill it Online With Video Blogging" drops January 31st (my birthday) on Amazon and you can get yours here.

Enjoy your pen, Amy!  And in the words of my buddy, Brian Goulet, write on!

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Pocket Notebook Book Review

by Tony Thomas

Ray Blake is well known as champion of personal organizers, notebooks and journaling.  His You Tube video on making your own travelers notebook has received over a quarter of a million views.

When I saw that he wrote a new book on pocket notebooks, I was intrigued. I bought it in Kindle format and began to read.  While it is a short book, it covers a lot of ground.  

He begins by discussing how to buy and set up your notebook.  I would have liked to see some reviews of different notebooks rather than generic descriptions, but I still found his information helpful.  He continues by providing different applications for pocket notebooks. This is the real "meat" of the book and the reason you should buy it.

This is a great book for fountain pen users looking for more ways to use their pens.  Users of rollerballs, gel pens, pencils, etc. will also resonate with its contents.  If you have a pocket notebook or plan to get one, I think this book is essential.  It is fairly priced and it is a book you will turn to often.  Highly recommended!

Buy the book on Amazon

If you use the affiliate link above, you will help support this blog and you won't pay a penny more.

Ray Blake's Web Site

Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Beaker Pen Cup

by Tony Thomas

I decided that I wanted to put some of my frequently used fountain pens in a cup on my desk for quick access.  But what kind of cup did I want to use?  A coffee cup?  A Ball jar?  Something else?

After thinking about it a bit, I decided it would be cool to put them in a lab beaker made of borosilicate (thermal shock resistant) glass.  After checking the measurements, I settled on a 250 ml beaker and placed an order on eBay.  The price was a bit more than $7 with shipping.

I think it has a high-tech look and the beaker is perfect for that purpose.  Where do you keep your frequently used pens?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Favorite Pen Dealers

by Tony Thomas

As many of us look for places to shop for gifts this holiday season, I thought I would take a few minutes and share some of my favorite pen dealers:

The Goulet Pen Company: I have followed Brian and Rachel since they were selling fountain pens, paper, and ink out of their house. In recent years, Goulet has grown become the one of the premier fountain pen dealers in the United States, with a strong emphasis on customer service and education. They have a You Tube channel with an exhaustive library of videos on fountain pens, ink, paper, accessories and tips. Goulet also has one of the broadest ranges of products of any fountain pen dealer.  Their website is top notch with plenty of custom tools to help you find the best pens, paper and ink for your needs.  In addition, they offer great service with a personal touch. 
I only wish they offered free shipping options and faster fulfillment when they are backed up with orders.  https://www.gouletpens.com

Jet Pens: Jet Pens is another great dealer that offers all kinds of writing instruments (fountain pens, ball points, roller balls, dip pens, pencils, etc.) as well as paper, ink and more. Most of their products come from Japan, and I have a great affection for Japanese products. I love the fact that they offer free shipping for all orders over $25. I also really like their online product guides and have found them to be helpful. Jet Pens offers prompt shipping and most of my orders ship the same day or the next. http://www.jetpens.com/

iPen Store: I have probably done business with iPen Store longer than any other dealer. They sell a wide variety of writing instruments, including ballpoints, rollerballs and mechanical pencils. Aside from the brand names, they also sell their own line of quality pens under the "Rosetta" brand name. IPS has an ebay store under the name "Streetfair" and I believe that is where I bought my first Lamy Safari many years ago. As they are in the next state (MI) and they ship First Class USPS, I have found them to be a quick and reliable source. http://www.ipenstore.com/

Pen Chalet: Pen Chalet has also become one of my go to dealers for fountain pens, although they also sell rollerballs, ball points and mechanical pencils. Their web site is easy to navigate, their prices are very competitive and they offer fast and friendly service.  https://www.penchalet.com/

Anderson's Pens: I have only placed one or two orders with Anderson's, but Brian and Lisa are well known and respected in the fountain pen community. They have a brick and mortar store in Appleton, WI with a wide range of products and I have found their customer service and shipping speed to be exceptional. They also have a lot of knowledge about vintage pens, especially Esterbrook. http://www.andersonpens.com/

I hope you will check out these dealers and give them a try.

Shameless Plug: My bestselling e-book: "The Fountain Pen Book" is on sale for only $1.99 for CyberMonday! http://amzn.to/2gwOR6G 

Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

TWSBI Eco Review

by Tony Thomas

I know I am late to the party, but I finally bought a TWSBI Eco fountain pen, made in Taiwan. Due to its amazing popularity, the Eco has been a difficult pen for me to score. Every time I was ready to pull the trigger, it was on backorder. Now I see why.

To their credit, TWSBI is company that puts a lot of thought into the design of their pens. They are always experimenting with new and innovative designs, building prototypes and getting feedback from the fountain pen community. You can always see what they are working on by checking out their Facebook page. A pen like the Eco is the result.

"Eco" is short for "economical", and at less than $30, this pen is pretty amazing. Aside from some cheap fountain pens from India, this is the least expensive piston filler you can buy. The main advantages of piston filler pens are their large ink capacity and ease of use and cleaning.

In the case of the Eco, it is easy to disassemble and clean using the handy plastic wrench provided with the pen. (The only caveat is that you need to be careful not to completely disassemble the piston assembly when you remove it because it can be a bear to reassemble correctly.)

Speaking of plastic, TWSBI reduced the price of this pen by reducing the number of metal parts of the pen to just three: the nib, the clip and the metal band at the base of the clip. The rest of the pen is made of plastic, although I do not think that this fact diminishes its quality in any way.

I find the pen to be very attractive. The Eco I selected has a black hexagonal cap, red finial with TWSBI logo at the top of the cap, silver-colored clip and matching ring at the base of the cap, transparent body for monitoring the ink level, and black filling knob at the base of the pen. It sports a 1.1 mm italic nib that writes a bit thinner than other identically-sized italic nibs in my collection.

I found the nib to be very smooth and well adjusted right out of the box. This is unusual, as I find that many stub nibs need a bit of work on a micro mesh pad to write as smoothly as I would like.

Bottom line: I think the Eco is one of the best low-cost fountain pens that you can buy. This pen will be in my EDC arsenal for the foreseeable future.

For more information:



Thursday, September 29, 2016

Platinum Preppy 2mm Extra-Fine Fountain Pen

by Tony Thomas

While I have reviewed the standard Platinum Preppy previously, I wanted to check out and review the extra-fine 2 mm version as well. To my knowledge, this is least expensive Japanese extra-fine pen that you can buy.

As with the standard Platinum Preppy, this pen is easy to hold and very comfortable. Because it is molded from light plastic, it is certainly more fragile than more expensive fountain pens. It comes in black and blue-black and can be used with standard Platinum ink cartridges or a Platinum converter (that costs more than the pen.) I found the nib to be very smooth and a pleasure to write with.

If can be found for as little as $4, and it really is a bargain for those who are like to write very small or very fine text.