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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!

Today is the day that I finally "officially" merged my two blogs back together. From here on, you'll start seeing repair posts and updates on this blog again!

It'll take me a week or two to finally archive all the old posts here, but eventually I'll get them moved.

Of course - Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you'll all have a wonderful day filled with family, friends, and lots of love!

I'll get back with some update as soon as I've got some time again. Should be real soon - I just need to decide on a special post to start things of again. :)

Tyler Dahl

Monday, December 19, 2011

Been out of the loop for a few days now...

I've been totally busy the last few days, and haven't had more than a few minutes total to be on the computer. I do apologize for not updating the blog, and to anyone who is awaiting an email response from me. I will make my best attempt to get to all your emails today.

Blogging will be a little less scheduled for the next week or two, being the holiday season. I don't want to get to busy with this, and miss other important things (not the the blog is unimportant).

I'm going to make a few changes to some things around here. First one is this:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday sale!

The holiday season approaching so quickly, I thought it'd be appropriate to have a nice holiday sale for my monthly tray of restored pens!

Every remaining pen is 10% off till the 25th of December! Grab em' while they're cheap! :)

There aren't a whole lot left, so I recommend you go take a peek now, and see if there's anything that interests you. I'd like to move these out by the end of the month, because I want to clear my workshop space up a bit.

I'm planning on doing a little new years sale too, but the pens will be different than this month. :)

Have a good one folks!

Tyler Dahl

Monday, December 12, 2011

A nib that makes my handwriting look better...

Well, I've finally come to a realization this last month. It's something I didn't really want to accept, but now that I have, I'm actually really enjoying it.

The first few FP's I owned all had medium, or smaller nibs. Mostly F and XF.

Then a few months ago I started buying up large nibs - B, BB, stubs, italics, etc. I loved them. They're so smooth!

But I had one problem - my writing just looks horrible with a large nib. I tried to write bigger, but that just didn't cut it for me.

So, what to do? Well, the inevitable.

I switched back to a fine nib for my Pilot VP last month. Ahhh... A sigh of relief - I can read my own writing! I still enjoy the feel of broad nibs, but I have such a hard time writing with them.

Anyone else ever experienced this? Switched to the dark side of broad, only to turn back again to smaller nibs?

Here's a scan of my writing with a small and broad nib. Both written at the same speed.

Now, my handwriting is just bad, period. But, it's at least a little better with the smaller nibs. At least I think so.

Anyone else agree with me on this? Or am I imagining my handwriting improving with the smaller nibs?

That's all for today folks. :)

Tyler Dahl

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Weekend Reads 12/10/11

Time for some weekend reads! Hopefully you've all had a good week, and now you're ready to settle in for some rest and relaxation, before Christmas gets to close.

I didn't get very many questions this week, so I'm going to save them up for next weeks reads. Remember, if you've got questions - ask away! I'd love to hear from you. :)

This review must've been made just for me! It's a "double-review", and both items are things I want to buy very soon. It's not an exhuastive review, but it is a good one. :)

- An ink review, of another ink I plan on buying soon (a sample of). J. Herbin Diablo Menthe - Doesn't look like it did to well in the review. I'm just chasing after the color of this ink, not it's properties.

- Here is a review of the next pen I plan on adding to my collection - The Pilot Custom 823. This review was the main one that sold me on it!

That's it for this weekend. Those should be long enough to keep you busy, if you read the whole thing of course. Enjoy, and let me know if you've got comments, suggestions, questions ,etc.

Tyler Dahl

Friday, December 9, 2011

TWSBI EF nib comparison

My internet was down this morning, so that's why I'm late. One of the downfalls of satellite over dial-up. It's still 1000x better than dial-up though... :) On with the article!

Well, I bought an EF nib for my TWSBI, the reason why, I'll be discussing tomorrow. :)

Here's a quick comparison of the TWSBI EF, compared to a Pilot VP F, and Lamy 2000 B.

Click to enlarge,  if you want to see this close up.

From what I can tell, my TWSBI EF writes a hair thicker than my VP fine! This is what I was expecting, due to several reports.

Not a disappointment, as I like the size of my VP fine a lot, and any smaller would be to much so for me. Still, if you're looking for a true EF nib, the TWSBI might disappoint you.

Has anyone else noticed this? I've heard that the EF might actually be thicker than the TWSBI F nib. Anyone here who wants to confirm that? Drop me a comment and let me know!

That's all for now folks. :)

Tyler Dahl

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Buying from eBay - be aware...

I really do like eBay. I buy a lot of pens there, though I don't do a lot of selling.

The thing you have to be careful of on eBay, are those lemons you occasionally get. I've only gotten 1 or 2, but they were pretty bad.

Here's one of them, that I thought I'd share with you all.

This is a Parker 51 I bought a while back, to add to my collection. I ended up selling it in the end, but that's besides the point.

This pen was a "good" condition 51, on eBay. Let's take a close look.

The jewel - Oh wow! Really bad job here on this cover-up. The original jewel sheared off, and someone glued down the top of a different jewel onto it. Why? I don't know. Seems harder to me to glue one on, than to just replace it.

The old jewel was a normal white jewel. The glued piece was from a "honey" colored jewel. 

And then, a "delightful" hood crack.

There it is again!

So guess what - I got a bad one! Worst of all, after all this damage, you'll never believe what happened when I finally dip tested it. The tipping on the nib popped right off!

Overall I had to invest about $70.00 worth of parts just to get this pen working again. Not a good deal at all in my book. :(

So, now you don't have to feel so bad about your bad eBay buys. It happens to all of us.

My advice for you all - Be careful, and buy restored pens from trusted repairers whenever possible.

That's it for today. :)

Tyler Dahl

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ink Review - Noodlers Brown

Ink review time! Noodlers brown is on the plate today. I'm going to use an adapted version of my new review system for this. We'll see how it works out. :)

Noodlers Brown ranks about 65% in my book.

Noodlers brown originally got me interested for two reasons:

1) It looked like it shaded really well.

2) It looked like the perfect shade of brown.

Overall I am a little bit disappointed in this ink. Not completely, but it certainly is not exactly what I thought it'd be. It has some major (t0 me at least) downfalls, that I'l hit on in this review.

The good:

  • It is a nice shade of brown. Not perfect, but better than most.
  • It's a Noodlers ink, so it's not expensive to buy.
The Bad:
  • It has some major bleed-through issues. Wait till you see the photos below...
  • Color is too dark for me. Sometimes it looks black. It's the right shade of brown, but it needs a touch more light to it.
  • Dry time is a bit slow.
All in all, it's a decent ink, but I'd like to find something to replace it. I only bought a sample, in my hunt for the perfect brown. This is not the perfect brown. It's a good one, and some aspects are real close, but it's not there.

Onto the review!

Ink Review: Noodlers Brown

Pen and nib: Lamy 2000 - B nib

Color: Dark Brown

Dry time: 15-20 seconds. Not bad for such a wet pen.

Smear when dry: A tiny bit...

Shading: Low/moderate. I think a less wet pen would actually shade better.

Lubrication: Good.

Bleed-through: Quite a bit actually. I wish it wasn't so...

Feathering: A very small amount.

Here's the scan. I think this one's pretty accurate.

Here is a shot of that bleed-through. Yikes! You'll notice that the bleed-through looks red-ish. It is in person too. It seems that the red-hue of the ink is separating, and bleeding through the paper.

Another shot of the swab...

This is an okay ink, but it's poor behavior makes it a no go for me. Again, if these small problems were fixed, this could be a real winner. But until then (or if ever), I will be searching for another brown.

Anybody here got a brown to recommend? Waterman Havana Brown is next on my list to try, thanks to Peninkcillin. :)

Anyone else ever tried this ink before? Did you get the same impression that I got? I'm wondering if it's just my pen and nib combo. I'll try it in my fine nibbed VP, and see what happens.

I hope you enjoyed the review. As always, feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you've never left a comment before, now's your chance. :)

Until Wednesday then!

Tyler Dahl

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekend Reads 12/4/11

Welcome to the first official Weekend Reads post. I hope you'll enjoy it!

Let's start this off with my favorite articles of the recent week. There are some great ones here, so be sure to check them out.

1) First one is not exactly FP related, but it is related to writing. Someone posted this website up on FPN, and I just had to share it here. I'll keep it a surprise, so you'll have to go find out for yourself what exactly it is. :)

2) Next up is an ink review from one of my favorite fellow bloggers. I've never tried this ink, but Im definitely adding a sample next time I go ink shopping. Noodlers Hunter Green is basically a waterproof ink, in my favorite shade of green.

3) With the holiday season upon us, and Christmas approaching fast, I thought this was a very appropriate post from Economy Pens.

4) I have not seen to many pink inks before... But this one looks pretty intriguing! Very wild, and not a very "manly" ink so to speak, but  enjoyed the review.

Now time for some Q&A!

Q #1: While I can, and have, replaced ink sacs, is there an easy way to get a new ink sac on the section when replacing an old sac? I have tried sac stretchers, tweezers, just my fingers, etc. Sometimes I have immediate success but sometimes it is frustrating beyond belief, the shellac dries out or ends up on my fingers, and I have to start all over! Is there one foolproof way to get the sac onto the pre-shellacked section?
A: My method for placing the sac on the sac-nipple is very simplistic. Once I discovered it however, I have had no trouble in getting my sacs on. I'll attempt to describe it, though I may end up needing to make a video of this one. - Start by trimming your sac to size, and dry fitting it, to make sure it's the right size. Next, give the sac-nipple a good coat of shellac. I prefer to have a little extra, and need t dab it off later, as opposed to not enough. If there's to little, the sac will stick and not slide, and that will make it harder to do this. Now for the real trick. Basically, I just push the sac on. I start with half of the sac-nipple, sliding the sac over it. Then, I use my finger (not pinching) to just push it over the rest of the sac-nipple. After this, I'll twist the sac 1/4 turn, to make sure the shellac is spread. Then dab off any extra shellac, and you're done! That probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but maybe you caught it. I'll work on a "pictorial", or video of this very soon. :)

Q #2: I recently purchased brass shim so that I could floss the tines of my fountain pens in order to increase ink flow. Luckily, my local hardware store had brass shim available to purchase, but only in a package containing various sized sheets of brass shim. Each sheet is a different width/thickness. The package included: .001, .002, .003, and .005. Since I am a novice at this, first, I had no idea that brass shim came in different widths. Second, which one do I use on my pens?
A: The preferred sizes for brass shim, when used with FP's, is .001, and .002. I use both, but mostly the .002. Any wider though, and you might spread the tines to far apart. The .001 is good for cleaning out ink channels in the feed. It's a bit thin to floss the nib with, unless you like a really dry nib.

Q #3: Hi Tyler, how about this: (a) what has been your toughest repair and (b) why was it so difficult? 
A: Wow, that's a tough question. I think I may have had toughest repairs, but never one single repair that's been the most difficult. I'll pick just one tough one though. It's funny actually - My toughest repair is now one of my most ruitine, and easy tasks to perform. At the time however, I was stumped, baffled, and frustrated. I was trying to install a hanging pressure bar into a Waterman pen, for the first time. Boy was that a chore! This one happened to be just a bit bent inside, so it was more difficult than normal. Still, After I finally got it in, I thought - "Why was that so hard!?". I laugh about it now, as I find this very easy to do, but at the time, it wasn't very funny at all. :)

Well, I hope you've enjoyed the weekend reads for this week! I know I was late this week, due to the work needed on my house. Hopefully next week I can run this all as scheduled.

Enjoy the reads, leave me a comment, subscribe if you liked this, and don't forget to submit your questions for next week!

Tyler Dahl

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sorry folks, a little busy today... :)

Well guys, I wasn't able to post to the blog today. I was working all day long installing the wood-stove on my house. Took a long time, and I honestly don't enjoy working up on top of my metal roof. :| A bit stressing, but it sure is great to have it done!

I'm also going to delay the weekend reads till Sunday. I just need a day to prepare for it, and the next week of blogging.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tyler Dahl

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monthly Update!

Well guys, today marks the first day of December! I've got snow on the ground at my house, and it's pretty chilly here too. Anyone else think it's beginning to look a  lot like Christmas? ;)

I'd like to just give you all an update on what's going on this month, and what you can expect from the website, and both blogs.

Firstly: I will be open for business all December long. I do not take a break for Christmas, so you may feel free to send me pens anytime during the holiday season. Don't be concerned about me being busy, because Christmas-time is not a busy time for me. :)

Let's start with the Website. I've got quite a few improvements that I think you'll enjoy!

1) First off, I've got a whole new tray of pens up for sale this month! Lots of really great ones too. These are for sale, but only for this month. Tis' the perfect season for buying a new FP, for yourself, or a friend. :) Some of my top picks of the month are:

Beautiful Blue EverSharp Skyline!

A lovely vintage Pelikan M400 with a semi-flex nib!

Conklin Crescent filler with a fabulous #2 flexible Toledo nib!

2) Next up, we've got a great new feature for those "visual minded" people. I decided that just listing a photo of all 12 pens at once just didn't cut it. You can't see enough of the pen. So, to remedy this, I've come to a good in-between place. The "tray picture" will remain the same, as it's good to see what's for sale at a glance.

The new feature is the "click the title to a large picture of the pen". Any pen that you're interested in - just click the title, or the magnifying glass icon. You will be taken to a new window (or tab), so you won't lose you place, and then you can see a full image of just the pen you want. I've made these images to show as much detail as possible. Try it out here and see for yourself!

3) The Mobile Website is almost ready to launch! I'll need another week or so to finish up the last details, but it's very close now!

A public thank-you to everyone who volunteered to help out with the mobile website! I couldn't have done it without you. You've been a huge help, and I really appreciate it!

4) This is very important, so please do read it. 
I have had to make a rather difficult decision this month, and I want you all to be aware of this, and have a good understanding of "what" and "why". I try to be honest, and keep stuff like this out in the open.

I have recently had a rise in my costs for repairing pens. Namely, new tools, to expand the possibilities of what I can accomplish. Many of these tools cost quite a "fortune", and thus I feel the need to make some small price change in accordance with this. As of today (12/1/2011) I have made some small price changes to my some of my services. I realize that this is not the kind of news that we always want to hear. I do dislike having to do this, but I feel it's the only way to keep my business running, and thus I decided to go for it. However, even with these small price changes, I can still safely say that my prices far undercut many others in the pen-repair field. I hope you all understand this, and please, let me know if you have questions. I am still determined to maintain low prices, and excellent customer service, forever.

Now for some blog updates:

Just a few quick ones, to keep you current.

1) I will be continuing to blog every other day on both blogs! I don't intend on stopping this anytime soon, as I don't see a reason to. :)

2) Hopefully you all read about my new review system here. That will continue to be used for all my future reviews. Seems very handy to me.

3) If you haven't checked it out yet, I'd love to have you participate in my Weekend Reads Q&A! I need folks to ask questions, or else I can't do it. Go ahead, don't be shy! Ask away about anything pen-related.

That's about it for the monthly updates. Have a great holiday season everyone, and enjoy the blog!

Tyler Dahl