Jinhao 100 / Centennial

Jinhao 100 Centennial fountain pen (ivory/black)

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I was looking for a pen with fude nib and wider section/grip diameter. I've been weary with too cheap pens drying out, so after reading many reviews about this Jinhao, which is not as cheap as some of their other models, I wanted to give it a try! I read that it's an homage/based off the Parker Duofold Centennial's design. I chose the ivory/off white and black colourway. I put it next to my bone folder (made of bone) and the colour of the pen is similar.

Collage of severage photos of the Jinhao 100 fountain pen, which is primarily white/ivory coloured, with a top and bottom finials in black

The Jinhao has some heft to it, but not overly so. It does get too back heavy if you try to post it. The barrel has some opacity differences/striations to the way the off-white shows up. There's barely/no step between the threads and barrel, which is a design feature I love. Some people love to have a flush cap with barrel, while I would sacrifice that streamline look with the practicality of not having a step/barrel dig into my hand.

Sandwiched between Pilot Kakuno and Pelikan 400NN. The colourway of Kakuno and Jinhao are...Pinkey. Jinaho's grip diameter is comparable to Kakuno and definitely thicker than the 400NN. Photo collage of 3 fountain pens from top to bottom: Pilot Kakuno in pink/white, Jinhao 100 in black/ivory, and Pelikan 400NN in green stripe. Photo shows capped and un-capped versions of the pen, for size comparison.

I loaded the pen up with Pennonia Rági (Bubblegum), and it wrote without any problem out of the envelope. I was worried the angles wouldn't be forgiving, but after writing/drawing fast, it seems to keep up fine.

Jinhao 100 pen laying on top of a sheet of line ruled paper with a lot of pink writing on it.

Photo close-up of text written with Jinhao 100, using Pennonia Rági ink

Solid pen! It's a true ink guzzler. I got this pen last year and after using it for a few months, it doesn't seem to have issues with drip out, but rather, some dry out. I enjoy writing with it when there's ink loaded in it though! Versatile :)

Today's music post: Cleft Of The Rock by Kyshona Armstrong.

Bandcamp was recently bought out by Epic Games. I'm not sure what the full implications are, but hope that there will still be a place for music makers to get direct support from folks beyond abysmal stream dollars.

Paper tasting so far:

  • Jan - Feb was NTU Press Bookstore A5 blank notebook
  • Mar-May was Kleid 2mm grid notebook
  • Jun-Aug was Nakabayashi's Logical Air Swing 5mm grid notebook

Sep-Oct was Apica CD11 A5 size with line ruling!

Photo of a notebook with black tape binding and textured mustard yellow cover, with gold foil.

I got one with a mustard yellow textured cover. The binding is thread stitched!

Photo of two papers from two  different notebooks laid side by side to show paper colour. Left is Apica CD11 with ruled whiter paper; right is Midori MD with gridded cream paper.

I think the paper is a bit more opaque and white-toned than Midori MD.

Photo of several fountain pen inks, written on the interior page of Apica CD 11 notebook.

Photo of several fountain pen inks, written on the interior page of Apica CD 11 notebook.

I think most FP inks worked quite well on this. Some of my italics didn't write well unless at a certain angle—maybe the paper has some coating on it. It's one of the more common and affordable japanese FP-friendly notebooks that you can find in North America, I think?

Nov-Dec paper tasting is Logical Prime grid!

Today's music post: Mother Nature (live) by Angelique Kidjo.

Jeb's Pens Manaslu x Pennonia Zuzmó x Ferris Wheel Press Writing Desk

Becoming one of those people who has too many pens and inks

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I received a handmade pen (Manaslu model) from JEB's PENS a while back! It was fun experience because I got to pick the materials (alternate briar and jade) and do a bit of customization (e.g., make the pen cap postable, ask for a specific section/grip diameter, etc.). We wrote each other back and forth to solidify the details and clarify what I wanted/what he felt was possible. I was both picky and very unpicky at the same time. The feeling I had was I don't want to mess with a design that isn't broken just because of my whims.

In the end, I think we landed on something that was pretty similar to the base model's measurements (haha). The look of the pen changes since the pen blank material had different striations and colouration depending on the side of the pen you were looking at—it can look creamy/caramel at some angles!

Photo of a fountain pen that is made out of alternate briar and jade polyester material, handmade by Jeb's Pens.

John provided guidance and sent a lot of photos along the way, which I appreciated. Mine has a gold plated steel Jowo #6 broad nib (tuned by John) with a cartridge/converter filling system. The nib is hard but writes smooth and wet. There are some endearing details with the unpackaging experience, but I won't spoil it! From initial outreach to receiving the pen in the mail (USA to Canada), it took about 3-4 weeks! John also does completely custom work too.

It's pretty hard to tell that this is a handmade/hand turned pen because the finishing is amazing. Very shiny polished and no abrupt edges or machining marks that I can see. I can't stop admiring it!

Over time I've come to recognize that I like stubby looking pens—ones that are flat top-ish leaning, and vintage-looking. I'm also more into gold tone hardware, but that does depend on the pen body colour. John has a lot of vintage inspired models with a variety of clips, but I chose the Manaslu because it was shorter and would still fit a long international cartridge. This particular pen has a soft taper to peaks on both ends of the pen (an homage to the double peaks of Manaslu mountain)! I like that it looks like the fake verison of its intended natural materials (briar wood and jade), but is more low maintenance. It is a very special pen to me!

When I got the pen I wondered what ink to pair it with. At first I used Pennonia's Zuzmó. It's a pretty close match with the jade portion (I think the jade has more yellow, while the ink is cooler toned) and I enjoyed it for a while, but sometimes the ink isn't dark enough (depends on the paper).

Photo collage of two images. The left image shows a writing sample of Pennonia Zuzmo on ruled paper, with the jade portion of the Manaslu fountain pen propped on top. The right image shows a writing sample of Ferris Wheel Press Writing Desk, with the briar portion of the Manaslu fountain pen propper on top.

When I ran out of that initial fill, I switched to the Ferris Wheel Press's Writing Desk (Wonder Pens special) for a more legible colour.

Photo collage of three images, showing close-up shots of the Ferris Wheel Press x Wonder Pens brown ink collaboration, Writing Desk. Some angles show how the ink looks primarily brown, while other shots show the green sheen on the ink that can be seen at tilted angles.

I got the Wonder Pens ink primarily for...souvenir reasons since it's a shop I've patroned/visited IRL in Toronto. As I was using Writing Desk I noticed it has some similarities to Waterman's Absolute Brown, which was the very first bottle of ink I ever bought for myself. As far as I can tell, Writing desk has a bit more shading and yellow/orange undertone to it, and of course, has a bit of green sheen.

Photo collage of two images. The left image shows 2 writing samples of brown inks: Waterman Absolute Brown and Ferris Wheel Press Writing Desk. Underneath the writing sample are 2 fountain pens: Waterman W3 brown stripe and JEB's Pens Manaslu

Well, now I have these two bottle of brown inks. I try to justify it to myself by saying that the Absolute brown is safer when paired with the vintage Waterman W3.

Today's music post: Sean by Aya (Lysa Aya Trenier).

Traveler's notebook mods

Traveler's Company Traveler's Notebook modifications

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Ah yes, my Traveler's Company traveler's notebook (TN) that I received as a gift many years ago—still grossly underused since I mainly use A5 size for most things personal. I have a very romantic idea of what these notebooks should look like based on what the internet has fed me: stuffed to the brim, all sorts of collagey inserts, vintage/nostalgia vibe, brass, lots of danglies/customization/charms/etc. Honestly I like all of these things, in concept!

In practice, I am very basic and function is always what wins. Function for me means: not a super fat book, not a carry-all, it's for writing/drawing in the pages, and it has to lay as flat as possible.

I finally bit the bullet and made the little changes to my TN:

  • Put something on the closure string
  • Cut off that bead!!
  • Insert two bookmarks instead of one
  • Move the closure cord to the spine

I wasn't sure if this was all going to work out, but thankfully it did!

Collage of 3 photos of different views of a modified traveler's company notebook cover, showing the front (closure elastic across cover), back, and front (closure elastic undone). The notebook is camel brown coloured leather, with a light brown elastic closure cord. The elastic closure also has a wooden ring hanging from it. A fountain pen with a brown cap and jade coloured body is paired with the notebook.

Pen in photo is a Manaslu from Jeb's Pens with a gold tone jowo B nib! MATCHY!!

My "charm"

My cover is scuffed up not because I carry it around, but rather, because of a short stint with some brass charms/tassels that I had on here, as well as some metal dangles on the bookmark strings. This notebook cover has BARELY been used.

I removed all of the metal charms/dangles NOT because of them scuffing up the cover (I don't care!) but rather, I don't like the sound of metal hitting things (e.g., when I put the notebook down on any hard surface, it would make clacking or jingle noise). While I don't care much about scuffing up the cover, I do care a bit more about metal scraping up against my writing surfaces—it means I'd have to be more careful about where I put the notebook down! Sometimes metal charm/dangles got trapped underneath my notebook and I'd have to pull it out while writing. Long story short, I got rid of everything metal and opted for an old ring made out of bent woods and some mysterious material. It's very lightweight and round, so doesn't make too much noise or scuff other things up. By chance, the colour scheme of the ring matches super well with the camel cover, elastic cord, and the off-white bookmarks I added! MATCHY!

No more bead/clasp

The original TN has a metal crimp/clasp/bead in the top left of the notebook. It holds the elastic knots in place and keeps them out of sight. This means that the notebook doesn't quite lay flat at the top of the spine and there are also metal scrapping possibilities against your writing surface.

I finally cut it off. Cutting it off meant that I didn't have enough elastic to string it the way it was originally, so I strung it a different way (reverse-ish), which still works for my purposes (I don't have a super stuffed notebook system). Instead of tying knots on the inside, I tied the elastics on the top/bottom, facing the outside. The spine still lays pretty flat, so I'm happy!

Photo collage of the front and back of the traveler's notebook cover, with a fountain pen resting next to the cover, on the right. This photo shows how the elastic was knotted on the exterior of the cover.

Two bookmarks

An easy add. I had leftover waxed linen thread from my bookbinding! I tied 2 loose strings together at the top and then threaded it through one of the top elastic loops. It stays in place just fine. The waxed thread gives it some stiffness, so it tends to want to lay straighter against a page, which is what you want a bookmark to do.

Photo close-up of the elastic knot on the exterior side of the traveler's notebook, showing a white linen thread fitted through the knot, which acts as 2 bookmarks

Move closure string to the spine

The original TN has a hole in the backcover for the closure string to be knotted through. This meant that there was a "bump" from the knots that could be felt if I was writing on the right side of the book. DO NOT WANT!

I used an awl and screwdrivers to create a hole into the spine. I covered the original hole on the outside of the cover, with a round washi sticker.

Photo collage of the front and back of the traveler's notebook cover. This photo shows how the backcover's elastic closure was moved to the spine.

I also repurposed an old metal fold-over "crimp" to keep the elastics in place without a knot (to further reduce the bump).

Photo collage of the interior side of the notebook cover. It shows how a metal crimp was used to keep the elastic closure in place without a knot.

What's inside?

I started with a moleskine cahier, cut down to A5 slim size. Quickly realized it made all my FP inks look horrid. OBSERVE:

Photo collage of the moleskine cahier notebook cut down to A5 slim size. One shot shows the exterior of the notebook's cover, decorated with stamps and a drawing of a sad Sally. The other shot shows the interior cream coloured grid paper, with horrible looking fountain pen ink writing.

Offensive! Completely unacceptable!!

So I made my own notebook out 5mm dot grid printed on HP premium 32lb paper. The cover is of course, another HWA cover leftover, further covered by a ginkgo ecoprint collage paper from StudioPetaBooks. Sorry Jake, there's only so much of your face that I want to see. I used leftover waxed linen thread (also from HWA) for 3-hole pamphlet binding. Notebook lays super flat! FP ink looks OK on this paper, though not as nice as FP specialty papers. What pains me the most is that there's significant paper cut-off to get a half-letter-sized notebook to fit the A5 slim size of a TN.

Photo collage of two notebooks resting inside of the traveler's notebook cover. One notebook has a off-white cover because it was DIY-ed in-house, while the notebook with kraft paper is an official insert from Midori. The DIY notebook has dot grid ruling printed on it and scrap paper pasted on the interior cover to obscure old art that was printed there.

I have another insert that's the official #03 blank insert with white Midori MD paper. It's nice stuff...feels kind of rare since Midori MD paper is primarily available in cream colour. This insert doesn't lay as flat, so maybe I'll pull out the staples some day and rebind it (?) or continue to reverse crease the notebook.

I made my own "clear file folder" insert by cutting down an old plastic folder (with pockets) and taping together 2 pockets with washi tape. The rest of the file folder became a shitajiki/writing board.

Photo collage of a plastic folder insert made out of plastic sleeves and washi tape.

Also made a scrappy insert that primarily serves as a pen loop flap-out that also folds flat. Maybe I can merge the clear file folder with this...hmmm!

Photo collage of four images. The first two photos show a Traveler’s notebook with a piece of folded cardboard jutting out and around the front cover, holding 3 platinum preppy fountain pens (like a sheath). A third photo shows the same cardboard sheath, but with a OPUS88 Omar inside of it instead. The final photo shows the insert pulled out, laying on top of the notebook.

What am I using it for?

Now that I'm officially not a bound to digital work calendar, I'm going to try to use the notebook for work-related writing/brainstorming! We'll see how it goes...

After writing this post it became obvious that I'm very particular about my stationery. I'm glad I got to repurpose a bunch of existing items to make these mods to my TN!

Today's music post: Tout Est Bleu by Âme Strong.

Namisu N1 pocket fountain pen

Namisu N1 pocket fountain pen (blue/gold)

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I backed this on Namisu's kickstarter a while back. It became an exclusive to kickstarter/pre-orders after some delays with production. I like pocket pens and didn't have a blue pen, so here we are...

The pen came shipped in a ridiculously large box given the actual pen size. They probably could've downsized the shipping box by half. The pen's actual box is very small, and the pen was further encased in a plastic tube for protection. For some reason I was convinced I bought a titanium nib to go with this, but after checking my records, I think I had misremembered. This colour of knurled grip reminds me of a nail file.

Photo collage of the unboxing of a fountain pen.

It's a bit of a weird colour way to me, from a colour harmony POV. This is definitely more of a rose gold, than a yellow gold. If I had my way I'd choose black/gold, but it wasn't offered as a colourway! The next closest thing would be stealth black, but I also already have such a pen...warm red/gold also feels more harmonious to me, but I also already have a red/gold pen...! Perhaps like my OPUS88 Omar, where I sacrificed personal aesthetic for price point and variability in my FP suite.

The anodizing on the blue cap (aluminum) was even, but less so on the clip. The first load of ink I put through this pen partially drained into the cap. I'm not sure why, I thought perhaps it was the vacuum seal from capping/uncapping? But it hasn't happened again so far, at least with the pen stored horizontally. I also noticed some steel-wool type material stuffed into the barrel of the pen; I thought it was a mistake at first, but perhaps it is acting like a "spring" to keep the cartridge pushed into the feed?

Photo collage showing a close-up of the cap's clip and the interior of the barrel, showing some kind of steel wool-ish material.

The sensation of capping/uncapping takes getting used to. There's a sound. Metal scrapping against metal isn't something I'm used to hearing (nor do I find it pleasant). It's not a quiet pen that you can un-sheath in a quiet meeting unnoticed. You can post the cap very deeply or more shallow, since there are several O-rings on top to hold the cap in place at your preferred length. I find that I don't post it super deep.

Photo of the Namisu N1 pocket pen, laying on top of a ruled notebook page with a lot of writing on it.

The nib makes noise when you write on the paper, at least on Rhodia it sounds a bit SQUEAKY which was surprising to me. I don't think it's the worst sound, but also something to consider. Might be a bock nib trait. I'd also say that Bock nibs seem to have a bit more 'spring' to them than Jowo steel nibs. Ink used above is Pennonia's Balaton-kék, though the photo does not do the multishading properties of the ink justice!

Photo close-up of writing with Pennonia Balaton-kék ink, done with Nikko G nib and Bock M nib near the bottom. The colour of the ink shifts from blue to pink.

It is indeed a small pen when fully capped...but not one where the grip is mega small! It still feels substantial because of the weight/materials.

Photo of several fountain pens next to each other, for purposes of showing size difference. From left to right: Wahl eversharp bantam, Pilot elite 95s, Namisu N1 Pocket pen, Pelikan M250 old style, Lamy Safari

Today's music post: Big Moonlight (Ookii Gekkou) by Vanishing Twin