Nakabayashi Logical Air Swing Notebook

It is fountain pen-friendly

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Nakabayashi's Logical Air Swing notebook is fountain pen-friendly! Well, my bar for what is "fountain pen-friendly" is pretty low compared to other people. I'm willing to use any paper that at least has Level 0 properties (my made up, personal criteria):

Level 0

  • Ink doesn't feather outrageously
  • Ink doesn't bleed through the paper (can use both sides)

Level 1

  • Ink shows some sheen
  • Ink shows some shading

There is no Level 2. This is getting into my " I will weigh the tradeoffs" for different contexts/purposes.

  • Ghosting/show-through
  • Paper weight
  • Ink dry time
  • Paper colour
  • Notebook design (page count, numbering, ruling, binding, etc.)

The Logical Air Swing Notebook satisfies Level 0 and Level 1 in my personal assessment. I'm not going to get into great detail since there are others who have done paper comparison with a greater degree of control measures.

As a paper/notebook x fountain pen lover, I've referred to John Bosley's fountain pen friendly paper rating list as reference for what fun new things to try out. He also has a good list of fountain pen, ink, and paper basics.

A while back, John reviewed Nakabayashi's Logical Prime Notebook and I ended up looking into their broader Logical notebook brand. They had a notebook called Logical Air Swing Notebook as well. The promo for the Logical Air notebook says that it's especially good for students to be carrying lighter weight paper in their bags.

Somewhat confusing Swing Logical notebook nomenclature:

  • Swing Logical Air is 56gsm
  • Swing Logical is 70gsm
  • Logical Prime is "7% thicker and firmer than standard version" (advertised to be fountain pen-friendly)
  • There's also a whole bunch of other names in the notebook line, like Logical Think, Logical Brain, Logical Sport, etc..

Based on the logic (!) above, one might assume that Logical Air may NOT be fountain pen-friendly. It's interestingly close to the weight of many people's fountain pen grail paper Tomoe River/TR (52gsm). I see the value of TR but the dry time is a big trade-off for me.

Since I was making the best of my proxy shopping/shipping from Japan (Buyee), I threw in a A5 Logical Airs 5mm grid ruling into my order (from Fueru's Rakuten) and hoped for the best (they're ~180yen). Months later, they arrived!

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I have the green cover A5 5mm square grid notebook with 30 sheets. The cover is a lightweight and flexible cover stock with a bit of a gloss coating.

It's one fat signature, sewn-bound down the middle.

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The interior paper has a dotted line square grid, probably on ivory stock.

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It seems slightly more yellow than standard staples printer paper, but MUCH less yellow than Midori MD cream paper.

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Writing on the page...well, how do I describe it. The paper feels uncoated. It is textured. It felt like I was writing on regular printer paper, but without the ink bleeding/feathering. As soon as my nib hit the page it felt like it would feather and bleed, but it didn't.

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I don't think there was much (or any?) feathering, nor bleed-through. Whereas Rhodia paper hates me whenever I use flex nibs, this paper impressively handled it like a champion.

Backside of the page has ghosting, but feels less than 52gsm Tomoe River. It's still usable to me.

Overall I felt that my pen/inks probably wrote a bit dryer on this paper. I touched some of the Logical Prime paper in my order, and that stuff definitely feels smoother and coated to the finger, compared to Logical Air.

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The paper does show shading and sheen, but probably less than Tomoe River. I think the dry time is faster though! As mentioned previously, it felt like my inks wrote overall drier because of lack of coating/absorption, and that could lead to less sheen too. I'm not good at photographing sheen, but I do see a bit of it in the Lamy Turmaline and FPR Royal Flush Blue.

Today's music post: Brown Loop by Duval Timothy.

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Fountain pen day happens every first Friday of November.

[...] Fountain Pen Day is celebrated by enthusiasts worldwide as a time to embrace, promote, and share the use of fountain pens.

I didn't know it existed until this year. A few weeks ago I put up a currently using page that lists some of the materials I've been using, including fountain pens.

Why I appreciate fountain pens

  • don't have to press down for ink to come out (unless you need line variation)
  • can refill with new ink (plus so many colours and fancy properties like shading/sheening!)
  • steel or gold nibs feel stronger, feel longer lasting, and stay sharper, than pigment/fineliners with extended use
  • I enjoy the variety in writing experience (with different pen/ink/paper combinations)

I used my Platinum Carbon Black Desk Pen everyday in October to draw my tamagotchi aka #tamagoctober (cause it's water-resistant). I also used several pens (EF-M size) to do Alphonso Dunn pen & ink workbook exercises aka #dunn31. I completed 34+ exercises...but there are still many left.

Here are some pics of my pens and their respective #dunn31 exercises!

Pelikan 400NN (M) with Diamine Wagner

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Pilot Metropolitan (M) with Waterman Absolute Brown

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Ranga Sugarcane (Kanwrite flex) with Diamine Meadow

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FPR Himalaya GT v2 (ultraflex EF) with Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-Yake

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Pilot Elite 95s Japan (EF) with Sailor Kobe Kounan Maroon

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Pilot Kakuno (M) with Pilot Namiki Black (stock cartridge ink)

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Opus 88 Omar (M) with Lamy Turmaline

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Lamy Safari (F) with Sailor Kobe Taisanji Yellow

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Paper used is Borden and Riley #37 boris bright white translucent visual bond LAYOUT. My pad is probably a decade old, so the name doesn't fully match their newer branding/edition.

Happy writing/drawing!

Today's music post: Give It Up 2 Me by Ojerime.

Pilot Kakuno and Sailor HighAce Neo Calligraphy

Pilot Kakuno and Sailor HighAce Neo Calligraphy fountain pens.

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Staying indoors means too much time to futz around on the internet and fuel my fountain pen fever. Small pen day with Pilot Kakuno (M) and Sailor HighAce Neo calligraphy clear (2.0mm)!

These two pens had similar packaging, so I took photos of them together.

Pilot Kakuno (m) with green cap and dark gray body

I love the cute face on the nib of my Pilot Kakuno! The packaging is very charming too. I'm weak for anything small and cute (Kakuno is for kids). I'm glad that the barrel was more of a warm dark grey than black like the photos. I was originally hoping to get the cream/yellow one, but they were discontinued, so I (bitterly?) took this colourway instead. Now that I see it in real life, I love it!

The pen wrote super smoothly out of the package! It's short and stubby. Now I look at my Pilot metro and think about how it isn't nearly as cute.

Sailor HighAce Neo clear calligraphy 2.0mm

The heart breather hole and clear feed are lookers on this pen. I find that it writes kind of dry. These days I use it to fill in larger areas of black. I have no calligraphy skills :).

For both pens I have the given black cartridge in there, and I'll syringe fill it later when it's used up. No exciting inks for now!

They're both really small compared to most of my other pens.

The Neo HighAce came with double sided sheet tutorial, one for how to do calligraphy. It's a nice touch/gesture, even though I really don't have the patience and motor skills for calligraphy, so this is just an insane stub pen for me to use to write headers for now. The Kakuno also came with charming wiggly handdrawn-looking instructions. I assume to appeal to kids, which I seem to be at heart. I like these personified talking nib heads a lot, they're just so pleasant!!

I've always wondered why cartridges aren't longer, because there is clearly MORE space left...? Perhaps it has something to do with pressure and vacuum?

Today's music post: The Real Folk Blues by Seatbelts [For these Virtual Days session]. There's also an interesting re-arranged-ish version with a lot of other artists/musicians/voice actors here.

Austin x Fountain pen

FPR Himalaya v2 GT in saffron orange acrylic.

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Living my best shameless life by combining 2 of my nerdy passions: original characters (OCs) and fountain pens!! The main reason that I'm posting is because it's Austin's birthday (September 24) according to HWA lore! I actually don't really think much about their birthdays, but now that the dates are written in my planner, I see it and feel guilty if I don't do anything, haha.

So here it is, Austin, drawn with fountain pen ink that I have on hand.

The specific pen I paired with Austin is the Fountain Pen Revolution (FPR) Himalaya v2 GT, saffron orange acrylic body, steel EF ultra flex nib. I always associate him with orange plaid/checks, so a orange patterned acrylic body felt suitable. He is also more warm overall, so gold-tone or brassy accents were appropriate. Two-tone steel flex nib, well, he is a flexible kind of guy (in many ways...).

I didn't have any patterned pens in my collection so this was a welcome addition. The pen is more saturated orange IRL, and also has depth, pearlescence, and some opacity. Photos below are more accurate to the IRL colours!

OC-nerdery aside, the pen did take quite a bit of tinkering/reseating the feed and nib/heat setting to get working properly. Seems to be a trend with my ebonite feed pens. I currently have Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-Yake ink sample loaded in it. I'm not great at writing with flex, but the pen also writes wet and a-okay without pressure; it's a fun writer. The FPR ultra-flex is a LOT more responsive to downward pressure (leading to flex/separation of tines) than the Rangapens kanwrite flex nib; closer to the responsiveness of a Nikko G-nib, perhaps? I have a natural tendency to write fast, so my flex writing does tend to railroad because the ink doesn't fully keep up right now (though I don't mind that effect, nor do I plan to always flex write).

My photos don't do justice to the ink colours! All of the inks I used (minus the black) have really nice shading:

Austin is unlikely to use a fountain pen in his EDC. He's more of a Fisher pen, Pokka pens, pencils, and Rite in the Rain guy. Probably used that stuff when he was out in the field for grad school. He needs the all-weather stuff!

Happy birthday Austin! A real gift birthday gift to Austin, would be a Jake, so...

Today's music post: Sly5thAve's The First 8 Minutes [ATCQ "Find a Way" Tribute] feat. The ClubCasa Chamber Orchestra.

Ranga Pens 'sugarcane' in olive ebonite

Sugarcane-shaped fountain pen for a plant lover.

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I have a big soft spot for anything that is handmade. Here's a formula that gets my attention: Handmade + fountain pen + plant = HECK YEA!

I ordered a handmade Indian pen from Ranga Pens. The model I chose was a regular-sized sugarcane eyedropper fountain pen in olive ebonite, matte finish, and steel flex nib. According to their website, the pens are made by a father and son team, M.S. Pandurangan and M.P. Kandan and they both rely on traditional and old school methods of pen making. CRAFT! RESPECT!

India Post was down for a long time (and continues to be down at original time of writing) so the folks at Ranga Pens had to switch to UPS for shipping, which incurred an additional cost, but that's expected. Disregarding the UPS package was that throw over the box, the package came wrapped in a sewn cotton (?) sleeve with the addresses written in pen. I found it very endearing! This is perhaps the 2nd time I've received a cloth package (the first time being Nights in White Flannel).

The box is reasonably sized and I can appreciate its no frills nature. I'm always sad about gigantic showcase boxes, because I use all my pens, I don't store them. This is also true of watches! Big empty boxes taking up space, bah!

Inside the package was a business card, a bonus/free fountain pen, the actual sugarcane pen, and a Wality "special" fine tipped nib (two toned) and ebonite feed.

The free/extra "Oliver Exam" piston-filled pen is probably made out of resin because it has a strange smell to it. Oliver Exam is going to air out in the sun for a while, so I won't be writing about it today.

I am really happy with how naturally planty the sugarcane pen looks! The sound and feeling of the ebonite has a lot of similarities with the bamboo brushes that I have (though heavier). I actually feel like I'm holding a mini bamboo flute or whistle when I'm holding this pen (yea I know it's called 'sugarcane'), which I also had growing up. I actually have a hard time telling which side is up or down for the pen cause the seam is just off-centre. The ebonite itself has some natural speckles and I think there is some "grain" left from the handworking, so overall it has a great organic look to the exterior.

I chose a "steel flex" nib when ordering, which resulted in a Kanwrite steel nib. I don't have a flex nib (other than my actual dip nibs; nikko g) in my collection, so I thought it would be a fun choice. The Kanwrite nib is pretty hard; I wouldn't really say that it's a flex nib unless you put a lot of pressure down when you write. I don't use a lot of pressure because I already have a bunch of wrist issues, so the pen became a F/M nib in my hand.

Perhaps I didn't get to test the flex to its max capabilities because of issues below.

When I first started using it, it was super wet and leaking from the feed. I didn't even realize this until it was too late, but a bunch of ink had seeped into the cap without my knowing, so when I re-capped the pen, ink got allll over my paper!

I tried heat-setting it a few times but no help. I was getting sad because I love the pen body but the pen was functionally useless to me if it leaked. Eventually I found the confidence to yank the nib/feed out and put some silicon grease on the feed itself, then heat set it again. No improvement! Over time it stopped writing and continue to leak.

Later on I swapped the Wality nib with the Kanwrite nib and kept the existing feed. Still wet, still leaking, but not as much. Heat set a few more times. Eventually I got it to STOP leaking, but the feed position is really close to the tip, so it's no longer a juicy writer. It writes more like a rollerball now?

Well, that's better than a leaking machine at least! The nib is also very hard. I do like the 2-tone look of the nib with the olive body though.

I might futz with the nib/feed more later, but for now I'm relieved to have a pen that writes and doesn't LEAK! Ideally it would be a LIL bit more juicy. I also have Diamine Meadow inked up in a Platinum Preppy and the ink looks super different (much darker). My guess is that there is still some residual water diluting the ink from all the heat setting. The final charm point of this pen is that it can stand vertical on a flat surface! Hehe...

Ink: Diamine Meadow Paper: 52gsm Tomoe River, white

Note: a few days after I drafted the above post, I ended up yanking out the wality nib and tried the kanwrite one again. It took very long to get it to work but finally it's not leaking like crazy, is writing, and is a bit juicier. I keep the pen upright at my desk now!

I don't write in a very flexy way (I save my flexing for drawing...) and my cursive is sorely out of practice. Still have to press/grip hard for any flex, and it really digs into the paper! It was an interesting learning to see how the relative distance of feed and nib changes ink flow. Now my feed is closer to the tip than it was when it originally came. I probably re-seated the feed/nib and heat set them over 10x.

Today's music post: Sanubar Tursun - Didar ghenimet.