Thursday, November 6, 2008

Waterproof tests

(click on the image to be taken to Flickr and and see the additional photos)

I tested a general sample of my inks for their water resistance. Samples were taken from Noodler's Private reserve, and Platinum Preppy.

Methods: The paper used was a page out of a Moleskine Volant. Samples were written in and the page was left out overnight (about 9 hours) before test. The water test included holding the page under a heavy run of water for about 30 seconds on each side of the page. To dry the page was put between two paper towels and a lightweight box was placed on top to aid in absorption.

Judging factors: The results were observed carefully for clarity of stroke, retention of original color, and leftover 'halos' of ink around the letters. The paper towels used to dry the page were also examined for ink transfer. Each ink was given a score with 5 indicating the the ink performed perfectly, and 1 indicating that the words were illegible after test.

Regular Noodler's results:

(click the picture to open up the large version)

Squeteague: Not advertised as waterproof, but very resistant. Some halo, but the letters are still clear and dark. Very little color change. Score: 3.5/5 A full point was taken off for the halo, and half a point for the color loss. Ink soaked through completely to the other side.

Summer Tanager: I have an error with the sample used for this ink, in that some old green ink is mixed in. However, nearly the only ink left in this test is that odd brown mix. Looking closely, it seems that the actual Summer Tanager diffused away. Even with the odd mixture, the water nearly washed everything away. A score is difficult to determine given the sample error. A best estimate for this score would be between 1 and 2 out of 5.

Ottoman Azure: Same performance as the Squeteague. Score 3.5/5

Bulletproof Noodler's:

Bulletproof Black: Sample looks like water never touched it. Stroke details of flow and variance are still perfectly intact. No evidence of haloing or color degradation. Score: 5/5, this ink performs as advertised. The ink did not bleed through the page. Perfect for addressing envelopes.

Baystate Blue: This ink is not named as bulletproof, but it is advertised to be. There is some evident, but minimal, haloing. This sample may be confounded by my use of a 2mm dip pen to apply it to the page. All other inks were applied inside regular fine point fountain pens. The excess ink did wash away when left under tap, yet the ink did bleed through the page slightly more after water exposure. Again, this may be due to the application process within this test. Unlike the Bulletproof Black, the individual strokes were blended together and stroke detail was lost. Score: 4.5 Half a point was taken off for the loss of stroke detail and light haloing. Letters were still clear and the color intact.

Now, the others:

Private Reserve Blue Suede: The color has been retained on the page, yet the strokes are so haloed that the letters are illegible. Score: 1/5 This is unusable under wet conditions. There is no clear stroke intact in any of the sample, and the ink bled further onto the other side of the page. I can also say that any amount of moisture will cause this ink to smear, even if days old on the page. This ink also soaked onto the paper towels, even on the reverse side of the page. This indicates that if you use this ink in a notebook and it is soaked through, it will be destroyed.

Platinum Preppy Green: This is the stock color that comes with their green fountain pens. Whereas the Blue Suede haloed to illegibility, this ink faded out. The haloing and color fade make this ink as unusable as the Blue Suede. Bled through to the other side. Score: 1.5 In my experience with other Platinum Preppy colors I am comfortable extending this score to their entire line, with a +/-.5 confidence interval.

Verdict: Noodler's Bulletbproof inks perform as described, and the Bulletproof Black performs so well that there is no visible evidence that the sample had even been soaked completely through in water. 100% of stroke detail was retained, and there was absolutely no bleedthrough after exposure. Baystate Blue came in second, while the Squeteague and Ottoman Azure haloed but retained clarity. The Summer Tanager disappeared, while the Private Reserve created a huge mess.

Limitations: The test performed for this review was only holding the page under water. This means that excess ink was washed away instead of smearing and drying on the page. Droplet testing will be a future examination. However, even with the ink washing away, the Private Reserve Blue Suede was very disappointing. Under droplet testing I would not be surprised to find some minimal smearing the the Bulletproof Black.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jetpens has noodlers!




//passes out//

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quickspot: quirktm

What: quirktm
Huh: A pencil that you can wrap around your finger.
Wait, what: You can mount a pencil to your hand to be an old school cyborg geek.
Seriously: Yup.

Everyone has had those experiences where you just really need a third hand to hold a pencil for jotting down notes while you're working on a project. This is a great solution for those times.

The quirktm is not meant for flat out writing or journaling, but instead is meant to be worn while working on something so that your pencil doesn't float around or you can skip the step of picking it up. From crafts to the laboratory, nearly everyone can think of a situation in their life where this would improve their efficiency.

I tried it out, and it really works. There is no sharpening either, just plug in a new point.

This is an offshoot of the ComfortStulus for the Nintendo DS, and I think it's a great idea. What do you guys think? Would you use it? I'm going to use it while sewing.

Quickspot: Faber-Castell Art Grip color pencil

What: Faber-Castell Art Grip colored pencil-yellow

This pencil is advertised to have one of the best grips around. I was a little unsure because it just looks like paint on the barrel, but once I started messing with it, I was impressed. The dots provide traction to your fingers, and the overall spread offers a grip for any position.

The color was smooth and easily blended when I did a gradient, and it seemed like the Habana paper wanted to 'suck' the color right up. I had to write the review in a darker color because, well, the pencil is yellow.

Overall, I'm no artist but I loved testing out this pencil.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Review: Uniball Signo DX .28 Mandarin Orange and Lime Green

What: Uniball Signo DX .28
Huh: Dang good pen.

I don't need to tell you how amazing the Signo DX line is from Uni-ball. The non-artists among us have long searched for a pen they can write with for hours at a time with, that would put down a fine line, and not muck up their paper. Pens for art are too fragile, and often the thin tips were not designed to be written with for longer than a few sentences. We thought our calls were answered with the Sliccis, but not perfectly for some. The amazing nib and look wasn't quite matched by the ergonomics. Thus, the world still searched for answers.

The Signo DX .28 will give you a steady, fine line while being able to move smoothly over your paper at natural writing angles. This was a pen crafted for the written word. The wonderful folks at JetPens sent me two of the new color line up to test out and spread the word.

There are 6 happy new shades to compliment the standard 10 colors. I picked out the Mandarin Orange and Lime Green to see some contrast in the line.

I was very impressed by each. The colors were a bright and fun take on the standard colors, while still maintaining legibility. These are not flourescent colors that are harsh on the eyes and impossible to read.

I loved both colors, and plan to pick up the rest of the set. If I had to pick between the two, which would be very hard, I would say that the mandarin orange is easier to read on a plain white page than the lime green.

Overall, great new colors to compliment an outstanding existing line-up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Review: Quo Vadis "My Weekends" notebook

What: The "My Weekends" notebook in the Memoriae line by Quo Vadis

The Quo Vadis Memoriae line of notebooks are perfect for keeping track of important events, fun times, places to go, and people. The Memoriae notebooks come in a 12 incarnations, and even sport their own website for sharing your entries with others.

The lovely folks at Quo Vadis sent me one of the "My Weekends" notebooks to sample, which was perfect! I'm in a long distance relationship, so my weekends are really important to me. After using it for the past few weeks, I can say that I will continue to use it until it is filled.

The main chunk of the notebook has blanks for writing about your weekend activities. I love that the blanks are open to interpretation. Since there are no labels, you can easily customize your own entry system. I'm still playing with my own system, but I'm enjoying the flexibility.

The back section offers a place to index important places, or locations. Again, the formatting is flexible so you can come up with whatever labeling system you wish. Here is an example of how I've done mine.

The last bit of the notebook is a place for you to write in lists of people, places, events, etc.

Offers structured formatting that can be customized to fit whatever you can think of.
Great paper, no feathering with my fountain pen.
Great size. Just larger than a small size Moleskine, so it fits perfectly in my purse.
Lots of options as far as what notebook you get. With 12 different themed journals, you're sure to find something that fits well with your life.

A little difficult to find right now. Check out this post to see find out how to get one.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Best mail day ever

I love getting the mail. Don't you? It's exciting to see treasures from the outside world. This perspective may be a little skewed because I'm living at home taking care of a family member, but I'm serious. Getting the mail is the highlight of my day.


This has got to be the best mail day ever! First, I get my September issue of the Pencil of the Month Club, and I also get an amazing new notebook sample from Exaclair (readas: Quo Vadis)!

I'm working on reviews of them all, in the meantime, check out my photostream on Flickr to see the newest pics.