Hello! It’s Katherine. (thus the mediocre iPhone photos instead of Franz’s awesome ones with proper light balance)
I don’t think I’ve written about how I got sucked into the rabbit hole that is the fountain pen Instagram community… long story short, it was via the fantastic stationary goodies Target sells in the “dollar spot”, now called the bullseye playground.
I’ve been buying cards, post its and other paper goodies from them for a couple years now, and have found them to generally be fountain pen tolerable — so when I picked up this stationery set earlier today, I thought I’d do a quick review!
First things first — it’s $1 (+sales tax) for a matching set of six envelopes, six sheets of paper and six sticker seals.
The paper is a light mint, but there is also a pink/magenta themed set in stores right now. The bullseye playground lines seem to rotate fairly often, so I thought I should get this review up sooner than later. The stationary is manufactured by Madeforretail, who also seems to manufacture quite a few of their other paper products.
There’s a close up of the different inks above. I’d say the paper is comfortably usable with Japanese fines, but for anything broader than that, there will be some feathering, but the amount varies from ink to ink.
It’s a thick paper, with almost no show through. This is a close up of the page where the flex curls are. You can see the texture of the paper in this shot — decently smooth, but not coated, the way Rhodia is. I had no issues writing on it with a fine, or even a Spencerian grind nib, but I do have a light hand. I’d say it’s very similar in texture to most copy paper.
Here’s a writing sample on the envelope. Surprisingly, it’s a little better than the inside sheets!
Overall, at a $1 per pack, I think it’s a good buy if you like the aesthetic and don’t plan to use a super broad or wet nib on it. I wrote a letter on it using my fine VP, which, if you squint at it, does have a little feathering, but is totally readable. My one complaint is that you have six envelopes and six inside sheets — that means each letter is only 1 page long? That’s pretty short! Alternately, I’ll have leftover envelopes, which, given the cute inside envelope liners, may not be a bad thing!
We are once again joined by our guest reviewer, Roz and she contributed her thoughts on this Pelikan pen. She is also our first left-handed reviewer and we are glad to have her persepctive. Thanks very much Roz!
Hand Over That Pen, please!
Roz: Classy and petite! The green, black and gold made me feel fancy just looking at it. I don’t usually seek out gold accents, but this pen makes me question that inclination. Definitely the smallest pen I was ever going to write seriously with, so I’m really looking forward to it!
Katherine: I love the styling of classic Pelikans, and this one is no different. Plus, its adorable! ❤
Pam: Great things come in small packages so when you make a Pelikan petite, it’s adorable. My wallet is very lucky that the white tortie did not come in this size. I don’t normally enjoy the “classic” styling of the Pelikan, but in a small package, it harkens back to the vintage Peter Pan pens.
Franz: Hey! Did someone leave a Pelikan M1000 in the drier, or did it shrink from ink starvation? Harharhar!
Yep, it’s that familiar and elegant green stripe of a Pelikan in their smallest pen ever. They introduced this pocket pen version in 1998 and the green-striped finish is a standard finish as well as a black barrel one. Pelikan also produced a few special edition finishes in the year 2000’s. The M300 is unmistakably a Pelikan Souverän pen.
The Business End
Roz: Springy! Honestly, I had a lot of trouble writing with this nib. I wasn’t expecting the amount of bounce back, so my natural writing pace had a lot of adjusting to do. I also learned (thank you Pam!) that this is an oblique medium nib, maybe my inexperience with this type of nib added to my inconsistent writing.
Katherine: I liked this nib more than I expected. The only other oblique Pelikan nib I’ve written with much was a vintage OB, and that was an unusable angle for me. This one was comfortable, forgiving and surprisingly wet (I’m not sure why I expect small pens to be drier? Not like this one can’t hold a lot of ink…)
Pam: I find the oblique nib to be too inconsistent for my writing style. I always feel that I am apply more pressure to the “longer tine,” if that makes sense. That being said, like all Pelikan nibs, I find the nib to be smooth and enjoyable to write with. This nib somehow reminds me of an ice skater gliding over the ice on one leg.
Franz: The M300’s 14-carat nib is quite springy and I love it! An oblique nib’s characteristic always seem weird to me at first but I eventually get used to it. It’s just being conscious of turning the pen at the right angle. But yes, this nib’s flow is quite generous and I enjoyed it.
Write It Up
Roz: The diameter of the pen being so small, especially because I tend to grip low on the section, made it difficult for me to find a comfy grip position and my hand got tired pretty quickly as a result.
Katherine: This pen is usable for me for quick notes… But not the pinnacle of comfort for longer writing sessions. Overall though, not bad. Much more usable than I expected, but definitely more of an on-the-go pen than a sit-at-my-desk-and-write-about-my-deep-dark-feelings.
Pam: When I said that this pen reminds me of the Peter Pan pens, it’s likely due to how I see this pen being used. For quick notes in a pocketbook. I find the diameter of the pen to be too slim for a prolonged period of time. I am always fearful of snapping this petite pen with my iron grip.
Franz: At 4.3 inches closed, it’s a small pen. I went into the 20-minute writing session already expecting that my hand wouldn’t be comfortable. And I’m glad I managed my expectations because I did feel fatigued after ten minutes. The section and barrel’s thinness contributed to that fatigue. I only used the pen with the cap posted because unposted, the M300 was almost disappearing in my hand.
Roz: At first I was super worried I would lose this pen because of its size. However, the clip on the M300 is really strong and it did great in my carrier. I admit though that for my day to day writing, I did not use the M300 much due to the size of the pen being difficult for me to hold for long periods of time.
Katherine: Great pen for EDC! The clip is strong, the size is perfect and the nib makes notes enjoyable. My only gripe is that the typical Pelikan wetness, paired with a medium nib doesn’t make for the fastest drying notes. That’s easily solved by getting a different nib though. 10/10, would EDC again.
Pam: In a checkbook, pocket book or a dainty pocket, it’s perfect! Perhaps it’s the size, but I feel that it’s more fragile than the normal size pens so I wouldn’t throw it into a jeans pockets if you plan on sitting down or putting your keys in the same pocket.
Franz: The M300’s Every Day Carry-ness is what won me over though. Definitely fits in my shirt pocket, and it’s ready to write with only one turn of the cap. It may be too short for my hand unposted but is perfectly usable for a fast signature, jotting down a phone number, or whatever quick note one needs. If I know I’ll use it for more than five words, I’ll post the cap and it does so securely. Unlike Pam’s thoughts, I didn’t find the M300 more fragile than any other pen. Granted, I wouldn’t dare to sit on this pen (or any other pen) but it’s quite durable for everyday usage.
And just like any other Pelikan Souverän, it’s a piston-filled pen and the piston operates very smoothly. As shown in the photo below, you can see through the barrel’s stripes and see the ink level clearly. The smaller barrel definitely means a smaller ink capacity though. And it holds about 50% less ink than an M1000. At 0.7mm, the ink capacity is just like a converter for other pens.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Roz: The M300 is a beautiful pen. I would like to give it another try down the road, maybe when my experience with oblique, springy nibs develops a bit more. ^_^;
Katherine: A great pocket pen! Classy looking, fantastic nib and the perfect size. My only gripe is the price, for $200+, I would likely get a vintage 400 instead (fairly easily found at around $150) and I’d still have a reasonably small pocket pen, but one that can play dual duty as a normal writer as well.
Pam: Despite my love for pocket sized pens, I would have to say that this pen is an acquired taste given the size. It’s not as practical as the M200 or M400 in size. For those with average and larger size hands, it may be a challenge to use for an extended writing session. For those who love Peter Pan pens or pocket pens, I would highly recommend trying out this pen before committing your wallet to it.
Franz: Clearly, the Pelikan M300 is for people with smaller hands or for people who wants to have an elegant looking pocket pen. Also, it’s a great pen for a Pelikan pen addict (like myself). Have you guessed who owns this pen yet? =) For my large hands, the M300 is a novelty. I love it but I don’t see myself using this pen comfortably on a daily basis. My hand is definitely happier writing with a M800 or M1000.
The M300’s Souverän styling gives it a serious and classic look but it’s tininess makes it a “cute” pen.
In this review, we have included our guest reviewer Claire (@writteninrice). She creates and sells pen wraps via her etsy site as well as at the San Francisco pen show. Thanks for joining us in reviewing this Nakaya pen Claire!
Hand Over That Pen, please!
Katherine: The Nakaya Piccolo is one of my favorite shapes — it’s short, lovingly chubby, but also has pointed ends that give it some visual interest. In addition, the two I own are both in Nakaya’s lovely layered tamenuri urushi finishes. The Ao-tamenuri in the pen pictured is the more subtle of the two — the pen looks black at a quick glance, but upon closer look (or uncapping) there are hints of blue green.
Claire: It is hard to beat urushi in terms of beauty and depth. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of amazing materials and finishes out there, but as far as I’m concerned, urushi will always take the cake. The Piccolo is the perfect size for my hand. I have found the other Nakaya shapes to be just a little bit too long for my taste and almost feel a little awkward in my hand.
Pam: The Piccolo is a great compact pen that is similar in size to the Pilot Prera and the Sailor Pro Gear Slim, so it would not be surprising that Piccolo is my favorite Nakaya model to hold. (The dorsal fin version 2 is my favorite to behold, if that makes sense.) I greatly appreciate that the shape is not the ubiquitous cigar shape, but rather has tapered ends which is much more streamline in my opinion. Although I greatly appreciate the craftsmanship of urushi, I am also really intimidated to own a urushi pen. Perhaps the cost plays a role in it, but I am almost afraid to damage the pen or the finish. I am just not in the urushi-comfy zone yet.
Franz: The Nakaya Piccolo has a very appealing aesthetic. As Katherine “pointed” out, the pointed ends are a nice feature and when you see it, you know that it’s a Piccolo model. Notice that the barrel’s finial is pointier than the cap’s? I really like that detail. And the Ao-tamenuri finish is lovely especially the sliver of color where the cap and barrel meet as well as on the threads. Sadly, it has been a couple years now since Nakaya discontinued the Ao-tamenuri finish. The Piccolo is still available in a variety of colors and finishes though.
The Business End
Katherine: Nakaya nibs are some of my favorite overall (as are Platinum nibs) and this one is my favorite out of all of them. The base nib was a Soft Medium which gives it some lovely springiness and bounce. Then Mottishaw ground it down to a Cursive Italic that gives my small writing wonderful line variation. The nib does have a specific sweet spot though, if you don’t find it (luckily it lines up with how I naturally hold my pen) the nib can feel scratchy.
Claire: The first thing I said when I tried Katherine’s pen was that I needed to get a nib like this on my next Nakaya. The Soft Medium CI is amazing. I am a huge fan of soft nibs, not looking for line variation, but the spring in the nib gives a feedback. The CI gives some line variation even when my handwriting isn’t super tiny.
Pam: If I was to purchase a Nakaya, or have another custom pen built, it would have a soft nib from Platinum. Platinum has done “soft” nibs the right way. It has a wonderful bounciness and allows for writing variation without straining your hand. However, if you write light enough, you can still get a consistent line. The feed dealt with the extra need for ink with no problems. Adding a CI grind to this nib was a genius decision because it allowed for more versatility and variability in your writing depending on writing pressure. I like a bit of a bite with my CIs and this grind by Mottishaw had a pretty great sweet spot. Of course with a CI I prefer to hold it in a tripod grip but for modeling purposes, my iron grip was photographed.
Franz: I have tried Nakaya nibs before especially with John Mottishaw’s cursive italic treatment however, this was my first time to use a “soft” nib and it was pleasant to write with. The bounce of the nib while writing was delightful. It does have a sweet spot because it already is a fine nib and then transformed into a cursive italic. When you’re not writing in the correct angle, the nib will definitely let you know. Trust me, I know. But when you have it in the right angle, it’s perfect!
And I believe that that heart-shaped breather hole adds to the love of writing with Nakaya nibs.
Write It Up
Katherine: The Piccolo is a perfect size for me. It’s short, which fits my hand wonderfully, but not too narrow. It has the section width of a full size pen (it tapers from 12.25mm to 10.75mm) which makes it comfortable to hold for long periods of time.
Claire: My Piccolo is the first pen I reach for when its time to write anything down. I might have burned through a good deal of my finished bottle of Shin Kai with this pen. There are not many pens I can sit down and write with for hours on end. Usually, I tend to switch pens every few pages of writing to keep things interesting.
Pam: I did borrow a Piccolo from Katherine and had a hard time returning it. It was a really great pen with such wonderful craftsmanship that can literally be felt as you handle and write with the pen. The threads are not sharp for iron grip purposes and the section is fantastic, so comfortable for the tripod grip. The variation that the nib provides really kept my attention and interest as I wrote with this pen.
Franz: Ah yes, the 20-minute writing experience. I gotta say that my hand wasn’t really happy writing with the Piccolo for a long period of time. Actually, after five minutes of writing my hand felt fatigued. I found the section to be a bit narrow so my grip landed on the barrel section and the short length of the pen was not really comfortable for me. I also tried to lower my grip to the section like the ladies above but it just didn’t feel natural for me.
Katherine: The concern with EDCing a Nakaya is the cost — this wouldn’t be a cheap pen to replace. But, it’s perfectly suited for the job: it uncaps in one and a quarter turns, it can have a clip (this writer does, my other one is a cigar, which doesn’t), it has a fantastic nib that has never spat into it’s cap and it has a very durable finish. But, I know for many folks, the idea of a scratch in the urushi is terrifying — so the Piccolo can certainly be an EDC, but it’s all about your comfort level! Personally, this is part of my bring-to-work rotation, but I work a lazy desk job. 🙂
Claire: There are not too many pens in my collection that I would bring with me to work. Though I don’t have a job where fountain pens would be remotely useful. That being said, when I am going to sit down and take notes or journal, this is one of the first pens I reach for. and the reason is just how comfortable it is to write with. This is key especially for long note taking sessions .
Pam: Not being the owner of the Piccolo, I kept the pen safe at home. Again, this pen is a work of art and at the risk of sounding pretentious, it should be savored while in use. This pen is best enjoyed in long and slow writing sessions.
Franz: The Piccolo’s smaller size qualifies it to be called a pocket pen and definitely is a convenient pen to bring along anywhere. It is also a nice pen to use at my work setting. The nib was fine but smooth for copier paper. When I need to write a quick note or signature, the fast uncapping helps a lot. The clip definitely secured the pen on my shirt pocket during the day. The pen is a cartridge/converter filled so you may find yourself re-inking after 2-3 days if you use it a lot.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Katherine: If I could only keep one pen and nib, this might be it (please don’t make me though). It’s a fantastic pairing of an excellent (and interesting) nib and a visually interesting body that’s truly a work of art. The Piccolo is certainly a short pen, but it’s an unusual combination of shortness without the typical small-pen narrowness — and that fits my hand perfectly.
Claire: There are no two ways around it, I love this pen. The size, shape and weight are perfect for long writing sessions, though I wish the converter could hold more ink since I am refilling the pen constantly. I don’t think this could be the only pen I owned for just this reason. The small ink capacity would make it difficult as a daily writer for me since it seems that I rarely run out of ink when I’m home.
Pam: Honestly, if I had to recommend “if you can only write with one pen for the rest of your life,” I would be hard pressed to find any other pen that could compare to the performance, beauty, uniqueness and craftsmanship to this pen with a soft nib- especially for those with petite hands. (I feel like such a traitor to my Sailor collection by admitting this.)
Franz: I like the Nakaya Piccolo for it’s aesthetics and nib performance. But the very reason that the ladies above love this pen is the same reason that I wouldn’t own one. It’s just too darn small for my big hands especially when it comes to journaling or writing letters. To solve this issue is to just post the cap, right? But that isn’t something you do with an urushi laquered pen because it will mar the finish. Most people would like to take care of their pen’s appearance especially when it costs something like a Nakaya.
Overall, small to average sized hands, try the Piccolo out because you will more than likely want it. For people with larger hands who like the shape, skip the Piccolo and look for either a Long Piccolo or a Naka-Ai. Both are exclusive pens sold by Aesthetic Bay in Singapore. and Classic Fountain Pens, Inc. in California, respectively.
While we absolutely believe that every day is fountain pen day, the first Friday of November is quite special because we get to celebrate our favorite writing instrument throughout the world in unison. This is also a day or a weekend wherein different deals and discounts are offered by our favorite retailers. Check out the Sponsors tab of the FPD website for more info on these deals.
More importantly, Fountain Pen Day is also a great time to share the joys of writing with a fountain pen to family, and friends!
To celebrate, we the trio, are running a giveaway with three prizes for three lucky winners:
A limited edition green demonstrator Oeste Prera fountain pen
A bottle of the 2017 limited edition Lamy Petrol ink
A bottle of one of our favorite inks — Sailor Jentle Yama-dori
Follow us on instagram, @handoverthatpen & regram our giveaway image or post a picture of your favorite fountain pen and ink with the hashtag #hotp2017FPDGAW (Please make sure your account is public so we can find it! And no giveaway accounts.) or —
Comment on this blog entry with your favorite fountain pen and ink (not necessarily a pairing)
The giveaway is open from now, 11/03/2017 until 11/10/2017 11:59pm Pacific time. One entry per person please.
The giveaway is open internationally, but we aren’t responsible for any taxes, customs fees or duties that may be applied, and will be shipping without tracking due to cost.
Katherine: My pairing for the month isn’t thematic in any way, just a pen and ink combo I was (and am) excited to use — Pen BBS June Pearl (picked up from Straits Pens at the SF Show a few months ago) paired with a Pilot 742 FA sporting a Masuyama Needlepoint grind. Ignore the washi, I was trying to decide how something looked… and now it’s just there.
I love the pairing of the pale shimmer ink with the soft flexy nib of the 742. Written in a fine line, June Pearl is pretty light, but in the FA I get swirls of shimmer and more readable text. All in all, I really enjoy writing with the 742 and the FA nib, I’m just (unfortunately) not a big fan of the body.
Pam: For October, the month of Halloween, it would seem most appropriate to bring out the Sailor 1911, Nagasawa edition; a demonstrator with the ruthenium trim. Even the converter has the ruthenium trim! It is one my favorite colorways: monochromatic. Honestly, I was not a fan of the 1911, but this particular finish was so unique (at the time) that acquiring it from Claire was instantaneous. (Thank you Claire!!)
I wanted a dark ink to complement the “darkness” of the 1911, but not a black ink. The only ink that came to mind for me was Sailor Shigure. The dark and deep purple is a wonderful complement to the rhuthenium trim. It’s also one of the few inks that I adore that doesn’t have an obvious sheen to it. That only adds to the mysterious and haunting vibe of the ink when paired with this pen during the Halloween season.
Franz: This month, my pairing is more of a discovery and rediscovery of sorts. First, the pen. I haven’t written with my Lamy 2000 for almost a year and I’ve definitely missed it. The 2000 is easily one of my favorite black pens of all time. And now for the ink, I recently bought a bottle of Kobe’s #17 Shioya Blue without trying a sample but I figured it could be a suitable ink for work.
So a pen and nib I know very well, and a new ink. As expected, the Kobe ink flowed very well with the cursive italic nib. Actually, the italic nib showed the shading properties of this ink very nicely. I’m so glad I did this pairing and since I wrote with the 2000 a lot, the ink level is now below 50% . I’ll most likely top off the ink in a week or so. Thank you for reading our inky thoughts here.
Wishing you a Happy Halloween! And please comment what pen and ink combo are you are currently using.
HOTP Editorial: Please note that the Classic Pens LB5 were limited edition releases from 2012 and since then has been unavailable for sale from their authorized retailers. The LB5 pen can occasionally be found for sale in the secondary market, or at a pen show. Granted that because this is a limited edition pen, this may only happen a few times and far in between.
This review, and our pen blog is primarily focused on providing a point-of-view (or is it a grip-of-view?) from different hand sizes as well as compare the LB5’s size against other more common pens. Thank you for reading our thoughts and reviews!
Hand Over That Pen, please!
Katherine: This is a very sizable pen made out of a very unique and interesting material. The something or another fancy acrylic has a lot of depth, in a way that is totally unique from celluloid or other acrylics. I really like how this pen looks — I just wish it were smaller.
Pam: Holy nightstick Batman! That’s how big this pen is (at least to me). It’s one of the most notable features of the pen. The second thing that I noticed of this massive beauty is the material. The material has a lot of surface area to show off it’s depth and iridescence. Pictures can’t do this pen justice. One of my favorite materials of the LB 5 is the purple. The overall aesthetic of the pen is very much a classic shape with the traditional gold trim. However, maybe it’s the size or the material, but I wouldn’t consider the aesthetic of the pen to be “vintage” looking.
Franz: CHATOYANCE! Pardon my French. An over-sized pen with a beautiful acrylic material? Please tell me more!
The Classic Pens LB5 is an impressive pen to behold. Their unique material lures you in and the Sailor King of Pen nib performance keeps you coming back for more. As the blog photographer for HOTP, I tried my very best to show the beauty of the LB5’s material but nothing beats seeing it in person.
Background Info: Classic Pens was established in 1987 and has been known for collaborating with other pen brands, and artists to introduce stunning limited edition art pens. The pen in review is part of the LB Collection wherein LB is an acronym for Lambrou and Brown. Andreas Lambrou and Keith Brown are the two founders of Classic Pens. The LB5 series was introduced in 2012 and 2013 to commemorate the company’s 25th year anniversary and was aptly named, Classic Pens LB5 25th Anniversary Shizen (Nature) Pens.
The unique acrylic was made by two companies. First, Sintetica from Italy cast the sheets of pearlized acrylic and then Carville from the United Kingdom used an exclusive diffusion bonding technique to bond multiple sheets together and made the material more stable. The acrylic was then sent to Sailor Pen Japan to each be turned into a King Profit (King of Pen) pen. A difference to be noted is that the LB5 was made 5mm longer than the King Profit pen. And the pen was fitted with a 21-karat King Profit nib. The nib sizes offered were either a medium, or broad. There were a few Nagahara Cross Point nibs available at a premium price.
The LB5 was manufactured in six different colors: Tensui (raindrops) in Space Blue, Kaen (violent flames) in Flame Red, Midorigi (new green trees) in Forest Green, Tairiku (continent) in Marble White, Kouseki (metal ore) in Diamond Brown, and Tairiku (continent) in Amethyst Mauve which is the pen we are reviewing. This limited edition was issued only with 50 pens in each color. with a listed price of $1,600 in 2013. Important to note that in recent years, Classic Pens changed their name into Lambrou Pens.
The Business End
Katherine: I’ve tried LB5s with both an unmodified Medium and a Broad Cursive Italic, both were lovely. The first time I tried it, I was surprised by how soft and bouncy the nib was. I loved writing with it, though it is a monster of a nib. I tend to hold my pens pretty far forward, and the size of this nib means I hold it at the very lip sometimes. Not a problem, but an observation.
Pam: This nib is a Sailor nib, so it’s perfect. Actually, it’s not the typical size of the Sailor nibs that we know and adore so well. Like the pen, it’s bigger! With the extra size and material of the nib, comes with more bounce. Perhaps, it’s my natural bias to love all things Sailor but I really enjoyed the “oversized” nib with the “oversized” pen. (Oversized is in quotes because I know it’s the perfect size for bear paws.) Oddly enough, I felt that this nib was proportional to the pen and performed extremely well. It was a smoother nib than I expected and I didn’t feel the pencil-like feedback that Sailor nibs are known for.
Franz: The LB5 is made by Sailor so naturally, the nib used was their King of Pen line. As Pam mentioned, the size of the KoP nib was balanced against the larger size of the LB5.
Most Sailor nibs write perfectly out-of-the-box and this was no exception. The unmodified broad nib wrote smoothly and had a bit of bounce to it. The 21-karat KoP nibs are not meant to be used for flex writing but its springiness provided a little flair to my writing. As shown in the second photo below, the LB5 section is comparable to other over-sized pens and was comfortable for my grip.
Write It Up
Katherine: This pen is a littttle too large for me. It’s usable, but if I grip it tightly, my hand ends up pretty tired. If I grip it loosely though, it’s great! A fun nib in a pen that’s beautiful. Unfortunately, though, I tend to be a not-loose gripper by default, so I don’t think this pen will ever be a favorite for journaling.
Pam: The pen is easier to write with the tripod grip. My “iron fist” grip had the larger pen feel unbalanced. The tripod grip being a “secondary grip” for me did tire out my hand, however the width of the pen was still very comfortable in either grip. The threads were not sharp so I wasn’t so worried about my “iron fist” grip getting too uncomfortable. If only my hands were larger, this pen would be much more comfortable. This pen would be great for the “normal” or medium hand size. (Just not pixie hands.)
Franz: The bear paw… I mean, my hand wrote with the LB5 effortlessly in both posted or unposted modes. As mentioned earlier, the LB5 is 5mm longer than the “standard” Sailor King of Pen. This is because Classic Pens requested Sailor to lengthen the barrel to make the pen more comfortable to write with when unposted. I truly appreciate the extra length of the barrel and was sufficient for my larger hands. I do post the cap sometimes when i feel that I’d like the pen to be a little heavier and it was still a pleasant journaling session.
Katherine: This pen is too large for me to EDC comfortably. I tend to stick my pens in notebooks sandwiches, or occasionally in my jacket pockets… and this is just too big. It’s like having a hot dog in your pocket. But, if you have larger pockets than I do, it seems up to the task. Solidly made, and takes about 2.25 twists to uncap, so solid but not too tedious.
Pam: This pen is a bit too large for my pockets, whitecoat or jeans. I would also not recommend being rough with this pen given that the material is so beautiful and may be scratched by keys. This beast will need a home in a case.
Franz: Is the LB5 a good pen for Every Day Carry use? Well, it could be. As detailed by the two ladies above, it is a larger pen to bring along. When I used this pen at work, I had to make sure that the dress shirt I was wearing had a deep breast pocket and even then, it still stuck out semi-securely. I am able to conceal and secure the LB5 when I constantly wear a suit jacket at work though. Now for carrying cases, it barely fit in my Nock Co. Sinclair case that I use on the daily. It does fit nicely inside my Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Six case and is quite secure in my bag. The broad nib is a little too wet for the cheap paper used at work but I believe a medium nib would be perfect.
Just like most Sailor pens, it is a cartridge/converter filled pen so when I used this pen on the daily, I found that I needed to refill every three days or so. An advantage of the c/c filler is it makes the pen light weight instead of having a filling mechanism installed which potentially makes a pen heavier.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Katherine: I can see why this pen is a grail for many, but the size just means it doesn’t work for me. I wish pen makers wouldn’t only make their flagships massive… It’s gorgeous, has a fantastic nib and has a really unique material. But, I prefer smaller pens. :/ Womp.
Pam: I love the nib of this pen. Unfortunately, this pen wouldn’t be balanced to have a small pen with a large nib. I would highly recommend this pen to those who have the fortune of having a “normal” hand size and can find one of these pens looking for a new home. The way I see, if both criteria are met, the stars have aligned and you are meant to have this pen. ;p (Wallet protests aside.)
Franz: As we have noted in the beginning of this review, the Classic Pens LB5 has long been sold out. If you are interested in the pen’s unique diffusion bonded acrylic, Andy Lambrou currently has another edition of limited edition pens in these acrylics. The Lambrou Pens LB6 Virtues is slowly being issued in seven different colors. This edition however is more limited since they are releasing only 10 pens in each color.
My final thoughts on the LB5? I am channeling the thoughts of the people who had reviewed the LB5 before (Dan Smith, SBRE Brown, Matt Armstrong, etc.) when I say that, I love this pen! The Classic Pens LB5 has been a part of my Top 5 pens ever since I brought it home from the pen show. Why? Is it because: it’s a limited edition? the material? the pen size? the aesthetic? the value? the connection I have with the pen maker? I can’t specifically answer why but I feel that it’s the whole package that the LB5 delivers.
Welcome to another one of our pen reviews! This time, we are joined by our second guest reviewer and she is also our first left-handed guest, Roz Hung.
Roz is a techie by profession and enjoys writing and sketching as well. She’s always admired fountain pens but was afraid to use them until Pam took her under her wing less than a year ago. Pam let her write with a few pens to see what she might like and own. Roz primarily uses her fountain pens for journaling, and scheduling on her planner. Currently, she’s also using her pens to sketch and doodle for Inktober and tries to keep up with the daily prompts for October. When Roz isn’t busy writing or drawing, she spends her time baking in the kitchen. Thank you for joining the fun and helping us out Roz!
Hand Over That Pen, please!
Roz: My first impression of the Kaweco Perkeo was how attractive and friendly its colors were. While the colors are solid and the pen has no sheen or gloss to it, I think the facets really give it a subtle eye catching quality.
Katherine: The Perkeo is a little weird to me. My initial reaction was “ooooh facets!” then “hm… the facets on the body and cap are different…” I like the colors overall, but have clear favorites.
Pam: The Perkeo has a design that will appeal to both children and adults. The cap of the Perkeo heralds back to the beloved Kaweco Sports that we all know and love. The colors are eye catching and pretty sophisticated, in my opinion. The faceted body is an ode to Kaweco’s overall aesthetics. I am really impressed by this starter pen.
Franz: These Kaweco Perkeo pens fascinate me. It is a substantial pen compared to the Kaweco Sport and the colors may be subdued but at the same time they are enthralling. The fine facets of the barrel makes it an elegant looking pen and makes the Perkeo stand out.
The Perkeo currently has four finishes: Indian Summer (black and yellow green), Bad Taste (pink and black), Cotton Candy (light pink and gray), and Old Chambray (white and light blue). As we expressed above, the Perkeo’s finishes are captivating and I’d like to add that Kaweco’s naming of these colors are equally intriguing. The Indian Summer and Bad Taste are both supplied with a black steel nib, and black finial. And both the Cotton Candy, and Old Chambray sports a chrome steel nib, and chrome finial.
Note: The Perkeo pen we used for the In the Hand photos above was the Indian Summer finish. During our review process, we focused on using Katherine’s Cotton Candy Perkeo shown below.
The Business End
Roz: I admit at the top of my lungs that I know nothing about nibs! However, I liked the line width of the Kaweco’s nib and I only needed to make minor adjustments to my horizontal tilt for a smooth writing experience.
Katherine: The variability on these nibs is surprising — my boyfriend and I each own one, and mine writes like a dry EF, and his writes like a wet Fine, even when inked with the same ink. Both are smooth and decent writers, but the variability in flow and tipping was surprising!
Pam: For the times I “crave” for a “chubby” line width, I gravitate towards a Kaweco EF nib. What I love about the Kaweco EF nib is that it creates a very round line that can sometimes compliment my writing style.
The ones that Katherine had were F nibs. Unsurprisingly, they wrote well out of the box with no issues for me. However, between the two pens that Katherine had for us to try out, I did notice a difference in the line width despite both pens being marked as F. One was drier than expected and the other flowed quite well. Aesthetically, the nib seems to be disproportionally too petite for a “regular” sized pen. Or maybe that’s just me.
Franz: The nib on this Perkeo wrote with a very thin line width but it wrote immediately and quite smooth with minimal feedback for a fine nib. Visually, the nib is very slightly recessed and I initially thought that the nib was the same that Kaweco uses for the Sport model but I believe I was wrong. Side-by-side, the Perkeo nib is a size bigger than the nib on the Sport. The Perkeo is inked via a cartridge or a standard international converter and that makes it convenient since I have a few in my drawer.
Write It Up
Roz: I wrote as much as I could with this pen. The length of the Kaweco fit my hand nicely, and since it was so light I could write with it posted and unposted. My only (mild) struggle was with the triangular section. At the beginning, it would take me a bit to work my way to a comfortable grip on the section – after a few times of writing with this pen, I got to a point where only minor mid-writing adjustments needed to be made.
Katherine: I really expected to hate the Perkeo because it has a triangular grip, and the only other triangular grips I’ve used (and stronnnngly disliked) are the Lamy Safari and Jinhao x450, but surprisingly, I quite enjoy the Perkeo. Maybe it’s the shape of the triangular grip, or the angle or some other sorcery, but it’s a light comfortable pen for me. This is the “entry level” Kaweco folks should look at. I’m not sure why you’d buy a Sport anymore unless you want to carry it in your pockets. Or have a really small pen case?
Pam: The Perkeo is pretty light, just like the acrylic Kaweco Sport, which is both an advantage and disadvantage in my book. I find that in pens that are too light, I tend to bear down harder on the paper. Yet for portability and journaling purposes, the weightlessness of this pen made it really easy to start and continue using with little fatigue (if I don’t bear down). Interestingly enough, the disadvantage of weightlessness that I pinpointed on the Sport, was offset by the length and size of the Perkeo. It was a joy to write with.
The triangular grip didn’t bother me very much since the corners were well rounded. I find the triangular grip on the Perkeo to be more comfortable than the Lamy Safari with my grip.
Franz: Surprisingly, this is a pen that I can comfortably write with unposted for a long period of time. Posting the cap makes it a little long but the added weight definitely makes it better though. The Perkeo’s section is approximately the same width as the barrel and this let me grip the pen wherever I found comfortable. My fingers naturally landed right on the transition of the triangular grip as it ends toward the top of the section. I enjoyed approximately 20 minutes of writing on my journal and my hand did not cramp at all.
Roz: I kept the Kaweco in a Nock Lookout case and it did great! I actually did use it throughout my day, the lightweight feel of the pen made it easy to grab and made quick notes.
Katherine: I enjoyed this for the few days I carried it. It’s light, durable (yes, I dropped it. maybe intentionally) and the facets make sandwiching it in a notebook pretty secure — no worries about a rounded pen sliding out or shooting out of either end of my notebook (generally not a problem except with the fattest roundest and clipless-est pens though, tbh). And the lack of a fancy finish means it can go in a pocket with keys and come out looking the same!
Pam: Other than a clip, this would a great EDC. It doesn’t take much to uncap, it’s a postable pen (no lost caps!), and light! Again, some see the weight as a disadvantage, however, the construction of this pen should be able to stand up to a trip to the washing machine. Ink stains not withstanding.
Franz: Using the Perkeo at work for 2 days was quite nice. It’s a no frills kinda pen that just wrote which is what an Every Day Carry pen should be. I placed the pen in my dress shirt pocket and for most of the time, it stayed upright. The length definitely made it easy to grab and not fish out of the pocket like a clipless Kaweco Sport or something similarly sized. The facets on the cap made sure the pen did not roll on my desk. And even if the pen was open and cap unposted, the pen did not roll away as long as I place it on the desk gently.
The snap-cap allows for quick usage when needed and provides a positive snap when you want to close it. The fine Kaweco nib was suitable for the not-so-stellar copier paper found in our office. And as Katherine described above, it passed the durability field test. Two thumbs up!
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Roz: I think the Kaweco is a really fun pen and I enjoyed trying it out. It was an easy writer (after some adjustments) and it fit my hand size quite nicely.
Katherine: I like it! It’s not life changing, but if the aesthetic suits you, it’s a light and totally reasonable pen. Mine is somewhat sentimental, so it’s sticking around, otherwise though, it isn’t a pen I likely would have purchased on my own… but it’s really hard to say no to your non-pen-enthusiast boyfriend wanting to get matching pens as you stand in a cute stationery store after having driven ten hours to see a total solar eclipse. So it’s my eclipse pen. (Except he got the yellow and black, which is eclipse-y themed. I have the pink and grey, which is more… rubber eraser themed)
Pam: Honestly, the pen is a GREAT example of a starter pen for those who want to try out a Western sized nib. For the price, the design and the nib performance, the Perkeo is a contender to be a great starter pen. Will it surpass the Lamy Safari or the TWSBI Eco? Maybe not, but depending on what you are looking for, why not try the Perkeo?
Franz: The Perkeo joins the ranks as one of the recommended starter pens. The only thing to consider is the fact that a converter is not supplied with the pen and is an additional expense. But hey, the Lamy Safari and/or Al-Star does not come with a converter either. I love that the Perkeo takes a standard international one!
Well, what else can I really say differently about the Perkeo that the three ladies above haven’t yet? Ditto? Hehehe… =) The bear paw likes it a lot! But seriously, if the colors appeal to you and you’d like to try an inexpensive pen with some facets, go get one of these. I for sure did and not just because it’s blue. =)
One of the age-old (not really) questions of the fountain pen hobby is… which Nakaya shape is right for me? This post attempts to help answer that question, and do a comprehensive side by side of the different sizes available. There is an official comparison chart, but we have found that it’s not terribly helpful for getting a feel of what a particular shape might be like in hand.
We’ve included every Nakaya shape except the Desk Pen. (Please feel free to send us one… we promise to give it a good home!) It is worth noting that the Decapod Mini is discontinued, and the Dorsal Fins are both paused for new orders right now.
Favorite Shape and Personal Preferences
Katherine: Hands down, my favorite shape is the Decapod Mini. The shorter narrower grips (see pictures below) are super comfortable for me, combined with a light pen that feels very proportionate is a hands down winner. My second runner up (and much easier to find) model is the Piccolo — more or less the same grip and proportions, just without the facets. My preference for the Decapod Mini over the Piccolo is purely aesthetic. (Shameless plug: If you or someone you know has a Decapod Mini you might consider selling, let me know! >___>)
The Piccolo, Decapod Mini, Decapod, Decapod Twist, Naka-Ai, Long Piccolo, and Portable all have the same section, and I love it. Between those, it all comes down to aesthetics and balance — the longer pens are comfortable for me, but a little heavier, which depending on my mood, is good or bad. The Neo Standard’s section is a similar width, but longer, which is all the same to me, since I hold my pens fairly far forward. The Dorsal Fins, however, have both a longer and fatter section than the others — which is usable, but not quite as comfortable as the others. But, very cool looking — so that’s a trade off for me. (That I’m still not decided on)
I had initially worried that the “full size” Nakaya pens would be too long for me to use comfortably, but the ebonite and urushi are so light, that it really doesn’t make that big of a difference over the Piccolo unless I compare side by side. If you prefer heavier pens, the Piccolo/Decapod Mini are certainly not for you. Actually… I’m not sure any of the Nakaya are.
Pam: Not surprisingly, with my love for the pens that are either pocket or petite, my favorite shape to hold is the Piccolo. Honestly, Katherine’s Piccolo with the Negoro finish was so compelling to use that I was afraid to use it “too much,” in fear of wanting to purchase a Nakaya for myself. The threads are not sharp so despite my grip, it doesn’t dig in. My pointer finger rests comfortably on the section. Unfortunately, the Decapod Mini does have quite a step so my grip isn’t as compatible with that amazing pen.
I find some of the larger sizes of the Nakayas, like the Naka-ai, to be too top heavy, or too long for me. The Neo-Standard, likely due to having the same section as the Piccolo, is my favorite of the regular sized pens. It’s pretty comfortable despite being quite a bit longer than the Piccolo.
Now, for my “white whale/mother of all the grails” of a pen, the Nakaya Dorsal Fins. Unfortunately, orders for the Dorsal Fins are currently on pause due to overwhelming demand. Dorsal Fin version 1 has a completely cyclic barrel making it similar to the size of the Neo-Standard in hand. If you like the Neo Standard, the Dorsal Fin version 1 would be perfect. Design-wise, I prefer the look of version 2, where the “fin” is extended to the body. It didn’t occur to me until I got to try a Dorsal Fin version 2 in hand but the “fin” part of the body can be oriented to your hand! Just take the feed and nib out and set it (carefully, of course) to what is most comfortable for you! I prefer having the fin turned towards the fleshy part between my thumb and pointer finger for optimal comfort. The fin reminds me of the clip on a Pilot VP so if you don’t like the VP due to the clip, consider flipping the Dorsal Fin body or going for version 1, if the Dorsal Fin is the holy grail for you too.
Franz: As the bearpaw-ed person in this trio, of course I would prefer the larger pen models in the Nakaya line up. The Neo Standard would be my favorite Nakaya model but it really was a close competition against the Naka-Ai. The longer section of the Neo Standard slightly edged the Naka-Ai to be my second favorite. The Neo Standard just feels so nice and snug for my hand just like how a Pelikan M1000 does for me. I guess you could also liken the Naka-Ai to a Pelikan M800. Both pens are very comfortable to write and journal with.
The Decapod is such a fantastic design and those facets show off the underlying urushi lacquer very nicely. It is a slight step down in size from the Naka-Ai but the facets and the taper on the barrel and cap makes it so appealing to me. As a quick aside, almost a year ago, my facet-crazed friend named Katherine painstakingly searched for a Decapod Mini and when she found one, I’d say she wasn’t wrong to do so because it was worth it.
I have only recently held the Dorsal Fin models and was surprised how large they were. The Dorsal Fin (1 or 2) is a definite step up in terms of size from a Neo Standard, or Naka-Ai. The fins on them are remarkable to look at and just delightful to hold.
Size Comparison Photos
We are very fortunate to either own, or be able to borrow most of the Nakaya pen models. Having awesome pen friends is definitely a benefit of this great pen community. There are three sets of comparison photos and this was dependent upon the availability of the pens to be photographed. A big thanks to everyone who lent us their pens for this post.
We hope you enjoyed this comparison post. And please let us know which Nakaya model speaks to you!
Our apologies dear friends. We skipped our August pen and ink pairing post for we all have been swamped for the past couple of months. We did not want to skip September as well no matter how late it may be. Thank you for reading and your kind words!
Katherine: This pen was the star of my SF Pen Show 2017 Haul — an “old size” Omas Paragon in Arco Verde. It has a smooth, relatively wet (but not puddle-y!) B CI. The nib is marked BB, but I think it was narrowed a little bit, but is realistically somewhere between a B and a BB, it’s wider than my other Omas B by a hair. I paired it with Waterman Tender Purple for both contrast and how easy to clean it is. The pairing has been very fun for me — a smooth broad CI putting down vivid stokes of purple, with a hint of sheen in the wetter spots. This might end up as a “one true pairing” for me, since I suspect this will be an annoying to clean pen. 🙂
Pam: As a great fan of alliteration, it would only seem appropriate that September would herald in the Sailor Sky with Sapphire ink. The Sailor Sky was my second Sailor Pro Gear Slim. The rest is how we should say, his-ssstory. This pairing is also one my first first “ink will match the pen” type of pairings. (I am working on being more adventurous!) It’s one of my most sustaining pairings!
Sailor Sky is a special edition color, although I don’t think it’s limited. It’s a special edition like the 4 Seasons. (I think.) The barrel color reminds me of a summer sky. I originally paired this pen with Bungbox Omaezaki Sea. However, what really stuck was Bungbox First Love Sapphire, an ink that Franz has introduced me to. To say the least, it was love at first write. I absolutely love the sheen on this ink! It’s a very distinct blue ink with a red sheen that comes through beautifully with the F nib of the Sailor Sky. Some people have compared it to Akkerman’s Shocking Blue. More than anything, I highly recommend trying First Love Sapphire, you might fall for it too.
Franz: So for the month of September, my pairing is the Pilot Custom 823 in Smoke or Black Transparent finish and Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku ink. Ku-Jaku/Peacock is a deep turquoise blue and is such a nice ink color for both work and personal use. The 823 is the first pen I’ve ever inked up with Ku-Jaku. Even though the nib on the 823 is a stock fine, I still appreciate the color it lays down on paper especially on Tomoe River paper in my Nanami Cross Field journal.
The Smoke finish definitely conceals the ink color inside the barrel but you can definitely see the ink level as you write. During meetings in a professional setting, this pen doesn’t call attention to itself but I still enjoy the subtlety of its transparency and places a smile on my face. Now on to trying to remember what that meeting was about.