..but not any Enchanted Blue, this is the Enchanted Ocean.
It combines the seriousness of a blue-black ink and the joyfulness of Hello Kitty merchandising, which means that you will be embarrassed to take it out at work as well as feeling awkward taking it out at a children’s party, too.
Photographed against the light to make the sparkles more obvious.
He said all and more I could have said, so change of plans then, I only post a short review of this mechanical pencil, but talk about why I like sliding sleeves, again.
I don’t know why sliding sleeves are such a niche. In my imagination drafting and technical drawing is done on a computer, so there’s no point in having a rigid sleeve/pipe around the lead so that you can use your mechanical pencil more precisely with a ruler.
In my imagination most use mechanical pencils for writing, at least when we talk about today and when we talk about Earth. Of course there will be exceptions, too.
When writing with a fixed sleeve you have to ‘click’ after you used up the 0.5mm or however much you have advanced the lead.
If you have a sliding sleeve it will retract while you use the lead, so you will have 4mm or more to use up before you need to advance the lead.
If you use soft leads (I don’t) the advantage gets even better than with hard leads because you use the lead p so much faster.
The OHTO Conception
Most of my ideas about this pencil can be seen in this video:
In short: You can adjust how far you want the lead to advance and you can adjust whether you want a fixed or a sliding sleeve.
That’s a lot of value for the $15 I paid on eBay. Unfortunately the pen is not available for this price anymore. As far as I can tell OHTO doesn’t have an official presence in the UK, so I wonder whether all OHTO pens here are grey imports anyway. If they are I certainly didn’t have to feel bad for buying it for a good price from Japan instead of buying it for a higher price from a grey importer in the UK.
With 23g the pen’s weight is pretty average for a pen with a metal body and slightly heavier than your average pen with a plastic body.
You might remember my table with the force needed for different sliding sleeves. Well, the OHTO Conception, at least my 0.3mm version, is a bit difficult to place in that table. When I first checked I got a very good value, 5cN or even better, but when I checked another time, after the pencil was in fixed sleeve mode, a force of four time that was needed. It seems that changing from sliding to fixed sleeve mode and back will not always put the sleeve in the same state. Sometimes you then have a ‘better’ sliding sleeve, sometimes a ‘worse’ one.
A great pencil, that could do with a bit more grip. I only wish I had bought another colour.
Today: another fountain pen related blog post. I try not to have too many of those, as this is mainly a pencil blog, but neither the last post about fake Lamy Safaris, nor this one were planned. They ‘just happened’, so please bear with me before we go back to pencils.
Farmers market surprise
The weekend before last our family went to to the farmers market at Cuerden Valley, a park about three miles South of our home.
We didn’t know what to expect and there weren’t much more than maybe ten to fifteen small stalls, but one of the stalls came as an unexpected surprise: Wood turned pens!
All the pens on sale there were made locally by David Royle. He started wood turning in 2004, but only recently, in 2012, started with pens and explained that he is still on a learning curve. He did also do mechanical pencils in the beginning, but because of problem with the pencil mechanism he stopped doing them.
Special wood and other materials
My assumption is that he buys the complete pen bodies and mechanisms and then creates and adds the wooden ‘shell’. Some of his wooden pens use rather special wood. One example is wood from Jim Beam or Jack Daniels Whiskey barrels.
He told me that his whole house will have a nice whiskey smell like when he works on those. Another example is English oak taken from the roof of a 17th century cottage.
There’s also material other than wood that is quite exciting, e.g. shredded Dollar notes made into some sort of resin ..and there are also acrylic pens.
He said the whole house will smell horrible when he works with the acrylic material.The most special pens are probably the inlay wood pens where coloured wood shapes are inlayed into the wood first before turning. This seems very labour intensive process.
I bought a fountain pen with African Wenge (African rosewood) wood for £31 (~$39; €37). It came with a converter and features a common Iridium point Germany nib As reported in other places many of these nibs are not from Germany. that is slightly springy, by springy I mean that you can vary the line if you press hard.
The pen is quite light and, unusally, features a thread on both ends of the body so that you can screw the cap on the end when writing. The grip section is a bit slim and doesn’t provide much grip, but other than that it is a nice fountain pen which is made beautiful by the wood on cap and body.
I had a look and found web sites selling tools and ‘blank’ pens for pen turning. They seem to cost around £6 (~$7.50; €37) and come from China, which reminded me of Richard Binder’s article on IPG nibs.
Well, finding pens at a farmers market was an unexpected surprise and hearing from the maker himself was fascinating.
Price and exchange rates: December 2016
As always: if you want to see an image in full resolution please right click and open in a new tab/window.
I am quite sure that I’ve written about my use and like of Lamy pens in previous blog posts.
My admiration for Lamy started in the Eighties
I’ve started using Lamy Safari fountain pens more than 30 years ago (my first fountain pen was from Pelikan though) and have been very happy with them throughout the years. I really can’t remember what colour my first Lamy Safari had, but I am quite sure it came in a cardboard box like the one seen here (scroll down), the one the first Safari came in. The next ten years the Safari (I had a few over the years) was being used every weekday.
I’ve also spend some time near Heidelberg (the place were the Lamy Safari is made), because I have some relatives who live two miles East of Heidelberg. It’s a great place, even though that doesn’t have anything to do with the design and quality of their pens.
..but what’s that? Dark clouds over Heidelberg and the Lamy factory. The fake Safaris are coming!
Invasion of the fake Lamy Safaris
I recently bought two Lamy Safaris from eBay UK and paid £23.98 (~$30; €28.50). Buying two Lamy Safaris from a normal UK online merchant would have cost £28 (~$35.50; €33.30), so not much more expensive, but the ones from eBay came with converters and they were colours not being made anymore.
Well, when I got the pens I noticed that they didn’t feel right. One of them was lime green, Lamy’s special colour in 2008. The ‘screw’ in the cap had the wrong colour and the ink feed was shiny, something I have never seen in any of my Lamy Safaris (I confess, I have a two digit number of them – Oops.). I have a few lime green Safaris, which were bought from Papier Pfeiffer. So I thought I compare the eBay lime green Safari with my Papier Pfeiffer Safari: well, the colour was similar, but not the same. In artificial light the difference between the real and fake colour looks even bigger than in reality.
The fake Safaris have certainly improved since Goldspot’s video. My nib looked quite good, the line goes straight to the middle of the breather hole. The ink window also matched up correctly with the grip section, so that’s another area where the fake Safaris have improved.
Goldspot Pens mentioned that their real Safari’s cardboard ring had text printed on both sides. I checked several real Safaris and they all only had the text printed on the outside, so the printing on the cardboard ring doesn’t seem to be a reliable indicator whether the pen is real or not.
So what things did I notice that were different between the fake and the real Safari?
In the case of lime green the colour of the fake Safari is slightly off
In the case of lime green the ‘screw’ at the top of the cap is the wrong colour
The text on the nib is light instead of dark
The surface in the embossed LAMY letters of the body have a shallower pattern and some scratchy lines
Corners in the plastic are less pronounced
The ink feed is shiny instead of looking matt and washed (from testing)?
The second Lamy Safari’s cap is cracked near the top, so I assume the plastic isn’t as durable as the real ones
The fake Safaris don’t start well. Starting them after the first filling took a along time and they needed some help (pushing ink through) before they finally started
When you push ink through the nib section the fake Safari’s ink comes out from the filler hole (under the ink feed), not through the nib’s breather hole.
The fake Safari’s F nib is much(!) wider than a real Safari F nib
I have sent the seller a message in case they were not aware that they are selling fake Safari. The two colours I bought are now not available anymore, there’s only a yellow Safari left now.
Thinking how much progress has been made since Goldspot Pen’s video was made the fake Safaris could, if they improve further in the next years, be very difficult to spot ..but even if the appearance is gettng closer to the real thing, it still looks as if they are not as durable, don’t write as well
and they’re also not much cheaper I also wouldn’t be surprised if the manufacturing process is not really bothered about being environmentally friendly..
I just found out that Joe Dever, the author behind the Lone Wolf books and other books and games, has died.
His Choose Your Own Adventure books are great. I didn’t own any as a kid, but lent a few from friends who had them. Twenty years later I bought some and again rediscovered them another ten years later.