Monday, September 26, 2022

Notebook Review: Endless Stationery Recorder Notebook Deep Ocean with 80gsm Regalia Paper

Endless Stationery Recorder Notebook Deep Ocean with 80gsm Regalia paper.

I'm back! It's been six months since my last blog review. It's been a hectic, toxic, and trying period that has kept me from using and enjoying my fountain pens. I still have several fountain pens, ink, and paper products waiting to be reviewed. Last April, I said I'll rest for a month. But May came, then June, and before I knew it, it was already September. I wanted to go back to writing about pens and ink and paper. I really wanted to. But work got me. Health issues got me. And I got stuck waiting for that golden moment when inspiration strikes, and I could go on spilling words like there's no tomorrow. I kept asking myself, could I still do it? I wasn't sure, and that surprised and scared me. But last Friday, while I chatted with a friend, she reminded me of going back to my gift, and so here I am, writing and happily spilling words again on Regalia paper in my Recorder notebook that my friend Kailash Ramchandani of PenGrafik sent over to me to review. Regalia is a special proprietary paper created by our awesome friends at Endless Stationery in Madras, India.

The new Recorder Notebook from Endless Stationery, the world's most ink-friendly notebook. The leatherette cover looks professional, classy, and elegant.

The Recorder Notebook is not new to me. In August 2020, Endless Works sent me my first Recorder Notebook to review. It was a thrill writing on the Recorder's 68gsm Tomoe River paper. It's an elegant black notebook with a black leatherette cover and I used it for note-taking, writing ideas for my blog, and doodling colorful art. But the thin TR paper sometimes bothered me, so this new Recorder Notebook with the brand new 80gsm acid-free Regalia paper is perfect!

The Recorder Notebook is made to be the world's most ink-friendly notebook. Available in A5 size (8.3 × 5.6 inches), the new Recorder Notebook has 187 numbered pages of 80gsm acid-free proprietary and ink-loving Regalia paper suitable for fountain pens, inks, micron, and sketch pens. The in-house thicker Regalia paper has a zero-tolerance policy towards bleeding, ghosting, and feathering so we all get the smoothest writing experience. The acid-free Regalia paper also ensures the notebook's contents will last a long time. 

I received the Deep Ocean dotted Recorder and the dark blue leatherette cover looks professional, classy, and elegant. It has a blank Table of Contents that one can easily fill out so it's easy to keep track of notes and ideas inside the notebook. The two page markers in dark blue and turquoise would surely help anyone find their way through their Recorders. And if anyone needs a sheet of paper, there are 16 perforated sheets at the back of the notebook to tear without affecting the rest of the pages in the particular signature. The Recorder also has an expandable inner pocket in the back cover to hold ephemera, receipts, tickets, and other bits of paper. It is also meant to store page guide sheets that Endless designed to keep users on track.

Endless Stationery offers the Recorder in four colors: Infinite Space (black), Forest Canopy (green), Deep Ocean (blue), Crimson Sky (red), and Mountain Snow (light gray). All five colors are available with ruled, dotted, squared, and blank pages. 

The Recorder Notebook's front and back covers are imprinted with the Endless Stationery logos. On the front cover: the long line signifies content and the ellipsis (three dots) "proceeds to infinity." The lower part of the back cover is imprinted with ENDLESS. 
The Recorder Notebook's inside cover page is designed with empty circles to resemble the Endless logo's ellipsis. A blank box in the upper part of the page is meant for writing the owner's name and other details. 
The designers of the Recorder thoughtfully built this notebook. It has two pages for a Table of Contents so it's easier to keep track of what's inside the notebook.
The Recorder's pages are numbered and this feature is helpful in creating a directory for the notebook's contents.
The new Recorder has two page markers, the signature turquoise page marker of Endless Stationery, and another one in the same color as the notebook's cover. The Ocean Blue notebook has the dark blue and turquoise page markers.
Loving the Recorder's rounded page corners. No sharp, pointed corners to bite into my hand and arm while writing. Also, rounded corners are less prone to fraying, so the cover and inside pages won't be worn down easily.
The Recorder Notebook has an expandable inner pocket in its inside back cover. I do not usually use these pockets because their contents create bulges and make it uncomfortable to write on the notebook's pages, but this notebook's back pocket is also meant to hold the Recorder's guide sheets.

Because this new Recorder Notebook has new paper, I was really excited to try writing on it. I tested the Regalia paper using some of my still-inked fountain pens with different nibs — fine, medium, and broad. The Regalia paper is so smooth, it's truly a joy to write on! My pens' inks did not bleed, and I did not see any feathering or ghosting. 

My pen and ink test on Regalia paper did not have any feathering or bleeding.

Then I also tried writing on a whole page of the Regalia paper and it's true! Regalia paper is a joy to write. I used my TWSBI 530 with a wet medium nib inked with Iroshizuku Asa-gao to do this test. The TWSBI wrote smoothly on Regalia paper. No feathering, and certainly no bleeding. The ink on the stamp I used for the date did not bleed, too. I did some ink swatches at the back of this test page and though the Robert Oster Fire Engine Red ghosted a bit, it did not soak the paper to the other side of the sheet. Regalia paper is truly an excellent paper for fountain pen ink!

I did write on two pages of the Recorder Notebook to test Regalia paper. The ink from my wet and juicy TWSBI 530 did not bleed.
Here is the back side of the sheet. The Fire Engine Red ink is wetter than the two blue inks and almost bled to the other side of the sheet. Fortunately, it did not bleed through.
I also did an ink art on the Recorder's Regalia paper using a Leonardo Furore with Robert Oster Orange Zest. The color in this ink art is amazing and Regalia paper helps make ink colors pop out and look radiant on it!

The Recorder Notebook with Regalia paper is an excellent, well-made notebook, and is one of the most ink-friendly papers available in the whole world today. I love its features: Table of Contents, numbered pages, rounded corners, and numbered pages. Regalia paper is so friendly to fountain pens, and the Recorder has that simple, "classic notebook" elegant look. The leatherette cover is durable, the signature turquoise elastic strap keeps the pages together, and the round page corners prevent fraying. This notebook is perfect for journaling, calligraphy, note-taking, ink swatching, or for simply writing down thoughts and ideas. With the Recorder, ideas are endless! Get one for your pens!


The Recorder notebook in this review is provided by PenGrafik, the exclusive seller of Recorder Notebook and Endless Stationery products in the Philippines. Visit PenGrafik on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PenGrafik) and see their many offerings!

Monday, April 11, 2022

Fountain Pen Review: Wancher Dream Pen True Ebonite Sand Red



I have been using fountain pens since 2008. I have used and owned many fountain pens, many of them made from acrylic, special resin, and ABS plastic — tough, durable, and made to last the tumble and stumble of daily use. Last February, an offer to review a fountain pen added a new material and pen to my collection and brought a new product to Rants of The Archer. Wancher Inc., the Oita-based company that Taizo Okagaki built in 1987 sent me one from their flagship fountain pen model, the Dream Pen in True Ebonite

The Dream Pen is Wancher's first flagship fountain pen model. I still remember the frenzy during Wancher's launch of their Kickstarter campaign for the Dream Pen in 2018. Back then, they offered three models: True Ebonite, True Urushi, and True Maki-e. The launch was a huge success, and now the Dream Pen has 14 models, including several types of urushi, a Titanium, and the highly-coveted Raden.

Wancher's traditional Japanese presentation box. 

Sand Red is my very first Wancher fountain pen, and I love its packaging in a traditional Japanese wooden box. The box has a nice monoprint of a fountain pen and sakura tied together by a deep red elastic band with tassels on both ends. Inside the box, the Sand Red fountain pen is safely tucked inside a pen kimono, together with ink cartridges, an instruction manual, a postcard, and a guarantee certificate. The Wancher box reminds me of the box that my father made for me when I was a young school kid, which I filled with stationery, bookmarks, stickers, clippings, and other ephemera.

The Wancher traditional wooden presentation box includes the Sand Red fountain pen and pen kimono, a Tsugaru Urushi pen pillow, ink cartridges, an instruction manual, a postcard, and a guarantee certificate.

This Wancher pen is also my first ebonite fountain pen. I am glad that Wancher recommended the Dream Pen because I like the traditional and minimalist cigar-shaped design of the pen. The Dream Pen's simple design speaks elegance and I had a hard time choosing one from the eight pens in the True Ebonite series because all the pens are beautiful! I chose Sand Red for its unique and uncommon red color, and I am happy with my pen choice. It is a large pen, measuring 6.05 inches while capped, and 5.24 inches uncapped, but it is well-balanced and comfortable to use for writing.

Sand Red is a very unique pen. Made from ebonite, an excellent material from natural rubber that is durable and has a warm feel for handwriting. Ebonite has been used in making fountain pens since the early 20th century, but its complex production process turned manufacturers to other materials that are easier to work with. Wancher is now using the finest ebonite from Japan as an homage to traditional fountain pen manufacturing, combining vintage materials and minimalist design.

Wancher Dream Pen True Ebonite Sand Red

I noticed that the color of Sand Red changes according to the intensity of light. In bright light, it appears almost like dark pink to pale red. However, in low light, Sand Red looks like a dark cherry red. 

The Wancher Dream Pen Sand Red fountain pen has a unique red color.

My Sand Red fountain pen has the following specifications:
  • Length, capped: 6.05 in | 15.36 cm
  • Length, uncapped (nib tip to barrel's end): 5.24 in | 13.30 cm
  • Full pen weight: 26 g | 0.92 oz
  • Body material: Ebonite
  • Trim: None
  • Cap: Ebonite, screw-on, cannot be posted
  • Clip: None, but Wancher offers a selection of roll stoppers
  • Nib: No. 6 Jowo stainless steel in Medium, also available in Extra Fine, Fine, Broad, Stub 1.1, or Stub 1.5. Wancher also offers other nibs, including Jowo gold plated stainless steel, Wancher 18k rhodium-plated, and Wancher 18k solid gold.
  • Filling mechanism: Cartridge or converter, both supplied with each pen purchase.
  • Color: Sand Red; also available in Marble Red, Marble Blue, Marble Purple Gray, Marble Green, Marble Brown, Matt Black, and Silk Black. 

Sand Red can be filled with ink using a converter or standard international ink cartridges, both are included in the box.  

Another key feature of the Dream Pen series is its compact air-tight caps to prevent ink from drying out in the nib and avoid hard starts. The mechanism also ensures a secure cap closure. However, this cap doesn't have a finial, and the screw-on cap cannot be posted, but this is not a problem for me as I rarely post my pens.

Ebonite up close. Sand Red ebonite is smooth and polished to a high gloss.

I chose a medium steel nib for Sand Red, for my current writing preference. The stainless steel Jowo nib bears the Wancher logo and the nib width (M). It is wet and wrote smoothly the first time I inked it. It wrote so well out of the box and did not need any modification or priming prior to use. 

Wancher also offers other nibs for their fountain pens, including gold-plated stainless steel Jowo (Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, 1.1, and 1.5), rhodium-plated 18k gold (Medium or Broad), and 18k solid gold (Medium or Broad).

This western Medium nib on a Japanese fountain pen is a gusher! It's wet and writes smoothly.

The Sand Red is a large fountain pen, and it has almost the same length as the Esterbrook Oversize and Edison Collier. It is also longer than the Montegrappa Miya 450 and Leonardo Furore. The Sand Red's section (grip) is slender than most of the pens in this line-up, but it is very comfortable to hold when writing.

From the top: Esterbrook Estie Rocky Top Oversize, Montegrappa Miya 450, Wancher Sand Red, Leonardo Furore Zenzero (Ginger), and Edison Collier Antique Marble.
No. 6 nibs fit all these wonderful fountain pens.

To test how the Sand Red's nib writes, I filled it with new red ink from Robert Oster. RO Signature Direct Sun looks so good in Sand Red's wet medium nib. I'm pleased that the stainless steel nib wrote smoothly out of the box, without the need for any adjustments or tuning. I did not experience any hard starts or skipping. The pen wrote smoothly, and I had a fuss-free writing experience with a well-balanced fountain pen.

New red ink for my new red fountain pen. Robert Oster Signature Direct Sun is a perfect match for Sand Red.
Sand Red's Medium nib writes like a Broad! But I'm not complaining, as it writes so smoothly. I am rereading Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore and I love this part of the book's first chapter.

Aside from watches and fountain pens, Wancher also offers different accessories, including leather cases, wooden cases, and pen pillows. Wancher has kindly offered to include a pen pillow for Sand Red and I chose the Tsugaru Urushi Pen Pillow. It is crafted with Kara-nuri, a high-quality Tsugaru-nuri technique that illustrates distinctive speckled patterns created by four to six different Urushi color lacquers. I have yet to save up for my first Urushi fountain pen, but the Tsugaru Urushi Pen Pillow will fill my Urushi wish for now. This Pen Pillow is a nice addition to a pen collector's set of accessories.

Wancher's Tsugaru Urushi Pen Pillow - Aka-age

In my time and experience as a fountain pen collector and reviewer, I did not imagine that I will try an ebonite pen from Japan, or even own one. I have always dreamed of getting an ebonite and an urushi fountain pen, and Sand Red came along. It's a wonderful and amazing pen and sometimes I spend minutes staring at it, just enjoying its beauty. I am very happy and pleased with the Wancher Dream Pen True Ebonite Sand Red fountain pen, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to explore the brand and its fountain pens. Wancher has been making unique fountain pens since 2011, with the commitment to use the finest materials and craftsmanship in their products. What are you waiting for? Get a Wancher fountain pen in your collection!

Wancher provides each pen with its own pen kimono. My pen's kimono is thick and protects my Sand Red fountain pen.


Rants of The Archer thanks Taizo Okagaki and Wancher Inc. for providing the Dream Pen True Ebonite Sand Red and Tsugaru Urushi Pen Pillow in this review. Sand Red is available at Wancher starting at US$200, while the pen pillow retails for US$80. 

To learn more about Wancher Inc. and its offerings, visit its website at https://www.wancherpen.com/. For updates, promos, and giveaways, follow Wancher on social:

Monday, April 4, 2022

Fountain Pen Review: The Good Blue R615 Fountain Pen Matte Black


I first saw the fountain pens made by The Good Blue on Instagram. I got curious about the CNC-machined fountain pens made from aluminum and stainless steel. I thought that these pens must be durable, sturdy, and perfect for daily use. Then I saw that these pens have flex nibs, something I dread using fountain pens. Oh, wait! They have a non-flex, wet medium nib! I reached out to The Good Blue and was surprised to learn that the UK-based pen company has a local distributor in the Philippines! The Good Blue is sold exclusively by my friend Kailash Ramchandani's PenGrafik. Two weeks later, I received a Matte Black R615 fountain pen with a non-flex Happy Medium nib and a spare Fine Flex.

The Good Blue is a London-based start-up that uses 3D printing and CNC machining to prototype and manufacture fountain pens. Born out of the pandemic, when most of us were forced to slow down and stay indoors, the manufacturer rediscovered his love for fountain pens, ink, calligraphy, and writing. He soon found that fountain pens with flexible nibs are expensive and began creating flex pens for himself. After careful design and several prototypes, he is now ready with a fountain pen with amazing flex that is well-made and affordable, the R615 Fountain Pen.

The Good Blue Fountain Pen is well-packaged in a tin box.
The fountain pen and spare nib inside the tin box.

The Good Blue R615 Fountain Pen 2022 series is available in Matte Black and Silver that can be fitted with any of the five different nibs that are interchangeable. Flex nibs are available in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, titanium, and gold.

The Matte Black fountain pen's body is made from high-grade 6082 aluminum that is anodized matte black for protection and durability. The grip section is machined from untreated 304L stainless steel that is precision textured with surface roughness for an ergonomic grip. 

The Silver fountain pen's body is also made from high-grade 6082 aluminum that is clear anodized for protection and durability. The grip section is machined from untreated CZ121 brass, precision textured with surface roughness for an ergonomic grip. The grip is expected to develop a patina over time. 

The Good Blue R615 Fountain Pen Matte Black 2022 Series
The Matte Black's anodized body and stainless steel grip look elegant and neat.

The R615 fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.90 in | 13.8 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.40 in | 12.5 cm
  • Pen weight with full converter: 46 g | 1.6 oz
  • Weight, barrel and section: 35 g | 1 oz
  • Material: Anodized 6082 aluminum and untreated 304L stainless steel
  • Cap: Screw-on, not postable
  • Clip material: No clip 
  • Nib: No. 6 two-toned Medium nib; also available in four different flex nibs
  • Filling mechanism: Converter, included in the package

The R615 Fountain Pen can be filled with ink using a standard international cartridge or a converter if filling from bottled ink. A Schmidt converter is included in the pen package.

The R615 fountain pen can be inked using international standard cartridges or through a converter. A Schmidt K5 converter is included in the pen package upon purchase.
This fountain pen has a unique roll-stopper! A flat-plane stops the pen from rolling off, and the barrel and cap screw back aligned every single time. However, this alignment is sometimes off with the section, which triggers the finicky me. It doesn't affect writing, though.
I requested a non-flex nib, and this is what they call Happy Medium, a wet, monoline medium with no flex. This medium nib is perfect for everyday writing.
The Good Blue and Kailash offered a spare FineFlex nib for me to try. The FineFlex nib with a specially designed polymer feed is meant for "wetter writing and juicy swells."

Missing a clip? The Good Blue R615 fountain pens do not have clips, but one side is a flat-plane that serves as a stopper so the pens don't easily roll-off. 

Capped, the R615 Fountain Pen is longer than a Lamy Safari, Gravitas Entry, YStudio Portable, and Kaweco DIA2. Uncapped, it is slightly shorter than the Gravitas Entry, but longer than the other four pens.

Fountain pens in black, from the top: Lamy Safari All Black, Gravitas Pens Entry, R615, YStudio Brassing Portable, and Kaweco DIA2.

To test how the Happy Medium nib writes, I filled the R615 Fountain Pen with Robert Oster Signature Australis Rose, a charming pink ink. The Happy Medium wrote smoothly and wet, as promised. It wrote very well and I had no trouble writing with it at all. The R615 Fountain Pen is an enjoyable pen that can be used for long periods of writing without any discomfort. It is not heavy for my hand, despite being made out of aluminum and stainless steel. It is durable, sturdy, and tough, just perfect as an everyday fountain pen. 

Happy Medium is a happy nib! It's wet and smooth, perfect for daily use!
The FineFlex nib is just perfect for people like me who are not into flex nibs. The FineFlex nib has the right amount of flex just enough not to freak me out! For future FineFlex nib users: fill the pen with wet ink to facilitate faster flow into the nib-feed unit.

I am happy with the R615 Fountain Pen in Matte Black, and I'm wanting the Silver pen, too! I definitely recommend this pen to anyone who wants to explore and know this brand. It's a beautiful pen and is designed well for long-term use. I read that new pens are coming to The Good Blue in April. Get one for your collection!


Rants of The Archer thanks The Good Blue and Kailash Ramchandani/PenGrafik for providing the R612 Fountain Pen Matte Black for review purposes. R615 fountain pens are available for purchase on The Good Blue website. In the Philippines, it is available from PenGrafik.

To learn more about these beautiful and well-crafted pens, follow The Good Blue on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/thegoodblueco/).