Monday, October 25, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: YSTUDIO Classic Revolve Fountain Pen


Four years ago, I wrote a review of a very interesting fountain pen that combines brass, leather, and wood. The YStudio Brassing Portable Fountain Pen with a white maple wood carrying tube and leather cords has been a constant favorite since then. It's a unique and dependable writer and also very sturdy. This year, I am happy to celebrate YSTUDIO's 10-year milestone with a review of a pen from their brand new series called the Classic Fountain Pen

I got a red Classic Fountain Pen from Kenro Industries, and it is such a unique pen. It still has a minimalistic design, giving the pen a modern industrial look. Cut from solid brass, the pen is covered with a matte red lacquer finish. This YSTUDIO pen is one of only several fountain pens with a hexagonal body, a design that the brand is popular for. The six corners of the pen are beautifully polished to shiny gold brass lines that beautifully complement the red lacquer. I also like that the Classic Fountain Pen is slightly thicker than the slim Brassing Portable, with just the right balance of weight and solidity. It is not a heavy pen, but not light, either, and is just right in the hand.

YSTUDIO's Classic Fountain Pen Revolve in its box. It's accompanied by a booklet and a sheet of sandpaper that can be used to personalize the pen.

Through the years, YSTUDIO has produced a number of writing instruments, with the Classic Fountain Pen as their most recent series. There are five pens in the series, an unpainted Brass pen, and four lacquered pens in Blue, Black, Green, and Red. Through time and use, the lacquer will wear off, showing the brass underneath. This is called the "brassing" effect. Owners can also personalize their pens' brassing effect by removing the paint using the sheet of sandpaper included in the product package.

YSTUDIO Classic Fountain Pen in Red. I love this red lacquer on brass. It changes color depending on the light intensity. It looks a happy, cheery red in bright light, and a deeper almost maroon in a darker setting.

Did you notice YSTUDIO's new logo? The Classic Series also carry the company's new logo. In renaming the brand, the company decided to capitalize their English name and use clear and definite strokes in the English alphabet that are easily recognized.


The new YSTUDIO Classic Revolve fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:

  • Length, capped: 5.45 in | 13.8 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 4.93 in | 12.5 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 2.29 in | 5.8 cm
  • Full pen weight with full converter: 47 g | 1.6 oz
  • Weight, cap only: 16 g | 0.6 oz
  • Weight, barrel and section: 31 g | 1 oz
  • Body material: Brass
  • Trim: Brass
  • Cap: Snap-on, not postable
  • Clip material: No clip 
  • Nib: No. 5 gold-plated steel in Fine or Medium
  • Filling mechanism: cartridge or converter, both included in the package

The Classic Fountain Pen can be filled with ink using a standard international cartridge or a converter if filling from bottled ink. Both are included in the pen package.

The YSTUDIO Classic Fountain Pen's parts: barrel, nib assembly and section, ink converter, and cap. An international short cartridge and a converter are included in the pen package.
The Classic Fountain Pen's barrel and cap ends are flat discs of brass. I wish they placed a YSTUDIO logo either in the barrel end or as a finial.
YSTUDIO's ink converter has the company's logo and if you have multiple fountain pens, this is extremely helpful in putting the right converter into pens.

The Classic Fountain Pen is the first YSTUDIO fountain pen to be fitted with YSTUDIO's own nib. The nibs of all the pens in the series are embossed with the old YSTUDIO logo while the barrel of the pen adopts the brand's new logo for the 10th anniversary, linking the past to the future.

The medium nib wrote smoothly out of the box, and in the days that I used the Classic Fountain Pen, I did not experience skipping or a single hard start. The pen wrote smoothly without needing any nib priming or modification.

The Classic Fountain Pen is fitted with YSTUDIO's own nib. This medium gold-plated steel nib wrote smoothly out of the box without the need for priming or modification.

As I mentioned previously, the Classic Fountain Pen is slightly thicker than the slim Brassing Portable, and it's like a wish come true for me as I pointed out in my first review — "I wish it is fatter than it is now." It also has YSTUDIO's new nib and new logo. Unlike the Brassing Portable, the Classic's cap doesn't have a flat end and a loop for the leather cord. It also did not come with a wood-carrying tube. 

Two YSTUDIO fountain pens, both elegant, dependable, and sturdy.
The red Classic Fountain Pen bears YSTUDIO's new logo,
The YSTUDIO Classic Fountain Pen is slightly thicker and doesn't have a loop for the leather cord.
The Classic has a longer and thicker section than the Portable, but both pens are comfortable to use.

Missing a clip? YSTUDIO pens do not have clips, but their hexagonal design also serves as a stopper so the pens won't easily roll off even without a clip. I don't miss the clip in this pen, however, I wish it has a screw-cap instead of a snap-on cap. 

Capped, the YSTUDIO Classic Fountain Pen shares the same size as Lamy Safari or Al-star and Otto Hutt design06. It's slightly shorter than a regular Esterbrook Estie, Tibaldi Bononia, and Leonardo Momento Magico. Uncapped, all five pens share the same length.

From top: Esterbrook Estie Lilac, Tibaldi Bononia Seashell Mist, YSTUDIO Classic, Leonardo Momento Magico Millefiori, and Otto Hutt design06 Sheashell Pink.

To test how the YSTUDIO nib writes, I filled the Classic Fountain Pen with Esterbrook Scarlet, a matching bright red ink. The medium YSTUDIO nib wrote smoothly and wet without the need for priming, adjustments, or tuning. It wrote very well, and there were no skipping or inky blobs. I had no trouble writing with it at all. The YSTUDIO Classic Fountain Pen is such an enjoyable pen and one that can be used for long periods of writing without any discomfort.

YSTUDIO's medium nib wrote so smoothly out of the box. Perfectly matched by Esterbrook Scarlet!

I am very happy with YSTUDIO's Classic Fountain Pen and I'm happier that it's available in red! I will definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to explore and know this brand, or just to try brass fountain pens. It's a beautiful pen and well designed for long-term use. YSTUDIO has gone a long way and is now a world-renowned brand, with products available in many countries and cities including Paris, Milan, London, Copenhagen, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Lagos, Tel Aviv, and many more. Get one for your collection!


Rants of The Archer thanks Kenro Industries and YSTUDIO for providing the Classic Fountain Pen for review purposes. YSTUDIO fountain pens are available for purchase in the YSTUDIO Online Store where the Classic retails for US$160 and also from reputable retailers including Goulet Pens and PenChalet

To learn more about these beautiful and well-crafted pens, follow YSTUDIO on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/YSTUDIO-105521671624276) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/ystudiostyle_tw/).

Monday, September 20, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: Giants' Pens Maple and Resin Fountain Pen


It's been a year since I rebooted this blog and I am surprised to know that I have now written 57 reviews since April 2020. I have tested and photographed close to a hundred products since then! I have learned so many things as I wrote about fountain pens, ink, and paper. Plus I also get to meet many people from faraway countries and cultures. In my search for new products to review, I met Teun Prinsen of Giants' Pens from The Netherlands. 

I didn't know that there are pen makers from The Netherlands! Teun allowed me to choose the material, size, and nib width of the pen he was making for me. Meeting Teun was truly a pleasant surprise and it was an amazing experience being a part of the pen-making process. After some extensive exchange of messages, here's Giants' Pens' Maple Burl for Rants of The Archer!

Giants' Pens from The Netherlands offer handcrafted pens in all sizes.

Giants' Pens was founded by Teun Prinsen and Joep Prinsen. Both co-founders are pen makers, and they create custom, handmade fountain pens. Teun and Joep, both students at the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven allow customization in what they do. Besides fountain pens, they also tune and quality control the nibs that they use for their pens.

The materials that Teun used for this pen include a maple burl for the barrel and casted resin for the cap and section. This is a long pen and the section diameter is bigger than most of my pens. I love the wood grain of the maple burl even the voids, and lines towards the barrel's end. 

Giants' Pens' maple and resin fountain pen.

This wood and resin fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 6.09 in | 15.47 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.46 in | 13.9 cm
  • Length, barrel only: 3.77 in | 8.1 cm
  • Body material: Maple wood
  • Trim: None
  • Clip: None
  • Cap: Screw on, not postable
  • Nib: No. 6 Jowo steel in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, or Broad
  • Filling mechanism: Cartridge or converter (both included)

This pen can be filled with ink using standard international cartridges or a converter, and Giants' Pens includes a converter with each pen purchase. 

A converter is included with each pen purchase from Giants' Pens.
The maple barrel is given a cyanoacrylate layer for a polished and shiny finish. The coating gives the wood depth and character, showing off its natural beauty.
The cap and barrel ends of this pen are both pointed. The barrel end shows the wood grain beautifully.

Giants' Pens offers Jowo No. 6 nibs in their fountain pens. This pen came with a steel JoWo No. 6 Broad nib that wrote smoothly out of the box. I'm not so much into nib priming or tuning when using a pen for the first time, so I'm glad this pen's nib wrote so well with its first ink. I did not experience hard starts, skips, or inky blobs as I wrote with it. 

This pen's Broad nib wrote smoothly out of the box.

This Giants' Pens fountain pen is a full-sized pen that shares almost the same length and diameter as an Esterbrook Oversize, and Bexley Intrepid. I personally chose a large-sized fountain pen that is lightweight yet substantial. Uncapped, this pen is longer than Esterbrook OS, Bexley Intrepid, or Lamy Lx.

From the top: Esterbrook Rocky Top OS, Bexley Intrepid, Giants' Pens Maple Burl, Unnamed pen from China, and Lamy Lx.

To test this pen, I filled it with New Brew Ink Blood Stain, a new fountain pen ink brand from the Philippines. The Broad nib wrote smoothly out of the box and did not need any priming or modification. This large but lightweight pen fits my hand so well, and its design allows for comfortable writing. Even if I had to write a whole page, I did not experience any discomfort at all.

I love this pen and ink combination! The No, 6 Broad nib writes so smoothly.

I am very happy with my first fountain pen from Giants' Pens and I am recommending it to anyone who wants to know Teun and Joep and explore their wonderful pen creations. This pen is beautiful and well-designed, and I'm glad to have one in my collection. Teun and Joep are excellent and skilled pen makers who can customize any pen using a variety of materials. Get one of his pens for your collection now!


Rants of The Archer thanks Teun Prinsen, Joep Prinsen,  and Giants' Pens for providing the fountain pen in this review. Their pens are available on their website: http://www.giantspens.com/index.html

If you want a custom-made pen from Teun and Joep, visit their website or look them up on Instagram. At the moment, the queue is about 2-3 months, and anyone who wants to get on the list can choose the material for their pens. 

To learn more about Giants' Pens, visit their website (http://www.giantspens.com/index.html) or follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/giantspens/.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: Esterbrook JR Paradise Orange Sunset


The Esterbrook Pen Company is now one of the world's most prolific makers of fountain pens and accessories. Since 2018, the year that Kenro Industries revived the brand, the Esterbrook Pen Company has launched one product after another. But we are not complaining! Please keep them coming, Esterbrook! 

Just recently, the Esterbrook Pen Company launched a new set of fountain pens in their JR Pocket Pen series. Introduced as part of the revival of the iconic J fountain pen, the JR Pocket Pen Paradise Collection is the first limited edition set from Esterbrook and it is themed as a tropical vacation for fountain pen lovers. The Paradise Collection makes me miss the sea even more now that most of us cannot go out to take vacations. Think soothing breezes, warm ocean currents, bungalows, painted buoys, panoramic views for miles, mangroves, marinas, and lounging for hours with a cocktail in hand and mellow melodies floating through the air. It's the perfect series of fountain pens for us right now! 

A new packaging design also accompanied the launch of the limited edition JR Pocket Pen Paradise Collection. I love the new Esterbrook red boxes and they look so neat!

The J model was Esterbrook’s original sleek and suave, classic 1940’s and 50’s pocket pen that appealed to many people then and now. It was well-received for its elegance and practicality, which was a key selling point after the war. The new Esterbrook Pen Company revived the J model in 2020 and called it the JR, short for J Reborn. 

The JR Pocket Pen is an excellent "heritage" pen, built and designed for a comfortable writing experience. It's stylish and meant to match the user's style, with an elegant, non-fussy compact size. It's a slimmer pen than the Estie but also fills with ink through cartridges or converters. The JR Paradise Collection is offered in three beautiful limited edition colors, Lemon Twist, Orange Sunset, and Blue Breeze. Each color features an accented trim near the dome.

The new Esterbrook J Reborn is available in three tropical colors: Lemon Twist, Orange Sunset, and Blue Breeze.

I got the Orange Sunset fountain pen and it's so beautiful! The pen's material looks as if it's glowing especially under a bright light. It looks like a glowing fire rod or sweet orange candy sticks. This orange pocket fountain pen is an amazing modern design honoring an iconic pen. The bright orange resin is perfectly complemented by the gold-plated trims, while the turquoise accent on the finial is an eye-catcher.

Esterbrook JR Pocket Pen Paradise Collection Orange Sunset

The Esterbrook JR Paradise Orange Sunset fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5 in | 12.7 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 4.6 in | 11.7 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 6.1 in | 15.5 cm
  • Length, barrel only: 3.2 in | 8.1 cm
  • Length, section to nib: 1.5 in | 3.8 cm
  • Length, cap: 2.3 inches | 5.8 cm
  • Full pen weight: 19.8 g | 0.7 oz
  • Body material: Resin
  • Trim: Gold
  • Cap: Screw on, postable
  • Clip material: Gold-plated metal 
  • Nib: Steel Jowo available in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Stub 1.1mm, and Esterbrook specialty nibs Journaler or Scribe 
  • Filling mechanism: Cartridge or converter (both included with purchase)

The Esterbrook JR Paradise Orange Sunset has a screw-on cap.

Esterbrook JR fountain pens can be filled with ink using international cartridges or an Esterbrook converter, both included with each purchase. Unlike other pocket pens, the JR takes on a full ink converter which makes it easier to fill from ink bottles. The section of JR Pocket Pens has an ergonomic grip that ensures comfortable writing. While it is a pocket pen, the body is long enough to use for writing without the need to post the cap. 

The JR's cap, section + converter, and barrel.
The JR's cap looks very similar to the vintage J fountain pen's cap.
The Esterbrook logo is etched into the pen's cap ring.
The Orange Sunset's cap finial, which is a new design, is also very similar to the black button jewels found in the earlier J fountain pens. 
The JR Orange Sunset barrel shows some beautiful marbling and swirls patterns.

The JR Paradise fountain pen is fitted with a #5 steel nib made especially for Esterbrook by Jowo from Germany. It is available in a variety of sizes, including Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, 1.1 stub, and the Esterbrook specialty nibs Journaler (by Gena Salorino of Custom Nib Studio) and Scribe (by J.J. Lax Pen Co.). The markings on the nib include the Esterbrook Eternity logo and "M" (nid width).

The Medium nib on the Orange Sunset wrote smoothly out of the box. It is one of the smoothest medium nibs I have tried and I'm glad that I can comfortably use it for regular writing for notes, lists, and journaling.

The Esterbrook Eternity symbol/logo is made up of two connected "E's," with no beginning or ending representing a timeline of perpetuity, linking tradition to modernity. It is a reminder of founder Richard Esterbrook's spirit and hard work, so the two connected E's are also translated to "Esterbrook Endures." The symbol/logo made its first appearance on the red polishing cloth that was included with the Estie Lilac

The medium nib in this Orange Sunset fountain pen wrote smoothly out of the box.

Esterbrook Pen Company offers a wide variety of fountain pen sizes. They have regular-sized fountain pens such as the Estie in oversize (called OS) and regular sizes, but they also offer compact, pocket-sized pens like the JR. 

Three Esterbrook fountain pens, from top: Estie Rocky Top OS, Estie Frontier Green regular, and JR Pocket Pen Paradise Collection Orange Sunset.
Two Esterbrook JR Pocket Pens, Tuxedo Black and Orange Sunset.

The JR Pocket Pen has the same length as a Pelikan Souveran M400, but I forgot to include one in this set. The JR is the smallest pen in this group, but when you uncap the pen, it is almost the same length/size as the Montegrappa Miya 450. Uncapped, it's the smallest and slimmest pen in this lot of pens. Despite that, the JR is a well-designed pen that looks classy and elegant, and comfortable to use.

From the top: Lamy Al-star Copper Orange, Leonardo Officina Italiana Furore Arancio, Esterbrook JR Paradise Orange Sunset, Montegrappa Miya 450, and TWSBI ECO yellow.

To test how the medium nib in this JR fountain pen writes, I filled it with matching orange ink, the brand new Esterbrook Tangerine. The Orange Sunset wrote so well out of the box, and the #5 Jowo steel medium nib wrote smoothly. I did not experience any scratchiness, hard starts, or ink skipping. I had no problems using the JR Orange Sunset fountain pen out of the box.

I'm so happy that I can use this orange fountain pen for regular writing for my notes, lists, and journaling. The Esterbrook JR Orange Sunset is such an enjoyable pen. It's elegant, classy, versatile, and one that can be used for long periods of writing without any discomfort.

The JR Orange Sunset wrote smoothly out of the box and is perfect for long writing periods. 

Esterbrook launched several products lately, including the Paradise pins, and Patience the Tortoise. All important collectibles!

As with the first JR fountain pen I received in 2020, I am very happy with the JR Orange Sunset, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to have a similar experience of using the Esterbrook JR fountain pen or explore the brand. The JR Pocket Pen Paradise Orange Sunset is a neat, lovely fountain pen designed for long-term use. Get one for your collection! Or better, get the JR Paradise Collection set now!


Rants of The Archer thanks the Esterbrook Pen Company and Kenro Industries for providing the Esterbrook JR Pocket Pen Paradise Collection Orange Sunset for review purposes. The JR Paradise Collection and the entire Esterbrook selection are available at Esterbrookpens.com where it retails for around US$175. Aside from the JR Pocket Pen collection,  the following collections are also available: Camden, Estie, Estie Peacock, Estie Rocky Top, Sparkle, Phaeton, Popeye, and Navy Nook. 

To learn more about the Esterbrook Pen Company, where to buy their pens, and for other details on purchasing their pens, visit their website at https://www.esterbrookpens.com/ or follow them on social media: