Lamy Al-Star 2016: Charged Green!

Lamy’s 2016 Al-Star is in! It’s called Charged Green, and being an Al-Star, it’s a metallic, almost olive green. It’s a beauty.

Every year Lamy releases a new colour of the year – last year’s Al-Star was Copper Orange and the Safari was Neon Lime, both personal favourites of mine. This year, they’ve just released their Al-Star, this Charged Green, and in the spring, they’ll be releasing their Safari.

It’s hard to quite capture how the green looks in a photo because it’s metallic, but it’s not a really bright colour, although it’s definitely green. A bit subtle, but still something cheery. Would be good in the spring, which I’m already pining after.

Lamy 2016 Al-Star Charged Green fountain pen

Lamy 2016 Al-Star Charged Green Wonder Pens Toronto Canada

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We even brought in a very limited stock of the cartridges and bottled ink in Charged Green. I think this may very well be my first bottle of Lamy Ink, although I’ve heard good things about the Lamy Blue-Black and also the Lamy Turquoise.

Lamy 2016 Charged Green Bottled Ink

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In other news, I’m going to my first yoga class tonight, which would mark the first time in about two years. Yikes.

I used to do yoga when I was teaching, and then after we started the business, there just didn’t seem to be enough time. I did some half-hearted pre-natal yoga when I was pregnant with Caleb, but it’s been a while since I did anything even close to stretching. I’ve been talking about doing yoga in the same way Jon talks about going to the gym, but in some fit of inspiration, Jon signed me up. I guess we can’t use my yoga mat to stop drafts from coming in under the door anymore.

We’ve got a few more things coming in, and I’m trying to keep on top of all of them, but check into the “Just In” section of the website as they start to trickle online. Of course you can always come by and say hello us in person, too 🙂

Lamy 2016 Fountain Pen of the Year Charged Green Al-Star Wonder Pens Toronto Canada

Sailor 1911S Demonstrator with Gold Trim

A new favourite pen for me! I’m not kidding.

I have liked and loved many pens, but this pen, the Sailor 1911S Demonstrator, has become a true favourite: I’ve had this inked up non-stop since I got it a few months ago, and written it dry several times.

At first, we expanded our Sailor line a bit slowly because we wanted to have more nib sizes available in each finish we did carry, and also good stock for the online side of things, but we’ve started to bring in more finishes, in the most popular nib sizes. This way people can take a look at them in the shop and see the different colour options available, and of course we can always bring in a nib size if the one you want in the finish you like isn’t here.

 

Sailor 1911S Demonstrator Clear Fountain Pen wonderpens.ca wonder pens toronto canada

 

In our first order for this model, the 1911S Demonstrator, we received every nib size I ordered except medium, which was the size I wanted, so I had to wait another month. I’m not exactly known for my patience, so maybe the wait, during which I pined pathetically, is what made me love the pen 😉

However, they say Sailor makes some of the best nibs, so maybe that’s it, too. It’s honestly one of my favourite pens to write with, and as a bonus, I also love the way it looks.

While I’m usually into brown pens (and inks), I’ve been on a real demonstrator kick lately, and the Sailor 1911S started me on it. I thought about a Realo (the piston fill), or the 1911S in the yellow, but I couldn’t resist the clear + gold. It’s clear with gold trim, which I know isn’t for everyone, but I find the gold isn’t so much to be overwhelming, and it matches the clear very well.

This is a light pen, which is great for someone like me, as I find the big and heavy pens are hard to write with for a long time. However, the details, especially in the nib, show a lot of time and care has gone into it – despite its light weight, you can’t mistake the quality.

Sailor 1911S Review Demonstrator Clear Fountain Pen wonderpens.ca wonder pens toronto canada

Sailor 1911S Demonstrator Review Clear Fountain Pen wonderpens.ca wonder pens toronto canada

It’s a proprietary cartridge/converter, which means you have to use either a Sailor cartridge or a Sailor converter – this pen will come with both to start with. I’ve begun to really appreciate cartridges these days, I think because it’s so satisfying when you pop the cartridge in the break the seal, although I will say the limited ink selection is a bit of a bummer. Sailor Sei-Boku is one of my all-time favourite inks though, along with basically the rest of the Sailor line, so it works out okay for this pen 🙂

While I can’t say that I’ve never purchased a pen solely based on how it looks, for this pen, it’s the nib and the writing that have really won me over. I find I reach for this pen over and over, especially for longer writing sessions, like in my journal. Combined with the nice size and weight in my hand, this pen is a new regular in my pen roll (which is still light brown, although I’m working on convincing Jon that I need a natural one).

I have a medium, which is on the finer side of medium, although this is Rhodium Premium “R” paper, so ink might write just a touch finer than it would on more absorbent papers in any case.  I would compare the nib to a Lamy Fine, or maybe just wider, but not as wide as a Lamy Safari Medium.

Sailor 1911 Medium Nib Writing Sample Sei Boku Wonder Pens Toronto Canada

Writing Sample Sailor 1911 14K Medium nib Sailor Sei Boku Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Oh, Sei-Boku, one of my top 10 inks of all time. A desert island ink, for sure, because in addition to its great colour and shading, it’s permanent! Gotta watch out for those ocean waves.

It’s a smooth & clean nib, with just the right amount of flow, on the wetter side of average. Of course it has no skipping or hard starts, but it’s more than that, it’s just the way it feels! It’s consistent and easy and the contact with the page – this pen just works for me. Among others, I’ve used Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu, Diamine Ochre, and now Sei-Boku, and all have been a pleasure.

You can get a hint of variation out of the nib if you really make an effort, but this isn’t a really soft gold nib as far as standard gold nibs go. You get some feel out of it, but not too much variation. It’s just the very tiniest bit of responsiveness that gives you a sense of the paper underneath your nib.

Sailor 1911S Nib Shot wonderpens.ca Fountain Pens Canada Wonder Pens

What a beauty! I’m not usually someone who is really into how the nibs look (is that a guy thing??), but I have to admit that Sailor nibs really are something else. It’s the anchor, the font of the 1911, the whole thing. 

The Sailor 1911S is the 1911 Standard, as opposed to the 1911L or 1911 Large, which would be the larger size.

The Professional Gear & Pro Gear Slim series have flat ends with the Sailor anchor logo on the end of the cap, compared to the 1911 series, which have rounded ends. I always thought I was more of a flat end person, given how much I like my pens like my TWSBI 580, Lamy Safari & 2000, Edison Beaumont, etc., but actually I am loving how this Sailor looks, of course also because it’s the clear & the gold.

Sailor 1911 Size comparison fountain pens toronto canada

Left to right: Lamy 2000, Sailor 1911L, Sailor 1911S, Pro Gear, Pro Gear Slim

It’s a bit bigger than the Pro Gear Slim, but it’s not a large pen. It fits my hand very well, unposted, but if you have larger hands, posting it may be better.

Sailor 1911S Demonstrator Review Clear Fountain Pen wonderpens.ca wonder pens toronto canada

The demonstrator version of the 1911S has a clear cap, which means that you can see the inner cap, which helps prevent the nib from drying out. If you do get ink stuck there, you’ll be able to see it, but like most inner caps (like on the TWSBI 580, Kaweco Clear Sport) you can also remove it fairly easily and wash + dry.

As an aside, sometimes it may look like a pen has a leak, but actually almost all pens will get droplets of ink inside the cap from time to time, especially if you’re carrying them around or moving from different temperature extremes – it’s just more obvious when the cap is clear.

 

Removing inner cap on Sailor 1911 TWSBI 580 Kaweco Sport Wonder Pens fountain pens Toronto Canada

You can see the inner cap, which is the translucent white cap inside the pen cap. There’s a few droplets of ink in there, which won’t bother me unless it starts accumulating into something a bit more.

You need a pencil/chopstick/thin pen and an elastic band, preferably a thicker one like you might get with broccoli. Wrap the elastic around the end of your stick, and push it all the way in. Twist and draw out.

Removing the inner cap Sailor 1911 TWSBI 580 Kaweco Sport fountain pens Canada

Wrap your elastic around the end of something slim, like a wooden pencil or the blunt end of a chopstick.

Removing inner cap Sailor 1911 TWSBI 580 Kaweco Sport Fountain Pens Toronto Canada

Get it in there nice and snug, and the elastic will provide the traction to pull out the inner cap. Twist as you pull back. 

To get the cap back in, just push it in with your finger, and you can close your nib back into the pen and close the cap as you normally would. There’s no danger of damaging the tip of your nib because the inner cap was designed to seal up around the nib and section.

A great pen! It’s truly now a regular in the rotation, a good size, a good-looking pen, and a great writer. Not much more you need out of a pen.

This pen has been popping up all over instagram every time I take a shot of whatever I’m using at that moment. Every once in a while, Jon tries to borrow it so he can show a customer how it writes, and he basically has to pry it out of my hands while saying “Careful! You’re going to break it. Let go, Liz.” Which is mostly about the fact that he borrows it and I don’t get it back until the end of the day.

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In any case, hope you’re all having a great Saturday and start to your weekend. It’s a bit chilly out, but it’s bright and sunny, so there’s no complaints here. I guess because winter started so late for us here in Toronto that I’m not completely depressed and cabin-fevered about the cold weather and hibernation (yet). It’s still been nice and busy in the shop, and keeping your orders packed up.

We’ve had a few burst cartridges in orders we’ve been shipping out, which is a real bummer, but unfortunately there’s nothing we can do to help keep those from bursting. We’ve started siphoning off ink from bottles into vials, especially for Noodler’s bottles, for most provinces now – back to our glory days of a sink full of syringes.

Caleb & Super are as squirrelly as ever. Super just runs away every time he does something bad and he’s about to get in trouble, but Caleb’s pretty slow moving, so he just looks up at you and smiles. You think to yourself, ‘alright, he’s learned his lesson.” But then two seconds later, he’s into some new sort of trouble, probably something along the lines of breaking merchandise or eating something off the floor.

In case you missed it, we’re hiring! We’re looking for a part-time shop keep, to work both in the front and back, Saturdays + okay with pups (i.e. a maniac dog that barks and jumps a lot in-between the kisses and naps). Jon says it’s ridiculous that we’re putting “okay with dogs” as a mandatory requirement, but Super can really be bananas, and he takes a long time to calm down with new people. It’s like he’s both very smart and very, very dumb at the same time. If that hasn’t scared you off, e-mail jon@wonderpens.ca 🙂

Sailor Sailor 1911S Demonstrator Clear Fountain Pen wonderpens.ca wonder pens toronto canada

 

Year of the Monkey

Happy Chinese and Lunar New Year! It’s coming up on February 8th, for those of you not following the lunar calendar. And, how exciting, it’s Year of the Monkey! Not that this is any more or less exciting than other years, but it’s a good one.

If you’ve known us for any length of time, you’ll know that we’re Chinese, but we’re kind of a mix of “Chinese-Chinese” and “Canadian-Chinese” (unfortunately mostly leaning towards the “Canadian-Chinese” side of things), but Chinese New Year is a pretty big deal in the motherland, and so we thought we would celebrate a bit with you all!

Chinese New Year at Wonder Pens

Everyone’s favourite Chinese supermarket, T&T, has these displays of Chinese New Year decorations, festive treats and …candies! From now until we run out or until February 8th (after which I’ll eat the rest), we’re including a special surprise CNY candy with all online orders, or of course you can always visit us in the shop and pick out a tasty CNY treat for yourself.

T&T put up these big signs saying that there’s a risk of peanut, soy, milk, and other allergies with these candies, so I’m passing on the message. While I tried to get a good variety of candies, I left out the ones that were a bit obvious about potential allergy problems, like the ones with the picture of the peanut on the wrapper (I did teach in public school, after all). However, you should still use your best judgement, and be careful if you have any allergies.

Possibly even more dangerous is the taste roulette you play with these candies: there are so many different kinds it’s hard to keep track of them, and I must say, while some are pretty delicious, some may be an unusual “flavour”… all part of the surprise! My favourite ones are the coffee ones and also the mango ones. The pear ones are also pretty good.

Chinese New Year at Wonder Pens

I also got a red decoration, which we haven’t decided where to hang up yet. I was going to get one in the shape of a monkey, but Jon said I shouldn’t go too crazy, because then I’ll have to store it for twelve years, and chances are good when the next Year of the Monkey rolls around I won’t be able to find it, so it’ll be another twelve years after that.

If you’re a letter writer, you might also be pleased to know that Canada Post has come out with it’s new Year of the Monkey stamps! I told Jon I was going to ease off on the stamp hoarding after we took that trip to the Toronto Stamp Show last fall, and I brought home boxes of stamps, but how can I resist. The international ones look a bit intense, but I’m loving the domestic ones!

So, as traditional holds (according to Wikipedia), we will be eating dumplings at midnight on February 7th, and wishing you all a very prosperous, lucky and happy Chinese New year!