Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Review of the Platinum PTL-5000

I treated myself to this to celebrate something special, but I will tell you more about what that was in the future! For now, let me just review the Platinum PTL-5000.

Platinum PTL-5000

I got this because although I do own quite a lot of fountain pens, I didn't have one with a gold nib. I also don't have thousands of pounds to spend on gold-nibbed fountain pens but this one came in at a very decent price. I got mine from Cult Pens (no affiliation; I paid for it!) and as ever, it arrived the day after ordering. No, I'm not paid by Cult Pens but I have only ever had fantastic service from them and I can recommend them very highly.

The pen arrived with a card slip cover containing the pen box.

plastic box with pen and bits and bobs in

This is an entry level pen and the bulk of the costs have gone into the nib, so it was no great surprise that the box was slightly less than classy. But I don't keep my pens in their original boxes - the boxes go in a cupboard and the pens sit in a pen-tray on my desk, so I don't really care that the box wasn't too special.

Inside the box was the pen, a converter, a cartridge and an instruction booklet.

Contents with the converter out of its little box

The instruction manual was a little superfluous.

The body and barrel of the pen are glossy black plastic. It feels a little flimsy but that might be because I've been using the Conklin Durograph so much recently and that feels like a real chunky monkey. However, when I weighed the pens, the Conklin was 14g and this Platinum came in at 13g so barely any difference at all. With the cap posted, it weighs 17g, but I never post pens because it always feels as if the weight is too far back in my hand.


I have bottles (and bottles!) of ink, so I put the converter in. It has a very positive click/feel when fully engaged. It took a couple of fill-empty-fill-empty routines to get it to fill fully but then it was all primed and ready to go. I filled it with Pelikan Topaz.

The nib I ordered was a medium, but it has to be noted that a Japanese medium is finer than a UK medium. I would describe it as closer to medium-fine. Interestingly, the feed is see-through!

Clear feed

The nib
The gold nib has a bit of  spring to it. Not too 'boingy' but there is a nice amount of give/flex. It felt a tiny bit toothy/scratchy but this may be because it's not a stub nib and that's what I've been writing with for yonks. It may also smooth up with writing. Ink flow was great and there was good shading with the lines. It felt light in my hand, but this may be because it's slimmer than the Conklin (and the TWSBI which are the two I've been using a lot recently).

Writing sample on Original Crown vellum

After doing the test on Original Crown vellum paper, I've used the pen in the Leuchtturm A4+ notebook (reviewed here) and can say that the pen feels much better - a lovely feel to it and nowhere near as toothy as on the Original Crown paper. It's fabulous.

The pen was bought as a work-horse pen -something I can write and write with and not have any issues. I'm sure that it will fulfil this role wonderfully. It wasn't bought as a drop-dead gorgeous, "ooh, isn't it pretty!" pen (and it meets that expectation too).

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review of Leuchtturm A4+ notebook

[Sorry for the absence of posts... who knew 'retiring' was going to be busier than being at work??]

Anyway, LONG overdue is this review of a Leuchtturm A4+ notebook. I've just started using it for writing more notes about the latest book and then realised I hadn't actually reviewed it!

Leuchtturm A4+ notebook

It's larger than A4, measuring 315mm x 225mm (page size = 313mm x 222mm; c.f. A4 = 297mm x 210mm) with a hard cover with leather-effect vinyl. There is a ribbon marker and a vertical elastic closure. There is no pen loop. According to the label, the paper is 100gsm.

Info on the label

When you open it, there is space for your name and address. I never fill that in but tend to write what the contents of the notebooks are (e.g. notes on book x). Inevitably, that name/address page is stuck to the page behind, but as that's another sheet of plain paper, it's fine.

Then comes the table of contents. It's got 30 lines per page and 3 pages, so 90 spaces to list the contents of 233 sheets (or more than 2.5 pages per index line). Maybe that will work out for me, but given the enormous size of each page, I'm not sure it will. I would have liked to have seen 4 pages of index rather than 3.

Table of contents layout

Each of the pages in the main part of the book are numbered (1-233) and have a top margin, labelled Date, then a broader line space, then 32 lines, with a margin to the outer edge of the page. The sizes of all of these are in the figure below.

Page layout

detail of the page numbering

I like the prompt to write the date on each page. I'm terrible for forgetting to date things and then years later, looking at them and thinking, "I wonder when I wrote this?" The broader first line/space below the Date margin is handy for titling the page/section.

The side margin hasn't been used yet, but I know I will use it for flagging where notes continue, or where I might need to cross-reference.
The line spacing, at 8.5mm, is a bit broad for me, though it has worked well with the two 1.1mm stub nibbed pens I have. When I've shifted back to a regular medium nib, my writing has looked a bit swamped by the line spacing.

The paper is lovely and thick, and very smooth to write on. With most of my pens, there is no feathering, no bleed-through and no show-through. That said, a couple of my 1.1mm nibs have bled through to the other side, which considering the paper is 100gsm and allegedly 'ink-proof' was a bit disappointing. But, it was an especially wet ink/nib combo and there was no feathering or show-through. Less wet combinations have been absolutely fine. A good friend of mine had said that he'd experienced issues with the paper in that the lines on the page had been almost glossy and been quite ink-resistant with the pen skipping on them but I haven't found that, so maybe we've experienced different batches or they've changed the paper at some point.

The last 8 sheets (pages 219-233) are perforated so that you can remove them. The perforations are very fine and there would be no chance of the paper becoming loose if you didn't want to remove them.

The ribbon marker is okay, but is thin and light and gets a bit drowned by the size of the book. I'm tempted to thread a charm or bead on to it so that it doesn't wriggle back into the book so easily. The elastic closure is fine - firm enough to keep the book closed but no use for trying to trap a pen with. This is a book that stays on my desk though, where there is a glut of pens!

As described on the label, the book lies pretty flat. The pages tend to spring up a bit, but the spine does open to a full 180 degrees.

At the back is a pocket which will take A4 paper, though the gusseting does get in the way a bit. There is a sheet of labels - two lined (92mm x 72mm), two plain (92mm x 72mm) and three for the spine (187mm x 17mm). The sheet says "Please use these stickers for labelling the spine of your Leuchtturm 1917 book when you want to archive it" which feels a bit bossy to me! But that's just me! I tend to write on the spines with a silver pen because I think the stickers look tacky and might peel off.

Other than the usual embossed Leuchtturm1917 on the back, there is no other branding on the outside.

I really like this book. The paper is fantastic and the acreage feels wonderful! It also makes me keep my desk a bit tidier, otherwise I can't open the book out! The line-spacing is a little wide for me but I do like the prompt on each page to date the notes. I'll reserve judgement on the index but I sense I will run out of lines in it before I've filled the book.