Faber-Castell e-Motion Parquet Black

Faber-Castell is an often-neglected manufacturer of fountain pens. I have three of their Looms which are wonderful entry-level pens with very smooth steel nibs. Despite the Loom’s good looks, low price, and lovely writing experience, they are rarely mentioned in recommendations for beginners, in favour of Lamy Safaris and Pilot Metropolitains. This neglect is repeated in their mid-market pens too, which is a real shame. Hopeful, we at United Inkdom can counter this a little.

Executive Pens Direct lent us at UI an e-Motion Parquet Black to test drive, so I am doing a joint review with my own e-Motion Pure Black.

Parquet vs Pure
The Parquet shines and the Pure Black slips into the shadows


The Parquet pen features very shiny chrome-plated cap and trims, with a high gloss black parquet resin barrel. The cap features the Faber-Castell name and logo (as most, if not all, of their pens do) and has a hinged clip. In fact, the finish is so shiny it was pretty tricky to get anything approaching a decent photograph of it.

Full body of the Parquet Black
Full body of the Parquet Black
Cap and clip
Cap and clip
Parquet pattern
Its pretty difficult to pick up the pattern under the reflection

The Pure Black is a different beast altogether. Although the same size and shape as the Parquet, the Pure Black is completely black and completely matt. Even the nib is black. It’s the Batman of pens (more so than the bat patterned Montegrappa Batman pen, IMO). The anodized aluminium barrel has a guilloche pattern which adds some interest and grip. The cap has the same engraved name and logo, and hinged clip as the Parquet.

Pure Black
Full body Pure Black


The most obvious difference when using the two pens is weight. The Parquet, with its resin barrel, is an average weight fountain pen which should be manageable by most people. The Pure Black is considerably heavier and, combined with the pens fat barrel size, it may not suit every hand.

However, the writing experience with both pens is great. F-C make excellent steel nibs: smooth and wet and a real pleasure to write with. The nibs in their lower priced pens are the same, which is why I am so disappointed that F-C pens are so often overlooked. For reasons I am not at all clear on, it seems to be tricky to get anything other than a medium nib on F-C pens in the UK. Not impossible, but certainly tricky. I’m ok with an M but choice would be good. The M is comparable with other German M nibs, like the Lamy, but a wider line than a Japanese M, so if you prefer your pen strokes slim, I recommend you search for a stockist with EF or F nibs.

Chrome-plated nib
Chrome-plated nib
Black nib
Pure Black nib


These are low mid-range pens which pack a lot of punch for the price. The Parquet is currently available from Executive Pens Direct for £78 (reduced from £87) and the Pure Black for £128 (down from £150). You should expect to pay in the region of £70-80 and £110-130 respectively. From experience, the Pure Black will take quite a bashing. It feels like a tank. I was given mine for my birthday three years ago and it’s been filled and in light use almost constantly in that time, carted around in my pencil case or on my desk. It can be prone to hard starts if it’s been left unused for a while, but that’s not unusual. The finish has held up well, especially compared to Lamy Al-Stars which seem to scratch fairly easily.

As is no doubt clear, I’m a fan of F-C pens. They’re solid, reliable pens with some smart design features and they look great.

Pure Black
Three years’ worth of damage to the Pure Blacks matt finish

Scrikss 35 Titanium fountain pen review

The Scrikss pen arrived on my doorstep from United Inkdom. It was not a manufacturer I was aware of before, and I have not uncovered much information beyond the basics about them subsequently. This may be because the company is Turkish and there is limited info in English. However, they are well-established (making pens since the 1960s), and the model 35 which I have tried out here is a decent pen. I was only able to find one UK stockist for the brand, but Andy’s Pens don’t carry this model at present. It’s therefore difficult to give an idea of what this pen costs. Similar models retail below £40 and my best guess would be that this model would set you back in the region of £35, if you can find it.

Scrikks 35 Titanium
Scrikks 35 Titanium
It’s a nice looking pen, elegant and understated. The titanium finish is a deep grey. The high shine makes it a little difficult to photograph. It can look almost black if it’s not in good bright light. The chrome trim and clip make a pleasant contrast to the dark grey body. It could easily be used in a work setting- it’s an unobtrusive pen, unlikely to offend even the most staid and unreasonable office colleague. It definitely looks like a more grown-up pen than a Lamy Safari or Al-Star. It’s slim and smooth, altogether more elegant. The pen also comes in a chrome finish, which I am sure would be equally sophisticated. While it does look good, it may be a little uninteresting for those of us who like a bright coloured pen or something a bit fancier. If you like to match an ink to the pen, Diamine Graphite might be a good bet here.

Scrikks 35 Titanium nib
Scrikks 35 Titanium nib
It’s a smooth writer for what I assume to be a steel nib (it’s certainly not gold) and pleasant to use. The nib does not indicate the width, but I’d put it at medium. I’ve had it inked with Organics Studio Walden Pond Blue and found it to be pretty reliable. It writes fairly wet, which works with a strong sheening ink like WPB. Although the cap can be posted, I didn’t like the feel of the pen when I did this. It felt slightly off balance, and like the cap was insecure posted. Objectively, it was perfectly securely placed, but it wasn’t comfortable for me this way. I almost always post my pens so this was a little unusual for me. Your mileage may vary.

My conclusions on this pen are that it is a nice, smooth writer with elegant looks at a reasonable price. However, it’s a little uninteresting to me and I think I’d neglect to use it if it were part of my collection. It’s just a little too business-like for my tastes. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the bright colours of Lamy Al-Stars and Faber-Castell Looms? That, however, may be a great recommendation for others! I’d be interested to see different models from this manufacturer though, and I hope that more UK stockists have a look at them.

Scrikss 35 Titanium
Scrikss 35 Titanium

Taroko Design A5 notebook

The Taroko A5 notebook is a great way to get a hold of some Tomoe River paper at a less-than-eye-watering price. For fountain pen enthusiasts, Tomoe River paper needs little introduction. It’s super lightweight but resists feathering and bleed-through like a much heavier paper. Through some paper alchemy, it’s also fantastic at showing off the sheen of inks.

The Taroko Design notebook uses this legendary paper. Bureau Direct were kind enough to send some of us United Inkdom reviewers a sample notebook to take for a test drive. The one I’m reviewing here is the A5 size with lined paper. It’s also available in traveler’s notebook sizes, with plain and dot grid paper.


  • The notebook is proper A5 proportions so will sit nicely with an A5 traveler’s notebook or alongside a Leuchtturm or other A5 notebook.
  • It contains 64 pages (32 sheets) of paper
  • It’s made with 62gms Tomoe River paper which is the slightly heavier of the two weights this paper is usually found in.
  • It’s staple bound
  • Price: £7.95

This isn’t a cheap notebook at £7.95 but the premium price is due to the premium paper. Tomoe River isn’t easy to get a hold of in Europe


The notebook isn’t much to look at from the outside. The lined version has a black cover (the dotted is brown and the plain blue). It’s a sugar (construction) paper cover which won’t take a lot of battering about. It’s clearly designed to be used with an additional cover. As it is, this won’t protect the insides from folding, tearing, spills or general bashing. It does keep the total weight and width down though.

Taroko A5 cover


I’d never normally choose lined paper if dot grid or even plain was available. The lines are never the right width! The Taroko lines are a comfortable 7mm apart. Were I to buy one, I’d still choose dot grid, but I found the lined to be surprisingly pleasant.

Taroko A5 cover
Its lined but I still love it



The real pleasure with Tomoe River paper is the writing experience. The paper is smooth and light. Fountain pen ink can take a little longer to dry on this paper so be prepared for that. But also be prepared to see your ink like you’ve never seen it before.

I can also say, as someone who harbours the guilty pleasure of writing with ballpoint pen on sugar paper, this notebook would also be fun with ordinary pens.

Taroko A5 cover
Herbin Caroube de Chypre- look at that shimmer!



I dropped some ink on the notebook while writing this review, just to see how it handled it. 12 hours later (TWELVE HOURS) it’s still not quite dry. Of course, this isn’t the usual amount of ink a pen, even a wet pen, would put down. Left-handed writers might want to think twice about this paper.

Sloooow drying times
The tail of the drop is still wet 12 hours later!


I really like this notebook but with some caveats. It is an absolute pleasure to write on. However, at £7.95 it’s a bit pricey. I suspect this would make me hesitant to use it and it might sit around for rather a long time while I waited for the perfect use for it. The soft cover also means that it would be better used inside an additional cover to protect it. All that said, Tomoe River paper is unparalleled and this notebook is a great way to try it out without the exorbitant shipping costs that come with buying from abroad.

Kaweco Lilliput Fireblue review

The manufacturer lent me a Kaweco Lilliput Fireblue fountain pen for an honest review. This is a pen I’d had my eye on for a while due to its unusual looks. I’m not a big fan of Kaweco’s more popular Sport pens- there’s something about the shape I’m just not fond of, but the sleek lines of the Lilliput are very appealing. I decided to do this a little differently, and take a leaf out of Scribble’s book, by writing my review by hand but my camera, unaccustomed to the  bright light of sunshine we’re currently experiencing, couldn’t get a good shot of the text. Instead, I’ve had to capture it as a document, and the ink colour is all wrong! The review was written on the California State notebook reviewed here.

First off, the pen comes in a nice little tin. That said, you wouldn’t carry it around in this as there’s nothing to secure the pen inside. It’s pretty though.

Kaweco tin
Kaweco tin


As you can see, my writing is pretty scruffy here. I found the Lilliput difficult to hold comfortably and my writing suffered as a result. Fountain pens should be a pleasure to use and this just wasn’t. I can still feel a slight ache between my right thumb and index finger after 10 minutes or so of writing with it. My hands are about average size for a woman, I would say, so I think you might have to have very delicate hands to find this pen comfortable, assuming the weight of it didn’t bother you.

Kaweco Lilliput Fireblue
Kaweco Lilliput Fireblue


This is a really beautiful pen, and my crummy photographs don’t do it any justice, but I would caution you to try it before you buy. There’s no way I would be sending this loaner back to Kaweco if this were a standard sized pen! As it is, I know I’d never use it. I’d just gaze regretfully at it.