Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 345

The pen came in a small lot of fountain pens that I bought from one of my favourite YouTubers, Stephen Brown ("sbrebrown" on YouTube), and the notebook was purchased at a local London Drugs store. I wasn't sure if they still carried the notebooks, so yesterday I went to the nearest LD to check; I'm happy to report that London Drugs still stocks the notebooks (and other notebooks by the same company) at their brick & mortar stores.

And here they are...

 (please click on images to enlarge)

Beena 'Magic' fountain pen + Paper-Oh 'Quadro' notebook - B6.5 (3.5"x 6.9" x 0.4") size
(the notebook looks stained in the photo above because the shrink wrap wasn't removed yet - it isn't actually discoloured )

It was hard to find info on the pen brand, but according to this page, Beena was an in-house brand of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) who also made writing instruments for other Indian manufacturers like Chelpark, Camlin and others (Stephen Brown, in his YouTube review, noted that the same pen had been sold under the brand name Nisstiiv).

So, where's the nib??

There it is! It turns out that this little fountain pen has a retractable nib, and I'm guessing the model name -- 'Magic' -- is an allusion to this little disappearing trick.

To extend the nib, you simply turn the end of the barrel counter-clockwise; to retract it, twist the barrel end in the opposite direction. When the nib is fully extended or retracted, it doesn't actually snap into place, so a few users have complained about the nib retracting/extending while the pen was in use.
I'm wondering if they were using the pen without its cap on, because if you post the cap on the end of the barrel, the nib can't be extended or retracted.

Useful feature: t
he cap is long enough to accommodate the nib & section with the nib extended, in case the user forgets to retract the nib before capping the pen.

When capped, the Beena 'Magic' is slightly less than 5 inches long; posted, it's about 5 inches long. Because it's so light (total weight of pen: 14 grams), it's short enough and light enough to use comfortably when posted. The section is about 0.4 inches in diameter (barrel diameter: 0.5 inches), which might seem a bit narrow, but the pen feels "chunky" in the hand and is pleasant to use.

The cap and clip are made of metal, while the barrel, section and cap finial are black plastic. In his YouTube review, Stephen mentioned that the pen's plastic had a smell to it. The smell is all but gone now, fortunately!

The #5-sized two-tone steel nib has "Iridium Point" and some scroll work engraved on it. There's no nib width marked on the nib, but I'd say it's somewhere between a Fine and a Medium. The pen's ink flow was problematic, though, so I removed the pen's feed and carefully widened the feed channel with a very sharp, very thin blade. Now the flow is perfect. There's no flex to the nib (and I didn't expect any) but it's a nice, smooth, reliable writer.

the pen only takes a short international cartridge or a mini-converter-- full-sized (3" long) converters and/or long ink cartridges will not fit in the pen.

The Beena name is etched in lower-case font on the cap, which is a snap-on type. The steel clip feels secure and has just the right amount of tension to it. They might not be to everyone's taste, but I actually like the shape of the cap and clip as they fit the pen's playful design. It's probably not the kind of fountain pen you'd use in a formal business meeting, but it would work well for students as it's very light in the hand and comfortable to use for long-writing sessions (just make sure to bring some extra ink cartridges!)

Paper-Oh is a division of Paperblanks, a stationery company (originally from Vancouver!) that produced their first collection back in 1992. If you check out their website, you can see that the company is passionate about their Paper-Oh notebooks, and puts a lot of thought into their design and construction.

This is Paper-Oh's "Quadro" notebook, which the company describes as an "urban notebook" (the notebook's grid pattern was inspired by the layout of streets in a large city's downtown core). The double-layer cover is scored, embossed and perforated and the flaps are magnetized to protect the edges of the pages. The magnets are a nice design touch and make a soft snapping sound when they connect. The 'Quadro' notebook holds 112 lined pages and is available in lined or unlined formats. I paid $7.95 at London Drugs for my lined version.

But wait! There's more.....

The notebook comes with a "Flexi Page Marker" with scored markings on it that allow multiple pages to be flagged at the same time (horizontally or vertically). The marker can also be attached permanently to the notebook by peeling off the protective strip over its adhesive backing.

The company says the notebook's paper is "sourced from 100% sustainable forests" and is "uncoated, unbleached and run through an additional press to make it satisfyingly smooth." All of the Paper-Oh notebooks are available in lined or unlined formats (their 'Cahiers' line is also available in grid format). They currently have 7 different notebooks in their lineup, so there's something to please almost everyone.

Other features of the ''Quadro' notebooks:

  • they "do not contain binder boards, making them extremely lightweight."
  • they have an "innovative spine scoring technique" that allows them to lie completely flat when opened.
  • they "have been Smyth sewn with minimal glue along the spine" to make them more flexible.

That's a lot of stationery lingo above (lol) and I'm not what you'd call a "paper person", but I find the paper very nice to write on, and I think the notebook looks cool and has some neat features :)

 (photos & review by Maja)

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