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Thread: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

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    Default Pen Reviewers, Pen Artistry, and Noteworthy Websites

    The fact is you will learn more in watching a variety of pen reviews on Youtube than years of reading pen forums. Forums are worthwhile for specific questions, but in general, Youtube combines the best ways of learning about pens, inks, and papers. For the vast majority of people, you'll do better beginning with Youtube and save pen forums for specific questions.

    If you want conversations, pen forums can work. But pen forums can be cliquish, subject to territorialism, and oft-putting to those whose opinions don't lock-step with the old hats. Most forum members are nice, but there's always the inevitable passive-aggressive types. That's true of most forums, not just pen related ones.

    Here are some Top Tier Youtube reviewers. Some review high-dollar pens, others review less expensive pens, but all offer something - credibility, presence, and subjective objectivity.

    These are my choices. Others have suggestions in posts below this post but these are the ones I find helpful. At one time there were more youtube reviewers on this list but I've eliminated several on watching them again and finding them repetitive and bringing nothing new to the viewer.

    After all, having 30 TWSBI pens and 30 matching colors in inks and chatting about your pens doesn't make you a reviewer. I've eliminated those who add nothing but repetition.


    Start with these guys. If you never go beyond them, you're way ahead in the pen game.
    SBRE Brown - as good as it gets in so many ways. Smart, dry humor, fast.
    Figboot on Pens - tends to review high dollar pens, but he's very knowledgeable and dependable. Occasionally falls under the spell from manufacturers who send him pens then fan-boy gushes. Do be aware his writing samples are useless. Tiny printing isn't writing and tells you nothing about the pen or inks.
    Gourmet Pens - She's smart, knows her pens, and hits things others don't.
    Brian Sizemore - Vintage pens. Worth watching.
    Quick Fountain Pen Reviews Outstanding. Best I've seen lately.
    VittaR the most comprehensive ink reviews on Youtube. The best show-and-tell on inks.
    jk_pens - Knowledgeable, succinct, solid. Not your typical "Here's the pen - watch me take it apart." Fancies bespoke pens not just large manufacturers.
    Liz McGuire Can say more silently about an ink than most reviewers can in an hour. First-rate.



    In addition to my top tier, this next batch are great to watch.


    Inkluminati Vintage and modern. Excellent writing samples. Hector is a sharp guy and witty. A+.
    The Pen Collector - European slant with pens and brands you rarely see in the US. Thoughtful, informative, knows his pens. Lots of older Montblanc pens.
    Bryan Marsh Fast talker - doesn't waste your time with unnecessary bs. Good at explanations, knows pens, one of the best.
    waski squirrel - Highly entertaining. You'll see pens here that no one else covers. Unlike many, he doesn't take himself seriously. Honestly refreshing.
    Grandmia Pens - knows his pens, solid reviews. Great repair videos. Lots of vintage pens.
    Scrively - Good reviews, great accent, knowledgeable
    Gentleman of the Pen - Beautifully photographed, great voice, smart guy. In a class by himself. A thinking person's reviewer.
    What I Ink - Solid reviews, gets to the point. One of the better reviewers. Good Esterbrook repair videos.
    A.ZY.LEE - Silent reviews well done. Other reviewers could learn from watching to demonstrate more and talk less.
    InkNeedLastForeverNathan Tardif of Noodler Ink. Some love him - some hate him. I like him.
    Tamenuri - DIY Urushi, tools, and abrasives. Good teacher on an esoteric subject.
    Joshua Danley - obsessed with Pelikans with solid information you won't find elsewhere. If you collect Pelikans his Youtube and web site are valuable.
    Pen Venture good reviews of European pens from an European.

    Though I prefer those reviewers who have substance over style with a get-to-the-point and less meandering, I still included the now-defunct 'The Pen Habit' and a couple others who aren't active reviewers.

    My pet peeves are excessive and useless verbiage, personal life meanderings, general silliness, little to no forethought of what needs to be said and how to say it, trite expressions such as 'like, you know, that's how I roll,' etc. Some, rather than giving a simple and direct writing sample prefer to give you a "quote" but I find that rather pointless. I'm not watching to hear your philosophy of life. Add to that those who are totally unprepared and constantly scrounging around for pens, supplies, writing pads and have TVs and family loudly talking in the background.

    Those "unboxing" videos that take longer than 1 minute are just silly and borderline stupid. Some of the reviewers take five minutes (often much longer) to get the pen out of the package and find it necessary to describe in minutia what the mailing package looks like from all sides, how it's sealed, every frigging mark on the envelope, and other details that would bore a brain-dead zombie. Somehow they think that's important.

    I can only imagine them doing the same when they get groceries. "Now here's the plastic bag for the milk. Notice the brown color and double handles, and if you look closely you can see at the bottom that it's from Publix, and it's recyclable. Publix did use white bags but now they're using brown bags. Isn't that interesting? Now let's look at the milk container . . . . " ad nauseam.

    Just as there are 'Director's Cut' of movies perhaps those unboxing videos can be assembled into a 'Packaging Cut' where all the packaging and related uselessness can be assembled into a 15-hour extravaganza where those interesting in stamps, addresses, envelope color, plastic sleeves, bubble wrap, who wrote the address and what they ate for breakfast before addressing the envelope, and other such topics unrelated to an actual pen can relish the exciting footage of trips to the mailbox and the actual hand-off of delivery from UPS. What Thrills Await!

    The actual pen box is one thing and in a rare 5% is interesting. Otherwise, you are wasting time with verbal fluff. How many times have you ever written with the box?

    "Live Chats" are a living hell for me and are as interesting as hearing Aunt Gladys talk about her bunions to a room full of cats. You may like the slow and exceedingly dull pace as does Aunt Gladys who uses that valuable babble-time to trim her bunions.

    Hell is also 95% of pen show videos If you're going to do a Pen Show video for God's sake stop moving the camera around like a drunken sailor. Find something interesting, focus on it, pan slowly if you must, and stop roaming around thinking you're giving the flavor of the show as you're not unless the flavor is vertigo. Stop thinking you're funny and giving a running commentary like a late-night television comedy monologue. If you want your video to be like old home movies that's great, but I don't really cares about your home movies.

    Most important to Youtube reviewers - EDIT-EDIT-then EDIT some more. There might be 10 minutes at most in each hour that's interesting. The rest is boring and vomit-inducing.

    If you're going to cover a pen show, watch how Inky Rocks does it. She's the best.

    I've deliberately left out retailers like Goulet, Goldspot, Jet Pens, etc., and manufacturers. While they have some good information on Youtube, they're not anywhere close to objective about the pens and merchandise they sell.

    I will make an exception for the European retailer Appelboom as he has great content, no hard sells, and supports independent reviewers. Watch his "Three Pens Reviews" from various Youtube enthusiasts.
    US retailers could learn from Appelboom about making a classy presentation with good information minus the "Latest and Greatest Pen of the Day" hard sell.

    After a while, you'll see the 500th review of a TWSBI, Lamy Safari, Metropolitan, and many of the same pens over, and over, and over again. Nothing new, no great insights, just the same repeated review by a new reviewer. Boring.

    It won't take you long to discover who is adding to your pen life and who is Aunt Gladys talking to her cats.

    All of my opinions and comments are subjective - what else could they be? That's why I'll tell you to watch them all.

    Some I like, you might hate. Some I dislike, you may love. Others I didn't initially care for, but slowly came to trust and enjoy. This doesn't mean those not on this list are not good people; in most cases I found them to have a low signal-to-noise ratio, boring, simply repeating other's reviews, ill-informed, or shills for retailers.

    Rather than add a lot of URLs, just go to Youtube and do a search.


    In the group below you'll find some good reviewers with solid information and some who can waste your time with unboxing, chit-chat, and sometimes misinformation. You can make that decision yourself.

    The Pen Habit - now defunct. Great production values. Beware that many of his early videos contain inaccuracies and a lack of basic pen knowledge like when he didn't know the difference between a #5 and #6 nib or thought that 585 on a marked 14k nib was perhaps a model number. He spent a boatload of money ($20,000.00) on pens and supplies but money couldn't buy credibility or deep knowledge of the subject. Loved expensive pens to gush over. Still worth watching for the production values.
    chrisrap52 - never met a garish and gaudy Chinese or strikingly ugly expensive pen he didn't love. His inconsistent ratings make you say 'WTF'. He's a nice long-winded guy but slow to get the pen unboxed and get on with the show. Still, he's better than most and helpful.
    Fountain Pen Fanatic - Troy LePlante - a variety of pens new and old - Down to earth, good repair tips.
    OdE- I believe this guy is Portuguese, interesting take on things. Creative.
    JG3 - Down-to-earth reviews from a nice guy who would make a good neighbor.
    Mick L- A nice Australian reviewer who gets better with experience. A freelance opera singer.
    Fountain Pen Insanity - lots of nice pens.
    Kpurpose10 ! Lots of information, fast pacing which I like.
    nswecronos - Interesting pen videos, likes to frankenpen at times but makes it work, has good ideas.
    Seele2015au - Not your average Lamy, TWSBI, typical ad nauseam reviews. Interesting pens and wish he was current.
    ziptrickhead - Good stuff. Wish he was still making vids.
    Liz McGuire - Quiet, informative, good writing samples with a variety of inks. She doesn't waste your time.


    Vintage Pens

    Old Guy vintage pens with emphasis on flex
    Brian Sizemore (vintage)
    Inkluminati
    Pier Gustafson Vintage pens by the hundreds and knows about them. The problem is for every 30 minutes of video, he's down a rabbit hole for 25 minutes doing stream-of-consciousness malarky. I lose patience with his tedious ramblings and find I can only go about 5 minutes before leaving. It's a shame as he is very knowledgeable but a terrible presenter. Watch at-risk to your sanity.

    Then there are a few YouTubers that go beyond simple pen and ink reviews. Some of them express more without a spoken word than many can do speaking volumes. Often their photography, thoughts, and passion result in exceptional examples of artistry. We need more of these people who go beyond reviews into the realm of transcendence and beauty.

    It's difficult to classify them so I'll just call it -

    Pen Artistry

    Liz Butcher
    The Hardcore Dilettante
    Inky Rocks
    Leigh Reyes
    Gentleman of the Pen
    Arvid Al Chalabi
    Masters of the Fountain Pen - Michael T. Shue Studios


    Websites of interest
    http://www.nibgrinder.com/
    https://inkyfountainpens.wordpress.com
    http://inkophile.wordpress.com/
    https://www.fpnibs.com
    http://www.mainstreetpens.com/index.htm
    https://goodwriterspens.com/
    https://vintagepens.com/
    https://antiquedigger.com/collections/pens
    https://www.lbepen.com
    http://www.penhero.com/
    https://www.sbrebrown.com/
    https://nickstewart.ink/


    Cheers.
    Sg
    Last edited by sgphoto; June 3rd, 2020 at 07:03 PM. Reason: update

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Have fun. Pen videos drive me absolutely nuts.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    If I'm looking for a pen, I don't really care who made the video review, photo review or any kind of review (including Amazon). I just want to see the dimensions, how it looks like vs other standard pens, and pro vs cons. Then I will draw myself a conclusion if I will get or not that pen.

    It is difficult to be objective when review a pen, that is the reason to read and see as many reviews as I can find.

    Also I think some of Youtube pen reviews are annoying, different folks getting their own style...


    Grandmia Pens has a lot of English Vintage pens: https://www.youtube.com/user/penkino1/videos
    Unsharpen has a lot of reviews about ballpoint, gel and pencils, but sometimes he get confused or misinformed.

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Have fun. Pen videos drive me absolutely nuts.
    Likewise.
    Regards,
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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Have fun. Pen videos drive me absolutely nuts.
    Likewise.
    Was it really worth you two responding to this thread then ? He wants to make a list not have people say why they do not watch any of them...

    The ones I watch are a subset of the OPs plus
    Penultimate Dave

    Key thing with any is to get used to what they like as their own tastes will reflect their views. Stephen Brown is rather vocal on the fact his reviews will always be biased by his own preferences and that is only natural.

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by dapprman View Post
    Was it really worth you two responding to this thread then ? He wants to make a list not have people say why they do not watch any of them...
    Speaking only for myself, I've gotten to know SG a little bit and just gave him my perspective, along with wishing him a good time. I trust Matt's (PenHabit) vids above most, but I simply don't have 20-30 minutes to spare to get info that could be read in a couple minutes. Everyone has different takes on this, I just value my time in a different way. I hope SG wasn't bothered by my comment.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by sgphoto View Post
    But I am thankful there are Youtube pen reviewers.
    And therein lies the delight of the infinite variety of the world. To each their own, and we're all better off for it!
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Oh, I also noticed that SG didn't list two of the most popular reviewers I've seen pop up recently:



    Last edited by Jon Szanto; March 3rd, 2020 at 07:09 PM.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Pens and Tea

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    I donít have any more reviewers to add. I enjoy watching sbrebrown, figboot, penhabit, and gourmet. I know they have a particular preferences in their own right but I do still like their review styles and energy.


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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Penboyroy
    Pelahale
    Aarons pen videos
    Mick L
    Gadgetstop123

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    Last edited by TSherbs; March 3rd, 2020 at 07:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Pelahale
    Sadly, he has removed all his videos, including the excellent ones on the PFM and P51.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Most pen reviews have become waaaay too long of late.

    Nevertheless, in the interests of greater completeness:

    Pier Gustafson
    JPL
    Chris Saenz
    Nick Shabazz
    Adventure Denali
    Douglas Rathbun
    Mike Matteson
    Fountain Pen Insanity
    Inky Rocks
    Joshua Danley
    Scrively
    Gentleman of the Pen
    Last edited by catbert; March 3rd, 2020 at 07:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Pelahale
    Sadly, he has removed all his videos, including the excellent ones on the PFM and P51.
    Oh no! His Aurora 88 video was great too. Interesting musings on consumption, collecting/hoarding as well.

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by catbert View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Pelahale
    Sadly, he has removed all his videos, including the excellent ones on the PFM and P51.
    Oh no! His Aurora 88 video was great too. Interesting musings on consumption, collecting/hoarding as well.
    Sorry I missed him.

    Speaking of collecting/hoarding, I found it interesting that within a couple of years of getting involved with pens, Matt Armstrong of "The Pen Habit" said he had spent over $20,000.00 on pens. He said it was money he didn't have to spend.

    I think for some people that type of behavior is very common and is personality driven. If it wasn't pens, it would be something else. Spending a few bucks out of your budget is one thing - spending $20,000.00 you don't have is another.

    We all obsess, but most of us manage to pull back from self-destruction. Matt didn't and I think he did himself both immediate and lasting harm personally and professionally.

    Pens are a hobby. It's fun and I manage to spend several dollars each month on them and related paraphernalia. But please don't go into debt buying pens or anything else. It's not life or death - it's pens.

    Sg

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by dapprman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Have fun. Pen videos drive me absolutely nuts.
    Likewise.
    Was it really worth you two responding to this thread then ? He wants to make a list not have people say why they do not watch any of them...
    Sorry to cause you such evident offence! It's a point of view. They happen in groups like this.
    Regards,
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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Have fun. Pen videos drive me absolutely nuts.
    Couldnt agree more.

    There is one reviewer called Penultimate Dave who could just as easily be reviewing packaging design and plastics.

    If thats the reason why you buy a modern pen then you will like his vids, I find them to be exceptionally boring and their tedium is only matched by their frequency.

    His slow dull voice doesnt help, I watch You Tube vids on the TV, when this reviewer comes up on the recommended listing, my OH shouts 'Switch Mogodon Man off'.

    She uses a certain verb in her request.

    The only pen reviewer that I enjoy is Stef on Grandmia Pens, he is a character and gives a bit of insight into his restoration techniques.
    Last edited by Fermata; March 4th, 2020 at 04:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Stef (Grandmia Pens) is quite the laugh. Restoration, interesting pens, and what an accent! Love it.
    "Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?"
    ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
    .

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Stopped watching YouTube reviews a while back. They become a bit samey after a while, with several that mimicked Brown's structure (I'll tell what I like about the pen, what I don't like, and then do a writing sample) too closely.


    Like Jon, I prefer to read something for now. I used to enjoy Laura's stuff on Fountain Pen Follies, but that blog looks defunct with no entries for 5 months.

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    Default Re: Pen Reviewers on Youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Pelahale
    Sadly, he has removed all his videos, including the excellent ones on the PFM and P51.
    Yeah, that's too bad. He knew his Japanese pens, too.

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