This is a warm, woody desk, whose former job was to support a typewriter or a very tired teacher, has been revived as a workstation for a computer which suits its dropped center perfectly for an ergonomic place for a keyboard. The pull-out shelves on each side would be perfect for papers and a cup of coffee.
The last of my pencil bounty from Pencil Things is the Harvest Thick Red and Blue Combination 725 (Made in USA). This is the perfect editing pencil. The blue is dark, almost navy blue, and the red is a clean, bright red. The thick lead was soft and easy to use.
Though it was included in the Indelible pencil sample pack, this seems to be more of an editing/checking pencil. It did smudge a bit with effort and did smear or run a bit when wet. It did not erase well at all.
If you are looking for a red/blue pencil that does not smudge as much, then go with the Austrian Breviller Urban Copying Pencil Nr. 925. I love the color and the ease of writing with the Harvest Thick and I love that it is a “Made in USA” product but, for regular use, it smears a bit too much for this overwriting lefty.
There were even more copying pencils in the sample set from Pencil Things than those I’ve shared previously this week. These are also from Austria called Breviller Urban Copying Pencil Nr. 925. There was a red, a blue and a red/blue combo (my favorite!).
I found no difference between the red/blue combo and the individual colored pencils. I loved the true red color but the blue clearly leaned more to the cyan/non-repro shade which is fine if that’s what you are needing. Neither color wet particularly well, nor did they erase with a standard white eraser. But on the up side, they do not smudge hardly at all which is great if you are looking for something permanent in pencil form. I like the red/blue combo option best as it gives me a couple colors to use to highlight notes from meetings without risk of bleed-through or other messes.
I not only purchased the graphite Jolly copying pencil mentioned in the earlier review this week, I bought the whole set of indelible/copying pencils from Pencil Things.com. The Jolly copying pencils came in green and graphite with gloss painted bodies with gold foil lettering. The pencils are round which is a bummer as I tend to prefer the hexagonal or triangular shape but since these are those rare birds that is copying pencils, I have to take what I can get.
It turns out that both the blue body and black body were graphite based — the blue being the harder, lighter graphite (like an HB or H) and the black being a softer, darker graphite (like a 2B or 4B). When wet, the blue pencil all but disappeared in comparison to the softer black graphite.
While I’m fascinated with the green lead copying pencil, I don’t quite how I would use it. Any suggestions?
Pencil erasers don’t usually erase worth a damn so why not make them useful in other ways like making fun dotty art with a rainbow stamp pad! Use them to color code files or decorate a letter, note or package. Fun, cheap and easy!
I always think of Donna Hay as the Martha Stewart of Australia — fabulous taste, great food, and home decor that makes me feel like I live in a trailer on blocks. So, it should have come as no surprise to me that she would be selling a stunning little box set of pencils in alternating robin’s egg blue and white. How do they write, you ask? I don’t know but they are so pretty do we really care? $14.95/box of 14 (I’m assuming the price is in Aussie dollars).
Several years ago, thanks to the folks over at Pencil Talk, I discovered the Sanford NoBlot. It was, at the time, one of the last available “indelible pencils”. If you’re not familiar with indelible pencils, they were meant to be a sort of permanent pencil; something that couldn’t be erased without leaving a visible mark though there are several theories about why you would want a pencil that did not erase. (Check out a post I wrote several years ago for some of the uses.)
Unfortunately, the Sanford NoBlot Ink Pencil 705, is no longer available for sale so I’ve been on the hunt for other options mostly because the NoBlot don’t smudge very much when I write which is great for a lefty. Pencil Things carries two varieties of graphite-based indelible ink pencils that I decided to test side-by-side with one of my few remaining NoBlots. Both are listed as “copying pencils” (for more information about on the barrels rather than “indelible” though on the site, Pencil Things refers to them both as indelibles.
On the left is the PencilThings.com Select Indelible Ink Pencil DCB3-217. The body of the pencil is a pleasing iridescent metallic blue with white lettering, round barrel. It writes much softer than the Sanford NoBlot and smudges easily. In the far right is the Jolly Copying Pencil B+U 1925 made in Austria. It has a gloss black, round body with gold metallic writing. It writes a little lighter than a NoBlot but the graphite is quite smooth.
Neither the PencilThings Select nor the Jolly Copying have that fabulous turquoise color when wet which was a disappointment.
Of the two, I think I prefer the Jolly Copying Pencil though I’m holding out hope that another box of NoBlots might one day magically appear in my mailbox.
With my love for all things vintage, I couldn’t resist purchasing the Kaweco Guilloch 1930. Guilloch is term used to describe the technique of emboss that creates the fine lines on the cap and barrel that look so distinctly Art Deco. Other than the decorative case, the Kaweco Guilloch 1930 is the same internally as any other Kaweco Sport or Ice pen — diminutive in pocket, full sized when cap is posted for writing.
I chose the EF nib and added the gold clip. As other have stated, when compared with the EF nibs of the Japanese fountain pens, the Kawecos in F and EF feel more like a medium nib. I have had other people try out the pen to give me their impression. One comment I’ve heard is that the pen is very lightweight especially when compared to other brands of fountain pens. I find that the clip adds a little bit of weight which helps with the balance. In general, I think women find the Kaweco more comfortable to use than men as a result of the diminutive proportions and light weight, though I know lots of men keep a Kaweco for its excellent “pocketability”.
Every time I use a new Kaweco, I am always amazed at how smooth the nib is. I do find that Kaweco pens need to be primed (scribble for a few loops to get the ink flowing) when they have sat for awhile (a couple hours, a day, a week) but otherwise they write smoothly and they don’t skip or scratch, even on a lefty more apt to drag a pen across the paper (that would be me).
The Kaweco Guilloch 1930 takes standard European-sized ink cartridges and no converter is available for it due to the small size of the barrel. I use empty cartridges and refill them with the ink color of my choice using a pen syringe.
If you are looking for your first fountain pen, a Kaweco is a good option. They are quite reasonably priced and good quality.
As a left-hander, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of owning a left-handed pencil sharpener. Over the years, there’s only ever been “the other kind” available so I made do. But thanks to the fine folks at Pencil Things, I was able to purchase my first lefty sharpener. For you right-handers out there, I bet you didn’t know that when a left-hander uses a pencil sharpener, we have to twist the pencil towards us, which is not always a smooth motion and can result in broken or unevenly sharpened pencils. Imagine my surprise and delight to discover that the Lefty Sharpener let me twist “out” for the first time in my life. So much easier motion. I didn’t know what I was missing.
So, in preparation for a big trip, I fell off the bandwagon (again) and bought a new iPad. Yeah, one of those newfangled iPads with the Retina display. This purchase was not made without some trepidation; I had owned one previously and found it too devoted to games and content-consumption and not enough about making, editing, and reviewing content, not to mention iPads are not inexpensive. That said, when I compared the other options available at the moment that would let me watch movies and tv, read books and magazines, and on occasion check my email, twitter or web, there weren’t many options: the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet/Color were about the only other candidates in the running. I KNOW there are other options but as a fairly devoted Apple-user I was not quite ready to go down a fully-Android path.
So, now we come to the crux of my issues. I need a good cover/case for my new gadget as well as a good bag to trek across the globe with.
So far, I’ve been debating upon just getting one of Apple’s stock magnetic Smart Covers as I’ve not seen much in the way of small, reasonably-priced protective covers for the new iPad.
Thanks to a tip from Carolee at Good Mail Day, I am now the proud owner of not just a red/blue pencil but a mechanical red/blue pencil. I purchased the Autopoint TwinPoint from PencilThings and was able to choose from an assortment of configurations for this classic looking mechanical pencil. There were several lead sizes to choose from 0.5mm to 1.1mm as well as options in body color (black or cream) and lead colors: red/black, red/blue, red/green.
I purchased the 0.9mm, black body with red/blue, of course. The pencil feels very solid and well-made. The design reminds me of something my Dad had when I was a kid so I am enamored with the looks. The leads are advanced by twisting and there is no wobble in the leads — they are held firmly in place.
The blue looks like a fairly good non-repro shade though I haven’t tested it yet. I found the red to be a bit pinky in color. I wish the red was a bit more of a clear fire-engine red. I still need to test the erasability of the lead colors as well so I’ll definitely have a follow-up on this pencil.
Overall for the price, the quality cannot be beat. I am seriously considering investing in another variety — maybe the thicker 1.1mm leads?
The pen comes with one package of leads in each color selected for $8.49. Additional leads are available for $1.70-$1.80 per pack of 12.
After a week full of various technical difficulties including my WordPress Template eating itself and my Twitter account getting hacked, I’m ready for a little levity. So here’s a few links I collected this week that will hopefully make you happy too.
The everyday carry (EDC) is a topic frequently discussed among pen and pencil afficiandos. We all have little gems and jewels that we love to have and keep but we are often asked, “But which ones do you use everyday?” Stationery Traffic recently answered this question by showing the contents of his Maxpedition EDC Pocket Organizer filled with his daily tools.
This is my EDC photo from December. The contents have not changed dramatically, maybe the color of the LePens and I’ve got two Kawecos now instead of the Lamy.
Linea Carta offers ways to make calligraphy within your grasp with the beautiful calligraphy starter kit. The kit includes a beautiful screenprinted lettering chart, flexible nib dip pen, ink and instructions. $35
Rhodia Drive published an overview of the Exacompta Basic Pocket Portfolio. It is available in two sizes, 4.75x6.25” and 9.5”x12.5”, the smaller size is shown above, and it looks like a thin and thick version and each size is available in craft, black, red and green. These little portfolios would be great to organize paper ephemera like tickets, receipts and stamps while the larger would be great for carrying documents to and from the office.
Now if I could just locate an online retailer who was selling these, I’d be a very happy camper.
Packed into a wooden cigar box, the Forgetful Gentleman Correspondence System is a set of understated, classy notecards for the dignified man. The box contains 12 letterpress cards with envelopes including birthday, thank you, congratulations, love and blank to cover a full year’s worth of sending situations. There is even a booklet included to help you properly word your sentiment.
Forgetful Gentleman also offers a less expensive linen correspondence set packed into a paperboard cigar box and filled with 12 offset cards and the writing guide.
Because, yes, even men need to send cards. $75 for the letterpress set, $25 for the linen set.
Since a picture is often worth a thousand words, please admire the above photo and this simple technique for using that ubiquitous office tool, the staple remover, to make adding keys to your keyring a little less painful.
There is a wonderful visual Tumblr blog called We Love Stationery which is filled with all kinds of paper, pencil and office sundry goodness. If you just don’t get your fill here, pop over there and enjoy all the inspiration and images.
I realized recently that while I’m on-the-go, I favorite lots of things on Twitter with the intention of going back to visit them later. So I thought I’d start making it a regular feature here. Great links, photos and info culled from Twitter.
If you work in a design firm, ad agency or other venue where those little (and quitte expensive) Pantone chips get torn out and wind up in jars, drawers and taped to sheets of paper, you may want to consider getting the Slip Pantone chip sleeves. Its a convenient way to store chips that get pulled but not used. Five-pack for $12.95, 10-pack for $19.95. (via SwissMiss and ChipSlip)
Delfonics pencils, pouches and more are available from Notemaker, an Australian office supply shop. (via Notemaker)
A beautiful vintage Aurora 88 from Mr Maxim. (via Twitter)
Planet Money recently featured a story about how Mitt Romney’s private equity firm Bain Capital tried —and failed— to build a paper empire by investing in American Pad and Paper (AmPad), the 100-year old US legal pad manufacturer. Click through to hear the whole sordid story.
This video is from the TV Show How It’s Made and features Staedtler pencils in production. I was inspired to find the full video because I was so riveted by this animated gif made from the machine-sharpening technique.
Lamy Studio Brushed Stainless Steel with 1.1mm nib
I have been wanting to try a Lamy pen without the plastic grip guides for “proper holding” for sometime. All of the low-end Lamys (Safari, Al-Star, Joy, Vista and ABC) feature this grip which helps a lot of people but as a left-hander who overwrites, it is a pain to use. So, I decided to take a chance with the Lamy Studio line which features a smooth cylinder grip and some very classic modern looks.
Let me say right off, I was not disappointed in the look of this pen at all. Because its brushed stainless steel, its weightier than the Al-Star I’ve owned and it looks much more refined and elegant than other Lamys I’ve seen.
The cap clicks on and off with an audible click and the cap can be posted on the end with the same audible click. I found the pen a bit too heavy with the cap posted but its good to know it can be posted with no issues. I bought a 1.1mm nib with this pen in an effort to simulate the quality of my vintage Esterbrook stub nib in a modern pen and I have to say it worked out much better than I expected.
As you can see in the writing sample, there is nice line variation though the edges are a bit crisper than with my Esterbrook stub. I suspect that an experienced nib tuner could tweak a Lamy 1.1mm nib to write just like the Esterbrook Fine Stub by softening the edges just a bit. I’ll certainly look into it in the future.
With my overwriting angle, I was still able to get a variety of line variation with no issues — pushing, pulling, dragging — the pen was smooth and efficient. I used J. Herbin Vert Olive ink for my tests. One of the reasons I like the stub/calligraphic nibs is that it allows me to use some of these lighter colored inks and still have good legibility.
Even my right-handed friend Madeline who is well-recognized for her calligraphy took the pen out for a test drive with some wonderful results.
List price for the Lamy Studio is $85 and the 1.1mm nib can be purchased for about $10 more from your favorite pen retailer.
While on the topic of the stationery cupboard, our pals over at Pencil Talk did a little side-by-side comparison between the prestigious Field Notes steno book and one found in your average corporate stationery cupboard. Which one would you pick?
This is a lovely audio story about how pencils and paper still make an impact on people. What would take to a desert island? Pencil and paper, of course. Favorite items in your “dream pencil case”? Hear more by listening to the story on the BBC.
To be honest, I am loving all of the colors and quite enjoy that this month’s samples are so widely different in color. Just when I want more color in my world, even my ink samples provide!
Also included was a vial of J.B.’s Perfect Pen Flush to help clean ink residue from inside your pens. I haven’t tried the Pen Flush yet but I’ll let you know all about it when I do. I’ll put it to the test with one of my craggy vintage fountain pens to really see how it works!
I ran a quick swab of each color and then just scratched out some text with a dip nib just to see how the colors looked in actual writing. Again, I am using my Miquelrius grid notebook as a constant for all my samples. It is not overly fond of dip nibs (bleeds a lot!) but seems to hold up well to the same inks when used in an actual fountain pen.
To demonstrate, when I dipped into the Noodler’s Summer Tanager, it bled so badly as to be nearly illegible. When I put the same ink into my Lamy with a 1.1mm nib, there was no bleeding or feathering at all. So, the same inks can behave radically differently depending on the tool. The Private Reserve Foam Green and Diamine Washable Blue performed best in the dip pen with very little feathering on the paper so I suspect they will be excellent in my fountain pens.
And since I now have four different brown inks here I can compare, I added the Sheaffer Skrip Brown to my brown swabs.
The Sheaffer Skrip Brown is the lightest brown I have so far and the most terra cotta in color. In writing, it looks the most “brown” where the Havana Brown and Chocolat look more like a brown-black. (Pardon my spelling in the photo)
I’ve been curious about the difference between a traditional Rhodia pad and the new Rhodia R pads. Enter Writer’s Bloc with their side-by-side comparison between the two pads. The biggest difference between the two is the paper inside. Click through to read the whole review.