Moleskine did a lovely little post about being halfway through a yearly planner. I love to see what people’s planners and notebooks look like after they have been used with stickers, tabs, bits of paper and notes scattered throughout.
Do you have any photos of your planner or notebook in its current condition (half-full or almost totally full) that you would be willing to share here? If so, please drop me an email with your name, web URL and photo to chair (at) wellappointeddesk.com and I’ll do a feature in the upcoming weeks.
This week I thought I might round-up all the info that has been filtered through my email. There are lots of sales, discounts and deals to be had.
First up, if you live in Melbourne Australia be sure to stop by the Notemaker warehouse sale this weekend (starting today through Saturday). If you don’t live near Melbourne, there are sales to be had on their web site as well.
Don’t forget that Well-Appointed Desk readers get a 10% discount from Notemaker by entering the code WELLAPPDESK at checkout. Let them know you heard about them from Well-Appointed Desk!
Goulet Pens is having an ink sample sale. Save 20% on any ink sample through June 30. Its the perfect time to try out some new colors — venture into scented inks or try a color you wouldn’t normally buy just because you can!
Jenni Bick Bookbinding is now carrying Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks. They carry a full range of sizes and colors so if you haven’t picked one up yet, here’s your chance. Don’t forget to sneak a peek at Jenni’s one-of-a-kind handmade books at a discount in the Jenni’s Faves section while you’re there.
And finally, today’s the last day to receive a free brass KUM sharpener with any purchase of $15 or more at pencils.com. Just enter the coupon code “KUM” at checkout.
If you want to get info about any of these deals, make sure to sign up at each site to receive their emails and you too can have an email inbox full of temptation!
If you are becoming as much of a collector of fountain pen ink as I am, this little pocket notebook set might be just what you need to keep all those colors straight. Each page provides an area to note the brand, date and pen used to test out the ink as well as a space for writing and swab samples. You can also note the flow, saturation, shading and dry times in one spot.
First I have to start off by telling a little story of how the TWSBI Diamond 540 came into my life. I was having a particularly crappy week at work and knew my birthday was coming up so I thought I’d cheer myself up with a new fountain pen so I ordered a TWSBI 540 on the strong recommendations of various podcasts I listen to (I blame you, FPGeeks and Pen Addict!).
The day it arrived I was too busy to play with it until I got home and my husband said he had something he had to do in the office so I needed to “keep myself entertained” for a few minutes after dinner. I took this opportunity to open up my new TWSBI and load it with ink. In walks my husband with a birthday present. Can you guess what it might be? Yep, just as I finished adding ink to my new TWSBI, he walks in with a wrapped box containing a TWSBI 540! Smart man!
Since I’d already inked up the TWSBI I bought, I didn’t even break the seal on the one he bought and it is speeding its way back to Goulet Pens in hopes of turning into credit for a future pen purchase (Hello, Namiki Falcon?). Shall I move on to the review now?
The nib is quite lovely on the TWSBI 540 and, to me, the pen is HUGE! Its a weighty, substantial pen with a large ink reservoir and a piston filler mechanism. Filled, I put it on my trusty scale to discover it weighs 29gms capped! That’s heavier than my Lamy Studio in brushed stainless steel. I don’t quite know what makes the TWSBI so heavy being that its a plastic body but there you have it.
I chose the clear demonstrator model so that no matter what ink color I chose, it would not clash with my pen. Silly, I know but I didn’t have any demonstrators so let this be the first! I purchased the EF nib. I write small so I tend to prefer the finer nibs but as you’ll see, the EF is so fine that an F or M nib might be just perfect for someone with larger handwriting.
The cap is a twist-off with the company name etched discreetly on the chrome cap.
On the cap end is a pretty TWSBI logo jewel in red and metallic silver. Quite pretty and made the pen feel special.
I filled my TWSBI with my favorite ink, de Atramentis Pigeon Blue, in case you’re curious (and you’re reading a pen review so of course you’re curious about the ink, right?). It was a breeze to fill, and was not messy at all. I just jammed it into a bottle of ink up to the edge of the nib and twisted the bottom to fill. It didn’t leak, dribble or in any way soil my hands.
In writing tests, I was most surprised that the TWSBI 540 wrote smoothly and precisely from the minute I filled it. I have not had to “prime it” at all since I filled it and its been used on and off for over a week. The 540 is a big enough, heavy enough pen that I could not write with the cap posted though if you prefer a big heavy pen, the cap does post snugly.
When compared to a quick writing sample from my Kaweco Sport EF and my Pilot Prera F, you can see that the TWSBI falls in between the two in regards to line thickness and wetness. The Prera is definitely the driest of the three and the Kaweco is the wettest.
Comparing the size of the pen to my other go-to fountain pens you can see that my pens are progressively getting larger though I still reach for my Kaweco more often than any other pen. I have very small hands and the lightness of the Kawecos tend to not fatigue my hands the way larger, heavier pens do. Alternately, in meetings, I take my 540 because it performs the minute I uncap it and it looks like I mean business. And the large, visible reservoir makes it a great daily carry pen because its easy to tell if you need a refill.
For a really detailed review with more technical information than presented here, I recommend the FPGeeks Awesome Review.
The front of the case has three pen slots and then four other pockets, the back two pockets large enough to hold a Field Notes book easily.
The back of the bag has a long pocket perfect for holding postcards or even a notebook.
Inside the main compartment is a large open area and four smaller pockets, two on each side of the main compartment. I found these smaller pockets perfect for small pens to be stored upright and miscellaneous office goodies like a letter opener, glue stick and a roll of washi tape. The large open area was big enough to put my Pelle journal in the bag with plenty of additional space for various office supply goodies like rubber stamps.
I’m very pleased with the size and functionality of this bag. Its a great way to organize all my travel office supplies inside a larger bag and then be able to easily access and use things when its on my desk. It is incredibly well-constructed. While I was a bit hesitant because of the price, in the end, I think this was totally worth it.
$50US at Notemaker. Don’t forget to enter the code WELLAPPDESK at checkout to get a 10% discount.
The covers have a little bit of give to them. They are not as rigid as other hardcover notebooks but it definitely gives the book a unique feeling. Included is a black ribbon page marker with a finished end (bonus!) and a pocket inside the back cover. The elastic closure matches the color of the notebook cover.
The paper is a soft warm white. Its close to cream but not too yellow-y. And the lines on the paper are actually gray and and dotted to be less obtrusive. The lines don’t run all the way to the edge of the paper to create an aesthetic margin around the edges. The spacing of the lines is a mere 5.5mm so if you write small or prefer fine lined writing tools, this is a great notebook.
Now, how does it behave when I put pen to the paper? Spectacularly! I grabbed my bag of EDC pens and tried out just about everything in the bag and the paper handled everything beautifully. The thick art brush pen and the Pilot Envelope Pen (comparable to the extra fine Sharpie for ink coverage) are the only tools that had enough ink show-through on the back to make me hesitant to use both the front and the back of the page. All my fountain pens wrote smoothly (no splines or feathering) and dried quickly (pretty much by five seconds, the ink is not smudging).
I’ll be the first to admit I was a little skeptical of this notebook for several reasons: size, number of pages, Â and price but I think it made a case on all points.
For size, I normally prefer the classic A5 but I do not find the Habana it to be too big. The slightly flexible covers make the notebook feel comfortable in the hand.
The Habana only has Â 80 pages which did not seem like a lot when compared to a Rhodia Webbie with 96 pages or the 120 pages in the average Moleskine. Since both sides of the paper can be easily used in the Habana, it really is more like 160 pages compared to the Moleskine which I can seldom use both sides of the paper. As for comparing to the Quo Vadis Habana to the Rhodia Webbie, the line spacing on the Webbie is 7mm instead of the Habana’s wee 5.5mm so I can get more content per page and the slightly larger size probably averages it all out. Not to mention that the Habana is available in red, raspberry, black and green covers while the Webbie is only available in black or orange.
I would not recommend the Habana for anyone with larger handwriting as I think you’d find the line spacing a challenge. If I understand correctly, the Rhodia Webbie uses the exact same paper stock but with wider spaced lines which would probably be a better option.
Goulet Pens did aÂ great video of the HabanaÂ with a side-by-side comparison with some of the other notebook brands which I highly recommend.
So, for me, I am quite pleased with the overall performance and value of the Quo Vadis Habana. This is one of the more expensive notebooks I’ve purchased ($23) Â but the average cost for a Moleskine these days is around $18 for a comparable size so, for the better quality paper, I think the Habana is well worth the investment.
I’m so far behind in everything that I have two months worth of Rad + Hungry kits to share with you today. The first is the May 2012 kit from Hungary.
It was wrapped so beautifully with the doll-topped pencil and paper protractor (that’s what those are called, right?) that I had to photograph the package.
Inside was two notebooks and a highlighter and a pen. Plenty of goodies for notetaking or jotting down the details of my next summer trip!
The June 2012 kit from Rad + Hungry is from Norway and it was full of Viking cool — Viking brand pencil and notepad that is! The large black pad is aA5-sized and is dot grid on the front of each sheet, blank on the back. The small white notebook is staple-bound and blankety-blank-blank. A clean slate for thoughts, doodles and flashes of brilliance. There was a lovely neon papercut inspired by the graphics on the notebook that accompanied the package as well as a Nordic Cool mini-print.
The pencil looks fabulous and I may do a further testing of it in the future. The lead looks thicker than a standard pencil so it may be prefect for sketching.
Everything about Rad + Hungry is totally rad, from the well-planned, fantastically-wrapped packages to the excellent customer service. If you haven’t tried them out yet, what are you waiting for? Might I recommend the Trinidad set with the awesome roll of self-adhesive labels or the Turkey set for the grid notebook? Its traveling via paper goods so if you can’t travel at least you can feel as if your good friend brought you some goodies back from their trip.
Lifehacker asked their readers to post photos of their workspace on Flickr in the Lifehacker Workspace Show and Tell Pool. There are dozens of images of massive monitor stacks but their are also a few gems in the group too. If you’re looking for real-world workspace inspiration, this is a great resource.
Spoiler peek at the Goulet Pens Ink Drop sample colors for June arrived and they are themed “Summer Picnic”. Its all fruit and vegetable themed. None of the colors were particularly keen to my flex nib dip pen but I think that actually bodes well for the fountain pens. I am particularly fond of the warm orange of the Sailor Jentle Apricot and the de Atramentis Plum which is a lovely deep teal blue.
I’m looking for a different method for sampling inks in the future. Does anyone have a suggestion?
When I saw the Fabriano Eco Qua dot grid notebook at our local Utrecht, I couldn’t pass up that lime green cover. I purchased the A5 (5.8”x8.25”) size with a light grey dot. Its 85gsm paper in a soft white. I wouldn’t call it ivory but its not a bright blue-white either. A pleasing-to-the-eye white. The grey dots are fairly unobtrusive and pretty close together so its good for anyone with small handwriting or if you want to use two rows of dots for larger writing.
The cover is not sealed to the perfect bound (or more specifically glue padded) sheets so it can be folded back out of your way while writing. Because the sheets are only glue bound into the book, I wouldn’t recommend this for long term archival uses as the glue will grow brittle over time and the pages will fall out. But for work notes, letters or situations where you would want to be able to perf out pages quickly and easily, this is a very good pad for that.
I had so little issue with bleed through, or even show through, that I totally forgot to take a picture of the reverse of the sheet. The only line that even showed through on the back was the Lamy Studio 1.1 with dark brown ink.
Everyone who has a penchant for paper goods has probably already heard of Field Notes. I know the Red-Blooded edition got lots of great press in February for my pal Bryan’s love letter video to his darling wife. But have you given a good look to the hearty Crop Edition? Its a set of six notebooks inspired by the crops of the US and come packed in a box with a patch and a map.
I love the Field Notes notebooks for their adherence to the classic good looks and functionality of the vintage notebooks while bringing a lovely designer-ly touch to each quarterly special edition.
Available from Field Notes and they even have a special deal for Father’s Day. Spend $20 or more this week and then type “YAYDAD” into the coupon code blank and get a free mixed set (blank, lined and grid) of Kraft notebooks.
Tuesday while I was walking to my car, precariously balancing a travel mug, my bag and trying to read Twitter all at the same time, my hand slipped and my precious communication device ended up flat on its back on the concrete parking lot floor. As it hit, I heard a distinctly crunchy sound. When I leaned to pick it up, I felt the results. Shattered. Crap.
So, I got in my car and drove directly to the Apple store. I did not pass go. I did not collect $200. When I got there, I was informed it would be a 30 minute wait before a “genius” could see me.
I looked at the bright-eyed young clerk and said, “Can you just give it to me straight? Can this be fixed and will it cost me $600?” She said, “Oh, yeah. it can be fixed while you wait and if everything is still working properly, replacing the back costs about $30.”
"Okay, fine. I’ll wait."
About 15 minutes later, a young genius came over and asked me what I needed. I flipped my phone over. He said, “Okay. No problem.” He noodled with a couple settings and then disappered with my phone for 10 minutes. When he returned, I had a shiny new back and he even wiped all the dirt of the edge of my bumper. $28 plus tax and all was well in the world.
I was informed that, had I broken the front of the phone, the price would have been $150 to repair as all the delicate electronics are soldered to the touchscreen and the fonr glass. So, once again, dear readers, learn from my mistakes. If you don’t have a cover or some sort of protection on your phone, get some. Handle it gently or make sure you applied for the insurance policy. I managed to escape with the equivalent of the cost of dinner. I’d hate for you to suffer the same fate.
The Pilot Prera is a bit of a budget fountain pen celebrity and I finally broke down and bought one. Its a Japanese steel nib pen with a cartridge filling system though there’s a cartridge converter available for it as well. Don’t tease, I had to have the lime green one.
The Japanese nib sizes are finer than the American and European sizing so I got a F, not the EF. I wanted a pen that would be finer than the other fountain pens I have but not a needle.
Straight out of the box, I found the Prera very smooth on the papers I tried. It’s a very fine writer but still smooth and easy to use. It seems a little dry right now but I’m not sure if its because its so fine or if its the ink cartridge that shipped with the pen. It makes it a good pen for lightweight papers like Moleskines and your average office copy paper.
I thought it might help to compare it to other pens that might be more familiar like a Uni Jetstream, a Kaweco Classic EF, the Pilot 78g and a Lamy Al-Star (same nibs as a Safari or Studio).
Compared to a Jetstream, the Prera is a bit thicker line and it is a bit “stickier” on paper. The Prera is definitely pricier but I thought it would help to compare the fountain pen to a common disposable pen.
The 78g is very comparable to the Prera and considerably its much cheaper. If you can find a 78g, its a good alternative as it seems to be a very similar nib. However, the 78g has a squeeze filler only while the Prera has a cartridge option or cartridge converter (this might not be entirely accurate, I’ve been researching the 78g but I’ve found conflicting information as to whether the squeeze-filler can be replaced with a cartridge or standard converter. Does anyone have experience switching out the 78g filler?). In the past I’ve had a little bit of an issue with the 78g leaking a bit so I’m hoping that the Prera is less prone to the mess.
Against the Kaweco, its a tie in terms of line quality though the Prera is a bit heavier and larger. I know that the added weight and length would be a plus for some people. I think the Kawecos are perfect pocket/EDC pens and the Prera is just slightly bigger.
Against the Lamy, its no contest. I find the Lamy scratchy and dry even after several years of use. For a left-handed overwriter, the Lamy prescribed grip is awkward and uncomfortable. Even with its wider nib, the Lamy is not as nice a writer as the Prera with only a couple days use.
Here are pens for size comparison: Kaweco Classic (Guilloch 1930 version), Pilot Prera, Pilot 78g, Lamy Studio, Lamy Al-Star, Sailor Candy.
When actually put on the scale, the Pilot Prera is just three grams heavier than the 78g, Kaweco Sport Classic and the Sailor Candy but its considerably lighter than the Lamys. (All pens were weighed with cartridge/ink filled and included.)
After several days of use, I am liking the Prera’s snap cap for easy-on, easy-off capping in meetings and throughout my average workday. The Prera does not seem to suffer from dry-starts during the day the way my Kawecos sometimes do. And overall, the larger body and silver details make this look like a nice fountain pen. While I love the stealthy fountain pen look of the Kaweco, the Prera looks and feels more like a traditional fountain pen.
I’ll follow-up this review in a couple weeks with more details after I’ve put a few more miles and a couple of different inks through the Prera.
Did I forget to mention anything?
Pilot Prera is available through JetPens for $49.50.
Daycraft Diary, Cookie Bookie, Guteberg Notebook and a little surprise
Daycraft is a Hong Kong based stationery producer that offers a range of notebooks, diaries and accessory. One of the most notable things is the array of products with contrasting edging.
This is the Animaland Elephant Diary, a small diary for 2012 that measures 4.25”x6”. It starts in September 2011 and goes through the end of December 2012. The cover is stiff paper wrapped board with a light iridescent sheen. It is filled with colorful artwork, a satin bookmark ribbon (end has been sealed so it won’t fray) and features a week-at-a-glance.
In the front of the book is a listing of international holidays, year overview calendars for the current year, previous year and next year, nutrition and health info and a place for a birthday or gift list. The diary also came with a sheet of coordinating stickers to embellish your entries.
At the beginning of each month is a full color illustration and space for writing. They have crammed 18-months into a book that’s less than 0.5” thick so the pages were bound to be thin. But the paper is a warm ivory and the lines are gray and dotted so they are no too obtrusive.
I tested a Uni Jetstream 0.5 (in red and black), my Kaweco Sport with F nib and de Atramentis Pigeon Blue ink, pencil, my new Pilot Prera with F nib and black ink.
On the reverse side, I tried a Coleto Hi-Tec-C in purple and red. You’ll notice a bit of show-through from the Kaweco and even the Prera but the gel ink Hi-Tec-C and Jetstream are not so noticeable.
In the back are some pages for logging expenses, four pages for contacts, some pages for notes and a page for personal info. The last eight pages are perforated into thirds and embellished with small illustrations for notes and what not.
Overall, the diary is a nice little book. I do wish the paper was a little bit thicker to accommodate a wider range of writing tools but it is so small and compact that I find it very useable.
Expect a new version of this notebook to be available soon for 2012-2013. $119HK (approx $15.50US)
I received a couple other items from Daycraft as well. First up is the Cookie Bookie. It is designed to look like cheese and crackers and amuses me to no end.
It measures just under 5” square and features 144 pages of orange lined paper. The covers are puffy leather-like stiff board with orange embroidery floss to simulate cracker tufts.
The paper is lined with 6.5mm fine black lines and a heavier paper stock than the diary. According to the Daycraft catalog it is 90gsm.Â I love this notebook! $129HK (about $16.75 US or on sale through the MOMA store for $8.95)
The last book I received was this white embossed “Gutenberg Notebook”. It measures about 4”x6” (A6) with pliable leather-like cover with uppercase letters embossed on the front and lowercase letters embossed on the back. The interior pages have 6.5mm fine black lines and a much heavier stock than the diary. The catalog lists the paper as 100gsm and describes it as white though I think its more of a soft white. $129HK (about $16.75 US)
All the Daycraft products can be purchased on through their web site and they offer FREE worldwide shipping.
So, if you’ve stuck with me to the end of the post, I have a deal for you. I am going to give away both the Cookie Bookie and the Gutenberg notebook. So, leave a comment below and tell me which notebook you want and why.
FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by midnight CST on Friday, June 8, 2012. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winners will be announced on Saturday. Winner will be select by random number generator. Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone â pinky swear. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but weâre not made of money.
This is a nib holder from Tachikawa Model 40 via Jet Pens. It is listed as a tool for comic and manga artists but if you’ve ever wanted to experiment with flexible nibs for calligraphy or more decorative writing and line weights, this nib holder is a great option.
The Tachikawa is designed with two grip rings for nibs that accommodate just about every style of nib on the market — some nibs have a wider arc at the base that normally fit into one size holder and other nibs have a smaller arc that require having another nib holder to hold it — which makes it universally handy. Then there is the soft padded grip area… ah! Most nib holders are just wooden or plastic and can be uncomfortable after using them for awhile, so this soft grippy area is a welcome option.
And finally, the nib holder comes with a plastic cap to protect your nib from damage when traveling or even when it just sits in a cup on your desk. Can I tell you how many times I’ve impaled my hand on a nib accidentally when reaching for a pen?
The packaging is unremarkable. Just a plexi box with a beige flocked insert and a fabric elastic band to hold the pen in place. The ink cartridge was just stuffed into the box on top of the pen. For a $50 pen, I wasn’t expecting much. It did come with one black ink cartridge. Somewhere in my pen mess, I believe I have a Pilot converter that I hope will work with it as I prefer to use cartridges only as emergency back-up ink supplies and not as my primary option.
The cap snaps into place, its not a screw closure like some of my other pens. I would compare it to the Lamy Safari/Studio capping mechanism. The Prera snaps fairly tightly but might be an issue if you tuck your pen in your shirt pocket and pull it out from the cap. It’s not an issue for me but I thought I’d mention it.
I loaded it with the stock Pilot cartridge that shipped with the pen and started writing with what I had on hand — a budget composition notebook from a big box office supply store. It is a supremely fine nib. On first touch to the paper it performed so smoothly I wanted to compare it to a gel roller ball which is fairly impressive for a fountain pen at this price point. I wrote a few letters with it last night and discovered that the nib is so fine it is not a good option for more textured, toothy paper stocks. This is a pen that may perform admirably well on Moleskines and other lightweight stocks (with the right inks).
The Prera is only about an inch longer than the Kaweco Classic so its still a good portable pen. Its a big weightier but for a lot of people, the Kaweco is just too lightweight for doing a lot of writing so this may be an appropriate step up.