Review: Nakaya Decapod Cigar Ao-tamenuri Fountain Pen

Nakaya Decapod Cigar Ao-tamenuri Fountain Pen packaging

I was pretty flabbergasted when my friend Kasey offered to send me his Nakaya Decapod pen to try out. It was such a kind and generous gesture considering how special (and pricey) Nakaya pens are. But that didn’t stop me from accepting his offer immediately. How often does one have the chance to test a pen at home, with your own inks and papers, with the luxury of comparing it side-by-side with your own pen collection? Exactly, so I had to do it.

Nakaya Decapod Cigar Ao-tamenuri Fountain Pen Packaging

The pen arrived in a paperboard shipper box made from beautiful Japanese paper. Inside was a balsa wood box with writing on the lid in black. Once that was opened, I saw the pen wrapped in a “kimono” cloth case, ink cartridges and a cartridge converter, all laying on a red velvet mat.

Nakaya Decapod Cigar Ao-tamenuri Fountain Pen

Once I got the pen out of the packaging, I could truly appreciate the beauty of a Nakaya. The pen is in the now retired color Ao-Tamenuri (a blue-green urushi). This particular Decapod is known as the Cigar as it has no clip and a distinctly tapered shape like a cigar. The color of the finish is so beautiful in person and really hard to capture in a photo. The urushi is applied like layers of ceramic glaze which creates the lighter areas shown on the edges of the facets and a deeper, almost black color on the flat surfaces. Each pen is hand finished so the amount of color difference is unique to each pen. This Decapod has distinct edges with bright color difference that look almost green. The example shown on the Nibs.com site is much darker with heavier application of urushi that gives the pen a softer, rounder appearance.

Nakaya Decapod Cigar Ao-tamenuri Fountain Pen

The pen was purchased through Nibs.com which allowed for the pen nib to be modified by the legendary John Mottishaw. The original Japanese Medium 14K gold nib was ground into a Cursive Italic. Since the Nakaya Medium nib is already much finer than the European or US equivalent, this made for a fine cursive italic.

Nakaya Decapod Cigar Ao-tamenuri Fountain Pen

Its a beautiful nib on the end of a beautiful pen. I had to work up the courage to actually ink this gem up.

Nakaya Decapod Cigar Ao-tamenuri Fountain Pen

I decided to use the Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine ink which is a similar shade of green to the ridges on the Nakaya.

Nakaya Decapod Cigar Ao-tamenuri Fountain Pen

Once I had the pen inked and in my hand, I remembered fully and completely what all the fuss is about with Nakaya. Not only is the pen beautiful and unique but it is perfectly weighted in my hand. It was silky on the paper and wrote flawlessly.

On a less poetic, more technical side, the Decapod is a large, full-sized pen measuring 6 inches capped and 5.125″ uncapped. The cap does not post. The pens weighs 24 gms capped and filled with the converter and 18 gms with the cap removed. Its not a particularly heavy pen. The Lamy pens I reviewed a couple weeks ago were twice the weight! The faceted shape also helped make the Decapod one of the most comfortable pens I’ve ever used.

I tested the pen on my standard Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 pad with 6mm guide sheet under the blank page. Yep, that small.

This Ao-Tamenuri color is no longer available but other colors and configurations are still available if you are interested in pursuing the Nakaya dream. Decapods sell for between $650 and $750 each. Nib customization is additional, depending on the grind.

Its official, I understand what all the fuss is about regarding Nakaya pens. I know why they end up on folks’ grail lists. I think this pen is going to go on my grail list. Do you think Kasey would notice if I didn’t send it back?

Django studies the Nakaya

(Thought you’d be amused to see my big, dumb cat attempting to “help” me write my review.)

Fashionable Friday: Inspiration from Papaya Art

papaya2

I’ve always been mesmerized by the aesthetics of Papaya Art, a stationery and gifts product line that revolves around founder and artist Anahata Katkin. I saw photos of their office space awhile back and was equally inspired. The space has a funky, bohemian vibe that is echoed in the products they create. Maybe their space will inspire you to inject more color, texture and funk into your space? I just want to work there!

Products shown are the Dreamcatcher Sketch & Scribble Set ($12) and Still Life Floral Small Pouch ($19). All other photos are from the galleries of the About Us page of the Papaya Art web site.

papaya1

I do know that the white egg shaped chair ($149) is from Ikea because I have one just like it.

Link Love: Later Than Usual

Link Love Link MascotPens:

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The Downside of Teaching Your Spouse to Love Pens

@goldspotpens @retro1951 we have ignition! #liftoff

A video posted by ana reinert (@wellapptdesk) on

I don’t know where on the spectrum your significant other, spouse or children are on the “pen love” chart but I officially converted my husband to the joys of good pens about a year ago. As a result, certain items come into my house that I never, ever, ever see again. While I’m flattered that my pen-and-paper snobbery has rubbed off on him, I get jealous of the items he absconds with.

For example, the above video was the one and only time I saw the new Retro 51 Lift-Off pen. He showed me the rocket flare red cap and then it went in his pocket. To be fair, I totally bought the Lift-Off for Bob. I was able to garner from my quick peeks that the pen graphics are designed to read corerctly with the pen on its flat end, just like a rocket. Its apparent from the photos but until it was in Bob’s hand, I didn’t make the connection. And the bright red end cap does look like ignition burn red.

Bob also ran away with the Retro 51 Pinball edition. Which I was flattered he liked so much that he wanted it for himself.

He even checks out auction sites for NASA-specific Fisher Space Pens. I’ve yet to capture a good photo of it but he scored a mission-specific Shuttle launch commemorative pen with a space shuttle charm soldered to the pen cap. He loves this pen! See? He does not share his treasures! I’ve taught him too well.

(All I got for you is the Field Notes “stock photo”. You know as much as I do.)

Also, the new Field Notes Colors Edition Workshop Edition got as far as my kitchen table before Bob slid them to his side covetously. I wasn’t even allowed to open the cellophane. So, I need to order another set for myself. I cannot describe any aspect of the Workshop Edition other than it came in a cardboard box with a lovely postal label on it. I think I spied a magnet in a plastic bag as well. Otherwise, I’ve got no details. I can’t tell you how luscious the upscale paper is or which of the six editions I’m most likely to use first.

So, my advice, train your family and friends cautiously. They might run off with the new stuff before you even get a peek!

New Sponsor: Fresh Stock Japan

Fresh Stock Japan Screenshot

I’m delighted to introduce you to our newest sponsor, Fresh Stock Japan. Fresh Stock was started by Benjamin and his wife Becky when they were living in Japan. They’ve recently returned to the US but will continue to import unique and unusual items from Japan.

Fresh Stock has a small but highly-curated assortment of pens, pencils and office supplies. I recently ordered the Mitsubishi Colored Pencils N0. 850 (24) for $22 and was pleased with the quality of the pencils for the price. I also stocked up on some other unique office essentials like clips and pencils.

Prices are very reasonable and shipping is USPS Priority Mail for domestic orders, USPS International First Class for international. If you have any questions about the products they stock or shipping, please visit Fresh Stock Japan’s Contact Page and drop them an email.

Ink: Papier Plume Inks

papier-plume-2

My fine friend Father Kyle, sent me an assortment of inks to try out including three Papier Plume colors. Papier Plume is a New Orleans-based pen shop with a small collection of their own inks. I had the pleasure of trying out the Midnight Blue, Violet and Forget-Me-Not Blue. Papier Plume offers their inks in three bottle sizes: 15ml ($5), 30ml ($8) and 50ml bottles ($12).

papier-plume-1

I tested the inks with an Esterbrook 2442 nib in a Shawn Newton nib holder on Rhodia paper as well as did swabs with a watercolor paintbrush on the left hand side. On the right hand side, I waited for the inks to dry and then went over the swabs with water to see how much the inks bled.

The Violet was dried to a lovely chalky hue. It was a very mellow violet and pretty. The Violet was the least The Midnight Blue looked almost black when its wet and but dried lighter like a denim-y blue. What was so surprising to me is how much I liked the Forget-Me-Not Blue. I normally think of a true blue as blah but this blue is lip-smackingly beautiful. The only comparison I could make was to describe it as Cornflower blue. Its lovely.

All the colors dried fairly quickly, even in the stub nib and wielded by a messy left-handed writer. I’m inclined to recommend placing an order for either the Violet or the Forget-Me-Not Blue right now.  I would also love to try their Moss Green if its ever restocked. It looks fabulous!

Love Wins

I know people are already starting to complain about too many rainbows in their Facebook and Instagram feeds but I was so tickled at the outpouring of love and support from all the folks in my Instagram feed yesterday that I couldn’t help but share some of the wonderful, creative and paper-inspired images. I love that people are using their tools to celebrate and embrace everyone. I’m proud to be a part of such a great community.

lovewins1Top to bottom, left to right: @lilasymons, @filednotesbrand, @besamecosmetics, @skylabletterpress, @tagteamtompkins, @presentandcorrect, @gemmacorrell, @emilymcdowell, @bygumbygolly.

If you’re interested in the #LoveWins split-fountain letterpress print that Skylab Letterpress made yesterday, email them from their web site and let them know you want to order one. They are hoping to donate the proceeds for the sale of the print to a local LGBT charity here in KC.

lovewins2

Top to bottom, left to right: @michaelong, @jasperfforde, @cwpencilenterprise, @4theloveoftoys, @mypapercrane, @heymatthew, @candyspotting, @shopcraftgasm, @sarahwalshmakesthings.

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Left to right, top to bottom: @ceylangul, @wellapptdesk, @curbsidetreasure, @adelinesattic, @paperpastries and @dovbee.

#lovewins

Fashionable Friday: Peacock

Fashionable Friday: peacock

  • Aviary Fond Memory Necklace $19.99 (via Modcloth)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Mini Ink in Ku-jaku Peacock $14 (via Jet Pens)
  • Modern Peacock print $22.43 and up (via Etsy)
  • Kaweco ART Sport Fountain Pen in Lapis $81 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Filofax Saffiano Aquamarine A5 Organizer $65 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Lamy Safari Neonlime fountain pen (2015 Special Edition) €19,50 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Retro 51 Tornado Peacock Lacquer Finish Rollerball Pen $20 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Ogami Professional Hardcover Notebook in Aqua Green $20 (via Jet Pens)
  • Craft Design Technology Pencils Set of 3 HB $6.50 (via Fresh Stock)
  • Faber-Castell Grip 2011 Teal Blue Mechanical Pencil $16 (via Anderson Pens)
  • CUBE by Karas Kustoms & Dudek Modern Goods $85 (via Karas Kustoms)
  • Peacock Mobile Phone Case $35 (via Society 6)
  • Kokuyo KadoKeshi Stick Mini Twist Eraser in Lime Green $3.30 (via Jet Pens)
  • Mitsubishi No. 101 Colored Pencils Set of 12 $9 (via Fresh Stock)

Link Love: Moleskine Blowback!

rp_link-ana111111111.jpgPost of the Week:
Brad over at Pen Addict annoyed and infuriated a lot of people with his opinions on a recent podcast about the Moleskine notebook. This week, he posted his favorite Moleskine Alternatives and talked at length on the show this week about how Moleskines are not evil but they are more hype, marketing and brand recognition than they are quality paper goods.

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

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Desk Set: DIY Pipe Desk

Pipe Table Anatomy

I posted another set of instructions for making a cool, cost-effective pipe table but I feel required to bring it up again. Maybe its a reminder to myself to make one?

Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body finished the surface of this table in a dark stain which gives it a more refined look. She did the whole project for under $200 and its real wood and metal, not Ikea particle board and laminate.

(via Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body)

Pre-Order: Retro 51 Popper Lift-Off

Okay, now that I have already pre-ordered my Retro 51 Limited Edition Popper Lift-Off, its safe to tell you’all about it.

While other people get excited about the sports-themed Retro 51s, the nerds at Chez Desk get grabby hands for anything NASA or space-themed. Having just finished reading The Martian, I’m particularly excited about this limited-to-500 edition of the Retro 51, in all its Saturn V-inspired rocket glory.

Pre-order yours at Goldspot Pens for $35 and remember to tell them you heard about it fro The Well-Appointed Desk!

Review: Platinum Carbon Pen

Platinum Carbon Desk FountainPen

Pardon the smudge on the Platinum Carbon Pen. I’ve been using it for several weeks for making art, particularly of the mixed media variety and managed to get a smudge of acrylic paint on it. Should you purchase one of your own and want it to look as well-loved as mine, you must also smudge a little acrylic paint on the barrel — color of your choosing. My smudge is a pale apricot color.

Okay, now let’s talk about this unusual pen. First, the Platinum Carbon Pen was designed to be a desk pen (which explains the hideously inappropriate rubbery plastic cap) AND it was specifically designed to be used with Platinum’s permanent Carbon Black ink. What appealed to me is that the nib is a “super fine” Japanese nib and known to be a good performer. Why would you want or need either of these things?

First, I’ve not been much inclined to fill my regular fountain pens with waterproof or permanent ink and I’d guess you aren’t either. I don’t want to damage my pens should the ink dry or clog in the pen. So, the fact that the Carbon Pen is designed specifically to work with the Carbon ink means the feed is a bit wider to accommodate it. Also,the pen costs a whopping $13.50. That’s cheaper than a Kaweco Sports so if it clogs to the point that its unusable, I’m not sacrificing a more expensive tool. Next, the nib is super smooth and SUPER fine. If you’re looking for a fine fine line that isn’t going anywhere… this is a good option. Now, you could always put some other inks into the Carbon Pen but I am quite liking the idea of a pen with a specific purpose — like a Sharpie Marker. I don’t need a Sharpie Marker all the time, everyday, but when you need a Sharpie Marker, not much else will do. I feel the same way about the Carbon Pen. If I’m taking notes in a meeting, I don’t need super fine permanent writing. But if I’m drawing or writing in a journal, I might want something that is permanent.  And finally, its sort of shaped like a paintbrush with a long tapered end which actually gives it nice balance and is quite comfortable in the hand. I wish the end had been rounded rather than the flat blunt end but for $13.50 I’m not going to complain too much.

The long shape doesn’t make it particularly pocketable but it fits in my Kipling 100 Pen Case with no issues so I travel with it anyway regardless of its impractical length.

The cap cannot be posted unless you want your pen to look like the guy at the party with a lampshade on his head. Your call.

Platinum Carbon Desk FountainPen

More paint smudges on the grip section. The Carbon Pen has gotten some serious usage since I got it and the great thing about it being so budget-priced is that I don’t care if its got paint on it. The nib and hardware are gold toned so despite the paint smudges, it looks very proper and dignified.

Platinum Carbon Desk FountainPen

The partially hooded nib is an interesting design choice but it makes its feel pretty stable despite its wickedly stiletto nib point.

The pen comes with one Carbon Black ink cartridge. A pack of four refill cartridges is $3.30. Some have mentioned that this is a bit high for cartridges but since the nib on the Carbon Pen is so fine, it does not use about a lot of ink. The cartridges last a long time. Alternately, you could purchase a full bottle of Carbon Ink ($25) and refill the cartridge or buy a converter ($8.25). I just bought a pack of cartridges and I’m going to see how long it will take me to go through five cartridges. I’m willing to bet it will be years before I need more.

Platinum Carbon Desk FountainPen

The nib, even though its super fine, was very smooth on the paper and has a tiny bit or spring to it. It makes it a pleasure to write with. What I loved was combining it with Sai Watercolor Brush Markers for drawing. Since the Sai Watercolor brushes are water soluble, I was able to smoosh the colors around using a water brush but the Carbon Pen lines stayed in place.

Platinum Carbon Desk FountainPen

If you have need of a super fine, permanent ink fountain pen, I can’t recommend the Carbon Pen highly enough. I love this pen so much I might buy the Desk Stand just so its handy at all times, even though the stand is more expensive than the pen… on second thought, I might just buy an extra Carbon Pen.

Review: Lamy Scala Blue Black with 14K EF Nib AND Lamy Dialog 3 with 14K F Nib

Lamy Scala Blueblack Special Edition in presentation box

Lamy Scala Blueblack Special Edition

I recently purchased a Lamy Scala BlueBlack fountain pen (special edition 2015) with 14K gold nib (198,00 €). The pen shipped in a presentation box with a bottle of Lamy Blue Black ink and a converter. It was to be my first experience with a gold Lamy nib.

The Scala has a stainless-steel barrel with a dark blue-black finish. Its supposed to have small inclusions in the finish to look almost like stars in the night sky but it came out too subtle. The blue is much too dark and the twinkly bits are too small to be seen well. Everyone who has seen the pen asked if it was black. That said, the finish is glossy and smooth and the chromed details look sharp and professional. I’m just bummed it isn’t more “starry night” looking.

The cap is spring loaded to make it easier to loop onto a pocket or notebook. The branding is super minimal, just the Lamy name embossed in the side of the clip.

lamy dialog 3 box

lamy dialog 3 in presentation box

lamy dialog 3

lamy dialog 3  14K gold F nib

Then Mike Dudek of the Clickypost sent me his Lamy Dialog 3 to try out which also has a 14K nib on it. Its a F nib and so I could not help but compare the two pens. So this review will be a two-for-one.

The Dialog shipped in a protective outer box but the pen was nestled into a wedge-shaped beech wood box with a lovely groove cut into where the pen rests. I don’t usually place much value on the packaging but this is a compact box that can be used to store your pen when not in use.  The oversized paperboard box for the Scala is a behemoth and will end up in the attic.

The Dialog 3 is a matte black finish over metal with matte silver clip and accents. There are painted silver lines on the barrel and the Lamy logo. When closed, the painted lines align. (I noticed, in my photos, I didn’t get the Dialog closed perfectly. Its driving me crazy!) Opening and closing the Dialog 3 actually takes two hands. One to hold the barrel and the other to twist. This made me a little sad since its not at all as convenient as a retractable with a spring button mechanism like the Pilot Capless or any disposable ballpoint. The twist mechanism is also quite snug. This is good in that it won’t accidentally come open but it means it takes some effort to open and close the pen.

I’ve been using my new Lime Lamy Safari over the past few weeks, so switching to the Scala and the Dialog 3 was a bit of a change. Both pens are very weighty.

Lamy Scala Blueblack Special Edition and Lamy Dialog 3 size comparison

The Dialog 3 measures 5.5″ closed and 6″ open. It weighs 48gms filled. Its a seriously big pen for me. Since there is no cap, there’s no way to lighten this pen. It is what it is. Its also a very wide barrel. In my munchkin hands, I felt like I was holding a My First Crayon or a broom handle.

Capped, the Scala is 5.5″. Uncapped, the pen body is 5.125″ and with the cap posted it measures a whopping 6.75″. Filled and capped, the Scala weighs 43gms. Uncapped and filled, the pen weighs a much-more manageable 25gms. The cap alone weighs 17gms! If I try to use the Scala with the cap posted, the pen becomes seriously top heavy and awkward feeling but if you have large hands, this might be a great option.

Lamy Scala Blueblack Special Edition and Lamy Dialog 3 writing samples

Initially, I thought the Scala felt like a big, heavy pen but after using the Dialog 3 for awhile, the Scala felt practically dainty. Its still a big pen and weighty compared to plastic pens like the Safari but it feels good in the hand.

Grumbling about the pen sizes aside, both of these Lamy 14K nibs wrote beautifully. I can see why people get so enthusiastic about the Lamy 2000 and its 14K nib. Both the Scala and the Dialog 3 use the same gold nibs and they are absolutely buttery. The EF nib is perfect for my writing style, it gives a little variation to my strokes without closing up most letterforms. The F nib is even smoother but my writing is too tiny to keep the counters on my letters from closing up in casual writing. As European nib sizing goes, and because the gold adds some flex and softness to these nibs, I’d recommend going down a nib size. If you generally like a medium nib, go with the F and if you generally like an F nib, go with the EF.

As a lefty, I was able to use both the EF and the F nib without any issues in my overhanded writing style as well as testing it in a more traditional under writing style. This is very exciting news for me. Other modern 14K gold nibs have not been as forgiving of the overhanded writing style.

As you can see from the writing sample, visually the EF looks a bit lighter than the F nib. I think its more a result of the line weight difference than F nib being wetter. The EF definitely shows more color variation in the ink as a result of the finer nib. They both have not given me any false starts or required much priming, even after sitting for a day or so.

Lamy Scala Blueblack Special Edition and Lamy Dialog 3 size comparison

I find that the Dialog 3 fits a pen niche I don’t specifically need filled. I’m thrilled to have had a chance to test it out and I recommend that, since its such a unique size and shape, to find a retailer that has them in stock and try one before you buy it. Its shape and retracting mechanism will be somethng you either like or don’t. I don’t think there’s a lot of middle ground with this pen.

The Scala is easier to recommend since its size and shape is more in keeping with traditional fountain pens. Its available in other colors and can be purchased with a steel nib if you’re not interested in the gold nib options, which reduces the price quite a bit.

Both pens were tested with Kaweco Midnight Blue ink on Rhodia Uni Blank No. 18 pad.

Big thanks to Fontoplumo for getting the Scala blueblack Special Edition with EF for me. I purchased the pen but Frank did all the hard work. Remember, if you want to place an order with Fontoplumo, new customers should use the code “WAD” and returning customers should use the code “WAD2“ to receive a 10% discount on their order. These codes will be valid through the end of 2015!

Review: New TUL Serious Ink Pens from Office Depot/Max

TUL Chest

The folks over at Office Max/Office Depot kindly sent me a new sample pack of the new and improved TUL Serious Ink products to try out. When they contacted me, I was expecting some blister packs of pens in a padded envelope. Instead I received this industrial-tough lunchbox with lock and key. Clearly, they are serious about this launch.

Pens in the TUL chest

Inside the aluminum box, in foam cutaways, were four sample tools (TULs?), one for each of the product types: a rollerball, a gel pen, a ballpoint and a mechanical pencil. They also sent along some rub-on tattoos that I forgot to photograph. It was quite the package!

The rollerball is the only capped pen that was included in the kit. The gel and ballpoint pens are both retractable and the mechanical pencil can retract not only the lead but the lead tube as well making it easier to transport and protect the lead tube from damage.

All the pens feature simple, clean design. The overall color schemes are black, silver and clear plastics. The barrels of the pens are plastic, painted with metallic silver and black paint. The cones that hold the pen tips and the mechanical pencil are metal expect in the rollerball.

The logos and graphics are minimal and minimal branding is really quite an appealing feature to me in pens. I find a lot of modern “big box store” pens have way too much text, graphics and branding on them. The TUL series is a nice antidote to this.

All the TULs feature silicone grips, or in the case of the mechanical pencil, the whole body is a soft matte rubber.  The rubber make all the TULs comfortable to hold but prone to collecting dust particles and pocket lint.

TUL Serious Ink writing samples

In writing tests, I was pleasantly surprised with all the TULs. Usually rollerballs choke on me and stop writing a few words into writing but I had no trouble using the TUL rollerball in medium (0.7). The black ink was dark and dried pretty quickly. The gel pen in medium (0.7) was also dark black and quick drying but a little bolder line than the rollerball. Both of these are also available in fine point (0.5) which I would probably love as both the gel and rollerball in medium were a little bold for my daily writing style. But otherwise, they are good “big box” pen options.

The medium (1.0) ballpoint was notably slippery on the Rhodia paper. On standard office stock, this feature would probably be a bonus but on super smooth paper, it felt like the pen moved faster than my brain. It didn’t skip as much as a standard office ballpoints which is a plus. I suspect the ink is closer to a hybrid ink than the traditional oily ballpoint ink. If you favor ballpoints, this would be a good option. A fine (0.7) tip version is also available.

The mechanical pencil writes comfortably with its fully rubberized body and features a retractable eraser on the end. I was curious as to exactly how long the eraser was and untwisted the whole thing. There’s a good inch or more of eraser that is twisted inside the pencil barrel. Very clever design! Spare erasers can be purchased online too. To be honest, the mechanical pencil was my favorite TUL. I even liked the thicker 0.7mm leads though I am inclined to try the thinner 0.5mm lead version as well, just to see. Pencils rock. Pencils with long retractable erasers rock even harder.

I forgot to photograph the water tests! The ballpoint is waterproof. The pencil showed no ill effects from the water but a softer lead might show a little blurring. The rollerball pen is considerably less water resistant than the gel pen. It surprised me a bit that the gel pen is more water resistant since gel ink is not often very water resistant but a wipe with a wet paint brush left a light grey halo but the lines I drew are still visible. The rollerball lines survived my wet paintburush but a lot more of the ink reactivated creating a much darker grey halo.  So if wet conditions are an issue for you, stick to the gel, ballpoint or pencil.

TUL Serious Ink Pens

I’m quite pleased with the overall quality of the TUL line. The writing quality and build quality was much better than I anticipated. Each of the TULs seems to be a house brand competitor to a brand name and I feel like I should probably do a  side-by-side comparison of the TUL version against the name brand versions, particularly the gel pen.  I suspect its supposed to directly compete with the Pilot G2 and the Pentel Energel. I think the TUL version is comparable but without doing a true side-by-side I can’t say for certain if the performance is exactly the same.  As for the rollerball, ballpoint and mechanical pencil, the TUL brand versions are on par with other products in the same category. I think the mechanical pencils is particularly appealing with its retractable, extra-long eraser and rubberized barrel.

I will say that, aesthetically, I prefer the TUL pens and the prices are comparable to similar products. If I were stocking my company supply cabinet, I might purchase the TULs over name brands just for the minimal branding and visual simplicity.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Office Max/Office Depot for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: My Inky Overlords

rp_link-ana111111111.jpgPens:

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Art & Calligraphy:

Other Interesting Things:

Kuretake Zig Millennium Pigment Pens

Kuretake Zig Millennium Pen Set

Technically, the full name for these pens is Kuretake Zig Memory System Millennium for Drawing & Scrapbooking but that is a mouthful. So, are we okay just calling them Zig Millennium Pens for the duration?

This set of five pens was recommended to me following my recent round-up of archival, pigment felt tip pens. Turns out the Zig Millenniums are budget-priced pens that offer all the same features of the more expensive brands and can often be easier to find in local craft and hobby stores.

Kuretake Zig Millennium Pen Writing Samples

I purchased this set of five on Amazon for the rock bottom price of $6.56 with free Prime shipping. The set included one of each in 005, 01, 03, 05 and 08 sizes which is a perfect size variety for me.

The pens are a wide barrel silver plastic — just a smidgen wider than a Sakura Pigma Micron. The Zig Millennium pens are 5.375″ long capped, just shy of 4.75″ uncapped and the cap will post making the pen 6.375″ long. The clip is metal and reminds me of the clip on the Pilot Precise V5. The Zig Millenniums are only available in black ink but, with these permanent felt tips, I find I only ever reach for the black pens anyway.

I’ve been using these pens regularly for over a week and the points have held up to various papers including over acrylic paint, watercolor brush markers, and colored pencil without being any worse for the wear. I’ll be curious how well the points hold up long term and if the ink lasts as long in the pen as other brands.

Kuretake Zig Millennium Pen Comparison

Colorwise, the ink is not as rich black as a Sakura Pigma Micron which is the gold standard at almost twice the price. Compared to other brands like the Copic Multiliners, Staedtler Pigment Liners and the Sharpie Pen, the Zig Millenniums are totally comparable in regards to how rich the black ink is. Actually, if I had to rank these felt tips by how rich the black ink is, I’d put the Zig Millenniums second only to the Microns, especially at the wider nib sizes.

With their wide availability and comparable pricing to Sharpie Pens, the Zig Millenniums are a great addition to your archival felt-tip pen collection, especially if you are looking for finer or broader nibs than are available in the Sharpie Pen.

Giveaway Winner: Jet Pens Birthday Gift Certificate

bday Phew! The most entries ever for a giveaway and lots of lovely birthday wishes which I am so grateful for. Thanks to everyone!

Lots of lovely birthday ideas from folks and I enjoyed reading all the comments. I wish I could make everyone’s birthday wishes come true.

And now, the winner of the Jet Pens $25 Gift Certificate.

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Congrats to Stephanie and I hope you get a dog and your dad to quit smoking. As an asthmatic who has trouble breathing most of the time, having good lungs is something I’d love to have been born with. I hope you can help him give up the habit.

Review: Hadera RePaper A5 Pad

Habera Repaper pad

When I started this blog, I never thought I’d be so fortunate to receive stationery gifts from all over the world. For example, Amit kindly sent me an A5 notepad from Hadera RePaper, all the way from Israel. The paper is a deeply speckled, taupe sheet in a tearaway pad bound at the top like a classic legal pad. The paper is listed as 100% recycled and a glance at the Hadera Paper web site made it clear that the material used to make the paper is collected from all over Israel in special collection bins. Hadera also does not use bleach in making the paper to keep the environmental impact down.

Habera Repaper pad

The biggest surprise of this office supply staple is that the paper is fountain pen friendly. I am as surprised as anyone about this since most recycled papers are known for being super absorbent even with the most average of supply cupboard pens. But not the Hadera RePaper. Not only is it a pleasing color and a nice alternative to stark white but all three fountain pen nibs I tried on it performed admirably. So much so that there wasn’t even any show through on the back which means the whole sheet can be used for writing, not just the fronts. Try that with most legal pads!

Habera Repaper pad

The Hadera RePaper web site was interesting as it gave me a peek into what the standard Israeli office products might be. The stock spiral bound notebooks with the spiral on the right hand side since Hebrew is written right to left. I think lefties would love all the right hand binding options in Israel. Israelis use standard A4 and A5 notebooks and RePaper even has an A6 pocket notebook like Field Notes.

I also got to do cost conversions from Israeli New Shekel (which has the coolest symbol that looks like cupped hands) to US dollars. Most of the Hadera paper products were competitively priced with American big box stores so this is the best fountain pen friendly paper in the world I think. A 5-pack of A5 notepads is 14.90 in New Shekel which is about $3.87 US. That’s less than $1 per pad.

I could not find any information on the site about shipping outside Israel but since the paper is made from locally sourced recycled material and pistachio shells it seems counter-intuitive to their environmental mission to ask them to ship a bunch of notebooks and paper internationally. I’ll have to get by with my one little A5 notepad and hope that someday I’ll have a reason to be in Israel so I can stock up on RePaper notebooks. I wonder what other stationery wonders exist in Israel?

(Thanks to Amit in Israel for sending me a pad to try out!)

Ask The Desk: Commonplace Book Options & Staples

Rhodia Webbie

From Bruce:

What notebook would you recommend for a long-term commonplace book? I regularly use Moleskine for everything, but for this notebook I’d like something with thicker paper and built to stand some years of use. Suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

If you will be using fountain pen inks in your commonplace book, I’d recommend either a Rhodia Webnotebook or the Quo Vadis Habana. Both use Clairefontaine papers which are great quality, heavier stocks than Moleskines. They would work great with regular ballpoint and rollerballs as well and are available in lined, blank, grid, etc.

If you want something a little lower priced or don’t need as much fountain pen friendliness, then I’d definitely recommend the Leuchtturm1917 line. Lots of cover color options, sizes and paper ruling and its good for most writing tools but not as bleedproof as the Clairefontaine stocks.

Rhodia Webbies and Quo Vadis Habanas tend to have cream/ivory paper rather than bright white but the Habanas are offered in bright white through some retailers.

All three brands feature the same elastic closures as a Moleskine as well as a pocket in the back for loose items so it would be an easy transition for you from the Moleskines.

Sometimes, I find the Rhodia/Clairefontaine papers “too nice” and they give me blank-page panic so I would personally be inclined to use a Leuchtturm1917. But both are great options.

If you’re looking for something you could find more easily in most cities and towns and don’t mind blank pages, any black hardbound artist’s sketchbook would work great for a commonplace book. My local Blick art supply store is currently selling their house brand sketchbooks as buy-one-get-one-free. Michael’s, Joann’s and other craft stores usually stock Canson, Strathmore, or Cachet sketchbooks which all have acid-free, approx. 65 lb (96 gsm) paper that handles most pen, ink and pencil beautifully.

My reviews of:

Also check with the Pennaquod search tool for other pen bloggers’ reviews of notebooks.

TOT Stapler

Bill writes:

I need staples for a Swingline 53 no place in Sioux Falls  has them.

I did some research to try to locate which model was the Swingline 53 and couldn’t find it listed anywhere on the internet. I’m going to guess that it is similar to the Tot 50 or other mini stapler. In which case, locating Tot or Tot-like staples is going to be a breeze. There are some sellers on Amazon and Ebay that offer original TOT staples. A search to either site will uncover plenty of options. Or you could buy No. 10 sized staples. Jet Pens sells plain silver No. 10 staples for $1.50 for a box of 1000 or anodized colored staples for $3.30 for a box of 1000. My TOT pictured above is currently using the anodized green Max No. 10 staples and they fit perfectly.

Fashionable Friday: Inspired By Frida

FF-Frida

  • Diamine Tropical Green Ink $15.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Kaweco Sport Skyline Fountain Pen in pink $20.28 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Your Dinner Self Coasters $14.99 (via Modcloth)
  • Noodler’s Georgia Peach Highlighter Ink $12.50 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Sip and Happenin’ Glass Set $39.99 (via Modcloth)
  • Happy Stamper Wax Seal Kit in Heart $27.99 (via Modcloth)
  • Midori Planner Stickers Little Pacific Parrotlet Designs $3.95 (via Jet Pens)
  • Sailor 1911 Yellow 14K Gold Fine Fountain Pen $155.95 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Edelstein Mandarin Ink $24 (via Anderson Pens)
  • J. Herbin Vert Empire (Empire Green) Fountain Pen Ink in 10 ml Mini Bottle $4.75 (via Jet Pens)
  • Ohto Fude Ball Liquid Ink Roller Ball Pen 1.5 mm Black $2.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Fisher Space Pen Bullet Ballpoint Pen in Cherry Red $20 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Filofax Notebook Pocket Red $13.95 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Rifle Paper Co. Rose Botanicals Journal £13.50 (via Fox & Star)
  • Word Notebooks The Adventure Log Pack of 3 for $9.99 (via Jet Pens)
  • Sailor STORiA Pigment (Bulletproof) Ink in Spotlight Yellow $32 (via Jet Pens)
  • Midori D-Clips Horse Paper Clips Box of 30 for $7.25 (via Jet Pens)

(Frida portrait via Vogue Mexico)

It’s My Birthday, But You Get a Gift!

bday

It’s my birthday, but I want to give you a gift. Well, one of you anyway. I’m giving away $25 gift certificate to Jet Pens to one lucky reader. Thanks to Jet Pens for sponsoring this birthday giveaway. Leave a comment and tell me what you want for your birthday to be entered to win.

The novelty erasers pictured are not a required purchase but they sure are fun!

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Sunday, June 14, 2015. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). 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 — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner.

Kickstarter: Penxo 2mm Lead Holder

There’s just 12 hours left to back the Penxo 2mm drafting pencil. There are several backing options at just $29 US for a lead holder and a pack of 12 leads and sharpener. This is a beautiful design and I hope it works as well as proposed. I backed it. I’m looking forward to filling the silver model with non-photo blue leads.

Link Love: Let’s Get Calligraphic

rp_link-ana11111111.jpgLinks of the Week:

  • The Artistcellar Blog is not extensive, yet, but it has several reviews of opaque white pens and waterproof tests for popular drawing pens. Very handy!
  • Alisa Burke has a few posts on handlettering in your journal by guest writer Makewells. It’s beautiful and inspiring.

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Kickstarter:

Planning and Organization:

(Shoutout to reader Deborah for recommending K. Werner’s site!)

Review: Kipling 100 Pen Case

kipling 100 pen case

I was serious last week when I said I bought the Kipling 100 Pens Case. I found it on sale at the Kipling USA website in the dragonfly pattern but they offer new patterns every season as well as an assortment of solids. The 100 Pens Case retail for about $49 but can be found on sale for as low as $25 or as high as $80 for past season popular colors or patterns. The fern colorway is currently available for $34 plus the additional 40% off “BIGSCOOP” discount code making it about $21 which is quite a deal.

kipling 100 pen case

The case reminds me of a soft-sided cigar box. The case measures approximately 8.75″ x 6.5″ x 3.25″ with a big sutrdy plastic zipper. The zipper only has one pull. I’d prefer if it had two so it could be zipped closed on the long side rather than along the spine.

I’ve decided to use this case as my traveling sketchbook/art-making tool kit and its PERFECT for this task.

kipling 100 pen case

Inside is a stiff divider panel with elastic loops to hold pens or pencils as well as matching loops on the inside of the cover.  The loops are perfect for colored pencils or slender pens like Marvy LePens but they would not work for beefier tools like fountain pens or pens with big clips or silicone grips. There are 26 loops which is just about enough for a travel assortment of colored pencils. I’ve used the case for over a week and its easy to slide pencils under the loops, point first from the bottom. I just love looking at my array of colors!

kipling 100 pen case

When the pencil flap is folded back, a large open compartment is exposed that can be filled with additional tools and supplies. As you can see, mine is packed solid.

There is a hack on YouTube for adding a few elastic straps on the blank flap to hold loose papers like cards, stickers or notes.

kipling 100 pen case

These are all the tools, pens, pencils and brushes stored in the open compartment. The tin holds a small traveling supply of watercolor pans.

kipling 100 pen case

And here’s everything in the case. Did I get 100 pens into it? Not quite. I was able to fit 77 pen-like objects including an assortment of water brushes, wide drawing markers, Tombow brush markers, and felt tip pens as well as three pencil sharpeners, tape, glue stick, ruler, letter opener, ink cartridges, bone folder and my “tool” keychain. At present, it zips closed but just barely. I’m hoping to determine if there are a few tools I don’t use regularly and pull those out.

This case is going everywhere with me these days. Its perfect for storing art supplies on-the-go since it makes everything easy to see and access as opposed to more common zip pouches.

kipling 100 pen case

How could I pass up a chance to take a picture of the lime green gorilla key fob that was included with the case? It is easily removable if toys on your pen case are not your speed.

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