A Beginner’s Dive into Ring-Bound Planners: Part 2 – Planner Sizes

binder-sizes

This is Part Two of  6-part series about getting started using ring-bound planners. Part One can be found here.

Planner Sizes:

The most popular planner size is the Personal (with paper measuring 4.25” x 6.75″) or Compact (paper is 95mm x 170mm, or 3.7″ x 6.75″). DayRunner and Franklin Covey use the “Compact” size  and Filofax, Kikki K and others use the “Personal” sized pages though each company has their own names for the size. The divide between the Personal size and the Compact size seems to break along US and non-US lines. Franklin Covey and DayRunner are US-based companies. All the other big names else in the planner business are in the UK, Europe or Australia.

Filofax paper sizes

The Personal (Filofax) and Compact (US companies) sizes are the same height and feature the same 6-hole configuration (two sets of three holes placed to the top and bottom of the spine) but the Personal size pages is about a 1/2″ wider. Binders designed for the Personal sized paper are a bit wider to accommodate the larger paper. This size offers the widest range of potential planner refills, while the overall size of the planner is still portable. Using Franklin Covey or DayRunner inserts in a Filofax may be a little too tight and Filofax inserts in a FC or DR may have a bit too much excess space but the option is there. Also, the Personal/Compact size is used by a lot of people creating custom inserts which might be appealing if you need something specific.

To add to the confusion, Filofax sells a binder size called “Compact” which accepts the same paper sizes as their Personal binders but features smaller rings and an overall smaller binder profile, similar to the “Slimline” binder.

Other popular sizes are the A5 (also called the “half sheet” size since its  approximately 5.5×8.5″ making it half of a US letter-sized sheet or half an A4).

The Pocket size holds paper slightly smaller than a 3×5 index card in the Filofax sizing and just slightly larger than a 3″x5″ in the Franklin Covey sizing. This size might seem a bit too small for a daily planner but it is often used as a wallet since it can fit in a pocket.

For bigger options, the A4 or the Monarch/US Letter planner (depending on whether you are choosing an European brand or an American brand respectively) is a good desk planner option. If you have a job that requires a lot of daily meetings and tasks you might consider the A4/Letter size. This size is considered the least portable as a full binder large enough to hold A4 or US Letter paper is going to be heavy and bulky.

There are even systems built around the standard US 3-ring binder in either full Letter size or the half-sheet size (5.5×8.5″). Martha Stewart has created an array of products for Avery that use the half-sheet size. The Classic binder in Franklin Covey and DayRunner also use this size.

(via Staples)

(via Staples)

The last option is the disc system option like the ARC or the Circa planning system. These use the familiar ring discs and pages punched with divots that slip into the rings. It has the same level of customization regarding page inserts as well as a range of cover options from budget board covers to full leather cases. For the most part the disc systems are only available in half-sheet/A5 or US Letter sizes.

Ring Sizes:

Be sure to consider how many pages you may want to carry in your planner when deciding on a size. The Filofax Compact and Slim line utilize smaller rings which will limit how many sheets you can fit in your planner. If you choose to cut down Tomoe River paper to fit in your planner, you might be able to use a smaller binder but if you plan on having lots of pages, dividers and additional content, you may want to consider a binder with a larger ring diameter. Some binders have a ring diameter at 1.25″ while others can have ring diameter as small as 0.75″.

Systems like ARC and Circa sell different sized discs that make it easy to swap out the capacity. Discs start as small as 0.25″ and go up to 3″.

Which size is right for you?

I wouldn’t recommend that Americans purchase an A4 binder nor would I recommend that  Brits/Europeans purchase a Monarch/US Letter-sized planner.  If you plan to add your own inserts, I would recommend choosing a format that is conducive to the tools you have handy. Anything that I can print out or copy on a standard US machine and cut down to fit in my planner is fair game. If I have to hunt down a very specific size paper, that’s going to make me less inclined to actually use my planner. The whole point of using a ring-bound planner is to make my life easier, not more complicated.

Also remember that the bigger the planner, the less portable if will become. If your goal is to create a planner you feel comfortable having with you all the time, make sure its a size that will comfortably fit in your day bag or pocket. Some men might be inclined to use a Pocket sized planner because it will fit in a pocket. With every size and configuration, there are trade-offs. Too small and you may not be able to carry a year’s worth of daily or weekly calendars. Too big and you might not be inclined to carry as often as you might need it.

Planner Page Sizes vs. Moleskine and Midori

The diagram above is from My Life All in One Place. I think its super helpful in comparing paper sizes in planners to Moleskine and Midori Traveler’s Notebook. The actual planners will be a bit larger than the paper they contain, of course.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred size, you’ll be ready to start considering your binder and/or preferred brand. Stay tuned!

Link Love: Almost 2015

rp_link-ana.jpgThings in the pen and paper universe seem to be quieting down as everyone gets ready for the holidays and the end-of-the year. Let me know if I overlooked your favorite post this week.

Pens:

Ink:

Paper & Notebooks:

A Beginner’s Dive into Ring-Bound Planners: Part 1 – Why?

(Photo via thecrazylifeofj)

(Photo via thecrazylifeofj)

In the past couple weeks, I  fell down the rabbit hole that is the ring-binder planner. You might know them as a Filofax, Franklin Covey or a Dayrunner. There are other brands on the market as well like Kikki K, Van der Spek, and Gillio, to name a few.Initially, I thought I’d pull together one quick post with all the information you might need to venture into aring-bound planner. What I discovered, however, is that there is more information to cover than can fit into one post. So I’ve created a series of posts that will shed some light on the hows and whys of ring-bound, loose-leaf planners.

I have kept some sort of planner for the several years and never having quite the right one. I’ve used a Moleskine planner, a Paper Blanks, a Hobonichi Techo and a few others I can’t remember off the top of my head — and those are just the ones I’ve used since I started this blog! Each one resulted in some sort of planner fail at some point during the year. This year, I thought it was time to consider that a ring-bound planner might be the best solution for me.

To move over to a ring-bound planner, there are a lot of  factors to consider. There’s not just the binder itself, but also the size, material (leather, leatherette, canvas or fabric, etc), the format of the calendar pages and what additional pages will be included. There are also miscellaneous inserts that can be added like zip pockets, plastic sleeves for cards, and dozens of other options I might not have considered yet. So many options!

In my research, one of the things that made me a little hesitant was the predominance of the “crafty planner.” This is similar to a lot of the Hobonichi pages that have been posted online full of washi tape, stickers and other kawaii elements. I’m not opposed to adding a personal touch, using color to differentiate a to-dos, or including other meamingful elements but I was a little intimidated about the amount of time and energy folks invested in  these “decorated” planners. I want to get organized more than I want to scrapbook, doodle or make a collage.

In the end, just like the Hobonichi Techo or the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, a ring-bound planner can be as complex or as simple as you choose. I plan to choose simple though I do have an excess of washi tape. You might choose to make your planner more of a journal or sketchbook and make it as personal, complex or layered as you want. Its all a matter of personal priorities and time.

Ring-bound planners open up so many options.  With those options come the opportunity to choose exactly what you need and the chance to mix-and-match to suit your needs. I’ve been doing a lot research to choose the best options for me. Some you’ll might like but maybe you’ll find your own perfect system as a result.

Hopefully, the next couple posts will help you decide if a ring-bound planner is right for you.

Did I mention the rabbit hole?

 

 

Field Notes Cherry Wood vs. Shelterwood

Field Notes Cherry Wood vs. Shelterwood

I recently picked up a set of the Cherry Wood standard edition Field Notes and thought it would be fun to compare them to their older brother, the Shelterwood. The first thing you’ll notice is that the Cherry Wood color is lighter than the Shelterwood and the Cherry Wood has black printed text on the cover instead of the translucent white on the Shelterwood.

Field Notes Cherry Wood vs. Shelterwood

Inside, the Cherry Wood features the more popular graph paper with ochre brown lines. The Shelterwood features lined paper in a similar brownish color.

Both books have gold staples, if you care. I didn’t test out the paper but I suspect that the Cherry Wood paper, filled with the standard edition paper stock, Finch Opaque Smooth 50# text stock, will perform as well as the standard Kraft editions. The Shelterwoods were stocked with a bit heartier Finch Fine “Soft White” 70# text stock which is a tiny bit thicker and warmer color.

As someone who prefers lined or blank paper over graph AND I use a lot of fountain pens, I think I prefer the Shelterwood but I’m sure lots of people will be thrilled to be able to get a steady supply of the Cherry Wood.

Cherry Wood editions are available as open stock at Field Notes. A 3-pack is $9.99.

Review: Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen (F Nib)

Pilot Custom 74

There have been a lot of sturdy little boxes that entered my life in the past couple of weeks. Let’s just say that the Pen Addict Podcast Annual Gift Guide episode was hell on my wallet.

Pilot Custom 74

Inside the simple paper sleeve with the big P logo on it was a clear window box so that I could marvel at my new Pilot Custom 74 fountain pen before I could even touch it. I purchased the clear demonstrator model with the fine nib during one of Pen Chalet’s epic discount sales.

Pilot Custom 74

The packaging was sturdy without being ostentacious which seems appropriate for a pen like this.

Because most of the pen is plastic, its quite light overall. Its just 15gms filled and uncapped and 24gms posted and filled. I found the pen comfortable to use unposted at 5″ long. With the cap posted, the pen is almost 6.5″ long which is a little unwieldy for me. Its not a particularly wide body so I think its a good option for people with smaller hands or looking for a pen comparable in diameter to a Sharpie marker. The Custom 74 might be a smidge wider than a Sharpie but you get the idea.

Fountain Pen Weights

Pilot Custom 74

The pen feels quite sturdy but I wonder if the demonstrator clear is not as pricey looking as it could be. When my husband saw it, he said “You paid how much? It looks like a $20 pen!” I think Mike’s blue one looks a little fancier than the clear. I did explain that really what I paid for was the 14K nib but it would be nice if it actually looked like a higher tier pen. That said, let’s talk about the performance.

Pilot Custom 74

I immediately filled the pen with Kaweco Paradise Blue using the CON-70 converter that shipped with the pen. Its an unusual cartridge converter that somewhere between a vacuum mechanism and a push-button system. I’ve never had a converter like it. To see it in action, check out Brian Goulet’s video on filling a CON-70.

There is lovely etched filigree on the nib and it looks very fine indeed. The nib alone looks like  a million bucks.

After a less-than-stellar experience with the Pelikan M205 with the gold nib that Mike loaned me, I was a little concerned that the gold nib on the Pilot would be equally underwhelming. Boy, was I in for a surprise!

Pilot Custom 74

On my standard Rhodia test paper, it writes like buttah. I felt so relieved! The Paradise Blue ink shaded nicely even with the narrow fine nib. And it is fine, but because there is a little spring in the nib, I get a little line variation too.  I am definitely starting to understand why this is such a popular pen.

Pilot Custom 74

This sample above was written in my standard, over-handed left-handed writing method. Looks good but I wanted to try to flex this a little bit which required trying a more “under handed” method… and by that, I mean I needed to change my writing position and work from below the line I’m writing on.

Pilot Custom 74

I was able to get some pleasing shading with just a little bit of pressure. I did not flex a lot since this is not really a flex nib pen per se and I didn’t want to break the tines. Overall, the ink color is darker for me when writing from below the line but the smoothness was the same. With a darker ink, I think I wouldn’t notice much color difference between overwriting and underwriting.

I’ve been loving this pen. I’ve used it all week on office paper, in my Leuchtturm1917 notebook, on Rhodia paper and pretty much anything else that passed in front of me this week. The fine nib even held its line cleanly on cheap office paper which was awesome. Its a great introduction to 14K nib modern pens and has restored my faith in 14K nibs for sure.

Pilot Custom 74

Review: Rotring 600 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil

Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil

During the whole Black Friday hullabaloo, Jet Pens had a special offer for some of the Rotring Mechanical Pencils. It was an offer too good to pass up as I’d always wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I went for it.

The Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil ($33)  came in a taste, simple black, triangular, cardstock box with the Rotring logo stamped in red and white foil on the end. When I pulled the tabs on the bottom of the box the whole thing unfolded. Good packaging and yet not over-packaged. Totally recyclable box too.

Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil

Inside was the matte black finish version of the classic mechanical pencil. Initially, I was worried that the pencil would look and feel too masculine, too tactical but when I held it in my hand was when it all became clear. The knurling on the grip is super fine so it did not feel harsh or prickly, just slip resistant. And the pencil is spectacularly well-balanced. It did not feel excessively heavy and yet it felt sturdy and solid. The Rotring 600 is an all-metal body as opposed to the less-expensive 500 model ($18) which features a plastic body but metal grip and cap.

By pulling the click button on the end out and twisting, I can change the lead hardness label to an assortment of common sizes (HB, B, 2B, 2H, etc). This is the reason to have more than one — one loaded with a softer lead and one loaded with a harder lead. Win win!

Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil

The 600 is the lesser expensive version that does not feature a retractable tip. The Rotring 800 has a retractable tip but I decided to start with the lower priced model and see if I liked the pencil before I considered upgrading to the retractable 800.

The tip has a short thick support that is part of the body of the pencil in black plus a longer-than-usual tip sleeve that creates the feeling of having exposed a good deal of lead without actually needing to have that much lead out. This eliminates the likelihood of breaking the fine 0.5mm lead.

Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil

The lead the pencil shipped with was a smooth HB grade and made the writing experience a pure joy. The feel of this pencil in the hand is really extraordinary. I get why this is such a coveted tool.

I completely forgot that under the click button is a teeny tiny eraser. But really, pairing a Black Pearl with the black Rotring 600 is the classy way to go.

The Rotring 600 is available in 0.35mm, 0.5mm and 0.7mm lead sizes and replacement knurled grips ($11.50 each) are available so its possible to change the lead capacity of your pencil without having to buy a whole new pencil.

Review: Kaweco Sport Skyline Fountain Pen in Black F Nib

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

The Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen is one of my favorite tools. With the introduction of the Skyline series this year featuring silver hardware, its rocketed to the top of a lot of lists for good quality, reasonably priced fountain pens.

Of the Kaweco Sport Skyline fountain pens, the black model is the most classic of the three colors currently available.

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

The logo on the cap, the end cap and the nib are all silver tone but all maintain the looks of the classic Sport line.

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

I got the fine nib model and it features the same scroll work etching on the nib that is on other models of Sport fountain pen. It really is a lovely nib, especially at the price.

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

In writing, the Kaweco Sport Skyline in Black performed as expected. Ink went down easily from the first fill and the nib is smooth. Since its a steel nib, its not the most flexible nib in the world but for everyday writing, its a great option.

I received the Skyline in black within days of losing my Guilloche 1930 model Sport. While not the same pen, the Skyline in black did fill a gap in my heart.

Kaweco Skyline Black F nib

If you’ve never tried a Kaweco Sport fountain pen, the Skyline series is a great place to start. Prices for the Skyline series start at about $25 with the EF nib selling for a few dollars more.


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

Indie Planners for 2015

Indie planners from Etsy

If you’re still trying to find your “perfect planner” for 2015, Etsy may have some options for you. I found a search function on Etsy to search for similar items using keywords that gave me a mere 3400 items similar to “planner and diary”. There might be something in all those items that meet my needs. Or yours.

Happy hunting and let me know if you find the perfect one for you!

Fashionable Friday: Dreaming of a White Christmas

Fashionable Friday: White Christmas

There’s only one time all year when I want it to snow and that’s the week of Christmas.  I can stay home and admire the pretty, sparkly snow, dappled with holiday lights from the cozy, warm confines of my house. So, let’s revel in it while we can and imagine watching the flakes fluttering to the ground from behind our frosted windows, from our desks.

  • Pelikan M205 Fountain Pen in ivory, currently on sale for $97.50 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun in Old Man Winter Grey (50ml) $28.00 (via Goulet Pens)
  • The Giving Notes Adhesive Memo Notes in white, 70 sheets $6.55 (via Jet Pens)
  • Kokuyo Kadokeshi 28-Corner Eraser pack of 2 for $2.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Rhodia Ice Pad 6×8.25″ $5.50 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Lamy Safari Fountain Pen in white $29.60 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Midori Brass Bullet Ballpoint Pen 0.5 mm white with black ink
    $27 (via Jet Pens)
  • Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint Pen 0.7 mm white with black ink $5.00 (via Jet Pens)
  • Kaweco Sport Skyline fountain pen in glacier mint 16,95€ (via Fontoplumo)
  • Lamy Dialog 3 palladium fountain pen 247,50 € (via Fontoplumo)
  • Delta Vintage Fountain Pen $140 (viaPen Chalet)
  • Noodler’s Konrad Acrylic Flex Fountain Pen – Rattlesnake & Adrenaline $40 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Original Crown Mill Correspondence Set in Cream and Navy $27.90 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Palomino Blackwing Pearl Pencil box of 12 $19.95 (via Jet Pens)
  • White Stapler $14 (via Poppin)
  • White Scissors $11 (via Poppin)

Link Love: Virtual Letter Writing Social on Saturday!

Post of the Week:

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 is the day chosen by the Letter Writers Alliance to be their holiday Virtual Letter Writing Social. All day, in whatever time zone, is the day to write your holiday cards and be your letter writing self. At 7pm CST, they will have a live video feed of the social from their offices in blustery Chicago. For more details, check out this post.

Paper Pastries has created the Letter Writing Kit which goes perfectly with the social.

Link Love Link Mascot
Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Other cool stuff:

Kickstarter: Click Tape Arrives!

Click Tape

Back in May, I backed the Click Tape project on Kickstarter. I pledged to receive a three-pack of tape dispensers in three colors: lime, teal and navy blue. I, of course wanted to be sure I got my “signature color” lime and I planned to give at least one Click Tape dispenser as a gift.

Each dispenser came in a simple box with one roll of cello tape. My boxes took a bit of abuse by the postal service so I didn’t photograph them but I admire the effort to package the tape dispenser and tape roll and there is a die cut hole in the side of each box placed to reveal the color of the dispenser without having to label the box in any way.

They finally arrived this past week and the Click Tape dispensers are exactly as they were described in the Kickstarter campaign. They are a smooth, matte molded plastic shape (hollow on the underside) with a round disk to hold a standard roll of cello tape.

Click Tape

The teeth are placed so that the tape tears easily but the teeth are not extended out over the edge. It makes it possible to carry this with you in a bag without impaling yourself. Very clever indeed.

The one thing I discovered when I had these in my hands is that the standard cello tape width (0.75″ wide) is wider than most of the washy tapes I own which are only 0.5″ wide. I was so hoping that the Click Tape dispensers would make great washi tape dispensers since I have about 100 rolls. I did find a couple rolls of washi tape that were 0.75″ wide and they fit into the dispenser just fine.

Is it too much to hope that Click Tape will expand their offering to include a 0.5″ sized dispenser? I’d buy a dozen of those too!

Hopefully, there will be an online store soon for folks who didn’t get in on the Kickstarter campaign.

Giveaway: Uppercase Magazines Issues 20 & 22

Uppercase 20 & 22

Uppercase Magazine recently had a $10 back issue sale and I stocked up on three issues I really wanted. What I didn’t realize was that I had already purchased two of the three issues I ordered. So, my loss is your gain!

I fell in love with Uppercase early on but became a loyal follower after the Issue 12 with the fabulous carrier pigeon illustration on the cover which is all about creative adventures.

Uppercase magazine spines

These two issues are stunning! I photographed my copies. The giveaway copies are still safely wrapped up in their shrinkwrap.

Uppercase Hamilton Type

Uppercase Jason Munn Uppercase Yarnbombing Uppercase Ham Radio

I’d like to give two readers the chance to try an issue of Uppercase magazine for themselves. Issue 20 is focused on the theme of “broadcasting” including stories about ham radio operators, manifestos and posters.

Uppercase Pantone swatches

Issue 22 is all about color — like vintage labels, Pantone color chips and paint swatches, for example.

Uppercase Vintage Labels

Uppercase Jennifer Mercede

The GIVEAWAY: To enter, tell me which issue you’d like to try (20 or 22) or which other issue seems interesting to you (though I only issues I have to give away are 20 or 22).

The FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Saturday, December 13, 2014. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Sunday. 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. Open to US residents only in order to ship in time for Christmas!

Uppercase Color Swatches

Winner: Karas Kustoms RETRAKT Tu-Tone Giveaway

Karas Kustoms Retrakt Tu-Tone

The time has come to click the magic random number generator and make someone’s day. Click….

Retrakt Tu-Tone Giveaway winner

And we have a winner!

 

Retrakt Tu-Tone Giveaway winner

Poor Marissa! She has no neck so she really does need a good pen to entertain her. Okay, I think the no neck thing was a typo, at least I hope it was. Either way, congrats to Marissa. I’ll contact you by email to arrange delivery.

Remember, if you are anyone other than Marissa, you can still get a good deal on a RETRAKT thanks to the discount offered by Karas Kustoms.

The DISCOUNT: Place an order at Karas Kustoms today and receive 15% off your order with the coupon code “HappyHolidays”. The offer is good on any Karas Kustoms product but you know you want a Tu-Tone RETRAKT. Maybe a RED and a GREEN to be in the spirit of the season? Offer good until the holidays so don’t delay!

DIY Planner for the Midori Traveler’s Notebook

A full how-to tutorial for making the notebook is available on the Hello Forever blog.

A full how-to tutorial for making the notebook is available on the Hello Forever blog.

In my hunt this week for planners that start the week on Sunday, I discovered Marcy Penner’s Hello Forever site. She created a lovely PDF document to make your own planner calendar for 2015 for the Midori Traveler’s Notebook which is available for sale in her shop.

The PDF is $10 and includes the full calendar year in week-at-a-glance pages that can be bound into two booklets to fit a regular-sized Midori Traveler’s Notebook (approx. 5×8.5″).

Her blog includes step-by-step instructions for printing, folding and binding your booklets as well.

If you want to have rounded corners on the finished notebook like the sample, small handheld corner rounders can be purchased on Amazon for under $10 or can be found at your local big box craft supply store.

TRAVELERS-NOTEBOOK-WEEKLY-CALENDAR-THUMBNAIL-480x480

Review: Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice Fountain Pen (F Nib)

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Inside this large paper board box is a reasonably priced fountain pen treasure.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

After removing the outer shipper, there is a matching leatherette box of epic size… the suspense and tension builds.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Opening the spring-loaded lid reveals a white satin bed that reminds me of a coffin but contains a beautiful Conklin Duragraph fountain pen in the Cracked Ice finish. Tossed into the coffin is a plastic baggie with two standard international cartridges filled with blue ink.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Once I disposed of the coffin box, I finally get to see the Duragraph in the cracked ice finish in all its glory. It reminds me of tumbled stones with glossy black caps and silver hardware. So pretty!

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

I got the fine nib with the expectation that Conklin uses the European nib sizing. The nib looks pretty fine! Engraved on the nib is “Conklin Toledo USA” and a tiny “F” on the side of the nib. Its a stainless steel nib and it does not have much flex to it.

I was able to get a two-tone fine nib which are currently out of stock at Goulet Pens. There is a black fine nib available or a two-tone medium. The 1.1mm italic stub option is available in silver tone.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

The cap will post on the end of the pen but it makes it very long — 7 inches!

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Upon opening the pen, I discovered that a standard cartridge converter was included with the pen. Pretty impressive for a pen that cost a mere $44.  I filled it with some Kaweco Caramel Brown ink which I thought might look coordinated with the exterior of the pen.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice writing sample

When I put the nib to paper I was totally blown away. Its a smooth, fine writer — finer than most European/USA nibs and there is a sharpness to the nib that gives it a slight italic quality, even at this fine nib size.

Fountain Pen Weights

Capped and filled, the Duragraph weighs a substantial 26gms. Uncapped, it is just 15gms which is just slightly heavier than a posted Kaweco Sport. For me, pens under 20g,s are the most comfortable so the Duragraph is definitely in the sweet spot and being 5 inches unposted makes it long enough to be useable for me.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice Writing sample

The Duragraph is definitely one of the best pen surprises of 2014. The price point is perfect for a gift, the nib sings and the looks are top notch. This is a pen that you should definitely add to your wish list and maybe even pick up one for a friend or family member. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Duragraph is also available in Amber and Forest Green and nib sizes are fine, medium and 1.1mm italic. I will definitely be ordering a Forest Green model too.

Ask The Desk: Ask The Readers (Sheaffer Lifetime 14K & Planners That Start on Sunday)

rp_askthedesk_hdr2.png

I’ve had a couple stumper questions sent to The Desk that I’ve tried researching but some are outside my field of knowledge so I thought I’d ask you, my dear readers if you could help solve these fine folks’ problems.

Image from The Pen Hero

Image from The Pen Hero

Vicki asks:

… i was given a sheaffer lifetime 14k nib pen it has the twist bottom that you fill up by pushing in, my quandry, problem, irks me to death situation is this, I can’t get it to write, if i give it a little flick ink splatters over the paper, but the darn thing will not write, any suggestions?

My first instinct is to ask if the pen has been cleaned and flushed to be sure there isn’t any dried flecks of ink but as I have no first hand experience with the Sheaffer Lifetime pens, maybe one of our readers has better advice? You could also search on Fountain Pen Network or post your question there.

filofax-week-on-two-pages-diary-sunday-start

Deborah asks:

I cannot, for the LIFE of me, find a calendar/planner where the weekly pages start on Sunday. I do not know why all calendars/planners have monthly calendars in S-S (which is the way it should be), but then turn the weekly into a M-S. Am I the only one on this planet who likes to match my planning materials? Is my brain set up shifted one day to the right…or is it left?  :-) I truly have not found any explanation as to why this occurs (other than putting the work week together and the weekEND at the END)….and maybe if I did, I could conform. (NO!) :-)  Would you happen to know in all of your calendar/planning travels of such an item? My (un)organized life depends on it.

I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to find a solution for Deborah and I’m left truly stumped. I emailed her and recommended that she contact Plannerisms, THE site for all things planner-related in hopes that she might have a recommendation.

The first option I found was from Filofax, which offers a refill for their binder planners that starts the week-on-two-pages layout on Sunday. A 2015 set of refills is $11.03 but you would need to purchase a binder to put the pages into.

Levenger Circa Sunday Start 2015

Levenger has Circa Weekly Agenda pages that start with Sunday available for 2015 in either Junior (A5-ish) or Letter (not quite A4) size ($29-$34). There are also Since these sheets are pre-punched for the Circa ring system, you would also need to purchase a cover and rings set of some sort. There are lots of options on the Levenger site from simple plastic covers to fancy leather folios.  Also, there are a couple other formats available for the Circa system with a Sunday start, do a search on their site for “sunday start” to find them all.

Passion Planners

There are some DIY options as well. These require a bit more work on your part as you’ll have to trim them out and either glue them into a book or punch them to fit into a binder or other format. DIY solutions do give lots of options for customizing and adding your own personal touches though.

One option is from Passion Planner with a “start on Sunday” option in A4 and A5 sizes. Passion Planner PDF pages are undated so you can start today by either pasting a spread into an existing notebook or using the sheets in a binder. Passion Planner started as a Kickstarter project and also has some bound books available but they aren’t shipping until January as the first order has already sold out.

2015-WEEKLY-CALENDAR-THUMBNAIL1-480x480

Marcy Penner of Hello Forever has made a PDF printable planner ($15) that starts on Sunday and is absolutely lovely. Its available in the yellow and turquoise colors or a simple and clean grey and black version. The PDF pages are designed to fit two planner sizes: 3.75 and 6.75 sized planner binders. There is a lot of options with her system and its customizable with add-ons and various extras. Check out her full detailed post for more information.

If any of you fine folks know of a planner that starts on SUNDAY, please leave a note in the comments. There aren’t too many options out there!

Winner: Kaweco Liliput Brass Fountain Pen from Fontoplumo

kaweco liliput fountain pen in brass

I’d like to thank everyone who entered to win the Kaweco Brass Liliput Giveaway sponsored by Fontoplumo. I read every single one of the “pay it forwards” and was blown away by everyone’s kindness. I hope the kindness and holiday generosity will continue even if you weren’t selected as the winner of the giveaway.

Now… on to the winner:

random number kaweco brass

and the winner is:

kaweco brass winner

Congratulations, Bert! I’ll be contacting you via email to work out the delivery details and I hope you can inspire someone else to love good writing tools with your generosity!

You all inspired me to do some of my own “pay it forwards” and I’ll post about a couple here soon.

Special thanks to Fontoplumo for sponsoring this giveaway. Fontoplumo stocks a great selection of writing tools including Kaweco, Lamy, Montegrappa, Aurora and more.  They offer great customer service and quick delivery worldwide.

Happy holidays!

Fashionable Friday: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Fashionable Friday: Christmas 2014

While I haven’t actually decorated my home or desk for the holidays yet, that doesn’t mean I haven’t considered what pen, ink and notebook combination might be best for the holidays. Winter whites or maybe a red pen and a green notebook for all my holiday elf activities? Let’s get elf-y!

  • Christmas ‘Happy Holidays’ Forest Friends List Pad £5.99 (via Fox & Star)
  • Kaweco Ink Ruby Red Ink $17.50 (via JetPens)
  • Monteverde Tool Fountain Pen in Red $40.00 (via Goulet Pens)
  • TWSBI Diamond 580 Fountain Pen in Red & Green $50 each (via Goulet Pens)
  • Limited Edition Edison Nouveau Premiere Fountain Pen in Majestic Pine (Winter 2015) $149 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine (Green) Ink $27.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Wörther Shorty mechanical pencil green 3.15mm 8,50€ (via Fontoplumo)
  • Leuchtturm1917 Red notebook (via Leuchtturm 1917)
  • Merry Christmas Stickers £1.25 (via Fox & Star)
  • Santa Christmas Card £3.00 (via Fox & Star)
  • OPI Gwen Stefani 2014 Holiday Collection What’s Your Point-settia? Nail Polish (via OPI)
  • Starlight Mints in a 5lb bag $15 (via Candy Warehouse)

Review: Karas Kustoms Tu-Tone RETRAKT

Karas Kustoms Retrakt Tu-Tone

In a pinch, today’s review was photographed with my new iPhone 6. Pardon any wonkiness but I had a wicked migraine yesterday and didn’t get a chance to pull everything together until today at lunch.

Karas Kustoms retrakt tu-tone in green

Behold! A pen, matched polish (before anyone asks, its OPI Gargantuan Green Grape), psychedelic office carpeting and my shoes!

 

retrakt-tu-tone11

And its here! The amazingly cool Karas Kustoms RETRAKT in the new Tu-Tone Colors… green, of course. And its oddly, fittingly Christmas-y in it colors. I filled it with a Zebra Sarasa 0.3mm in Viridian Green to match. I suppose this means I need a red one too?

And the almost-silent retracting mechanism means that I can nervously click without making everyone in a meeting want to murder me.

retrakt-tu-tone10

The aluminum body is comfortable to hold, not too heavy and well-weighted. After the brass INK, I was worried that the RETRAKT might be too heavy for me but I think its perfect. Very much like the weight of the Render K — enough weight to feel solid without feeling like I’m carrying a billy club.  I had to doodle this twice because of a typo so I was writing for a while and the pen remained comfortable throughout. (No Command-Z on paper!)

retrakt-tu-tone13

The RETRAKT in Tu-Tone Colors accepts any Pilot G2 style refills or Parker-style refills. Some refills might require a little jiggering to get them to fit just right but luckily the folks at Karas Kustoms include so extra parts to help with this including an extra spring, a black plug to lengtht he Parker refills and a length of translucent white piping that can be cut to length to fill any gaps. I’ve been know to cut down a too-long refill to fit as well. Finally…a way to use the great G2 refill without the cheap plastic aesthetics!

The fact that the RETRAKT can be filled with an unending array of refills, in a variety of colors, tip sizes and even style of refill (ballpoint, rollerball and gel) there’s no way you can’t love this pen. You get to make it your favorite just be picking your favorite refill.

The DISCOUNT: If you just can’t wait to see if you’ll win the giveaway RETRAKT Tu-Tone, you can place an order at Karas Kustoms today and receive 15% off your order with the coupon code “HappyHolidays” (although that code really should be “ANAROCKS”).

The GIVEAWAY: So, the fine folks at Karas Kustoms are letting me giveaway ONE RETRAKT Tu-Tone to ONE lucky reader.  You all know the drill… answer my question in the comments to be officially entered to win one RETRAKT Tu-Tone in your choice of color. Here’s the question: What do you like best about Karas Kustoms’ pens? If you’ve never owned a Karas Kustoms pen, what about their pens interests you most?

The FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Saturday. 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. Open to US residents only in order to ship in time for Christmas!


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Karas Kustoms for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: Go, Go Goulet!

Link Love Link MascotPosts of the Week:
This week’s posts of the week are all about Goulet Pens. The Goulets are such a great couple, a great company and a great contributor to spreading knowledge and love for fountain pens. Congrats on five years in the community!

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Misc:

Midori Mini Cleaner

My dear friend picked up one of the original Midori Mini Cleaners on her last trip to Japan and I’ve been dying to have one ever since. So much so, that I emailed Jet Pens and begged for them to restock these. Then, last week, I got a tweet to let me know that the Midori Mini Cleaners II were back in stock.

Mine is in the mail and I will be picking up little gritty bits of eraser dust with glee from the moment it arrives.

Field Notes XOXO 2014 “Glitch” Edition

Field Notes XOXO Edition

A few weeks back, Field Notes announced that they had a small quantity of the XOXO 2014 “Glitch” edition of Field Notes leftover after the conference available for sale. They had a strict one-pack policy for them but it was a chance for non-conference goers to get their hands on a pack of these rare, limited edition Field Notes. And this set is truly unique.

Field Notes XOXO Edition

The aesthetic of the XOXO set is basically a misprinted look of the classic Kraft edition Field Notes. What makes these so eye-catching is that the graphics are askew, off-center and misaligned. The registration key, which would normally appear along the edge of a press sheet for the purpose of color accuracy and registration, is printed across two of the books in plain sight! One cover has the “Field Notes” logo so off-center it is split across the spine. On the back of one book is the designer “sign-off” on the press run “OK BB CP” and the date which means, in press speak, Mr. Bryan Bedell was at the press check on 8/14 and approved the press run. Its right there on the back cover! This whole print run must have given the pressmen twitches.

Inside, the graph paper lines are wavy and the inside covers are just plain wonky.

Field Notes XOXO Edition

As someone who works in the print industry, we often use the misprints, the screw-ups and the scarp bits for notes and other uses so we don’t waste paper. This series of Field Notes captures the feel of that world in a slightly controlled way. And all the little designer-y marks like the registration and color key and sign-off all make me kind of happy. They are all industry insider details. Super nerdy.

Field Notes XOXO Edition

I’m so glad I was able to get a set of these. I will probably happily use them as well because I just find the quirks too fun.

I never thought I’d go nuts collecting Field Notes but here I am with several sets of special editions and a ton of Colors editions. Though, I still maintain a solid stance that Field Notes are meant to be used and, to me, they will still have their air of specialness even after they are dented, dinged, creased and filled with notes and doodles.

Giveaway: Kaweco Liliput Brass Fountain Pen from Fontoplumo

kaweco liliput fountain pen in brass

The fine folks at Fontoplumo would like to give you a brand new Kaweco Liliput Brass fountain pen. Yep. In the spirit of the holidays, Fontoplumo wants to share with you, the joy of the Kaweco Liliput Brass pocket fountain pen. That’s it.

I have an aluminum version of this pen and I just love it. I know the brass adds some good weight and, if you win, you can gloat that you have a pen I don’t have.

Happy holidays from Fontoplumo and The Well-Appointed Desk!

Giveaway: One Kaweco Liliput Fountain Pen in Brass from Fontoplumo, winner chooses the nib size (EF, F, M, B, BB). To enter, leave a message in the comments and tell us what kindness you’ll pay forward if you win.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, December 5, 2014. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Saturday. 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. Open to all readers, US and international!

Review: Pentel i+ 3 Multi-Pen

Pentel i+ 3 multi-pen

I’ve got a soft spot for multi-pens. Especially Japanese gel multi-pens. While the Pilot Hi-Tec C multi-pens are often the most talked-about, followed by the Uni Style Fit line, I still find a little space in my multi-pen universe for Pentel and their Sliccie line of gel pens. The individual Sliccie pens are not much to write about with a plain, narrow, hex-shaped plastic barrel but the actual gel refill is quite good. The Sliccie refills don’t clog or dry out like the Hi-Tec Cs do. The colors available in the Sliccie line are good, they go down smoothly and dry pretty quickly so smudging is not often an issue.

When I heard about the new Pentel i+ series of multi-pens, I was very excited. The plain two-tone plastic bodies are wider and more comfortable to hold than a standard single Sliccie. Aesthetically, the i+ body is clean, simple and unobtrusive. Would a soft rubber grip be an pleasant added feature? Sure, but every Pilot Hi-Tec C multi-pen I’ve purchased has shed the rubber grip in less than a year leaving a bumpy plastic grip. Maybe it’s better to do without the rubber grip?

Each i+ pen body holds three refills and you’re not limited to just the Sliccie-style gel refills. The i+ system also offers the Vicuna, the Energel and a mechanical pencil refill. I test drove my first i+ with three 0.4mm Sliccie refills in coordinating colors of blue black, sky blue and lime to go with the Emerald Green body (which is actually more aqua mint than emerald) but it was hard to decide just which refills to use in the i+.

Pentel i+ 3 multi-pen writing sample

The Sliccie refills (despite their difficult-to-determine pronunciation) are so ridiculously smooth to use. The Sliccie refills come in three widths: 0.3, 0.4, 0.5mm in about a 10 different colors. I find the Sliccie gel inks to be pretty reliable and they stay wet in the pen more often than comparable Pilot Hi-Tec C refills, at least in my experience.

The mechanical pencil component is available in 0.3mm or 0.5mm. Both the Vicuna and the Energel refills are available in 0.5mm in red, blue or black. All the refills cost a $1.35 to $1.65 each and the mechanical pencil component is about $3. The pen bodies are $2.55 and available in ten different body colors. So for about $10, you can have a completely customized multi-pen.

Pentel i+ 3 multi-pen

I plan on adding a second i+ to my arsenal. This time I’ll get a black body with an Energel refill, a pencil and a black Sliccie refill. How would you trick one of these out?


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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