Video: How It’s Made: Space Pens, Colored Pencils, Fountain Pens & More

I found a great collection of pen-and-pencil-centric How Its Made videos. Some you may seen but I thought this would make for great lunchtime viewing. Enjoy!

This next video is how Aurora Fountain Pens are made:

This is the manufacturing process of Caran d’Ache colored pencils:

This next video is in Japanese subtitles with no spoken dialogue but its how Pilot makes its fountain pens so I thought it would be fun to watch even without narration. The first eight minutes is all about how the nibs are constructed which is a little slow to watch but fascinating!

The Desk Set: Cluttered but Clean

The Desk Set Header

desk-set-busy

(From left to right, top to bottom: Better Homes & Gardens, Brownstoner, Jeremy Bittermann for The New York Times, Danielle de Lange.)

I hope these spaces feel colorful and inspiring. So many of the images I find around the internet of workspaces lately have been stark white and barren and don’t feel like inviting workspaces. These spaces felt tidy but productive with evidence of people actually utilizing the space for a variety of tasks.

Link Love: Steampunk Patina

FF-Steampunk

  • Grolier Ornamentali Journal (via Paperblanks)
  • Retro 51 Tornado Metalsmith Roller Ball Pen “Lincoln” (via JetPens, Anderson Pens, Goldspot Pens and others)
  • Fisher Space Pen .375 Caliber Cartridge Ballpoint Pen (via Pen Chalet)
  • Fisher Bullet Pen in Titanium Copper Zirconium Nitride (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Mini Ink in Syo-ro Pine Tree Dew (Gray Turquoise) (via JetPens)
  • Steampunk Peacock Brooch (via Etsy)
  • Anderson Badger Black Ink (formerly Scribal Workshop Kraken) (via Anderson Pens)
  • Vintage Aerostation Print (via Etsy)
  • Kaweco Liliput fountain pen in copper (via Fontoplumo and JetPens)
  • Wherever You Arm Shot Glass (via Modcloth)
  • De Atramentis Copper Brown Ink (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Tea at 2,000 Feet iPhone Case (via Society6)
  • RETRAKT in Copper (via Karas Kustoms and JetPens)
  • Sailor Fountain Pen Jentle Yama-dori (Copper Pheasant – Teal) Ink (via JetPens)
  • Midori Traveler’s Notebook (via JetPens)
  • Diamine Ancient Copper Mini Ink (via JetPens)

Big shout out to Lori at Franklin-Christoph for the steampunk idea. Smart and beautiful, that one.

Pencil Review: Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB

Caran d'Ache Swiss Wood Pencil HB

What can I say about the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB pencil? Its beautiful. It also costs $5.45 per pencil. Who pays $5.45 for a pencil? I do. Why? Curiosity. And its pretty.

Aside: Caran d’Ache is known for producing some of the best colored pencils and watercolor pencils in the world that can also cost upwards of $5 per pencil and I’m considering investing in those too. Does that make me crazy? Maybe.

The Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood pencil is a beautiful beech wood pencil, stained dark with no additional shellac. It smells like a campfire. (Yes, I sniffed the pencil). The end is dip-sealed with glossy red enamel and the white Swiss cross is printed on the end. The lettering is printed in a crisp white foil along one fact of this hexagonal pencil.

Caran d'Ache Swiss Wood Pencil HB

I love hex pencils and the Swiss Wood is slightly wider than a standard hex pencil. It may be too wide to fit some standard sharpeners but it fit fine in my  Palomino/KUM two-step long point sharpener.

Caran d'Ache Swiss Wood Pencil HB

Caran d'Ache Swiss Wood Pencil HB

The experience writing with this pencil seemed to be “oh, this is how a pencil should feel.” It was smooth and silent on the paper. When scratching back and forth, I got a good dense color. The Swiss Wood just coasted along on the paper and kept a good point in the process. With some effort, I could smudge it but while writing I did not notice any graphite on the heel of my hand which is a true test for any lefty.

It erased with almost no trace of the previous scribblings with my “oops!” eraser that lives on my desk.

When compared to the Field Notes pencil, it was so apparent how much grittier the FN pencil was than the Swiss Wood. Of course, the FN pencil is a freebie but I assume most of my fine readers own at least one of these pencils so when I say the Swiss Wood is leaps and bounds better to write with than most pencils, you have basis for comparison. I also compared the Swiss Wodd to my favorite go-to pencil, the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 HB. The Grip 2001 was definitely a lighter graphite and scratchier than the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood. Am I going to have to throw it over for a gross of Swiss Woods? Maybe!

Caran d'Ache Swiss Wood Pencil HB

I’m inclined to think that, if you’re a bit of a pencil snob, its worth it to add a few of these Swiss Wood pencils to your collection. I think I might like the writing experience better than the Palomino Blackwings (blasphemous, I know.) but the Blackwings actually look like a bargain-priced pencil next to the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood.

But, even at $5.45 (comparable to the cost of your average Venti Vanilla Latte), the Swiss Wood is worth trying. Just skip the latte today.

Caran d'Ache Swiss Wood Pencil HB

Link Love: TWSBI Eco & S. Jane Mills

How awesome is this portrait of me and Link for this week's Link Love? It was created by s.Jane Mills using Sakura Pigma Micron Pens, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, Copic Sketch Markers, Tombow Dual Brush Pens, and a Uniball Signo white gel pen. She rocks! Dont' forget to check out her blog for more awesomeness!

How awesome is this portrait of me and Link for this week’s Link Love!?!?? It was created by s.Jane Mills using Sakura Pigma Micron Pens, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, Copic Sketch Markers, Tombow Dual Brush Pens, and a Uniball Signo white gel pen. She rocks! Dont’ forget to check out her blog for more awesomeness!

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Notebooks:

Planner & Organizers:

Other Interesting Things:


Submit your Link love art: To be the featured artist on an upcoming Link Love, write, draw, photograph, or doodle an original “Link Love” image. It can be lettering, calligraphy, your own interpretation of Link or anything else you think might relate to the weekly list of pen/pencil-centric blog links. Email your submission to me at chair@wellappointeddesk.com. Please include any link information you’d like in the image credit (your name, Twitter handle, Instagram, blog, etc). Also include any information about inks, tools, paper, etc used in your creation. Please let me know that I have permission to publish your work in Link Love and that the image is your original piece.

Book Review: Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum

Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum

Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum by Liza Kirwin is a wonderful peek into the notes, doodles and letters from artists, writers and poets. There are typed notes and handwritten notes, some legible and some unintelligible.

Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum

Ah, Franz Kline’s grocery list is as unremarkable as mine but his liquor bill is extravagant!

Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum

I love this list of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings written by his father N.C. Wyeth. The penmanship is beautiful.

 

Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum

This is a close up of the Wyeth list. Look at the grey ink and stub italic!

Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum

Kinetic sculpture artist Alexander Calder drew these lovely sketches in a letter. Clearly also fountain pen. It looks like he added water to tone some of the areas. So interesting!

Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum

This is a close-up of Calder’s address book in a warm sepia ink.

Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum

This is probably my absolute favorite page. It’s Adolf Konrad’s packing list, beautifully illustrated in gouache. I love the addition, on the next page, of Alfred in his skivvies like a paper doll self-portrait.

Needless to say, I recommend picking up this book if you get a chance. Its printed on a smooth, uncoated stock and bound with a softcover that feels a bit like a notebook rather than a fancy book. I thumb through it often and enjoy the detailed information on the accompanying pages. Its interesting to see how sloppy and how tidy some of the most loved artists and writers actually were. So telling!

How Important is Your Notebook?

I got to thinking the other day how upset I would be if I lost my sketchbook, Traveler’s Notebook or pen case. Like “what would you grab from a burning building?” upset.

Then I realized I don’t have my name or contact information in either book. Seriously. Do you put your name inside your notebooks? In your pen case, purse, backpack or wallet?

Many notebooks include a place to write your name and contact info inside in case you get parted for your notes. Do you  fill it in? On a recent episode of the Pen Addict (I can’t remember the specific episode) the topic came up and it got me thinking. Then yesterday, I saw that Lisa Vanness lost a NockCo pen case at the Miami Pen Show. Whether it was actually misplaced or “liberated” I don’t know but either way, it also brought the issue back to mind.

How heartbroken would you be to lose a notebook, pen case or sketchbook? Enough to genuinely consider offering a reward for their return? I know I would.

Contact Info in MTN

So, I’ve put my name and contact information inside my books and hope that should I misplace them, a kind soul would return the books to me. I would gleefully buy them their own skecthbook or Traveler’s Notebook as a thank you for returning all my notes, lists, doodles and thoughts.

I also hope that by seeing my name inside a notebook or pen case, someone who was thinking of walking off with my beloved tools might reconsider. In most cases, there’s no “street value” for notebooks or pens and I firmly believe that there’s a cold place in eternity for people who steal tools — be they construction tools or writing tools.

Contact info in sketchbook

So, go now and put your name or business card and phone number or email address in your most treasured notebooks. And if you know what happened to the Vanness NockCo case, please contact Lisa at Vanness Pens. No questions asked.

 

Fashionable Friday: Most Coveted

FF-covet

This week, I thought I’d round-up some of the most coveted new or hard-to-acquire items I’ve had my eye on. What are you lusting after?

  • Kaweco Sport Sykline Fountain Pen in Pink (available from Fontoplumo, Jet Pens and several other lovely sponsors)
  • Edison Nouveau Premiere Fountain Pen in Fireball (Ltd. Ed. Summer 2015 Color Option) (via Goulet Pens)
  • J. Herbin 1670 Emeraude de Chivor ink (via Rhodia Drive and will be available from JetPens, Goulet Pens, Anderson Pens and many other vendors)
  • TWSBI ECO White Fountain Pen (via TWSBI)
  • Retro 51 Tornado Juliet (available from Anderson Pens, Goldspot Pens)
  • Filofax Original Planner Organiser A5 in Fluoro Pink Leather (via Filofax UK)
  • Ciak Leather Sketchbook Pink (via Jenni Bick)
  • Sailor STORiA Pigment Inks (via JetPens)
  • Freedom Pouch in Multi Splatter pattern (via Kipling USA)

Ink Review: KWZ Gummiberry

KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry

KWZ Inks is a one-man ink operation from Poland started by Konrad Żurawski in 2012, a chemistry PhD student that clearly combines his tow loves: chemistry and fountain pens. Just this year, his inks are starting to get a wider distribution and, thanks to Vanness Pens, I had the opportunity to try the KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry ($14 for 60ml bottle). Iron gall inks are both loved and reviled because of its permanent nature. Iron gall inks can be used to sign important documents because the inks will bond to the paper fibers making it near impossible to remove. At the same time, if iron gall inks are left indefinitely in a fountain pen, it can stain the ink reservoir and possibly corrode stainless steel nibs. Also, iron gall inks darken over time.

I don’t have a lot of experience with iron gall inks but the KWZ provides some advice on his web site about how to properly clean and protect your pens from any possible issues that might be caused by using an iron gall ink. That said, for testing purposes, I used my Shawn Netwon dip pen with an Esterbrook #2442 nib and cleaned it out as soon as I had finished my writing samples and did not have any issues getting the ink out of the nib by just rinsing it with water.

KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry

The KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry is notable first for its fabulous name. Who doesn’t love gummi bears? And second, for its amazing jeweled purple color. Honestly, after all the purple inks I tested this year, the color of Gummiberry is just gorgeous and is moving up my ink color charts fast. The fact that the rich jewel tone darkens as it dries and settles into an almost purple-black when dry makes it fun to write with and still looks sophisticated.

The ink dries a little bit slower than many of my standard inks on the Rhodia paper I use for testing but I am also in the midst of humidity wave here in the Midwest so I cannot be sure if the slowness is the result of the ink or the heat and humidity.

When tested with water after several hours (not 10 minutes as labelled because I went to lunch and forgot to do the water test) a little bit of color ran but not much. I suspect after drying for a week or two, there is likely to be even less movement of the color as it bonds with the paper fibers.

The color is so rich that I’m willing to experiment with this ink in one of my everyday pens. Maybe its a good excuse to purchase a TWSBI Eco as an iron gall test pen? Then I would have an excuse to try a variety of colors!

KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry Ink Comparison

Compared with some of the many purple inks in my stash, even the other purple iron gall Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa, Gummiberry is clearly a rich, deep hue. I will check back with the swab and the writing samples in a few weeks to see if the color darkens significantly but as of writing this, several days after doing the swab and writing sample, the color looks indistinguishable from the photos.

Overall, I’m thrilled with my experience with KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry and am very interested in trying some of the other colors available. The prices are more than reasonable for such a substantial sized bottle too. Yep, definitely going to be purchasing a pen specifically for iron gall inks.


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

Link Love: Cool Stamps and Pen Rolls

(artwork created in Adobe Illustrator by calligrapher and lettering artist, Chris Purcell)

(Artwork created in Adobe Illustrator by calligrapher and lettering artist, Chris Purcell. Thanks so much, Chris!)

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Other Interesting Things:


Submit your Link love art:
To be the featured artist on an upcoming Link Love, write, draw, photograph, or doodle an original “Link Love” image. It can be lettering, calligraphy, your own interpretation of Link or anything else you think might relate to the weekly list of pen/pencil-centric blog links.

Email your submission to me at chair@wellappointeddesk.com. Please include any link information you’d like in the image credit (your name, Twitter handle, Instagram, blog, etc). Also include any information about inks, tools, paper, etc used in your creation. Please let me know that I have permission to publish your work in Link Love and that the image is your original piece.

Ink Review: Bung Box Tears of a Clown

Bung Box Tears of a Clown

Bung Box is a small shop in Japan that works with Sailor to create small batches of custom inks. The inks have become so popular that Vanness Pens has starting importing these unusual inks to the US.

Bung Box Tears of a Clown is a particularly unusual color but the first sample I wanted to try as a die-hard English Beat fan. How could I not love something called Tears of a Clown? It turns out to be a deep, terra cotta red with green-gold undertones. Odd. The more I look at it, the more I think of cherry chocolate. Its a color I just can’t seem to categorize.

Bung Box Tears of a Clown

In a brush, the shading and color depth was very apparent but in my writing sample, the color settled down to a deep reddish brown suitable for letter writing, poetry or journaling. Subtle but unique.

The ink dries a bit darker than it appears wet. It dried at a reasonable speed being that I tested it on Rhodia paper in the heat and humidity of a midwestern summer. I think it would dry pretty quickly in more conducive settings.

The ink is activated with water and not water resistant or waterproof. When wetted, the pinkish undertones of the color become visible which would make for interesting drawings or to accent your writing or calligraphy.

Bung Box Tears of a Clown ink comparison

Finding an adequate color comparison was a challenge but that’s part of the reason Bung Box inks are so coveted… there’s nothing else like some of the colors. I compared the Tears of a Clown to reds, burgundies and browns and it clearly fills a unique hole I didn’t know I had in my ink collection.

I love the shape and size of the Bung Box full bottles so I suspect I’ll be making a full purchase in the near future. The labels on the bottles are a little odd and feel like an afterthought but its the contents of the bottle that is the most desirable part anyway so I can overlook the less-than-aethetic labels.

Bung Box inks sell for $35.65 per 50ml bottle or $3.50 for a generous 5ml sample through Vanness Pens. Each ink color is produced in limited quantities so some colors may not be available right now. Check back or contact Vanness and let them know what color you’re interested in purchasing.


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

And now for something completely different….

Preview: Karas Kustoms Fountain K

Fountain K, Render K and INK

Karas Kustoms has recently been peppering the internet with sneak peeks of their upcoming Kickstarter pen release: The Fountain K. I was lucky enough to get a prototype of the new pen to try and share with you.

Pictured above is the Render K, the INK and the Fountain K all in aluminum. And to be honest, without taking the cap off, I can’t tell my Render K apart from the Fountain K. My husband claims he can tell that the Fountain K is ever-so-slightly lighter in weight but I am not that sensitive to the differences.

I did put all three pens on my trusty scale and here’s the weights of each pen, filled and capped:

Fountain K: 28 g
Render K: 34 g
INK: 43 g

Fountain K and INK

As someone with petite appendages, I have been thrilled with the overall weight and feel of the Fountain K compared to the INK. From the photo, you can see that the Fountain K is a more slender pen with a shorter grip section. Both the Fountain K and the INK use the same Schmidt nib size and I think it appears more balanced in the Fountain K. The nib looks beefier in the smaller pen.

NIb View

Those Schmidt nibs are really pretty and look great on the Fountain K. I tested a fine nib but since this is more of an overview of the design of the new Fountain K, its suffice to say that the pen wrote beautifully and as expected of any Schmidt nib. Check out Pennaquod to see a variety of nib widths of the Schmidt nib by searching for the “Karas Kustoms INK.”

Render K and Fontain K

The grip section on the Fountain K is the same length as the barrel on the Render K but since most people tend to grip a rollerball pen a bit closer to the tip, the grip on the Fountain K may seem shorter. I found that the threads are smooth enough that, even if my fingers ended up touching the threads, it was not bothersome at all. The threads are pretty smooth and gave a little grippiness to an otherwise silky smooth pen.

Cap Swap!

Did I mention that the threading on the Fountain K is exactly the same as the Render K? That means that you can switch out the caps to your liking.

All-in-all, I’m absolutely thrilled with the Fountain K. It is exactly what I had hoped it would be… a smaller alternative to the INK. Its beautiful, well-balanced and made in the USA. I can’t wait to see the excitement about the upcoming Kickstarter for these beauties. No official date has been set for the Kickstarter launch but I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as I hear.


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.

Midori Traveler’s Notebook Follow-Up

Midori Traveler's Notebook Pan Am Edition

This post was originally supposed to be about the new Midori Traveler’s Notebook (Pan Am) Blue Edition but I love the original MTN regular-sized notebook so much I couldn’t bring myself to open the Pan Am edition yet. So, admire the beautiful packaging compliments of Baum-Kuchen. I’m saving it, all wrapped up until I need a pick-me-up. Then I’ll share the contents with you.

In the meantime, I’m going to give a peek into my current MTN set-up since, after four months, I needed to make a couple updates.

MTN Current Set-up

Currently, I have two blank refills in my current Traveler’s Notebook set-up. The one in the front is the standard Midori blank refill that I use for project planning. The “Milk & Honey” sticker is from a local macaron shop. YUM!

The notebook in the back is one I made using a paper I cut from a standard black sketchbook with 65lb (approx 96 gsm) drawing paper. The 8.5×11″ paper cut and folded with only a little trimming to fit perfectly into the regular-sized MTN. I added green, cardstock covers and alphabet stickers that say “DRAW”. I use it as a portable sketchbook now as well as keeping swatch samples of pens, pencils and inks and art-related notes.This is actually my second refill in the back of my MTN. The first was a Banditapple blank notebook that got filled with writing samples from various pens and inks and from various people while I was in Atlanta for the Pen Show so I’m super sentimental about it. The paper in the Banditapple notebooks is 80 gsm (approx 55 lb) which is pretty good and had little-to-no bleedthrough but I had the unused sketchbook so I decided to make use of materials I had rather than ordering ANOTHER notebook.

In the center section is my planner. I downloaded the Taroko Shop Week-On-Two-Pages sheets ($3.50) to use as my planner. I’ve been using it since February and I’ve been very pleased with it. I set it up to run through the middle of July so it was time to update the planner portion so I thought I’d share the process.

MTN updated inserts

I printed out fresh blank planner pages and bound them into a booklet using black cardstock for the cover. I used a numbering stamp to add the date numbers to each page. My friend Carolee gave me the tabbed stickers which fold over and I stamped the month on each tab and stuck them to the first page of each month. I’ve been on the hunt for a source for these tabbed stickers because they are fabulous!

I also bought fresh magnet page markers. The first set I had was the Galison Mr. Fox & Friends ($5.75) but the animal ears all got bent and cracked over the months so I upgraded to the Galison Up in the Air set ($5.75). For the planning section, I used the sun marker which is perfect for “today”. In the front book is a rainbow and the drawing book has the bird wearing a scarf and goggles. Adventure ahead! I also grabbed an assortment of Pine Book Schedule Stickers in the Panda Life ($2.65 per sheet) theme to use for a little fun for the daily grind.

Other than that, the only additions in my Traveler’s Notebook are the stock plastic zipper pouch insert, the business card sleeve insert and a homemade 6-pocket cardstock folder insert.

Overall, my Traveler’s Notebook is not all that “tricked out” but what I have added to it has just made it more “me.” Do you have a Traveler’s Notebook? What do you use yours for and what modifications have you made?

Fashionable Friday: Word Nerd

FF-WordNerd

  • Scrabble Coasters $13.20 (via Designer Rug)
  • Kaweco Special Mechanical Pencil 2.0mm in black 37€ (via Fontoplumo)
  • Retro 51 Tornado Crossword Mechanical Pencil with 1.15 mm lead $33 (via Jet Pens)
  • Kaweco Ice Sport Pink 3.2mm Pencil $22 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • The Display $70 (via Dudek Modern Goods)
  • Pilot Petit1 Fountain Pen in Blue Black $3.80 (via JetPens)
  • Clairefontaine Roadbook Ruled Red Notebook 3.5 x 5.5 $11 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Kyokuto French Classic Ruled Notebook in Blue $6 (via JetPens)
  • Diamine Aqua Blue (80ml Bottle) $14.95 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Mini Ink (15 ml) in Take-sumi Bamboo Charcoal $14 (via JetPens)
  • To the Letter Mug $14.99 (via ModCloth)
  • Scrabble Coffee Mug “Choose Your Letters Letter” $7.45 (via New Egg)
  • Delta Unica Fountain Pen in White $76 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Monteverde Artista Crystal Pink Medium Point Fountain Pen $35.95 (via JetPens)
  • Kokuyo Kadokeshi Eraser $2 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Anderson Appleton Red Ink (2 oz) $12.50 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Pentel Petit-Corre Correction Tape – 5 mm Width $2.75 (via JetPens)

New & Improved Nock Co. Dot Dash Pocket Notebook

nockco dot dash black cover

Nock Co. recently revised their DotDash Pocket Notebooks (3-pack/$10). The new books sport a simple black cover with a white Nock Co logo. I still think the card stock for the covers could be a tad thicker but the low profile black covers are being warmly received here at Chez Desk. The big change, however, was the paper stock inside.

nockco dot dash black cover

Nock Co does not include details inside their notebooks about the paper stock like Field Notes does but the paper has definitely been upgraded. It doesn’t feel like its any heavier weight (maybe ever so slightly from a 24 lb to maybe 28 lb but that’s just me guessing). The DotDash ruling appears to be printed in a blue-violet compared to the a more greyish color of the original yellow books but it could be my eyes playing tricks on me. The paper is a bit brighter white than the original yellow books as well which might create the optical illusion of a change in ink colors.

The new paper stock is definitely fountain pen friendly and there’s no blurring or ink spread. Its particularly apparent how much the paper has been improved when you set the books side-by-side. My writing just looks crispier and not like I need to have my eyeglass prescription checked again. Even the felt tip pen writing benefited from the new paper stock and looks cleaner and finer.

There was also less show through on the reverse of stock though with a reporter-style notebook, I’m seldom inclined to write on the reverse of stock.

nockco dot dash black cover

The original yellow books are still available (3-pack/$9) so if they are your favorites, I recommend picking them up quickly as I suspect they will be phased out for this new and improved stock.

I’m a big fan of the new paper and I think its a great upgrade to an already cool product.

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

Link Love: Lori, Louis and Lumagraph

Lori (of DeskofLori fame) used De Atramentis Cucumber and a Pilot Envelope Pen on a Rhodia Dotpad. Find out more about Lori by visiting her blog or Twitter feed

Lori (of DeskofLori fame) used De Atramentis Cucumber and a Pilot Envelope Pen on a Rhodia Dotpad. Find out more about Lori by visiting her blog or Twitter feed

Fountain Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Notebooks & Paper:

Planning & Organizers:

Other Cool Stuff:

PS: If you’re interested in being the featured art on an upcoming Link Love, write, draw, photograph, or doodle an original “Link Love” image. It can be lettering, calligraphy, your own interpretation of Link or anything else you think might relate to the weekly list of pen/pencil-centric blog links.

Email your submission to me at chair@wellappointeddesk.com. Please include any link information you’d like in the image credit (your name, Twitter handle, Instagram, blog, etc). Also include any information about inks, tools, paper, etc used in your creation. Please let me know that you give me permission to include it in the weekly Link Love post here on the blog and that the image is your original piece.

Review: J. Herbin CreaPen Pinceau Brush Pen

J. Herbin Creapen Brush Pen

J. Herbin has gotten into the refillable brush pen arena with the CreaPen Pinceau Refillable Brush Pen ($20). It features a long narrow barrel design like traditional Japanese calligraphy brushes. The entire barrel is plastic and has minimal branding printed in gold. The cap is a simple faceted shape with no clip.The overall design of the pen is plain and simple. It does not offend visually but its pretty average looking overall.

What was intriguing to me was the synthetic bristle brush. The Akashiya Sai watercolor brushes are one of my favorite brush pens and they also use the synthetic bristles so I was hoping the CreaPen bristles would be similar.

J. Herbin Creapen Brush Pen

The tip holds a nice crisp point and is very springy making it fun for brush lettering and drawing. The ink flow is dark and black and dries pretty quickly. There were no smudges on my writing sample which is pretty impressive considering how much ink I laid down on a hot, humid day on a large Rhodia Uni-Blank #18 pad.

J. Herbin Creapen Brush Pen

For me, the biggest surprise is that the ink is completely waterproof when dry. This makes the CreaPen and accompanying ink prefect for outlining work mixed with watercolors or other wet media.

The pen ships with three black ink cartridges that appear to be slightly non-standard in shape and feature a metal ball bearing in the cartridge. Packs of four cartridge refills ($8 per pack) are available in black as well as four other colors Since the black ink is waterproof, I suspect that the cartridge could be refilled with Platinum Carbon Ink rather than using the J. Herbin cartridges but I’m curious if the non-black colors are also waterproof. I’d also like to see if a standard cartridge or converter would work with the CreaPen as a way to use non-waterproof inks. If anyone has tried this, please leave a comment to let me know if it works.


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

Follow-Up: Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook

Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook

I have filled almost ever page in the Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook I reviewed last year. I started working in it regularly about a month ago when I started taking some online drawing and painting classes and I thought I’d share with you how well it held up to regular use and abuse.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook

I absolutely love the 100 lb/150 gsm natural white, smooth paper. I’ve used ink, gouache, watercolor, acrylic and colored pencils throughout the book, often all of these tools on the same page. Fountain pens, paint pens, markers and brush pens all worked well on the paper with no feathering. Some pages developed a little bit of a curl as a result of lots of wet media but there was no bleeding or show through at all. I’ve doodled, sketched, taken notes, tested materials and generally carried it with me everyday for a solid month.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook

Not every page is finished but I thought this would be a good opportunity to show the overall wear and tear and show how well the Stillman & Birn sketchbook has held up. The hardbound cover and spine show a little bowing but the binding did not fail at all. I’m confident I can continue to add and tweak the pages and the book will hold up to the stress.

Much of the pages are doodles and sketches and I’m a little self-conscious about showing this work-in-progress but I hope you get a sense of the durability of the Stillman & Birn notebooks from the photos.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook

Blick stocks the full range but I’d really recommend the Epsilon as a great place to start. Prices for the books range between $15-$24 depending on size and binding. The 5.5×8.5″ Epsilon is $15.99 which is comparable, if not a little cheaper, than the equivalent sized Moleskine (or similar) notebook with far better paper.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook

Fashionable Friday: Shark Week!

FF-shark

  • Shark Metal Art Bookends $62.99 (via Etsy)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Ink in Shin-kai Deep Sea (Blue Gray) $28 (via JetPens)
  • Moree Shark Outdoor LED lamp 249,00 € (via Nostraforma)
  • Shark Fin “Sharky” Stainless Steel Loose Tea Infuser $19.99 (via Amazon)
  • Filofax Finsbury Electric Blue Personal Organizer $76 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Iwako Aquarium 7-Piece Novelty Eraser Set $5.75 (via JetPens)
  • Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Graphite Gray $39.50 (via JetPens)
  • Monteverde Jewelria Fountain Pen in “Deep Sea” Green $35 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Lamy Scala BlueBlack fountain pen (special edition 2015) steel nib 140 € (via Fontoplumo)
  • J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink Ocean Blue $28 (via Anderson Pens)
  • CUBE- Machined Aluminum Pen Storage $85 (via Karas Kustoms)
  • Rhodia Rhodiarama Sapphire A5 – Lined Notebook $30 (via Goldspot Pens)

Call for Entries: Link Love

rp_link-ana.jpgFollowing yesterday’s Link-less Link Love, I received a lot of feedback regarding images for the weekly Link Love. First, let me clarify. I will be continuing to do Link Love — I was just asking about the illustration of Link (from The Legend of Zelda) holding a pencil and whether people were getting bored with him.

As a result of the comments, a great idea was born. I’d like to ask you, my lovely readers, to write, draw, photograph, or doodle an original “Link Love” image. It can be lettering, calligraphy, your own interpretation of Link or anything else you think might relate to the weekly list of pen/pencil-centric blog links.

Email your submission to me at chair@wellappointeddesk.com. Please include any link information you’d like in the image credit (your full name, your Twitter handle, Instagram feed, blog, whatever). Also include any information about inks, tools, paper, etc used in your creation. Please let me know that you give me permission to include it in the weekly Link Love post here on the blog and that the image is your original piece.

Thanks to everyone! And I can’t wait to see what you create!

Review: Franklin Christoph Pocket 66 Ice Fountain Pen

Franklin Christoph Pocket 66 Ice

I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to share details of the Franklin-Christoph Pocket 66 Ice that I purchased at the Atlanta Pen Show. Being able to try every single Franklin-Christoph nib and pen body at the show was such a great experience and Lori from Franklin-Christoph was a great enabler too. She carried her Pocket 66 proudly all weekend, eyedropper filled with Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki which looked like a little writing lava lamp. Sold!

Franklin Christoph Pocket 66 Ice

I ended up choosing the standard medium italic nib and also eyedropper filling my Pocket 66. This maximizes the ink capacity and looks super cool, especially with brighter, vivid ink colors. For these photos, I filled my Pocket 66 with Pelikan Edelstein Tourmaline, a bright fuchsia.

Franklin Christoph Pocket 66 Ice

The Pocket 66 Ice is clear polished acrylic but the inside of the cap and body have a frosted finish giving the pen its unique look. I like to just slosh ink around in the reservoir and watch the color.

Franklin Christoph Pocket 66 Ice

The Medium Italic nib is a custom ground nib by Mike Masuyama which is available directly from Franklin-Christoph and is a nominal upcharge from the standard nibs. The medium italic  glides easily across the paper! Its lovely to use.

Franklin Christoph Pocket 66 Ice

The pen measures 5 inches capped and 4.75″ uncapped. The cap posts easily and make the Pocket 66 5.5 inches long. The pen is lightweight at 15 gms capped and filled and 13 gms filled without the cap.

Franklin Christoph Pocket 66 Ice

Franklin-Christoph pens ship with a leather zip pouch which is one of the most useful extras I’ve ever gotten with a fountain pen.

The price for this configuration is $164.50 but a standard nib makes the pen a little less expensive and an 18K nib will increase the price but not nearly as much as other pen manufacturers. If you have a chance to try the F-C nib testing station at a pen show, I highly recommend it as a great way to find just the right nib and pen body combination for you.

Link Love: No Link

Are you sick of my Link image? Would you like to see something new? A different image every week? I’d post images from my favorite posts but I got in trouble for not asking permission and I don’t have enough time to wait for permission before posting other people’s images so I am not going to do that. Please give me some suggestions on things you might like to see make this list of links a little more exciting. Thanks!

Fountain Pens:

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Other Interesting Things:

Shawn Newton Esterbrook Nib Holder

Shawn Newton Custom Nib Holder

Earlier this year, I contacted Shawn Newton about making a nib holder for my large collection of Esterbrook nibs. I thought it would be a great solution for ink testing since the nib holder has no ink reservoir. This makes clean up fast and easy.

Shawn was super easy to work with and the whole transaction was organized through email. I chose the material for the pen and my order was put into the queue. He’s a single man operation so all work, whether its custom pens or nib work are handled in a first-come, first-serve order.

Shawn Newton Custom Nib Holder

I chose a light jade alumilite which is a mixed resin material. Its a cool green with threads of white which is quite reminiscent of jade stones.

The pen is just a nib holder, it has no cap, no ink reservoir… just beautiful, comfortable to hold resin body that is threaded to fit my Esterbrook nibs. The taper at the grip is very comfortable and the resin is smooth without being slippery.

Shawn Newton Custom Nib Holder

I’ve been using this nib holder for ink reviews for several months now and I actually look forward to writing ink reviews since this nib holder is so pleasant to hold and use. Since the Esterbrook nib units have feeds built into them, a dip into ink will fill the feed allowing me to write for quite awhile without having to dip again. I can often write a whole page or more without needing to dip the nib again.

With the nib unit installed the pen measures 6 inches and weighs 12 gms. The nib holder actually weighs less than a Kaweco Sport in plastic but is a full sized pen!

Shawn Newton Custom Nib Holder

For my test page I continually swapped out nibs and dipped in the ink again. As you can see the first nib I used hadn’t been cleaned so the ink came out much darker than it should have been. I bounced between various nibs as I was writing and dropped the used nibs into a glass of water to clean.

If you have wanted to experiment with the wide variety of Esterbrook nib units, a custom made nib holder is a great option. NOS and used Esterbrook nibs are available from Anderson Pens or you can scout around on Ebay.

(Photo of my pen from Shawn Newton before he shipped it to me!)

Threaded nib holders start at $75. Contact Shawn directly to make arrangements.

Tested with discontinued Sailor Jentle Apricot ink (sorry!) on Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 pad with 6mm guide sheet.

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.)

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