Archive of ‘feature’ category

Upcoming: Blackwing Slate Notebook

Blackwing Slate profile view with elasitc pencil loop

It’s a week chock full of new notebooks. The new Blackwing Slate is an updated version of the Blackwing Luxury notebook. This time the notebook is hardcover but uses the same polymer leather-like material. The branding is center at the bottom of the back cover and not central across the cover.

The size looks like an A5-ish at about 5×8″ and has 160 pages.

The spine is canvas with an elastic loop along the spine to hold your coveted Blackwing pencil. The paper inside is 100gsm and is available light grey lines (that look quite similar to the current format) or blank.

The new Blackwing Slate adds a ribbon bookmark and a pocket inside the back cover. Since I’ve been using my Blackwing Luxury notebook as my daily book for awhile, I can tell you that the absence of the catchall pocket is keenly felt. I’m glad they’ve added this feature.

The new Blackwing Slate will retail for $22.95 and is expected to be available in limited quantities by the end of July. Check with your favorite retailer or pencils.com to order.

Blackwing Slate notebook branding

Upcoming: Moleskine Voyageur Notebook

Moleskine Voyageur

Moleskine recently announced a new addition to their notebook line, the Moleskine Voyageur, A Traveller’s Notebook. The notebooks start shipping this week so this seemed like a good time to take a closer look.

The Voyageur notebook does not follow Moelskine’s standard sizing. The Voyageur is 4×7″– a little smaller than the regular A5-sized “medium” and a bit larger than the “pocket”. Its also clothbound instead of leatherette. And currently, it is only available with a brown cover. I feel like this is Moleskine’s attempt to capture some of the enthusiasm that exists around books like the Midori Traveler. Even the name is awfully reminiscent.

Moleskine Voyageur

Inside the front of the notebook are pages with information about creating printable sheets to insert into your notebook as well as a map.

Moleskine Voyageur

The pages are color coded along the edge to visual indicate three separate paper choices: lined, dot grid and blank sheets for various projects or type of note-taking. There are three color-coded ribbon bookmarks that match the various sections in the book.

Moleskine Voyageur

In the back of the book are pages that are perforated along the vertical to make to-do lists.

Moleskine Voyageur

And finally, in the back is a pocket for storing ephemera. A sheet of stickers is included with the notebook as well. I’m not sure how useful the stickers would be but I appreciate the effort.

MSRP for the Voyageur notebook is $24.95 US but vendors like Amazon are offering the Voyageur a little under retail.

Is this a notebook you’d consider ordering? I’m intrigued and I like the multi-functionality of it. I don’t think the paper will be any better with fountain pens than standard Moleskines but all the little extras make it seem like its a better value than a plain Moleskine. What do you think?

Review: Perfetto Pencil

Perfetto Pencil box lid

When I first saw the Perfetto Pencils, I was smitten. The whole project was designed by well-known designer Louise Fili. I’ve been familiar with her design work for years so I would, of course, be interested in any pencil project she might create. The box alone is a work of art. The packaging is beautiful and sturdy and vintage-inspired.

Perfetto Pencil Box

Inside the box is a dozen, beautiful two-colored pencils. It’s graphite on one end and red colored lead on the other. The pencils come pre-sharpened with a decent point, usable for those too impatient to sharpen it properly.

Perfetto Pencil

The pencils inside are just as stunning. The pencils are round and the paint is glossy and even. The silver foil is stamped perfectly and centered evenly.

Perfetto Pencil writing sample

The best news is that they write really well. The graphite is smooth and dark. I’d almost compare it to a Palomino Blackwing. And the red lead is soft like a good quality, artist’s grade colored pencil.

The first pencil I pulled out must have been dropped because the red lead kept breaking. The graphite was fine though. I pulled out another pencil and the red lead sharpened fine so the first must have been a fluke. I used a good quality Staedtler two-hole hand sharpener and got a good, sharp point on both ends. With the soft colored lead, I recommend sharpening with a hand sharpener rather than a desktop or electric sharpener because they’ll just eat through the pencils.

When erasing, the red lead leaves visible ghosting which is good if you want to use the pencil for grading or other indelible uses. The graphite erases cleanly with a the Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser, the Cadillac of erasers.

Perfetto Pencil box notes

The whole package was produced by the Princeton Architectural Press and boxes come marked with a $13.95 retail price. According to the box, the pencils are made in Taiwan. I purchased mine through Amazon for about $11.50.

 

Review: Pen & Ink Pocket Sketchbook

Pen & Ink Sketchbook cover I picked up the Art Alternatives Pen & Ink Sketch with medium weight paper in the pocket (3.5×5.5″) size. I chose the blank version though it is also available in graph and lined plus a heavyweight paper version. In the images on Jet Pens, the lines on the lined and graph looked much too dark for my liking. I’d rather use a blank book with a guide sheet. It’s described as medium weight (80gsm) paper, but it feels like the same weight, maybe a tiny bit heavier, than Moleskine’s standard paper.

Pen & Ink Sketchbook Pocket

From the outside, its pretty indistinguishable from a Moleskine pocket hardcover. It has a stiff leatherette cover, elastic closure and a ribbon bookmark. Upon opening the book, the paper is a soft white and there is a gusseted pocket in the back. If you like Moleskines but wish for a cheaper alternative, at first glance, this would make a great option at a mere $8.

Pen & Ink Sketchbook writing sample

Pen & Ink Sketchbook  reverse of writing sample

Comparing Moleskine to Pen & Ink Sketchbook

There’s a few things that actually make the Pen & Ink Sketchbook a better value than a standard Moleskine. First, the bookmark is sealed on the end so it shouldn’t fray. Also, the paper is slightly better quality than the Moleskine paper. Not epically better but, in a side-by-side comparison, there is less feathering and splining with the Pen & Ink paper than Moleskine (shown on the left). With everyday writing tools like rollerball, ballpoint, gel, pencil and fine-nibbed fountain pens, I found the paper totally acceptable. Yes there is a little showthrough but nothing that wouldn’t be expected at the paper weight and price point. The elastic closure also feels more durable. We’ll see how it performs overall but it feels like it will survive longer than a Moleskine elastic.

This is an everyday pocket notebook at a very reasonable price. It has 96 pages (192 sheets) which is comparable to three Field Notes for about the same price. So, if you prefer a hardcover pocket notebook with the classic good looks associated with a Moleskine, this is a good alternative. If you’re hoping for more substantial paper, you might consider the heavy weight paper version (145gsm) instead.


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.

 

The Tinieist Fountain Pen

tiny fountain pen necklace

Inside this miniature 1.25″ fountain pen charm is a real working nib. It can be dipped and will write. Comes with a tiny ink bottle charm that can hold ink to ink the pen nib. Pretty charming.

Pen comes on a 18″ silver plated chain.

($34.99 from YougNeek on Etsy, tip o’ the hat to Dan at Karas Kustoms for the link)

Review: Jinhao X750 “Shimmering Sands” + Goulet Pens Nibs

Jinhao X750 Shimmering Sands

The Jinhao X750 “Shimminering Sands” ($9.90) is a sturdy, solid pen. Looking at it, I never would have guessed it’s a budget fountain pen. The celestial sparkles embedded in the black body are truly amazing. I had to take it outside into the sunlight just to watch it catch the light. It reminded me of black nail polish with multicolored sparkles embedded in it. That sounds really girly. How about black auto paint with metal flake? Are you getting the idea?

Jinhao X750 outside

The hardware is chrome and the clip is super sturdy. The branding is subtle and unobtrusive. Its pleasingly weighty — 36 gms posted and 23 gms filled with cap removed. Without the cap, its about the same weight as a capped Lamy Al-Star, with the cap posted, its heavier than a Lamy Studio. So, its substantial. The clip is stiff and unlikely to fail.

The pen had no packaging at all but that’s not a make-or-break for me, especially not at this price point. I’d rather the money I’m paying go towards the pen and not the box its packaged in. It did come with a cartridge converter though.

The cap is a snap cap and it snaps really tightly. I don’t know if it will loosen up over time but it takes a bit of effort for me to pull the cap off. At least, I know it won’t fall off accidentally.

Goulet Pens EF Nib close-up

I tend to find medium nibs way too wet for me so I swapped out the medium nib that comes stock on the X750 with a Goulet Pens #6 EF nib ($15). The nib is super smooth but pretty stiff. Its good for day-to-day notetaking but its not as expressive on the paper as a softer nib. If you have a pen with a #6 sized nib then I definitely think that the Goulet Nibs are a perfect way to plus up a fountain pen.

Jinhao X750 + Goulet Pens F Nib writing sample

So, for less than $25, I was able to build an awesome fountain pen. The sparkles give it a very unique look but its subtle enough not to look like a raver at the next board meeting.

Jinhao X750 + Goulet Pens EF Nib

Overall, I am very pleased with this combination.This is a fun, reasonably-priced fountain pen option. It feels durable and classy. No one has to know it cost less than dinner for two at Chili’s.

I also have a Goulet Pens 1.1mm stub italic nib to try out with this pen and I’ll post that in detail soon.

The nib was tested on Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank pad with J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe. The ink is very wet but set up nicely on the Rhodia paper. It seemed like a good ink to combine with the EF nib. I’m looking forward to trying other inks in this pen.


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

Field Notes Colors Edition “Arts & Sciences”

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition

I finally got around to opening my Field Notes Color Edition “Arts & Sciences” notebooks.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition size comparison

The Arts & Sciences edition really do feel like a Hagrid-sized version of the classic Field Notes. At 4.75″x7.5″ they are substantially bigger than the standard Field Notes’ 3.5″x5.5″ size but not as large as a standard A5 (6×8.25″) notebook. They live in a happy, in-between place.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition

This Colors Edition, due to the larger size and slightly increased page count (64 pages compared to the regular 48-pages in a standard pocket Field Notes), came with two books instead of the standard three-pack. Everything about this edition seems to similar BUT different! And I like that.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition Inside Pages

Inside, the pages are printed on the right hand sheets. The Sciences edition is printed with quadrille graph lines and the Arts edition is printed with lines. Both are printed in a pale “Academy” grey.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition Back covers

Both the covers have embossed logos with metallic silver ink and a coordinating icon on the back. The red book is the Arts edition and features palette, paintbrush, ink, tape, pencil and more on the icon. The Sciences edition in the dark grey color with an icon with a DNA chain, beaker, celestial bodies, and amoeba and more. How long before someone gets one or both of these as a tattoo?

All in all, I love that Field Notes continues to experiment with each version of their Colors Editions. Now that they’ve added size as a variable, it seems like the possibilities are endless.

Remember, the Colors Editions are limited so order a set or two today ($9.95 per 2-pack). Or subscribe and receive the Arts & Sciences edition and future editions as soon as they are available.


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

Review: Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink

Someone recently asked me if I had a recommendation for a really good green ink. That’s such a loaded question for me. Are you in search of a jewel-toned kelly green? A green-black? A green ever-so-slightly hinted with blue? Maybe something woodsy? There are just too many variations when it comes to green to pick just one and say “THIS is THE green”. Until now.

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink writing sample

Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green is, for lack of a better description, officially my signature green. It is a bright, vivid green with just a hint of yellow to keep it citrus-y. I’m pretty sure Delicate Green matches my masthead and I wouldn’t describe it as delicate. Its punchy, cheery, “spring grass” green. I had to sniff it to make sure it didn’t smell like grass clippings (sadly, it doesn’t).

The only comparable shade I could find in my stash was Diamine Kelly Green ($12.95) or Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-rin ($28). But the Kelly Green is obviously more kelly and the Chiku-rin leans more of a mustard seed yellow-green.

Often times, green inks in this yellow-green category are often a bit too light for everyday use and get relegated to “highlighter” inks or used just for play. But Delicate Green is bright and vivid enough to be legible and usable.

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink

This is by no means a budget priced ink. But the inks come is a sturdy hexagonal box that hides the funky angle the bottle sits on when its removed. The bottle is a thick sturdy hexagonal glass with a solid silver metal cap. At $32 per bottle, the Caran D’ache Chromatics line is definitely a “special occasion” purchase but there are nice details in not just the ink but the packaging and presentation as well. Trust me, you’ll be glad you splurged.

To see more images of this ink in action, check out last weeks review for the Monteverde Intima.

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink

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

Review: Plumb Goods Notebooks (& Giveaway)

Plumb Notebooks from Knock Knock

The folks at Knock Knock recently launched a new line of paper products called Plumb Goods. These are a collection of notebooks designed by artists to help inspire creativity. Every book in the collection includes a full-color card with information on the artist.

The products were each so different that this is a super image-heavy post. Every book deserved a full view so this is really a review of FIVE notebooks, not just one.

(more…)

Please stay on the line…

Vintage telephone operator

… I am in the process of moving The Well-Appointed Desk to its own servers. It will probably be a little quiet around here through the weekend but hopefully by Monday everything will be back to normal. Make sure you update your bookmarks to http://www.wellappointeddesk.com. If you read the site via Tumblr, RSS or other service, please come back to the blog and make sure the links are properly updated.

Sorry for the inconvenience but hopefully this transition will make for a better experience in the future.

(illustration from Envisioning The American Dream)

Review: Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm Stub Fountain Pen

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

You may be asking yourself “Why didn’t she own this pen already?” Trust me, I’ve been asking myself the same question since it arrived. The Monteverde Intima ($52) is a stunningly swirly mix of lime and kelly green colors with a white opalescent sheen embedded in the resin. All the hardware is black including the nib. I just hold it in my hand and admire the swirls.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The pen arrived in a cardboard slip case (which I sort of destroyed trying to get it open) which protected this epic presentation box. Its a deep forest green shimmery clamshell box with silver metallic edging and logo. Its a box that one would expect to find a much more expensive pen inside. And probably a little more dignified than my Willy Wonka green swirl, St. Patty’s Day-is-everyday pen. But that’s beside the point. The box looks impressive.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

Inside is a white faux velvet lining. The bottom section with the band lifts out to reveal the box of cartridges (only two were in the box) and instructions for using the included converter which was in the pen. The box could definitely get a second life as a storage box for pens and accessories. Its durable.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

This is only the second Monteverde pen I’ve used and with each experience, I’m becoming more impressed with the quality and diversity of the Monteverde product line. I was initially skeptical  of the black anodized nib but as I used the Intima, I grew to appreciate the understated-ness of the nib and hardware next to the brilliant showiness of the neon green swirls. Its a really beautiful combination.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The weight of the pen is heavier than I initially anticipated. Somehow I thought the pen would be light like a plastic Kaweco but the resin is weightier than plastic. It feels good in the hand. The nib is astoundingly smooth. I am thrilled with how well this wrote right out of the box.

The cap can be posted which makes the pen a sizeable 6.375″ long but I found the weight of the pen unposted to be most comfortable in my hand and plenty long enough (4.675″). The length of the pen capped is 5.25″.

This has immediately become my go-to pen. It writes beautifully, its perfectly weighted for my hand and its the PERFECT color.

My biggest gripes with Monteverde is a dislike for their logo. The branding on the Intima is so subtle that it is barely noticable. The black anodized nib disguises the cheeseball “architect” logotype and the pen name is silkscreened in white in a miniscule font on the reverse side from the clip on the black edge of the cap. Its completely ignorable which is a delight to a design snob like me.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The Intima comes with a converter but will accept standard European cartridges. I immediately inked mine up with a coordinating green ink, Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green ($32) and it is the perfect combination. Both are bright and vibrant and make me insanely happy. (A review of the Delicate Green ink will be posted soon.)

I tested this on the Rhodia Uni Blank No. 16. Its the smaller version of the Rhodia Uni Blank No. 18.

The Monteverde Intima fountain pen in neon green is a thing to behold, at least for someone like me with an uncompromising love of the color green. But don’t be frightened away, the Intima is also available in more dignified colors like Glacier Blue and Volcano Grey, both of which I like too.

The Intima is available in a variety of nib sizes and other colors if green is not your thing for $52 each at Goulet Pens. The Intima takes a #6 nib and replacement nibs are also available for $24 each in black anodized or silver. Or try out one of Goulet Pens signature nibs with the Intima. The Goulet branded nibs are available in six different nib widths for $15 each in silver or gold toned.

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

MosseryCo Paper Goods

MosseryCo Pocket Notebook

Whimsical illustrations on the covers of the MosseryCo pocket notebooks are what caught my eye when I wandered into their Etsy shop. These 3.5×5.5″ rounded corners pocket notebooks feature 52 pages of acid-free 120 gsm paper. A set of 9 different, illustrated pocket notebooks can be purchased for $36 or individual notebooks can be bought for $6 each. Plain paper covers are also available, individually or in a set.

MosseryCo Pocket Noteboos

What really caught my eye was the hardcover, refillable notepads. The covers looks like vintage books with the quaint illustrations ($20 each) and refill paper can be purchased as needed in different designs ($7 each). The notepads are about 4.25″x6.5″ and are also filled with 110 gsm acid-free paper. There are 110 sheets in each pad and the pads are perforated for easy removal.

MosseryCo Notepads

MosseryCo Notepads

(via MosseryCo’s Etsy Shop)

Field Trip: Daly’s Pen Shop in Milwaukee

 

Daly's Pen Shop Milwaukee

While on the road this week, we got to make another stop. This time, we got to visit the legendary Daly’s Pen Shop in Milwaukee, WI. Daly’s has been in business since 1924. The location has changed but its one of the oldest pen shops in the US. Its a lovely shop filled with all the lots of great stuff including a wide variety of pens, inks and paper. The owner Brad Bodart was friendly, helpful and patient with all my questions.

Daly's Pen Shop Sheaffer's vintage pen display

The first thing I gravitated toward was this vintage Sheaffer case. The bottom row are mostly vintage Esterbrooks. The beautiful Parker Duofold on the right on the middle shelf is actually a reproduction with a ballpoint from the 70s. It explained the $35 price!

Daly's Pen Shop Clock

Across the back wall of the shop was a fabulous vintage Parker Duofold clock with 1920s-style tortoiseshell celluloid frame and framed original trolley car advertisements.

Daly's Pen Shop Sheaffer's Case

Daly's Pen Shop Sheaffer's Case open

Sheaffer custom-built this glass and aluminum display case for Daly’s with grooves to hold pens and a secret cubby to store inks (Skrip, of course!). When the shop relocated over the years, this is one of the items that they always made sure was moved to the new location. They also moved a wooden case that runs the length of one wall full or narrow drawers to hold pens, ink and accessories.

Daly's Pen Shop Calendar

The Daly’s advertising calendar behind the cash register is fabulous and I was tickled that it hadn’t been changed since my birthday. Brad said that he always knocked it off the wall while trying to change out the date cards so he had stopped chainging it. He promised to leave it my birthday for awhile so if you go in, check and see if its still up.

Daly's Pen Shop vintage ink bottles Daly's Pen Shop Quink V Mail ink

In the front corner of the store was a case full of vintage ink bottles. I love the labels! I particularly like the box of vintage Quink “reproduces best for V-Mail” box. Amazing.

Daly's Pen Shop Billboard

The billboard was actually a framed photo but I like to pretend that we passed it on our way in to Milwaukee. Of course, now most of Daly’s business in online. I got a peek in the backroom with shelves of pens and accessories for their massive online shop.

If you didn’t see it, there was an audio interview with Daly’s Pens on NPR in November 2013. Its worth a listen.

Daly's Pen Shop Front Window

Thanks, Daly’s Pen Shop! We’ll be back to visit soon!

Field Notes Field Trip!

Yesterday, Bryan at Field Notes/Coudal Partners kindly toured us around the world headquarters (AKA their offices in Chicago). We had  great time and got to take a peek at the inner workings of Field Notes. It was an all-access pass and I am so thankful that Bryan took time out of his busy schedule to humor me.

Ready for some pictures?

Bryan Bedell at Coudal/Field Notes HQ
Bryan greeted us at the door, ready to show off all the fabulousness that is Coudal and Field Notes.

Coudal/Field Notes front desk and sales counter
Behind the door, was the front desk and sales counter for walk-in customers and pick-up orders. Its a really pretty work space.

Bob peruses the Field Notes selection
Bob peruses some of the leather covers available from Field Notes while I just ogle.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Uncut press sheet
We got to see some of the uncut press sheets from the Arts & Sciences edition. It’s so good to see how much attention to detail they take to get the Field Notes Colors Editions just right.

Field Notes stock room
In the stockroom are piles and piles of the County Fair editions which are some of my favorites. I have sets from every state I’ve lived in.

Field Notes County Fair Editions

In the shipping area are bins filled with individual County Fair books for the Road Trip kit.

Field Notes packing zone

The packing area is efficient and well-organized and the team was busy packing up orders.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences button bins

Bins filled with the Arts & Sciences edition buttons sat prominently on the counter in Well-Appointed Desk-approved green bins.

Field Notes Stencil boxes

Totally industrial looking stenciled boxed lined the walls.

Me and Bryan at Coudal/Field Notes

I had a great time and Bryan was to ally patient with us. Thanks for a great tour!

Field Notes/Coudal mail box

Expect to find a thank you note in THIS mailbox soon!

Eccentric Envelopes

Make Eccentric Envelopes

Stephanie Fishwick posted some loose but lovely envelopes with her tips and techniques for creating fun envelopes for non-calligraphers. She recommends using watercolors but ink samples would also work and i a great way to use up all those samples you’ve accumulated.

Her best tip is that imperfections make it more awesome. Use a limited color palette and repetition to pull it together. No one will complain if they got a hand lettered envelope in the mail ever. It will make their day. So,  start playing.

She recommends good quality envelopes like Original Crown Mill cotton or Crane. Big box office supply shops usually carry 100% cotton envelopes in the section with invitations and resume stationery.

Maybe your kids will want to make some of their own envelopes too and send a letter to Grandma? That would be a fun, rainy day activity this summer.

If you do want to improve your writing, Stephanie also has some recommendations for getting started with calligraphy and the tools, web sites and books she uses for great calligraphy.

Most of all have fun and be inspired!

(via Stephanie Fishwick)

Smart Travel Tips for Pen Geeks

P7019597

I’m about to embark on a little holiday getaway which always leads to seeking out good travel tips. Buzzfeed posted one of their silly lists called 13 Travel Tips to Make You Feel Smart. There are a couple good tips on the list but most will be things you’ve probably already heard.

My favorite tip: Ask the desk at your hotel for cords or chargers if you forgot to pack yours. It sounds like their is inevitably a box of random cords and chargers that get left behind so they might have one for your device.

Now for some travel tips for the pen-and-paper inclined:

  • Check the locations you’ll be visiting and find out if there is a pen shop nearby. Make time to visit the shop. This will improve even the most boring business trip.
  • Stop in local drugstores, book shops, truck stops or tourist shops (museum shops, state park offices, etc) to seek out postcards. I find these are the best places to find cheesy tourist postcards to send home or keep as souvenirs.
  • Tourist destinations can often yield cheap, fun souvenirs in the form of pencils. Isn’t it time you started a tourist pencil collection?
  • If you’re worried about fountain pens leaking on flights, store them in a plastic ziploc bag for the flight. You can also travel with the cartridge removed and pack a few spare cartridges to use at your destination. For more pen travel tips, check out the article I posted awhile back.
  • Put together a Letter Writing On The Go kit.
  • Don’t forget to pack stamps. Or plan to visit the local post office to pick up stamps and meet the locals. If you let them know you’re visiting, they might just hand cancel your postcards if you ask nicely.

every trip should include a stop at the local PO #showandmail

I discovered the Rock County Historical Society in Janesville, WI which is on our route this summer and home to the Parker Pen Collection. And I might get a peek inside the Coudal/Field Notes HQ in Chicago.

Are you traveling this summer? Business or for fun? Did you find any great pen-related goodies? Can’t wait to hear!

The Epic Refill Reference Guide: Rollerball, Gel and Ballpoints

Lots of pens available these days accept either a “Parker-Style” G2 refills, a Pilot G2 refill (adds to the confusion for sure) and the Pilot Hi-Tec C style refills.  I thought I’d try to come up with a list of refills that fit into these categories. This is by no means a definitive list but should provide you with lots of options for your favorite non-fountain pens.

parker style refills

There are so many potential options for a “Parker-style” refill (which annoyingly enough is also referred to as a G2 though it is not necessarily compatible with a PILOT G2 style pen). The G2 refill is 98mm long and approx 5.8mm diameter on the main barrel.

Here’s a list of most (but probably not all) of the Parker-style refills:

  • Diplomat EasyFLOW Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Faber-Castell Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Faber-Castell Scribero Gel Ink Roller Refill
  • Fisher Space Pen Refill, PR Series- Colors (Bold, Medium, Fine)
  • Fisher Space Pen – Universal Ballpoint Refill
  • Foray (Office Depot) Ballpoint Refill for Parker (Medium)
  • Kaweco Soul G2 Refill 1.0mm
  • Kaweco Sport Roller Ball Pen Refill
  • Moleskine Ballpoint Refill
  • Moleskine Gel Refill (0.5 and 0.7 mm)
  • Moleskine Roller Gel Fluorescent Refills
  • Monteverde Ceramic Gel Refill (Broad)
  • Monteverde Needle Point Refill (Fine)
  • Monteverde Soft Roll- Colored inks (Medium)
  • Monteverde Soft Roll- (Superbroad, Medium, Ultrafine)
  • OHTO Needlepoint Ballpoint Pen Refill PS-807NP
  • OHTO PS-205NP Extra-Fine 0.5mm Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Parafernalia Ballpoint Pen Refill NO LOGO
  • Parker Ballpoint Pen Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
  • Parker GEL Ballpoint Pen Refill (Medium)
  • Parker Quinkflow Ballpoint Pen Refill (Medium, Fine)
  • Pelikan Giant Ballpoint Pen Refill 337 (Broad, Fine, Medium)
  • Pentel KFLT8 Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Platignum Standard Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Retro 51 Tornado Roller Ball Refills (REF5P) (Made by Schmidt)
  • Schmidt 9000M EasyFlow Pen Refill
  • Schmidt P8900 Super Bowl Refill (Fine)
  • Schmidt P900 B Ballpoint Pen Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
  • Schmidt P950M Megaline Pressurized Ballpoint Pen Refill (Medium)
  • Schneider Express 735 Pen Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
  • Schneider Slider 755 Pen Refill (Extra-Broad, Medium)
  • STABILO EASYgel Refill
  • Stabilo Ballpoint Refill
  • Tombow BR-ZLM Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Visconti Ballpoint Pen Refill AA49 1.4 (Broad)
  • Visconti Gel Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)

Retro 1951 + Pentel EnerGel Refill Hacking

Mike Rohde of Sketchnoting fame hacked a Pentel Energel refill (normally a Pilot G-2 sized refill) to fit into his Retro 51 by trimming the end of the refill to be the right size. If you’re willing to experiment, other refills might also survive this sort of hack. I’ve hacked the end off a few refills in my time to make them fit as well. Just grab a craft or utility knife or a sturdy pair of scissors, line up the old refill and the new refill and snip. Voila.

If you love a particular sort of pen refill, you can also lengthen a refill that’s too short by adding a bit of plastic tubing to the end of the barrel. The fine folks at Karas Kustoms provide a length of plastic tubing with their Render K, RETRAKT and BOLT pens that could be used with other brands as well or you could snip off a section of an empty plastic refill to length a new refill to fit.

The best source I found for ALL the Parker-style refills was Cult Pens in the UK. They stock over 30 different styles of Parker-style refills.  Another option is Refill Finder.

 

European International Rollerball / Pilot G-2 style refills

The Pilot G2 style refill, also described as the Schmidt/Euro Rollerball refill size are about 110mm long:

  • Caran d’Ache Fibre Tip Refill
  • Caran d’Ache Rollerball Refill
  • Faber-Castell Rollerball Pen Refill
  • Faber-Castell Fineliner Pen Refill
  • FORAY (Office Depot) Pen Refill For Schmidt Rollerball
  • Hi-Tec-C Cavalier refill
  • Monteverde Fineliner Refill G52
  • Monteverde Ceramic Rollerball Refill W22
  • Monteverde Spring-Loaded Tip Fineliner Refill G62
  • OHTO Ceramic Rollerball Pen Refill
  • OHTO F-300 Fude Refill Black
  • Pentel LR7 Energel
  • Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel
  • Pilot Juice (removed from plastic retractable pen)
  • Pilot G2
  • Pilot LP2RF Gel Refill (Juice refill code)
  • Schmidt Capless Rollerball 8126 and 8127 (shorter models can work with an extension hack)
  • Schmidt FineLiner refill
  • Schmidt Safety Rollingball Ceramic refill
  • Schmidt Safety Rolling Tube refill
  • Schmidt RollingSupersteel refill
  • Schmidt RollingBall refill
  • Schneider Topball 850 Pen Refill
  • Schneider Topliner 970 Pen Refill
  • Sheaffer Fineliner Refill
  • Visconti Rollerball Pen Refill AA40 0.7
  • Zebra JT refill
  • Zebra Sarasa Clip refill (removed from plastic retractable pen)

Using a spring around the tip of the refill will help to stabilize these. Use either the spring provided by your pen manufacturer or steal one from a retractable plastic pen body to get the perfect fit.

Cult Pens has a great selection of these refills in their “Euro Refills” section.

HI Tec C style refills

The Pilot Hi-Tec C style refills list doesn’t look as extensive as the other refill styles but the Hi-Tec C line has a huge assortment of color options and tip widths to provide quite a variety. The Pilot Hi-Tec C refills can be purchased individually or liberated from any Pilot Hi-Tec C pen including the Maica line.

  • Pilot Hi-Tec C (available in 0.25, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5)
  • Pilot G-Tec C (same as the Hi-Tec C but renamed for the American/European market)
  • Uni-ball Signo UM-100 Gel
  • Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 Gel
  • Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel

I’ve found that the Uni-Ball Signo refills may need to be trimmed slightly to fit but they work great. Just use scissors, a craft knife or blade to shorten the length to match the original length. I liberate Signo refills from plastic pens found around my office as well as occasionally purchasing proper refills.

D1 style refills

Then there’s the D1 sized refills. These are the super slender and used in multi-pens and mini pens. The Sharbo-X is a great example as is the Retro 51 Tornado Touch.

The D-1 mini refills are about 66-67mm long and there are quite a few refill styles to fit into these pens:

  • Acme Black 4FP Four-Function Pen Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Acme Highlighter 4FP Four-Function Pen Multi Functional Pen Refill
  • Aurora Mini Medium Point Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Caran D’ache Ecridor XS Mini Refill
  • Cross Matrix Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Cross Micro Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Kaweco D1 Soul Ballpoint Refill
  • Monteverde Soft Roll Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 (628)
  • Ohto R-4C7NP Needle-Point Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Parker Mini Ballpoint Refills
  • Parker Vector 3-in-1 Ballpoint Refills
  • Pelikan 38 Ballpoint Refills
  • Pilot BRF-8M Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Platinum BSP-60 Series
  • Platinum BSP-100
  • Retro 1951 D-1 Ballpoint Refill
  • Rotring Tikky 3-in-1 2-Color Ballpoint Refills
  • Tombow VS Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1
  • Uni SXR-200 Jetstream Ballpoint Multi Pen Refill (0.5 and 0.7mm)
  • Zebra 4C-0.7 Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Zebra Sharbo X Ballpoint Multi Pen Refill Component – D1
  • Zebra Sharbo X Gel Ink Multi Pen Refill Component – D1

Big thank you to Dan at Karas Kustoms for giving me his list as a starting point. Thanks to The Pen Place in Kansas City for letting me try out lots of refills. The rest of my info came from Jet Pens, Cult Pens and Refill Finder.

Monteverde is modifying some of their refills to fit pens with more proprietary sizes like Lamy. Lamy is the most finicky of all the pens. If you have good alternatives for refills for Lamy rollerball and ballpoint pens, let me know.

Don’t forget to check your local office supply or pen store (even those big box shops) and play around with the pens and refills you have. You’d be surprised what might work.

I’m working on a handy printable pocket guide of all these pen refill options but I want to make sure I haven’t left anything out or gotten anything wrong. So let me know which of these refills work for you and which don’t.

Note: I have not tried EVERY refill with every pen so your results might vary. Please leave notes in the comments about your favorite pen and refill combination for other readers. Thanks!

Link Love: Paper v. Digital

Link Love Link Mascot

This week’s post of the week is actually two sides of the divisive discussion: paper or digital note-taking. I’ve waffled around on this issue for years and have come to the conclusion that I prefer paper to digital unless it involves a URL.

Post(s) of the week:

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Other Stuff:

And don’t forget:

Pen ChaletPen Chalet is offering a 10% off for Well-Appointed Desk readers. Enter the code wellappointeddesk at checkout to get this added discount.

Please support the shops that help support this blog. Thanks!

Cover Unveil: The Typewriter Book from Uppercase

Uppercase The Typewriter Book

Finally, the cover for the long-awaited The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine has been revealed. This book will feature over 200 pages of history, photos and timelines of the glorious typewriter. If you’re familiar with Uppercase magazine, you know this book will be beautifully designed by editor-in-chief Janine Vangool and printed with the highest quality standards.

Pre-orders are still being accepted at $45 per book. I pre-ordered mine ages ago so I can’t wait for the fall to get. That’s when the book will start shipping.

Review: Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen

Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen tip

Last week, I reviewed the Kuretake Fudegokochi Extra Fine Brush Pen which is a fun, little, budget brush pen. Then, I had my world rocked by its slightly beefier cousin, the Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen this week.

Aesthetically, its a plain barreled cylinder brush pen with a plain metal clip. If I had to find it in the bottom of my bag by feel, I might mistake it for a Pilot Precise V5. But its what’s inside that makes it something special. Its features the same tiny felt tip as the extra fine version, just more of it. Its a firm, springy tip which yields good line quality, quickly and easily. The black is a good dark black which makes scanning it awesome.

Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen

You all know I draw a lot of letters for my day job and the Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen has, in less than a week, surpassed all my other pens to become my go-to brush pen for lettering. I started out using it on tracing paper, just to get a rough sketch and the Fudegokochi Regular Brush pen dried almost immediately without bleeding. That never happens! Then I transferred my lettering onto my regular “work” stock, Bienfang Graphics 360 Marker Paper and the ink dried almost immediately and no bleed!

I addressed a bunch of birthday cards on standard envelope stock and the ink also dried without smearing. Are you impressed yet?

Then, in my final test, I used my Rhodia pad and the ink still dried almost immediately and, of course, no smearing or feathering.

Even after a week of pretty heavy use, the felt tip has kept its point and its only a little bit drier than when I started using it. The Fuegokochi pens are not waterproof which is the only downer for me.

Did you notice how great it makes my handwriting look? This brush pen gets my top rating for that reason alone. Add this little $3.50 gem to your next order. You’ll thank me.

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.

New Sponsor: Pen Chalet

Pen Chalet

I’d like to welcome Pen Chalet as a new sponsor on The Well-Appointed Desk. Pen Chalet stocks fine pens from some of our favorite brands like Lamy, Kaweco, Pelikan, Namiki, Pilot and many more. Pen Chalet stocks inks, refills, notebooks, pen cases and more as well.

And to help sweeten the deal, Pen Chalet is offering an extra 10% off for Well-Appointed Desk readers. Enter the code wellappointeddesk at checkout will get 10% off their already reduced prices. Don’t forget to check out the sales page for super low prices. The special offers are available for a limited time only so if you see something you love, order it quick. And let Pen Chalet know you heard about them from the Well-Appointed Desk.

Thanks to Pen Chalet for the great deals and sponsoring The Desk!

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