Link Love: Calligraffi-what?




Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Other Interesting Things:

Ask The Desk: Pen Show List and Nib Holders

Shane challenges:

According to my dad, in the olden days they had inkwells in their desks and practiced handwriting with dip pens in school.

Every dip pen I can find has a really sharp pointed nib, or a calligraphy nib. Does someone make a dip pen that has a nib more like a fountain pen nib, for extensive writing? I’d like a dip pen so I could use any color of ink I want for things like correspondence. I can dip one of my fountain pens, but cleaning them up afterwards is a chore.

Thanks for any help or ideas you might have!

There’s a whole history of trying to make a dip-less dip pen but once ballpoint pens debuted, they were abandoned. However, you can still find them on Ebay and at pen shows.

(From Penucopia)

You can get a custom-made nib holder as well. I actually have a “dip pen” for vintage Esterbook nibs. Shawn Newton made one for me but I know that similar holders have been made for other vintage screw-in nibs. Essentially its a nib holder with no ink reserve but since screw-in nib units have a feed and nib, they hold a good deal of ink — usually enough to write several lines or even a page. Thomas Hall had Shawn create a holder for his Morissett nib but he started out with the the classic dip-less set and started many of us on this path.

Or you could have a pen craftsman create a special holder that holds a modern nib unit just for the nib and feed without a cartridge or converter to allow you to just dip fill. This would work with several modern brands like TWSBI and Kaweco off the top of my head. If you are attending any pen shows this year, it might be something to ask a pen maker if they might make for you.

Finally, you could just dip your favorite fountain pen into ink and let the feed take up some ink rather than actually filling the converter or cartridge. It will slowly “run dry” and need to be re-dipped. Then clean the nib and feed when you are finished writing. I’d recommend removing the converter or cartridge to avoid having to clean that as well.

Sandi asks:

Do you know if there is a website with pen shows? I wish I lived near you…it would fun to attend but I’m in Ohio.

Anderson Pens has a very nice list of the 2017 Pen Shows with links to the show pages. It looks to be all the shows I know about including the Columbus show in Ohio. Maybe you can visit that one? Hope that helps!

News: Col-o-ring Release, Upcoming Pen Shows & Swatching Video

I did a soft launch of the Col-o-ring Ink Testing Books this weekend and thought, “Hey, maybe we might sell a few.” Um, wow. The response was amazing.

We sold out. In a day. I’m speechless.

We are going back on press this week and will be adding more to the shop throughout the week as they are available. Hopefully, there are other people who want books otherwise we will reprint my lifetime supply. That’s what I thought with the first batch but you crazy, awesome, amazing people bought them so we are taking a chance and printing more.

In the meantime, I made a short video demonstrating how I do my swatches. I am not at all experienced at making videos so please overlook the video quality. And the green hands… I had an ink accident prior to recording.

This is by no means the only way to do ink swatching. This is just the method I use. I love the technique that Mike from Inkdependence uses in his video. I included a link to his video in Link Love last Wednesday. There are many other methods as well. If you have a favorite technique, please leave a link in the comments.

In other news, Wednesday is the 250th episode of the Pen Addict podcast. I thought I might crash the party and help the boys celebrate. A little warm-up before the real party in Atlanta in a few weeks.

Speaking of Atlanta…

The Atlanta Pen Show is just THREE WEEKS away! Holy crapoly! I’ve got inks to swatch, Col-o-rings to make, pink hairs to dye and many, many blog posts to get prepped and ready so that folks who AREN’T GOING still have things to read.

For Attendees: You can find me at the Vanness Pen Shop table by day, and either the bar or the Waffle House by night. Unless, of course, its Saturday night, then I’ll be third wheelin’ for Brad and Myke and the Relay Con live recording of the Pen Addict podcast.

The Vanness Pen Shop will be stocking the Col-o-ring Ink Testing Books for the Atlanta Pen Show. Pre-orders will not be needed though there will be a limited number of books available. Hopefully, we will not run out.

If you’re not going to Atlanta: I’ll be sure to have regular content through the week and as many Instagram posts as I can cram in. I’ll be sure to include a wrap-up after the show if you’re curious about the details.

Other Pen Shows: Plans are to bring the Col-o-ring Ink Testing Books to Chicago, San Francisco and other pen shows this year as well. News as those shows get closer.

I promise, the blog is not turning into “All about Col-o-ring”. Stay tuned for our regularly scheduled content including reviews, Link Love and Ask The Desk posts about all the topics you love. I just need a day or two to catch my breath.

Fashionable Friday: Sunday Edition: I Pink You’ll Love This

I started working on Father’s Day at work so I’m fully engrossed in all things leather and camping and plaid and manly so I thought for sure that would inspire this week’s Fashionable Friday. But no. I went the opposite way completely.

We set our clocks forward last week so its brighter longer, the days are finally warmer and its getting balmy. And all the trees in Kansas City are starting to bloom with pink and purple blossoms that put me in the spirit of bright pops of colors and crisp whites. Add in some hints of gold and navy and I think of a pretty patio, a summery outfit or a fountain pen or desk set. Hope you enjoy this early spring fling.

Featured photo: Touring The Fearlessly Fun Home Of Julie Howard (via Glitter Guide) who integrates pops of color into her home with her children’s art, yarn wall hangings, garlands, and paper honeycomb against a background of white and neutrals.

  • Burt’s Bees Lipstick in Fuchsia Flood $9 (via Burt’s Bees)
  • How to Get a Designer Look in Your Home on a Budget (via Glitter Guide)
  • Platinum 3776 Nice Lilas Fountain Pen $200 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Sailor 1911 Standard Fountain Pen North American Exclusive Fresca Blue with Rhodium Trim $196 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Hot Pink Stripe “No.” MT Washi Tape $3.50 per roll (via CuteTape)
  • PIUMA Minimal Brass Fountain Pen $70 (via Ensso)
  • Baggu Small 3D Zip Bag $6.50 (via ArtSnacks)
  • Montblanc Miles Davis Jazz Blue Ink (30ml Bottle) $19 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Leuchtturm1917 100th Anniversary Edition A5 Journal in Gold $25.50 (via Vanness Pen Shop)
  • Pineapple Pencil Holder $16 (via Anthropologie)
  • Montblanc Golden Yellow Ink (30ml Bottle) $19 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Postage Stamps MASTÉ 20mm Japanese Washi Tape $2.50 per roll (via CuteTape)
  • Paperblanks Lined Midi Journal in Brocaded Golden Fuchsia $17.95 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Kaweco Perkeo Fountain Pen in Cotton Candy (Expected in June, other colors available) € 14,95/ € 12,36 Outside EU (via Fontoplumo)
  • Velos V Gold Paper Clips $3 box of 75 (via Fresh Stock Japan)

Ask The Desk: Traveler’s Notebooks vs. Fodderstack and A5 Refill Options for Louis V. Organiser

Matthew put me to task with this stumper:

If you had to choose one out of the three below for your everyday carry, which one would it be and why?

  1. Nock co. Fodderstack XL ($17)
  2. Paper Republic Grand Voyageur (Passport Size) (approx. $42.31 USD)
  3. Travelers Notebook (Passport) ($44.50)

P.S. – Your pen of choice of course.

Well, Matthew, to be honest, the choice here is seems to be between a leather notebook cover and a nylon sleeve as there is not a big difference between the functionality of the Grand Voyageur and the Traveler’s Notebook. (Update: I stand corrected. The Grand Voyageur is actually sized to hold a Field Notes or other 3.5×5.5″ sized notebook. The dimensions, despite being called a “passport-sized” is 10.5cm x 15cm which is 4.1″ x 5.9″, large enough to hold the larger “pocket-sized” notebooks).  The Traveler’s notebook accept only the passport-sized refills so if you’re looking for something that will hold your copious collection of Field Notes, you might (also) want to consider a One Star Leather notebook cover. They start at $40 for a Traveler’s Notebook style and go up from there.

(Clockwise from top left: NockCo. Fodderstack XL, Traveler’s Notebook Passport, Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Pocket Size, and One Star Leather Field Notes Indie Notebook Cover)

If you are looking for an alternative to leather, than a Fodderstack XL will definitely be your preference. And NockCo definitely offers a lot of colors options as well. The Sinclair and the Hightower also provide a Field Notes-sized  pocket as well as slots for pens.

If you want a larger size, than the Grand Voyageur XL is definitely more appealing since its more of a traditional A5 size. And in general, the Grand Voyageur line offers a wider range of standard colors than the traditional Traveler’s Notebooks.

That said, I’m a traditionalist and I like the long slender size of the original Traveler’s Notebook. It’s not a size for everyone but once you use it, you may find that you like it. If you’re purchasing your first Traveler”s Notebook, and you can afford it, I say you go for the original. There are lots of people making Traveler-style notebooks now but its always nice to have at least one of the the originals, if you can. I prefer to fill my Traveler’s Notebook Passport Sized with Baron Fig Vanguard Pocket Notebooks which fit perfectly.

As for my pen of choice… for my Traveler’s notebook? I usually keep a Platinum Desk Pen with my Traveler’s Notebook. The Carbon ink is bulletproof and the low cost of the pen means I’m not worried about it going astray or getting knocked around. And the needlepoint tip is great for teeny tiny writing in the small books, good for sketching or writing and the tip is so smooth for the price. Now if I could just figure out a way to put it into a better looking body.

Amanda asks:

I have a Louis Vuitton organiser I bought years ago in Turkey, it is not a real one but I a very, very good fake and I have run out of paper inserts for it. It is an A5 organiser, with 6 holes, they are not standard though and I am trying to source some paper refills. If I send an image and measurements through could you let me know if you do anything that may fit this.

Many people have run into issues with non-standard hole placements for one reason or another but I have a workaround for you. It is an adjustable 6-hole punch from Japan. They are available on Amazon for a reasonable price. It takes a bit of time to punch inserts but you can either purchase inserts pre-printed or buy a downloadable PDF file from a vendor on Etsy and then punch them yourself to fit the ring configuration to align properly with your organizer.

You can also buy sheets of A5 paper and punch them to fit for notepaper or buy full sheets of A4 paper and have a local copy shop cut them in half for you and then punch them with your hole punch.

I know this isn’t the magic bullet fix but hopefully it will at least get you up and going with new inserts and open you a new world of possibilities.

Link Love: Col-o-ring News & More

Posts of the Week (and a little news):

The Col-o-ring Ink Testing Books received really good feedback at the Arkansas Pen Show in Little Rock this weekend and we are so happy about that. We will have them available for sale on the Well-Appointed Desk Big Cartel site on Saturday this week. We are just getting the shipping sorted out and the inventory nailed down before we list them. At present, they will only be available for US residents only.

We are going to look for ways to make them available in the UK and EU but right now, shipping costs exceed the price of the product with standard domestic shipping. Please don’t be angry with us. Because we are a small business we don’t ship enough to have the volume discounts with the postal service or another carrier to get a better shipping rate. The Col-o-ring books are bulky in size and shape which make them parcels, no matter how we pack them.

So… good news — we start shipping Saturday. Bad news — US only. On with the Link Love.




Notebooks & Paper:

Letter Writing:

Art & Art Supplies:

Other Interesting Things:

Review: Field Notes Utility Graph & Tom Sachs Notebook

Oh, the hullabaloo around the quality control for the latest release of the Field Notes Colors Edition Utility Graph and Ledger has reached epic proportions. My Graph set had no visible flaws but the lower corners on the Ledger had a bit of a booger on a couple of them.

(Here is where I start my speculation… I did not speak with Field Notes about this and everything here is based on my own personal experience.)

Since I work in the printing industry, I know that stuff like this happens all the time. Ink coverage gets too heavy, things get mis-registered, the blade on the cutter gets dull, the paper is too thick for the folding machine, etc, etc. If the issue is not too severe, inhibit legibility or is not something like someone forgot a plate color (like they forgot the red on the belly band which is integral to the design aesthetic and would give the design team a stress tic) it is often let go by both the printer and the designers/clients in order to meet the deadline or the costs to trash everything and start over would be exponentially cost prohibitive. Not to mention, some of the materials may have been custom ordered and might take several weeks to be reacquired. You crazy people knew down to the minute when the email announcement for shipping of the Colors Edition was going to drop so stopping the print run to fix a booger-y corner and push back shipping by weeks potentially could have created anarchy. Not to mention how much money Field Notes/Coudal already had tied up in this print run. So… that said, let’s talk about the actual notebooks.

The shortfold back cover has also been discussed at great length by a lot of people already but I thought I give you a good photo and my own opinion. It’s short folded by about an 1/8″ and when unfolded it reveals a 5″ ruler on one side and 13cm ruler on the other. Pulling it back a bit from the edge of the rounded corner  gives the edges of the ruler a bit more stability, in my opinion, so that it is less likely to tear at the edges were it to have been flush with the cover and had the full rounded edges. That may or may not have been the reason that Field Notes chose to pull it back from the edge a bit. Maybe that will be one of the questions asked at the RelayCon event in October?

What the pen community has been happy to discuss about the Utility edition is the paper stock. It’s Mohawk Via Vellum 70# text. Fuss buckets will still bemoan that they’d rather just have grid or just have ledger but that’s what meet-ups and the Field Nuts Facebook Group are for. You can trade the ones you don’t want for the ones you do. Field Notes are grown-up trading cards.

I put the 70# Via Vellum through its paces with a variety of daily use pens like Lamy, Franklin-Christoph, Kaweco, Aurora, Sailor and Pilot fountain pens with fine nibs small enough to write on these small graph paper spaces as well as a variety of gel, felt tip and pencils. I didn’t have any issues with feathering, even with some fine italics, a brush pen or a Papermate Flair.

And from the bask side of the paper, there is the lightest bit of show through from the brush pen only. Pretty impressive. So, despite all the fussing about quality control and “What’s with the ruler?”, the 70# paper in the Utility edition meets all the utility standards that the average fountain pen geek has been asking for.

But wait… there’s more.

Bob brought home another notebook for me that bore a striking resemblance to, not just any Field Notes but, to the very similar colored cover Utility. It’s the Tom Sachs “10 Bullets”  Pocket Notebook. The “10 Bullets” comes as a 3-pack and sells for $20. I didn’t know anything about Tom Sachs or the “10 Bullets” prior to receiving the notebook. After a little research, I discovered that Tom Sachs is an artist with a working studio and several people who work for him including, at one time Casey Neistat. The “10 Bullets” appears to be both tongue-in-cheek and a creative statement but bears a striking resemblance to the Utility Edition so I couldn’t avoid talking about it here.

The cover is also Mohawk Via Vellum 80# (216 gsm) in Safety Yellow but on the inside, the Tom Sachs notebook uses Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Utrawhite 24# (30gsm) and uses a “ghost grid pattern licensed from Edward Tufte“. Really? It looks like 0.25″ standard grid to me. The book is slightly larger than a standard Field Notes both in height and width — about a 1/4″ taller and a 1/2” wider. On the cover are ten bullets in black matte foil with a matte white foil or silkscreen.

The inside cover is handwritten in the distinctive Tom Sachs penmanship and black ink.

Inside the back cover is a photocopy of a ruler and a millimeters to decimals conversion chart. They look photocopied like a zine. The last eight pages of the notebook are assorted reference guides including Sach’s 10 Bullets.

Overall, there are 59 pages of grid paper to use in the Sachs notebook so I put one to the test.

Directly across from Sachs’ “10 Bullets” I tested the same pens I used in the Utility notebook. With the wider spaced grid and the lighter weight paper, I ended up needing a page and a half so you get to see the back side of the page and the remainder of the writing samples in one go.

You can see that the type bleeds through in some cases and shows through much more often than it did on the Via Vellum 70# in the Utility notebook. While I like some of Sachs’ artwork, his more ironic “10 Bullets” video and notebook is way too ironic and smarmy, hipster, self-referential, I’m-not-sure-who-he’s-poking-fun-at-here. I get that we are a bit obsessive and ridiculous at times about our notebooks and our particular-ness and I’m okay with that and if he’s making fun of himself as much as us, then great. But somehow, I think it got lost in translation. And in the process, the product is pricey and not very good. If you’re going to make something snooty and self-referential and charge an arm and a leg, make it better than this. I’m glad I didn’t pay for this one. It was a print sample.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Field Notes for the purpose of review. Tom Sachs did not send me their notebook to review. It came to me by chance but I did not pay for it either. Please see the About page for more details.