Subscription Kit: Rad + Hungry USA 2017

Rad + Hungry is a very unique subscription service. Every month you are subscribed, you receive a package of curated stationery goods – usually pencils and a notebook plus a print and a little extra from somewhere in the world. One month it might be Uruguay, the next month it might be Korea or the Philippines.

One of the best things about the Rad + Hungry kits are how lovingly they are wrapped. Each kit is beautifully wrapped like a gift and the prints included with each kit is a beautiful piece of art that can be hung on your wall as art and a memento.

The silkscreen print was produced in neon orange ink and is hard to capture but take my word for it. It’s spectacular. Or order a kit for yourself.

The latest kit from the US included amazing finds from the Deep South and included a letter from Hen’s travels that read like a tale from a friend of her adventures from the road.

If you are a pencil collector, I think you can still get some of the rare and unique pencils through the Rad + Hungry Shop. These gems were immediately added to my ever-growing collection of pencil gems! I can hardly resist sharpening these beauties. I will breakdown soon enough, I’m sure.

The two vintage school notepads were also added to my collection of paper ephemera to be used for various and sundry purposes. This was definitely the month for excellent subscriptions.

Kit pricing starts at $24 per kit for the Quarterly (3 kits over 3 months but the prices drop to $19 for a yearly subscription for 10 kits over 12 months. There’s also a Semester Kit for $21 per kit, (6 kits over 6 months).

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to us free of charge by Rad + Hungry for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ask the Desk: Sheening Black Ink

My good friend Father Kyle recently asked if I could recommend a good sheening black ink.

The only black ink (and I don’t use a ton of black ink so my knowledge here is relatively limited) I could think of was Kyo-No-Oto No. 1 Nurebairo ($28). It has more shine than sheen on most of the papers that I’ve tested it on but Lisa Vanness backed me up on my claim that it was the most likely sheening black.

I dug around on FPN for more recommendations and found a few threads dating back years that suggested that there were other possibilities as well like Private Reserve Velvet Black, Pilot Black, and Kaweco Pearl Black (which I used as an example as a flat black below so I heartily disagree there!).

From the swatch, its clear there is some blue in the Kyo-No-Oto black which probably helps to give the ink some depth and richness compared to the Kaweco Black which in the light areas is evidently a neutral grey undertone.

If anyone has other recommendations for a sheening black, please leave a comment. Black ink seldom gets the attention and accolades and attention that blues and its more colorful brethren do.

Pen Review: Delike Glass Signature Pen

Pen Review: Delike Glass Signature Pen

Review by Laura Cameron

After watching several pen and ink videos, I decided I wanted to try a variety of nibs and that I would like to purchase a dip nib pen.  Ana steered me in the direction of eBay and Delike pens. I ordered a Glass Signature Pen with five nibs in blue (a few more are available here).

The pen arrived fairly quickly; within less than 2 weeks from China.  The set I ordered includes the Glass Signature pen, with cap, and 5 additional nibs: extra fine (XF), fine (F), medium (M), broad (B) and extra broad (XB).

I should note that I don’t think that the pen is actually glass, but rather acrylic (which the eBay listing curiously lists as “organic glass”). (Editor’s Note: I tested the “glass” nib as well and cannot confirm if it’s glass either. It felt more like a synthetic material. That said, it held ink very well and alone I felt made it worth the purchase price. I did not get to try out the calligraphy nibs though. I really liked the “glass” nib.)

I found the naming of these nibs a little deceptive. I tried the extra fine expecting it to be similar to many of my other fountain pen nibs and it is much broader than they are.  However, since I wanted this pen to test different nib widths, I wasn’t too upset by this.  I also didn’t understand until I went back and reviewed the listing that the “glass nib” (also acrylic) was intended to be written with. I found the use of this nib a little problematic in that I needed to use the nib on its side to get it to write reliably.  I did think that the swirled nib was an interesting and beautiful way to store the ink.

I would also note that while the pen and nibs themselves were odor-free, the plastic cap needed to be left out for a week or two before it wasn’t super smelly.

The glass pen is nice and smooth and is a nice light weight in my hand (17gms without the nib and cap).  The nibs screw in and out of the barrel very easily and I’m enjoying testing inks using different nibs.

Testing with Tomoe River paper and the XB nib.

Overall, I wouldn’t characterize this as a fine pen, but I find it perfectly serviceable for playing around with different nibs and ink.

Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

Giveaway Winner: Diplomat Excellence A, Rhombus Guilloch Lapis in Black

Giveaway Winner: Diplomat Excellence A, Rhombus Guilloch Lapis in Black

Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway for the Diploma Excellence A, Rhombus Guilloch Lapis in Black. Now, to announce the winner:


Congrats to Adam! I hope that Cacao du Bresil looks stunning in the Diplomat! our many thanks to Points of Distinction for sending us this lovely pen and thanks to Laura for writing up this review.

News: Hallmarket, Typewriters & Decograph


Saturday (that would be tomorrow) is the annual Hallmarket event at Crown Center. This is THE opportunity to shop and buy original artwork and crafts from Hallmark artists, designers, photographers, and other crafty folks. The event starts at 10am and goes until 5pm in square outside, rain or shine. There will be food and beverage vendors and admission is free to attend. I recommend arriving early because many artists’ works are snapped up early. My good pal Hannah (who is not showing this year sadly) had her handmade plush sold out by lunch one year.

Letter Writing

Kickstarter: World’s Smallest Postal Service Kit – Special Editions 

Lea Redmond and her cohorts are at it again with five new miniature themed postal kits plus a revision to the original kit and a new stamp set.  The Kickstarter campaign has a couple weeks left so you have time left to back it. I have the original kit so I will certainly back this one too.

In the light of the last few weeks’ series of natural disasters, the Write_On blog suggests that you write letters of thanks and encouragement to rescue groups, first responders, city officials and others who have had to do so much in the past few weeks. Whether you live in one of the many places affected by the earthquakes, fires or hurricanes or would just like to reach out and send your thanks to the people who have worked so hard to help, check out the post. They even include a letter-writing playlist. As this Sunday is the monthly Wonder Fair Letter Writing Club, I might pen a few letters and postcards myself.


The new Karas Kustoms Decographs have been the talk of the town. All the Decograph pens have the look of vintage pens but are made from modern aircraft aluminum and stainless steel with high-strength thermoplastics. The Karas Kustoms Decograph fountain pen colors are being unveiled in waves. The best way to see and hear the latest about the Decograph is to join the Coin Club. They have unveiled the black version as well as some limited edition models available at the San Francisco Pen Show. Other color editions will be revealed to the public in the coming weeks.

California Typewriter

The California Typewriter film opens in theaters across the US. Except in a city near me. Or probably you. But if you can wait until November 21, 2017 you can purchase it on iTunes in HD for $12.99. Or watch the trailer.

Notebook Review: Rollbahn Notebooks by Delfonics

Notebook Review: Rollbahn Notebooks by Delfonics

Rollbahn Notebooks are a sub-brand from Delfonics, a Japanese company which you might not know from looking at the cover of these notebooks. I think the Rollbahn notebooks are Japanese attempting to recreate, improve or homage to Rhodia and Moleskine and other European notebooks dynasties. The covers of the books are thicker than most with a heavier coating of gloss. The notebooks include a black elastic to keep the books closed The paper inside is an ivory color. Each page is perforated so it can be removed from the book without the torn edges. The notebooks are available with a spiral ring on the left or top and in the back of each book is a section divider and several pages of plastic sleeves for storing ephemera.

The paper quality is above the average spiral-bound notebook. Its not quite on par with Rhodia but I’d say its up there with Leuchtturm 1917 in regards with its ability to handle fountain pen ink. It did well with most rollerballs, felt tips, ballpoints and there was very little feathering with fountain pens on the page but had some show through on the the reverse. With dip pens, there was some feathering. The only real issue was that the yellowish ivory cast of the paper did alter ink colors. If you are not a stickler with color fidelity or have been looking for an ivory stock for notes, than the Rollbahn may be for you.

The “Lady Beautiful” lettering was done at the DC Pen Show by non other than Jake Weidmann using one of my Lady Sheaffer pens!

The clear, plastic pocket sleeves in the back are handy for conferences, meetings or other events where you might be getting lots of cards or ephemera and need a place to put them. The stiff covers make the notebooks great if you find yourself taking notes in auditoriums where you might be writing on your lap. I’m not often a fan of spiral books because I always think they seem less durable or professional but the simplicity of the covers and the sturdiness make the Rollbahn seem less flimsy.

I tested Jason’s Pilot Custom 823 for about 30 minutes before I remembered I owned a Custom 912 (duh!). So I handed his back and got out my own pen.

The Rollbahn notebooks are not easy to acquire but Fans of The Desk do have an opportunity to buy the books exclusively through a special sales page. Grab them while you can!

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

Link Love: Batten Down the Hatches with Some Pen Distractions

Link LovePens:



Notebook & Paper:

Other Interesting Things: