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:

Fountain Pen Review: Diplomat Excellence A, Rhombus Guilloch Lapis in Black

Fountain Pen Review: Diplomat Excellence A, Rhombus Guilloch Lapis in Black

Review by Laura Cameron

A few weeks ago, Ana told me she had a pen for review that she thought I would like.  She brought me the Diplomat Excellence A, Rhombus Guilloch Lapis Black Fountain Pen ($225MSRP).  I’m not going to lie; when I first saw the pen I thought “now THAT is a fountain pen!”

When I received the pen, it was truly like opening a present.  The pen comes in a white cardboard box bearing the Diplomat logo. Once “unboxed”, there is a metal sleeve that slides aside to reveal the gorgeous pen sitting on white satin, again with the logo.

The Diplomat pen body is an all-metal casing with a multi-layered lacquer finish and laser engraving.  The nib is a fine steel nib and bears the Diplomat logo.  The postable cap is a screw cap, and the very top of the cap also bears the Diplomat logo as well.

One of the reasons Ana thought I might like to review the pen is because of its weight.  This is a metal pen and has a very pleasing heaviness to it.  The body itself, with converter filled, weighs 29gms and, with the cap, it weighs 45gms.  While the cap is postable, I found that posting the cap made the back end of the pen fairly top heavy, so I preferred not to post it.

This pen was a joy to write with.  The ink filled quickly and the pen itself wrote very smoothly.  The fine nib is more of a Western fine, so not as fine as a Japanese nib, but still very nice.  I really enjoyed the quantity of ink that the pen put down; it gave excellent coverage without being too wet.  I was able to test this pen on both the Crossfield Journal and Field Notes Byline and it performed very well.

To be honest, my favorite thing about this beautiful pen is the thought put into all the little touches, specifically the aesthetically pleasing logo tying all the elements of the pen together. They are executed in a way that isn’t fussy, but really lend an air of elegance to this pen.

The great news for you is that this pen was generously sent to “the Desk” for a giveaway – one of you lucky readers will get to keep this pen!

THE GIVEAWAY: We are giving away this very Diplomat Excellence A Rhombus Guilloch in black with a steel fine nib. This is a tester model so it has been inked and tested here at The Desk but will be cleaned, re-boxed and shipped directly to you in like-new condition.

Please leave a comment below and tell us what ink you’d put in the Excellence A Rhombus Guilloch in black for your first fill?

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Saturday, September 16, 2017. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Saturday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. We will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 10 days, we will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS Priority Mail is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will  be paid by the winner upon request. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US residents/APO only.

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.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to us free of charge by Points of Distinction, the US distributor of Diplomat Pens, for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Notebook Review: Crossfield Journal

Review by Laura Cameron

Although I managed to get in on the Hippo Noto Kickstarter, I couldn’t possibly wait that many months to try Tomoe River paper (!!), so I went ahead an ordered a Crossfield Journal from Nanami Paper ($24).

The Crossfield Journal I purchased is actually the second edition of this journal. The journal is A5 size, so the paper measures 8.3 x 5.8 inches.  The journal has a flexible semi-stiff fabric coated cover and is threadbound, with lay-flat binding.  This means that when I open the Crossfield, it lays open nicely.  The journal is filled with graph lined white Tomoe River paper and lots of it; 480 pages.  There are two end pages, and both are in ivory.  There isn’t a bookmark in this book.  The Crossfield comes with a kraft slip case that is printed with some of the journal specs.  Finally, the package includes a sheet of blotting paper.  All of this is crafted in Japan.

When I ordered the Crossfield I actually had a purpose in mind for it.  After watching Azizah’s video about how she samples her inks, I wanted my book to be an ongoing journal of the inks I try with different pens and nibs.  To that end, I tried to experiment with a variety of techniques.

I was pretty impressed with the Tomoe River paper.  For the most part, I was splashing large dots of ink on the paper and, of course, those bled through to the other side.  But I was consistently surprised at how the thin paper (52 gsm “notebook” paper) didn’t bleed through on “regular” uses – when I used a pen or dip nib to write the name of the color on the page or play with the ink in other ways.  Several times I tested a pen just by writing a page or two of text and those pages showed no bleed through. The pages did ghost though, and quite a bit.  If you are intent on using each and every page of this journal front and back, this may not be the best book for you unless you’re sketching with a soft pencil or some lighter use. Finally, I would note that on the pages where I was heavy handed with the ink drops there was rippling, like the paper had gotten wet. On the pages where I had just written normally, I didn’t experience that.

I’ve included a sample of pages that I’ve been inking in the Crossfield, as well as a shot or two of the backside of the pages.

Overall I’ve been very pleased with this journal and plan to continue using it as I grow my pen and ink collection.

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.