Posts Tagged ‘ask the desk’

Ask the Desk: EU EF Nibs vs. 0.5 mm gels, 3-Hole Personal Size & Planner Stamps

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Renee asked:

I was interested in getting a pen that writes with a line similar to that of a .5 mm pen. I was considering a Kaweco sport given your enthusiastic reviews. Would a European extra fine do that?

The Kaweco might give a little bit wider stroke depending on the paper and/or ink combination than a 0.5mm gel or rollerball pen. Let’s do a little experiment!

EUvs05-2

I got a bunch of my favorite 0.5mm gel pens and pens I felt wrote comparably to 0.5 like a Sharpie Pen and the Staedtler Triplus Finalizer. Then I got out a bunch of European (and American) EF and F nibs and a few Japanese, just for comparison sake, and wrote their name and then drew a slow line using a ruler to try to get as close and exact idea of their line widths. I stand by my theory that the Kaweco EF and F are almost indistinguishable and about the same width as the Pilot Metropolitan M. I’d say those are a bit wider than the 0.5mm gel pens. The Pilot Metropolitan F, TWSBI EF and Monteverde EF were closer in width to the 0.5mm. For some reason, I did not have a Lamy EF in house.  The Lamy F was wider than even the Kaweco F or the Pilot Metropolitan M so if you’re looking at a fine line from Lamy, definitely aim for the EF. But if you are dabbling in the Japanese pens, you could go as broad as a M and still get a very fine line. Good luck on your fountain pen adventures!

EUvs05-1

Steve asks:

I have a small cache of 3.75″ x 6.75″ 3-hole ruled paper. The 3-ring binder has long since died. Any ideas on where I might find a new binder?

I was unable to find any 3-ring versions of a 3.75″ x 6.75″ binder. However, I was able to find 6-ring binders. The size is the same as the Filofax Personal-sized, DayTimer (portable), DayRunner (small). Mead even makes loose leaf notebooks in this size  for about $10. The paper might need to be punched with additional holes but the current popularity of the personal sized Filofax and similar planners means that 6-ring binders and refills will continue to be available for years to come. A copy shop might be able to punch the holes for you or you could purchase a hole punch and do it yourself.

Sarah asks:

Do you have any recommendations for planner stamps? I initially wanted to use the Pilot Frixion stamps because they are self-inking and erasable, but couldn’t find a complete set from any American retailers (except on Etsy and eBay, where I’d have to pay a huge mark-up). I bought this set last week and I’m pretty happy with it, but I wonder what other people are using.

This is a fun question, Sarah! Thanks for submitting it. I have found that I really like the clear cling planner stamps from either Hero Arts, Studio Calico or Studio L2E. Since they come on small flat sheets, they are easy to store and carry. You can even pick and choose from a variety of different planner sheet sets to build your perfect set for your planner. Most clear stamp sheets come on sheets ranging in size from about  4″ x 6″ and larger with lots of word and symbol stamps on each sheet.

planner-stamps

  1. Studio Calico Stamp Set: Bullet By Hello Forever $15.99
  2. Hero Arts To Do List $15.99
  3. Hero Arts My Week $15.99
  4. Studio L2E Plan It Stamp Set $15

I keep a small acrylic block, similar to this set, in my pencil case and a small stamp pad for stamping. If you discover that you have specific stamps you use all the time, you can also just  adhere them onto something more permanently. Some are small enough to fit onto the end of  a bottle cap, old marker or dowel to make a more permanent stamp.

Happy stamping!

If you have a question for The Desk, use the “Ask The Desk” link at the top of the blog. Thanks!

Ask The Desk: Address Books (Fountain Pen Friendly and/or Refillable)

Amy asks:

Any suggestions for an address and occasion book that is fountain pen friendly? I don’t want a full blown planner/calendar. A bonus would be refillable pages. Thanks!!!

I keep rolling this over in my mind. There are a lot of possibilities for an address book.

Filofax Cotton Cream Address Pages

You could actually use a Filofax or other ring bound notebook as just an address book. This would give you the flexibility of choosing exactly the size you want. You could print your own address pages or purchase a printable using paper of your choice thereby satisfying the fountain pen friendly equation. And it would be infinitely refillable. But yes, there’s some legwork and set-up involved in this particular option.

If you don’t already own a ring-bound planner, you’d need to purchase one. New planners usually ship with a full set of inserts unless you buy them secondhand so there may be elements wasted. Then you’d have to find address tabs; buy, print or make contacts pages and assemble the whole thing. Once completed however, you are basically done. Once in awhile, you might need to print some new pages or update existing pages but it would be a self-sustaining system. As someone who owns about a half a dozen planners, I’m thinking I might just turn one of them into an address book because this is a brilliant idea and a way for me to put one of my many planners to use.

 

Hallmark Address Book

Hallmark Cards continues to produce address books including its own 6-hole binders which you can purchase replacement sheets. The paper quality is up for debate. I’ve used a 6-ring binder for several years and some pens bleed a little, others don’t at all. Its a heavier weight paper but it doesn’t seem to have any sizing on it so its hit or miss. And again, I have not been able to test every book in their store to determine if its specific to a range of products.  Prices range from $9.95 to $24.95.

There are some lovely bound address books that are available as well.

paperblanks address book

Paperblanks address book

Paperblanks makes lovely notebooks and their line of address books are no exception. These are bound books but stand up reasonably well to fine and medium nib fountain pens and are elegant to boot. Jenni Bick sells several options with prices ranging $18.95 and $21.95.

Moleskine address book

While not known to be the most fountain pen friendly, Moleskine does make a tabbed Address Book notebook. Its available in 3.5×5 and 5.5×8 sizes with a hardcover ($13.95-$19.95) as well as the softcover Volant ($8.95-$12) and the tabs are plastic covered to make it more durable. The pages are otherwise unmarked which give the user plenty of room for a variety of contact information from simple phone numbers to lengthy foreign addresses.

Of course, there are many other options for address books at your local book shop or office supply store that may or may not be friendly with your pens or your wallet. But these were a few I thought might meet one or more of the criteria set forth: refillable and/or fountain pen friendly. Nice to look at being a bonus.

Ask The Desk: Landscape Notebooks

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Anna Marie asks:

I’m looking for landscape orientation notebooks. I know there’s a landscape orientation Rhodia Webnotebook, but I wouldn’t mind a color that isn’t orange or black. (Sacrilege, I know.) Do any other quality notebook companies make blank landscape orientation options, with binding on the short side? Fountain pen friendly always a bonus!

The sad truth of the matter is that there seems to be an assumption that if you want a horizontal/landscape notebook, you must be an artist and therefore only want a black book. The only company I could find that made landscape notebooks/sketchbooks with any other color cover was Hand Book Artists Journals Travelogue Series. I find the paper a little absorbent for some inks but overall its a thicker stock an good for light washes, and a variety of pen, pencil and media.

If you can live with a black cover though, the Rhodia would be best for fountain pens specifically. For mixed media, I can’t praise Stillman & Birn sketchbooks highly enough. I’ve used the Alpha and the Epsilon notebooks and I like them both. Stillman & Birn offer a landscape format in both softcover (this is new and looks NOT black!) and hardcover. The only Moleskine notebooks I’ve yet to try is the watercolor notebook and many people actually praise it. It’s available in the landscape format with 200 gsm, cold press paper which sounds pretty nice.

Hand Book Artist Journal Travelogue Series, which just happen to be local (Go, Kansas City!) They are available with a linen fabric cover in black, red, blue and green with a soft ivory paper inside.

Ask The Desk: Spiral Notebooks

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Jennifer asks:

I was wondering if you could do a post on the best medium/small spiral notebooks on the market. I would much appreciate it. Thank you.

When you ask “what’s the best” do you mean best quality paper, best ring binding or are you using other criteria to determine what makes a serial notebook better than others (hard covers, pockets, divider tabs,etc)? Do you prefer true serial binding or is twin-ring binding or even plastic ring acceptable? I’ll make my best guesses here and hopefully hit on the best of the best here.

sprial-notebooks

I’m going to focus on paper quality and availability.

Rhodia offers a couple different formats of wire bound notebooks that use the fountain pen friendly Clairefontaine paper. There is the 8.25″ square Reverse Book or a wide range of smaller top-ring notebooks like the medium Wirebound Pad that is 6×8.25″. Rhodia pads use mostly graph paper so if you’re looking for lined paper, you might want to consider the Rhodia Classic Meeting Book (A5). Pretty much any notebook from Rhodia, Clairefontaine, or Quo Vadis will use the much touted Clairefontaine papers which work well with fountain pens. Rhoda notebooks are often the easiest to find in the US and Canada but keep your eyes out for Clairefontaine as well.

Doane Paper offers their Grids + Lines paper in their Idea Journal twin ring notebooks, in a small (5.25″ x 6.875″) and large (8.4″ x 10.8″) size. They also have Flap Jotters (with top ring binding) in large and small (pack of 3/ 2.875″ x 4.75″). And their latest offering is the Moon Camera notebooks with cross marks instead of grid, line or dots. The Doane paper is pretty good with most fountain pens but if fountain pen endurance is a criteria for you, Rhoda will be your top choice.

Field Notes makes The Steno which features heavy-duty chipboard covers and is bound at the top with twin-rings like old school stenographer pads. The paper is not as conducive to fountain pens but the lines are light enough not to distract and the notebook sturdy enough to hold up to everyday abuse.

The Maruman Mnemosyne line of notebooks from Japan offer an array of ruling and size options with paper that is a favorite with a lot of pen bloggers out there. Some of the features they offer in their books are quite unusual and specific to Asian penmanship but can be appealing for tabbed note taking, coding and other functions.

As for big box office supply products, the M by Staples and the ARC by Staples are often recommended as having good quality paper. I don’t have a Staples near me so I haven’t had personal experience with these but there are lots of positive reviews. Try searching Pennaquod for ARC by Staples or M by Staples and reading through those options if you have quick access to a local Staples. The ARC introduces the disc bound system into the equation which is not technically a sprial binding but I thought you might let that slide for good quality paper and flexibility.

For even more reviews and opinions, you might want to check out Office Supply Geek’s lengthy list of Notebook Reviews with Sprial Bindings because he covers a lot of other possibilities as well.

I hope this helped and started you on a path to good quality paper in a spiral notebook.

Ask The Readers: Broad Nibs for the Vision Impaired

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Mark has a really great question, and I know that you, my readers, will have some great ideas for him:

I’m legally blind, and looking for a broad line. Currently, I use a Uni-ball Signo RT with 1.0mm refill. I’m considering the Ohto Fude Ball 1.5mm, Pilot VP with tuned broad nib, and Lamy 2000 with B or BB nib.

The Lamy BB looks nice and broad, but it has a reputation for QC issues. I’d love to see a line comparison between the Ohto Fude Ball and Vanishing Point in broad.

I tend to favor fine line pens so I’m not the best person to recommend broad nibs but that’s such a good option to help folks with vision issues. I’ve used the Kaweco BB nib and it lays down a THICK line. My instinct is that a European or US fountain pen with a broad nib, like most fountain pens, is going to have a broader nib than a Japanese pen, unless it is modified by a nibmeister.

Of course, the Nib Nook tool on Goulet Pens is a great to get a visible comparison between various B and BB nib options that they stock. Like this:

Nib Nook B and BB

In regards to gel pens, JetPens has a post on Broad Pens for its Penpedia that covers the pens it stocks from 1.0 to 1.6mm. There’s some good options there that will be both  broad and reasonably priced.

Does anyone have other thick line recommendations for Mark? Or some comparison images of some broad lines to share? If you include links in the comments, I’ll add them to the post. Thanks!

Ask The Desk: Tot Staples & MAGIC Erasers & Pens for the Signo 151

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Jan asks:

Is there a replacement for the Tiny Tot staples?
I’ve had a red one most of my life and only have a few bars left. Please help it is the best thing for my small desk.

Oh, I’ve got you covered! I too collect vintage TOT staplers and discovered that JetPens stocks staples from Japan No. 10s that fit perfectly. They even come in colors. You can also do a search on the internet or Amazon for No. 10 staples and find other options.

Kimmar asks:

Are Koh-inoor Magic erasers  available in the US?

Sadly, I’ve not found a source for Koh-i-noor Magic erasers in the US but there are vendors on  Ebay that will sell them from Europe and ship them over. That’s how I acquired my last batch. Andy from Woodclinched placed an order and sent me a few. Maybe you can find a few other pencil/eraser enthusiasts online to go in on an order with you? Maybe through the Pen Addict Slack channel, FPN or other social network?

UPDATE: Our good friend Greer Chicago does stock Koh-i-noor Magic erasers but does not have many in stock currently. Grab them quickly or check back and I’m sure they will restock soon.

koh-i-noor magic erasers

Jairo asks:

I was wondering if you know a good pen holder (i.e, retro 51, Karas Kustoms Render K, ti2 tech… etc) for the refill of a uni-ball signo UM-151 0.38?

it does not have to be all metal, but an improvement over the actual body of the pen 😉

The UM-151 sized refill is the same as the Pilot Hi-Tec C so there are some options available for a good pen holder. Should you need to later refill the pen holder, that refill is listed as a  Uni-Ball Signo UMR-1 or UM-151. UM-153 and UM-100 will also fit.

There’s the Eco-Essentials Pen, the Karas Kustoms Render K, the Big I Design Titanium Pen, the Tactile Turn Mover, and the Pen Type-A for starters. The best option is to look for pens that say they will accept the Pilot Hi-Tec C refill for the widest variety.

Ask The Desk: Retro 51 Refills

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Daisy asked:

Just got myself a new Retro 51 Tornado (Nine Lives edition) but I am a bit overwhelmed by potential refills. I like a fine black line, and ideally ink that won’t run when highlighted. Can you help narrow down my options? This may be heresy, but I’m not sure if I prefer ballpoint or rollerball, so suggestions for either or both would be good :)

I followed up with Daisy to determine exactly what size nib she preferred and she confirmed that she likes the Uni Jetstream in 0.5 and the Uni Style Fit in 0.4 and 0.5.

If you want to stick with a rollerball, the Schmidt P8126 Capless Rollerball in fine would be a good option. Or you could follow  Mike Rohde’s technique and just cut down a Pilot Juice or Pilot G2 refill or Mike’s favorite, the Pentel Energel. You can either buy a regular pen with one of these refills in it, or purchase a refill from your favorite retailer. My best recommendation is to open up some of the pens laying around your workspace and see if they might fit. If I find a pen I like, I always try to open it up to see if it will fit into my favorite pens. I hope that helps!

Retro 1951 + Pentel EnerGel Refill Hacking

Ask The Desk: DDC Editions

rp_askthedesk_hdr21.pngLori asks:

I hope you can answer this. How often does Draplin Design come out with DDC Field Notes? I’d like to buy a set one of these days.

Lori, I went straight to Field Notes HQ (AKA Coudal Partners) and asked my good buddy Bryan. His answer mirrored my suspicions. DDC editions are released whenever Mr. Draplin feels like making them. My best advice is to add the Draplin blog to your RSS feed and hope for the best. Also, join the Field Nuts group on Facebook. If anyone is going to hear about a DDC Field Notes edition, it will be the folks there. Good luck on the hunt!

Field Notes DDC Factory Floor Silver Streak


Do you have a pen, paper, planner or pencil question? Use the “Ask the Desk” link in the top menu bar to email me and I’ll do my best to try to answer it.

Ask The Readers: Lay-Flat Notebooks & Brown Ink

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Hello, dear readers, I’m turning to you to help make some recommendations to some of the questions I’ve received lately.

I will summarize a lengthy question from Jeff in the UK:

He’s looking for a notebook smaller than a standard A5 that will lay flat and will work well with fountain pens.

This is a real stumper. Smaller notebooks make me think of the array of pocket notebooks available (à la Field Notes) but these are not known to be terribly fountain pen friendly. Maybe the Backpocket Journal or the most recent incarnation of the NockCo Dot Dash pad? Leuchtturm 1917 does offer a pocket-sized edition (A6). Leuchtturm paper works tolerably well with fountain pens that are more fine-to-medium nib but not too wet. Anyone have other recommendations for Jeff?

And Scott asks:

What is your favorite everyday brown ink?  I need a change from my beloved blue-blacks! Thanks.

I am also a victim of the blue-black love and have very few recommendations in this category of colors. I am not crazy about J. Herbin’s Lie de The though I know a lot of people are fans of this particular shade of brown. I recently review the Akkerman Hopjesbraun and I liked it better than other browns I’ve tried but I have not committed to a whole bottle of any brown. Can someone with an expertise in brown inks help Scott out?

Ask the Desk: More Refills (Pen and Paper)

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Carlos hoped I could help with this:

I would like to buy some refills for a Dunhill ballpen sidecar and a Montegrapa rollerball (refill with 12 cm long).
Could you tell me what refills should I buy?


According to my research, it looks like the Montegrappa rollerballs all take the standard Pilot G2 style refill, also described as the Schmidt/Euro Rollerball refill size, that are about 110mm (4.5″) long. That’s great because there are lots of options and you may even have a plastic pen laying around with the right size refill on your desk right now. If you have a Pilot G2 retractable, you should be able to twist it apart and pull that refill out and try it in the Montegrappa.
Check out my Epic Refill Guide to find your favorite refill in the Pilot G2 section.
The Dunhill should take a standard Parker-style refill or a “capless style” G2/Euro refill. They are about 98mm (3.875″) long. Most office supply stores like Staples, Office Max or Office Depot should have a selection of Parker-style refills. A list of many Parker style compatible refills are also on the Epic Refill Guide.

Kate asks:

I came across your blog’s review of the Leuchtturm Weekly Planner, and I’m thinking you might be the person who can help me on my quest for the holy grail planner.  What I’ve been searching (unsuccessfully) for is a weekly planner with substantial notes pages.  So, something that has the weekly spread,monthly spread and two or three year overview you’d find in a typical planner, but also has at least 100 ruled or blank pages for notes.  This seems to be an impossible ask. I’ve tried the levenger circa system, but I’m not wired for one that I have to constantly assemble or move stuff around in.  Have you come across anything that fits this bill? I would love to know about it!

Your grail planner is a tall order, indeed! My first instinct was to ask if you’d considered a Midori Traveler’s Notebook or a Fauxdori (leather covers made and sold by individuals on Etsy and such)? There are many inserts available for this system that let’s you have a planner and a notebook for lots of notes. Each blank, lined or grid insert has about 64 pages in it. There is one insert available for the Midori with extra thin paper that I think has over 100 sheets in it. Something like this might give you the option of having a full booklet for notes plus a planner/calendar.
MTN Current Set-up
You might want to do a search on YouTube or Google for how people set up their Midori Traveler’s Notebook (MTN) or a Fauxdori to get an idea if the system might work for you.
There are also many printable planner system options available from folks on Etsy like DIY Fish. Her systems are also available for Midori Traveler’s Notebooks, Filofax ring binder systems or half-sheet sizes that could be used with a mini 3-ring binder. The last time I was in Target, I saw they had a good sized assortment of half-sheet 3-ring binders, if that might be an option that would work for you? Its not quite as fiddly as the Circa but still might require rearranging pages every once in awhile.
I’m not sure if I gave you any suggestions that might be the golden solution but hopefully it will give you some other options to consider.

And finally, Pat asked:
I’m searching for a nice leather notebook for a gift.  Do you emboss names or initials on your notebooks?I would also like your recommendation on the best notebook that can be refilled.  Also, are there any stores in the Baton Rouge area that sell your products?

Despite the confusion in her question that I was an online shop, I do think I might be help to help Pat find someone who can engrave and/or leather and refillable. Not sure I can find anything that is the trifecta though.

As for leather engravables, I know that Vanness Pens in Little Rock, AR does engraving. They have a separate web site for engraving called A Personal Statement. They offer a variety of notebooks.

Filofax has recently introduced a refillable notebook. Goldspot Pens and Goulet Pens both stock them online. While not leather, they are pretty nice leatherette and look good.
As for a good local source for notebooks in Baton Rouge, I do not know of any. The closest pen-and-paper shop that I know of in Louisiana is in New Orleans. Its called Papier Plume. While I’ve not had a chance to visit it yet, I have several friends who have highly recommended it for fountain pens, ink and accessories.

Do you have a pressing pen, paper, pencil, ink or other stationery item issue? Use the “Ask The Desk” link in the navigation bar to send in your questions!

Ask The Desk: Grippy Fountain Pens & Cross Refills

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Jon wrote me recently about left-handed pens:

I’m a lefty. Never quite got over someone confiscating my ancient Parker VP, loved that pen. For the past couple of years I’ve been using inexpensive Schneider pens that have facets on the grip that make positioning it automatic.

Thought I’d upgrade a bit and have found the Conklin Durograph in cracked ice rather attractive. But it doesn’t seem to be offered in a dedicated left handed model.

I do understand lefties can use just about any fountain pen, but I find the grip designed for lefties appealing. I am an underwriter.

Please tell me what I need to make myself happy.

I’m really considering in the $40 or so range. Don’t need to impress anyone but me and how it writes is pretty much all that’s important. Medium points work well and I’m stuck in the blue/black mentality.

Thanks. Jon

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

I actually have the Conklin Duragraph in the cracked ice finish and it has a smooth grip area so it can pretty much be held at any angle.

If you’re looking for a molded grip, the Lamy Safari might be a good option. The grip is molded symmetrically so you wouldn’t need a special left-handed model. I know a lot of lefties who underwrite like the molded grip section on the Lamy Safari and Lamy AL-Star. The Safari sell for less than $30 and the AL-Stars (the aluminum model of the Safari) sell for about $40. Its available in a full array of European nib sizes and the nibs are easy to swap out should you decide you want a different nib size. Nibs are sold for about $12.

Lamy Safari Neonlime

Jim asked about finding a pen refill:

Hi, I asked a question a good bit ago and your answer rocked.  I was wondering if you could help me with something else.  I’m a bit of a pen junkie.  Years ago I purchased a Cross pen.  It’s was little and fat.  I’ve been trying to get a refill for years. I have no idea what pen it is or if they even still make a cartridge.

I totally understand being a pen junkie. I am also a refill junkie. I’m always worried my favorite refills will become obsolete. But I also am a firm believer that a little refill hacking can get you back to writing as well.

Do you have the old refill still? Was it a ballpoint or rollerball?

If you have the refill and you know it was a Cross, you can use the Refillfinder app site to see if the refill is still available. Refillfinder is a division of one of our fine sponsors, Goldspot Pens. FYI.

If they don’t have the exact size you need, is it possible to cut down a different refill? You might scan those junk drawers for old rollerballs, ballpoints or gel pens and try to disassemble them. If you have the old refill, just hold it up next to the refills you find and then cut the length or use a bit of hardware store tubing to make a spacer if the refill is too short. People often plug the end with air dry clay or other materials if the refill originally had a cap. I trim refills, wrap tape around the ends to make it wider if necessary and other minor modification to get non-standard refills to fit into a pen.

Here’s my last example of pen hacking and Mike Rohde’s hack. And of course, it never hurts to check through the Refill Guide to find comparable refills.

Cross Townsend Darth Vader Fountain Pen
OFF TOPIC:
While we’re on the subject of Cross Pens, do you see the new Star Wars pens from Cross? I am loving the look of the Darth Vader Townsend fountain pen. But at the tune of $575 I’m thinking it may have to stay in a galaxy far, far away for me.

Ask The Desk: Good, Cheap Pencils

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Don asks:

I read your review of the Mirado Black Warrior, where you mentioned that there were much better pencils for very little more money. Can you tell me what these would be? I work in an elementary school, where we usually stock up on gross boxes of relatively cheap pencils, so the Black Warriors have been something I pick up when they are on sale for my own stash. I am not so sure that the Black Warriors haven’t changed a bit with the various company mergers and acquisitions, but I can’t say for sure. And I just bought 12 dozen for 12 dollars on Amazon; I’m not sure why the price was so low. But I do understand that they usually sell for $3 or $3.50 a box of 12, so I know that your comparisons would be based on this price. Thanks for any information/opinions you can share.

I did a little comparison shopping but at 12 dozen for $12, that’s a hard deal to beat. However, I find the Mirado Black Warriors to be a bit dark and soft, especially for kids. Pencils.com offers some of the Prospector, Forest Choice and Golden Bear pencils in a gross. But they are more than twice than the sale-priced Mirados.

I also really like the General Pencil Company but their site lists only 3 doz. pencils at a time for about $24 which is much more expensive than those Mirados as well.

Papermate Mirado Black Warrior

So I decided I needed to consult the experts at the Erasable podcast for their insights.

Andy Welfle said:

I do think that the Black Warriors have changed a bit, for the worse, in the last few years. Of course, I really dislike Paper Mate, I think they cheapen everything they make, and when they acquire good quality brands and start putting their logo on stuff, it also accompanies standards being lowered.

But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

(Meaning: I’ve never really done any sort of comparison, so that statement is not scientific by any means.)

As for the cheapness, I’m willing to bet that if he wanted to buy in bulk, Amazon would be the way to go. I’m sure those pencils cost nothing to make, so if he’s cutting out the big-box store middleman by shopping direct on Amazon, he’s cutting out their profit needs.

I’ll defer to Tim (Wasem) on what the best pencil to buy for students might be, since he’s going through that right now, but I’d heartily recommend the Golden Bears. They’re super good quality for the price. It’s definitely still more expensive than the Mirado, but damn, they’re worth it. 😀

And Johnny Gamber said:

Hey, Comrades!
The Blackwarrior is a strange beast. While the finish, country of origin and even the wood have become…PaperMated, the core/lead is very nice. But I think Ana’s right that it might be soft for students, and office paper shreds that point.
For cheap bulk school pencils, I’d hit Walmart right now and stock up on their big boxes of USA Gold pencils, even the USA Silver. For the price and ease of getting them, they are hard to beat.
Happy Back to School!

Unfortunately, Tim was unavailable for comment. He must be busy sharpening all those Palomino HBs he’s got squirreled away.


Do you have a pressing pen, paper, pencil, ink or other stationery item issue? Use the “Ask The Desk” link in the navigation bar to send in your questions!

Ask The Desk: Commonplace Book Options & Staples

Rhodia Webbie

From Bruce:

What notebook would you recommend for a long-term commonplace book? I regularly use Moleskine for everything, but for this notebook I’d like something with thicker paper and built to stand some years of use. Suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

If you will be using fountain pen inks in your commonplace book, I’d recommend either a Rhodia Webnotebook or the Quo Vadis Habana. Both use Clairefontaine papers which are great quality, heavier stocks than Moleskines. They would work great with regular ballpoint and rollerballs as well and are available in lined, blank, grid, etc.

If you want something a little lower priced or don’t need as much fountain pen friendliness, then I’d definitely recommend the Leuchtturm1917 line. Lots of cover color options, sizes and paper ruling and its good for most writing tools but not as bleedproof as the Clairefontaine stocks.

Rhodia Webbies and Quo Vadis Habanas tend to have cream/ivory paper rather than bright white but the Habanas are offered in bright white through some retailers.

All three brands feature the same elastic closures as a Moleskine as well as a pocket in the back for loose items so it would be an easy transition for you from the Moleskines.

Sometimes, I find the Rhodia/Clairefontaine papers “too nice” and they give me blank-page panic so I would personally be inclined to use a Leuchtturm1917. But both are great options.

If you’re looking for something you could find more easily in most cities and towns and don’t mind blank pages, any black hardbound artist’s sketchbook would work great for a commonplace book. My local Blick art supply store is currently selling their house brand sketchbooks as buy-one-get-one-free. Michael’s, Joann’s and other craft stores usually stock Canson, Strathmore, or Cachet sketchbooks which all have acid-free, approx. 65 lb (96 gsm) paper that handles most pen, ink and pencil beautifully.

My reviews of:

Also check with the Pennaquod search tool for other pen bloggers’ reviews of notebooks.

TOT Stapler

Bill writes:

I need staples for a Swingline 53 no place in Sioux Falls  has them.

I did some research to try to locate which model was the Swingline 53 and couldn’t find it listed anywhere on the internet. I’m going to guess that it is similar to the Tot 50 or other mini stapler. In which case, locating Tot or Tot-like staples is going to be a breeze. There are some sellers on Amazon and Ebay that offer original TOT staples. A search to either site will uncover plenty of options. Or you could buy No. 10 sized staples. Jet Pens sells plain silver No. 10 staples for $1.50 for a box of 1000 or anodized colored staples for $3.30 for a box of 1000. My TOT pictured above is currently using the anodized green Max No. 10 staples and they fit perfectly.

Ask The Desk: Swapping TWSBI Nibs & How Flexible is the Esterbrook 9128

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Have I ever told you’all how much I love getting questions about pens, paper and the like? This week, I have two awesome questions.

Beth, the reference librarian asked:

I have a new TWSBI 580 with a custom ground nib (pen was purchased with that nib) and at the same time I purchased a second nib (the whole nib unit) also custom ground – I really like both nibs. One nib is obviously in the TWSBI, which is a nice pen, but I would love to put what I call the “back-up” nib in a different pen, preferably one under $100. that uses a cartridge/converter system. I read about nib-swapping all the time but am not sure just which nibs are compatible with which pens. I don’t think the 580 nib unit will fit the TWSBI mini, but if it did I would go with that. (even though the same filling system.) I am nervous about pulling the nib out of the screw-on unit until I know what I am doing. Am I making sense here? Any advice would be most appreciated!

Disassembling a TWSBI nib

With a little elbow grease I was able to pull the nib out of my TWSBI Mini. The nib is a size 5 (according to the smarter-than-me folks over in the Pen Addict Slack Channel). The only cheap pen I could find that had a size 5 nib was a Pilot Metropolitan. Pilot nibs have a little flange and a groove nicked out to get them to grip the feed that the TWSBI nib does not have. But… the nib does fit into the feed of a Pilot Metropolitan albeit very loosely. I assume this method would also work in other Pilot pens like the Prera or Plumix. So it is possible to use the TWSBI nib in other pens with a little luck but its not the best fit. If I find any other pens that take size 5 nibs with a cartridge/converter system.

As for switching the nibs between a Mini and a 580, that should just require untwisting the nib unit and sliding the grip section off to expose the nib/feed unit. Then they could easily be swapped between the Mini and the 580.

TWSBI nib in a Pilot Metropolitan

The second question actually appeared in the Pen Addict Slack Channel.I’m sorry I don’t remember who asked but here’s my results!

A member of the group asked if the Esterbrook 9128 fine flex nib was more or less flexible than the Noodler’s Ahab/Creaper.

Noodlers vs Esterbrook 9128

The Esterbrook 9128 nib is not super flexible but, for a steel nib, it gets some decent variety and it does not railroad like the Noodler’s nibs do. The 9128 is very smooth and easy to get going while the Noodler’s flex nibs require some adjusting in the feed to get the flow going. So, its a bit of the apples-to-oranges comparison since a Noodler’s flex pen is readily available for about $20 and a vintage Esterbrook with a 9128 flex nib is considerably more expensive ($75 and up). If you’re looking for a flexible nib, a vintage fountain pen with a 14K nib will probably be much more flexible or you might want to consider a Desiderata nib holder.

 

Ask The Desk: TARDIS Blue Ink?

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This message popped up in my Twitter this morning, which I found was very timely after my outrage at the lack of pop culture-themed inks.

@JetPens asked:

@wellapptdesk Just last week, @DQuartermane asked us what fountain pen ink is closest to TARDIS blue 😛 We said Sargasso Sea. Thoughts??

I hate to be too picky here but, over the years, the actual shade of blue for the TARDIS has changed so there will be room for disagreement as to what the “one true blue” should be.

TARDIS 3  TARDIS2

I think Diamine Sargasso Sea is an excellent option — more Matt Smith-era TARDIS than David Tennant. And Diamine Majestic Blue might be a great Eccelston-era blue.

tardis-blue1

J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean would be a good option as well for a more Tennant-era TARDIS. Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Goa would be my choice for a Capaldi-era TARDIS blue and my favorite choice (but I love Peter Capaldi so I’m biased). And I did not delve into blues that might match earlier generations of the Doctor either. Please… discuss!

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(Just to establish my geek-cred, this was my Con TARDIS costume from last year)

(All ink photos from Jet Pens)

Ask The Desk: DDC Factory Floor and Pen Cleaning

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Lori asks:

Two questions for you. First how often do DCC Factory Floor editions come out at Draplin’s site?

And when to you expect to get air mail rubber stamps back in stock?

From what I understand, the DDC Factory Floor Editions are intermittently available. Your best bet to keep track of these collectible Field Notes, keep an eye on the Draplin site and join the Field Nuts Facebook group to keep informed.

And to your second question, I am reproducing stamps today and should have them in the shop within ten days.

Dena asks:

Hello, I am new to fountain pens.  To even try to rank myself as novice would be laughable.  I purchased a Kaweco Classic Sport and fell in love with it, and now have a Pilot on the way.  My question is fountain pen care.  I’ve unsuccessfully searched your site but have not found a care/cleaning section.  Do you have a tutorial or is this something your could post on soon?  Very much enjoy your postings and it has become a daily stop for me!

I’m as surprised as you that I haven’t included any cleaning information. My system for cleaning is pretty simple. I use a plastic container (previously contained hot and sour soup from my favorite Chinese take-out restaurant) and water. I disassemble my pens and remove the cap and body so that I only wet the nib, feed and cartridge converter. I use the converter to suck water in through the nib and feed and then squeeze it out into the sink and repeat until the water looks pretty clear. I will also use a bulb syringe to help push water and dried ink out of the feed and nib if necessary. If the water doesn’t run clear, I will attempt to disassemble the nib from the feed and drop them in the water to soak.

If I was using a cartridge rather than a converter, I will use a syringe to flush out the cartridge so that it could be reused later.

Brian Goulet created a great cleaning video that can demonstrate cleaning techniques better than I can explain it:

Ask The Desk: Multi-Pens

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Ashley asked:
where do you order your multi pens from? and is there a brand that you like better/has more options. I am wanting to use it with my filofax and i noticed your post about your personal filofax and the multi pen you use.
All my multi-pens have come from Jet Pens. I particularly like the build-you-own options like the Uni Style Fit, the Pilot Hi-Tec C Coleto, the Zebra Prefill and the Pentel i+ series. Each multi-pen features the brand’s signature gel pen options as well as the option to add a mechanical pencil. The Uni Style Fit uses the same awesome inks that are found in the Signo line. Pilot Hi-Tec C Coleto pens use the Hi-Tec C line. Zebra uses the Sarasa inks. Pentel’s multi-pen is unique in that it allows you to use Sliccie refills, Energel or Vicuna refills and a mechanical pencil option.

Side-by-side Zebra Sarasa and UniBall Style Fit

 Each of these brands have pen bodies that start around $3 (and go up) and most hold at least three refills and some up to five refills. Most of these pen bodies are plastic though some have higher end pen bodies in metal.
For a more durable option, you might want to consider the Sharbo-X which has a full metal body and takes Zebra gel, emulsion ballpoint, standard ballpoint and mechanical pencil refills.
Sharbo X meets Kaweco Skyline Mint

Ask The Readers: Multi-format notebooks & Sailor Jentle Ink Substitutions

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I have had a few “Ask The Desk” questions recently that I just don’t have any answers for. Maybe you can help?

Melissa asks:

I want to find a sketchbook that I can use to sketch and practice hand lettering, as well as logo design.  I will use pencil, as well as markers.  What I want to find is a sketchbook that has different alternating pages, such as gridded and plain blank.  That basic request seems hard to find.  I found Kline NYC/, but they are not taking orders at the moment.

I know I’ve seen some notebooks that alternate pages from blank to lined or grid but I can’t remember where I saw them.

Sharmon202 asks:

Any idea why they discontinued Sailor Jentle Sky High and other inks of that set? I got into this just as they did this. What is a possible equivalent to it?

I have no clue why Sailor decided to discontinue some of their most beloved ink colors. I know that times change and tastes change but somehow I never thought it would affect ink colors. That said, has anyone found a good replacement ink for: Grenade, Sky High, Epinard, Ultra Marine, Apricot, and Peche? Bottles of these inks can still be found on Amazon at shockingly inflated prices… $98 for a bottle of Sky High? Definitely time to find a good replacement.

Ask The Desk: Ask The Readers (Sheaffer Lifetime 14K & Planners That Start on Sunday)

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I’ve had a couple stumper questions sent to The Desk that I’ve tried researching but some are outside my field of knowledge so I thought I’d ask you, my dear readers if you could help solve these fine folks’ problems.

Image from The Pen Hero

Image from The Pen Hero

Vicki asks:

… i was given a sheaffer lifetime 14k nib pen it has the twist bottom that you fill up by pushing in, my quandry, problem, irks me to death situation is this, I can’t get it to write, if i give it a little flick ink splatters over the paper, but the darn thing will not write, any suggestions?

My first instinct is to ask if the pen has been cleaned and flushed to be sure there isn’t any dried flecks of ink but as I have no first hand experience with the Sheaffer Lifetime pens, maybe one of our readers has better advice? You could also search on Fountain Pen Network or post your question there.

filofax-week-on-two-pages-diary-sunday-start

Deborah asks:

I cannot, for the LIFE of me, find a calendar/planner where the weekly pages start on Sunday. I do not know why all calendars/planners have monthly calendars in S-S (which is the way it should be), but then turn the weekly into a M-S. Am I the only one on this planet who likes to match my planning materials? Is my brain set up shifted one day to the right…or is it left?  :-) I truly have not found any explanation as to why this occurs (other than putting the work week together and the weekEND at the END)….and maybe if I did, I could conform. (NO!) :-)  Would you happen to know in all of your calendar/planning travels of such an item? My (un)organized life depends on it.

I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to find a solution for Deborah and I’m left truly stumped. I emailed her and recommended that she contact Plannerisms, THE site for all things planner-related in hopes that she might have a recommendation.

The first option I found was from Filofax, which offers a refill for their binder planners that starts the week-on-two-pages layout on Sunday. A 2015 set of refills is $11.03 but you would need to purchase a binder to put the pages into.

Levenger Circa Sunday Start 2015

Levenger has Circa Weekly Agenda pages that start with Sunday available for 2015 in either Junior (A5-ish) or Letter (not quite A4) size ($29-$34). There are also Since these sheets are pre-punched for the Circa ring system, you would also need to purchase a cover and rings set of some sort. There are lots of options on the Levenger site from simple plastic covers to fancy leather folios.  Also, there are a couple other formats available for the Circa system with a Sunday start, do a search on their site for “sunday start” to find them all.

Passion Planners

There are some DIY options as well. These require a bit more work on your part as you’ll have to trim them out and either glue them into a book or punch them to fit into a binder or other format. DIY solutions do give lots of options for customizing and adding your own personal touches though.

One option is from Passion Planner with a “start on Sunday” option in A4 and A5 sizes. Passion Planner PDF pages are undated so you can start today by either pasting a spread into an existing notebook or using the sheets in a binder. Passion Planner started as a Kickstarter project and also has some bound books available but they aren’t shipping until January as the first order has already sold out.

2015-WEEKLY-CALENDAR-THUMBNAIL1-480x480

Marcy Penner of Hello Forever has made a PDF printable planner ($15) that starts on Sunday and is absolutely lovely. Its available in the yellow and turquoise colors or a simple and clean grey and black version. The PDF pages are designed to fit two planner sizes: 3.75 and 6.75 sized planner binders. There is a lot of options with her system and its customizable with add-ons and various extras. Check out her full detailed post for more information.

If any of you fine folks know of a planner that starts on SUNDAY, please leave a note in the comments. There aren’t too many options out there!

Ask The Desk: The Well-Appointed Desk on Podcasts

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Cecelia asked:

I know you’ve done some guest podcasts–can you post a list of them/links to (or point me to them if I’m missing it). Thanks :)

Thanks for the question, Cecelia! Here’s a list of my podcast appearances. There aren’t a lot but here they are:

  1. The Pen Addict Episode 54: The Chair Of The Desk
  2. The Pen Addict Podcast 62: Lefty Apologist
  3. The Pen Addict Episode 71: Sharpening Rainbows
  4. The Pen Addict Episode 81: You Stole My Wish List Item! – Gift Guide 2013
  5. The Pen Addict Episode 109: I Have Colors
  6. Erasable Episode 10: The Graphites of Wrath

I hope that’s more than enough of me for anyone!

Ask The Desk: Where’s Your Feed?

rp_askthedesk_hdr.pngDerrick said:

I am not getting your feed anymore.  Haven’t received an email from the site in a few weeks.

Since the switch over to our own Well-Appointed Desk servers this month, some folks have mentioned that they are no longer getting post from us in the RSS reader. If you’re having issues, please update your feed info to: http://feeds.feedburner.com/thewellappointeddesk

There is also a link in the sidebar for the RSS and a link to receive email updates.

Thanks and sorry for any issues.

Ask The Desk: Long-lasting, Archival Notebook

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Brody recently emailed me this question:

Since I got back into pens, I have become really enamored with Fountain Pens. I have been burning through notebooks trying to find good fits for FPs. I also started journalling – one for my daughter, one for my son, and one for me. I started off with the Piccadilly leather-something… and now I realize that if I keep going with this journalling, when I start vol. 2 I might not find a good match. Piccadilly seems to be erratic and in odd supplies. Are they going down for the count?

Anyway – I want to find a good journal that is solid and will last a long time, as well as something archival AND in a format that is likely to be around over the years as I fill them up. Knowing that nothing forever, what’s a good bet? Although I don’t use Leuchtturm 1917, I thought maybe it would work well… many colors and solid paper. Other thoughts?

 

Piccadilly does cater to the budget market like overstock shops so it can be hit-or-miss to find their on a regular basis. Their web site lists retailers who stock their products. Some people have mentioned issues with the binding over time with Piccadilly so I wouldn’t rely on it for archival journals and keepsakes. I use a Piccadilly for work notes which are not relevant by the end of the week so I don’t plan to pass mine down to future generations.

If you are actually looking for multi-color pages, The Ciak Multicolor Journal might be to your taste.

fabriano-classic-blue-large-artists-journal-6.25-x-8.25-pfa503lg-2

Fabriano used to make one too, for years, but I can’t seem to find anyone selling them now which is sad. They do make a version with an array of white, cream and kraft colored paper but not the rainbow of colors they used to make.

Fabriano has made paper for centuries I think so they would be a good bet though I have not used the paper with fountain pens but it is designed for artists using pencil and pen so it might work well. You may be able to find some Fabriano sketchbooks in a local art supply store.

Rhodia Webnotebooks might be a good option. Excellent paper for fountain pens, well-constructed hardbound books and Clairefontaine has been around for awhile and people love the Webnotebook line so they should be available for years to come. There aren’t a ton of cover colors, black and orange at present but their smaller Rhodiarama line have many different colored covers.

Leuchtturm 1917 neon covers

I think the Leuchtturm1917 should be around for awhile, its good quality and reasonably priced. Its not super high end paper so some wider nibbed pens might bleed but it has the potential to be a book you’ll be able to find for years to come. They come is several sizes and configurations and have lots of cover color options, including a up-to-the-moment neon option at present.

The classic black, artists sketchbooks from Stillman & Birn, Canson or Cachet might also fit your needs since they are all similar sizes and designed for artists so the paper quality is good (usually 65lb or higher) and reasonable priced (between $10-$15 for a 8.5×11″ size). They are available in an A5 and a US Letter size no matter which brand you choose. Some offer a square or spiral bound option as well. And, to butcher a Henry Ford quote,  you can have colored cover you want, as long as you want black. Any art supply store will carry one of these brands (or something comparable) so you’d always have access. I’d recommend the Stillman & Birn to start — the Alpha series paper is not too thick and excellent with fountain pens — though its not as widely available as the other more widely distributed brands.

Cachet Classic Black Sketchbook

Most modern notebooks should have fairly low acidity paper, even if its not labelled “archival.” The artist-grade sketchbooks are definitely archival. I would recommend storing completed journals and notebooks in a dark, dry location (like an opaque plastic tub in  a closet or attic) after its completed to protect it from light degradation or moisture which will could be a bigger threat than the archival-ness  of the paper.

Ask The Desk: Less Smudgy Pencils

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Ian asked:

As a student, I frequently have to go back and reference older papers and essays (stored in binders) I have written. Though work in pen poses no problem, work in pencil, especially that older then a month, often becomes an unreadable gray smear due to pages sliding across each other. I use standard HB pencils (both mechanical and woodcase), but have often wondered if a harder grade would help mitigate this issue. Also, I have recently fallen in love with the FC 9000 pencils and am wondering how they are on the smudging issue, especially the HB grade ones.

I called in the pencil experts, the cast of the Erasable podcast to help get you the best answers. Here’s what the boys had to say:

Johnny from Pencil Revolution definitely supports your enthusiasm for the Castell 9000. He says its “definitely smear-resistant, even through some numbered B grades. On binder/office paper, I would not go softer than the B, though, which brings me to what I suspect the problem might be.
Office papers have so much tooth that they take ‘extra’ graphite from the pencil, and it doesn’t stay put, causing it to smear. Certainly some harder pencils will help. But I think a certain amount of smearing on looseleaf and printer paper is unavoidable. Plus, the loose nature of a binder causing more rubbing than a bound book.
Maybe a composition book, where the pages aren’t moving against one another so much, might help?”
Tim from The Writing Arsenal concurred with both Johnny and Andy so there’s a lot of pencil authority there.
My final recommendations are, if you want to stick with loose leaf papers, is to try Hi-Polymer pencil leads, used in mechanical pencils. They tend to be less smudgy than standard woodcase pencil leads available from your local office supply store. Upgrading to the higher quality Faber-Castell 9000 or Hi-Uni pencils might also reduce smudging. You could also try some of Rhodia’s 3-hole punched paper which is not quite as toothy as standard loose leaf paper.
Best of luck and if you try any of this, let us know how it works for you.

Ask The Desk: ID Protection Stamps

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Sandy asks:

Think this is good idea?
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I assume the question regards any sort of blotting stamp for security purposes. Folks seem to like these as an alternative to paper shredders as they are smaller, quieter and portable for obscuring personal information on printed material. While shredding makes sense for a lot of papers, sometimes you just want to throw those credit card offers in the trash and the only incriminating information is your address. A quick stamp, stamp, stamp might be enough to make it possible to throw the papers in the recycle bin.

The general term to describe these stamps is ID protection stamps or ID Guard stamps. I definitely think that the Max Korkoro model, with the rolling stamp and ability to refill the ink easily makes a good option. The price for any ID protection stamp seems to be about $10 which seems reasonable.

The only thing I don’t know looking at the photos and description is whether the ink is water resistant when dry. That would be the winning feature. If its water-soluble, then someone might be able to wash the ink off reveal your address or account numbers.

So I suppose I ought to order one and put it to the test, huh?

Ask The Desk: Dilli Flex vs. Noodler’s Creaper

Dilli Flex Nib Fountain Pen vs. Noodler's Creaper

M asks:

I’m new to flex pens and am looking to get an inexpensive one. I know this is a common question but was wondering what your thoughts might be on Noodler’s vs FPR? I’m looking to get either the Konrad/Creaper or Dilli/Guru. So far the consensus seems to be that the Noodler’s pens need quite a bit of tweaking and that quality control is variable, while the FPR pens feel cheaper but generally work better out of the box. Some also say that the FPR flex pens are dryer and have less give.

Would appreciate your thoughts on this!

What I discovered upon receiving this question is that I’ve never actually written up a review of the Noodler’s Creaper. I did a review of the Dilli flex though so I thought I’d use this opportunity to dive deeper and share my opinions about both of these pens.

Dilli Flex Nib Fountain Pen vs. Noodler's Creaper

Both pens use a split nib to create flex. The Dilli nib is a brushed finish while the Noodler’s nib is a shiny silver. The Dilli nib is slightly larger nib. Both pens use a twist piston fill mechanism which need to be filled with bottled ink. Neither pen can be fitted with cartridges or converters.

Both pens are lightweight plastic bodied pens. The Creaper has some chrome metal detailing on the pen that  makes it look like a bit higher end and a bit more durable. The Dilli just feels plasticky to me.

The Dilli nib is in a set spot, it seats into the feed in a specific location.

Alternately, there is a lot of play in how low into the pen barrel you can move the Creaper feed, thus allowing for more or less flex. The further into the pen you move the feed though, the more likely the pen is to write dry or not apply ink to the paper. As I cleaned and re-inked it, I could tell that finding the “sweet spot” for the placement of the nib and feed might be a series of trial and error experiments. I did my best to place the nib and feed in a “normal position” comparable to my non-flex nib pens and it worked well.

With both pens, I had no issues getting ink on the paper. Goulet Pens has some detailed information and videos about working with the Creaper pens and notes that they need to be completely flushed upon purchase to remove any traces of machine oil from the manufacturing process.

Dilli Flex Nib Fountain Pen vs. Noodler's Creaper

When writing, the Dilli had less resistance on the paper but I didn’t get as much thick-and-thin line variation on the paper. The lightest line width seemed a little wider than the lightest line with the Creaper. The Creaper had a little more resistance on the paper and a bit more spring but I liked the line variation a lot more.

I prefer the Creaper to the Dilli for a lot of reasons. Part of the joy of fountain pens is a pleasant visual experience and, to me, the Dilli looks and feels cheap. At some point, when filling it, some ink got inside the body of the Dilli pen, between the piston screw and the ink reservoir, and I cannot get it out. It now has dried ink inside a demonstrator body so it looks gross (you can see it in the top photo at the beginning of the post).

There are a few other options fro Noodler’s for the flex nib as well. The slightly larger Noodler’s Konrad can be fitted with one of the Goulet Pens #6 nibs, if your adventures in flexible nibs takes a turn for the worst, so you’ll still have a usable pen.The Ahab was specifically designed to allow for a larger ink reservoir. The Creaper, the Ahab and the Konrad are all available in a wide array of colors and finishes that will create a pleasing visual experience as well.

FPR also offers a few other pen models that feature their flex nib and that might be more visually appealing. The Triveni line look more upscale with prices in the $38-$45 range and available with a flex nib. The Guru is a bit less expensive than the Dilli and looks like it can be completely disassembled which might eliminate my crusty ink issues.

A flex nib Dilli is $18 and the Creaper is only $14.

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