Posts Tagged ‘desk accessory’

Hands On: Karas Kustoms Cube

Karas Kustoms Cube

Just yesterday, I was talking about the latest Kickstarter project by Karas Kustoms and Mike Dudek, The Cube and, lo-and-behold, look what showed up on my doorstep!

The Cube is absolutely stunning to look at. It really is perfectly machined and the Delrin inserts fit cleanly giving a finished, professional look to the stand that honestly cannot be rivaled. There are rubber feet on the bottom that makes it look like its floating while keeping it from sliding around when adding or removing pens from the Cube.

Karas Kustoms Cube

I filled it with an assortment of aluminum, chrome and classic pens found scattered across my desk. From a small Kaweco Liliput to a large Lamy Studio, everything fit beautifully into the Cube.

Karas Kustoms Cube weight

As for the weight, it truly is a solid block of aluminum weighing in at just under two pounds.

Karas Kustoms Cube

There are still two weeks left to back this project. Funding levels start at $75 for one Cube, $140 for two and $205 for three. There are four vivid, anodized colors as well as silver. How do you ever pick just one?

Eraser-off

Eraser comparison

One of the most awesome things about pencils is the ability to erase what you’ve written or drawn and change it. But which eraser works best?

I decided to put a few different types of erasers head-to-head and see which one works best. Its not the brand of eraser that is the key attribute but rather the type of material used to create the eraser. There are two common types of erasers for everyday use: plastic/vinyl erasers (usually white and almost all are now latex-free) and compound rubber (a bit gritty with a pumice-like material embedded in rubber).

There are also more task-specific erasers like kneaded erasers for artists, “pen-erasers” which have metal pumice to basically sand off a layer of paper and dozens of different shapes and sizes to meet whatever specific purpose you might have. There are lots of type of erasers encased in plastic cases, electric erasers and more. Too many to cover in one post so I’ll stick to the traditional block erasers. Most of which can be purchased at any shop that sells stationery products, from a drugstore to Target, the office big box in your area or your local art supply shop for $2 or less.

I pulled out the most commonly available erasers in my stash including the full range of Pearl erasers from Papermate: the classic Pink Pearl, the Black Pearl and the White Pearl. I also wanted to test my go-to eraser, the Staedtler Mars Plastic against these. I threw in a Koh-i-noor MAGIC (while not the easiest to acquire, its a compound rubber eraser and features fabulously unique looks). The Sanford Magic Rub is a plastic eraser like the Staedtler Mars and, finally,  the Mercur i-eraser is a translucent PVC, latex-free eraser which I recently picked up at the local art supply shop to round out the mix.

Lots of pencils come with an eraser cap and these block erasers are often made of similar material. I would compare the look and feel of the Black Pearl to the black eraser cap found on a Palomino Blackwing 602. The Ticondergoga has a pink eraser cap similar to the the Pink Pearl. I find however that the small eraser caps on pencils often just collect lint in my pencil case and, due to their smaller size, dry out quickly. The drier the eraser, the more likely it will be to smear or crumble making a bigger mess than necessary. This is why I tend to prefer block erasers. Since they are larger, they don’t dry out as quickly and if a bit of it does dry out or get too dirty to use, I can trim off the end with a utility knife and have, not only a clean bit of eraser but a crisp sharp corner as well. WIN.

eraser testing 1

I chose three pencils to test: a Mirado Black Warrior HB, a Palomino Blackwing 602 and a Faber-Castell Grip 2001 2B. I did a scribble for each eraser.

eraser testing 2

I erased each scribble but I left the eraser dust in place to show how much dust each eraser created. Each eraser left about the same amount of eraser dust.

eraser testing 3

What surprised me was that different pencils erased differently. The Mercur i-eraser didn’t erase the the Mirado Black Warrior hardly at all but erased the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 almost completely. And, as I would have expected, the Staedtler Mars Plastic erased better across the board than any of the others. The Black Pearl worked pretty well across all three pencils. I would definitely pair the Mercur i-eraser with my Grip 2001s from now on. It erased very cleanly with both the Blackwing 602 and the Grip 2001. So strange.

My expectation, when I tested these, was that one eraser would be a clear winner, and if I had to pick one, then I would choose the Staedtler Mars Plastic. But each of these erasers performed better with some pencils than others.

There’s one other aspect of erasers that I really like. Its the feel of it in my hand. One of the gentlemen on Erasable (I think it was Andy but I can’t remember at the moment) mentioned the Black Pearl as a “worry stone” — an object to hold in your hand while thinking and that is why I love the Black Pearl. I often find that I press it into the palm of my hand like a little river stone while I’m writing. Its strangely soothing. They can also be used to weight down the corner of your notebook or keep your pencil (or pen) from rolling off the table. Even if you’re not inclined to use it to erase pencil marks, erasers are quite handy and a must-have for any well-appointed desk.

In the end, erasers will be a preference for each user but any one of these would be a good place to start.

More about erasers:

Kickstarter: Karas Kustoms/Dudek Kube (Sorry I am feeling the K-Love Today)

Okay, its actually the Karas Kustoms/Dudek Cube but c’mon! You want to spell it with a K, don’t you? I do! Spelling issue aside, the rumored collaboration between those machined-tooled maniacs at Karas Kustoms and the “King of the Cube”, Mr. Mike Dudek is finally live on Kickstarter.

The Cube is an aluminum machined Cube, with Delrin inserts to protect your delicate writing instruments while simultaneously looking hardcore. Hurry, the low-low price of $65 per Cube is an early bird special so if you’ve been waiting on pins and needles for this project, back it now.

Kickstarter: Whimsical Page Markers

Sticky Page Markers animated gif

If you’ve been around the paperazzi blogs recently, you may have seen someone mention the new Kickstarter project for these whimsical sticky page markers that feature cities like Tokyo, complete with Godzilla and New York with King Kong to Mars landscapes and rainbows and clouds. They are well designed and a fun way to brighten those science textbooks or business books you’ve been slogging through.

The project has met its initial goal and is now aiming for the stretch goal — a set of Nessie page markers. If the campaign reaches £50,000, any pledge over £10 will receive a set of Nessie page markers as well.

Nessie page markers

The Sticky Page Markers project is created by Duncan Shotton who also created the Rainbow Pencils and the Pinnochio-inspired push pins. He’s clever and all his designs have been extremely well-executed and beautifully designed. I really want the Hong Kong set and Nessie! There’s only seven days left so submit your pledge soon!

Kickstarter: Office Putty

I really like the idea of having office “toys”. When I was a manager, I would often cover conference room tables with Silly Putty eggs and jars full of Lego. I find it helps people forget they are in a big room feeling awkward. It can give people something to do with their hand besides check their phones for messages and I’d like to believe that doing something tactile can get you thinking more clearly.

So, I was intrigued by the idea of Office Putty. It’s targeted for the office — in a respectable tin in a pleasing blue color and in a good sized wad.

However, I think the $20US/$22CAD opening price point seems a bit steep for the product. Normally, Kickstarter prices are a bit lower than the final retail prices and this seems like a high price, even at retail.

I really want to support this project but it seems a bit too expensive for what it is. Is it just me? Is $20 for a big tin of putty resonable? Talk me into it.

Review: Kaweco Leather Pen Holder

Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder

I recently acquired the Kaweco Eco Leather Cognac Brown 2-pen case ($21). I was excited to finally have a case for my little favorite pens. The cognac brown leather seemed like a nice option to the classic leather 2-pen pouch ($20). It’s designed to hold two Kaweso Sport pens or pencils.

Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder

The case is a soft, warm brown leather. Its quite flexible and feels nice in my hand. The case seems to be designed to hold two pens without clips. I put my Art Sport which does not have a clip and my Skyline Mint which has a clip and it was a snug fit. I think I could squeeze two pens with clips into the case but it would likely stretch the leather or damage it over the long term.

Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder  Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder

You can see its a bit of a tight squeeze with one clip in the case.

Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder

If I insert one pen upside down the two pens fit better, even with one clip attached, so I think this will be my solution for the time being. I love having a clip on some of my Kaweco Sports and not on others so this will have to work.

Since the leather is soft and just a cut slit to access the pens (the stitching is only around the edges), the slit opening might tear or pull. I’m curious to see how the leather looks after I use it for a few weeks. If the color will change and if there is any wear to the slit opening.

I have enough Kaweco Sport pens that I might get the Kaweco Classic Leather 2-Pen Pouch just to compare them and I love the little gold Kaweco medallion included with the black molded leather case.


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

Kickstarter: Word. Notebook’s Writer’s Block

The folks over at Word. Notebooks have launched a Kickstarter project for a metal desktop pen/notebook base called The Writer’s Block. It is a machined piece to hold your favorite pen or pencil and either two Word. notebooks (or your notebook brand of choice) or your smartphone. The bases are available in brass, black steel or stainless steel.

Word Notebooks Writer's Block

The overall footprint of the Writer’s Block is 1.5″Wx2″Dx1″H so it will not overwhelm your desk with clutter. Its simple and elegant enough, I could see this as a great way to store pocketbooks, phone and my daily carry pen on the console table by the front door.

Early birds can get a Writer’s Block for $35 if you hurry. After the Kickstarter campaign, prices will go up significantly ($55-84 for the various materials) so if this sort of desk organizer appeals to you, I recommend buying in now.

Kickstarter: ClickTape

(Also available in GREEN!)

(Turquoise ClickTape pictured. Also available in GREEN!)

I see a lot of pen projects on Kickstarter so when I heard about the ClickTape tape dispenser, I was pretty stoked. Its time for folks to start innovating other office supply stndards. And the CLickTape is a great idea with a cool design. Modern but classic.

The cost of entry is minimal: just €10 for a blue version and it include worldwide shipping (I just shipped a 2 oz package to the UK and it cost me over $7 so you’re basically paying for postage at this point). To get the coveted green version, I’ll have to jump up to the Triple Pack and get the turquoise and blue one as well for €25.

There’s only a few days left in the Kickstarter campaign and the project is shy about €1000 of reaching the goal. I’d really like this project to get funded (for my own selfish need to have a green one) so please consider this project.

DIY Planter & Pen Cup

DIY desk planter

Just because you’re stuck indoors all day staring at email, spreadsheets or lines of code does not mean you shouldn’t have a little green to keep your spirits up.

Follow these instructions to build your own desk organizer with room for a few small succulents to add a little green to that beige cubicle.

(via Instructables)

 

Desk Accessory du Jour: House Mugs and Coasters

House Heath Leather Coaster

Every desk needs a little something-something to make it special. Have you considered the coffee cup or mug you use? Is it something beautiful and appealing to you? What about protecting your work surface with a coaster instead of using an index card or scrap of paper?

House Industries Leather Ornament Coasters

Here’s where typographic legends House Industries might have what you need. They’ve just announced their beautiful type ornament-mandala leather coasters, currently available through Heath Ceramics in San Francisco but soon available on their web site.

black Heath House Hasami Mug

In the meantime, you can cool your heels while keeping your coffee cozy in the House/Heath Hasami coffee mug ($35). Retro cool never kept your beverage so warm.

Link Love: Official Mascot and more catch-up

Link Love Link MascotFirst, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!

Now, on to the links:

Paper:

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Misc:

 

Ask The Desk: Tea Cup Pen Caddy

Tea Cup Caddy

Lynda sent an email asking where she might find the Tea Cup Caddy featured on the blog back in January 2012.

I tried to email Lynda back directly but the email address must have been mistyped so I’m posting the reply here.

The tea cup caddy was sold through Black + Blum and is listed in their Design Archive so, as far as I can tell, the item is no longer available. For other interesting pen cups, you might check on Modcloth or at Anthropologie.

10 Tools I Can’t Live Without

Top-10-tools

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the tools I use everyday, my absolute must-haves. While I love having an assortment of gel pens, fountain pens and a bevvy of different notebooks, I realized that there are a few tools I use everyday, without fail. I also have some tools very specific to my job that might not be of interest to readers but I thought I’d share the everyday go-to tools, in no particular order.

  1. Hobonichi Planner ¥2,500 for the planner, covers start at ¥1,500
  2. 3×5 blank index cards $1.49/100 cards
  3. Field Notes $9.95/3-pack (or comparable pocket-sized notebook. I always have one on me)
  4. Kaweco Sports Fountain Pen $23.50
  5. Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser $1.25 THE eraser by which all other erasers are measured.
  6. Marvy LePen $1.15 (could potentially substitute a standard Sharpie marker here though I’m more likely to use the LePen everyday than a Sharpie)
  7. Palomino Blackwing 602 $19.95/dozen
  8. Tombow Mono Adhesive Permanent $7.29, refills $11.99/3-pack (I know this seems odd but it’s excellent for sealing envelopes and a much tidier way to attach scraps to my planner or notebook)
  9. Evernote FREE (I am now storing all sorts of text bits, digital detritus, links and blog starters here. I can access the content on all my digital devices)
  10. Alfred FREE (Until you’ve used the Alfred App, you don’t know what you’re missing. I hate working on someone else’s computer that doesn’t have Alfred installed. It’s free, go try it)

What are the tools you can’t live without?

TOT Staples Solution

Vintage TOT stapler and MAX No. 10 staples

I love vintage staplers. They are good looking and often still work after all these years. Some of my favorite vintage staplers take the difficult-to-find TOT staples. Well, I took a chance and got a packet of Max No. 10 staples in green (of course) and lo and behold they fit and work perfectly in TOT staplers. They are also available in red and blue. All colors are available for $3.30 per box. If colored staples are not to your taste, plain silver No. 10 staples can be purchased in a box of 1000 from Jet Pens for $1.50.

Vintage TOT stapler and MAX No. 10 staples

Office Supply Whimsy

office-y accessories from modcloth

While surfing around ModCloth looking for stationery, I found some other goodies for the office and for the office supply geek.

First, there is the cookie-inspired USB cup warmer. I’ve been grumbling about my coffee or tea cooling off and I have one open USB port left on my office computer. Solution? At $14.99, it just might be.

In the middle image is the vintage-inspired, ceramic dachshund paper organizer. Display your incoming post, letters and photos in the coils. It’s hot dog cool for your desk. Just $12.99.

And what paper nerd wouldn’t want to curl up under a sheet of notebook paper with the Free Verse Reveries duvet cover? Dream sweet pen and ink dreams. $89.99

pencil-shoe

And the Pencil Me In shoes are back in stock. It’s the perfect shoe for the teacher, librarian or office supply geek in your life. $109.99. If you’re feeling generous, I wear a 6.5.

Eyecandy from San Francisco

Happy Heart Mailbox

While I could not get Flickr to upload my travel photos, at least it saved my goodies, so I shall share those with you today. I did not buy a lot of goodies knowing so many things could be purchased later via Jet Pens and other vendors’  online shops so I limited myself to must-haves and small items that would fit in my carry-on bag.

Above, Melissa of Craftgasm and the Smithsonian Postal Museum shared the postal love with a little pink mail box filled with paper treats.

Red & Blue Goodies

If you put red-and-blue airmail stripes on anything, I’m likely to buy it. Maybe that’s why I love red/blue pencils so much? The pencil pictured above came from the epic Patrick & Co. stationery shop for a mere $0.39. Patrick’s is a classic stationery shop that’s been in business for over 100 years with an endless array of legal pads in every color imaginable, pens and pencils in jars to be purchased individually and so much more. There are two locations in downtown San Francisco, both near Union Square and should not be missed. The Dennison Airmail seals and the gummed labels came from Saturday Morning Vintage who had a stellar booth at the vendor market at Ex Postal Facto. The G. Lalo Verge de France stationery pad came from Patrick & Co. while the Air Mail stationery and envelopes came from Maido.

Red and Kraft is good

I purchased a few Pilot Hi-Tec C refills and a Hi-Uni HB pencil in the Maido shop in the Westfield Mall in Union Square. I also visited the Maido shop in Japantown and picked up a few more goodies. The postcard set tied with twine came from the 826 Collective Pirate Shop in the Mission. What fun! The Ohto Dude pen was compliments on Jet Pens along with a couple Morning Glory Mach 3 pens.

For the love of green

And of course, no trip would be complete without a little green. I got a word cards deck, some green gel pens, a “beans” cutter and itty bitty green staples from Maido. There will be more details about these purchases in the near future but I wanted to give a little taste of the stationery bounty available in San Francisco, should you find yourself there.

Make a Mark Stationery Box

Little Low Laser Etched Wood Pencil Box $48 (via Etsy)

Little Low Laser Etched Wood Pencil Box $48 (via Etsy)

Each beautifully laser-etched stationery box ($48) from Little Low on Etsy comes filled with a Marvy Le Pen (assorted colors), a wood-barreled calligraphy pen with nib, a Zebra #2 mechanical pencil and a roll of washi tape. The lid slides and inside is two compartments — one for writing tools and one for smaller bits. Be sure to check out their other products too. Hint, hint there are some great Valentine’s ideas in here.

MINE! Sticky Notes

KnockKnock MINE sticky notes

Need to keep the snack-stealing, pencil-nabbing, cube-dwelling troglodytes from running away with your beloved office supplies or snacks? The KnockKnock MINE! sticky notes might do the trick. They are standard 3×3″ squares with removable adhesive and a place to clearly establish your ownership. $3.99 for a 100-sheet pad. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

I have a CRAP sticky notes pad and, while they are not the stickiest sticky notes in the world, I always get comments on how fun they are.

Review: Bird Letter Opener

bird-opener4

A dear friend sent me this beautiful bird letter opener for Christmas. Its made of a hard plastic with a matte finish. It’s sculpted shape feels good in the hand and the tail is curved to tuck under the edge of an envelope. It can stand on its own like a little bird perched on my desk.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve put it through its paces the last couple weeks. It works pretty well but is not as sharp as a blade sharpener like my favorite old school letter openers. It has decided to take up residence on my work desk where it can be called upon to open the occasional letter versus the abuse my home openers endure.

(available via Walker Art Center Shop for $16 each, seven color options)

bird-opener5

Link Love: The Deja Vu Edition

A lot of topics I’ve mentioned in the past, have made appearances on other blogs this week. I thought I’d start with those…

Note: In this section, the first link is my original post and the links in parentheses are the posts from other bloggers.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Link Love:

Paper:

Pencils, Pens & Ink:

Misc:

The Paperclip and WWII

Paperclip

Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor, is credited with inventing the paperclip. It was patented in the US as were several other variations but it wasn’t until the English company GEM streamlined the design to the double oval we know today and an American, William Middlebrook, of Waterbury, Connecticut, patented a machine for making paper clips of the Gem design in 1899. The design for the GEM paperclip was never patented.

During WWII, Norwegians were prohibited from wearing any insignia on their clothing with the king’s likeness so they wore paperclips in their lapels as a symbol of resistance to the Nazi occupation.

Alternately, after WWII, the Americans started a project called Operation Paperclip to recruit former-Nazi scientists to work in the US after the war.

Oh, little paper clip, what an intersting life you lead!

Wireless Speakers (and other sound options)

speakers

As the holidays swiftly approach, I’ve noticed a plethora of ads (televised, paper and digital) for wireless speakers. This seems like the go-to gift this holiday season — something to plus-up an existing digital device like a phone, tablet, laptop, etc. There are lots of options from the colorful Jambox by Jawbone to the descriptive, if uninspiringly-named, Sony Bluetooth Wireless Speaker. There’s also the Bose SoundLink Mini which has a pleasing design look as well as the respectability of the Bose brand name behind it. All three of these device come in around $200. The Jambox offers three sizes that range in price from $149 to $299; the model comparable to the SoundLink and Sony model selling for $179.

The Sonos Play1 is also a wireless speaker but without the built-in rechargeable batteries of the other models.

I currently own a Tivoli Model One which I keep in the kitchen to listen to NPR or  I use the auxiliary port to plug in an iPod. It has extremely good sound quality for such a small device. Tivoli now offers a bluetooth version of the Model One for $260.

I think anyone of these speaker units would be a great desk accessory. Both the Jambox and the Sony Speaker include built-in microphones to double as a device for conference calls. If you intend to use a wireless speaker in your home or office exclusively, the Sonos or Tivoli models might work well though neither have a built-in mic either. While I prefer the understated looks of the SoundLink Mini (and I already own the stunning Tivoli Model One), I would be inclined to purchase a device with a built-in mic, especially for in-office use.

Do you use wireless speakers? Have you tried any of these devices? Are you adding wireless speakers to your holiday wish list?

 

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