Fountain Pen Review: Schneider Voice Fountain Pen (and Giveaway)

Fountain Pen Review: Schneider Voice Fountain Pen (and Giveaway)

A kind reader sent me this Schneider Fountain Pen. Prior to receiving it, I knew very little about Schneider as a pen brand. Occasionally, I would see Schneider rollerball, gel or ballpoint pens at my local big box office supply store but I was not aware that they had any fountain pens.

Schneider is a German brand and, my best guess, is that it’s sort of the PaperMate or Bic of Germany. I don’t mean to belittle the brand. I am rather suggesting that they focus more on the standard school and office supplies, branded promotional pens and less on high-end writing tools.

Based on my research, I was able to establish that this pen is probably last year’s design in their “Voice” line. There is also a “Easy” line that looks similar in overall design besides the graphics printed on the barrel.

schneider fountain pen

The pen I received came with a standard international cartridge and an empty spacer cartridge (empty with no back on it so it wasn’t simply an empty cartridge). The pen will also accept a standard interntaional cartridge converter for bottled ink.

The pen is very lightweight plastic with a slightly rubberized, molded grip section. I suspect this is definitely a “my first fountain pen” for the budget conscious. I know many German school children are required to learn penmanship with a fountain pen and I suspect if my family had grown up in Germany, we would have gotten a pen like this for my brother who would have perpetually lost his pens and not a Lamy or other more expensive pen.

schneider fountain pen

The nib has some unique etched lines on it but its the nib that was really fascinating.

schneider fountain pen

The nib was pretty unusual looking. On closer inspection, it looks as if the tines were folded to create a blade-like writing surface.

schneider fountain pen

The view from the side is where you can really see the butter knife swoop.

schneider fountain pen

schneider fountain pen

When actually writing with this, I could really see the advantage of the unusual shaping of the nib. The Schneider pen writes very smoothly while maintaining line characteristics.

schneider compare

When compared to other pens (from left to right), the Schneider, Lamy AL-Star, Pilot Metropolitan and a Platinum Preppy, it’s pretty clear that the Schneider is a large, wide pen. It measures 6″ (152mm) capped , 5.4375″ (127mm) uncapped and 6.625″ (168mm) But it’s also very light weighing only 16gms capped and 10gms uncapped with a full cartridge.

schneider compare

Finding one of these Schneider fountain pens in the wild might prove challenging. The only option we found for purchasing this pen was through Amazon ($7.24). So, thanks to our kin reader Jean, I’d like to give this one away. I will clean it and send it off with it’s original cartridge to one lucky reader who’d like to try something a little unusual.

UPDATE: Regular reader Kelly (AKA Subgirl) dropped me a line to let me know that if you wanted a full dozen of the Schneider Voice Fountain Pens, iPenStore sells them for $29.99. If I thought Fountain Pen Day was going to be a social occasion, this might be a good purchase. Maybe you have friends or family members you could mail some of these pens?

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell us what you did for the Independence Day Weekend. Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay? One entry per person.

If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Thursday, July 9, 2020. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 5 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.


DISCLAIMER: The item in this review include affiliate links and sponsor links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.

Pencil Case Review: Tombow Irojiten Set with Portable Case – Limited Edition

Pencil Case Review: Tombow Irojiten Set with Portable Case – Limited Edition

Review by Tina Koyama

It’s no secret that I love Tombow Irojiten colored pencils, inside and out. Aside from their beautiful glossy white lacquer and even more beautiful end caps, these wax-based pencils are a delight to use. As much as I could go on about them, I won’t repeat what I wrote in my original review about their performance or appearance; my focus in this review will be on a new portable case including pencils (24 pencils/$39 with case).

The set comes with an insert (mostly in Japanese) showing swatches of the entire Irojiten color line and a blank swatch card to make your own color chart. It’s clear from the imagery that the Japanese esthetic based on the four seasons guided the color selection of the 24 pencils, which are suitable for landscapes and nature.

Irojiten paper inserts

Made of sturdy canvas, the cream-colored case is fastened with a brown elastic band. The brand is printed in brown on the front. Unlike many pencil rolls that are literally bulky rolls, the Irojiten case tri-folds like a book. It emulates an elastic-banded journal as well as Irojiten’s other boxed sets that look like books (after all, Irojiten means “color dictionary”). Folded and filled with 24 pencils, the case is no more than an inch thick. I like the slender profile.

 folded case - front

 folded case - back


When opened, the “book” reveals 30 elastic loops – 24 for the enclosed set, plus six more for additional colors or other pencils. Although 30 pencils will fit, I prefer keeping the folded profile slimmer by sticking with 24. The loops are snug enough to hold standard-size pencils securely, but slightly larger pencils (like my favorite Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles) will easily fit, too.

The 24 colors are not new to the Irojiten “dictionary,” but they have been carefully curated for a landscape sketcher. In addition to five greens (essential to any landscape-focused set), the palette also includes several shades of blue, a few earth tones, some warm florals, and a warm and a cool gray. Although I might have exchanged one of the darker blues for a second, cooler yellow, this urban sketcher approves of Dandelion, which could be used for heavy equipment (one of my favorite subjects). Overall, it’s a good urban and natural selection.

one side open

fully open

A flap of fabric protects the pencil points. (Gratuitous image of lovely end caps also shown.)

end cap closeup

pencil points closeup

On the end of one flap are two small pockets that would accommodate a standard bar eraser and small sharpener.

with sharpener

It was time to give the Irojiten case a spin! Sadly, my urban sketching range has narrowed to a few neighborhood blocks these days. But on a sunny afternoon, I tucked the Irojiten case under my arm and dragged a kitchen chair out to our front stairway landing. Across the street, I spotted our neighbors’ happy trees. It’s a tidy sketch kit that fits easily on my lap under my sketchbook. (For my sketch, I used Scarlet, Dandelion, Moss, Cactus, Indigo, Sepia and Taupe in a Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook.)

Tina sketching

sketch with pencil case

completed sketch

I tried sandwiching a Field Notes Signature sketchbook inside the Irojiten case, and it fits nicely without adding much bulk. A pocket-size Stillman & Birn sketchbook would also fit, but it’s a bit bulkier. With either, when the elastic is fastened, the book stays secure inside. The pairing makes a great grab-and-go sketch kit. In fact, what a terrific gift they would make for an urban or travel sketcher. As the smallest Irojiten set, this is an ideal introduction to Tombow’s dictionary of color.

case with Signature sandwich

case with Signature


tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Review: Sailor’s Sailor

Ink Review: Sailor’s Sailor

By Jessica Coles

Rejoice, blue ink lovers! The newest ink from Sailor, named Sailor’s Sailor, is a beautiful deep blue ink made to celebrate the ink blender Osamu Ishimaru and the 15 years he has been hosting Ink Blending events while dressed as a bartender to emphasize the individuality of each ink.

Sailor’s Sailor is packaged beautifully in a thick blue and silver box that is tucked inside a paper sleeve.

Inside the inner box, Sailor has tucked information about the ink, ink blender and other inks in their lineup. I assume. Unfortunately I have not learned to read Japanese yet.

The heavy glass bottle is well protected in dense foam that is cut to barely fit the bottle.

The packaging and the bottle all point to a very special ink inside.

Opening the bottle, the familiar scent of all Sailor inks is present but not overpowering. The ink is a brilliant blue with a hint of red sheen when you look at the bottle threads.

Just a hint of red sheen shows more as a halo on thick letters.

As soon as I opened the ink, I wanted to know how close Sailor’s Sailor was to Parker Penman Sapphire. Penman Sapphire is often held up as the holy grail of blue inks, sought after by many ink enthusiasts but found by few. This is mainly a result of the recall that Parker implemented after issuing Sapphire due to its tendency to damage fountain pens.

Strait Pens’ Poorman’s Sapphire is a recent attempt to replicate Penman Sapphire (and the price is as low as Penman is high!). Sailor’s Sailor is close to these, but not quite as brilliant.

Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium is a very close match to Sailor’s Sailor although the undertones of the ink are closer to Sailor Sky High or Montblanc BMW blue.

My writing sample shows the extreme color range of this ink – the Wing Sung extra fine nib gives a bright ocean blue on the Tomoe River paper above while the Leonardo fine nib (a very wet nib) shows as a rich dark blue. The ink seemed to fall a touch on the dry side of normal, the dry time was slightly longer than average (20-25 seconds on Tomoe River paper) and the only smearing issue I had was when one of my cats tried to investigate.

Although the photo is not well focused, the above picture shows the shading produced in my dry Wing Sung extra fine nib.

Shading is still present with the wetter Leonardo nib and looks even more dramatic as the dark blue shades to bright ocean blue.

Sailor’s Sailor is on the higher side of price at $39 for 50mL, although comes in much cheaper than many inks that Sailor has released recently. I am glad that this ink was packaged in the larger 50mL size, especially since I plan to use this blue often.

DISCLAIMER: All of the items in this review were purchased by me. Except for the Col-o-ring which was provided to me by a wonderful person who pays me to write blogs by keeping me supplied with Col-o-rings. Please see the About page for more details.


Link Love: The one with no title

Link Love: The one with no title

There’s been a lot of moving and paper shaking at Desk HQ this week. Lots of orders get processed through our home studio. I spent some time this week building more Col-o-rings, making sample Col-o-ring Dippers with our Sample Vial Stamp to include in orders and rearranging the space to make room for my new standing desk and more ergonomic chair from IKEA. Big thanks to my pal over at Tag Team Tompkins for providing the getaway vehicle. She drives a larger MINI Cooper Countryman than my MINI Cooper Classic so we had more than enough room in her boot for all the parts to build my new office set-up. The new desk required that I disassemble the ginormous Callax bookcase in order to move it from one wall to another yesterday before setting it up today.

As a result of lifting a metric ton of books yesterday, I am moving very slowly today. I will finish assembling the desk today and getting the studio back in working order with the help of caffeine and ibuprofen.

My week

What have you been doing this week?




Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

Notebook Cover: Yamomoto Ro-Biki Notebook Cover

Review by Laura Cameron

A couple months ago I was browsing Jet Pens (LIKE YOU DO) and I came across the Yamamoto Ro-Biki Notebook Cover ($38.00). I was charmed by the Ro-Biki notebooks when I reviewed them and the notebook cover looked like the perfect on the go wallet/notebook combo so I ordered one to try out!

The Ro-Biki Notebook Cover is made of 100% cotton and feels like heavy duty canvas. It comes in Gray (which I find to be more a mushroom color) and Navy.

Let’s start with the outside. On the front and back of notebook cover (which folds like a book) there are two pockets which can hold pens, pencils and other items you might need to carry with you. The pocket that extends around to the back is even big enough to slip my iPhone into. The whole notebook cover is held closed by a red 1″ elastic band with a little Ro-Biki tag.

The front flap of the Notebook cover includes a zippered compartment, perfect for notes, business cards, credit cards or cash. Part of what I like so much about this notebook cover is that it really might double as a wallet for me when I travel to pen shows. Pens, money and a notebook within easy reach? Yes please!

Inside, there is also another pocket that you can slip your Ro-Biki notebook into. I was intrigued because the notebook cover also included an elastic “connecting band” so that you could band the covers of two or more notebooks together and double (or triple) up your notebook carrying power!

Unfortunately I’m not leaving the house much these days, so I haven’t had a chance to test this one at a pen show, or rattling around in my bag, but the canvas feels sturdy and like it will hold up to a fair amount of wear and tear. Now we just need to kick some pandemic butt so we can all meet up again, right?

Fountain Pen Review: Faber-Castell Hexo Rose Gold (Medium Nib)

Fountain Pen Review: Faber-Castell Hexo Rose Gold (Medium Nib)

The latest lower-priced fountain pen in the Faber-Castell line-up is the Hexo (€28.93) (available in Black, Silver and Rose). It features an aluminum body and a metal, spring-loaded clip. It accepts standard international cartridges (one in use and one in reserve) or a standard international cartridge converter.

Faber-Castell Hexo

When capped, the Hexo is a sleek albeit stubby-looking pen. The clip is a black painted metal and the black of the base of the cap lining/grip section is just visible creating a very pleasing minimal line in the middle of the pen. The pen has a semi cigar look though it is softly hexagonal shaped, hence the name Hexo. This hexagonal shape also contributes to the shine lines and its ability to stay put on a table without rolling away, with or without the cap.

Faber-Castell Hexo

Barely visible in the photo above is the white printed Faber-Castell logo on the barrel of the pen. When posted the logo is visible between the grip section and the cap. It’s not awful or garish though the type is a bit large. Because the logo is printed on the pen rather than being foil stamped or etched, the potential exists that, over time, it will wear off.  Not to be too punny, but it really is a bit horsey.

The grip section is plastic and tapers then flares out again creating a slimmer area to hold the pen. This was a bit of a relief to me as the pen appeared a bit too wide to be comfortable to hold for long if the grip section was going to be as wide as the pen body.

Faber-Castell Hexo

The end of the cap is also engraved with the jousting horsemen logo. When shooting in macro, it’s sometimes hard to tell exactly which way is up so I think this is 90º off  so tilt your head to the left.

Faber-Castell Hexo Nib

The Hexo has a black-plated steel nib etched with the Faber-Castell jousting horsemen logo and radiating dots as well as the nib size. Though the nib looks a little small in comparison to the wide lip at the base of the grip section and the overall dimensions of the pen, its a nice looking nib.

Faber-Castell Hexo

I tested the Hexo with a cartridge in a rosy red color. The medium nib worked well with the mid-tone color. The nib is very smooth straight out of the box. The snap cap and the lightweight of the pen lends itself to being a good everyday writer.

Faber-Castell Hexo

While I was initially drawn to the brilliant metallic rose gold color, I was a little skeptical about the dimensions of the pen. The squatty shape seemed a little ungraceful and I feared it would be a bit like writing with a kid’s crayon. But since the grip tapered down to a more reasonable width and the aluminum kept the overall weight of the pen down and even allowed for the pen to be posted without making it unnecessarily top heavy, I found this pen incredibly appealing to write with. The easy-on, easy-off snap cap added to the appeal. I found myself picking it up frequently over the last couple of weeks to write quick notes on invoices, jot lists, add a couple lines in my notebooks, etc. The cool aluminum felt nice in my hands on these hot summer days too.

Faber-Castell Hexo Comparison

When compared to other pens, the Hexo does appear a little wider. From left to right: TWBSI Eco-T Mint, Faber-Castell Grip, Lamy AL-Star, Faber-Castell Hexo, Pen BBS 350, Sailor Pro Gear Slim and Kaweco Sport. The Hexo is definitely the widest pen of the lot.

Faber-Castell Hexo Comparison

Posted however, the Hexo is not much longer than the Sailor Pro Gear Slim so it’s sort of living up to my expectations of looking a little stubby.

Weight-wise, the Hexo only weighs 18gms capped and filled with a long cartridge and uncapped and filled, it’s just 12gms. This makes it as light or lighter than a Lamy Safari.

I like the color and smooth, metallic sheen of the pen. The smaller nib and the wide pen is a little odd. The snap cap is very satisfying and the nib performance is excellent at the price point. The clip is aesthetic and works well. Aesthetically, I like it a bit better than the Lamy AL-Star and since the Hexo accepts standard international cartridges and converters, the pen is more convenient. The price point is competitive but is it enough to convince a first-time fountain pen purchaser to buy a Hexo rather than a Safari or an AL-Star? Or even to be a contender against the Metropolitan or the piston-filling TWSBIs? It’s hard to say exactly where in the market to place the Hexo and it’s look and price.


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Fontoplumo for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Review: Ferris Wheel Press Pink Eraser

Ink Review: Ferris Wheel Press Pink Eraser

A few weekends back I finally got the chance to spend time with a couple pen friends, and of course the main event was playing with inks. Thanks to Jesi’s incredible ink sample collection and my brand new sample vial stamp, I was able to swab almost 90 inks over the course of the weekend. 

As with any good pen get-together, I left with a shopping list. A few of the samples I tested intrigued me enough to make the cut for purchasing a full bottle. Earlier this week, the first of those bottles arrived.

I was excited to try several of the newer Ferris Wheel Press pastel colored inks. I’ve been keeping an eye on these inks since the marketing photos were first released. In the bottles, the entire line of colors is beautiful and photogenic, but several of the new colors were too light for my personal taste in my swabs. Luckily, the Pink Eraser ink was a little brighter and more saturated than the others I tried. Color me interested.

I pulled out the pinks in my collection, and eliminated the eye-searing neon inks (ex. Taccia Momo) and the darker, purple based pink inks (ex. Andrinople). The inks that were somewhere in the middle of the spectrum were the ones that I tested against Pink Eraser. 

The two colors in my collection that were closest to Pink Eraser were  Iroshizuku Kosumosu and Robert Oster Sushi. Kosumosu has a little less shading while adding sheen, while Sushi is a little lighter with a touch more peach undertone.

One of the things we discussed over the weekend was that Pink Eraser seemed to be a pretty good match for its name sake. Of course I pulled out some erasers to check our prediction. 

Obviously, pink erasers vary from pencil to pencil. Similarly, the ink also displays a significant amount of shading. The darker end of the shading is a dead ringer for the eraser on my vintage Mongols. In its lighter form, it’s much more similar to a lighter pink eraser like the General Pencil Company Kimberly Eraser pictured at the beginning of this post.

As I was testing Pink Eraser against my other selected pinks, I realized that it might be a good match for my Kindom Note Umiushi “Sea Slug” Pro Gear Slim Mini. In fact, it seemed to be a closer match than the matching “Okenia Hiroi” ink that came with the pen. I cleaned out the remaining black ink from my Sailor cartridge, and syringe filled the cartridge with Pink Eraser.

It’s the kind of match that will make it difficult to ink this pen with any other ink. I also inked it up in a TWSBI 1.1mm stub nib. The comparison really shows off the significant shading this ink possesses. You might even be able to convince me the two pens were inked with different inks.

Ferris Wheel inks aren’t cheap at $36, but the bottles are also a whopping 85mL. Time to start practicing my folded nib writing. I’m glad to see that Ferris Wheel Press is looking to release smaller ink bottles in the future. 


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were purchased with my own funds with the exception of some of the Col-o-ring goodies that arrived at my door from Kansas City. Please see the About page for more details.