Ask The Desk: Posterboard Presentation, Orderly Lawyer and Triumph-like Nibs

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I get a lot of Ask The Desk questions these days so I am trying to compile them into weekly digests. And please, if you have ideas or advice for those who’ve sent in questions, please leave your ideas in the comments.  Thanks!

Scott asks:

I am a university student, with a modest budget but an eye for sharp lines.  I need to turn in an A1 size poster with varying sections, basically a mounted essay.  Any top tips or tools that would help a fella, with no cash for print services, produce something that doesn’t look scruffy?

If you are assembling your report on a computer before putting it on the board, you can tile your print outs so that you don’t need to make a late night run to a copy shop for over-priced, over-sized prints.

First, try to find a design student who can loan you an X-Acto blade and a metal straight edge or ruler. This will help you cut your pieces out neatly. In a pinch, a retracting box cutter will also work. A healing cutting mat is a bonus. If you can’t get one, find a large sheet of cardboard to cut on so you don’t scratch your floor (you want your security deposit back, right?).

(image via The Smartest and His Artist)
(image via The Smartest and His Artist)

To mount them to your board, use a glue stick, not Elmer’s liquid glue as it will cause your pages to pucker and wrinkle. When applying the glue stick, lay your pages out on a larger sheet of paper like old newspaper or a paper grocery bag. That way, you can run the glue stick all the way to the edges. Remember to use a fresh sheet of waste paper or flip over the paper or bag each time you glue so you don’t accidentally attach your report to the waste paper.

For ideas on how to best present your sections, check out some of the infographics on Pinterest to inspire your mounted essay to design greatness! Best of luck!

And John asked:

I am a lawyer who, at any given time, has about 15 matters pending at a given time. I take notes every day, usually on tablets; I then tear off those notes and have them put into a file. But I often miss having my notes handy a few days or weeks later when I need to refer back to them. I see other lawyers using notebooks to keep their notes. I am looking for your recommendation on a good notebook that can lay flat, be photocopied fairly easily, look nice and classy (and not like a high school kid getting ready for math class), and also take fountain pen ink. Have you a recommendation? I thought I would like one with sewn-in pages, but I’m not sure that would be best.

My best suggestion for you, John, the Circa or ARC binding system. The Circa system is sold through Levenger and the ARC system is sold through Staples.

And what I really mean is getting the notebook covers, maybe some dividers and a punch and continue using the tablets you love. You can also purchase the pre-punched paper if you want. Or just get some covers and the discs and a punch, just to try it all out. Really, all you need are the discs and the punch. Find a couple sheets of heavy cardstock to punch for covers or use the clear plastic covers. You could even bind the whole thing from the top just like your legal pads but you could group them by client.

By punching and binding the pages into a notebook, you will have a lay-flat notebook that you can easily put into a photocopier, remove or rearrange pages and a slick, professional looking notebook.

And if you want a really upscale look, maybe the zip-up leather Bomber Jacket cover?

Levenger Circa Bomber Jacket Zip Notebook

And Jim asked me a real stumper of a question:

I picked up a couple of old, used Sheaffer snorkel pens with the intent of rebuilding with parts from Anderson Pens.  one of the pens has the “triumph” type nib. a very unique design.  I recently saw a pen ad on the web showing a pen with a nib that looked almost exactly like the triumph  nib.  unfortunately I did not make a note of that pens identity.  can you advise me as to the names of the other pens that carry a nib similar to the triumph design?

(via Pen Hero)
(via Pen Hero)

I found an article about the Sheaffer Snorkel/Triumph nibs on Pen Hero. It’s a very unique nib that looks like the nib wraps around the shaft in a single piece. Jim wants to know if any other pen manufacturer did a nib like this. I’m hopng one of you out there can help him as I don’t know enough about vintage fountain pens to answer his question.

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  1. I completely agree about the Arc notebook. I use one daily with my job and it’s very professional and versatile.

  2. Hi Jim, Try the 5-part “Sheaffer Identifier” Web site graciously provided by Teri at Peyton Street Pens:

    Also, post pictures of the pens in the “Sheaffer’s” area of the Fountain Pen Network. Always include the dimensions of the pen in question when capped, uncapped, and with the cap posted when asking others to help identify your pens.

    Just barely skimming the surface of this deep subject; there are two main groups of Sheaffer’s pens with conical nibs – the Thick Models which are older, and the Thin Models (or TM’s) which are newer. Your Snorkels are thin models, likely from the `50’s.

    Enjoy, David in Jakarta

  3. For Scott, I would also recommend Letratac. (As seen here on Dick Blick, no affiliation: I used this stuff all the time when I was studying Graphic Design and had to mount my projects. It’s great, because you can re-position it if you happen to paste it on there crooked. And, if you want it to be more permanent and secure, put some Letratac on both the paper and the board. I would also suggest measuring out where you want the pages to go (or even just laying them on the board ahead of time) and making small, erasable pencil marks. Planning it out definitely helps!

    I love my ARC notebook, too. I actually bought the Rhodia paper for it, though, because a lot of my inks tend to bleed on the Staples ARC paper (though it is pretty well-behaved). I wouldn’t recommend attempting to photocopying the pages while they’re still inside the notebook, though, because it can get kind of heavy, but since the pages are easily removable and replaceable, I think it would be a great solution! There are so many ways to customize it and make it work for you.

    Jim, Wing Sung has also made conical nibs. That might be the one in the ad that looked almost exactly like the Sheaffer. I would also suggest checking out the Fountain Pen Network. People there might know better than I. I did a a Google search ( to find posts about other pens with conical nibs, and it looks like most of the hits are in the Sheaffer forum, but I did find that Visconti has conical nibs on two LE Operas. And I think the Parker 25 Flighter has a conical nib (or at least roundish). They’re interesting, but neither of those look enough like the Snorkel to be what you saw.

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