Ask The Desk: Sheaffer Skripserts & A5 Journal Covers

We are weeding through the pile of Ask The Desk questions (and boy, do we ever have a stack!) to try to get on top of things. So, let’s get started!

Steve goes right to my heart with the first question:

I know you’re a fan of the Lady Sheaffer (Skripserts). I recently purchased one and when I opened it up and saw the section and feeder tube I was a bit surprised. What’s your recommendation for a converter that works on these pens?

Lady Sheaffer Skripsert instructions

Lady Sheaffer Skripsert instructions

I’ve got some good news and some bad news with the vintage Lady Sheaffer Skripserts. The good news is that they will accept modern Sheaffer cartridges available from any reputable pen retailer (Anderson Pens, Vanness Pens, Appelboom, etc) . That was really what they were designed to do. The somewhat sexist ad campaigns touted how the cartridges wouldn’t mar ladies’ manicures and lovely hands like refilling pens from an ink bottle. Though at some point, Sheaffer did actually make a button-filler slim converter that fit into the Skripserts because someone did wise up to the fact that the convenient cartridges were also more expensive than conventional bottled ink. The slim converters, of course, are now as rare as hen’s teeth. But you can still find them, it’ll just cost you a pretty penny. I found one from a vendor at the Chicago Pen Show for about $30 and the other was in one of the Skripserts I purchased and then I had it restored with a new sac by Jeff Powers at Powers Pen Co.

Lady Sheaffer Skripsert

So, a short-term solution would be to use cartridges and then refill them with a syringe until you can acquire a slim converter. I can reuse cartridges several times before the seal gets loose.

Liz asks:

I’ve seen lots of different journal covers around, but I’m having a hard time choosing. I’d like to be able to use a variety of different (truly) A5 size journals, STM, Dingbats, Life, etc. and carry some pens and business cards, maybe a few other small odds and ends. Can you suggest something?

The team put it’s collective heads together to give you a list of our favorite “true A5” covers. There are a few factors to consider with a cover.

Many of the best A5 notebook/journal covers are leather but there are also some non-leather options as well. The other factor to consider with a journal/notebook cover is the number of notebooks you want to carry with you at any one time. Some covers are designed to allow you to carry one notebook while others make it easier to carry multiple notebooks.

Curnow Leather Notebook Cover
Curnow Bookbinding A5 teal leather travveler’s style cover

For a traveler’s style cover that is true A5, we recommend either getting one from Curnow Bookbinding or Chic Sparrow. Curnow offers an array of leather colors with four elastics and two secretary pockets for $45 through their Facebook page. Just send them a message and they will respond back. ChicSparrow has a variety of different leather finishes and pocket configurations (pen loops, credit card pockets, no pockets, etc) so the prices range up to $119 for an A5.

The new ATELEIA A5 Leather Journal Covers ($165) come in four leather finishes are the poshest option we found. They were the luxury item we want so we included for lust value. They are designed to hold one notebook compared to the Traveler’s style covers but it looks amazing.

A5 Journal Covers
Clockwise from top left: Ateleia Leather cover, NockCo A5 Seed Case, Hobonichi A5 Cover and ChicSparrow Deluxe Creme Black Beauty

For a non-leather option, the NockCo A5 Seed case ($70) is a great option, especially if you carry one notebook. I always love the Hobonichi Cousin covers even though I’ve never quite learned to embrace the Hobnichi as a planning system. The Hobonoichi covers are great single book A5 covers as well and have lots of pockets inside for business cards inside. It’s late in the planner season but there are still a few 2018 covers available on their site and you are in the prime position to prepare for the 2019 Hobonichi launch for new A5 covers.

The Team here at The Desk own at least one of each of these (except the Ateleia) and recommend all of these journal covers wholeheartedly but each one satisfies different journal/notebook needs.



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