Ask The Desk: Sharpeners, Skripsert Converters and Staples Legal Pads

Ask The Desk

Geoffrey asked two questions:

1) What would your recommend for a short point pencil sharpener? Think the stubby point on a golf pencil. My husband is obsessed with short point pencils, but his current method of using a wider sharpener to make a short point isn’t always ideal.

adjustable sharpeners

There are three readily available adjustable pocket sharpeners: The Kutsuwa Stad T’Gaal ($6), the Sonic Rachetto Capsule ($5.50) and the Dux Adjustable ($22 with leather case). Each has a dial that will allow you to adjust the pointiness of the graphite tip.

If you are looking for a manual crank sharpener, I can’t recommend the Dahle 133 (approx. $20) highly enough. The Dahle will also adjust the point by rotating the dial on the crank handle.

2) Can you recommend a leather traveler’s style cover (with the elastic loops to insert notebooks) that would fit 8.5×11 notebooks? 

Your second question was a bit of a stumper. I got some help from our Patrons during our monthly Zoom meet-up. The first suggestion was to reach out to the Curnows for a custom-made cover.

Rustico and Levenger stock some padfolios that might work though they are not specifically designed like a Traveler’s Notebook. The slats designed to hold a legal pad or notebook would work to hold a large notebook.

Another option would be to look on Etsy for “Traveler’s Notebook A4” for other custom made traveler’s style notebook options.

Isabell asked:

Hello, I own a lady sheaffer skripsert fountain pen and would like to know what ink converter goes with it – if there isn’t a converter for it then simply what cartridges fit would be great. 

Skripsert converter?

The sad truth of the matter is that Skripserts take a slender Sheaffer converter which is no longer produced. Often, folks at pen shows swill have a converter  available for sale but but will sell them for upwards of $30 per converter. They are squeeze-style converters so used or NOS converters might need to be repaired or have sacs replaced which will be an additional cost.

Skripsert converter?

What is often not known is that standard cartridges are still produced by Sheaffer and will fit into Skripserts. Most online and brick-and-mortar shops should have an assortment of these cartridges available for purchase. I save these cartridges and refill them.

I received a tip from one of our Patrons that other converters might be modified (like a standard international converter) by building up the material around the lip of the converter with UV curing glue. If you want more details about modifying or making your own converter with this technique, drop me an email and I will put you in touch with our Patron.

Peter asked:

Hi! Staples has discontinued my favorite legal pads and i’m wondering if you have a recommended replacement. …what I like about them is 1. college ruled 2. thick paper 3. lines are very faint… so far cannot find any other yellow legal pads that meet those three criteria!

Peter, your question was the hardest of the lot. Our Patrons suggested I reach out to some of my favorite Legal Eagles and ask their recommendations. When asked, Gentleman Stationer said, “There are none. Unless you can find bagasse or sugarcane, save yourself the headache and go Rhodia (No. 18 is A4 sized and No. 19 is legal sized, available in white or yellow) or Blackwing I honestly use the Write Notepads letter size memo pads.”

Marla asked our lovely Jesi:

I love your beautiful calligraphy (this comment comes especially from the Monteverde Jungle review, but applies in general)… especially on the Jungle test strips. Is there a special name for that style? Biz work has severely degraded my speed-print/cursive blend and I’d love to be able to write and letter beautifully. I’m sure that I can improve with practice towards a goal.

Jesi taught herself a more refined style of handwriting using books and worksheets by the much-revered Michael Sull. She utilized The Art of Cursive Penmanship particularly but Mr. Sull has produced another books of note; American Cursive and Learning to Write Spencerian Script (available for order via his web site). She uses a dip pen for her swatches with Nikko G ($3,85 for a pack of 3) or vintage Esterbrook dip nibs.

If you have questions for the Desk, use the link at the top of our site to submit them. 

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this post were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review.And some items in this review include affiliate 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.

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8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’ve been happy with Traveler’s-style notebook covers from Little Mountain Bindery. They make several sizes and also do custom work. They make both bifold and trifold notebook holders. No affiliation, just a happy customer. Good products, good service. (Not sure if links are welcome in comments, but anyone interested can look them up. They’re also on Etsy.)

  2. The person who wants to improve their speed print/cursive blend may want to look into Getty Dubay italic writing (their website is called Handwriting Success). The end result is quick and lovely. Another option is the handwriting course on The Postman’s Knock.
    I would like to learn how to refill Shaeffer cartridges. I’ve always treated them as disposable.

    1. Margret,

      Use a syringe filled with water to flush out the empty cartridge until it’s clean. Let it dry. (“Spraying” air from an empty syringe into the clean converter while holding upside-down can speed up the drying time.) Once the cartridge is dry, use the syringe to fill it with ink. And there you go.

      Eventually, the hole will get too large for a really tight seal, but you should be able to use each cartridge for a long time. Do check the cartridge for cracks after each use, though. I’ve had cartridges I could re-use only a few times and others that held up for many years.

  3. The M Staples are or have been excellent. I hoarded a good amount of them in the wide legal size and the letter size college ruled some to many years back in both colors. I hadn’t known they were discontinued in the letter size. They did become pretty expensive. I would recommend the, there’s a few of them and one with heavier paper. I bought the legal page size and they’re really good. Otherwise, consider the Docket Gold legal pads.

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