In honor of twelve years of The Well-Appointed Desk, I thought I’d pull together my current favorite items. I wanted to include more than just pens so I’ve included my favorite pen case, bag and even pencil accessories.
As a bonus, I have also listed my 12 favorite inks.
- Galen Leather 3-Pen Case ($39): I recommend the Crazy Horse Leather. It ages beautifully and takes ink stains well. And, with some creative organization, I fit five pens in my case but I use pretty slender pens. (full review)
Rickshaw Bags Soho (Sm/Med or Large): I own the Sm/Med version that I use as my everyday carry bag but friends of the blog have been recommending that I upgrade to the Large for maximum tote-ability. Rickshaw allows for full customization to get just the color combo you want as well as their velcro pocket system for as much compartmentalization as you want.
Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen (approx. $27): The new Iridescent model is a true “unicorn” but I still love the Frosted Collection. If you haven’t added a Sport to your collection, the most difficult decision will be choosing which color.
Schon Design Pocket 6 Fountain Pen (starting at $142) : I have a custom faceted model that we here at The Desk call the Ferrera Rocher in brass but any of the Pocket Six pens are a delight and a favorite from the mottled anodized aluminum to the brass and copper models. (full review)
Caran d’Ache 849 (ballpoint and fountain pen, starting at $20) : While I love the fountain pen with an unexplained passion, the classic ballpoint is a must-have for any pen collector. There are dozens of colors and finishes available as well as special editions available so find a design that speaks to you to add this classic pen to your collection. (full review of ballpoint, full review of fountain pen)
Opus 88 Koloro (starting at $93): The Koloro is the smallest pen left in the Opus 88 line-up and the first I purchased. It remains a favorite. I’m particularly partial to the Blue-Blue filled with Monteverde California Teal which is a perfect match. (full review)
William Hannah discbound leather planner (A5 starting at £120): The issue I’ve had with discbound boteeks and planners in the past is that they tend to look and feel cheap. This is where William Hannah elevated the discbound planner with leather covers and metal discs making the discbound system competitive with traveler’s notebooks and ringbound planners like Filofax. (full review)
Midori MD Light (available in A5, A6 and B6 Slim, starting at $11 for a pack of three cahier notebooks): I know the pen world loves Tomoe River but when I discovered MD Light, I found a new paper passion. While I wish there were more notebook styles available in the MD Light, I will continue to stockpile the cahiers just in case they are ever discontinued.
Stalogy Editor’s Series 365Days Notebook A5 Dot Grid (starting at $25): While I am not always inclined to use A5 size of Tomoe River paper, the Stalogy has 52gsm Tomoe River paper (the best I can tell) and has the lightest dot grid of any notebook so its not too distracting. The “Editor” series does not have the date markings at the top of each page like the original Stalogy notebooks so they are great for bullet journaling or any note taking needs. (full review)
Blackwing Pencils ($27 for a box of 12): While these are not cheap, in the world of fountain pens, they are reasonably inexpensive. They are well made, have that unique ferrule and eraser and can be a great gateway into high-end office supplies for friends and family. (full review)
Sakura Foam Eraser ($1.60): Best eraser on the market. Any foam eraser will work but the Sakura is cheap and effective. (full review)
KUM Long Point 2 Step Pencil Sharpener ($5.50): I can’t pick favorite pencils without also choosing a favorite sharpener. This sharpener give a wicked point without stabbing your wallet. (full review)
Bonus: 12 Favorite Inks:
These inks are in no particular order. I can’t rank my favorite inks anymore than someone could rank their children. These are the inks I couldn’t live without. Could you make a list of 12 of your favorite inks?
- Pilot Iroshizuku Ku Jaku ($22.50 for 50ml): When I am incapable of making a choice about what ink to fill a pen with, I reach for Ku Jaku. It’s aqua blue but also a little bit teal. Dark enough for everyday writing but has some shading, a little sheen and some haloing around letters as I write (depending on the paper stock). (full review)
- Vinta Mermaid Green Sirena 1952 ($12.50 for 30ml): Sirena was one f my first experiences with a color shifting ink. When wet its a watery green. As it dries in becomes more muted aqua blue-grey with a pink cast. This is total mermaid ink. (full review)
- Pen BBS #224 Tolstoy ($16 for 60ml): I love a lime green ink and Tolstoy is a deep olive/lime. Pen BBS inks are also well-behaved and reasonably priced. (full review)
- Robert Oster Caffe Crema ($18 for 50ml): I know most people go for Oster’s blues like Fire & Ice and Blue Water Ice but I love his more unusual colors. If you have ever seen me at a Vanness table at a pen show, I’ve probably recommended either Caffe Crema or Viola to you. This is my favorite brown ink, it shades, has some variation and is not so dark as to look black.
- Robert Oster Viola ($18 for 50ml): This is one of the first muted purple inks to come to my attention and it remains a favorite. There is great tonal variation and shading. (full review)
- Callifolio Andrinople ($13 for 35ml bottle): This is a pink that’s not too pink, too bright and rich enough to use regularly. (full review)
- Platinum Carbon Black ($25 for 60ml bottle): This is the one permanent black that rules them all. You need a black ink, might as well be permanent. (full review)
- Waterman Inspired Blue ($11.30 for 30ml): Perfect for vintage pens and an absolutely gorgeous shading, sheening turquoise. Do not overlook this classic brand of inks.
- KWZ Standard Honey ($ 15 for 60ml): I know not everyone loves the smell of KWZ inks but I think the scent added to the ink makes it smell like vanilla or like honey making the honey ink (chef’s kiss) perfection. (*Turns out, I had run out of KWZ Honey so I inserted my favorite alternative to it, Callifolio Heure Dorée. If you don’t like the smell of KWZ, I recommend Heure Dorée as an excellent alternative.) (full review)
- Sailor Shikiori Yama Dori ($14 for 20ml): Yama Dori is a dark blue-black ink with a reddish-purple sheen on some papers. If you need a business appropriate ink with a little pizzaz, grab a botlle of Yama Dori.
- Monteverde California Teal ($10 for a 30ml bottle): California Teal is one of the best sheening inks. Its a beautiful shade of green with a vivid reddish sheen. It’s reasonably priced and available in both 30ml and 90ml bottles. I really need to invest in the full 90ml. (full review)
- Montblanc Oyster Grey ($24 for a 60ml bottle): I love a grey ink and choosing just one favorite is always a challenge. Oyster Grey is a fairly neutral grey, not to warm, not too cool. I am also swayed by the delightful “shoe” bottle. There are some thing that Montblanc WAY overcharges for but their stock inks (at present) are not one of them.
5 comments / Add your comment below
I added a couple (3?) of inks to my Vanness wish list!
Happy Anniversary. It’s cool seeing your favorites. I have 3 items in common to the first 12, the Kaweco Iridescent, and a box of Blackwing pencils. I have a version of the Caran d’Ache ballpoint pen. My disc bound notebooks come from Levenger’s Circa line.
Of your 12 inks, I have 3 plus a sample of one. I have the Oster Caffe Crema, the Sailor Yama Dori and Waterman in the old name South Sea Blue. My sample in common is the Iroshizuku Kujaku, which I got to try in the Retro 51 fountain pen I recently got in the discontinued Peacock blue.
I’ve so enjoyed your blog, and wish you all at The Desk many more happy years posting about stationery and all things that go on a well appointed desk.
Happy birthday! Thank you and greetings from Barcelona!
Yay for Robert Oster Caffe Crema! The shading brown ink I compare all others to. Speaking of under appreciated RO colors, I love his Deep Sea in a wet writer (a deep teal), and his Red Orange, another great shader.
Happy 12th anniversary! Great review on some really unique products. Hey – the Vinta Sirena would be a great ink for the Iridescent Kaweco Sport, don’t you think? Also, I love the Schon Pocket 6 Faceted Copper with Curved Grip. What a beautiful pen! I just love the minis. I also love your reviews; keep up the good work for another 12 years!