Product Review: Rickshaw x NockCo Sinclair Model R

Product Review: Rickshaw x NockCo Sinclair Model R

I’m sure if you are a regular listener of the Pen Addict podcast, you are well aware that Brad recently announced a new partnership with Rickshaw Bagworks to create a new iteration of the much-loved Sinclair pen case (introductory price $40, regular price $59). The cases were unveiled at the San Francisco Pen Show last week and, while I was not able to attend the show, Mark Dwight, founder of Rickshaw Bags, was kind enough to send this absolutely PINK edition to me to review.

The first thing I notice about the new Rickshaw x Nockco Sinclair Model R is the external pocket which is perfect for slipping ephemera or maybe a phone. Oh, and that the PINK version perfectly matches my Soho Tote.

There’s been a lot of debate around the loop on the back of the case. Is it a boy thing to carabiner things to your belt? I am just not entirely sure what I’d do with it.

When compared to an earlier Nockco edition of the Sinclair, it’s easy to see that the earlier edition is about a half an inch or so smaller. The corners on the older edition are also much more square.

Inside, the new Sinclair features Rickshaw’s plush fabric which feels awesome and protects your pens in this cozy bed of softness.

There are the same three divided pen slots on one side of the case and a full pocket on the other that will hold a Field Note-sized notebook or smaller. I have a Leuchtturm1917 A7 pocket notebook in the open pocket which left room for one more pen.

Mark also sent a beautiful Pink Cherry Blossom 2-Pen Plush Coozy. This particular colorway is not currently available but there are lots of other options as well as the option to custom build your own with dozens of fabric color starting at $25.

The 2-pen Coozy includes the same PINK plush material so it matches my Caran D’Ache 849 fountain pens perfectly.

The placement of the tags on the inside differ as well.  And Rickshaw added a trim at the top of the pockets for durability.

I think this new iteration and partnership is a perfect opportunity for the popular designs from the Nockco catalog to live on. They are definitely tools for the pen community and have been very smartly designed.

This PINK color combination of the Sinclair Model R is not one of Brad’s Picks color combinations. If you would like this wholly Desk-approved color combination, when ordering, choose the “special request” and choose PINK Cordura, PINK Plush, FLO PINK Paracord, FLO PINK Label. OR send them the link to the video on Instagram and tell them you want the Well-Appointed Desk version, they’ll know which one that is.

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

Show Recap: 2022 San Francisco Pen Show

Show Recap: 2022 San Francisco Pen Show

You may have already seen a few San Francisco Pen Show recaps, wrap-ups, posts, or photos. So many people have covered the show from many different angles, but I wanted to show San Francisco from a slightly different viewpoint.

I’ve been working with the Dromgooles at shows this summer, setting up a rack with only ink (a LOT of it). This allows Michael and Larry Dromgoole to sell pens while I get to do one of my favorite things – talk about ink all day. It does give pen shows a different twist. I’m not able to wander around or shop during the show, I have to purchase items before the morning start or after we have closed for the day. It is, however, a great way to limit spending!

My pen show weekend started mid-Thursday. I flew into the San Francisco airport and posted briefly on Slack to see if anyone else was at the airport and looking to share a ride. Before long, this crazy sign was spotted!

I made sure to thank my driver. With coffee.

Kimberly was running between the airport and the pen show hotel. She was able to squeeze me into her very complex schedule, plus I got to see a friend first thing!

I checked into my room but I was called into the bar before I could put my suitcases away. More friends, with a cold beer waiting for me.

I’m never sure what color Jonathan Brooke’s hair will be at a show.

I haven’t been staying up late at pen shows this summer. With active kids at home, this is my chance to get more sleep.

7 am Friday I am setting up the ink shelves. So much ink.

At first, the show is quiet. A few early risers trickle in and I never have the correct inks out yet. But everyone is understanding and comes back an hour later. My current ink shelf setup takes 2-2.5 hours to get organized.

The show picks up speed quickly. By 10 am the show feels like it is full-swing, but it is only getting started.

People are everywhere. For the entire day, there are at least two customers looking for ink at the same time but typically four or five.

I fit in a few quick chats with other vendors. This is Sean from Pilot.

The first day passed in a blur. Suddenly I find myself in the bar again.

The Dromgoole’s group heads off campus to a swanky restaurant nearby. Parking seems to be an acquired skill in California!

A brief sleep and Saturday is overwhelming. There are so many people everywhere! The main ballroom is hot and stuffy, especially when you have the sun shining on your table all day. But it makes sparkly inks gorgeous.

I found my friend Greg roaming through the show with this sign – oddly he wasn’t actually buying pens. Every pen show brings a different mix of friends that I can only see at that show and Greg is one of them. The last time I was able to attend the SF show was 2019!

Other friends (like Kenro Cary) are at most pen shows throughout the year, but they are always a welcome sight as well.

On Sunday I was thrilled to see Kaoru at the Bungubox table along with her new husband! I snuck away from the ink table for a few minutes to make a quick purchase and steal a picture.

Before I know it, the pen show is done! The ink is packed up and on its way back to Houston with Larry Dromgoole. Just showing up at the bar, I find plenty of friends, pens, and paper. The food was excellent as well.

I love the shirt Angela wears to shows (inkyconverters).

I met the true love of my life at this show: Broccoli. She is the sweetest little puppy!

Unfortunately, my camera didn’t like the lighting at the bar. I took plenty of blurry photos, but I’m happy to have them. I’ve learned to appreciate every minute I get to see friends.

Even if they are goofy.

The big tables in the bar were all filled with pen people. The common themes wereexhaustion, laughter, and drinks.

And Leigh being mischievous.

Kimberly and Marty usually sell Retro 51 pens at shows but mixed it up in San Francisco with Rickshaw.

Franz and Daryl were spotted giggling at stupid text messages nearby.

And over in a corner, I spied someone trying to work on a post.

Angela nearly fell over trying to get photos of the group. Boxes in the background are a common site at the end of a show – I think I’ve seen the box at the bottom at half a dozen shows now.

I once again hitched a ride on the Pen Show Uber with Joe Crace and Jonathan Brooks. I’m not actually that much shorter – there was just no other space on the curb.

Safely on the plane, I watched checked luggage being handled with the utmost care.

This is why I hate checking bags.

Time to say goodbye to another San Francisco Pen Show. It is an amazing show with lots of work going on behind the scenes – thank you to everyone who made it such a success! My fingers are crossed that it won’t be another three years before I return – hopefully there are no more pandemics keeping us away!

Link Love: Back-to-Business

Link Love: Back-to-Business

Here in the US, this is the last official week of summer. Next Monday is Labor Day, the official start to Fall in most people’s minds. All the kids are back in school now, universities are back in full swing and the evenings have started to have a sweet cool breeze harkening the break in the unrelenting heat.

So, what do pen people do? We stock up on composition notebooks and other office supply gems (Do I need more Sharpies, just in case?) at our local big box stores, revel in the SF Pen Show (live or vicariously) and start planning our 2023 planner set-ups. What’s your back-to-school/back-to-business routine?



Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

We need each other. Please support our sponsors, affiliates or join our Patreon. Your patronage supports this site. Without them, and without you, we could not continue to do what we do. Thank you!

Notebook Cover Review: Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter

Back in June when I went to a work convention, I wanted a somewhat slim, not too heavy notebook cover so I could carry a utilitarian notebook to record meetings I had, notes to myself and such. At the time, I had Ana’s Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter in a stack of items to try and review. So I added a Midori notebook and headed out on my way.

And that Roterfaden was gosh darn handy, and fun too! The inside felt pockets were perfect for business cards, swag and other accoutrement. The pen loop was perfect for adding an inexpensive fountain pen. The metal tabs that secure the notebooks in place weren’t bothersome to me at all in writing. Overall it worked great!

Except when Ana saw me using it she remembered how much she loved it and asked for it back. What’s a girl to do but order one of her own? The Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter isn’t an inexpensive proposition. JetPens carries a few of the standard models in professional (read: a little boring) colors for between $120 and $180 depending on materials.

However, if you want to design your own, you can do that at the Roterfaden website. (Be sure to select EN at the top if you’re not a German speaker for an easy English translation!). The Taschenbegleiter comes in a variety of sizes (small, medium and large) which include A5 and A6. There are a variety of covers: leather, suede, recycled leather, and my personal favorite: danceflooring. There is a design your own option which offers you lots of choices on covers, interior felt colors, extra pen loops, elastic colors, additional pocket features and engraving. It’s easy to click through the menus and assemble the one you want, within their parameters.

There are also a variety of other fun combinations that they’ve put together. For instance, I chose the Taschenbegleiter – DL_22 in a size medium (approximately A5) with a cover made out of a purple printing blanket and an interior of magnolia felt. Apparently I entered my pink and purple phase in my mid-40’s?

Buyer beware – if you choose to order from Roterfaden directly it does take a bit to arrive. Mine took approximately 2 weeks to ship, and then another 2 weeks or so to find its way to me. I had a tracking number, and never doubted it would arrive, but it’s definitely not overnight (although they might have that as an option). I will say though, Roterfaden added in lots of cards, info and a bit of swag including a pencil (destined for Ana of course) declaring it Mein Roterfaden!

Now I guess I need to buy more A5 notebooks to put inside?

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were purchased with my own funds for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Col-o-ring Update: Cover Colors & FOLIO!

Col-o-ring Chipboard Cover Comparison

I just wanted to provide a little update on the current Col-o-ring Ink Testing Book chipboard covers. Chipboard, by its nature, is a recycled material often used for backing boards, filler, dividers in shipping, etc. In that regard it’s a lot like corrugated cardboard. As a result of being a recycled material, the color can shift from batch to batch and from manufacturer to manufacturer. Our most recent stock of chipboard arrived and was a much warmer shade of brown. I think the color is pretty and actually matches the paper stock used on our new Col-o-ring FOLIO tablet (more details below).

Bob spent weeks trying to find a different manufacturer who had a similar color chipboard to our previous batch but it became a bit absurd the more we researched it. Chipboard is not like other papers. It’s not dyed to be a specific color. It is the color it is because of the materials that go into making it. I finally had to tell Bob to stop killing himself trying to find a “perfect match”. I just wanted to make sure that you were aware that the color of the chipboard covers may not be the same from time to time due to the nature of the material.

We want the interior paper to be perfect and beautiful and consistent. The covers are just there to protect the inner pages. Right?


The Col-o-ring FOLIO is now available in our shop.

This is the largest product we’ve made containing our signature Col-o-ring paper. The Col-o-ring FOLIO ($40 per tablet plus $10 shipping because this is HEAVY!) is exactly the same paper that is available in our original Col-o-ring Ink Testing Book, Col-o-dex, Dippers and OVERSIZE. The FOLIO is 12 x 16″ and has a lightweight kraft paper cover wrap to protect your creations without crating too much bulk. The cover will easily fold over and tuck behind the sturdy, chipboard backing.  It’s just now available in a 40-page, glue bound tablet perfect for drawing, doodling, ink testing or turning into your own creations.

The back of the Col-o-ring FOLIO tablet

At the moment, the Col-o-ring FOLIO will exclusively be available on Big Cartel and, as a result, only available for US and territories shipping.  My apologies to our international customers but the shipping is prohibitively expensive.

Interior of the Col-o-ring FOLIO with the cover folded back


Ink Review: J. Herbin Violet Scented Ink

Ink Review: J. Herbin Violet Scented Ink

I have never really purchased any scented inks so when a sample of  J. Herbin Violet came into the office along side the Lavender and Rose, I decided to give it a try. I had sniffed several of the different inks at work but we decided to stock the Lavender rather than the Violet.

Read on to find out why…

The J. Herbin  scented inks come in the same style packaging and bottles as regular J. Herbin inks.  On the box was indications that the ink was safe for dip pens or fountain pens. I know J. Herbin sells other scented inks that are specifically for dip pens so proceed with caution.

Once I took the cap off the Violet scented ink I realized that the scent, in the bottle is really potent. And the violet scent is really cloying. As an asthmatic, I swatched quickly and recapped the bottle before it could overwhelm me.

First off, the ink bled on our Col-o-ring cards. Not many inks bleed on our cards so I am always suspect when an ink does bleed. As the swatch dried, the smell of the ink seemed to get stronger. It got so potent I started to choke on the overly perfume-y scent. This is more a result of my asthma and general dislike for the actual smell of violet perfume. YMMV. Needless to say, I had put the swatch outside to dry because the scent was too strong for me.

I also tested the ink on Tomoe River and it didn’t bleed but the scent again, when wet, was too strong for me. Once dry, the scent is not nearly as strong but since I ended up not being a fan of the violet scent, I am going to have to razor the page out of my notebook because … ugh. The violet smell reminds me of the air freshners used in truck stop bathrooms. I’m really selling this ink, aren’t I?

To that end, the Rose and Lavender inks do not bother me to the same extent (nor did the Amber ink which I also got a chance to try) and I actually like the smell of roses and lavender so if the scent is your catnip, go for it. Bob will tell you, I am very sensitive to smell on top of being an asthmatic. Really, I should have known better than to get a scented ink.

Just to complete this review, here are my recommendations for other violet colored inks that don’t smell like urinal cakes. Robert Oster Cosmic Swirl is very similar and Sheaffer Purple is just a little bit more red but very close in color. Finally, if I were just going to recommend a violet colored ink, it would be either Waterman Tender Purple or Pilot Iroshizuku Mirasaki Shikibu depending on the situation.

Finally, the scented ink is supposed to be safe for fountain pens but I would be very hesitant to fill a pen with this ink in case the scent permeates the resins, plastics, or feed, especially if you are not sure if you’ll like the scent. Nothing worse than being nose-haunted by an ink-poltergeist.

My Final Thoughts

The idea of scented inks seems romantic but I think if you really want to add a little something to a letter, spritz the paper with your personal perfume.  Use the ink color and brand you like best and skip the scented ink, especially if it smells like this.

Do you use scented inks? Do you have a favorite? Convince me to try a different scented ink.

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

Ink Review: ColorVerse Butterfly Nebula and NGC 6302

Ink Review: ColorVerse Butterfly Nebula and NGC 6302

The DC pen show is closed, cleaned up, and everyone is back home, but you can still find a piece of the show at your favorite ink retailer. Butterfly Nebula and NGC 6302 debuted at the 2022 DC pen show alongside the appearance of a cover photo in Pen World. A big thank you to the Dromgooles for sending a set home with me for a review!

The ink was first sold on the first day of the pen show, 9am Friday. By 9am Saturday, the entire show was sold out of this new ink set (don’t worry, retailers are now restocked) and there is no question why it flew off the ink racks. The artwork on the box is the gorgeous Butterfly Nebula.

ColorVerse reversed their normal glistening/non-glistening arrangement for this set; the large, 65mL bottle contains the sparkle while the smaller, 15mL bottle is a standard ink.

NGC 6302 is an interesting teal that reminded me of Robert Oster’s Muddy series, but Muddy Swamp is much darker and much less green. I would call NGC a dark version of Lennon Tool Bar Plastic Sky.

Butterfly Nebula was the big surprise of the set – a dusty, under saturated periwinkle with a beautiful pink sparkle! The sparkle is difficult to see until the paper is angled like the photo below.

I’ve had a TWSBI Eco inked up with ColorVerse Butterfly Nebula for a full week – I have had no issues with dry starts, the ink continues to flow well through the feed. I had a bit of a problem with NGC 6302, however. It turned out that I forgot how dry my Ritma can be! The ink itself is not dry at all.

The paper shown above and below is wheat straw paper – the sparkle shows well and is a touch darker than the ink on Tomoe River paper.

Below are ink swatches on Tomoe River paper (original):

And the beautiful sparkle angle:

Again, the same inks on Cosmo Air Light paper:

And the sparkle:

Finally, ColorVerse NGC 6302 and ColorVerse Butterfly Nebula on MD Light paper:

The sparkle here is not quite as dramatic:

Here at the end of the post, I wanted to include a photo of the ink when the sparkle has settled to the bottom of the bottle:

Since I don’t have a video of the clear view of Butterfly Nebula, this photo was the best way I could show the sparkle in the pen:

Again, thank you to Dromgoole’s for the ink shown in this review!

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