Review: TWSBI 580AL Diamond

I initially wrote my first impressions, not long after I got this pen. And now I feel more comfortable writing a proper review now that I have used it for a few weeks.

I write a lot during the day, I manage all of my tasks in Field Notes, I manage high level tasks and meetings in my Hobonichi Planner and I write long form in my Midori Travelers Notebook. And when it comes down to it, I put pens in two different categories: the pens I enjoy using for long writing sessions, and the pens that are good for writing a short line here and there. This pen falls in the former category.

You get a lot of pen for the money with the 580AL. I love the you have to unscrew the cap, and it makes it a excellent pen to have in the pen holder for the Midori Travelers Notebook(it drives me nuts that I always uncap my Lamy 2000 when I try to get it out of it). It holds a lot of ink, and the writing experience is very good for the price.

But, it isn’t perfect. The grip section is a little bit slippery, and it took a few days to get used to it. This is a area where they can and should improve on in the future. And I have also experienced that the screw that pulls the piston up and down some times slips; where I have to screw it all the way down before I can pull it up again. The pens usually starts writing straight away without any issue, no matter if it lays flat or standing up; unless it is almost empty.

It is a very nice upgrade if you are coming from either a Pilot Metropolitan or a Lamy Safari; the Lamy nib might be a little bit smother. And it is a very cool, and unique extra pen for your arsenal.

My Field Notes Review.

I’m three months shy of using Field Notes for three years. And my go to notebook before that was the hardcover pocket sized Moleskine notebooks.

There are many great things about Field Notes, but I also have some concerns and I’m straight out disappointed with what they have done with the brand. Let’s begin with the notebooks.

I think Field Notes are great. The format works for having either one or two notebooks in your back pocket. And the kraft paper design looks good both in mint condition, and even better when you have had it for a few weeks. The paper quality isn’t the best, but I stand by my opinion that it is the best for what I want from a pocket notebook(in prioritised order): short dry time, thin pages to limit bulk and as little dry time as possible.

You could get less bleed through by going for the kind of paper you find in either Midori Travelers Notebooks or the Hobonichi Planner. But the dry time with them makes is a far less desirable pocket notebook; especially the Hobonichi. The MTN could work.

The thing I love about Field Notes is that I can write with more or less any pen, and it is dry by the time I close it.

I use Field Notes for two things I use them for my day to day tasks and capture, and the thing I love about the number of pages is that I know it is time for a GTD style review when I reach either the middle or the end of a book. The other thing I use them for is small projects, either at work or home. For example for making some mockups for an app or website.

The core product Field Notes have today, and when I started using them, with the exception of their new planner is more or less the same. They haven’t really extended their core offering in any meaningful way or form. That is the thing that both disappoint and worry me.

They spend a lot of time on the Color Subscription. That is fine, if that is your thing. I’m not into “special edition” stuff. I want to buy something good, and I want to be able to go to JetPens or GouletPens and order a new one of the same thing when or if I need to: pens, notebooks and inks.

I personally think Midori have the right idea. They offer different sizes(two) and they have different kinds of paper and formats. This is the the thing I would love to see from Field Notes in 2016. More options, and not as a special edition, but as a extension of their core offering. They could use the Color Edition as a testing ground for new ideas. But they should bring more of it back as a permanent thing. For example: why aren’t there a lager Field Notes notebook? I would love to see a A5 Field Notes with more pages.

Review: Fjällräven Foldstack No.3

I bought a new bag yesterday.

I don’t consider myself a bag addict, for the same reason I don’t consider myself a pen or a notebook addict: every single one of each I own is something I own for a particular reason.

I’m just a geek, that care and that wants to find the best for what I am trying to solve.

Some people have one bag, and are happy with that, while others, like myself prefer to have more than one. I currently have three bags and backpacks, if I exclude those related to overnight traveling and hiking.

Two bags and one backpacks. I have a backpack & bag pair from Osprey, both of them are orange, and they are the same model; the only difference is that one of them is a backpack and the other is a bag. The reason I got both of them was that had them pre-packed for different situations, one for work and the other for everything else; the only thing I had to move over was my laptop.

I have been looking for and researching a new bag for a while now. At least a year. The reason is that both my bag and backpack are made to be able to hold a laptop up to 15”. They are great for most things, but horrible when you only need to carry a few things.

The result is that I stick what I need in my coat pockets. Do you know how stupid an overstuffed coat looks? Yeah. That’s why I am looking for a new bag.

My new bag is not large, just enough space the essentials:
– iPhone charger.
– A pair of Apple EarPods.
– iPad mini.
Nock.co Hightower.
– Hobonichi Planner.
– A book.
– Passport.
– Power bar bar.
– Paracetamol.
– Batteries.
– (And probably a Fujifilm X100T, when I finally buy one).

I went for a a Fjällräven Foldstack No.3(I got the navy blue one). It is a high quality product from a great company, even though they are Swedish. Most of their stuff looks great, the only product I think looks bad is the very popular Känken backpack. My mother have winter clothes and backpacks from Fjällräven that was bought in the 60s and 70s that have been used for two or three generations that are ready for at least another one, and probably more than that.

The design is simple and functional. I think it is the perfect bag for the essentials. I’m going to get to why in a moment. But first a little bit about the process that ended with the Foldstack No 3.

I didn’t really know what I was looking for. The only thing I had written down was: “look for a small bag for the essentials”. But what I wanted became pretty clear as I looked at countless options. It had to be around the same size as a A4 page. The reason is that this looked like the sweet spot between having enough room and too much; the latter always ends in me bringing way too much junk. And I wanted something simple: in terms of design, in terms of how to open and close it, and in terms of the compartment system.

I’m in general not a fan of complicated compartment systems, unless they are designed very well, which most aren’t. But there are exceptions, like for example Tom Bihn, and some Osprey products, but not all, including some I own. The Foldstack No 3 has a very simple two compartment system: a large main compartment, that you can expand with a push button on each side, if you need extra room & a small zip pocket on the outside.

I always keep my passport, EarPods and a few AAA batteries for my Bose QC 15 Noise Cancelling headphones. The kind of stuff you want easy access to. And I keep the rest in the main compartment. There is more or less just enough room for what I want to bring everywhere, with some room to spare, but not enough for me to get the: “what else can I put in here” itch.

Which is exactly what I wanted from this bag. I’m very happy with it so far.

Load out: January 2016.

The first load out post of the year. Not much has changed since last year, and there are only two things that are different from the last time: a new Hobonichi Planner and I once again are lugging around my huge A4 notebooks, since the spring semester started a few weeks ago.

Pens.

I still carry my four pens: Lamy 2000, TWSBI 580AL, Pilot Metropolitan & Retro 51. The TWSBI have gotten itself a permanent place in the pen holder of my Midori Travelers Notebook. There are above all two reasons for this: it holds enough ink for at least a long study session and most importantly I have never seen any ink leak into the cap. That is something I really want to avoid with the pen I carry in the thing I am most likely to bring to a meeting.

Things are more or less the same as before. The Pilot Metropolitan have made it into more of a regular schedule, but Pilot should really make a converter for it that holds more ink.

Ink.

The same as last month, but I might order a ink with a very radical colour when I order more notebooks at the end of the month.

Paper-stuff

I moved into my new 2016 Hobonichi Planner at the start of the month. I don’t have that much to say about it, but it is a fantastic planner.

My MTN is still being used every single day. It is the thing I bring with me everywhere, and it is also one of the few things I bring when I’m going “light”.

And my Field Notes use are ever increasing. I’m going to continue to use Field Notes for now. But I might move some of what I have been using Field Notes for over to my MTN in the future. I haven’t made up my mind yet. The reason, for those who are curious, is that they are larger and can fit more stuff in them and that I more or less always carry both with me everywhere.

I have also started to carry my huge A4 notebooks around again. They are huge, as you see in the pictures at the top. I’m not sure what the brand is, but I remember that it was impossible to find a link for them the last time I tried. I buy them in local book stores. They are large, something I like when I am studying, and they have thick paper, so drying time with my fountain pens aren’t a problem.

Review: Leuchtturm1917 Notebooks.

The Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are a fantastic alterntaive to everyone that have been using Moleskine, that wants something similar, with better paper quality.

I think you get a lot of notebook for your money when you buy a Leuchtturm1917. The A5 size is around $19 and the A4 size is around $33. That is more or less the same price as similar Moleskine notebooks. It is also more or less the same I pay per page for the refills for my Midori Travelers Notebook.

More or less everything about Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are great. They look fantastic, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. The paper quality is fantastic, and the dry time is pretty good; it is much faster than Rhodia.

I don’t currently use any Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. Long story. But I used two of them as my journal in the first part of 2015. Then I forgot to order new ones, so I found some acceptagble notebooks in a local store here in Bergen, then I had some gift certificates I had to use before they expired, so I got some more.

But, I’m pretty sure I will order a few Leuchtturm1917 notebooks the next time I’m going to buy a A4 notebook. Everything about them is great, but there is at the same time nothing that excites be about them. It isn’t like my Midori Travelers Notebook or my Hobonichi Planner.

I would without doubt go for a Leuchtturm1917 notebook, if you are looking for something similar to the larger than pocket size Moleskine products.

On pen rotation.

If you are like me, and don’t have that many pens, and like to have them all inked up: then you need to rotate them. What I mean by that is to make sure that you use them all relatively frequently to avoid them getting clogged up.

You probably have some pens that you like more than others. I have three pens that are inked up at all times. The pen I use the most is my Lamy 2000, and I always move over to my TWSBI 580AL when that is out of ink, and I usually refill them all as soon as possible when the TWSBI runs out of ink.

My Pilot Metropolitan serves two purposes: a backup for when my other pens are running out of ink, and two have a metal pen that I can put in my pocket for the rare occasions that I need that. It is a fine pen, but it isn’t the most comfortable to write with for longer periods and the ink capacity is a little bit low.

But, I still want to use it regularly to make sure it is in tip top shape. So what I do is that I use it as my primary pen until it is empty once every second or third time I refill my other pens.

The reason I keep it around, at least for now is for those times, when you are super busy and forget to ink up your pens when they run out of ink, and you need to have something to write with for the rest of the day; either at work or while studying.

Pens and Junk: Review: Wexford Retractable, Gel Ink, 1.0mm

Pens and Junk:

I wasn’t expecting too much out of this gel ink pen when I grabbed it off the shelf, and it certainly isn’t a bad pen. It doesn’t smear as much as I expected for a 1.0mm gel pen, and the ink is nice and dark – perhaps even a shade darker than the Pilot G-2. Ink flow consistency is the only noteworthy issue the Wexford Retractable has, randomly running thick or thin while in use.

Interesting. I love the color of that ink. This got to be the first non-fountain pen that have poked my interest in a very long time.

I’ll probably pick up one of these the next time I order something.

Lamy Imporium in Black and Gold: A Review — Pen Addict

Susan M. Pigott:

When I first saw shots of the Lamy Imporium, I was mesmerized. I loved the guilloche patterns, the clean lines of the cap, and the nib–oh, that nib! The black exterior with the gold center was just too cool. Then I saw the price. $520 for a Lamy? No way. Plus, initially I was told the pen wouldn’t be sold in the US (that turned out to be incorrect). I quietly resigned myself to no Lamy Imporium.

I’m usually not into anything gold, if you get what I mean, but the Imporium looks very good. I think Lamy pens are the best, and I really love how their nibs feel and how they look; especially the high end models.

But I don’t get why they can’t make a cheap pen like the Safari without that ridiculous moulded grip section.

Why I Love Steel Nibs – The Pen Addict

Brad Dowdy:

The first thing you should be aware of with steel nibs is that, in general, they are stiffer than their gold counterparts. Makes sense, right? Gold is a softer material, so that translates to a softer nib. Standard gold nibs have some bounce or springiness when writing. Steel nibs are firm without much give. This holds true for the full range of nib sizes too. Extra fine to broad all exhibit the same general behavior.

Finally someone bringing this up. My personal opinion is that they are both good, and have equally good properties. I personally prefer to write with a gold nib. But I think my hand writing look better when I write with a steel nib.

What I Use: Hobonichi Techo Journal | Fountain Pen Quest

Fountain Pen Quest:

As you may know the Hobonichi uses fountain pen friendly Tomoeo River paper. I used fountain pen exclusively. The paper is thin and while bleed through isn’t a problem there’s some show-through. In general show-through never bothers me and I regularly use both sides of any paper. With my thin nibs the show-through is there but minimal with the Hobionichi. What does bother me is the time it takes for ink to dry on this paper. I cut a piece of blotter paper to fit the Techo and place between the pages. In addition to making my current page easy to fine it keeps the ink from transferring to the facing page when I close the book. Sure, I could wait for the ink to dry but that would require patience. Plus, it provides a bit of a cushion to write on if I’m using a hard thin nib that might leave an imprint on the page below the one I’m writing on.

Yeah, the dry time is painful, but that is also the only problem I have with the Hobonichi.