The Golden Bear is a #2 pencil made by Palamino and sold exclusively through Pencils.com. You can get it in blue and orange; I went with orange.
It looks great, and is a fantastic pencil to write long form. It is a little bit harder and more scratchy than the 602. But it keeps a point better. I think the barrel is a little bit more uncomfortable than the Blackwings. But it isn't a problem.
If I'm going to write long form, like I am doing now, I'd probably pick up this over the 602, because I can get around 30-50% more pages per sharpen. But I kind of prefer the Field Notes pencil to this one, because its round barrel is more comfortable to write with.
One important note however is that the price of this one is around $5 per back, while the Blackwing is over $20. This is the pencil I would buy if I were on a budget. A fantastic cheaper pencil.
I started out with the Blackwing MMX, and I immediately knew that I probably should have gone with the 602.
This pencil is awesome. IT is not a HB, it is a little bit softer and smother than all of the HB pencils I have used. But it feels like a very good compromise between point retention and smoothness.
Where I usually wanted to re-sharpen my MMX after half a A5 page, this pencil I can get through at least a full A5 before I want to stop and sharpen it. Other than that it feels a lot like the MMX. It is very comfortable to use and is obviously a premium pencil.
The design. It looks really good, even though to colours etc are not my kind of thing. I think both the MMX and the Pearl look much better than the Grey and Gold on this one.
I would probably have liked it to be a little bit harder, but if you are going to use the pencil for writing long form Id go with this over the other Blackwings.
I just sharpened three pencils with my new KUM Master Piece.
I'm coming from another KUM sharpener, the "Long Point Sharpener". The basics are the same, both have two holes to let you get a long point on your pencils.
The big difference between the two is that the Long Point is made out of plastic, while the Master Point is made out of metal; and that the Long Point is boxed in and making it easier to use when you don't have garbage can available, while the Master Piece does not.
I would not say that the Master Piece is "better", the perfect version would be the best from both. But the build quality of the Master Piece is awesome. I can't really describe how good it feels in your hand. But I got the same feeling that I had the first time I twisted a Retro 51.
The thing I don't like about the Long Point sharpener is that it is too easy to break it, if you unscrew the blades. You know plastic and metal screws are often a mess. This will not be a problem with the Master Piece.
There are not that much to say about this sharpener. It sharpens your pencils well. It is well built, and not that expensive.
This was the second pencil that I have used since I got into them.
You can purchase these German Pencils more or less everywhere that sells books or stationary here in Norway.
This is very good writing pencil. The point lasts forever and is very comfortable to use. I also love the fact that it doesn't have any of those silly erasers on top. This will without a doubt be the pencil I buy when I just need a pencil when I'm in town.
What I don't like about it however is how cheap it feels. The casing feels very cheap, I think it is too light and the finish starts to chop off or fade before you get home. But I think that this would be a awesome pencils if it came in a nicer casing.
The Field Notes Pencil. It is actually awesome. This pencil belong on my Top 3 list, together with the Golden Bear and the 602. I have gotten a few of them for free with various Field Notes orders over the years without paying much if any attention to it.
This is a round pencil with a #2 core. This means that it is great for writing and really comfortable to write with. It give you a core that is smooth, but not so soft that you have to sharpen it all the time. And the round case makes it very comfortable to hold. It is the most comfortable pencil I have used. The core is great, but I prefer the Golden Bear core. I'm not sure why, but it feels a little bit smother.
Anyways. A fantastic pencil that everyone should check out.
I have used various other inks brands over the last six months or so. I don't remember exactly how long. But I have decided to go back to just using Iroshizuku. The reason is that other inks brands I have tested, that have as good colours are often worse in some other ways. Like for example dry time and ink flow.
There are many other interesting colours and inks brands out there. But I'm perfectly happy with the Iroshizuku colours. And I don't want to mess around when I could get a worse experience
I got a Kaweco Perkeo from Tudos in the same package as I got the pencil stuff I purchased.
This is the first Kaweco pen I have used. And I really like it. The nib is very firm, with soft.
I'm not sure how I should describe the pen. Because it is basically a competitor to the Pilot Metropolitan or the Lamy Safari. But it is much lighter, and much more fun. It looks more like something a kid would use, than the boring design of the Metro. or Safari. It also comes with a moulded grip section, but it s not like the one of the Safari. It is much less prominent and I did not find it uncomfortable to use in any way.
One thing though. I keep unscrewing the pen instead of uncapping it. I'm not sure why. Probably because I'm so used to pens you have to unscrew when you uncap them.
I think this pen is better than both the Safari and the Metropolitan because the grip section should work for everyone, and it doesn't have a uncomfortable edge like the Metropolitan does. And I think this will be my new recommendation as the first fountain pen.
This is a very interesting question. In general I use a pencil if I'm just going to write down a few sentences. And then I go for a fountain pen if I am going to write a few pages. And I go for a very specific fountain pen if I'm going to write a lot (my Lamy 2000).
I also prefer a pencil when I'm going to write on the train or somewhere I don't have a flat surface.
Pencils are fun, but you have to sharpen them way too often for them to be something I can write page up and down with. Kind of the same reason I preferred my Lamy 2000 while studying. Because it had enough ink to last me a full day. Something my Pilot Metropolitan never had.
Different people like different writing instruments. Some like smooth pens, while others like pens with a little bit more resistance.
I like smooth nibs. The less the friction the better it is.
I do in general also prefer broader nibs. I think they look better on the page. And I just gravitate against writing instruments that feels good to be, and look good one the page. In other words, the more ink on the page the better. Some people like a lot of ink on the page, while others don't.
When it comes down to ink capacity I have some very strong opinions. I think pens with larger ink capacity always are more useful than those with a lower one. This is because if you write a lot with pens, you either need to have a piston filler, refill them all the time or have a lot of them. Back when I was a full time student, I loved my Lamy 2000. I filled it in the morning and I never – not once – ran out of ink during a single day. The story is another with the Pilot Metropolitan. That one never lasted more than a couple of hours.
If I'm just writing a few lines here or there then I often use my Falcon or VP. But I always go for either my Lamy 2000 or ink up one of my TWSBI Eco's if I'm going to write a lot. Or if I need a lot of ink capacity away from home and don't want to bring a bottle of ink.
The Ink Smudge from day one have been about finding the stuff I enjoy to use. I have not always succeeded at that, but that have been the goal.
I'm not a collector, I just want to have some good inks, some good notebooks and some good pens and pencils that works for me. And just use it.
It all started with Moleskine and Pilot G2's. Then I got into the Retro 51, and then the Pilot Metropolitan and Lamy Safari. And then I started to use Leuchtturm1917 and expensive fountain pens.
But at the end of the day the only thing I care about is finding what works the best for me.
Fountain pens works the best for me, if it is long form. And pencils works the best for shorter stuff. Leuchtturm1917 is the thing I like the best for larger notebook, and Nock.co's pocket sized notebooks are awesome. Pilot Iroshizuku inks are the thing that works the best for me. And I guess I just started my journey into pencils, but I really feel like after five years I have landed on where I want to be with fountain pens.
What makes fountain pens and pencils interesting is that both are very much a "high maintenance" writing instrument.
The fountain pen is messy and the pen is clean.
I'm not saying that one is better than the other, because they are not.
Fountain pens are a mess, because they sometimes are leaking, you need to make sure they don't dry up. You also have to clean them to make sure that they work properly. But the great thing about a fountain pen is that you can write for a very long time without having to do anything about them.
Pencils on the other hand requires you to sharpen them, either when you write all the way into the wood, or when the point becomes too sharp for your taste. But they don't leak, and they always work, as long as you keep them sharp.
I kind of enjoy both. But sometimes I wish I could just use a regular Bic like a normal person.
What makes both pens and fountain pens interesting though is that both are very personal. And you have to weigh up the different pros and cons the different choices have to figure out what's the best for you. Parts of it is how you like the writing experience to be, while other parts of it is about how you like your handwriting or drawings to look.
I just inked all of my pens in rotation up with this ink. And it behaves like the other two Diamine inks I have used in the past. It dries a little bit slower than Iroshizuku inks, but not too bad. And the flow is a little bit slower than Iroshizuku. But not that bad in the scheme of things.
This ink has a lovely light blue colour. It kind of reminds me of the standard blue colour you get with all Pilot fountain opens. But better than that in all ways. Because like everyone who reads this site knows: I can't stand that colour. It looks
If lighter colours are your thing I would recommend this ink. It is not something I would buy, because I do in general prefer darker colours.
The Diamine inks are great, they have some very interesting colours, and is a great option if you are willing to sacrifice a little bit on inflow and dry time for great colours.
This notebook is amazing. There are no other way to put it. When I look at a Rhodia Webnotebook I see the best designed version of the A4 softcover notebook that Moleskine popularised. This on the other hand is the perfect design for the soft cover version; you know the kind you can buy in a three pack.
The design is very understated, and you don’t think much about it straight away. Before you start to realise how perfect everything is. Even the stitches on the back are beautiful.
Let’s move over to the paper. The paper is very similar to Rhodia(same parent company), but my impression is that it is a little bit smother. There are smaller differences between this and Rhodia, like there are minor differences between Leuchtturm1917 and Rhodia, but they are very minor. And I would put them in the same ball park.
This book came with a lined layout, and I like it a lot. The lines are broader than I’m used to from Travelers Notebook refills and Leuchtturm1917; they remind me a lot about the layout I used in school. The kind you usually find in most wire bound notebooks.
The Flying Spirit is a fantastic notebook, that I would recommend to anyone that like notebooks like the Moleskine Volant. It is in many ways a much better version of that. With better paper and higher quality production standards. I’m not going to get another one of these, because I prefer a hardcover notebook, because it is a little bit easier to write on them for example when I take the train to work, and don’t always have access to a good table. %
I guess this comes as a response to recent discussions on The Pen Addict podcast about keeping journals or not. My collection of notebooks is growing. And it grows some every year. The big question is: what should I do about them?
One option is to just keep them and let future generations deal with it. Not unlike how my parents and grand parents generations dealt with climate change.
Another option is to throw it all out.
And the third is to throw out some of it.
A lot of it is just notebook after notebook after notebook of tasks. While other parts are notes I have taken while reading or studying. And some of it is journaling.
Here is the thing: I'm probably the worst judge to what's interesting. And I'm not one of those who care what happens after I'm dead and buried.
I ordered a Kum Automatic long point pencil sharpener with Blackwing branding at the same time as I ordered my first box of Blackwings. It cost about $7.50 at JetPens. It has two holes, numbered, you use the first one to shape the wood, it will stop shaving off wood when you're done and then you use the second hole to sharpen the tip.
I got this one because it was not too expensive, and I hoped that the blackwing branding on it was a sign of quality. It works great. I don't have any complaints about it, it sharpens my pencils every single time. Without any issues. The only think I wish was different is more space for shavings.
I'm probably going to get a couple more of them. This is the sharpener you want if you want a long point sharpener and only care about the utility of it.
I bought my first box of pencils not too long ago. And I think this is the first time I have paid for a pencil. Why? I'm not sure to either of the why questions. I have never bought a pencil because I didn't know it was more to them than the crappy plastic thing I got at school, that us boys always tried to bend into weird shapes. And I'm not sure why I bought a box of them now. I guess it was because a lot of people I respect enjoy using them.
My biggest surprise about pencils is how similar to fountain pens they are. Everyone have their own taste. And you have a lot of the same problems: both are very fiddly. Also: there are compromises. For example a softer pencil is smoother, but you need to sharpen them more often. Not unlike how broader fountain pens are more smooth(until you move into stubs), but they require more ink and take longer to dry.
I have enjoyed the Blackwings a lot. And I use them a lot. They are great to write with for example on the train and other places where I don't want to think about ink smudging. They also look fantastic. Which was kind of the reason I went with the regular blackwings. But I will probably check out the 602 the next time. Because I think I will prefer a pencil that doesn't require as much sharpening. But who knows? This is new to me.
I wrote about an idea I had not too long ago. The idea was to take empty Pilot Iroshizuku bottles, clean them and then use them as a inkwell or a ink bottle for other inks. Because not every bottle of ink is the same. Some of them are just a bottle, with a flat bottom. And that can make it a struggle to fill your pens, even though there are a lot of ink left. Especially with pens like the Vanishing Point.
I started doing this a few weeks ago and it works like a charm.
This got me to think about looking for something even better. But it works for now.
Like I mentioned in a earlier post, I have limited the number of pens I use to three. My Lamy 2000, Pilot Vanishing Point and my Pilot Metal Falcon. The way I rotate them is that I always use the pen that is all the way to the right in my Nock.co Hightower. And when I write it dry, I refill it, and rotate everything to the right and the pen I wrote dry in the left pocket.
I was walking around in the city, while Ingri and I were waiting for the train back home and I walked past one Leuchtturm1917 display case and two Lamy display cases. And I thought: damn things have changed since 2013.
Back when I started, the only fountain pen related thing I knew about in Norway that was available was Parker. You could get the cartridges, while pens was something you had to order. And there was Mont Blanc stuff. But that's stupid money.
In 2018, I could jump on the train, buy a Lamy Safari, Al Star or any of the entry level Lamy pens or a Leuchtturm1917 notebook. Something I had to order from UK or US in the past.
What I carry these days are more or less the same as always, with some minor changes.
I always carry three pens, and I rotate them from a collection of five that I have in active use: Lamy 2000(M), Pilot Vanishing Point(B), Pilot Metal Falcon (Broad Flex), TWSBI Clear Eco(B), TWSBI Black Eco(Sub).
All of them are inked up with the same ink, as always. I currently use the Diamine Sargasso Blue, which I reviewed a while back.
As always, I use my Nock.co Hightower to carry my pens and pocket sized stuff.
Some of this stuff might change when Nock.co releases their A5 and Travelers Notebook Covers.
I'm lucking enough to own a lot of great pens. But that means that I can't use all of them. Or I can at least not use all of them all the time.
I own a few Retro51's, three Pilot Metropolitan, one Lamy Safari, two TWSBI Eco, one TWSBI 580AL, a Lamy 2000, A Pilot Vanishing Point, a Pilot Metal Falcon and one Noodlers Ahab.
The way it works for me is that the pens I use is the ones I have in my Nock Hightower. It has room for three pens. And I have a system for rotating the pens in it. Too few pens means that you run out of ink, and too many means that they dry up or that you spend more time making sure that they don't dry up than you spend writing with them.
My problem before I started to move pens out of rotation, first with the Metropolitans and then the Eco's was that there was three pens I enjoyed way more than the others. I love the Metropolitan, but I enjoyed the other five pens way more. And I also loved the Eco's but I loved the other three pens more.
The result was that I almost never used them, except for when it felt like "I had to". Therefore I decided to clean and rotate out everything that I didn't enjoyed the most. And I'll probably ink them up when I test out inks.
I think there is a maximum number of pens I can keep in rotation. For me is it around five. Because there is only so many pens you can write with regularly before you have to spend a lot of time making sure they don't dry up.
When I got my Metal Falcon I decided to empty, clean and stop having my two Pilot Metropolitans as a part of my daily carry. This is kind of weird, because up to this point all of the pens I enjoy using have been a part of my rotation. But the truth is that I enjoy all the other pens in my rotation a lot more. And seven pens is a little bit too much.
The notebooks I have been carrying as of late – I don’t remember exactly when I re-added the pocket sized notebook to what I carry – but it has remained the same since then.
I carry one Nock.co pocket sized notebook, one Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal, one Leuchtturm1917 Lined A5 and a regular sized Traveler’s Notebook filled with lined refills.
The reason I carry two different lined notebooks is that one of them contains drafts for various long form stuff I am writing, while the other is just journal entries.
I have decided to do something about this. What I’m going to do short term is to use up the last lined refill for my Travelers Notebook, before I move over to just using the Leuchtturm1917 and then I’m going to move back to using the Travelers Notebook.
As always, I might go back, if that makes sense. But at the moment it feels light to slim things down a little bit. And only carry one notebook for each thing, instead of two for long form writing. x