'Gourmet Pens


Azizah Asgarali:

YES. YES YES. I wish this notebook was easier to buy online, but it’s perfect for me. Although Nanami Paper offers the Seven Seas notebook, it may not be the most practical purchase for overseas buyers, so perhaps this is an alternative.

I won’t buy it for a number of reasons. Get it to JetPens or GouletPens and I’ll consider it. The ordering process is a little bit too much of a hassle for me.

This looks like a excellent notebook that will take more or less any pen or writing instrument – if long dry time isn’t a issue for you. It isn’t too bad with a finer nib, but it is a hassle with a very wet nib.

My Hobonichi Planner has the same paper, and the only time I have seen any bleed through was when I was trying to see how much it would take. The answer is: stupid amounts. And that is very impressive when you see how thin the paper is.


'The Well-Appointed Desk


Ana:

Anyway, you be the judge. Does it look the same to you? I tested the same pens at the same time in the same colors. Maybe my eyes are just playing tricks on me. Either way, I think the results on the Word.notebook paper is considerably better than other pocket notebooks and I did test several fountain pens with better-than-expected results. The built-in bullet journal system is a bonus for a lot of people who have embraced the system. Even if you don’t bullet journal, if you use a pocket notebook for lists, then the Word.notebooks definitely provide a leg up over many of its competitors. And I partuclarly like the Declan floral design for being something unique, not overly feminine, but a nice aesthetic alternative to other cover designs.

Word notebooks have been on my radar for a while now. They are a very interesting alternative to Field Notes, especially if you want better paper quality. I think some of their designs look good, close to Field Notes good, while others just look like crap.


'Review


The first “fancy” pen I ordered from JetPens, after I started to listen to The Pen Addict Podcast, then on the 70Decibels network, was The Retro 51. I fell in love with that pen straight away. It was beautiful, I loved how well it was built, and most of all how the writing experience was.

I had my first one for a year, and I wrote a lot with it, before I lost it when someone stole my jacket. And I ordered a new one. The non-fountain pen market is kind of strange. You have tons of fantastic pens, but most of them look as impressive as a regular bic. You can go up to the Retro 51, it costs around $20, and you get a fantastic pen. Where can you go form there? Well, you have the Lamy 2000 Rollerball, and that is more or less it.

The Retro 51 comes in many different styles and colours, there should be something for everyone. It comes with a Schmidt rollerball refill. There is no doubt that it is a fantastic refill, and I think it is the best non-fountain pen refill that exists. But, you need to do some research, and look for some other options if you prefer a thin line.

This is the only bad thing about the Retro 51, they have taken the Apple approach. You either take what they have decided on, or you have to figure it out for yourself.

I try to always have a non-fountain pen with me for various reasons(bad paper or when someone needs to borrow a pen), and this is that pen.


Lamy 2000 Rollerball Review — Pen Addict


Jeff Abbott :

Back in 2014, I wrote about the iconic Lamy 2000 fountain pen, and talked about my love for the design and the writing experience of the pen. Well, here we are in 2016 and I’ve expanded my Lamy collection to include a Lamy 2000 rollerball. A lot about the rollerball is the same as the fountain pen version, but this one is obviously a bit more simple since it only has a rollerball cartridge inside. Even though there are a lot of differences between this and the fountain pen, it’s a great pen that would be perfect for a lot of people looking for an elegant, classy, and reliable pen for daily use.

I think this pen is the perfect gift, for when you want to give someone a very nice pen. The other option is to go with a Retro 51. Non fountain pens are weird in this aspect, you can either go for a terrible and fancy pen like a Montblanc, or a good pen, that looks good but isn’t expensive enough: Retro 51. The Lamy 2000 is the only option I know about that looks good, is good to write with and is expensive enough to be appropriate as something like a graduation gift.


Pilot Custom Heritage 92 | Calligraphy Nut


Calligraphy Nut:

One of the exceptions was this Pilot Custom Heritage 92, which is both a beauty to look at and a workhorse of a pen. I think it spends most weeks in the bag as I love the broad nib, the ink capacity and staring mindlessly into the ink reservoir when I should be working.

This is the first Pilot pen I have seen in a very long time(except for the cheapest models) that have made it into my wish list. I’m usually not into the Pilot design aesthetic, but this is one of the best looking clear body piston filler fountain pens I have seen.


Reconsidering Moleskine | The Well-Appointed Desk


Ana:

Part of what spurred my interest in all this Moleskine business was when I started using my Moleskine XL for a daily sketchbook late last year. I’ve warmed back up to the possibilities of the Moleskine notebooks. I’ve carried the XL everyday, to and from work, doodled, written, stamped, scribbled, watercolored and basically treated it as the workhorse object it was designed to be treated. To no ill effects. For three months. I’m happy to keep drawing in it. In fact I look forward to continuing to fill the pages and THAT is why we have notebooks. This goes back to the whole reason I keep a notebook — so that I write and draw and make marks

Moleskine isn’t the best. The funny thing is that almost all the stationary geeks I know about started out with Moleskine. I don’t personally use any Moleskine product at the moment, and they aren’t fountain pen friendly, but they are always the thing I go for when I run out of Field Notes, just because they are available everywhere, and I know exactly how the paper is, for better or for worse.

The price versus quality with Moleskine is out of whack, but still, they are an option, not a good one, and not the worst one, if you don’t use fountain pens.

The two pens I used in my Moleskine days were a Retro 51 and a Pilot G2. One side note: the Sketch notebooks that Moleskine makes works very well with any kind of pen.


TWSBI ECO Fountain Pen Review — Pen Addict


Brad Dowdy:

This is a flat-out cool pen, and one I have been recommending constantly since its launch last summer. For someone like myself who has some experience with fountain pens, the ECO is a daily workhorse that can be taken out, used and abused, refilled, cleaned, nib swapped, and any other worry-free fun you want to have with a low cost fountain pen.

The ECO is a cool pen. I got mine yesterday.


Nock Co Lookout — The Finer Point


Jenny Mason:

I bought the Lookout because it was a 3 pen carry case. I didn’t want anything too big, I needed something that I could carry in a range of different bags and this fit the bill. Not only does this go into my work laptop bag but it also fits comfortably into an average sized handbag without taking up too much room.

The Lookout is one of many great Nock.co products. I don’t own one, but this is without doubt one of the cases I am considering. It is especially great for when having a as lightweight as possible


'Why the Lamy 2000 is My EDC Pen — nib & ink'


Matthew Morse:

There’s a reason this pen has been around for half a century. In fact, there are a lot of reasons and they are the same reasons I carry this pen with me nearly everyday. I’m not afraid to throw it in a pants pocket or bag or pen case because I know that it can take a few knocks and perform flawlessly. And it’ll do so all day, everyday.

I could not agree more, my Lamy 2000 was my preferred EDC and pocket pen from I got it, until I started using the Hightower again four or five months ago.


'RelayCon Atlanta


Nock.co:

Help Brad and Myke record live and in-person at the 2016 Atlanta Pen Show!

I assume everyone here, either read The Pen Addict or listen to The Pen Addict Podcast, or both. They are doing another Kickstarter, to make do something awesome during The Atlanta Pen Show, like they did last year.

I’m going to back this one.


'TWSBI Eco


I ordered a TWSBI Eco with the 1.1 Stub Nib, when I ordered a pile of refills for my Midori Travelers Notebook and two bottles of ink. I’ll get back to the Ink, when I have had the time to giving it a proper test; aka using them for a while.

I went with the black model.

As always: I’ll do a proper review once I have used the pen for a few weeks. But these are my first impressions:

  • Design: looks like a cheaper version of the more expensive TWSBI models. My only problems with the design is the cap and the part you twist to operate the piston.
  • Feel: It feels great, and I actually like it a little bit better than the 580AL; the grip section is much more comfortable.
  • Nib: I love the stub nib. This might be a new rabbit hole for me.

I think this is the best value pen I have ever bought. It isn’t something I would recommend for a beginner as their first pen. But it could be a very good second pen, as long as the person isn’t scared of buying a bottle of ink.

When I think about it, I might go as far as I would rather get three of these than the 580. But I’ll get back into that when I writer a proper review.


My review of the Pilot Metropolitan


I got my Pilot Metropolitan almost three years ago. And I still use it more or less every week. There are two popular beginner fountain pens the Pilot Metropolitan and the Lamy Safari. My personal opinion is that the Pilot is better because it looks far better and the Lamy Safari has a moulded grip section which makes it very difficult to use for left handed people, like myself.

The great thing about the pen is that you have a wide variety of colours and two different nibs: medium and fine. Most people can find something they like. You can get the pen for around $15 and a converter for it is another $5. You get a lot of pen for the money.

It is a very well designed pen, there is one exception, I’ll get to that in a while, and it looks like a lot more expensive than $15.

I have two minor issues with the pen. My two other fountain pens have piston fillers and have a large ink capacity. So I might be a little bit spoiled. But I find the ink capacity of the converter for this pen to be way too small. My test is to see if I can get through a day with it or not. Either at work or while studying. Which means around 10 A4 pages.

The Pilot Metropolitan can get me through half a day.

The other “thing” about this pen is that there is a uncomfortable and sharp edge between the grip section and the pen body. It can get a little bit annoying during long writing sessions.

I still think it is a great pen. The solid casing and how tight the cap sits makes it a great pocket pen. My only problem with it is the ink capacity, so my advice is to either have two of them or to use cartridges, if you also think the ink capacity is too low.


'Ink Review


The Gentleman Stationer:

One of my favorite things about Iroshizuku is the name that Pilot/Namiki gives each ink.  Though only the Japanese name appears on the bottle, most stores also provide the English translation (which I assume is accurate and comes directly from Pilot).  Tsuki-Yo translates to “Moonlight.”  The ink, when wet, appears as a rich blue-black, but when it dries fades somewhat to a dark teal, and hints of blue-green emerge.  On certain papers, and when you are writing with a wet nib, you get some pretty good red sheen.

I’ve had this ink on the top of my ink wish list for a while, together with one of the green Iroshizuku inks. This ink is the first blue ink where I think: damn, I want that.


'Notebook Stories


Notebook Stories:

It’s hard to imagine a world without David Bowie…


Negotiations — Pen Addict


Jon Bemis:

I was tickled. To think that my multi-colored chicken scratch had legal standing was almost too funny to comprehend. The likelihood that my notes would ever end up in a courtroom was slim to none, but I was delighted nonetheless that my indulgent hobby could one day be entered into evidence.


'The Gentleman Stationer


The Gentleman Stationer:

When most people think of Lamy’s gold nibs, they think of the Lamy 2000, another personal favorite of mine.  Lamy’s “standard” 14K nibs are often–and, in my opinion, unjustifiably–overlooked.  The extra-fine nib on my Lamy Studio is relatively wide for an extra-fine nib, and writes more like a “fine” from most other brands.   The nib is, however, springy and smooth.  It’s also slightly stubbish, in that it offers a touch of line variation and gives my writing an italic look and feel. To me, Lamy’s interchangeable stainless steel nibs offer good quality and exceptional value in entry-level pens, but this 14K gold nib has frankly blown me away.  At around $150, both the Lamy 2000 and the Studio make great options for a “first gold-nibbed pen,” though I must say, I prefer the Studio’s extra-fine to the extra-fine on my Lamy 2000.  I suspect it’s because the lack of a hood on the Studio gives the nib the additional springiness, making it very pleasant to write with.

Another Lamy pen made it to my pen wish list. I haven’t tried one, but this is a good option, if you either don’t like the hooded nib on the 2000, or don’t want a piston filler.


'Midori Traveler’s Notebook


A Better Desk:

Fountain pens are built to last. They may run out of ink, but they can be refilled over and over again. The same thing can’t be said for notebooks. Pages are filled with everything from beautiful prose to grocery lists, and the tears and scratches that mar the covers are reminders of the journey. Once these books are their most worn and beautiful, we chuck them out or put them on a shelf to collect dust. I’ve been longing for a notebook that could acquire these beautiful signs of age while lasting as long as a good pen.

You should, if you haven’t already, read this brilliant & elegant post about the Midori Travelers Notebook.


Bic Cristal Ballpoint Pen Review — Pen Addict


Brad Dowdy:

The fact is, this is a good pen, if not a great one. Released to the public in 1950, it has had a 65-plus year run and shows no signs of slowing down. The design is revered too, with its clear hex-barrel being featured in the Museum of Modern Art. A design classic that has stood the test of time? Sign me up.

I have spent many hours writing with stolen Bic Cristal pens over the years. I’m not a fan of this pen, I don’t like how it writes and the ergonomics, but it is without doubt a well designed pen. And I miss the days when this was the standard in all supply cabinets, instead of the horrible pens many of the places I have worked that last five years buy.


'Review


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


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


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


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


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.