Loadout December.

This is my first loadout posts. I was planning to do one last month, but never go around to it. My daily carry stuff this month contain a few new items.

  • Field Notes is as always the corner stone of my note taking and productivity; I use them for shorter notes and tasks.
  • Hobonichi Planner 2015 is the second and last part of my productivity. I have used this baby since the beginning of March. I use it to keep track of meetings, other events and the most important tasks; in other words: the high level stuff that I absolutely need to complete at any given day. I also use it to write up monthly goals. I ordered the 2015 version a week ago.
  • Pilot Metropolitain(I think it is a medium nib, but I got it back when there was only one kind of nib for it). I’m not using this pen at lot anymore. But it is still the pen I reach for when the two following items run out of ink.
  • Lamy 2000: medium nib this have been the pen that I have written 99% of everything I have written in 2015. I use it a little bit less at the moment, because I just got the next pen on the list. But this will remain one of my go to pens.
  • All of the three pens above is inked up with: Pilot Take-sumi. I usually use one ink until I run out. I got this ink two days ago, and I think it is great.
  • TWSBI Diamond 580AL Silver: medium nib this have been my go to pen since I got it two days ago. And I love almost everything about it.
  • Nock.co Hightower: this thing is just fantastic. I bring it everywhere, it is always filled up with three pens(the three pens above) and three Field Notes.
  • Midori Travelers Notebook: with lined refills. This became my new favourite notebook within minutes after packing it up. I love how it looks, and everything else about it. I use it for journaling, and everything else I write long form.

The Case for multiple pens

I used to be a strong defender of only having a very limited number of pens. My opinion was coloured by minimalism. I have come around, and I see a value in having and carrying more than one pen. It all depends on what you need.

Some people like du use different pens for different things; some use different pens for different things; while others have different fountain pens for different things. I always have three or four pens with me. I have more or less the same ink in all of them, and the nib is also more or less the same.

You might wonder why I have so many pens. I have one non-fountain pen, and three fountain pens. The reason is simple, I want to always have a pen that I enjoy to use available. I write a lot every single day, and my goal is to have enough pens with me to be able to go at least a couple of weeks without refilling.

There are many good reasons to carry multiple pens. But the most important thing is that you use them, and don’t just carry a lot of pens; and don’t just own a lot of pens you don’t use.

'A Better Desk

A Better Desk:

The Lamy 2000 is a truly remarkable pen. Its fifty-year-old design still looks modern and edgy, and I’m sure that it will look just as edgy in fifty more years. The pen’s features, from the ink window to the piston knob, only appear when needed and then vanish into the pen’s brushed body. The Lamy 2000’s gold nib, perfect weight, and brushed body combine to form the best writing experience that I’ve ever had. If you’ve stumbled upon this review because you’re on the fence about this pen, go ahead and buy it. I spent several months reading reviews and none of them seem to do the pen justice, now that I have it in my hand. Aside from the functionality of the Lamy 2000, its history is something special. While I love my TSWBI, Kaweco, and Pilots, this will be the pen that I pass down to my children. In a world of throwaway things, this is a pen that is truly built to last.

In case you are wondering, yes I love the Lamy 2000, and I love how many great reviews of it that have been published lately.

'The Cramped

Patrick Rhone:

I get a fair number of notebooks sent to me for review. I write in them for the first couple of pages, maybe try out some different inks or handwrite a draft of the review, but then I’m done. The truth is, I generally use the notebooks I use and like the ones I like and tend not to veer from them. If I do get sent a notebook that knocks me off my feet, I will switch to it but this is rare. So, these notebooks sent to me by all too kind folks go into my (way too large and growing) pile of notebooks likely never to be used again — which seems a shame and a waste.

This is a fantastic project.

Congratulations Brad!

Brad Dowdy of Nock.co, The Pen Addict: the website & the podcast announced on the podcast last night that he had left his job and is going to do stationary full time.

I think it is great to see him go independent, I don’t think I would be into pen and paper haven’t it been for him & the podcast. Listen episode 185 for details. It is strange that he have been able to do a podcast, a blog, have a family, a full time job and to be able to do Nock.co at the same time. I can’t wait to see what he is able to do now that he does the blog, the podcast and Nock.co full-time.

'First Impressions

I ordered a bunch of stuff that I have had on the top of my stationary wish list for a very long time on Friday.

I think it is amazing that a package from California can find its way to Bergen, Norway with FedEx in little over a weekend. The funny or not so funny thing is that I can’t even get a package from our capital to here in the same amount of time.

There are a lot of great stuff here. Let’s begin with the boring stuff. I always throw in a three pack of Field Notes when I order something from a place that carry them. I fill out one every 7 – 10 days, and having too many have never been a problem. I also got a new converter for my Pilot Metropolitan, it works just like the one I had before it(before it broke).

I got a new ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Take-sumi. Because I ran out of my Noodler’s Bernanke Black a few weeks ago. The first thing I did was to clean my pens and filled both of them, plus my new pen with this ink. And I love it. The dry time is longer than the Noodlers, but it is more or less the same as the my “backup” ink, Lamy black. I love it, both the standard Lamy ink and the Noodler’s was kind of black, this is black.

My first expensive fountain pen I bought was the Lamy 2000 I got almost a year ago. I have been looking into another good, but not as expensive fountain pen during the last six months. And I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a TWISBI 580 AL Crystal. I wanted the blue, but it was sold out. So I got the regular silver model instead. The pen is very good, it holds a lot of ink, the nib is smooth, and I love how it looks. My only complaint is that the grip is a little bit slippery.

I have been drooling over the Midori Travelers Notebook since August. And I have been very close to ordering it many times during the last 2-3 years. And I finally did it. The reason is simple: I wanted something in between the large A4 notebooks I write long hand(journaling, and studying) when I am at home and my Field Notes; for example when writing in a coffee shop or traveling. And I also like the idea of buying cheap refills instead of expensive similar notebooks.

I pimped it up with a pen holder, and extra bands so I could fit three refills in it.

My first impressions are: the dry time is shorter than I expected, and it looks great. And I really love the “what the heck is that”-look of the MTN. I would have preferred the lined refill to have a little bit taller lines. But other than that, a fantastic notebook.

Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-Ho Ink Review

Jenny Mason:

Ina-ho translated into English means ‘rice ear’ a name that I found very unusual. After a quick google search the name makes perfect sense. I think this ink colour is great for the Autumn/Winter season. It is a subdued brown/gold colour with some small hints of green. This is perfect for writing Christmas cards and looks great in my Hobonichi Techo for the winter journal entries.

Interesting colour, its not something I would go for personally. But I think the Pilot Iroshizuku inks are very cool. I got my first bottle today; the Take-sumi of course. You can go wrong, and you can either be like me and buy a large 50ml bottle or get smaller sets with three different colours.

I have state this before, but I am a black ink person, it isn’t often that I write with anything else. The only time I consider getting something else, than my beloved black, is when I look at the Iroshizuku inks.

'Ink Review

My dive into different kinds of fountain pen inks have been very limited. I’m not the kind of guy that buys ten different bottles of ink. I get one or two bottles, and then I use one up, before I move on to the next one.

I got two bottles when I bought my Lamy 2000(Noodlers Bernanke Black and Lamy Black Ink), and I have a few others things on my wish list, for when I order ink the next time.

Noodlers Bernanke Black is the ink I have been using with my Lamy 2000 since I got it January last year, until today, when I cleaned it, and filled it up with standard Lamy black ink(because I ran out of the Noodlers a few days ago).

I think the Bernanke Black Ink is fantastic, for what it is. The reason I got it was because of its fast dry time. It is very hard to find a black ink that dries fast. Something I think is very important, especially for us lefties. That is the reason I recommend this ink for lefties and anyone else that wants a good black ink that dries very fast.

My personal opinion is that the other inks I have used(mostly Pilot and Lamy cartridge ink) have a much more pleasing and blacker black. It isn’t bad, and the short dry time makes it well worth it. And my impression is that I get a much smoother writing experience with my Lamy 2000 using this ink compared to for example the Lamy ink.



Absolutely. The Lamy 2000 is a great value for a solid, dependable workhorse fountain pen. It never gets pushed aside, and for me, it’s almost always in use. Several years later, I’m still just as excited to write with it as when I opened up the package for the first time. I’ve since purchased an all original 1960’s Lamy 2000 and a new Stainless Steel model as well. This particular 2000 was my first, and I doubt it will be my last!

I have used mine almost a year now, and I never go anywhere without it. The only time I have gone more than a few hours without it was when I went to England in May.

'Pens! Paper! Pencils!

Pens! Paper! Pencils!:

Pilot Iroshizuku Take-Sumi is a great black, flat and neutral in tone, like a lump of coal. It’s not as black as, say, Aurora Black but it’s not far off. I really like this one.

This ink have been on the list, for the next time I am ordering inks. I just love the black, and the bottle is absolutely gorgeous.

Today is Journal Day

The Cramped:

My plan for celebrating the day (which, truthfully, I started last night) is to open up past year’s journals, logs, and notes and tease out any ideas that may have gotten lost in the shuffle and see what I might want to put into action the coming year. On August 10, 2014 I noted that my wife and I were a pretty good canoe team after a jaunt out on the lake at our family cabin and that, perhaps, we should go canoeing more often here in town. There are plenty of lakes with canoe rental in town and it would be a lovely way to spend some more time together. I had forgotten this so, now, I can make it a part of my intentions for the coming year.


The New York Times:

So yes, Kurt Vonnegut: simplicity, in grammar as in all things, is a virtue, not to be sneezed at. But I can’t agree that semicolons represent absolutely nothing; they represent, for me anyway, the pleasure in discovering that no piece of writing advice, however stark, however beloved its deliverer, should ever be adopted mindlessly.

Fantastic article, about my favorite punctuation mark.

'Cal Newport

Cal Newport:

“[He] opened a fresh notebook. On the title page he wrote: NOTEBOOK OF THINGS I DON’T KNOW ABOUT. For the first but not last time he reorganized his knowledge. He worked for weeks at disassembling each branch of physics, oiling the parts, and putting them back together, looking all the while for the raw edges and inconsistencies. He tried to find the essential kernels of each subject.”

I always take notes in a notebook when I study, or are trying to learn something I don’t understand. The first thing I do is to read everything once and make a note of everything I don’t understand. The next step is to write down a explanation of all of them. And then I repeat until I understand it properly.

'Field Notes Tip #1'

I just got myself a new toy from our favourite Cupertino fruit company, a iPhone 6s Plus. This is not about that, but something I have found myself doing countless times since I got it on Monday. I often find myself out on the street or somewhere else where I don’t have a table or a flat surface to write on. My solution since I got my first order of Field Notes have been to use the back side of my phone. The 4s and 5s was usable, but far from the best.

The 6s Plus is a different animal. It works perfectly as a writing surface.

If you often find yourself using your lap or something when you need to scribble something down in your Field Notes, try your phone, it’s much better, and the larger phones is much better ; I would even go as far as perfect.

10 Gifts For The Fountain Pen Enthusiast

Goulet Pens Blog:

The fountain pen enthusiast in your life may prove to be one of the most difficult people to shop for!  They already have quite the fountain pen and ink collection, leaving you unsure what to get them. We took the guesswork out of your shopping by hand selecting gifts sure to please the person in your life who loves all things related to fountain pens! Maybe you’ll even find something for yourself too…

A great place to start, and a good link to send the ones that have to buy you gifts.

Journal Day!

The Cramped

Today, December 9th, is a day I designated last year as Journal Day. There are many ways to celebrate, or traditions one could keep, to mark the day. Heres some ideas.

Wednesday is journal day!

TWSBI Diamond 580AL Blue Fountain Pen Review

Brad Dowdy

The standard 580 has been a staple of mine for years, but when plastic parts are replaced with aluminum (and in some cases colored aluminum!) and the price goes up only slightly, it’s a no-brainer to replace one with the other.

I’m going for either this one or the regular version of the 580AL

Your first fountain pen

There are so many different things you need to find out, when you move into fountain pens, and there are so many different pens to pick from. But I think there are two pens you should get to start out with. Both of them are cheap: The Lamy Safari and The Pilot Metropolitan.

I think the two of them are good for very different reasons. The Pilot is a overall very well built and fantastic pen, and The Lamy Safari have a much better nib. The reason I think you should get both is to find out what you prefer. The big problem with the Safari is the grip section, it isn’t that good for left handed writers.

But I think the Lamy Safari is a very good pen to use to figure out what kind of nibs you like.

Go for a medium nib, unless you already have a strong preference. The journey starts with your first fountain pen. I like a smooth and very wet nib that leans a wide line, while others like a more scratchy and narrow line, that enables them to write tiny. It all depends on your preference.

Most of you do probably already have a preference when it comes to width, are you buying the 0.7, 0.5 or are you one of the crazy 0.3 people?

There is only one way to find it out, and it will probably change over time.

Let’s get back to my point. I think it is good to get both pens to experience two very different pens, from the two biggest names in fountain pens. I still use both of them, and it was with my Lamy Safari that I tried many different nibs to figure out what I preferred.

'The Brooks Review

Ben Brooks

When I started work at MartianCraft I decided that I would try to shake up some of the ways I worked. It felt like the right time. And since I knew there was going to be a great deal of things I would be learning, my note taking system seemed like the ideal candidate.
I threw out my entire structure for digital notes, grabbed a few Field Notes and started scribbling notes in them. After a month or so, I had decided the experiment was enough of a success to warrant moving to a better notebook. I looked around and decided on the Leuchtturm1917 journal as it looked nice, had solid reviews, and mostly it was on Prime.
Except, the research doesn’t back this up at all, which is a large reason I decided to make a go at hand written notes. What many studies have found is that students taking handwritten notes instead of typed notes, perform better in recalling the subject matter and in being tested/graded on the subject matter than do their counterparts who took notes on a laptop.
As I thought back over the frustration of searching analog notes, I realized that I only really searched through them a handful of times. Talk about exaggerating memories. I also realized most of those searches could have been predicted. Because of this I have started to use the infinity symbol on the top of a page of notes which contains things I think I might want to later search for. This will hopefully be a flag upon which I can home in on when I am searching a book of notes. The trick will be using it sparingly.
What is really bothering me about all of this, is I can’t wrap this up with a neat bow and tell you whether or not analog notes are better. It bothers me not because it makes for a crappy ending to an article, but because I really want to know for myself.

My system, since I started using pen and paper for notes almost four years ago, have been to use pen and paper when I do it to remember it, and to use digital when I know that it is something I am going to search for later.

'The Pencilcase

The Pencilcase:

The TWSBI Diamond 580 got very popular in just a couple of years, and for very good reason. If you want a step up from a Lamy Safari or Pilot Metropolitan, and want to get the coolness and large ink capacity of a piston-filler for under 100$, a TWSBI pen would be pretty much your only option. Apart from the cracking issues on previous models (that are luckily promptly dealt with by TWSBI’s customer service.), TWSBI makes some really neat pens, and the 580AL is one of the finest examples I’ve used so far!

I’m almost 100% sure that the 580 AL will be my next purchase. It have taken me ages to decide on anything. I knew I wanted a TWSBI pen, and I wanted to wait for them to do something about the design to limit the cracking issue.

I think, and hope that it have been solved with the 580 AL.

'The Pen Habit

The Pen Habit:

There is no doubt that the Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel is a pretty, and exceptionally well-built pen with a nice nib, a big ink capacity, and a nearly tactical feel to it. In my mind, however, it simply is not worth double the cost of the original. If you’re a writer who just loves that stainless steel finish, or you like the Lamy 2000 but wish it had more weight, give the Stainless Steel version a try. Otherwise, I’d stick with the classic Makrolon version. It’s a much better buy.

I love it when a review answers exactly the thing I am wondering about. This one does exactly that. I love my Lamy 2000, and I’m very happy I went for the cheaper Makrolon version. Heavy pens are a pain in the ass during long writing sessions.

'Pen Goulet

Pen Goulet

There are several filling mechanisms used in fountain pens today. Here I show you how to fill each of 4 types, as well as the pros/cons of each one

This is a great starting point if you are confused by the different fountain pen filling mechanism. I think it was here I started back in the day.

How to figure out what you need

The first step into pen & paper geekiness can be daunting. And it isn’t easy to find out what kind of stuff you are going to use.

Some people like fine pens, while other people like broad pens, and the first step should therefore be to find out what kind of writing experience you prefer. A pen with a fin tip use less ink, and you can fit more writing into a smaller space, while a broader nib have a smother writing experience. You can always start by getting a 0.7 and 0.5 Pilot G2 to find out what you prefer.

A good place to start is to get various “disposable” pens like the Pilot G2, Hi-tec-C or Uni-ball Signo. Buy various pens, with different tips, and find out what you like. It is much easier to go deeper when you have a basic understanding of what you like.

The next step is notebooks. And there are so many different shapes and sizes. But the thing almost everyone likes, is Field Notes. Start by getting a mixed three pack. And go from there.

Some people only need pocket sized notebooks, while others, like me, need larger notebooks for writing, notes and so on. There are many factors that are important when it comes to notebooks

  • Size. There are many different sizes out there, everything from very small, like for example Field Notes to the huge notebooks some of us really like. Some pick one, and stick with it, while others like me use different sizes for different tasks.
  • Book binding versus spiral bound. They are either spiral bound or more like a book, when you start looking at larger notebooks. There are good and bad things about both. Spiral bound is more comfortable to write in, but less durable, and doesn’t look as good.
  • Short dry time versus less feathering and bleed through. This is a very hot topic. My experience is that paper either have very short dry time or they have more desirable qualities when it comes to fountain pen use. This means that you either get something where the ink dries very fast, or you get something where the ink doesn’t bleed through the pages and so on. I always prefer short dry time.

The only way to find out what works for you, is to experiment. But don’t buy a bunch of stuff just to buy it. I think it is important to only have stuff that you use, stuff that works for you.

The paper triad.

I’m not an paper expert in any way or form, this is just some thoughts and experiences I have collected during the last 2-3 years.

There are three different things that you need to take into consideration when you are looking for a new notebook, and more specifically the paper in it. I usually look at it in the form of the following triad

  • Thin paper
  • Short dry time
  • Little bleed through

Pick two.

It isn’t hard to find thin paper with no bleed through, but it will take a while before the ink dries. And it isn’t hard to find thick paper with short dry time and little bleed through.

There are exceptions to the rule. But my experience is that You need to pick two of the three.

'Tools and Toys

Mike Bates:

Visiting Field Notes Brand’s headquarters is a little odd at first, but also a little like what you might imagine the brand’s offices to be like. Located in Chicago’s meatpacking district a couple blocks out from Fulton Market, the largely unmarked building almost convinces you that you’ve got the wrong place. But you don’t.

What a fantastic photo essay. What is that very large Field Notes notebook? And who do I need to bribe in order to get one?