One2TenCNC TiScribe Fountain Pen Review

Main4I am not a real active business traveler. Monday through Friday I go from my home to my office and return the same route home at night and then get up the next morning and do it all again. When running errands and weekend jaunts I carry a lot more pocket candy, ok EDC, than most roadside emergency trucks carry in a tool box. For this reason I prefer my pocket pens to be small enough for deep front pocket carry while avoiding the dreaded thigh puncture wounds. Full size pens clipped to my pocket don’t really work for me as I’m out of pockets after two pocket knives and a flashlight.

I have a fair collection of pocket rocket writers but always get a bit excited when an opportunity to try out another one presents itself. Kelvin from One2tencnc contacted me the other day and asked if I would like to try his new TiScribe that he is funding on Kickstarter. It took me a bit over 10 seconds to respond with a definitive yes. Kelvin sent me a brass version of the fountain pen model to try out.

The Pen

Main3

  • One2tenCNC TiScribe Fountain Pen
  • Also Available as a G2 refill ready rollerball
  • Stainless Steel Medium Nib (Bock)
  • Available in Titanium, Brass and Copper
  • Kickstarter sponsorships starting at $60.00
  • 4.37” capped
  • 4.12” uncapped
  • .374″ Body Diameter
  • .394″ Cap Diameter
  • 34.5g / 1.2 oz Weight – Brass with cap and ink cartridge

Overall Appearance

sectionI love the highly polished look of these brass and copper pens when they are brand new. I equally enjoy watching them patina nice as they get used. Sitting on the desk the TiScribe is a nice looking pen. At just over 4 ¼” the size is right for my pocket carry and the clip length is well proportional while still being functional.

The body has four rings cut into the body near the top of the pen that provide great aesthetics, a good gripping surface and ingeniously hide the body threads.

The tail of the body has a slight bullet taper that I find pleasing. To my eye the taper keeps the pen from looking just like a straight rod of brass off the lathe.

Ergonomics

The TiScribe is a pocket pen. Ergonomics are not going to be its strength but as pocket pens go, it’s good. The rings near the tip of the body help with grip and the tapered tail prevents any sharp edges from digging in to the web of your forefinger thumb grip if that is your preferred grip.

Cap

IMG_2976The cap is short and a tiny bit larger in diameter than the rest of the pen, barely evident to the naked eye. Threads are quite smooth and on my prototype take a little attention to get started but after they engage, it’s silky smooth. Kelvin told me he has already addressed this on the production pens.

The cap is threaded which makes deployment a two handed affair but I find that more secure as they get knocked around in my pocket and best for avoiding pants pocket ink bombs from a dislodged cap.

Clip

clip3The clip is beautiful. Probably the best looking clip I have seen on a pen in a long time. Functionally good but not great. It’s formed from a solid block of grade 5 titanium which doesn’t make it flexible in a conventional pen clip kind of way. Clipping it to a notebook cover works but something thick like my jeans pocket I had trouble with. The clip is attached to the cap with a stout looking single screw that gives a really cool industrial look to it. Pretty sure you’re ripping clothing if you catch this one on something. It is a pocket pen so I’m not sure a perfect clip is a showstopper but Kelvin did mention to me he has addressed the flexibility with a slightly thinner final clip design in the production pen. It is gorgeous and does keep the pen from rolling off your desk. I’m not a pocket clipper so it works for me and I love the aesthetic appeal.

clip2Nib

nibNibs are supplied by Bock. I applaud Kelvin and the team for choosing a quality component that can make or break a quality writing experience. You’ll recognize the nibs from the Kaweco line also, good company to match components with. The fountain pen comes with a medium nib and my example wrote smooth with no skips or hard starts.

Ink Supply

Ink is delivered by a standard short cartridge. Lots of ink options are available today by cartridge and One2tenCNC provides a cartridge to get you started.

Conclusion

I really like what Kelvin has done, with the thread modifications and the Executive series funding his small line of pens is off to a great start. His Kickstarter campaign runs until 8/31. Get on over and pick up one of these.

Read Ed Jelley’s Review here

Read Mike Dudek’s Review here

Follow One2tenCNC on Instagram for updates on their campaign and spy shots of the Executive model. Follow Kelvin and the team on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/one2tencnc .

What is your pocket rocket of choice?

Remember: Write something nice……

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The Tiering of My Pen Collection

I heard an episode of the PenAddict Podcast a while back where Host Brad was interviewing fellow pen blogger, Ed Jelley. They were discussing favorite pens and the approach of categorizing one’s collection into Tiers. Tier 1 being your favorites, Tier 2 are pens you like and Tier 3 probably are good candidates to be sold off.

I liked the idea and got to thinking that I had never really cataloged my pens. This is a different exercise than a popular 5 best pens, or other similar lists. Granted there is no real definition of what elevates a pen to Tier 1 status but basically it’s your favorite pens that may or may not be a good fit for someone else.

I gave it a try and here is what I learned:

TIER 1

Bexley Poseidon Magnum Bexley Poseidon Magnum
I really like the design on this one, the Bexley nib is a joyous wet medium and the color combo will always be a favorite.
Visconti Homo Sapien Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age Maxi
Probably the only pen I own that I like how it actually feels in my hand. I don’t understand all the science in the lava material but it warms up the longer I use it. It’s a larger body pen and the palladium nib really is sweet.
Edison 76 Edison 76
I owned and enjoyed a couple of Edisons before I pulled the trigger on my custom 76. I couldn’t be happier. Great color, great size, clean no clip look and writes like a dream. I even got my ego in the way with my initials on it. Never sell ever.
Bexley Corona Bexley Corona
My first FINE nib after getting past my unfounded fear that anything smaller than medium was a scratchy nail. Love the thin fine line on this one. So smooth. Keep – Yes.
Visconti Divina Visconti Divina Desert Springs
My Divina may be the new factor syndrome so I should probably check back in a year from now. After multiple trips for nib tuning it has become a joy to write with and by far my biggest boldest nib. It fits my hand well and it’s beautiful to me.
Esterbrook J Esterbrook J
I’m not much in to the whole vintage scene. I have two vintage pens. This Esterbrook J and a Parker 51. I’m fascinated by a 50 year fountain pen but size wise this one’s a little small for grip but it does remain the smoothest nib I have ever used. Everal of those properties makes this a never sell.
Pelikan M1000 Pelikan M1000
Similar to the Divina, a lot of frustration getting this one to write well but since I got it right I have had it constantly inked up. That big #8 nib and a big body that just makes me smile every time I write with it.
Cross century II Cross Century II
The fountain pen that started it for me. I have had it tuned by the great Danny Fudge and since then it’s a great write. More sentimental than anything else though.
Phileas Joe Waterman Phileas
This one is 100% sentimental. A good writer but more important to me is it was a gift to me from a cherished mentor throughout the formidable years in corporate America. He was cleaning out his office and gave it to me to resell and reinvest the money in my collection. The imprinted livery had some great patina and at the height of it’s use there were a lot of decisions still made with pen paper and ink. I sit and ponder occasionally with this pen how it may have shaped my career. Never sell E V E R…

TIER 2

Without as much detail I;m listing below my Tier 2 pens. I like all of these and enjoy writing with them so typically they end up in my daily rotation when I give some of my Tier 1 pens a rest.

TIER 3

My Tier 3 pens are for sale. Proceeds from these sales would go towards purchasing the Future Tier Pens. You can see my FOR SALE page here

  • Conklin Glider
  • Cross Apogee
  • Platignum Studio

ICON TIER

I’m going to be a little creative here and create a new Tier called my Icon Tier. These are pens in my collection that I purchased based on their near icon status in the pen world. All of these come with the highest of recommendations and overwhelmingly positive reviews. The truth is none have really grown on me to love. I have no plans to sell them but I rarely write with them either. I just find I like other pens better. Maybe one day they will fall to Tier 3.

  • Lamy Safari
  • Pilot Vanishing Point
  • TWSBI 540
  • Lamy 2000
  • Pilot Metropolitan
  • Parker 51
  • Nakaya Long Cigar

FUTURE TIER

My next creative, or 5th, tier is comprised of pens I track that usually end up being my next purchase. A recent Platinum 3776 was not on this list but a deal came up that I was not strong enough to refuse but overall these are the pens I have had my eye on for awhile, in no particular order.

  • Aurora Optima
  • Faber-Castell Special Edition Pure Black e-motion
  • Delta Dolcevita Oversize
  • Delta Serena
  • Pilot NAMIKI Stella 90s
  • Shawn Newton Custom
  • Scriptorium Custom
  • Faber-Castell Smoked Oak Ondoro
  • Visconti Homo Sapien Crystal Swirl
  • Edison Piston Filler
  • Bexley Gaston Angel

OTHER LISTS

This was a good exercise for me to evaluate my modest collection. Have you stepped back and done an inventory of your pens? You may find some surprises.

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What Is It About Cheap Disposable Pens?

I went to our kitchen pantry the other day and retrieved the last two tea bags from the box. Customary in our household is everyone helps draft the shopping list for the next grocery store run. This mundane domestic task is completed with a sticky note pad in the drawer next to the silverware. Usually right next to the sticky pad is a disposable pen that is required to complete said task. This particular time I picked up a Papermate ComfortMate Ultra 1.0. An inexpensive, poor writing, rudimentary click disposable pen.

Papermate UltraNow I love my pens but I’m not so in love with them that I need to debate whether I write TEA BAGS with a wet fine nib or go up to a medium. I don’t have any idea how this Papermate pen ended up under my roof so it got me thinking and I set out on a quest to collect all the disposable cheap pens around the house. I gathered this eclectic representation of the disposable gel, ballpoint and rollerball pen industry and a few advertising freebies.

Bunch of DisposablesI often wonder about how non-pen people go about choosing what writing instruments to buy. I realize there a lot of pharmaceutical and other advertising pens going around so those probably reside with a good part of the population. I suspect a lot of the above were collected by trying to reach the $25 free shipping minimum with my friends at JetPens. Even without JetPens there is such a wide variety of brands and models in all the retail outlets. Recently while browsing in Walgreens, a local drugstore chain, I was impressed with the breadth of the writing instruments aisle. Standing there I surmised a couple of drivers that might prompt a trip home for any of these pens.

  • Price
  • End Cap Product Placement
  • Packaging / Marketing (New & Improved, Smoothest Ink on the Planet, etc)
  • Aesthetics (that’s a cool looking pen!)
  • Brand loyalty

I’m sure there are others. I recall as a corporate office supply buyer when I purchased at least a million Papermate stick pens for $.72 a dozen. Granted that was back in the 80s but they worked and they were cheap. During that same period I also recall rummaging through the supply cabinet looking for the cool pens for my desk. You could sometimes even sweet talk / bribe the department administrative assistant in charge of supplies to buy your favorites if they came by the dozen and could pass the test as a cheap disposable.

Most of the disposables I’ve used over the years write well enough to get the task at hand completed. Today’s example, the Papermate was a disappointment with its skips and uneven flow. In contrast a similar looking pen I recall, and actually wrote a review on, was a Staples branded Sonix rollerball. I was very impressed with it and if I had a need for pens in bulk I would not hesitate to try and work a deal on those.

Have you ever bought pens in bulk or for your business? What is your selection criteria?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Uni-Ball Signo 307 Review

IMG_2840-resizedI know I’m late to the game on the Uniball Signo 307 but I think it’s a great pen worth reviewing. While playing with the 307 I was reminded of the days before my real focus was fountain pens. I would frequently wander the aisles of the big box stores looking to see if I spotted anything new in the writing instruments section. I couldn’t really keep track of all the models and manufacturers of what I had already bought so occasionally I would end up with something I had already tried. Most of the time I just got sucked in to cheesy marketing when NEW AND IMPROVED was printed on the packaging. That might as well have been a catapult from the shelf to my buggy.

In the past couple of years I have not been a big disposable roller ball or gel pen user but you couldn’t tell that from the inventory of same sitting around my house in every drawer and open counter space. All of them get picked up and used for convenience. Most write well and get the job done and probably end up getting borrowed, lost or broken before the ink runs out.

When I read all the recent reviews on the new 307 I looked around and found a Signo 207. Frankly it didn’t make the top of my list but not because it was a bad pen but just nothing stood out for me. With my NEW AND IMPROVED interest piqued I actively searched out and purchased a Signo 307 for a compare and this review.

Aesthetics

Aesthetically I like the 307 slightly better the obviously comparable 207 but that is totally subjective. I think the 307 has a slightly more modern look to it, which is no surprise. They are very similar. The 307 has a subtle grid gradient on the barrel that gives a bit of a carbon fiber look that’s popular today. The 207’s barrel in smoky transparent where the 307 is black. Also the tip surrounding the writing point was changed from chrome on the 207 to black on 307.

IMG_2842-resizedIMG_2844-resizedIMG_2850-resizedClip

The clip on the 207 was chrome metal and in what appears to be the only downgrade the 307 went to plastic. Maybe a cost saving measure? They both seem to hold ok but I have to believe the metal would win out in a durability match.

IMG_2852-resizedErgonomics

No changes here that I can tell. The rubberized grip with the little nubbies is comfortable to hold. Average length, diameter and weight in line with most disposables in the class. The retract works smooth with a definitive click loud enough to drive your cubicle neighbors crazy.

Ink

The biggest advertised difference is the use of Uni-ball’s Super Ink technology in the 307. The promotion of the ink seems more geared towards its proclaimed permanency than the smoothness and writing experience. Uni-ball appears proud of the Uni Super Ink technology, which assuming their claims are true, it’s pretty impressive. From the Uni-ball website:

  • “…. The color particles of uni Super Ink stay suspended, the ink is not soluble in water or solvents. The uni Super Ink won’t wash off when immersed in water, acetone, glycerin, bleach or other chemicals used by criminals. Once on the page, uni Super Ink can never be removed….”

The 207 and the 307 both write well. Smooth with no skipping or ink blobbing but nothing really special to report. I will admit I was intrigued by the claim that nothing will get the ink off the paper. I fancy myself a bit with having a wide range of cleaning chemicals stocked in my garage for a variety of household projects that come up. No muratic acid but the toughest I get to is automotive brake cleaner which if you’ve ever let that stuff sit on your hands. Well it’s pretty strong and can be a good substitute for pepper spray, but that’s for another post.

I started with a sheet of good paper HP Premium Choice Laser 32lb. I figured the paper should at least be able to hold up to the chemicals. The magic formulas I tried with the 207 and the 307:

  • Water
  • Goo Gone
  • Greased Lightning
  • Simple Green
  • Purple Power
  • Mechanics Hand Cleaner
  • WD-40
  • Household bleach
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Gumont Carb & Choke Cleaner
  • Gasoline Unleaded 87 octane
  • CRC Brake Parts Cleaner

Maybe the 207 was converted to the Super Ink formula already?

IMG_2860 2Permanent or Removable?…Uni-ball’s Super Ink claims are not far off. I would say it’s pretty permanent. Now whether that’s any value to you or not I can’t tell but it was fun stinking up the garage all in the name of research for you dear readers

IMG_2861Conclusion

I like the 307. I didn’t use the 207 extensively to fairly compare the two but others have said the 307 is a slightly better writer. It’s smooth on a variety of media, I did not experience any skipping or ink blobbing and the ergonomics are as good as in disposable I have used.

Are you a big fan of the 207 and have you tried the 307 yet?

Remember: Write something nice……

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