What I’m Carrying Today – Bag Dump

Carry Today OverallI seem to carry a lot of stuff every day. I follow a couple of EDC sites and I guess I carry more than some and not as much as others. I’m sure it depends on the line of work one is in or at least how one fills their day. The below is my normal Monday through Friday Pocket and Bag Dump. Weekends probably see all the pocket stuff but I rarely carry my briefcase anywhere except the office or off site meetings. Only thing not pictured is my MacBook.

Carry Today Zoom InTo Write With (It is a Pen Blog)

Bexley and Edison have risen to the top of my daily carry rotation. Smaller makers that make high quality affordable pens that write wonderfully out of the box. My Poseidon is a sweet writing medium.

Ditto, but I have a fat wet broad in my Collier. My Review

My newest acquisition so by default my current favorite pen. I really love how this wood feels in hand and the broad nib is smooth with the right amount of wet. My Review

I just love the Sherpa concept. You buy the body of a pen and multiple inserts fit inside it to dress up or fun up your normally mundane disposable. My candy stripe edition is rocking a plain old black Sharpie. Some of the other inserts that work are:

    • Sharpie Accent Liquid Highlighter
    • Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers
    • Papermate Liquid Expresso
    • uni-ball Vision
    • Pilot V Razor
    • Pentel EnerGel
  • Lowes Mini Permanent Marker (Sharpie Clone)

Not a lot to review here. I think it was a giveaway but its featherweight and I have it in my pocket all the time. I use it more than I thought I would.

When I need a rollerball there are arguably few better than Will’s stuff. I’m grateful to get one of the last red anodized versions which I really love the color and finish.

One of my first big pen purchases and I have been very happy with it. The bronze accents have grown some nice patina. The lava material is a joy to hold and I’m not even sure what Palladium is but this medium writes wonderfully right out of the box. This one has a permanent parking space in my daily rotation.

A favorite pocket pen that’s light and quick to deploy with its push button retract. Mine has seen a lot of mileage as evidenced by the scratches and love. I experimented with a couple of D1 size refills in it and I think I’m currently using the Lamy.

  • Pen Travel Case

A handmade gift from my beloved sister. Nothing fancy but we sat over lunch and designed it for my specific needs. I don’t travel outside of home to office and back so I wanted something I could remove from my briefcase and just set on the desk without a lot of fuss to get to my pens. Not for everyone but fits my needs perfect.

To Write On

In the pleasent blue on gray this serves as my daily to do list manager that has really held up well for the past 5 months. Lots of pages, good with fountain pens in the FINE or smaller sizes and the best bookmarking system I’ve seen. My review

When I started my daily life journal habit back in 2012 I tried most of the major brands starting with the Moleskine. After many pages of writing in various brands I landed on the popular Rhodia Webbie. When TWSBI released their journal line I got one right away and fell in love with it except for one thing, the cover. The paper was great with fountain pens, large page count which made it a good value, stayed open very flat and it was less expensive than the Rhodia mainly because of the cover. The Rhodia is the better LOOKING journal.

The only thing I don’t like about the TWSBI notebook is the thin cover. I’m sure there are cost benefits but in my mind Rhodia has them beat on the cover. There is nothing inherently wrong with the TWSBI cover I just like something thicker for my every day use. Enter my friend Ed over at The Hide Shop at Hellbrand Leatherworks. I had purchased several pocket notebook covers from him and love his work so I asked him to make me a cover from my favorite TWSBI notebook. The end product makes my journal perfect for me. Ed does really great work and is a joy to work with.

Pocket Notebook for quick notes. This one gets beat up in my back pocket every day and it’s held up well. I have a draw full of all the competitors in the flooded pocket notebook market but I like the slightly smaller size of the apprentice. It holds up, takes ink well and just works.

General EDC

I’m a watch guy, or better description I have more than I need but maybe not enough to call it an obsession. I lean to clean analog faces with all numbers on the dial present. This one caught my eye on a recent vacation and after a trip back to Wenger for an out of sync movement I have enjoyed it a lot.

I like it and I got roped into the hype when it was released. It’s a beautiful knife that I carry often outside the office. Fit and finish is top notch and available in a nice selection of finishes.

I have been a fan of this wallet for many years. It’s made from what I would call parachute material. I have only replaced it once and it’s good for carrying about 12-16 cards and some light cash. Profile stays really thin and light. I hope someday my Wocket will replace this.

I’ve had this about 3 weeks and I really want it to work. My scan success rate is about 80% (Yes I track it). The concept is you carry 1 plastic card that is written to with the information from the account you want to use. Mastercard Debit, Visa Credit, Sears Credit, etc. The concept is great if you carry a lot of cards. Execution is still about a 7 on a scale of 1-10. You don’t need a cell phone for it to work and no data is stored on the cloud but for now I’m still carrying my wallet as backup.

I have invested lots of research and a substantial percentage of my toy budget in tools that make light. This little guy just keeps drawing me back. Light weight, bright enough for most daily office environment and around the house tasks and rechargeable by micro USB. Now why I would take a $13 flashlight and send it off to a customizer for the V54 package? Well you’ll just have to read up on Vinh Nguyen’s work. My Tube is always with me even if a larger light gets carried that day.

My office is not a great environment to walk around with my favorite types of knives clipped to my pocket. Anything more intimidating than a swiss army toothpick or a serrated butter knife can yield you stares I would rather avoid. BUT, I still find myself in need of opening boxes, trimming and other sharp object duties. This little gem popped up on my Amazon suggested buy list about a year ago so for $10 I took a gamble. Yes it’s small and stiff to open but I always find it in my pocket every day. I could suggest design changes but again for $10 not much point.

  • Duct Tape

About 4 feet of duct tape wrapped around an expired credit card. I don’t know why.

Not much flash here (see what I did there?). The 128 gig capacity finally came down low enough in price for me to upgrade and have plenty of room. My only silly criteria when shopping for one was someplace to attach a clip to the device. The Sandisk also retracts which is nice protection but I rarely do it.

  • iPhone 5S

Not much to say here. Maybe there is a 6S in my future. This phone just works.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note2

Ancient by today’s standard but my workhorse work phone that has served me well.

My pockets are usually full each day but to carry everything else I have relied on this faithful companion for the past 18 years. It has seen a lot of love and a lot of cities. I have temporarily replaced it multiple times with the other options but always come back to it. I even bought another one just like it as a backup. I never realized I would carry it for nearly 20 years. The eventual replacement that currently has my interest is a Duluth Packing briefcase of very similar design but I’m in no hurry. It’s a simple, minimal pockets design made from heavy canvas that has held up exceptionally well minus maybe the handles.

None of the links above are affiliate links I’m just trying to spread some love to retailers that I enjoy doing business with.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Faber-Castell Ondoro Fountain Pen Review

Uncapped on standAbout a year ago I yielded my first Faber-Castell Fountain pen in a trade with fellow pen blogger JB over at the Gentleman Stationer. He was very gracious to let me try out a few of his pens and in return I hope he enjoyed the Waterman I sent his way. I really fell in love with the looks and design of the Faber-Castell Ambition he sent. I didn’t realize until later how much I enjoyed the smooth bold nib.

Since then I have shopped the Faber-Castell line and learned I liked a lot of their designs. I think distinctive is a good word for them. I decided that an Ondoro would be my next FC addition.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I heard from a super nice lady, Lucy over The Pen Company in the UK. We struck up a conversation via email and I ended up with the opportunity to review an Ondoro. In my research I learned it came in a wooden body they call Smoked Oak. I like the natural feel of wood so I was hooked.

The Pen Company was a delight to work with. Friendly, quick and personal communications. I was surprised with a faster than expected delivery time from the UK down to Florida. Upon receipt it didn’t take me long to ink this one up and offer you the summary of my experience:

The Pen

Capped on standFaber-Castell Ondoro Fountain Pen

  • Smoked Oak Wooden Body
  • Also available in several colors of resin
  • Stainless Steel Broad Nib
  • Street Price $150.00
  • 5.05” capped
  • 4.83” uncapped
  • .55” Body Diameter
  • .63” Cap Diameter
  • 44.65 grams with ink in converter

Packaging

Packaging is probably on the higher end of the price point. A slip case within a slip case, supports to present the pen and a nice little ribbon pull on the inner most case. I suspect all the packaging comes in white, regardless of the pen model. Keeps in generic but I would still call it classy.

Packaging1Packaging2Overall Appearance

I stand by my descriptor of distinction for the Ondoro’s appearance. It may not draw huge attention laying on the table in the board room but the definitive hexagonal shape of the body and matching cap is not common. After a couple of closer looks from colleagues, I was answering a few questions about my latest acquisition. All were favorable. It’s a look I enjoy even better in person than I could see on the various web photos. The satin sheen finish on the wood barrel gives the pen a formal office study type look. Not feminine or manly just like a fine piece of furniture. The chrome cap is bold but not garish. I think the size proportion with the body is what makes the very different surfaces work well together. A subtle GERMANY stamp on the edge of the clip and the Faber-Castell logo are both subtle favorable touches on the overall look of the pen.

whole pen uncapped 3Fit and Finish

Construction and quality are top notch. Threads in the wood body come by a brass insert that is smooth and should last forever. Cap is of the snap on variety and there is no gaps or wiggling when the pen is capped. Considering the pen is really made from a tree the finish and edges on the wood body are consistent and sharp. A+ in my book.

Whole Pen apart 2Cap and NibErgonomics

This is a fatter than average pen, not an exceptionally long pen so if you like heft in your writing tools without a lot of weight the Ondoro could work. Looking at the pen on online the hexagonal edges of the pen did not look as pronounced. When I first opened the box and saw the pen it looked very angular and I was concerned they would be uncomfortable. My fears were proven wrong the first time I held the pen. You can feel the six corners of the pen, no mistake, but it is not uncomfortable at all. The weight of the pen fits me very well (I am not a poster) and the curve of the section where the wood connects with the nib is nicely concave and a good rest for my index finger. My grip is conventional so no surprise that the design works well for me. The feel of the wood is wonderful. I would say warm though I suspect I would need a long writing session for the surface temperature to actually raise.

Cap

The cap is stout, chrome, and a hexagonal shaped match to the rest of the pen body. The cap diameter is consistent over the whole length and it’s a slightly larger diameter than the pen body. I am not a cap poster but this cap will post and has a plastic insert to protect the pen body. With wood being a relatively soft material the pressure fit of the posting cap could cause some slight indentation in the wood body over time. Additionally the cap is not lightweight so posting will significantly alter the balance of the pen. That balance being a personal preference I can only comment I like it un-posted. A little unusual is the cap being  a snap on type compared to the more popular threaded cap. That doesn’t take anything away from the pen, deployment is probably a slight bit quicker and the quality of the cap fit is excellent.

cap3Clip

The clip is ok but not my favorite aspect of the Ondoro. What I call the ramp, is too small, making it hard to clip the pen on to anything thicker than a file folder. Once clipped is does an acceptable job. Aesthetically I don’t think it’s ugly or takes anything away from the pen but just not the best execution I’ve seen. On some pens the clip is good for an anti-roll device but nothing short of a category 3 hurricane will get this pen rolling on your desk. Photography was easy as long as you were happy with one of 6 angles. The tiny GERMANY stamp on the side of the clip is a nice touch.

Nib

The nib doesn’t disappoint in the distinctive area either. The design stays clear of the more traditional scroll work and replaces it with a dot theme. With my untrained eye through magnification everything looks aligned and the writing experience supports that. I would put the brand new out of box nib performance of my Faber-Castell in the top 3 pens I have purchased and the other two were a lot more expensive.

nib2nibInk Supply

The Ondoro takes standard international cartridges and includes a standard converter. I always pay special attention to converters that press fit on to a nib section. A cartridge typically gets one fitting on the section then you throw it away after it runs dry. The fitting and seal of a typical converter must last, and seal, much longer. The converter supplied with the Ondoro doesn’t go so far as threads but it does require a bit of a twist to get it seated. It builds confidence with me even if it may technically not make the seal any better.

Conclusion

I rarely shop for pen just based on looks. I have some pens that I think are pretty but rarely is that my primary criteria. The Faber-Castell Ondoro is an exception to that pattern. I had a bit of confidence in the Faber-Castell line based on my experience with the Ambition so I went solely on looks for this model in their line. I loved the shape and design, no regrets, when it reached my desk. I have made a few pens out of wood in the past and have always liked the texture and feel of a wood writing instrument so the oak material is a hit for me there as well. Since receiving the Ondoro my pen rotation has dropped to only three pens, the lowest daily arsenal in a couple of years for me. I just keep reaching for the beautiful German wood pen, I really love it that much.

And, if you need a good pen dealer with personal and prompt service check out The Pen Company. They are based in the UK and tell Lucy I said hello, great people to work with.

How about you, any experience with the Faber-Castell line?

Remember: Write something nice……

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