The Fastest Pen in the World – Porsche Shake Pen

I’m a car guy. I don’t own a lot of cars and the most I ever owned at one time was 3 old cars with a combined Blue Book value of a new small economy sedan. Growing up it was a dream of mine to get up in the morning and be able to choose what car I wanted to drive to work from a fleet of cars I enjoy driving. Do I want to drive the Jeep, or the sedan or the sports car?

I did that for a while but the upkeep, insurance and tags became more money than the sum of enjoyment I derived from it. During those short periods I never owned a German car due to the unfounded fear that maintenance and repairs are expensive so as a side benefit of this pen hobby I now own a Porsche. Ok it’s a pen and technically a Porsche Design pen that has been billed as the fastest pen in the world. Read on to see why that marketing hype may not be that big of a stretch. Either way I can now get up in the morning and ask myself what am I going to write with today, the Edison, The Bentley, or maybe that’s Bexley, or the Porsche?

Recently my friends at The Pen Company sent me over the Porsche Design Shake Ballpoint in white resin to give it a try. I wonder about the Porsche moniker being used for anything outside of the automobile realm but here is an excerpt from the Porsche Design website.

Porsche Design is a luxury brand with a particular focus on technically inspired products. The brand was founded in 1972 by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, whose products have stood for functional, timeless and purist design ever since. The products are designed in the Porsche Design Studio in Zell am See, Austria and sold around the world in the company’s own stores, shop-in-shops, high end de- partment stores, exclusive specialist retailers as well as the official online shop.

The Pen

  • Material: White Resin
  • Length Overall: 4 1/16”
  • Barrel Diameter: 25/64”
  • Weight: 1 oz
  • Street Price: $103 USD
  • Germany is stamped on the side of the tail piece but the website says designed in Austria

Packaging
Packaging is well done and what you would expect with a Porsche licensing. My usual disclaimer applies: I’m a box saver and this one stacks easy, but if you’re not a saver this one doesn’t give you any pause as being unusual. Enough about that.

The pen is in the box with the refill loaded and ready to write.

Construction Fit & Finish

This is a pocket size pen at just over 4” with no cap or clip. Three major parts that you see, the body made of thick resin, and two metal chrome ends. Looks like it could take a good pocket beating and stay nice looking. The White resin appears to be white all the way through so I suspect that would help with scratches. I would need a little more mileage on the pen though to positively confirm that.

Overall Appearance

This is a short attractive pen with gentle curves and a beefy mid-section. With the proportions and the curves of the chrome end pieces I can use a little imagination and see a little Porsche 911 in it, or maybe that’s just me not being able to let go of the car associations. I don’t know how they do that with some of the other products selling under the Porsche Design line but I think they played decent aesthetic homage to the brand with the pen entry.


Porsche design calls the barrel special edition white pearlized resin. It contrasts better than I thought it would as white on chrome.

The tail piece has a slight bump that works perfectly as an anti-roll device and it holds a vertical branding of PORSCHE DESIGN engraved in it. Tasteful and discrete.

Ergonomics

The girth of the pen fits my larger than average hand well, even with the short length and there is no sharp edges on the tail where it rests in the web of skin between my index finger and thumb. The length is probably at the length limit for me to call a pocket pen without a clip. A 1 ounce weight and a little bigger grip section near the tip of the pen makes this a comfortable pocket writer for me.

By far the most interesting feature of this pen is the tip retract and extend mechanism. It’s done with just a shake of the pen, or maybe I would call it a flick of the wrist. I’m a big fan of EDC pens being quick to deploy because if I’m going to carry it in my pocket it’s for quick notes on the run, emphasis on quick, while waiting in line, checking out or some other task that usually has people waiting behind me to do the same thing so I like to get done and out of the way.

The Shake Pen is unique and one handed it worked for me every time. This is where I would give props to the claim of fastest pen in the world. Even with a conventional one-handed click pen there is some finger re-positioning after deploying the tip with your thumb and then moving to a writing grip. With the Porsche Shake Pen you just flick your wrist in the direction of the pen’s writing tip and your writing tip appears. Sign your receipt, flick it again and tip is gone. Done, clean, slick. Here is a short video I did showing the shake in action.

Clip

No clip, proceed to next section.

Refill

The Shake Pen uses the venerable and widely available D1 format. There are a lot of good choices on D1 refills if you don’t like the Pelikan branded unit that came with the pen. It worked fine for me as a ballpoint.

Porsche Shake Pen ApartConclusion

My first Porsche is attractive, doesn’t need to be insured and the shake function is fun and practical. Deploy and retract worked every time that I flicked it correctly. If you’re a fan of the brand this pen could support that in a small way and would probably look good in the center console of your 911, Boxster or Buick. I liked the pen and have not rotated it out of my pocket carry yet. Thanks again to The Pen Company for sending this one over to try out.

Any connection you have with pens and cars?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Can a Pen Be Worth 10x More Than Another Pen?

Pen Value All Math is the one subject from school that I have used the most throughout my life. I was good at basic math but algebra and trigonometry, not so much. As I accurately, but naively, forecasted I have not used either of those last two in my real life. I don’t really apply a lot of math skills in supporting my hobbies but the overall price does play a role and I go by the very loose rule that more money buys higher quality and/or more exotic material.

After buying the last wrist timepiece that tickled my fancy (ok Amazon recommended buy that I bit on) I realized I paid 1/10 of what I invested in the watch now sitting right next to it on the dresser. I paused briefly and thought to myself did I get 10 times the enjoyment out of that watch over there?

In the picture above I dug through my hobby piles and found some examples of pairs that had a roughly 10x cost difference. Of these items, the watch duo is probably the easiest to pick out the 10 timer. From a practicality perspective the one on the left keeps time just as good as the one on right that costs 10x more. The one on the right certainly has more features and probably the aluminum construction and electronics cost a little more than the rubberized plastic of the Timex on the left. Quality I can’t speak to, though time may reveal a difference.

Pen Value WatchesThe pocket knife pair is a Chris Reeve Sebenza and a Cold Steel Tuff Lite. Both are very sharp, cut great and are built well enough to last through anything I will ever need to do with a knife.Pen Value KnivesYes the Chris Reeve fit and finish are better and the action is smoother. I thought later about a flashlight duo, another hobby of mine, but I think for this exercise you get my parables attempt.

Pen Value PensSince this is a pen blog I’ll focus on the pen comparison. The purple pen is a Lamy Safari, a very popular fine writer. I bought my first Safari, a different one, after reading positive recommendations that are plentiful for this model pen. I was not impressed with my first one and mistakenly assumed due to the price that a $30 fountain pen would always write like the first example I bought. Even that was not my first fountain pen disappointment before I really knew anything about sometimes finicky nibs.

The darker colored pen is a Visconti Homo Sapien that I truly love and it easily qualifies for the 10x cost factor compared to the Lamy. The material in the Visconti is some kind of million year old ancient sacred volcano lava that cures major illnesses (/hyperbole> and what Visconti calls a DreamTouch Palladium nib. I’m sure the material that makes up the Visconti costs more to harvest and process than the molded plastic and steel of the Lamy, but 10x as much?

Both of these pens are winners in my book regardless of price and will have a place in my EDC rotation for a long time. I have purchased, and subsequently sold, pens in both price ranges that just didn’t float my boat. I find that to be part of the joy of the hobby. I love how the Visconti feels in my hand, the balance, the size and the nib is the perfect balance of wetness, width and smoothness for my tastes. This second Lamy has been an equal joy to use, the shape is comfortable in my hand, the weight is different but the balance is good and the nib? Yep the perfect balance of wetness, width and smoothness for my tastes. A repeat performance every time I use it for 10x less money.

So why did I buy the Visconti? I bought the Visconti before I added this particular Lamy to my collection but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Visconti’s reputation, the uniqueness of the material, a palladium nib are some of the factors that drew my attention, my research and eventual purchase. It doesn’t write 10x better than the Lamy and I don’t think its quality is 10x better either. The Visconti had traits in a pen I had not experienced before and was willing to try them at the sale price I was able to reach. I’m very glad I took another shot at the Lamy Safari club, this one confirms to me that all the great recommendations for this pen were for a pen like this one, not the first one I owned a couple of years ago. Recurring theme: I am so glad both pens are in my collection.

My goal for this post was to give a real world example that one doesn’t have to spend a lot of money to thoroughly enjoy the fountain pen hobby. You may not like either of the pens discussed here but I’m sure there is a pen in all price ranges that will bring you joy using it every day.

As a last example I just spent twice the purchase cost of a pen to have the nib tuned. I made the pen myself so the purchase price was really for the kit. Total investment now is about $50 and I’ll put it up against any $50 pen I own in pure writing enjoyment. Probably not the wisest financial decision but I’m sure glad I did it.

Dr. Jonathon Dean did a much more in depth, fact based post here on a similar topic of the value of pens. If the economic side of the pen hobby really interests you I would encourage you to subscribe to Dr. Dean’s blog at peneconomics.com. He’s a lot smarter than me in this area.

Whatever the financial investment is in your pens I hope you take the opportunity today to enjoy them.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Cognitive Surplus Journal Review

I am in a comfort zone with paper. I have my brands that I like but I’m always open to try new things. Cognitive Surplus is a company that offers recycled paper journals in some really cool covers and 4 different configurations. Besides being a unique name I had not heard of them before as a force in the paper or journal space. I’m glad they found me. They were kind enough to send over a couple of their journals for me to try out. A Hypothesis and an Experiment. I love the names and they offer two other variants as well called Test and Theory. See the whole line here.

I hope you’ll stay a minute and read about my experience with these two.

Size

Both of my review samples are slight variations of the A5 size. The hard cover is a little bigger than the paper itself and the soft cover is flush with the paper measuring in at 6 ¾” x 8 7/8”.

The soft cover Experiment is 112 pages coming out to ¼” thick and the hardcover Hypothesis with 192 pages pushes out to 5/8” thick.
Price

  • $18.95 Hard cover Hypothesis
  • $10.95 Soft cover Experiment

Covers

I’m not a flashy guy and typically I don’t buy printed cover journals but I’m glad the Cognitive Surplus team jolted my norm a little bit. They have a big selection of attractive covers with a wide appeal that does not really cater specifically to a masculine or feminine style. I would have a hard time selecting just one from their selection but I will admit to an affinity to bicycles from fond memories of my youth. Nice catch here. My other cover was Crustaceans & Echinoderms with an ocean theme in a pleasant greenish blue tone. They don’t do plain and now that I have carried the Bicycle version around for a couple of days I recall some comments from others about me stepping up my fashion game a bit. Although if you’ve seen my wardrobe you would have doubts, but a cool looking journal can’t hurt.

Construction, fit and finish are excellent and I tested the advertised waterproofness on the hard cover Hypothesis. The small puddle of water I put on the cover and let sit for a minute or two wiped right off with no trace.

Binding

The Hypothesis is a classic book bound style. It’s promoted as lay flat and it lays as flat as any similarly bound journal that I have used. Don’t expect spiral notebook type lay flat with any of them.

The Experiment soft cover model is 4 groups of pages folded over then those groups looked to be glued together. This type of binding construction helps it lay flatter I’m sure. You also get a little slimmer and lighter weight journal with the soft cover if space and carry weight is a consideration.

Paper

Cool covers are nice but the paper is where any journal has to deliver for me. I like purchasing recycled products in multiple consumer product categories but writing on recycled paper usually is not pleasant with anything wetter than a ball point.

Cognitive Surplus says their product is fountain pen friendly and I would agree. They suggest, with printing on the vertical belly band packaging, For best results use a small to medium tip fountain pen. That’s a good suggestion but by no means a requirement. You can see in my writing sample everything worked very well. The only ghosting I got was from my fire hose writing broad Faber-Castell Ondoro. Some thicker paper has fallen victim to it before so I will give kudos to Cognitive Surplus for their 80 GSM choice. Common with recycled paper is the off-white color. No surprises here and the tone is pleasant enough.

An additional feature of the paper is it’s FSC-Certified. The (FSC) Forest Stewardship Council is an organization that promotes and educates in the area of maintaining sustainable forestry. There are different levels of certifications within the FSC and I applaud Cognitive Surplus for their environmental contribution.

My review samples came with college ruling with 9/32” spacing. The line printing is consistent all the way to the edges and they looks like a medium shade of a forest green. It’s pleasing to the eye and well defined. The Experiment is lined on the front and the back. The option I tried on the Hypothesis is lined on the right, blank on the left.

Writing

Cognitive Surplus has done their research and produced the best recycled paper I have ever written on. The paper they have chosen has texture and you can feel it when you write, not nib drag or friction but a tactical feel that’s different from some of the popular brands’ coated paper. I liked it, coated paper is nice for its slickness and near impenetrability but drying time almost always suffers. The drying time for the Hypothesis and Experiment, with no smudging, was at 15 seconds. I have waited minutes for coated paper.

Conclusion

Thank you Cognitive Surplus for sending me out of my comfort zone with a splash of color in a quality journal. If environmental support is a passion for you I don’t think you’ll do any better with a recycled paper product that these. If the recycled thing is not a hot button for you I would still encourage you to give these a try. A quality product, at a fair price, with a wide array of cover choices and just enough customization on the inside to help you work like you want to.

Thanks again to Cognitive Surplus, I am still enjoying my time with the Hypothesis and Experiment.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Penn State Industries Pen Kit Review

I like to make things and I like pens. Several years ago when I was spending more time in the woodshop I made some simple ballpoint pens for family members’ gifts. They came out good, though somewhat plain and the Cross style refill wasn’t to my preference.

Since then I kept looking at that wood lathe over in the corner and kept thinking I needed to make a fountain pen. So just before Christmas I received the new Penn State Industries catalog and decided to give one of their fountain pen kits a try. Penn State Industries is a popular supplier for hobbyist that cover the arts and craft scene with handmade pens to sell. The ordering process is dizzying with all the choices, pen mechanisms, finishes, tools, supplies and a huge host of pen body materials to choose from. Plus it doesn’t stop at pens, the same concept of turning raw material will let you make wine stoppers, ice cream scoops, razor handles and other gifty ideas.

The model I landed on was the Olympian at about $13. The hardware I received was a mixed bag of plastic parts and metal parts. The metal parts being substantial enough to give the final product a sense of quality. It came with a converter, an ink cartridge and what Penn State calls a German made nib. I needed a few other tools like drill bits and such so my total tab for this project was a bit more than the pen kit.

For my project the pen body was harvested from some 100+ year old barn wood from a family member’s homestead. We made some other keepsakes for the family member out of the same wood and we had a piece left over that was big enough for my fountain pen project.

You start by cutting the body material down to size. You need two pieces in the correct length for the brass tubes provided in the kit. One for the pen body and one for the cap. Drill bits are a very precise size. I chose to pick them up with the pen kit and I doubt I will ever need to replace them, or need them for anything else other than making more pens.

Next you mount the two pieces on a mandrel and load them on the lathe to begin the turning process with sharp chisels. You turn the 2 pieces down to near the diameter of the size bushings and then sand them progressively finer to reach the final size. I went down to 800 grit because that is the finest grit I had on hand.

Finishing of the wood can become a whole science in itself. I took an easy route using CA (super glue) and some automotive wax. The finish is warm wood without a lot of flash or luster. Your preferences may vary.

You need a lathe, some drill bits and a few other tools. I bought a small light duty cheapie lathe. For writing pens and the volume I plan to do this will work fine. I’m sure someone could get crafty with a drill press but either way you’ll need some tools.
The price of entry is not conducive to making a single pen. A Pilot Metropolitan is a far greater value if you look at the pure economics.

The nib appears to be decent quality. I cannot confirm a German descent but I have no reason to believe it’s not. I was disappointed in the dryness of the nib when I inked it up for the first time. I suspect, as with some other inexpensive pens, nib performance may be hit or miss. Mine needs some tuning, and yes I will probably spend more than I paid for the pen to have it tuned. Everybody does that right? What’s more disappointing to me is if I were going to give this as a gift to a non-pen person I don’t think they would enjoy the writing experience and that might persuade them to avoid fountain pens in the future. I don’t know what the solution is though when marketing a $13 kit.

With glue up and finish drying time I have about an hour invested. I like the final product. I think with practice using the chisels I could give the body more character. The cap threads are plastic but smooth. You will not mistake this pen for a Mont Blanc but even precious resin can’t match the warmth of a family member’s 100 year old homestead barn.

This was a fun exercise. I have another kit but no body material in mind. Have you ever tried it?

Remember: Write something nice……

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TiScribe-Bolt Pen Review

The fidget factor in pens can be alluring if you write and wait or write and think a lot. Whether it’s a cheap swag click pen, a magnetic cap, those fancy Visconti cap threads or other methods, moving parts on writing instruments get our fingers’ attention. Who hasn’t been annoyed in a meeting while the person across the table incessantly plays with a loud clicker. To compete with the colleague with the click Bic there is probably no greater fidget factor than a bolt action pen. I don’t know who did it first but there are several out there and the designs are similar. I’m not overly dexterous so the form factor is not my absolute favorite but I cannot deny the fun and rarely can I resist a good bolt action pen.

The latest offering to hit the pen scene is a Kickstarter from Kelvin over at Urban Survival Gear, called the TiScribe-Bolt. Kelvin has released several good writers and based on the review sample I received the TiScribe-Bolt will fall right in line with the quality we’ve come to expect from him. The design element that sets the TiScribe Bolt apart from the rest is the the whole clip moves the slide action to extend and retract the writing tip. I wouldn’t call it a revolutionary design but we’re talking about the company that was brave enough and cool enough to make a machined pen highlight. Kelvin’s creativity is inspiring, and it’s a great pen.

The Pen

  • Material: Available in brass, copper and titanium
  • Finish: All three are available in stonewashed or polished
  • Length: 5.5”
  • Diameter Body: .375 ”
  • Weight: 27.4g
  • Price:   Early Bird pledges start at $49 (Brass) up to $74 for Titanium.

Packaging

Urban Survival Gear takes a minimal approach to the packaging. I like the thinking behind more money and effort put into the product. Kelvin uses the popular clear twist tube that serves the pen community well. This style packaging ships a lot of pens around the world safely and inexpensively. If you’re short on room or just not a box saver no big worry dropping this one in the recycle bin.

What You Get

  • TiScribe-Bolt Pen
  • Pilot G2 Refill

Construction Fit & Finish

Anything I have with the TiScribe name is high quality. The finish is good with no obvious machining marks, threads start easy and they are quiet. I love that attribute and the attention to detail. The cone is about ¾” long and it took me a minute to get a good enough grip to unscrew the pen. It’s tight and probably helped by the O-Ring. I didn’t need pliers or anything like that but this thing won’t be rattling loose. The J channel for the bolt action accommodates the clip assembly well with the machining tolerances giving a smooth action with no looseness or sloppiness. Impressive

Overall Appearance

Kelvin is offering a polished or stonewashed finish of titanium, copper or brass. The review sample I received is the polished copper and out of the package it’s beautiful. Patina sets in quickly so depending on how you feel about that order accordingly, you know it’s coming.

True to the TiScribe line of pens the Bolt has a clean utility look that is simple and attractive. Five machined grooves near the business end of the pen offer a visual breakup of the smooth body and also offer a good grip. The clip on all the pens is titanium.  The clip is stout looking but rounded enough to work with the aesthetics of the curved tapered nose cone of the pen. A nice depiction of the Urban Survival Gear’s logo is engraved in the tail end of the cap. A nice touch and if I had one nit pick of the pen I would like the angular lines of the logo to align with the clip. That’s probably more to blame on my brain wiring than a real design element.

You will recognize this as Kelvin’s work and that’s a good thing. Unique enough from other machined pens but not straying too far from convention.

Ergonomics

The TiScribe-Bolt is a comfortable writer, diameter is good and the 5 grooves give your fingers a nice resting place without any sharp edges. The copper is the heaviest of the three metals available but I found the weight and balance to be fine. Writing tip engagement and retract is an easy one handed thumb affair. Isn’t that what a bolt action pen is all about?.  Maybe not quite as fast as a boring pushbutton knock but fidget toy factor:  A+.  I found it easier than some of it’s competitors I’ve used and I think it’s because the clip is a bigger handle for my thumb to run the bolt through the J groove. A benefit I didn’t see in the pen initially but one I experienced as I spent more time with it.

Clip

Kelvin is making all the clips from titanium. I’m sure copper and brass make lousy clip material and making one clip for all models is a more efficient production model. The clip on the TiScribe-Bolt moves. That’s ok, the metal is stiff and you get a slight gap between the pen body and the end of the clip. That helps put a stiff clipped pen in your pocket or clip it into a pen loop. If you’re looking for a super strong hold on a file folder or something that’s super thin then you may want to test that fit first. In my play time I could not detect any marring of the pen body from the clip movement and I suspect there has to be some movement to get the smoothness in the bolt action.

Refill

The TiScribe-Bolt is Pilot G2 size. For an extra $10 you can get an adaptor for the Parker size. I’m fine with the G2, the Uniball Jetstream, Pilot Juice or V5. A wide choice of refills fit this size pen. Standard stuff for machined pens and thanks Kelvin for sticking with a popular standard.

Conclusion

I like the TiScribe-Bolt and Kelvin’s innovative design. Not groundbreaking writing instrument stuff but a creative twist on what is relatively new pen mechanicals, the bolt action. I applaud that in a maker. Thank you Kelvin for letting me go along for the ride.

Here is what my friend Mike Dudek had to say over at the Clicky Post on the TiScribe-Bolt

Here is the Kickstarter Campaign

Here is the Kickstarter video

Remember: Write something nice……

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The Right Pen For The Job

I think it’s normal for pen people to burn mind calories and energy picking our preferred writing instruments based on the task in front of us. Maybe a house purchase, a marriage license or some other big event garners special attention to the choice of writing instrument. For me it’s more mundane tasks such as an extended note taking session at work, my pocket EDC for the day, church on Sunday or a variety of other tasks. It’s a joy to go through my collection and maybe stumble across a pen I have not used in a while. Many times this is not a fountain pen as it’s just not practical. Recently I caught myself doing this almost unconsciously.

I am fighting some finger joint pain and that’s required a few more visits with the medical professions that I’m used to. With the turn of the new year many of said professions need new paperwork for 2017 or I’m seeing a specialist for the first time and the new patient clipboard is daunting. This week I had another one of these new patient appointments and there I was the night before going through my roller ball and gel pens.  I was probably spending a bit too much time evaluating what is going to be the best pen for the job. I mean anything had to be better than the $10 per thousand globby stick pen with the name of some drug I can’t pronounce printed on it right?.

Here were my choices and where I landed:

  • Pentel Slicci .25 – Form factor is a bit skinny to hold, further complicated by my aggravating joint. A fine enough line but a bit nail like scratchy. Pass
  • UniBall Jetstream – Not sure which tip I had but it was too bold. Pass
  • Sharpie Pen – Smooth and probably fine enough but maybe a bit wet if the forms are two sided on cheap paper. I just can’t have bleed through. The horror. Pass
  • Sakura Pigma Micron – Probably the best choice, wrote small enough, smooth and not very wet but I didn’t have a black ink version. Pass
  • UniBall Signo .5 – Smooth, always a favorite and just a quick decision on the .38 or .5. I landed on a black version of the one in the picture. Oh yes and I took a blue along as a backup. Success!

Everybody does this right?   Please say yes you have a medical forma pen.

Remember: Write something nice……

The Real Value of My Pens

kyles-metroI have a psychological trait that has affected me most of my life. It has some positives but overall I don’t think it’s healthy for my pursuit of hobbies and enjoying things. The examples that come to mind:

  • I own pocket knives that I carry but have never cut anything with because I’m afraid of dulling the blade and I won’t be able to duplicate the edge with a resharpening
  • I have owned cars that I did not drive due to the dread of work detailing them back to show car clean afterwards
  • I own firearms that I do not enjoy because of the dread of cleaning a complicated mechanism
  • I will not pry with a screwdriver or put a pipe on a wrench for that extra help for fear of damaging either tool

I am sure there are other examples but for some reason this trait has never bothered me with pens. I have written with every pen I own and carried them in a rotation from the first day I own them. My every day routine would not be considered hard use but they face the usual risks of dropping, being stolen etc during the course of my office and desk use. I enjoy all of them.

I do struggle with non-pen people casually asking to use one of my more expensive fountain pens and sadly this fear is replicated with my own children. It’s the fear of a desk roll off, a drop, pulling on a threaded cap or other accident that could just as easily happen during my own use. I think it’s related to me placing too high of value on things that can be replaced and subsequently are not enjoyed to their full potential by me and others.

I suspect my pre-teen son senses this and that may be the impetus behind him asking for his own fountain pen for Christmas. I was really excited about getting him pen engaged but on further reflection it motivates me to share my things a little more and reduce their status to just things. Santa spoiler alert: I purchased him a Pilot Metropolitan with his name printed on the cap. As a young boy that would have been a real treasure for me. I hope he sees it the same way, enjoys it and most importantly his over protective dad keeps his mouth shut about how it’s being used by its young owner.

I would love to hear your approach in starting a young person down the stationery journey.

Remember: Write something nice……

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TiScribe-HL Highlighter Review

Urban Survival Gear. I think that is what I am, an urban survivor that consumes a lot of gear, ok HAS a lot of gear that is rarely needed for actual survival. A company called Urban Survival Gear has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the TiScribe-HL .

Kelvin, from USG, recently offered to send one over for me to try out and warned me there was nothing else like it in the world. I might be coloring that a little bit but I love a maker that is passionate and excited about their product. Having reviewed the TiScribe fountain pen about a year ago I remember being impressed with Kelvin’s work and attention to detail so I welcomed the chance.

What came in the mail call was a bit of a surprise. The refill was a Mont Blanc Document Marker. Until I popped the cap off the refill I had no idea that “HL” in the name of the pen and Document Marker are synonymous with highlighter. It was a What The Heck! moment. In Kelvin’s defense, and with a smile on my face, I agreed there wasn’t another one like it the world.

The Pen

fullbfull2b

  • Material: Available in brass, copper and titanium my review sample is in a shiny brass
  • Length Capped 5 ½”
  • Length Uncapped 5 1/8”
  • Length Posted 5 5/8”
  • Diameter Body 3/8”
  • Diameter Cap 7/16”
  • Weight 39.2 g
  • Pricing: Pledges start at $41 for the brass version and at the time of this review that level was still available.

Packaging

Urban Survival Gear takes a minimal approach to the packaging. I like the thinking behind more money and effort put into the product. Kelvin uses the popular clear twist tube that serves the pen community well. This style packaging ships a lot of pens around the world safely and inexpensively. If you’re short on room or you’re just not a box saver no big worry dropping this one in the recycle bin.

packagingWhat’s In The Box

  • TiScribe-HL Pen Body and Cap
  • Mont Blanc Document Marker Refill (Available in green or yellow)
  • O-Ring (More on this later)Construction Fit & Finish

High quality was no surprise after my first TiScribe. The attention to detail is as good as any machined pen I have reviewed. I every time I used the pen the cap threads started easy with no squeals or roughness. I wish more machined pens took the time and focus that Kelvin and team have on the TiScribe-HL relative to body and cap threads. It doesn’t affect the writing quality of the pen but when they are smooth and quiet the experience for me is just better. A+ here.

The O-ring threw me at first until I got a little rattle after installing the refill. I knew a detail this big was not overlooked and that’s when it donned on me. Using the O-ring allows for any tiny manufacturing variances that may occur with the refills’ length and insures a tight quiet fit. Great idea, well executed. My only suggestion would be a drawing or quick text of instructions for dummies like me.

end-o-ringOverall Appearance

The brass is beautiful right from the start. Highly polished and smooth from the TiScribe factory. You can read mixed reviews on the patina that sets in with any brass or copper pen. It’s really a personal preference that you have decided before purchasing a pen made from one of these materials. You know it’s coming.

The accents on the HL include 4 grooves turned into the body of the pen at the normal grip section. They look nice and provide a good reference point for your fingers in the event you grab the pen while multi-tasking or your eyes are glued to text.

The tail of the pen is nicely tapered and near the tail are two black O-rings set into the body. I like the aesthetic appeal of the black but these mostly are functional to allow a grip of the cap when posting.

Another O-ring near the writing tip and a nice rounded taper going down to the yellow wedge tip of the refill.tip-grip-sectiontailgrip2Ergonomics

I’m not sure ergonomics is a stringent requirement for a highlighter but the TiScribe has no drawbacks here either way. Length is good, the four rings grooved into the body near where your fingers rest give a good indicator grip and the diameter of the pen comfortable. With the short cap the threads are close enough to the writing tip that your grip hand will probably never be bothered by them.

Cap

The cap is small, about 15/16″ in lenght and slighter larger diameter than the pen body. The very top is chamfered both for aesthetics and comfort I suspect. Threads are wonderful as described above and an O-rings mates the cap to the body to prevent any premature drying out of the refill.cap2Clip

My review sample came as a no clip option.  A clip is available (+$10), as well as a magnet installed in the tip of the cap (+$5) as a retention option.  I have the magnet concept on another pen and it’s actually quite handy. That would probably be my choice and retain the clean lines of clipless.

Refill

I have never used a Mont Blanc Document Marker. I have not reviewed a lot of highlighters to compare it with but thus far my limited experience says USG has made a good choice with the Mont Blanc. It’s wet and goes down thick, a trait I like in my fountain pens, so I welcome it. The color is vivid and dried quickly on the sample paper I tried. Winner in my book.

Conclusion

I don’t use highlighters a lot. Mainly because I find mainstream versions ugly and low on character. Coming from true pen nerd having nothing to do with highlighting text. I have a cool one now so I suspect I will be highlighting more than I have in the past.

If you are a highlighter and reading this blog you’re likely a pen nut so a TiScribe-HL may be eligible for your next pen spend. I can almost guarantee you there is not a cooler, or better quality highlighter out there. There is still time to get in on the Kickstarter. An added bonus is pricing is on the lower end of the machined pen spectrum.

Remember:   Write something nice……  (and highlight it!)

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Kaweco Traveler Case Review

Besides great pens Kaweco continues to venture out with accessories and products for the writer in all of us. Most of us don’t carry just a single pen so we end up with some type of pen case. The Kaweco Traveler Case I recently tried out proved to be a quality participant.front-closed

  • Weight 5.5 oz.
  • Depth: 1.5”
  • Length: 4.5”
  • Width: 6.25”
  • Price: $115

CONSTRUCTION

The leather construction is typical Kaweco high quality and surrounds a well-executed design case. The finish and feel is rich and should hold up well. The light color will probably show some daily travel patina but your pens will stay healthy inside. The zippered closure on three sides allows the case to open completely flat

back-closed

branding

flapWHAT’S INSIDE

Inside there are 6 elastic loops to hold a good collection of daily carries securely. The loops are close together and to fit 6 pens in a compact footprint your pens are snug. That’s good but if you are particular about your pens rubbing and you carry clipped or larger diameter pens you might consider taking a little bit of time in positioning each pen. Not a big deal or a negative of the case just a design consideration. A leather flap adds further protection in the event you want to stuff the case with other supplies.

full-openThe mesh pocket on the inside front cover is perfect to add that one other pen you need, ink cartridges or other small items that might help you prevent carrying another case or reducing the load in your pockets.

mesh-pocketIN USE

6 Kaweco Sports look great in this case and Kaweco was smart, they kept a small profile product that will carry other small to medium size pens in this case. The largest I see fitting is a Karas Kustoms Retrakt. That covers a broad selection of pen brands and model sizes to meet your daily carry needs.

6-kawecos-no-flap 6-kawecos-with-flap 6-other-pensCONCLUSION

Kaweco has put together a quality leather case that should stand up to daily wear very well. If your needs are carrying 6 pens or less, a compact design and a classy look and feel the Kaweco Traveler’s Case would fit you very well. Thanks Kaweco for sending this loaner over for me to try out.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Pens For Sale

pens-for-sale-726x1024I have too many. Recently while rotating my daily carry I was going down in the number of pens I had inked up and I ran out of room for my normal storage routine.  I looked through my collection and some just never seem to make it to my carry pen case. I’m not sure why as they are all very nice writing pens. It’s time for these 6 to move on to better parents.  If you see something you like drop me an email to bob@mypenneedsink.com

USPS Priority Shipping CONUS included in the price. If you want the box I can probably dig those up but if that is a deal breaker for you send me an email and I will search for the box specifically.

1. Jinhao X750

  • Gold body color
  • Medium Steel Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $10

2. Nussbaum Nicholas

  • Gold Carmel body color
  • Medium Steel Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $30

3. Cross Apogee

  • Blue Silver body color
  • Medium Steel Danny Fudge Tuned Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $100

4. Conklin Nozac

  • Harvest Moon body color
  • Medium Steel Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $50

5. Conklin Glider SOLD

  • Tiger Eye body color
  • Fine Steel Nib
  • Fill style: Converter
  • SOLD

6. Edison Hudson SOLD

  • Green marbleized body color
  • XFine Steel – Richard Binder Tuned Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • SOLD

If you see something you like drop me an email to bob@mypenneedsink.com

Remember: Write something nice……

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