How I Choose My Next Pen

I had my dream job for a couple of years back in the early 80’s. The office supplies buyer for a big company. That role has gone the way of big discounts with major chains but back in the day there was a fair amount of negotiations, product comparisons and competition going on and I loved it. Where I got a little sideways was probably my overzealous testing of writing instruments that we paid $.72 a dozen for, I will never forget the winning product that won based solely on price, those pens were awful and they are still sold today (Could they really be that awful then?). If we were going to buy cheap pens I wanted them to at least write good. They didn’t, and it just wasn’t a priority to the organization as a whole. I reluctantly bought into the rationale that most of the pens would have been lost, walked home or broke before they ran out of ink. In the end they proved adequate and we bought container loads of them. Another part of my job was questioning the justification of requests for higher quality pens on smaller purchase scales, we just called them “specials”. Yes I was THAT GUY that told the office admin that the company was not going to spend the money for G2’s, Uni-balls or GASP Cross pens, even for retirement gifts. I was a good corporate soldier and bought the pens I wanted to write with using my own money and even tucked my tail when a corporate exec would come over the top of the organization and demand a better writing experience at the company’s expense. Memorable times.

During that period, and still to this day, my subjective testing criteria for a pen has been fundamentally the same. I want them to lay down a solid line of ink with minimal pressure on the tip and be comfortable to hold. Nice aesthetics, as a purchase criteria, didn’t land on my checklist until many years later.

Today the writing part is pretty easy to attain as the technology has improved a lot with even cheap disposable pens from the major brands and many of the private label offerings, I still love the Staples Sonix product. Where my tastes have expanded over the years is in the aesthetics area and the source of the pen.

When I can try a pen here are my bulletized criteria. The showstoppers for me are:

  • Does the ink flow skip?
  • Does the pen require a lot pressure to get a saturated line of ink on the page?
  • Does it leak?
  • Does it start as soon as I place the tip to the paper?
  • Is the pen body and section slippery to hold?
  • Does the cap go on and off easily and have good retention while on the pen

When none of the above are issues then it gets even more subjective and I may have more leniency in these areas:

  • Do I just like the looks?
  • Is it a brand I have never tried before?
  • Is the maker somebody I like and respect or just starting out and could use the support?
  • Is it a limited edition that I am FOMO’ing over?
  • Is this a new model for the maker/brand and I just want everything they make?
  • For fountain pens how easy is it to clean?

Size comes in to play for me when I’m shopping for an enjoyment pen. I think I have average size hands for a 6’ male. I have some minor arthritis so a large pen is more comfortable for me. Both in length and diameter.

You may notice an absence of any consideration given to a clip.  I don’t clip a pen to anything so unless the clip is just hideously ugly it rarely carries any weight for my choices.

Some of these questions are ignored when I’m buying a machined pen or similar that will take standardized refills because I know the writing portion can be fixed with a Parker, G2 or D1 type refill. Additionally a fountain pen that I really fall in love with may get a pass in the ink to paper area since that can be fixed with nib tuning if all the other characteristics of the pen grab my attention. Though I have lamented before I strongly dislike buying a brand new pen that has to be sent off for nib work.

The above lists have worked well for me and I don’t seeing it changing any time in the future. The pen is a pretty simple concept. A stick with an ink reservoir.

Anything else you consider when shopping for your next pen? Maybe I’m missing something.

Remember: Write something nice……

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My Analog Room

Over the years I have fallen deeper into this hobby which has resulted in a common collection of pens, inks, pencils, note cards, letter paper and so on. I haven’t amassed a huge collection so I have been able to contain it to a bookshelf in my home office. Though my recent acquisition of paper products has outpaced my use of said paper products so everything gets rearranged to make it fit after I try it out.

I find myself putting off writing letters and not enjoying my pens because of the time it takes to find what I want and the subsequent put away afterwards. I have longed for a good solution and after some mental stalling and fear of just doing it I think I have made some progress. Recently we freed up a room in our house that was starting to collect more random household goods than we wanted. I decided to transition the room to the Analog Room. Not a man cave, but a place for anyone to experience an occasional refuge from email, screens and technology.

The center piece for me will always be the electro-mechanical pinball machine that is very similar to the one I had as a child. I still love a good game of pin without having to maintain a pocket full of quarters.

The first purchase was a writing desk, just for writing, no stapler, tape dispenser, pictures or doodads, just a blank desktop. I wanted small and preferred a roll top variety not for the nostalgia as much as for dust control. Shopping the online classifieds, prices ranged widely and I think some of the sellers’ believed theirs was used by Thomas Jefferson when he penned the Declaration of Independence. I found a reproduction that fit the budget to a point that if this hair brain idea doesn’t work out I’m not out much coin. A short drive, exchange of cash and a cleanup from some domestic animal that shed blankets full of hair in one of the drawers and we got it inside our new room setup. It has a few age bruises but if I ever have to sell it I will go with words like patina and character.

Writing Desk

Immediate Needs

  • Lighting
  • Chair, do I go vintage or comfort?
  • Ceiling fan with electrical, it gets quite warm in there
  • Cellular signal and wi-fi jamming device (ok kidding)

Coming Soon

  • JCPenney table radio that works great with the old tune dial
  • Old citizens band radio desktop microphone that my dad used
  • Typewriter, though floor space may limit what I can do for a stand
  • Flip card rolodex for addresses, or maybe a Col-r-ring?
  • Hardbound dictionary

Cute Creative Stuff

  • A shelf or basket at the door for any visitors’ devices
  • A sign claiming the room as an analog only zone


I’m enjoying the setup so far though with a delay from our friend Irma the storm. I have written the first letter from the new desk to my lovely wife who has been extremely supportive, yes I mail letters to my wife who lives in the same household. I look forward to some Pinterest cruising for analog ideas and inspiration and I’m hoping I can get a few pictures through the window for social media as I progress because remember devices will not be allowed in the room 🙂 .

So do you have an analog space or have any ideas for mine?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Are You Going To The Atlanta Pen Show

Atlanta Pen Show Apr 21-23, 2017Is it too early to start planning for the Atlanta Pen Show ? I think not. I keep telling myself I want to make it to DC and Atlanta this year but so far Atlanta is the only sure bet. I’m getting a little better at the whole pen show social aspect after 2 years. That hesitation is totally on me, everyone at the show has always been super nice and friendly.

Atlanta Pen Show

April 21-23, 2017
Wyndham Atlanta Galleria

I have not done a lot of research so far but a growing list of what I want to see has emerged:


I’ll end up with one of these shimmering, shading, flakes of gold ink at the show. Not sure which one but my interest is up:

  • Diamine Shimmering Red Lustre – I like variations of red and Diamine has always performed well for me as a brand.
  • Robert Oster Fire & Ice – I will be surprised if I find any of this available. I think it’s been very popular
  • A new brown ink – this will be my first attempt at shopping by swatch as I have no brand allegiance or ideas.
  • J Herbin Emerald of Chivor – I know I’m months and months late to the game on this one but if it’s still available it may be this one or the Robert Oster
  • Akermann #28 Green – I have a green I really like but it seems like I hear about this one every week on the Pen Addict podcast so I’m going to give it a try.


  • Anything in real wood – Since making my first fountain pen out of a pen kit and some old barn wood I just love the feel of the wood in my hand. I also have a Faber Castell Ondoro in real wood and it’s equally soothing in hand. I’m gunning for your table Ryan Krusac.
  • Aurora Optima – I don’t own an Aurora and I’ve heard good things about them. This will definitely be a try before I buy as I have only seen them in print.
  • Sailor Pro Gear – See Akermann #28 above
  • Pilot Namiki Stella 90 – This has been on my list for a long time and honestly I don’t remember why. Maybe if I actually find one and see it in person I will remember why.
  • Kanilea Pen Company – I’m on the fence on this one. Beautiful pieces but it’s on the high side of my price point so it will really have to speak loud to me in person.
  • Scriptorium – I love working with small makers and support them when I can. I have seen some of their work and it’s very nice.
  • Faber-Castell Special Edition Pure Black e-Motion – I love everything I have of Faber-Castell. Plus every one of them have been perfect writers right out of the box. Their styles can be unconventional but their quality always rings my bell.

The links above are for reference only. I have purchased from the dealers referenced and will purchase from them again but there is no affiliation other than that. Pricing should not be assumed the lowest available.

So there I have it, If I get one of each I will come home broke and probably on a bus so the hunting and deciding should be fun.

Would love to hear any recommendations you have for me on the above or what your plans are for The Atlanta Pen Show or other shows this year?

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 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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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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One Pen Challenge

img_3645When I returned from the Atlanta Pen Show I was a good pen steward and immediately flushed my pre Atlanta pen rotation. I put those pens back into storage as I knew I would be using my new purchases. I settled back into normal pen life and decided 2 of my new pens needed to go back for work. One was a manufacturer defect and the other was a chance I took on a vintage pen and was unskilled at checking it out.

In my hotel room the Saturday night of the show I tried all of the pens with the hopes if something was wrong I could go back Sunday morning for a possible fix. Neither of the problems appeared but maybe my adrenaline and excitement just made them write better.

The vintage is going to my favorite pen repair guy Danny Fudge at He always delivers so no worries there. The other pen is going back to the distributor and possibly overseas to the factory so besides the wait I’m sure it will come back good as new and I can’t want as it was a beautiful writer. I’m a little bummed about it but not all that surprised since several of my past pen purchases have resulted in returns to have something fixed. I have always been happy at the end but the delay to utopia writing is sometimes disappointing.

What this has caused me to do is move to a single inked pen in my daily carry. Above is my daily pen carry case. My dear sister made this case for me after she and I thought through the design together. It’s not only functional for me but carries a great deal of sentimental value. What you see peeking out is my Shawn Newton Shinobi.


For the past week that has been my only Fountain pen and we’re really bonding after a lot of use. It’s different for me to not pause for that micro second each time I need to write something at my desk and think about which pen I want to use. Sometimes the decision would be based on ink color, nib width for small spaces or just I like that pen right now and I want to write with it. My Shinobi is a broad nib so small medical forms are out, of no fault of the pen but for everything else it’s been fun, grab one pen sitting on the desk, it’s always there in the same place and writes every time. We’re getting to be really good friends.

I look forward to my new two coming back and I’m sure they are going to be as great as I had hoped for. I’m considering carrying each of them as my only fountain pen for a period of time and maybe nurture a similar the bond I’ve experienced with the Shinobi.

How about you, have you ever carried just one inked up fountain to use for everything?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Atlanta Pen Show Recap

The clothes washer is full, car needs an oil change and my bank account is flying a bit leaner. Yep, the Atlanta Pen show is over. This was the second year that I dragged my wonderful wife up with me and though we were more prepared than last year we didn’t get bogged down with following any sort of script. If you went I hope I didn’t scoop any pens out from under you. If you didn’t go and have resources or distance advantage to go to another show I can’t recommend it enough. Here is our experience from a great trip.

Our drive up Friday from Tampa was uneventful and our only stops were lunch and the Going Gear shop that was about 6 miles from the hotel. I have shopped with them online for a while and if you’re into other pocket toys such as flashlights and pocket knives they are definitely worth a stop while in the area. Their flashlight display is the best I have ever seen in person. Hotel check in was fine and Longhorn served us a great steak for dinner.

We started off Saturday morning across the street at the golden arches because the Waffle House was still full of PenAddict Posse passed out from too much ink on their pancakes and pulling an all-nighter, sorry we missed it.

Name tags are great, we spotted Lisa Vanness in line so we tried out this community thing and I walked up and bought her teams’ breakfast. She was a little taken back but then I explained my motivations and it was like we were old friends. Granted it wasn’t a big spend for me but the payback to me and my wife was far greater than the credit card receipt. And yes I bought a pen from her later!

Back to the hotel and we got downstairs around 9:45 where the show was already alive and they let us in a bit early. My first task was to find Shawn Newton before he sold out of everything. We spotted him in room 1 and I think I pulled my wife’s arm slightly out of joint with the nudge. Shawn was a real joy to speak with. He had a good selection left and I walked away with a beautiful yellow and black swirl Shinobi. It’s bigger overall than I expected but what a great writer and I’m a big pen guy. Shawn swapped in a broad nib for me which is perfectly tuned.

From there we started a tour of the tables just to get a feel for whole show. Rounding turn 3 at a trot Crazy Alan’s Emporium hit me up for one of the new 2016 LE Lilac Safari. I bit and Alan dropped in a broad nib for me. Nice $30 writer that I’m very pleased with.

After a couple of rounds I decided on a Franklin-Christoph. I sat down at the table to try some of the more creative nibs and ended up as plain as my wardrobe with a broad. I chose a model 2 with the ice frost finish and a red cap. Jim polished up the broad very smooth for me and even let me pick the color ink. Great experience and a supreme writer.

Now it was on to the Vanness table where Lisa fixed me up with a Sheaffer NOS pen with what she called a sharpie broad. I don’t even know the model of the pen but it is FUN to write with.

At the Nock table it was great to chat with Brad, Jeff, Myke and Ana over multiple passes throughout the day. They got stamina. I picked up a variety of Nock goodies, most everything I that I didn’t have already. Still don’t know what I should do with the key dangler but hey I got one!

We’re old so after lunch it was a short power nap then tried a local seafood restaurant that had good reviews but with waits reaching an hour at 4:30 pm we passed and found a burger joint.

Closing out the day we sat and listened to the PenAddict podcast live from the hotel room. My timing was a bit off to catch a seat in the live audience but that sounded like fun.

Sunday morning we hit the road about 8:30 in the morning and 7 ½ hours later rolled into our driveway in Florida. Good safe trip.

I’m an introvert when he comes to crowds. I don’t mind crowds but it’s hard for me to just walk up and talk to people. This show, and probably the pen community as a whole, helps me get past that. Everyone I talked too was so friendly, dealers, vintage, new, custom makers, it didn’t matter. Shout out to my friend Joe, The Definitive Gentleman Stationery. So happy to have crossed paths with him and chat a few.

We are considering the DC show this year but for sure next year Atlanta will be a do not miss for us.

I would love to hear about your time at Atlanta or any pen show. Any questions that I can answer for you as a show newbie myself I would be glad to answer and help you get to your first show.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Atlanta Pen Show

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 1.58.40 PM

Hotel is booked, gas in the car, ATM is cleaned out and I am ready for the Atlanta Pen Show.  Atlanta 2015 was my first pen show. I was overwhelmed with the choices and had absolutely no plan. I had a great time and did come home with a couple of goodies though my big purchase failed to hold my love but that’s for another blog post and a for sale thread. I’m hoping to avoid a similar buyer’s remorse this year by utilizing some sort of plan.

This year I assembled a loose list of the pens that have been on my want list, some for over a year, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on. I won’t come home with everything but I hope my list helps me prevent at least some of the aimless wandering.

My grocery list:

Aurora Optima

I have never owned an Aurora and would like to see one in person.

Faber-Castell Black e-Motion

I have fallen in love with every Faber-Castell I have ever purchased and the nibs have never required any tuning. I just want another FC broad.


They have an impressive booth and I hear great things about their products. I hope I can get close enough to their pens to try a few out and add one to my arsenal.

Delta Dolce Vita Oversize (Converter)

I want a Dolce Vita as my next BIG size pen. I am confused by the models and that is probably what’s prevented me from buying one online. I want a piston filler but all my research says the official OVERSIZE model is converter only.

Delta Dolce Vita Piston

Repeat…it will only be one or the other.

Delta Serena

I have not owned a Delta pen before so if I bomb on the Dolce Vita this may be a stand in.

Pilot Namiki Stella 90s

I just love the style and looks but in person it will have to jump out and speak to me.

Shawn Newton

I hear so much about Shawn’s work and see his beautiful creations online, plus what Shawn gives back to the community is inspiring. Picking all the options online is just overwhelming to me so I’m hoping he has a few pre-made models available.


I have heard great things about their pens so hoping I can see them in person and meet the folks behind the instruments.

Bexley Gaston Angel

I love the look, uniqueness and limited run. What may change my mind in person is the length. It only holds a cartridge and reportedly not large enough for a converter.


So that’s it, nothing super rare and nothing I just absolutely can’t write without. I would love to hear about your approach on shopping the pen shows and if you have a list for Atlanta.

If you go, enjoy, travel safe and I hope we can shake hands.

Remember: Write something nice……

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InCoWriMo 2016 is a Wrap!

incowrimoI made it through InCoWriMo 2016. With some changes at my 8-5 corporate gig, this year was tougher than previous years for me. Admittedly I did not mail a letter every day but between Feb 1 and Feb 29 I got 29 letters out the door so I think the spirit was upheld.

I hope the InCoWriMo willing participants list I was using possessed good addresses, though some of the names did surprise me. A few of the fun ones I sent:

  • I suggested Richard Branson get back into the vinyl record business
  • I gave some opinion and hellos to the Dalai Lama
  • I suggested to the Pope that writing more kind letters could advance all religions
  • I request from Larry Page that Google change the font back in their logo
  • I asked Bill Gates for an Apple Pencil type experience for that other operating system he used to code for
  • Finally I scratched out a note to Hollywood and I am trying to keep my phone line open to give the Ellen DeGeneres camp an opportunity to get through to me and schedule a time I can come on the show and talk pens and stationery with Ellen.

Other than those frivolous uses of ink and postage I wrote my normal sentiments of love, hopefully encouragement and kind words to my family and friends.

If you took a shot at a letter a day in February I hope it was a resounding success and a joyous accomplishment for you. I would love to hear about any fun ones you sent or any surprises you may have received.

Remember: Write something nice……

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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.

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Remember: Write something nice……

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