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……

Sherpa Pen Review

Sharpie Parts I like innovation and when it’s tied to the writing instrument industry I’m usually an instant customer. I also love the machined pen genre that lets the user pick the internals of the pen and ultimately choose the way it writes.

A little while ago I was shopping in a Paradise Pen store and was captivated by a product called a Sherpa Pen that I had never seen before. It’s a metal shell of a pen that holds a Sharpie marker or a plethora of other refills. Refill is probably a bit of a misnomer because the Sherpa actually holds the whole pen minus a cap. Sherpa’s construction includes a tight fitting cap, great quality finishes and an overall good quality construction. With the Sherpa capped you can’t tell that what’s inside is really an inexpensive disposable pen.

Sherpa is named after a town known for guiding adventure seekers to the top of Mt. Everest. Here is an interesting story of the people of Sherpa on the website.

Sherpa has designed their shells to work with a long list of pens. Here is a list of compatible pens from their website and a few I discovered on my own:

• Sherpa Pen and Fountain Pen refills
• Sharpie Accent Liquid Highlighter
• Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers
• Papermate Liquid Expresso
• Uni-ball Vision Elite
• Uni-ball Vision
• Uni-ball Deluxe
• Pilot P-700
• Pilot P-500
• Pilot V-Ball Grip
• Pilot V Razor
• Platinum Preppy
• Pentel EnerGel .35 mm ball needle point
• Rotring Tikky Rollerpoint
• Ohto Fude Ball 1.5

I’m sure there are others if they fall into a similar size range.


Sharpie Apart2Sharpie ApartAesthetics

Sherpa is really creative on making their designs fun, whimsical and downright attractive. The design makes for a large pen.

  • Diameter 19/32” at the widest part of the section
  • Length Capped: 5 ¾”
  • Length No Cap: 5 1/16 depending on refill

The cap is slightly bigger around and has a taper going up to the very top of the cap. The cap posts fine with a similarly tapered body.


The clip is standard fare, works well, has good tension and a good ramp for attaching it to a pocket or notebook of your choice.

ClipWhat I Use

I have purchased three: Pearl White, Tiger Eye and Candy Stripe.

My ThreetigerI’m a casual Sharpie user but I always have two accessible, one with the fresh new sharp point and another that I use when I need a little broader line. When my fresh sharp one dulls down a bit I rotate them out and the dullest ends up in the garage for real workshop abuse. I probably go through a dozen a year. Now each of my Sharpies are in a Sherpa and I got a third, the Candy Stripe, when I experienced how well their private label gel pen writes. It’s a broad .7 but very smooth without that motor oil on glass feel that some manufacturers try to over achieve with.

Where To Get One

You can buy Sherpa’s directly from their website but my shopping on eBay yielded a slight discount from Cyber Space Pens. You can go through eBay or directly through Cyberspace’s website same price. I went direct and figured I could save them some eBay fees.


Value? $35 for essentially a shell of a pen? I got a genuine Sharpie and Sherpa’s very good writing rollerball refill in the box. I own three models so to me it’s worth it, you’ll have to decide for yourself. I’ve certainly spent more on pens that I don’t find myself using near as much as my Sherpas. If you’re a big Sharpie user or any of the pens that a Sherpa holds I think it’s a really fun addition to your daily writing.

Remember: Write something nice……

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