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……

Uni-Ball Signo 307 Review

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

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

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

Aesthetics

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

IMG_2842-resizedIMG_2844-resizedIMG_2850-resizedClip

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

IMG_2852-resizedErgonomics

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

Ink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_2861Conclusion

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

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

Remember: Write something nice……

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