Today I want to share some home office inspiration, from feminine and floral to sparse and even a dark, dramatic option. Enjoy!
…. this just in….
TWSBI released their new notebooks… three sizes available in lined, grid and blank….STOP
New ink from Noodlers called Blue Nose Bear… blue with fluorescent, black-light reactive tones…STOP
And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog already in progress. STOP.
Over the last 48 hours, I’ve had a few glitches in the finely oiled machine that is The Well-Appointed Desk. On Sunday night, our power went out at 9pm and was not restored until 11am Monday, by which point I was already at work. So… I was unable to get a new post up on the blog at all on Monday.
Then, on my way home last night, the street behind my house was closed due to a package of questionable origin left at the charter school causing a bit of chaos and inconvenience.
Needless to say, I’m a little behind schedule this week now. Finely oiled, not really! But I’ll try to get caught up today and get some fresh content posted. Thanks for your patience!
I added some new vintage goodies to the shop today. It’s a gold star kind of day!
The Clairefontaine Back To Basics Le Carnet 1951 notebooks are cardstock-covered and a cahier style. The covers are flexible cardstock, perfect for folding open or back as needed. This book is 5.8″ x 8.3″ and contains 48-pages. It’s staple-bound in two places and is filled with 90 gsm paper.
They remind me of composition notebooks. I love this size for office notes especially with its diminutive page count that is perfect for one project. Sometimes, larger notebooks have too many pages and I have to put multiple projects in the same book. Sometimes I just want the old project GONE. So this notebook is a good option.
The only real rub for me is the wide line spacing and the slightly darker-that-I-prefer lines. One or the other issue wouldn’t be so bad but both wide ruled and dark lines make me sigh — I wanted to LOVE this notebook with abandon but now… I just hope the paper quality makes up for it.
The paper inside is smooth, bright white. There was little to no show through on the reverse side of the paper. The Parker 21 with the Noodlers Violet had a tiny bit of bleed through but everything else had no ill effects on the reverse. I could defintiely use both sides of each sheet without issues.
Once I got ink on the page, the lines didn’t bother me quite as much. I did discover that some inks did not dry fast enough on this paper — at least not fast enough for a messy lefty. I think if I stick to some of the inks that pride themselves on quic-drying, this would not be an issue. Pencil handled beautifully on this smooth stock — a Blackwing on this paper is a fabulous combination!
I did a series of drying time tests just to get a better idea if all, or only some, inks took a long time to dry. None of the inks I tested were specifically formulated to be “quick-drying” so I think I shouldn’t have too much trouble once I try a quick-dryer. At this point, the Lamy Blue Black performed best so as long as I’m not too impatient, I should be okay with this notebook.
As I’ve said before, being a lefty can be a pain. Sometimes, I have to decide between really good paper that might not allow for quick ink drying and cheaper, more absorbet paper that might bleed through or spline. This book, since the price point is so reasonable, is a good chance for me to have good paper, even if it might not become my everyday notebook. Is it everyone’s dream to have the perfect all-tool notebook?
A set of two Clairefontaine 1951 notebooks are a mere $8 a set so its totally worth it to try them out.
I’d been hearing a lot of praise about the humble-looking Ohto Graphic Liner 0.3. For the descriptions and the look of the pen, I was expecting something that performed similarly to the Pilot Precise V5. The size, smooth barrel and long flat clip makes it look quite similar to the V5 and all descriptions suggest that there might not be a difference between the two, but there is.
The Ohto Graphic Liner is silkier on the paper than a V5. At first I was worried that I might have trouble with it — me and rollerball pens don’t always see eye to eye (I’m talking to you, Uni-Ball Vision) because of the overwriter position I use to write. After a few minutes of scribbling, the Otho Graphic Liner worked great though — I think it just needed a little priming since it was new and hadn’t been used.
There were no issues with skipping or any other writing faux pas. The thing I like best about the gel/hybrid/rollerball pens is that they are usually waterproof or at least fairly water-resistant. I decided to compare the Ohto Graphic Liner to the Pilot Envelope Pen and the Pilot Precise V5. The Ohto Graphic Liner 0.3 is just a tiny bit broader than a V5 but much finer than a fine Envelope Pen. They were all equally water-resistant with only minimal smearing. I find the Envelope Pen to be almost too slick on paper sometimes — like writing on an oil slick. Alternately, the V5 can feel a little sticky on paper so the Ohto Graphic Liner definitely hits the sweet spot between the two. Its smooth on the paper, water-resistant so it can be used on envelopes or in art journaling or mixed media art-making without issues but its not so slick that the pen gets away from you.
The Ohto Graphic Liner is available in 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5 and 1.0. The finest size is $2.65 and the rest are $2.50.
For comparison, read what Brad at The Pen Addict has to say about the Ohto Graphic Liner.
(writing test done using my trusty A5 Miquelrius grid notebook.)
My talented and kind friend Rob offered to show me how to re-sac a vintage Esterbrook using my recently acquired purse pen. He was also kind enough to let me document the process.
This process should basically work for any old pen that uses a rubber sac bladder. Just make sure to find the right sized ink sac (there are vendors who sell them on ebay).
Shall we begin?
Step 1: get that pen open and scrape off the old calcified sac. A standard X-acto or other utility knife works great.
Step 2: insert the new ink sac into your pen to determine how long it can be and how much of the excess needs to be trimmed off. Rob is a pro so he just eyeballed it. If you’re doing this for the first time, I recommend using a piece of chalk or white pencil to make a mark on the sac so you don’t misjudge your cut.
Step 3: Rob is aligning the pen body with the nib unit and the sac to help make sure he is trimming the sac low enough to accommodate the extra space needed for the nib unit itself. Can you see the two ridges on the black nib unit? The ridge closest to the top of the photo is where the ink sac is to be placed. The addition ridge area is what is inserted into the body of the pen so Rob is accounting for that additional half an inch or so before trimming the ink sac. (This is the measure twice portion of the lesson.)
Step 4: Using the same X-acto or utility knife, trim off the excess sac (you are trimming the excess from the open end of the sac… just sayin!)
Step 5: Then using shellac (a small can purchased from the hardware store of Home Depot — a pint can should last you a lifetime) and a toothpick or wood dowel, apply a light coat of shellac around the area on the nib unit that you scraped the old sac from. Keep a towel handy as you don’t want to get any into the pen feed or onto the grip area where it might mar the finish of your pen.
The reason we don’t recommend a q-tip or brush is so that you don’t get any stray fibers into the sac or nib unit.
Step 6: Then, using reverse pliers or a homemade tool, pull open the ink sac so you have room to get the nib unti onto the sac (or vice-versa).
Step 7: Slide the ink sac over the nib unit.
Step 8: Once you remove the pliers, wiggle the sac on the nib unit until its as flush as you can get it and as even as you can make it.
Now comes the hard part. You need to wait to fill your new ink sac until the shellac is completely dry. Be patient, it’s worth it. I let mine sit for a day just because I was busy but Rob suggests waiting at least a couple hours.
Once its dry, reassemble your pen and fill it with ink. Do a little happy dance.
Finally, I wanted to include an image of the homemade reverse pliers that Rob uses. He was given this amazing gift by Calvert Guthrie, lettering artist extraordinaire.
Beautiful things happen when pencil and ink are applied to paper — this is one of them. This is drawing from Luciano Luzano from a trip to Lisbon. Fabulous.
- Picking the perfect lead hardness (via JetPens Blog)
- Pencils and Camping (and pencil shavings as tinder) (via Pencil Revolution)
- Deli Pencil Sharpener (via Bleistift)
Pens and ink:
- Pen currently in use by DaveyB
- Noodlers Bernake Blue Ink Review (via Pen Addict)
- Platinum Carbon Black vs Sailor Utlra Nano Black (via East, West, Everywhere)