Kaweco Skyline in Mint


Have you seen the Kaweco Skyline series? Look at this gorgeous color? Its listed as mint and despite the fact that I need another pocket-sized Kaweco like I need a hole in my head, I’m thinking I might have to order one.

So far, the only place I’ve found them is the Fontoplumo site out of the Netherlands and the pen is listed for €16.95 (about $23US) so its in the range of the standard Sport models, price-wise. Its listed on the Kaweco site in gray and black as well — all with silver accents rather than the gold on the standard Sport models.

Review: Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

The Etranger di Costarica memo book is a simple, little, pocket-sized notebook. The appealing thing for me was ,of course, the transparent plastic cover in a gorgeous lime green. I was really hoping that the cover would be the right size to fit over a standard Field Notes. Sadly, the Etranger di Costarica memo book is a tiny bit smaller than a Field Notes (or other pocket notebook) measuring at 3.3 x 5.4″.

The cover is printed with a little mail carrier icon and the words “mettre le courrier à la poste le courrier est arrivé”, which roughly translates to “put the mail in the post, the mail has arrived”. How can I not like a postally-themed memo book?

The book itself is a white gloss-coated cardstock cover, inside a transparent flexible plastic cover adding a little durability. The book has black paper end papers and a stitched binding (not staples, actual stitching). Inside the paper is white with grey lines and red margin lines, top and bottom. The lines are spaced at a snug 5mm, good for people like me who tend to write smaller than most. The book has rounded corners which I always think make a book look “finished”.

Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

In writing tests, I was pleased with the paper quality. There was no feathering or bleeding though my line widths looked a bit wider on this paper than in other instances. Ah, the strange and wonderful mysteries of paper!

Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

Despite a bit more absorption on the front of the paper, thus creating a but wider line, from the back there was no noticeable show through or bleed. I did not challenge it with a Sharpie marker as we can all assume it will bleed through as it does on any paper that is not corrugated cardboard.

At $3.30 per book, its only slightly more expensive than the standard pocket memo book and since is has a plastic cover, I assume that’s the additional cost. There are eight other cover colors plus clear and refills can be purchased for $1.65 each. Excellent value!

I like the size, the simplicity and the lines. While this won’t replace my Field Notes in the long run, its a nice addition to my notebook arsenal.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Pen Addict Podcast Episode #100 & Commemorative Tee

Pen Addict #100 Tee

Have you purchased your commemorative Pen Addict Podcast Episode #100 t-shirt yet? The Teespring sale only runs through next week so place your order. Tees are Unisex sized, $18 each plus shipping. And, of course, they are orange.

And then,of course, go and enjoy the 100th episode of The Pen Addict Podcast! But guard your wallet!

Thanks guys for making me teary-eyed with featuring The Well-Appointed Desk as the pen blog of the week. You are the best.

Review: Banditapple Carnet Notebooks

Banditapple Carnet

Banditapple Carnet

I recently got a selection of Banditapple Carnet notebook samples. I wanted to see the whole line so I got all the samples that were available. Two of the book were the “handy notebook” which is 11x21cm, the same size as the large Midori Traveler notebooks. The smaller book, the “peewee”, is the same size as the Midori Traveler Passport refill. The last book is a bit wider than the “handy notebook” approximately A5 (13x21cm) and is an undated weekly planner notebook.

Banditapple Carnet

Banditapple books are handmade in Vietnam and distributed by the Banditapple Company out of South Korea.

Each book features a card stock paper cover and a matching stitched binding. The books I received are in the Finland Pine, Gingerbread and Hanoi Red.

Banditapple Carnet

The inside papers are different. The grid passport-sized and the weekly planner had white paper while the blank and lined books have ivory colored stock. The ivory stock is described on the packaging as 3G Heritage NT paper while the white paper is just listed as Heritage Paper. All the stocks are 80gsm and printed with soy inks.

Banditapple Carnet

The Weekly planner has 52 weekly + blank pages and all the other books featured 64 pages of paper.


Banditapple Carnet

The grid paper is 5mm grid lines. There’s some debate at my house whether the lines are dark blue but I think they are. The paper is really pleasing to write on and there was no bleeding or feathering with any of the pens I tried.

Banditapple Carnet

From the flipside of the paper, there is no show through at all.  Not even a hint.

Banditapple Carnet

I also tested the lined paper of the larger “handy” notebook. The lines were spaced at 6mm and look more grey than blue. I decided to up the game and try the alcohol-based Copic Superbrush to see if the ink would bleed or showthrough since the stock is the same weight as the white grid stock.

Banditapple Carnet

The Copic Superbrush did bleed through but it was the only ink that did. From a daily use standpoint, I prefer the soft, warm color of the ivory stock. And I prefer the grey lines of the lined paper over the darker blue lines of the grid paper.

Banditapple puts its books through their own tests on their Tumblr page. But I am already sold. Especially if you are a user of Midori Traveler leather covers. The Banditapple notebooks area little less expensive than the Midori refills and I like the paper in the Banditapple Carnet notebooks much better. Now I guess I need a large Midori Traveler. Oh, darn.

The best US source for Banditapple Carnet notebooks is Goulet Pens, prices range between $3.50-$5.50. If you know of other shops or online vendors who are stocking Banditapple Carnet notebooks, leave the info in the comments.

This Just In: Papermate to Buy Kaweco


Papermate, a division of Sanford and Rubbermaid, has announced that they are planning to purchase the German brand Kaweco in an effort to introduce the American market to upscale, fountain pens, mechanical pencils and refillable pens.

While not being described as a hostile takeover, the purchase is not without its controversy. Kaweco’s current owners, Herlitz, could not be reached for comment.

Brush Pen Comparison

Brush Pens comparison

I’ve had a fascination lately with brush pens. There are so many variables with brush pens; tip size and tip material being the biggest factors.

I’ve collected all the brush pens I currently have for a little show-and-tell. I certainly wouldn’t say one of these is better than another but they are all different and you might enjoy a specific aspect of one or more of these pens.

Some of the pens have foam-like tips, some have more like felt-tip points, some have actual filament brush tips.

Brush Pens comparison

From top to bottom:

  1. Staedtler Mars Duo 3000 (purchased my single black marker at a local art supply store, set of 10 different colors available for $29.62)
  2. Copic CIAO Superbrush (part of a set of 6 markers for $23)
  3. Copic Multiliner Brush (mine is a disposable version but a refillable version is available for $9.20)
  4. Kuretake No. 8 Fountain Brush Pen ($13.50)
  5. Pentel Art Brush ($8.25)
  6. Pilot Pocket Brush – Hard ($5.00)
  7. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – Hard ($2.50)

Brush Pens comparison

As you can see, the pens have a wide range of widths and softnesses that will affect how wide a line you can create and how variable your line widths will be. Most of the brush pens are water soluble, non-waterproof.

My favorite pens are the Staedtler Mars 3000 Duo and the Copic Ciao Superbrush. The foam/polyester brush tips are stiff enough to create a wide range of line weights while putting down a rich black ink. Both are available in a lot of other colors and are water-soluble, blendable inks. The points seem to stand up to all the abuse I throw at them too.

The softest brush pens are the ones with real filament brush tips like the Pentel Color Brush and the Kuretake Fountain Brush Pen.They take a bit more practice to get the hang of using them. The Kuretake came out a little light because it uses a fountain pen style cartridge and I had cleaned it out so there was still a little water in the bristles and feed when I put the new cartridge in it. The Pentel Color Brush has a flexible pen body so that you can squeeze it to force more ink out. Often, when I run out of ink in the Pentel Color Brush Pens, I’ll just dip it into a bottle of black ink and keep going. The bristles will soak up a good deal of ink.

The Tombow Fudenosuke is the finest making the thinnest lines. I tend to use it as my everyday marker for labelling file folders, addressing envelopes and the like. It adds more character to my writing than a Sharpie marker. The Pilot Pocket Brush is similar but with more variation in line weight and a bit more bold.

The felt-tip brush pens like the Copic Multiliner Brush tend to fray out at the tips quickly. Luckily, replacement tips are available and the Copic Multiliner is the one pen that’s waterproof.

I’ve barely scratched the surface at the wide array of brush pens available. Some are refillable, some are cartridge-based, some are not. There are more sizes and ink colors to choose from too. Have you tried any brush pens?

Pens were tested on the Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank Pad.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items shown here were sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.