Happy Ester(brook) Sunday!

esterbrook-sunday

Spring is the perfect time to pull out the Esterbrooks, dust them off and see which ones need a little spring cleaning. This is my whole Esterbrook collection and I can see a gaping absence of a brown or rootbeer model as well as a need for several more pastel pocket pens to fill out my collection. And I don’t have even one mechanical pencil.

Happy Ester(brook) Sunday!

Of the eight shown, five are in full working order with nibs installed. Two have my favorite stub nib, the Falcon Fine Stub 2442, the gray on the left has the legendary 9128 flex nib, the pastel pink has the 9788, the blue has the 9550.

Of course, while I had the pens out, I felt it necessary to do a little record keeping so I created a little spreadsheet inventory of the nibs I currently have and which pen they are residing in.

nib #

description

box?

in pen?

1550

Firm extra-fine, Bookkeeping

no

2284

Firm Stub, Signature Stub

yes

2442

Fine Stub, Falcon

yes

grey pearl

2442

Fine Stub, Falcon

no

red pearl

2556

Firm fine, Fine Writing

no

2556

Firm fine, Fine Writing

no

2668

Firm medium, General Writing

no

2668

Firm medium, General Writing

no

9128

Flexible Extra Fine, Fine penmanship (Pitman shorthand) 

yes

grey pearl

9550

Firm Extra Fine, Bookkeeping

no

blue pearl

9555

Firm Fine, Shorthand

yes

9555

Firm Fine, Shorthand

no

pink pastel

9556

Firm Fine, Fine Writing, Records and charts

no

9668

Firm medium, General Writing

no

Clearly, I have more nibs than pens but not nearly all the possible nib options that are available:

(image via Rick Binder)

(image via Richard Binder)

I would really like to try the 9314F Master Point version of the Fine Stub, the 2048 or 9048 “Shaded Writing” and several others. Like jelly beans, with Esterbrooks, you can’t have just one!

Happy Ester(brook) Sunday!

Link Love: Official Mascot and more catch-up

Link Love Link MascotFirst, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!

Now, on to the links:

Paper:

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Misc:

 

Kaweco Skyline in Mint

kaweco-sport-skyline-fountain-pen-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.

Ask The Desk: Dilli Flex vs. Noodler’s Creaper

Dilli Flex Nib Fountain Pen vs. Noodler's Creaper

M asks:

I’m new to flex pens and am looking to get an inexpensive one. I know this is a common question but was wondering what your thoughts might be on Noodler’s vs FPR? I’m looking to get either the Konrad/Creaper or Dilli/Guru. So far the consensus seems to be that the Noodler’s pens need quite a bit of tweaking and that quality control is variable, while the FPR pens feel cheaper but generally work better out of the box. Some also say that the FPR flex pens are dryer and have less give.

Would appreciate your thoughts on this!

What I discovered upon receiving this question is that I’ve never actually written up a review of the Noodler’s Creaper. I did a review of the Dilli flex though so I thought I’d use this opportunity to dive deeper and share my opinions about both of these pens.

Dilli Flex Nib Fountain Pen vs. Noodler's Creaper

Both pens use a split nib to create flex. The Dilli nib is a brushed finish while the Noodler’s nib is a shiny silver. The Dilli nib is slightly larger nib. Both pens use a twist piston fill mechanism which need to be filled with bottled ink. Neither pen can be fitted with cartridges or converters.

Both pens are lightweight plastic bodied pens. The Creaper has some chrome metal detailing on the pen that  makes it look like a bit higher end and a bit more durable. The Dilli just feels plasticky to me.

The Dilli nib is in a set spot, it seats into the feed in a specific location.

Alternately, there is a lot of play in how low into the pen barrel you can move the Creaper feed, thus allowing for more or less flex. The further into the pen you move the feed though, the more likely the pen is to write dry or not apply ink to the paper. As I cleaned and re-inked it, I could tell that finding the “sweet spot” for the placement of the nib and feed might be a series of trial and error experiments. I did my best to place the nib and feed in a “normal position” comparable to my non-flex nib pens and it worked well.

With both pens, I had no issues getting ink on the paper. Goulet Pens has some detailed information and videos about working with the Creaper pens and notes that they need to be completely flushed upon purchase to remove any traces of machine oil from the manufacturing process.

Dilli Flex Nib Fountain Pen vs. Noodler's Creaper

When writing, the Dilli had less resistance on the paper but I didn’t get as much thick-and-thin line variation on the paper. The lightest line width seemed a little wider than the lightest line with the Creaper. The Creaper had a little more resistance on the paper and a bit more spring but I liked the line variation a lot more.

I prefer the Creaper to the Dilli for a lot of reasons. Part of the joy of fountain pens is a pleasant visual experience and, to me, the Dilli looks and feels cheap. At some point, when filling it, some ink got inside the body of the Dilli pen, between the piston screw and the ink reservoir, and I cannot get it out. It now has dried ink inside a demonstrator body so it looks gross (you can see it in the top photo at the beginning of the post).

There are a few other options fro Noodler’s for the flex nib as well. The slightly larger Noodler’s Konrad can be fitted with one of the Goulet Pens #6 nibs, if your adventures in flexible nibs takes a turn for the worst, so you’ll still have a usable pen.The Ahab was specifically designed to allow for a larger ink reservoir. The Creaper, the Ahab and the Konrad are all available in a wide array of colors and finishes that will create a pleasing visual experience as well.

FPR also offers a few other pen models that feature their flex nib and that might be more visually appealing. The Triveni line look more upscale with prices in the $38-$45 range and available with a flex nib. The Guru is a bit less expensive than the Dilli and looks like it can be completely disassembled which might eliminate my crusty ink issues.

A flex nib Dilli is $18 and the Creaper is only $14.

Review: Nock Co Lookout 3-Pen Holster

Nock Co Lookout Pen Holster

I’ve always been a bit hesitant to invest in a holster-style pen case. Most of my pens retail for less than $50 so it seemed like overkill to invest in an expensive carrying case for my hacked Metropolitan or my TWSBI Mini. But thankfully, the Nock Co Kickstarter campaign put the Lookout Pen Holster in just the right price point for my assortment of loved-but-reasonably-priced pens. I selected the navy blue case with gray lining. Most of my pens are clear, silver, grey or black so the simple, classic color scheme seemed like the right choice. Besides, the initial offering from Nock Co did not include ANY green cases (hint, hint, Mr. Dowdy!).

Nock Co Lookout Pen Holster

The case feels slightly padded which makes me feel like my pens are getting even more protection and the flap tucks easily under the strap. There’s no snap or velcro to make opening and closing the case distracting in a classroom or meeting which is a big plus for me. Even with the padded feel and the three divided slots, this is still a svelte, compact case. Just enough room for your three “daily carry” pens/pencils — nothing more, nothing less.

Nock Co Lookout Pen Holster

My longest pen is the Lamy Studio but I think the clip placement has more to do with how high it sits in the case than the actual pen length. I think the green Karas Kustoms Render K looks especially nice against the grey and blue. I even tested the ginormous INK! fountain pen in the case and there’s plenty of room to spare both in height and in the width of the stitched pockets. The only pens that don’t fit quite so well are my tiny pocket pens like the Kaweco Sports and Monteverde Poquito. Maybe there will be a Little Lookout in the future?

I’m not sure what the pricing will be on the Lookout when the Nock Co store opens but I’d venture to say that $20 seems like a reasonable price for a well-made, made-in-USA pen holster case.

Review: Pilot Plumix 1.1mm

Pilot Plumix 1.1mm writing sample

I confess that I quite specifically got the Pilot Plumix Medium Flat Italic (comparable to a 1.1mm) fountain pen ($7.25) to cannibalize the nib for the Pilot Metropolitan ($14.50) pen I have. I had the chance to try out the Plumix thanks to a local pen geek (Thanks, Geoff!) and immediately went home and ordered one. While the shape and overall outside aesthetics leave me wanting, the nib was silky smooth. I had heard other folks mention what a great nib it is for the price point and after trying it, I was sold. It is really as good as everyone says it is. Silky, silky smooth.

Pilot Metropolitan and Plumix

My first order of business was to disassemble both pens in order to swap out the nibs. While I think the medium nib on the Metropolitan is a fine nib, it doesn’t make my heart sing so I was ready to swap it out. I like the metal body of the Metropolitan line over the plastic of the Plumix and its weird, stumpy, wingnut cap even if my Metropolitan is a bit blingy in metallic gold.

Pilot Plumix disassembled

I couldn’t be bothered to clean the pens before disassembly so I used a shop rag to grasped the nib and feed and gentle shimmy it out. Its basically help in the grip section by friction so it didn’t take much force or effort to remove it.

There is a notch inside the grip section that keeps the nib and feed in a specific spot but otherwise it was just a matter of shimmying it back into the other pen body to make the swap. I’d have diagrammed it more if there was anything else to it but really its: grasp, pull and then grasp and push. Also, we are talking about a combined retail value of $22 so I wasn’t too concerned about potential damage if I didn’t do it correctly.

New Improved Pilot Metropolitan

Voila! The completed and fully customized Pilot Metropolitan italic! Total cost: $22.  This same surgery can be done if you want an extra fine nib on a Metropolitan by purchasing the Pilot Penmanship pen ($8.25).

Pilot PLumix 1.1mm writing comparison

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.

(Tested on Rhodia Pad No. 18 Uni-Blank)

Link Love of Epic Proportions!

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Writing & Letter-Writing:

Paper & Notebooks:

Review: Ohto DUDE Fountain Pen

Ohto Dude    Ohto Dude

The Ohto Dude Fountain Pen is pretty notable simply because its a metal body fountain pen for a mere $24.50. Its got a pleasing hexagonal shape, aluminum body and the cap easily posts to make it a nice sized, well-weighted pen. It takes standard European short cartridges or a converter. I used the Kaweco converter I had laying around and it worked just fine. I got the silver finish which looks like a polished aluminum. Its not as shiny as a chrome finish but is bright and definitely shiny. The Ohto Dude is also available in a lacquer black, metallic royal blue and a metallic purple finish.

Ohto Dude posted

Ohto Dude finish comparison

The Ohto Dude metallic finish compared to the Monteverde Poquito in Chrome on the left and the Lamy Studio in brushed aluminum on the right. The Dude in the middle had the look of an unpolished aluminum.

What’s odd about the Ohto Dude, other than the name, is that it is described as a medium nib and it is NOT at all comparable to other Japanese medium nib pens. Its more like a European bold nib. It is a very broad medium and stretches the definition of a medium nib quite a bit. The nib has a little spring to it, though, which makes for some nice line variation and makes it light on the page. Its not at all scratchy and wrote easily, even when I’d left it uncapped for several minutes. Only after sitting uncapped for awhile did it need to be primed (scribbled on a piece of scratch paper to get it flowing again) and then, only just a little bit.

Ohto Dude nib

The smooth, molded plastic grip is quite comfortable to hold.

Ohto Dude grip

Ohto Dude Writing sample

Ohto Dude Writing sample

If you’re looking for a nice looking pen with a wide nib and a nice aluminum body, the Ohto Dude is a good option. Like vanity-sized clothing that does not run to proper sizing, the Ohto Dude should come with the caveat “runs large.” Then again, what would you expect from a pen called “Dude”?

Ohto Dude writing sample

Ink used: De Atramentis Pigeon Blue. Paper used: Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank Pad.

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.

Review: Monteverde Poquito Fountain Pen

Monteverde Poquito fountain pen

The fine folks over at Pen Chalet gave me the opportunity to try the new Monteverde Poquito fountain pen (Retail price $30; from Pen Chalet, $27). Its a classic looking, teeny tiny pocket pen for sure. This is the first Monteverde pen I’ve tried so I was quite excited for the chance to take my first foray into the Monteverde pen world.

Monteverde Poquito fountain pen

The details:

The packaging was on the budget side, just a cardboard box with the pen in a plastic sleeve with an instruction sheet and a single refill cartridge. For the price point, I don’t expect presentation quality packaging but if this is a make or break for you or you were hoping to give this as a gift, I recommend creating your own presentation packaging for this pen.

The branding on this pen is quite subtle. In black on the opposite side of the cap from the clip, in small type, is the Monteverde brand name and below it in smaller text “Poquito”. I know a lot of folks are not fond on the Monteverde logo type and this is some of the most subtle application I’ve seen. Truly unobtrusive. On the top of the clip is a small emboss stamp of the Monteverde crest.

I received the chrome finish version with a “Iridium Point Germany” medium stainless steel nib. The pen has a smooth, tapered shape that made me think, “If a Fisher Space Pen and a Kaweco Sport ever merged…” then this would be the result. Good looks, totally pocketable with some steely-eyed missile man good looks.

Monteverde Poquito fountain pen Size Comparison

As the comparison to the Kaweco Sport and Liliput was inevitable, here’s a quick run down of the comparison specs:

Poquito

Kaweco Sport

Kaweco Liliput

length: closed

4.5”

4.0625”

3.75″

length: uncapped

3.75”

4”

3.5”

length: posted

5”

5.125”

5”

weight: filled & capped

17gms

12 gms

10 gms

weight: filled, no cap

11 gms

6 gms

7 gms

Monteverde Poquito fountain pensize comparison

Overall, the physical size is quite comparable. For determining the width of the pens, the Poquito feels more like the size of a Uni-Ball Signo capped pen while the Kaweco Sport barrel has the width equivalent of a Sharpie marker. The Liliput is ever-so-slightly narrower than the Poquito and is the same diameter from end-to-end while the Poquito tapers on each end. Does that make sense?

I let my husband try the Poquito to get a “man’s perspective”. He found the pen too small overall but normally he prefers ACME pens. He couldn’t find his Fisher Space Pen so we couldn’t do a side-by-side comparison but he’s pretty confident that, when posted, the Space Pen is about a 0.5″ longer than the Poquito.

Monteverde Poquito fountain pen writing sample

The writing experience:

The cap posts easily and does not affect the pen’s weight. The cap actually helps to weight the pen creating a pleasing writing experience. The narrower overall width of the Poquito made it comfortable in my small hands. Its wider than the Kaweco Liliput but obviously narrower than the Kaweco Sport.

The grip section is tiny with a slight ridge where the body and cap snap together. The ridges are smooth so they are not distracting but I imagine this might not be comfortable for extended writing sessions. The cap snaps on with a satisfying click.

The nib was silky smooth out of the box. I seldom use a medium nib fountain pen but this wrote so smoothly and consistently as soon as I put the accompanying cartridge in it. Not one skip or stutter. The line weight was on the finer side of medium for a European/American nib. No lefty issues with getting the ink to flow and on the paper.

The nib is stiff with no flex but I needed only the lightest touch to write and got some nice line variation and even some shading from the black ink. I would probably prefer a fine nib but I like the look and feel of the medium and is not a make-or-break aspect for me with this pen.

If the nib is any indication of Monteverde’s other fountain pens, you’ll definitely be seeing more Monteverde reviews here soon. This pen is “full of awesome” for $30 or less.

Monteverde Poquito fountain pen

Options:

The Poquito fountain pen is new for 2014 and is also available in a dark Stone Gray, a bright metallic Turquoise and a metallic Pink finish with silver tone clip (see the colors over at FPGeeks). The Poquito line offers a stylus/ballpoint model in a similar size and an XL version.

Pen Chalet would like to offer a special discount for readers of The Well-Appointed Desk. Receive 10% off any item on their site using the coupon code wellappointeddesk, including the Poquito. Offer is good through March 31, 2014.


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

Link Love: Instagrammatical & TWSBIs (made-up words!)

Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that's me!],  FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry,  Elltbr, and GouletPens)

Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that's me!], FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry, Elltbr, and GouletPens)

Yeah for awesome Instagram friends! If you’re not following the folks in the photo collage above, I highly recommend them for wonderful office accoutrement photo yummies.

In other news:

Paper and Notebooks:

Pens and Ink:

Pencils:

For Valentine’s Day:

(via Creatively Curated)

Download the hi-rez file at  Creatively Curated