Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Handmade Leather Pocket Notebook

by Tony Thomas

I decided to create a pocket notebook out of a piece of tooling leather that I had dyed previously.

 It is great for holding loose pages of Rhodia pad paper, other scraps of paper and receipts.

This notebook was super easy to make.  Just cut the tooling leather (4 to 8 oz.) to size, dye it and fold it.

I secure it by using an elastic hair band that are available at most drugstores.   Great project and very handy!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Pentel Energel Pens

by Tony Thomas

I know I usually write about fountain pens, but I thought I would change things up a bit.

Besides fountain pens, I am also a gel pen and pencil user.  Why?  Due to my frugality, I have a limited supply of really fountain pen friendly paper and sometimes cannot deal with long dry times when using really good paper.

I have recently tried out the Pentel Energel line of gel pens after using pens from Pilot and Uniball for a long time.

What immediately impressed me is their short ink dry time and lack of smearing.  They also produce a nice, dark black line.  And are they smooth!  I have used the needle point and ball point versions and am impressed with both.  

By the way, I was not compensated in any way for my recommendation of this line of pens.  I just love them!

Check out my YouTube video on the Pentel Energel and look for more videos in the months to come!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why the Noodler's Ahab is One of My Favorite Pens

by Tony Thomas

I love Noodler's Ahabs. 

At around $23 or so, they are affordable and the epitome of frugality.  They are also very comfortable in my hand (and I have large hands).   Ahabs are sturdy, hold an ample amount of ink, and they can be easily converted to an eyedropper if you need a truly massive amount of ink.  They have a unique piston cartridge converter and can also use the recently released 2.7 mg re-loadable cartridges.  Also, I find the design very attractive and they come in a wide range of colors as well as a clear, demonstrator version.

Like many other pens from India, they are made of vegetal resin and have a funny smell.  The smell dissipates with time and I have found that it grows on you.  And if you throw an Ahab into a landfill, the pen body will reportedly biodegrade, making it environmentally friendly.

Besides its perfect size, one of my biggest attractions to the Ahab is its easily modified ebonite feed and its ability to use standard #6 nibs.  As I have a growing collection of these sized nibs, it makes it easy to change nibs "on the fly".

Currently, the two Ahabs shown are fitted with Nemosine fine and extra fine nibs.  I also like to use stock italic nibs as well custom-ground stubs.  Every once and awhile, I will also load up the stock Noodler's flex nibs to have some fun.  I heartily recommend the Ahab!

Buy the Noodler's Ahab demonstrator here:

Full Discosure: This is an affiliate link.  You will help support The Frugal Fountain Pen and it won't cost you a penny more.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Letter and a Pen

by Tony Thomas

 One of my favorite You Tube personalities is Amy Schmittauer (@Schmittastic on Twitter). Her channel, "Savvy, Sexy, Social", offers plenty of valuable information on social media marketing.  I watch her channel regularly as she is a thought leader in the field.

Back in April of last year, I wrote her a short note with one of my fountain pens for which she thanked me on Twitter.

When I heard she was writing a book, I decided to send her another handwritten note and a Platinum Preppy fountain pen and refills.  

From watching her videos, I learned that she likes to write everything down rather than just putting it into a computer.   That made her the perfect candidate for a little bit of "fountain pen evangelism". 

To my surprise, she unpacked the pen and read my note on one of her You Tube videos leading up to the book launch.  You can watch it here:

Amy's book, "Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill it Online With Video Blogging" drops January 31st (my birthday) on Amazon and you can get yours here.

Enjoy your pen, Amy!  And in the words of my buddy, Brian Goulet, write on!

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Pocket Notebook Book Review

by Tony Thomas

Ray Blake is well known as champion of personal organizers, notebooks and journaling.  His You Tube video on making your own travelers notebook has received over a quarter of a million views.

When I saw that he wrote a new book on pocket notebooks, I was intrigued. I bought it in Kindle format and began to read.  While it is a short book, it covers a lot of ground.  

He begins by discussing how to buy and set up your notebook.  I would have liked to see some reviews of different notebooks rather than generic descriptions, but I still found his information helpful.  He continues by providing different applications for pocket notebooks. This is the real "meat" of the book and the reason you should buy it.

This is a great book for fountain pen users looking for more ways to use their pens.  Users of rollerballs, gel pens, pencils, etc. will also resonate with its contents.  If you have a pocket notebook or plan to get one, I think this book is essential.  It is fairly priced and it is a book you will turn to often.  Highly recommended!

Buy the book on Amazon

If you use the affiliate link above, you will help support this blog and you won't pay a penny more.

Ray Blake's Web Site

Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Beaker Pen Cup

by Tony Thomas

I decided that I wanted to put some of my frequently used fountain pens in a cup on my desk for quick access.  But what kind of cup did I want to use?  A coffee cup?  A Ball jar?  Something else?

After thinking about it a bit, I decided it would be cool to put them in a lab beaker made of borosilicate (thermal shock resistant) glass.  After checking the measurements, I settled on a 250 ml beaker and placed an order on eBay.  The price was a bit more than $7 with shipping.

I think it has a high-tech look and the beaker is perfect for that purpose.  Where do you keep your frequently used pens?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Favorite Pen Dealers

by Tony Thomas

As many of us look for places to shop for gifts this holiday season, I thought I would take a few minutes and share some of my favorite pen dealers:

The Goulet Pen Company: I have followed Brian and Rachel since they were selling fountain pens, paper, and ink out of their house. In recent years, Goulet has grown become the one of the premier fountain pen dealers in the United States, with a strong emphasis on customer service and education. They have a You Tube channel with an exhaustive library of videos on fountain pens, ink, paper, accessories and tips. Goulet also has one of the broadest ranges of products of any fountain pen dealer.  Their website is top notch with plenty of custom tools to help you find the best pens, paper and ink for your needs.  In addition, they offer great service with a personal touch. 
I only wish they offered free shipping options and faster fulfillment when they are backed up with orders.

Jet Pens: Jet Pens is another great dealer that offers all kinds of writing instruments (fountain pens, ball points, roller balls, dip pens, pencils, etc.) as well as paper, ink and more. Most of their products come from Japan, and I have a great affection for Japanese products. I love the fact that they offer free shipping for all orders over $25. I also really like their online product guides and have found them to be helpful. Jet Pens offers prompt shipping and most of my orders ship the same day or the next.

iPen Store: I have probably done business with iPen Store longer than any other dealer. They sell a wide variety of writing instruments, including ballpoints, rollerballs and mechanical pencils. Aside from the brand names, they also sell their own line of quality pens under the "Rosetta" brand name. IPS has an ebay store under the name "Streetfair" and I believe that is where I bought my first Lamy Safari many years ago. As they are in the next state (MI) and they ship First Class USPS, I have found them to be a quick and reliable source.

Pen Chalet: Pen Chalet has also become one of my go to dealers for fountain pens, although they also sell rollerballs, ball points and mechanical pencils. Their web site is easy to navigate, their prices are very competitive and they offer fast and friendly service.

Anderson's Pens: I have only placed one or two orders with Anderson's, but Brian and Lisa are well known and respected in the fountain pen community. They have a brick and mortar store in Appleton, WI with a wide range of products and I have found their customer service and shipping speed to be exceptional. They also have a lot of knowledge about vintage pens, especially Esterbrook.

I hope you will check out these dealers and give them a try.

Happy shopping!