Sunday, February 15, 2015

My Pencils

by Tony Thomas

Although I adore fountain pens and use them whenever I can, I find myself using pencils more and more for practical reasons.

With fountain pens, you have to worry about bleeding and feathering on cheap paper.  Not so with pencils.  They will write on just about any kind of paper including a brown paper bag.  And given the amount of cheap paper I encounter daily, that really helps!

Also, when I am trying to capture thoughts and ideas on paper, pencils just seem to work better for me.

With fountain pens, I have to keep capping and uncapping the pen lest it dries out after several minutes of just sitting in my hand.  That stifles my thought flow and gets really annoying.

And with pencils, I always have the ability to erase mistakes.  With fountain pens, all I can do is cross things out and rewrite them, leaving an ugly mess.

When I am at work, I have to jot down quick notes while talking on the phone and pencils work much better for that as well.

I really do love pencils.  I have mechanical, wood-cased and lead holders in a variety of hardnesses.  I carry a pencil bag with me as a part of my EDC and have a few Rotring mechanical pencils tucked away in my Maxpedition Fatty.

If you are a fountain pen lover, give pencils a try.  You may just find a new love!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jinhao 599 for Less Than $2!

by Tony Thomas

Believe it or not, I scored a Jinhao 599 on eBay for less than $2.00 with shipping and handling from China!  I have reviewed this pen before and gave it high marks for the price.  Now, it is an even better value.

Is this an anomaly?  Actually, no.  The solid color versions are pretty easy to find at that price as this goes to press (The transparent versions sell for a bit more).

This has got to be the best fountain pen deal out there right now!  They look and feel very similar to the popular Lamy Safari and the nib is a smooth (if boring) Jinhao medium.

I decided to break out a four way nail buffer and do some surgery on the nib to turn it into a stub.  I am not the best nib grinder in the world, but I was able to end up with a nice smooth nib in about 15 or 20 minutes.  You can clearly see the line variation between horizontal and vertical lines in the picture to the left.

If you are looking for a really cheap pen (or 10) that you can carry around in your purse or pocket and won't be afraid to lose, this is the pen to get!