Please stay on the line…

Vintage telephone operator

… I am in the process of moving The Well-Appointed Desk to its own servers. It will probably be a little quiet around here through the weekend but hopefully by Monday everything will be back to normal. Make sure you update your bookmarks to If you read the site via Tumblr, RSS or other service, please come back to the blog and make sure the links are properly updated.

Sorry for the inconvenience but hopefully this transition will make for a better experience in the future.

(illustration from Envisioning The American Dream)

His (or Her) Majesty’s Stationery Office

Collage of images from H.M.S.O.

This is a fascinating collection of vintage office supplies from the official Stationery Office of the King or Queen of England. The office was in existence for over 200 years providing office supplies to civil servants. Each item is marked with the letters “S.O.” and a crown. Lito has collected and beautifully photographed dozens of products from the S.O. Check out her Flickr Album to see and read more about the items.

(via Lito Apostolakou of Palimpest and Inklinks)

Review: Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm Stub Fountain Pen

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

You may be asking yourself “Why didn’t she own this pen already?” Trust me, I’ve been asking myself the same question since it arrived. The Monteverde Intima ($52) is a stunningly swirly mix of lime and kelly green colors with a white opalescent sheen embedded in the resin. All the hardware is black including the nib. I just hold it in my hand and admire the swirls.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The pen arrived in a cardboard slip case (which I sort of destroyed trying to get it open) which protected this epic presentation box. Its a deep forest green shimmery clamshell box with silver metallic edging and logo. Its a box that one would expect to find a much more expensive pen inside. And probably a little more dignified than my Willy Wonka green swirl, St. Patty’s Day-is-everyday pen. But that’s beside the point. The box looks impressive.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

Inside is a white faux velvet lining. The bottom section with the band lifts out to reveal the box of cartridges (only two were in the box) and instructions for using the included converter which was in the pen. The box could definitely get a second life as a storage box for pens and accessories. Its durable.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

This is only the second Monteverde pen I’ve used and with each experience, I’m becoming more impressed with the quality and diversity of the Monteverde product line. I was initially skeptical  of the black anodized nib but as I used the Intima, I grew to appreciate the understated-ness of the nib and hardware next to the brilliant showiness of the neon green swirls. Its a really beautiful combination.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The weight of the pen is heavier than I initially anticipated. Somehow I thought the pen would be light like a plastic Kaweco but the resin is weightier than plastic. It feels good in the hand. The nib is astoundingly smooth. I am thrilled with how well this wrote right out of the box.

The cap can be posted which makes the pen a sizeable 6.375″ long but I found the weight of the pen unposted to be most comfortable in my hand and plenty long enough (4.675″). The length of the pen capped is 5.25″.

This has immediately become my go-to pen. It writes beautifully, its perfectly weighted for my hand and its the PERFECT color.

My biggest gripes with Monteverde is a dislike for their logo. The branding on the Intima is so subtle that it is barely noticable. The black anodized nib disguises the cheeseball “architect” logotype and the pen name is silkscreened in white in a miniscule font on the reverse side from the clip on the black edge of the cap. Its completely ignorable which is a delight to a design snob like me.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The Intima comes with a converter but will accept standard European cartridges. I immediately inked mine up with a coordinating green ink, Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green ($32) and it is the perfect combination. Both are bright and vibrant and make me insanely happy. (A review of the Delicate Green ink will be posted soon.)

I tested this on the Rhodia Uni Blank No. 16. Its the smaller version of the Rhodia Uni Blank No. 18.

The Monteverde Intima fountain pen in neon green is a thing to behold, at least for someone like me with an uncompromising love of the color green. But don’t be frightened away, the Intima is also available in more dignified colors like Glacier Blue and Volcano Grey, both of which I like too.

The Intima is available in a variety of nib sizes and other colors if green is not your thing for $52 each at Goulet Pens. The Intima takes a #6 nib and replacement nibs are also available for $24 each in black anodized or silver. Or try out one of Goulet Pens signature nibs with the Intima. The Goulet branded nibs are available in six different nib widths for $15 each in silver or gold toned.

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

MosseryCo Paper Goods

MosseryCo Pocket Notebook

Whimsical illustrations on the covers of the MosseryCo pocket notebooks are what caught my eye when I wandered into their Etsy shop. These 3.5×5.5″ rounded corners pocket notebooks feature 52 pages of acid-free 120 gsm paper. A set of 9 different, illustrated pocket notebooks can be purchased for $36 or individual notebooks can be bought for $6 each. Plain paper covers are also available, individually or in a set.

MosseryCo Pocket Noteboos

What really caught my eye was the hardcover, refillable notepads. The covers looks like vintage books with the quaint illustrations ($20 each) and refill paper can be purchased as needed in different designs ($7 each). The notepads are about 4.25″x6.5″ and are also filled with 110 gsm acid-free paper. There are 110 sheets in each pad and the pads are perforated for easy removal.

MosseryCo Notepads

MosseryCo Notepads

(via MosseryCo’s Etsy Shop)

Adding some color to your workspace

After a week in the sun, I am having a hard transition back to my beige cubicle and windowless view. So I was hunting for some accessories to brighten up my workspace. Here’s what I found:

Peach workspace wall

A bright chair cushion or an accent wall in a bright color would go a long way to spicing up my work area.

Bright art and hangings

Fancy, fun hanging pieces like the paper and fabric chandeliers here would enliven a dreary corner. Colorful framed art would also help.

A colorful light fixture, rug and guest chair would definitely add a little punch.

A colorful light fixture, rug and guest chair would definitely add a little punch.

Bookshelves and framed artwork

Framed art, large signage letters and a bookcase would be a great addition to a workspace if I had the space.

Orange accents

Colorful storage boxes are a quick way to clean up clutter and unify the space. Now, if they’d just open the Ikea in Kansas City, I’d jump all over this.

Find more inspiration at Rue Magazine art director Maia MacDonald Smith‘s Office Space Pinterest board. Or visit the Well-Appointed Desk Pinterest board.

(click on the photos to visit the sources)

Field Trip: Daly’s Pen Shop in Milwaukee


Daly's Pen Shop Milwaukee

While on the road this week, we got to make another stop. This time, we got to visit the legendary Daly’s Pen Shop in Milwaukee, WI. Daly’s has been in business since 1924. The location has changed but its one of the oldest pen shops in the US. Its a lovely shop filled with all the lots of great stuff including a wide variety of pens, inks and paper. The owner Brad Bodart was friendly, helpful and patient with all my questions.

Daly's Pen Shop Sheaffer's vintage pen display

The first thing I gravitated toward was this vintage Sheaffer case. The bottom row are mostly vintage Esterbrooks. The beautiful Parker Duofold on the right on the middle shelf is actually a reproduction with a ballpoint from the 70s. It explained the $35 price!

Daly's Pen Shop Clock

Across the back wall of the shop was a fabulous vintage Parker Duofold clock with 1920s-style tortoiseshell celluloid frame and framed original trolley car advertisements.

Daly's Pen Shop Sheaffer's Case

Daly's Pen Shop Sheaffer's Case open

Sheaffer custom-built this glass and aluminum display case for Daly’s with grooves to hold pens and a secret cubby to store inks (Skrip, of course!). When the shop relocated over the years, this is one of the items that they always made sure was moved to the new location. They also moved a wooden case that runs the length of one wall full or narrow drawers to hold pens, ink and accessories.

Daly's Pen Shop Calendar

The Daly’s advertising calendar behind the cash register is fabulous and I was tickled that it hadn’t been changed since my birthday. Brad said that he always knocked it off the wall while trying to change out the date cards so he had stopped chainging it. He promised to leave it my birthday for awhile so if you go in, check and see if its still up.

Daly's Pen Shop vintage ink bottles Daly's Pen Shop Quink V Mail ink

In the front corner of the store was a case full of vintage ink bottles. I love the labels! I particularly like the box of vintage Quink “reproduces best for V-Mail” box. Amazing.

Daly's Pen Shop Billboard

The billboard was actually a framed photo but I like to pretend that we passed it on our way in to Milwaukee. Of course, now most of Daly’s business in online. I got a peek in the backroom with shelves of pens and accessories for their massive online shop.

If you didn’t see it, there was an audio interview with Daly’s Pens on NPR in November 2013. Its worth a listen.

Daly's Pen Shop Front Window

Thanks, Daly’s Pen Shop! We’ll be back to visit soon!

Field Notes Field Trip!

Yesterday, Bryan at Field Notes/Coudal Partners kindly toured us around the world headquarters (AKA their offices in Chicago). We had  great time and got to take a peek at the inner workings of Field Notes. It was an all-access pass and I am so thankful that Bryan took time out of his busy schedule to humor me.

Ready for some pictures?

Bryan Bedell at Coudal/Field Notes HQ
Bryan greeted us at the door, ready to show off all the fabulousness that is Coudal and Field Notes.

Coudal/Field Notes front desk and sales counter
Behind the door, was the front desk and sales counter for walk-in customers and pick-up orders. Its a really pretty work space.

Bob peruses the Field Notes selection
Bob peruses some of the leather covers available from Field Notes while I just ogle.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Uncut press sheet
We got to see some of the uncut press sheets from the Arts & Sciences edition. It’s so good to see how much attention to detail they take to get the Field Notes Colors Editions just right.

Field Notes stock room
In the stockroom are piles and piles of the County Fair editions which are some of my favorites. I have sets from every state I’ve lived in.

Field Notes County Fair Editions

In the shipping area are bins filled with individual County Fair books for the Road Trip kit.

Field Notes packing zone

The packing area is efficient and well-organized and the team was busy packing up orders.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences button bins

Bins filled with the Arts & Sciences edition buttons sat prominently on the counter in Well-Appointed Desk-approved green bins.

Field Notes Stencil boxes

Totally industrial looking stenciled boxed lined the walls.

Me and Bryan at Coudal/Field Notes

I had a great time and Bryan was to ally patient with us. Thanks for a great tour!

Field Notes/Coudal mail box

Expect to find a thank you note in THIS mailbox soon!

Link Love: Text Messages

Link Love Link Mascot

This week’s Link of the Week has to be the handwritten text messages. The link was sent to me by my friend Chris P. and has me wondering if I should challenge myself to text or tweet all handwritten this week. Are you with me?

I Sent All My Text Messages in Calligraphy for a Week (via The Atlantic)

Pens & Ink:



Everything Else:

And don’t forget:

Pen ChaletPen Chalet is offering a 10% off for Well-Appointed Desk readers. Enter the code wellappointeddesk at checkout to get this added discount.

Please support the shops that help support this blog. Thanks!

Eccentric Envelopes

Make Eccentric Envelopes

Stephanie Fishwick posted some loose but lovely envelopes with her tips and techniques for creating fun envelopes for non-calligraphers. She recommends using watercolors but ink samples would also work and i a great way to use up all those samples you’ve accumulated.

Her best tip is that imperfections make it more awesome. Use a limited color palette and repetition to pull it together. No one will complain if they got a hand lettered envelope in the mail ever. It will make their day. So,  start playing.

She recommends good quality envelopes like Original Crown Mill cotton or Crane. Big box office supply shops usually carry 100% cotton envelopes in the section with invitations and resume stationery.

Maybe your kids will want to make some of their own envelopes too and send a letter to Grandma? That would be a fun, rainy day activity this summer.

If you do want to improve your writing, Stephanie also has some recommendations for getting started with calligraphy and the tools, web sites and books she uses for great calligraphy.

Most of all have fun and be inspired!

(via Stephanie Fishwick)

Stick it to Me: City of Industry

Correspondence Kit Pencil and Envelope Pen Set

How could you not love the clean graphic simplicity of the enamel jewelry created by City of Industry? I particularly like the Correspondence Set ($20) that includes both an enamel pencil and envelope lapel pin.

City of Industry Enamel Ruler Necklace

The Ruler Enamel Necklace ($28) is also darling. It includes a gold plated 30″ chain. There are also some summer themed options as well. Enjoy!

(Shout out to StoneZebra for the tip!)

Smart Travel Tips for Pen Geeks


I’m about to embark on a little holiday getaway which always leads to seeking out good travel tips. Buzzfeed posted one of their silly lists called 13 Travel Tips to Make You Feel Smart. There are a couple good tips on the list but most will be things you’ve probably already heard.

My favorite tip: Ask the desk at your hotel for cords or chargers if you forgot to pack yours. It sounds like their is inevitably a box of random cords and chargers that get left behind so they might have one for your device.

Now for some travel tips for the pen-and-paper inclined:

  • Check the locations you’ll be visiting and find out if there is a pen shop nearby. Make time to visit the shop. This will improve even the most boring business trip.
  • Stop in local drugstores, book shops, truck stops or tourist shops (museum shops, state park offices, etc) to seek out postcards. I find these are the best places to find cheesy tourist postcards to send home or keep as souvenirs.
  • Tourist destinations can often yield cheap, fun souvenirs in the form of pencils. Isn’t it time you started a tourist pencil collection?
  • If you’re worried about fountain pens leaking on flights, store them in a plastic ziploc bag for the flight. You can also travel with the cartridge removed and pack a few spare cartridges to use at your destination. For more pen travel tips, check out the article I posted awhile back.
  • Put together a Letter Writing On The Go kit.
  • Don’t forget to pack stamps. Or plan to visit the local post office to pick up stamps and meet the locals. If you let them know you’re visiting, they might just hand cancel your postcards if you ask nicely.

every trip should include a stop at the local PO #showandmail

I discovered the Rock County Historical Society in Janesville, WI which is on our route this summer and home to the Parker Pen Collection. And I might get a peek inside the Coudal/Field Notes HQ in Chicago.

Are you traveling this summer? Business or for fun? Did you find any great pen-related goodies? Can’t wait to hear!

The Epic Refill Reference Guide: Rollerball, Gel and Ballpoints

Lots of pens available these days accept either a “Parker-Style” G2 refills, a Pilot G2 refill (adds to the confusion for sure) and the Pilot Hi-Tec C style refills.  I thought I’d try to come up with a list of refills that fit into these categories. This is by no means a definitive list but should provide you with lots of options for your favorite non-fountain pens.

parker style refills

There are so many potential options for a “Parker-style” refill (which annoyingly enough is also referred to as a G2 though it is not necessarily compatible with a PILOT G2 style pen). The G2 refill is 98mm long and approx 5.8mm diameter on the main barrel.

Here’s a list of most (but probably not all) of the Parker-style refills:

  • Diplomat EasyFLOW Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Faber-Castell Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Faber-Castell Scribero Gel Ink Roller Refill
  • Fisher Space Pen Refill, PR Series- Colors (Bold, Medium, Fine)
  • Fisher Space Pen – Universal Ballpoint Refill
  • Foray (Office Depot) Ballpoint Refill for Parker (Medium)
  • Kaweco Soul G2 Refill 1.0mm
  • Kaweco Sport Roller Ball Pen Refill
  • Moleskine Ballpoint Refill
  • Moleskine Gel Refill (0.5 and 0.7 mm)
  • Moleskine Roller Gel Fluorescent Refills
  • Monteverde Ceramic Gel Refill (Broad)
  • Monteverde Needle Point Refill (Fine)
  • Monteverde Soft Roll- Colored inks (Medium)
  • Monteverde Soft Roll- (Superbroad, Medium, Ultrafine)
  • OHTO Needlepoint Ballpoint Pen Refill PS-807NP
  • OHTO PS-205NP Extra-Fine 0.5mm Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Parafernalia Ballpoint Pen Refill NO LOGO
  • Parker Ballpoint Pen Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
  • Parker GEL Ballpoint Pen Refill (Medium)
  • Parker Quinkflow Ballpoint Pen Refill (Medium, Fine)
  • Pelikan Giant Ballpoint Pen Refill 337 (Broad, Fine, Medium)
  • Pentel KFLT8 Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Platignum Standard Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Retro 51 Tornado Roller Ball Refills (REF5P) (Made by Schmidt)
  • Schmidt 9000M EasyFlow Pen Refill
  • Schmidt P8900 Super Bowl Refill (Fine)
  • Schmidt P900 B Ballpoint Pen Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
  • Schmidt P950M Megaline Pressurized Ballpoint Pen Refill (Medium)
  • Schneider Express 735 Pen Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
  • Schneider Slider 755 Pen Refill (Extra-Broad, Medium)
  • STABILO EASYgel Refill
  • Stabilo Ballpoint Refill
  • Tombow BR-ZLM Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Visconti Ballpoint Pen Refill AA49 1.4 (Broad)
  • Visconti Gel Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)

Retro 1951 + Pentel EnerGel Refill Hacking

Mike Rohde of Sketchnoting fame hacked a Pentel Energel refill (normally a Pilot G-2 sized refill) to fit into his Retro 51 by trimming the end of the refill to be the right size. If you’re willing to experiment, other refills might also survive this sort of hack. I’ve hacked the end off a few refills in my time to make them fit as well. Just grab a craft or utility knife or a sturdy pair of scissors, line up the old refill and the new refill and snip. Voila.

If you love a particular sort of pen refill, you can also lengthen a refill that’s too short by adding a bit of plastic tubing to the end of the barrel. The fine folks at Karas Kustoms provide a length of plastic tubing with their Render K, RETRAKT and BOLT pens that could be used with other brands as well or you could snip off a section of an empty plastic refill to length a new refill to fit.

The best source I found for ALL the Parker-style refills was Cult Pens in the UK. They stock over 30 different styles of Parker-style refills.  Another option is Refill Finder.


European International Rollerball / Pilot G-2 style refills

The Pilot G2 style refill, also described as the Schmidt/Euro Rollerball refill size are about 110mm long:

  • Caran d’Ache Fibre Tip Refill
  • Caran d’Ache Rollerball Refill
  • Faber-Castell Rollerball Pen Refill
  • Faber-Castell Fineliner Pen Refill
  • FORAY (Office Depot) Pen Refill For Schmidt Rollerball
  • Hi-Tec-C Cavalier refill
  • Monteverde Fineliner Refill G52
  • Monteverde Ceramic Rollerball Refill W22
  • Monteverde Spring-Loaded Tip Fineliner Refill G62
  • OHTO Ceramic Rollerball Pen Refill
  • OHTO F-300 Fude Refill Black
  • Pentel LR7 Energel
  • Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel
  • Pilot Juice (removed from plastic retractable pen)
  • Pilot G2
  • Pilot LP2RF Gel Refill (Juice refill code)
  • Schmidt Capless Rollerball 8126 and 8127 (shorter models can work with an extension hack)
  • Schmidt FineLiner refill
  • Schmidt Safety Rollingball Ceramic refill
  • Schmidt Safety Rolling Tube refill
  • Schmidt RollingSupersteel refill
  • Schmidt RollingBall refill
  • Schneider Topball 850 Pen Refill
  • Schneider Topliner 970 Pen Refill
  • Sheaffer Fineliner Refill
  • Visconti Rollerball Pen Refill AA40 0.7
  • Zebra JT refill
  • Zebra Sarasa Clip refill (removed from plastic retractable pen)

Using a spring around the tip of the refill will help to stabilize these. Use either the spring provided by your pen manufacturer or steal one from a retractable plastic pen body to get the perfect fit.

Cult Pens has a great selection of these refills in their “Euro Refills” section.

HI Tec C style refills

The Pilot Hi-Tec C style refills list doesn’t look as extensive as the other refill styles but the Hi-Tec C line has a huge assortment of color options and tip widths to provide quite a variety. The Pilot Hi-Tec C refills can be purchased individually or liberated from any Pilot Hi-Tec C pen including the Maica line.

  • Pilot Hi-Tec C (available in 0.25, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5)
  • Pilot G-Tec C (same as the Hi-Tec C but renamed for the American/European market)
  • Uni-ball Signo UM-100 Gel
  • Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 Gel
  • Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel

I’ve found that the Uni-Ball Signo refills may need to be trimmed slightly to fit but they work great. Just use scissors, a craft knife or blade to shorten the length to match the original length. I liberate Signo refills from plastic pens found around my office as well as occasionally purchasing proper refills.

D1 style refills

Then there’s the D1 sized refills. These are the super slender and used in multi-pens and mini pens. The Sharbo-X is a great example as is the Retro 51 Tornado Touch.

The D-1 mini refills are about 66-67mm long and there are quite a few refill styles to fit into these pens:

  • Acme Black 4FP Four-Function Pen Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Acme Highlighter 4FP Four-Function Pen Multi Functional Pen Refill
  • Aurora Mini Medium Point Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Caran D’ache Ecridor XS Mini Refill
  • Cross Matrix Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Cross Micro Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Kaweco D1 Soul Ballpoint Refill
  • Monteverde Soft Roll Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 (628)
  • Ohto R-4C7NP Needle-Point Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Parker Mini Ballpoint Refills
  • Parker Vector 3-in-1 Ballpoint Refills
  • Pelikan 38 Ballpoint Refills
  • Pilot BRF-8M Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Platinum BSP-60 Series
  • Platinum BSP-100
  • Retro 1951 D-1 Ballpoint Refill
  • Rotring Tikky 3-in-1 2-Color Ballpoint Refills
  • Tombow VS Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1
  • Uni SXR-200 Jetstream Ballpoint Multi Pen Refill (0.5 and 0.7mm)
  • Zebra 4C-0.7 Ballpoint Pen Refill
  • Zebra Sharbo X Ballpoint Multi Pen Refill Component – D1
  • Zebra Sharbo X Gel Ink Multi Pen Refill Component – D1

Big thank you to Dan at Karas Kustoms for giving me his list as a starting point. Thanks to The Pen Place in Kansas City for letting me try out lots of refills. The rest of my info came from Jet Pens, Cult Pens and Refill Finder.

Monteverde is modifying some of their refills to fit pens with more proprietary sizes like Lamy. Lamy is the most finicky of all the pens. If you have good alternatives for refills for Lamy rollerball and ballpoint pens, let me know.

Don’t forget to check your local office supply or pen store (even those big box shops) and play around with the pens and refills you have. You’d be surprised what might work.

I’m working on a handy printable pocket guide of all these pen refill options but I want to make sure I haven’t left anything out or gotten anything wrong. So let me know which of these refills work for you and which don’t.

Note: I have not tried EVERY refill with every pen so your results might vary. Please leave notes in the comments about your favorite pen and refill combination for other readers. Thanks!

Link Love: Paper v. Digital

Link Love Link Mascot

This week’s post of the week is actually two sides of the divisive discussion: paper or digital note-taking. I’ve waffled around on this issue for years and have come to the conclusion that I prefer paper to digital unless it involves a URL.

Post(s) of the week:




Paper & Notebooks:

Other Stuff:

And don’t forget:

Pen ChaletPen Chalet is offering a 10% off for Well-Appointed Desk readers. Enter the code wellappointeddesk at checkout to get this added discount.

Please support the shops that help support this blog. Thanks!

Cover Unveil: The Typewriter Book from Uppercase

Uppercase The Typewriter Book

Finally, the cover for the long-awaited The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine has been revealed. This book will feature over 200 pages of history, photos and timelines of the glorious typewriter. If you’re familiar with Uppercase magazine, you know this book will be beautifully designed by editor-in-chief Janine Vangool and printed with the highest quality standards.

Pre-orders are still being accepted at $45 per book. I pre-ordered mine ages ago so I can’t wait for the fall to get. That’s when the book will start shipping.

Review: Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen

Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen tip

Last week, I reviewed the Kuretake Fudegokochi Extra Fine Brush Pen which is a fun, little, budget brush pen. Then, I had my world rocked by its slightly beefier cousin, the Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen this week.

Aesthetically, its a plain barreled cylinder brush pen with a plain metal clip. If I had to find it in the bottom of my bag by feel, I might mistake it for a Pilot Precise V5. But its what’s inside that makes it something special. Its features the same tiny felt tip as the extra fine version, just more of it. Its a firm, springy tip which yields good line quality, quickly and easily. The black is a good dark black which makes scanning it awesome.

Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen

You all know I draw a lot of letters for my day job and the Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen has, in less than a week, surpassed all my other pens to become my go-to brush pen for lettering. I started out using it on tracing paper, just to get a rough sketch and the Fudegokochi Regular Brush pen dried almost immediately without bleeding. That never happens! Then I transferred my lettering onto my regular “work” stock, Bienfang Graphics 360 Marker Paper and the ink dried almost immediately and no bleed!

I addressed a bunch of birthday cards on standard envelope stock and the ink also dried without smearing. Are you impressed yet?

Then, in my final test, I used my Rhodia pad and the ink still dried almost immediately and, of course, no smearing or feathering.

Even after a week of pretty heavy use, the felt tip has kept its point and its only a little bit drier than when I started using it. The Fuegokochi pens are not waterproof which is the only downer for me.

Did you notice how great it makes my handwriting look? This brush pen gets my top rating for that reason alone. Add this little $3.50 gem to your next order. You’ll thank me.

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.

New Sponsor: Pen Chalet

Pen Chalet

I’d like to welcome Pen Chalet as a new sponsor on The Well-Appointed Desk. Pen Chalet stocks fine pens from some of our favorite brands like Lamy, Kaweco, Pelikan, Namiki, Pilot and many more. Pen Chalet stocks inks, refills, notebooks, pen cases and more as well.

And to help sweeten the deal, Pen Chalet is offering an extra 10% off for Well-Appointed Desk readers. Enter the code wellappointeddesk at checkout will get 10% off their already reduced prices. Don’t forget to check out the sales page for super low prices. The special offers are available for a limited time only so if you see something you love, order it quick. And let Pen Chalet know you heard about them from the Well-Appointed Desk.

Thanks to Pen Chalet for the great deals and sponsoring The Desk!

Ask The Desk: Long-lasting, Archival Notebook

Ask The Desk Header


Brody recently emailed me this question:

Since I got back into pens, I have become really enamored with Fountain Pens. I have been burning through notebooks trying to find good fits for FPs. I also started journalling – one for my daughter, one for my son, and one for me. I started off with the Piccadilly leather-something… and now I realize that if I keep going with this journalling, when I start vol. 2 I might not find a good match. Piccadilly seems to be erratic and in odd supplies. Are they going down for the count?

Anyway – I want to find a good journal that is solid and will last a long time, as well as something archival AND in a format that is likely to be around over the years as I fill them up. Knowing that nothing forever, what’s a good bet? Although I don’t use Leuchtturm 1917, I thought maybe it would work well… many colors and solid paper. Other thoughts?


Piccadilly does cater to the budget market like overstock shops so it can be hit-or-miss to find their on a regular basis. Their web site lists retailers who stock their products. Some people have mentioned issues with the binding over time with Piccadilly so I wouldn’t rely on it for archival journals and keepsakes. I use a Piccadilly for work notes which are not relevant by the end of the week so I don’t plan to pass mine down to future generations.

If you are actually looking for multi-color pages, The Ciak Multicolor Journal might be to your taste.


Fabriano used to make one too, for years, but I can’t seem to find anyone selling them now which is sad. They do make a version with an array of white, cream and kraft colored paper but not the rainbow of colors they used to make.

Fabriano has made paper for centuries I think so they would be a good bet though I have not used the paper with fountain pens but it is designed for artists using pencil and pen so it might work well. You may be able to find some Fabriano sketchbooks in a local art supply store.

Rhodia Webnotebooks might be a good option. Excellent paper for fountain pens, well-constructed hardbound books and Clairefontaine has been around for awhile and people love the Webnotebook line so they should be available for years to come. There aren’t a ton of cover colors, black and orange at present but their smaller Rhodiarama line have many different colored covers.

Leuchtturm 1917 neon covers

I think the Leuchtturm1917 should be around for awhile, its good quality and reasonably priced. Its not super high end paper so some wider nibbed pens might bleed but it has the potential to be a book you’ll be able to find for years to come. They come is several sizes and configurations and have lots of cover color options, including a up-to-the-moment neon option at present.

The classic black, artists sketchbooks from Stillman & Birn, Canson or Cachet might also fit your needs since they are all similar sizes and designed for artists so the paper quality is good (usually 65lb or higher) and reasonable priced (between $10-$15 for a 8.5×11″ size). They are available in an A5 and a US Letter size no matter which brand you choose. Some offer a square or spiral bound option as well. And, to butcher a Henry Ford quote,  you can have colored cover you want, as long as you want black. Any art supply store will carry one of these brands (or something comparable) so you’d always have access. I’d recommend the Stillman & Birn to start — the Alpha series paper is not too thick and excellent with fountain pens — though its not as widely available as the other more widely distributed brands.

Cachet Classic Black Sketchbook

Most modern notebooks should have fairly low acidity paper, even if its not labelled “archival.” The artist-grade sketchbooks are definitely archival. I would recommend storing completed journals and notebooks in a dark, dry location (like an opaque plastic tub in  a closet or attic) after its completed to protect it from light degradation or moisture which will could be a bigger threat than the archival-ness  of the paper.

Video: Make Your Own Midori-style Traveler’s Notebook

Make your own Midori-style Traveler’s Notebook in any size (traditional Midori sizes or a leather cover perfectly sized for your Field Notes-sized books) with this great video tutorial:

After you’ve made your own Midori-style TRaveler’s Notebook, don’t forget to check out my previous post about customizing your notebook.

(Thanks to @mattwillgo for the tip)

Three Drops in One: April, May and June Ink Drops

For some reason, doing Ink Drop reviews seem to take forever. Maybe its because I have to dip and clean a pen five times. Then I get behind and have to dip and clean a pen TEN times. This time, I’m THREE months behind. So, hopefully, this was worth the wait.

Here’s the colors from the April, May and June Ink Drops:


April 2014: Islands in the Sun

May Ink Drop 2014 "Garden Party"

Blue skies, blue oceans, sunny days and sandy beaches are captured with the inks in the April Ink Drop. The R&K Helianthus was surprisingly usable for a yellow ink with more orange-y undertones. Private Reserve Shoreline gold was a warm orange-y brown. Both the Diamine Beau Blue and the Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro are turquoise-y blues and the Diamine Coral is actually a blisteringly fluorescent pink-y orange. Its not so pinky as to be bubblegum, more of a vivid geranium blossom red/pink. This is a super fun assortment and was a perfect antidote to rainy, cold, snowy April. I love both shades of blue and will probably have to flip a coin to choose one or the other to buy as a full bottle. The Diamine Coral is also a favorite. It’s a bit more orange-y red than the Platinum Cyclamen Pink. J. Herbin’s Rose Cyclamen and Rose Tendresse are much more purple in comparison.

May Ink Drop 2014 "Garden Party"

May 2014: Garden Party

April 2014 Ink Drop "Islands in the Sun"

Garden Party lived up to its name with an array of reddish colors: DeAtramentis Apple Blossom (scented), Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji and Pelikan Violet. The PI Tsutsuji is a tiny bit brighter, cleaner color than Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline. The DeAtramentis Apple Blossom is not overpoweringly scented but it has a fragrance in the bottle that is not noticeable when dry. The color is sort of mulberry reddish purple. Its actually a lovely color and probably my favorite in the bunch this month. Private Reserve Buttercup is super bright yellow but not a fluorescent. It has a hint of orange to it but not as orange-y as the R&K Heliathus from the April Ink Drop. Platinum Leaf Green is part of the mix-free line and is a truly kelly green — like a beautiful spring lawn. Not my lawn, but someone’s.

April 2014 Ink Drop "Islands in the Sun"


June 2014: Down to Earth

June 2014 Ink Drop "Down to Earth"

When the June Ink Drop arrived, I was a little bit of a doubter that the earthy tones of the Down to Earth theme would be appealing to me in the bright June sun but both of the browns were really appealing and the greens will be given a good deal more consideration than I initially thought. Private Reserve Ebony Brown is a deep clean brown on the reddish side of brown, warm like 70% cacao chocolate. It’s almost a warm brown black. If I were to buy a bottle of brown ink, this would be it.  And the Platinum Mix-Free Earth Brown is a warm orange-y brown that is richer than Pelikan Brown. Diamine Salamander is an olive-y green black. It reminds me of the color of American currency — like the green on a dollar bill — feels historical. Noodler’s Sequoia Green has a true evergreen vibe, like pine needles. The Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine is a bit deeper green than the Platinum Leaf Green from the May Ink Drop but still a vivid kelly green, just a touch deeper, darker green with a tiny bit of a bluish cast.

June 2014 Ink Drop "Down to Earth"

Ink Drop is a monthly ink sampling service from Goulet Pens. Subscriptions are $10 per month (add $5 for international subscription), pre-paid or ongoing, and include five different colors of ink and discounts on purchases of full bottles of ink in the Ink Drops.

Swabs are done with a watercolor paint brush on Kyokuto Word Cards, writing samples are done on Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank pad using a soft bristle watercolor paint brush and a Pilot Prera with a Pilot Plumix 1.1mm Medium Calligraphy Nib.

House Industries Official Stationery Supplies

House Industries Stationery

House Industries makes some of the most amazing fonts, typography and design. Thankfully, you can now use the same tools as the staff at House Industries uses. Sketch like Andy Cruz with a 6-pack of House Industries branded pencils in a House Industries mini journal. Use an official “House Industries Letter Sharpie” like Ken Barber. And post it all up on the wall with House Industries Carnival masking tape.

House Industries Pencils House Industries Sharpies


(This announcement written with tongue firmly in cheek. But I do love the guys at House Industries and who wouldn’t want one of their fabulous pencils? Or a cycling jersey?)

House Industries Alphabet Masking Tape

Review: Pilot G-2 0.7mm in Lime Green

Pilot G-2 0.7 in Lime

Is anyone the least bit surprised that I’m reviewing a lime green pen? Today its the Pilot G-2 0.7mm in Lime Green. I’m a relative latecomer to the joys of the G-2 line of gel pens. Most of my previous experiences have been with the versions sold in big box office supply stores that are 0.7mm and 1mm tips in the standard black and blue. Usually, pens this wide are a recipe for disaster for me so I was inclined to avoid them entirely in favor of my razor point Japanese market gels like the Pilot Hi-Tec C, Zebra Sarasa Clip and Uni Signo DX models.

But times are changing, or maybe its just as I learn more about pens and paper, I can see the appeal of different pens.

The other thing that kept me from embracing the G-2 line is that the retractable pens are just ugly. I don’t like the bulbous, curvy clip at all and the bold, brash logo-ing on them. Part of what I appreciate about a lot of Japanese pens is the absence or removeability of a lot of the branding. I like when I have to squint at a pen to see the teeny tiny word “uni” or the like as opposed to the HUGE “Pilot G-2 07” emblazoned on the clip.

Pilot G-2 0.7 in Lime

That said, there is a reason people like the G-2 ink and keep using these ugly plastic pens. They write well. They write smoothly. The ink dries quickly on most papers. They aren’t expensive (this one set me back a whopping $1.50).

Even though the 0.7mm tip is a bit wider than I am normally accustomed to, I did not have any issues with ink smudging or dry time and the slightly larger size did not create too many letters to fill in. Everything seemed fairly legible and the tip created a smooth writing experience. This pen had the same springy feedback as my previous experience. I think it has to do with the retractable button moving slightly as I lifted the pen, creating a vibration inside the pen down to the spring holding the refill in place. This may be one of the reasons I tend to favor capped pens over retractable because I don’t like this feedback. In the end though, the vibration was no better or worse than in other G-2 retractable pens. I may hack the refill out of this and put it into one a G-2 compatible pen body with a cap (i.e. the Render K G-2 model or one of the pens listed here).

How do I feel about the color? Good, really good. In my never-ending hunt for the perfect lime green pen, this is edging up the list. If it was available in a 0.5mm version, it might just be my favorite. Its a good lime popsicle green, perfect for summer ramblings.

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.

Photo of the day: Genine Zlatkis

genine zlatkis studio

Genine Zlatkis is a prolific illustrator with a great style and her studio is amazing. She posted these pictures of all her supplies, organized so neatly, I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.

I recognize a cup full of Sakura Pigma Microns, Pink Pearl and assorted erasers, and the recognizable ferrule of a Dixon Tocnderoga pencil.

Genine Zlatkis Rubber Stamps

Genine also created some rubber stamps recently that would be perfect for decorating letters and envelopes and sold here.

genine zlatkis studio

(via Genine Zlatkis)