Sunday, 17 August 2014

Caran d'Ache Pencil Holder

One of my presents for Christmas 2012 (!) was a Caran d'Ache pencil holder, which I have used on and off since.  It has held up pretty well in my work bag, and usually holds a stub of a Staedtler Tradition HB.  As you can see it is finished in a smart glossy red finish.

Although the quality is very good, the holder is a bit large for the Tradition so I need to put a piece of tape around the stub end of the pencil so it stays firmly held on to the holder.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Just for info, I have decided to use one of the basic Blogger templates after a few complaints about the green scheme I used before.  So until I get around to using a better template (erm...) this should hopefully be a bit easier on the eyes.  Good job I didn't go for orange, then.

Tombow meets Muji in London

Just back from a couple of days out in London, where there were a couple of things I found which would interest readers of this blog.  At the British Library, in the gift shop I found a couple of pots of Tombow Mono 100 pencils - fortunately they only had 2H, so I was able to pass.  They were there among a range of goodies connected to the comic art exhibition currently taking place.

Later I popped into the Muji store on Tottenham Court Road and picked up a pocket pencil sharpener and a white eraser for a grand total of GBP2.00.  I have had a quick play with them and they seem to work well, The sharpener is very small indeed and looks good for going in a pocket or bag.

So it seemed appropriate to photograph the new purchases with my Tombow pencils.  I really ought to take up sketching again - I haven't done much drawing since I was at school.  At the time comics were a major influence and I wanted to be the next Brian Bolland (though I modelled my drawing style on Mike McMahon's).  But that was years ago...

Please forgive the awful mobile phone picture.  I hope to post more frequently now that I have had to update my technology, including a newish mobile phone.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

EDC Redux

One of my favourite blogs, The Well Appointed Desk,  posted a link some time ago to an EDC (Every Day Carry) video featuring one of the Mythbusters, Adam Savage.  I know him from that series, which I flit past as I try to find something worth watching amidst the "documentary" (sic) channels on my satellite television.

I may not be impressed much by his efforts to drive elderly cars off cliffs in the name of scientific research, but I can't knock his impeccable EDC, which is elegant in its simplicity.  Wallet, keys, phone, and a few other bits and bobs, and that's it.  It's made me re-examine my own EDC to try to sharpen it up a bit.

I posted about my own EDC a while ago, here.  I still own and use the Maxpedition EDC pouch but these days it holds a first aid kit in my work bag.  For a while I used it as a pen case, but now I have a Maxpedition 6x4 Notebook Cover for that.

My own EDC is now similar to Adam Savage's.  I carry a keychain which holds a miniature flashlight and a combination bottle opener/screwdriver, as well as keys.  I also carry a wallet for bank notes and credit/debit cards.  Living in a country whose currency requires most to hold small denominations in the form of coins rather than paper money, I have also made a small drawstring bag for loose change which goes in my pocket or in my work bag.

Of course, I almost always carry a pen and notebook.  Even if I do not have my fountain pens to hand, I usually have a pen on me - as I do not like ballpoint pens, I carry a Pilot G2 0.7mm gel pen, and write in a Muji Passport pocket notebook.  They are half the price of the Moleskine equivalent and hold up well in the harsh environment of the average back pocket.

The other EDC items I have are a Swiss Army Knife (Sportsman model), a Kent pocket comb, a Maglite Solitaire flashlight and a smartphone - at present a Samsung Galaxy SII, though I intend to replace it shortly.  The Sportsman is modified slightly - I sharpened the main blade with a water stone, and I have added a Victorinox small screwdriver, the sort that lives inside the corkscrew tool.  Although dim compared to contemporary CREE LED flashlights, the Maglite Solitaire is a handy little light which does not drain the battery when not in use: unlike the Nitecore D11 I bought as my main torch.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Spambot Supernova

I have just deleted a bunch of spam which has infected the comments, so reluctantly I have changed the comments options to remove the option of posting anonymously.  Sorry about this, but I have better things to do than delete spam from the blog.

That is all.

Friday, 5 April 2013

New Layout

I have done a little spring cleaning on the blog by changing its theme, and the background colour.  I was looking for a theme based on one of my favourite colours, and settled on what to me looks like a restful pistachio green.

The theme may well change again if I find one I like better.

Be grateful it wasn't tangerine!

Pilot 78G

After the last fountain pen post (on the Lamy Safari) it seemed like a good time to discuss another pen mentioned in that review: the Pilot 78G.  This is one of Pilot's base models, designed for students in Asian  markets, but although cheap, it's definitely not nasty.  It is produced in four colours, green, red (actually a sort of dark vermilion), black and teal blue/green.   The barrel, cap and nib section are moulded in plastic which is fairly robust, and set off by "gold" accents such as the clip and the printed ring on the cap.  The steel nib is also gold lacquered to match the clip.  The cap screws on securely, to go in your blazer pocket ready for another day at school.

I have two of these pens; both are pictured above and below. The green 78G is one of the first fountain pens I bought when I rediscovered FPs a few years ago. After a lot of reading up on it on Fountain Pen Network I ordered it from Norman Haase from his website Norman checks all the nibs on the pens he sells, and it shows on this one; the nib is smooth and lays down a solid, fine line.

The red 78G is one of a pair I bought from FPN member "Samovar"; the other was black, which I gave away. This is slightly unusual in that it accepts short international cartridges rather than the proprietary IC-50 cart.  Now I wish I hadn't given the black one away because although small for my large hands, it is most useful to have a pen which takes a non-proprietary cartridge.

The green 78G is pictured with the Pilot bladder adapter but since this photo was taken I have put in a Pilot cartridge, which is easily done although you need to use an alarming amount of force to pull the adapter out.  I found that with the adapter, the 78G leaks slightly from the nib, which I think is a consequence of the design: ink can seep through the vents over time.  This is only noticeable when the pen has sat unused for a time, which mine tend to be as I have the M90 and the Capless to use as well.

Pilot offer a three nib choices for this pen; i went with the median M nib for both.  Being a Japanese fountain pen, this "medium" runs to a Western "fine".  I would imagine the F nib is very fine indeed, good if you have tiny handwriting.  There is also a B nib which is an italic stub which I can't say much about as I haven't tried that one, though it has its fans.

Although not one of my regular pens I do like to use my 78Gs from time to time.  For a while I used the green pen filled with Noodler's Bulletproof Black to record astronomical observations, a job it performed admirably.  The only reason I stopped using it was due to the screw cap, which became a faff to use at night and wearing gloves!

Although there are reports that the pen is no longer in production, and that supplies are NOS (New Old Stock), the 78G was mass-produced in vast quantities so stock is still available online at various retailers.  There are numerous reviews on FPN and other websites and blogs (I know - I have just looked) which are mostly favourable.  Many like me prefer this pen to the Safari, and I think every fountain pen user should own at least one, as a handy knockabout pen, for home, office or even school.