Pens & Pencils

Pen Suprise!

I found a suggestion on the internet that with a little surgery A Montblanc rollerball refill will fit in a Pilot G2 pen. I went to my local pen store, and asked for a Montblanc rollerball refill. I told them what I was going to do, and they let me know that a Faber-Castell rollerball refill would fit exactly. So I installed the Faber-Castell refill in one of my Pilot G2 pens and it fit perfectly.

Crafting Unique Pens, an interview with Anthony Dupre

Editor’s Note: Luckily for me, my husband’s boss, Anthony Dupre, is a woodmaker and a big do it yourselfer. Two months ago I was gifted with a lovely handmade fountain pen that Anthony crafted from materials my husband selected. I consider this pen a heirloom item and pressured him to tell his tale. Finally, we just sat down to do an interview-style article.

How did you get started in woodworking?
Anthony: A few years ago, I received a small lathe as a christmas present. It was love at first sight. I set it up in my shop / garage and started turning. I started with bowls, goblets, and tool handles and then got hooked on turning pens. 

What motivated you to start creating your own pens?
The inability to find a pen that matched my style (well, within a reasonable budget that is). I also simply enjoy making things from scratch in general. I was also looking for projects I could turn for gift that would get used and not just thrown on a shelf. Pens are a perfect gift in that regard.

Shoot-out Review: Cheap Fountain Pens, The Next Generation: Chapter 2: Platinum Preppy

OK, folks. Here we have a line of pens that are so cheap they would thrill Scrooge McDuck. And I mean cheap as in inexpensive, not cheap as in poorly made.

[NOTE: I will add pictures in a bit, but I wanted to get this out - use the links to see the pens at the sellers]


First Impressions (8/10) – Nice, simple, solid pen.

Appearance & Design (9/10) – Classic design in seven different colors of both pen body and matching inks.

Weight & Dimensions (8/10) – Average weight and dimension for a full size pen. Very comfortable in the hand.

Nib & Performance (8/10) – I got one of the "Fine 03" nibs. Jet Pens also carries a "Medium 05" nib. It writes very smooth with no visible feathering on the cheap index cards I use.

Filling System (10+/10) - Here's the Magic ! The Preppy is easily converted into an Eyedropper pen, using the entire pen barrel to hold ink. JetPens sells the O-ring gaskets needed for this conversion and they have even posted a How-To article here

Cost & Value (10/10) – Pens are US$ 3 each from either Jet Pens or J-Stationeryand a 10-pack of O-rings costs US$ 3 from JetPens. Refill cartridges are US$ 1.50 for two and they come in LOTS of different colors.

Conclusion (Final score[53]: 8.8) - Some folks on FountainPen Network have grouched a bit about these pens leaking or clogging occasionally, but I believe you are getting a great pen for the money.

And it does not end there !

Platinum Preppy comes as a highlighter and a felt-tip marker (they call them Sign Pens) for US$2.25 each. When you want to change color, they sell replacement tips for both the highlighter and the sign-pen in a two-pack for US$1.50

Noodler's Ink offers package deals of large bottles of ink with eyedroppers. Some (not all) also include an eyedropper converted Preppy pen. JetPens offers eight different eyedropper bottles here, three of which include a free pen. They offer one more here that includes two pens and a white ink here that includes a free sign pen marker. The Noodler's Firefly Yellow ink is the only highlighter ink at JetPens, but Noodler's makes several different colors intended for highlighters.

Pen and Ink Inventory

This is a form for the penaholic. The front is 1) an inventory of pens, by brand, name, type (fp, bp, etc) and point (fine, med, broad) and current ink color and 2) an inventory of inks by brand, name, form (bottle, cartridge) and comments. The back is lined for samples of inks and pens listed on the front.

Screenshot-Pen and Ink Inventory.pdf.png
Usage advice: 

print page one on the front of the page and print page 2 on the reverse

Paper size: 
Letter and A4
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Adobe viewer and a printer

Vintage Ad: The Sheaffer Hikes Alaskan Trails

For all you fountain pen addicts and retro lovers out there, a vintage Sheaffer advertisement from 1919. (Click to see a larger version.)

Sheaffer Vintage Ad

Introducing DIYPlanner Quick Tips

ScribeThere's plenty of little things we think of here that aren't meaty enough for a full article, but that might help the odd reader and perhaps instigate a little discussion. To that end, we'd like to introduce a new feature here on DIYPlanner: Quick Tips. These will be posted several times a week, and will run the gamut from pens and notebooks to creative techniques to digital productivity. (Hey, we analog luddites do occasionally use computers, too, or else you wouldn't be reading these words.) So, our first official Quick Tip:

Like the freedom of writing on an unlined page, but your words start tipping to an angle the further down the page you write? Take a tip from old-style blank writing pads. These generally come with a lined page you could slip under your current page, and there would be just enough hint of lines to keep your writing even and on track. If you don’t have such a lined page for your paper or journal, use Ygor’s dynamic templates to generate lined note pages with the line spacing and thickness that works best for you.

Do you have a quick tip? Email it to diyplanner -@AT@- gmail dot com!

Shoot-out Review: Cheap Fountain Pens, The Next Generation: Chapter 1: Pilot Petit 1

When Doug started his Cheap Pen Reviews, I foolishly offered to review a few more that I had purchased in recent months.

Through my participation at D*I*Y Planner, I rediscovered fountain pens. I really forget how I first found this site. But I recall at some point, someone mentioned fountain pens and I got re-hooked. An old, neglected hobby of mine is calligraphy, so I have had a lot of experience with various ink pens, mostly dip pens due to the sort of inks I would use. I recall using a Schaeffer cartridge pen way back in high school (late 60's).

While cruising the internet looking for new pens to try and play with, I stumbled across JetPens. This site sells all sorts of Japanese-style pens: from fountain to gellies. I ordered a Pilot Petit1 and a Ohto Tasche Fountain Pen. This review covers the Pilot Petit1. I will review the Tasche next.

Credit where due: I have copied the following review format from Fountain Pen Network. Thanks, guys.

Ok, deep breath, back straight, knees together, hands over head, and jump in...

Shoot-out Review: 3 Cheap Fountain Pens, Part III - Parker Reflex

Cheap Fountain PensIn my quest to find an inexpensive and economical fountain pen, I've previously looked at two options. The Pilot Vpen (a.k.a., Varsity) is quite an ordinary looking pen with a good nib, but no way of refilling its ink, and the unique look of Bic Select X Pen was otherwise betrayed by its cheap materials and the various ergonomic factors that made my hand cramp. Last on my list is the Parker Reflex (the red pen on the left). Can Parker pull off a quality starter pen for less than $10, or will all three of these writing instruments be confined to my junk drawer (a.k.a., the pen graveyard)?

Whereas the body of the Vpen looks like a regular wavy-paint dollar-store rollerball and the X Pen looks like a retro submarine, the Parker Reflex is much more spartan in its design. Its unassuming outside appearance is essentially a long and thick coloured stick, its only design attributes being a glossy plastic body, an inlaid matte black plastic round at either end, and a wide stainless steel spring clip in the shape of a stylized arrow (a Parker trademark). The plastic on my candy apple red model is somewhat pearlescent under bright light, a not unpleasant effect when matched against the clip and end pieces.

Shoot-out Review: 3 Cheap Fountain Pens, Part II - Bic Select X Pen

Bic Select X Pen

Woe betide my wife. Whereas she prefers things to follow the more classical stylings so common to those fashionable books, magazines and television shows (which we will here define as "good taste"), my leanings are far more into those odd accoutrements so common to the dusty backrooms of pawn shops, hidden behind a musty curtain, and we here define such things as "tacky" (if cheap), "strange" (if medium-priced) or "eccentric" (if a second mortgage is required). Lavender walls backing mahogany furniture is apparently tasteful, while Superman wallpaper and faux-Lego tables are apparently not, even if it's an ultra-cool riff on Siegal and Shuster's original covers. I say this not to demonstrate my nerd cred, but to give fair warning as to the unique side of my tastes.

The look of the Bic Select X Pen fountain pen, which seems to have arrived as a lonely and mis-shipped item in my local small office supply store, leans towards my definition of tasteful --which is to say, not that of my wife's. This odd little pen seems to have emerged form the Bic assembly line --a place not normally associated with fountain pens, at least in North America-- as a bastard child of an economic writing utensil with Captain Nemo's Nautilus.