15 July 2006

What do you write with?

I haven't been giving much thought to writing instruments lately. But surfing around one sleepless night, I visited Pencil Revolution and started drooling. Wow. Who knew people were so passionate about pencils? I love writing with a pencil, and hated it when I reached 4th grade and slippery ball point ink became a requirement. I went through a fountain pen phase a few years back. At one point, I had four going at a time, with different color ink in each one. Then, when I realized I desired better, more expensive fountain pens but didn't want to spend the $$ on them, I switched to gel pens. The gel runs out quickly, but they're refillable. Recently, I abandoned gel because it does clot and skip sometimes, and I also wanted a finer point.

Now I write in my 'faxes with Sanford uni-ball pens, with a "micro" point. They come in a "deluxe" model, with a bronzish body, and another model ("regular" I guess) with a matte black body. You can buy them by the dozen at Staples, and I keep them all over the house. Sometimes I pencil events into my 'fax, if I'm uncertain of their likelihood. Maybe I'll take a note from Pencil Revolution and start rebelling against the tyranny of ink more often!

UPDATE: After first writing this entry, I bought some new pencils and a case. You can see more here.


  1. I mainly use my Lamy Safari with Noodler's Eternal Black ink, with occasional use of my Pentel Kerry when I prefer a pencil.

    The Safari is about as good a writer as you can get, and fairly cheap too (£13 over here, probably under $20 in the US). Add a converter to use it with bottled ink, and it becomes much cheaper to use, and Noodler's makes it *very* black, and waterproof. If you want the same nib and reliability in a nicer looking body, look for the Lamy Studio - still Lamy's classic minimal design, but a looks much more expensive than the Safari, whilst only actually being about twice the price - and it comes with the converter.

    I love the Kerry because it's small and neat, and when not posted, it's quite short and light. It also looks much nicer than most mechanical pencils. It's loaded with Pentel lead at the moment, which I think is about the best, but I'm not too fussy about the lead.

  2. Thanks, PPM! I've read good things about the Lamy Safari on other sites, notably The Fountain Pen Network. So many fountain pen lovers use it as their everyday pen! My favorite pen was an Omas, an inexpensive model that they no longer make. It had a clear barrel so you could see the ink supply. I loved it because the Fine nib was really fine, and it was small and light. I had two of them, kept in the loops of my Franklin planner. I used them until they were really worn out and leakage became a problem. I had one of them repaired because the nib got off-center, but the results were only temporary.

    BTW, your estimate on the U.S. price is correct. They retail for about $20 here.

  3. The Safari has ink windows so you can see how much is left, but if you prefer it all clear, the Lamy Vista is the same pen with clear casing.

    Neither the Safari, or even my little Pentel Kerry fit in the loop in my Lyndhurst, but I've found a workaround - the pocket clip clips to the loop just fine, and the pen or pencil fit quite neatly in the space next to it.

    I usually keep the Kerry inside there, and keep the Safari clipped to me.

  4. If you like pencils (which I do), see if you can find Pentel Graphgear 1000 series (0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, 0.9mm) mechanical pencils. Retractable tip to protect it from damage, aluminum body with rubber grip.

  5. arkady -- Thanks for the pencil tip (pun not intended). And thanks for linking to your Flickr page. Your photos are so lovely I actually don't regret the time I procrastinated looking at them. ;)

  6. I'm very surprised that the commenters here have chosen the same pens and pencils as I have. I guess great minds think alike.

    Lamy Safari was my first fountain pen, and no pen has been able to replace it in quite the same way. I can never use ball points again because I can't stand the two seconds of scratches I have to endure to get the ink flowing.

    As for my pencil, I use Pentel Graph 1000 over the Graphgear because it's lighter and less top-heavy. I prefer a pen over pencil any day because I hate the smudge effect of paper on paper.