The Pen Addict
September 4, 2008 6:32 PM   Subscribe - a blog about pens, with links to lots of other pens and stationery blogs.
posted by nthdegx (64 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Ahh, penography addiction. I knew there was a reason I have so many. Bic medium point, black, with clear casing. Looks like a syringe at times. A college days standard, and still my favorite daily writing stick.
posted by buzzman at 6:47 PM on September 4, 2008

Blog entries written on paper. Absolutely perfect.
posted by milkrate at 6:49 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh god. I think just inked my pants.
posted by Someone has just shot your horse! at 6:52 PM on September 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

I mustn't open this link - it will probably result in an immediate pengasm.
posted by Ber at 7:09 PM on September 4, 2008

buzzman: "Bic medium point, black, with clear casing. Looks like a syringe at times. A college days standard, and still my favorite daily writing stick."

Yep. The clear plastic makes it write better, put a white casing on that and it's just another piece of junk. Clear case + cap placed on the end of the pen = instant Pulitzer for anything you write. Your shopping list can pull a five figure advance if you use the right pen.
posted by Science! at 7:13 PM on September 4, 2008

As a Pilot Fine Black Ink Retractable Ballpoint fanatic (less that 2 bucks ea), it's *very* exciting to discover the PenAddict's review of the Pilot Symmetry Ballpoint Pen - 0.7 mm. $7.50. Not bad.

Ooh, and like the review of the Sharpie Pen too. Love that fine point thing.
posted by nickyskye at 7:30 PM on September 4, 2008

Aha! I see they are starting to get into mechanical pencils too. That way lies madness.
posted by tellurian at 7:37 PM on September 4, 2008

I had my addiction kicked for nearly five years, and now you link me to this? Great, just great. I'd better brew some coffee and head to a meeting.
posted by Kimothy at 7:40 PM on September 4, 2008

How to make the best pen ever. No, seriously, I have 5 at work. Thanks to ebay I got 12 MB refills and 40 G2's for like $20 total. You don't have to use the G2 Pro's either...any regular size G2 works.
posted by TomMelee at 7:41 PM on September 4, 2008 [6 favorites]

I was always partial to the really thin Pilot pens, with the needle tips. The only downside was when some caveman would borrow one and bend the nib with their brutish writing pressure.

Nice site. Someone needs to grab a pen and poke the blogger, though. Their handwriting capslock is stuck.
posted by CKmtl at 7:42 PM on September 4, 2008

CK: The Pilot extra fine are my tool of choice too, but I vote for the caps lock writing personally.
posted by Kimothy at 7:47 PM on September 4, 2008

Stop him! He's got my pen!
posted by stavrogin at 7:48 PM on September 4, 2008

I'm down with pens. I prefer the leadholder, though.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 7:50 PM on September 4, 2008

Can't stand the crappy Office Depot ball point pens my office has. Always bring my own.

My current crack of choice:

ITOYA Blade Fountain Pen
posted by freakinloon at 8:04 PM on September 4, 2008

there's an endless stream of invective that can be hurled at obsessives, however it's amazing that the inter tubes have made it possible for this degree of specificity and minutiae to be shared with everyone and anyone. right now I'm rocking the Pentel Energel liquid gel pen with super smooth ink and a metal tip, latex free - actual packaging copy - quick drying, great for LEFTIES - from the 99 cent store. beats the Tiffany "T" rollerball that my parents gave me that I loved, and of course lost. pens rule.
posted by TMezz at 8:14 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Mechanical pencils? That's where I'm a viking.
posted by djgh at 8:27 PM on September 4, 2008

Hi, my name is Humannaire, and I'm a penaholic.
posted by humannaire at 8:33 PM on September 4, 2008

[Nonetheless, as long as it took for those photos to load on that blog, I might switch to crayons or chalk.]
posted by humannaire at 8:34 PM on September 4, 2008

Ahhh, yes... the penis mightier...
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:35 PM on September 4, 2008

Neat post.

I love Dr. Grip, and own about twenty of them. I still have the purple Dr. Grip I used to copy out time after time, and learn, all 2000 basic Japanese kanji.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:40 PM on September 4, 2008

And... on a recent trip back to Japan, I bought the Dr. Grip "Center of Gravity." It's awesome.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:42 PM on September 4, 2008

Did someone say mechanical pencils?

Pentel QE-405. Finest instrument ever crafted. Lifetime supply, my bitches. via Ebay. Don't know where the seller got them, don't care. $4/dozen.
posted by troy at 8:42 PM on September 4, 2008

^ ironically, while the old-school QE-405 was made in Japan, I could only buy it in the states, so picking up a handful was always on the shopping list on my biennial trips back.

The QE-405 went out of production sometime in the 90s, but Pentel is making them again, but with frou-frou transparent plastics.
posted by troy at 8:45 PM on September 4, 2008

Medium point black Bic, as I plow through the second chapter of Triola's Elementary Statistics, Tenth Edition. Pop quiz Saturday morning in class.

(Never got the mad love for the Pilot G2. Then again, my pen pressure engraves every note I take about four sheets of looseleaf deep.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:04 PM on September 4, 2008

Hmmm... This Symmetry pen seems like a whole lot of nothing to me. I do enjoy the shape, though i can see how it could be a little quirky to get used to the similarity on both ends. The description is priceless though:

"This pen symbolizes Asia’s appreciation of balanced harmony and the complementary yet opposing forces of the Yin and Yang (two balanced yet opposing aspects of any one phenomenon). The pen is symmetrical and was designed not only as a beautiful object but also one of improved stability."


Favorite pens: Pilot P-700, or when those are tricky to find, the Sharpie Pen. Never liked ballpoint pens all that much.
posted by phylum sinter at 9:09 PM on September 4, 2008

Hi, my name is Humannaire, and I'm a penaholic.

Hi Humannaire!

I can't walk through a store without talking a walk down the office/school supply aisle to check out the pens. The other day I actually begged an office supply sample pack off of the receptionist at work just to get one of these. Next thing you know I'll be standing on a corner hustling for Waterman refills...
posted by MikeMc at 9:15 PM on September 4, 2008

Phil Agre's cheap pens (linked near bottom) was the precursor to this. I actually visited the Japanese stationary store in SF that carries all kinds of nifty imports, all of which I have since lost.
posted by mecran01 at 9:15 PM on September 4, 2008

Oh, and I once got a Rotring in payment for proofreading their website's english, and I lost it in a K-Mart parking lot in Kentucky about seven years ago. The customer service desk looked at me like I was nuts when I asked if anyone had turned in a pen.
posted by mecran01 at 9:17 PM on September 4, 2008

Ahhh, yes... the penis mightier...

Goddamn it, my take on the totally obvious PEN IS ETC joke was way better.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:19 PM on September 4, 2008

I'm all about the Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen.
Especially now that I have discovered that they are, indeed, refillable and you don't ever have to dispose of them.

posted by willmize at 9:25 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wow, the circle comes 'round again. Random google searches for "moleskine" and "fountain pen ink"* brought me to a few MeFi discussions on the topic, and I've been an addict ever since, lurking less often than I should.

* Montblanc Blue-grey is the only fountain pen ink that will not bleed through a standard Moleskine page with fine nib or broader. Extra-fine nibs can use Waterman Blue or the fabled Tanzanite purple. Gel pens are likewise tricky, with Pilot G2's bleeding through at .5 and .7, nevermind 1.1! A "space pen" in a broad nib leaves a pleasant line that doesn't bleed, but it's "slippery" and tough to control, and you need to leave it time to dry, or get in the habit of putting blotter paper in when you close the Moleskine. I eventually solved the problem by switching to another brand of pocket journal, with paper less inclined to bleed through, and used Waterman Blue with my "real" pens, or a Parker Jotter in stainless with a black gel cart... a megabuck writing experience in an indestructible ten dollar pen. The Pilot Varsity's still bleed through too much, but are nice for note-taking on legal pads in black and aqua.

Now that I've switched entirely to .9mm pencil, I may revisit the 'skine. Dude. Serious about the .9mm pencil: flex-nib figuration with a little practice, and a smooth, effortless glide. Plus, easy to erase! Pilot and Ticonderoga make stylish and cheap disposables in .9mm. 1.2mm pencils are too much of a good thing.

So, yes, there is a sizeable pen-nerd underground here. :p
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:28 PM on September 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

I am a fiend for Zebra F-301s. I must have 3 dozen stashed around the house, maybe more. I'm always terrified that I won't be able to find them anymore and I'll lose my last one. I regularly use the red, blue, and black at work every day for varying purposes. I even found green recenly in a 4-pack at my local grocery store. I nearly fainted with delight. I'll have to stock up, you never know when they will stop carrying them.
posted by marble at 9:55 PM on September 4, 2008

In love with 0.3 black Hi Tech C pens.
posted by monocot at 10:14 PM on September 4, 2008

Dammit. I got my hopes up again. Won't someone out there help me with my terrible penne addiction?
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 10:22 PM on September 4, 2008

Real men roll their own.
posted by jewzilla at 10:52 PM on September 4, 2008

posted by parmanparman at 11:13 PM on September 4, 2008

Pff. Real men dip their own, suckas.
posted by interrobang at 11:14 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

As a lefty, it can be hard finding pens that work reliably (fucking ballpoints, man) without leaving my hands a mess, so I'm betting that a lot of the pens reviewed on this blog are simply not for me. Though it's probably saved me from an expensive fountain pen addiction. Right now I'm using a Uni-ball Jetstream Rollerball, and so far I like it. The ink dries very quickly, is a nice even black, and it writes really smoothly. I picked up a pack to try when I recently lost my lovely green ink Pilot Precise V7 (I-it even had a clicky top! *sobs*).

And this is more on the drawing side, but yesterday my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen arrived and Holy. Shit. I've barely had it twenty four hours and I think I'm in love. Unlike a lot of brush pens it doesn't have a felt tip, but instead has a brush head with nylon hairs and draws ink from a replaceable ink cartridge. So I can create lines with the same variety of width (down to a very very fine line) as I can with a traditional brush and inkwell, but in a wonderfully portable format. I can definitely recommend it.
posted by kosher_jenny at 11:28 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's so nice that Virgos finally have their own site!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:15 AM on September 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes I love the Pentel's brush pen, so much better than the Copic brush pens I used to use. Though you'll have to pry my Copic alcohol markers out of my cold dead ink-stained fingers.
posted by Tenuki at 1:31 AM on September 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some nights I dream that I have the complete 322 color set of Copics. And then I wake up and I am sad. :(

But yes, they're wonderful markers. I was given a set of 24 for my birthday a few years back and sometimes buy the individual markers as a treat when I find myself in a store that carries them. There's no store close to where I live that does sell them, which I suppose is both a blessing and a curse.
posted by kosher_jenny at 1:54 AM on September 5, 2008

Not one single Parker? Wanker.
posted by dhartung at 2:47 AM on September 5, 2008

I got myself a lovely fountain pen just in time to never actually need to use a pen at work ever again.
posted by pompomtom at 2:50 AM on September 5, 2008

I've been making Montblanc/G2 combo pens for a couple of years now, just like in the link TomMelee posted. People keep "borrowing" them, but that's ok because they are reasonably cheap.

I love the way fountain pens look, but they do not work for my style of writing at all. Something about my cramped chicken scratchings makes a fountain pen turn into a ink-spitting and -skipping mess. It's too bad, because they make such nice black lines, and look smooth when other people use them.
posted by Forktine at 3:22 AM on September 5, 2008

Rotring 600 for me. Black fountain pen with an EF gold nib, Waterman ink and I'm a very happy man. Hewn from a chunk of solid brass, they have a heft that really has to be experienced. The only downside is that the security staff in the courts I work in sometimes think they are weapons from how they present in the x-ray machine. Damn I love pens.
posted by tim_in_oz at 4:00 AM on September 5, 2008

My Pen!
posted by thejimp at 4:34 AM on September 5, 2008

The people putting Mont Blanc refills in their G2s are getting it backwards. Pilot G2 refills are way better than MB ones.
posted by mmoncur at 5:48 AM on September 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm another left-hander who can't use most pens without making a mess. After much, much trial and error I have found the Sarasa line by Zebra to be an absolute godsend. They come in a wide variety of widths and colors, but the gel-based ink doesn't smear. The pens are also retractable which is a mandatory requirement for a good pen. I do not care for having to take caps on and off and keeping track of them.

Plus, they sell a fat combo pen that has black ink, red ink, and a mechanical pencil built in. I thought I'd grown out of this kind of pen in the fifth grade, but it is amazingly handy for taking notes, highlighting important things, grading, sketching and inking illustrations. I'm out of black in my current pen and I need to wait until I get back to Japan in October to replace it. It's killing me.
posted by Alison at 7:03 AM on September 5, 2008

I really like the Lamy Safari, and the Al-Star variant, both in fountain and roller form.

For me fountain pens are for when I really want to take a lot of time, which is pretty rare. And when I want to do that, nothing beats a dip pen :)

mmoncur, I'm with you. I always carry a Rotring Core roller in my pocket (one of the slightly weird cylindrical ones, not the tapered really weird ones). When it ran out of ink, I replaced the innards with a G2.
posted by Foosnark at 7:12 AM on September 5, 2008

The people putting Mont Blanc refills in their G2s are getting it backwards. Pilot G2 refills are way better than MB ones.

It must depend on how you write, because I have both here on my desk, and the G2 refills are not as nice for me, though still better than the crappy ballpoints in the same drawer.
posted by Forktine at 7:37 AM on September 5, 2008

kosher_jenny, Alison: Have either of you tried the Pilot G-Tec-C4? It writes a really fine line of incredibly quick-drying, archive quality ink. After trawling other threads about pens/smudging, I found many recommendations for either it, or the Zebra Sarasa. While I found the Sarasa to be good, it's still a little bit prone to smears, and nothing beats the beautiful, crisp line produced by the Pilot. They're not that easy to find (in fact, not available at all in shops here in the UK), but readily sourced online. The only downside I've found is that using them extensively on low-grade paper (I used one extensively to annotate photocopies/printouts) will ruin the nib quite quickly. For that purpose, I favour a Lamy Logo ballpoint, which is also extremely unlikely to smudge.

Actually, it actually appears that the G-Tec has been supplanted by the Hi-Tec-C4, which according to this website " has a superior gel ink that is highly insoluble with most pigments (whereas the G-Tec-C4 has a highly soluble ink)," which I'm pretty excited about. It seems to come in more colours than the G-Tec too. There's quite a bit about them on thepenaddict.
posted by palimpsest at 7:52 AM on September 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

posted by ghastlyfop at 8:14 AM on September 5, 2008

I've only had it maybe 6 months, but for a small, seemingly indestructible ballpoint that lasts, writes smoothly, and doesn't smudge my favorite is now my Caran d'Ache. Get the cheapest hexagonal metal ones: the spicy/nature, seasonal, 843 Limited.
posted by asusu at 8:41 AM on September 5, 2008

For my day to day writing, a fountain pen (Waterman Expert). But for check writing and document signing (I still pay my bills by check as a firewall around my other online banking transactions) I use the uni-ball GEL IMPACT pen which cannot be "washed" and a different amount entered.
posted by Standeck at 9:19 AM on September 5, 2008

I love pens, especially fountain pens. Unfortunately, even the Safari that b1tr0t mentions is way out of my price range. Fortunately, I found Platinum's Preppy Fountain Pen--three bucks, and refillable. Wonderful to use, very clean line, and I infinitely prefer it to my previous ultra-cheap choice, wilmize's Pilot Varsity.

The only complaint I have is that the plastic casing is a bit fragile. And, of course, made of plastic so it doesn't have the weight that it might.

For "real" pens, has anyone linked PinBid yet? It's like eBay for pens--I don't know whether the site is at all worth it for collectors, but for folks like me it's a good chance to get a nice used fountain pen. I think I first heard of it here, actually.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 11:34 AM on September 5, 2008

As a chronicler and compulsive list-maker who prefers things pretty and handwritten, the quality and aesthetics of both the writing instrument and notebook is very important to me.

If you require precision in your penmanship like I do, in small print and fine strokes, I would suggest a ballpoint pen over rollerball or gel due to its higher viscosity. The Zebra F-402 is a stainless steel, retractable ballpoint pen with a .7mm fine point tip; a delightful choice for discerning tastes. It pairs well with Moleskine products with its smooth, fast-drying ink and is bleed-resistant through even the thinnest of papers.

The only caveat is this: make sure you are purchasing the ones made in Japan, and not Indonesia. It will either say Japan or Indonesia on the pen's exterior barrel. While both are almost physically indistinguishable, the ink supply that comes stock with the Indonesian versions tend to collect excess ink in and around the tip of the sphere, resulting in minor coagula that can smear during writing. Also, the rubber grips aren't as soft. Unfortunately, it seems apparent that the Japanese versions are slowly being phased out as I have not been able to get my hands on one for quite some time. The best solution is to purchase a new ink refill, and make sure the refill has a metal casing rather than translucent plastic. It seems as if our friends at Zebra are trying to cut corners, which is unfortunate for such a wonderful product of long-standing.

And as if this comment isn't long enough already, I've included links to excellent notebooks that I have myself used and enjoyed in partnership with the F-402.

ABSOLUTE NOTEBOOK by Letterbox, made in France

BIGNOTE by Apica, made in Japan with recycled paper

Russel+Hazel paper & notebooks

M.O. Inc ruled writing pads

'One year of white pages' 12 pocket notebooks set by Nava Design (more sophisticated than the Moleskine's black Cahier pocket notebook)

NAVA Design notebooks made in Milan
posted by colorproof at 1:20 PM on September 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

$25 on pens later I wish I hadn't clicked this.
posted by Lizc at 2:05 PM on September 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh great. This post is gonna kill all productivity this weekend! I'm a big fan of the Uniball Jetstream also.
posted by pretzel at 2:52 PM on September 5, 2008

I dunno if I'd use them enough to justify a purchase, but those "One Year of White Pages" notebooks look beautiful. Maybe a good gift for a friend who writes more liberally than I do.

I've just spent ~$25 on pens too, and now I'm on a paper hunt. Does anyone know if you can buy A4 pads lined in the Cornell style? I'm thinking of trying that out this coming semester.
posted by palimpsest at 4:47 PM on September 5, 2008

Alison, thanks for the southpaw rec! It looks like Jetpens carries the Sarasa. Does it write pretty evenly? After smudging, that's probably my biggest annoyance. I hate having to pause in the middle of paragraph to "restart" my pen in the margins.

palimpsest, hmm I mostly write on cheap notebooks (class notes) so the fine point might be a concern, but it's not like it will be too costly to try.

Looks like I will be making another order sometime soon!
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:55 PM on September 5, 2008

I use Uniball Micros of various types. Right now I'm using a Uniball Signo Micro (no, not on the screen). I can't seem to find a box of them, though, just a blister pack with a few different colors, which, since I use black almost exclusively is kind of inefficient.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:13 PM on September 5, 2008

kosher_jenny: If the paper in your notebooks is anything like the generic A4 pads used by most students here in the UK, you'll be just fine. I mean more the kind of coarse, low-grade stuff printers and photocopiers use. I don't want to imply that only Moleskine or Rhodia will do (though the Pilot does write beautifully in both of those). Good luck!
posted by palimpsest at 3:02 AM on September 6, 2008

@palimpsest, I've been using the Action Book and Action Pad from the Behance Outfitter. The layout seems to work well with the Cornell Note-Taking system even though it was originally designed for creative professionals with the Action Method in mind. Nonetheless, it's wonderfully designed, and may be suitable for you.

You can also print your own Cornell Note-Taking paper generated from a PDF.
posted by colorproof at 9:06 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Fine Point Jetstream Retractable FTW!
posted by toaster at 6:02 PM on September 8, 2008

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