Atoma


Other companies at Insights X 2016 3

To finish my Insights X posts off: a quick look at who else was at Insights X.

Atoma

Atoma was also present at Insights X 2016. I first wrote about them in 2012 and this blog post is to this day the most popular post on my blog.

Atoma at Insights X

When I asked if they have any new products they showed me their new diary system.

Atoma at Insights XAtoma at Insights X
Atoma at Insights XAtoma at Insights X

Please open in a new tab to see the images in high resolution. They come with holder for business cards etc.

Atoma at Insights X

Atoma at Insights X

Platinum

Also at Insights X was Platinum.

Platinum at Insights X

The brought some of their posh fountain pens along, including some with Urushi lacquer.

Platinum at Insights X

Platinum at Insights X

When I asked about mechanical pencils they showed me their OLEeNU+ but weren’t able to give me more information (there clearly was a language barrier, even though they brought a staff who spoke English). The normal OLEeNU (not the plus version presented at the stand) uses the lead up to the last 0.5mm, similar to the Staedtler Integrity mentioned here and reviewed here. It also has a spring to help prevent lead breakage and a sliding ‘sleeve’. The staff from the Platinum counter told me that the OLEeNU+ doesn’t have a sliding sleeve, though.

Platinum at Insights X

Platinum at Insights X

Stabilo

Stabilo presented some new products at Insights X, too. In terms of non-pencil products I liked their pastel coloured pens – the pastel Boss markers looked really good (not sure how it looks on paper though).

The touch smart pencil

The touch smart pencil

In terms of pencils I found their touch smart pencil very innovative. Their ‘touch-screen function adapter’, the red item in the photo above, makes a normal pencil touch screen ready. You touch the screen with the pencil point, but through the clear plastic. It will then register on touch screens. I wonder whether it will work better than existing touch screen technologies, which often need a lot of force to work.

Stabilo at Insights XStabilo at Insights X

 

Other companies

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit the Clairefontaine/Exacompta/Quo Vadis, Koh-I-Noor, KUM or any of the other companies. What a shame.

clairefontaine

 

 


Plots and samples 2

A quick follow up to the blog post comparing different types of paper.

Since there has been some interest in this topic, here the diagram with the samples above the plots.

A sample with not much variation results in a condensed violin plot, which is easy to see here.

violin6plusgrey

It doesn’t seem to matter if a paper as lots of areas the lead can’t reach, i.e. parts that stay white. As long as the dark areas are properly dark the mark left by the paper feels dark.

 


Comparing different types of paper 6

For quite a while I’ve been planning on having a closer look at how different paper performs for pencil use.

I think it started because I loved the County Fair Field Notes I got from Koralatov, but when I tried the Original Field Notes (FN-01 to FN-04) I didn’t like the paper at all. (According to the text in the back the County Fair edition is using Boise Offset Smooth 50#T paper, while the Original version is using Finch Paper Opaque Smooth 60#T.)

Well, I thought I better have a closer look. Long term, i.e. if this is of interest to readers, I plan on also measuring how abrasive the paper is, but I haven’t found an easily reproducible way of doing that yet that can be measured accurately, so I am focussing on how dark a line the different papers will produce with the same lead.

Following Kent’s post about the Lumograph being a good standard pencil, because it is good, not expensive and available world wide, I wanted to use the Lumograph, but for several reasons (I don’t want to bore you with them) I went with the next best alternative: Staedtler’s mechanical pencil lead.

Violin plot 6 papers

Violin plots showing the distribution of darkness of the marks left by the lead on different papers

Methodology

I try keep it short, but more details are available if there is interest.

Force used: 1.5 Newton (roughly equivalent to 150g)

Lead used: Staedtler lead, 0.7mm, the one that came with the Mars micro. I assume it is HB, but I have added a Staedtler 0.7mm HB lead to a recent order from The Pen Company, so that I can use those leads for future comparisons.

Pressure used: 4.17 MegaPascals

As seen in this blog post a 0.7mm lead has a diameter of 0.68mm, that’s a surface area of 0.36mm2. With a pressure of just over 4 MegaPascals the equivalent force used on an 0.5mm lead to produce this pressure would be 1 Newton.

I found these parameters to be a suitable trade off between force and diameter size. More force means more problems with me providing consistent, reproducible results. The obvious way out would be to reduce the lead size (= more pressure per square mm), but a smaller diameter means measuring the lead’s darkness becomes more difficult and less representative.

Notebooks used for the comparison

Notebooks used for the comparison

Paper

Some quick comments on the paper.

Atoma

Great and extremely dark for pencils. So unusually dark that you can easily switch to a harder pencil grade and get a similar darkness compared to other paper. My wife started using an H lead for writing in Atoma notebooks.

I did a control sample to confirm that the plot shown in the diagram is correct.

Banditapple

As always great paper! This is the latest generation of Banditapple paper: 4G, just released.

Silvine

Very common in the UK. Most Post Offices will sell Silvine products, but unfortunately the red Memo Books have become a rare sight. Silvine is planning to revive their red notebooks.

Boise

Used in County Fair Field Notes. Great paper.

Tomoe River

Very light and smooth paper. I expected a smaller standard deviation. The notebook used is a handmade notebook from Shangching, previously seen in this video.

Finch

Used in the Original Field Notes. I don’t like it for pencils. I should probably switch to using softer pencils in this notebook, then this paper might be alright. Also not good for fountain pens.

Box plots including two control samples on the right

Box plots including two control samples on the right

The diagrams

The diagrams show the distribution of dark and light marks left by the lead on he paper.

I first planned on using box plots. I have heard that they even teach box plots in school these days, but I went with violin plots instead. violin plots are basically box plots with a rotated kernel density plot on each side. I thought this provides more information, compared to box plots, in the same space.

I have taken samples of exactly the same size from the mark left by the pencil on all these papers. In the diagram 3.0 represents white, 0.0 represents black, so you can see the distribution of dark and white in the mark left by the lead on the paper. A darker mark, like the one on Atoma paper, will show as a plot further down (closer to 0.0) in the diagram.

Smoother, finer paper should produce less variation, i.e. a more even colour, so the plot should be more condensed. Rougher paper should have more ‘peaks and troughs’ on the surface, so the darkest areas should be darker and the lightest areas should be lighter, resulting in a stretched plot.

There are two control samples, only visible in the box plots. They are taken from the cover of Field Notes Byline edition. They are just used to see whether using different samples in different scans will produce close enough results in the plots.

 

Where to go from here

If this is of interest I could look at the different types of paper used in different Field Notes. I could put the R code used to produce this on GitHub. I also have a great paper sample pack from Scribble I could have a look at. Long term the darkness could be plotted against the abrasiveness of the paper.

If there is at least one comment on this blog post I will continue exploring paper, if not I will write blog posts about topics other than paper that might be more interesting, e.g. pencils.


Using the Staples puncher with the Atoma system 6

M by Staples arc desktop punch

After my 2012 blog post about the Atoma and the M by Staples’ Arc notebooks1 I have been asked more than once whether the Staples ‘desktop punch’ can be used for the Atoma system.

 

The short answer is that it works well.

Locked for transport

Locked for transport

Why would you want to use a hole puncher2 not designed for your system? Well, it is much cheaper. The Atoma hole punch currently sells for around £140 (~$205; €185), the Staples one can be bought for around £35 (~$50; €45).3

Unlocked

Unlocked

Not surprisingly holes punched with the Staples desktop punch, when used with Atoma discs, seem a bit worse than the original Atoma holes4 – but in my opinion Atoma makes the better notebooks, while Staples makes the affordable paper puncher, so I will stick with this combination.

Atoma punched paper

Atoma punched paper

 

M by Staples Arc punched paper

M by Staples Arc punched paper

The M by Staples arc desktop punch is sturdy and well made in Taiwan and can officially punch up to 8 sheets in one go.

If you want to read more about Staples’ Atoma clone have a look at the Arc It Blog (not updated anymore).

Atoma left, Staples right

Atoma left, Staples right


Price and exchange rates: May 2016

As usual: open in a new tab/window to see the images in high resolution (except the last image).

  1. …to my surprise it is still by far(!) the most popular blog post at Bleistift, even though it is a few years old. []
  2. I know they are not holes, but I will stick to this name for now as it is commonly used. []
  3. I got my Staples desktop punch for my birthday many years ago, so I am not sure, but I think prices were pretty similar at the time. []
  4. I assume that Atoma punched paper, used with a Staples discs, would also be slightly worse than Staples punched paper. []

Staedtler’s posh pencil and Atoma’s posh notebook 12

Expensive pencil purchases

There are two pencil purchases I’ve been thinking about for a while. One of them is a Rotring 800+, but with a price tag of more than £40 I haven’t been able to convince myself to buy it yet1.

Every now and then I check whether I find a good offer for this pencil in online stores, on Amazon and on eBay. Earlier this week I was just checking CultPens again (so far they have been the cheapest store for the Rotring 800+ when taking postage  into account) when I saw an offer I couldn’t resist: Lots, really lots, of ‘free’ items if you buy a Staedtler Initium pen.

 

cultpens-initium

So many ‘free’ add-ons…

The Atoma leather notebook

The most tempting of these ‘free’ add-ons was Atoma’s Leather notebook2. Most tempting for two reasons:

  • I am using my Atoma notebooks on a daily basis, at work and at home, and I really like it
  • and I really like the look and the graceful ageing of tanned leather3

…so this notebook was the reason why I went ahead and ordered the Staedtler Initium pencil.

I think I was probably even more interested than I otherwise would have been because of the recent flood of blog posts about William Hannah’s similar notebook after they sent free samples and discounted samples to many bloggers4.

Drool, so much nice stationery

Drool, so much nice stationery

Staedtler’s premium line

I do love Staedtler products, you might have noticed that this blog has more articles about Staedtler than about any other manufacturer5 but so far I haven’t been very excited about their foray into the world of more expensive stationery, their Initium line. Based on the photos I have seen online I think the Initium fountain pens look like cheap ‘own brand’ pens from a high street stationery chain – I might revise my opinion when I see one in reality, though, photos can be deceptive. The pencil on the other hand looks nice to me, but maybe not >£60 nice. So I went with the mechanical pencil instead. On the photos it looks better than the fountain pen, but I couldn’t really imagine how the clip works – is there a spring like in the Lamy 2000?

staedtler-atoma2

Arrived!

Well, my purchase has arrived now, I just unpacked the items. First impression: The body of the Staedtler pencil looks a bit more plasticy than expected, but overall it looks good. The Atoma leather notebook looks just amazingly beautiful!

staedtler-atoma1

I’m very much looking forward to trying all the items out.

staedtler-atoma3

 


You can read more about Atoma in my 2012 blog post about this system.

  1. I guess I should buy it. In a recent Pen Addict podcast they were talking about a similar situation https://www.relay.fm/penaddict/204 , it all reminds me of a Bavarian movie called ‘The sooner you die, the longer you are dead’ []
  2. Mady by Belgium’s Ruitertassen. []
  3. Think Yo no bi, which reminds me: I just hope my Rustico notebook doesn’t get too dark over time, but based on experience with a leather bag I think I will be fine []
  4. including Scribble, Philofaxy, Pen Paper Pencil and Gourmet Pens []
  5. So fat there are 50 Staetdler articles. Faber-Castell, the number two only has  39 articles at Bleistift. []