Monthly Archives: March 2013


Handicraft with Bleistift III 6

The main ingredient: Hedge trimmings

The main ingredient: Hedge trimmings

Today: another handicraft blog post.

 

The problem –  the need for a desk stand

The idea: making a cap holder by drilling a hole in a piece of wood

The idea: making a cap holder by drilling a hole in a piece of wood

There are some occasions when I’m not supposed to use a pencil, e.g. when marking assessments. I actually use mechanical pencils with different coloured leads for some assessments (e.g. programming related), but for other pieces of work I often use fountain pens [1]Often, but not always, a red Pelikan M205 with an F nib. I currently use Pelikan’s red ink, but Diamine Passion Red is great, too. I’ve got a bottle of it in my office. In the past I also … Continue reading. I don’t have a desk fountain pen with a stand and you might know that they are not common any more. In the past even inexpensive fountain pens for pupils came with a case that had a plastic pop up desk stand, but these days pen stands seem to be reserved for expensive fountain pens.

Branch A desk stand would be handy when marking, i.e. if you only have to write a few words here and there with long breaks in between [2]I won’t start a discussion in this blog post on why I don’t use a ballpoint pen and why I want to use a fountain pen.. Unfortunately there are no generic desk stands either, at least I’m not aware of any, no wonder: every pen has a different width and what would be a good stand for one fountain pen might be too wide for another one with the result that the pen would rest on its nib, which might cause damage if no care is taken when the pen is placed in the desk stand.

Branch

 

The solution – a cap holder

Cut off

I’m not too keen on using the word perfect, but a fountain pen’s cap would be pretty much a perfect desk stand …if it’d just stand. There’s no danger of the pen resting on its nib [3]Unless you made some adjustments that result in the nib sticking out too much. SBREBrown explains how that happened to his Konrad. , so all you need is to hold the cap, preferably at an angle that makes it easy to place and draw the pen. The solution came in the form of unwanted hedge trimmings. I cut about 4.5 cm (~1¾″) off a branch with a diameter of about 5.5 cm (~2″). I then drilled a hole diagonally into the piece of wood that was to become my cap holder/desk stand and improved it by smoothing it with a knife. In the end the hole had a diameter of just under 2cm (~¾″). I also put some walnut oil on the now finished pen holder to make it look better and last longer.

The finished cap holder

The finished cap holder

 

Habemus stylo titulari

As a cap holder for a Noodler's Konrad

As a cap holder for a Noodler’s Konrad

As a cap holder for a Pelikan M205

As a cap holder for a Pelikan M205

The result: a cap holder and pen stand suitable for thin and thick pens.

It can be used for pencils, but I don’t think the usefulness in the case of pencils justifies the effort of making this pen holder: even though it only took about ten minutes to make the pen holder, with most time spend getting the tools, the added comfort when using the  pen stand with a pencil is minimal when compared to the comfort when using it to hold fountain pen caps. The cap holder turns the cap into a pen stand which makes using a fountain pen very comfortable even when only using it for a few seconds every few minutes. No more picking the pen up and removing, maybe even unscrewing, the cap every time and putting the cap back on.

 

As a desk stand for a Staedtler Mars Lumograph

As a desk stand for a Staedtler Mars Lumograph

 

References

References
1Often, but not always, a red Pelikan M205 with an F nib. I currently use Pelikan’s red ink, but Diamine Passion Red is great, too. I’ve got a bottle of it in my office. In the past I also used the Dufte Schultinte für Lehrer by De Atramentis, but it’s feathering on our photocopy paper – only exams tend to be written on better paper (the paper in my employer’s exam booklets is surprisingly good).
2I won’t start a discussion in this blog post on why I don’t use a ballpoint pen and why I want to use a fountain pen.
3Unless you made some adjustments that result in the nib sticking out too much. SBREBrown explains how that happened to his Konrad.

e+m Motus pencil lengthener 7

What to do if your pencil gets too short to use comfortably?

I guess most people lose their pencils before this ever happens, but surely that won’t happen to pencileers, molyvophiles [1]Someone passionate about pencils and molyvologues [2]A student of pencils. If my pencils reach the end of their useful length I’ll, more often than I should, put them aside – to be kept for an undetermined purpose in an undetermined future …but I could of course also put them to good use in a pencil extender. My poshest pencil extender, not counting the Perfect Pencil as it is also a sharpener,  is the Motus pencil lengthener olive from e+m, Art.Nr. GS24-53. It comes in a black pencil box with two “pencils XS”, that are surprisingly smooth(!) [3]really! smooth! writers.

Properties

With about 15g (~0.5 oz) the pencil extender is fairly heavy. The handle is made of olive wood with, in my opinion, beautiful grain. The collar that holds the pencil in place is a metal screw-style collar. The space to hold the pencil extends into the handle so that my version of the Motus can hold 9.5 cm of pencil length in the pencil extender itself [4]I assume similar e+m extenders can accommodate pencils of a similar length, but I wasn’t able to confirm this., which means that even if your pencil hasn’t reached the stub stage of its life yet you can still use the Motus, maybe as a handle if that’s more comfortable for you than just holding a thin pencil.

Holding it

The Motus has similar proportions to other pencil extenders with wooden handles, but the handle gets wider towards the end. It is comfortable to hold near the pencil end of the metal collar or near the collar end of the wooden handle. Holding it in between is not comfortable as the end of the handle is too wide. This might be a problem if you don’t like to hold you pens close or far from the writing end.

It’s a busy road so I wasn’t able to take a photo without a car parked in front of the shop

Papier Pfeiffer

I bought the pen in April 2011 from Papier Pfeiffer in Würzburg, Bavaria, for €16,95 (~$22.05; £14.60). This shop has a fantastic choice of pencils, pens and stationery and I got great and friendly advice from the senior boss, Mrs Bienek-Pfeiffer, who had run the shop since the 1960s [5]The shop was established in 1912. until she handed it over to her daughter. In all fairness I also have to add that I got less useful and less friendly advice when she wasn’t there and a member of staff was dealing with me. As mentioned before their selection is great, but there is also lots of stock, there are unusual items you won’t usually find, they even have their own, special products, e.g. special Papier Pfeiffer inks from De Atramentis [6]I suspect these might not be special colours, but existing colour given special names for Papier Pfeiffer by De Atramentis, and they also sell more expensive brands.

The e+m articles are in the fourth shelf under the Lamy logo. Click to enlarge.

Conclusion

A great pencil extender. If you ware willing to spend that kind of money on an extender you’ll get one that is really good looking. This model is also available in black oak. …and if you’re ever in Würzburg it might be worth having a look at Papier Pfeiffer at Sanderstraße 4a.

 


Price: April 2011

Exchange rates: March 2013

You can find a review of another e+m pencil extender at Lexikaliker (in German).

You can find a blog post about Papier Pfeiffer at re:duziert (in German).

Added after Michael’s comment: Cult Pens now stock a range of these extenders.

References

References
1Someone passionate about pencils
2A student of pencils
3really! smooth!
4I assume similar e+m extenders can accommodate pencils of a similar length, but I wasn’t able to confirm this.
5The shop was established in 1912.
6I suspect these might not be special colours, but existing colour given special names for Papier Pfeiffer by De Atramentis

Cloud Book 6

I few days ago received an unexpected delivery: the Cloud Book by brandbook. It’s an unusual notebook that brandbook sent to several bloggers to promote it [1]You can also read about the Cloud Book at re:duziert..

 

The company behind it
Brandbook‘s main business is manufacturing custom-made and designed notebooks. Their notebooks are mainly for business customers, but last year they launched their notebook line nuuna, aimed at consumers. The Cloud Book is one of nuuna’s products, not intended to be used as an ‘orderly notebook’, but as a notebook that is supposed to help your creativity. To support this task the pages sport different cloud photos.

 

The notebook

The notebook itself is sky blue with a bright orange elastic band. I was told that the cover is made from Cutoron and that the paper used is Tauro paper [2]I found some further information about these materials on the web, but wasn’t sure how much of that information is manufacturer dependent and whether the descriptions I found apply to this … Continue reading. The first thing to notice when using the Cloud Book is that erasing graphite from the pages will also remove some of the colour used for printing the background picture. Some erasers are better than others. The dust-free erasers I used were particularly good at keeping the background photo ‘undamaged’. Another thing, the Tauro paper isn’t exactly what I would call ink loving: it absorbs ink more easily than many other types of paper. This means that wet fountain pens will cause some bleed-through, but the dry fountain pens I tried were safe [3]To my surprise De Atramentis’ document ink, which tends to feather on some papers, behaved rather well on this paper.. The paper feels a bit rough, but graphite and ink are easily visible on the paper. I mention this because some papers with a similar feel need fairly soft pencils to produce a dark line, but this paper will also be satisfied with harder pencils.

How many shibbloths can you find when you enlarge the picture. I think there are at least three obvious ones.

 

Conclusion
I really like the idea behind the Cloud Book, but at work or at home I’d usually only write something in a notebook if I want to keep the information I write down – so the concept of using a notebook as a tool for creativity or to satisfy your play instinct is slightly alien to me – I’d usually use the reverse of an old calendar sheet or of an old sheet of paper if I want to scribble around… but now that I have the Cloud Book I’ll try to use it as intended.

The Cloud Book‘s RRP is €17.90 (~$23.30; £15.50) and it’s made in Germany, like all brandbook notebooks.


Price and exchange rates: March 2013.

I’d like to thank Carlos Monteiro Lanca from brandbook who sent me the Cloud Book free of charge.

The rare-ish GW nib of the Pelikan fountain pen used for the second picture has the honour of being shown on Werner Rüttinger’s Pelikan page.

The bought both, the Faber-Castell Guilloche fountain pen and the De Atramentis document ink, for an amazing price. The fountain pen was only a bit more than €20 at Amazon, but after I ordered it the price nearly doubled.  The De Atramentis document ink was very cheap at Pure Pens, much cheaper than what you pay at the manufacturer – probably a combination of it being the old price before the price increase and a good exchange rate when they imported the ink.

One last thing: users of the Cloud Book can send a photo or scan of their favourite scribbles to brandbook / nuuna for a chance to win a a selection of notebooks from nuuna.

References

References
1You can also read about the Cloud Book at re:duziert.
2I found some further information about these materials on the web, but wasn’t sure how much of that information is manufacturer dependent and whether the descriptions I found apply to this notebook.
3To my surprise De Atramentis’ document ink, which tends to feather on some papers, behaved rather well on this paper.

Sharpening, Acute and Obtuse 9

I’m not sure whether you’ve seen the cover of Daniel Kahneman’s book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. On the cover is what looks like a Mongol with an incredibly acute point.

The angle of the pencil point seems to be 14°. I assume the image has not been stretched. Ok, the pencil looks as if it has been bitten specifically for the purpose of this photo. The eraser also looks as if it has been used up for the sake of using it up, uniform use with no trace of lead – but that point….

The pencil on the book cover next to a Venezuelan-made Mongol

 

14°… and it doesn’t look knife sharpened! Currently my list of sharpeners sorted by angle doesn’t have any sharpener that comes close to this. Unfortunately the book’s colophon doesn’t mention the photo on the cover. The UK edition states that the cover is designed by Yes, but there’s a good chance they just ‘rearranged’ the American cover and don’t have much to do with the pencil on the cover.

Any hint on what sharpener has been used to sharpen that pencil would be greatly appreciated.

 


I’d like to thank Sean because I got most of my Mongol pencils, like the one pictured, either through him or because he made me aware of where to get them. Thanks!