Monthly Archives: June 2016


One cover to carry them all  5

On the coach...

On the coach…

A weekend away

As both, my wife and I, live in different country to the ones we grew up in we usually end up spending our holidays visiting relatives. It is nice, but it means we normally don’t get more ‘normal’ holidays. Last time was the weekend we spend in Shropshire for my 40th birthday.

Size comparison: a Banditapple Peewee and an A6 notebook

Size comparison: a Banditapple Peewee and an A6 notebook

Well, last time we went 80 miles South, this time we traveled a similar distance, but East, to Yorkshire: We booked a coach trip for two days, which is great as the whole trip, including admissions to attractions, doesn’t cost much more than what the night in the Holiday Inn would have cost us.

The main notebook is held by an elastic band

The main notebook is held by an elastic band

One handy solution

I thought I travel light, so the Galen Leather cover I got recently came in very handy. It’s the Small Moleskine and Field Notes cover. It usually comes with a Monogram (up to three letters), but I forgot about that so mine doesn’t have one.

A big elastic band is holding the cover in place

A big elastic band is holding the cover in place

Using this cover meant I could keep everything in one place, including my mobile phone and my mp3 player. Yes, I know that phones come with mp3 players these days, but there are several reasons why I have a separate mp3 player (with camera), I spare you my long winded explanations, though.

What I stored where

What I stored where

What I stored:
  • Phone☑  I have to add though that I misused the cover. It comes with an elastic band that is supposed to close the cover, but I misused it to store my oversized phone.
  • MP3 player☑  which I stored inside, actually supposed to be for your phone
  • Main notebook☑ Which was held in place by the case’s second, inner elastic band. I picked a Muji A6 notebook. I’ve been using these for over ten years now. A6 is the maximum size you can fit inside. I tried to maximise  the notebook size, so didn’t pick the slightly smaller Banditapple Peewee and couldn’t go for a Silvine Memo Book, which is a bit too tall. You can see a comparison of the different notebook sizes on this page.
  • Other notebooks☑ I stored two Fieldnotes, one in the left and one in the right half of the cover.
  • Stamps and Airmail sticker☑ I stored them in the left half of the cover, too.
  • Pen☑ I put a pen in the cover’s pen loop. It’s an M5-2005 mechanical pencil from Mitsubishi / Uni, made from reclaimed oak wood from Whiskey bottles. More about this pencil another time.
Out and about with the Galen cover

Out and about with the Galen cover

Overall

Altogether this was a great, small, carry-all solution (because I slightly misused, e.g. used the strap to hold the phone). The best part was that all fitted neatly in the back pocket of my jeans, it wasn’t too thick and it wasn’t too wide.  The leather of Galen’s cover is quite thick, much thicker than my Rustico cover, but not too thick. The good thing with Galen’s cover is that the pencil’s point is protected, so you don’t need to retract the lead.

One cover to carry them all

One cover to carry them all


I kept this blog post very subjective as many other blogs have or will review this case, too. I got this case free of charge from Galen (thanks). They have send out a few of these to different bloggers, including The Pen Addict,The Pencilcase Blog, I Laike Pens, The Gentleman Stationer, This Bug’s Life,  Desk of Adam and maybe more (maybe Ed Jelley).

As usual: please open the images in a new tab to see them in high resolution.

Misusing the big elastic band to hold my phone

Misusing the big elastic band to hold my phone


Pollux 8

Möbius+Ruppert Pollux

You might remember Lexikaliker’s blog post about Möbius+Ruppert’s new sharpeners Castor and Pollux. Well, thanks to Lexikalier’s generosity I got my hand on half of these geminis, I even got the more interesting half: the Pollux, a brass sharpener that’s producing a concave tip.

Möbius+Ruppert Pollux

Lexikaliker has already covered all important points in his blog post about the Pollux, so I’ll keep it short and will just add a few of my impressions.

A pencil point before the blade treatment

A pencil point before the blade treatment

Out of the box the sharpener did sharpen well, but it was tearing/ripping the wood more than it should. Strangely enough the graphite point was cut very well, so I am not sure what exactly caused this behaviour that only affects the wood, not the graphite part.

You can see what exactly happened in this video:

 

 

 

A pencil point after the blade treatment

A pencil point after the blade treatment

I tried fixing it by sharpening the blade, first on a Belgian whetstone. You might have seen this stone in my videos about the Little Shaver. Unfortunately it wasn’t abrasive enough or I didn’t try long enough. I then tried my luck with Spyderco’s Sharpmaker and I got great results. After soe work on the blade the Pollux sharpened like a dream. Before working on the blade it produced shavings with holes in it, because the wood was torn. The shavings themselves had a thickness of around 0.25mm. After my blade treatment the shavings were thinner, 0.15mm thin – very thin.

Here’s a video I made after I worked on the blade:

Noris shavings from the Pollux

Noris shavings from the Pollux

Like Lexikaliker I measured an angle of around 18.5° for the pencil points produced by the Pollux.

The case drom my DUX DX4322 is a great fit for the Pollux

The case from my DUX DX4322 is a great fit for the Pollux

I have added the Pollux to my list of sharpeners.


Please open the images in a new tab to see them in high resolution.

Please open the videos in Youtube to watch them in 4K.


Tombow and Pelikan 3

I have been wondering for a while why all the supermarkets here in the UK sell t-shirts with ‘brand advertising’ – these days mainly Star Wars, but you can also find other brands, like Coca Cola or Volkswagen – while there are no stationery themed t-shirts.

Well, Uniqlo to the rescue! When I moved to the UK in 2001 you could still see this brand outside London, but in the UK it now it seems to be restricted to very few locations. My wife said that there was an article in The Economist explaining that there UK presence actually has the main aim of improving Uniqlo’s reputation for their Asian  customers.

One of Uniqlo's Pelikan T-shirts

One of Uniqlo’s Pelikan T-shirts

Anyway, they are offering currently Pelikan and Tombow themed t-shirts, you can see them here. Unfortunately the Tombow themed t-shirts didn’t make it to Europe, at least not to the UK or Germany …but the Pelikan t-shirts are available over here.


You can find more Pelikan-themed blog posts in the Pelikan category.


Titanium! 6

Good things take time

Well, it took a while before I got my Tactile Turn Gist – you might remember my previous blog post about this Kickstarter.
I guess I just happened to pick a combination (polycarbonate body and brass finial) that was produced very late. Others in the UK got their TT Gist more than a month before me.

Brass finial

Brass finial

Good looks

Now that I finally got it and I have to say that I really like the look. The lines on the pen’s body and the look of the clip are two of my favourite bits. This also happens to be my first fountain pen with a titanium nib.

Titanium knife and titanium pen

Titanium knife and titanium pen

Marks on the pen’s body

One thing was however rather disappointing. The body of the pen has marks in three places of the body where it has been held in place during machining. After contacting Will Hodges I was told that these marks are normal, at least on the polycarbonate pens – but on pens made from harder materials he was able to buff them off to some extend.

Thinking how ‘violently’ the pen was rotating in Will’s youtube video I am not too surprised about the marks. Maybe I will get used to them over time.

Not so easy to see on the photo: the marks where the pen has been clamped

Not so easy to see on the photo: the marks where the pen has been clamped

Titanium

As mentioned before this is my first titanium nib. To my excitement I like the flexibility of this nib. You don’t need much pressure to produce a wider line. I just wish the line was a bit finer when least pressure is applied. First tests in a Field Note with Finch Paper Opaque Smooth 50#T were disappointing, but that seems to be down to the paper and ink (I have only used this paper with pencils so far, also not a great choice). On copy room paper I got great line width variation without much effort.

The titanium nib is quite flexible

The titanium nib is quite flexible

I don’t have much experience with titanium, but I do have titanium scales for my Victorinox Deluxe Tinker, so I thought I show the titanium nib and the titanium scales next to each other. I like the concrete-like look of the material – it has a very utilitarian feel to it.

My titanium scales are made from grade 5 titanium (Ti-6AL-4V). I am not sure what titanium is used for Bock’s titanium nibs.

Titanium knife and titanium pen

Titanium knife and titanium pen


If you want to know more about my titanium scales have a look at this video, the description has links to the maker’s, Andrzej’s, web site.

 

 

 


Traces of graphite – Massimo Fecchi 2

Time for another traces of graphite post.

As I kid I spent most of my pocket money on buying comics. Just to point it out though: in Europe the common comics at that time were not superhero comics, like in the USA. Instead the popular comics were Disney and Franco-Belgian comics.

I read a lot of comics, but despite there being so many artists there’s probably no other single person that has influenced my ‘visual taste’ as much as the Italian comic artist this blog post is about. I love his way of rounding off corners. Things he draws just always seem to have perfect proportions and shapes.

In the past this artist’s drawing could be admired in the Fix and Foxi comics or in Knax, a free comic magazine provided by some banks. Back then printing the name of the artists who were working on a comic story wasn’t common, that only became common many years later – but when it became common I figured out that the style of drawing I liked most was from Massimo Fecchi.

Today he is working on Disney comics (Duck and Mouse) for Egmont. I think that might make him the only Italian comic artist drawing Disney comics for Egmont (in Denmark) instead of for Topolino / Panini Comics (in Italy).

Ten years ago I was lucky enough to get a drawing from him, which has first been hanging in my living room and after I moved it is on the wall, just where you enter the house.

Fecchi's drawing

Fecchi’s drawing

I have recently asked him by email what tools he is using to create his comics.

He told me that he is using these four steps to create a page.

  1. He is drawing a rough outline of the page with a blue pencil. For this he is using Pilot’s 0.7 mm Color Eno leads in a Caran d’Ache 844, a pencil which he describes as the best.
  2. He then draws the lines with 0.5 mm Koh-I-Noor leads in B, in a Rotring Tikky (the  older, German made Tikky II with the wavy grip section).
  3. Before inking with a brush we will draw fine details with Staedtler’s pigment liner (0.1 mm, 0.2 mm or 0.5 mm)
  4. In the end he will ink the drawings with a Winsor & Newton #2 brush from the 7 series.

Here’s a magnification where you can see the blue lines from the rough outline

You can see the blue a graphite pencil lines in Fecchi's drawing

You can see the blue a graphite pencil lines in Fecchi’s drawing

He was kind enough to let me have a look at the comic he is currently working on, so here’s a chance to compare how a page looks like after the second and after the fourth step – please open the images in a new tab so that you can see all the details.

Pencil drawing (© Disney/Egmont)

Pencil drawing (© Disney/Egmont)

Inked (© Disney/Egmont)

Inked (© Disney/Egmont)