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The double adjustable OHTO Conception 0.3

OHTO Conception 0.3

Today: a mechanical pencil I ordered in October. I planned to do a review for a while now and it was supposed to be released today, but the day before yesterday Jeff Abbott released a review of this pencil at the biggest stationery blog of them all, The Pen Addict.

He said all and more I could have said, so change of plans then, I only post a short review of this mechanical pencil, but talk about why I like sliding sleeves, again.

The indicator that shows how much lead will advance
The indicator that shows how much lead will advance

Sliding Sleeves

I don’t know why sliding sleeves are such a niche. In my imagination drafting and technical drawing is done on a computer, so there’s no point in having a rigid sleeve/pipe around the lead so that you can use your mechanical pencil more precisely with a ruler.

OHTO Conception 0.3

In my imagination most use mechanical pencils for writing, at least when we talk about today and when we talk about Earth. Of course there will be exceptions, too.

When writing with a fixed sleeve you have to ‘click’ after you used up the 0.5mm or however much you have advanced the lead.

If you have a sliding sleeve it will retract while you use the lead, so you will have 4mm or more to use up before you need to advance the lead.

If you use soft leads (I don’t) the advantage gets even better than with hard leads because you use the lead p so much faster.

OHTO Conception 0.3

The OHTO Conception

Most of my ideas about this pencil can be seen in this video:


In short: You can adjust how far you want the lead to advance and you can adjust whether you want a fixed or a sliding sleeve.

Balanced on a type, in sliding mode, so that you can see the centre of gravity
Balanced on a type, in sliding mode, so that you can see the centre of gravity

That’s a lot of value for the $15 I paid on eBay. Unfortunately the pen is not available for this price anymore. As far as I can tell OHTO doesn’t have an official presence in the UK, so I wonder whether all OHTO pens here are grey imports anyway. If they are I certainly didn’t have to feel bad for buying it for a good price from Japan instead of buying it for a higher price from a grey importer in the UK.

With 23g the pen’s weight is pretty average for a pen with a metal body and slightly heavier than your average pen with a plastic body.

Balanced on a type, in fixed mode, so that you can see the centre of gravity
Balanced on a type, in fixed mode, so that you can see the centre of gravity

You might remember my table with the force needed for different sliding sleeves. Well, the OHTO Conception, at least my 0.3mm version, is a bit difficult to place in that table. When I first checked I got a very good value, 5cN or even better, but when I checked another time, after the pencil was in fixed sleeve mode, a force of four time that was needed. It seems that changing from sliding to fixed sleeve mode and back will not always put the sleeve in the same state. Sometimes you then have a ‘better’ sliding sleeve, sometimes a ‘worse’ one.


A great pencil, that could do with a bit more grip. I only wish I had bought another colour.

Price: October 2016

OHTO Super Clip

Last time I was in Germany I discovered a second hand book shop in Würzburg that also displayed stationery in the shop windows. The stationery on display seemed to be a mix of items I have seen in Lexikaliker’s blog and in Manufactum’s catalogue, but there were also a few items I have not seen anywhere else.

Zerkall & Artesanos del Papel paper

Items I saw there for the first time included paper and envelopes from Zerkall Ingres, mouldmade in a paper mill dating to the 16th century, and cotton/linen paper from Artesanos del Papel in Alicante.

One of the items I bought in this book shop is a paper clip from OHTO, a paper clip looking a bit like a picture frame hanger. The informal name seems to be Japan-Clip. It can hold 20 sheets of 80g paper. The standard clip is nickel-plated, selling for 20c each (25¢, 16p), the posh version for 50c (63¢, 41p ) is 18K gold-plated.

Japan-Clips with Faber-Castell eraser on Banditapple carnet

The nice thing about these clips is that they still look good even if they hold many sheets of paper, while ordinary paper clips usually look unsightly if you squeeze too many sheets of paper in. On the other hand ordinary paper clips can hold more sheets of paper and seem to be softer to the paper. When you try to squeeze too many sheets of paper (> 25) into the Super Clip it can damage the paper slightly when you remove the paper clip again.

...compared to ordinary paper clips


After using OHTO’s Super Clips for a while I came to appreciate them as re-usable, temporary clips that hold paper together much better and tighter than ordinary paper clips. The fact that I have two different colours helps to distinguish similarly documents I am working with, e.g. two sets of statistics from different years.


I found this company selling Zerkall Ingres paper in the USA.

JetPens and Cult Pens do not seem this paper clip and I could not find an American or British online shop selling the Japanese paper clip. RSVP and Modulor are two German online shops that have the paper clip in stock and ship to most countries.

Prices and exchange rates: August 2010

I would like to thank Kent and Arnie for the Banditapple carnets used in the photos.

Narwhal piston filler in yellow tang

Acrylic fountain pens [1]fountain pens with bodies made from acrylic resin are still fairly new to me. The ones I used to see in the past didn’t appeal to me, but in recent months I seem to be warming up to some types of acrylic ‘looks’ or rather: there seem seem to be more and more acrylic fountain pens that appeal to my taste.

The first one I really liked was the (in my opinion ‘happy’ looking) FanMu Hawaii fountain pen. I bought this one on eBay. [2]It wasn’t expensive, but later I found out that I overpaid when I found it being offered much cheaper from another seller

The second acrylic fountain pen I really like is the Narwhal piston filler. The look of the acrylic Narwhal is rather fascinating and nice in a completely different way to the Hawaii: the acrylic resin has a beautiful colour and rather attractive swirl patterns in it.

The Narwhal box

My Narwhal adventure started with KT from Goldspot Pens contacting me and asking whether I want to try the Narwhal. I couldn’t resist (of course), but was torn between the yellow and the blue version. KT then sent me the yellow one.

Inside the box – notice the metal tool that comes with the pen

Nib choice and line width

Goldspot’s blog provides some background information about the Narwhal and the two guys behind the brand and the pens. Times have moved on since this blog post was published: the nib is now also available in medium (the fine nib is of course still available).

Regarding the writing experience: the nib is very smooth. There isn’t much line variation unless you press very hard, i.e. it is not a flexible nib even though you can create a wider line if you want to force it.

Size and colour comparison (top to bottom): Pilot Kakuno, Pelikan M200, Lamy Safari, Narwhal

I asked for the fine nib, because of my small handwriting. For my normal style of writing the nib is actually a bit too big: the nib’s line width is quite wide for a fine nib, certainly wider than lines from fine Kaweco or Lamy steel nibs. I take Pelikan out of this comparison as there is a lot of variation within the Pelikan brand and its nibs [3]in my experience much more than with Kaweco or Lamy nibs.

On Hobonichi paper – top: Narwhal, bottom: Super5 with the 0.7mm nib

My fine Narwhal nib lays down a 0.6mm wide line [4]scanned at 1200 dpi and measured in Photoshop, seen in the picture above, in blue. For comparison: the grey lines under the blue Narwhal lines are from a Super5 with the 0.7mm nib, which produces a (surprise, surprise) 0.7mm line. Please note that these are not standard 5mm squares but smaller Hobonichi squares (English version).

Looks, price and functionality

The pen itself looks great and certainly like a pen from a higher price band than the Narwhal’s $45 (~€38; ~£33). You even get a tool with your pen to help with disassembly, similar to what you get with a TWSBI.

The Narwhal nib

The gold band after the grip section looks very nice, especially without the cap. When the cap is on the pen the transition between the cap and the gold band looks a bit abrupt (check the photos earlier in this blog post) – most pen with bands seem to have the bands at the end of the caps rather than having none at the end of the cap but one ‘in the middle of the pen body’, i.e. after the grip section.

The modern looking cap with I call a ‘goldspot finial’.

The main attractions for me are, other than the smooth piston filling mechanism, the beautiful three-dimensional swirls that seem to defy the laws of physics because the seem to be much deeper and more three-dimensional than the narrow space between the outside of the pen and the ink reservoir should allow. Have look at them in the video below.

You can’t post the cap, at least not in a way that is comfortable and works well, but as I don’t post pens unless they have to be posted (OHTO Tasche, Cult Pens by Kaweco, …) I don’t mind at all.

Ink capacity

I had a look at the ink capacity of the Narwhal and I could fit in a bit more than 1 ml of ink. For comparison: a standard international ink cartridge can hold about 0.8 ml. There is actually more space in the Narwhal than 1 ml, but when you move the piston to the feed there is quite a gap, i.e. there is unexpelled air which is using space that consequently cannot be filled. When filling your fountain pen the traditional way, nib down, the air travels to the top and you still cannot expel the air to fill the ink chamber to capacity. You should be able to get more than 1.5 ml of ink into the pen, if you fill it with the nib pointing upwards, but you’d need some sort of travel inkwell that fits well.

The knob and piston filling mechanism


Overall this pen provides excellent value for money. There are not that many piston fillers in the same price range. The Narwhal is very well made and is also available in a choice of colours. I just wish the nib was also available in EF.

Goldspot provided the pen free of charge and KT patiently answered all questions I could think of. I did no receive any money for this review.

Price and exchange rates: March 2021.


1 fountain pens with bodies made from acrylic resin
2 It wasn’t expensive, but later I found out that I overpaid when I found it being offered much cheaper from another seller
3 in my experience much more than with Kaweco or Lamy nibs
4 scanned at 1200 dpi and measured in Photoshop

Mechanical Pencil Day Winners

Bleistift’s giveaway for the first ever Mechanical Pencil Day is over. Thanks again to Cult Pens for the pencils used in the giveaway.

A video of the prize draw has been uploaded yesterday. Here it is in case you want to watch it.

The comments left by both winners indicate that both would have liked to receive the Monami.

In the previous post there were links for each one of the four pencils. Even though the Monami was wanted by both winners it wasn’t the pencil most blog visitors clicked on.  Measured by link clicks here is the order of ‘pencils of interest’: #1: Messograf, followed by the Cult Pencil, then the Monami and finally the Rotring 500.

The prizes: Monami 153 and Cult Pencil

Cristian from the USA, our first winner, will get the Monami 153. Elijah from Australia, our second winner, asked for the Cult Pencil. The pencils will be sent out soon.

That means the Messograf and the Rotring will become the prizes in’s Mechanical Pencil Day Contest. If our judges come up with different favourites to win the contest there might be up to two additional prizes. I will add my OHTO Conception to the pencil prize pot.

Prizes for’s Mechanical Pencil Day Contest

So far we have two participants competing for prizes (plus one participant who takes part without competing for the prizes). With up to four pencils available as prizes taking part seems like an easy way to win a mechanical pencil. If you are interested, please visit’s Mechanical Pencil Day Contest page.

Stationery Wiki Mechanical Pencil Day Contest Participants

My Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover


Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo coverI still carry my Hobonichi Techo in the Galen Leather case, but I thought it would be nice to have a thinner alternative when I don’t want to carry ‘everything’ (phones etc) with me in one pack, so I ordered this Harris Tweed cover.


Too good looking to resist

..well, at least the point about it being thinner is my justification now. The truth is that I couldn’t resist ordering one after I saw how good looking this cover from Esplanade London is when I read Susan M. Pigott’s post at The Pen Addict. I’m not sure why there’s London in the name though, the cover seems to be from Kent. I guess London sounds good, especially for international buyers, but here in the North London doesn’t always conjure up the best associations.

Luckily I got one with a pen loop
Luckily I got one with a pen loop


Luckily Laura, the woman behind these covers, agreed to put a pen loop on the model I ordered. It normally doesn’t come with one.

Not much storage space
Not much storage space

Storage wise the case could be better. The ‘pocket’s on the outside are quite small – even too small for a Kaweco Sport or an Ohto Tasche. I guess you could put an eraser shield or a credit or loyalty card in there.

More storage space on the back, but not enough for a small pen
More storage space on the back, but not enough for a small pen

Harris Tweed

This is actually my third Harris Tweed item. Harris Tweed is wool cloth handwoven by islanders in their homes in the Outer Hebrides, an island chain in the North West of Scotland, about 100 miles North or Ireland [1]In the past I had fun looking around these islands on Google Maps..

The cover and my rucksack/backpack
The cover and the rucksack/backpack

The coat

My first Hrris Tweed item was coat I got in 2014 (for my 40th birthday). Here’s a photo from that time. It was cheap, but the lining was poorly made, so I had to get it redone in my home town, but even with the cost of having the lining redone it was still good value for money. By the way: the little one’s hat was knitted by Shangching.

My second Harris Tweed item was a rucksack / backpack from Timberland. I was very lucky as a Timberland outlet store sold it for around £20, it was originally several times that price.


Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover


My third Harris Tweed item is this Hobonichi cover. I paid £29 (~$37; €34)  plus shipping. Royal Mail was rather slow and it took a week to arrive, but I finally got it. It is great and since I use the ‘Avec’ version of the Techo, the six months version, using this cover and the Techo makes for a really slim diary carrying solution compared to the leather cover.

Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover

I was originally tempted by a Scottish Lochcarron cover from Hobonichi, but import fees etc would have made it very expensive, so I’m happy I found this alternative thanks to Susan M. Pigott’s post at The Pen Addict

Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover

Price and exchange rates: July 2016.

Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover and my Timberland bag


1 In the past I had fun looking around these islands on Google Maps.