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December 29, 2010

LEUCHTTURM1917 Dot Grid Medium Notebook Review

Leuchtturm is based in Germany and has been producing quality stationery products since 1917. This family-run company has the motto “details make all the difference.” Let’s see what details the LEUCHTTURM1917 medium dot grid notebook includes.

The first thing I noticed about this notebook that distinguishes it from many other similar notebooks is that the pages are numbered, 1 through 249. To make it easy to find your notes there 3 pages in the front with a blank table of contents that includes a column to jot down the page number and another column to make a note of the “topic”. This is a really handy feature to have if you need to refer to specific things in your notes in the future after you’ve forgotten where everything is.

The binding of the LEUCHTTURM1917 dot grid notebook is thread-bound, which means that it will open flat and the pages will not fall out. If you need to tear out a page, there are 8 perforated sheets in the back that can easily be removed.

The slim hard cover is made with a synthetic, very lightly textured material that comes in five colors: Lilac, Lime, Caramel, Pure White and Turquoise. The cover is plain except for a small embossed “LEUCHTTURM1917” on the bottom of the back cover. An elastic attached to the back cover wraps around the front cover to keep your journal closed. Inside the back cover there is an expandable pocket for keeping notes, receipts, programs etc. Inside the front cover is a space for writing your name and address.

The LEUCHTTURM1917 dot grid notebook includes some labels for the cover so that you can identify the contents of your notebook. There are three labels for the spine (approx. 3/8” x 7 1/2” each), two ruled labels and one blank label for the front cover (approx. 1 7/8” x 2 3/8” each). There is a matching ribbon bookmark to help you find your place. The size of the medium notebook is approximately 5 3/4” x 8 1/4” and it is about 3/4” thick.

The paper is ivory color with a light grey 5mm x 5mm dot grid pattern that doesn’t quite go to the edge of the page. It is acid-free, 80g and is called “ink-proof paper” that can be used with your fountain pen. I tested it with several fountain pens and found it has better quality paper than the LEUCHTTURM1917 notebooks of a few years ago, but it is not as good as Clairefontaine or Rhodia paper for use with fountain pens. There was a little bit of feathering, a little bit of bleed through, but mostly the problem was with show through on the back side of the page. 80g paper makes it possible to have 249 pages in a nice compact size, but it might be better to have fewer pages and thicker paper. I was able to use both sides of the page as long as I carefully selected the ink color and nib size that I used. This journal is probably not the best choice if you want to write on both sides of the page with a fountain pen. However, there are plenty of other features to like about the LEUCHTTURM1917 dot grid notebook!

What is your favorite LEUCHTTURM1917 stationery?

NOTE: Since this article was published, Leuchtturm has discontinued the turquoise cover on the dot grid notebook but is still making it with a black cover.


December 22, 2010

STAEDTLER Pens Dry-Safe Feature Test

We decided to put STAEDTLER pens DRY-SAFE feature to the test to see whether or not it is really possible to leave pens with this feature sitting uncapped for days at a time without the ink drying up. For this experiment I used two brand new pens – a STAEDTLER triplus fineliner with blue ink and a STAEDTLER triplus gel-liner with purple ink. In order to keep my compulsive re-capping urges in check, I placed both pen caps in a sealed snack bag for the duration of the test. After 29 days both pens still wrote beautifully! You can see the results of the experiment in this scanned image:

Of course, results will probably vary depending on the age and type of STAEDTLER pen as well as the ink color. We’re happy to see that STAEDTLER’s DRY-SAFE feature passed our test with flying colors! What’s your favorite STAEDTLER pen? Do you have any experiences to tell about the DRY-SAFE feature?

December 15, 2010

Eyedropper Fountain Pen Pros and Cons

The biggest advantage of converting a fountain pen into eyedropper fill is the huge reservoir of ink! No need for converters or cartridges, the whole barrel is full of ink. It’s easy to clean out the barrel when you want to change ink colors or want to store your fountain pen.  If you’ve got a transparent pen and colorful ink it’s especially fun to use!

Fountain pens can be converted to eyedropper fill as long as they do not have any holes in the body for the ink to leak out of or are not made from special materials that would be harmed by direct contact with ink or silicone grease. Some pens are better suited than others for this conversion because the design of the area where the feed and the barrel screw together can affect how well the pen seals.

However, modern fountain pens are not designed to be eyedropper fill pens, and because of this there are some problems to be aware of. Even when these pens are sealed correctly with silicone grease and/or rubber O-rings, they are still prone to leaking.

When there is heat, the air inside the pen can expand forcing ink out of the nib or from the seal creating a big mess! Due to this problem it is often necessary to refill your eyedropper pen when it gets to about 1/3 full of ink. In my case, I have hot hands and have to refill my pen when it gets to 1/2 full, otherwise beads of ink start dripping out of the nib spoiling whatever I’m writing on. If you carry the pen in your shirt pocket you could experience the same results. I’m unsure of how much hot weather is a problem because I live in Portland, Oregon where it rarely gets really hot. Does anyone have personal experience with this? If so, please share by leaving a comment!

Air travel can produce the same undesirable results as heat - as the air pressure changes in the cabin of the plane, the air inside the pen expands and can force ink to leak out of the pen. This is why I never take eyedropper fill pens with me when I’m travelling by air. In fact, I do not travel anywhere with my eyedropper pens! They sit on my desk, nibs pointing up, to be used where I can easily do a clean-up in case of ink leakage.

In my case, the possibility of having an ink leak and having to keep the pen at least 1/2 full of ink offsets the benefit of having a large ink supply in the barrel. I only have access to 1/2 a barrel of ink at a time anyway before it starts to leak. Sure, it’s easy to see the level of ink and know when you have to refill if you have a transparent pen, but what about pens that are not transparent?

With all of their disadvantages, many people still find that eyedropper pens are a nice alternative to traditional piston fill, converter or cartridge fill fountain pens. What are your thoughts and experiences with using eyedropper fill fountain pens?

Previous blog posts about eyedropper fill fountain pens:
Pen modification – convert into eyedropper fill
Should you use an O-ring to convert your fountain pen into an eyedropper?
When should you refill your eyedropper pen?
Is it safe to take a fountain pen on an airplane?

December 08, 2010

Gifts for Him

Everybody knows that real men write (or least own a really cool pen). Here are some gift ideas that will satisfy even the manliest of men:

LAMY Dialog 3

The minimalist design of the LAMY Dialog 3 exudes ease and confidence. And the innovative protective valve ensures that this pen will never leak in his briefcase or pocket. 

 

Ink Mixing Kit and Ink Starter Kit

Perfect for the DIY-ers in your life, give them the pleasure of creating their own colors with these fantastic, fun kits.

 

Zebra HyperJell Set of 10

All the men I know are either a) in constant need of a pen or b) make sure that there are always pens in his pocket, car, briefcase, and office. I think both types can benefit from this great 10 pen set.

 

Libelle New York Leather Pen Case

Give him a smooth black leather pen case to keep of all of his new pens safe in his briefcase or desk.


 

Behance Action Book

Help him take steps to advance in his career by taking careful notes and planning his next steps with the acclaimed Behance Action Book.

WRITERSBLOK Bamboo Notebook

Eco-friendly notebooks that he can keep anywhere, and a portion of the proceeds go to reading programs! Who know he cared so much? :)

 

Rhodia Weekly Notebook

The stereotype is that men cannot keep track of dates or important events right? Whether this applies to the men in your life or not, give them a chance next year with this functional planner. 

Chicago Express

Trains are cool no matter how old you are. Perfect for lovers of strategy-centered games.

Honestly, I would be happy to receive any of these gifts myself.  Gentlemen, please let us know what you're hoping for when you rip into that box!

December 01, 2010

Gift Ideas for Her

Some stunning, sweet, and special gifts that the women in your life will love:

LAMY Studio Fountain Pen

Simply stunning brushed metal pen in a deep purple color.

J. Herbin La Perle des Encres Fountain Pen Ink 

Classic, beautiful ink from J. Herbin will make the fountain pen lovers in your life swoon. 

 

STAEDTLER Triplus Fineliner 20 Color Set

Perfect for the color-addicts in your life, this 20 color set will keep them happy for a long time. 

 


Pilot Parallel Pen Set

A unique and unexpected gift that would be perfect for calligraphers and scrapbooking fans.

Clairefontaine Linicolor Large Meeting Book 

Extremely helpful meeting book for the career-minded woman.


Atomic Soda Tree of Hearts Notebook 

A sweet journal, perfect for a blossoming young lady to chronicle all her life's adventures. 

 

Exacompta Space 17 Pocket Weekly Planner

New year, new goals. Help her reach them by giving her a great pocket planner!

Hanafuda Card Game

Add something new to ladies night with this fun card game from Japan.  

 



Of course this is not an all inclusive list, and honestly I'm sure a lot of gentlemen would enjoy some of these as gifts too. Ladies! Please let us know what you are craving this season :)


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