Friday, September 6, 2019

Italic mechanical pencil

I am sure this is not the proper way of presenting this mechanical pencil but for me is a first. I never saw a flat, "italic", mechanical pencil lead.
I guess it is very good for tests where you have to highlight the right answer, or when you pick the lottery numbers
 I found this no name pencils on Aliexpress and I am wondering what are the applications for this leads. From what I found out Zebra has a similar mechanical pencil. And at some point in time, Faber Castell had a flat lead holder lead.
In the picture below with Faber Castell on the lead box (product number 9040), it is marketed as "Flat drawing leads"


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wing Sung 612 Fountain Pen

chinese fountain pen wing sung 612
Wing Sung 612 fountain pen
     Today I will share with you my very old Wing Sung 612 fountain pen, which is a Chinese Parker 51 look alike fountain pen. The one I have features a plastic body in teal, a hooded nib that is not perfectly centered to the body, a metal cap and the trim that are plated in gold color. The filling system is an aerometric sac. And the most important thing is that you can get it for peanuts, or a similar one similar as this one is a classic.


But this is not all to it. It is actually the fountain pen I had and used during the first years of school when writing with a fountain pen was mandatory.
I found it recently in a drawer and inked it up for a test drive.

The pen looks really good if you take into consideration it was used by a young boy 6 - 10 years old about 25 years ago. It has scratches on the cap, and on the body. The ones on the cap show more because of the finish. Also, the clip has a slight bend to it, and the trim on the end of the barrel is a bit discolored.
The cap is a friction style, with no snap. But it stays well on the pen and there is no risk of falling off. Ideal for taking notes. Because the section is smooth you can hold it anywhere. I tend to use a high grip on this fountain pen.
The clip is hinged and is secure, but the tip of it is a bit sharp and scratchy. I have carried it for a short time in the same pouch with my Faber Castell Loom and it managed to scratch the body of the Loom.
The filling system is not a very good one. You have a bladder that you squeeze to push the air out and let the ink in. I don't like it and I feel a converter or cartridge would be better. But at that time this system was the popular one. After looking at more modern Parker 51 style fountain pens I was very happy to see that modern Chinese hooded nib fountain pens use a converter. And I will probably try one of those.

What I like a lot is the cap, which is held in place by friction, and for an office environment is the perfect cap. You can take it off very fast and just take a few notes and then put it back on. Also, you can leave the fountain pen uncapped for longer with no drying issues.

If I do not write with it for a couple of days it can have hard starts or if left unused for longer it can dry out.

For me, the pen feels thin, and for longer writing sessions is uncomfortable. Also, the pen is very light and if you write more you have to use force to put the ink down, or at least this is the sensation I get when writing more. On the other hand, a heavy metal fountain pen like the Faber Castell Loom sticks to the paper due to its weight, I just have to steer it.

Looking with the 20x loupe at the tip I have noticed that the sweet spot is a bit asymmetric. I mean the sweet spot is 2/3 on the right tine while the left one only has about 1/3 of the sweet spot. This makes me curious if it was a "defect" or this was caused by the many pages written and the way I used to hold the fountain pen.

Image from the internet, I haven't kept the package
When I was in school, the diversity of fountain pens available was a lot smaller than today. So these fountain pens were the go-to pen, 99% of my colleagues were using it. Wing Sung, Hero and other similar Chinese brands that were imitating the Parker fountain pen. The only diversity came from their colors.
Every time I pick it in hand it amazes me how good the fountain pen writes. You do not have high expectations for a cheap old Chinese fountain pen. But this is proof you can spend less than 5 $ and get a great writer that will last you for a very long time.
I would say in terms of economics this fountain pen can rival any cheap ballpoint on the market in the long run.

But in the end, I have to give credit where credit is due. It is a cheap fountain pen that can last a lifetime, that writes good, it puts down a steady wet line, no skips, no hard starts.
I have found a lot of reviews of Chinese fountain pens where people say that the Chinese are learning to make better fountain pens, that can write smooth at an accessible price.
I would like to say that they were making them a long time ago.
So wonder no more, just a few dollars can get you a fountain pen that will last you for a lifetime. It is incredible how accessible these fountain pens are.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bic participates in Tour de France

 It was very nice to find out that BIC the well known stationary producer is part of the Tour de France since 1952
Then and now

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Tour de France Opinel or two

After this special tour, and the stages in Savignon I just had to buy a new Opinel knife. On the last day of the Tour, I made a visit to Decathlon and got the t
raditional No7 Opinel with a Carbone blade.
First thoughts about the new Opinel are similar to the ones I had with the No8 I already own. Even though back then I didn't think I would buy a second one, here I am.
The first impression is a bit discouraging, it is hard to open the blade and rotate the locking ring. But now I know it's limitations and what is good for, and I am not as harsh with it. It is a 100 year design so it is normal to have some limitations. So with the confidence gathered from the previous Opinel, I started tinkering with it and broke it, as I didn't take notice that Opinel had changed the design of the locking ring. Now it only locks clockwise and the new ring has a slot in which it turns.

The nice part about the Carbone is that the blade came very sharp out of the package, while the stainless needed a lot of sharpening.
Even though the blade is shorter with only one centimeter the feel in hand is totally different. The knife is not only shorter but thinner. It is more suitable as an EDC knife and I like this size 7 a lot.
If you plan on doing food preparation I will still carry the number 8 as it is more versatile.

So I have 2 memories from this Tour, 1 damaged no 7 Opinel and a second no 7 Opinel that I didn't destroy yet. But for 7 $, or 6.3  is not a tragedy.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Tour de France souveniers


If you fancy Le Tour and stationary you can get this yellow pencil case from the official Tour de France webshop. Being the 100th Tour it is even more tempting.
You can keep in it pencils and fountain pens, or if it is not your cup of tea you can store your energy bars, rice cookies, and suncream.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Tour de France souveniers

The 100th tour just spent some time in the mountains and valleys of the region Savoie in France. A lot of things happened, even shortened stages due to meteo conditions, snow in July.
The entrance in the Savoie region happened with the climb on Col du Galibier, 2642 m. From the end of the 18th stage until the 20th stage Le Tour visits very beautiful places and hard climbs: Col de l'Iseran, Val Thorens.
Col du Galibier: Lenght 18 km/ height 2642 m/ gradient 7%/ total elevation gained 1245 m
Col de l'Iseran: Length 16 km/ height 2764 m/ gradient 5.9%/ total elevation gained 950 m
Val Thorens: Length 36,5 km/ height  2233 m/ gradient 4.9%/ total elevation gained 1906 m

So why not get a souvenir from Savoie, from the well-known knifemaker Opinel.
An engraved Opinel for 24$
or a distinctive shirt color Opinel (yellow, polka dot or green)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Bic Galet eraser test

Another post, another eraser, another test
This time the BIC Galet eraser is put to the test against polymer HB and 2B, lead from HB to 6B, charcoal, and color pencils. A standard copy machine paper was used, nothing fancy.
The Galet is a soft eraser comparable with the Factis S20, but not as grippy. It has a large oval size and does not come with a protective paper wrapping.
It did a fantastic job on the paper, erasing with no problem the polymer leads (rOtring), and the leads HB to 6B (Koh I Noor except the 3B which is Faber Castell). It has the tendency to smudge the lead a bit, so if you have to make precise passes it might not be the best in the bunch.
It did a very nice job on the charcoal, even though it did not erase it completely most of it is gone. Even the colored pencils were no match for this Bic beast. A very faint trace of color is left on the paper. It outperformed the Factis S20 in the erasing test.
But it has negative points in my opinion. The first is the price. It is way higher than the Factis S20, at almost 1 euro per piece. For this amount of money, you can get about 3 Factis S20 or 2 Faber Castell Dust Free.
Like the Factis it produces a large amount of erasing dust.

You can also check out Factis S20 review and an eraser competition

Friday, July 12, 2019

Accessorize - fountain pen and watch combo

I think this is a bit of an extravaganza when it comes to watches and fountain pens. Both the watch and the fountain pen are hard to get as they are not in production anymore (Seiko actually announced that they will reissue the watch)
I am talking about the Seiko Alien watch worn by Ripley in the Aliens movie, designed by Giugiaro.


In my mind, I immediately thought maybe there is an equally interesting fountain pen designed by Giugiaro.
After a little research on the internet, I found out that Giugiaro actually worked with 3 stationary companies. The companies are Aurora (Italian company based in Torino), Parker and Sylvapen. Not much information is about what products made by these companies were his design. I wasn't happy with this answer so I looked for the fountain pen some were else.
The watch has a bold design, is a chronograph what makes a lot of sense based on the fact Giugiaro is known especially for his car designs. The dial and subdials have a feeling that they were taken out of a car. And the bold colors combined with the sterile silver case make it unique. Not to mention the buttons on the side...


I think the best bet for a fountain pen to go with the Alien watch is Rotring 600.
It matches the simple and unique style of the watch. Sharp corners on the barrel and cap with knurled elements on the grip, cap and barrel end. A nice hint of yellow on the cap and nice golden nib and the traditional Rotring ring and the writing in red.
It looks very much like a tool but at the same time is a thing of beauty and I could say a cult has been formed around these beautiful instruments.
If you have other suggestions please let me know in the comments. You can add pictures as well.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Factis Softer S20 eraser review

The eraser that I put today to the test is an older Factis Softer S20. I have been using it for around a year now, and I cannot complain about it. It performs decently in everyday situations.
As it is advertised, it is a very soft eraser. It even broke where the paper wrapper meets the eraser.
Because it is so soft it does not harm the paper, but it leaves a lot of residue behind it. This is my biggest complaint. I do not recommend it for "home" use as you will go through a lot of trouble to keep the carpets eraser shavings free.
And I do not compare it with the so-called dust-free erasers, but with regular ones.
It erases very well the polymer leads HB and 2B. The paper is clean after, with no smudges and no marks of previous writing.
On the softer leads 4B, 6B it left behind a very faint trace of lead, but most likely it is not noticeable if you are not looking for it.
The charcoal and colored pencil were not erased completely.

Just for comparison, I have erased the left side of the paper with the Factis 36R. It is a harder eraser, but not too hard. The erasing qualities are similar. I think in the 4B and 6B it performed a bit worse but overall there is no major difference. What is a plus, is the fact that less residue is left behind.
The price is very good. The S20 is about 30% cheaper than Faber Castell dust free small eraser, and half the price of the full dust-free eraser. But because it is so soft and brittle I think it should be compared with the small one in terms of longevity.
The 36R is even cheaper, about 3 times cheaper than the Faber Castell dust free small eraser.

In conclusion, Factis are not bad products, but definitely, have some issues. If you like to do Sudoku before bad time, definitely do not buy the S20.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Gutberlet manufacturer of mechanical pencils for Rotring and Staedtler?

Fact: In 1995 Gutberlet GmbH acquired the rights to the Kaweco name.
Enter the Gutberlet site and you are welcomed by an outdated, plain looking site of an unknown manufacturer.
If you look at the products you are up for a treat
"Components for pens – technical components – decoration foils / heat-transfer-foils – packaging – OEM-production for pens."

"Push pencil aluminium with 0,3/0,5/0,7 und 0,9mm leads"

rOtring Tikky T (first version)
rOtring Esprit

Staedtler 925 25 03
Staedtler 925 05 and Staedler 925 65

Staedtler and Rotring




All of the images were taken from the Goultberg presentation portfolio link


Related post: kaweco OEM