Thursday, October 22, 2020

Rotring Isograph in Netflix Dark series

During a lazy weekend, I started watching the german series Dark. It is quite an interesting TV Show, and a bit difficult to keep up with the action, being a time travel movie.

In 1986 Charlotte is analyzing and keeping track of the death of birds.

In the middle of the forest, Charlotte is drawing and writing in the journal all the details with a Rotring 2000 Isograph in 0.25 mm size.
Rotring Isograph is a technical pen that uses pigmented ink. Being a technical pen it comes in all the possible sizes from 0.1 mm to 2.0 mm and everything in between. It uses refillable cartridges.

It is nice that the producers of the show have gone to the length of finding correct writing instruments for the period of time presented, and not only that, but they used such an iconic product.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Rotring polimer leads

When it comes to polymer leads Rotrings are the ones I love. They are average priced but exceptional writers. The leads write very smoothly, and it's hard to emphasize this enough. The best way is to try it yourself if you have not tried them yet. Also, it is rare for them to break. So I give them 10 out of 10.

When rOtring introduced it's first mechanical pencil, of course, it had to come up with the leads for it. So in 1979 when the Tikky was introduced to the public the first polymers from rOtring came to market as well. The leads came in a package that resembled the 2 mm.
In the catalog, rOtring specifies that the leads are resistant to breaking, and they come in size 0.3 / 0.5 / 0.7 and different hardness levels.
As you can see back then rOtring was marketing their sizes differently 0.3 instead of 0.35 nowadays and 1.0 instead of 0.9 nowadays.
As I used rOtrings a little bit later down the line I did not use this first model but I don't remember the early leads to be that resistant as it was not unusual for the pencils to get clogged up. 
rOtring catalog 1980 Romania 

A new design of the lead box was released in the later years. I do not know exactly when the new design was launched to the market but it was before 1990. Most likely the formula changed as well as the package. The leads were not any kind of Polymer but a hi-Polymer.
The new lead boxes contained 16 leads divided evenly into two compartments that. The compartments were independent and each had its own cap, even though the caps were connected to each other.
rOtring catalog 1990
Sometime before 1996 rOtring changed the packaging of the leads again. The big change is the fact that rOtring in this period transitioned from the old labeling of sizes to the modern labeling. I mean that the previous size 0.3 was marketed as 0.3 / 0.35 mm, and the 1.0 changed to 0.9 / 1.0.
In addition to the size, color coding was added to the label. And of course, the number of leads in the package was reduced to 12 pieces instead of the previous 16.
Thee box kept the same design and color.
rOtring catalog 1996

In the early 2000s, a new package was introduced. A more modern design, where you a slide the access door to access the 12 leads that are inside. The dual compartment was forgotten. Also the dual-labeling of the size was dropped in favor of 0.35 mm and 0.9 mm. This is the way rOtring codes the sizes even today.
rOtring catalog 2005
Another change happened in 2008 when rOtring added the Tikky name on the label. Also, the article number was changed. This makes me believe that the product itself suffered a change, or maybe it was just an integration in the Stanford article system.
rOtring catalog 2008

Friday, September 25, 2020

Koh-I-Noor 2mm pencil and lead, 6 color set

2 mm colored lead koh i noor
I wanted to try out some colored pencils for daily business. Mostly to make marks or annotations on documents in a more visible way compared to a regular black pencil. In the past I did not have a very good experience with mechanical pencil colored leads so I tried something else, 2 mm leads. I found the only 2 mm leads in color available locally are the Koh I Noor ones.
They came in a 6 pack that contains a black one, red, blue, brown, yellow and green. The cool thing about them is that Koh-I-Noor also sells a similar pack with 2 mm clutch pencils. The pencils come in the same colors as the leads. Pretty nice.
The leads are made in the Czech Republic and come in a red plastic box with a clear top that has a Koh I Noor logo. The top slides to reveal the leads inside. They are very secure inside but if you only have one clutch pencil and you want to switch leads often grabbing them from the pack is not too easy.
The price is good as with all the Koh I Noor products. I got them for 1.51 EURO or 1.84 USD.
The colors are ok, not very vibrant but not dull. The black is the one I do not like. It feels like a colored pencil instead of a regular lead, plus it could be a bit darker. For example, a Faber Castell 2 mm lead 3B is smoother and produces a darker line.

The brown, blue, green look good and can be used for marking stuff with no problems. The red is a bit dull and not very vibrant but it is ok. The yellow is no surprise here, it can only be used for highlighting, as it is too washed out to write with it.
My favorite colors are the green and blue, followed by the brown and then red.
An erase test showed that they are not too stubborn and can be erased without too many problems. I have put to the test the Rotring Tikky and the Faber Castell Dust Free 187121 erasers. The Faber Castell did a much better job.




Sunday, September 6, 2020

A Parker Jotter in the movie Oldboy

 In the intense thriller Oldboy (2003) the main character is imprisoned along with a stack of envelopes, papers, and a Parker Jotter pen.

A great instrument for writing, very classy and slick





But apparently, you can also use it as a makeshift tattoo gun. Take the refill out, heat it and ink away. I not going to comment about this... 



Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Staedtler erasers

Many times we read books by their covers, and when we see made in ... we immediately catalog things.
I got two erasers, both from Staedtler, both very similar looking, similar in size, shape, not so much in color or country of origin
On the left, in pink it is the Staedtler 526F C53 and on the right in yellow the Staedtler 526 35. One born in Germany while the other in Thailand.

Both erasers came in a plastic wrap, while the protective cover of the pink one can be used as a protective cover. Both erasers have the Staedtler logo on them, even though it's more visible on the pink one as it is a deeper embossing.


The simple test consists of erasing a softer 4B lead and a more standard HB polymer lead.
And here are the results of the test. Both did a good job, especially on the polymer lead. The 4B was a little bit trickier. The German is more prone to smudging and feels a bit sticky. And this is seen on the eraser as it gets dirty, especially after using it on the 4B lead.
On the other hand, the Thai is crumbling a bit more while erasing, keeping it cleaner.
I can not say that one is a clear winner, as they both did well in certain areas. The German was a hair better at writing and lines, but because the Thai crumbles more it was more effective in the areas where there were a lot of pencil marks.
 Taking a look at the eraser dust it's clear that the German sheds less, and usually in finner dust that the Thai.
Congrats to both fighters for doing a good job. On the left the Pink German Staedtler 526F C53 and on the right the Yellow Thai Staedtler 526 35

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Faber Castell Loom fountain pen review

My second fountain pen purchase after the hit Platinum Preppy was the Faber Castell Loom metallic gray. It is the first serious fountain pen that I own, and I like it a lot. There are some negative things about it, but nobody is perfect.

It has been some time now that I planned to write about the fountain pen and postponed it every time until now. It is weird to see how perception changes over time. When I purchased the Preppy I was not sure about writing with a fountain pen and thought the Faber Castell Loom is a very expensive writing instrument. Now I find it to be just the right price, if not a bargain.
This review is after using the fountain pen for more than a year, so the initial thoughts that I put down on paper when I purchased the fountain pen do not 100% coincide with my current opinions.

The fountain pen has an all-metal body construction, with a plastic cap. It is on the thick and heavy side of writing instruments but I have found out I really like the feel if it in hand. Initially, I thought it to be too thick and heavy, but now writing with it is more comfortable than with the Platinum Preppy. I think I rely on the weight of the fountain pen to apply pressure on the paper, and I have a looser grip on it, compared to the Preppy which I grip tighter and apply a lot more pressure. After a longer writing session, I feel less fatigue and cramping in the hand using the heavier Faber Castell Loom.

The fountain pen uses international cartridges (long or short). It does not come with a converter so if you want to use a converter instead of cartridges you have to pay extra.

Design & feel in hand:

The barrel is a cylindrical metal tube fitted with a pushed in end, the cap made from plastic and painted in different colors. I have mine a simple gray as the barrel but you can choose other colors like pink, blue, brown, green, black, red, white, purple. The grip and barrel joint is flush, which makes the pen look great and feel comfortable in the hand as there is no step up or down. The grip section tappers a bit, and has a series of raised circles that offer a good grip on the fountain pen. I never noticed a tendency for the hand to slip on the barrel even though is all metal.

The fountain pen comes in 3 barrel versions, the one that I own which is a mate gray, a second one which is polished metal and the third gunmetal which looks amazing. The polished version looks a bit cheesy and is a finger magnet at the same time.
The nib has a nice cut which makes it look beautiful and elegant at the same time. Even though it is not a big nig proportional to the pen I think it looks good and feels great. The nib does not have a breather hole just the central cut, ornated with dots and the symbol of Faber Castell, the two knights jousting.
Also on the nib, the size is marked. F in my case.

From what I saw online all the lower end fountain pens from Faber Castell share the same nib. The only difference being the materials and the finishes on the barrel.

The cap is plastic and snaps very securely on the body. You have to put some elbow grease to open it, but after some time it gets more normal. Or I just got used to the effort and developed hulk arms.
It can be used posted or unposted. I prefer to use it unposted as it is nib heavy this way.
It has an unusual look compared to other caps. It looks big and fat over the pen. I would not say ugly but definitely, it is a more unique style and I think it is not everyone's cup of tea.
On the side of the cap is embossed: Faber Castell since 1762 and the two knights jousting. On the top of the cap, there is only the two knights logo. It is a very nice touch which I like a lot.
The clip is plastic covered with chrome-like finish. On the very top, the knights are present as well.


Now the bad part regarding the cap, as you can see from the above image. The clip cracked and I had to glue it. I do not know if I was only the fountainpen's fault, as I may have forced it a bit too much. What I want to say is that it could have been better designed or out of better materials. I read on the internet opinions that the cap is plastic to reduce the weight of the pen. I think at least the clip should have been made out of metal or maybe it should have a hinge.
I secured it in place with some super glue plus baking soda. Not very pretty but if you don't know it's there (which I do) it is not very visible. (ok, it is visible but I do not care anymore :) )

Performance:

I chose the fine (F) nib because I use it on cheap paper all the time. It is a daily writing instrument and I usually take notes and make comments on copy paper, agendas and so on.
The nib feels smooth out of the box, and this seems to be the case with almost all Faber Castell nibs.
But I had a bit of trouble with it, partly Faber Castell fault, partly my fault. I wrote about what I went through with it, and you can read it if you are interested. click here.

Making a long story short, I had some troubles with the fit of the nib and feed in the pen plus I was trying to modify it a little to make it write thinner because I thought the problem is with the flow and did not suspect the problem came from how the nib and feed were not sitting properly. In short, I could not use large international cartridges because the pen would burp ink frequently plus the nib felt wobbly sometimes.
At some point in time, I thought of just scraping the fountain pen and buying a new one. At this point I made some drastic nib corrections because I didn't like the feel of it anymore and distorting the nib was not a concern anymore. The main problem was that the nib was drying when I was making faster movements on the paper, and skips occurred more often than I would have liked.
Be careful as you can make it worse, and believe me I did it at first. 
Now I can say the fountain pen writes very nice again, but it is a hint of luck that I didn't damage it beyond repair in the first attempts.

In conclusion, even though I had some problems with the fountain pen I would say is well worth buying the fountain pen. For 25 euros or $ 30 (this is what I paid for it), you get an all-metal barrel, and a great writing experience. Before buying the Loom I have tested in the shop a Pilot Metropolitan (I own one now, coming soon), Lamy Safari and Al-Star, Kaweco Sport. And I think it is the best between all of the above mentioned. Most comparable I would say it is the Al-Star, but I didn't like the grip and the design as much I like the Loom's.


Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday, July 3, 2020

Faber Castell TK-FINE 9719 1.0 mm

After a long wait, it came the time to write about my Faber Castell TK - Fine 9719 in size 1.0 mm. I own this mechanical pencil for more than 7 or 8 years. It was my first Faber Castell I have purchased. I chose at the time the TK Fine as it seemed a nice alternative to other more plain mechanical pencils.
tk fine mechanical pencil faber castell
It is not the cheapest but not that expensive after all, it has a few nice features that you see on more expensive pencils.
It is a technical mechanical pencil, and it comes with a fixed retractable tip, which makes it pocket safe. The tip has a little bit of a wobble to it, but it is present in most mechanical pencils that have this feature. It features a lead hardness indicator, a basic and simple way to keep track of the lead that is inside, you rotate the clip. The indicator has the following writings available -, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H. Although because it is such a simple and basic lead indicator, people who use it a lot might get the letters erased by constantly rotating the clip, which is held in place by friction.
The clip has on the side written Germany.
The cap is a very thin barrel which is closed with at one end with a plastic part with ISO coloring to indicate the lead thickness at a glance.
The body is made out of plastic in the classic Faber green. The grip is octagonal while the rest of the barrel is round.

faber castel tk fine 1.0 mm mechanical pencil
This pencil never clicked with me, even though I tried to make it happen.. The grip is slippery and a bit uncomfortable for longer writing sessions for me. This might not be the case for everybody so I will not focus on this too much. My other complaint is about the tolerances on the cap. It is way too lose on it, and there is a high chance of losing it. I have seen multiple TK-FINES around the office with missing cap ends. I bent my end cap at both ends to make it stay in place after I found it a couple of times on the bottom of the backpack.
Another thing that shows low quality in the materials used are the shiny surfaces. The tip, clip, and cap. Over time, even though the pencil sat in storage most of the time they have lost the shine and they look aged, weathered.
tk fine faber castel

Friday, June 12, 2020

Faber Castell color bar in local stationery shop

One of the local shops just got a makeover. It has more room for products and right in the center of it, there is a Color Bar from Faber Castell. I have to say it looks really cool.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Staedtler Mars Lumograph in the movie Click

Adam Sandler playing the role of an architect in the movie Click is using a Staedtler Mars Lumograph, one of the best looking pencils on the market.
The Mars Lumograph is available in blue and black. It comes in a very large spectrum of hardness from 10H to 12B.
I guess they could have added to the scene some Mars Matics technical drawing pen to make it more immersive.