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Digression – Analog Loadout

Ok, so I said that my next blog post would be on the Ministry of Reconciliation, but I've gotten myself involved with a big furniture remix on my day off. I hate to ruin my daily streak on my third day of blogging, ever, so I thought I'd throw up a quick rundown of my analog (or pen and paper) setup that I use to keep my writing and my life organized. If I was a big time professional blogger, I'd include semi-professionally photographed pictures of each individual item for you to fawn over, but since I'm writing this post in lieu of spending all day on a blog post, we'll have to make do with links and verbal descriptions. Also, no affiliate links! Remember, I'm not a big time professional blogger. If you got something out of this blog, you can do me a favor and just share it with someone else. First stop, writing instruments!

Writing Instruments

I am not a fundamentalist when it comes to choosing a writing instrument, I go through phases of using woodcase pencils, ballpoint pents and fountain pens more or less than before, and I'm almost always using them all during different points of the day. I'll start with the category I'm the hottest on right this moment and work my way down from there.

Fountain Pens

My brother was a big fountain pen guy a while ago, but I only recently got in to them, mostly because of (unfounded) fear of the maintenance required. I'll confirm what the pen addicts have been saying for a long time; since fountain pen ink is all water based and water soluble, the maintenance is very straightforward and generally consists of running water through the mechanism until it is clear. Some accessories make this a bulletproof no-brainer, but accessories are later. I currently own two fountain pens, one I like and one I'm very disappointed in and will not mention.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen – Fine Nib

So the Lamy Safari is a very common recommendation for people looking at their first, or maybe their second, fountain pen. I find it quite attractive and it works quite well for the $30 price tag. Unless you have very large and open handwriting, I recommend either the fine or the extra fine nib. If your handwriting is even a little compact, hard recommend on the extra fine. European nibs aren't as fine as the Japanese ones, and I kind of wish I had gotten the Extra Fine for myself, though I manage fine with the Fine. Uses a proprietary ink cartridge, but the converter is super easy to get and that should let you use any bottled ink you want.

Ballpoint and Rollerball Pens

So, I don't care for most rollerball pens, they don't tend to flatter my handwriting for whatever reason. They don't have the line variation a fountain pen will, but they'll also lay ink when I drag the tip lightly when a ballpoint or pencil won't. That said, when a company (like Lamy) will make a whole line of similar instruments (like the Safari line), they'll make a fountain pen, a rollerball pen, a ballpoint pen, and a mechanical pencil maybe, and I typically prefer the rollerball body than the ballpoint, which is often a retractable or clicky pen. Check out the Lamy Safari Line on their website and you'll see what I mean.

Retro 51 Hex-o-Matic

A total and complete bro of a bombproof pen, The Hex-o-Matic ballpoint lives in my vest at work and has never failed me, even when I washed it and blew up an ink cartridge in it. I was worried about Fountain Pen maintenance, I SHOULD have been worried about ballpoint maintenance! Nightmare to clean up, even with an ultrasonic cleaner, and while I managed to get it 80% clean on the inside, I also accidentally took half the finish with it. Don't run your ultrasonic cleaner for too long at a time, kids. Anyways, it looks like hell (the cool kind) and still performs like a champ, and it takes de-facto standard Parker style refills, so you should go get one right now. Tell em I sent you, and don't explain who I am when they don't know who you're talking about.

Lamy Safari Rollerball

This was the first Safari line pen I got, because I loved the color and it was a limited edition. Not a ton to say other than I like it, the grip is not great for super long writing sessions with my big hands, for whatever reason, and that it'll live in my pocket on days, like today, where I don't have a bag with me but need a pen for to-do lists. Housework days, quick errand days. One thing to know, like the fountain pen, the rollerball technically uses a proprietary cartridge which i don't think is that great. It's ok, just not great. Turns out, though, if you put a spacer in the back of the barrel, it'll accept standard euro style refills, including my favorite Uni Jetstream refills. So I glued a little spacer back in the back and now it runs like a champ for me. Recommended mod, from me.

Woodcase Pencils

I'm not an anti-mechanical pencil fundamentalist, I just think they're soulless and uncanny and just a little weird. I use woodcase pencils. A lot of different kinds. Here are the three you're most likely to find on me or in my bag at any particular time.

Baron Fig Archer

Ok so the Baron Fig Archer Is not necessarily my favorite pencil, but it makes the trip with me, often, because it's quite light, quite attractive/neutral, and writes pretty darn well in most circumstances. The product is a bit of a red-headed stepchild for BF, they seem much more interested in $50 pens and guided journals, so I don't know exactly how long this product will be available, but it's a reliable and attractive option and I'd grab a dozen if you're already on the site for a notebook or something.

Tombow 2558 Pencil – HB

Ok so the Tombow 2558 is the apotheosis of the yellow school pencil. It has a glossy marigold lacquer, super good enough eraser on the end, wonderful writing lead, and often at $12-15 a dozen. Go get some. Kickass pencil, especially for school/uni work.

Mistubishi 9852EW – HB

Just as good as the Tombow, in an attractive Satin Lacquered Natural Finish. I typically get these on Amazon but I couldn't bring myself to link to them. It's been tough since Caroline Weaver and CW Pencils folded up. I miss them.


There's a lot more to say on notebooks and accessories, but this post is dangerously long as-is so I'll have to save that for my next Digression. I'll see you (hopefully) tomorrow!

Part 2 of this Digression

This post is part of #100DaysToOffload, a challenge to blog a hundred days in a year hosted by Kev Quirk. This is post #3.

#Stationery #Pens #Pencils #Analog #Productivity #Digressions