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Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

Sailor Fountain Pen Buying Guide

Sailor 1911 Fountain Pen

Choosing a fountain pen isn’t always an easy task and a surplus of information can be almost as bad as a total lack of information. With that in mind this guide is designed to help you choose a Sailor fountain pen. Sailor isn’t is common as Pilot, Platinum, and a few other competitors here in the US, but they make some really exceptional pens.

This guide will help you decide the right Sailor fountain pen for any buyer at any price level in 2019. We’ll be focusing on the most popular Sailor lines, with the assumption that if you are looking for something expensive or rare, you probably don’t need a buying guide!

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Pen Refills Guide

Pen refills adhere to ISO standard 12757 and the later revision ISO 12757-1:2017. This isn’t something that’s mandatory — custom and proprietary refills certainly aren’t illegal — but for practical purposes if you are making a certain refill type, I makes sense that yours is the same dimensions as that of all the other makers.

The standard has two main components: one for general use and one for “documentary use,” basically a stricter standard. This latter application is ISO 12757-2, and it would cover the legibility of letters as well as writing for archival documents.

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ISO Drafting Pencil Color-Coding Guide

Did you ever notice that your drafting pencils have different color text printed on them? You might not know this, but those colors aren’t randomly assigned. The color-coding applies to mechanical pencils, but also to drafting pens, like the Rotring Isograph/Rapidograph, and was popularly seen on professional tools but not so much on consumer-focused items.

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Fountain Pen Help: What is a Music Nib?

Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen

If you have been learning about fountain pens and have dug deep enough to get into the world of specialty nibs, perhaps you have come across the term “music nib.” After some immediate confusion perhaps you took a guess and figured out it’s a nib for writing musical notes… or is it a nib that produces wonderful music as you write? Just kidding — it’s definitely the former — but what does that mean in practice? What is a music nib and why might you want to own one?

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The Best Pens for Writing a Lot

Rotring Tikky

Picking the best pen is never an easy task, but one thing is clear: there is a big difference between a pen that you will use for a few minutes here and there and one that has to be used for sustained periods of time. Just like when you are running and marathon shoes are different from sprinting shoes, pens for writing a lot tend to be very different than other pens.

The thing with pens though, is that there is no category of pens for extended time periods or distance, so we need to come to our own conclusions.

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Akkerman Fountain Pen Ink Review

If you are looking for an excellent family of inks, you can’t go wrong with Akkerman. This is an extensive set of inks and its size and language can make it a bit difficult to navigate… but don’t let that stop you! Akkerman inks are too good not to try. Here is our Akkerman ink review after trying a number of samples and buying a few large bottles of this fountain pen ink.

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What Are The Best Pens for Moleskine Notebooks?

Moleskine Notebook

Moleskine notebooks are excellent and easy to find, but they have notoriously lightweight paper. The company doesn’t say exactly what the weight is, but give most premium notebooks (Clairefontaine, etc.) are in the 90 grams per square meter (gsm) range, Moleskine feels to be about 70 gsm. This number might not feel too light, but it’s under a critical number at which many fountain pens and broad — often even medium — rollerballs will bleed through.

So, with that lightweight, possibly uncoated, paper in mind, what are the best pens for using in Moleskine Classic notebooks?

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Best Chinese Fountain Pen of 2019

Wing Sung 3003 Fountain Pen

If you are shopping for a very affordable — as in sub-$20, sub-$10, or even sub-$5 — fountain pen and you want high-end features like screw-on cap, included converter, or piston-filling mechanism then you are shopping for a Chinese fountain pen. Brands like Wing Sung and Jinhao offer incredible value for the money, but do have some shortcomings that we don’t expect from standard fountain pen purchases.

These Chinese fountain pens are very affordable, but they don’t have websites with clear explanations and offer don’t come from vendors we know and trust. Plus that often have very slow shipping times (sometimes 2-4 weeks to the US) so remembering what you bought can be an issue. It was with those challenges in mind that we set up this top Chinese fountain pens of 2019 roundup.

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