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Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

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Fountain Pen Cartridge Guide

In theory fountain pen cartridges should be easy — you insert one into your pen and you start writing. In practice, they are rather confusing. Some only work on one brand of pen, some work on lots of pens, but they all look alike. The are not labeled well and the downside of messing up an cartridge installation can be a broken pen (bad) or a leaky cartridge (usually worse).

This guide should help with some of your common fountain pen cartridge questions as well help you visually identify which cartridge is which.

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The Best Stationery Shops in New York City

New York City is a dream for shoppers of all kinds, but it really isn’t a stationery town. Compared to the cities of Europe or even some smaller college towns New York City’s stationery shops are few and far between, and dedicated pen shops are even rarer. What’s worse is that many of the longstanding places, like Pearl Paint’s iconic Canal Street location, have been closing.

Things aren’t all bad though, NYC still has some of the nation’s top stationery destinations.

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Lamy Rollerball and Ballpoint Refill Finder

Lamy Safari Rollerball

Have a Lamy pen but confused about the refill you need to fit it? It’s very easy to know which refill you need because Lamy makes so few refills!

Even so, Lamy doesn’t exactly do a good job of explaining what you need, and it’s certainly not written anywhere on the pen. In fact, most people don’t even know the name of their pen! This guide is designed to solve all your Lamy refill problems.

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How To Swap Lamy Fountain Pen Nibs

Lamy Nib

In case you didn’t know it, one of the best features of Lamy fountain pens (aside from the Lamy 2000) is that they use a modular nib system. That’s right — you can pull the nib off your Lamy Al-Star and put it on your Safari. Or you can take the gold nib from your Scala and put it on your Vista.

Swapping your Lamy nib is an incredibly easy process once you get the hang of it. Here are a few ways to change those nibs…

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Ink Types Guide

Pelikan 4001 Ink

When you start to dig into pens just a little bit you’ll see that they are separated ink a few major varieties based on the type of ink they use. These categories are blurry and ultimately not very well defined, but it’s helpful to know the basics about them so you have some idea of what you are buying. This guide will run through the major types of inks in order to help you get a better understanding of the major types of pens, how they write, why you might prefer one over the others, and the best uses for each.

Don’t miss our Pen Refills Guide so you can learn about the types of refills these inks go into.

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Fisher AG7 vs CH4 Space Pen: What’s the Difference?

Are you trying to choose between the Fisher AG7 and CH4 space pens? They look so much alike, but there are some differences in shape and price that makes then quite different when in use. So how do you choose? This article will help you tell the difference between these two pens and to find that one that’s right for you.

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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, it 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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