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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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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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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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Pilot G2 Montblanc Hack: $200 Pen for $7

If you really get done to it, what is the beating heart of a high-end pen? Some would say it’s the ink. While that’s not generally the feeling here at Unsharpen — we are pen geeks after all — it’s hard to argue that point if you aren’t. With this thinking in mind, you can get all the bang out of a Montblanc rollerball by using the refill in a excellent, but highly affordable refill, like the Pilot G2.

Here’s how you do just that!

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Rotring 600 vs Rotring Newton Comparison

Rotring 600 vs Newton

The Rotring Newton is often confused with the older, more desirable Rotring 600. Both are great pens and they are remarkably alike, but they are distinctly different models and while the Newton echoes the design of the 600 it is not a Rotring 600. Sorry to say it, but there is no “Rotring Newton 600,” that’s just something people write in auctions.

Does any of this matter though? Are we just splitting hairs? Or is there a real difference between the Rotring 600 and the Newton pens. Let’s find out.

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