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Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

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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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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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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Pilot Custom 74 vs Platinum 3776 Century: How Do You Choose?

Custom 74 vs 3776 Century

The Pilot Custom 74 and the Platinum #3776 Century are both excellent fountain pens. They are also shockingly similar — they are clearly direct competitors to one another. But give how similar they are on paper, how do you choose one or the other? And which should you buy, the #3776 Century or the Custom 74?

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