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.
Continue reading “Pen Refills 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.
Continue reading “ISO Drafting Pencil Color-Coding Guide”
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?
Continue reading “Fountain Pen Help: What is a Music Nib?”
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.
Continue reading “The Best Pens for Writing a Lot”
If you are looking for a pen to carry around with you, you want something tough, stylish, versatile, and affordable. You want a pen that’s a tough as your worst day. That’s an “EDC” or everyday carry pen.
Continue reading “What Is The Best EDC Pen?”
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.
Continue reading “Akkerman Fountain Pen Ink Review”
Have you heard the term “tubular nib” thrown around and have no idea what it means? It’s a rarely used, but poorly defined term. This article will explain the uses of the term and outline a few pens that could be described as having a tubular nib.
Continue reading “What is a Tubular Nib Pen?”
The German company Schmidt makes some of the world’s best pen refills. Unfortunately it can be difficult to understand which one you need. This guide should help you work through your pen refill problems!
Continue reading “Schmidt Pen Refill Buying Guide”
It’s a popular question: Can I refill a fountain pen cartridge? The answer is a firm yes! You can, and you should.
Continue reading “How to Refill a Fountain Pen Cartridge”
If you are choosing a higher-end Pilot fountain pen you have a potentially confusing decision to make: do you buy a Custom Heritage 912, a Custom Heritage 92, or a Custom 74? Even the names are alike, how are the pens different from one another?
Continue reading “Pilot Fountain Pens Compared: Custom Heritage 912 vs Custom Heritage 92 vs Custom 74”
If you are in the market for a Pelikan fountain pen then you are going to want to figure out the company’s naming convention. After all, there is a big difference between an M200 and an M600, so it’ll be worth spending a few minutes to get to know the name schema, even if you don’t commit it to memory.
Continue reading “Pelikan Pen Naming: M200 vs M400, M205 vs M405”
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!
Continue reading “Pilot G2 Montblanc Hack: $200 Pen for $7”
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?
Continue reading “Pilot Custom 74 vs Platinum 3776 Century: How Do You Choose?”
Did you just see a “double-knock” mechanical pencil and have no idea what the name meant? Or why you would want the extra knock? Is this pencil some sort of postman who always knocks twice? (OK, rings, but you get the point.) This article should solve all your double-knock questions.
Continue reading “What Is a Double-Knock Pencil?”
If you do any significant amount of pen buying you’ll see the phrase “sign pen” sooner or later. But what is a sign pen? How is a sign pen different from say, a gel pen or a marker… or whatever other kind of pen a sign pen might be like?
Continue reading “What Is A Sign Pen?”