The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 211 - Running Out Of Coal

Image via Ed Jelley

Image via Ed Jelley

Myke and I had the pleasure of having Ed Jelley on this week to talk about blogging burnout. It's a great topic and one we wanted to dig into deeper, so why not bring in the man who brought up the question on to the show to chat about it.

Show Notes & Download Links

This episode of The Pen Addict is sponsored by:

Harry's: An exceptional shave at a fraction of the price. Use code PENADDICT for $5 off your first purchase.

Posted on June 30, 2016 and filed under Podcast.

Lamy Pico Laser Orange Pocket Ballpoint Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Pocket pens are always a fun category to get into. The unique designs and limitations in this genre produce interesting and delightful pens that can sometimes out-perform their full size cousins.

In the case of the Lamy Pico, the pen has been around for quite a while already. But, the Laser Orange color option is brand new, and it's fantastic. In person, the orange color is florescent and impossible to miss. If you happen to own a Nock case that features the Mandarin/Blue Jay color-way, imagine the bright orange factor being ticked up a few notches. It's loud, and it's great. It means you'll also be able to find it if you drop it into a large bag with dark interior colors. It's just bright, and I happen to like that about it.

The main selling point of this pen is the fact that it's small when closed, but extends to a normal length when the refill is extended. At just over 3.6 inches closed, it opens up to 5 inches to offer a comfortable writing experience. For comparison, the Kaweco Liliput is about 4.8 inches when open with the cap posted. Another bonus of the Pico is that the barrel diameter is larger than the Liliput (12.7mm vs 8.3 to 9.3mm on the Liliput). For some, the Liliput is a bit too thin to hold comfortably. I don't mind it, but I definitely feel that the Pico is more comfortable in hand.

It's a round body with no clip, so be prepared to catch it when it rolls away on a flat surface. There's a very small "Lamy" logo on the side of the pen, but it's not raised enough from the body to prevent it from rolling if the slope is great enough. It does help prevent rolling, though. Still, pocket pens aren't really known for always having clips, and many of them feature a totally round design that makes rolling extremely probable.

The click mechanism on the Pico can be a bit unpredictable at times, and this is my only complaint about the pen. The click mechanism could use some work to avoid the number of failed attempts you make when trying to open or close it. For example, if you don't press down far enough, it won't open or close. You can feel some tactile indications that you've done something, but if you don't go the full 100%, the mechanism doesn't engage/disengage properly. This can be annoying, but once you've gotten used to the pen and learn that you must press firmly, it's not an issue. Even still, I wish the click mechanism had a more hefty, sure feel.

The body of the pen is metal (and bright orange), but the insides are all plastic. When the pen is extended, you can see part of the plastic in the middle of the pen which provides the extra length to improve the grip feel when writing. I would love to see this bit of plastic replaced by metal of the same color as the rest of the body. I'm not sure why they chose to use plastic here. It breaks up the aesthetic, feels cheap compared to the rest of the pen, and takes the overall experience down a couple of notches. Another complaint about the design and quality is that the spring inside of the pen is a bit noisy. The click mechanism sounds normal and has a healthy "clunk" when opening and closing the pen, but the spring can make some annoying noises at times that make the pen feel cheaper. Again, not a deal-breaker, but seems like something Lamy could fix really easily with some higher-quality springs.

Now, the refill in this pen is also surprising. When I hear "ballpoint," I automatically recoil in disgust because of the many, many bad experiences I've had with regular (non-hybrid) ballpoints. I'm not sure if the Lamy ballpoint refill is a hybrid ink formula, but it's fantastic. Compared to others like the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 and the Uni Jetstreams, it's not as dark and bold, but it's every bit as smooth and reliable. I'm actually really impressed with the refill.

The pen ships with a 0.7mm "medium" point, but you can also order a "fine" 0.5mm or "broad" 1.0mm point separately. Additionally, you can choose black or blue for any of these refill sizes.

Given the price of this pocket pen, I'd like to see some of the components upgraded with higher quality options, but it's still a great pen at a great value. It easily fits in your pocket or bag, and the metal body gives it a great feel and weight when writing or hanging out in your pocket.

You can pick up a Lamy Pico in Laser Orange at JetPens, and you can also check out the other colors and refill options as well.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Posted on June 29, 2016 and filed under Lamy, Pico, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.

Retro 51 Dr. Gray Giveaway

Image via Goldspot

Image via Goldspot

Retro 51 was kind enough to send me one of their latest releases, the Vintage Metalsmith Dr. Gray rollerball, and in turn I want to pass on their kindness to the readers of The Pen Addict. Not only does this anaotomy-based design look amazing, it GLOWS IN THE DARK! Here is how you can enter to win this awesome pen:

  1. Leave one comment on this post anytime between now, and Friday night at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. You are limited to one entry. This contest is open to US and international residents.
  2. For this contest, I will pick one winner at random from the comments section of this post. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. The Random Integer Generator at will be used to pick the number of the winner.
  3. The contest winner will be posted on Saturday, July 2nd. The winner will have one week to email me via the Contact link at the top of the page.

Good luck!

Posted on June 28, 2016 and filed under Giveaways, Retro 51.

ystudio Brassing Ballpoint Pen Review

Founded in 2012 in Taiwan, ystudio is a brand I started seeing pop up in my various feeds only within the past year. They create simple, timeless stationery, primarily from brass. The few products they focus on would look wonderful on any desk, which is why you may have seen them picked up by several design magazines and blogs.

KOHEZI of Amsterdam asked me if I was interested in checking out the ystudio lineup, and the Brassing Ballpoint jumped out to me as a must try. It features a solid brass barrel with a black coating that can wear down over time, or be helped along a bit with the included sandpaper. It ships with sandpaper? Yes it does.

I wasn’t aware of that at first, thinking any wear pattern would form over time. I didn’t even notice the sandpaper when I first open the box either, but once it fell out of the included insert I thought “Aha! This will be fun!”

And fun it is, but before I get to brassing it up I have to say this is an excellent writing pen regardless of any additional features. They weight and balance of the brass barrel is great, and the hex style is wide enough to give you a comfortable grip between ridges when writing. The refill is exposed by twisting the end cap into the barrel where it stays put due the additional threads and spring on the mechanism. And it looks cool to boot.

The refill it ships with is the Schmidt P-900, which is about as good of Parker-style ballpoint refill as you can get. The black lines are clean, smooth, and dark. The entire setup is a joy to use.

But let’s get to that sandpaper! It is extra fine 600 grit, which is all you need to quickly remove the black from the ridge peaks to reveal the underlying brass. I went for the area around where my fingers grip the pen at first, then added a little shine up towards the top rear of the barrel. My first pass was simple, and it looked great.

For this review I wanted to go a little further and push what I could sand off. Trying to get the flat areas between the barrel ridges to shine proved to be a much tougher challenge. I could remove some of the black off, but I’m far from a full brass ring around the grip area like I was hoping for. I was really pushing hard too!

I can get it there I’m sure, but it looks pretty cool as it is right now.

All in all, this is a very good pen and is priced fairly at around $77 for a full brass barrel. It works well, feels great, looks fantastic, and has the added touch of allowing you to make it your own. I look forward to checking out what ystudio is up to in the future.

My thanks to KOHEZI for sending me this pen at no charge for the purposes of this review. Maybe I can talk them into sending me this cement barrel rollerball next!

Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Posted on June 27, 2016 and filed under ystudio, Pen Reviews.