Posts filed under Top 5

Personal Top 5 Pens May 2015

I mentioned during my last Top 5 Pens update that with the reworking of the list I would be moving some of my personal choices out to the main blog in order to keep them seperate from the general recommendations found on the Top 5 Pens page.

The pens listed below are a recent snapshot of what I am using and enjoying the most. Some are new, some are old, but all are mine and I love them!

Franklin-Christoph Pocket 66 Stabilis Ice

I picked this one up at the 2015 Atlanta Pen Show and I haven’t been able to put it down since. It’s not just the design, style, and comfort of the pen - the Mike Masuyama steel needlepoint nib has been a standout. My first fountain pen nib love were nibs in the XXF range, or EF Japanese, but I’ve moved to stubs and cursive italics as my primary writers more recently. This needlepoint has brought me back to to tiny writing once again.

Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Outline Pen

My goodness do I love this pen. The tip is the firmest of any drawing pen I have used and holds up extremely well. I am a huge baseball fan and fantasy baseball player and have been tracking all kinds of players and stats since March. It is the perfect match with my Field Notes Roastery Edition.

Ti2 Techliner

This pen has been a mainstay in my rotation for months. There is hardly a day that goes by where I don’t use one of the three that I own. I make that possible by keeping one at my home desk, one at my work desk, and a third - my favorite gonzodized edition - in the backpack I am carrying or in my pocket. I use this pen anywhere and everywhere with a mix of Uni-ball Signo 207 and RT1 refills.

Pilot Custom Heritage 92

I can't quit this pen. And apparently, I can't find time to review it either because I have yet to do so. I will work on that soon because this pen deserves it. The 92 is the piston-filling relative to the Custome Heritage 91 and clear-barreled Custom 74. Is it better than either of those pens? That's up for debate, but I use this one the most because of the nib. I purchased a broad nib with the intent on having it modified into a cursive italic by Mike Masuyama. He did, and it's fabulous. The 92 is a mainstay in my pen rotation.

Edison Menlo

Hey look - another pen I haven't reviewed yet! My first Edison Menlo is a custom job ordered for me by my partner in crime Jeff Bruckwicki. It had been sitting idle for a few months prior to the Atlanta Pen Show but I inked it up to show it off and forgot how much I love it. The barrel design is perfect for me, the fine cursive italic nib is sharp and smooth, and it doesn't hurt that I have it inked up with the now discontinued Sailor Sky High.

I am going to try and schedule this post on a monthly basis and may expand it to include all the products I have used the most during the timeframe. I think paper needs to be represented in this list because it plays a big role in the enjoyment of the pens listed above. If there is anything you would like to see, or have any other suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Posted on May 11, 2015 and filed under Top 5.

Top 5 Pens Spring 2015 Update

Do you know this pen?

Do you know this pen?

Big changes are happening with my Top 5 Pens list. Not so much in the content and ranking of the pens, but rather the the meaning of the list as a whole.

In the past, I have used the Top 5 Pens list as a snapshot of what pens I was enjoying the most over the previous few months. That worked well for a while, but as the popularity of the list has grown I realized it needed more clarification on what it means.

Going forward, the list represents my recommendations for each Top 5 category. This adds clarity to what the list is for, and to be honest, that’s what readers were using it for anyway. After each Top 5 entry, I’ll add a bit of my own commentary to discuss any changes or personal favorites I have that may or may not be part of the recommendations themselves.

I know readers still want to hear some of my personal lists on very specific topics and I plan on breaking those down in standard blog posts, hopefully at least once per month.

I would love to hear what you think about the changes to the Top 5 page.. Do the changes make what the page is for more clear? What else would you like to see as part of the Top 5 Pens page?

Posted on March 23, 2015 and filed under Top 5.

Top 5 Pens - October 2014

Everything goes in cycles. At least that is what I tell myself regarding the pens, paper, and inks I use. It has been six months since my last update to my Top 5 Pens list, and in the past three months or so I have noticed a big change in my usage pattern. My fountain pen carry has dropped from up to 10 at a time to a rotating 3 max, and my gel, ballpoint, and drawing pen carry has gone way up.

There is one pen I am blaming this on: The Ti2 TechLiner. I'll never forget the first time Mike Bond showed me this pen. I didn't "get it" and was convinced I wouldn't like it. I've never been so wrong in my life. My Gonzodized Ti2 from Kickstarter arrived a couple of months ago and I've been hard pressed to leave home without it. And when I do forget it, I get upset. That's when you know a pen is a good one.

Notes on the rest of the list:

-- If someone has just found this blog and wants to dip their toes into the water of awesome pens I always recommend the Uni-ball Signo DX (UM-151), usually in the 0.38 mm tip size. That is a good reason to make it my #1 overall pen.

-- The TWSBI 580 is still the best bang-for-buck fountain pen going, and stays a solid #2 on the overall list. The Retro 51 Tornado also cracks the Top 5 overall once again. I use this pen more than I realize.

-- There isn't much new to be found in the Micro Tip Gel and In The Store lists. The top of those lists are solid with only a couple of tweaks towards the bottom.

-- I'm always juggling fountain pens, and that shows up in both the No-Brainers and Some-Brainers list. Don't look for those lists to settle down any time soon.

-- Same thing goes for the Fountain Pen Ink list. Blue black inks still are a priority but there has been some shuffling in the rankings. Also, is it fair to continue to list discontinued inks like Sailor Sky High?

-- Top 5 Roller Ball pens is a new addition. Also, is it rollerball or roller ball?

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions leave a comment or get in touch via Twitter or the Contact page.

Posted on October 27, 2014 and filed under Top 5.

The Worst Pens I Have Ever Reviewed

As a follow-up to my Top 5 Pens update, several readers have asked me to name names when it comes to the worst pens to come across my desk. Never one to shy away from a challenge, here are a handful of the worst pens I have ever reviewed:

Dude! Sweet! (Image via JetPens)

Dude! Sweet! (Image via JetPens)

Ohto Fine Fountain Pen / Ohto Dude Fountain Pen

The Ohto Fine was a nib disaster, and I was still new enough to the fountain pen game to where I didn't have the knowledge or skills to figure out what was wrong with it. I gave Ohto another shot with the Dude, but instead of getting a decent pen I doubled-down on terrible. An Ohto fountain pen will never grace these hands again.

Pentel Sliccies

The hype was big for this one - finally a competitor for the Pilot Hi-Tec-C! I enjoyed it at first and gave it a solid review, but the problems appeared soon thereafter. First off, the ink cartridges come out at an angle. Not an "if you turn it to the right angle in the right light" angle, but an obvious one like you dropped the pen and bent the tip. Secondly, the cartridges do not write nearly as sharp as the single cartridge model. That is a big feature of the standard Slicci that did not carry over to its multi pen counterpart.

TUL Ballpoint

I am a fan of the TUL pen lineup from Office Max, except for the ballpoint. The original design was flat out terrible and the new model is better in barrel alone. Writing performance is a blobby mess, doing everything it can to keep the Uni-ball Jetstream at the top of the ballpoint pen heap.

Bic A1 Gel

I didn't expect much from a Bic but the A1 gel was a new kind of terrible. There are no redeeming qualities to this pen, leaving me no choice but to end the review with "This may be the single worst pen I have ever reviewed."

Caran D'Ache 849

I wanted to like this pen so badly but the refill was horrible. The barrel is excellent though, leaving some room for improvement. Still, it was a poor overall experience.

Well there you have it! Those are some of the worst pens I have ever reviewed. I'm sure I have forgotten several others but these stick in my brain like a Justin Bieber song that I want to scrape out with a spoon.

What are some of the worst pens you have used?

Posted on April 28, 2014 and filed under Top 5.