The Great Pen Purge - Week 2 of 2014

I faithfully performed my weekly pen swap yesterday and I'm feeling better about tossing out ink. The tradeoff is that the pens get flushed on a more regular basis, so that is good, and I'm thinking I can port converters from one pen to the next when possible, and that will help too. On then to the selection for the week: Pen Selection for Week 2 2014

From left to right we have a Michael's Fat Boy Comet, a faux Dunhill rollerball, an old Waterman Commando, and a new Pilot Kakuno. The Comet is big fun, though I can't write with it for too long due to the weight and it is hard to take into meetings because I'd have to explain away my pen addiction. The Dunhill is a fake from China, ordered up to see what kinds of things they produce, and I guess the pen works well enough though I'm guessing balance gets lost. The real Dunhill pens are probably much more balanced, with better finishes, etc. The Commando is a near perfect pen, probably much like a lot of Waterman pens, in that it is balanced and writes wonderfully. It has a small crack near the top of the cap, which I repaired and buffed out, and after tanking it up it is writing with great ink flow and a smooth feel. At one time I was on the hunt for more Commando fountain pens, but then I decided to just enjoy this one.

The Pilot Kakuno is the real surprise for $15. Wow. It is fun, solid, writes like a dream, and has that awesome smiley face on the nib. Can't wait to pick up another one of these to save in the collection. At the risk of firing up a holy war I'd say that the Kakuno is better than the Lamy Safari and a bit cheaper. No clip, but Pilot was smart enough to give it a hex shape and the little nub that keeps it from rolling on flat surfaces.

Looking back on last week I had fun with the Think and the Jinhao but did not use them much because I was dealing with the broken Bexley clutch pencil. For some idiotic reason I've decided I really like 5.6 mm clutch pencils, just not as pencils. Or, rather, I like them when sketching but find the crazy big 5.6 mm lead useful for anything other than sketching. Given that the 5.6 mm size can accommodate almost any refill, I've made it a quest to come up with a fast, flexible, and efficient way of adapting refills to fit a 5.6 mm clutch pencil.

I've tried all sorts of methods, the latest being with epoxy and outer tube forms, but none of them seem to work quite right. I'm certainly not an engineer, so any suggestions on how to add a beveled tip to a refill, with the correct outer diameter of 5.6 mm, would certainly be appreciated. Though the solution below looks clumsy it actually works extremely well and is probably the best solution going:

5.6 mm Clutch Pencil Conversion

Take a refill and wrap the tip with embroidery floss until you get the right diameter built up (just have some 5.6 mm lead handy to check as you go). Soak the floss with super glue and let it dry. If you want a more polished finish you can sand the floss down a bit and put on a coat of clear nail polish. And, since embroidery floss comes in so many colors, you could easily match the tips to the ink color.

Insane, yes I know, but remember that my goal is to purge all the stuff I've got and not load up more. A 5.6 mm clutch pencil serves a lot of purposes, from sketching beer labels to using up whatever random refills I have sitting around, and generally the use of a clutch pencil is a whole lot more rewarding than whatever cheap disposable pen the refill came in to begin with.