Category Archives: Pen, Paper, and Ink

A Look at the Ti2 TechLiner

Ti2 TechLiner Uncapped

I love things that are made of copper, especially when they’ll see heavy use and develop a nice patina. Copper is a beautiful, bright metal when new but once it starts to patina, it takes on a look that can be incredibly beautiful. Some people prefer their copper bright and shiny, others prefer patina, I fall into the patina camp.

I backed the Ti2 TechLiner Revisited Kickstarter project because it came in copper and even more so because the acid wash finish was stunning. As soon as I laid eyes on the acid wash pen, I backed the 5.75″ version without a second thought. However when the pen arrived, I realized I should have taken the time to consider what I was purchasing.

Here’s the problem: copper isn’t exactly a lightweight metal. Throw in a couple magnets and a refill and it’s a pretty substantial pen. I knew it felt heavy in my hand but for the purpose of this review, I put it on a scale where it registered a whopping 1.9 ounces or if you prefer, 53.864 grams. Compare that to the TWSBI Vac 700 which weighs in at 32g (cap and body) and you have a very heavy pen. I don’t think many people can tolerate a 54g pen for a lengthy writing session, I know I can’t.

Ti2 TechLiner Capped

If I had a second chance, I might try the same pen in the shorty version although I suspect it would still be too heavy. While aluminium and titanium may be lighter, they just don’t have the appeal of a copper pen. I have a few pens in those metals and they’re not on the same visual level as this copper TechLiner.

Weight concerns aside, this is a fantastic pen. It uses magnets, uses a great refill, and has an eye catching design. What’s not to love?

Thanks to that great refill, there’s no real reason to discuss the pen performance. This pen was designed specifically for the the Uni-Ball Signo 207 refills which I place among the very best of gel pens. Years ago I preferred the G2 but now I feel the 207 outshines it in all areas.

So, is this pen worth the cash? Absolutely! I don’t find myself using gel pens very often but I might still buy a lighter version of the Ti2 TechLiner. If you’re in the market for a nice pen and you love the Signo 207 refill, check the TechLiner out. Just keep the weight in mind before you buy a regular length copper or brass version.

The Curse Of The Inked Fountain Pen

Last night as I scribbled random words on some lovely Tomoe River Paper, I found myself proclaiming my undying love for the TWSBI Vac 700. It has a large nib, large body, large ink supply, and it’s just…. large.

In that moment I decided I would flush every inked fountain pen and only use the Vac 700. So it was set: tomorrow I would be a 1 fountain pen user.

Tomorrow is here. I took the day off because World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor comes out today. That’s normal right? Nevermind that, I was talking about pens.

Before we get too far into this story, let’s cover what I currently have inked.

  • TWSBI Vac 700 – Broad nib filled with Diamine Prussian Blue
  • TWSBI 540 – 1.1mm nib filled with Diamine Ox Blood
  • Levenger L-Tech – Medium nib filled with Sailor Sky High
  • Pilot 78G – Broad nib filled with Iroshizuku Kon-Peki
  • Pilot Custom 74 – BB nib filled with Sailor Grenade
  • Kaweco AL Sport – Medium nib filled with Sailor Sky High

That’s not a lot of pens but it’s more than I need. I was positive one pen would be enough last night but today? I’m not quite so sure. I woke up ready to flush all my pens except the Vac 700. Diamine Prussian Blue? What a great ink! Who needs anything more than that?

Oh wait, the 540 has a stub nib and that’s different enough to warrant keeping it inked.

Okay, I’ll flush the rest.

Wait, the Pilot Custom 74 is super broad. Who doesn’t like super broad nibs? I love them! Okay, let’s keep that one inked, plus Sailor Grenade is a gorgeous ink and it would be a shame to flush that down the drain.

What about that Kaweco? It’s a cartridge pen and I carry it in my pocket every day although I never use it. That seems pretty important. Also, who flushes a cartridge pen? I had to fill the cartridge with a syringe! That’s a lot of work and it should stay inked.

That leaves the Levenger, the 78G, and…. I guess that’s it.

What’s that pen sitting in the stand over there? An un-inked Pilot Falcon? I bet Sailor Sky High would look cool in that. There’s no harm in having 5 pens inked right?

You Need To Read: The Cramped

Here’s something new, I’m telling you what to read! Scratch that, I’m ordering you to read this and you’ll listen or else!

If you’re not familiar with Patrick Rhone, the man behind Patrick Rhone dot com and Minimal Mac, you should be. Even if you’re not aware of his work, feast your eyes on his celebration of the analog way of life in the form of a website called The Cramped.

I’ll let him describe it:

If you are the sort of person who appreciates nice paper, a decent pen, a well-crafted notebook, a solid pencil, writing and receiving handwritten correspondence, beautiful handwriting, or the clicky-clack of a dependable typewriter, you have come to the right place. The Cramped is a site dedicated to the pleasures of writing with analog tools (the name is purposefully ironic).

If that describes you, maybe check the site out. There are a number of guest authors and lots of regularly posted content. It’s like an analog smorgasbord.

The Retro 51 Tornado Flipper

I’m trying not to fall down the rabbit hole of collecting Retro 51s but this would be my fourth and they keep releasing limited editions that tug at my wallet, begging me to spend more money on pens I’ll never use.

My latest acquisition is the Flipper from their Popper line of rollerballs. I love pinball but I usually have to settle for a quick game on the iPad rather than standing in front of a machine in an arcade because, you know, those aren’t very common any more.

I really like the presentation of the Retro 51 limited editions. This is the tube it ships in, my Omega Popper shipped in a similar tube so this must be their standard limited edition packaging. I use this one to further clutter my office with things I don’t need to save.

Retro 51 Tornado Flipper

The pen is brightly colored with antique silver trim that I find quite striking. They only made 750 of these and I have #478 which makes me feel special. I’m sure this number means absolutely nothing unless society falls apart and the only means of currency are limited edition Retro 51. In that case I’ll trade this one for a couple questionable pork chops and 3 eggs to feed my 4 children and a wife who tolerates the fact that her husband has been carting around a bunch of pens in a post apocalyptic world where there’s very little paper.

If you’ve used a Retro 51 rollerball, you know the refill is delightful. If you haven’t used a Retro 51 rollerball, I’m sorry. You should probably buy one and let the box clutter your domicile.

Here she is, the pen that will one day serve to feed my unbathed and tired family. Feast your eyes on her glory.

Retro 51 Tornado Flipper

Retro 51 Tornado Flipper

Tactile Turn Mover & Shaker First Impressions

I don’t remember what made me jump on the Kickstarter campaign for the Tactile Turn Mover & Shaker but I ended up ordering one of each. It wasn’t the strange backer video that drew me in so it must have been the pen design. I originally backed the Mover but I added the Shaker at the last minute to make sure I could handle any gel refill my heart desired.

The pens arrived today in these crazy tubes that I absolutely love. I have no idea where he found these but I need a stash of them to store my pens that aren’t safely nestled in their Nock Co cases. I’m serious when I say the packaging almost made me forget how excited I was to get the pens.

Tactile Turn

They both come with a predetermined refill, the Mover with a Pilot G2 .38mm refill while the Shaker includes a Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 ballpoint refill. Neither of these meet my standards but that has nothing to do with my impression of the pens. After all, I purchased these to put my favorite refills in so the fact they shipped with anything is a bonus.

I’m not a ballpoint fan so the Schmidt was replaced with the only option I had handy: a Parker Gel refill which — after playing with it a bit — is almost as bad as the ballpoint. Luckily the list of refills that fits the Shaker is quite long so I shouldn’t have a problem finding something I like.

Dark Blue Shaker

The Mover presents a small problem in that it doesn’t fit my favorite refill — the Uni-Ball 207 — without a little work. The website says “must fill in back space” which sounds easy enough but I haven’t tried it yet. Instead I rummaged around my stash of pens and found a .7mm Blue-Black Pilot Juice to steal the refill from. I hadn’t tried the Juice but I’d heard good things and the rumors were true, this is a fantastic refill.

Let me take a moment to comment on the .38mm G2 refill that came with the Mover. I can’t believe people use these things! I’d compare the experience to dragging a needle across paper and praying ink falls out of it, this isn’t a writing experience as much as writing torture. I don’t understand how anyone can use < .7mm on a daily basis unless they write in ultra tiny letters that no one can read.

OK enough of the commentary, back to the review.

Dark Blue Shaker

My biggest gripe is one that you’ll only run into when changing the refill: there’s something weird about the threading. I’m not an engineer or designer but it feels like the 2 halves could have been better matched in size to make a more exact fit. Maybe the threads are too fine? I don’t know. Often it feels like the halves are about to cross-thread and I have to back them off and start over.

That’s all I really have to complain about, let’s get on to the good stuff.

The click mechanism is silent as advertised and the clip is nice and sturdy. You can actually unscrew the clicky bit and thereby marvel in its simplicity. When the mechanism is off, it also frees the clip from the pen which I suppose could allow you to replace it if bent or broken. I’m not certain that Tactile Turn is expecting to sell these bits but it seems like a very serviceable pen.

Mover & Shaker

I ordered my Mover in raw aluminum color and my Shaker in dark blue and they’re quite striking in this combination. The dark blue Shaker has a nice contrast with the aluminum clip and click mechanism which makes me wish I had ordered a colored Mover as well. If I had a chance to do it again, I’d order a green version instead of the raw.

Now to the part I was most worried about: the patterned grip. Machined pens tend to have a slight roughness which send shivers down my spine if I slide my fingers across them wrong. Imagine fingernails on a chalkboard, that’s the feeling. I assume it’s the micro grooves from machining that cause this and while I’ve learned to tolerate it, I was afraid the patterned grip would be a problem.

Raw Mover

As it turns out, the grooves are deeper than I imagined and are a wonderfully functional addition. I have another machined pen with a smooth section and I’d love to have this pattern machined into it. It’s just so darn grippy!

While I’ve owned these pens less than 12 hours, I’m quite happy with them. The number of refills available should provide me a decade or two of use which crazy considering what I paid for them. Sure plastic pens are cheaper but I’d rather have something more substantial in my hand and these fit that bill.

Tactile Turn is now listing the Mover and Shaker in their shop for $65. I highly recommend them.