Review: Dixon Oriole HB #2

The Dixon Oriole is a pencil that reinforces my determination to use a pencil (or pen) for roughly a week, if not longer before writing a review. It also is a caution for other bloggers who might do what @paperandhand referred to as “beauty” reviews*, wherein a blogger is sent free product that is outside her/his expertise and (maybe) feels pressured to do a review. The resulting review is clearly cursory, took perhaps 15 minutes to do, maybe less, and the product is rubber stamped as, “Gorgeous, lovely, awesome, great, superb.”  Maybe the products are gorgeous and great, but often times I find myself chuckling at horrible reviews that really don’t explore the product or their uses. In the end the reviewer has done the reader a disservice by promoting a product that they don’t know much about, don’t understand all that well, and ins some cases actually spread incorrect information**.

I digress, my point being had I initially written a review of the Dixon Oriole after handling it for 15 minutes that review would have been glowing, “OMG you guys, get this pencil, it’s soooo awesome, on par with some of my faves.” Except, I found out over the course of a little over a week of on and off use, no, it really isn’t. In fact, I would go so far as to call this pencil a polished turd. polished turdLet me start the review by stating that Dixon appears to have moved production of this pencil from the US, to China, and now to India. The box I received was from India. According to other reviews, there were some  quality issues with the finish while they were produced in China.polished turdFrom the box I received these are stunning yellow pencils. The finish is thick and bright chrome yellow, aka school bus yellow. It’s smooth and without blemish. This finish is premium, up there with a Palomino Pearl. When you sharpen it you can see the thickness of the finish. The gold foil imprint is sharp, tight and clear. The brass colored ferrule is well fixed to the body of the pencil, matching the gold foil. The pink eraser looks great on the classic yellow pencil. Overall if you are looking for a really good looking classic yellow school pencil, this one will fit the bill and then some.polished turdInside the pencil is made out of a light weight jelutung (I think anyway, it looks like the other jelutung pencils I have). It sharpens quite well.polished turdThe core is of average diameter and also sharpens easily. It is well centered. If sharpened with ANY long point sharpener the point snaps off. EVERY single freaking time. Since I used this a fair amount on the road (OK at school but not at home) and I carry one sharpener- a KUM handheld long point, I spent a ton of time sharpening my pencil. *** It was so annoying. Then came the fractures in the core. I’d sharpen my pencil, and pull it from the sharpener only to fine the core had fallen out. I’d sharpen it up again, only a great deal of the core had fallen out. I lost a good 2 inches of each pencil I used to the sharpener. This would break my concentration as I was studying. It would also irritate me. It’s clear from this that the core is not bonded well to the wood and is of uneven enough quality that though it was well padded in it’s shipment to me that the cores are all fractured to hell.polished turdThe eraser is also pure shite. I’d be better off rubbing my notebook on the ground or on my ass to erase a word. I was so frustrated with the eraser I just stopped erasing.polished turdAnother issue that I can’t figure out if it comes from Amazon or Dixon is that these pencils smell STRONGLY of mildew. I received several other items from the same warehouse in the same box and notice no discernible smell of mildew from those other items. So, either the smell is from this particular area in the Amazon warehouse, or these pencils smell. The box itself doesn’t smell too strongly and it does dissipate after the pencils are allowed to air out. But it is off putting and should be mentioned should anyone be tempted to order a pack after reading this review.****polished turdOver all these are good pencils when you sharpen then with a wedge, like the Alvin/DUX inkwell, KUM ellipse, and get past the fractured core. When they write they are pretty nice. However, the fact that they cannot be used with a long point sharpener without endless frustration really puts them off my radar. The core is also fractured in every single pencil I’ve tested, starting about 2 inches up, then every other sharpening thereafter. Honestly, this was a tough pencil for me to get past my week of use mark******. I cannot bring myself to sketch with such a shoddy pencil.

Why Dixon would put such a nice finish on such a terrible unholy pencil core is beyond me. Truly a situation where they polished a turd.

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Review: Zebra F-701 Stainless Steel Pen Hacked

The Zebra f-701 pen is a solid stainless steel pen with one exception, the knock has a plastic ring around it. However, the F-402 has a solid stainless steel knock. This hack explains how to swap the knock out of the 402 and the 701. While I question the tactical effectiveness It’s a relatively easy process that I think really improves the look of  an already nice pen.

The pen is smooth lightly brushed stainless steel with a knurled grip section. Notable is the absence of any printing. The clip has 701 pressed into it. The clip on the 402 is sturdier so I swapped them when I swapped the knock. The knurling is slight and unlike other deeply knurled grips doesn’t feel like I’m going to sandpaper my fingers off each time I grab hold.  I prefer the simple 2-step tip on the 402 to the 5-step tip of the 701, sadly they are not swapable. The tip of the 402 is just a smidge too long to allow for the tip of the cart to deploy.

The refill that they arrive with is a smaller plastic refill than the Zebra refills that you can get. It will accept a Fisher Space Pen refill if you modify the plastic sleeve hiding in the tip. One modification is to take the sleeve out entirely, the other is to stretch it out by sliding it over the tip of the  Space Pen cartridge. I like hack that keeps the plastic sleeve, as it stops any unwanted clicking and wiggle in the tip. the zebra refill is pretty good for sketching and general notetaking. It’s not super smooth but it’s not scratchy. It’s dark enough that you can get a good amount of light and dark out of it as you sketch. It is a nice fine point. I will dissent with the majority opinion and state flat out, I like the Zebra refill more than I like the Fisher Space pen refill.

The 701 is a great pen even if you don’t swap out the knock for the all metal knock of the 402.  It just works. It now retails for around $8. the 402 comes in a 2 pack for about $9. The good thing with this pen is that it’s mostly metal construction means it can be dropped, kicked and knocked about and still write. Not many pens can make that claim.

 

Review: Zebra V-301 Fountain Pen

I had read a few good reviews of the Zebra V-301 Fountain Pen (V-301). The V-301 features Zebra’s typical mixture of stainless steel and black plastic barrel. At first blush it’s not a bad looking pen. The imprint is a crisp clean screen print. The black plastic is well molded and looks pretty nice. The center section, is the grip and has a waffle pattern that keeps the plastic from being slippery. Which brings me to the first detraction I’ll make of the pen. At each end of the pen the plastic is shiny but the middle section is flat. This makes sense because that waffle patterned plastic is the grip. I find it odd to mix matte and shiny plastics on the same pen.zebrafp

The pen is a nice diameter, neither too slim nor too thick. It’s a great size for gripping, even with my small hands. It is just large enough that it wouldn’t look ridiculous gripped in a big meaty paw. Without posting the pen is okay for writing but the cap is small and light enough that this pen can be posted without feeling off balance. It’s not a particularly long pen, even posted. The cap slides on and off the pen with a reassuring click. Letting you know it’s been removed or replaced. Even when you post it there is a click.zebrafp

My second issue with the pen is that the nib is diminutive when compared to the size of the pen. It’s on the ridiculous side and doesn’t look quite right. While others have reported that the pen writes well straight out of the package mine did not. It was quite scratchy. I had to get out my loupe and push and pull the tines into alignment and then I had to smooth it. Even still it’s not my favorite nib. It’s good for quick notes and such, but I wouldn’t want to take notes with it for a whole class nor would I wish to write out journal pages.zebrafp

The ink that arrives with the pen is acceptable, but nothing to write home about. It appears to take standard international cartridges. I have yet to test it with anything but the cart that came with it. I find the ink to be poorly behaved, feathering on a lot of papers and soaking through many others.zebrafp

Overall, this is a $5 pen available at places like Walgreens across the US. I think it’s a horrible introductory pen for people. I’d much rather see people get the Parker Vector* (are they still made?) or another brand of fountain pen than this one. I know that others have reported good luck with these, but I really see this as a good pen for someone willing to tweak the nib and play with the pen to get a good writing experience. I think that you have a better chance of getting a good experience with a Platinum Preppy.

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Reflection: The BEST Pencil, EVER

After getting the weird bendy extruded pencils*** (by empire? eagle?) several years in a row I vowed that when I had control over my pencil purchasing power to buy better pencils. I was also older and used pens as much as I possibly could. That is a whole other story*. Anyway, I think it was 8th grade when I discovered the various colored Eberhard Faber Americans. They came in red, blue, and green. After years of messing around with crappy bendy nasty writing pencils I suddenly had pencils that sharpened and wrote well. It was a miracle to not struggle with my pencil.ECOwriterAs I entered my second year of high school I had been reading about ecology and recycling and though of myself as a budding tree hugger. That school year I purchased my first batch of Eberhard Faber ECOwriters and  the pulpy gray recycled paper that went along with them. The paper was a dull gray had green ruling and a little recycle logo in the bottom right corner. It was terrible paper for pencils, but was great for ballpoint pen. The ECOwriters were briefly available at my local drug store (I think back then it had changed from Welby’s to Rite-Aide) and I could pick up another 12-pack anytime I wanted them. When it wasn’t back to school time they were ridiculously expensive but I always splurged. **

I used the ECOwriters for a couple of years with much happiness. I bought one of my last packages in college and thought nothing more of them, until I ran out. I had squirreled away a few packages of them, but for the majority of college I used art pencils and roller ball pens or various art pens. It wasn’t until I was teaching that I had a need to get another pack of ECOwriters. I went to my local drug store, and found nothing. On a weekend I took a trip to the far away box office store, and found nothing. I went to box stores, nada. I looked for them on and off for a few months before I happened onto another package I can’t even remember where I found them, but I remember being confused, the pencils said “ECOwriter” but it was accompanied by the brand PaperMate.***

I got them home, tore into the package for instant sadness and disappointment. The core was gritty and not smooth. Sharpening them was a painful experience. Back then I sharpened with a knife 99% of the time and that was just an awful mess. My art sharpeners, even new sharpeners left a terrible mess on the pencils. It was as if the pencil that I had loved was crumbling before my eyes. I think I left these in my classroom for kids to steal rather than use them.

Enter eBay, the flea market for champions of 90s nostalgia. A seller on eBay has lots of these beauties, true vintage Eberhard Faber ECOwriters from the 90s! I was surprised to get a package from a friend containing a baker’s dozen true EF ECOwriters, in not only  the traditional yellow but also the color version. Best early birthday gift ever! I immediately sharpened one up and used it all day. It was rad. I’ll do a full review, remember it’s colored with nostalgia.

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Reflection: Not Just Any Pencil Will Do

On the Erasable podcast group awhile ago the question was posed, “When did you first notice that there were differences among pencils?” Since I’ve had far too much caffeine than is good for me* and I can’t sleep I’m going to answer this question with 2 answers.USA BondedBack here I told you about my Grandparents traveling to far away place in the US and coming back with unusual things. One of these trips went south, where my Grandparents toured a pencil making facility, what one I don’t know, but in my head I’m sure it must’ve been Musgrave.** Mostly I believe this because they went to Tennessee. This was back in the earlier to mid-eighties. With 5 grandchildren my Grandmother took it upon herself to bring back a bag of pencils. Not just ANY pencils, but misprints. My grandmother’s thriftiness is well known, and for her misprints or not, these were a good deal.

In this bag there were pencils with erasers and without. There were marbled pencils, pencils with flat paint, and shiny paint. I suspect that she purchased a gross pf pencils. It is likely that she got them for very little money, on account of her thriftiness. In this mixed bag of pencils were a few with no paint or finish at all- round wooden pencil naked and showing off their gorgeous cedar glory. My cousin chose the marbled and the “cool” pencils. When it was my turn I picked  the naked pencils and one of the few marbled my cousin turned down. Eraserless and smelling strongly of cedar I remember these pencils being a sharp contrast to the pencils that I’d gotten for school that year- they smelled good, and unlike the crappy extruded pencils they didn’t bend, the marks were darker and smooth.

After this, not any pencil would do.

There were quite a few pencils left over in the bag and my Grandmother would put a few more into her pen and pencil cup every now and then. I remember once that she was babysitting my brothers and I and we had to sit at the kitchen table to do our homework. She passed us the pencil cup we carefully chose our pencils and started to do homework. I remember putting the pencil I was using back because it was too scratchy. Then picking another with the same issue, then another. Finally, my grandmother said, “Leslie, what is the problem!?! Pick a pencil, any pencil will do! Do your homework!”

Of course there was no lip to be had so I picked a slightly less inferior pencil and did my homework. I remembered to always bring my own pencil after that.

Story will continue tomorrow

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Review: Stabilo GREENgraph HB

Another recent purchase via Pencils.com the Stabilo GreenGraph is yet another good looking pencil. We can talk about my love of olive drab green and how it might skew my review of this pencil’s good looks. Or not.

This pencil features a flat olive green paint and cream colored pin stripes and imprint. The pairing of colors is very nice, and as I’ve stated previously easy on the eyes. The reverse side has a bar code  printed in white. It’s not obtrusive. The ferrule is brass colored and tightly fixed to the body of the pencil. It holds a super firm white eraser. The flat paint of this pencil feels strange at first but through use it isn’t slippery even when moist. (I tested this out by picking up my iced coffee, getting my hand wet with condensation then continuing my writing.) greengraphgreengraphThe wood is soft and fragrant but I don’t think it’s cedar. The pencil is FSC certified. The average sized core is well centered. It sharpens with ease in any of my sharpeners. It holds a point nicely.  In terms of darkness Iid rate this more as a B or 2B grade than HB. greengraphIn use this pencil is very dark, smooth with feedback from the graphite. Some pencils, like the Staedtler Rally and this are smooth but have what I call feedback in the graphite. this means that rather than feeling like skating across paper like a Blackwing it’s more like driving a dirt bike through sand.  The feeling isn’t drag per se but more subtle. With a fountain pen this would be called feedback. This is a pencil that if you  like feedback from your pen and paper combination you’ll get it. This is a pencil for people who don’t like the feeling of the Blackwings.

I digress, the pencil is nicely dark both in writing and in sketching. It layers up to dark nicely it is hard enough that lighter shades are possible as well. It was really fantastic for sketching. I also really enjoyed it while writing. I used it for a brainstorming session for internship group art therapy ideas and really enjoyed the writing experience.  I also used it while reading a textbook for underlining the pulpy paperback. It worked well. greengraphThe super firm white eraser worked really well. It is one of the best erasers I’ve gotten on a pencil in a long time. I was able to use it while sketching and for cleaning the written word off composition book paper. Though I’ve used it repeatedly the ferrule and eraser are still fixed firmly to the pencil. greengraphIn terms of value, this pencil when purchased in a 3-pack via pencils.com is around $1 per pencil. When purchased in a 12-pack the value is better at 83 cents per pencil. This puts them into the affordable but not cheap category for me. I like them enough that I wish I’d bought he 12-pack rather than the 2-pack. Pencils.com is the only place to get the at a reasonable price.  I cannot find them on ebay and the price on Amazon was about $30 for 12!!!

 

Review: Field Notes Unexposed

The new Field Notes edition, Unexposed, has been exposed. Like Shelterwood before,  this edition elicits both love AND hate from fans. The edition arrives within a black envelope so that you cannot see what covers you are getting. The editions are packaged somewhat randomly, so you have no guarantee of getting all 6 colors in your packages. To me this is a very interesting way of randomizing the packages. This has also led to frustration among collectors and subscribers. In some cases people have only received 3 of the 6 colors and are trading with other collectors and fans to get all 6 colors.unexposedI was one of the fortunate people who received all 6 colors in my subscription package. But I liked them so much I traded off my sealed Arts and Sciences edition to get another 3-pack. I received 3 more of my favorite colors and another black envelope.

Let’s get to the nitty gritty of this, the review. The colors are neon, eye searing neon with a near opposite color logo. I love these colors. They go very well with my Ticonderoga Neon pencils or Neon Wopexen. They bring me back to back-to-school shopping in 1989 or 1990 where neon ruled the world in pencils and pens. My love of these colors is pure thrown back, sort of like my total enjoyment of the new Trapper KeeperunexposedThe covers and interior feature the same soft touch printing as the Drink Local series, Which up until these was my favorite edition. The soft touch just feels really neat. When thinking I can rub the covers between my thumb and fore finger. The texture is just fantastic. unexposedI read more than one complaint about these colors being “not professional.” I use my FN as catch alls and journal, and now during my internship and a place to take quick client notes. Are they professional enough for me to take into staff meetings? I don’t know, but I’m also secure enough that if someone were to comment on the color to be able to say, “I know! Isn’t it AWESOME!?!”unexposedInside is what FN calls “reticle graph.” Before I had received my books I had to look this up. Instead of dots for dot graph they have replaced them with little plus signs (+). One could think of these like sights  or unfinished graph. They are printed in light gray. I wasn’t sure if I’d like these, but so far I really really like them. I might even prefer them to regular graph. I do like dot graph a little more but these are fun.  The paper itself is regular FN paper. It’s not fountain pen friendly but great with pencils, gel ink, and roller ball pens.unexposed unexposedAnother complaint I’ve read about is that people really really hate the near color opposite* printing on the inside color. It really does make the interior stuff hard to read. I find it impossible to look at and read the interior of the green covered notebook. The neon green on neon orange is impossible for my eyes to makes sense of. If I squint I can read it but it’s hard. I don’t mind since all of the FN stuff stays the same from book to book. I know where to write my name. I also found that once I wrote my info  into the various sections in black ink it broke up the field of neon and I was much more able to read the neon-on-neon printing.unexposedThe envelopes that houses the notebooks as they are shipped to you are a flat black. As soon as you remove the shrink wrap the envelope starts to show finger prints. The envelopes aren’t super sturdy but they are neat and a great way to store 3 FN in a bag or backpack.unexposedOverall, this is a great edition from Field Notes. Great colors, great “soft-touch” covers, awesome reticle graph grid inside, and your typical fun FN uses inside. This will be one of the few that I stock up on and keep a few extras in my stationary boxes.unexposed Continue reading

Review: Musgrave Test Scoring 100

Another recent purchase from Pencils.com was a 12-pack of the infamously smooth and dark Musgrave Test Scoring 100 pencil.  This made in the USA pencil has been suggested to me as a “dirt cheap” alternative to Palomino Blackwings.  They do not disappoint.TS100Where some pencils arrive in a nice box or blister pack the Musgrave Test Scoring 100 (TS100) arrives in a plastic bag. One side of the bag is clear the other white. Each end of the package is heat sealed. It is one of the most no frills packages I’ve received. It’s not attractive and it doesn’t protect the pencils. That’s okay because the places where the TS100 are sold typically put them in cardboard boxes with plenty of padding. Mine arrived in perfect shape.

I find these to be a very good looking pencil. The silver paint is evenly and smoothly applied. the ferrule is bright silver aluminum and fixed securely to the pencil. It holds a pretty crappy pink eraser. While the eraser is not the best it does the job of cleaning graphite from a page. This pencil would look significantly better with a white eraser. The imprint is on one side and is black. The imprint is good enough but isn’t perfectly crisp.TS100

The core is well centered and the pencil sharpens easily in any sharpener I tried.TS100The pencil performs wonderfully. The graphite core is thick. It’s dark with little pressure while writing and sketching. It’s possible to get a great deal of dark and light shades. Subsequent layers of graphite create even darker areas. This is a fantastic pencil for sketching. It’s ability to lay down deep darks with so little pressure makes it a great option for a single pencil to carry. It is harder to get light areas. I’d rate this a 3 or 4B when compared to other art pencils. It is similar in darkness to the Palomino Blackwing.TS100As for writing, this pencil is effortless. It glides across all the types of paper I tested and leaves a deep dark line. It is one of the more effortless pencils I’ve written with. Because this is a super smooth soft pencil, point retention is not the best. Again, I’d compare the point retention and writing to the Palomino Blackwing.

In terms of looking for a single pencil to carry for sketching or writing, this pencil is a fantastic value. Coming in at 27 cents per pencil these are a great value for any use. Also, how often are neat silver colored pencils found?

The only negative things I can say about this pencil is that the eraser is terrible and that the corners of thesides are very sharp. But these are not all that noticeable. The eraser issue is solved by using a stick or block eraser. The edge issue seems to be eased by rotating the pencil.

You Might Notice

So the last 2 reviews on here were missing ther images. that was purely my fault. I shot photos, loaded them to my computer and then… Well forgot about them. Yup. So I’ll get photos onto those images… Sometime in the next day or so.

This school year has me fried. I’m getting accustomed to head in to my internship 2 days a week and into class 2 other days and then getting my schoolwork done in the rest. I don’t get out of class until 930pm on Wednesday nights and I can only catch the 1040pm train home. I don’t get home most nights until 1130pm. Of course I’ve had a heaping wallop of coffee so I can’t sleep. As I write this it is 140am. Yikes.

However, I’ve got one class that is blowing my mind. The whole premis of the class is about storytelling, and how to use storytelling as a medium to help the client to heal. It’s an amazing concept backed up by plenty of research. Which I won’t borre you with here, but to say that telling our individual stories is enormously important to our mental health.

Tonight (or this morning) I go out on a limb and ask you to explore your stories in your art journals. How can you explore that story?  When you are finished do you explore your story? Collage, writing, painting, drawing? Patterns? Doodles? By slinging garbage onto the page and seeing what sticks? Torturing the page into submission*? Whatever you need to do to explore your story in your art journal do it.

This is a pencil, I share it for shits and giggles and so that wordpress won’t share the big W on facebook.pencils, because

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Review: Trapper Keeper Stitched

Back in the mid-80s Mead’s Trapper Keeper went insane with school kids. I was no exception. I had one of the “fashion” versions with a geometric pattern that reminded me of a prism. I think I had an earlier version with kittens, but I’m not sure. I know that the velcro soon failed on me and the plastic sliding “trapper” 3-ring binder soon gave up on me and I switched to a heavy duty canvas 3-inch 3-ring binder with a clipboard in the front. At some point in high school I switched over to a zippered 5-star binder to hold all my junk. Why? It was black.

Anyway, here I am twenty some odd years later in graduate school after a 15 year hiatus from school and needing something to keep my printed articles, notebooks, syllabi, and class handouts in one place. Up until today I’ve been using a half inch 3-ring binder to corral the syllabi into one place, a poly envelope to keep the print outs together, and pockets in my notebooks to keep class hand outs in the notebooks. It was less a system and more of a stop gap measure to keep my stuff somewhat together, or not lost. The binder wouldn’t fit into the poly pocket and the button that help the pocket closed soon popped off as I slid it in and out of my back pack. Honestly, at one point I was looking for something a little better than my plastic 3-ring binder and more like my old canvas binder but a little like a Trapper Keeper. Decently sized 3-ring binders are crazy expensive at Staples and generally fall apart after some hard use.

I read this review that Trapper Keeper was back. Mead was introducing the TK after a hiatus. Currently they seem to only have the standard colors with a dotted fade printed on them and the stitched version available in 5 colors.trapper

The stitched version is a plastic covered with fabric, the edges are covered the whole thing is stitched up. The TK is held closed with a sturdy snap. The front features a clear pocket that you can slip paper into and customize the cover with your own art. The pocket will only hold a few sheets of paper, so it really is made to only hold a decorative sheet. It does not arrive with anything in the pocket but a label.trapper

The interior 3-ring binder is shiny chrome plated steel and very sturdy. The regular “fade” version arrives empty, while the stitched version arrives with 5 plastic dividers. Each a different color. These dividers are regular 3-hole punched and do not feature the slotting of the “Trapper Snapper” system.trapper

Inside the binder are 2 stretchy fabric pockets that will accommodate a composition notebook or a stack of paper.  The corners of the pockets are not reinforced, so this is where the TK will fail. It’s likely I won’t keep anything in these pockets but a few odd handouts from my classes that will eventually be punched and put into the binder.trapper

The back cover no longer sports the clip that turned the back of your Trapper into a clip board. I’m seriously missing this as it was something I used ALL THE TIME in my original Trapper until I graduated to a real clip board. IF I can give Mead any feedback  it’s to bring back the clip in the back. I’m not sure this particular TK is stiff enough to use as a clipboard, but it would do in a pinch. Though there is no clip they have kept the pen loop, though in this version it is made of elastic instead of plastic. it’s too loose for a pencil, but would hold a bullet pencil nicely.trapper

I picked out the green Trapper and mine is a nice shade of olive. the contrasting gray is really nice. I assumed it was black from the photos on Amazon but it’s not. The interior of the Trapper is black.  The logo and other accents are all white.

The stitched Customizable Trapper Keeper is not a light weight item, I was surprised once it was loaded up how heavy it is. But the majority of weight comes from all the paper I loaded into it. It’s much more compact than my previous pocket, mini binder, and assorted hodge podge of junk.

The velcro closures are gone. Good riddance, mine always tore off the flap leaving me with a trapper, but not keeper. In the velcro’s place is  a sturdy steel snap.  Unlike the adjustable nature of the velcro the snap has but one position. It can’t be tightened around your goods. This makes the TK kind of loose and sloppy. Understandably adding additional snaps or buttons would add a lot of cost and still not make the cover tighter on all loads, I just wish there was a way to adjust it.trapper trapper

Along with my Trapper Keeper I also ordered a Trapper Folder with customizable cover. Basically it’s a plastic (poly) folder with 2 interior pockets and a clear pocket on the front cover.  These hold a surprising number of printed off articles with ease. Right now I’ve got about 100 pages of articles shoved in there and the thing looks great. Ultimately I’d like to order one of these poly folders for each  of my 3 classes so that the load is spread out. These folders do not feature the Trapper Snapper easy removal tool. To get these babies out you have to open the 3-ring binder.

The plastic dividers are plain with no printed graphics. There are tabs spaced out along the edges. There are 5 colors, coordinating with the available TK colors. Most of the colors are semi translucent.  The plastic is pretty flexible but stiff enough that you can use the dividers to move through the binder easily.

Pros:

  • Old skool appeal
  • fabric! So sturdy
  • steel 3-ring
  • plastic dividers
  • pen loop
  • Lot’s of room to expand
  • lot’s of accessories that match

cons:

  • no clip board clip in the back
  • snap closure is not adjustable
  • customizable cover is cheezy
  • pockets on inside cover aren’t reinforced
  • plain covers only

Overall, I really like the new Trapper Keeper. I wish it had a few of the old amenities (clip, bring it back) but overall it’s a very nice binder that will hold all of my stuff and help to keep me organized.

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