Tag Archives: classic

Review: Pen+Gear No.2 Wood Pencils 12-Pack

Year after year walmart does great things with their line of wooden pencils. Most of this has to do with contracting with Hindustan to make them. This year is no different. Look for the cardboard packages with Made in India for some pencil happiness.

I like that the P+G has a nice cardboard package with a window cut into it. The cardboard is recyclable anywhere, which the plastic packaging wasn’t usually recyclable. Inside the package the 12 pencils are kept safe. The lacquer is thickly applied over a white primer coat. The resulting finish is glossy, with some texture. It is quite imperfect. The ferrules are silver and fit the erasers better than in the past. Mine were all fixed to the pencil well. The erasers are soft and dust gathering, which I appreciate but seems a little weird to me. I don’t know why I don’t like dust gathering eraser on my pencils. Maybe I’ll warm up to them, maybe not.

The cores are classically, for this pencil and Hindustan, not perfectly centered. Maybe one is perfect. One was hilariously off center. This is par for the course for these pencils. I grabbed 3 randomly for sharpening. As usual they all sharpened well in all my sharpeners, including the Pollux. These pencils are made out of jelutong. 

The core is dark, smooth, and holds a point well. If you are looking for a cheap workhorse pencil, this is a great choice. They just write so very well. Even on slick pencil these leave a mark. You can get pencils that are twice as expensive, heh, or 5 times as expensive, that don’t work as well as these. At 4 cents a pencil these are a killer deal. Sure they are from Walmart, but if you are on a budget and you want to write with something that feels good and won’t break the bank, spending 47 cents (back to school sale) or 97 cents at regular price, this is a great deal.

Review: Parker Jotter

The Parker Jotter is perhaps the most classic refillable rollerball body available. It’s been around for more than 60 years and hundreds of thousands pens have been sold. They retail for around $4 for the basic plastic pen to $20 for the full stainless steel models. In college I picked up the classic plastic and stainless model at a salvage store for around $3 each. I used them extensively until they were lost.

Recently I picked up the blue enameled steel model for $20 at my local Staples. They are cheaper via Jetpens in a wide variety of colors. Via online vendors there are many colors available, my local Staples only had 3 or 4 colors available.The best thing about such a long running pen is that refills are available from a variety of vendors and styles . Refill are available in ballpoint, rollerball, as well as gel ink. Not only are a variety of formulas available, but a rainbow of colors. The Jotter uses a standard Parker refill aka G2*. Jetpens offers a wide variety of refills that fit as does Amazon. The Well Appointed Desk has a massive post about pen refills to help you find just the right fit. I have a few pens that use the standard Parker/G2 refill so buying a gel refill is great. Sadly the Parker gel refills, as I’ve written about before, they don’t last a long time. Those are probably the only gel ink refill I blow through faster than an Inkjoy.

The Jotter is an extremely slim and small pen. It borders on pocket size. It fits into a breast pocket easily and stays clipped to the placket of a shirt.  The clip itself is sturdy and has stayed tight during my testing and use. It’s classic design is neither eye catching nor ostentatious. It fits into professional situations, though some colors might not blend in so well. That said, even a neon orange would probably pass the muster in most office settings. The short slim size will be far too thin and short for many, especially those with larger hands. I do not find the slim size comfortable for prolonged writing, rather I use my Jotter for quick notes in my pocket notebooks and occasional progress notes at work.

The nock has a satisfying click that unlike the previously reviewed Alloy, is neither soft nor spongy. I expected that the enameled stainless steel would be slippery in extended or even perhaps short term use, it wasn’t. The plastic version is also not slippery. You can get 10-packs of the plastic version for around $40.

In short, I like the Jotter but I fear that my aging hands and wrist do not like the slenderness of the pen. Writing for long periods of time are out. Though when I was younger I took many class notes with the Jotter ballpoint refills I couldn’t possibly do that now. I like the fact that I can fit many different types of refills from ballpoint to gel ink.

Continue reading