I Went To A Brick & Mortar Pencil Shop and It Was Awesome
I had a few errands to run in the city this week, and had heard about a shop down in SoHo completely dedicated to pencils. There has definitely been a buzz around woodcase pencils recently, and I wanted to stop in and see what it was all about. This shop is called CW Pencil Enterprise,run by Caroline Weaver. I stopped in the shop, introduced myself, and took a few pictures. Upon entering the first thing I noticed was the Dudek Modern Goodsdisplays that were in the window, looking great. The second thing I noticed was the overwhelming (but still great) smell of pencils. You may not notice the scent when you’re sharpening one or two, but if you’re standing in a store that exclusively deals in pencils, then you’re bound to notice.
Caroline was hugely helpful. I told her I was a pen guy through and through, but wanted to see what the pencil craze is all about. I asked her to set me up with a starter pack so I could easily narrow down what I liked. She knew everything about all of the brands she carried, and set me up with various pencils from around the world, all with different wood types, shapes, lead hardness grades, and even synthetic graphite.
I got some information on what makes a pencil sharpener cost $500, and I totally get it. I completely understand why pencil people would need a precision sharpener in the same way that I can justify an expensive fountain pen purchase.
She showed me her vintage hot stamping machine that customizes pencils and how it works. Although I didn’t get any this time, I will for sure in the future. Caroline packed up my “starter kit” of around 10 pencils in a neat yellow parcel, and closed it up with baker’s twine. I’m super excited to dig in and check out all of these pencils! I can tell that his sector of the analog writing hobby is slightly more accessible, as I left the store with a total bill of $15. I really felt as though I got a lot for my money. CW Pencil Enterprise is definitely a must-see destination for the writing enthusiast if you’re in New York City. Thanks again to Caroline for the help, knowledge, and for letting me take some pictures!
I used to have a Pelikan M605 that I got rid of because it wasn’t seeing as much use as I would have liked. As soon as I saw the announcement of the Stresemann, I knew I had to once again add a a Pelikan to the flock. The M805 Stresemann is an anthracite grey striated M805 with silver trim and an entirely rhodium-plated nib. The M8XX series is Pelikan’s second largest pen, right under the M1000 and right above the M600. The size and weight are ideal for me. Many thanks to Ron over at Pen Chalet for sponsoring this review! Read on to see how the M805 held up to regular use!
Make sure to check out the gallery at the bottom of the review, featuring 20 full-sized photos of the Pelikan M805 Stresemann!
Appearance & Packaging:
The Stresemann comes in the standard Pelikan packaging. A faux wood and white box. Inside is a nice leather pouch, held closed by an elastic band bearing a plastic Pelikan logo emblem. Packaging doesn’t mean a whole lot to be, but the Stresemann is nicely presented. Inside the box is what really matters. The pen is absolutely stunning. The grey striated barrel has a deep shine and is transparent between the stripes. This allows you to see the ink level remaining.
Since the ink level is visible through the body, there is no need for Pelikan’s signature green ink window on the black pen bodies.The lack of ink window streamlines the body and results in a cleaner look overall. The pen is large, and posting the cap makes the pen larger. Usually Pelikan uses a dual-tone nib, but the Stresemann is unique in that they have implemented an entirely silver, rhodium-plated nib. The large size nib looks wonderful and matches the aesthetic of the pen perfectly. I love the shape of Pelikan nibs and it is accented in this larger pen. The silver trim nicely compliments the grey body and silver nib on the pen.
Nib Performance & Filling System:
I opted for a broad nib, which is quite out of character for me. Admittedly, the tines were ever-so-slightly misaligned out of the box. A quick adjustment and everything was fine. The nib is super smooth and in the middle of the wetness scale. The broad nib is a bit narrower than the Lamy 2000 broad nib I also recently picked up. I’m happy with it, but I’d prefer a bit more ink flow.
The M805 employs a massive piston filler. Ink capacity is great, especially given the amount of ink a broad nib goes through. The piston is buttery smooth and there’s no play in the knob. The brass components inside add some heft to the pen, but it stays balanced. Unscrew the knob, submerge the nib, screw the knob back in, and you’re ready to write. No complaints here!
The M805 isn’t nearly as heavy as I was expecting it to be. For some reason, I had it in my head that this thing was going to weigh me down. It’s quite comfortable in hand, especially when writing with the cap off, unposted. Posting the cap makes the pen a bit unwieldy. The added length and weight towards the back are not the best for my hand / writing style, but for those with larger hands it just might be.
The body of the pen is smooth and without faults. The resin is particularly sleek to the touch. Be careful, as the black is particularly prone to micro scratches. The cap threads are small and unobtrusive, meaning that those who grip higher up on the pen shouldn’t be bothered. The width of the grip section is very comfortable and the gentle taper keeps inky fingers at bay. For long writing sessions, I’ve found no fatigue or cramping due to the shape and weight of the pen.
– Looks extremely classy
– Broad nib is silky smooth
– Weight, balance and shape are comfortable in hand
– Nib tines were slightly misaligned out of the box
At around $640, the Stresemann is most certainly a luxury. It performs well, and the price isn’t simply just for the brand. The components and construction match up to the price tag and it will last a lifetime. Pelikan is a highly-regarded brand and there is tons of heritage and history behind this M805. This pen is not an impulse buy for most, but if you’re in the market for a Pelikan, the Stresemann should definitely be considered!
“French Paper supplied four cover stocks for these books: Pop-Tone 100#C “Lemon Drop” and “Sno Cone,” Speckletone 100#C “True White,” and Dur-O-Tone 80#C “Packing Brown Wrap.” We hand-set several designs using Hamilton’s collection of vintage type and ornaments. Hamilton then printed our designs in two random colors on a 1961 Heidelberg GT 13″×18″ windmill press. Randomizing the designs, papers, and colors resulted in thousands of variations. Further variations were introduced thanks to the nature of wood type, letterpress printing, and the music playing in the print shop during the 200+ hours on press.
Back in Chicago, our logo and specifications were added with a hit of “Broadside Blue-Black” ink. Then the books were bound with 48 pages of Finch Opaque Smooth 50#T featuring our “Double Knee Duck Canvas” graph grid. Three copper staples hold ’em together. As always, they’re all-U.S.A.-made, with a lot of love from the shores of Lake Michigan.”
This is less of a formal review and more of a “GO GET THESE BEFORE THEY’RE GONE!”. Field Notes are some of my favorite notebooks in terms of design, especially the COLORS editions. This one is no exception. I’m a sucker for all things screen printed, and these being a mix of wood block and letterpress immediately grabbed my attention. The books are all unique, in that they are all a random assembly of designs and text. Even cooler is that each one is hand-set, making the creation of the covers less of a set-and-forget and more of a hands-on process.
I can definitely appreciate that. The subtle details like the dark blue inked “FIELD NOTES” logo on the front and the copper staples really stand out. I ordered three 3-packs and each book is different from the next. As far as performance, the Finch Opaque Smooth 50#T paper works well enough. I decided to use a book for doodling with my Lamy broad nib, and there’s a fair amount of bleed and feathering. The paper works great with ballpoint, gel, finer rollerballs and finer fountain pen nibs.
The graph inside is pretty standard, the 4.5mm spacing nicely compliments the size of the book. I’ve been using one to keep track of what episodes of the X-Files I’ve watched, rating them as I go. The graph definitely proves helpful for making a checklist. The cool factor on this limited edition is through the roof, go pick some up before they’re gone forever!
Super huge thank you to Massdrop for offering up over $300 worth of prizes for you to win! Great timing for those who have just read why you should be writing with a fountain penand want to jump into the hobby. The Pilot Vanishing Point is one of my go-to pens, and the Pilot medium nibs are just great. Read on to see how to enter!
Massdrop offered up not one, but TWO Pilot Vanishing Point prize packs. Each package includes:
– 1 Pilot Vanishing Point – Carbon Black – Medium Nib – 1 Bottle of Iroshizuku (Shin-Kai or Ama-Iro) – 1 Rhodia pad
If you already have a Massdrop account, you can enter by leaving a comment on this post letting us know you already have an account and which ink you’d want in the prize pack!
The giveaway will start on Monday, March 23rd and run until the following Monday, March 30th at midnight EST. One entry per person please! Massdrop will be selecting the winners randomly and shipping the prize packs. Giveaway is open worldwide! Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about the giveaway! Here’s some more info on how Massdrop works too.
NOTICE: IF YOUR COMMENT DOESN’T APPEAR RIGHT AWAY, IT IS IN MODERATION. PLEASE ONLY SUBMIT ONCE!
Congratulations to Grant E, and Samuel W., Massdrop will contact you directly to work out prize fulfillment!
When I saw that J. Herbin now offers small sample size bottles, I had to jump at it! Thanks to JetPens for sending over the bottle for review! As vibrant and nice as the color is, the performance of the ink is rather poor. The wet flow writes nicely, but results in some pretty bad feathering and bleed through. I haven’t had this issue with other J. Herbin inks, making this atypical. There are plenty of other blues out there, lots very similar. Unfortunately, I’d recommend passing on this one. If you like what you see and you absolutely have to have it, it does work well on Rhodia paper.
Check out JetPens for tons of awesome Japanese pens and stationery. Free shipping on orders over $25, and hitting that is always an easy task!
Nice vibrant shade
Nice light to dark blue shading
Only performs well on Rhodia paper
Lots of feather and bleed
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