Staples (postscript) 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil


Today, we have an affordable mechanical pencil option from Staples. At $5.49, they would make a great pencil to just have around for those times when you just need to jot down a quick note. And to be honest, even though they’re cheap, they work pretty well…

The (postscript) mechanical pencil features a slight non-slip grip on the entire barrel, a metal tip (that retract all the way into the plastic barrel, thereby lessening the chance of unintentional pokes or stabs), a decent latex eraser which erases well but leaves behind faint graphite marks, and smooth lead. As I mentioned, it’s actually a good mechanical pencil for the price and I could easily recommend them as a quick note jotter.


Jinhao Matte Black Pocket Missile Fine Hooded Nib Fountain Pen


Jinhao Matte Black Pocket Missile Fine Hooded Nib Fountain Pen

Well, thanks to DIYSara (, I have now been introduced to the addictive habit of browsing eBay for affordable fountain pens… Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on there looking for that $1,000 pen and trying to get it for only $500. I’m talking about cheap (and mostly Chinese) fountain pens. This Jinhao Black Missile was the first of my purchases, and for only $4.50 (shipping was free)  I got an excellent fountain pen. Sure, it may not be a Lamy, Waterman, or Montblanc, but it is a pen, it is relatively attractive, and it writes beautifully… I’m not looking for gem-encrusted beauty, I’m looking for functionality.

So, the specs… The pen, when capped is a little shy of 4″ long (closer to 3-3/4″), and when the cap is posted, it is a little under 5″. The body and cap have a matte black finish, and the clip is chrome and has the brand name, Jinhao, embossed lightly, the only branding on the pen. The nib itself is hooded, so I can’t exactly tell the material, but I’m assuming it’s stainless, much like my Sailor Recruit. The grip area is chromed plastic (I believe, no metallic clink) and features 3 oval-shaped, grooved sections, which are actually (amazingly!) located correctly considering the nib alignment and my fingers actually rest on all three grooved sections when I hold the pen in the writing position! As a left-handed person, this is a rare find indeed.

The Black Missile fills using a “squeeze-bar mechanism” (see this link over at Richard’s Pens for more info), which I had never used before, and in the end, I actually ended up taking the metal “shield” off and carefully squeezing the sac itself to draw the ink up into the pen (not sure what it was, but the bar just didn’t seem to be doing the job properly)… I’m sure I’ll get blasted for this by some fountain pen enthusiast, but I care not, because it worked…

So, I flushed the pen out with water (as you should with any new fountain pen, I’m assuming…), let it dry, and then filled it up with J.Herbin 1670 Ink. It worked fine, but I hate how the 1670 takes forever and a day to dry and is not water-fast at all, so I only put a small amount in the pen and then flushed it once more. The second fill, I put in black Parker Quink, which I got with a Parker Urban Fountain Pen Kit (yes, my list of inks basically boil down to blue-black and black Parker Quink, J. Herbin 1670, and the remains of a small vial of Noodlers Bulletproof Lexington Grey that Note Booker Esq. sent me with a pen I won), and it wrote, and dried, like a dream. I think I might’ve found my new “everyday” fountain pen…

The pen writes with a very fine line, easily comparable to in between a 0.5 and 0.7mm gel pen depending upon paper, especially for a fountain pen, and I must say that I’m very pleased with its performance. While it is a little small, even with the cap posted, I definitely think I can used to this neat little pen and easily recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable and fine fountain pen solution. Also, you can find the seller as well as some of these fine writing instruments and others at:

Sanford Uni-ball Deluxe Micro 0.5-0.7mm Rollerball


Sanford Uni-ball Deluxe Micro 0.5-0.7mm Rollerball

So, today we have an interesting pen to take a look at. While I’m not a huge fan of rollerballs, they are the next couple pens that I have up for review (probably because I hold off reviewing them for as long as I possibly can). I picked a pack of these (slightly over-priced) pens at OfficeMax a while back when I had some reward points to spend and I had to buy something before they expired.

Uni-balls website lists these as being 0.5mm, but in my experience the line width actually varies slightly between 0.5 and 0.7mm. The ink helps prevent check-washing, is fade- and water-resistant, as well as being acid-free and comes in black, blue, and red. Other than the metallic painted barrel and strip which labels it as “Deluxe”, this pen actually doesn’t have any frills.

On the pro side, it does writer very, very smoothly, but in my opinion, the cons outweight the pros. There’s no grip at all, just black plastic section, the ink occasionally “blots” onto the page (definitely not good for a leftie like me), and it has an extremely slow dry time (about 15 seconds on the Leuchtturm1917 Dot Notebook I tested it on). Not on my “buy again” list…

Sharpie Liquid Pencil – 0.5mm

Leave a comment

Pen #67.
Sharpie Liquid Pencil – 0.5mm

Having heard about these for the past couple weeks, I nearly fell over in my chair whenever “twistdfate”, a fellow pen aficionado/Twitter conversationist (check out her knitting on her Etsy page: TwistdFate) asked whether I might like to try some. Since they are not yet currently available in my area (nothing seems to get to WV until about 2 months after it’s released), I gladly accepted her kind offer, and not more than a week later, there they were in my mailbox!

So, I got them out, slightly pensive due to the negative reviews I had seen on The Pen Addict as well as Office Supply Geek, and was quickly rewarded with the same negative thoughts that both other reviewers had… While the design of a liquid graphite pencil is not exactly revolutionary, I must say that I was expecting far more from a name like Sharpie… While the design of the pen itself was sturdy and relatively comfortable to use, the liquid graphite left very much to be desired. I can even say that the Pentech Liquaphite pens/pencils did a better job at it than Sharpie did…

“Why was this liquid graphite pen so horrible”, you ask? The reason for my instant dislike was the fact that I clicked the retractable plunger and applied the pen(cil) to paper… And nothing happened… I scribbled for several seconds thinking, “Well, maybe since it was in the post and had been used before it’s a little shook up and just needs ‘reactivated’…” Nope… I scribbled for several seconds more and finally got it to start writing… Sort of… The ink line laid down on the paper was very faint and horribly skippy, and did not really improve over time (see review photo for ink sample). I will say that the ink did erase very well, but that could be possibly due to the fact that there was barely any ink laid down.

The biggest let-down of all though was that I expected more… I’m not sure what the problem was, but Sharpie must’ve been in way too much of a hurry to get this pen onto shelves or something, because the quality is far below Sharpie standards. I only hope that before the next batch leaves the factory that they figure out the problem and fix it before many other people unwittingly see the name brand and think it must be a great pen… Better luck next time Sharpie…

Final Score: 3.7/5

Uni-Ball Signo MF2 – 0.5mm Gel and 0.5mm Mech. Pencil Multi-Pen


Uni-Ball Signo MF2 – 0.5mm Gel and 0.5mm Mech. Pencil Multi-Pen

A random find at my college bookstore (and slightly surprising I might add), the Uni-Ball Signo MF2 has found its way into my “To-Review” box, so here we go…

The Uni-Ball Signo MF2 features a 0.5mm Signo Gel refill as well as a 0.5mm mechanical pencil which you select by twisting the cap/clip. While this pen is a little thicker than your ordinary Uni-Ball, it’s still not humongous and ranges in the size category of your cheap dollar store ballpoint (y’know the ones that were made so that they will fit in a bear’s paw, should a bear ever learn to write).

The Signo refill write as expected as does the pencil. Not horribly impressed, but not miffed about it either. My main qualms lie in the quality of it’s manufacture. Firstly, as I mentioned before, the pen is huge… There’s room enough inside the barrel (had Uni-Ball been a bit more intuitive) for another refill or may be even two, if they were small. Secondly, the mechanism could have used a little work. While the mechanical pencil is firm and works relatively well, the Signo refill tends to bounce up and down in the body (possibly because the mechanical pencil plunger makes not only the pencil advance, but also causes the whole mechanism to raise/lower in the body). Thirdly, and most minor, is the itty-bitty eraser. In my college classes, I would use that in a couple days…

I didn’t fill out a review sheet for this one, since I was at home and don’t have any of my paperwork with me (which also accounts for the horrible lighting), but to be honest, I was pretty disappointed. While I’ve come to expect quality from Uni-Ball pens (such as my Signo bits), this definitely falls below the bar.

Final Score: 3/5

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 0.5mm Gel Multipen – Brown and Apple Green


Pen #63.
Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 0.5mm Gel Multipen – Brown and Apple Green

First pen out of my new JetPens order that gets reviewed is this Hi-Tec-C Coleto. I was a little leery of purchasing this at first, since I didn’t really have a wonderful experience with the original Hi-Tec-C I purchased, but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. I purchased the two-cartridge body and one refill each of 0.5mm brown and apple green ink.

The pen body is rather plain, featuring no grip other than a gnurled plastic, and is designed so that the refills themselves are the plungers, rather than having them attached to the pen. It also refills in an odd way in that a small hinged “door” at the top of the pen opens and you slide the refills down into the pen barrel. My issue with this is how durable it will be. Will this “door” break off if I happen to drop this pen? Will the plastic “latch” dull down after a while and pop open on its own, causing my refills to go flying every which way? Well, we shall see…

As for the ink itself, I was very surprised and pleased with how it writes. It is still a little scratchy compared to some, but whem compared to the last Hi-Tec-C I purchased, it write like a dream. The brown and apple green ink are very bright and vivid, and I must admit that when I chose them, I meant to pick out a “tree” theme…

The notes section on my review sheet mentions that I didn’t know what the difference was between the regular Hi-Tec-C’s and the Coleto, but I did discover what it was… There isn’t one. The Coleto brand refers to the multi-pen series.

41/45 = 4.5/5

Sanford Prismacolor Premier Fine Line Marker Set – Black


Pen(s) #54.
Sanford Prismacolor Premier Fine Line Marker Set – Black

Not really a writing pen, but since I was able to grab these for a decent price at Michaels (I must admit that I love the 40% off coupons they give you EVERY time you buy something there), eh, why not…

The thing that instantly captured my attention was the fact that the set included a 0.05 mm tip fine liner… The whole set actually includes a 0.05 mm, 0.1 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, and 0.8 mm fine line markers. Definitely not anything to sneeze at (considering I got them for almost half-price). I did notice, however, that the art classification of tip size is a bit different than that of normal pens. The 0.05 mm’s line width reminded me of the 0.28 mm Uni Style Fit, still a feat for a felt tip marker…

The markers each feature a sturdy clip, and the cap fits firmly on to the top There’s no grip present, although, since this is an art marker, I wasn’t truly expecting one. These also are acid-free, lightfast, permanent, water-resistant, smear-resistant when dry, non-toxic, archival quality, and they won’t bleed through (when used moderately, ie. You could make them bleed through if you sat there and held them onto the page. All in all, a pretty awesome offering from Sanford…

4.5 out of 5…

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: