FOUNTAIN PEN REVIEW: Parker Duofold Demi

I first saw this pen on the Instagram feed of my friend @mycoffeepot and knew I had to have it.

The incredible sheen and depth of color (chatoyance!), the organized geometric design of the resin, and the mini size was just too much to pass up. I hopped right over to eBay to find my own Parker Duofold (this one is the demi/mini/small version).  

The arrow clip is so iconic!


The pen arrived in a luxury box and included a 6-pack of Parker mini cartridges. I quickly popped one into the pen was excited to start writing. It started out great! The nib was smooth, but not slippery. Flow was great. It was everything I expected – as indicated by the sweet heart I drew. Ha.

And then this happened . . .  Yikes.

I even tried another paper brand . . . 

I really thought this was heading for Major Trouble and started going through my checklist of possible issues/solutions. And that’s when I realized – in my excitement to start writing, I hadn’t cleaned the pen first and we’re supposed to always, always, always clean new pens before we use them. (Except I never do because I’m Pentulant like that.)

I gave it a good cleaning, let it (mostly) dry, and started again . . .

Nice! Let’s see what else it can do . . .

Whew!  Cleaning is just what the nibmeister ordered for this pen!  I’ve since written with it a bunch and haven’t seen even a hint of the problems shown above.

MyCoffeePot mentioned on Instagram and his blog that this is one of the best fine nibs he’s written with. I’m going to agree.

Some thoughts . . .

I would say that the Parker Duofold Demi is a terrific pen. It’s beautiful, writes great, is comfortable in the hand, and I love the size (thought some may find it too small).

But…and this is a Big But…the pen only uses cartridges. Proprietary cartridges. The ink isn’t bad – Parker inks are classic and known for being “well-behaved.” The issue is that the user is definitely limited in terms of ink options. Others have tried to find a converter that will work, but none have been successful. There is the option of emptying the Parker cartridge and filling with another ink using a syringe. When this blue cartridge is empty, that’s probably what I’ll be doing. Not a huge thing – not something that would make me unlove this pen – but something to be aware of.

Bottom Line:  I real dig this pen despite the issue of proprietary cartridges!

So tell me….do you clean your pens before using them the first time? ..would you buy a pen that only takes proprietary cartridges?


REVIEW: 2015 Hobonichi Planner


At the end of last year, Mr. Pentulant came home from a business trip with a number of prezzies for me from the Kinokuniya store in Seattle. One of those gifts was this 2015  Hobonichi Planner.

I asked on Instagram and was told that this edition is the Weeks Planner. Apparently, it’s not available on the Hobonichi English website – just the full Japanese version.


I was immediately taken with the look and feel of the book. Like other Hobonich Planners, this one is filled with Tomoe River Paper. The cover is somewhat flexible (but not bendy) and the look is slim. There are two ribbon bookmarks. An elastic band would have been helpful.

This planner is too small for me to use as a daily planner, but it’s perfect perfect as a financial planning calendar.


The first set of pages are monthly grids. Keep track of payday, scribble daily spending amounts. Goals and accomplishments could easily go at the bottom of the pages.


The “meat” of the book consists of dates on the left-facing page and a lightly printed grid on the right. So far, I’m using the left side to keep track of future expenses and I’m using the right side for motivational words to stay on track with spending. The right side could also be used for food planning, lists, weekly goals, etc.

IMG_1343 Near the end of the book are a bunch of grid pages. I’ve not started using these pages yet, but could imagine using them for monthly summaries, keeping track of other goals, and of course – lists (always lists).

Bottom Line:  While we’re not that far into 2015, I like the way this is planner is shaping up!

Which planner(s) did you end up with? And, tell me, how many planners are you actively using?

Oh oh oh . . . don’t forget to enter my Stateside Notebook Giveaway! It’s a nice little notebook filled with Tomoe River Paper.

REVIEW: Franklin-Christoph 80 Pen Master Case

80-Pen Master Case from Franklin-Christoph

I have, use, and love several items from Franklin-Christoph. There’s the Penvelope and the Command Center Folio. I also have the Model 2 Intrinsic fountain pen (haven’t reviewed it yet here, but love it), and the terrible (for me) Black Magic Ink.  Overall, I’m a fan of Franklin-Christoph – they are a small company doing really great things.

When I spotted this case at the LA Pen Show in January, I was definitely interested. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to buy, they were sold out. Blech.  (This is truly the nature of pen shows – if you see something you want and the price is right, you better jump on it before someone else does.)

I waited forever for these to come back into stock – and when they did, I ordered two. At $200 each, they’re a pretty big spend for storage of pens. Before the cases, I used black velvet jewelry trays in drawers to keep my pens (mostly) all in one place.  The jewelry trays worked for a number of years, but it wasn’t a perfect solution and the pens weren’t at all portable.

Some nuts and bolts . . .

  • Each case holds 80 pens
  • All 80 pens can be displayed at the same time with the fancy unzip, flip-flop, lay-flat design
  • Fancy “briefcase” look
  • Each pen is held in place with two elastic bands for added security
  • Dual zipper tabs on both sides
  • Handles can be pushed down to conceal

Once the pens are in the case, they are in the case and I don’t think anyone should be concerned about  smaller pens flopping around in there. In fact, if there’s a concern, it may be that the elastics are too tight. They are definitely snug and I’ve had some trouble getting some of my bigger pens into the case (difficult, not impossible).

Will being too snug damage a pen over time? I don’t know.  My kinda sorta guess is that if you take pens out of case a zillion time, that there will be some wear on the finish of the pen.

The craftsmanship of these cases is excellent. I’ve been using them for around five months at this point and they seem to be sturdy and functional. I am sure they will last a lifetime – or two.

I know that the cost will be a roadblock for some people. My thought is that if you have you 80+ pens and need a storage solution, you have probably spent a good amount of money on those pens and want a case that will protect them.

The Franklin-Christoph 80 Pen Master Case will definitely do the job.

PEN ACCESSORIES REVIEW: Monteverde 36 Slot Pen Case

Monteverde 36 Slot Pen Case Review

Let’s dive right in . . .

  • holds 36 pens (18 on each side)
  • padded nylon cover with faux leather accents
  • velour interior
  • stiff partition to keep the pens on either side of the case from rubbing together
  • zipper close (single pull)

There are some good things about this case . . .

  • padded nylon cover seems durable
  • rounded corners help prevent wear and tear
  • exterior looks good – nice even, tight stitching, and I like the half-moon “grip” area of the case 
  • velour interior is super-soft
Before we get to the rest of this review, I should let you know that I received this item from Goulet Pens in exchange for my honest review of it.

There is one ungood (it’s a word, autocorrect!) thing about this Monteverde Pen Case . . .

The elastic seems a bit too loose for slimmer pens, and most better cases have two pieces of elastic holding each pen.
Here are some more pictures . . . 
See how the pens above lean against each other? It just took a tiny nudge.
If you think I’m showing off my Lamy collection, you’re right.

At just $40, this case is a good deal. If they exist, I couldn’t find other pen cases that hold as many pens in this same price range. Because of the situation with the elastics, I wouldn’t use this for my best and most expensive pens – call me paranoid – but I would use it for every day pens. In fact, after I took these photos, I loaded it right up with a bunch of my vintage pens and feel that they are well-protected.

Your turn – how do you store your pens? And..uh…exactly how many pens do you have to store? (I should do a nib count here someday!)


PS..after I had this review written, but not yet published, Brian Goulet took a quick look at this Monteverde Case. He shakes the heck out that thing and says he uses this case himself. Check it out.

Dudek Modern Goods – Part 2 (Interview with Mike Dudek)

Two posts in one day – crazy! Here’s a link to my Dudek Modern Goods review from earlier today in case you missed it.

After talking with Mike off and on for a couple of months on the custom-designed penholders, I felt that I had a pretty good impression of him. I’ve also been following MrMikeDudek on Instagram nearly forever and getting a glimpse into the kinds of things that are important to him.

My final (ha!), “Hey, Mr. Mike . . . I have an idea,” message to him was a request for him to answer some questions that I could publish here – an interview of sorts.

True to form, his response was, “Let’s do it!”


Do you remember when/how you became interested in pens and pencils?
It probably really developed after high school when I started noticing that I found myself only using certain types of pens (office supply store stuff).  For awhile it was the Pilot G2, then the PaperMate Flair (still a love of mine), then the Pentel Energel.  Honestly, I didn’t really know early on that “fancy” pens existed!  Once I found out about this new world, I’ve obviously been hooked and now enjoy all sorts of fountain pens, rollerballs, ballpoints.

Which came first – the blog or the shop?

Definitely the shop.  Prior to The Clicky Post and Dudek Modern Goods as it exists now, I was always a tinkerer of sorts and enjoyed building/creating things.  I suppose I have a short attention span to things at times… once I learn of something cool that someone could make I often push myself to acquiring the tools and skills to make it happen.

One example of this are some coin rings I crafted for a time which was really fun.  I’d seen other people selling them or had seen pictures and thought, “I can do that”.  It seemed like I quickly had the tools to do so and started making and even selling them.  As you can imagine, this “flighty” behavior with regard to hobbies can become expensive after awhile, so I usually try to learn to make something and sell enough of them to simply cover the costs of acquiring the tools and materials.  Not necessarily as a “business idea” so-to-speak, but to keep spending and time in check.

Dudek Modern Goods and my pen holders probably started out a bit like this as well, but has grown into much more for which I am extremely grateful and humbled!

What do you have in mind for the future of Dudek Modern Goods?

This is something I have mulled over in my mind many times.  For the moment it keeps me busy with several sales per week (less than a full fledged business, but more than a hobby), but it is something I’d like to expand and grow.  The only problem with this is manufacturing and time considering each piece is handmade by me personally.  I have a full time job and small family which keeps me very busy, so squeezing more time out of my days and weeks is unlikely from a growth perspective as things are now.

To expand the line and potentially move into select retailers would require a somewhat uncomfortable word called outsourcing or outside manufacturing.  Perhaps this is something I personally need to get over as the product designs are sound and they are still mine, but to get them into the hands of more people would require some help.  I want to expand, but at the same time don’t want to feel like I am diluting the experience of the true “handmade”.  Deep thoughts…. I’m sure eventually it will sort itself out and I’ll partner with an awesome local company to help with my production, but rest assured that my hands will still be in the mix.

What are your other interests? Tell us about your family, your work – something, anything!

Outside of The Clicky Post and Dudek Modern Goods, I enjoy spending time playing with my two small kids (ages 2 and 7 months) and trying to find quality time with my wife whom has been so supportive of everything.

I’m kind of a geek at heart and enjoy learning about all sorts of random things like history (particularly WWII), the development of technologies from the past, architecture, or ancient cultures.  I don’t have much time to watch TV or movies, but when I do it is usually some sort of documentary… haha.   Like I said, GEEK.

I work for a software business here in Arizona that helps small businesses with marketing automation.  I’m not one of the programmers for the company, but act as a small business consultant and strategist to help provide direction for these small entrepreneurs.  I LOVE small business and am genuinely excited to work where and with whom I do.  No matter what the business: window washing, organic oatmeal and soap production, or business coaching, I find enjoyment in hearing about people’s passions in their work.  Doing what I do has actually fueled a fire in me to have more entrepreneurial pursuits like Dudek Modern Goods in my own life.  I feel that everyone should find something they love and take a leap of faith to present it to the world in some consumable way.

What is your favorite (clean) joke?
I may have to get back to you on this one…  : ) 

And there we have it! 

Thank you for everything, Mr. Mike!

Here’s where you can find Mike . . .

The Clicky Post (blog)
MrMikeDudek (Instagram)
Dudek Modern Goods (shop)

I’ll be back on Wednesday with a look a Toucan Fountain Pen Ink from Australia – it comes in bags instead of bottles!

Dudek Modern Goods – Part 1

Do you know about Dudek Modern Goods and Mr. Mike Dudek?

Not only is Mike into pens and pencils, he’s also into woodworking and made The Cube shown above. I originally bought it for Mr. Pentulant (it’s true!), but my greed for all things pen-related took over and The Cube ended up living on my desk. Oops 🙂

I had a Major Pen Organization Issue. Pens everywhere + very little organization. I realize this is a problem many people would love to have – so many pens that they aren’t staying organized – but it’s still a problem and it was driving me cRazY.

And then I had an idea and sent Mike a message that went something like the following:

Hey Mr. Mike. I have an idea and I think you can help. I need a pen holder. A BIG pen holder – something like The Groove so I can use it to hold small notebooks, but bigger. Way bigger. Like – big. 

Within a few hours, I had a sketch. Within a few weeks, I had this . . .

Like. Whoa. Right?

It originally had a second Groove on the other end, but the post office seriously manhandled the package (ugggg) and it had to go back to Mr. Mike for a little fix-it revision. No big deal and the repair is perfect – if I didn’t tell you, you’d never know. Perfect!

So perfect so that I wanted another. Yes, another.

And then Mr. Mike had an idea that went something like this:

Hey Mrs. Darling, (we’re so formal) I have an idea. What if we put the grooves further into the design  to give you pen holders on either side of the notebooks.

Yes!  And that’s when I ended up with this . . .

And as much as I love the first. OMG, this one? Yes x 1000.  I love that the end sections look like the original Cube.

Not the best quality image, but here they are next to each other . . .

And here are all three of them . . .

Wait. What? Four?!  Mr. Mike tossed in the Cube on the bottom for Mr. Darling. Of course, I’ve claimed it as my own! (Just kidding – Mr. Darling Pentulant is taking this one to his fancy new job – probably so I can’t get my hands on it!)

A few more pictures . . .

Here’s what I love about Mike Dudek and Dudek Modern Goods . . .

..amazing quality – I saw a competing product at the LA Pen Show, but there was really no comparison. Mr. Mike’s items are solid walnut – they are weighty. The finish is stunning and smooth and allows the natural grain of the wood to take center stage. I love that the “groove” is actually grooved, too. Not only does it add a bit of texture to the design, it also helps keep the notebooks upright. The quality is 100%.

..Mr. Mike – I love entrepreneurship. Small businesses grown organically from love. Go find what you love and freakin’ do it. That’s what Mr. Mike is doing and he’s doing a fantastic job. Quality products, good prices, and outstanding service. (And he’s into, “Hey, I have an idea!”) pens are organized! The small openings the perfect size for Lamy Safari and the larger openings easily hold the Al-Star and larger pens. Mike can do all small openings or a mix of small/large. I like a mix.

Even after really really thinking about it, I have nothing negative to say about Dudek Modern Goods. The pens aren’t as well protected in these holders as they would be in a velvet-lined drawer. How’s that?

In the end, I sent Mr. Mike a note, thanking him for working so hard on my projects, telling him how wonderful they are, and closed with something like the following:

“Hey, Mr. Mike, I have one more idea . . .”

He said yes to that, too! I’ll be back later today to share that with you.

ACCESSORIES: Here a Swab, There a Swab

I’m obsessed with fountain pen inks (collect them all!) and make swabs of all of the samples I have on these cards. It’s a good solution, but it’s not perfect – the cards are cream-colored and textured rather than white and smooth; I was finding it impossible to sort through them all and figure out which inks I had in full bottles, too.

I found this nifty item at Maido in San Francisco.  (If you only have time to go to one of the Maido stores, head to Japantown. The one in the San Francisco Center Mall is good, but not as many fun Japanese items and the prices seem higher – not sure if they actually are, but that’s the way it seemed.)

Perfect solution! 

Here’s a link to the full-size image of the item with the product information intact. However, this really is just a business card holder – I’m sure any office supply store would be able to help you out with one of those.  Then you’ll just need to find business card size paper (Maido has that, too), and you’ll be all set.

Have fun!


Congratulations to Tamz – winner of the items pictured above!

Tamz, I’ll try to contact you on Instagram, too.

I’m so excited for you and hope you love love love each of the items.

In other news – I’ve been away all week – a short vacation to Mendocino County, California. Oh my goodness, it was perfect and I even managed to get some time to play with pens and ink. You can see all of my pictures over on Instagram.

What are your weekend plans? We’re picking the dogs up from boarding today (w00f!) and have a whole lot of nothing planned.


REVIEW: Franklin-Christoph Command Center Folio

Franklin-Christoph Command Center Folio

Happy Monday!
As you saw in my LA Pen Show Shopping Spree post, one of the beauties I came away with was the Franklin-Christoph Command Center Folio pictured above. (As usual, click on the image or the caption to see the full-sized image.)
After having used the Folio, I’m here to says that I love it. Big love. The components are the high-quality you’d expect from F-C. The leather is thick, soft, and luxurious. The stitching is just about perfect in every area of the book. If you happen to have a Penvelope, the leather and fabric will be quite familiar to you. 
Let’s take a closer look . . . 
FC Command Center Folio – Opened View
On the left, there is a good-sized pocket/flap. The area under the flap is fabric. I’m told that this area can hold an iPad Mini. I don’t have one of those, but I know that it can hold a Kindle quite comfortable. I’ve used this area for boarding passes and to hold folded sheets of paper. If I had one wish for the flap, it would be that it had a couple of slots for credit or business cards.
On the right is place for a notebook – I chose a book with binding on the left, but the Command Center can also hold a top-bound notebook.
To the far right are the pen loops. Two loops to hold your favorite pen securely. The leather parts of the loops are showing, the underside features elastic and I’m glad to report that it holds all pen sizes quite nicely. Compare this with the Midori pen loop and, really, there is no comparison – Franklin- Christoph really wins big in this area.
Franklin-Christoph Command Center Elastic Band
The elastic band (see the first image above) is wide and feels very snug and secure.
I’m a tiny bit concerned that it could eventually pull away from the Folio. However, F-C is known to make high-quality products and also known to stand behind them.
Time will tell!
Moving on . . . 
The back features a zippered compartment

The zippered compartment was described as able to hold an iPhone. Yes, it will hold an iPhone, but it feels like that is stretching the limit of that pocket and made me a little concerned about the having a problem with the zipper down the road. In time, I think the leather would give a bit and more easily accommodate something like an iPhone. For now, I’ve used it to hold a few dollar bills, my drivers license and some receipts.

Gussetted Compartment

Iconic Franklin-Christoph Cut Corners
Continuing . . .
I was happily surprised to learn that I could choose a notebook to go with the Folio
The cut corners on the notebook and folio are not just a nifty design element, they are also intended to keep corners from bending and becoming worn.
So . . . the Franklin-Christoph Notebook isn’t perfect. I am 100% sure they’d replace it if I brought it up with them. However, it’s the Folio I was after, the Notebook was a bonus.
Another issue with the notebook
I should have looked at the notebook as closely as I checked over the folio. This one had probably been handled by others (though it was behind their tables at the show) before it found its way to me.
Another reason I didn’t bring this up with Franklin-Christoph . . . 
Franklin-Christoph Notebook
Franklin-Christoph Notebook Paper with Purple Tint
Above is a picture of the Franklin-Christoph Notebook paper with a piece of nice quality white paper under. As you can see, the F-C has a purple tone to it.  I don’t personally like this quality in the paper. 
Franklin-Christoph Folio with Clairefontaine Top-Bound Notebook
In the end, I decided to go with a top-bound notebook from Clairefontaine. Here’s why: the top-bound notebook can be pulled out just a bit and then the cover flipped over – flip the left side of the folio behind and I have a more compact solution. (I hope that made sense – it sounds complicated, but it definitely isn’t.)
I use (and seriously love) the folio everyday. It was just what I needed to organize my on-the-go writing.
Mine is the A5 Medium in Black and Brown. There are other options available at this link.
One final note – I won, I won!  When we were at the LA Pen Show, Franklin-Christoph had a drawing and I managed to win! The drawing was for $100 off any purchase. It’s going to be a few weeks before what I want is back in stock – I can’t wait to show you!
What would you do with $100 from F-C? 


LA Pen Show 2014 – My Shopping Spree

There they are. 
Click any picture in this post to see the full-size version. These are all iPhone photos – decent quality, but not perfect. 
Going to try to let the photos do the talking here and come back another time with detailed images. You all must be tired of reading my posts about the LA Pen Show, but, dude, it was massive.
And we’re off . . . 
Vintage Parker Jotter in Cab Yellow

Lamy Safari Flame Orange

Following is the pen that Susan Wirth recommended for Mr. Pentulant. I love this pen. I’m going to have to find a way to convince Mr. Pentulant to transfer ownership to me.   😉

Vintage Esterbrook with Needlepoint Nib

A peek at the marking on the pen above . . .

Vintage Esterbrook with AAA Logo

Susan Wirth proclaimed, “You are an italics waiting to happen, Number Five!” As I mentioned yesterday, I tried a bunch of pens with italics ends and ended up falling in (almost) love with fantastic pen, but the price was more than I wanted to spend. Blech.

No worries, I didn’t walk away empty-handed. Check it out . . .

Vintage Parker 51 Aerometric

The next item is from Franklin-Christoph. If you’ve never shopped there, you should. I love their high quality and impressive customer service. I have had nothing but good experiences with them and their items are very thoughtfully designed.

Franklin-Christoph A5 Medium Command Center

Annnnd this pen is also from Franklin-Christoph. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I have the little sister of this pen and love it. This one is equally cool. (This is the clipless version.)

Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic

Onward . . .

Vintage Sheaffer Snorkel Valient

The twins . . . Mr. Pentulant found the next pen for himself. I ended up with pen envy and made him run off and find one for me, too . . .

Vintage Parker Vacumatic 

Vintage Parker Vacumatic

The triplets . . . I have no excuse.


And that’s it!

All lined up . . .

LA Pen Show 2014 Purchases

A roundup of all of my LA Pen Show posts just in case you missed them . . .

LA Pen Show 2014 – General Overview – Part 1

LA Pen Show 2014 – General Overview – Part 2

LA Pen Show 2014 – Susan Wirth

The time to enter my Pilot-Iroshizuku ink giveaway has ended. I’ll be back on Monday to announce a winner!

Have a great weekend.