Team Wahlnut: The Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik Fountain Pen

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen

As I mentioned in my quick summary of the DC Pen Show, Fred’s not a pen user, but he IS a talker. He’ll pretty much talk to anybody about anything. As I circled the atrium in the Sheraton looking for deals on Retro 51s (I found a few last year, thus my quest), Fred struck up a conversation with Syd Saperstein, the co-owner of Wahl-Eversharp. After I made my rounds, I stopped at the table and was quickly drawn into the conversation and the pens.

Syd’s a great guy— very easy to talk to and very passionate about his pens. He’s also the perfect salesman— a skill he says he learned from his mother. He’s not pushy in the least, but instead, nudges you towards a purchase with a wealth of information and the interesting history of the Wahl-Eversharp company. He also lets his pens sell themselves. Smart man.

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

Wahl-Eversharp pens WERE on my “quest list,” but I’d already made a few purchases and was contemplating a gorgeously swirly acrylic pen at another table. But then I tried one of Syd’s tester pens. OH, MY. Once I wrote with the Natural Aluminum Skyline Technik, I was 98% sold. Syd’s easy style, as well as a free bottle of Wahl-Eversharp ink, took care of the other 2%. Even Fred (who’s quite— shall we say— thrifty) was sold. As they chatted, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote a little more. Great nib. (“It’s ceramic-coated,” Syd explained. “And semi-flex.”) Super smooth. Addictively smooth. A nib that makes you say, “Wow.”

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

Like I said, I’d been contemplating someone else’s eye-popping acrylic pens, but that Technik tester reeled me right in. Offered in three colors— Natural Aluminum, Black, and Cobalt Blue— I was leaning towards the natural finish while Fred lobbied for the black. He liked the black nib offered on that pen, and in the end, I had to agree. Black pen, black nib. Really cool. Sold.

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

Once home, the Technik was the first pen I inked. Filled with my free Wahl-Eversharp Everberry ink, my pen wrote just as smoothly as the tester, and laid down a gorgeously wet fine-medium line. I’m horrible at getting pens to flex— I’m afraid of springing the nib and have a really light touch— so even though I’ve yet to take full advantage of the semi-flex nib, I do enjoy the way it feels— springy and full of life.

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

I’m quite taken with the design and the construction. Syd explained how the Technik is cut from a single billet of aluminum, resulting in a very sturdy pen. “This isn’t soda can aluminum,” Syd noted. It is the real deal and gives the pen a nice weight (24g capped, 15g uncapped) and substantial feel. I’m just as happy using it posted as I am unposted. The cap posts deeply and securely and feels very well balanced either way.

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik

The Technik’s details give it a timeless look. The design of the clip, and the way it’s integrated into the cap, looks both modern and vintage at the same time. The finely milled grooves in the cap add interest and give the pen a distinctively retro look. The tapered 5″ (5.6″ posted) body and 0.4″ grip fit my hand perfectly. So even though I was initially on the prowl for a colorful, swirly acrylic pen, this cool black pen completely won me over. And continues to do so.

Technik in hand

I use it EVERY DAY.

Oh, that nib!

The ceramic-coated, black finish, stainless steel nib is easily in my top five— maybe in my top two, just behind my Visconti Opera Elements. I don’t understand how the ceramic coating works, but if it makes a nib feel and write THIS well, then Syd and his business partner, Emmanuel Caltagirone, are definitely onto something.

Disassembled Technik

THE DETAILS
Body and Cap: Anodized Black Aluminum, cut from solid aluminum billet (Natural Aluminum or Cobalt Blue finish also available)
Clip and Trim: Rhodium-plated (Gold-plated option available)
Nib: Fine to Medium Semi-Flex Black Finish Ceramic-Coated Stainless Steel
Feed: Wahl-Eversharp Exclusive computer-designed Magic Feed II
Ink Filling System: Converter included or standard long Waterman style cartridge
Included Literature: Wahl-Eversharp booklet and warranty card
Packaging: Black lacquer piano box embossed with gold “Wahl-Eversharp” on top, with plush white lining inside
Price: $279

The Technik's packaging

The Technik’s style, weight, design, build quality, and even packaging, are all top-notch. That’s what’s cool about pen shows. I’m not sure that I would’ve purchased this pen had I not seen it, held it, and used it in person. Syd’s enthusiasm and deep passion for his pens and his business were as big a selling point as the pens themselves. During the course of our conversation, Syd told us how he’s known as the “Wahlnut” and I can certainly see why.

Clip profile

Just one question, Mr. Saperstein…can I be an honorary Wahlnut, too?!

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen

[Want to know more about Wahl-Eversharp's history? There's a great story about the company, the pens, and Syd in the February 2014 issue of Pen World magazine.]

Team Ink Well: An Invitation To Join the Whole Life Challenge

Before WLC

BEFORE WLC

AFTER WLC

AFTER WLC (-20 pounds and a BUNCH of bad habits)

I wrote about my experience doing the Whole Life Challenge HERE. I was part way through the Summer Challenge when I wrote that post, which wrapped up at the end of June. By the end of that 8-week session, I’d dropped 20 lbs and 3-4 belt notches. Clothes that haven’t fit me in YEARS now fit, and I’m completely off of the Omeprazole I was taking daily for acid reflux. I kept saying (sometimes out loud), “Holy CRAP, this works!”

I’m enjoying a little time off from strictly following the Challenge rules, but can’t wait for the next session that starts on September 13th. In this interim time, I’ve maintained my weight, continued to exercise, am drinking only water (with an occasional iced coffee for “medicinal purposes”). In short, many of the changes I made as result of my first WLC session have stuck.

I never want to go back to my pre-WLC weight or bad habits.

If you’re looking for a fun way to make food, exercise, and lifestyle changes, I wholeheartedly recommend participation in the Fall session of the Whole Life Challenge. In fact, I’ve put together a team called “Ink Well” (get it??) that I’d love to have you join. Yes, you!

Information about the challenge can be found HERE.

Early-bird pricing ($39) ends on Sunday, so it’s a great time to sign up. But even if you’d like to take a little more time to decide, $49 is a small price to pay for the changes you’ll see in yourself throughout the eight weeks. I’m not kidding when I say it’s the best money I ever spent. (I sound like a shill here, but I’m just a happy, happy WLC alum!)

If you have questions, by all means send them my way! I’d love to do the fall challenge with my pen friends!

GO TEAM INK WELL!

GO YOU!!

An Indispensable Trio: The Nock Co. Fodderstack, DotDash Cards, and Exclusive Karas Kustoms Render K

I picked up this trio of Nock Co. offerings a number of weeks ago, and though I knew they’d be something I’d enjoy, I had no idea how much I come to RELY on them. All day, every day. On vacation, at a conference, at work, in the car, and just knocking (haha…pun alert) around the house, I’m constantly grabbing for this ultra-portable set of tools.

Fodderstack, Render K, and DotDash cards

The Fodderstack is constructed of 1000D Nylon with DWR coating. That is, it’s tough. I chose the Steel color because it looks good with just about any pen. The interior is lined with nylon pack cloth— Blue Jay, in my case. I like the pop of bright blue peeking out of the top of the case, AND it looks great with my Nock Co. x Karas Kustoms Exclusive Render K with its gorgeous blue cap.

DotDash cards, Render K, aand Fodderstack

The Fodderstack measures 5.125″ x 3.25″ which means that it’s designed to hold a stack of Nock Co’s DotDash 3×5 cards. A separate, slim outer pocket holds a pen or two, while the inner pocket holds about 20 of the sturdy, gridded note cards. I use them for EVERYTHING— grocery lists, to-do lists, my DC Pen Show “quest” list, phone numbers, directions, airline flight and gate numbers, blog post outlines, meeting notes, you name it. If you’re walking around and doing things, you need these cards.

DotDash cards

Made of 80 lb. cover stock, and featuring an orange DotDash pattern, the 4.25mm grid is absolutely perfect for documenting all the stuff that flies at me during my day. They’re printed on both sides so I can fit A LOT of information on one card, thanks to my fairly precise handwriting. While I’m usually using my Nock Co. Render K with a 0.5 mm G2 refill, the cards are fountain pen friendly, especially with extra-fine and fine nibs. There’s a bit of feathering with medium and broad nibs, but even that is better than anything I’ve seen when using fountain pens on index cards. Impressive.

DotDash cards

The pen that knocks this trio out of the park is the Nock Co. x Karas Kustoms G2 model Render K. Even though I already have a fistful of Render Ks— plain aluminum, orange, Delrin, and raw— I couldn’t pass up the chance to own one of these exclusive (but not limited) joint Nock Co./Karas Kustoms offerings. You’ll only find this color combination— aluminum body, blue cap, red tip— through Nock Co. The rich colors really pop in contrast to the shiny aluminum body.

Nock Co. X Karas Kustoms Render K

Render K clip

The Render K is made of 6061-T6 aluminum (good stuff), and weighs 1.1 ounces. The screw cap, which features a sturdy clip and accent knurling (mmmmmm…knurling), doesn’t post. Measuring 5.125″ capped and 4.92″ uncapped, the pen feels great in hand. The pen DOES NOT ship with a refill so you’ll have to provide your own. I’ve installed a Pilot G2 0.5 mm black refill, though others swear by the 0.38 mm tip size.

Knurling

The whole Fodderstack combo— case, cards, and pen— is just slightly larger then my iPhone 5 so it’s an easy item to carry in hand, or in my purse or messenger bag, which is why it is ALWAYS with me. On the rare instance that I’ve left it behind, I feel undressed, like when I forget my earrings. Ugh. The Fodderstack has become as important to me as my phone. It’s well-designed, well-made, and fun to use, just like my phone.

Fodderstack, Render K, and DotDash cards

Nock Co.’s Fodderstack, DotDash cards, and exclusive Karas Kustoms Render K have become must-have tools for navigating my day. At work and at home, in the car and in the office, they’re perfect for capturing notes and lists, numbers and names, directions, and requests. Or doodling. Even doodling is fun.

DotDash cards and Render K

How did I live without my Nock Co. Fodderstack, DotDash cards, and Nock Co. x Karas Kustoms Render K?! Darned if I know.

Nock Co. Trio of Tools

You can check out EVERYTHING Nock Co. has to offer HERE. Color options for the various cases can be found HERE.

[This post was not sponsored and doesn't contain any affiliate links. All items were purchased by yours truly. I simply love this stuff.]

 

An Introvert Goes to the Pen Show

Ink Testing table
[Akkerman inks at the ink testing table]

It’s raining, and I’m wearing fleece in August, so it must be my vacation week. Ah, no worries— it’s still nice to have a break from work, to sleep a little later, and to take a few field trips. Today we’re heading to the closest Cheesecake Factory (which is about an hour away) because we have a gift card burning a hole in our pockets. Yum.

Over the weekend we took a BIG field trip to the DC Supershow—reportedly the biggest pen show in the world. I’ve only ever been to this show— last year was my first time—so I don’t have anything to compare it to. Even though I’m definitely an introvert, and sometimes get overwhelmed by people, I had a BLAST! This is my element. THESE are my people. If I could live at a pen show forever, I would.

The show is buzzing!
[The show is buzzing!]

I was feeling a little anxious about just going for Sunday but we did so because we wanted to minimize the time our four dogs were boarded, with Boo being fragile and Flapjack being a young pup. My brain kept screaming “ALL THE GOOD PENS WILL BE GONE!!” but of course that was not the case.

I won’t go into details in this post (the husband and the cheesecake are calling me!), but I’m happy to report that this introvert loved every moment of the day, loved seeing old friends and making new ones, loved letting the pens that were meant for me find me. I haven’t had a day this fun in a long time.

My husband isn’t into pens as a user, but he’s a talker and has enough interest that he’s actually a great pen show ally. A couple of the pens I purchased were the direct result of Fred’s chats with the sellers. Thanks to Fred, we uncovered a very cool connection with the folks who are the US distributors for Diplomat Pens, had a long and lovely talk with Syd Saperstein of Wahl-Eversharp, and had a great visit with Chris and Marc of Write Notepads & Co. And because we were missing our pups, we bonded immediately with Marc’s dog, Nico, who happily napped on their display table. She is a DREAM dog.

Nico, The Write Notepad Co. ambassador
[Nico, the Write Notepad & Co. Ambassador]

On Monday, we spent time in Baltimore prior to the Orioles-Yankee game, and took up Chris and Marc on their invitation to see where and how Write Notepads are born. They were wonderful hosts, as was Nico, and that visit was a definite high point of our trip.

This post is short, and slim on details, cuz I gotta run. I’ll write all about our trip and my pens in upcoming posts, but I wanted to let you know that this introvert had the best time ever! The pens are great, but the people made the show, and our trip, extraordinary.

It can rain on my vacation. I don’t even care.

Jolly Good: The Retro 51 Tornado Touch

Many thanks to my friends at JetPens for sponsoring my purchase of the pen reviewed here. I was not compensated in any other way and this review describes my experiences and observations with the pen.

Standard Retro 51 Tornado vs Tornado Touch
Standard Retro 51 Tornado (the new “Flipper”) vs. the petite Tornado Touch

The Retro 51 Tornado Touch is both dapper and darling. It’s a teeny thing, but still packed full of Retro 51 goodness. At 4-3/8″, this isn’t a pen that you’ll want to use to write a novel, but for jotting down a grocery list, signing paperwork, or capturing on-the-fly notes, it’s ideal. Ideal AND classy.

This is a “honey, I shrunk the pen” version of the standard Retro 51 Tornado, with a couple of bonus features that add to its charm. The first is the “bowler hat” stylus on the end of the pen. As a kid, I used to religiously watch “Family Affair“— a sitcom that featured a British butler named Mr. French. Mr. French typically wore a suit and a bowler to run errands (as you do). Whenever I look at the Retro 51 Tornado Touch, I picture good old Mr. French, his smooth manners, and lovely accent.

Retro 51 Torndao Touch bowler hat and mustache

The stylus is not only stylish but works very well on both my iPad and iPhone. In fact, it’s one of my favorite styluses (stylii?). I rarely have to repeat a motion while typing or swiping through pages or dragging letters around on the Words With Friends board. Very responsive.

The second feature is not functional in the least but adds a splash of whimsical charm to this diminutive pen. A mustache. That’s right— the pen sports a tiny mustache, because why not?! The pen is available in three finishes— Lincoln Copper, Stainless, and Black (the one featured in this review). Though the copper version tugged at me, I ultimately chose the black version because it made the pen look like it was wearing a little suit. (And for some reason it was important to me that my pen be properly attired in formal wear.)

Ballpoint refill

The D1 refill that comes loaded in the pen is made by Schmidt and writes quite well for a ballpoint. What’s great, though, is that because the refill IS the D1 style/size, there are plenty of D1 refill options available should the included one not thrill you. I picked up some Uni-ball Jetstream D1 refills that I’m anxious to try when the the current one needs to be replaced. You can also swap in D1 gel refills, if that’s your favorite type of ink. There are plenty of ways to make the Retro 51 Tornado Touch your own, ink-wise.

Accessing the D1 refill
Accessing the D1 refill

Disassembled
Refill removed (refill extender still in place)

Swapping the refill is not super intuitive (I had to Google it) so here’s how that works. Grab the knurled section, just below the bowler stylus and give it a good yank until it pulls out of the body of the pen. Looking into the pen body, you’ll see the end of the refill assembly. Using a small Philips head screwdriver (or your Swiss Army knife), unscrew the refill housing until it can be pulled out of the pen. Pull the refill extender off of the D1 refill, and place it onto the new refill, then reverse the steps to install the assembly back in the pen. [Updated to add: Click HERE for a video that details the process.]

Disassembled
Refill extender removed from D1 refill

If there’s any downside to this pen, I’d say it’s the price. At $27 from JetPens, it costs a few dollars more than many of the standard size Tornado rollerballs. That said, the small premium buys you an awfully cute pen that successfully combines both novelty and panache. That’s a tricky combination, but Retro 51 pulls it off with ease.

The packaging is a scaled down version of the usual Tornado tube, and it’s as adorable as the pen inside.

Tornado Touch pen and packaging

The Retro 51 Tornado Touch is a cool little pen that oozes charm with its distinctive bowler and well-groomed mustache. It’s dapper, dashing, and debonair; both well-groomed and well-designed. If your everyday carry needs just a little more class, this is your pen. A very good writer with an excellent stylus and lots of D1 refill options, it’s another clever AND solid offering from the folks at Retro 51.

The Tornado Touch is, I can safely say, “jolly good.”

Traveling With Pens: A Case Study (or a study of a basket case?!)

I’m attending a conference in Indianapolis, IN this week. But before I traveled here, I spent a god awful amount of time mulling over which pens to bring with me. Clothes? Easy. Pens? Not so much.

Right up until the last minute I was swapping pens in and out of my Nock Co. Brasstown case. The case, at least, was pretty much a given. Even though I schlep three or four Nock Co. Pen cases to and from work every day, I knew I only wanted to travel with one, and the Brasstown quickly made the cut. With its roll-up, multiple pen holding “tongue” and space to carry some ink cartridges and a small ruler, the case was an easy pick.

When it was time to leave for the airport, I had to STOP with the pen swaps and go with what was in the case. Here’s the final line-up:

Fountain pens
Lamy AL Star Blue-Green (fine nib) with Lamy black cartridges
Lamy Vista (extra-fine nib) with Lamy black cartridges
Pilot Knight (medium nib) with Namiki Blue/Black cartridges

Rollerball pen
Retro 51 Betsy Tornado Rollerball

Gel pen
Nock Co./Karas Kustoms exclusive Render K with 0.5 mm black G2 refill

Ballpoint pens
Fisher Space pen (matte black bullet model)
TactileTurn Shaker with Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 black refill

20140729-223046.jpg

I’m a couple of days into the conference now and have a few thoughts about my choices. The Lamy Vista is great. The EF nib is perfect in my Clairefontaine notebook and I especially like being able to monitor the ink level. The fine nib on the Lamy AL Star is a little broad, while the medium nib on the Pilot Knight is wonderfully smooth and lays down a precise fine line as it’s a Japanese medium.

The Fisher Space pen has been particularly handy for filling out entry forms at today’s trade show. It’s easy to carry and completely reliable. Maybe not my favorite refill of all time, but great when you just need a pen to do its job whenever and wherever.

I haven’t used Betsy or the Shaker as yet, though both are favorites when I’m home. I think I’ll work them into tomorrow’s sessions. Could it be I have pen A.D.D.? Is that a thing?

20140729-224319.jpg

A couple of other Nock Co. products have really performed well on this trip- the Fodderstack loaded with the DotDash 3×5 cards paired with Nock Co. x Karas Kustoms Exclusive G2 Render K. The pen looks and writes great. I love the playful trio of colors, and loaded with a 0.5 mm G2 refill, it’s been perfect for taking meeting notes AND for keeping track of action items that are popping up at work and at home. By jotting down tasks on the DotDash cards, I’m able to concentrate on what I should be concentrating on- the conference.

Someone on Twitter suggested that I should travel with only one pen as a challenge, and I considered that for a little bit. Obviously, I didn’t go that route since I have a stupid number of pens with me. But really, I’m having fun swapping pens from day to day…or even within the same day.

And, I must admit, pens are something of a security blanket for me. I feel better when they’re with me.

20140729-230713.jpg

There…I admitted it.

Written and photographed on my iPad and iPhone with poor hotel lighting. But written nonetheless!

Refreshing! The Kaweco Skyline Sport (Mint)

I really wasn’t in the market for another Kaweco, but then I read Ana’s post about the Kaweco Skyline Sport in Mint. MINT! That’s not a pen color that you see very often, and it’s one that reeled me right in.

Kaweco Sport Skyline

I ordered the pen from Fontoplumo, using the discount code on Ana’s site, and just a couple of hours later received an email saying that my order had shipped. THAT was fast! Frank, from Fontoplumo, also followed up with a genuinely friendly thank you email. Good vibes already, all the way across the ocean.

Kaweco Sport Skyline

The pen arrived about eight working days later— not bad from the Netherlands— and I immediately popped in the included blue cartridge. I couldn’t wait to put pen to paper. I’ve had mixed experiences with Kaweco nibs— from amazingly smooth in my first Kaweco, the Liliput (EF nib), to “won’t write at all” in my AL Sport (also EF). The vendor remedied THAT problem, but it’s made me leery of the brand. My clear Sport writes nicely, but not as good as my Liliput. So what would my experience be with this Skyline Sport model and its medium nib?

The Skyline's medium nib

SUSPENSE!

I’m happy to report that this Skyline writes like a dream— smooth, consistent, pleasantly wet— just like my Liliput. Kaweco nibs are inexpensive and super simple to swap, but I’d rather swap nibs because I want to try a different line width than because of a problem. All is well. Phew.

Closed vs. Retro 51 Tornado

This Skyline Sport is, of course, the perfect pocket pen, made even more perfect by the unusual pale mint color. It’s cool. It’s retro. It’s minty fresh.

Posted vs. Retro 51 Tornado

The pen is light (about 10.5 g), but the plastic is sturdy and feels as though it will hold up well. Posted (as it really must be) the pen is almost identical in length to a Retro 51 Tornado. The cap posts securely, better than the one on my AL Sport which always seems to wiggle loose as I’m writing. The plastic on this Skyline Sport is grippier than the metal on the AL Sport so that hasn’t been a problem at all.

Disassembled Kaweco Sport Skyline

I plan to stick with cartridges or syringe re-filled cartridges. There’s a mini converter available but I haven’t read many (or any) favorable reviews on that, so sticking with cartridges seems to be the best plan.

Despite an iffy experience in the past, this Sport Skyline has me back on the Kaweco bandwagon. Everything about it has been superb— from the quick and friendly service by Fontoplumo, to the smooth and juicy nib, to that cool mint color.

Kaweco Sport Skyline end cap logo

The Kaweco Skyline Sport— it really IS wonderfully refreshing.

———————

Check out Ana’s review HERE, for her take on the same pen, as well as her Fontoplumo discount code.