Everyday Carry Giveaway: Revisiting Ian Schon’s “The Pen Project”

I’ve been thinking of revisiting some of the pens I reviewed in the past to see how my original opinions and experiences have held up. Ian Schon handed me the perfect opportunity to do just that by sending along one of his aluminum “The Pen Project” pens.

Since I already own one of Ian’s pens (I backed his Kickstarter project) and it’s still going strong, THIS pen will end up in the hands of one of my readers. Yes, this is a follow-up review AND a giveaway. (Thank you, Ian.)

My EDC tools
My EDC tools. (Mmmmm…lobstah!)

When Brad Dowdy (Sir Pen Addict) recently asked for EDC pen recommendations, I tweeted “The Pen Project” without a moment’s hesitation. I reviewed this pen back in October 2012, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s been in my front pocket almost every day since I received it. And on the odd day when I forget to carry it, I feel a little bit undressed— like when I forget my watch or earrings. Shudder.

Fisher pressurized refill

I wrote the rough draft of this review in my sloppy, “just get it down” handwriting on plain old office supply cabinet paper because this is a pen primarily designed to be used on the fly— when you need to sign for a delivery, make a quick note in your pocket notebook, or jot down some directions. This pen shines in its ability to remain unobtrusive until you need it, then work without fail, thanks to the Fisher pressurized refill. I’m probably not going to sit down, pull out my best paper, and write a letter with this pen (the refill is quite good but not my hands down favorite), but for my “throughout the day” needs, it’s simply perfect.

Brass set screw

As noted in my original review, Ian’s pen is compact, but extends to a comfortable size for writing when the threaded cap is posted. It’s meant to be used, not babied. Mine is starting to pick up some fine surface scratches and dings— a bit of character— from living in my pocket with coins and keys and a tiny Leatherman tool. That said, the pen has held up extremely well considering the length of time I’ve been carrying it. (If only I looked so good.)

Posted pen

Ian now offers three versions of his pen, which he describes as follows:

  • Aluminum (DSGN #0001)— $58.00; Machined and finished in small batches with a high level of precision and care from American sourced materials. These weigh 1 ounce.
  • Black Anodized (DSGN #0001B)— $64.00; These aluminum pens are anodized by a local (MA) vendor and have a very  uniform look and smooth feel.
  • Titanium (DSGN #0001T)— $320.00; These are made from domestically sourced grade 5 titanium, which is precision machined and finished by hand. The set screws are made by one of the oldest screw manufacturers in Massachusetts and are hard gold plated. These weigh 1.8 ounce. LIMITED RUN of 200 pens. 

Take a peek into Ian’s website and workshop HERE. (I always enjoy Ian’s videos.)

My original review, which includes details for changing the refill, etc., can be found HERE.

Machined detail
Machined detail

The minimalist/timeless design, quality materials and workmanship, and perform-through-anything refill makes this my go-to EDC pen. That was true in 2012, and it’s still true now.

My pen and the giveaway pen
The well-protected giveaway pen and my well-used pen

Now for the fun part…the GIVEAWAY!! YOU can win one of Ian’s aluminum pens (DSGN #0001)!!

  • Open to US and International readers!
  • Leave ONE comment on this post—maybe tell me about YOUR favorite EDC tools.
  • The contest closes on Wednesday March 19th at 11:59 pm.
  • All names will be placed into a New England Patriots cap (these ARE Massachusetts born pens, after all), and my impartial husband will pick the winning name from the hat on Thursday March 20th.
  • The winner will be contacted by email and will have one week to respond with a mailing address. In the event that there is no response within a week, a second name will be drawn from the same hat.

May the EDC pen gods be with you!

Ian Schon graciously donated the pen for this giveaway. I was not compensated in any way, and this review reflects my own experiences with Ian’s pen. 



A name has been pulled from the New England Patriots cap and it is……


“I would love to win this. My EDC pen is a Kaweco Al Sport rollerball & at work lately it’s been a Render K. Work EDC varies between a Render K & one of about 7 Retro 51 Tornadoes”

I’ve contacted the winner by email. Should I not receive an address within one week, an alternate winner will be selected.

Thanks to all who commented!

71 thoughts on “Everyday Carry Giveaway: Revisiting Ian Schon’s “The Pen Project”

  1. Beyond the usual pen/paper and such EDC, I must have a roll of tape. Not cellophane or paper. Surgical, electric, or duct tape. Something to repair me or things. Macgyver had it right 🙂

  2. If I had to pick an EDC set to use for the rest of my life, it would contain:
    Light: iTP A3 EOS (the size of a chapstick, has 3 brightness settings, runs on 1 AAA, and bright enough to make you see spots on the highest setting)
    Knife: Benchmade Osborne 940
    Pen: Copper KarasKustoms Retrakt with a blue Pilot G2 0.38mm refill
    Notebook: Field Notes (preferably with a leather wallet case)

  3. Hello !!

    OK, let’s say my favortite EDC tools would be:
    * Kaweco Aluminium Fountain Pen, an maybe a moleskine-type of notebook.
    * Spyderco Dragonfly Single Blade Folding Knife
    * Smal Fenix light.
    * Casio GX56.

    Great review and thanks for sharing it !!!


    Miguel, from Spain.

  4. Thanks for the chance to win such a cool pen. My everyday carry is a small Wenger Swiss army knife, a Pilot Axiom pen and a Quattro 3.5 x 5.5 notebook in a Quattro notebook cover.

  5. Nice looking pen. I’ve used a Fisher Space Pen to fill a similar role, bit I hate the refill in it. I know I’m in the minority on that, but it often has some nasty goo that needs to wiped clean before starting, or the tar smears all over the page, and the line it makes it spotty and not very dark. I would love to try one of these!

  6. I would love to win this. My EDC pen is a Kaweco Al Sport rollerball & at work lately it’s been a Render K. Work EDC varies between a Render K & one of about 7 Retro 51 Tornadoes

  7. My EDC is a Pilot Petit 1 filled with Diamine Red Dragon, it hangs on to a Hobonichi Planner that I’ve become very attached to!

  8. I have a Regal rollerball .7, a Uni Kuru Toga .5 & a Hero 360 nib fountain pen that all coexist in a leather pen pouch. They reside in my pants pocket as many of my shirts no longer sport pockets.

  9. Ian’s Twitter feed is always interesting, especially the biking invites.

    I EDC a Kershaw Ken Onion Leek knife, and either a Sheaffer or Parker vintage pen. For tough EDC pens, Ian’s is perfect.

  10. I love the grip on my rOtring Skynn fountain pen with a medium nib. Beyond that, I need to have index cards around for notes.

  11. This pen looks amazing! Thank you for the giveaway. The drawing is on my birthday; winning would make 42 a birthday to remember, for sure!

  12. My EDC…blank pocket-sized Moleskine Cahier (to soon be replaced by my own homemade variation on that theme), TWSBI 540 fountain pen, and Pilot G2.

  13. I tend to switch out my fountain pens as EDCs (mainly between a Pilot Metropolitan and Waterman Phileas) but I do always manage to have a UniBall Jetstream somewhere on my person at all times.

  14. Wow, this pen look like a nice sturdy pen! My EDC pen is the Zebra F-701 stainless pen. It is heavier duty than the regular F-301, but still takes the same refill. I feel like I’m really ‘writing’ with it and I can drop it without too much damage. When that’s not in use, one of my fountain pens ends up in my back pocket, usually my Hero Victorian pen I purchased through Hisnibs.com. I was told not to carry it there, but I’m sorry, where else am I going to carry it if half the time I don’t have a purse with me?

  15. Thanks for hosting the giveaway! My EDC for normal situations is a Kershaw Skyline, in case I need a utility knife, and a Victorinox Classic for scissors and a small blade to lend other people. I keep a Pilot Metropolitan on me fitted with a Schmidt Easyflow 9000 blue refill, and a Papermate Writebros to lend other people. (If I’ve got the pocket space, I might as well be prepared!) Watch and cellphone are givens. I usually also have an old-school Retro 51 gel ink pen, should the need arise.

  16. My favorite EDC tools:
    – my Leatherman Blast! I’ve been carrying one for the past 10 years, I think, and it’s always so useful. (I’ve also got a few other multi-tools that I carry around, one with a tiny spoon and fork that is surprisingly useful)
    – my faux-dori and my Lamy Safari with EF nib

  17. I have a Fisher bullet space pen I’ve carried for years. I used to clip it to my pocket beside whatever knife or multi-tool I had there, but the clip eventually broke. Now I just have it in my pocket which works regardless what type of pants I’m wearing.

  18. My everyday carry is a bag full of my writing notesbooks, pens and stationery such as envelopes or stamps. It’s excessive, but I never know what I’ll need or want with me, or when my muse will strike, so I”m prepared regardless of the situation.

  19. My everyday carry is usually one of my Render Ks (black/white Delrin, silver anodized), a loaner pen (Pigma Micron, Sarasa Clip, Pilot Juice), and a fountain pen (Lamy Al-Star, Pilot Prera), and a Field Notes notebook. When I’m doing more than going around town and durability is more important than variety, I slim down to a Fisher Space Pen and my trusty Field Notes.

  20. EDC: kaweco al-sport, fisher space pen, leatherman micra, and a notebook – either a clairfontaine or field notes.

  21. My EDC includes: (1) Fisher Bullet Space Pen, (2) a Prometheus Beta-QR, and (3) a Kershaw Ken Onion Chive knife. The pen and the flashlight are connected by a couple of Nite Ize S-Biner MicroLocks.

  22. Would love to add this to my EDC collection which includes…
    iPhone 5
    Randolph Aviator sunglasses
    Machine Era Co – key chain/bottle opener
    Kershaw – 1640 Vapor
    Pilot G2 – Blue .38 refill

  23. Nice pen!
    What I usually carry: Pilot Slim Knock .4mm or Kaweco Sport, Field Notes Notebook, iPhone 5S, and random bits of paper or receipts collected during the day.

  24. Retro 51’s are sturdy enough to knock around, but I have to say, I do like my multipens, including Jetstreams.

  25. At work my EDC includes flat/phillips combo screwdriver, small note book, sharpie marker, TWSBI Mini and work phone.

  26. This seems like a great alternative to the classic Fisher pen, or the Zebra clickys that I carried in my jeans pocket for years. My current EDC writing tool is usually a Lamy Safari, since I’m in a fountain pen phase, but I’m not averse to trying something more unique!

  27. I’m big into EDC including pocket knife (Spyderco Delica 4), Victorinox Classic, Maratac AAA flashlight, and Glock sidearm. Alas, I haven’t found a suitable EDC pen, so I’m very interested in your review comments.

  28. My EDC pen currently is a Zebra F701. This Pen Project pen would be great for me, as I like the Fisher Space Pen refill better than the F701 refill!!

  29. My EDC: Swiss Army Watch, pocket notebook, Bic Cristal, penknife, wooden pencil and mini-sharpener.

    P.S. Your everyday handwriting blows away my sad attempts at calligraphy. Where did you learn to do that? :<}

  30. Great review, as always May, and bonus that you’re giving away this cool pen!
    My EDC is a Pilot G-2 .38mm, blue and a Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife, Classic SD 53003 (black) …plus a fair amount of cat hair on my clothes, since I have 3. Would be honored to win this wonderful pen!

  31. The pen I carry most often is the TiBolt (Kickstarter project as well). Titanium and bolt action, hard to beat that. Also, because of it’s construction, I don’t worry about it getting messed up. I also carry a Leatherman Wave Multitool, an iPhone and a Glock 22 (.40 caliber) IWB using a Crossbreed Supertuck holster.

  32. Hi everyone, Stu here, would love this amazing looking pen, please send to me in Australia! My EDC hhhmmm, is it Monday??? I’m a Woodwork teacher, so a Uni Jetstream 0.5 (black), a lead pencil in an extender/sharpener (brand name worn off) on a lanyard with my school keys and a small notebook (for materials lists and sketches etc).

  33. I always have a Whitelines notebook or Preference Collection journal with me, my iPad, an Adonit JotScript, and my go-to Tornado Retro pen. I’d love to add one of these to the leather schoolboy bag I carry everything in.

  34. I tend to carry a Pilot Petit 1 fountain pen since it’s nice and small, and I wouldn’t be upset to lose it. My Lamy Safari is my workhorse fountain pen that goes with me whenever I grab a notebook.

  35. I enjoyed the review. I currently carry a compact Fisher space pen, Leatherman Squirt, and County Com AAA flashlight. This new pen would be right up my alley, however. Thanks for the informative review.

    ~ D

  36. Okay, I’m hooked. Just ordered one. To date my EDC is my Kaweco Sport white fine point fountain pen. Writes as smooth as butter, is just the right size, and classy looking to boot. Hate to admit it but I tend NOT to take many notes in meetings, etc., unless I have my Rhodia paper. So that is two EDCs. Hope the pen arrives soon!!!

  37. I carry about 10 pens in my working bag… But the most EDC-like is the Fisher bullet matte black. Oh yes: in my coat-pocket there’s the classic Pilot fineliner.

  38. I always have a camera and extra battery in a belt pouch, a mini multi tool or two, 2 to 5 pens, and two pocket notebooks. Thanks for a chance on a pen that would find an immediate home in my pocket.

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