Caran d’Ache Technalo Pencil

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This is my first foray into Caran d’ache pencils and I’m very satisfied with my experience so far. The Technalo was something that I inadvertently picked up because I wanted to try some Caran d’Ache pencils and this one seemed pretty unique and different from the ones I’ve reviewed so far. I was curious to see how the water-soluble graphite would feel when writing. I wasn’t expecting Blackwing 602 performance, but the lead was soft enough to rival it.

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The pen is marketed as a water-soluble graphite pencil. This means that the typical use of this pen would be for watercolor-esque washed and you would see the graphite getting lighter with multiple washes. I have not gotten to test this yet as I lack the proper paper that is able to take a wash or two. Hopefully once I get some watercolor paper I can truly make use of this pencil. Until then, just writing with it will suffice.

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The matte finishing on the body is one of the things that was the biggest gripe I had about this pen. Due to the smoothness, it was extremely difficult for me, someone with sweaty hands, to get a proper grip when I was writing. I ended up forming a death grip near the front of the pen but still struggled to maintain a proper hold.

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There was a lot of rather ostentatious branding as well as unnecessary applications of shiny material. Unlike some of the more subtly branded and understated pencils I’ve reviewed in the past, the Technalo goes out of its way to seem luxurious. However, I have to say that it does look really good even if it’s not to my specific taste.

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The lead was very soft and honestly felt much like a colored pencil. The death grip I was slowly developing lea to me putting a lot of pressure when writing and I could feel the lead depressing when I pushed. It led to one side being soft and wider and when I switched sides, it started out extremely sharp and resulted in a darker line. You can see in stances of this phenomenon in the first picture.

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Galen Leather Field Notes Cover

This is a review that has been a long time coming. I was first approached by Zeynep through the contact form on the blog back in April. She informed me of a company she and her brother had started, Galen Leather and how they had just opened an online store for handmade leather goods. I was very interested as I had never owned a leather notebook cover before. I’d been meaning to get one for the longest time, but just couldn’t reconcile spending that much money on it. Most of the options I found were in the $60 – $70 range and way more than I could afford. When Zeynep so graciously offered to send me a cover free of charge for a review, I didn’t hesitate. Again, this product was given to me free of charge to review. I will strive to be as objective as I possibly can be and to not let this affect my review.

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The first thing I noticed when I opened the package, was a very nicely designed box with the company’s branding. It was slightly bulging and I didn’t know why until I opened it up. The Field Notes cover I received, (No.55 in black leather) was still a bit stiff as it hadn’t been broken in, leading to it pushing up against the box. It was secured with a simple cardboard slip that ran around the sides and a little explanation on the history of the company on a separate slip of cardboard. It also came with an “evil eye” charm that I forgot to take a picture of. You can read up about the story behind the charm here.(credit to Gentleman Stationer for the link)

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Straight out of the box, I could tell that this was a solid product. Thick pieces of leather with burnished edges and it looked fantastic with the oils providing a nice shine. A surprising fact was that it smelt really nice, which I had never experienced with any of the leather products I’ve owned. All of Galen’s products are made with locally sourced 2-3mm vegetable oak tanned leather (source: Galen Leather Care) They give very clear and simple instructions to deal with any questions you might have regarding how to care for the leather on the same page I linked above. The stitching is very precise and even along the edges and the burnishing on the edges gives it a very soft feel for such thick pieces of leather.

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The cover is very simple to use as all you have to do is slip the last page of your Field Notes notebook into the slot and it’ll securely hold it no matter what. I’ve put this cover through its paces for nearly half a year and I couldn’t be more satisfied with how well its held up.

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On the inside, there is an elastic pen loop that can accommodate various sizes of pens be they fountain or regular in length and width. It is positioned very comfortably and is very functional and easy to use. I’ve put everything from the Retro 51 pictured above to my Karas Kustoms INK. The elastic worked perfectly all the time and I didn’t have worry about the pen falling out due to any jostling.

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I actually don’t use the card slots too often as I usually carry all my cards in a wallet. However, when I have used them, they performed very well and securely held the cards without fail. I never had to worry about whether anything would fall out because of how the leather grips onto the cards. The cards don’t even need to be textured for the leather to gain purchase, the two cards I used for this shot are my Campus ID and my driver’s license (both of which took some time to maneuver into proper position so as to keep the details hidden). These cards have a matte like finish with barely any texturing, yet they are held properly in place by the slots and are easy to pull out and insert again.

All in all, the Galen Leather Field Notes covers are good quality, solidly built and functional handmade leather products that are well worth their asking price. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen any other covers made as nicely for the selling price listed on Galen. If you’re looking for an affordable and long-lasting Field Notes cover, look no further than the offerings from Galen Leather. A big thanks to Zeynep for reaching out and providing me with this cover. I wish her and her brother Yusuf all the success they deserve for bringing such high quality products to the market. Look forward to more orders from me in the future. 🙂 Check out their products at their website: Galen Leather.

P.S. This is review 1/3 for today (10/30/16). Second review dropping in a couple of hours.

October Update

Hey Everyone,

It’s definitely been a while since I posted a review and I do apologize for the long wait. I’ve been slowly getting more and more work assigned to me as we passed the halfway point of the semester and I’ve been doing my best to finish as much as possible over the weekends so I can spend my weekdays studying for whatever exams I have coming up. Today is one of those increasingly rare days where I’ve finished all of my work for the week in advance and have enough free time for a review, so I decided to make up for some missed weeks by publishing a total of 3 reviews today. Enjoy. 🙂

Sincerely,

Anchit

Horizon Folded Pen

Sorry for not being as active as I would have liked. I’ve taken a rather intense course load for the semester and tests keep barreling towards me like trains and I have to do my best to study as hard as possible. I’ve had next to no free time in between studying and I’m ending up still awake at 2 in the morning doing calligraphy drills to calm down before heading to sleep. It’s nearing midterms week so, there’s going to be more and more thrown at me right before that time, so this might be the only update for the next two weeks (hopefully not). Thank you all for your outstanding patience and I will endeavor to get another review in today if possible.

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This was a nib that I really wanted to get my hands on for the longest time. So when I finally did, I went absolutely nuts with experimenting. Different inks, angles of the strokes going for the splatter pattern I see so many of my favorite calligraphers make when they use it. So far, I have not been able to get it yet, maybe it’s all in the flick of the wrist as the letter ends.

A folded nib is a rather unique nib when it comes to calligraphy as the style of writing is very different from say, a broad edge pen. It’s relatively new innovation in the calligraphy industry and it definitely has a unique charm that other current nibs can’t provide.

The center fold of the nib acts as the ink reservoir and it can really hold a lot of ink. I did a full dip and was able to write 3 capital letters before running out. As it’s running out, if the ink has nice shading, like Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, then the color will start getting progressively lighter with each stroke allowing you to view numerous gradations as you write. Depending on the angle you hold the nib relative to the paper, the stroke could be thin or brush-like. Also, how much control you exert over the nib changes the way the ink flows, as heavy pressure from the hand, results in more ink on the page. Pacing is also important, as a fast pace can result in choppy lines. All of these variations can be seen in the first picture.

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You can choose to either buy one or make one. I chose to but from Paper Ink Arts as I tried making one and it just didn’t come out right no matter how many times I tried, so I defaulted to buying one. There are instructions to make one too though they typically won’t be as consistent as a store-bought one. The end result, however, is similar so if you just want to try it out to see the possibilities, you can just make one and experiment with it.