I hope you’re all having a great week so far! I think it might be a shorter week for most of us, with the holiday on Monday.
If you’ve walked through the building over the last few weeks you may have noticed signs indicating that the annual fire alarm system testing takes place today and tomorrow. Jon and I have been anxiously discussing strategies for dealing with “intermittent fire alarm sounding” and “access to all units” with a napping baby and a dog, but actually things have been pretty smooth so far. You know how I like to tempt fate by saying these things halfway through Day 1. And apparently the dog doesn’t bark at fire alarms, only at real people, like paying customers and visiting friends. He makes me so proud sometimes.
We received these Pilot Sign Pens a while ago, back in that shipment when we got the Kakunos, and I’ve been meaning to write about them since then. While I think there’s just something about fountain pens – the entire thing, how they write on the page, the process of filling them with ink, the bottles of ink, the way they look, the non-disposable nature of a fountain pen – I have a soft spot in my heart for a lot of these vintage-styled Pilot pens. I used a lot of these Pilot pens growing up, although I think I only ever used black ones, although I also used the coloured ones while I was teaching.
Pilot makes all sorts of pens, gel pens and ballpoints and new erasable pens and paint markers and fountain pens. Their catalogue is excellent bedtime reading because you can always, always find some new pen that looks interesting, no matter how many times you browse through their pages. However, there are a few classic Pilot pens that have been around since forever, some pretty iconic pens that even have a bit of a cult following.
The Pilot Fineliners are better known than these new Sign Pens, but they’re both great felt-tip pens. We’ve gotten a lot of lettering artists and graphic designers who like these pens, and we even have one designer who buys boxes of each of these pens in different colours and he says he goes through them like candy. Yum.
The Pilot Fineliner is one of Pilot’s most iconic pen, with a very simple and straightforward design, but with that white ring that makes it so distinctive. Available in black, blue, green, red, brown and purple, although black is far away the most popular.
The Fineliners create a nice, crisp line – the tips are felt and are nice and hard, metal reinforced. Over time, especially if you write with a lot of pressure, the tip can widen out a bit. If you go really nuts you can damage the tip permanently, but for the most part, these pens are made to be used.
Comparatively, the Sign Pens are just that, they are more like a marker/sign pen. I think the Fineliner is around 0.4mm, and the Sign Pen is like a fine marker, around 1.2 mm.
It says “Medium Water Resistant” on the barrel of the Sign Pens, which I think means “Medium tip” and “Water Resistant.” I did a super quick water test where I just ran the paper under the tap for five seconds, and while the red did the worst, they are for the most part fairly water resistant.
Unfortunately, the Pilot Fineliners don’t show very much water resistance at all…
There’s not really much to these pens – no how-to’s on filling or maintenance, just pull off the cap and write. I thought about writing two separate reviews, but they’re very similar pens in how they write, just with different tips sizes. And I kind of feel like they go together. They’re simple and iconic Pilot pens, and I use them for scribbling, doodling, addressing envelopes, drawing… but I think a lot of designers, engineers, graphic artists and writers use them for sketching and corrections.
Did you know? (according to Wikipedia…) “Markers are also sometimes referred to as felt-pens or felts in some parts of Canada.” I consider myself fairly well-versed in stationery lingo, but I didn’t know this! I must be living in the wrong part of Canada. I somehow suspect that if I was in my classroom, and I said, “Nadiha, please pass out those felts,” no one would have any idea what I was talking about.
In other news, we’ve had a very welcome re-stock of Coach House Press Notebooks, including a few new colours in their softcover notebooks, as well as some Leuchtturm notebooks back in stock, including the dot grid and lined hardcover A5 notebooks. We are expecting a shipment of Noodler’s inks including Plains of Abraham and Raven Black by the end of the week!
I was supposed to get out our newsletter this past Monday (first Monday of the month), but things got away from me (I cannot deny that we went to dim sum on Monday to celebrate the holiday, and let me tell you there is nothing so non-conducive to productivity the afternoon following a long dim sum meal), and so we have big plans to get it out tomorrow. If you do not already subscribe to the newsletter, please consider it! You can go to our website and enter your email at the bottom of the screen. The newsletter is like a monthly super concentrated version of the blog, where it’s just the important stuff and 99% of my rambling is edited out.