Welcome To My Thoughts On Pens And Pencils

I will respect your right to disagree with what I have to say about Pens and Pencils as long as you respect the fact that I am an Old Geezer.

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A Beauty Every One... And There's More At Home!

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The Old Geezer
Please Excuse My Absence

I have not blogged since July of 2015 due to the fact that my Lovely Wife was diagnosed with 2 types of cancer. A new case of breast cancer which has metastasized and gone to her bones, mainly her back. She had a mastectomy of her left breast which showed the type of cancer that was in her bones. She has been taking an oral med. every day and she has a port under her skin to receive a liquid med. She has gone through one round of radiation treatments to stop some pain in her back. That gave her GERD and the med for that was nasty tasting. The bone cancer has caused the vertebra in her lower back to pinch her left sciatic nerve causing her pain, numbness and foot drag. She also has skin cancer that has only been partly addressed.

I have been busy taking care of her as the treatments have left her weak and sickly. She can not drive so I have to drive her to her appointments and treatments. I also have to do all the cooking and most of what cleaning we do. So I do not have a lot of time for blogging. However the installment of the review of the Schaeffer Ultrafine 0.3mm pencil marks what I hope will be a new review every month. However some of my future reviews may seem familiar as they may be a review of a pencil or pen that I have reviewed before just in another size due to my limited collection of writing instruments and the economic state of our nation.

I am grateful to George Fox for wanting me to do a review of another one of his pencils. I think that as a reader of my humble blog, may fine of interest as the Schaeffer Ultra Fine is a very unusual pencil.

So please excuse my absence and as a reader of my humble blog I hope that you enjoy the review of this unique pencil.

Coming Soon...

Thank you,

The Old Geezer.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pentel EnerGel Times Three

Sometime back while on the JetPens Forum we were discussing the Pentel EnerGel Liquid Gel Ink pen. The topic centered around the EnerGel Alloy pen in particular. Since I had as of yet experienced writing with the EnerGel I had little to add to the discussion. That prompted me to go out and buy a Pentel Energel, the non alloy version as the budget was and is tight. Then a gentle soul named Austin, emailed me asking if I'd acquired a Pentel EnerGel Alloy pen yet. I wrote back telling him that I had not. He then replied with the offer of sending me one! How could I refuse such a generous offer! Soon the Alloy arrived and I was impressed with it's weight and feel.

Since I now had 2 different versions of the same pen I decided to do a side by side review of the 2 pens. But before I could do so I came across the needle point version of the pen! So now it has turned into a side by side by side review of the 3 pens. So just to clear things up the review/comparison will be of the Pentel EnerGel Alloy, the Pentel EnerGel Metal Tip and the EnerGel Needle Tip. The point size for all three pens is 0.7 mm.

Now for some stats. The EnerGel Alloy measures 148.2 mm long, 10.9 mm in diameter at it's widest point. It weighs 21.2 grams and it's balance point is 76.2 mm from the push button. The EnerGel Metal Tip and the EnerGel Needle Tip have the exact same measurements. They measure 147.2 mm long, 11 mm in diameter at their s widest point. They weigh 12.6 grams and have a balance point of 73 mm from the push button. The EnerGel alloy is made from aluminum while the Metal Tip and Needle Tip are made mostly of plastic.

All three are attractive pens. The design on the Metal tip and Needle Tip are the same except the Metal Tip is black and silver while the Needle Tip is black, silver and light metallic blue. The Alloy on the other hand is all silver, both bright and satin, and incorporates most of the design features of the other two pens. In shape it differs from the other two pens in that the push button end is shaped differently as is the pocket clip. While the Metal Tip and Needle Tip have removable rubber sleeves in the grip area the Alloy does not. All have the same wavy design. Aesthetically the Alloy to me is the most pleasing both in shape and color.

The Metal tip and Needle Tip both feel light as a feather and rest comfortably in my hand. Their balance point being nearly in the middle of the pen, they feel perfectly balanced. The rubber grip, a feature lacking on the Alloy, is Latex free and provides an excellent gripping surface. With a length of 37 mm it will accommodate just about any grip style, weather you hold your pen near the tip or use a high hold or hold the pen anywhere in between. The grip on the Alloy is possibly the worst that I've ever encountered! It is all but impossible for me to write with the pen as is. I simply can not get a good grip on the pen! As I write my hand slides down until I have to readjust my grip and start over. However I do prefer the weight of the Alloy to the other two pens. With my "fix" in place I can write with the Alloy as well as any pen that I have.

BTW my "fix" is a sleeve of clear heat shrink cut to length then heat shrunk over the grip area. With this "fix" I can grip the pen quite well for as long as I need too. It's like giving the pen a very thin rubber grip, only transparent.

I found the EnerGel family of pens pleasant to write with (once the "fix" was in on the Alloy). The Metal Tip and Needle Tip are both very light and fit well in my hand. I like the girth of the pens, they are just at the upper limit of my comfort zone size wise. I'm torn between liking lightweight pens and heavyweight pens. The lightness of the Metal Tip and Needle Tip is nice giving the feeling one could write long hours with out fatigue. But the weight of the Alloy gives the writer a sense of power, that they are in command of the paper and ink. When it comes down to it, I prefer the Alloy with my "fix" on the grip. Not only is it a heavier pen but a quieter one as well. The Alloy has a soft touch push button and is very quiet when compared to the loud "pop" of the Metal Tip and Needle Tip.

I preformed a standard pen test on the refills of both types of pens. The test consisted of writing a short line of text followed by a short line then holding the point down to the paper using normal writing pressure for 10 seconds. I found that the needle point "wobbled" a bit within the tip of the pen. I could feel the point move within the end of the pen. The Metal Tip was rock solid. Both pens wrote smoothly producing a bold 0.7 mm line though to these eyes the Needle Tip seemed a wee bit wider. A single drop of water was placed on the line and allowed to soak into the paper. The results were that the ink from both pens feathered proving that the ink is not waterproof. Lastly the dot test showed that the Needle Tip bled through to the next page while the Metal Tip did not. This seems odd to me as I would expect the same results from both pens as point size and ink formula are the same.

Speaking of ink formulas, Pentel claims that the ink in the EnerGel line of pens is a "Liquid Gel Ink" and they call the pens "Rollergels". This is a combination of liquid ink and gel ink which would make the pens hybrids similar to the uni-ball Jetstream which is a cross between ballpoint pen ink and gel pen ink. The ink does dry quickly so there is no smudging, good news for all you south paws. However the ink is not archival safe nor does it appear to be acid free. However it is nice and dark, very opaque.

The difference in the tips can be seen in the photo to the left. for a short distance the diameter of the tips are the same but in an instant the needle tip tapers off to a thinner, needle like tip. Pentel calls it a "light flex needle tip" so I assume that the tip is supposed to flex to a small degree. If it does I did not feel it flex.

Last words, the Pentel EnerGel Liquid Gel Ink Pen, in any form, is a very nice pen. The rubber grip of the Metal Tip and Needle Tip is very effective just as the grip on the Alloy is not. Both refills are bold and smooth, skip and blob free. While the ink is not waterproof nor archival safe it is rich and dark. All three pens are well balanced and rest well in the hand. So it seems that with the EnerGel Pentel has tried to give just about every body a pen that they like.

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