I know quality stationery when I see it.  My stationery experience began at the tender age of four when I ate my first crayon.  By the time I had consumed my second, I would be forever hooked on the pleasures of paper and pen. Nowadays I am a secondary school teacher and I spend much of my time with pencil in hand grading and sorting paper.  Over the years I have developed an appreciation of the pencil over red pen and a realisation that quality stationery is one of the simpler, finer pleasures in life.  My favourite stationery items are pencil cases and mechanical pencils.

Anatomy of a Mechanical Pencil Review

Review ChecklistTo date I have only reviewed one mechanical pencil here at The Leaky Pen.  The one pencil I have reviewed, the Rotring Quattro, is in truth actually a Multipen.  This lack of mechanical pencil reviews is strange considering I consider myself to be not only a fan of pencil cases but also a mechanical pencil nut.  Add to the equation the fact that I have well over 20 mechanical pencils (I suppose this isn't much but give me time) and you can see how I have dropped the ball here.

I plan on remedying the situation but I can't churn out just any old reviews.  I need a plan.  I need structure.  I need consistency.

So, below is a list of the points I have come up with that could be worth considering in a Mechanical Pencil review.  It goes without saying that not all ideas have to be covered.  These are just suggested talking points.

  • Preconceptions
  • Reputation of brand or product
  • Appearance
  • Style
  • Feel
  • Weight & Heft
  • Features
  • Special features
  • Benefits
  • Pictures (packet & unboxing, different perspectives, scale, pencil dismantled, sample markings on paper)
  • Flaws & drawbacks
  • Lead types & sizes
  • Buying experience
  • Writing/Drawing experience
  • Supplier
  • Summary of main points
  • Price range
  • A rating


Have I missed anything out?

The World of Mechanical Pencils

Today I published a lens on Squidoo.  Squidoo is a website where users can publish articles that focus on a hobby or a passion.  Squidoo calls each article a lens - because it focuses on a topic.  I have already written one about my dog Harry among other things.  I though you might want to check out my latest effort, 'The World of Mechanical Pencils'.  It is still in draft stage but I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions you may have.  If you feel your blog should be listed on the lens just let me know and I will check it out.

PHX-1 : Design Tool Set

A package arrived in the mail this week.  A slim cardboard box with PHX-1 stamped on it.  This was a parcel I had been waiting for with some anticipation.  So much so, I had already gone out and purchased two pens and a some craft blades to go with it.



Well that's odd.  Why would I buy a couple of pens and some craft blades?




Read more: PHX-1 : Design Tool Set

Rotring Quattro Data Multipen

Brand New Rotring Quattro: Data Multi-PenThis Rotring Quattro Data Multipen was my first quality pen.  Of course I knew this at the time when my father gave it to me for a birthday present but I didn't appreciate it.  Do you know what I mean?  At the time I was still young and didn't really understand that a good pen, taken care of, can last a long, long time.  As a result of this relative ignorance my Rotring Quatrro is a little worse for wear.  I haven't taken care of it but, testament to the pen's durability, everything about it is still in working order (apart from an empty black ink cartridge).

It stands to reason that my first mechanical pencil review would be on this multipen.  I have, after all, used it for years.  I need to proclaim my bias because not only is this multipen my favourite writing utensil but sentimentality is definitely a factor (thanks Dad).  Despite these emotional leanings, and another later version having been released, this multipen is still a quality instrument.

After all these years (10 or so? I can't be sure) I found it difficult to identify exactly what model this multipen was when I started to write this review.  I finally tracked down an image I believe depicts what I have at this website and here.  I know only too well the innacuracy of some websites so please correct me if I have falsely identified my multipen.

Read more: Rotring Quattro Data Multipen

Kikki-K Midja Premium Rollerball Pen

The events leading up to this pen purchase could be of interest to you so I will tell you of them before I get to the review.  Forgive me if this pen review descends into a meandering rant but, lets face it, there is a story behind every pen.  In this case there are two.  Allow me ...

My sister bought me a hard drive dock for Christmas.  I know, I know.  Why wasn't she buying me stationery?  Anyway, she experienced the ill fortune of choosing an online retailer that was selling stock it actually didn't have.  A couple of months, several irate emails and one belated refund later she repurchased the aforementioned hard drive dock from a ... more reputable retailer.  To tide me over while the elusive hardware was in transit she treated me to a voucher to Kikki-K.  Kikki-K is a stationery story at my local shopping mega centre.  I had never actually been to Kikki-K, and to tell you the truth didn't know it existed, until she gave me the voucher.

Read more: Kikki-K Midja Premium Rollerball Pen