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The double adjustable OHTO Conception 0.3 4

OHTO Conception 0.3

Today: a mechanical pencil I ordered in October. I planned to do a review for a while now and it was supposed to be released today, but the day before yesterday Jeff Abbott released a review of this pencil at the biggest stationery blog of them all, The Pen Addict.

He said all and more I could have said, so change of plans then, I only post a short review of this mechanical pencil, but talk about why I like sliding sleeves, again.

The indicator that shows how much lead will advance

The indicator that shows how much lead will advance

Sliding Sleeves

I don’t know why sliding sleeves are such a niche. In my imagination drafting and technical drawing is done on a computer, so there’s no point in having a rigid sleeve/pipe around the lead so that you can use your mechanical pencil more precisely with a ruler.

OHTO Conception 0.3

In my imagination most use mechanical pencils for writing, at least when we talk about today and when we talk about Earth. Of course there will be exceptions, too.

When writing with a fixed sleeve you have to ‘click’ after you used up the 0.5mm or however much you have advanced the lead.

If you have a sliding sleeve it will retract while you use the lead, so you will have 4mm or more to use up before you need to advance the lead.

If you use soft leads (I don’t) the advantage gets even better than with hard leads because you use the lead p so much faster.

OHTO Conception 0.3

The OHTO Conception

Most of my ideas about this pencil can be seen in this video:

 

In short: You can adjust how far you want the lead to advance and you can adjust whether you want a fixed or a sliding sleeve.

Balanced on a type, in sliding mode, so that you can see the centre of gravity

Balanced on a type, in sliding mode, so that you can see the centre of gravity

That’s a lot of value for the $15 I paid on eBay. It is not available for this price anymore. As far as I can tell OHTO doesn’t have an official presence in the UK, so I wonder whether all OHTO pens here are grey imports anyway.

With 23g the pen’s weight is pretty normal for a pen with a metal body and a bit heavier than your average pen with a plastic body.

Balanced on a type, in fixed mode, so that you can see the centre of gravity

Balanced on a type, in fixed mode, so that you can see the centre of gravity

You might remember my table with the force needed for different sliding sleeves. Well, the OHTO Conception, at least my 0.3mm version, is a bit difficult to place in that table. When I first checked I get very good value, 5cN or even better, but when I checked another time, after the pencil was in fixed sleeve mode, a force of four time that was needed.

Conclusion

A great pencil, that could do with a bit more grip. I only wish I had bought another colour.


Price: October 2016


Fake Lamy Safari fountain pens in Europe

I am quite sure that I’ve written about my use and like of Lamy pens in previous blog posts.

My admiration for Lamy started in the Eighties

I’ve started using Lamy Safari fountain pens more than 30 years ago (my first fountain pen was from Pelikan though) and have been very happy with them throughout the years. I really can’t remember what colour my first Lamy Safari had, but I am quite sure it came in a cardboard box like the one seen here (scroll down), the one the first Safari came in. The next ten years the Safari (I had a few over the years) was being used every weekday.

I’ve also spend some time near Heidelberg (the place were the Lamy Safari is made), because I have some relatives who live two miles East of Heidelberg. It’s a great place, even though that doesn’t have anything to do with the design and quality of their pens.

..but what’s that? Dark clouds over Heidelberg and the Lamy factory. The fake Safaris are coming!

real: top, fake: bottom - the text on the nib is a different colour, but the ink window matches up for both

real: top, fake: bottom – the text on the nib is a different colour, but the ink window matches up for both

 

Invasion of the fake Lamy Safaris

I recently bought two Lamy Safaris from eBay UK and paid £23.98 (~$30; €28.50). Buying two Lamy Safaris from a normal UK online merchant would have cost £28 (~$35.50; €33.30), so not much more expensive, but the ones from eBay came with converters and they were colours not being made anymore.

real: left, fake: right - the colour is slightly off, this is more pronounced in artificial light

real: left, fake: right – the colour is slightly off, this is more pronounced in artificial light

Well, when I got the pens I noticed that they didn’t feel right. One of them was lime green, Lamy’s special colour in 2008. The ‘screw’ in the cap had the wrong colour and the ink feed was shiny, something I have never seen in any of my Lamy Safaris (I confess, I have a two digit number of them – Oops.). I have a few lime green Safaris, which were bought from Papier Pfeiffer. So I thought I compare the eBay lime green Safari with my Papier Pfeiffer Safari: well, the colour was similar, but not the same. In artificial light the difference between the real and fake colour looks even bigger than in reality.

real: top, fake: bottom - the ink feed of the fake Safari is shiny

real: top, fake: bottom – the ink feed of the fake Safari is shiny

A quick search on the Internet revealed that fake Lamy Safaris are a thing. Desk of Lori wrote about it and Goldspot Pens made a video about fake Safaris.

The fake Safaris have certainly improved since Goldspot’s video. My nib looked quite good, the line goes straight to the middle of the breather hole. The ink window also matched up correctly with the grip section, so that’s another area where the fake Safaris have improved.

real: bottom, fake: top - the pattern in the fake LAMY letters is shallower and there are lines

real: bottom, fake: top – the pattern in the fake LAMY letters is shallower and there are lines

Goldspot Pens mentioned that their real Safari’s cardboard ring had text printed on both sides. I checked several real Safaris and they all only had the text printed on the outside, so the printing on the cardboard ring doesn’t seem to be a reliable indicator whether the pen is real or not.

the fake Safari's F nib is much wider

the fake Safari’s F nib is much wider

So what things did I notice that were different between the fake and the real Safari?

  • In the case of lime green the colour of the fake Safari is slightly off
  • In the case of lime green the ‘screw’ at the top of the cap is the wrong colour
  • The text on the nib is light instead of dark
  • The surface in the embossed LAMY letters of the body have a shallower pattern and some scratchy lines
  • Corners in the plastic are less pronounced
  • The ink feed is shiny instead of looking matt and washed (from testing)?
  • The second Lamy Safari’s cap is cracked near the top, so I assume the plastic isn’t as durable as the real ones
  • The fake Safaris don’t start well. Starting them after the first filling took a along time and they needed some help (pushing ink through) before they finally started
  • When you push ink through the nib section the fake Safari’s ink comes out from the filler hole (under the ink feed), not through the nib’s breather hole.
  • The fake Safari’s F nib is much(!) wider than a real Safari F nib

I have sent the seller a message in case they were not aware that they are selling fake Safari. The two colours I bought are now not available anymore, there’s only a yellow Safari left now.

The other fake Lamy Safari had a crack on the cap

The other fake Lamy Safari had a crack on the cap

Thinking how much progress has been made since Goldspot Pen’s video was made the fake Safaris could, if they improve further in the next years, be very difficult to spot ..but even if the appearance is gettng closer to the real thing, it still looks as if they are not as durable, don’t write as well

and they’re also not much cheaper1.


Price: November 2016

Exchange rates: December 2016

  1. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the manufacturing process is not really bothered about being environmentally friendly. []

Pencil Pot Of The Month – November 2016 2

Please excuse the image quality, I took the photo with my mp3 player in my office

Please excuse the image quality, I took the photo with my mp3 player in my office

Description: A bamboo pencil pot from Wedo

Price: €8.50 (when I bought it in 2010 that was ~$11.60 or £7.15, today it’s ~$9.05 or £ 7.30)

Material: Bamboo and aluminium

Further information: This pencil pot has been shown in a previous blog post from 2011, before the Pencil Pot Of The Month series started.


Price: November 2010

Exchange rates: February 2011 and November 2016


Tree Top Path & Linden Pencils 2

I was still writing blog posts about my trip to Germany when Insights X and other things happened, so I never finished the blog posts about my time in Germany. Here’s my conclusion with a short post about pencils made from linden (lime) wood:

I had a great time – and it’s all Gunther’s ‘fault’: I never heard of tree top paths until I read about them on his blog. Well, recently a tree top path opened near my old home town and remembering Gunther’s blog post I couldn’t resist and visited.

A panorama shot from my phone. Excuse the panorama stitching mistakes.

A panorama shot from my phone. Excuse the panorama stitching mistakes.

Unlike the tree top path Gunther visited, this one, the Baumwipfelpfad Steigerwald, opens up towards the top, so it looks a bit like a tornado. When I was there the weather was great (nearly 30°C (>85°F)) and everyone liked it. After the walk (which took quite a while) I had a look in the little souvenir shop and was more than excited to see the linden wood (lime wood) pencils from the Bavarian State Forestry that Gunther mentioned in a blog post.

WoodAverage Dried WeightJanka Hardness
Incense Cedar385 kg/m32090 N
Jelutong450 kg/m31740 N
Basswood415 kg/m31824 N
European Lime535 kg/m33100 N

As you can see in this table with information the Wood Database European linden wood is quite a bit harder than other wood used for making pencils (Brasswood is American linden wood), so I am not surprised that this isn’t a common wood for pencils. At least not anymore. As described in Gunther’s blog post it was common in the 17th century. The average dried weight of European linden wood is a bit higher than other wood as is the Janka Hardness1. I assume you could treat the wood to change the hardness, but my assumption is that trying to influence the hardness too much wouldn’t be economical.

These pencils were made by Staedtler. As far as I know they use Bavarian graphite, but the clay is from another German state. With the wood being from Lower Franconia this is a nearly 100% Bavarian pencil.

Bavarian Linden Pencils

Here’s a video from the Bavarian State Forestry (in German) showing how these are made – from cutting the tree to the finished pencil. Interesting fact: in the video a Staedtler employee explains that they can get 2,000 – 10,000 pencils out of one tree.

Well, they made 100,000 pencils like this. Now there are a few less left as I couldn’t resist and bought a handful in the tree top path’s souvenir shop.


You can read more about the company where the wood is cut into slats in another blog post from Gunther.

 

  1. The amount of pounds-force (lbf) or newtons (N) required to imbed a .444″ (11.28 mm) diameter steel ball into the wood to half the ball’s diameter – see http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/janka-hardness/ []

Blades, pencils and Christmas tree ornaments

Just a few things I want to mention. I think there was something else I wanted to add, but I forgot…

Pollux spare blades

Thanks to Gunther from the Lexikaliker blog I got a set of spare blades for my Pollux when I met him last month at Insights X.  Thank you!

Pollux spare blades

Pollux spare blades

Royal Mail’s 17th century pencil

Royal Mail’s Great Fire of London Special Stamps feature a 17th century pencil. I don’t have the stamp, but I have the postcard with the same picture, so I thought I show you this pencil (the red one on the left), together with a similar pencil – the one from Staedtler’s historic pencil kit. Petroski (1989, p. 47)1 writes that by 1610 black lead was used by artists and others to fit into their wooden pencil cases ..so a pencil being used in the planning of the reconstruction of London in 1666 seems realistic.

Royal Mail's pencil from 1666

Royal Mail’s pencil from 1666

Kaweco Christmas Tree Ornament

You might have already seen this on Bleistift’s Facebook page: There’s a Kaweco Christmas Tree Ornament.

Kaweco Tree Ornament (Image © Kaweco or Massdrop)

Kaweco Tree Ornament (Image © Kaweco or Massdrop)

 

 


The photo of the Kaweco  Tree Ornament has been taken from the Massdrop offer of this product. I believe that showing the photo in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

  1. Petroski, H. (1989) The Pencil []