Posts filed under Case

Review: Nock Co Sinclair

The Sinclair was released by Nock Co back in 2016. Here I am late to the party with my review. The Sinclair is a zip up 3 pen case with an wide slot for a small notebook. It comes with a variety of colour ways but I went with the Raven Black / Aqua version. The exterior is made with the same 1000D nylon material as with all their pen cases. The material feels tougher than my Lookout but perhaps the Lookout has been seasoned hence the difference in feel. Paired with a very sturdy pair of zips that worked well and smoothly. The Aqua interior is made of nylon pack cloth which feels smooth and slightly cushioned. I like that they used blue threads for both the interior and exterior. I like that little pop of colour on the exterior.

The 3 pen slots functions exactly like the Lookout’s. It fit a wide variety of pens. In terms of the length and width of the slots, I do not have pens that are too wide or too long for the Sinclair. My longest is the Pilot Custom 823 fits the Sinclair with head room to spare. The notebook slot can hold the Traveler’s Notebook Passport size notebook and the Baron Fig Pocket Vanguard without any problems. There is also the space between the slots that can hold more notebooks or pens or little knick knacks. This is a very functional pen case and an upgrade to the Lookout.

If you just do a quick search on Instagram you will see how different people load their Sinclair out. Some, like me have been using it with just 3 pens and a single notebook. Others may have more than 1 notebook, because the notebook slot can hold 3 notebooks albeit it is a very tight fit. And then others who squeeze as many pens as they could into every space available. There is no right or wrong way to use the Sinclair. It is a flexible pen case that can fit your needs well.

Personally, I found myself using the pen slots most of the time. The notebook that I kept in there, seldom leaves the Sinclair most of the time. The Lookout is probably the best pen case for day to day needs. The Sinclair is better for weekends when I meet up with my friends and we get to pen testing.

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Posted on June 23, 2017 and filed under Case, review.

Review: Nock Co. Brasstown

Nock Co. Brasstown with a Lamy Safari for scale. A regular Brasstown doesn't come with the badge.

Nock Co. is a company started by Brad Dowdy - Mr. Pen Addict and Jeffrey Bruckwicki. They specialise in making pen cases but have since expanded their products into paper goods. The Brasstown is one of the initial product offering by Nock Co. It was right there at the beginning but I didn’t have enough money then to get it during their Kickstarter campaign. Later on, it was tough to snag a Brasstown for myself because it was one of the more popular pen cases that Nock makes.

It was about two months ago that I managed to buy one. I had opted for a barn red and midnight colour way. The first one arrived not long after ordering. After using it for more than a week I noticed that there was a hole in one of the pen slots. I shot an email off to Nock Co. and received a reply within a few hours. Nock Co. has great customer service and they made it right. A replacement Brasstown reached me not after and now I am happily using it.

The Brasstown, if you are not familiar, is a pen roll combined with a zip case. It has 6 individual pen slots on the roll and it still has quite a bit of space in the pouch to hold pens or other accessories. Like all other Nock Co. pen cases, it is made of mylon. It doesn’t have much in the way of padding but the material will be able to protect your pens from scratches without any problems. I don’t worry about my expensive pens getting scratched if I transport them in the Brasstown. Plus the nylon material should provide a certain amount of water resistance as well.

The Brasstown comes with a pair of generously sized zippers. I’ve mentioned in my review of the Pilot Pensemble that a pen roll is inherently a right-handed product but the Brasstown has double zippers so I can close the case in a way that makes sense to me. Of course, you run the risk of having your pens the wrong way around that way but if you use your pen case while seated at a table I don’t see a problem having your pens facing downwards.

Though the Basstown doesn’t have a flap to protect the clips by rolling the material you are isolating the pens from each other. The generous space inside the Brasstown means I get to fit more than a few sample vials or gel ink pens if I want to.

The Brasstown is one of those product that just makes senses the moment you see it. You will be wondering how did we survive without one for so long. The Brasstown is perfect for students who carry around a combination of fountain pens and regular pens along with a number of accessories. Personally I use this to transport my pens for pen meets otherwise my preference would be the Nock Co. Lookout. A Nock Co. Brasstown retails for USD$40 and I count that as a great deal for the pen case you are getting.

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Posted on September 23, 2016 and filed under Case, review.

Review: Pilot Pensemble - 5 pen roll

Pilot is a pen company, I’m sure everyone knows that but do you know that Pilot also makes a range of pen storage accessories. Pilot has a series of pen cases known as the Pensemble (Pen and ensemble). They come in a few different varieties, a single pen roll, 3 pen zipper case, 5 pen roll, a 3 pen combination roll and 5 pen combination roll. Pilot also has a premium range of pen storage products known the Somes Collection which costs a whole lot more.

I was ordering some items from Amazon Japan so I threw in the Pilot Pensemble 5 pen roll into the cart. I paid about SGD$80 including international shipping for it. The Pilot Pensemble comes in a grey box and protected by a soft dust bag. This was a little more packaging than I had expected but it made the pen roll feels like a premium product.

The Pilot Pensemble is made of high quality calf hide on the exterior and pig suede on the interior. (Do note that pigs are considered unclean by some faiths, so handle the pen roll with care and sensitivity. This pen roll might not be suitable for everyone to use.) I must say though I feel a little bad about buying a calf hide leather product, the leather feels really really soft, supple and luxurious. The interior feels just slightly velvety and soft. I do not worry about my pens getting scratched by pulling the pens in and out of their slots. The stitching is tight and nicely done. This is a high quality product by Pilot, I am impressed.

The Pensemble comes with 2 larger pen slots and 3 regular sized ones. The thickest pens I own fit into both types of slots easily. Length wise, my OMAS Arte Italiana Art 2015 Liquid Green fits in the pen roll nicely. After 2 months of constant use, I found the clips of my pens do cause depressions on the interior suede. That isn’t serious since the pen roll is here to protect the pens. The pen clips are protected by flaps of the same pig suede. However the centre most regular pen slot do lack the clip protection because the flap doesn’t really want to stay down over the clip. It curls up slightly but after rolling the pen roll the neighbouring flap would help keep the flap down. The Pilot Pensemble lays flat on the table, allowing easy access to the pen slots. Holding my pen roll with the pens facing downwards and shaking it slightly, my unclipped pens still stay in their pen slots. The texture of the pig suede provides enough friction to hold the pens in their slots. Once the pen roll is rolled up and secured via the leather string, it is a small and compact pen case.

My only complain is the pen roll is clearly meant for the right handed people of the world of which I am not a member of. The leather string that’s used to secure the pen roll close starts from the right. Personally I am very inclined to unroll the pen roll with my left hand, I would always end up with the pens facing downwards. Though none of my pens have actually fallen out, it is still rather unsafe for my peace of mind if nothing else. I know it is quite impossible to hope for a left handed version but lefties out there do take note when getting a pen roll.

The Pilot Pensemble as my very first pen roll is an excellent product. 5 pens is a nice little number to carry around. Though the nature of the leather doesn’t provide as much protection from falls as a hard case like Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 6 might, this pen roll is the perfect pen case for daily knocking around in my work bag. Do note though that if you are not careful you might get ink on the interior of the pen roll. The suede stains with ink easily and it might not be easy to clean it out. Also be careful with what cleaning products you use with leather products, I managed to wash the shine and oil out of my pen roll. My carelessness aside, the Pilot Pensemble is a pen roll I recommend wholeheartedly.

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Posted on August 9, 2016 and filed under Case, review.

Review: Franklin Christoph Penvelope 6

My thanks to my good friend Gautam for loaning me his pen case for review.

Franklin Christoph is a company known for their acrylic fountain pens, especially those in ice finish. I have previously reviewed one such pen, the Franklin Christoph Model 66 Stabilis. It is a beautiful demonstrator desk fountain pen. However, Franklin Christoph is also a maker of leather pen cases. They make a wide variety of pen cases which ranged from the single pen sleeve to the mammoth 80 pen briefcase. Today I am reviewing the Penvelope 6, Franklin Christoph’s leather 6 pen case.

The Penvelope style pen cases comes in 6 and 13 pen varieties only. They have the option of the brown, black and dark maroon leather. I am reviewing the brown Penvelope 6. The dark brown leather is accented with a tan colour stitching. The leather used feels smooth and premium to the touch. As with all leather goods, leather would change its colour as it gets exposed to hand oil and would pick up nicks and scratches depending on how the owner treats it. The stitching is done neatly and there is no loose threads. I love that the edges of the case is burnished nicely. The Penvelope 6 feels nicely finished with the Franklin Christoph logo embossed on the back of the case.

As the name suggests, the Penvelope 6 is styled like an envelope. The top half folds over the pen slots. The flap is stiff and hard and it is secured with a magnetic button. At first I was constantly hunting around for the matching end to secure the flap. After a week of hunting around I discovered the trick. The button tend to close lower than where its matching pair is situated so I had to move upwards to close it. I don’t know if this is the case (pardon the pun) for all Penvelope 6 cases, or this is the odd case out. Personally I would highly prefer if the closure is situated such that it would be at the nature closing point of the flap. Considering that the flap is not a floppy sort of leather, this can be easily achieved if the button was moved just slightly lower.

Inside the Penvelope 6, you will find the case lined with a ribbed fabric. The pen slots are made of the same fabric. The slots are stiff and it holds its shape very well. However the edges of the fabric feels a little rough. I’d be afraid that it might end up scratching the exterior of the wider pens. My Delta Dolcevita Stantuffo and OMAS Arte Italiana are the widest pens I have. Both managed to fit into the slots with some coaxing. Personally I don’t mind my pens having micro scratches on them but the “roughness” of the edges is subjective so it is more a matter of your personal threshold for it.

On a positive note, I do like that the pen slots are stiff. I can slide the clip over the slots easily with just one hand. For softer cases such as Nock Co’s Lookout, I have to hold on to the fabric while the other hand pushes the pen down. There is no such need for the Franklin Christoph Penvelope 6. However on the other hand, the Penvelope 6 doesn’t work for short and/or narrow pens without a clip. The pens would just slide to the bottom of the Pevelope 6 and retrieving your pen would be more akin to a fishing expedition. There is no getting your pen back short of turn the case upside down. However, the pen slots extend almost all the way down the case to truly separate your pens from each other. That way, the pens wouldn’t accidentally knock into each other. Though your pens are protected from the top and bottom, it is not from the sides. The sides are open and exposed because the stiff leather wouldn’t wrap itself around the pens. However your pens are about 2.5cm away from the edge of the case. The stiff and hardy leather has its own advantage too. I feel my pens are safe even if the case were to fall from table height.

Overall, the Franklin Christoph Penvelope 6 is a premium product with a similar price tag to match. The quirks of the case are not entirely deal breakers for me but they might be for others. I am sure this is a product that can be improved upon especially with the magnetic closure position and the edges of pen slots. Once those are rectified, I might consider a Penvelope 6 for myself but before that I’d stick to what I currently have.

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Posted on June 3, 2016 and filed under Case, review, Stationary.

Review: Single Pen Sleeve

I’ve received 3 single pen sleeves of my choosing from Tao Bao as a birthday present last year. Tao Bao, if you are unfamiliar with it, is a website where you can buy almost anything you want directly from China. The down side is the entire website is in Chinese, if you are not familiar or inclined to read Chinese characters you are out of luck. Though I am told that Google Translatehelps a great deal in working out how to use the site. Tao Bao offers many cheap deals but also many fake “branded” items so keep an eye out on what you buy there. The one I got came with a price tag of just $29 Chinese Yuan (SGD$6.30 / USD $4.60) and add shipping to that, it is still a pretty nice deal.

The single pen sleeve comes in three different colours - red, white and black. Of course, I got them all. Given their price, I highly doubt they are made of real leather. The exterior is smooth and glossy. The sides are secured with stitching that matched the colour of the faux leather. The white and black comes with a small tab that’s the colour of the French flag, while the red has a rainbow coloured one. I thought the small tab gives the pen sleeve a nice little flair. The stitching is nice and clean. There isn’t any loose threads or uneven stitching. The edges of the pen sleeve is unfinished but cleanly cut and smooth. The inside of the sleeve is unfinished but smooth enough that I wouldn’t worry about my pen getting scratched up moving in out of the sleeve.

I’ve used it for on and off through the year and before I wrote this review I've used it for 2 weeks straight. All my pens fit in it, except the Franklin Christoph Model 66, well it’s a desk pen so I can’t expect the pen sleeve to be long enough to accommodate it. As for the width, it accommodate my widest pen, the Delta the Journal with ease. However given it’s material I expect the sleeve to get looser with repeated usage. It is tight enough to hold the pen inside and at the same time not so tight till it’s a pain in the ass to get it out.

The nature of a pen sleeve is to keep your pen protected and not have it roll off a desk. The no brand single pen sleeve from Tao Bao does its job admirably, looking stylish at the same time for a cheap price. I recommend this pen sleeve for anyone who clear to navigate the Tao Bao website

Posted on January 29, 2016 and filed under Stationary, review, Case.

Review: Nock Co's Maryapple

Nock Co's Maryapple

I have purchased Nock Co's Maryapple as part of their initial Kickstarter campagin back in Oct 2013. I didn't get a chance to use the Maryapple at all because I was working on a Muji A5 hard cover notebook then. However, that's all changed now that I am done with that notebook.

What is a Maryapple you ask? It is Nock Co's two memo book bi fold holder. It fits memo book with dimensions of 3.5" x 5.5". It handmade in USA with durable materials. 1000D nylon with DWR coating on the exterior and nylon pack cloth on the interior. The stitching is tight and ample. I have confidence that it wouldn't fray easily.

Maryapple comes with two pockets. You don't have to keep only 2 notebooks inside the pockets. As far as I can pack it in, each pocket can hold 3 Field Notes memo books in each pocket comfortably. However, you don't have to limit yourself to only memo books. You can clip your pens in the pocket if you do not mind your pens touching. Some may prefer a leather memo book holder but Maryapple is lighter and it comes in quite a few colour ways.

In conclusion, I highly recommend the Maryapple to all who uses memo books. I am sure that it will be able to withstand all the rigours of being carried around all day. Pair this with Nock Co's Lookout and they will be the perfect EDC carry. Click here to read a review of the Lookout.

Posted on August 15, 2014 and filed under review, Case.