Deals and Drops: Back to School (and Back to Work)

I've been receiving a bunch of requests lately for recommendations on pens, inks, and paper that are appropriate for student and office use. Since it's that time of year, I figured I would put together a list. This is a bit of a hybrid Deals and Drops / Recommendations post, as there are also some newly released pens and limited editions to highlight. 

  1. Platinum Shungyo Limited Edition Demonstrator (via Pen Chalet). I can't wait to see this new limited edition pen from Platinum in person at the DC Pen Show. Red demonstrator with rhodium trim? I'm in. 
  2. Platinum 3776 Century (via Amazon). If you're in the market for an excellent workhorse fountain pen for the office or school, you'd be hard pressed to find a better bargain.  Platinum Blue-Black Ink is also a great school/office ink, as it performs very well across the paper-quality spectrum. The cartridges have a large capacity and come in packs of 10
  3. Caran d'Ache 849 Fountain Pen (via Pen Chalet). The much anticipated fountain pen version of the Caran d'Ache 849 ballpoint has finally been released. 
  4. Kaweco Perkeo (via Appelboom). A new inexpensive pen from Kaweco oriented towards the student market. Larger than the Kaweco Sport
  5. Sailor Ink (via Vanness Pens). Most people ask me about the "best cheap paper" to use for the office and the classroom, but it's often worth your time to pay more attention to the ink that you're using. I've had excellent luck with Sailor inks in a fine or extra-fine nib on the cheapest of recycled copy paper. While Sailor's pigmented Kiwa-Guro (Black) and Sei-Boku (Blue-Black) pigmented inks are somewhat expensive, a bottle will last a long time and they will write on almost anything.   
  6. Rhodia No. 18 (via Anderson Pens). To me, Rhodia is the gold standard for fountain pen friendly paper for everyday use. It's relatively inexpensive, and not quite as slick as Clairefontaine so it dries quicker. It comes in a variety of sizes and rulings, but the No. 18 graph is my personal favorite. 
  7. Staples Sustainable Earth Sugarcane Legal Pads (via Amazon). When asked for a recommendation for the most inexpensive fountain pen friendly paper, this is my go-to recommendation. Sometimes sugarcane paper can be hard to find in stores. As a general matter, the white legal pads are much more fountain-pen friendly than the yellow versions. I think it has something to do with the dye used to color the paper.
  8. Staples Sustainable Earth Copy Paper (via Amazon). I've never used the unlined sugarcane copy paper, but it gets excellent reviews. Pretty cheap for a ream, and you could print your own lined notebook paper.
  9. Tops Double Docket Gold Writing Pad (via Amazon). Tops' "Double Docket" series is another good option if you enjoy the legal pad format. Again, the white paper works the best. It's heavier stock. Not THE most fountain pen friendly paper in the world, but it will handle most inks without feathering and bleedthrough.
  10. Baron Fig Mastermind (via Baron Fig). What I personally use in the office when I'm at my desk. The slightly toothy paper is very nice to write on, and I love the wide format.
  11. Uniball Vision Elite (via Amazon). The liquid ink disposable rollerball that I have sitting on my desk at work. They also come in a BLX Version with black-tinged ink.
  12. Papermate Inkjoy (via Amazon). I've been extremely impressed with the .5mm version of Papermate's quick-drying Inkjoy gel pen. The colors really pop, too. 
  13. Uniball Signo DX (via Amazon). I'm a convert to these pens, which are rapidly becoming my preferred ultra-fine point Japanese gel pens.  
  14. Carl Angel 5 Pencil Sharpener (via Amazon). The best long-point desktop pencil sharpener out there. I've converted multiple co-workers. 
  15. Kum Masterpiece Pencil Sharpener (via C.W. Pencil Enterprise). The best all-around long-point handheld pencil sharpener, period.

If you're interested in reading further, check out my various lists and recommendations posts for pens, inks, and pencils

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