My pen obsession…….by Dean Drew


One of the fringe benefits of writing a diary for 35 years is an unhealthy obsession with stationery; journals, pens, pencils and glue. The latter may be surprising, but I now know the different adherent properties of different glue stick brands.

But it’s the writing implement that takes most of my attention. I’m not known as a particularly detailed person but when it comes to writing I am unusually obsessive.

At work I only use a mechanical pencil in brown workbooks with a decent grade of lined off-white paper. I only use 0.7 leads as 0.5 leads are too fine and 0.9 (which I have flirted with several times) can smudge. I lose pencils so I don’t have an unnecessarily expensive one but it does need to be reliable, a proper shaft (ooh), a decent rubber a good grip. On Amazon there are an unhealthy number of reviews of the many options – and they make good reading. All of which had led me to a Faber-Castell Grip Plus with Pentel replacement leads.

My diary is a different matter and I been through different phases over the years.  A diary is much more important than work notes so it has to be ink. The key things have been neatness, an easy flow, no blotches and a good solid colour. For years I used a Waterman fountain pen with a medium nib and blue ink. My blue preference is probably down to the ink we had at school. It still seems right. I used to always carry 2 identical Watermans around with replacement ink in a small metal box. I still have them. But ink is inherently messy and pens have developed incredibly from dry old Bic biros that scratched the page. So I moved to a pen around 10 years ago. I have tried just about every make and variant and still do – testing against my 4 criteria. I don’t use a roller ball; they have a false sort of fountain pen look. I prefer a fine tip as this makes me write slower and with more space and hence neater. But many fine tips are made cheaply and break. I recently bought a batch of V5 Hi-tech point 0.5 and for the moment I’m sticking to these.

It does sound rather dull. It’s a good job I’m married



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6 responses to “My pen obsession…….by Dean Drew

  1. Dear Drew, I don’t mean this personally but your article about pens was mighty sexy. I LOVE pens, especially fountain pens. Sadly I do not have a decent pen right now, so hearing your pen and ink descriptions was very satisfying.

  2. Wonderfully funny…good thing i’m married. Meaning, I assume, obsession with writing implements is dull. Not in the least! I’ve been known to walk through the house looking for the properly sharpened pencil of the appropriate hardness (HB) for 15 mins or more before settling down to write. Excuses, excuses.

  3. You mean I’m not the only one who carries their own mechanical pencil, a spare and a cartridge of extra lead with me in my purse and in my briefcase? Thank goodness.

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