Do you have a favorite pen? Pencil? Maybe a marker? It doesn’t have to be for marking wood. I’m just curious to see what ToolGuyd readers like to write with.
I don’t do very much writing these days, but I’ve been trying to get back to jotting things down on paper. But when it comes down to projects and plans – that’s when my notebooks and pads see a lot of writing action.
A long time ago I gravitated towards gel ink, and I haven’t turned back. Pilot G2 pens are my favorite “beater” type pen, and I also have a couple of metal-bodied versions that I ordered from Hong Kong a few years ago.
I also have a couple of Parker Jotter pens that I bought in college, which is one of few exceptions to my aversion to ballpoint pens. I tried the Parker gel ink cartridges, and am not a fan.
I have a couple of Japanese-style super-fine pens (e.g. Pilot Hi-Tec and Pentel Slicci) that I use when I need to write slow and neat. The thinner points require me to slow down, which helps keep my writing legible.
I’ve also taken a liking towards fountain pens. I own a couple of beginner pens, and there’s Pilot’s Vanishing Point (~$130 via Amazon). Fountain pens allow for a more custom writing experience.
I started with a couple of cheap disposables, then moved up to beginner pens, and now love my Vanishing Point. As the name suggests, it’s a fountain pen with a retractable point – this makes it as quick and easy to whip out and write with as any other clicker pen, at least until it’s time for an ink refill.
The Monteverde Tool Pen keeps begging to be added to my Amazon shopping cart, but I don’t think I’d ever use it.
On the go, Fisher Space Pens, specifically the bullet, is my top pick. I keep one in the car, as temperature fluctuations tend to make cheap disposables go bad. And if I need to take a pen with me, they slip into my pocket neatly and unobtrusively.
Of course I’m picky about pencils too. 2mm lead pointers rock, but they’re more for technical drawing than writing. I like ’em because it’s easier to load them with the exact lead hardness I prefer, such as HB, 2H, or 4H.
But for writing and general drawing or sketching out ideas, I use mechanical pencils with 0.3, 0.5, or 0.7mm lead sizes.
The Steadtler 771 is good for laying down thick marks, but I don’t use it much. I generally prefer markers for laying out measurements and such.
Pentel Graphgear 1000 pencils are my favorite all-around mechanical pencils. They’re not uber-expensive, and they are a pleasure to write with. I also like Pentel’s Sharp Kerry, which is mentioned in last year’s Ultimate Tool Gift Guide. The Sharp Kerry is compact model that fits away in your pocket. It’s one of few “EDC-able” pencils.
I suppose Milwaukee’s Inkzall markers might be worth a try, and I recently bought a super-thin-tipped market akin to Fastcap’s, but it’s hard to do better than Sharpies.
Sharpies are widely available, there are decent color options, different form factors (I have a couple that fit on my keychain), and there are a couple of different sizes, styles, and formulations that are meant for professional and industrial use. Generally, regular fine and extra fine point Sharpies are hard to beat.