Diamine Onyx Black is a good dark black ink. It’s the darkest of Diamine’s blacks and is quite a neutral colour, just as a real black should be. It’s a good wet ink but quite slow to dry. There’s some interesting sheen when the ink pools but that isn’t noticeable under normal usage.
The Midori CL pencil is a plastic bodied mechanical pencil that costs about £2.50 in the UK. It’s available in 0.3mm and 0.5mm versions and in blue, white and pink.
It’s simply styled, with minimal branding. It looks quite 60s to me. I don’t like it as much in person as I thought I would when I looked at the pictures before buying but that’s down to my taste. You may love it, and I won’t judge you.
However, whether you like how it looks or not, it isn’t actually a very good pencil.
The metal tip is retractable and that’s great. However because when you push the button it also has to push out the tip, the lead isn’t out enough to easily use. Unfortunately a second press pushes the lead out so far it’s prone to breaking. It’s not been thought through.
The clip, likewise, shows a lack of sensible thinking. It’s part of the push button so when you try to clip it onto something either you accidentally deploy the lead or you push the button off the barrel a little.
Both these issues can be avoided if you exercise care but why should you need to.
There isn’t an eraser but that’s okay because if there had been one I expect it would have been awful.
This is a pencil that was designed for its looks by someone who never actually tried to use it.
The Dudek Display is a wooden pen and notebook stand. It’s handmade from solid walnut by Mike Dudek and sold through his Dudek Modern Goods website for $65.
The Display holds five pens or pencils. The holes are large and I’ve not yet found a pen that won’t fit. (The holes can be 1/2” or, like mine, 5/8″.)
The test-tube-rack-like open front lets you see your beautiful pens in all their glory and gives this product its name. The combination of lovely pens and wood is a treat for the eyes.
The slot at the back will hold a couple of Field Note sized notebooks or a notebook in a cover. It’s useful, keeping it all together.
There is a wide range of products available from Dudek Modern Goods, with options for the number of pens; smaller holes for pencils; with or without a notebook slot; and solid or open designs. Mike will also customise existing designs to meet your requirements.
The Display is a beautiful item in its own right. The walnut is delicious, with a glorious smooth oiled finish letting the grain show through. The quality of the workmanship is outstanding. There are plenty of small details such as the grooves cut into the sides and the softly chamfered pen holes that all show care and attention to detail.
My Display sits on my desk at work. Before I bought my Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter (review coming soon, promise!) I used to sit my work notebook in the slot: a couple of Calepino notebooks inside a Davis Leatherworks cover. These days I tend to stick my phone in there.
The pens change from day to day although there’s usually a Copic Multiliner SP in there. In this picture you can see, from left to right: Pentel Graph 1000, TWSBI Vac 700, Copic Multiliner SP, Ateleia Brass Pen, and Kaweco Dia 2.
The Display is a wonderful product. It’s simple (though way beyond anything I could ever make myself) and beautifully made. The little details, along with the natural beauty of the wood, make this a quality product that’s both useful and pleasing to the eye.
If you would like a chance to win a Display of your own then you’re in luck as Mr Dudek has very kindly offered one for a giveaway. You know the score by now: say thank you to someone you know in the comments. I’ll number the entries and then use random.org to pick a winner. You can only enter once and the giveaway closes at 9am GMT on Sunday 3rd May.
In my quest to find something to replace Sailor Jentle Apricot in the highly unlikely event that I actually finish the bottle I have (having not finished any bottles of any ink yet), I thought I’d go for the obvious and try Diamine Orange. On first write, I thought I might be onto a winner. The colour is joyful and not too far away from the Apricot but alas there’s not a lot of shading going on here and it ends up feeling a little flat.
Here I am doodling the Inkling.