Zebra Z-Grip mechanical pencil review

Zebra Z-Grip mechanical pencil review

The Zebra Z-Grip is a 0.5mm mechanical pencil that costs just 38p from Cult Pens. (That’s about 60 cents in American money.) It has a clear plastic barrel with either black, blue or red grip and trim.

Zebra Z-Grip mechanical pencil tip

It does feel and look pretty cheap but I find the clear barrel quite appealing. The tube that holds the lead is visible running down the length of the pen like a vein. It adds interest and makes it easy to see how much lead is left. The grip is grippy and comfortable to hold.

Zebra Z-Grip mechanical pencil barrel

The clip is clippy. It probably wouldn’t take a lot of punishment but with normal use I think it would be fine. The eraser is a reasonable size and actually does rub out pencil. That makes it a better eraser than that found on pencils costing literally a hundred times as much.

Zebra Z-Grip mechanical pencil clip

Just about any part of the pen that can wobble does wobble: the tip, the eraser and the eraser cap. I don’t like wibbly wobbly bits, not on my pens and pencils anyway, but I can forgive it on a pencil this price. It doesn’t interfere with its use one bit. The tip is actually retractable which is a surprising bonus.

Zebra Z-Grip mechanical pencil eraser

Nothing about this pencil is spectacular (although the eraser is great for a mechanical pencil) but everything works as it should. This makes the Zebra Z-Grip an amazing pencil for the price.

Zebra Z-Grip mechanical pencil handwritten review

Thank you so much to Cult Pens for sponsoring this review. You can buy this pencil from them here.

Nock Co Sassafras pen case label

Nock Co Sassafras pen case review

Nock Co Sassafras pen case label

I was very excited when Brad Dowdy announced he would be going into business with Jeffery Bruckwicki to manufacture handmade pen cases. I knew they would be great and I backed the Kickstarter project immediately. Just recently Brad and Jeffery opened their online store and so I thought the time was right for me to start posting some reviews. There’s nothing worse than reading a review of something fantastic and then finding out you can’t actually go and buy it.

Nock Co Sassafras pen case closed front

That last paragraph may possibly have given away what I think about this case. This is the Sassafras case which is billed as a ‘five pen bi-fold’ but will actually hold several more pens if you don’t mind them touching. I do mind some of my pens touching but others I’m not so fussy about. The former go on into the three slots on the left; the remainder are jammed into the two slots on the right.

Nock Co Sassafras pen case fully loaded

This is the case I use for pens I’m going to use throughout the day. There are usually two fountain pens (the one I’m going to use in my diary/journal that day and one that will be okay to use in meetings), a nice rollerball, a ballpoint, a Sharpie, a gel pen or two, a multipen and a mechanical pencil. I want to cover most possibilities, in other words. On this particular day I was using, from left to right, a: Kaweco Dia 2; Faber-Castell Ambition; Retro 51 Tornado; Pilot Juice; Tactile Turn Mover; Pilot Coleto; Pilot Frixion highlighter; Sharpie Fine; and Rotring 600 pencil.

Nock Co Sassafras pen case stitching

The build quality is outstanding. The canvas is tough and waterproof. The stitching is neat and strong. It reminds me of a climbing harness in its construction and in the confidence it gives you in its ability to not come apart. The flaps fold over to keep your pens protected from each other and there is enough thickness in the material to keep your pens safe from the outside world.

Nock Co Sassafras pen case closed

There’s nothing to keep the case closed and that suits me because it’s either squashed in my bag or on my desk ready to use. If it was floating about in a big spacious bag there might be some issues. It’s also a little short for the occasional extra-long pen or pencil. (Particularly pencils – all wooden pencils are too long when new.) These are both design decisions and don’t reflect negatively on the quality one bit. I mention them because it’s possible that means this isn’t the right case for you.

Nock Co Sassafras pen case open

Whilst I was writing this review I realised that I’ve taken this case for granted. It does it’s job so well that I don’t notice it and I forget that before I bought it I hadn’t found a case that was what I wanted. That’s how good it is.

Driftwood sketch and a Palomino Blackwing pencil giveaway

Driftwood sketch

Palomino’s Blackwing pencils are a wonderful trio.

Blackwing pencils side by side

The Blackwing is soft and dark and beautiful for sketching. The above sketch was drawn with one, as was this boat. I reviewed it here.

The Blackwing 602 is the classic and is the hardest of the three, perfect for writing with but also a dab hand at sketching. I reviewed it here.

The Blackwing Pearl looks beautiful (although to be honest, they all do). It’s harder than the Blackwing and softer than the Blackwing 602 and so a good compromise for both sketching and writing.

Thanks to the generosity of The Journal Shop (which is excellent, by the way), I have one of each of these pencils to give away as a set. To sweeten the deal, the winner will also get this sketch of some driftwood on Umtentweni beach.

To have a chance of winning these three lovely pencils (and the sketch), leave a comment here telling me what you would use the pencils for. The giveaway is open worldwide and closes at 9am BST on Saturday 9th August. The winner will be selected randomly.

Sailor Jentle Grenade ink review Inkling doodle

Sailor Jentle Grenade ink review

Sailor Jentle Grenade ink review

A lovely rich dark red. This ink dries reasonably quickly, don’t take any notice of the dry times on the review – the Noodler puts down ink like a firehose. This reminds me of food and drink. As most things do to be honest.

Here I am doodling the Inkling.

This is a gorgeous ink.

I did this Inkling a while ago and since doing it I have learned that Sailor are discontinuing this ink. This is a shame.

Sailor Jentle Grenade ink review Inkling doodle

I received this ink from The Pen Company and wrote a different review of it for them here.