Review: The Rest of the Nockco Kickstarter Pen Cases

Nockco should be launching their store soon. (If they haven’t already launched – this post was written last weekend and scheduled for today.)  launched their store yesterday. They’ve already announced additional products so there should be plenty to choose from. Now seems to be a good time to review the rest of my Nockco cases.

I reviewed the Nockco Hightower (the cases are all named for mountain peaks in Georgia) back in May and it remains my most used Nockco pen case. My most used case overall, if I  only consider a case used when pens are put in and taken out. I pledged at the “All the Cases” level when they had their Kickstarter campaign and these are the rest of those cases. And as an aside, it’s nice to see a Kickstarter campaign used to launch a business, and a business that makes their own products, rather than just be a storefront.

The red-white-blue flecked Grand Huron is over 6.5″ long so doesn’t fit in most pen cases but is shown in some photos for reference. The Edison Collier, Lamy Safari, and Pilot Vanishing point are also used (and fit) as a reference for all the cases and should provide a good cross-section of know pens.

Most cases are orange because I picked that as the color for the cases I expected to carry in a bag. This was to make them easy to find. Plus, I like orange.

The Lookout

I expected this three pen holster to be the case I used most but a change in my daily carry bag changed that. Three pens are an ideal carry for me so it does get used.

Like all the cases it’s well made with even stitching and no loose threads. The lining is soft and won’t scratch my pens. I’d consider it a “normal” size case that can accommodate most pens. The material is heavy and protects the pens quit well. Like many cases the sides are open towards the top of the case. I feel more comfortable with my heavy leather Franklin-Christoph Penvelope case bouncing around in my bag if there are heavy objects sharing the space with it. It may be psychological but I feel the leather would provide better protection against being crushed. But as far as cloth bags go, the Lookout provides excellent protection. There is padding and I can’t foresee anything ripping through the material. This the only one of the cases that has the extra padding.

Some people have noticed a Field Notes book fits under the strap and carry one there but I haven’t tried it.

Large Chimney Top

I ended up using this for computer/phone cables, a wireless hotspot, batteries, headphones, thumb drives and more. Thanks to the hotspot and large(ish) brick battery it can be tight at times but a lot does fit in.

The case is unlined but the interior is still smooth. There’s no padding. Again, good construction with even stitching.

The case is about 7″ long so it doesn’t fit full size wood case pencils.

Nockco large chimney top

Small Chimney Top

This case is as long as the Large Chimney Top but narrower. I use this to hold my Vac 700 with its extra nibs. It’s my ink testing case.

Broken record here – good construction with even stitching. Like the large version there’s no lining and large, new wood case pencils just don’t fit.

Nockco small chimney top

The Maryapple

This is a bi-fold case with a notebook pocket on each side. Pens fit too, as long as you don’t mind that they touch. This one is lined. I’ve yet to find a regular use for this case. My particular case is the Steel exterior with Blue Jay interior.

Guess what? Quality construction with even stitching.

Nockco Maryapple

The Maryapple with a Field Notes 3 pack on each side

The Sassafras

This is the pen version of the Maryapple. It’s a bifold case with five pen slots, three on the left and two on the right. The slots on the right can easily hold multiple pens if you don’t mind touching.

Yet again, even stitching and solid construction.

I’ve used this on occasion but it hasn’t gotten a lot of use.

The Nockco Sassafras

The Brasstown

The Brasstown is the most ingenious design of all the cases. It’s a six pen roll that fits in a zippered case. It holds six (or more) pens in a six pen roll. More pens or other small items can fit loose in the case. That’s a lot in a small area.

I would have expected to use this case more but find I usually pick another. If I need less than six pens then it’s the Hightower. If it’s six pens then it’s the leather Penvelope. Because of this I’ve started to use it for my Retro 51 accumulation and spare refills.

The case is lined. New wood case pencils won’t fit in the roll out sleeves but they do fit loose in the case. My Edison Huron Grande won’t be completely wrapped in the roll out sleeve, but it does fit in the case.

And yes, even stitching and overall quality construction.

 

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Kaweco Eco Wild Raw Leather Pen Pouch

The Kaweco Eco Wild Raw Leather Pen Pouch is a Cult Pens exclusive, according to their website. I typically order from them once or twice a year, concentrating on products not available in the US (they’re in the UK) and added this case to my last order. There’s not much to the cases, their a simple sleeve. There is a one pen case and a two pen case for the Sport line of pens. There’s also a one pens case and a two pen case for the Lilliput line of pens. Based on the pictures on Cult Pens’ website it looks like the the two pen versions don’t have a divider so the pens touch.

I ordered the one pen case for the Kaweco Sport. I have a red Kaweco AC Sport and unlike the AL Raw Aluminum or my new Black Stonewashed I don’t want it to get scratched up being carried in my pocket. The case is £22.99 inc VAT or £19.16 ex VAT. US foreigners don’t pay VAT.

The case is nice soft calf-skin leather. Initially the AL Sport was a tight fit but after a day or two of use it stretched out nicely and the pen is now easy to remove. It’s still sits securely in the case with no chance of slipping out. The case seems well built and durable but only time will tell. The stitching is a little rough where it ends. There’s a stiff piece of thread extending about 1/20th of an inch from the case. The leather will attract nicks, cuts and scuffs over time which will give it character.

My Franklin-Christoph Model 40 Pocket also fits in the pouch but it’s a much tighter fit. I imagine the pouch could expand a little more but in that case it might be too loose for the Kaweco Sport. I won’t be using the Model 40 in this sleeve while I still use it for the Sport, but If I wanted a case dedicated to the Model 40 I would consider this pouch.

The case is also light so it doesn’t add much weight to the pen. My case is 0.4 oz (12 g) so with my currently inked AL Sport Stonewashed the total weight is 1.3 oz (36 g).

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The pictures below show the case slightly lighter in color than mine really is thanks to the lighting. My case has more brown to it. But I couldn’t get the color right so decided to go with these. The photos on the Cult Pens site are a bit darker than my case.

Except for the first photo, the pictures all show the case with a pen in it. The pen is listed in the caption since it’s not obvious from the picture.

Review: Hightower Pen Case by Nock Co

Photo of the closed Nock Co HightowerI already had more pen cases than I needed but that didn’t stop me from backing the Nock Co pen cases on Kickstarter. I backed at all the cases, along with 472 others, and this has proven to be the most used case of the bunch in the month and a half I’ve had them. It’s the Hightower Pen Case in the Kickstarter LE colors, Peacock exterior (a blue-green) and a Midnight Blue exterior (a navy-blue).  There’s slots for three pens on the left, covered by a flap. The right side has a pocked sized for Doane Utility Journals, Field Notes or similar pocket notebooks and fits three comfortably. A fourth can be squeezed in put it requires a bit too much effort to be practical. While multiple notebooks can be held it does bulk up the case and keep it from being flat when it’s closed. I find anything more than two notebooks and the case doesn’t close flat enough for my taste.

For the record, my iPhone 5S and a Nokia Lumia 920 fit in the pocket (not at the same time) but are not secure and bulk up the case. It seems inevitable the phone would slide out and head to the floor.

The exterior is made of heavy nylon with a durable water repellant (DWR) coating that feels very cloth-like. The interior is pack cloth that is very smooth and is unlikely to scratch any pens. I say unlikely to scratch because there are no guarantees, but I’m certain all my pens will be scratch free.

Personally, I prefer using my Franklin-Christoph Penvelope 6 case for transporting pens in a computer or other bag. The heavy leather and heavy cloth gives the pens more protection, in my opinion. Since the Hightower material is cloth I’m paranoid the pens could be crushed or cracked if the bag was thrown around and a heavy object shared the space with them. That said, the material does seem very strong and would protect the pens against keys and other objects. Another concern is that the case doesn’t snap closed so something could work it’s way into the case. I’m too paranoid to use this case in my daily computer bag, since it doesn’t have it’s own pocket to secure it and would bounce around. The Hightower is not the case I use for my everyday carry, but it still gets used. If this case closed securely, with a zipper for example, it would probably replace my Penvelope and be nearly perfect. It does get used to keep my current favorite writers and active notebooks handy. I have a habit of leaving them around the house and end up having to search for them. Keeping them in the case avoids the problem. It does leave home and travels occasionally and keeps the pens well protected.

The case is about 6 3/4 inches tall and about 4 1/4 inches wide when closed and 8 3/4 inches wide when open. I haven’t had the case long enough to really test the durability but the case is well made. The Nock Co cases are handmade in Georgia. I expected to find some hanging threads or mis-cut corners but can’t find any on my case. This, along with the tight stitching, bodes well for the long term durability.

I keep three pens in the left side, usually three different inks in thin nibs, suitable for writing and note taking. There’s one, sometimes two, pocket notebooks on the right along with some business cards. I primarily use it to keep handy around the house so I don’t have to go hunting for pens or the current notebooks. But it does travel with me on occasion.

At 6 3/4 inches the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 either doesn’t fit in the case or just barely fits, depending on your point of view. It comes right up to where the flap is sewn onto the case so the flap doesn’t lay flat when the pen is in the case. On the other hand, the case can be closed and the pen will be protected. But in my opinion, the pen is too big for the case. All my other pens fit fine. The pen slots are about 4 3/4 inches deep and the flap seam is about 1 1/3 inches above the slots.

Nock Co is a venture of Brady Dowdy and Jeffrey Bruckwicki. You can read about them here. The Nock Co Kickstarter cases are almost all shipped out. They’ve said they’ll need to build inventory after the that and then will open their online store. Currently you can sign up to be notified when the store opens or read additional information about their products. Brad has mentioned (either on the Podcast or twitter) that they expect the store to open in June.

Additional Reading

Reviewed at The Well -Appointed Desk

Reviewed at The Clicky Post

Reviewed and then a motorcycle test at No Pen Intended

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Review: Zeller Writing Co. 1-Pen Stand – Steam Bent Chair Arch

Lamy 2000 resting in the Zeller 1-Pen Steam Bent Chair Arch penstand (side view)The Steam Bent Chair Arch is a unique handmade pen stand from Zeller Writing Company. I bought it mainly for its unique looks. From a pen stand point of view it’s got its drawbacks, but if viewed as a display stand its a winner.

The stand arrives well packed and includes a certificate of authenticity and a personal note from Aaron Zeller. While neither the certificate or the note make for a better pen stand, they do indicate a high level of care that goes into making the stands. The packaging and presentation is top notch.

The stand is a simple design. There’s a dimple in the base to hold the pen in place. The steam bent arch has a notch at the top to help hold the pen in place against the smooth surface. Since each stand is hand made the exact size will vary, but the base of my pen stand is 2 1/4 inches wide and 4 inches deep. The base is about 3/4 inches high and the arch rises about 3 1/2 inches above the base.

The pen stand isn’t as delicate as it looks. While I wouldn’t throw it around it isn’t going to break during normal use. Or even if it’s dropped on a carpeted floor, as I learned.

The pen can be knocked out of the stand relatively easily, although how easily depends on the pen. It’s been more stable than I expected with my Lamy 2000 and Franklin-Christoph Model 66. I could kick my desk and most times the pen would hang in there. But pens do fall off and this has to be taken into consideration when placing the stand. I keep it away from the edge of my desk. I also keep it clear of my Mac Mini which has sharp edges which could potentially scratch a pen that falls against it.

The product page at Zeller Writing Co also has a video about the Steam bent Chair Arch 1-Pen Stand.

The ZRC 1-Pen Steam Bent Chair Arch stand is a cool looking handmade stand that looks good on my desk. No pictures of it on my desk, while it looks good the res of the mess doesn’t. But more pictures below.

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Dudek Modern Goods (Mike Dudek) “The Groove”

Dudek Modern Goods logo

Mike Dudek runs The Clicky Post website and also makes hand made wooden pen holders under the Dudek Modern Goods brand. I’ve admired them since I first saw them online although I never came up with a scenario where I could actually use one. My home desk is too cluttered and until recently I worked from home more often than not. But now I go into the office most days and there’s plenty of room on my office desk. So I ordered one last Wednesday.

I ordered “The Groove” ($55 plus shipping) which holds 9 pens and has a place to store small notebooks. I ordered the version with six 1/2″ holes and three 5/8″ holes since many of my pens are too small for the 1/2″ holes.

Timing is everything. I ordered just before going to bed on Wednesday and by the time I awoke I had the shipping notification and a note that he had just made a batch and had one ready to ship. (The website says turnaround could be 3 – 5 weeks as they are handmade to order.)

The holder arrived on Saturday. It was well packed and also included a Doane Utility notebook and a note from Mike.

Many of my pens are too big for the 1/2″ holes but none had a problem with the 5/8″ holes.

  • Kaweco Sports fit in the 1.2″ holes but rest on the cap since they don’t quit reach the bottom. This doesn’t seem to risk harming either the pen or the holder.
  • Some tapered pens such as Parker Vacumatics and my Edison Menlo fit until the taper expands beyond 1/2″. This seems to risk damage to the pen or holder since the pen could wedge itself in there.
  • The TWSBI Vac 700 need the 5/8″ holes as do the vintage Sheaffer Balances.
  • Esterbrooks fit nicely in the 1/2″ holes.

The Groove can hold 3 Field Notes or Doane Paper style pocket notebooks. But I’ll be using mine with a Maruman Mnemosyne Today’s Act notepad which I is where I keep my current work related To Do list. The notebook fits with enough room for a pocket notebook.

There’s not much else to say. At the simplest it’s just a block of wood with holes drilled into it and some stain applied. But it comes together nicely. I like the simplicity and the fact that it’s hand made, functional and I like the wood finish.

Perfect Match: Pelle Notebook and Retro 51 Pen

Retro 51 Deluxe Tornado LincolnThere’s one pen in my accumulation that’s not a fountain pen. It’s paired with a leather notebook cover and I consider them a set,

The pen is a Retro 51 Deluxe Tornado Lincoln Rollerball. It’s got a terrific antique copper finish. It’s developed a unique patina over time and use. Pictures don’t do it justice , but I love the look. If the finish was available as a fountain pen it would be perfect.

The notebook cover is a small Pelle Leather Journal in brown. The notebooks inside include a Pelle notebook and a Field Notes notebook, both with blank pages, The Field Notes notebook is a little big but more on that in a moment.

I came across the Retro 51 Lincoln last May but was unsure if it looked as good as it sounded. Pictures didn’t tell the story. As for the leather cover from Pelle I had come across it when looking for a pocket notebook but it seemed small for the notebooks I wanted to use. The replacement books from Pelle were a bit expensive for my intended use (abusing a notebook by carrying it around all the time and using it for disposable notes).

As I was debating this episode 18 of the Pen Addict podcast was released. Myke had bought the Lincoln Retro 15 and his description removed all doubts I had about look of the pen. As for the notebook he solved that problem too. Well, not so much solved as turned it into a feature. The Field Notes notebook are in fact too big, but just a little and only if the intent is to keep them entirely inside the leather cover. The books fit inside the retaining straps just fine. The books stick out a little, but since they are brown they match the leather cover and give it character.

I use the notebook as a pocket notebook or carry it in my computer bag. It’s generally paired with the pen. Except for the Pilot Vanishing Point a fountain pen is typically too cumbersome for quick notes.

Any notes I make in the notebook are temporary by nature. If I need to keep the info I transfer it someplace else.

The Pelle paper is nice. It’s more fountain pen friendly than the Field Notes paper. But it is thin so there is show through, but no bleed through.

The Pen Addict has a review of the Retro 51 Tornado. It’s a different finish but the same basic pen. I like the pen, although a thin metal pen wouldn’t be my choice for longer writing sessions. It’s perfect for quick notes.

The rest of the story can be told in pictures.

Pen Cases: Franklin-Christoph Penvelopes

Franklin-Christoph Logo on Penvelope SixRelated to my fountain pen addiction is a recent addiction to pen cases. Until March of last year all my pen cases had been either free throw-ins with a pen, or a case I bought because it was the cheapest I could find.

That changed last year when I decided to upgrade the quality of my cases and bought a Franklin-Christoph leather case. I was hooked.

Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Six

Photo of the F-C Penvelope SixI bought a Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Six case in March of 2012. This remains my favorite case to this day and holds my daily carry as I travel to and from work. As the name suggests, it hold six pens. I got the boot brown leather with a rust colored interior. The boot brown leather has a distressed look. The scuffs it gets during normal use gives it character.

The case is 6″ wide by 7″ tall and 1.25″ thick and can handle pens up to 7″ tall and .75″ thick according to the F-C website. Based on my case I find the 7″ X .75″ pens size a bit too generous. My 6.5″ Edison Huron Grande does fit, but it’s a very tight fit. Maybe a thinner pen would allow the leather to stretch up rather than out. Still, I’d be wary of expecting a 7″ pen to fit. The Franklin-Christoph Modell 66, at 6.3″ fits in just fine, no stretching required.

There’s a magnetic snap to close the case. The magnetic snap is more secure when my large Huron Grande is in the case, putting some tension on the snap. When there’s no tension the snap can slip open when some lateral pressure is put on the case, such as when sliding it in our out of a tight bag. The cover still stays closed but if I have any complaint about the case, it’s the snap closure. I’d prefer a more secure physical connection, rather than the magnetic one. But it’s a minor complaint.

The interior is a nice heavy cloth that protects the pens well. There’s 6 individual slots for the pens. In my Penvelope 6 the slot on the right side is clearly smaller than the other five. It can handle all but my thickest pens, but there are pens that have to go in one of the other slots.

Penvelope Six side view

The pens aren’t completely enclosed in the case. There case is open about 2 1/2″ on ech side, although the pen slots rise about 1″ into the opening to protect the pens. While the material is thick and provides good protection, it’s still a soft case which doesn’t protect the pens from being crushed. I’ve never had any problem after nearly a year of carrying the case in my computer or messenger bag.

As the name suggests, the front opens like an envelope and there a thin pocket for papers or other small items. I typically just carry a slip of paper listing what ink is in which pen and the occasional Field Notes notebook. But as a test I was able to fit a box each of Lamy, Pilot and Waterman ink cartridges.

There’s room next to the pen loops, but still inside the case, for an additional pen on each side. There’s less protections for the pen since they aren’t in a loop, but if the pen has a clip is stays in the case. I wouldn’t recommend in as standard procedure, but it comes in handy to carry extra pens into the office.

After nearly a year of daily carrying the case is still in good shape. It’s got the scuffs that give the distressed leather character, but that’s to be expected.

Franklin-Christoph Lucky 13 Penvelope

Photo of the F-C Lucky 13 PenvelopeAfter the success of the Penvelope Six I bought a Lucky 13 Penvelope, also in Boot Brown leather. Everything about the Penvelope Six applies to the thirteen pen versions, except for the obvious size difference. It’s a little big for my daily carry so it travels a lot less, mainly being used for pen storage. The Lucky 13 Penvelope is 12″ X 7″ X 1.25″.

Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Two

Photo of the open F-C Penvelope 2A couple months later I decided I wanted a smaller pen case and bought a Penvelope Two. I stuck with the Brown Boot leather and as the name suggests, it’s a two pen case. The material and build quality is the same as the other Penvelopes but there’s a leather tab and slot to hold the cover closed rather than a magnetic snap.

There’s also a loop on the back with two snaps that can be used to attach the case to a belt or a strap. The case seems to big to be comfortable on a belt. The snaps weren’t secure enough for me to trust them to hold the case on my computer bag. On my first test trip, traveling to work the case must have snagged on something when I pulled the bag out of the car as the Penvelope Two was missing when I got to my desk. I retraced my steps and found it on the car floor. So I haven’t attached the case to a strap since then.

This case easily holds my Edison Huron Grande so I do believe the claim that it can hold a 7″ pen.

I don’t use this case as much as I thought I would. Mainly because I can’t seem to leave the house with just two pens. But it does take less room than the Penvelope Six so it gets some use.

Wrapping Up

Like I said in the beginning, the Penvelope Six is my favorite pen case. But all three Franklin-Christoph Penvelope fountain pen cases are at the top of their class. The cases are pricey, but worth every penny in my opinion. The materials and build quality are top notch.

Bottom line – highly recommended.

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