Blackwing 211

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series: Week 2 Review

The gorgeous Blackwing 211, natural finish with a brown eraser

The gorgeous Blackwing 211, natural finish with a brown eraser

Two weeks into my pen/pencil experiment and this week has been devoted to the Blackwing 211. I felt it was important to include some pencils in my mini series to really find out how much I enjoy using pencils.

The Blackwing 211 is one of my favourite Blackwing pencils. It has the firmest of the graphite cores borrowing from the Blackwing 602. I prefer a hard graphite core as I use pencils predominately for writing, not sketching. I have found using the 211 for a full week a mixed bag of feelings.

What works.

There is no doubt a pencil is probably one of the easiest writing implements to take on the move. It’s light, you’re not too concerned about damage, concerns about snapping the graphite can be solved with a pencil cap. They’re perfect for writing on the move, there is no fountain pen cap to unscrew, or a lid to keep track of. You just pull out the pencil and write. Easy.

I have really enjoyed admiring this pencil during the week. It’s such a simple classic design with a great natural colour palette. This isn’t your standard pencil, this is a special pencil.

What I haven’t enjoyed.

I have missed using a fountain pen this week. I found by day 4 I was wondering whether I should abandon the task at hand and just pull out a fountain pen to write my morning pages.

I have noticed that when I write with a pencil my handwriting looks pretty rubbish. There seems to be less places to hide with a pencil and the good and bad points of your handwriting are laid bare.

Sharpening has been a bit of a pain too. You just start finding your stride with what you’re writing down on the page and suddenly your pencil is blunt and you need to sharpen it. When sitting at my desk this hasn’t been so bad as my classroom friendly sharpener is to hand, but on the move it’s a bit more irritating. I had forgotten how good the classroom friendly sharpener is in comparison to the KUM long point sharpener. The long point you get varies dramatically between the two and the classroom friendly sharpener really gives you a smooth finish and the perfect long point.

Overall thoughts

After completing this week, with a pencil I really like, it’s probably safe to say I couldn’t use only a pencil all the time. I feel like my notes look more mundane and my weekly diary spread a little dull. I miss the fountain pen experience and the wide variety of inks that brighten up my pages. I guess I cannot really consider myself a pencil girl.

Week 3

For the coming week I will be using the TWSBI 580 RB with a broad nib and KWZ Honey ink. The broad nib is new on this fountain pen and not something I have used before. I have only ever used a broad nib on a Kaweco Skyline Sport and this wasn’t the best experience. I thought the trusty TWSBI nib would be more reliable and I am excited to see how I get on with a broad nib fountain pen for a full week.

The KWZ Honey ink is also new. This ink colour has been getting some praise online so I was keen to try it myself. The brown/gold colour inks are beautiful and coming into Autumn I think this ink colour could be perfect. I am really excited about this week and think it could possibly be a winner.

To read through this mini series from the beginning you can see the first post explaining what the mini series is about and my first week with the Kaweco AL Sport and J.Herbin Bleu Nuit.

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series - Week 1 Review

I have successfully completed my first week in this mini series exploring if I can use 1 pen or pencil for a full week. Before starting out on this endeavour I had a few questions in mind to focus my reflection on each different writing implement.

Week 1 - Kaweco AL Sport and J. Herbin Bleu Nuit.

The Kaweco AL Sport is always a pen I have inked up. Kaweco fountain pens are a staple in my writing toolkit with the AL Sport being one of my preferred choices due to the aluminium barrel.

After successfully using this fountain pen for a week my opinions have not altered in any way, I enjoy it just as much as I did before. The fine nib that I have on this pen works well for most writing tasks, from journaling through to simple note taking. The size and durability of the Kaweco AL Sport mean its ideal for throwing in my bag and using on the move. On most occasions I did this without a pen case and had no concerns and about the pen getting damaged in any way.

Morning Pages in my Startbay Notebook

Morning Pages in my Startbay Notebook

In terms of the ink partnership, J. Herbs Bleu Nuit was a new ink choice for me. After enjoying J. Herbins Lie de The I bought a pack of the Bleu Nuit cartridges specifically to use in this fountain pen. The colour combination works well due to the cool blue tones of this ink and the dark grey barrel on the Kaweco AL Sport. Being a blue ink this also meant it was suitable for most tasks.

During this week I haven’t had a requirement to fill out any official forms or send any post. As a result I have not encountered any problems with the choice of ink. I have mainly used my fountain pen in notebooks of my choosing that are fountain pen friendly. I think for tasks other than this the ink choice would have let this option down. For example addressing an envelope with this ink would involve the risk of it getting wet and the address running off the envelope. Similarly I could not fill in or sign many official forms with this pen. Therefore whilst the pen option would be fine, I am not sure as the only ink I could settle on Bleu Nuit for practicality purposes.

Daily reflections in my Travelers Notebook weekly refill

Daily reflections in my Travelers Notebook weekly refill

Finally, I am surprised that I haven’t used more ink this week. I have only used a little over half an ink cartridge. With my morning pages routine, journaling and general note taking I would have suspected I would have consumed more ink. I guess I don’t write as much as I thought, which then leads me to believe I shouldn’t have so many fountain pens inked up at once as the ink will tend to sit in the pen and potentially clog the feed.

Final thoughts on Week 1

The Kaweco AL Sport was always going to be a nice easy introduction into this exercise. I know I enjoy using this fountain pen and if I really had to only have one fountain pen to use I could settle on this one. The size of the pen makes it an ideal travel companion and I have always found the Kaweco nibs write well. J. Herbins Bleu Nuit whilst a lovely ink would not be a practical ink for a variety of different uses. However I have discovered another ink colour that I enjoy using and it really does go very well with my Kaweco AL Sport.

Onto week 2 and the Blackwing 211

Onto week 2 and the Blackwing 211

Week 2 - Blackwing 211 pencil

In my original post outlining this mini series I had settled on the Blackwing 24 as one of my pencils of choice. However after going back through some old posts I realised I have already used this pencil for a full week and written about it on the blog. Therefore I have made an adjustment to this pencil swapping it for the Blackwing 211.

I really enjoy Blackwing pencils and struggled to pick one for this experiment therefore swapping the 24 for the 211 wasn't a hard decision. Generally I prefer using pencils with a harder graphite therefore the 211 fits this bill. Pencils rarely top my choice of writing utensils so I am intrigued to see how I get on during the week and how much I wear the pencil down.

In case you missed it you can find out why I am running this exercise here in the introductory post.