Accessory Review: Baron Fig Pen Sheath

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Baron Fig has made quite a mark on the stationery and productivity communities in the short time since they established their first product, the Confidant notebook. Championing their motto, "Tools for Thinkers," they created a number of unique and refreshingly modern tools for writers, stationery geeks and entrepreneurs alike. Baron Fig launched the Confidant on Kickstarter in 2013, garnering the support of over 4,000 backers. The team delivered thousands of Confidants on time, setting the tone for what would be a great track record on Kickstarter going forward.

Fast forward to 2017 and Baron Fig have since launched 7 unique product lines (with 3 new bags on the way), 3 fully funded Kickstarters, and a new subscription service (unfortunately, just recently discontinued) for their loyal fans - the fans even have a Facebook group! Needless to say all of these things caught my attention, and I knew I had to give Baron Fig a try. One of the more recent products they have released is a companion to their Squire pen, the Pen Sheath. I just picked up the new Experiment Squire (review coming soon!), so I wanted to protect it with the new pen sheath.

The Yellowgold pen sheath (Photo via baronfig.com)

The Baron Fig Pen Sheath comes in two different colors: the interestingly named Yellowgold (read: tan) and Slate.  I have to admit I was a little bummed when I realized the Slate is actually a slate blue color and not slate grey.  Being that both Squires are in different shades of grey, I would have expected the Sheath to have a grey option as well (perhaps in the future, Baron Fig? :)).  Regular readers of the blog will know that I have an affinity for grey, so take my gripe with a grain of salt.  Regardless, the slate blue isn't a bad color at all.  The sheath is made of a nice sturdy leather, that is more on the stiff side.  Though it's not as nice feeling on the hands, the stiffer leather does offer more durability and protection for your pen. The packaging is elegant and simple. Just a card stock envelope with a nice tissue paper wrapping on the inside to protect the leather.

The Sheath itself is roughly a half inch taller than the Squire, and is about an inch wide when laid flat.  The front side is stamped with the "mighty sword" logo of the Squire, and the back side has the Baron Fig logo stamped at the bottom.  The stitching is nice and even, with double stitching where the two sides split, which protects from loosening when pulling the pen in and out over time.

When I received my sheath, I was disappointed to find that there was a nick in the leather on the front of it.  Not sure if this was considered an acceptable amount of damage to still let it pass QC (I would hope not) or if it was just a miss - it does bother my OCD a bit, though.  Aside from that, the sheath looks amazing and fits the Squire perfectly.  I have carried it for the past few weeks and it has developed a nice little "pocket" where it has broken in with the Squire inside.  It alleviates my fear of my limited edition Experiment sliding out of my pocket and getting damaged.  I believe the sheath would protect the pen if it fell from a pretty good height, unless it fell directly on the top where the two side could split open and expose the top of the pen.  The chances of it falling at exactly that angle are pretty slim I'd say, so all in all it offers great protection and looks nice to boot.

Nick on the leather

I have a couple other pen sleeves that I carry consistently - specifically, the Aston Leather pen sleeve (the early, soft leather ones from Goulet), and the Kaweco ECO leather sleeve.  In comparison, the Baron Fig is a really good, sturdy quality.  I prefer the feel of the Aston Leather sleeve more, just because it's easier on the hands; but the Baron Fig sleeve definitely outshines the Kaweco sleeve by far, and gives a superior feel of protection compared to both.

I would definitely recommend the Sheath to anyone wanting to carry their Squire outside of a pen case and still keep it protected.  I'll definitely be keeping this in my carry anytime I have my Squire with me.  If you're interested in picking one up for yourself, head over to baronfig.com and snag one for $24.00.

Thanks for reading!
- Lori

(Baron Fig has provided this product at no charge to The Desk for the purpose of review.  My opinions are honest and without bias - visit the About Me page for more details).

Review: Kaweco Leather Traveler's Case

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Kaweco Leather Traveler's Case
Size: 5.75" x 4.5"
Capacity: 6 pens + a few accessories
Material: Tan leather (outside) & tan suede leather (inside)

Most of you that have followed me probably know that I have a loyalty to Nock Co. and their awesome pen cases.  It would really take quite a bit for another case to pull me away from those, unless it fit a pretty specific use-case that Nock doesn't cover.  Still, I was eager to give this Kaweco case a try, because I love the products that Kaweco produces.  Unfortunately, this case isn't going to be replacing anything in my rotation any time soon.  Let's talk specifics...

The Kaweco Leather Traveler's Case is nice and portable in it's 5.75" x 4.5" stature, and features a slightly toothy camel-colored outer leather cover.  It feels like there is sturdy cardboard or maybe even some sturdy plastic inner liner for stability.  On the inside it features a nice suede tan leather inner liner, as well as a protective flap of the same material and a net holder for accessories.  You'll only be able to fit small things in the net like ink cartridge boxes, converters, etc.  Not a ton of room there, but those are the typical things you'd probably be carrying in there anyways.

A tight fit.

This case isn't a terrible case at all.  On the contrary, it's fairly well built, and protects pens quite nicely.  I did, however, find the pen slots to be fairly narrow and tight, which made it a little bit frustrating to use.  There's something to be said for a balance between being snug enough to hold the pens securely, and being just loose enough to be able to move them in and out without much fuss; this case kinda fails in that way.  I used this case for about 2 months, and the elastic of the pen slots loosened only ever-so-slightly - which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  If your pens fit perfectly, you really don't want them to loosen up, but I found it really difficult to get them in and out.  The slots are also pretty close together so once you get your pens in there, they're practically touching.  I can't help but think they intended this to be used with their line of pens only, which as you know are quite a bit smaller than most - Liliputs, Sports, etc. - even though the Sport even struggles to fit in there.

The flap lays off-center, to the left, even when pulled tight without pens in the case.

Another thing that bugged me a bit about the case was the protective flap on the inside.  It wasn't the flap itself, I actually find that to be a nice addition for extra protection.  The issue is that when the flap was sewn into to case, it was sewn just a tad off center.  So even when the case is empty, the flap lays off to the left slightly.  It may just be my OCD, but it does bug me.  With pens in the case, it can exaggerate the issue, and it can sometimes put the off-center flap in the way of the zipper.

Speaking of the zipper, the case does have a very nice leather pull on the zipper, making it easy to find when you're ready to zip/unzip the case.  I did find the zipper to be fairly stiff.  An (almost) square case like this doesn't lend to a very responsive or smooth zipper, because it tends to stop or "hang" at the corners; but I do think this one is especially stiff when compared to something like a YKK zipper that I've seen on other products.  This one doesn't have any markings on it, so unfortunately I don't what brand it is.

I hated giving this case a somewhat negative review, because when I first saw it I thought it was beautiful and I couldn't wait to try it out.  In use, it just didn't push my buttons like I thought it would.  The case wasn't a failure on the whole - it was just a number of small issues that bothered me enough that I just can't use this in my daily carry.  Along those lines, we should talk about the price.  This case retails for between $107 to $118 depending on where you purchase it.  I honestly do not believe for a second that this case is worth that kind of money.  As a rule, leather cases are quite a bit more expensive than most, but this case only holds 6 pens and has a couple fit and finish issues - I just don't see the value there.  If you like leather, you can pick up an Aston 10 pen case for $64 and an Aston 20 pen case for $90 from Goulet.  If you prefer no leather and some added color, go for a Nock Co. case - you can get the Lookout 3 pen case for $25, the Brasstown 6 pen case (plus extra storage) for $40, and others - all made in the US.  Both the Nock and Aston cases have more comfortably sized pen slots and are quite a bit less expensive.  I would really only recommend the Kaweco case if you love the look of it, and have some money to burn.  

(Kaweco has provided this product at a discounted cost to The Desk for the purpose of review.  My opinions are honest and without bias - visit the About Me page for more details).

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Review: Cain Cigar Box Pen Case from BamaPens

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You may remember a little over a month ago when I reviewed my OSOK and Hoyo de Monterrey boxes from BamaPens.  Shortly afterwards John reached out to me when he read on my review that he'd forgotten to put the rubber feet on my OSOK box.  He immediately made it right and sent me some rubber feet in the mail to apply to my box.  I was very pleased that he would go to the trouble of doing that, completely unsolicited by me.

 I love John's stationery

I love John's stationery

In speaking to John at that time, I asked him if he happened to have any boxes like the ones he's sold Brad Dowdy with the glass top.  A glass top box was what I'd really wanted as a nice display for my pens.  He said he had exactly one left, and offered it to me with whatever color lining I'd like.  He was also nice enough to offer a small discount as a returning customer, which I thought was an awesome gesture.

After about a week or so John emailed that he had completed my new box and sent it on its way to me.  Just like last time, the packing was impeccable - it would have taken a small explosion for this thing to get damaged in transit.  He also sent along another nice note with my purchase.

As much as I loved the OSOK box that I purchased from John, this is the one that I fell in love with.  For the price, you can't beat this as a pen display box and it's got a bit of a rustic feel to it.

I noticed that the glass on the box was a bit scratched up, but I kind of expected that given that it's intended purpose was to house cigars.  I'm sure the manufacturing tolerances on these things aren't the tightest when it comes to things like scratches and scuffs.  The box has some nice stamped logos on the top and sides, which I really liked.  The "Cain" logo itself kind of appeals to me.

The front of the box has a nice indention so that you can easily open the lid.  The inside has 10 pen slots that John has covered in a nice black felt that I chose.  He offers both felt lining and suede in various colors on his website.  I really love the black lining in this box as it allows the pens to stand out.  John also applies a foamy rubber sheet to the bottom to prevent the box from sliding around.  I found it to work really well.

Once again I was very pleased with my purchase from John.  If you're looking for storage and/or display boxes for your pens, I highly recommend you check out his website.  If you're looking for something that's not on his site, be sure to shoot him an email because I've found that he has more in stock or readily available than he has time to list on his site.  

Thanks for reading!
Lori

Review: BamaPens Cigar Box Pen & Ink Storage

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I'd been seeing several pen addicts out there who'd gotten ahold of repurposed cigar boxes for pen and ink storage from BamaPens.  It intrigued me at first, but I quickly let the idea go because from the pictures I'd seen of these products, I knew they had to be very expensive.  On a whim, I looked up the website for these boxes, and was shocked to learn that they were VERY affordable.  I immediately knew I'd be placing an order.

I perused the site and found several boxes that I was interested in, but ultimately whittled it down to the OSOK 6-pen box, and the Hoyo de Monterrey ink storage box.  I reached out to John Hubbard, the man behind BamaPens, to see about shipping.  John was very prompt in returning my email and let me know that he could combine shipping for both boxes, which would save me a few bucks.  I was definitely pleased that the total cost for both boxes, plus shipping was $57.50.

I paid via PayPal and waited a few days while John stained and varnished my ink box.  I received updates from him as things progressed, and finally and email letting me know that they were on their way to me.  I was impressed at how great the communication was throughout this process - great customer service.

Nice handwritten note included with my purchase

The boxes arrived just a couple days later, and I excitedly tore open the box to find that my new beauties were packaged very carefully.  John wrapped each box in tissue paper, and then surrounded that with bubble wrap and filled the box with packing peanuts.  I loved the care he took to make sure that my boxes would arrive undamaged.

The OSOK box was lined with red felt and had 6 slots for my pens.  The felt was cut perfectly for the lining of the box and felt as if it was always a part of the box.  The pen tray was wide enough to accommodate even my Ahab and there was plenty of room to accommodate a pen of any length.  I really love the pirate artwork on this box, that was actually the main draw for me.  John varnished all the unfinished parts of the box, and though his site mentioned that he'd placed 4 rubber "feet" on the bottom to prevent slipping, I unfortunately didn't find these present on my box.  Not a huge deal, I can always do that myself down the road.

The Hoyo de Monterrey ink box was beautiful as well.  John stained and varnished this box, and though I love the color of mine, I should mention it looks a bit lighter than the one pictured on his website, so I'm thinking he may have used a different color stain on this one.  He placed a rubber pad on the bottom to prevent slipping which was nice.  On his site, he mentions that the depth of this box will accommodate the tall 3oz Noodler's ink bottles, which is true, but unfortunately my box will not snap shut with Noodler's bottles in there.  That was a bit of a disappointment, but not for long because this thing looks awesome on my desk, and is already full of other shorter ink bottles.

I will most definitely purchase from John again, as the craftsmanship of these boxes are spot on.  John has quite an array of boxes to choose from, and from what I can tell he's always getting new and different designs.  I am also glad that he always has these ink boxes on hand, because my ink collection is ever-growing and I love the look of this box.  I highly recommend you check out his site - the prices are very affordable for what you get, not to mention the customer service that is included!