Unboxing the Field Notes Spring 2015 “Two Rivers” Edition

I’m a bit late with creating this video, but I just got my Field Notes order today. It’s a pretty fantastic edition, and so different than anything they’ve created before.

I mentioned this in my last post, but you should definitely listen to Aaron Draplin himself discuss the particulars on the last episode — episode 5 —  of Dot GridCheck it out here.

I’m almost through my Ambition memo book, and I think one of these beauties will be my next one. But which one?

I have the blue-and-white backwards-“ONE” book:

The green-and-khaki camo “O”

Or the blue and red one with kitschy mid-century farm animal heads.
I’m willing to bet the Two Rivers edition will go fast. They made 25,000 packs, and each one is unique. Buy them here for about $10.

Introducing Dot Grid Podcast

I’m really excited to introduce a new project I’m working on — Dot Grid!



Like Erasable, it’s a bi-weekly talking-heads formatted podcast. Unlike Erasable, we’re going to be exploring digital tools for creation and productivity as well as analog tools. We might discuss Markdown editors and mobile apps right next to pencils and paper.

I first met Will Fanguy  my co-host and founder of the brand-new Nerd Uprising Network  in the Erasable Facebook group  We quickly realized we both listened to tech podcasts and kept up on digital products as well as pencils, fountain pens, typewriters, and other analog tools.

We’re guessing — hoping, at the very least — that there are others out there like us, too. Dot Grid is founded on that hope.

Our first episode features, appropriately, a whole list of firsts for us: First blogging platform, first favorite writing instrument, first productivity tool, et cetera.

For those of you who might be wondering — Erasable is not going away any time soon. JohnnyTim and I are going full-steam ahead. Turns out, you can fill a regularly published podcast with pencil-related content.

Listen to the first episode online, or subscribe on iTunes.

Short break, right back.

Woodclinched has taken a short break for the holidays! It doesn’t have anything to do with spending more time with family, or reflecting on the year past or the year ahead. It’s almost entirely because, as of December 1, I started a job at Facebook as a content strategist. Although I’m not even three weeks in, it’s proven to be exciting, overwhelming, and really interesting so far.

It also means that I’ve been living in temporary housing 2300 miles away from home and my pencil and paper collection! Over the next three or four weeks, my stuff, my wife and my cats will be joining me out here, so until then, I won’t have a lot of time or, well, stuff to talk about. In the immortal and concise words of public radio talk show host Diane Rehm, short break, right back.

I have a few cool pencil-related photos to tide you over, though, from my last few weeks:

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Facebook, it seems, has a love affair with analog print. We have an Analog Research Lab, which is really cool, silkscreened and letterpressed posters all around campus and even vending machines that sell stickers! This one came out of one of those machines.

I got a chance to go to the Maido store at Westfield Mall in the SOMA district of San Francisco. It didn’t have a large selection of wooden pencils, but it had really good ones. So many Tombows. And Palomino Blackwing 602s and Pearls sold by the single!


One of those Tombows is an FSC-certified pencil they call Kimonogatari pencils. They’re natural, uncoated wood that’s untipped on the end. It’s super smooth with some stripes running down the side. I loved these so much I bought a dozen.


On the paper side, Facebook has so many cool little custom notebooks. There are a bunch of varieties of custom ScoutBooks, but this one was a custom Moleskine cahier. I got it during my design orientation. It looks really good with my Golden Bear.

So thanks for bearing with me, friends, and I will be back with more interesting stuff in the new year!

Dudek Modern Goods “Divide” Review

I’ve long been a fan of the pencil cup. At work, I have an old mug from my local public radio station from back in the early 80s — although I have lots of mugs from various pledge drives, this particular one was from the Goodwill — a really cool find by my mother.

At home I have two or three mugs hold pens, pencils, rulers and other various long, stick-like utensils that I want to store upright.

So I never really thought about any kind of decorative desk holder — until Mike Dudek came along.

Mike’s a stalwart in the pen community — his blog, The Clicky Post  is a great place to find pen, paper, and interesting product reviews for the analog-minded. His photos have always stood out to me; he’s a really talented photographer of small, round, long objects, which are, in my experience, pretty hard to photograph.

He sells a series of handmade wooden pen holders made out of solid blocks of walnut (I think) that he cuts, sands, polishes, stains, and drills holes into. They’re absolutely gorgeous, and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Look at this beaut, the Display

He’s really been getting into pencils lately, which is awesome. In fact, Mike posted a philosophical discussion about woodcase pencils on his blog last week. My favorite part:

With the digital world consuming a lot of how people’s thoughts are recorded out of “convenience”, this is bad for even basic click pens, but imagine how this has to be for the wooden pencil!   Let me explain: To use a pencil not only do I have to carry around a seemingly fragile stick of wood but I also have to carry around an apparatus with a blade to actually make the stick usable.  And then, to continue writing with it I have to keep sharpening the stick.  And then, I have to find a place to dump the excess debris (shavings) to dispose of them.  Within this context the pencil doesn’t even stand a chance against the hardcore digi folks. But, the truth remains that the pencil is living on and they are being made by probably the millions every year.  We live in a digital age and yet we still produce tools to write with that could probably trace their lineage back to the cave drawings of the Paleolithic Era.  Usually with “antiquated” products, they end up on Etsy or specialty shops for high premiums being styled after vintage or retro.  Not the pencil.  You can still buy a dozen pretty good pencils for less than $5.  So, if you really want to get your retro on, pick up a pack and start sharpening.

Well said, sir!

He may have been thinking about pencils hard because of the new product he released two days later! It’s called the “Divide”, and is made especially for a wooden pencil user in mind:

About this product, Mike says:  

With The Divide, the pens and pencils on your desk can have a place to live in harmony being partitioned by a few pocket notebooks.  There seem to be graphite and ink camps in our community, so now people have no excuse but to let their writing instruments of all kinds play nicely together in an attractive, handmade walnut pen holder.

It’s based off a custom block Mike made for Tim Wasem from The Writing Arsenal (and my friend and Erasable co-host!). And, he was kind enough to send one to me!

It has six skinny holes on one side of the blog, perfect for a standard-width woodcase pencil. On the other side, there are three large holes, for Sharpies or fountain pens, and three medium-sized holes for regular pens. Each of the holes have a small point holder at the bottom, so a sharpened pencil, inserted point-down, will stand upright. Mike really thought about the details.

Here’s mine, right out of the box:


And here it is, filled with writing accoutrements:


This thing is so nice, it’s going to be around for a long, long time. Generations, even.

The Divide is $60, over at Mike’s blog. Check them out, here

Happy Fountain Pen Day, everyone!

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I may be a pencil blogger, but I do love a good fountain pen. This is one of my favorites, a blue Esterbrook.

I meant to write a big, researched history of the Esterbrook Dollar Pen, because they’re fascinating to me, but then stuff happened. So, read Brad’s excellent review on Pen Addict instead!

A big, big congratulations to Cary from FountainPenDay.org for all of his hard work and cool swag. Be sure to hit that link for a list of participating blogs and shops.