Unboxing the Summer 2015 Field Notes Workshop Companion Edition

I’m a bit late posting this one, but for good reason. I’m trying a little something out with pencil friend and professional videographer TJ Cosgrove of the blog Wood & Graphite. He’s a pretty active group member, and has shared his time and talents with the Erasable crew in several ways.

Anyway, here’s an unboxing of the pack of Field Notes Workshop Companion edition that Coudal and Draplin released this summer:

Overall, I like it this edition, but it’s far from my favorite. Part of it is that I don’t really have a workshop, or work on auto repair, plumbing, or gardening projects. Obviously, I don’t need to use each book for this prescribed use, but I prefer the ones that center around a theme aesthetically, rather than a particular use case.

Still, though. That thick paper that seem to be traditionally released in summer is so nice and creamy. The cover, a new “Kraft-Tone” stock by French Paper Company, is thick and wears really well.

Thanks, TJ, for making this video great!

Rite in the Rain Notepad Paper Review

It’s been a long time since I’ve last posted a video review. But this one just begged for it:

Basically, I took the review page from my Rite in the Rain mechanical pencil review, and a page from one of my favorite notepads, the Ampad Retro Gold Fibre (available online or at Staples), and gave them a good soaking from the hose. Right away, the Ampad paper soaked up the water, became limp, and tore very easily.

The rather more hydrophobic Rite in the Rain paper resisted the water, which beaded up on the surface of the paper. It took just as much effort to tear it as it does a dry piece of paper (even dry, Rite in the Rain is thicker and offers more resistance than most writing pad papers).

I wrote on both sheets of paper with pencil, which is already water resistant. But if you use a fountain pen, especially with normal, water-soluble ink, the Rite in the Rain paper shouldn’t completely protect you from smearing when wet. Since the ink has soaked into the paper somewhat, it should perform better than the regular notebook paper, but still — I like to think pencil performs best under wet circumstances. Especially on a Rite in the Rain notepad.

Thanks to my lovely partner, Katie, for running the camera and the garden hose!

Old Staedtler factory footage

Screencap from "STAEDTLER pencil production in 1950 Part 2". I love old pencil packaging. Why can't they wrap them up like this anymore?

Screencap from “STAEDTLER pencil production in 1950 Part 2”. I love old pencil packaging. Why can’t they wrap them up like this anymore?

Speaking of Pencil Revolution, there was a great comment thread on a post where we discussed the bevy of How It’s Made videos on YouTube about making pencils! Sean from Contrapuntalism linked to these fantastic old 1950s silent films from the Staedtler factory on how they made pencils back then.

(UPDATE: Sean first saw it linked from the great German pencil blog, Lexikaliker, back in 2010.)

There is no sound, and the intertitles are in German, but I think you get the idea, especially after watching the more modern video posted with English narration.

Here they are, in two parts. (Warning: be prepared for the bizarre music playing during part 2)

(Sean warned us when he shared the link, but I still wasn’t prepared for Christian rapper Soul P to start blaring in an ancient black-and-white film about making wood case pencils.)

It surprised me that this film is from 1950 — with the production quality, and the general look and feel of the factory, I would have guessed that it was much earlier, like from the 1920s or 30s. But then I realized I was looking at it through an American culture lens; it looks, to me, like it took place during the Great Depression. And the decade preceding this film was rough on Germany — the government lost a war, unprecedented in scope, was toppled, and the entire population had a huge financial, political and moral mess to deal with. This was a bad time for Germany.

The films are fascinating. Thanks, Sean, for pointing them out!

(In case the videos didn’t embed for you, here are links to YouTube: Part 1 | Part 2)

How it’s Made: Video Dump!

I posted a link to a great How It’s Made video the other day, then proceeded to spend the better part of an hour watching videos for other office-supply related clips from that show. And because I like to help others find ways to waste their time, I thought I’d share it with you.

You’re welcome.

Of note is the fountain pen video: it’s amazing how they regulate the ink flow, and how much is made by hand!

Which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Pencil sharpeners (hat-tip to David Wasting Paper)

Fountain pen

Retractible ballpoint pens

Bic Cristal ballpoints:

Dri-mark highlighters:

Eraser

Graphite cores for pencils

Copy Paper (disturbing if you fancy yourself an environmentalist)

Pre-inked rubberstamps
http://youtu.be/e2w7REXrGnQ

Field Notes assembly video

Following up on how printing ink is made, I wanted to bring you some  letterpress porn. I could watch these videos all day. This one is from Field Notes, who I’ve discussed previously and just announced a new color in their lineup: “Raven’s Wing“. It’s a good looking notebook. Seriously. If I didn’t already have too many of the regular Field Notes cahiers, I would totally get a pack of these.

I can’t think of anything I don’t love about this video. The rousing old-timey march spun slightly too slow on an old record player, the press shooting off uniformly attractive black notebook covers efficiently, or just the knowledge that the resulting product will be a beautiful black Field Notes cahier.

In any case, check it out. It’ll bring a tear to the scribomechanical enthusiasts’ eye.