Dee Charles Designs Leather Single Pen Sleeve - Rawhide Blue

As of late, I tend to carry my pens in my jeans pocket or in my bag, and rather than tossing them in I've been using various leather pen sleeves to keep the pens protected from keys, etc.

I'm always a sucker for new leather goods to try, so I was happy to oblige when Pen Chalet reached out to see if I would like to review a sleeve from one of their new product lines called Dee Charles Designs.

The sleeve came in a nicely branded black box, and rested inside was the new sleeve.

I opted for a more rustic looking leather which goes under the name "Rawhide" that is stitched with blue thread. This is different than what I would usually choose as a colorway (because I'm boring...), but I like it.

This particular leather shows wear really nicely when you start putting pens in the sleeve. As it stretches, the leather color adjusts and shifts a bit, giving it an instant worn-in aesthetic.

Branded/stamped into the leather is the Dee Charles Design logo which is a monogram in the shape of a fountain pen nib which I thought was tastefully done (and quite clever...).

The sleeve is made from thick leather which is a total plus. I absolutely detest those thin, flimsy, "leather" sleeves (if they are even made of it), like the cheap-o ones that sometimes come with inexpensive pens to try and add some fanciness to it (which they fail at), that feel like they are going to fall apart.

That certainly does not describe this sleeve as it is thick and sturdy, as it should be.

The sleeve isn't overly big, but I would put it on the larger size compared to some other sleeves. Although you could squeeze a smaller pen down into the sleeve, fishing it out would be a chore. For this product I'd use it for my more full size pens, although really large pens could be problematic.

For example, a Lamy 2000 fountain pen is about a perfect fit.

This particular sleeve comes in at $22, although the current listing has it squeaking in just under $20 which I feel is worth the price based on the quality of the product.

In addition to the single pen sleeve, Pen Chalet also carries a Dee Charles double sleeve as well as a pocket notebook/pen combo cover. If you are doing some shopping at Pen Chalet and haven't picked up a sleeve for your pens (or 5... I never have enough), these may be a good option to consider.

Thanks again to Pen Chalet for sending the sleeve to review!  


LP-5 Compact Pen by Vision Metal Design - Kickstarter

One thing I really enjoy is a solid pocket pen. I love how compact they are, portable, and the fact that they go from a small pen to a "normal" size pen when in use is fun to see from a design standpoint.

On Instagram about a month or so ago I stumbled across a maker I'd not yet heard of before called Vision Metal Design, but when I first saw the pen he was planning to release on Kickstarter I was pretty enthusiastic about its launch.

Vision Metal Design is run by a long time machinist, Robert Shirley, out of Ohio. He has been making and selling a popular extendable X-Acto knife holder for awhile now, but decided to venture into the world of pens. What he came up with he called the LP-5.

At a glance, the LP-5 may look like your ordinary pocket pen size, but in reality it is much, much smaller. Even shorter than the Kaweco Liliput which is saying something...

I knew this was a project I was most certainly going to back (in titanium), but Robert and I also discussed reviewing the LP-5 on the blog to give a closer look at them (and some opinions). Many thanks to him for sending me a few of the sample prototypes to check out and share.

One thing I like about the LP-5's aesthetic is that it has some texture and character, but not overly done. It has sort of a machined part appeal, but we're not going for all-out tacti-cool like some we've seen.

Initially, the LP-5 was slated to be designed for only the Lamy M22 ballpoint refill, most notably found in the Lamy Pico, but after some additional feedback and designing, Robert also created an alternate version which takes the D1 style which greatly expands the options available to go into the pen, but without sacrificing the ultra compact size he's shooting for.

To remove the refill, the conical tip of the pen unscrews which allows it to be exchanged. The M22 fits snugly into the pen barrel, while the D1 is at this point suspended in the pen and held in place with a spacer. Robert mentioned that these will be a metal part in the final versions, but for prototyping a Delrin material is used.

It really is impressive just how small this pen is.

Below is a shot I sent to a friend of the LP-5 alongside some of my other pocket pen favorites, and the others dwarf it in comparison.

While the LP-5 may take cues from "pocket pens" in general, I feel that it has a really unique take on it, and is quite innovative which is sometimes a rare thing to see.

Closed, the pens come in at under 2.75" (roughly 7cm), and then extend to nearly 5", a comfortable writing length.

The grip section of the pen has two sets of threading: one set nearest the tip to secure the pen when closing, and the second set just over a design "bump" in the pen (with decorative lines to match the overall aesthetic) to allow the cap to post and extend the length of the pen.

For added grip, the section is also machined with grooves to make it easier to hang onto.

Like any pen with exposed threads like this, there is always a risk of dropping it on a hard surface which could mash or mar them and make the parts no longer connectable.

The pens come in four different material options: brass, copper, titanium, and aluminum. And, for the Kickstarter campaign these are incredibly reasonable in price starting at $35.

I was able to take a closer look at the brass, copper, and titanium versions and they all have their own appeal. Generally, I opt for aluminum, titanium, or stainless steel pens as I like the color (and then also avoid the brass and copper "smell" that comes with age out of preference), but the brass and copper versions feel great in the hand, and for being so small, only weigh a bit over an ounce.

I must admit, I really, really like this pen and wish Robert the best as his campaign is wrapping up. Definitely check out his campaign and back if you love pocket pens (and always looking to add more). I'd love for this pen to succeed as I feel it is a solid addition to the EDC market.

Thanks again Robert!


The Clip Pen by Schon DSGN - Kickstarter

This is a pen I've reviewed in various forms over the years here on The Clicky Post, yet I don't seem to get tired of using or talking about it....

The pen I'm referring to is a ultra-pocketable EDC pen, originally called "The Pen Project" and was launched by engineer and designer, Ian Schon, nearly five years ago on Kickstarter. The first versions were made of aluminum, but slowly over the years Ian expanded his lineup to include materials like brass, bronze, titanium, and even some fancy zirconium models.

Small in size and an easy pen to slip into your pocket, but for some people there was a catch: no pocket clip.

Over the years Ian toyed with the idea of an aftermarket "bolt-on" type clip to fit existing pens, but ultimately the best solution was to machine new pens entirely and offer a new clipped version.

After a good wait (and I say that in the kindest way possible), Ian is back on Kickstarter to launch his new clip-able pen! He was kind enough to send me one of the early samples to check out and to share my thoughts on.

I will state plainly that I really, really love this design, clip or no clip, and so I knew going in that I'd more be checking for usability, whether it changes how I use the pen, etc.

Ian sent me a raw aluminum version of the pen, but the Kickstarter campaign will also allow for a black anodized or polished stainless steel option (no titanium...yet). All included, the pen weighs in around 1.2 oz which is a good heft for a pen this small.

All of Ian's pocket pens come fitted with the Fisher Space Pen refill which is a very versatile and reliable ballpoint, but won't be a writing experience that will be turning heads. The refill is designed for utility in extreme conditions, so it does sacrifice in dark lines. My favorite of the Fisher refills is the blue in a fine tip.

The refills are secured in the barrel through a gold set screw which can now conveniently be unscrewed with the end of the clip.

I haven't picked one up from him as of yet, but Ian also produced a D1 refill adaptor to replace the Fisher. This would allow for refills like the Uni-ball Jetstream, Hi Tec C, Zebra gel... the list goes on, but if you love a particular type of refills one of those may be a sound investment.

Now to the clip...

The clip is extremely sturdy made out of thick bent steel and is fastened to the cap with two domed star bit screws which gives them a low profile. Ian let me know that the final finish on the clips will be different and a bit more refined, but outside of some slightly sharp edges (which a few rounds in a tumbler could polish away) I don't have any complaints. 

From a usability standpoint, it felt very natural fastening the clip to a jeans pocket rather than dropping it down with the rest of the contents. Again, the sharp edges were the only uncomfortable part as my wrist or hand would brush against it when grabbing keys or my phone, but I imagine this will be sorted in final production.

The clip in no way imposes on the writing experience due to the way the pen is designed. Closed the pen is right around 4", but with the cap posted to extend to full writing length it makes the pen closer to 6" (5 7/8" actually).

Five years in the making, I feel the new clip version of Ian's pen is still a winner and a great addition to an EDC. If this is a pen that interests you or you already have one of his others and need (yes, need) a new clip version, go check out his Kickstarter campaign. The pen I reviewed he is offering for $45+ shipping during the campaign.

Thanks again to Schon DSGN for sending the pen for review!