JetPens Blog

This giveaway is just in time for the start of the school season!

We were very inspired by our colleague Brad's recent giveaway on Pen Addict, where he asked readers to guess the amount of pens stuffed inside a Nomadic pencil case for a chance to win it. We loved this idea so much that we decided to do our own version!

We decided to use the red Nomadic PE-08 Easy Classification Pencil Case, recently seen in the JetPens August newsletter, and stuffed the case with various JetPens items to make it nice and round (we could barely zipper it closed)!

Here's a sneak peak of the pockets...

How to enter this contest:

1. Leave one comment on this post guessing the number of items packed into this Nomadic case, anytime between now and Thursday, August 18th at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. You are limited to one entry. The contest is limited to US residents only.

2. If you have a Twitter or Facebook account please follow and re-tweet our Blog giveaway tweet and like our Facebook Blog giveaway wall post. We appreciate your support!

3. For this contest, whoever makes the correct guess (or the closest) will win this pictured sample Nomadic PE-08 Easy Classification Pencil Case - Red, filled with other fun sample goodies perfect for back to school!

4. The contest winner will be posted on Friday, August 19th on the JetPens Blog. The winner will have one week to email us and claim their prize.

Good luck!

This week at JetPens we are releasing a ton of new products, a lot of which are new inks! In particular, we find the new Platinum Mix Free fountain pen ink line to be fascinating.

Platinum has created this line of inks with the idea of color mixing in mind. The inks are specially formulated with pure and balanced dyes that will not muddle up when mixed together! This allows you to create the ink color of your choice, and opens up endless possibilities. It's even possible to mix up to three different shades, though you can only mix these Mix Free inks with each other, and not any other ink type or brand.

The image below is an extended version of the 1:1 mixing ratio color chart included with every ink bottle:

The ink bottles themselves are sold individually, and can be used as solo inks as well. The Mixing Kit is the tool you need to start your own ink color creations though, and includes a 50 ml bottle of ink diluter liquid (for lightening your mixed ink shades), an empty 50 ml bottle (to store your newly created ink color), and two droppers to help you measure the exact Mix Free ink proportions that you need.

We're excited to carry this new Platinum Mix Free fountain pen ink here at JetPens!
August 11, 2011 - Posted by Elizabeth to Pencils

Have you ever noticed that some pencils write with really light lines and some pencils come out smudgy and dark? This can be explained by what type of lead the pencil has. Leads range from hard, light-marking leads to soft, dark-marking leads in both wooden bodies and mechanical pencils.

Leads are usually classified by a 2 digit number + letter system. H stands for "Hardness" and B stands for "Blackness". The more H's you have, the harder the lead and the lighter the lines. The more B's you have, the softer the lead and the darker the lines. In the middle, you'll find the most common lead grade HB, which is equivalent to a #2 pencil and what is usually the included default lead in most mechanical pencils.

In order, the leads are (from hardest to softest):
9H | 8H | 7H | 6H | 5H | 4H | 3H | 2H | H | F | HB | B | 2B | 3B | 4B | 5B | 6B | 7B | 8B | 9B
Typically, leads ranging from 4H to 4B are easily available on the market.

JetPens carries a variety of lead grades in both mechanical pencil lead and wooden pencil format. Mechanical pencil leads, like the hugely-popular Pentel Stein Enhanced Silica lead line or the Uni-ball NanoDia leads , are generally available in grades ranging between 4H and 4B. Sturdier wooden pencils like the Uni-ball Hi-Uni line, have a significantly larger range of 10H-10B lead types available!

How do you pick which lead is right for you? If you want sharp, crisp lines and you write with a light hand, then a higher H value lead is good for you. If you write with a heavy hand, then you want a lead that won't break under pressure and so a higher B value is good for you. Higher H's can be brittle and are typically better for drafting purposes, and higher B's are good for shading. Keep in mind that softer or higher B leads leave more lead on the paper, and so are used up more quickly than higher H leads.

Do you have a favorite grade of lead to use?
August 8, 2011 - Posted by Lucy to Felt / Porous Tip Markers

The ink of the Pilot FriXion pen is thermosensitive - it becomes clear when it is exposed to heat. This special video submitted by customer Gentian shows how the ink becomes transparent when exposed to heat from a tea kettle and reappears when exposed to cold air from a freezer. The Pilot FriXion line is available at JetPens available in a variety of different gel ink pens, markers and even highlighters! Read about our other erasable gel pens here.
August 5, 2011 - Posted by Elizabeth to Mechanical Pencils

Here at JetPens we have a wide variety of different drafting pencils. In particular, we carry some of the best lead holder available! Lead holders (also known as clutch pencils) use thicker leads, usually between 2 mm - 4 mm and generally only hold one piece of lead at a time. The thickness of the lead however, makes these instruments perfect for larger area shading when sketching or drafting.

The newest addition to our line of lead holders are the E+M Workman Long and Pocket Clutch Lead Holders. These are made from natural wood and have a unique 5.5 mm thick lead. Sharpeners and refill lead are also available.

(Long version pictured first, Pocket version second.)

The Rotring Rapid Pro Lead Holder - 2 mm - Silver Body is a beautifully constructed lead holder, perfect for the professional. The all metal body has a sleek silver finish and a traditional knurled grip. As a bonus feature, the cap has blades inside to sharpen your 2.0 mm lead point!

The Lamy Scribble Drafting Pencil - 3.15 mm - Aluminum Clip has a unique chunky look, which a lot of people find more comfortable to hold for longer periods of time. The clip is detachable, allowing you to choose a more streamline look. Lead refills are available.

Lastly, the Staedtler Silver Series 2 mm Lead Holder is another full metal bodied lead holder, with the added convenient feature of a lead grade indicator. Lead refills are available in different grades, as well as colors.

You can view all of our lead holders here.