The Gentleman Stationer's Top 10 Picks for the Best Stationery Goods

The Gentleman Stationer’s Top 10 Picks for the Best Stationery Goods

The Gentleman Stationer Joe
The Gentleman Stationer
There's something comforting about the sound of pen scratching on paper. Nowadays, we're striving to digitize everything, to get information to everyone, everywhere, in an instant, and pen and paper has been pushed to the wayside. So it's a real treat and almost a revelation to read The Gentleman Stationer, a blog about the charms of analog.

Joe, who pens the blog, lives in the greater Nashville area. He enjoys writing and has an endless collection of tools, starting off with fountain pens and branching into pencils, notebooks, and even typewriters. He writes well-crafted reviews and guides; they're detailed, but before you even notice, you've finished reading.
When talking to us, Joe told us a little about the thought process behind his list. He has, he admitted almost unabashedly, "an ungodly amount of stationery sitting around." But if he suddenly had to up and sell them and narrow everything down to ten items, it would be the ten items he shares below.

When putting together his list, he wanted a good balance of quality and price. He looked for items that were professional, but "weren't so nice that people were afraid to use them." What he ended up with was a compilation of ten items that were supremely practical, well-crafted, and yet unassuming. Here's what he said about each.

Joe's Top Picks

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen

Visit Amazon for more details

Price : $152.74

If You Don't Like Showiness: Glides Like a Fountain Pen but Looks like a Ballpoint

The Lamy 2000 doesn’t really look or act like a fountain pen. It’s got what’s called a hooded nib, meaning that the body of the pen comes down all the way to the tip. So if you’re writing with the pen in a meeting, it looks like you’re writing with a ballpoint or a rollerball, but you still get the benefits of a fountain pen.

You don’t have to use any pressure with a fountain pen, so a lot of people who have RSI—repetitive stress injuries—who have to write a lot prefer a fountain pen because you can write with a very light touch. The Lamy 2000 is relatively inexpensive for a fountain pen with a 14-karat gold nib, but it’s not showy. It’s very Bauhaus German industrial design. It will hold up to pretty much anything. If you’re going to buy one fountain pen and not buy anymore, this is going to be the one you want.

Lamy 2000 4-Color Ballpoint

Lamy 2000 4-Color Ballpoint

Visit Amazon for more details

Price : $57.04

If You Like them Versatile: Takes the Universal D1 Refill, Looks Professional yet Understated

This might be my favorite pen of all time. It’s a multi-pen with four slots, and it takes what’s called a D1 refill, which is a universal small cartridge refill—you don’t have to buy just Lamy refills. I mean, Lamy refills are great; you can buy them. You can also buy Zebra gel refills, Uni-ball Jetstream refills, Pilot Hi-Tec-C refills; it’s just a very versatile pen.

It’s made of Makrolon; it's a fiberglass derivative. It’s light and durable. It’s got a matte texture to it that feels very nice. The combination of the Makrolon and the stainless steel trim looks understated, but at the same time, when you hold it in your hand, you can tell that it’s high quality. If you don’t want to use a fountain pen, if you prefer a gel pen or a ballpoint pen, this is a great option.

Baron Fig Confidant Hardcover Notebook

Baron Fig Confidant Hardcover Notebook

Visit Baron Fig for more details

Price : $18

If You Just Need Quality, Plain and Simple: Good Paper, Good Price Point

It’s a nice hardbound notebook. It’s got good paper that works well with pretty much any writing instrument. It’s great for pencils; it’s nice for fountain pens; it’s good for ballpoints and gels—there’s not going to be any bleed-through; and it lays flat.

Baron Fig’s an interesting company. They’re based in New York. They’ve come out with a lot of new products over the past few years, and I think they’ve really got a good price point. These notebooks are $18, which undercuts the price point that you would get for Moleskines, which is kind of lower quality paper—you’re paying more for the brand. Baron Fig offers a good price for the product, and I’ve been impressed with what they can do with the paper that they’ve got.

Baron Fig Mastermind Desk Pad

Baron Fig Mastermind Desk Pad

Visit Baron Fig for more details

Price : $15

If You Need to Jot Down Quick Notes: Pages that Tear Away Easily but Last

The Mastermind Desk Pad uses that same paper, only in a landscape format. It’s probably the stationery product that I use the most often every day. Right now, I’m sitting in front of my computer and I have my keyboard and the desk pad underneath, between me and my keyboard. So if I’m typing and I want to make a note, I can pick up a pen, jot it down on the desk pad, or if I need to do any math, I’ve got the scrap paper there.

The binding’s not meant to last, but the paper is. It’s made on about an A4-size pad, so if you tear the pages away, they’ll fit into an A4 folder or you can fold them in half and stick them in a notebook. They’re also letter-sized enough that they can go through a scanner easily.

Baron Fig Squire Rollerball Pen

Baron Fig Squire Rollerball Pen

Visit Baron Fig for more details

Price : $55

If You Like Them Comfortable: A Well-Balanced, Teardrop-Shaped Rollerball

The Squire Rollerball has got this teardrop shape that’s very well-balanced, and it’s probably one of the most comfortable pens I’ve ever used. It’s a little similar to the Lamy 2000 4-color ballpoint in shape—only it’s a single cartridge rollerball pen that has this twist mechanism at the end. So it’s retractable, but it’s not your typical click pen. You can carry it in your pants pocket and you won’t accidentally click it and have the refill leave a big ink blot on your leg.

It takes a Schmidt P8126, which is your universal short rollerball refill. They’re easy to find and are relatively inexpensive. It’ll also take your general Parker-style ballpoint refill, so it can be a rollerball or a ballpoint pen.

Palomino Blackwing Pencil (12-Count)

Palomino Blackwing Pencil (12-Count)

Visit Amazon for more details

Price : $24.95

If You Like a Good Story: Resurrection of a Legendary Pencil from the 20th Century

The Blackwings are a resurrection of an old pencil made by Faber-Castell during the 20th century. It was a pencil that animators and artists loved because the lead was dark and soft. When they stopped making them, people hoarded them, and it got to the point where, up until a few years ago, people were selling original ones on eBay for $50 or $60 a pencil.

So Cal Cedar made a line of pencils called Palomino. When the patent expired, they bought the rights and reissued the Blackwing under their own mark. The pencils are made with Californian cedar. But they source Japanese lead, so the pencils have cores similar to that of your Uni pencils. The erasers are extendable, and if you use them up, you can pop in a new one. These pencils last a very long time too, especially the ones with the harder lead.

Nanami Paper Cafe Note

Nanami Paper Cafe Note

Visit Nanami Paper for more details

Price : $16

If You Like Them Compact: Uses Tomoe River Paper, which is Thin but Doesn't Bleed

Nanami uses Tomoe River paper, which is sourced from Japan. It’s another really high-quality notebook that’s not expensive, and because they have the Tomoe River paper, you can squeeze 500-something pages into a very compact notebook. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Tomoe River paper—it’s very thin paper that you can write on with anything and it will not bleed.

I like the longer, narrower shape of the B6 just because of how I work. But I use A6 notebooks too.

Nock Co. Sinclair Pen Case

Nock Co. Sinclair Pen Case

Visit Nock Co. for more details

Price : $40.00

If You Need Them Durable: Made of Codura, Fits a Surprising Amount

When you hold the case in your hands, you’ll see that the material is really well stitched. It’s very thick; and it’s not going to tear, so this thing will last forever. It’s Cordura, which is a nylon that’s used to make outdoor gear—Patagonia bags, that kind of stuff. I’ve had two of them, and I’ve put these things through just about everything you could possibly do to a case.

It’s one of those simple things that you buy thinking you're just going to stick a couple of pens in it, but you end up sticking everything you have in it. You can put cords in it; you can put in notecards and business cards. I use them as modular packing devices; I keep most of my stuff in one or two of these cases and then I just move them between bags so I don’t have to pack and unpack briefcases.

Waterman Ink Bottle for Fountain Pens

Waterman Ink Bottle for Fountain Pens

Visit Amazon for more details

Price : $10.40

If You Like it Vintage: Beautiful Inks with a Lot of Shading, Won't Stain Your Pen

If you want a water-based fountain pen ink that writes well; won’t stain your pens; and if you get it on yourself, it’ll wash off, go with Waterman. It can fade over time—but fountain pen ink is water-based, so it’s not waterproof ordinarily. There are waterproof fountain pen inks; Sailor, the Japanese stationery company, makes some pigmented inks that are very nice, so if you want permanence, you can go with those. But most fountain pen inks are water-based; they always have been.

The ink has a very vintage look with a lot of shading. If you write in cursive, certain areas of the lettering will be very dark and other areas will be very light. Waterman ink will really show that off.

KUM Masterpiece Sharpener

KUM Masterpiece Sharpener

Visit Pencils for more details

Price : $14.95

If You Like Your Pencil Points Long and Sharp: Replaceable Blades, Stainless Steel Body

Best pencil sharpener ever. You get a really long sharp point on your pencils, and it looks like it just came out of an electric sharpener. It's crazy.

It’s may be expensive for a pencil sharpener, but, again, it’s one of these German products that are made out of stainless steel and will last you forever. You can replace the blades. (It even comes with replacement blades, as well as a small black storage pouch.)


On his blog, Joe discusses the benefits of "thinking on paper." It's easier to organize your thoughts and simpler to focus. Things more readily commit to memory. Your writer also swears that because she took notes by hand as a college student, she never had to study as much for the finals.

It's never too late, too early, or too out of date to go analog. The Gentleman Stationer has left us with a well-balanced compilation of stationery products from a wide range of categories, so whether you want to start small with a hand-powered pencil sharpener or go for broke with a fountain pen, we hope something on this list will serve you well.

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