Top Five

This page will be an ever-evolving document as new things come out, items jockey for position, and my mind changes. These are what I think best describes me through stationery.



  1. Staedtler Norica Black #2, 2014 - this is a pencil released by Staedtler Canada, made in Thailand, and most likely found in Staples. Why did I list the year on these? Because the year is everything. There must've been a massive quality control error, but the graphite in these things is super smooth and way darker than a #2 pencil typically is. It is a thick core. It is more like a Blackwing than a Norica. 18 packs at the time were between $5-8 depending on what sales were going on. You can still find them, unless you live in a 100 mile radius of me. Make sure to check the year on the side of the box.
  2. Palomino Blackwing 602 - This pencil has a great look, beautiful core, and the standard Blackwing ferrule. I usually take out the black eraser it comes with and replace it with a standard pink eraser, to give it a more classic look.
  3. Tombow 2558 B - This is the yellow pencil elevated. Phenomenal core, nice thick lacquer, a killer ferrule, and the best eraser you can find attached to a pencil. Loses points for having a UPC on the barrel. The HB version of this pencil is also awesome, but I like it dark.
  4. Apsara Absolute - From Hindustan Pencil Company, this is, in my opinion, their best pencil. It has a thick core that is hard but dark. A gray lacquer that has shades of 602 (maybe less blue). It is end dipped with a nice blue.
  5. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni HB - Essentially THE high end Japanese pencil. Comes in all grades, but I like the HB for long writing sessions when I want to feel fancy. And I do want to feel fancy.


Note: Expect this list to change the most as I get more into pens...I've always been a pencil pusher.

  1. Pilot Precise V7 - Black black black black. This rollerball pen is beautifully black (if you choose the black one, which you should) and is my favorite rollerball out there. This has always fought for the #1 slot against the G2 and might be moved before the end of this sentence.
  2. Pilot G2 - This pen has moved up and down this list 100 times in the time it took you to read this sentence. This holds a top spot because it was my pen of choice during the early years of my adult life. Black G2, black Moleskine, that's all I needed and I refused to use anything else. Call it a minimalist phase. But the love is still there. This pen writes beautifully and I like the way the barrel fits in my hand. My favorite gel ink pen. It gets a lot of hate because it's the best...until I find something better!
  3. Uni Jetstream RT - The best ballpoint you can get in the big box stores. I'm not one, but I hear it's good for lefties. The Jetstream line is available in many tip sizes and barrel styles.
  4. Sharpie Pen - Plastic tip pen that you can find in most stores. Like a Sakura Micron, but you know, for writing.
  5. Bic Clic Stic - Let me talk about this pen for just a second, before you throw whatever device you're reading this one and vow to never come back here again...The Bic Clic Stic is utilitarian. A classic. Good enough for millions of people to use right this second, cheap enough that anyone can afford it (or just take one from a pen cup anywhere). Think about the last time you used an ultra crappy pen to sign a credit card receipt. Maybe it was one of those Dollar Store pens or a promotional pen left by one of their suppliers. At that time, you would have begged for a Bic Clic Stic. As someone who was in the restaurant industry for many years, these are the best pens for a server because a) they don't get stolen because they're so damn cheap, b) the clip fits perfectly on your apron, and c) you don't care if you lose one because they're so damn cheap...nearly free. You could do worse for more.

Field Notes

  1. Shenandoah - Nothing pleases me more than a standard Field Notes elevated. 120# cover with 70# paper, this book is a tough mother. Green is a favorite color of mine, so the covers of these books make me happy. I carry most of my Field Notes in my back pocket, and these have held up the best so far.
  2. Workshop Companion - Another set of beefy books. 100# cover and 70# paper, both French Paper "Kraft-tone" paper, which kinda looks like chip board. Dot grid. It takes pencil well, but is hard to erase, and leaves behind more than I would prefer.
  3. America the Beautiful - Those covers! That paper! Beautiful retro-printed photos on the covers and it was the first release with GREAT paper. And ruled. Boom. But they do like to fall apart in your pocket, the cover likes to release the paper.
  4. County Fair - These have some great covers. A 100# linen paper cover in red, yellow, & blue. Standard paper keeps this from being higher, but the fact that it's an everyday release is a plus.
  5. Kraft - The standard edition. The one that started it all. In recent printings, these have gotten a bit better, and they've bumped up the weight of the paper from 50# to 60#. Sometimes when I'm feeling minimalist, I'll grab one of these and remind myself why I use Field Notes in the first place.

I did all Field Notes releases only, nothing from their collaborations with other brands. If I had, Carhartt would definitely be on this list.


Other Notebooks

  1. Kindred Spirit - Write Notepads makes my favorite non-FN pocket notebooks and their Kindred Spirit has been my favorite release of theirs so far. Beautiful Butcher Orange cover surrounding that great Write paper. And the presentation was amazing.
  2. Write Notepads Steno - I use this for my "at the desk" notes. Small enough to be out of the way, big enough to not have to flip it over all day. 
  3. Rhodia No 16 Pad - Amazing for fountain pens. I've recently just gotten into these books because of my recent fountain pen excursions.
  4. Baron Fig Confidant - Great hardcover. As I've said about Baron Fig in the past, in my mind, they are Moleskine elevated.
  5. Moleskine Cahier Extra Large - 7.5x10, this is the largest notebook I carry. It's perfect for long meetings. I buy the gray 3 packs and at 120 pages each, they last a good amount of time. This is perfect for a business setting because it is plain but classy looking.

There's changes and more lists to come as I get deeper into this journey. Thanks for taking it with me.