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I use Tiger A5 notebooks, hard-cover and spiral backed, to draft everything I write. That may seem like double work but it’s worth drafting my articles and correspondence because they improve on the edit – or at least I like to think that they do. These Tiger notebooks may only be available in the UK. I get them from Amazon and get through about one a month. I’m glad I found them. The paper is very good with no show-through and the spiral allows the paper to lie flat. I like to draft with the notebook on my knee rather than the desk. It works for me that way.

Of course the other part of writing is the pen you use. I have a couple of 1940s plunger-fill Onotos and they are excellent for the purpose. They hold a lot of ink and have first class nibs, especially the older ones. I don’t offer Onotos on my sales site very often because I never had much success restoring the filling system. I forget that they offered lever fillers too – from quite early. Rob Parsons has reminded me by sharing photos of a couple of fine examples.

This black hard rubber example has a delightful flex nib which Rob puts to very good use. The slip cap makes it an earlier example. This lever box is unique to Onoto.

This GP Onoto bears a personalisation “MD 12-12-38” which dates it nicely and suggests that it was a presentation pen. Like so many of these plated pens, ink has attacked the metal closest to the nib. Are inks so caustic nowadays? Rob tells me it took some work to get it right but it’s a pleasure to use now.

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