Will Hodges has a great sense of style and design. His first Shaker was one of the better pens out there, but greatness is ever-hungry. As a result Will took a lot of the work in-house. The nock mechanism (the part of the pen that pushes the inky tip of the refill out of the body) used to be a Schmidt nock. Now it is a Will Hodges-made design. The perfect texture that makes Tactile Turn gear tactile now covers the entire body tube. And the excellent clip from the first one carries over here.
With the improved nock, the balance of the pen is better than before, though to be fair, it was very good before. The result is probably the best, most refined clicky pen on the market and a perfect EDC pen.
There are three micro-changes to the design which speak to how refined the Shaker is. First, the wall thickness of the pen varies from the front to the rear of the pen, ensuring a solid feel and perfect balance. Second, the distance between the pen tip and the front of the body tube is now much larger to prevent accidental marking. Finally, and truly crazy, Will varied the diameter of the pen from the grip section to the tail of the pen, both for balance and feel purposes. The difference is barely visually perceptible, but in-hand you’ll notice a difference.
No one has thought as much about EDC pens as Will Hodges, and the second generation of his foundational design shows. I prefer the slightly smaller (but still full-sized) Shaker, but if you have giant hands, look for the Mover. Both come in a wide variety of materials and both are killer writing tools that can stand up to lots of daily wear and tear.
Scrooge Before Ghost Visits: Zebra F-701 with Parker refill Mod
The F-701 is one of the best body tubes on the market, but refill compatibility is a real issue. There is a guiding cone inside the body tube that helps the narrower Zebra refills work. The end result is that you are confined to a host of awful ink refills. Disassemble the pen and pull out the guiding cone, cut off the tip, and viola you now have a pen compatible with ALL Parker refills. There are dozens of sites that show you the step-by-step. All you really need is a pocket knife, but a pocket knife and a drill press makes the process easy and the final result functionally flawless. This is a great $10 gift, $7 for the pen and $3 for a good Parker style refill.
The Vanishing Point is awesome. No doubt. It is one of my favorite pens in the world and has an amazing nib for the price, but it is a little beefy. That coupled with the position of the clip can turn folks off, so Pilot introduced the Decimo Capless, basically a thinner, more-comfortable Vanishing Point. This is a bit pricey, coming in at $140. But this is a joy to use and one of the few fountain pens which I have found to survive daily beatings.