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Pen Storage Idea



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kenrapoza

Hi All,

 

I need to expand my pen storage, so I was thinking of getting a small wooden art chest with drawers from Amazon and putting in the slotted pen trays from GoPens.  I currently have a 36-pen case with a glass top and two drawers underneath, but my collection is at about 70 pens right now and I need additional storage. 

 

This is the chest I'm looking at: Amazon Link

 

These are the pen trays: GoPens Link

 

I just wanted to ask if anyone has tried this approach before.  Does this seem like it makes sense?

 

Thanks everyone!

 

Ken

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langere

That's a great idea!  Have you measured to make sure that the pen trays fit the chest well?

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Marlen M10 Lux "F" nib running an unknown blue ink cartridge

Wancher Seven Treasures "F" nib running Noodler's Cayenne

Waldmann Xetra "F" nib running Aurora Black

Tibaldi Bononia "F" nib running Noodler's Burgundy

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IThinkIHaveAProblem

that's a nice chest.. but I did notice that its "currently unavailable"... which complicates things slightly...

 

I'm using an ikea Alex https://www.ikea.com/ca/en/p/alex-drawer-unit-on-casters-white-80485423/

 

But my wife wants it back... so I will likely move into a tool box that is lockable in it's place.

(I have two smaller unused toolboxes sitting empty in the garage)

 

 

Just give me the Parker 51s and nobody needs to get hurt.

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langere

Hmmm, not in the United States Amazon - depends on where the OP is located.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Marlen M10 Lux "F" nib running an unknown blue ink cartridge

Wancher Seven Treasures "F" nib running Noodler's Cayenne

Waldmann Xetra "F" nib running Aurora Black

Tibaldi Bononia "F" nib running Noodler's Burgundy

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bogiesan

Many, many years ago, someone around here described  their fountain pen shadow box. It hung on the wall, had a glass door, and some kind of simple wooden structure of slots and bars to keep the pens upright and from falling out when the door was opened.

 

Shadow boxes are basically deep picture frames for displaying three dimensional objects, ephemera, and memorabilia. This guys' system was brilliant and meant all fo his pens were clearly visible at all times. I found this much more interesting than a box with drawers that hide the collection. Thankfully, my aspirations as collector never amounted to much so I don't have this particular problem of storing my pens. 

 

https://www.displays4sale.com/StoreModules/ProductDetails.aspx?p=Large-Open-Shadow-Box-Wooden-Framed-2-Deep

I ride a recumbent, I play go, I use Macintosh so of course I use a fountain pen.

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Paul-in-SF

That looks like an almost perfect set of drawers, as the pen trays are 12x16. You would only have to trim off one or possibly two slots on one end, and that would leave 22 or 23 slots, and for most pens, you could fit two pens per slot (front and back). That would give you space for over 120 pens. The nice thing is that they are easily expandable, by stacking. Also, if you really want to stuff them full, you might be able to build trays to fit inside the deeper trays, so you could stack two sets of slots in each of the deeper drawers. Photo below to illustrate the idea, although with a different sort of drawer. 

 

56386786_Pendrawer.thumb.jpg.d4dfc8816487d82594b6ab8229717e61.jpg

 

One possible concern with the trays is that thicker pens may be too thick to set all the way to the bottom of the slots. There are wider-slot trays to be had (you can see some at the bottom of the above tray), but not on such a regular basis as the ones from gopens.com. Let me know if you are interested and I'll give you details. 

 

I also have an Ikea Alex, from which I removed the wheels and put it on my desk, and it holds my ink, repair supplies and parts. I can't say I really recommend it, the drawers don't come all the way out, and the bottoms are not very strong for something as heavy as ink. But I got it used for free around the neighborhood, so I make do until something perfect comes along. 

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kenrapoza

 

6 hours ago, langere said:

That's a great idea!  Have you measured to make sure that the pen trays fit the chest well?

 

Erick

 

Hi Erick,

 

Thanks!  The pen trays are designed to be trimmed to size with scissors, so I think i will be able to make that work.  The bottom two drawers of that chest are 14.25" wide by 10.5" deep by 1.625" high while the top tray is just under 1" high.  The trays are 12" x 16" so some adjustment will be needed, I just hope it can be done without being sloppy.

 

Ken

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kenrapoza
6 hours ago, IThinkIHaveAProblem said:

that's a nice chest.. but I did notice that its "currently unavailable"... which complicates things slightly...

 

I'm using an ikea Alex https://www.ikea.com/ca/en/p/alex-drawer-unit-on-casters-white-80485423/

 

But my wife wants it back... so I will likely move into a tool box that is lockable in it's place.

(I have two smaller unused toolboxes sitting empty in the garage)

 

 

 

Hi there!

 

I've heard of other people using the Ikea Alex also, which seems like a great idea for a large collection.  I'm still trying to keep my storage costs down...the pens are costing me enough as it is!

 

Ken

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kenrapoza
4 hours ago, bogiesan said:

Many, many years ago, someone around here described  their fountain pen shadow box. It hung on the wall, had a glass door, and some kind of simple wooden structure of slots and bars to keep the pens upright and from falling out when the door was opened.

 

Shadow boxes are basically deep picture frames for displaying three dimensional objects, ephemera, and memorabilia. This guys' system was brilliant and meant all fo his pens were clearly visible at all times. I found this much more interesting than a box with drawers that hide the collection. Thankfully, my aspirations as collector never amounted to much so I don't have this particular problem of storing my pens. 

 

https://www.displays4sale.com/StoreModules/ProductDetails.aspx?p=Large-Open-Shadow-Box-Wooden-Framed-2-Deep

 

That shadowbox is a cool idea!  Unfortunately, my wife is not nearly as enthusiastic about the pen collection as I am.  But you're right - keeping them hidden away in drawers is definitely less attractive.

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kenrapoza
4 hours ago, Paul-in-SF said:

That looks like an almost perfect set of drawers, as the pen trays are 12x16. You would only have to trim off one or possibly two slots on one end, and that would leave 22 or 23 slots, and for most pens, you could fit two pens per slot (front and back). That would give you space for over 120 pens. The nice thing is that they are easily expandable, by stacking. Also, if you really want to stuff them full, you might be able to build trays to fit inside the deeper trays, so you could stack two sets of slots in each of the deeper drawers. Photo below to illustrate the idea, although with a different sort of drawer. 

 

56386786_Pendrawer.thumb.jpg.d4dfc8816487d82594b6ab8229717e61.jpg

 

One possible concern with the trays is that thicker pens may be too thick to set all the way to the bottom of the slots. There are wider-slot trays to be had (you can see some at the bottom of the above tray), but not on such a regular basis as the ones from gopens.com. Let me know if you are interested and I'll give you details. 

 

I also have an Ikea Alex, from which I removed the wheels and put it on my desk, and it holds my ink, repair supplies and parts. I can't say I really recommend it, the drawers don't come all the way out, and the bottoms are not very strong for something as heavy as ink. But I got it used for free around the neighborhood, so I make do until something perfect comes along. 

 

Hi Paul!

 

Thanks for the heads up on the thicker pens fitting in those slots, I've actually been a little concerned about that.  If you have any info on where I could get those wider slot trays I would definitely be interested in that, thanks!

 

Ken

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Paul-in-SF

OK, here is what I know, this was current as of around Feb.-March of 2020. 

 

There is a vendor called Pendora, and her email is pendora@usa.com. She is no longer in full-time business, but she did still have some wider-slot trays, which she will sell if she still has any. It can be a challenge to reach her, so you have to be both very polite and persistent. If/when she replies, she may ask you to email her again later because she is traveling or something. 

 

The trays are different dimensions from the ones that gopens.com has, 17-3/8 wide by 8-3/8 front to back, and they hold 18 pens. The slots are 3/4" wide, compared to about 1/2" wide for the gopens.com trays, and I don't have any pens that don't fit in them. My fattest pen is a Platinum Izumo at 18.3 mm at the widest point, and it fits comfortably. The trays may still be available in different colors too.

 

Another option for wider pens is to google "flocked plastic jewelry trays". Such trays come in various shapes but some have long slots for bracelets, and they make good trays for pens, with slots over 1" wide and almost 7" long. The trays I found had five slots per tray, so you could fit several in a drawer. These are quite inexpensive, also easier to cut because the plastic is thinner. 

 

15 hours ago, kenrapoza said:

The pen trays are designed to be trimmed to size with scissors

This may be true, but my experience says otherwise. The plastic has no grain in it at all, so my scissors tended to wander. My suggestion is a utility knife or even a box cutter with a sharp new blade, and a steel straightedge. Cutting across the slots is easy, just turn the slots over and cut across the slot bottoms partway through, then you can bend and break along that line. Cutting the slots vertically is more challenging so patience and care are your friends. 

 

Good luck and have fun. Making pen storage can be a lot of fun, and very satisfying. 

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kenrapoza
7 hours ago, Paul-in-SF said:

OK, here is what I know, this was current as of around Feb.-March of 2020. 

 

There is a vendor called Pendora, and her email is pendora@usa.com. She is no longer in full-time business, but she did still have some wider-slot trays, which she will sell if she still has any. It can be a challenge to reach her, so you have to be both very polite and persistent. If/when she replies, she may ask you to email her again later because she is traveling or something. 

 

The trays are different dimensions from the ones that gopens.com has, 17-3/8 wide by 8-3/8 front to back, and they hold 18 pens. The slots are 3/4" wide, compared to about 1/2" wide for the gopens.com trays, and I don't have any pens that don't fit in them. My fattest pen is a Platinum Izumo at 18.3 mm at the widest point, and it fits comfortably. The trays may still be available in different colors too.

 

Another option for wider pens is to google "flocked plastic jewelry trays". Such trays come in various shapes but some have long slots for bracelets, and they make good trays for pens, with slots over 1" wide and almost 7" long. The trays I found had five slots per tray, so you could fit several in a drawer. These are quite inexpensive, also easier to cut because the plastic is thinner. 

 

This may be true, but my experience says otherwise. The plastic has no grain in it at all, so my scissors tended to wander. My suggestion is a utility knife or even a box cutter with a sharp new blade, and a steel straightedge. Cutting across the slots is easy, just turn the slots over and cut across the slot bottoms partway through, then you can bend and break along that line. Cutting the slots vertically is more challenging so patience and care are your friends. 

 

Good luck and have fun. Making pen storage can be a lot of fun, and very satisfying. 

 

Hi Paul,

 

Thank you for those pointers.  I think you're right - I'll go with a utility knife first over scissors.  I like the idea of trying the flocked jewelry trays - I found these on etsy which might be a good place to start: etsy link.

 

I appreciate all the thoughts and advice!

 

Ken

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kenrapoza
13 hours ago, encremental said:

Muji Acrylic Storage is fantastic:

 

Acrylic Box - 5 Drawers - Wide - MUJI Online - Welcome to the MUJI Online Store

 

Line them with Go Pens trays cut to size, and you can expand your collection exponentially! They stack as well.

 

John

 

Hi John,

 

Thanks for the idea!  I also read in an article that the Muji boxes are a great option.  These actually look like they would be great for all kinds of stuff.

 

Ken

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bogiesan
On 6/21/2021 at 8:09 PM, kenrapoza said:

 

That shadowbox is a cool idea!  Unfortunately, my wife is not nearly as enthusiastic about the pen collection as I am.  But you're right - keeping them hidden away in drawers is definitely less attractive.

Marital bliss is a different topic and there is probably a folder dedicated it as we all suffer the consequences of our predilection. Just my opinion, of course, find out what her tolerance is for a realistic number of working pens and reduce your collection to that number by keeping only the best writers and selling all the others which have become superfluous and surplus. You will be very glad you did. This action not only forces you to concentrate on much more important matters, it  also totally eliminates the urge to buy more pens. 

I ride a recumbent, I play go, I use Macintosh so of course I use a fountain pen.

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sansenri

I'm actually convinced some kind of large size furniture with drawers is the only way to go...

I've gone through pen holders, larger size pen holders, small drawers, larger drawers... they are never enough and then you are stuck with all the different bits and pieces... 😭  a modular approach is also attractive, but I personally prefer to have my pens out of sight

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52 minutes ago, sansenri said:

I'm actually convinced some kind of large size furniture with drawers is the only way to go...

In that case, then you probably ought to look at tool chests or those drawer units used to store blueprints flat, which have very spacious shallow drawers that are likely to be ideal for pens.

 

alex

---------------------------------------------------------

We use our phones more than our pens.....

and the world is a worse place for it. - markh

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sansenri
2 hours ago, alexwi said:

In that case, then you probably ought to look at tool chests or those drawer units used to store blueprints flat, which have very spacious shallow drawers that are likely to be ideal for pens.

 

alex

 

Yes, that is the type of solution I'm looking for, some of these must be checked carefully as they may not be deep enough for larger pens.

I've see some professionally made pen drawers but they are ever so expensive... like a good piece of furniture...

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inkstainedruth

It all depends on how many pens are owned.  After several years of juggling which pens were in which of the six 24 pen cases I've gotten (the inexpensive ones from Rockler), I went full out last year just as things were going into full lockdown and bought an antique dental cabinet.  One of these days I will actually take the time to paint/stain the replacement drawer knobs and figure out if I can get screws long enough to go through the thicker doors in the upper cabinet section, and get some sort of Rustoleum product (probably spray paint, to treat the metal parts of the drawers themselves, then order a bunch of the Go Pens flocked trays (I have a few but not nearly enough).  The deeper drawers can be used to store the (now less necessary) pen cases, and also the numerous vial trays I've acquired over the years (I think it's five or six at current count).  That will free up one of the IKEA boxes I got to store bottled ink ink: when I only had four vial trays, they fit in a box -- now, though?  Not so much.... :blush:

The shelving in the top section aren't horribly useful, but they might work for stuff like extra Esterbrook nibs, backup converters, and random tchotchkes like the three small ceramic Pelikan pen holders; notebooks could stack on top of the upper section (I could clear another IKEA box that currently hold the backup Miquelrius 600 page journals).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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4 hours ago, alexwi said:

In that case, then you probably ought to look at tool chests or those drawer units used to store blueprints flat, which have very spacious shallow drawers that are likely to be ideal for pens.

 

alex

 

Sheet music cabinets can be fitted with the gopens trays. A benefit is they may fit in with a home`s normal decor. Depending on the cabinet, there may be enough drawer height for inks as well.

 

Brian

One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.

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