Pens. Ballpoints, gel pens, fountain pens, technical drawing pens. And while I’m at it, mechanical pencils, wood pencils, colored pencils. I love them all. Well, OK, not all. I favor extra-fine points, clear blue ink, (and burgundy, purple, or dark green ink) and pens that are comfortable to hold. From time to time, I review them. If you never use a pen or pencil to write, you can skip this article. But you’ll miss out on the marvelous disappearing ink.
The Pilot Frixion pen has the secret in the name. The newness is friction. In the photo on the left, you can see the capped pen. On the back end, there is a nub of plastic. It is not a regular “eraser” because it is not rubber and doesn’t wear down when you use it. It erases because the friction of rubbing the writing heats up the paper and the ink disappears. No wearing out the paper, no tearing.
The writing end of the pen is a size o4, so very fine. The point is tough, and lasts a long time. The ink didn’t skip on me, not on regular paper, not on hyper smooth paper or rougher paper, either. You can use the pen for drawing, too, as it dries quickly. Cross-hatching works really well with this pen. For left-handers: the ink dries quickly enough so you won’t smear it.
No, I don’t have wonderful handwriting. In the sample on the left, you can see that I started to erase a few words. It works. I didn’t erase the whole thing, but you can see that it works.
So, if heat is the eraser, would heating the whole paper erase all the writing? I could have used a hair dryer to find this out, but instead, I did something you should not do. It’s dangerous. I took the paper and put it on my electric stove burner, and turned on the burner. To heat the paper. I should have used an iron. That works, too, I found out later. After I found the iron.
(The faint stripes you see aren’t in the paper. I took the photos under an LED light, which throws a faint shadow on the card.
You can see the burner at the top of the image. You can also see the ink disappearing. I pulled the card before it got too hot. The heat idea was right–but it’s much safer to create the heat with the plastic eraser at the other end.
Once the heat did the erasing, I began to fret. After all, Phoenix gets hot in the summer, and my car gets hotter in a parking lot, waiting for me to finish teaching for the day. What would happen if all my notes vanished in the hot car?
The only way to make the paper colder, fast, was to place the piece of paper in the freezer. In less than a minute, the writing appears again. The “erased” writing came back to the same readability as it was when I used the plastic nub eraser.
What if you don’t want all this disappearing and re-appearing? Well, there is a notebook, the Rocketbook, that allows you to write, put your work on Google docs, put the notebook in the microwave to clean it, and keep using it. I have not tested the book or the app or the notebook yet.
Why didn’t I do this all on video? Because I’m still learning Gutenberg, WordPress’s new posting method, and wanted to practice using photos first. New things are fun, but Gutenberg needs a bit of getting used to.
The pen is lightweight and the cap pulls off (it doesn’t screw) and posts on the back of the pen, if you need a longer pen to feel comfortable.
I’ve just ordered a number of different pens from JetPens, and once they arrive and are given a test drive, I’ll be doing a review and give-away.
The Pilot Frixion pen is my own purchase. The opinions in this review are mine and not influenced by anyone else.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer who teaches business writing, grammar, getting along with difficult people, creative problem solving, critical thinking, and other useful classes to businesses.