WOOD WEEK CONTINUES!!!
Now that you’re looking naturally fly in your neat wooden shades, let’s grab the essentials and get ready to go out in the sun for the day. Collect your plain plastic phone, keys, that plain boring Bic pen… things just aren’t looking good here.
As WOOD WEEK continues to grow in size like a mighty oak tree, we shift our focus to everyday carry items with wood accents that really stand above the normal pocket’s low standards
Today we’ll look at a couple of amazing historical wood pens, a fully wooden watch, a wooden phone case and wrap, and some customizable wooden usb thumb drives that demand attention. You’ll easily be the king of Kinko’s when you hand over one of these beauties at the counter. The seemingly small decision of which pen to carry or whether or not you’ll let your phone go naked could be just enough to catch the eye of the future Mr. or Mrs. Article Reader when you’re ready to sign the check at Chipotle. Consider doing the little things better and the world slowly becomes more beautiful. People used to wear suits whenever they flew on a plane. We can be that classy again, these items can help.
Click here to see a video slideshow of the entire kit ‘n’ kaboodle! If you’d like to just skip to your favorite piece featured below, the timestamp of when that item is featured is shown next to the corresponding link below.
“Tree Ring Pen” and “Ballpark Seat Pens” from Uncommon Goods $150-$190 0:07min
–The Tree Ring Pen is handmade by a forest ecologist named Dave Wager in Missoula, Montana. The true inspiration behind the beautifully made one of a kind product is the need to share natural history with the world. Since it’s a constantly handled item this pen becomes an instant conversation starter. You can feel great knowing that you’re helping to fulfill Dave’s vision while handling an exquisite pen. The trees are felled as a part of forest restoration projects and each pen is a century old at its most senior point. The cutting of these trees is a highly sustainable action as the cutting of the small diameter trees helps to protect the larger old-growth forests to which they belong. Each pen features a strong magnetic cap that also attaches to the top when open to write. The pens write very fluidly in black ink using premium Schmidt fine point roller ball refills in an internationally standard size. They come in a pyramid shaped wooden display box for protection when not in use.
-This next pen, The Ballpark Seat pen, awakened the little leager in me. I would have cradled this thing like a baby when I was 9 years old. It wouldn’t have left my hand, even during sleep I imagine. As an adult I’m proud to carry it and even prouder to show it off to friends and strangers. Each retractable pen is laser engraved with the stadium’s name and the exact years that it saw use. The 14 different stadiums featured have at one point or another, replaced their seats. It’s an inevitable part of a ballparks life, a one inch thick piece of plastic or metal can only handle so many warm beer and hot dog induced naps. In the case of great ballparks of the past they’ve featured, the stadiums have been completely demolished and this pen becomes one of the few remaining pieces of those vivid memories. Parks like Ebbets Field and the polo grounds in new york have since fallen but try telling that to your pen. Each Handmade pen recycles the wood that made the seat. It’s spun into the body and is dotted with rhodium plated accents. The very top of these pens are dotted with a very unassuming colored dot which is actually a disc that’s been cut from the seat and still holds the seats original paint in some cases. Each pen comes with a certificate of authenticity and is officially licensed by Major League Baseball. The pen uses black ink Capless roller Ball refills, again from Schmidt.
(It’s also compatible with Parker Style ball point refills if that’s your preference)
“The Plank” by Mica Movement $185 1:22min
This wooden watch made more heads turn than any of the other products featured in this article. The Plank is just gorgeously made and turns out to be a great watch internally as well. The large hardened mineral crystal face hides a 3 hand Japanese Quartz movement. Stainless steel accents gives the watch an overall modern natural feel. It’s splash resistant so don’t be afraid to wash your hands with it on but you won’t be swimming that relay race. The watch is made completely of pine treated with Mica’s proprietary SolidCore treatment. Mica only states that SolidCore is:
“proprietary wood science improves durability, luster and resistance to the elements. Seals and finishes your watch from the inside out.”
The watches are lightly adjustable at the clasp but they also come with additional links that will extend the fit any wrist. The Plank is available in the same light wood with various watch faces available in Black, White (pictured here), and a copper colored Rust that looks great. You won’t find a date function or any additional clocks on this face, it’s minimal by design and thankfully so.
“True Bamboo” by BoxWave $24.95 2:12min
I’ve featured BoxWave on the site previously here. They offer one of the more diverse selections for most every modern smartphone at very reasonable price points. This site’s focus currently falls to the Galaxy Note 2 and the True Bamboo is one of the nicest cases available for that phone, BY ANY MAKER. It is a fully Bamboo case that is made up of two interlocking pieces for easy install/removal. It’s completely form fitting and a soft velvet lining protects the cradled phone from scratches. Cutouts all match up very well. Obviously they are a bit recessed as this is real wood and not a vinyl sticker or plastic printed case. They are still very usable though with a slight learning period. The case remains reasonably thin and is a very realistic option for everyday protection. It won’t function with most docks and mounts though obviously. The one real knock on this case is BoxWave’s vanity. While I understand the need to promote, BoxWave’s large script logo is sprawled across the case and breaks up the minimal beauty that makes the case attractive. This is easily my favorite case for the Note 2 to date in terms of style.
“TechSkin Light Wood Skins and Dark Wood Skins” by Skinomi $19.95 each 3:12min
While this one isn’t technically wood, the look and feel could easily fool your friends for a bit. Skinomi’s TechSkins are known as one of the best options for full body wrap skins that offer beauty AND real protection. Their Carbon Fiber Skins are among the best I’ve seen so I was glad to evaluate their “wooden” skins. Available in light and dark wood options, the skins are actually made from a film material that is also used to protect luxury cars, military aircraft, and even NASA’s space shuttles. Most of Skinomi’s options use a wet application process to allow for easy application and longtime adhesion but the wooden skins are a dry application product. The skins come with everything you could need. Microfiber cloth, squeegee for air pockets, instructions and wet solution. The skin covers the back cover and the sides of the Galaxy Note 2 that I tested it on. A Skinomi two layer screen protector is also included for the price which makes this a great value. Skinomi’s screen protectors are some of the best available, the two layer protection is detailed here by Skinomi:
“The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Screen Protector features two layers of protection. The first, topmost layer contains no unsightly “orange peel effect,” while providing scratch-resistance and UV protection for anti-yellowing. The second layer is a thick, puncture resistant film to minimize damage from scrapes and dents. Unlike other Samsung Galaxy Note 2 screen protectors and skins, the TechSkin features “self-healing” technology, meaning scratches do not stay on the film, and keeps your Samsung Galaxy Note 2 looking new. ”
The skin is very tough and easily protects from scratches without altering the shape or size of your Note 2. It also has a great textured print which helps it to look and feel like real finished wood. Even though it’s a paper thin skin, this will make fitted cases cease to work with your phone. Of course, otterbox and silicon style cases should still work well as they have a bit of room usually. Unfortunately, the Note 2’s curved design makes this skin a bit of a pain to apply. Even if done perfectly, the skins that I received were not completely fit to the Note 2. I centered the camera and flash cutout perfectly and worked from there and I still found a large gap on the bottom of the battery cover with the white plastic still exposed. The sides were even worse. The corners have cutouts to prevent bunching but they don’t look great, even when done as instructed. Even using a hair dryer to heat the skin as instructed, I couldn’t get some corner sections to stay completely put. The most glaring issue here is that when viewed from the front you can clearly see the hard edge of the side stickers. They leave a sharpness that catches your fingertips and will probably wear the adhesive away during hot days in a pocket. Unfortunately the sizing just feels rushed. I do acknowledge that the smooth flat iPhone 4/5 is a much easier phone to design a skin for. On an iPhone, the wood skin offers an amazing finished look that just isn’t matched on the Note 2. If you do decide to purchase a skin, take comfort in the LIFETIME WARRANTY that Skinomi offers. Just be sure to hold on to your proof of purchase and original packaging as they are both required when making a warranty claim. You’ll only have to pay the cost of shipping and handling.
“Custom wooden flash drives” by PhotoFlashDrive.com as low as $9.76 each 04:42min
Available in sizes from 2gb to 64gb, these Wooden Flash Drives are completely elegant. I had mine engraved with this site’s logo by simply uploading a decent .jpeg of the image. The engraving is flawless, crisp and clean even in thinner areas. They function like any other hard drive. Plug and play operation means no drivers are needed on the majority of operating systems. They are available in three wood finishes. A lighter, darker, and cherry stained version. Each has a magnetic cap that grabs and holds easily, even in a pocket. Bulk pricing is available for larger orders and they are a very open company so feel free to propose any idea you might have with the site’s support staff. They’ll even engrave custom gift boxes to accompany them. These would be highly memorable Christmas gifts to help show your appreciate for a hardworking staff. You could engrave the names of your employee’s on individual flash drives and have them packed in gift boxes with your company’s logo as a keepsake.
“Wooden “Slim” business card holder and “Slide” credit card holder”
by YourNestInspired $55 and $62 respectively 5:22min
Anna works from San Francisco to combine nature and technology in her small corner of Etsy. Her unfinished wooden card holders are available in light maple and dark walnut. The business card holder features a metallic metal closure and the credit card holder actually incorporates the smallest wooden drawer you could ever imagine. Anna will gladly discuss custom builds to your specifications and her store grows every single day with beautiful natural designs. The sliding credit card holder holds 5 plastic cards or 15 standard business cards. The smaller business card only hinged clasp model is slightly cheaper but will only hold 8 business cards at a time. The unfinished wood takes on character with use and becomes you’re own personalized piece of pocket art. For an additional small fee, Anna will even burn a custom message into any piece, up to 25 characters. You can see an example of her text in the video slideshow linked above and below.
Honorable Mention: 6:02min
Loyal readers of my work will know that I choose not to feature Apple products too often here. So many dedicated Apple blogs do a fine enough job and I don’t particularly agree with the closed atmosphere that Apple cultivates as a company. There are some pretty accessories made for their phones though, there’s just no denying that. Zagg Audio is a rapidly rising heavyweight in the electronics accessory market and their iFrogz line of premium wooden covers is a real standout. They sent three different cases to show but they have more styles than I could list here available for purchase. Check out what they have to offer here or in the slideshow linked below. The specific cases that they sent are $49.99 each and can be purchased directly at Zagg.com
If you haven’t already, click here to see a video slideshow of all the products featured
Thank you again to the companies mentioned here for supplying their products for review.
ENJOY YOUR GADGETS!