I picked the recipients of my two decluttering boxes of ink. If you made the comments shown below please check your email.
My fountain pen usage ticked up a bit this week. I started journalling again at night. My goal is at least one A5 page every day. I missed two days and only did half a page a third day. But I did manage to do seven pages over the entire week. Not much, but seven pages more than the week before. I always have trouble finding a good time to write. I’ll probably try doing the journalling at lunch rather than at the end of the day when I’m tired, or maybe in a addition to the end of the day.
It’s been awhile, but I finally wrote another pen review (although just a quick look) of the Karas Pen Decograph 1702 Elektron pictured above.
I’ve finished going through my ink drawers and I’m getting rid of ink I haven’t used in awhile and may never use. Two more medium flat rate boxes are available to U.S. addresses for $30/each. I still have more ink than I’ll ever use (unless I start spilling it) but I think this will end my ink decluttering for now.
I cleaned out my desk this week and was shocked by how much fits in those drawers. I had several packages of wood-cased pencils and partially filled pocket notebooks. Now when I miss my Field Notes subscription (which I didn’t renew) I’ll just think about all those notebooks with one or two pages of writing.
Taking Pens Apart to Clean
The latest Anderson Pens podcast (#249) covered the question about taking pens apart (pull the nib) to clean (at about the 27:30 mark). I couldn’t agree more for all the reasons they mention and I don’t understand what seems to be a growing feeling that pens must be taken apart to clean. I don’t disable my pens to clean for all the reasons they mention. If I have to take apart a pen to clean I consider it my failure (such as being lazy) or a failure of the ink and I should avoid using it.
Marlen Aleph Fountain Pen Review – Pens! Paper! Pencils! – Ian’s review caught my attention because I never heard of the brand. After reading the review I can understand why. The “Con” is a bit of a show-stopper.
Matthew reviews my favorite paper line. Doane Paper is probably my most used paper. The large writing pads are a standard as are the large utility notebook. The large flap jotter is a favorite for a steno sized notebook but it’s been awhile since I used one.
Dr. Deans has a new job (congratulations!) so the Pen Economics blog will be on hiatus. Nows a good time to catch up on his unique point of view.
The Wancher Penfolium 13 Pen Portfolio took inspiration (to put it generously) from the Franklin-Christoph Lucky 13 Penvelope but does have one solid improvement. I love my Penvelopes but this one does address one shortcoming (the rigid pen slots) although I do wonder what that will do to the protection it provides.
A bit off topic but worth reading if you’re a Quicken user. You’ll be paying more if you upgrade this year, although you may not realize it. While the owners are new, this type of deceiving money grab is ingrained in the company’s DNA and why I stopped using this years ago. (FYI – Turbo Tax is owned by the same company, something to consider at tax time.)
Another off-topic link, but one that fascinated me is about the Giant Magellan Telescope. How “Giant”? Hint: The mirrors are made under a football field and each mirror starts with 20 tons of glass and takes about 5 years to make. There will be 7 mirrors when it’s done.
I’ve got some more ink to clear out. This will probably be the last batch for awhile so I’m going to pick the recipients slightly differently although the rest will be the same since it seemed to work well.
I’ve filled a medium flat rate box with some ink and will send it out (U.S. only) to someone who agrees to pay $30 upon successful arrival of the ink. While $30 is a good price for the ink (covers shipping with a little for my time) it is not a giveaway.
All bottles are at least 75% full except the R&K Sepia which suffered a spill and has more air than ink in it.
I’ve included photos below but I have to say I think I might have switched the ink up a bit since taking the photos. Since the boxes are sealed I’m not opening them, just be aware that the inks may be slightly different or swapped around.
To enter a claim for one of the boxes:
- Agree to pay $30 via PayPal send money to friends or Square Cash upon successful arrival and inspection of one box of ink.
- Shipping addresses in the United States only.
- Enter a comment below and include you favorite ink color (a basic color such as “red” or specific such as “Pilot Blue”). Meant as a small speed bump to require reading the post, not a trick question.
- One entry (comment) per person. No entries via contact form this time, comments only.
- Please use a valid email in the comment’s email field, it will not be visible or given to anyone else. I will use it to contact you for the shipping address. Do not include your address or email in the comment itself.
- Entries must be in by 10PM US Eastern Time on Sunday Nov. 12th. Some comments may be held for moderation, comments in the moderation queue by 10PM are valid, even if not yet approved.
- Once you receive the ink safely please pay $30 to me via PayPal or Square Cash.
- Two recipients selected, one box per recipient, using random.org
- The box you get is random. They’re already sealed and I’ve lost track of which is which.
- I probably won’t pick the recipients until
SundayMonday and will contact the recipients by email at that time. Response within 48 hours is required, otherwise I’ll pick someone else.
The Karas Pen Co. Special Edition 1702 arrived unannounced in my post office box just before halloween. I don’t particularly like doing “review units” for pen reviews and I asked Karas to take me off future mailings. But I have this pen now and will take a look at it.
The box was obviously from Karas Pen Co. but that was the only clue as to what was inside. I haven’t been following new pen releases very closely and was only vaguely aware that Karas has a non-metal pen. Also, their rebranding from Karas Kustoms to Karas Pens was new to me.
When I opened the box I wasn’t too surprised to find a big metal tube, after all I know them for their metal pens. Then I opened the Pen Capsule (Karas’ name for it) and two things did surprise me. First, it was a acrylic pen. Second, a strong odor greeted my nose. I’ll address the odor first and get that out of the way. It smelled a bit like glue so I thought it might have been from glue holding the foam in the tube. But it was the acrylic. In response to my question Karas responded:
The smell is from off-gassing of the acrylic after machining. Different acrylics have different dyes and pigments which change how the material off-gasses. Leaving the pen out will reduce the smell. It is not hazardous, it occurs after the machining process and should go away if the pen is left out.
The smell was never very strong from the pen itself but there’s still a trace after the pen has been out a couple of days, especially after uncapping the pen. If the smell wasn’t so overwhelming when I opened the tube I probably wouldn’t be noticing it as much from the pen itself. The odor was enough to keep me from using the pen that first evening, but the smell had mostly dissipated by morning. Uncapping the pen still releases the built up gases with the odor even though it’s been a week.
So, an acrylic pen from Karas. Specifically, the material is thermoplastic according to Karas. It’s still a machined pen. As expected, the pen does have it’s share of metal, the finials and clip are machined aluminum.
I’ve only had one Karas Kustoms pen, but I did love it and bought a half-dozen or so. It was the original version of the Ink. While I appreciate the designs of their other models, none have been for me. So how’s this one?
It’s a traditionally sized fountain pen. My postage scale puts it at 0.7 oz. (18 grams) with an ink cartridge in it and capped or posted. Unposted the pen only weighs 10 grams with the ink cartridge. It’s about 5″ long uncapped & unposted and nearly 6.5″ when posted. The gripping section is about 20mm long and 9.83mm at its narrowest part (the middle) and about 10.75mm at the top and bottom. The barrel is 12.62mm wide at the base and tapers to 9.75mm” at the top.
When posted the pen feels a little top heavy for me, but that’s the opinion of someone who doesn’t post his fountain pens. But not surprising since nearly half the weight is in the cap and most of that is in the clip and cap finial.
Speaking of the clip, it’s attached to the cap finial with a piece of aluminum. It’s bolted/screwed to this piece which is thinner than the clip itself. The clip feels firm enough to me but this this is a weak point that may develop some play over time.
So it’s a light fountain pen. My first impression is that It’s far too light for my own personal tastes, especially since I don’t post my pens. I have a tendency to grip a pen too tightly when it’s this light and eventually my hand hurts, or at least fatigues faster. But this is a personal preference and I know many people prefer light pens.
There’s a large step between the barrel and the gripping section which could be an issue for some people. The barrel is 11.77mm wide where it meets the 10.78mm wide gripping section. This drop makes it sharp if you grip the pen at this point. My fingers don’t press against this point with my natural grip so it’s not an issue for me. But if you like to hold the pen high up on the section it may be an issue for you.
The acrylic is gorgeous and nicely colored for it’s Autumn (in the U.S.) release. I’m a bit partial to browns which makes this even better. My pictures show the swirls but don’t do justice to the translucence and depth of the material. In the right light the converter (or cartridge) is visible in the pen. Personally I don’t like seeing the metal, or outline, of the converter or cartridge in a pen, it ruins the aesthetic for me unless it’s a completely clear demonstrator. It is very subtle in this case and doesn’t bother me too much. On the other hand I do realize the translucence is what provides the beauty so this is a pen I would normally eye dropper fill. I didn’t see any metal in the pen but to be safe I did confirm with Karas that it can be eye dropper filled. I would use this pen as an eye dropper fill but haven’t done so yet.
I prefer silver trim on my pens but usually settle for gold on my brown pens. The Decograph has silver trim and I really like it. I’ll have to reconsider settling for gold with other brown pens as I really like the contrast the aluminum provides. The two rotations translates to about four flicks of my fingers to remove the cap. The clip is nice, shiny, machined aluminum. It grips my shirt pocket securely and has a little spring to it. I already mentioned the attachment to the cap finial as a potential weak point, but at the moment it’s a solid clip with just enough sprint to slide over my shirt pocket material or over the pen sleeve in my pen case. The barrel finial is also aluminum and engraved with Karas “K” logo. The cap finial is, you guessed it, aluminum and has a subtle cone shape.
There’s no cap band but the threads start down inside the cap a bit. This should help prevent cracking since the pressure is away from the thin lip of the cap. I find the cap needs a little extra twist at the end to close securely, otherwise it comes loose. I’m a little concerned this could eventually crack the cap, or the barrel would drop out of the cap if I forget to tighten it. Even if this doesn’t turn out to be an actual problem it’s the type of thing I worry about and isn’t unique to this pen. I do tend to gravitate away from using pens that require me to think while using them.
The size of the pen compensates a bit for its light weight and while I did find my grip tightening at times it wasn’t as bad as thinner pens. I wrote for about 30 minutes with only minor fatigue. By way of comparison, I can use a heavier pen like the Karas Ink or Visconti Homo Sapien for hours without fatigue.
The cap takes two complete rotations to remove (or put back) so this isn’t a pen I’d pick when I expect to be capping and uncapping and lot. Two rotations translates to about four flicks of my hand to remove the cap. I used a Monteverde black cartridge (supplied with the pen) and was able to leave the pen uncapped for several minutes without the ink evaporating from the nib.
Speaking of the nib – it’s a Bock nib. Mine wasn’t engraved with a size. Whatever the official size this does fall into the “I like it” nib size and I figure it’s a medium. The nib was nice and smooth so no complaints there. Mine was a steel nib but titanium and 14K gold are available for an added cost.
I didn’t do a lot of research but I did come across some discussion about the pen capsule that’s included with the Decograph. (The Decograph line, while new, has been around for a couple of months.) Some where complaining it was done to add to the cost of the pen. I’ve no doubt that the capsule is more expensive than a cardboard box so it must certainly add to the manufacturing cost. Either they pass it along in the price or let it eat into their margins. If it’s so expensive that the pen becomes overpriced then it’s a problem. I’m not a fan of elaborate packaging and attach no value to it when I’m deciding if the pen is worth the cost. But let’s face it, nice packaging gives a good first impression. This one is also functional in that if provides great protection for the pen in addition to providing a good first impression.
So the question is: is the pen worth $165? First, while this pen is a limited edition (Karas calls is a Special Edition, but also say it will be only 60 pens) it is the same price as the regular production Durograph. So kudos to Karas for no “Limited/Special” price bump. I consider these similar to Edison Pens production line pens, machined pens with nice acrylics. The Decograph has a little more metal trim than the typical Edison. The Edison pens are about $15 less but these are competitive. I consider $165 to be a far price for the pen without attaching any value to the pen capsule.
The Decograph 1702 will be available November 15th with pricing starting at $165. The reviewer’s pens are not part of the 60 which will have different engraving than the one pictured here. The production pens will also be engraved on the barrel and have serial numbers on the nibs. Nibs are available in steel, titanium and gold in a range of sizes including a couple wide stubs. Some nib options (titanium & gold) will increase the cost. The metal pen capsule is included as are five Monteverde Black cartridges and a converter. The pen uses standard international cartridges and converters.
Karas Pen Company has put together a very nice pen with the Durograph 1702. It’s a very nice material, has a great fit & finish, along with a nice, comfortable size. If the barrel/section step doesn’t bother you (and I don’t think it will bother most people) and your willing to wait a few days for the odor to dissipate (or it bothers you less than it did for me) then you’ll have a very nice fountain pen,
Karas Pen Co Decograph Fountain Pen – The Clicky Post
Tag Team Review: Karas Pen Co. Decograph Fountain Pen – The Well-Appointed Desk
Trick, no Treat
The week began on a bad note, with a halloween trick. I bent the nib on my favorite pen was bent. Since I didn’t notice the bent nib before starting to fill the Visconti Homo Sapien I figure it bent during the fill. The ink was low so the bottle was tipped and the nib at the bottom. I guess my grip on the pen was as firm as I thought when using the power filler. The nib actually still writes well but it’s time to send it off for repair.
Repeating Past Mistakes?
I had planned to continue my intermittent use of of a Traveller’s notebook as my paper planner/notebook. That changed when I ordered another Hobonichi Techo for 2018. I’ve used these in the past but not as a planner. After using the Travelers Notebook for awhile I think the Hobonichi will address some of the shortcomings of the TN (smaller, more space per day.) I’m probably both optimistic and foolish.
Paul wrote about the recent Scriptus pen show. He also mentioned it would probably be his last post since he’s not planning to renew his hosting plan when it expires in January. So if you want to catch on on ink reviews (and other great posts) your time is limited.
Leigh Reyes provides perfect answers to some holiday questions.
No new pens inked up as the month begins. Although during October I did ink and write dry my Visconti Brunelleschi. I’ve still got some September party pens in the queue to be cleaned. I’m finding that those Diamine Music inks are a pain to completely flush from the pens.
My pen usage continues to be way down. Most of my use these days is just notes and lists. So these pens may last me all of November even though I’m eager to ink up a new pen, not that there’s anything wrong with the pens that are inked.
The ink has been claimed (using the contact form) and the comments are closed. No longer available.
As Inktober comes to a close it’s time for me to get rid of some more ink. It will work the same as the last time although the Decluttering #1 recipient isn’t eligible. After the ink arrives safely and is inspected the recipient will send me $30 via PayPal send money to friends or Square Cash. The amount covers shipping with a little more to cover my time and misc expenses but is well under the value of the ink. Unfortunately this is for delivery in the United States only.
I’ve filled a USPS medium flat rate box filled with ink. Some (maybe all) the ink has been opened and used for a fill or two. There is over 75% of ink left in each bottle. This batch is Diamine and J. Herbin focused.
The ink goes to the first person to claim it (U.S. shipping only). To claim it either add a comment to this post or contact me using the contact form. Include your favorite ink color as a small hurdle to verify you read the entire post. Please use a valid email address (it will not be shared with anyone) in the email field so I can contact you. Do not include your address in the comment since it will be visible, I’ll get it via a followup email if you’re getting the ink.Comments may get held for moderation so the first comment to appear may not be the recipient. A comment still held for approval may have been received earlier.