(Note: Yesterday’s version of this post was written as my netbook battery was letting me know it was about to take a break. I rushed through just to get it out. Now that I have more time, I’ve gone back and added some detail.)
A year ago, I received the goods from the second Kickstarter project I backed. They were six months late but very much worth the wait.
I received the Karas Kustoms Ink Fountain Pen and Roller ball. I ordered the fountain pen in green anodized aluminum with a copper section and the Roller ball in black anodized aluminum with a copper section. The fountain pen quickly became one of the five pens I use regularly. However, as much as I like the roller ball, it’s no longer part of my regular pen rotation and may be up for sale soon (more on that in another post).
It’s about 5.4 inches (13.8ish cm) long with the cap. Without the cap it’s just under five inches (12.6ish cm) and fits my hand comfortably. The cap threads look sharp but are small enough they don’t bother me at all. The shape of the copper section is well done and easy to grip.
Uncapped and inked the pen weighs a little over one ounce (33ish grams) which is just enough heft to let the pen do all the work without being too heavy.
The copper section looked great right out of the box but has since tarnished (aka “developed character”). I could polish it, but can’t be bothered.
Karas Kustoms, which started out making hot rod parts and metal iPhone cases, and a handful of ballpoint pens, does an excellent job machining the pen parts. The threads on all the parts are smooth despite them being metal rubbing against metal.
The Schmidt M nib has been excellent and is part of what made this one of my favorite pens. It writes smoothly and seems made for Diamine Sherwood Green ink. I’ve tried other inks in it, but always go back to Sherwood Green. The nib does look oddly small compared to the rest of the pen, though.
My only real gripe was that my pen came with a small chip in the anodizing along the bottom finial. It wasn’t a big deal, but it’s kind of like getting a new book with a ding on the cover: it will look like that soon enough, I don’t need the manufacturer to do it for me. (Note: Karas Kustoms warns that such dings are possible and not considered a manufacturing defect.)
Because it’s made of metal, the cap doesn’t post. This doesn’t bother me much. The clip is a gorgeous piece of design and machine work. Mine doesn’t touch the pen–which I’ve heard is the result of over-zealous polishing–but it still locks securely in my pocket, at least if I’m wearing a heavier shirt.
Since these pens were produced, Karas Kustoms has expanded its fountain pen line up and streamlined some of its manufacturing. Their line up is worth checking out for someone looking to move up from a cheap fountain pen or looking to support US manufacturing.