Do pens take gender? I know ships do… If pens do this one is definitely a bloke… Born in a machine shop amidst the noisy whir of CNC machines and showers of sparks from welding machines it is the type of pen to take out for a beer and with which to watch some rugby. It has recently emerged from Karas Kustoms, a USA based company, and is the offspring of their most recent Kickstarter campaign. You may be familiar with their other offerings, namely the Render K, Retrakt, and the Bolt, all pens that boast superb engineering. I have to confess I have none of these earlier products but I was keen, on hearing good reports of these models, to get my hands on their foray into the world of fountain pens (NB: the Ink also comes as a rollerball). So here’s what I think of the ‘Ink’.
Description: The Ink is a beautifully machined fountain pen. It has a deliberately robust and industrial look to it. The anodised coating is flawless (I chose the orange – ut solet, though I do like the look of the black too). It is a stout, cigar-like pen with a discernible taper on the barrel toward the flattened base.
The cap has a distinctive, polished metal coloured clip; it screws on to the pen body beautifully. The clip ius affixed to the cap by means of two bolts that add to the industrial look of the Ink. The screw threads between the cap and main body of the pen are smooth and precise without the irksome squeaking that sometimes comes with metal on metal action.
The grip section is about average size and concave. I chose the basic raw aluminium finish to contrast to the rest of the pen. The Schmidt nib is comparatively small but nicely detailed.
Dimensions: At 41g the Ink is again worthy of the term substantial but is not to my mind too heavy To my measurement the capped pen is 136mm long and 15mm wide at its widest point. Uncapped the pen is 126mm long.
On Test: In the hand the Ink feels smooth and substantial. It has a lovely tactile aspect to it. This is not a pen to post, but the unposted pen feels exceptionally well-balanced and is comfortable with which to write. The grip section is comfortable and the whole package lends itself to a pleasurable writing experience. I was surprised at how small the supplied Schmidt nib was, it reminded me of the characteristically small nibs used in many of my favourite Kaweco fountain pens. I needn’t have worried about its performance though. I decided to get the fine nib which is incredibly smooth in use. I confess that, used conventionally, it isn’t the finest nib in terms of the line width it leaves, but using it inverted it gives a really fine but still nicely discernible line.
The basic pen costs $85 direct from Karas Kustoms, which means it is a really affordable pen. There are alternative grip sections made from brass and copper available at small additional cost.
Summary: The Ink is a really distinctive pen that I think stands out from the crowd. It’s not often that you see this type of all-metal pen with such great balance being so well-priced, I can imagine it being a great gift, though I’m not giving this one away – sorry!