Inkredible? A short review of the Karas Kustoms Ink fountain pen

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!

AFWAP

 

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13 thoughts on “Inkredible? A short review of the Karas Kustoms Ink fountain pen

  1. I’ve just started to use my new Ink. So far I have to agree with your review. Feels good in the hand with a nice heft to it, but not too heavy. I noticed it wrote a little broader than expected as well, but maybe it’d be possible to swap out for another nib unit. Loving the orange colour you went for. I was sorely tempted, but went with red instead which looks superb.

    All in all I’m liking it, and would love something else from Karas Kustoms in the future. Well worth the wait.

      1. Ha. You know it does 🙂

        I’m looking forward to their next Kickstarter project. I’m prepping my wallet right now! Just hope it doesn’t take as long to finish as this one did.

  2. I can imagine that the brass and copper sections would pick up a patina with use (what Rivendell cycles call “beausage” (beauty through use)). I think the heft would put me off this one, but what a great looking pen!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I think you’re right John I was tempted to go with one of the alternative sections for the patina but thought the extra weight would be an issue, the aluminium is fine And as I said in the review the pen is substantial but not heavy

    1. Hi, Thanks for the comment. I know what you mean, I was a little surprised at the size od the nib. I dont think it detracts from the overall experience of the pen. If it becomes a problem it might be worth investigating swapping out nibs depending on whether there is sufficient space inside the cap

  3. Love the review. Thank you for taking time to write it up and take such awesome photos. We are planning on using a #6 nib for the next fountain pen we make. The only problem is that I still need to design it!

    1. Thanks for the comment Dan. If the next one is anything like he same quality as the Ink (which I’m sure it will be) count me in!

  4. I love my ‘Ink’, I went for the raw aluminium one with a M nib, which sort of blends with the stainless nib, great weight and balance, in agreement over the size of the #5 nib, a #6 would have been much better. Very smooth fine Medium nib, faultless performance so far, inked up with Yama Budo… very yummy!

    1. Hi mate, appreciate the comment. I hear they’re thinking of another pen next time with a bigger nib, should be worth waiting for 🙂

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