Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Karas Kustoms Fountain K Official Sales Release


  • The Fountain K pen will have its official pre-production release, Thursday, August 27th at Noon, Arizona time (MST, UTC/GMT -7 hours).
  • This release will be limited to the pre-production pens that were made to accept Schmidt #5 nibs. For that reason there are a very limited supply of these pens available.
  • This configuration will accept nibs purchased to fit your current Karas Kustoms INK in the event you had nibs custom ground.
  • We will have four finishes available for purchase tomorrow
    • Anodized Silver (Clear) Aluminum (Approximately 75 Available)
    • Tumbled Raw Aluminum (Approximately 30 Available)
    • Brass (Approximately 50 Available)
    • Copper (Approximately 60 Available)
  • The Fountain K is identical in size to the Render K. In fact if you have one of each sitting on your desk capped, they will appear to be the exact same pen.
  • Due to our limited numbers some people may miss out on these pens. We are not limiting the amount one person can buy, so if you want one of each you can purchase one of each as long as they are in stock. Likewise, if you want 5 Brass, that’s possible as well.
  • The quickest way to purchase a Fountain K is to use PayPal as your means of checkout on our website. This is the easiest, fastest way to checkout as it doesn’t require you to input any billing information or credit card information as long as you have a current PayPal account. Paypal is who processes all sales through our website, we have no other means of accepting payment. Use “checkout as guest” on the site will also save you time.
  • Just adding product to your cart does not reserve the product for purchase. You have to complete the payment process and receive a confirmation email to ensure your purchase was successful. Orders over $120 qualify for free shipping (but hurry they may sell out while you are adding product to the cart).
  • In the event that you miss out on this Pre-Production release, we will be releasing the Production Fountain K before the holidays.
  • Pricing is as follows:
  • Anodized Silver (Clear) Aluminum - $70.00
  • Tumbled Raw Aluminum - $70.00
  • Brass - $90.00
  • Copper - $120.00
  • Orders over $120 qualify for free shipping (but hurry they may sell out while you are adding product to the cart)
  • This small sale will help us fund the next full production batch of Fountain Ks and further development on other pen projects.
Thank you for your support!
 
 
 

 
 

 
Bill Karas- Head Machinist, Founder
 
Dan Bishop- Industrial Design Lead

Paul Bennett- Marketing/Customer Service Lead

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Small Batch Pen Sale. ReBolts and Blackouts.


Now that the frenzy has passed on the Fountain K Press Release, I figured we could come back to the Karas Kustoms/Karas Pen Co Small Batch Sale. I have added a few more pens that we were able to get Stonewashed this past week. Prices include shipping, refill and spring/spacer kits. Pens come fully assembled. The ReBolts have been pre-modded to work "out of the box". Enough of the disclaimer, on to the sale.

Karas Kustoms Brass Bolt - Blackout  - 95.00 USD (3 available)

The Blackout Series is our latest foray into creating unique Small Batch version of the Karas Kustoms pens you have come to know and trust. We rough polish, clean and then hand apply a layer of chemical to black the surface of the brass pens. Due to this being hand applied, no two pens have the same finish and as time and use play with the metal, the finish will change and take on a different appearance unique to your daily writing position. These pens are truly one of a kind. This is our Brass Bolt with Blackout finish, fully functioning with Parker style refill included.

Karas Kustoms Brass Bolt G2 - Blackout - 95.00 USD (4 available)

 The Blackout Series is our latest foray into creating unique Small Batch version of the Karas Kustoms pens you have come to know and trust. We rough polish, clean and then hand apply a layer of chemical to black the surface of the brass pens. Due to this being hand applied, no two pens have the same finish and as time and use play with the metal, the finish will change and take on a different appearance unique to your daily writing position. These pens are truly one of a kind. This is our Brass Bolt G2 with Blackout finish, fully functioning with Pilot G2 style refill included.

Karas Kustoms Brass Retrakt - Blackout - SOLD OUT

The Blackout Series is our latest foray into creating unique Small Batch version of the Karas Kustoms pens you have come to know and trust. We rough polish, clean and then hand apply a layer of chemical to black the surface of the brass pens. Due to this being hand applied, no two pens have the same finish and as time and use play with the metal, the finish will change and take on a different appearance unique to your daily writing position. These pens are truly one of a kind. This is our Brass Retrakt with Blackout finish, fully functioning with Pilot G2 style refill included.

Karas Pen Co ReBolt - Red Stonewashed - 70 USD (2 available)


The Stonewashed Series is our initial entrance into Small Batch pen creation. We took existing anodized pens, used a mild abrasive on the anodize, then put them through a long rough tumbling process with specific media and liquid to for a "worn or distressed" look on the pen. The Stonewash finish looks as though the pen has had years of use and carry but remains fully functional. It also softens edges and creates a "softer" texture on the anodize overall. This has been applied to our ReBolt pen, which is a combination of our Retrakt upper barrel with a Bolt lower barrel and a custom modified spacer. This pen is the daily carry pen of Bill Karas, Karas Kustoms Owner and Dan Bishop Karas Kustoms Design Lead. It comes fully functional with a Parker style refill.

Karas Pen Co ReBolt - Violet Stonewashed lower & Tumbled upper - 70 USD (1 available)


The Stonewashed Series is our initial entrance into Small Batch pen creation. We took existing anodized pens, used a mild abrasive on the anodize, then put them through a long rough tumbling process with specific media and liquid to for a "worn or distressed" look on the pen. The Stonewash finish looks as though the pen has had years of use and carry but remains fully functional. It also softens edges and creates a "softer" texture on the anodize overall. This has been applied to our ReBolt pen, which is a combination of our Retrakt upper barrel with a Bolt lower barrel and a custom modified spacer. This pen is the daily carry pen of Bill Karas, Karas Kustoms Owner and Dan Bishop Karas Kustoms Design Lead. It comes fully functional with a Parker style refill.

Karas Pen Co ReBolt - Tumbled lower & Rough Polished Copper upper - SOLD OUT


The Stonewashed Series is our initial entrance into Small Batch pen creation. We took existing anodized pens, used a mild abrasive on the anodize, then put them through a long rough tumbling process with specific media and liquid to for a "worn or distressed" look on the pen. The Stonewash finish looks as though the pen has had years of use and carry but remains fully functional. It also softens edges and creates a "softer" texture on the anodize overall. This has been applied to our ReBolt pen, which is a combination of our Retrakt upper barrel with a Bolt lower barrel and a custom modified spacer. This pen is the daily carry pen of Bill Karas, Karas Kustoms Owner and Dan Bishop Karas Kustoms Design Lead. It comes fully functional with a Parker style refill.

Karas Kustoms Stonewashed Blue Cube w/Stonewashed Render K Bundle - 145 USD (1 available)
This is a custom special edition combination. It contains one of our Stonewashed Blue Cubes and a Stonewashed Silver Render K with Stonewashed Blue cap and tip. The above price includes shipping and the corresponding pen refill. These two items are perfect for your work desk or a students dorm room. The only combination like this.








 Karas Kustoms Stonewashed Orange Cube w/Stonewashed Orange & Blackout Brass Bolt - 160 USD (1 available)
This is a custom special edition combination. It contains one of our Stonewashed Orange Cubes and a Stonewashed Orange upper barrel Bolt and Blackout Brass lower Bolt and knob. The above price includes shipping and the corresponding pen refill. These two items are perfect for your work desk or a students dorm room. Limited supply on these, get them while they last.








Questions concerning Small Batch, One-Off or other non-standard Karas Kustoms items can be directed to info@karaskustoms.com, subject line "Small Batch".

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fountain K Press Release



The Fountain K and Kickstarter
August 13, 2015
One of the greatest tools that a manufacturer has is their ability to innovate within their own product line. The innovation process is one that occurs naturally for any manufacturer that wishes to remain relevant in today’s ever changing marketplace. Incremental changes and improvements are inevitable. Smaller production runs are used to “dial in” manufacturing, establish proof of concept, as well as a way to test market feasibility of newly created products. We take pride in our ability to innovate in the realm of pen manufacturing. There are other metal machined pens, many of them are of high quality and standards, but we were at forefront of innovating the design and construction of machined metal pens and bringing them back to the marketplace. This was all made possible for us through crowdfunding and Kickstarter. It was this same spirit of innovation that led us to decide and try to move forward without using Kickstarter.

We have been very happy with our partnership with Kickstarter. The partnership has allowed us to grow our business into what it is today. We have several extremely successful pen designs that would not have been possible if it weren’t for the Kickstarter platform. That being said, we also know that those pens wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for our many backers, and while Kickstarter allows us to maintain a connection within its infrastructure, it’s not the same level of connection that a company like ours seeks to have with its customers. We understand that the waiting process after pledging to a campaign is not an ideal process for the customer. You have pledged towards a project and the rewards can sometimes take months to get into your hands. We don’t like that process either as it causes us a lot of stress as we work to deliver all rewards on the expected timetable. All of these thoughts went through our minds as we looked at the Fountain K project and got closer and closer to a final decision.

As a company, we sat down to have one last look at the entire Fountain K project before calling it complete and ready to go. We went over all the data we had gleaned from cost analyses, feedback emails, nib sourcing emails, and the mountain of customer requests for another machined fountain pen. As we went through the meeting several things began to dawn on us that would ultimately influence our decision to move forward with the Fountain K project on our own.

Primarily, we were left with a small production run of Fountain K pens after prepping for a Kickstarter launch. After sending out units for review and internal testing, we were left with enough pens to allow us to raise enough funds (through direct sales) to equal a modest goal on Kickstarter. We were staring at pens that were completely done, that we had photos and video of, and that people were asking for. Our ultimate goal was to see if consumers were interested in the product, and to gain capital to move forward with production if the product was viable. We could do this with the number of pens we had on hand. So that’s what we are going to do. 

The Fountain K examples we have are ready to go. They are what our Kickstarter backers would have received and are very nice pens. We are looking to change nib suppliers for all of our future pens, so at some point, some small changes to the Fountain K will occur. This means these pens are unique and are very limited in number. The sales of these pens will allow us to produce more in the future, but these will never be made again. By selling this very small batch, we are in a sense “kickstarting” the project ourselves. This will mean the next batch will be funded by this seed money and we will have enough to move into full production moving forward. It is a slower way to do things, but it allows us more autonomy and the ability to create new products in a manner we are more comfortable with. 

We put a lot of time and effort into all of our pens. But we put an even greater amount of thought into how we proceed on any particular project. We have established our reputation by creating high-quality machined writing instruments and on our top notch customer service. By adding innovation, adaptability and exceptional product design to the list of things that are associated with Karas Kustoms, we can only improve our outstanding reputation. There is only so much we can do on our own to make a pen be successful, as we rely on our customers to ultimately tell us how successful a product really is. So we can build it with all of the innovation, quality and care as we know how, but the decision on whether the pen is truly as successful lies in their hands.

Bill Karas, Owner

Dan Bishop, Industrial Design Lead

Paul Bennett, Marketing/Customer Service Lead
 

SPECIAL EDITION PEN SALE!


Karas Kustoms limited edition pen sales. These pens will be available for purchase via this blog 8/14/15 at 10am PDT. They will be listed with a Paypal But It Now button. They will be in limited numbers. Here's the information.

Karas Kustoms Brass Bolt - Blackout - 95.00 USD
We are adding a Blackout Series to our special release line that already includes the Stonewashed Series. We have put the pens through a "blacking" process to create the Blackout Series. The Blackout process is all hand applied, and as a result no two pens will have the same finish. Not only that but over time and use, the Blackout will change as your pen absorbs the oils from your hands.

Karas Kustoms Brass Bolt G2 - Blackout - 95.00 USD
We are adding a Blackout Series to our special release line that already includes the Stonewashed Series. We have put the pens through a "blacking" process to create the Blackout Series. The Blackout process is all hand applied, and as a result no two pens will have the same finish. Not only that but over time and use, the Blackout will change as your pen absorbs the oils from your hands.

Karas Kustoms Brass Retrakt - Blackout - 85.00 USD
We are adding a Blackout Series to our special release line that already includes the Stonewashed Series. We have put the pens through a "blacking" process to create the Blackout Series. The Blackout process is all hand applied, and as a result no two pens will have the same finish. Not only that but over time and use, the Blackout will change as your pen absorbs the oils from your hands.

Karas Kustoms Tumbled INK - Early Prototype - 115 USD
This is an early run prototype of our INK. It features tumbled aluminum finish with some tooling marks visible and the original section. The caps are clipless and have a slightly rounded "dome" appearance. These pens come with K5 Converter and Schmidt Fine Nib. They are fully functional

Karas Kustoms Render K Orange Stonewashed w/Tumbled Smooth Cap - SOLD OUT
This is the Stonewashed body version of our Render K. The cap is smooth cap version in tumbled aluminum. The pen comes with an EasyFlow 9000 and is ready to write.

Prices include shipping and handling charges.

For inquiries on remaining stock please contact info@karaskustoms.com

Thursday, August 13, 2015

8-14-15 PEN SALE Goes Live 10am PDT!


Karas Kustoms limited edition pen sales. These pens will be available for purchase via this blog 8/14/15 at 10am PDT. They will be listed with a Paypal But It Now button. They will be in limited numbers. Here's the information.

Karas Kustoms Brass Bolt - Blackout - 95.00 USD (5 Available)
We are adding a Blackout Series to our special release line that already includes the Stonewashed Series. We have put the pens through a "blacking" process to create the Blackout Series. The Blackout process is all hand applied, and as a result no two pens will have the same finish. Not only that but over time and use, the Blackout will change as your pen absorbs the oils from your hands.

Karas Kustoms Brass Bolt G2 - Blackout - 95.00 USD (5 Available)
We are adding a Blackout Series to our special release line that already includes the Stonewashed Series. We have put the pens through a "blacking" process to create the Blackout Series. The Blackout process is all hand applied, and as a result no two pens will have the same finish. Not only that but over time and use, the Blackout will change as your pen absorbs the oils from your hands.

Karas Kustoms Brass Retrakt - Blackout - 85.00 USD (5 Available)
We are adding a Blackout Series to our special release line that already includes the Stonewashed Series. We have put the pens through a "blacking" process to create the Blackout Series. The Blackout process is all hand applied, and as a result no two pens will have the same finish. Not only that but over time and use, the Blackout will change as your pen absorbs the oils from your hands.

Karas Kustoms Tumbled INK - Early Prototype - 115 USD (9 Available)
This is an early run prototype of our INK. It features tumbled aluminum finish with some tooling marks visible and the original section. The caps are clipless and have a slightly rounded "dome" appearance. These pens come with K5 Converter and Schmidt Fine Nib. They are fully functional

Karas Kustoms Render K Orange Stonewashed w/Tumbled Smooth Cap - 65.00 USD (4 Available)
This is the Stonewashed body version of our Render K. The cap is smooth cap version in tumbled aluminum. The pen comes with an EasyFlow 9000 and is ready to write.

Prices include shipping and handling charges.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

CUBES! And Some Fountain Pen News. Plus CUBES!



The Cube is finally here. Yes that Cube, the Karas Kustoms/Dudek Modern Goods CUBE, sometimes referred to as the CU13E, that’s the one. After months of going back and forth hoping to get colors right we were able to ship out the Kickstarter backers, and have a little bit left over. Well we have a lot of the Silver and Tumbled Aluminum. We have very limited quantities of the colors and decided to a do some small numbers of Stonewashed colors as well. Here’s the biggest reason you want to act NOW as far as a Cube is concerned. If you want a color and not Tumbled or Silver, these are potentially the only colors we are ever going to do. While that might change if our anodizer can fix his application process, at this time we are not sending any Cubes to be anodized until we feel comfortable that they can be completed without needing to be done multiple times.
 
What does that mean? It means that once we are sold out of the specific color batches that we initially made during the Kickstarter campaign that color is potentially done forever. We held back a few colored Cubes for giveaways, but when the site says zero, that means we are finished on those colors. I know that’s not what our customers want to hear, trust me when I say, that’s not what we want to tell our customers. We wanted to be able to provide Cubes that would match our existing pens or at least come close. That didn’t happen, not only did it not happen, there were some colors we had to have redone three and four times before we could fulfill the Kickstarter. 

The good news is that we will continue to work with our anodizer to find some resolution for this. We aren’t going to abandon the colors for our pens, we will continue to provide colors that you have come to associate with our pens. With that being said, we are going to be adding a few colors to our current lineup. We will be adding a Brown and an OD Green. These will be available very soon on our current lineup of Aluminum pens. I love both colors, they really provide some cool options and looks with mix and matching your parts combinations, and just look slick on their own. We will have these available VERY soon.

Fountain pen news. Design changes have been finalized for the Fountain K. Now those design changes are being machined into a few prototypes so we can test the functionality of our pens and see if the changes we made actually made a difference as far as comfort and ease of use is concerned. It’s a process but we are moving along at a decent clip with this project trying to get it ready to go into full production.

In the meantime we will be releasing a new batch of INK fountain pens in all of your favorite colors. Most likely these will be finished towards the middle of September so you can get the colors that you have wanted for so long now. I know it’s been a while since we have had some of the colors in stock and we are working on getting the INKs done as quickly as possible. We made some design changes on the INK as well. We changed the screw profile for the clip so that the clip will sit flush against the cap. This design feature was something that we didn’t know we needed but looking back at our First Generation INKs it is clear that we needed to make this adjustment. There are a few other design changes that we will release closer to the actual release of the Second Generation INKs so be on the lookout for that.

Last bit of news for this week is what I consider a BIG piece of news. With the redesign of the Fountain K, we made the decision to move away from Schmidt nibs and pursue another nib for this pen. We looked at all available nibs, got samples, modded pens with those samples then Dan, Bill and myself went about writing with the nibs to see which one consistently provided the best writing experience. Sure we looked at price and a few other factors, but honestly we were looking for overall writing experience when it came to switching nibs. It’s been about a month now, and we have come to a consensus that Peter Bock AG makes the best triple system nib units available. That being the case we are designing the Fountain K around the Bock triple nib unit. With that in mind we have made the decision not to use Schmidt nibs on our production Fountain Ks, but to use Peter Bock nibs on all of our production Fountain K pens.
What does that mean for our past Schmidt customers?

We will continue to provide service on your pens, and we have a decent amount of Schmidt nibs left if you find yourself needing a Schmidt nib. We will continue to sell them on our website until we sell out of them, and we can refer people to places that will continue to sell Schmidt nibs when we do run out. I know a LOT of you are going to have questions about this. You can direct those questions to info@karaskustoms.com and we will try to answer all of your questions as quickly as possible.

Just a quick note on something that has come up recently. If you compare and contrast our pens with the pens you can purchase in a department store, online or even the majority of pens in an office supply store you won’t find a whole lot of similarities beyond the fact that they are both pens. I liken our pens to an automobile, a skateboard, a bicycle or numerous other items that can be modded, tricked out or specialized. There are a lot of swaps you can do with our pens to make them write differently or perform within specific refill considerations. Also there is a permanence in our pens that other don’t have. Here’s the point; bikes, cars and even skateboards need tune ups from time to time. Your Karas Pen Co pen might get to a point that it needs a tune up. We can and will do those tune up and adjustments for you if you can’t do them on your own. Most of the time a little maintenance with some compressed air and potentially some WD-40 will fix your issue, but every now and again you might need our help. If that’s the case please reach out to at the above listed email address. We want your pen to continue to work well past your lifetime and to become a family heirloom, and if that means we need to provide some service for that pen, then we are going to help you with that.
Keep writing!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fountain Pen Beginner's Guide - It's Quality Bro Edition





A few quick notes before we get into the meat of the post. FREE SHIPPING is live on our website for orders over $120.00, so if you plan on getting a few items and want free shipping, you now have that option. The initial Stonewashed Series sale via @karaspenco went very well, so well we are going to do more from time to time, potentially one at the end of this week depending on if we can get some more pens “stonewashed”. I am going to keep teasing this until I can actually announce it, but the Fountain K is going to have some huge news around it, stuff that you won’t want to miss out on if you are interested in that pen or Karas as a whole. That being said follow this blog, our Instagram accounts and sign up for the newsletter to get the news as soon as it’s released. Full review of Art’s Nibs coming early August with pictures and some more details on how to get his nibs in your pens. Lastly, @karaskustoms Instagram account recently reached 10k followers, we are going to be running a HUGE giveaway to celebrate. How huge? We have partnered with numerous Instagram small businesses that have given us product to giveaway. It’s a smorgasbord of cool stuff, ranging from beard products, to handmade EDC knucks and beads, to specially patina’d pens. However, the grand prize is going to be HUGE, next level stuff, it’s going to involve a truly handmade Karas Kustom pen. If you want to be able to win any of those prizes you have to follow @karaskustoms. Now on to your regularly scheduled program

As we sit around the shop and discuss certain topics that would be beneficial to our customers, we often come back to beginner’s tips to using and appreciating pens. This applies more to fountain pens than our line of ballpoint and rollerball pens, but we would touch on those as the need arises. My hesitancy around getting into any kind of beginner’s guide is due to the fact that so many already exist, and quite a few of them are REALLY good. So I have decided to not do a conventional “beginner’s guide to fountain pens” rather I am going to run you through “my experiences as a n00b with fountain pens with bonus content”. I am sure it will be beneficial to some, hopefully I won’t alienate anyone due to my departure from the tried and true method of teaching new users but I wanted an alternative to what already exists. On with today’s lesson…


Question 1. “Why should I buy/use a fountain pen?”

Answer 1a. Because disposable pens are nothing more than a piece of plastic holding an indeterminate amount of ink that allows you to scrawl your thoughts down if you remember to carry a disposable pen with you. Due to the very nature of the product, you probably don’t carry a pen on you and therefore when you need one you end up asking someone else for one. Owning a fountain pen, or any non-disposable writing instrument means you view writing as an important process, you care enough to invest time, money and space on your person, and you have thoroughly evaluated the product you are purchasing. This process reshapes your thinking about everything related to a pen, you spend time writing and considering what you write. You now have assigned a permanence and importance to annotating data, notes or thoughts; and as a result you will likely be a more thoughtful, creative person.

Answer 1b. Using a fountain pen will likely improve your penmanship and potentially make you a more responsible person. My own journey into fountain pens was primarily as a way to improve my horrendous handwriting. But with that came a desire to repair and maintain fountain pens. I put a lot of time, energy and money into my pens and therefore I treat them with the respect they deserve. Sure they are tools, but they are tools that allow us to create art and collect memories and that is something to be cherished in a world that is all about the here and now, something designed to last multiple lifetimes that has the ability to collect hundreds of years’ worth of memories is a truly amazing product. 


Q2. “Why are fountain pens so expensive?”

A2. Fountain pens aren’t all expensive. Some wonderful fountain pens can be purchased for less than three drinks from Starbucks, and will perform wonderfully for hundreds of years if maintained. But fountain pens can cost a lot of money. While there is some debate on whether more expensive pens truly outperform the cheaper pens, there is no debate that some fountain pens merely exist because they are luxury items and are priced accordingly. I have found some sub-20 dollar fountain pens that outperform my 150 dollar pens all day long. I have also found several pens in the 80-150 dollar range that consistently perform as I would expect them to perform, heads and tails above their peers. Fountain pens aren’t expensive, most of the time you get what you pay for, and if you buy an 8 dollar pen from Asia, you are going to get the performance associated with that price.



Q3. “Why would I ever need more than one pen, let alone more than one fountain pen?”

A3. Inevitably this question wanders off the path of n00b pen use, but I found myself asking this question early on in my own fountain pen journey, similar questions/comments have been made to me by non-fountain pen people recently. This is going to be my opinion only, but here goes. It comes down to two answers to this question. First, you will purchase a fountain pen and within a relatively short amount of time you realize you want nothing to do with a fountain pen and you move back to ballpoint/rollerball territory. Second, you buy one fountain pen, then a short time later find yourself buying a second and within a year or two you have a “collection” of fountain pens ranging between 3 and 3,000. The first type of person is someone who will never truly appreciate a fountain pen for the intricacies and elegance inherent in the pen. The second is the true fountain pen user that is at heart a collector and has found their collecting niche. Granted there is a small outlying group of people that are satisfied with owning one or two fountain pens, and while I understand the first group and am a member of the second group, I literally can’t understand the third group.


Q4.  “As a n00b, what fountain pen should I buy first?”

A4. The obvious answer to this question is the Karas Kustoms INK and Karas Kustoms Fountain K. Actually, to be honest once the Fountain K is available, it will immediately make my “Fountain Pen Recommendation List”. Its size, weight and overall functionality make it a great beginner fountain pen. Plus it is nearly indestructible and that’s a big plus when thinking about buying your first fountain pen. I am not going to go through my entire list, but considering the Fountain K will be in my top 5 I will go through the other 4 pens in my top five fountain pens for n00bs. And these are in no particular order.

Pilot Metropolitan – For price, functionality and quality, this pen practically can’t be beat. If you are diligent about where you shop and what deals you find, you can get a Metro shipped to your door for 10-12 bucks. The nibs are like most Japanese nibs and “finer” than their German counterparts, but are extremely well made and perform quite well out of the box.

Lamy Safari – This is a love it or hate it pen. The entire pen has a very unique design that doesn’t appeal to everybody, but the ease of use and nib swap and overall quality is definitely there. It should be included on any recommendation list.

Parker 45 – I had to have a vintage pen on this list, and this one makes the most all around sense. They are relatively easy to find, accept cartridges and converters still in production and are not very expensive. Plus they don’t normally need any real repair beyond a good soak and rinse. Combine all of those things with an iconic design and you have an awesome pen.

Pelikan M200 – Until recently I wasn’t the biggest Pelikan fan, I had heard all of the hype but never used one of their products. Then I had the chance to borrow one for a week; that week changed my life and I went out and purchased one. The one I purchased was even better than the one I borrowed. This pen could be considered price restrictive for a first fountain pen purchase, but if you are diligent you can find good sales on Amazon for this item or a new one on Ebay for less than 80 dollars. If you can get one for less than 100, I think you have the best sub-100 dollar non-metal pen on the market as far as quality is concerned.




Q5. “What about fountain pen accessories, inks, nib sizes, pen rolls, there’s just so much out there what do I do?”

A5. Keep Calm and Write On. You don’t need to be concerned with all that during your initial pen purchase (see below for inks). You may want a pen sleeve or something to carry your one pen in. If your first fountain pen is one of our pens, you can merely tighten the cap down good and hard and slip it into your pants pocket. It will be just fine, trust me I worked retail management for over a year with a Karas INK in my pants pocket every day. Didn’t damage the pen at all and my pants survived if I kept the cap on tight.



Q6. “Umm, inks?”

A6. Yup there are LOTS of inks. For all kinds of uses. Here’s the quick down and dirty and two recommendations for first ink purchases. Don’t go crazy with ink. If you plan on carrying and using your fountain pen for work or school no crazy colors, keep it simple. Do some research on individual ink make up you don’t want to slap Iron Gall into your brand new pen and then forget about it for 6 months. Likewise you don’t want your first bottle of ink to be Baystate Blue, lots of people have made that mistake and gone on to rue that day. Here’s the recommendations I have for two fairly friendly beginner inks. Waterman’s Blue is a classic blue and can be found even in some office supply stores. It’s not flashy but it looks good and plays nice in any pen I have used it in. Noodler’s X-Feather is perfect for anyone that is going to be using a fountain pen frequently with really crappy paper i.e. you are a broke student that buys the 5 cent notebooks for all of your classes and spent all your money on your new pen; get a bottle of X-Feather as it will make your new pen work with your “oh so crappy” paper.


Regardless of whether you get into fountain pens and stay in the hobby, testing out whether a fountain pen is right for you is something I believe everyone should do. It’s an otherworldly experience learning to write with a fountain pen. It doesn’t feel like writing with a regular pen. The process is that much different. The paper and the pen almost speak back to you as you feel the feedback through the pen. I might be waxing a little poetic but no two pens write exactly the same. They all feel slightly different on paper, and that feeling is one of the more personal aspect that a fountain pen can provide the user. Something that a ballpoint/rollerball can’t provide. It is one more reason I prefer fountain pens.


I say all of that just to come around to the following statement: “A pen is a tool that has many uses. At its core, a pen is nothing more than an implement to record thoughts and ideas. It has been largely devalued in a technological society. A fountain pen or even a non-disposable ballpoint/rollerball, can and will change your perspective on pens, writing, and the art of creating that inhabits all of us. We make pens so that our customers can slow down just a bit and realize these concepts, then adopt them in their lives. And furthermore that the pens our customers buy can and will be handed down for generations, cataloging numerous descendants’ thoughts, dreams, ambitions and memories is an added bonus. A pen can be mediocre and meaningless, or it can be a life changing tool that enables a person to realize the dream of writing a novel, penning a love letter or creating a timeless piece of art. We want our pens to help change lives, mold futures and allow for great creations; we hope you feel that when you pick one up.”


Below you will find a list of resources that are more the “usual” beginner guide to fountain pens. Read them at your leisure. You will also find a link to a few spots I return to fountain pen advice and minutiae, these resources might be even more helpful to you.


Beginner’s Guides

Goulet Pens Fountain Pen 101 - the best resource in my opinion as it has video to go along with it.

The Well-Appointed Desk: Ask the Desk - Our friend Ana gives her ideas on the best beginner fountain pens, her blog is a must read for any fountain pen user

Writer's Bloc - List of beginner fountain pen posts that I read early on in my fountain pen search, quite informative.

Fountain Pen References

Jetpens Guide to Choosing a Fountain Pen - Jetpens is a great place to buy stuff, which is why it's here and not above, they do articles like this as well and there is good information on their site but they are first and foremost a business.

FountainPenNetwork - The largest forum/network of fountain pen users in the world. If this forum doesn't have what your looking for, likely the resource isn't available on the internet. This is the entire swimming pool from the kiddie side to the deep, DEEP end when it comes to fountain pens so it can get complicated and technical at times, but if you stay with fountain pens at any time you will want to be a member of this forum.

Richard's Pens Reference Pages - Richard Binder is one of the biggest names in fountain pen knowledge in the world. So big he has been featured on several major news networks in the past. His knowledge, especially on vintage fountain pens and fountain pen history is IMMENSE. His reference pages are a collection of decades worth of research all in one place. If you need something, and he doesn't have the answer, you likely won't get the answer anywhere. His site should be bookmarked by anyone that uses fountain pens as a place to look first for any fountain pen related topics.