Fountain Pen Day 2016 Giveaway!

Other ink bottles not listed below, and various desk accessories not included

Other ink bottles not listed below, and various desk accessories not included

The Desk has gotten cluttered once again! In honor of Fountain Pen Day, and as a thanks to all of my amazing readers, I'm doing another giveaway!

The winner will receive:

1) 1 bottle of (almost new) Noodler's Nightshade - I've taken maybe one filling out of the bottle.
2) Tons of ink samples in various volumes that I've reviewed on the blog - some may require syringing to fill a converter.
3) A Kaweco Skyline Sport in Grey w/ a Fine nib - this has been gently used a few times, and was reviewed on the blog.  It's been cleaned and will come with a Kaweco cartridge and the box (box says EF, but it's been fitted with a Fine nib).

Ink Samples List:
Faber-Castell Garnet Red
J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor
Platinum Pigmented Rose Red
Iroshizuku Ina-ho
Iroshizuku Chiku-rin
Sailor Kobe #3 Sepia
Platinum Mix-free Sunny Yellow
Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses
KWZI Green Gold
KWZI Iron Gall Green Gold
Diamine Bilberry
Private Reserve Avacado
Diamine Shimmertastic Magical Forest
De Atramentis Cucumber
Noodler's Squeteague
Noodler's Saguaro Wine
KWZI Foggy Green
De Atramentis Mint Turquoise

So what do you have to do?  Enter using the Rafflecopter widget above - the only requirement is that you answer the question "What are you doing to celebrate Fountain Pen Day?" If you would like an additional 2 entries, follow @thedeskoflori on Twitter, and for an additional 2 entries per day, tweet about the contest.

Fine Print: Contest will end Friday night/Saturday morning, November 5, 2016 at 12:00AM EST (midnight). Winner will be announced Saturday morning! Open to continental US Residents only - unfortunately shipping ink bottles outside the US is insanely expensive, and since this is out of my own pocket, it's not practical for me to ship overseas. My sincerest apologies for this!  The package will be shipped via USPS - I will not be responsible if the package is lost in shipping.  Please provide a valid email address for your entry so that I may contact you if you win - I assure you that your email address will not be sold, traded, given away or used in any way other than to notify you that you've won.  If I do not receive a response in 1 week from the close of the contest, I will draw a new winner.  I will validate your entries, and any invalid entries will be disqualified.  Thanks for entering!

This contest is not sponsored by any of the retailers/companies related to the products included - these are just products that I enjoy and that I've bought for review.  You should definitely go support these companies though, they make great products!

Pen Review: Kaweco Ice Sport (Black)


Kaweco ICE Sport (Black) [M]
Rhodia 80gsm #16 blank (top staple)
Ink: Kaweco Sunrise Orange
Length Capped: 105mm
Length Posted: 132mm
Length Uncapped: 100mm
Section at Thinnest Point: 9mm
Section at Widest Point: 10mm
Weight w/quarter barrel of Ink & cap: 10.5g
Weight w/quarter barrel of Ink & no cap: 6.3g
Fast writing: Keeps up fairly well; couple of skips
Upside down writing: Pretty dry.
Wetness: Dry.
Pros: Can be eyedroppered, lightweight, lots of color options & nib sizes
Cons: Nibs can be finicky, may be too light for some, no really *good* converter options (see below)

Kaweco's ICE Sport is a demonstrator version of their flagship Kaweco Sport.  The pen has the classic octagonal cap design, with the finial sporting the 3-syllable Kaweco logo.  The body is a clear plastic with a section matching the color of the cap, which holds a standard a steel Bock nib.  The pen is pocked-sized, which nice for portability, and it posts to a comfortable size for regular writing.  This version is one of the new colors that Kaweco has introduced to this line, and is my personal favorite.  They also have some other really neat colors like a florescent yellow, florescent orange, red, pink and many others. 

What distinguishes the plastic Kaweco Sport pens from their aluminum and brass counterparts is the fact that they can be eyedroppered.  If you're unfamiliar with that term, converting a pen to an "eyedropper" allows you to fill the barrel with ink instead of installing a cartridge or a converter (after adding a little silicone grease to the threads).  Many people buy the Sports just for this reason, and with the ICE sport being clear, you get the added effect of being able to see your ink sloshing around in the barrel - which also lets you know how low your level is!  The Kaweco pens are too short for a standard international converter, and unfortunately most of the Kaweco squeeze or plunge-type converters have been less than desirable to the masses, so eyedroppering is really the best option in my opinion.  I've used the Templar Skinny Mini converter in my Brass and AL versions, but for the plastic I much prefer to eyedropper for both the ink capacity, and the look.  Some folks have reported having burping issues with eyedropper pens; I've been fortunate not to experience that.  I use my pens more for burst writing sessions instead of longer ones, and usually the cause is when the air in the pen is heated up by the hands.

Like a lot of Kaweco pens I've used, the nib suffered from a case of baby's bottom.  It's a medium nib, but much to my liking, it wrote on the finer side of the spectrum.  I don't care for super wide nibs anyways, so it was a pleasant surprise.  I've heard a lot of people say that even Kaweco's broad nibs write closer to a western medium.  I'm not sure if this is the case for all Bock nibs, or if Kaweco's are slightly different.  Either way, I had to do some tuning on this one, and I still don't think I quite have it where I want it yet.  Because this is a medium I think the issue is a little bit worse than it has been on some of my fine nibs.  I will say that once they're tuned, they're really a pleasure to write with, just don't be surprised if you have to work on them a little bit.

The pen itself is very comfortable to hold and use.  It is very light, though - between 6 and 10 grams depending on whether you use the cap, and slightly more if you have more ink in it.  It may be a little too light for some folks, but I find it very comfortable.  It's a little too short for me to use comfortably without posting, but it certainly can be done depending on your hand size.

So far, I've found the pen to be easy to clean, even when eyedroppered.  I've had this ink in here for quite a while and it washed out just fine; I recommend using a q-tip to dry the barrel once you're done rinsing it, and at worst you can fill the barrel with some pen flush and let it soak a bit to get a more stubborn ink out. 

I really enjoyed this pen, aside from the nib troubles.  It's a beautiful design, and I'm a sucker for demonstrators.  Kaweco have a great selection of colors with the ICE Sport, so you're likely to find something that'll suit almost anyone's taste.  If you're interested in eyedroppering your Sport, I recommend Goulet Pens' silicone grease, but you can use just about any 100% pure silicone grease.  The Kaweco ICE Sport sells at most US retailers for around $25; if you love a good demonstrator and want a good pocket/purse pen with a high ink capacity, you can't go wrong at that price!

(Kaweco has provided this product at no charge to The Desk for the purpose of review.  My opinions are honest and without bias - visit the About Me page for more details).

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Pen Review: Kaweco Supra


Kaweco Supra - Steel nib (Bock M)
Length Capped: 129.5mm (with extension); 99mm (without extension)
Length Posted: 163.5mm (with extension); 133.5mm (without extension)
Length Uncapped: 124mm (with extension); 94mm (without extension)
Section at Thinnest Point: 9.5mm
Section at Widest Point: 10.5mm
Weight w/Ink & Cap: 49g (with extension); 37g (without extension)
Weight w/Ink & No Cap: 39g (with extension); 27g (without extension)
Fast Writing: Lots of skips.
Upside Down Writing: Not bad at all.
Wetness: Dry.
Pros: Unique! Changes sizes, pocket pen option, very smooth nib, patina potential, balance in the hand
Cons: Baby's bottom, weight could cause fatigue, no converter, only available in brass (which also makes your hands smell like metal)

I feel like every time I write about Kaweco lately, I'm talking about the newest awesome and unique innovation that they've brought to the writing table.  Today is another one of those days.  The Supra is one of Kaweco's newest fountain pen designs, and what makes it unique is it includes a removable 3cm midsection which allows you to change the length of the pen on the fly - taking it from a full-size pen to a pocket pen in just a few seconds.  This is such a neat feature, and something I've not seen with other pens.
The pen is the big brother of the Kaweco Liliput; and if you weren't a fan of that pen because it was just too small, this might be your answer to that.  It's made of brass, so it has some decent weight to it (around 49g with the extension and 37g without).  There is a step down on the barrel from the extension to the back end piece of the pen, but I don't think it takes away from the sleek design, and your hands shouldn't ever come into contact with that during writing.  The section is a tapered and flared design, and it's size is very similar to that of the Kaweco brass sport (and other Sport pens).  Being that it's a metal pen, the threads are a tad sharper than you'd experience on a plastic or resin pen, but I didn't find them to be uncomfortable.  Like the Liliput, the cap has the 3-syllable Kaweco logo on the top, with the Kaweco name in script and pen name on the upper half of the side of the cap.

Another thing that differentiates this pen from most of Kaweco's others is it's nib.  The Supra comes with a large #6 nib, and it's a beauty.  The nib really sets it apart, and I didn't have an issue with the pen at all until I started writing.  I typically use F nibs but wanted to give a Kaweco Medium a try, and this one unfortunately suffered from a pretty severe case of baby's bottom.  I would get a skip at the beginning of each stroke, and at faster writing speeds that carried on throughout the sentence.  It's an incredibly smooth nib (as is the case with a lot of baby's bottom nibs), and I enjoyed the pen so much that I wasn't ready to give up on it.  I spent some time doing some minor smoothing on some micro mesh, and it writes like a dream.  It is unfortunate how frequently this does happen with Kaweco's nibs - not sure if it's a Bock issue, or if they're tuned at Kaweco before they're sent out.

Nib out of the box - just a tad misaligned

A bit out of focus, but, the nib after alignment.  You can see the gap that is likely causing the flow issues.

Underside of the nib

Top side of t he nib

Compared to other pocket pens, Supra stacks up nicely against pens like the TWSBI Mini.  At its full size, the Supra is a tad longer than the Mini, but in it's pocket form it's shorter.  Of course it's heavier being that it's brass, but the size is nice.  I also compared it to the Pocket 40 from Franklin Christoph, and without its extension, it's shorter than that pen capped, and a tad longer posted.  The pen has a great balance in the hand, both at its full size (unposted for my preferences), and in it's pocket size, posted.  I don't care too much for posting it at full size because at that point it becomes almost an oversized pen, but at the same time I don't post any of my full size pens.  If you post regularly, then the length is probably something you're used to

Capped, with extension

Capped, without extension

Posted, without extension

Writing issues aside (which I was fortunately able to remedy), I am a huge fan of this pen.  The removable extension is absolutely brilliant, and Kaweco continues to come up with awesome ideas for their customers.  I would love to see them come out with other finishes/materials for this pen, as I think it will only increase the appeal (fireblue, anyone?).  I do also think it should come with a converter, especially at this price.  Speaking of, the price seems to vary pretty drastically between the US and Europe - I've seen listings at most US sellers for $140, and some European sites for around €95 (little over $100).  So if you're interested, a non-US seller may be your best option.  I can't recommend this pen enough!

(Kaweco has provided this product at no charge to The Desk for the purpose of review.  My opinions are honest and without bias - visit the About Me page for more details).

Pen Review: Karas Kustoms Fountain K


Karas Kustoms Fountain K - Steel nib (F - Bock)
Length Capped: 134mm
Length Posted: Not meant to be posted.
Length Uncapped: 124.5mm
Section at Thinnest Point: 9mm
Section at Widest Point: 10mm
Weight w/Ink & Cap: 28.2g
Weight w/Ink & No Cap: 18.9g
Fast Writing: Keeps up very well.
Line Variation: Very little line variation, which is to be expected with a steel nib
Upside Down Writing: Very very scratchy, I wouldn't recommend it.
Wetness: I find this to be a pretty wet writer, even with some drier inks.
Pros: Amazingly durable, great grip section, unique and modern design, USA made, lots of color, nib, material and section combinations.
Cons: I'm not the hugest fan of Bock nibs, though I was able to get this one to write very well (of course after a tine adjustment), which was a pleasant surprise.  I really have no complaints at all about this pen - it's officially in my top 2 pens and is the pen I now use most often!

Ever since I bought my Karas Kustoms INK, I have been a huge fan of the Karas Kustoms brand.  That pen was one of my most used pens for a long time.  One thing about it that didn't *quite* fit me, was the pen was a bit on the large side.  The grip section itself wasn't, but the pen itself was just a bit large and a tad heavy.  When I saw they were producing a fountain pen version of their Render K, I was so excited to get my hands on one.  My boyfriend was nice enough to get me one in my favorite tumbled aluminum finish for my birthday, and I was certainly not disappointed.

The Fountain K comes in 3 different metal options - aluminum, copper and brass.  The copper and brass are raw materials, so they will develop a patina over time from the oils on your hands.  The aluminum versions come in just standard polished aluminum, raw tumbled aluminum (pictured), and in a variety of anodized colors (the new turquoise looks amazing! (though it's painted and not anodized)).  In addition to the many color options for the body of your pen, you can choose from a copper, brass, silver, tumbled aluminum (pictured), or black grip section.  With so many options, you can definitely make this pen your own, which is what sets Karas Kustoms apart from almost any other pen manufacturer.

After opening up my Fountain K and holding it in my hand, my first impression was the weight difference between this pen and the INK.  The pen is also quite a bit skinnier all around.  The widest part is at the top of the pen at the knurling, and it continuously tapers to the bottom.  The tumbled aluminum finish is smooth but with a tiny bit of texture, so you have a nice tactile feel when using it.  The grip section is a traditional taper and flare and is a very comfortable width for my hand size.  The knurling at the top of the cap gives it a nice industrial look, which I love.

Being a metal pen, you'd think the threads would make a lot of noise and would be tight and hard to open, but that is certainly not the case with this pen.  The threads are silky smooth, and after about a day of use they don't squeak at all.  The pen and cap have a very positive close, and has a really satisfying sound to it.

The original Fountain K pens were shipped with the Schmidt nib on them.  Not too long ago, they made the switch to Bock for their nib production.  I was a little concerned with this change as I've had some pretty rough experiences with inconsistency on the Bock Kaweco nibs in the past.  I also have the Schmidt nib on my INK and I really love it.  The Bock on the Fountain K shipped with the tines misaligned, so the initial writing experience was less than stellar.  However, after adjusting the tines the nib was very smooth and laid down ink well with no skips or hard starts.  I do love that the Bock nibs offer a black option as well as a titanium option, though the titanium is only available on the INK due to some inconsistencies on the smaller nib size - so that was a bit of a disappointment.  I would love to see Bock get that issue corrected because I think this pen would look beautiful with a titanium nib on it.  Nib options for the Fountain K go from EF-B and in steel or 14k gold.

This pen has been a complete pleasure to use, and has found it's place in my main daily carry. Karas Kustoms has taken the pen world and turned it on it's head by adding some rugged and unique designs.  I am excited to see what they choose to do next.  If you're interested in a Fountain K for yourself you can grab one straight from Karas Kustoms' website, or from a retailer such as Goulet Pens.  Prices range depending on the materials you choose from $75 - $215.

Thanks so much for reading!
- Lori