After my appearance on the Pen Addict podcast a few weeks ago, some of my more definitive statements about things were brought to light, including my recommendation of the Sherpa over a Render K in the Holiday Gift Guide Rebuttal. It lead to the fine folks at Karas Kustoms offering to open my mind to the awesomeness of the Render K by sending me a pen to review. I was surprised and delighted to find a green anodized Render K in my mailbox within a week and have spent the last week using my Render K and experiencing this unique and frankly quite amazing pen.
The first thing to note, of course, is that the Render K are made in the USA. Each pen machined from aluminum so they are seamless. The only thing that is attached is the industrial-grade clip which is held on with two screws. The top of the cap has the same diamond-plate knurling that the Retro51 has and gives some grip if you screw the cap on too tightly.
The original Render K is available for Pilot Hi-Tec C style refills (in an assortment of nine anodized colors as well as brass) and also to fit Pilot G-2 inserts (only in anodized aluminum). I’m hoping they’ll be an anodized kiwi green in the near future. I love the juniper green of my Render K though.
It took me awhile to write this review because I was having some issues with the original Pilot Hi-Tec C refill I was using. I grabbed one of the Hi-Tec Cs sitting on my desk at work and unscrewed the cap, pulled out the refill and put it into my Render K. All seemed good the first day I used it but the second day the ink stopped flowing consistently. I don’t know if I just had an old dried out Hi-Tec C or what but I was getting a little hot when both the Retro 51 and the Render K were not writing as pleasingly as everyone else had raved. I knew this was an ink issue, not a pen issue and not at all a fault of the Render K so I didn’t want to post my review until I found a refill I was satisfied using.
I scanned my desk again and gazed at my ever-growing pile of Uni-Ball Signo DX pens and wondered if the refill would fit. The tip looked quite similar but the plastic tub filled with ink was a smidge longer than the Hi-Tec C so I pulled out a pair of scissors and hacked off the extra 1/4″ or so. It worked perfectly! I am using a 0.38 blue-black Signo ink cartridge and I am loving the Render K more than ever.
The Render K does not ship with a refill but does include a spring and aluminum spacer for Parker style refills, though after my Retro 51 experience, I’m a little hesitant to try a Parker refill. With the plethora of color and tip sizes for Hi-Tec C and Signo DX, I don’t think I’ll ever have to worry about it. Though I might brave it at some point.
Once I had a good ink cartridge in the Render K I could turn my attention to the way the pen felt in my hand, the weight and balance and all the fine details of the craftsmanship.
I thought the Render K was going to be heavy but, at 21gms without the cap (about the same as a Lamy AL-Star), its pleasantly balanced so that I don’t notice that its much heavier than my usual daily writers (Kaweco Sports which weigh a mere 15gms with the cap). Its really not that heavy. The cap does not post but I catch myself just rolling it around in my right hand while I’m writing. The silky smooth aluminum and the knurled top feel pleasing, like a new coin or a smooth stone.
When my husband saw my Render K he was very keen to know more about it. When I told him they were machined in the USA he looked all over the pen intently and was outraged to discover that nowhere on the pen did it say “Made in the USA”. I think it would be awesome if there was a special edition that was stamped or etched on the top of the cap or on the clip “Made in the USA”. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Next on my wish list is the Delrin translucent white Render K model. Its gorgeous! I might buy it for myself for my birthday.
(Thanks to Dan at Karas Kustoms for sending me this lovely pen and converting me to a Render K enthusiast! This pen was sent to me for review purposes and this is my unbiased opinion. Really.)
8 comments / Add your comment below
That’s a really good-looking pen! I would totally love if it comes in kiwi as well (and raspberry, dusty purple, teal green…). I have a bunch of G-2 so I guess this body would make them funner to use.
So glad you are enjoying the pen! Thanks for all the kind words.
Really gorgeous pen. Some day…right now it’s just out of my budget.
Oh man. I’m swooning at the idea of a kiwi green Render K. I love these pens. A reader emailed me awhile ago asking if I had issues with my Hi-Tec-C refill as well. At the time, having used four refills, I hadn’t. Then right after I emailed him back saying I didn’t have that issue… my next refill was being a pain. Go figure! If I give them a little scribble, they get started quickly though. Anyway, ramble over. Love your review 🙂
I bought the Render K when it first came out. I too, have always had issues with the Pilot Hi-Tec-C refills. The Pilot Hi-Tech-C refills are my favorite refill, so I thought this would be the perfect compliment to my fav refills. Every Pilot Hi-Tec-C refill I have ever installed in the Render K, has issues. Every time i grab my Render K, I start writing with it and all is well for a couple of words and then it dries out. It takes a LOT More then a few scribbles that Azizah noted to get it working again, and then it writes fine. But this is too much of an inconvenience for me. I know its the pen, and not the refills, as I have tested the same refill in a Pilot Hi-Tec-C plastic body and the Render K and this issue ONLY happens in the Render K. Its too bad. The pen is beautiful. I love it, but can’t use it anymore due to the refill issues. Its too bad, I would buy several more if this was rectified.
I have drying issues with Hi-Tec C refills, in most pens. I switched to using the Uni-Ball Signo refills in the Hi-Tec C Render K with much better results. You might also consider the Render K designed for the Pilot G2 sized refills. The Pilot G2 refills are similar in size to a wide array of European rollerball refills and may give you an option that works for you. Check out my Refill Guide for some options.
Thanks Ana. Sadly I don’t like the Signo refills (including the DX that so many people like) and I absolutely hate the Pilot G2. It was the popularity of the Pilot G2 that made me search for better quality pens. The Pilot Hi-Tec-C (0.4mm) is my all time favorite pen. Its hands down the best pen for me. The ink and the line it lays down is simply a dream. Its perfect for me at work as I can use the 0.5mm for writing and the 0.4mm is perfect for editing. I have NO issues whatsoever with the standard plastic clear Pilot Hi-Tec-C body/case that most people tend to hate; I rather enjoy it. That being said, since I love the Pilot Hi-Tec-C refill so much, I am ALWAYS looking for other pens that will handle it, just to give me more pen options, hence why I purchased the Render K. Again, while I love the Render K body, I have tried multiple Hi-Tec-C refills in it and they ALL perform poorly. I have tested my refills in the plastic Hi-Tec-C body and there is NEVER an issue (ever). And every time I grab my Render K with a Hi-Tec-C loaded up, I have to write/scratch for about a minute, just to get it working (again, this doesn’t happen to the same refill in the plastic Hi-Tec-C original case). Its obviously as issue with my pen body, which is sad, as I really love(d) it, but I can no longer use it due to this issue. I emailed Dan at Karas about it a while ago, but never received a satisfactory answer. Sorry to hijacked this older thread!
coming to the party late… but I am starting to look for a metal body for my Hi Tec C pens, and I was hoping the Render K would be an option. Did you find a solution? a different body that worked better?