Category: Pen Review

Ka-Week-O! Review: Kaweco AL-Sport RAW

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW

The Kaweco AL-Sport in Raw is the same size and shape as the other Sport models but with a raw aluminum body with a high gloss finish. Its gorgeous in the hand.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW & Aluminum Liliput

When compared with the brushed aluminum finish on Liliput, its obvious how much more polished the RAW AL-Sport is. Shiny!

The RAW finish will show scratches and patina with wear and pair beautifully with a leather notebook like a Midori Traveler so that they could age together.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW M nib

This is my second medium nib on a Kaweco. I had a little trouble with the nib on this one out of the box. I removed it from the pen and rinsed it completely and that fixed the problem completely. I suspect that, with the aluminum finish, there may have been a bit more oil or some other lubricant on the pen that may have transferred to the nib so I definitely recommend rinsing this nib before inking it up for the first time.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW writing sample

Once I got it going, this is another lovely medium nib. Its a bit stiffer than the medium nib on the Dia2 even though they are both steel nibs with an iridium tip. I definitely think that Kaweco medium nibs are not as broad as a comparable Lamy medium. Kaweco medium nibs are not as fine as Japanese nibs but not as broad as some other European medium nibs.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW writing sample

The AL-Sport is definitely a more durable option compared with the plastic Sport models. If you’re looking for an Everyday Carry pen, you can’t get a better option than the AL-Sport.

If fountain pens aren’t your thing, the AL-Sport RAW is also available in rollerball version with a cap as well. Click models are available in pencil, ballpoint and the touch model with twist and clip.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ka-week-o! Review: Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen M Nib

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

I know Kaweco is pronounced “ca-vek-oh” but I thought it would be fun to play on the habit I have of saying “ca-week-oh” and start the first ever Kaweco Week – KA-WEEK-O!

To get the week started, I thought I’d show you a fountain pen I’ve always wanted to try: the Dia 2. Its got such beautifully classic looks. Kaweco hasn’t changed the physical look of this pen since it was introduced in the 1930s. It has the streamlined details inspired by the era, like the soft curve of the chromed brass clip, etched with the Kaweco script logo and decorative feather lines.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

At each end of the pen is the classic is Kaweco logo mark inlaid in chromed metal on the plastic. There is knurling at the ends of the pen which gives it a little grippy area and a functional but elegant look.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

There are some simple chrome rings around the base of the cap and on the ends of the pen which echo the look of all the streamlined designs from the 20s and 30s.

There is a simple stamped logo name on the cap, on the reverse side from the clip that simply states “KawecoDia Germany”.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

The nib is etched with the same decorative lines and text found on the Sport line and the nib is the same size. The nibs are not interchangeable from the Dia to a Sport, however.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

I’m a little ashamed to admit it but this is the first time I’ve used a medium nib on a Kaweco despite several people recommending it to me. The nib is buttery smooth and writes very well. There’s a little spring to the steel nib. It gives the writing experience a pleasing quality overall.

The Dia is a bit heavier than my usual go-to pens at 19gms unposted but, for me, is perfectly weighted for writing. Posted and filled the pen weighs 28gms. The Kaweco Student is 27gms capped but most of the weight feels like its in the chrome grip area to me, making it feel a little off balance when writing.

Kaweco Dia2 comparison
From top to bottom: Kaweco Student, Kaweco Dia2 and vintage Estrbrook

The Dia2 is just a hair longer than the Kaweco Student model and a little bit bigger overall than a vintage Esterbrook. I used to think a Pelikan M200 would be my dream pen but I’ve changed my mind. The Dia2 is my dream pen.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Levenger for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen: Emerald Pearl M Nib

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Writing Sample

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

When the Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen ($52) arrived I could not wait to load it with “good ink.” I installed the stock blue cartridge that shipped with it on the counter at the post office and started doodling on the back of my junk mail. Who says pens aren’t an addiction?

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

I got the Pearl Green version of the IM Premium, of course. No one is surprised about that. The pen shipped in a simple paperboard box with a faux velvet lining and ribbon wrap to hold the pen in place. Its not expensive packaging but its fitting for the price point.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Nib

The pen was only available in the medium nib which I was a bit worried would be too wide for my taste but I was pleasantly surprised. The nib is beautifully etched with a classic Parker design and super smooth. Its a steel nib but felt good on the paper and caused no issues for this left-hander.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

The look of the Parker IM Premium is inspired by the vintage Vacumatics, which if I’m honest is the WHOLE reason I got it. I have one vintage Vacumatic and I love the look and feel. I am easily swayed by anything that is retro- or vintage-inspired so it was a no-brainer for me to grab this pen.

Of course, its not the Vacumatic. Besides the nod to the Vacumatic with the etched lines on the aluminum barrel (which are horizontal not vertical), the lovely etched nib (which is pretty but not the same etching used on older Vacumatics) and the arrow shaped clip (still used even on the Parker 5th line), there is nothing about this pen that makes it truly inspired by the Vacumatic. It takes cartridges or a converter, its metal not plastic or resin or whatever material was used with Vacumatics, the nib is not 14K, there is no ink window… need I go on? I do appreciate that Parker recognizes that a lot of the modern appeal is from pen collectors like us so I want to support their efforts to trip down memory lane occasionally.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Writing Sample

Now that I’ve said that, I really like the pen. The aluminum body is light in my hand (just 16 gms filled and capped) and the overall width of the pen is on the smaller side (about the same as a Sharpie marker fine point). I can hold it comfortably in my hand and write with it unposted. The cap will post but it makes the pen a little top heavy in my small hands. My husband took it for a spin and his big “monkey paws” found the pen a little too small for him.

  • Capped length: 5.5″
  • Uncapped length: 4.625″
  • Posted length: 6.125″

This was my first foray into modern Parker fountain pens and I’ve come away pleased. I don’t know why I thought they would be bad except that I often only see them in office supply big box stores which I associated with low cost/low quality. At the sub-$100 price point for a fountain pen, this is a really good option. The medium nib might be a breaking point for some folks but I like that it gave me an excuse to break out of my EF or F nib rut.

It’s been my daily carry fountain pen for a week now. I’m not thrilled with the blue ink cartridge included with it. When the pen has sat overnight, the ink comes out quite dark at first and then gets lighter and lighter until its sort of a washable blue/washed denim pale.  I need to swap out the ink so that I can experience this with an ink I actually like.

I should have purchased the Parker converter ($9.25) too but I forgot to check if one was included with the pen (only a cartridge is included with the pen).


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

From The Archives: Marvy LePen

Marvy Le Pen Array

from-the-archives

Over the last four years of writing The Well-Appointed Desk, I’ve mentioned my propensity for Mary Le Pens but I realized I’ve never actually published a review. I initially discovered Le Pen in my pre-teens and it may be THE PEN that lead me to where I am today. Before finding LePens, I had only known black, blue or red ballpoints and the occasional rollerballs. Le Pens opened my eyes to good quality “felt tip” pens in a wide array of colors at a price I could afford on a teenager’s allowance. By the time I graduated from college, I found it harder to find Le Pens and I assumed they had faded from the world like so many other things. Then a couple years ago, I stumbled across them in my local art supply store and I bought just about every color that was available.

Marvy Le Pen writing sample

Ergonomically, they isn’t much to recommend them. Encased in a slim, straight, plastic cylinder with a snap cap and a simple silver clip that can easily be bent out of shape, and a nylon/fiber tip point that wears down over time, they are not in the same league as many pens I’ve reviewed over the years. But with a retail price of $1.15, these 0.3mm, acid-free, smudge-proof markers are some of my favorite pens. There are more than a dozen colors available and my favorites are the deeper, more complex colors like the gray, orchid, olive and teal. A full set of all 18 colors is available on Jet Pens.

Full set of Le Pens

Giveaway: To share my love and devotion for LePens, I’d like to give one lucky reader a full set of 18 Le Pens, compliments of Jet Pens. Just leave a note in the comments and tell me which color is (or could be) your favorite Le Pen to be officially entered.


FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Sunday, September 28, 2014. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. US readers only this time, thanks!

Review: Zebra V-301 Fountain Pen

Zebra V-301 fountain pen

While I was out of town last week, I happened into a local drugstore chain and just had to walk down the office supplies aisle. What can I say? A week without this blog and all you wonderful readers and I was going through a bit of withdrawal. So, I was thrilled to find this Zebra V-301 refillable fountain pen. It cost less than $4 and came with two refill cartridges. It is a standard length, approxiamately 5.25″ long capped, 4.5″ from nib to barrel end and a little more than 5.75″ long with the cap posted. It weighs 16gms with the cartridge loaded.

Fountain Pen Weights

The chart above was included to give you some weight comparisons.

Zebra V-301 fountain pen

Zebra lists the barrel as steel with hard plastic ridges at the grip area. The cap snaps on very tightly and will also snap to the end of the barrel to post with a click. Hopefully, over time, the cap will not be quite so hard to click on and off. Its a bit stiff.

Zebra V-301 fountain pen

The nib is a simple steel nib that I’d describe it as half-hooded.

IMG_8563

I placed the nib next to my standard-sized TWSBI Diamond 540 for comparison. Can you see how much of the nib is covered? It would allow someone with a very low grip to hold the pen very close to the nib but this half-hooded look probably provides a bit of durability for the nib as well.

Zebra V-301 fountain pen

Shown above is the pen with the cap posted on the end. All in all, for $4, its not a bad looking pen. I am hoping that over time the printed text on the barrel will rub off making the pen even more aesthetically appealing. What is it with some pen companies putting huge logos on their pens?

Zebra V-301 fountain pen

For the writing test, I transcribed the information that was included on the back of the blister pack. It writes like a medium nib though it is not labelled as such. I would compare its writing performance to the Muji fountain pen though I have continued to use it over the course of the week and it is writing more smoothly each time.

After my less than pleasant comments about the Pilot Varsity, which is a fountain pen at a similar price point, I am pleasantly surprised. Is it as silky to use a Kaweco Sport or as write-right-now as the TWSBIs? No. For the price point though, its pretty nice.

Its refillable, though it does take Zebra proprietary cartridges ($2.10 for two) but the cartridges could be refilled using the syringe method. If someone asked me for an under-$5 fountain pen, I’d probably recommend this pen though I’m always inclined to talk them into spending closer to $20-$25 for a better pen. It was a lovely surprise to find among the Bic Stix and 3×5 lined notecards at CVS.