I’ve alluded to the latest Kickstarter project from Karas Kustoms for several weeks but I wanted to write-up a good thorough review with lots of photos to entice and satisfy any questions. So here it is!
Dan over at Karas Kustoms was kind enough to send me a prototype Ink fountain pen to get my opinion and allow me to share in the excitement. My initial impression taking this pen out of the package was “DANG! this think is huge!” Keeping in mind, I generally prefer smaller pens like the Kaweco Sport and little vintage jewels like the Esterbrooks. Both of these pens have plastic bodies and are diminutive in size so my perspective is a little skewed. I also have child-sized hands.
The Ink fountain pen in aluminum weighs 44gms with cap, 27gms without. This is fine with me since 44gms way exceeds my weight limit for a comfortable writing tool. The brass RETRAKT weighs 63 gms so if that pen is comfortable to you, the weight will be no issue.
The pen is machined entirely out of aluminum. Dan made a point of telling me that my pen is a prototype and there are still some finishing details that will be plussed-up in the production version of the pens. The shape is slightly tapered towards the end that gives this pen a refined look. The cap screws tightly onto the pen but cannot be posted on the pen when writing, though at 44gm, why would you want to?
The clip is an industrial strength, streamlined bauty that’s held on with signature Karas hex bolts that give the pen a nod to its industrial roots.
The grip area is slightly tapered but quite short. The screw tooling is pretty fine so even thought my fingers touched the ridges it provided a grip area and was not uncomfortable.
The nib is a Schmidt M nib which is a satiny-smooth, medium nib. I used it for the R&K Verdigris writing sample . I don’t usually use medium nibs but I found it easy to use. Its a stiff nib with no flex but its not so wide that my tiny writing was completely obscured. The nib is a #5 size so if you like the looks of the pen but want a different nib for it, you may be able to swap it out. Dan said they may be stocking other Schmidt nib sizes after the Kickstarter campaign concludes. No promises but its something they may consider. In the meantime, several online reatilers stock #5 nibs including Edison Pen Co.
The first pen to come to mind for comparison is my Lamy Studio in brushed aluminum. Both the Karas Kustoms Ink and the Lamy Studio feature understated, classic good looks. They are both weighty pens of similar length. The Ink is a bit wider overall though.
The advantage of the size of the Ink is that it can hold two short cartridges, a long cartridge or the converter that ships with the Ink giving lots of ink options and possibilities.
There are still 20+ days left in the Kickstarter campaign and many options to choose from with the Ink pen including an array of anodized colors, rollerball version and the option to have a brass or copper grip area. Prices start at $60 for the silver anodized version of the fountain pen or rollerball pen.
Now, I just need to convince Karas Kustoms to make a mini Ink-ette and offer it in lime green anodized alumnium! A girl can dream, right?