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Newton Pens Custom Pen (I Call It A Fox Pen, I Am Silly)

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#1 requiescat

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 20:11

I'm going to start off by saying that I will sound very picky in my review, but actually I like this pen a lot.  It's not my ideal pen, but I went into this with a spirit of "I wonder what I will get?" and I was hardly specific in what I do or do not like aesthetically, so that's fine.  I want to order another pen at some point, except the next time I will be more specific now that I know my own desires better.
 
Also, I couldn't stop fondling the pen from the moment I took it out, so I think that says a lot right there.
 
Also also, I apologize for the blurriness of the photos.  My hands shake and sometimes it takes me a couple dozen attempts to get a shot even that good.
 
The pen arrived in an adorable pen pouch:
foxpen05.png
 
foxpen01.png
 
 
Here it is with its cap on:
foxpen02.png
 
A somewhat closer view with the cap off.  I feel the cap looks top-heavy but the base pen itself is quite handsome.  Also, look at that ink window!
foxpen03.png
 
 
 
This one's terribly blurry, sorry, but you can get a little idea of what it's like posted.
foxpen04.png
 
For a size comparison, here it is next to my poor neglected icicle green Esterbrook LJ.
foxpen06.png
 
And here's what it looks like with the section and body separated so you can see the squeeze-filling system.  I think I had Diamine Oxblood in there at the time.
foxpen07.png
 
Writing sample (Osmiroid italic fine nib):
foxpen-review.png
 
Appearance & Design (7/10) – I love the color of this material, but I'm not quite satisfied with how bulky the cap looks in comparison to the pen body.  This pen posts, yet looks better without the cap posted.  I do like the graceful curves the pen itself has, though.  If I had this to do again, I would probably ask for a more streamlined design that doesn't post.  I mean, I prefer posting pens, but I have a Nakaya and I don't post that one.
 
Construction & Quality (9/10) - The pen feels well-built and is a pleasure to /fondle/ touch.  I wouldn't fear for its sturdiness carrying it around town.  I note that the top cap bit holding in the clip can become unscrewed if you tend to grasp the clip area when screwing and unscrewing the cap, but it's very easy to just screw the clip back on.
 
I will note that the pen originally had a leak somewhere.  I asked Shawn about this and he had me send it back and repaired it.  I haven't had a problem since.  I'm very grateful for how quickly he took care of it!
 
Weight & Dimensions (8/10) - The pen is reasonably light, which suits me.  I prefer lighter pens, although I know not everyone does.  The cap does post, which I requested, although the pen then becomes rather unbalanced.  It's only slightly uncomfortable but I do notice it.  The balance is perfectly fine unposted.
 
Nib & Performance (10/10) - Okay, so here's the deal.  This pen is designed to take Esterbrook nibs.  So I'm rating not based on the actual nib (I'm currently using an untipped Osmiroid italic fine) but on the pen's ability to use those nibs, which it does very well.  Shawn told me that I need to use silicone grease on the threads when I swap nib units, but that's easy, and he supplied me with a lot of the stuff.
 
(By the way, does anyone have any Esterbrook F or XF nibs that are smooth when writing at 35 degrees?  I am sitting on Osmiroid italics plus a 9550, 9314-M, and some Venus F that are all scratchy for me.  I just gave up trying to find an Esterbrook nib that actually works for me, which is why the pictured icicle green Esterbrook is sitting there unused.  The Osmiroid italic fine is the only one I can write with at all, and even then I have too many italics in my pen collection.  I just want a nice simple round nib.)
 
Filling System & Maintenance (6/10) - This pen is a squeeze-filler, and as Shawn explained to me, this is a consequence of it being designed to take Esterbrook nibs, as apparently they can't take being flooded with ink if you do it up as an eyedropper (my initial thought).  What I discovered is awkward about the squeeze filler, is that while it's simple to operate, is that I can't figure out any way to fill it with ink without being in danger of getting ink all over your fingers or squeezing it out.  There isn't much section there to grip, and of course if you grip the sac, well.  So, this can't be helped, but I don't look forward to filling the pen.
 
Cost & Value (8/10) - I feel that I got good value, actually--I asked for something a little unusual and I knew that with custom work there's always the chance that something won't be exactly as you envisioned it unless you get real specific, which I wasn't.  I think the pen is quirky but cute, and I now have a better idea how I want to go through this process the next time I order the pen.  Shawn was very responsive and his customer service was excellent.  I wouldn't hesitate to order another pen from him (probably something totally different, given how much Esterbrook nibs hate me and given how much I love variety anyway).
 
Conclusion (48/60) - As I said at the beginning, I know I sound down on this pen, but the issues with it are largely a consequence of either things I specified (the pen being designed to work with Esterbrook nibs) or didn't specify (the bulky appearance of the cap, which I said nothing about when I ordered the pen).  So that's on me; I don't hold that against Shawn.  Rather, I think of these as things to be clearer about the next time I order a pen.  :-)  If I would say anything to someone thinking about ordering from Newton Pens, I would say to have a better idea of what you want (or else be okay with a surprise) and probably to talk this stuff over with Shawn until you know what you're getting.  You know, the usual when you ask for a custom pen.  In the meantime, excuse me, I have a pen to fondle.

 



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#2 linearM

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 21:10

Congratulations on your new pen.  I have two custom pens and have been looking at what Shawn produces.  Perhaps in the future.  I guess that you have to know what you are looking for.  It is fun to be surprised but!!



#3 AndrewC

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 21:19

Nice looking pen. As to smooth F or EF Estie nibs? Heh. All the ones I've used seem to have a little tooth at least. You could always send one to a nib-meister and for a few bucks get one smooth as glass at the angle you prefer to write at. Also, check with Rick Krantz (you can find him here and other boards) or Brian Anderson (here-http://andersonpens.net/

) and see if they have any smooth F/EF nibs for sale. Both are reputable and knowledgeable about Esties, to say the least.

 

One of the hardest things for an artist/craftsman is to get a request for something w/out a lot of definition from a new customer. I worked as a chef where the customers sat in front of me. It was always nerve wracking when someone I'd never fed before would sit down and say "Make me something good." without a clue. 


Some people say they march to a different drummer. Me? I hear bagpipes.

#4 Scribblesoften

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 21:28

Brian Goulet has some videos on micro mesh and Mylar paper. You might want to take a look at those and determine if you want to try smoothing the nibs to your taste. I think it is a very nice looking pen. The ability to use interchangeable nibs is a good one. I think with practice you will be able to fill it without getting inky fingers. I have a number of sac filling pens and it just takes a little time. This is a nice pen. I hope you get closer to what you want next time.

#5 trhall

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 02:21

I still need to review my EsterNewt. I had originally asked Shawn to take on the task of putting an Esterbrook nib into a custom pen. So happy he could do it, and that others are benefitting from it. Thanks for this review!



#6 lovemy51

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 02:33

EsterNewt looks pretty gut(en)!



#7 watch_art

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 23:30

Just saw this - thanks for the review!  :)

 

I always enjoy seeing a detailed write up of the pens I make.

 

I agree with you on the cap - it's a bit large for the pen.  Sometimes I have to modify the shape or dimensions of one part away from what would be ideal to accommodate something else - in this case the clip ring.  This is the smallest I was able to make the cap with this particular clip.  I love these squared off clips, too - I just wish I had some with smaller washers.  :)

 

The threading and turns to remove the cap - This pen was made using taps and dies so all the thread leads are single start.  With the metal lathe, and knowing how to use it, I'm now making pens with 4 lead threads, so the cap goes on and comes off in 1 or 2 turns.  Much more secure as well.

 

The sac - this is another thing I'm not super thrilled about with this and other Ester nibbed pens I've made.  It would have been easy to make this into a bulb or button filler - but even a bulb may have still had leaking problems.  Something I'm going to try in the future is making a section with a hole deep enough to take the nib unit, and then a step down to a teeny tiny hole to help control ink flow from the barrel to the nib. 

 

ink channel .jpg

 

I made a pen this last week like this and it seemed to perform quite well.  If you want to send it back at some point, I'd like to make another section for your pen to go with the one you have, to see how it will work as an eyedropper.  (no charge of course)  :)

 

Fox Pen - I like that. 


fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#8 requiescat

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 01:01

Just saw this - thanks for the review!  :)

 

I always enjoy seeing a detailed write up of the pens I make.

 

I agree with you on the cap - it's a bit large for the pen.  Sometimes I have to modify the shape or dimensions of one part away from what would be ideal to accommodate something else - in this case the clip ring.  This is the smallest I was able to make the cap with this particular clip.  I love these squared off clips, too - I just wish I had some with smaller washers.  :)

 

The threading and turns to remove the cap - This pen was made using taps and dies so all the thread leads are single start.  With the metal lathe, and knowing how to use it, I'm now making pens with 4 lead threads, so the cap goes on and comes off in 1 or 2 turns.  Much more secure as well.

 

The sac - this is another thing I'm not super thrilled about with this and other Ester nibbed pens I've made.  It would have been easy to make this into a bulb or button filler - but even a bulb may have still had leaking problems.  Something I'm going to try in the future is making a section with a hole deep enough to take the nib unit, and then a step down to a teeny tiny hole to help control ink flow from the barrel to the nib. 

 

attachicon.gifink channel .jpg

 

I made a pen this last week like this and it seemed to perform quite well.  If you want to send it back at some point, I'd like to make another section for your pen to go with the one you have, to see how it will work as an eyedropper.  (no charge of course)  :)

 

Fox Pen - I like that. 

Hello, Shawn!  It's so interesting hearing the rationale behind the design decisions--I only got into fountain pens a few years ago, so there's a lot about tradeoffs/&c. in functionality, appearance, and so on that I don't know yet and that it's neat to learn about.  I love looking at the incredible variety of pens that you do.

 

And I'd love to send the pen back sometime to see it as an eyedropper.  Thank you!



#9 trhall

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 00:12

I still need to review my EsterNewt. I had originally asked Shawn to take on the task of putting an Esterbrook nib into a custom pen. So happy he could do it, and that others are benefitting from it. Thanks for this review!

 

Finally posted my review of my Newton Pens EsterNewt.



#10 trhall

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 01:16

Also, I had originally had Shawn make my pen an ED, and then he added a sac to it, similar to yours. But that detracted from the look and ability to use my ink window, so Shawn re-made me a new section similar to what he shows in the image above.

 

I haven't had issues with flooding of ink with the new section. Do feel free to reach out to Shawn if you'd like an updated section, as he mentions above. I love my updated section.







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