Bakul Finish Ebonite
Black with Rhodium-plated trim
When All Write Now announced that the Varuna Rajan would soon be released in black ebonite with rhodium-plated trim, it
seemed that my chance to try a large, handmade ebonite Indian pen was finally here. I received the Rajan at the same time
as the Double-Pen (see review), but while the Double is a fun novelty, the Rajan must be judged in the context of being a
“serious” pen, a daily writer. I was also curious about how the Varuna ebonite pens compare to their Japanese counterparts
– the Danitrio raw ebonite series, so lots of comparison photos between the two are included.
Looks and Design
The Varuna Rajan is a pen that I would describe as uniquely shaped: It is a flat-top with an elongated barrel that tapers
slowly and gradually towards the bottom. The barrel looks distinctly hand-made, and has an organic and whimsical feel to
it, its intriguing curvature resembling a sculpture.
The design decision to forgo any trim on such a pen, save for the minimalist clip, seems appropriate. However, I would go
one step further and suggest that the industrial-looking clip somewhat contradicts the artistic shape of the pen itself, and
possibly a different style clip might be more suitable here.
Probably the most notable feature of this pen, is the rough-finish black ebonite. Named "Bakul" finish for its resemblance to
the texture of the Bakul tree, this is a different look from the raw ebonite finish of Danitrio pens. Rather than being merely
unpolished, the Varuna rough finish is distinctly textured in a way that resembles actual wood grain, or sticks of vine charcoal.
This is a neat effect that accentuates the overall organic look of the pen.
I believe that the texture of the ebonite varies with each pen, and can be altered according to customer preference. Note that
on the particular model reviewed here, the section and end-cap of the pen have a rougher texture than do the barrel and cap.
This is a neat effect, and if you like the look of the texture on the Lamy 2000, you will love this. However, personally I would
prefer an even texture throughout the pen, and will probably exchange mine for a smoother-textured model throughout.
Size, Weight, Balance, Comfort
The Varuna Rajan is a large pen. The photos here compare it to the Danitrio raw ebonite pen (the Takumi model) that is
familiar to many. As evident on the photos, the Varuna Rajan is pretty much the same size as the Danitrio Takumi, which is
somewhat larger than the Montblanc 149.
Despite its size, the pen is light-weight, as it is made entirely of ebonite (including the feed), with the clip and nib being
the only metal parts. The amount of ink you put into this pen will be the biggest determining factor of the weight. For
those who like huge, light-weight, well-balanced pens, this is a dream.
The pen is quite comfortable for long writing sessions due to the pleasant, organic feel of the ebonite. The subtly textured
feel of the section contributes to this considerably. My one wish here, is that the section were curved rather than straight.
However, this is a personal preference, and I am not even certain whether a curved section would go well with the overall
design here. So perhaps from this standpoint, the straight section is best.
Eyedropper. I have no way of measuring precisely how much ink the Varuna Rajan holds, but safe to say that the capacity is
enormous. If you like ED filling systems in your daily writer, this one is tops: the closure is extremely tight and secure, and
there areno problems with leaks or blobs. All Write Now makes certain of this.
Personally, my relationship with ED pens is unstable, so I cannot yet commit to whether I like this filling system or not. I
travel a great deal, and I am impatient, so whether I enjoy using an eyedropper really depends on my mood. But among ED
fillers, the Varuna pens I have tried were top notch.
For the ED-squeamish, these pens can also be fitted with a C/C system.
When purchasing these pens from All Write Now, the customer is given an option of steel or gold nibs. Personally I would opt
for steel here, as these nibs are of great quality and write perfectly: They are smooth and have a soft, somewhat vintage feel to
them. No problems with flow or drying out. With these characteristics, I am more than happy to stick with steel.
Note also that the Varuna feeds are ebonite (compared to the Danitrio Raw Ebonite models' plastic feed in the photo above).
A Varuna Rajan with a steel nib runs $40, which includes careful QC and hand-tuning by All Write Now. If you wish to turn
the pen into a C/C filler, there is an additional cost of $25.
Acquiring a handmade, quality ebonite pen need not require hundreds of dollars. I would recommend the Varuna Rajan to
anybody looking for a large and comfortable ebonite pen with enormous ink capacity. For ED-lovers on a budget, the Varuna
Rajan is the perfect alternative to the Danitrio Takumi. And now that these pens are available in classic black with rhodium-
plated clips, they are a better find than ever.
Edited by QM2, 02 May 2009 - 15:52.