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Newton Pens Brown Urushi


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#1 Brian C

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 16:20

Okay folks here goes, my first ever review. One disclaimer before I start, however. As I consider Shawn a friend of mine this review is more difficult for me to write up than for a regular production pen.
Some time ago Shawn announced a project he was starting. Read all about it here: http://www.kickstart...-pens-for-kids/ basically you donate money for his idea and at certain levels there are rewards or incentives. One of the rewards was at the $1000 level. I don't know if Shawn honestly thought anyone would donate at that level. I did. I get a new pen every year for the next 10 years. This review is for the first of the ten.

Material:
Originally brown ebonite from I forget where. My idea with ordering this material is that ebonite oxidizes and turns brown anyways so why not start with a brown pen and see it change to different shades of brown. That idea went out the window when a friend of Shawn's saw a posting of the pen here: http://www.penturner...two-caps-97027/ and volunteered to throw some urushi on it. I couldn't turn that down. Off to Japan went my never before seen pen. When it was returned the pen cap got scratched...oops. Luckily Shawn was just starting to play with urushi himself. He volunteered to fix the scratch. So after a bit of a wait I finally got my pen in hand yesterday. The finish is very nice. The brownish clearish (I think) urushi that was used over the brown ebonite makes the pen look like varnished wood. I love it.

Weight/Feel:
Great! Ebonite is light. Urushi adds some weight. Because of this it actually feels a little heavier than the Pelikan M1000 but more balanced as it doesn't get its weight from brass threads but from the material. This pen uncapped looks a feels very similar to the Nakaya Neo Standard. It might be thicker and shorter, I don't know I'm too lazy to check. Shape is similar which is to say very very comfortable. Is it my most comfortable pen? I don't know. I love my Montblanc 149. I'll have to do some more long writing sessions before I can declare it best ever. It is close though. I love the thicker pinched section with the bulbous body.

Nib:
I've seen previously what Shawn can do with a nib. With this one I chose a wetter fine nib. My problem with JoWo nibs is that they tend to dry out pretty quickly and I figured a wetter nib would help alleviate this. It does. Hasn't dried up yet. Nice and smooth writer with some feedback. I like a bit of feedback. I like to feel the paper. This nib is good.

Filling System:
Cartridge converter. Boring but effective. Can't wait for Shawn to move into bulb fillers. I haven't tried it yet but this pen should be good for eyedropper filling. It takes about 7 1/2 turns to unscrew the section. Shouldn't leak.

Shipping:
The pen came to me in an outer cardboard shipping box very similar to Edison pens. Inside was a thick shipping tube. This is my favorite shipping method. I don't care for "presentation" boxes. They just go in the closet and more often than not the pen rattles around the box during shipping. The tube is better.

Overall Thoughts:
I really like this pen. It is an unusual material/finish. It is weighted nicely. The nib is good for an everyday writer. I am always after a pen that can displace my Montblanc 149 as best everyday writer. Does this one do it? I don't know yet. Maybe. I'll take it to work and report back. Can't get pics to attach. Here's a link to the Newton Pens website with pics of the pen http://newtonpens.wo...-dont-touch-it/
Afterthoughts:
Threads:
Capping and uncapping. The major things I usually look for in quality of a pen are 1)nib 2)finish 3)threads, how it feels capping and uncapping. Edison has the best threads. I love taking the cap off an Edison pen. My 149 is just as good, but I have tried Montblancs that I don't like. So, I rank my 149 as #1 and Edison as #2. Other nice makers like Pelikan, Sailor etc rank #3. Where does this Newton pen rank? I don't know. An Edison pen screws on/off so smoothly. Pelikans are smooth but I wish there were more turns, I always feel that the cap may fall off. This pen uncaps with 2 1/2 turns. That's acceptable. It's smooth. It squeaks. What? Squeaks? Yup, squeaks. At first I didn't really like this. I'm starting to think this give the pen a little personality. I don't know why is squeaks but it does. It is smooth otherwise. I've tried other handmade pens. This is the best after Edison. I would put it just about my former #3 slot. I've had a couple of Nakayas and sometimes they needed the cap to be spun in the reverse directions before threading, just to make sure they engage the threads. I don't feel like I need to do this with this pen. Yes, I put the threads on this pen over Nakaya.
Clip:
Shawn made two caps for me. One clipless and one with a clip. I couldn't make up my mind. Usually I like clips and I find that I am liking this pen clipped. What don't I like? The actual clip. The design is nice. I get why Shawn chose it. I mirrors the basic shape of the pen. I like that. Bu t the actual clip itself is just a basic clip that you can get from any pen turners shop. I don't know what I want in it's place. It's probably safe to say that the clip doesn't measure up to the rest of the pen. I don't know if Shawn can do anything about this short of making his own clips...that's asking alot. I prefer to think of it as the pen is just too nice for the clip.

Edited by heraclitus682, 05 August 2012 - 19:19.


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#2 PenandDesign

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 16:45

That's definitely cool! I really like the colour and material; it's unique and memorable! Enjoy your pen!
Visit Pen&Design!

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#3 paolino_paperino

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 17:02

First button and bulb fillers, then urushi...
I might have to empty my piggy bank, coming Christmas :-)

#4 watch_art

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 18:01

Dude I'm so glad you like it!

I'm very glad you like how I tuned the nib - I'm usually more anxious about that than the overall pen. If the nib is no good then neither is the pen.

The box came from uline and I prefer tubes, too. I don't do anything with boxes but put them aside, too.


Here are pics!

Before urushi.

Posted Image

After---
It's kind of hard to tell from the pics, but it's a deeper darker brown. Instead of looking at it you're sort of looking in to it.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

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#5 Brian C

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 18:31

First button and bulb fillers, then urushi...
I might have to empty my piggy bank, coming Christmas :-)

Shawn didn't do the urushi on this pen. He did redo the urushi on one of the caps. I don't have the skill to photograph and show the difference. I think it's pretty safe to say that the urushi on this pen is very similar to what you would get from Shawn.

#6 ethernautrix

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 18:47

That looks beautiful!

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#7 Uncle Red

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 19:36

Great work Shawn and the Urushi looks great. I like the clipless cap but I rarely carry my pens in a pocket. The original hard rubber is very chocolatey and I see what you mean about depth from the Urushi. I like the line from the widest part of the barrel through the section.

#8 PenandDesign

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 19:48

Shawn, are you planning on maki-e or raden pens anytime soon? :lol: It's been great to see how you're pens have evolved over the last few months!
Visit Pen&Design!

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#9 watch_art

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 19:53

I don't want to paint pens - but I have a student who could do maki-e style paintings easily. She's talented as hell. I need to make a couple pens for her to paint as demo pieces to showcase her talent. She's an amazing artist - blows me out of the water.

As for what part of the urushi I did myself - the cap with the clip was the one I scratched by accident. So I had to take it all the way down with a really fine sandpaper and start completely over. That's why it took so long for him to get his pen back from me. :)

Edited by watch_art, 05 August 2012 - 19:54.

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#10 kristiina

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 20:08

Some time ago Shawn announced a project he was starting. Read all about it here: http://www.kickstart...-pens-for-kids/ basically you donate money for his idea and at certain levels there are rewards or incentives. One of the rewards was at the $1000 level. I don't know if Shawn honestly thought anyone would donate at that level. I did. I get a new pen every year for the next 10 years. This review is for the first of the ten.


Great review: succinct & fair.

A pen a year for ten years? What an intriguing idea! I'm looking forward to seeing how this might unfold and then you guys looking back over a few-year span to see how interests & skills evolve. It's going to be an interesting journey I'm sure. Take notes and write a book...

#11 rvthof

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 21:23

What a beautiful pen!
The richness of the color is striking. Nice pictures

Thanks

#12 ArchiMark

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 21:34

Beautiful pen, Shawn!

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#13 fair isle

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 21:41

I really love the lines of this pen, thanks for the review!

#14 wastelanded

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 23:09

Yes, beautiful lines. I'm saving for one of these, clipless. Right on Shawn!
"I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original." - Franz Joseph Haydn 1732 - 1809

#15 andru

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 02:20

Alright, this pen is incredibly appealing, and I just paid a proper visit to Newton and was floored. I bow deeply.

#16 watch_art

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 03:03

Thanks everybody so much for the kind words.
I forgot to mention about the Kickstarter pledge earlier.
The morning I set it up I went to school anxious to see how it would do over the course of the day. I was HOPING to clear the $800 that I asked for and honestly never thought anybody would buy the big pledge. Second period when my first group of students came in I check it and blurted out HOLY C--P! I thought I was going to cry. Really. I just couldn't believe it. I tell you that was a happy class. It's nice to be able to share a happy moment with others like that. Every time I got a new pledge I was stunned. Every time. I still can't believe I cleared four grand with that thing. I'm completely eternally grateful to everybody who pledged and helped back me and get me started in this crazy little hobby. Now that summer is over and school is back in I'll be able to give away more pens! :D

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#17 opus7600

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 18:28

One of the rewards was at the $1000 level. I don't know if Shawn honestly thought anyone would donate at that level.


Yeah, you're right about that. Here's how I put it to him at the time:

"Above that, you need the silly aspirational tier. The purpose is to not make what you want people to buy the most "expensive" option, because people aim for the middle. The one that comes to mind is you make 1 reward available of $1000 for one custom pen a year for life. Chance are, nobody buys it, and that's okay. It's just there to drive people to the $150 tier as the "middle" donation."

#18 Brian C

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 18:33

One of the rewards was at the $1000 level. I don't know if Shawn honestly thought anyone would donate at that level.


Yeah, you're right about that. Here's how I put it to him at the time:

"Above that, you need the silly aspirational tier. The purpose is to not make what you want people to buy the most "expensive" option, because people aim for the middle. The one that comes to mind is you make 1 reward available of $1000 for one custom pen a year for life. Chance are, nobody buys it, and that's okay. It's just there to drive people to the $150 tier as the "middle" donation."

Then I have you to thank. I now get a pen a year for essentially $100. so far it has been well worth it.

#19 watch_art

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 18:49

:D Yeah - that's it. :blush:

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#20 opus7600

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 19:54

One of the rewards was at the $1000 level. I don't know if Shawn honestly thought anyone would donate at that level.


Yeah, you're right about that. Here's how I put it to him at the time:

"Above that, you need the silly aspirational tier. The purpose is to not make what you want people to buy the most "expensive" option, because people aim for the middle. The one that comes to mind is you make 1 reward available of $1000 for one custom pen a year for life. Chance are, nobody buys it, and that's okay. It's just there to drive people to the $150 tier as the "middle" donation."

Then I have you to thank. I now get a pen a year for essentially $100. so far it has been well worth it.


What can I say...it seemed like a good idea at the time. Shawn was wise to dial it down to ten years from my mildly overgenerous "for life". :headsmack:






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