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Review Of The C E Levi Woodgrain Ebonite Solstice With Swan #4 Nib


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#1 Tunnip

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 20:15

The Pen.

The pen design is very clean. Straight lines, clipless and has nothing to distract you from the beautiful ebonite. Although the clipless design does mean it is not suitable for shirt pockets, and it tends to roll about on desks. I wish that it could have a removable clip, similar to the Kaweco Sport. That would be a perfect compromise.

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The pen is surprisingly hefty. About as heavy as a Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze. I suspect the internal of the pen is a brass tube. Overall, it felt that the pen is very well put together. The tolerances are tighter than even some well-known brands. It is impressive workmanship.

The woodgrain ebonite is nice, and gives a very vintage feel to the pen. I feel that Cameron should consider other ebonites, for more variety. Like a green or even blue ebonite. Maybe even acrylics, but that might not be suitable because of the brass tubes in it.

The pen cap though, felt disproportionately light. And the step-down for the inner cap has a tendency to catch the nib tip when one tries to cap the pen. Might be better if it could be cut with a slope to prevent damaging the fine nib.

The grip section is something that's not perfect I felt. It tapered down too much. Although I tried to write it holding it up higher on the brass threads, this isn't an optimal position for long writing. I would have preferred it much more if the grip section is fatter. I know it might not look balanced pairing a slender nib with a manly section, but I very much wanted a writer's pen. Function takes priority. This flaw made me prefer my MB149 and M1000 as an everyday writer. If given a chance, I hope Cameron could consider modifying this for me, thank you very much.

The balance of the pen is good, though I feel it could be made to be slightly more nib heavy. You can't post the pen, so the balance can't go wrong.

The pen has the button filler system, like a vintage. Although I would prefer a piston filler, this works fine too. I am only worried about difficulty in cleaning if I use pigmented ink with the pen, because from what I see, this pen cannot be disassembled and flushed.

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The Nib

I had specifically requested for a fine, full flex nib for my pen. Cameron suggested the Swan #4 nib. It got my excitement up immediately.

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Cameron got the nib tuned very well. The fine lines are really fine, and it felt very responsive, and it isn't scratchy. This nib is the gem!

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The Other Matters

I ordered the pen in early July, and was promised it would be ready in late Oct/early Nov. That was in time as a Christmas present for myself. However, it took doubly long for the pen to be finished. When it finally reached me, it is March, and that's past Christmas AND my birthday. But well, I am ok with it still, as I really do like the pen.

Another issue I want to highlight, is that I think a pen box or a pen pouch should be given together with the pen. Considering especially that this is a clipless pen, a pen pouch is a very nice touch to make the whole experience complete. My pen arrived, boxless, wrapped in foam only. It felt very underwhelmed.

I have warm hands, and that made almost all vintage pens burp in my hands. This Solstice convinced me that I can sell away all my vintages, including a Swan #3, Waterman 52, a Salz wet noodle and others. It is that good. Other than the flaws I had pointed out, I was being critical. It still was a positive experience, and I love my pen very much. I am sure many of my pen friends are jealous. Some might feel that it is expensive. I look at it from another way, that I can own a piece of artwork, that is limited edition to 1. It is tailored to me. And I am happy with it. :thumbup:

Edited by Tunnip, 30 March 2013 - 20:22.

Where my mind goes, my ink flows.

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#2 lintonwang

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 20:28

Very elegant pen! the design is outstanding.
The flex nib gives good strokes too.

#3 Doug C

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:24

Gorgeous pen, gorgeous penmanship. I have a Levi. Cameron truly has a unique but wonderful take on fountain pens.
the Danitrio Fellowship

#4 GuttSchrift

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 05:02

Wow he's working in ebonite now?! I've always had these pens on the peripheral...this is getting interesting

#5 CLewis

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 22:27

Thanks for the review and very nice writing, btw! I've never quite gotten the hang of using flex nibs. I just wanted to note that there is no brass tube in my pens. The weight comes from a combination of quite robust machined fittings and thick barrel walls. It's the thick walls that keep the ink well insulated and add a great deal to the strength of the pen. I'll take some pictures of the metal parts I make on my next pen and post them so you can take a look.

Thanks again,

Cameron

#6 rudyhou

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:53

what a beaut! Posted Image
-rudy-

#7 ParkerNT

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 14:02

Gorgeous gorgeous pen! I am very anxiously awaiting my Colossus from Cameron :) :puddle:






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