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The Karas Kustoms Ink - A Short(Ish) Review

karas kustoms aluminium pen usa

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8 replies to this topic

#1 Jamerelbe

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 14:28

For the past 3 or 4 months, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a Karas Kustoms INK – I’d heard so much buzz about this pen, but (cheapskate that I am) was waiting till I could jump on a good deal.  The opportunity presented itself a few weeks ago, when Massdrop listed the pen for a second time – having passed upon the first offering, I wasn’t going to miss out again!  The pen arrived yesterday, and I’ve been giving it a bit of a workout over the past 24 hours.  So this isn’t a systematic review, so much as my initial impressions and a few photos.  (For a more comprehensive review, not to mention more creative one, check out http://www.fountainp...-karas-kustoms/).

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1.         Appearance & Design

 

A word on the packaging, first of all.  Anyone who’s bought a Karas Kustoms pen will probably be familiar with the brown and red cardboard box it ships in – about as ‘workmanlike’ as you can get.  With the Karas Kustoms logo on the front, silhouettes of a few of their pen designs, and the words “Fully Machined in the USA”, you know exactly what you’re getting.  I had to smile, though, at the writing on the underside.  “Dozens of satisfied customers” – I hope they’re not over-stating their popularity...

 

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I like the instruction sheet, too – especially the last line or two of text!

 

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After some to-ing and fro-ing (and having read the following review: https://thepassionat...ain-pen-review/) I opted to pay an extra $10 for the brass grip section – which I think was a good move.  It helps to move the balance of the pen a little more towards the front end.

 

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The two words that immediately come to mind when I look at this pen are ‘industrial’ and ‘robust’ – it’s a solid, substantial pen to look at, and a fair bit of heft in the hand.  The pen looks pretty cylindrical – though it does taper a little from top to bottom.  It’s a shame that there’s such a large gap (2-3mm?) between the cap of the pen and the clip – it means the pen will be a little less secure in my shirt pocket.  But that’s a minor quibble for me.  This pen looks and feels like it could survive being run over a tank – which hopefully means it can withstand whatever abuse it might experience riding in my pocket as an EDC pen.

 

2.         Construction & Quality

 

The build quality on this pen is just phenomenal – expertly machined from aluminium, with a semi-glossy anodised black finish on the pen cap and body.  It takes about two full rotations of the cap to secure or unsecure – which is quite acceptable in my book.  More importantly the cap screws smoothly and securely onto the pen body – likewise with the grip section.  The clip stands out a long way from the cap of the pen (~5mm), which would be a liability if it were any less robust – but again, we’re dealing with solid metal materials here. 

 

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Here's a comparison with two of my other understated black pens - a Pilot Vanishing Point (top), and a Lamy 2000 (bottom):

 

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3.         Weight & Dimensions

 

Capped, the INK is about 137mm long; uncapped it’s 127mm, which is a pretty good fit for my hand.  Just as well – the pen is not designed for posting, and you’d probably scratch up the finish if you tried to ram it on!  It weighs in at a hefty 50g – though roughly 1/3 of that weight resides in the cap.  That’s pretty comparable to some of my Jinhao pens (the x450 and 159), but for some reason this pen feels a lot heavier in the hand!

 

The exterior of the cap is about 14mm in diameter – this tapers down to around 11mm at the bottom end of the barrel.  There’s a big step-down from the pen body to the grip section – but the way I hold the pen, that doesn’t matter.  The grip section diameter is around 11mm at either end, tapering inward slightly to ~9.8mm in between. 

 

4.         Nib & Performance

 

The nib on the INK is a little smaller than I’d expect for a pen of this size – to my mind a #6 would look a little more natural than the #5 the manufacturers opted for.  I’d also say that it lays down a broader line than I’d expect for a Fine nib – but I knew that would be the case when I bought it.  The ink flow is generous, and the nib glides smoothly across the page.  I’ve experienced a little bit of skipping – but I expect that will resolve itself as I “break the nib in”, and maybe give it a thorough rinse.. 

 

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It’s worth noting that these pens utilise a Schmidt nib assembly that can be easily screwed out and replaced with another, compatible unit.  The nib and feed are friction fit within the assembly, and can be pulled out with a bit of effort, if you want to experiment with #5 nibs from other manufacturers.

 

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5.         Filling System & Maintenance

 

The INK is designed to take standard international cartridges, and a good quality cartridge converter is included in the price. 

 

6.         Cost & Value

 

I was able to get a good discount on this pen via Massdrop – especially considering the shipping costs from the USA to Australia.  $70 for the pen, plus $10 for a brass grip section, plus $5 postage – that came to a total of US$85.  That’s still not a cheap pen – but for the quality of the design, materials and workmanship, I’d say it’s worth it!



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#2 EricTheRed

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 23:38

Jamerelbe - I have the exact same color combination with a fine nib.  My KK Ink is a wet writer which writes a little broader than I had anticipated, similar to a Pelikan F or a Sailor M.  Its built like a tank, is probably my heaviest FP and it really puts down the ink...I also highly recommend it!



#3 Jamerelbe

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 23:45

Jamerelbe - I have the exact same color combination with a fine nib.  My KK Ink is a wet writer which writes a little broader than I had anticipated, similar to a Pelikan F or a Sailor M.  Its built like a tank, is probably my heaviest FP and it really puts down the ink...I also highly recommend it!

 

Thanks for the feedback - glad to know you're enjoying your pen!

 

I'm finding the 'skipping' behaviour the pen was displaying a couple of days ago is no longer an issue - and yes, it's dumping a fair bit of ink onto the page, which I'm really enjoying.  It's inked up with Visconti Green at the moment, which is a nice vibrant colour.

 

As I mentioned in the review, the pen is no heavier than some of my other pens, but for some reason it *feels* weightier.  Very comfortable to hold, though, and I'm getting used to the added weight.  No complaints, though - it was a fantastic buy!



#4 KarasPenCo

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 22:21

Jamerelbe, awesome review! Thanks for the great photos and feedback. I'm glad you are enjoying it, it makes my job worth it!



#5 mmg122

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 20:11

I also have the KK Ink in red with a copper section and B nib. One of my favorite pens. I've seen that many KK owners have mentioned the clip gap. I don't have a gap on mine and it clips very securely in my jeans pocket. Too heavy for a shirt/blouse pocket, IMO. No regrets on this purchase. Looking forward to buying their latest product...the Pen Cube.
Love the pen, love the company.

#6 Jamerelbe

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 00:06

Jamerelbe, awesome review! Thanks for the great photos and feedback. I'm glad you are enjoying it, it makes my job worth it!

 

Thanks, appreciate the feedback - it's easy to write a good review when it's for a good pen, and I *really* like the INK.  It's one of the heaviest pens in my hand - but I really enjoy the weight and feel.

 

Will look forward to seeing what Karas Kustoms come out with next - especially if it's got a fountain pen option!  In the meantime, I'm happy to be one of your "dozens of satisfied customers" (?!).



#7 Jamerelbe

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 00:08

I also have the KK Ink in red with a copper section and B nib. One of my favorite pens. I've seen that many KK owners have mentioned the clip gap. I don't have a gap on mine and it clips very securely in my jeans pocket. Too heavy for a shirt/blouse pocket, IMO. No regrets on this purchase. Looking forward to buying their latest product...the Pen Cube.
Love the pen, love the company.

 

Yep, I've seen a few people complain about the clip - and others post pictures where the clips are snug to the cap.  Mine's definitely got a 1-2mm gap - which makes it harder (impossible) to clip it firmly into my shirt pocket, but more amenable than most to clipping into my jeans or trousers pocket...

 

"Love the pen, love the company" - my sentiments too!



#8 perfaddict

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 07:38

Much as i love the look of the pen, and know it will be a great writer, the company somehow does not ship to my part of the world. Sad.


Edited by perfaddict, 01 April 2015 - 07:39.


#9 KarasPenCo

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 19:40

Much as i love the look of the pen, and know it will be a great writer, the company somehow does not ship to my part of the world. Sad.

 

We currently ship worldwide. Unless there are some limitations shipping to your location, you should be able to order from us.







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