The TWSBI Micarta fountain pen is made from a unique material (Micarta), which makes it a useful and versatile pen beyond the casual spectrum of the coffeehouse. Reviews about the TWSBI Micarta Version 1 and Micarta Version 2 have flourished on the FPN and other sites. I will not attempt another detailed review, but will provide a few points which determined my purchase and/also how the pen has performed.
“Micarta was originally used in electrical and decorative applications. Micarta was developed by George Westinghouse at least as early as 1910 using phenolic resins invented by Leo Baekeland. These resins were used to impregnate paper and cotton fabric which were cured under pressure and high temperature to produce laminates.” - Wikipedia
What is the “life state" of the TWSBI Micarta material when compared to the acrylic fountain pen, or pens made of various materials? I realize that TWSBI offers a stable product for sale. But, since it is made of a composite material, I would think that it would have a very minor shrink rate, as do acrylics/plastics, over many years. Antique stores are full of pens which seem far from their original size.
I was hesitant to purchase this pen, due to its size. But, finally opted to make a purchase, since it is no longer in production (scarcity), and as an experiment with my man’s medium size hand. My pens have a #5 size nib, and are a size smaller than this pen. The Micarta is a light to medium weight pen with a section/grip diameter (max/min) = 12.3/10.8mm. I am hoping that the Micarta’s larger grip size will allow me to rest my fingers, while alternating between other pens. It’s an experiment.
I chose the Micarta Version 2 / 805 over the Version 1 for the plastic insert lining to the cap, and the gold plated stainless steel 14 carat JoWo #6 nib. Although the Version 1 had a Bock nib, and I did not see a great deal of negative reviews on it, I thought the later version might be of interest. The number 805 appears on my clip version, while 803 appears on the version without a clip. The gold clip matches the colour of the nib. The clip is tight and fits easily within a man’s shirt pocket.
I, also, ordered this pen to accompany my ’YES World Watch II
’ from YES Watch Company. The gold on the Micarta Version 2 closely matches the rose gold on the YES watch.
The pen has several unique stampings in black to the top of the cap (company logo), and around the base of the cap (Chinese lettering and TWSBI). All are indiscreet, while providing classic styling to the nature of the pen. The Micarta cap and body colour are matching on my pen. The Micarta material feels like a smooth pleasant resinous wood. I do not detect any odors emanating from the Micarta pen or barrel.
I don’t find the pen to look like a ‘cigar' or appear as 'utilitarian’. It has a unique pleasant styling, which reminds me of visits to the Japanese gardens. I would not mind taking this pen with me to the gardens, but would not take a similar Japanese handmade wood pen, which costs 15 to 20 times as much, outside the house.
The nib is not as wide as most #6 nibs, due to its smaller shoulders, which I prefer. The plastic feed
is beautifully proportioned and constructed with a large air channel leading to approximately 15 “comb” serrations. The gold plated nib has the company logo imprinted on the top of the nib, along with scroll designs, the company name, and size of nib. These extras add to the presence of the pen. The tines on this nib, although not obtrusive to visualizing your script, are (in my opinion) long, but then again, I’m used to the #5 nib. The nib and tines are strong to prevent bending. (I write with a “light hand” and let the nib work for me.) Some reviews have stated that the EF Micarta nib writes like a ‘nail’, and does not provide enough flexibility. However, I found that the JoWo nib wrote like a true EF (probably due to The Writing Desk tweaking it), and that there was enough variance to the line, if one did not pressure it to perform like a medium or bold nib. In my opinion, writing with an EF nib takes some finesse and consistency. The rounded EF smooth nib is, also, one of the most forgiving nibs to those of us who print and scribble in notation. I have not experienced any problems with starting the pen during the day or after leaving it over night. Of course, the choice of paper and ink are a determining factor in any pen’s performance.
The Micarta is a push-on convertor. It takes a dozen turns to open the barrel and reveal the convertor. I have not detected any leaks from the convertor, although I would prefer a more secure method of attaching the convertor to the pen. I always ink the convertor with a syringe to prevent staining. Four full turns secure the barrel to the cap, which prevents the nib from drying. When holding the pen further back from the grip area, I do not feel any sharpness from the barrel grooves. Although the ‘pen cap’ lacks a metal ‘cap lip’, the strength of the Micarta material should suffice to hold the cap to barrel without cracking or chipping. Also, a 'cap lip' would detract from the modern design of the overall pen.
I ordered the EF nib and was not disappointed. I asked The Writing Desk
, UK to align and smooth the nib before sending it to the USA. It arrived in MINT condition and performed perfectly with Sailor Epinard green ink. The EF Micarta V2 is presented in a specially designed TWSBI notebook 162mm x 190mm graph paper.
Best Writings To You, coffeetoofull
Edited by coffeetoofull, 03 April 2015 - 01:11.