Blackstone Prototype Fountain Pen
I was sent a prototype pen by Kevin from Justwrite for review. This is to be marketed under the Blackstone brand to go with their inks. The pen I received came fitted with a Fine nib, and Kevin also supplied an Extra Fine nib unit for testing.
Appearance and Design – 8/10
I am not going to post pictures, but instead refer you to the very professional ones posted by Kevin at this link – Blackstone Pen
The pen is cylindrical with rounded ends. The cap finial is hemispherical while the barrel finial is bullet-shaped. The finish on the pen I was sent is black PU faux leather with a lizard skin pattern embossed. There are three sets off rings, one below the cap finial, two at the base of the cap and three at the finial end of the barrel. My pen came with a titanium finish.
I would like it to be a little longer since I can’t post the cap.
Comments by friends were basically along the line “Ooh, nice, where do I get one?”
Construction and Quality – 8/10
Overall, construction and quality are very good. The only real markdown is the threads on the inside of the cap look a little rough. However the cap and barrel threads match very closely and there is no ‘slop’. As well, the converter quickly got ink behind the piston and the converter doesn’t unscrew to clean it out.
Weight and Dimensions – 8/10
Weight Capped 49 g Uncapped 29 g
Length Capped 140 mm Uncapped 124 mm
Diameter Cap 15 mm Barrel 13.6 mm Section 10.9 -> 9.6 mm
The pen is heaver that I would like at 29 g unposted, but a coworker I showed it to liked the weight. However the heavy barrel finial does move the balance point 2/3 along the pen towards the back, whereas the ideal balance point tends to be 1/3 from the front. Replacing the heavy metal finial with a plastic one, or even boring it out so it was thinner and lighter, would fix this.
Nib and Performance – 8/10
My pen came with Fine and Extra Fine Jowo nibs. Both nibs are stainless steel and ruthenium coated. Depending on the ink and paper you use, there may or may not be a noticeable difference between the width of the lines written by the two nibs.
The above image shows the potential for difference between the two nibs. The ink was Pelikan Edelstein Topaz on Rhodia paper. The top comb was done by the Fine nib and the bottom by the Extra fine nib.
Fine and Extra Fine nibs are notorious for needing some attention when you get them. My Platinum 3776 Fine was one of these, needing both alignment and polishing before it was delightfully smooth. Both the Jowo nibs needed to be aligned to reduce scratching and both have very precise sweet spots. Once that had been fixed, both nibs were a delight to write with.
Filling System and Maintenance – 8/10
The Axiom is a Cartridge/Converter filler, taking standard international cartridges, and comes with a standard screw-piston converter to match. As mentioned before, the converter is not that hot, and I think the pen really deserves a better quality one.
The feed seems to be reasonably complex, as it took many flushes to rinse the nib/feed clean, and this is backed up by the even feed of the ink to the nib over several pages of writing. However, when I changed to an easier to flush ink – Sheaffer Skrip Blue – the pen was much easer to rinse out.
My pen came with a second nib/feed/section assembly, the idea being to demonstrate how easily it was to change nib assemblies. Well, it was very simple. You just unscrew the barrel, remove the converter, attach the converter to the other nib, replace the barrel and go. If the nib is unprimed, you will need to wait a few minutes before the ink flows through the feed to the nib.
Cost and Value – 8/10
The pen was given to me for review. but Kevin said it will retail for about AU$100 or US$73. It compares well with other pens in that price range like the Platinum 3776 and the Parker Sonnet.
Conclusion – 48/60
The Blackstone Axiom is a well constructed pen with an excellent feed and nib. It is let down in two areas – the converter; and the overall balance of the pen. The first matter is easily solved by upgrading the converter. At this price I would rather see a converter of the quality that you get with a Platinum 3776 or Parker Sonnet. The second matter needs, not a re-design, but a change of material for the barrel finial.
The slight misalignment of the F and EF nibs is not something to complain about as they were comparable to other, similar, pens I have, such as a Parker 45 Fine, Platinum 3776 Soft Fine and Lamy Safari Extra Fine.
Edited by dcwaites, 11 November 2015 - 10:21.