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A Review Of The Asa Nauka In Dartmoor

asa nauka dartmoor conway-stewart oldwin sheaffer crest pen review bobje

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#1 Bobje

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 18:07

fpn_1463328862__asa-nauka-dartmoor-hero-
The ASA Nauka in Dartmoor acrylic.
 
For a simple fountain pen, the ASA Nauka offers at least two important lessons. It shows how design can be rediscovered and reinvented over a period of several decades, and how online forums and social media are creating a renaissance of collaboration. That’s an ambitious, rather academic argument for a humble review, so let’s just start with the pen.
 
The Nauka is offered by Lakshminarayanan Subramaniam of ASA Pens in Chennai, India. It echoes the design of the early Sheaffer Crest and the more recent Oldwin Classic, with a graceful barrel that integrates seamlessly with the section, cap threads next to the nib, and a huge torpedo-shaped cap. The Nauka is a little larger than a Montblanc 149 or a TWSBI Vac 700, capped. But uncapped, they're all about the same. FPN contributor Sagarb’s excellent Nauka review contains exact weights and dimensions. 
 
Joshua Lax (jjlax10 on FPN), president of the Big Apple Pen Club in New York, organized the first group buy of the ASA Nauka in October 2015. After two successful rounds of group buys, ASA now offers the Nauka as a regular model. The pen is available with clips or clipless, in several ebonite versions, including an eyedropper equipped with a No. 6 or No. 7 Ambitious nib, and two cartridge-converter varieties equipped with Schmidt and Jowo nibs.
 
fpn_1463328890__asa-nauka-dartmoor-full-
ASA Pens ships its product in a simple velour slip.
 
I’m no pen historian, so take this information with a pinch of, well, cumin, but Sheaffer seems to have originated the basic design in 1937, and André Mora of the Paris company Mora Stylos reincarnated it with the Oldwin Classic model in 2002. Pen enthusiasts worldwide, including Leigh Reyes in 2008 (and again in 2014),  Otto Markiv in 2012, and the previously mentioned Joshua Lax in 2015, rediscover it over and over. 
 
The distal-thread design, to use a term meaning “away from the center,” provides the writer with the choice of holding the pen high on the section, low, or wherever. There’s no step between section and barrel, which sometimes creates an awkward need to reposition fingers. Those are functional advantages. Aesthetically, the lines sweep, unbroken, from one end of the pen to the other, much like a sheer line in naval architecture. This inspired the ASA pen’s name, Nauka, which means “boat” in Hindi and Bengali.
 
fpn_1463328953__asa-nauka-dartmoor-cap-b
 
fpn_1463328970__asa-nauka-dartmoor-cap-s
 
fpn_1463329006__asa-nauka-dartmoor-nib-s
This ASA Nauka is equipped with a Jowo 1.1mm italic nib.
 
ASA Pens offers at least 16 ASA models and also sells other brands. One of the ways L. Subramaniam differentiates ASA is that customers can ship blanks and rods of various materials to his shop in Chennai, and commission pen models using this material. FPN contributor Prithwijit Chaki has commissioned at least nine models from ASA. He is also a prolific and catalytic member of a WhatsApp/Telegram group of pen enthusiasts who are creating a virtual 24-hour Indian buffet of new models in imaginative materials, nibs, clips, and designs. Another FPN contributor, Vaibhav Mehandiratta, tirelessly organizes group buys and reviews Indian pens and inks, all documented by beautiful photography on his website.
 
The Indian WhatsApp group, and by extension everybody else, can accomplish this collaborative feat because online resources provide an endlessly updated archive of expertise, history, and experience. We can discover a design from the 1930s, locate detailed photographs and reviews, identify trusted manufacturers, and source materials. Time is the only sizable investment on our part. This isn’t unique to India, and it isn’t even unique to fountain pens. Software developers, animators, and small technology firms can rely on the same global ad hoc collaboration.
 
Timeless design is the theme of the Sheaffer Crest, the Mora Oldwin Classic, and the ASA Nauka. My own Nauka is clipless, to preserve the lines, and uses an adjustable bronze snake ring as a roll-stopper. The Tamil Nadu state, where Chennai is located, offers up a whole pit of venomous cobras, kraits, and vipers. My bronze snake comes from a shop in the Carolinas, my part of the world, but I don’t know where they sourced it.
 
fpn_1463329038__asa-nauka-dartmoor-snake
Snake roll-stopper in bronze, made from an adjustable wrap ring.
 
The material for my Nauka is an acrylic called Dartmoor, named for a granite-strewn moor in southwest England. The acrylic was created for the re-invented Conway Stewart brand of pens in the late 1990s. When this version of Conway Stewart went out of business in September 2014, the company left behind a rich inventory of gorgeous, well-selected pen blanks, rods, clips, and other components. Vince Coates of The Turners Workshop in Newcastle purchased the blanks and rods, and some of them are still available.
 
It’s entertaining to comb through Coates' website, using Google Images to compare the materials with new-edition Conway Stewarts and vintage pens from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. It reminds us that the people who developed these designs and materials, decades ago, sometimes 100 years ago, had wonderful taste. Like teenagers discovering music, we think we’re uncovering something new. Smartphones and the Internet may make it easier, but other teenagers, in other decades and other centuries, discovered it first.
 
fpn_1463329053__asa-nauka-dartmoor-writi
The Jowo 1.1mm italic nib on this ASA Nauka is extremely specific about where it directs ink.

Bobje reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network:

 

CHINA Hua Hong Blue Belter ITALY FILCAO Atlantica | FILCAO Roxi INDIA ASA Nauka in Dartmoor | ASA Nauka in Ebonite | ASA Azaadi in Opal | ASA Bheeshma in Graphite | Ranga Model 8

UK Italix Churchman's Prescriptor USA Bexley Prometheus 

INK Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue

NIB EXPERIMENTS Flex


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#2 phillieskjk

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 18:13

Gorgeous pen, great review! Enjoy your new pen!

Check out more of my reviews at my website


#3 Tootles

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 18:15

Great review, Bob.  Now that's a pen I should have ordered, especially as Dartmoor is my stomping ground and where I call home.



#4 Sanjay13leo

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 18:37

Jaw dropping pen, very interesting read, penmanship is beautiful. The clip looks like was made for this pen. Congratulations on owning an one off super pen from ASA. ASA for pulling of another beauty of a pen ! Keep them coming, waiting for your next pen review soon 👍🏼

#5 T4TEXAS

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 19:15

Beautiful! And great solution for a rollstop. I have been giving some thought to what to use, and now a world of wrap rings open up as an answer.

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

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#6 lapis

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 19:48

Great review, Bob. I now see that there are so many things  -- like 'who, where, and when' -- that I can include in a new review someday which I have hitherto completely neglected to discuss. Quite apart from that, it's nice to see a new offer of a new pen reminiscent of an old Sheaffer Crest. I have one of those old beauties, and it's still a massive work of art, and runs and runs and runs....

 

Mike


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#7 Bobje

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 19:48

Thank you, EoC, Sanjay, Phillie. There must be an armadillo ring out there somewhere, T4Texas. 


Bobje reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network:

 

CHINA Hua Hong Blue Belter ITALY FILCAO Atlantica | FILCAO Roxi INDIA ASA Nauka in Dartmoor | ASA Nauka in Ebonite | ASA Azaadi in Opal | ASA Bheeshma in Graphite | Ranga Model 8

UK Italix Churchman's Prescriptor USA Bexley Prometheus 

INK Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue

NIB EXPERIMENTS Flex


#8 T4TEXAS

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 20:19

No armadillo wrap ring, but there is indeed a world of wrap rings out there. Just spent 30 minutes browsing.

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- Jack London

 

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#9 mehandiratta

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 04:49

Now this is an amazing I must say story....

read every word of it... saw every picture of it... one word.... BEAUTIFUL

 

BOB you as mod for Indian Forum, doing a wonderful job and I can see your love for Indian Pens... 

Well that pen is beautiful, your material selection is beautiful and hell yeah the handwriting is simply wow...

 

I am myself a big lover of the 1.1 Jowo nib...

 

thank you for amazing story (review)

 

BTW I love the clip.. did it by any chance damages the finish on pen...

and yes thank you for the mention...


Edited by mehandiratta, 16 May 2016 - 12:07.

vaibhav mehandiratta                               

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#10 Prithwijit

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 04:51

Beautiful!! Amazing !! Exhilarating!!

 

What a great way to start a week by going through such a wonderful review. The pen itself is a work of art and I have no hesitation in proclaiming that the Dartmoor Nauka is the best damn boat I have ever seen and I have seen quite a few. Kudos to your vision that has taken forward an initial design that we had collaborated on and added an element of flair and sophistication that was hithero missing. I particularly like your choice of the roll stopper and it helps elevate the aesthetics of the pen to the echleons of greatness that was previously reserved for a small set of storied brands.

 

The way you have structured your review also stands out as a milestone of sorts. By eschewing the technicalities and the specifications focus and by talking about the human and geographic elements of the pen's origin and the hypothesis on the likely influencers is a refreshingly new angle and elevates the discussion to a completely new and different tangent. It was a delightful read and makes one think about the story the pen is trying to tell rather than just the pen itself.

 

The icing on the cake is obviously the small sample of excellent penmanship that you have shared. This is a case of an expert artisan wielding the right tool to achieve a state of harmonious symphony. The 1.1 nib is a specialist tool and your penmanship lovingly illustrates what it is capable of.

 

Last bit not the least, thank you for mentioning my modest contributions in this fountain pen journey. The erstwhile Whatsapp and now Telegram group for fountain pen enthusiasts has indeed been instrumental in the design and launch of quite a few models. I can recall Porus as the earliest example and a few others such as Azaadi, Popsicle, Bheeshma, Santulan and of course the Nauka. We are lucky to have in the group a few talented engineers and many benevolent supporters and enthusiasts who motivate us to pitch in time and energy behind a design. i still recall that had it not been for the insistence of Sanjay and Mr. Subramaniam himself, I may have never taken up doing the CAD design of the pen. But at the end of the day, it is a project of Joshua Lax and Subbu with us supporting along the way.

 

Regards,

 

Prithwijit


Click here to check out my reviews

 

Fosfor Rajendran | ASA Santulan | Ranga Sugarcane | ASA Sniper | Fosfor Heather | ASA I-Will | Hero Glorious | ASA Azaadi | Fosfor Islander | ASA Halwa | ASA Macaw | ASA Namenlos | ASA Bheeshma

 


#11 Sagarb

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 05:28

Brilliant review, exquisite photography...and fascinating handwriting...just touched my heart.


Sagar Bhowmick


#12 jay.is.here

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 05:50

Great review and great work done by asa...pen is looking gorgeous..

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#13 Bobje

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 16:14

Jay, Sagar, Chaki, Vaibhav, Mike,

 

You are too kind -- thank you. The people, places, and ideas behind the pen are usually far more interesting than the pen itself.

Vaibhav, the bronze ring is fairly flexible/soft. I've examined the surface of the acrylic with a loupe, and there don't appear to be scratches.

Chaki, I did not realize the extent of the WhatsApp/Telegram group in the detailed design of the Nauka. Impressive -- I'm glad this thread is documenting that.

 

Bob


Bobje reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network:

 

CHINA Hua Hong Blue Belter ITALY FILCAO Atlantica | FILCAO Roxi INDIA ASA Nauka in Dartmoor | ASA Nauka in Ebonite | ASA Azaadi in Opal | ASA Bheeshma in Graphite | Ranga Model 8

UK Italix Churchman's Prescriptor USA Bexley Prometheus 

INK Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue

NIB EXPERIMENTS Flex


#14 Chrissy

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 16:29

Thanks for the great review Bob, and your handwriting is wonderful.  :wub:


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#15 Helen350

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 17:28

Bob, thoroughly enjoyed your review, and your lovely handwriting :)   Do you give lessons on cursive writing?  Is so, let me be your first student!



#16 Ian the Jock

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 18:07

Bob
An absolutely stunning pen, your choice of the Dartmoor acrylic was a wise and knowledgeable one.
It looks sooo polished..beautiful.

It's great to see so many people championing the works of Mr.S. And that his stunning artistry is within reach of many who could never have dreamed of owning a hand crafted fountain pen.
Thanks to yourself and others from the Indian forum, and of course Asapens, these beautiful works of art are now accessible to all.
Oh
And a brilliant review Bob, (as usual) your writing really does get into the heart of why your Dartmoor Nauka is more than "just a pen".
It's a part of you, with bits and pieces from others "thrown in", finished off by an artisan to make it something special, no! Magical, and personal to you.

AWESOME as they say on your side o' the water.

Ian

It’s a well kent fact that Scotland (The Land Of The Rising Water) has the most beautiful, picturesque, colourful, history laden landscape in the world.

It’s just a shame that you can only look at it through a rain soaked car window.
 
Every cloud though,  If there was no rain, there’d be no RAINBOWS.

 

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#17 -Velvet-

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 18:50

  Wow ! This is one of the most beautiful fountain pen I have ever seen here on fpn, congrats Bob !!


Edited by -Velvet-, 16 May 2016 - 18:51.


#18 dinuraj

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 19:03

This is awesome.. The material is very nice. 



#19 mehandiratta

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 02:20

Just want to mention.. The group is on telegram... Everyone is invited to join...

vaibhav mehandiratta                               

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#20 phillieskjk

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 02:23

How do you join? I have the app.

Check out more of my reviews at my website






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