I am new to this forum and this is my first review of a fountain pen. So, if I inadvertently commit any mistakes, kindly overlook those.
Today I am going to review one Indian ebonite fountain pen with a special kind of nib. Many of us have heard about Butterline Stub nibs, but little information is available online, except that Mr. Pendleton Brown grinds those speciality nibs. It is from his site that I came across the definition of Butterline Stub nibs, which he states as “…….a hybrid between a Stub (very smooth with some variation) and a Cursive Italic (maximum line variation with crisper edge).” This pen is from Krishna pens, behind which there is Dr. Sreekumar, a one man army. He is an anesthesiologist by profession, an experienced nibmaster by passion- fountain pens remain his devotion despite all his busy schedules. As this is mostly a passionate endeavor rather than a commercial one, his products are not available online readily. He doesn’t maintain a separate website and produces one pen per week, so you are lucky if you can get hold of them. The specialty in most of his pens is the grinding of perfectly ordinary nibs into something extraordinary. His recent muse has been the butterline stub nibs and I was fortunate enough to be able to buy two pens from eBay from Krishnapens, where he lists his items from time to time.
1. Appearance & Design (8/10): His pens are rather well built and beautiful. The design varies from model to model, and mostly they are traditional cigar shaped pens with tapering at both ends. The nib is fitted rather healthily into the section and the nib-feed unit looks solid. The material is good quality ebonite. The colours vary according to the model, but they are bright and vibrant. The polish is good. Overall I would give the pen 8/10 for looks, considering the common traits of ebonite pens. They are large pens, but relatively light weight and well balanced. No pungent smell from any of the pens. Unfortunately I would be posting pics of only one pen as I have sent the other to him for tuning to my choice.
The fountain pen
2. Construction & Quality (8/10): These are solid pens. They feel compact in hand and the material looks impressive. I wouldn’t say the ebonite can compete with some 200$ custom made ebonite pen, but it’s not shabby at all. A decent looking pen available at a throwaway price. The clip is unlike something you have ever seen on any pen, it’s special. It is flat, broad piece of metal, very sturdy and effective. Dr Sreekumar states that these pens are made of Export quality ebonite. On close inspection, though there are impurities in the ebonite, that doesn’t diminish the impression of the pen at all. No company names embossed on my pens.
3. Weight & Dimensions (8/10): It’s a light weight pen. I don’t have a machine to tell the exact value. The dimensions are as follows
Length Capped: 130 mm
Length uncapped with nib: 120 mm
Length posted: 165 mm
Length of cap: 60 mm
Cap Diameter: 14 mm
Section diameter: 11 mm
This pen feels very comfortable to hold; it slips easily into hand and writes right away. The balance is great unposted. Posted, this becomes uncomfortable as the cap doesn’t go much deep into the body.
From left: Waterman Hemisphere deluxe, Pilot metropolitan, Krishna butterline stub, Jinhao X750 (all capped)
From left: Waterman Hemisphere deluxe, Pilot metropolitan, Krishna butterline stub, Jinhao X750 (all posted)
4. Nib & Performance (9/10): The nib is the specialty of this pen. These nibs are ground by Dr. Sreekumar himself, with the help of his immense knowledge and experience about nibs. He fondly reminisces that he grinded his very first nib at class 7. It was a different time then with fountain pens being the symbol of education. Over the years his hand have become more and more adept at making different grinds, making ordinary medium or broad size nibs extraordinary in the process. Butterline stub nibs are in between a medium and true stub....line variations are there but the main attraction of these nibs are the smoothness and the experience while writing. It’s something you have to experience yourself. The writing surface is beveled upward. The nibs he uses for this conversion are Kanwrite nibs and Ambitious nibs. Both are Indian company. Kanwrite is the same company that produces nibs and body for Noodlers Company in US. Ambitious nibs are thinner than Kanwrite, but as they are grinded by same person the writing experience is much the same. The flow is appropriate, no feathering or blotting or burping, ink and paper remaining the same as other pens. The feed is made of ebonite and it maintains good flow as required by a stub nib. There is minimal flex, but its expected.
The Kanwrite nib
The pen with paper
5. Filling System & Maintenance (6/10): This is an eyedropper, no other systems available like ASA pens. Good seal between body and section ensures no leakage and the ebonite multi-finned feed ensures no burping. Ink amount inside body is about 2.5 ml. The pen remains light and well balanced even when fully inked. There may be some ebonite particles/ residues inside the barrel when you receive the pen, but it’s more of an outlook towards fountain pens than an error. Being such an avid pen lover, most fountain pen manufacturers from India just assume that a person would take some trouble to clean his pen before inking it.
6. Cost & Value (8/10): This pen is valued at INR 1500- 1800 (22$- 30$). It’s a good bargain considering the price of ebonite pens in general. This is a reliable fountain pen, in that you can always pick it up while going out, take it out in front of your colleagues, put it to paper and it will perform right away. The solid built and crisp line will invite awe and the writing experience will always please you. It’s not for the stylish line variations or calligraphy, but it’s a genuine daily workhorse.
7.Conclusion (Final score, 47/60): I ordered this pen just out of curiosity about butterline stub nibs, and I’m very impressed with this pen. It’s one of my daily pens these days. I would recommend this pen for anyone who come across them on ebay.
The review on paper
Thank you for reading.
Edited by Samrat, 26 May 2016 - 19:29.