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Krishna Butterline Stub Nib Ebonite Pen Review

ebonite indian eyedropper krishna pens butterline stub speciality nibs

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#1 Samrat

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 19:27

Hello everyone. 

 

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.

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 The fountain pen 

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 The clip

 

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.

fpn_1464289575__20160526_212701.jpg

 

 From left: Waterman Hemisphere deluxe, Pilot metropolitan, Krishna butterline stub, Jinhao X750 (all capped)

 

fpn_1464289863__20160526_212811.jpg

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.

fpn_1464290531__20160524_174009-2.jpg

 

The Kanwrite nib 

 

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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.

fpn_1464290239__20160526_204254-2.jpg

 

The review on paper

fpn_1464290319__20160526_204331-2.jpg

The shading.

Thank you for reading.

Bye.


Edited by Samrat, 26 May 2016 - 19:29.


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#2 drmukherjee

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 20:37

Thank you for reviewing my Krishna lotus butter line stub is on its way via speed post ,eagerly waiting for if :)

Edited by drmukherjee, 26 May 2016 - 20:38.

ALWAYS LOOKING FOR INDIAN PENS .. IF YOU HAVE ANY KINDLY PM ME..

#3 zaddick

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 07:15

Thank you for sharing. It is great to support small, passionate pen makers. Let's hope your review leads to more people exploring his pens.

If you want less blah, blah, blah and more pictures, follow me on Instagram!


#4 migo984

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 08:38

Is it right to use Pendleton Brown's terminology/name (Butter Line Stub) that he coined for his speciality grind? It might not be 'illegal' per se, but it certainly seems rather unethical to me.

Verba volant, scripta manent


#5 Leeuwenhoek

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 10:29

Thanks for the review, I saw one of his pens for sale on eBay but was put off because of the clip but your photos make it look much nicer and better quality. It's certainly unique.

 

Is it right to use Pendleton Brown's terminology/name (Butter Line Stub) that he coined for his speciality grind? It might not be 'illegal' per se, but it certainly seems rather unethical to me.

I suppose at some point other people come up with all the other names we have for various nibs and grinds. For simplicity, I hope people use the same terminology for nibs ground in the same way and I don't see anything unethical about it.aaaa



#6 migo984

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 10:50

I suppose at some point other people come up with all the other names we have for various nibs and grinds. For simplicity, I hope people use the same terminology for nibs ground in the same way and I don't see anything unethical about it.aaaa


Would that apply to Sailor specialities e.g Naginata Togi? I suspect not....

Verba volant, scripta manent


#7 drmukherjee

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 10:58

Thanks for the review, I saw one of his pens for sale on eBay but was put off because of the clip but your photos make it look much nicer and better quality. It's certainly unique.
 
I suppose at some point other people come up with all the other names we have for various nibs and grinds. For simplicity, I hope people use the same terminology for nibs ground in the same way and I don't see anything unethical about it.aaaa



Sorry I grabbed that one :-p
ALWAYS LOOKING FOR INDIAN PENS .. IF YOU HAVE ANY KINDLY PM ME..

#8 Samrat

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 06:44

Is it right to use Pendleton Brown's terminology/name (Butter Line Stub) that he coined for his speciality grind? It might not be 'illegal' per se, but it certainly seems rather unethical to me.


Thanks for pointing out the potential 'ethical' issue....i have informed Dr. Sreekumar about it...to all fairness he is not selling something bought from Mr. Brown as his own...rather he is grinding it himself from Kanwrite or Ambitious nib...i don't know exactly so i cannot comment on the grinding procedures and whether they are similar or not...Dr. Sreekumar has emphasised that he didn't have the idea that the terminology was specifically coined by someone for his speciality grind. ..so its inadvertent from his side as well...he has changed the name to RC grind....R stands for 'Ramachandran'- his master's name...so hopefully that resolves a lot of problems....

#9 Sabin

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 00:24

The clip is horrible...



#10 Samrat

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 03:22

The clip is horrible...

If you hold one in hand then it doesn't look out of place at all..... :-)

#11 s_t_e_v_e

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 19:08

Would that apply to Sailor specialities e.g Naginata Togi? I suspect not....

 

If someone else can make one of those, then why not? Naginata Togi is just a Japanese long sword. A nibmeister could come up with their own implementation/variation of a grind and name it the same for reason's they might think it's the right name. Nothing wrong there, imo.

 

Just like how Richard Binder was the first to come up with the Architect grind and today almost all nibmeisters out there offer the grind using the same name without remorse and without even giving the 'inventor' due credit, I don't see why this is unethical. It's surely not innovative, but not unethical.



#12 Leeuwenhoek

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 23:07

Sorry I grabbed that one :-p

I didn't realise at the time he was only making one pen a week! Ah well enjoy your purchase I was wondering, has your signature brought any success?

 

The clip is growing on me. It's different and I think it maybe suits these large Indian pens. I like how solid it looks.

 

About the naming of the nib grind, I stick with my original opinion that it is fine and in the consumers interest not to have 100s of names for identical nib grinds which are just variations. Actually invention by itself and by definition brings no commercial benefits. You need innovation which can be defined as the point when an idea, product or process brings about a commercial transaction or other benefits. Dr Sreekumar has done the innovation by offering this grind on a nib housed in lovely handmade, ebonite pen.

 

Granting patents, copyright etc creates a negative monopoly for the receiver, stopping innovation by preventing others others using the protected material so they could not improve the product or use it to benefit consumers. In contrast some intellectual property rights are needed to prevent people stealing ideas, profiting for doin nothing and to reward the inventors (who would get nothing and therefore not invent). I guess what I'm getting at is there needs to be balance. Richard presumably makes money from this grind and is well known for offering a variety of grinds and his knowledge. Dr Sreekumar is not really competing with him, why shouldn't he be allowed to innovate and offer this grind in a different application? 



#13 RohanOrhanHaron

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 09:05

Dr SreeKumar Calls it the RC Stub (RC after his pen-making teacher).
So I guess we should call it that.
It's a bit different from the butterline stub, as I understand.
More on his (currently under-construction) website:
http://www.krishnapens.com/nibs.html



#14 mehandiratta

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 12:42

i know Mr. Sreekumar... He is a Doctor...

And a pen lover himself.... and its his passion which has got him into ink making, pen turning, and also nib grinding and tuning...

I can easily say his grinds are one of the best...

 

And its humbleness that he has changed the name... which was not unethical in first place....  and its his groundedness to give homage to his master by naming this ground after his master...

 

As far as pen is concerned I like the pen ... And I am sure pens are amazing... he is the best when it comes to nibs...Though I dont like the clip...but i guess that personal preference...

 

Thank you for review Samrat


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#15 FriendAmos

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 15:34

Is it right to use Pendleton Brown's terminology/name (Butter Line Stub) that he coined for his speciality grind? It might not be 'illegal' per se, but it certainly seems rather unethical to me.

 

Why not?   It's just a bunch of words that Brown has not registered as a trademark.   If it helps people recognize a certain style of nib, then why should be go off to invent another string of words?  I encourage the Dr. to ignore such strange objections.



#16 migo984

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 17:58

Why not?   It's just a bunch of words that Brown has not registered as a trademark.   If it helps people recognize a certain style of nib, then why should be go off to invent another string of words?  I encourage the Dr. to ignore such strange objections.


I felt uncomfortable with the usage of a name that an individual had worked hard to develop, and which is closely associated with that person in this small world of fountain pens. I made no mention of trademarks.

In business what feels quite wrong to some people will be deemed acceptable to others. That's the nature of the beast. I don't agree with you, but you are entitled to your (strange) opinion, as I am to mine. I'm pleased that the Dr. has changed his terminology, and respect him for that decision.

Verba volant, scripta manent


#17 FriendAmos

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 19:47

I felt uncomfortable with the usage of a name that an individual had worked hard to develop, a

 

Stringing together three obvious words is working hard?  Terminology in all things, including pens, start with one person, even if they end up as standards.   I mentioned trademarks because that is the normal way for people to go if they want to make certain claims on their terminology.    You sound like you would be upset if someone other than MB described their cheap plastic as "precious resin".  Relax, friend!


Edited by FriendAmos, 18 July 2016 - 19:55.


#18 migo984

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 20:07

Stringing together three obvious words is working hard?  Terminology in all things, including pens, start with one person, even if they end up as standards.   I mentioned trademarks because that is the normal way for people to go if they want to make certain claims on their terminology.    You sound like you would be upset if someone other than MB described their cheap plastic as "precious resin".  Relax, friend!


I'm very relaxed..... and amused.

Verba volant, scripta manent


#19 mehandiratta

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 06:46

Guys all is sorted...

Dr. Sreekumar has changed the names....

 

Lets all love and use pens... and not get in to any quarrel...


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#20 Sagarb

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 08:05

First of all,  it's a very nice review indeed..fantastic photography..just one confusion..don't you think Samrat that the line variation should have been more pronounced? Here I am attaching the image from Pendleton Brown where we can see the difference between the horizontal and vertical lines..there you can see the variations even in the fine nib very clearly..

fpn_1468915396__6-custom_nib_work.jpg

Any way, you are enjoying the nib, that's everything...


Sagar Bhowmick






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: ebonite, indian, eyedropper, krishna pens, butterline, stub, speciality nibs



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