The inception of this pen began with my curiosity of Titanium Nibs and I was able to put together this "customized" pen from my purchases made over a brief visit to the United States.
Having read many reviews and opinions about Titanium Nibs online,being a different writing experience from Gold and Steels nibs, I started looking for an An American Vendor for titanium nibs. While doing my research I came to know that they are available in #8 size too. So as everyone knows, "Bigger IS better", I asked around for a #8 Bock Titanium Nib.Thanks to Shawn Newton who pointed me to Karas Kustoms and I was able to order one from them quickly.
[Bock #6 Gold, Bock #8 Titanium]
Next step was to decide on the pen material. Being an Orange Fanatic I always wanted to have an Orange Ebonite Pen. I found some on the ExoticBlanks.com website and ordered 2 rods.They were pretty expensive and there is some uncertainty as to the Country of origin of these Blanks *cough* India *cough*. This pen was made from a single 10 inch rod.
Having obtained the nib and blanks, I had to decide on a pen model and the pen manufacturer. The nib being a #8,the pen had to be an oversized pen and the first Indian oversize pen that comes to (my) mind was the A.S.A Galactic. Which I had owned for a while but sold off as it was too big for my grip and was too back heavy.
Being a Happy multiple repeat customer of A.S.A Pens in Chennai,India I started looking at other A.S.A Models and found the Popsicle to be of much "manageable" proportions. After a brief chat with Mr. Subramaniam,the owner of A.S.A Pens I was told that the Popsicle could be customized. So to maximize the usage of my "expensive" Orange Ebonite blanks I asked an A.S.A Popsicle to be made but with Flat Ends which I have christened "FlatSicle". I have been using the Flatsicle for almost a month now and here is my review.
[Montblanc 149, A.S.A Flatsicle, A.S.A Nauka]
The material feels,and smells, like most of the Indian Ebonite I have handled. Smooth,hard and warm to the touch but ofcourse I have not been able to source Indian Ebonite in Orange Color.
The ends have flat polished surfaces.
The Clip is pretty basic and can be customised on demand.I went for a chrome clip.
The cap has a very minimal step down,of about 1mm,to the barrel which tapers by about 3 mm towards the end of the barrel.
The cap takes 3 turns to uncap.
The #8 Nib looks well proportionate to the pen body.
The section has a very prominent lip towards the nib and tapers up towards the Cap threads and barrel.The step up from section to barrel is about 1mm and not noticable, allowing you to grip the pen higher up,even over the step up.
The uncapped pen has the highest diameter at the exact middle of the pen which lends to an almost middle centre of gravity.
The section unscrews from the barrel in 10 turns.This is kept so high because this pen can be used an an Eye Dropper (with some Silicone grease) where it holds a massive 5ml of Ink! The pen also takes standard converters for about 1ml of ink. I enjoy the "ritual" of filling ink so I prefer C/C pens over the huge capacity E.D mode.
The Pen can be used posted but becomes unwieldy and comical.
Some Dimentions of the Pen:
Capped Length: 170mm
Uncapped Length: 128mm
Posted Length: 175mm
Max Cap Diameter: 17mm
Max Barrel Diameter: 16mm
Min Barrel Diameter: 13mm
Section Diameter: 11-14mm
[A.S.A Flatsicle, TWSBI Vac700, A.S.A Nauka, Pelikan Twist, Lamy Al-Star, Parker Duofold Centennial, Caran d'Ache 849, Pilot Metropolitan]
Having used the #8 Titanium nib for almost a month I can see what the fuss is about. It is definitely a very different and unique experience from a Gold or Steel nib. The first thought I got was how similar the "feedback" was to a Mike Masuyama Needle point I got to try at a Pen Show,almost "like a Pencil". This "feedback" I feel to be very dependent on the type of paper used.
Another quality of Titanium nibs has been its "soft" nature and to experience just this I got mine in an Extra Fine grade which is a departure from my preference of Medium to Broad Nibs.
During regular writing,the nib is soft enough to impart some line variation to almost resemble a Western Medium.
Keeping in mind the tendency of titanium nibs to spring, the nib can be pushed to give a Broad Line. I would recommend spending a lot of time getting to know the Point of Spring Back of your nib before attempting any serious "flex".
But the general users should be more than satisfied with the "casual" line variation due to the soft nature of the nib.
The ebonite feed of the Nib Unit has kept up perfectly with the my extensive Flexy Loopy Loop tests in C/C Mode,I think it would be the same,if not better in E.D Mode.
Balance in my hands is right inbetween my finger grip and the web of my hand where the pen rests letter me grip the section at the perfect distance from the lip so that the large nib is right on the paper.
In Comparisson to my Montblanc 149,to get the perfect balance,I need to grip the pen over the Cap threads and that can get uncomfortable over time.If I hold the pen at the most comfortable area of the section,the pen gets angeled to a steep degree and making the pen back heavy. So I find the Flatsicle more comfortable than the 149!
Compared to the Visconti Casanova, I find the Visconti Very back heavy and honestly I bought it only because I got it for a steal!
If only I could compare the Flatsicle with a Popsicle.
The Little Things:
This Pen is a Monster! Be prepared to get a lot of queries about it and attract a lot of attention.
The Orange Ebonite can appear different hues under different Lights and is difficult to Photograph.
Nib creep on the Titanium Nib looks very nice (for those who ar'nt O.C.D about it)
No,I have not sprung the tines during my Loopy Loop tests.
The softness of the Nib allows it to go from an Extra Fine to a Broad line width comfortably.
The pen will be a tight fit when clipped in to shallow shirt pockets and tend to "stick out".No issues in Jeans Pockets or Clipped onto the middle of the shirt (between buttons).
What started as a curious experiment turned out to be one of my most Enjoyable Pen.
Obtaining a #8 Titanium Nib in the U.S seems to be a bit difficult so I would like to thank Shawn Newton for pointing me in the right direction.
Thanks to Mr. Subramaniam of A.S.A Pens for letting me "customize" one of his most popular models and doing a good job on working with the Bock #8 Nib. Nibs of this size ar'nt common in India and I'm happy mine was in good hands.
As I progress through my Fountain Pen journey I find myself gravitating towards specific models,which have mostly been slim pens or pens with tapered sections and having sold off most of my oversize pens, the A.S.A Flatsicle was a very pleasant surprise as I found it very comfortable for use considering its dimensions. Its pens like these that make you stick around in a hobby.