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Asa Pens Ebonite Nauka Review

indian pens handmade pens ebonite custom

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#1 crosshatch

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 06:00

Review of ASA Pens ebonite Nauka

Purchased from: asapens.in
Purchase date: Ordered mid-November, 2017. Arrived January 25, 2018.
Cost: $55 USD for Jowo nib unit option (eyedropper and Schmidt units are cheaper), free testing and free shipping by registered mail

Clicking on the photos below will take you to full-sized images.


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The Nauka from ASA Pens is an ebonite pen made to order by L. Subramaniam in Chennai, India. It has an elegant, streamlined shape inspired by the vintage Oldwin Classic from Mora Stylos. The placement of the cap threads right next to the nib permits a clean, uninterrupted "sectionless" line that, combined with the unique warmth and stability of ebonite, feels very comfortable in the hand. 

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The pen is longer than average but not excessively long, and the grip diameter should be good for hands of all sizes. Although the cap can be forced to post, the pen is not intended to be used this way and becomes ungainly. Unposted, it's balanced perfectly, even in my small hands.

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L to R: Faber-Castell Loom, ASA Pens Nauka, Noodler's Ahab, Wing Sung 698, Platinum Century 3776, Pilot Custom Heritage 912

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Size comparison with Pilot Metropolitan

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Size when writing, compared with Pilot Metropolitan
 
I selected a red and tan rippled ebonite which turned out to be more beautiful than I had expected. As is usual for ebonite in this price range, there are some minor flaws in the material which are noticeable only upon very close inspection and which do not detract from my enjoyment of the pen. Likewise, a few very faint traces of tooling marks serve as an inoffensive reminder of the pen's handmade origins. I chose to forgo a clip, a decision which I feel enhances the clean beauty of the Nauka's lines.

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I usually grip my pens very close to the nib, so I was concerned that the location of the threads would be uncomfortable. At first, they did feel awkward, but I quickly adjusted to them.

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The cap threads are prominent and on the sharp side, though not painfully so.

I chose the Jowo 3-in-1 option with a fine nib and requested that the pen be tested before shipping. It arrived very well-tuned: smooth but with a pleasant amount of feedback and moderate ink flow. I increased ink flow slightly to suit my personal preference, and the pen now writes perfectly for me.

The cap opens in two turns, which produces a good seal without making it a chore to uncap and re-cap the pen. Unlike other ebonite-cap pens in my experience, my Nauka starts up without fail, even if I leave it unused for as long as a week (I have not left it inked but unused for a longer period that that).

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Inside of the cap

Receipt took much longer than originally estimated. However, I did request a color option not listed on the website at the time, which Subramaniam graciously accommodated, and I made it clear that I wasn't in a hurry for the pen. We kept in communication regularly, and had no anxiety about my order.

I've been using my Nauka for a little over a month now, and it has been a pleasure to have in my collection. I find myself reaching for it often, and it's one of the pens I always have inked.

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Excellent, tight barrel threads for secure eyedroppering.

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View of barrel thickness.

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The converter option with the 3-in-1 system is great for when I don't want to commit to a large fill of one ink.

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#2 Tresconik

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 06:04

Wonderful review. Loved the penmanship!!



#3 hari317

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 06:38

Nice review and you have very good handwriting. :) I have a couple or three of these pens and I seem to remember that they post quite ok on my examples. Actually this pen is best for people who hold their pens a little further up for a seamless gripping experience.
Best wishes
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#4 Sagarb

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 11:22

Brilliant review and handwriting and penmanship..

Sagar Bhowmick


#5 Krushna

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 17:25

Great review. Love how you actually wrote the review with the pen... 😀
I've been using a matte black Nauka with Schmidt B nib as my everyday pen for the last year or so. I also have a translucent acrylic Nauka which I don't really prefer, but is a visual treat nonetheless.
Love how much ink you can fill it with once you start using it as an eyedropper/syringe filler.
The tooling marks blend into the matte finish ebonite. 😉

ASA makes great ebonite pens for a very reasonable price... They do take some time to fulfill orders, but the quality is top notch.

#6 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 17:59

Wonderful handwriting and a very nice pen. Thanks!

#7 BlueJ

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 18:04

I agree fully with the review and comments above. The Nauka feels wonderful in the hand both due to its shape and the special qualities of ebonite. The material also shows wear and tear very gracefully; what I see as "damage" to a resin pen just makes ebonite seem well broken-in, like a favorite pair of shoes.



#8 Bobje

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 18:39

Great review, detailed photographs, and I agree completely with your conclusions. Beautiful handwriting.

 

Are you satisfied with the Step Forward wheat straw paper? Is it the 21-pound from Staples?


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#9 bmillicent

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 02:52

I have a Nauka thanks to a wonderful group buy and I love it  :)   What caught my attention in the review was the posting comment -  trying to understand the description of it as being ungainly.  Then I noticed that my grip, by necessity, is a bit higher above the threads,   The posted pen accommodates my long fingers.  Certainly that speaks well of the Nauka's design and execution :)


KEEP CALM AND BOOGIE ON!

 

SILENCE IS GOLDEN, BUT DUCT TAPE IS SILVER.

 


#10 crosshatch

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 05:01

Nice review and you have very good handwriting.


Thank you! I've been working on rehabilitating my writing. It's strange, because I am a graphic designer and do calligraphy, but I had let my normal handwriting deteriorate quite badly because I never did regular handwriting anymore. So this past year, I've made it a point to write by hand more and clean up my bad habits. I still feel dissatisfied with it, but it's a work in progress. It's very meditative to work on it.
 

Actually this pen is best for people who hold their pens a little further up for a seamless gripping experience.


I would agree with this, although I naturally over time as I used the pen just automatically adjusted my grip a little higher, and it ended up fine. It helps that I don't "death grip" my pens. Also, I hold my pens in a grip with my index finger curled and only touching the pen at the very tip, a carryover from pointed pen calligraphy, and I find the little ridge of the threads helpful for fine control of the pen. It gives me some extra leverage in a way. I guess this doesn't show in my review because I had to contort my hand position to try to take advantage of the direction of the natural light when taking the photo. Here is a photo of my natural grip with a different pen:
uS7mYARm.jpg
 

The tooling marks blend into the matte finish ebonite. 😉


I actually have already considered getting another one in matte black. Not because I'm dissatisfied with the one I have--I LOVE classic rippled ebonite--but just because matte ebonite feels SO GOOD in the hand. A lot of pens in matte ebonite polish the sections, which is a shame. I like that the matte Nauka doesn't.
 

ASA makes great ebonite pens for a very reasonable price... They do take some time to fulfill orders, but the quality is top notch.


Agree. The price is great, and I always am willing to be patient for a made-to-order product.
 
 

the special qualities of ebonite. The material also shows wear and tear very gracefully; what I see as "damage" to a resin pen just makes ebonite seem well broken-in, like a favorite pair of shoes.


So true. I love materials for personal objects like pens which gain character with wear, and ebonite, wood, and raw metals which develop patina are some of my favorites.
 

Are you satisfied with the Step Forward wheat straw paper? Is it the 21-pound from Staples?


Yes, it's just the Step Forward copy paper available at Staples. I like it a lot. I was using the HP Premium Laserjet paper (32#), but I dislike the coating on that paper, which feels kind of "tacky" under the nib, and the paper is very thick, which is good for some things but a little too hefty for everyday use, IMO. It's so thick that using a guidesheet underneath is hard unless you use a lightbox. The Step Forward paper is less white and thinner than the HP paper, and it has more tooth. One side is toothier than the other. Some people like super-smooth paper, and so do I, sometimes, but I also often like a paper with some texture. But it handles ink extremely well. Inks tend to dry more quickly on it than on premium papers, but it still manages to preserve all of the lovely shading in inks, unlike regular cheap copy paper, and it even preserves some of the sheen in inks that have it.
 

What caught my attention in the review was the posting comment -  trying to understand the description of it as being ungainly.  Then I noticed that my grip, by necessity, is a bit higher above the threads,   The posted pen accommodates my long fingers.  Certainly that speaks well of the Nauka's design and execution :)

I have a couple or three of these pens and I seem to remember that they post quite ok on my examples.


Mine does not post securely, nor does it post deeply. The cap remains wobbly, unless I use some force, and even then, while it won't wobble from my writing movements, it's easily dislodged if I knock against it lightly. As a result, my Nauka is exceptionally long when it is posted. I just measured, and it's 19cm long, which seems quite long for all but the largest hands. For me, it becomes ridiculously back-heavy at that length. But there are always exceptions to the general rule. I personally don't post full-sized pens most of the time, so it's fine for me that it doesn't post comfortably for me. Perhaps there is some variation between pens, as, after all, these are individually hand-made products.





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