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Ranga Pens - A Number Of Questions

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#1 day

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 13:46

I have some pretty long list of questions about Ranga pens, and would be very thankful if Ranga owners can share their experience in regard to those matters. Hope that it is fine to post all the questions in one list instead of making a separate topic for each one.

 

1) After looking at video reviews of different Ranga models, I saw that often a number of turns to unscrew the cap differs. Does a number of turns in a *same* model is identical across all the units of the model, or can it also differ? And most interesting - is it possible to ask for a customization? For example, I prefer a minimal amount of turns (ideally, one turn to unscrew the cap, like in TWSBI Eco & Jinhao 159), is it possible to ask for it when ordering a pen from Ranga?

2) On some videos I saw that (at least on one clipless model) there is a hole in the cap - the reviewer said that it is for "ventilation". It it indeed so, and if yes - is it possible to get a cap without a hole?

3) What is exactly the difference between regular and premium ebonite? Initally I thought that the difference is that the regular one is made in India and the premium one is imported, but then I saw that all types of ebonite are manufactured by the Ranga themselves (see here: bit.ly/2UCIeHy).

4) Regarding the difference between polished and matte (bakul) ebonite: except for the obvious visual differences, how those finishes differs - for example, is one feels better in hand than the other, or does one of them ages better than the other and shows less signs of wear or scratches? Maybe some other considerations as well? For example, in one place I saw it mentioned that premium matte ebonite can get "stained" (see here: bit.ly/2YWNLb7), though I don't quite understand what it means - the word "staining" seems more suitable for a polished ebonite, since it can loose it's polish.

5) In models with Jowo sections, is it easy to swap the sections (for example, if I want to change nib's width), or are they screwed in in a way that makes their removal problematic without a danger of damaging the pen/nib unit?

6) When does the next group buy for Ranga pen is expected to appear? I see that there is one going on right now, but only solid colors are available, and I am more inclined towards non-solid ones. Also, the 8B model is missing as well (still haven't decided between 3C & 8B, but right now there is no way to choose).

7) Is is possible to find somewhere a list of all available colors for Ranga with high resolution photos? The official Ranga site has only low resolution pics, and while there are some higher resolution pics available in various places (like on peytonstreetpens site), some colors seem to be missing there, and the resolution is still not quite as high as I would like.
 


Edited by day, 09 April 2019 - 13:47.


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#2 almoore

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 14:12

I can weigh in a little in response to #6.

 

I have a black, polished 8B with a medium Jowo nib and it's an absolute pleasure to use.

 

The polish isn't a high gloss but is a nice finish, the pen is light and durable; mine is loaded with Diamine Oxford Blue and just lately I've only been using it intermittently but there has been no skipping or hard starts. The 8B doesn't post but it's a pretty big pen so that's not really a concern; despite the size it is very easy to write with. I would recommend it, so much so I have an acrylic 8B on order.

 

Al



#3 Jamerelbe

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 14:43

Hi there @day, as an owner of multiple pens I'll do my best to answer your questions - but others might want to chip in with their experiences too!

(1) Ranga Pens are handmade, such that each pen is slightly different from every other. The pen maker (Mr Kandan M.P.'s father I think?) tends to default to 3-4 full turns for capping and uncapping, but can alter this on request (I've seen a few people ask for 1 1/2 - 2 turns).

(2) None of my Ranga Pens (except for an older 'Cruiser' / Model 2?) have a hole in the cap - again, you can specify this in placing an order, if you're at all concerned about it.

(3) I believe the rubbers used in these two types of ebonite are different - the colours are certainly different - likewise the swirl patterns (they tend to be more pronounced in the Premium pens with multiple colours). Don't know much more than that, I'm afraid!

(4) Bakul is definitely a bit more 'grippy', and rougher to the touch. It will show fewer signs of wear over time, perhaps - but I haven't noticed my polished pens losing their gloss in the time I've owned them. I have a personal bias towards the polished pens - the matte finish tends to dull the colours, and in my experience the grip section (especially near the threads) has a different consistency from the rest of the pen (not roughed up as much?). I suspect that the concern with bakul finish on the Premium pens is (1) that it reduces the contrast on ebonite that's already more muted in colour, and (2) the material may be more porous, and prone to absorb inks (hence staining) if not polished up??

(5) If you buy pens threaded for JoWo nibs, you don't swap grip sections between pens - the nib units screw into the grip section, and can be easily swapped in and out. The added advantage of buying these pens (as opposed to the eyedropper versions) is that you can purchase custom-ground nibs from fpnibs.com, or nib units from Franklin-Christoph or Edison Pens (just to name a couple) which will also be compatible with these pens.

(6) Can't tell you for sure, but over the past 12-18 months there's been a new Group Buy every 2-3 months. You can also email and order direct at any time - but the Group Buy prices tend to be cheaper.

(7) Check out some of the past Group Buys - availability of individual colours does vary from time to time though..

Sorry I'm not more help on (3) and (4) - all I can tell you is that the Premium ebonite colours are more 'unique' compared to the ebonite options available from other suppliers, and that they look and feel great in the hand! I have one regular ebonite (a Bamboo style pen) in a matte finish that's absolutely superb, and a cherry red bakul finish pen (Model 3 I think?) that just I just haven't been able to fall in love with. The latter pen has put me off ordering more bakul pens (at least in the brighter colours) - but I know that other people love them.

As @almoore says, the polished pens aren't high gloss - more of a "semi-gloss", but not at all slippery to the touch.

#4 Karmachanic

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 16:30

I purchased a Bakul initially for the look, but came to very much enjoy the feel. I now have two.

 

(5+)The pens are handmade, as Jamereble pointed out, therefore each one is unique, so one cannot mix and match parts from the same model. Sections/barrels/caps from this #3 will not neccessarily fit that #3.


"Want little. Need less. Love more."


#5 alanlight

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 18:11

WRT #2.
On a larger pen, there is no reason not to have the hole. Without it, you run the risk of drawing a vacuum when opening, thus making a huge inky mess.

#6 Brian C

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 19:58

I suggest contacting Ranga with all of your questions. They are very friendly and helpful. I'll bet you walk away from the conversation with a purchase.



#7 steve50

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 21:06

Regarding 3), the premium ebonites have a different texture as well as tone, colour, and weight to regular ones. I actually can't say I prefer the premium ones. They are heavier and feels a bit more solid, but also less glossy. Also, mine has a weird problem where the different colours of the premium ebonite are not fully blended in, if that makes sense, so the red bit has a different texture than the white bit for example. The regular ebonites don't have that problem, and the surface feels totally smooth.

 

And I don't know if this is due to the material, but my 8B in premium ebonite is not as well made as my other Rangas in regular materials. The threads are done quite badly on mine, both on the cap and between the barrel and the section. I was generally happy with other Rangas so this was pretty disappointing. These are handmade so I understand that they are not perfectly round or anything but this was just way below their usual standard. 



#8 Dip n Scratch

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 22:06

The earliest Ranga I got was a #3 from a Group Buy that I had in polished black to take a Bock nib assembly. It's a 3 in 1 pen but it writes a bit wetter than i'd like if used as a Eyedropper. I have had subsequent purchases as Eyedroppers with Ebonite feeds. If I parted with any Ranga it'd be that #3. I have a F and EF nib unit for it, but it has been one Ranga that I really haven't used much.

 

I really like the simplicity of the Eyedropper pen & that is why the pens have the long, fine threads on the cap and barrel. To stop any chance of pen leakage. I haven't had burping issues with my ED Rangas unless they are virtually empty. I have been using a lot of blue/black ink with varying gall content & a ED pen is simple to maintain.



#9 alanlight

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 00:01

In case you are interested, I have video reviews of quite a few Ranga pens here: 
https://www.youtube....LoI_3L0rVIHnG65



#10 gillum51

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 05:01

I own over a dozen of these pens, and I love them all.  they are a great value for the money, in my opinion.  as to your questions, I can put in my two cents on a few of them:

(1)  generally speaking, the pens take 3 to 4 turns to open, although I have heard that Ranga will work with you on customization.

(2) none of my pens have a hole in the cap, although that is something I have seen on other Indian Ebonite pens.  

(3)  I think Ranga's standard ebonite is made in house, but the premium ebonite is imported from the US.  the main attraction for the premium are the more unusual patterns and colors. I would also agree with Steve50 in that the premium ebonite tends to be a bit thicker.  Frankly, it is just a matter of what you want and are willing to pay for.

(4) I am partial to the polished finish, but have a couple bakul pens as well.  I suppose the bakul might resist showing scratches, but the colors tend to be more muted as well.

(6)  group buys have been appearing on FPN pretty regularly, I think there have been 2-3 just this year.  Another one will likely appear soon. 

(7) the issue with the resolution of the photos is one I can sympathize with. in my experience, the photos don't always depict the different colors accurately. I would love to see better.  I do remember seeing a video on YouTube which showed most of the different color rods used to make the pens. It appeared to be in natural light and gives a better idea of the different colors. Just search for "Ranga Ebonite Colors" and it will show up on the list.  only about 15 seconds long

hope this helps



#11 Karmachanic

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 06:53

In the end it comes down to four questions:

 

Flat top or round?

Stepdown or straight?

Big or Small?

Colour and finish?

 

Having decided  - buy! :D


"Want little. Need less. Love more."


#12 steve50

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 10:02

 

(3)  I think Ranga's standard ebonite is made in house, but the premium ebonite is imported from the US.  the main attraction for the premium are the more unusual patterns and colors.

This question was raised a few times and Ranga says that they are both made in-house. 



#13 sansenri

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 19:56

Most questions have already been answered in detail. My quick comments.

 

1) Yes, the big advantage of ordering a Ranga pen is that customization possibility is wide. I have read of some user here who asked for and obtained custom pens with shorter number of turns to open. Of course more turns usually ensure a better seal...

 

2) Yes, some of my pens have a hole in the cap, but as mentioned above, just ask if you do not want it.

The hole in the cap is there to avoid ink being drawn out of your nib when unscrewing (The depression created tends to do that).

 

Most of my Ranga pens, even with hole, withstand drying out even for long period.

3) Regular and Premium, Ranga states they manufacture all the ebonite they use, which is possible.

The materials are slightly different, I share the experience that premium is more compact, more similar to plastic, but with a silky feel to it, has more colourful options, in which colour is more pure, but the material is sort of softer, you see this in the threads. Regular ebonite is coarser but in a way tougher, similar to wood, also in the tactile feeling, and does look good in bakul, feels slightly lighter also.

4) polished and matte (bakul) regular ebonite:  bakul is simply smoothed out ebonite, while polish gets on a hand of polish over it.

Both are nice, bakul feels warmer, as when you touch unpolished wood. The comparison with wood is very close.

Unpolished bakul is slightly more prone to staining, meaning that ink can be absorbed easier than when the ebonite is protected by polish. Comparison with wood is useful again here.

 

5) In models with Jowo sections, the easiest way to swap nib is simply unscrew the nib from the section and screw in a different one (Jowo threaded).

 

6) Ranga group buys run regularly, Ranga tries to provide some innovation every time though (which is nice).

7) Ranga is gradually updating its photos with higher quality photos. I see improvements in their recent photos.

But search the Ranga threads on FPN, many of us (including myself :) ) have posted good pictures of their Ranga, following arrival from the group buys or simply to review the models.

The options are so wide is difficult to see all of them!

Don't forget also that swirls and ripples are ALWAYS different, and ebonite colour can change from batch to batch, don't expect identical, often very different!


Edited by sansenri, 11 April 2019 - 19:58.


#14 sansenri

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 20:17

to get you started here are some of the nicest premium ebonite colours

blue-white

Pink, blue, pale yellow (I would better define it as beige)

blue white green orange

fpn_1555013430__p1150497-3__ranga_8b_3c.



#15 day

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:58

Thanks everybody for the responses. I also sent some questions to Mr. Kandan, and here are his answers. Answers in quotes are exact quotes of his reply, without - paraphrased answers:

 

1) "We can make atleast 2-3 turns. Otherwise it will not come for longer life"

 

2) (Here I only asked about which model have holes in their cap) - "Only Eyedropper pens have hole in the cap"

 

3) Premium ebonite is a heavier, softer material, and it does not contain black spots - as often happens in regular ebonites. In addition, colours in a Premium ebonite are less shiny and are somewhat muted in comparison to regular ebonite

 

6) "We have not planned yet for next group buy. We will not run a group buy for same Model, Colour and nib twice in a year"

 

 

In addition, I added a couple of new questions:

 

8) When I order a 3-in-1 model with Jowo nib, can I also order an additional Jowo nib unit with a different nib width? How much the additional Jowo nib unit will cost?

 

Answer: "Yes Sir. 20$ each"

 

9) For ebonite pens with the ripple design, is it possible to ask for a particular ripple direction? For example in the following picture: www.instagram.com/p/BjXxgmHldZZ ripples on a barrel and a cap on a pen S4 point to the same direction (nib direction), while on a pen S5 ripples on a barrel and a cap point to different direction (on the barrel - nib direction, on the cap - against nib direction). There are also ripples on the nib section, which are not shown in the picture - ripples there can also point to two directions. Is it possible to request such customization for all the three parts of the pen (barrel, cap & nib section)?

 

Answer: "No Sir"

 

 

This last answer is a bit strange to me, since this kind of a customization supposed to be the easiest to do - it seems that it is just a matter of putting the other end of an ebonite rod into the lathe. And since direction of ripples is just random across pens (I saw every possible combination in the reviews), it doesn't seem to matter from a technical point.


Edited by day, 12 April 2019 - 08:58.






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