Several folks have asked me about it when they see me using it and I usually have to hold back from telling them about all the cool things that go along with the pen and the story behind it. Lets face it when folks that don't share our addiction utter the phrase "That's a beautiful pen you have there" or "That is a nice pen" any phrased response from us greater than an enthusiastic "Thanks" will surely induce a bewildered look and if the response is carried on too long, their eyes may begin to twitch and glaze over. So I'm afraid going into all the things that I love about this pen could cause serious health problems and sure call me selfish, but I don't have time to wait for paremedics to arrive and there is no way Im performing any type of medical assistance on a stranger in today's litigious soceity (unless there is a reporter or news crew around). So I have stayed away from it until now. BUT since we are all pen junkies here I can drone on endlessly about my custom pen with no concern of life and death decisions.
Now before I get started, I will caveat this review with the following: As the description indicates this is my first one so if I missed anything just let me know. Secondly, I have no affliation with Brian or Edison Pen, I am just a satisfied customer. BTW - Brian your check for my endorsement bounced, so I can say this legally. What a shame, I was going to write an even better review for cash!
First Impressions/Getting Started
I initially saw a review produced here on FPN that announced new large ebonite pens made by Brian, someone had recently purchased one and like it. I was interested in the fact that it mentioned eventually being full ebonite (sections too). I emailed and asked about it and Brian was honest and said he was working on it, but it wouldn't be immediate that it was a very difficult process. One thing led to another and we started talking about a truly custom pen. Something different. I mentioned that I liked Lapis blue acrylics and Brian explained that he had a material called trustone that I might like.
After looking at a few pictures, I decided I liked it and I was going to go with a Menlo in trustone. Next we started talking about how we could make this pen one of kind so to speak. So we both set about to considering things that would make the pen different, Brian I think went to do yard work while I went and had a beer. We decided on placing my initials on the end of the barrel using a script of my choosing. We also picked out the furniture and the nib and considered various tapers. And we were on our way!
After a couple weeks Brian sent me a note that my pen was complete. My first impression was a picture that Brian had sent me of the finished product. The pen looked gorgeous and I couldn't wait to receive it. The pen arrived a few days later and it lived up to expectations and then some!
Appearance & Finish
The trustone is a gorgeous blue with gold veins running through it. The finish is absolutely marvelous, it has great luster and is offset perfectly by the gold furniture. I need to thank Brian for talking me out of titanium, great move! In the process of completing my pen Brian came upon a method of making the cap appear as one piece (i.e., using the same material for the finial vs. the standard black one on most turned pens). He produced a picture and we went with it. Ultimately, after searching around a bit we went with a font that is very similar to my hand writing for the initials engraved on the bottom of the pen barrel and I couldn't be happier with the results. The laser engraving came out perfectly and the gold filling truly added to the pen's appeal.
5 out of 5
The pen is made out of Trustone. This material is precious stone (in this case lapis lazuli - found only in Chile and Afghanistan) that has been pulverized to a very fine powder. The powdered stone is then impregnated into a resin that makes it workable with tools.
I'm guessing here but it is probably as close as the average Joe like me can get to a pen made from a precious stone.
This pen is large. It is tad longer than my Conway Stewart Churchill (maybe a ¼ inch), but not as thick. The material is weighty. After all it is stone, right? So the pen weighs a bit more than most of my pens but for me that is actually a good thing. I personally like a large solid pen. I haven't dropped it yet but if I do I'm not concerned. I am pretty certain it will not break. Now keeping my toes out of the way that is more of a concern. Given the weight it may hurt.
Here are the specs for those interested:
Weight w/ Cap 42g
Weight w/o Cap 24g
Cap Diameter .590"
Body Diameter .565"
Length Capped 6"
Length Uncapped 5 1/4"
*For comparison the standard Menlo design (ebonite) from Brian weighs 35g with cap and 18g w/o cap. So luckily for me the extra 6g's has caused no type of back pain from lifting it. Of course, I work out pretty regularly and take a liquid multivitamin or two daily (Sam Adam's or Guiness - whichever is on sale).
5 out of 5
Nib Design & Performance
Brian offers several nib choices with his pens fitting different tastes and purses. I went with the Fine two tone Bexley nib. I think a lot has been written about the quality of Bexley nibs on FPN so I won't rehash things, needless to say it's a great nib that performs well! I will say that this particular nib did require a little fine tuning out of the box. But I am really picky about my nibs and tend to tweak them anyway. So although for me it is no big deal for other consumers who are expecting buttery smooth performance out of the box it might have been so I took a half point off.
4.5 out 5
The Filling System
This is an easy one. The filling system is your standard cartridge/converter system. Not really sure how to grade that so we will say it sucked up ink right out of the box just like we would expect.
So with that said, the filling system score is...
5 out of 5
Now cost wise I personally think this was a value. A great value. The pen was approximately $260.00 a good portion of this was the two tone nib and the engraving. However, considering that I now own a pen that I helped design to my specifications/liking, in the material of my choice and the customized engraving, I consider it a great value.
5 out of 5
Ultimately, purchasing this pen was a great experience. I can't say enough good things about Brian Gray of Edison Pen Company. The attention to detail that Brian displayed and his commitment to my satisfaction were incredible. At one point in the process Brian had my pen finished, but a complication arose that he brought to my attention immediately. The diameter in the trustone where it meets the finial was off by 2 thousandths of inch. He sent me a picture to show where misalignment was and honestly had he not brought it to my attention I am fairly certain that I would not have noticed. But, instead of trying to slide it past me and risking my noticing and not being happy, he brought it to my attention straight away. He told me he was ordering more material and it would set delivery back a week or so. He didn't say "Gee - can you live with it" or "Hey it's a little off would a discount work for you.." no he simply stated it is a small imperfection but an imperfection none the less and he believes in delivering a quality product.
Buying this pen and working with Brian was well worth it. I now have a pen that is gorgeous IMHO and is truly one of a kind. That is unless Brian sells a pen that he makes with this exact material with this exact design, with my exact taper specifications (which Brian assured me he destroyed - right Brian?), with gold hardware and a Bexley two tone Fine nib to another pen addict that has my initials and puts them on the butt of the barrel in the font I chose. Assuming all of that than of course it will be two of kind. Well, at least until I find time to track down the new owner and make them an offer they can't refuse or just simply steal my pen back.
Overall = 5 out of 5
Edited by MYU, 13 October 2008 - 14:27.