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Brian Gray/Edison Pen, Custom made Menlo


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#1 AJP

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 19:21

Ok. Im a little slow getting around to this review. But it's only because Im having so much fun with my new toy.. ah hem Pen. I received my new pen from Edison Pen Company about a month ago and I have been enjoying it since.

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! roflmho.gif


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




Design/ Size/Weight
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). tongue.gif

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


Cost/Value
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

Overall
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. ninja.gif

Overall = 5 out of 5

Edited by MYU, 13 October 2008 - 14:27.

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” - Robert McClosky

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#2 sam

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 19:31

thx for the great review.
i must say, that this is one of the nicest looking pens i've seen.

#3 dwmatteson

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 19:44

Wow, AJP, that's a beauty! I very much enjoyed your review, too.

Edited to add: Hey, maybe we should look at having Brian do the next FPN pen (if there is another one...).

Don

Edited by dwmatteson, 10 October 2007 - 19:45.


#4 jd50ae

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 20:13

Very nice indeed.

#5 J English Smith

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 20:41

I really like the look of this pen, and I don't really go for a lot of the "custom" type pens. Great review.

What is the clip like? Is it articulated?
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#6 MikeW

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 20:51

I have a red black ebonite Herald fountain pen with a Bexley nib on order from Brian. I chose the Herald first because of its similarity to the Sailor KOP that I have always wanted and because of John Cullen's post on this pen earlier this week (?).

Lapis is one of my favourite colours and I spent some time before my order thinking about ordering something in the Trustone material that you have in your pen. I have a number of blue pens already so went with the red black; you have convinced me that my second pen will be made with the Trustone.

Thanks for putting the time into your thoughtful review.

MikeW

 

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#7 John Cullen

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 00:29

NIce review. Thanks! I too like the look of the trustone in lapis. It reminds me a little of the Visconti Titanic material, as least it does from the photos. I am glad you like your pen. I know I do. smile.gif

#8 AJP

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 00:51

Thanks for the positive feedback on the pen and the review.

As for the clip J English...I'm not sure how it is joined. I know the finial is epoxied into place, so I'm assuming there is a ring that the clip attaches to underneath the finial. I can tell you that it is solid in terms of clipping to shirt or pen holder smile.gif

DW: I would second a vote for Brian/Pencraft to produce the next FPN pen. At the very least it would be fun watching the voting from the sidelines as everyone determined model, size, taper, nib, color/material, engraving.... I lost track of the FPN ink thread after the first 50 or so replies and that was just on what "shade" of blue we wanted lticaptd.gif

Cheers!
"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” - Robert McClosky

#9 jaytaylor

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 00:54

Quite stunning.

#10 Possum Hill

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 01:43

QUOTE(AJP @ Oct 10 2007, 02:21 PM) View Post
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 think lapis lazuli is also found in small amounts in some part of the former USSR and in the state of Colorado in the U.S.

Gorgeous pen.

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#11 AJP

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 22:12

QUOTE(Possum Hill @ Oct 11 2007, 01:43 AM) View Post
QUOTE(AJP @ Oct 10 2007, 02:21 PM) View Post
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 think lapis lazuli is also found in small amounts in some part of the former USSR and in the state of Colorado in the U.S.

Gorgeous pen.


Hi Possum:

I was only aware of the two main areas. During a recent trip to Chile they were very proud of their Lapis Lazuli and the rarity of it coming from only Chile and Afghanistan.
Thanks for pointing out it's available in small quanities elsewhere, I wasnt aware thumbup.gif

Thanks!

Alex
"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” - Robert McClosky

#12 sam

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 00:53

hmm, every time i see this pen,
it looks better and better...

#13 PAKMAN

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 01:47

Good review and very nice looking pen!!

PAKMAN
 

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#14 andyk

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 21:45

Good review and a fabulous looking pen.

Thanks for sharing

Andy

#15 DevrimJan

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 19:29

Sorry to necro a thread that's almost 8 years old, but I must ask, do you still have the pen? If so, could you take a picture? Pretty please?



#16 Jamerelbe

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 22:06

Sorry to necro a thread that's almost 8 years old, but I must ask, do you still have the pen? If so, could you take a picture? Pretty please?


While you're waiting, there's a recent (May 31,2015?) review of the Menlo with pics at http://www.penaddict.com.






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