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  1. Hello fellow FPN members I have slowly been building up my collection of Indian pens: ASA, Camlin, FPR. Like many other FPN members I am full of praise for them. For Christmas 2016 I persuaded my daughter to buy me an ASA Sniper. When it arrived there was a problem - the screw thread snapped off the nib section. I returned the pen to Mr Subramaniam at UNIK Services. He apologised and promised to resolve the matter quickly. But this correspondence has been going on for almost nine months. I appreciate that these are not mass produced pens, so I've already said that I'm open to discussing an alternative model as a substitute but still no action from UNIK. Should I accept that the money was wasted and just give up on the matter as a hopeless case? Your recommendations? What advice would fellow members offer please? JG
  2. The ASA Bheeshma is named after a mythic Indian commander, an archer who ultimately died on a bed of arrows. Suspended in mid-air, his head unsupported, Bheeshma asked for a pillow appropriate to a warrior. That turned out to be three more arrows, tips up. The architect Vaibhav Mehandiratta named the pen after this epic character, after collaborating with passionate friends in India to design it. They included Prithwijit Chaki, a financial consultant; L. Subramaniam, founder of ASA Pens; and other pen warriors. These two themes, arrows and friendships, define the pen for me. After completing the design, Chaki commissioned a Bheeshma from ASA in 2015, and orders from other clients followed. About a year later, on a pen-component shopping safari in New Delhi, Chaki found a 14-karat gold Sheaffer inlaid nib and offered to help me work with Subramaniam to incorporate the nib into the overall design -- a kind of large version of a Nakaya Piccolo. Sheaffer's elegant nib resembles nothing so much as an arrowhead, and it's paired with a gray, quartz-like acrylic material that forms the graphite shaft of the arrow -- its barrel and cap. The acrylic was sourced from a stash of former Conway-Stewart material at the Turners Workshop in Newcastle upon Tyne, then shipped to the ASA shop in Chennai. But enough back story. Details The nib writes well and with considerable feedback, probably because it's an extra fine. I've forgotten what filling system was used in the nib's former life, but it now exists as a bulb filler, with the sac protected by a metal sleeve. The pen is 151 millimeters long, capped, and 135 mm uncapped. The cap and barrel are 15 mm in diameter, and the section is 10 mm, meaning that there's a considerable step-down. The inlaid section is 25 mm long, however, providing plenty of space for fingers to seat themselves before they reach the threads -- which are smooth enough to grip, anyway. I don't know how much the pen weighs, but it's mostly acrylic, so it's light. The pen is clipless, and a bronze snake ring serves as a roll-stopper. In Conclusion The Bheeshma is a sharp tool that fits my hand comfortably, writes cursive script with precision, and holds a respected position in my quiver of pens. Any army attempting to oppose Bheeshma should beware. A powerful cadre of friends supports him, and they are building a daunting armory of writing instruments.
  3. I came home today to my latest pen haul from ASA pens. I ordered these pens in early June and Mr Subbu made them to my personal specifications. Some of these pens have already been reviewed by other, so I'll only review the novel ones when I get to using them. Packaging In wrappers Unwrapped Japanese-styled ebonite My Indian fountain pen collection (even the case is made in India) Collection right side Collection left side
  4. Some time ago I posted some pics of this pen sent by Mr. Subbu of ASA Pens. Now it is finally in my hands, and the only thing I can say is PERFECTION. The long feed and section on this pen is advertised as preventing burping, and it is 100% true. The stock #6 ASA nib is very nice and smooth, When capped, cap and body are absolutely flush, and when posted it posts nicely. This was my first but I am sure not my last pen from ASA. Many thanks to Mr. Subbu. Here are some pics. PS: I am sorry for the handwriting
  5. Introduction: I was just casually browsing for some pens and landed down on the ASA TransNauka (this was in between my studies for my math exam). But then on FPN I saw a review of some Tangerine Nauka and had no idea what it was. I read it and then I was hooked. I am a professional artist (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw_cp6tNIvk you are welcomed to check my video of drawing a minion) and while I work with many colors, very few give that spark- black, white, blue, grey, red and orange. This was an orange pen. The glow of that material struck me. So, the ASA Tangerine Nauka is a limited-edition fountain pen (mine was #37) handmade in Chennai, India by Mr. Lakshminarayan Subramanium. Probably handmade is not the word, handcrafted is the one. The pen came in a handmade wooden box with ASA branding. Inside was a red velvet pen sleeve and of course the pen. Unfortunately one side of the box wasn't pasted quite properly so it came off during shipping. It was quite an easy fix but what I liked was that Mr Subramanium offered to ship another box as a replacement free of charge to me. Seriously, give this guy a medal or something. I love the customer service provided by him. I contacted him over Whatsapp and he responded to every silly message of mine promptly. Construction, Profile and Appearance (9/10): The profile is quite reminiscent of a boat (Nauka means boat in Hindi). It is an oversize pen which looks beautiful. The nib and clip are both gold plated but both had some small noticeable scratches, which is why I cut a point. But the construction is quite near perfect for me. The matted surface is expertly done and overall the build quality is great. The Texture in a macro shot Filling System (10/10): My favorite filling system is a converter because it is so reliable and has less maintenance than other systems. The ease of filling and convenience cant be beaten. While this is a 3-in-1 system, which means a cartridge, the included converter or eyedropping will work for this pen. I would love to use it in eyedropper mode. The nib (9.5/10): The heart of the pen is a #6 gold plated Jowo nib in medium. The nib looks quite standard with some basic scroll work and has the words Iridium Point Germany on it. The nib had some scratches on it. The nib is quite smooth on good paper with some feedback which I will smoothen out and the flow is perfect. The nib is a nice match for the big pen but I think a chrome nib would look fantastic on it. A writing sample with Camlin Scarlet Red ink. Price and Ease of Ordering (10/10): The price of this pen is worth each and every penny. I bought it at a 10% discount and the whole process was a long but a most cherishable one. Conclusion: This pen has become my favorite along with my late TWSBI Eco and is a serious contender in the below 100 dollars range. I can recommend this to anyone who wants a quality handmade fountain pen. Go give it a try guys. I had to edit this. I was just touched by the respect Mr Subramanium gives his customers. I am almost 15 and he, throughout the whole process addressed me as 'sir' even after my refusal and acknowledgment of the same. Thanks for reading this review and I am Adit Sreesh Kamath now signing off..
  6. Its been a fantastic 2016 and best of times for Indian Fountain Pens, especially ASA Pens. Thanks for all your support, as we complete 4 Years!! Here is a PIF for my latest offering, the mesmerizing Maya, "The ASA Maya Ebonite Fountain Pen". The PIF Offer is for a "ASA Maya Ebonite Eyedropper pen" as PIF. The PIF is open to anyone who is registered with FPN. Shipping will be done by us through India Post, Registered Airmail free. To participate, one has to comment in this thread, on any of following- One must comment on why they like Indian Fountain Pen or Why they like India or anything they know about Indian pens or India or Mention anything they know about India. This PIF will end on 23rd December, 12 PM IST and the lucky winner will be declared here by me on 24th, on Christmas Eve! Winner will be selected from all who comment, by lucky draw.Here are some pictures
  7. A months ago I saw descriptions of the ASA Athlete and it called my attention the looong section and feed, and the reports of it helping to counter ink burping and leaks of eyedroppers. I asked Mr. Subbu of ASA Pens if it was possible to get one in a clear version, since I already had another pen on the way and it would be easier to distinguish one from the other. Besides, demonstrators are cool! After an interruption in our communications, wich I now know were because of the heavy rains in Chennai and subsecuent energy supply problems, we started to talk again, and this images were sent by Mr. Subbu. The pen is not even on its way to me, and fellow FPNers from or closer to India than me could probably receive one before, but I just had to share the pics. Tell me what you think, and if you have any experience with the regular ebonite versions.
  8. Delivered

    Asa Genuis Pen

    I received an ASA Genuis fountain pen. I filled the pen with ink and dipped the nib to assist in initiating ink flow. Pen worked great until the dipped ink ran out. I realized no ink was flowing from the barrel through the section to the nib. I soaked the section in a little soapy water and flushed it well. Still no change. Last night I laid the pen on my desk at a slight angel with the nib downward. When I awoke this morning I tried the pen and dry as a bone. My next step is to remove the nib and feed. Question is I do not know whether the stock factory nib is a friction fit or screw in nib? I am assuming it is friction fit but like to verify that before attempting to disengage it from the section. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. David Z.
  9. ASA GALACTIC My handcrafted pen journey started with ASA Galactic, a beautiful pen from ASA pens (www.asapens.in/eshop). Honesty Note :- I am very lazy and my only motivation for writing this is to get a discount coupon from Mr Subu. and then use it to buy ASA Daily . When I ordered ASA Galactic, there was a shipping mistake and mine was sent to Spain. So the first Galactic I received had "Gilly" written on it, but Mr. Subu. is very cool, he sent me another Galactic and added Click Tulip (for free !!) . Now there are many reviews of this pen eg. mehandiratta's, but since I am an engineer ( by choice ) so this review is all about the experiments I did with the pen !. Edit Note :- Please read this post from an reverse engineering point of view and all I care about is learning how things work, not what makes them pretty, not what the simple solution is, nor i even care if I end up ruining the pen. The experiments started when one fine Dehradun morning (4 am), I was studying algorithm space-time complexity concepts and the Galactic burped !. The review :- Pen looks amazing when inked up ! The pen has a massive ink capacity and there are no leaks from the side of the barrel. So I was writing at 4 am and then as I paused while still holding the pen in writing position, to read all the weird complexity stuff I wrote, when I came to the bottom of the page I saw the BURP !! The pen was leaking from the top of the nib, bottom of the feed and from the tip of the nib as well. The standard process is to apply 100% silicone grease to stop the leaks from the side of the nib and feed. The fix for burping is to either change the feed or ink up the pen. Now I wanted to see if I can find another solution using only the things I had at home. I started with toothpaste, yea you read it correctly, i applied toothpaste and it worked for a few minutes until the toothpaste started to mix with the ink ! Then I used cello tape, which worked but as I fixed the position of the nib and feed the tape broke and nik started to leak again. So I used Glue stick and it worked for a few minutes but ink started to leak again. As you can see below, by this time I had already broken the feed tip and the nib was bent ! Then I thought I should try to reduce the ink flow. Now flow reduction worked but the ink flow was not consistent, so I removed the pipe that was connected to the ink channel, but then wax broke and started to block the ink flow. So I removed all of it and replaced it with an injection cap (needle removed), the cap fit perfectly and securely. I created a hole on the top of the cap, the ink would flow from there to the feed and the pipe (coming out from cap) would bring extra ink back from feed to the tank. Now this worked beautifully, no leaks no burps, ink flow reduced and we finally have a fix !!. But it looked ugly so now it was time to optimise it (fix the problem first and then find a better solution). So I looked at it for some time and then vola (syringe always goes securely inside its cap) ! What if I remove the top of the cap, rotate it, insert it in the pen and then use the syringe as a cartridge !! I removed the bottom half of the syringe and left the syringe piston rubber inside it to prevent any leaks (since that is what its job is ). Now all of this looks good but the ink flow was not consistent because there was no capillary action happening between the nib section and the cartridge. So I added the pipe (I reduced its size afterwards), and now due to capillary action the ink would stick to the sides of the pipe and flow from syringe to the nib section. The syringe converted cartridge is basically going inside it's cap, so obviously connection is very secure/strong and so there are no leaks. After this conversion the pen stopped leaking from the nib and feed as well and there was no burping. The final product ! I really enjoyed doing these experiments, hope you enjoyed them too ! Edit :- Now lets use this knowledge to create our own pen So all we require is a nib, feed, some body and ink ! So i found an old use and throw pen, took Jinhao Nib and Click Tulip feed. Wrapped them together using plastic wrap that Galactic came in. Filled the pen with ink and securely placed the nib and feed in it. My pen is not handcrafted but oh well ! Ah !, the happiness of finally satisfying the engineers "how things work" and "do it yourself" itch...
  10. So, it is your first purchase from an Indian company (other than fountain pen revolution which you didn't like very much) and you are looking at the these 4 big names: Ranga, Wality, ASA, and GAMA. Which do you buy to ensure a wonderful writing experience? An experience that will keep you coming back for more. How much is too much for an ebonite pen? If you want a eye dropper that you can carry and won't leak and it seems that ASA's Athlete looks like the best option with its particularly long feeder, but does it really matter? Do you prefer (like me) to grip the pen rather high or rather low? If given the option between nib makers JoWo, Schmidt or and generic, which do you choose? And finally, if you have the option to upgrade the pen (and thus the price) into a converter/cartridge, do you? Thank you to anyone who takes the time to answer these burning questions Ideally, you have had some experience with more than 1 of these companies' pens so as to be able to make a comparison, but if not I am still interested in your experience any of the pens!
  11. ASA Nauka in blue and red ebonite Can a humble pen offer a homily in human imperfection? This is one of the questions that the ASA Nauka, turned by a penmaker in Chennai, India, makes me want to answer. Lakshminarayanan Subramaniam runs ASA Pens, an online and bricks-and-mortar retailer offering multiple pen brands and at least 16 models specific to ASA. It is difficult to type the 16 letters of his first name, and even tougher to pronounce, so well take his lead and just go with L. In 2015, Subramaniam began collaborating with Joshua Lax, president of the Big Apple Pen Club in New York, to create a pen based on the Sheaffer Crest of the 1930s, and the Oldwin Classic of 2002, created by André Mora for the Paris company Mora Stylos. The Nauka positions the cap threads next to the nib and then gracefully sweeps, unbroken, to the end of the barrel. The Naukas huge cap looks like the stub of a cigar. Nauka means boat in Hindi and Bengali, and I think the name refers to the sweeping sheer line of nautical architecture. Uncapped, its about the size of a Montblanc 149. The development of the Nauka is equally as interesting as its conception, because it relied on a prolific group of Indian pen enthusiasts who worked together to design, prototype, and market the pens first round of manufacturing. Im not all that interested in the minutiae of dimensions, but elegant photographs in a review by FPN contributor Sagar Bhowmick display them all. I ordered a couple of Naukas, including one in a mottled Indian blue-red ebonite and another in a tasteful Conway Stewart acrylic material called Dartmoor. I had hoped the Nauka in Dartmoor would be gorgeous, and a joy to write with, and it is both. But what is remarkable is that the pen I have the most fun with is the humble, eyedropper-filled, ebonite model. This results partly from a gigantic 40-millimeter nib by Ambitious, an Indian company, with a black ebonite feed that supplies ink in reliably generous quantities. Whenever I write with it, at whatever direction or speed, however long its been sitting on my desk, the Nauka's medium nib -- more of a broad, really -- lays down a wet, glistening line of ink. The nib and feed introduce what is most interesting about the ebonite Nauka. The slits that form the fins of the feed, for example, are irregular in length. Maybe theyre hand-cut, maybe theyre not, but theyre definitely not uniform. The gold-colored nib is imprinted with the words IRIDIUM POINT, wrapped around a circle. The letters are a little eccentric. I dont know, maybe there were too many letters to wrap properly around the circle. Maybe the Ambitious nib designers ran out of energy and were rushing to make a deadline. And nothing about the rest of the pen is uniform, either, because this is a hand-made pen, made by a human being on a lathe. There arent all that many Naukas out there Im guessing 500 at the most -- but this eyedropper is different from all the rest. Mine is clipless, and I found a bronze ring in the shape of a lotus, the national flower of India, to serve as a rollstopper. If you squint, you can see imperfections in the ebonite, little dark spots about the size of an opening left by a pin. If you use a macro lens to shoot photographs of the barrel, you see marks left by the tools that created the pen. I can see one tiny nick in the cap, exactly parallel to the cap opening, and when I see that nick I can hear a curse from the lathe operator who realizes the need to spend more time to smooth that out. He Im guessing the operator is a he either smoothed out as much as he could without creating an even bigger divot in the surface, or finally said, screw it, this looks good already. Many of the lathes that turn ebonite pens in India are still foot-pedal operated, and I dont know whether ASA lathes are driven by motors or feet. But I know the humans operating those lathes had a lot more on their minds than a 1-millimeter-long tool mark. In a wonderfully hopeful turn of phrase, the FPN contributor "sandburger" wrote that Indian ebonite is like wood, gloriously inconsistent, with the power to surprise and delight. I agree completely. There is much literature on the subject of human imperfection. Robert Browning wrote a poem called Old Pictures in Florence that, among other things, talks about lesser-known artists and how they contribute to the work of greater artists. The New York-based psychiatrist Dr. Janet Jeppson Asimov, widow of the science fiction author and biochemist Isaac Asimov, wrote an essay this year for The Humanist called In Praise of Imperfection. She writes that the imperfections of human brains actually improve the way we function. We learn more from mistakes than we do from successes. When I was in university I had the good fortune to spend a few days in Venice, and one afternoon I was admiring the irregular lines of a gondola along a bridge where gondoliers were taking a break. The gondola, as you probably know, is an asymmetrical boat, because the single oar sticks out on the starboard side. The port side needs to be longer so the boat doesnt turn left all the time. And the gondola is heavier at the bow than at the stern, to account for the weight of the gondolier. If you look long enough at the polished black sides of a gondola, you see undulations and imperfections. As I was staring at one of these gondolas, hypnotized by the play of light and water on the shiny surface of the wood, I told a gondolier that it was beautiful. He responded that it was beautiful because in it you see the hand of the human being who made it. This review originally appeared on Giovanni Abrate's website, newpentrace.
  12. So its been a while since I did anything on FPN. However its just been 2 days since my last purchase. Yes, I love fountain pens and with asapens.in (Subbu) in the FP community there are a lot of wonderful pens to select from. I shall probably do a more detailed post later for now I shall post a bunch of pics that I took (hastily), while explaining a bit about each of the pens under focus. I sincerely apologize for any shabby pictures. ASA Heritage: [Purchased from http://asapens.in] A few weeks ago my wife placed an order with asapens.in for a large pen. Subbu suggested us to try out his new design. I think this pen will be listed soon on his website. He sent a few pictures over and we decided to go for it with a Jowo-B nib. Below are a few pics of the heritage. As compared to GAMA Hawk. Check out the chunky section of Heritage as compared to the (relatively) puny section of Hawk. I hold the pen just below the threads and I just love the balance I get. However, for the sake of reviewing I tried holding the section close to the nib and found that the pen is a little top heavy, but for that one really has to hold it close to the nib (way down the section). If you're like me and hold the pen higher up, then you'll love the way this pen sits on your hand. This pen is slightly larger than GAMA-Himalaya(? Hope I got the name right). Interestingly, the sections of both these pens weigh the same. However, the barrel of Heritage is more heavier than that of Himalaya. Advantage? It does sit on the webbing between my index and thumb more securely. Disadvantage? It does become a little top heavy if you hold the pen closer (really close) to the nib. Observe that the Jowo-B nib is a few mm longer than the IPG on Hawk. It could be compared to the Lyle Ross Pompei http://www.pensbylyleross.com/pompey-4-cosmic-silver.html, for me just by looks the ASA Heritage wins. Note that they both come with Jowo#6. More perspective. More similarity. My top three ebonite pens (Top to Bottom): GAMA Masterpiece (Purchased from Gem and Co. Chennai), GAMA/ASA Himalaya (Purchased from http://asapens.in) and ASA Heritage (Purchased from http://asapens.in). Uncapped: Check out the ambitious 40mm. You could stab some one with it. This pen is atleast as mighty as a small dagger. Top to Bottom: ASA Galactic, Heritage and I-Can. Personally, I don't like the names but... what is in a name right? Uncapped: I love the concave section of I-can. Personally it is a little skinny for me. But my wife uses this pen and simply adores it. This is her daily user. The I-can and galactic are her daily carry pens (for now). Right now the i-can is inked up. Last week the Galactic was inked up with purple ink. The section of Galactic. Personally, I think the nib is set too deep. I just cannot write with this pen. I fatigue easily. But my wife says exactly the opposite. All said, the bock is just a wonderfully wet writer. I feel the bock is more wetter than the corresponding Jowo. I love 'em both though. The pen is stained purple. But I think it is kind of a cool look. Asa Galactic: [Purchased from http://asapens.in] The Franklin Christoph of India? We certainly believe so. I hope ASA flourishes internationally. This pen looks lovely. (In my wife's opinion) this pen is wonderfully smooth (thanks to the wet bock broad nib), it is well balanced. She feels that the nib is a little skinny for the pen but nevertheless it performs upto her expectations. As compared to the GAMA demonstrator. The Gama is slightly larger than the Galactic. However the section tapers a bit more. ASA I-Can [Purchased from http://asapens.in] Let me get this out of the way. I hate the name, abhor it. The name is not even half as cool as the pen. This pen is an absolute beauty. True, the design is classic from a bygone era (may be). But, we all love it. I don't understand why more pens do not have this section design. This is truly a writer's pen. Enough said, buy it and you won't regret it one bit. Check out the concave section, Deccan Advocate comes to mind does it not: ASA Heritage... just one more picture: ASA Heritage in the fore and I-can at the back: I love the side view of the Jowo nib/feed unit: Top to bottom: ASA I-can, ASA Heritage, GAMA Himalaya and Deccan Advocate. Personally I hate most of the Deccan pens. But the Advocate, is pure bliss to use. If you look closely at the picture you know it is beat. This is the only Deccan pen I won't hesitate to replace if anything were to happen to this one. I know a lot of people love Deccan pens, it just never worked for me (other than the Advocate ofcourse). Peace out. More pics of the same. My Deccan Advocate and GAMA Himalaya are beat, perpetually inked: A few writing samples, these are my wifes handwring: Personally I prefer the Jowo 1.1 when I just scribbling stuff (rough calculations). For me, it feels more stable. Mr. Subbu from http://asapens.in is doing us all a great service by producing these wonderful pens. Me and my wife are supporters and wish him all the best. Sometimes I wish Mr Prataph of Gem&Co. were as enterprising too. Kudos to these wonderful people who keep the art of making fountain pens in India alive. Hmmm... What will be our next purchase.
  13. Prithwijit

    Asa I-Will Review

    Introduction After commissioning some customized designs via ASApens I decided to change track a bit and get a few of their standard offerings. Looking around, there seemed to be a few models that had got consistently good review in FPN. One of them was the I-Can design which has been reviewed favourably here, here and here. I quite liked the classical lines of the design and decided to order it. There is one concession I made for myself, which is to use the wild cheesecake acrylic blank from theturnersworkshop.co.uk instead of stock ebonite. Also, since I prefer to use CC instead of ED pens, I requested the CC version. The cartridge converter version of the pen has actually been christened I-Will by Mr. Subramaniam and hence my review of an I-Will instead of an I-Can. Design One of the reasons I went for this pen is the design. It is a simple cylindrical barrel with the cap diameter which is slightly more than the barrel diameter. The pen is adorned with simple straight lines for the cap and with only a hint of tapering of the barrel. The top of the cap and the bottom of the barrel are flat and polished. The body of the barrel and the cap are polished smooth and shiny. Aesthetically it is simple, elegant, purposeful and the design remains an all-time classic. One can go back at-least a 100 years in fountain pen history and see pens of this design being produced by almost all manufacturers of the early era. The most famous user of this design is probably Wahl-Eversharp with their Classic 1920s gold filled, Olympia and Art Deco designs. Waterman too has numerous pens such as 12, 52 and the jumbo 20 which are variants of this design. Even Parker and Sheaffer too has used it from time to time as have numerous other known and unknown pen makers. The moment I saw it, I knew that I wanted this since it pays homage to the era or origination of fountain pens. From an usage standpoint, it is a utilitarian design. It is a full sized pen fitted with a hourglass type concave section design which is a personal favourite for the comfort it offers. The clip used is the same vintage brass ball clip that is usually a staple of the Azaadi. I must mention here that this is not the normal clip used in I-Can and I had specially requested it. The blank used for this pen is called “Wild Cheesecake”. The expectation was that the pen would not only be a fine instrument, but also look like a yummy confectionary. Unfortunately, the final outcome was far from being so elegant. Various adjectives were used to describe the pattern which ranged from “troll snot” to “unicorn barf”. Finally some kind soul described the colour as “dal fry” to ascribe it a modicum of dignity and we decided to stick to that moniker. Those of you whose culinary interests range from Pâtisserie to the standard Indian cuisine, would doubtless be able appreciate the implied travesty. Size and Balance At a capped length of 152mm, the pen may seem oversized. However, it is a completely kitless pen with very little metal being used in it’s construction. This makes it a very lightweight and that makes it a perfect EDC (Every Day Carry) pen. The shape of the pen and especially the section design is also meant to accentuate the feeling of comfort. This is a pen that you can happily use for extended writing periods. Nib I got a Schmidt #6 nib with a fine tip in golden finish. From a design standpoint, the clip and nib complement each other quite nicely thanks to the golden hues. The nib is tuned nicely and lays down a consistent fine smooth line on paper. Filling Mechanism I make no secrets about my preference for pens that accept standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. In my opinion they the optimum combination of value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility. It no surprise that this pen comes with a Schmidt K5 convertor out of the box to work with the FH-452 Schmidt nib unit. Build Quality The pen exhibits the standard ASA focus on quality while retaining the handmade quirks. The fit and finish and the tolerances are fine for a handmade pen. The joints are seamless and only discernible due to pattern variations. You can sense that the pen has been made with care and a considerable amount of time has gone into polishing and buffing to ensure a very high quality of the finish. However given that the pen is entirely hand-made, there is likely to be some fine trace marks or quirks if one inspects very minutely. Writing Experience Schmidt sells excellent nibs and their wide user base are a testament to their quality. Normally, I am not a big fan of EF or F nibs since I find them too scratchy. This particular nib however is very smooth so long as you can keep the nib within its relatively small sweet spot. It almost prompts you to rethink your nib preferences and encourages you to improve your grip to keep enjoying its sweet spot. As you can realise, I am a happy camper. While it is unlikely to make me a regular user of F nibs, I would however have no hesitation of reaching out for this pen should I be in the mood for some writing with a fine nib. Price and Value The i-Can and i-Will are extremely competitively priced. In my opinion they represent one of the best value propositions amongs't ASA’s current line-up which is even otherwise composed of an impressive catalogue of excellent VFM pens. Grab an ebonite I-Will before you get anything else and you are likely to be hooked for ever. Specifications The measurements mentioned in this section were not taken with any precision measurement instruments and you would have to settle for my efforts with a simple ruler. Hopefully, that should be sufficient to give you an indication of what to expect from the pen. Length (capped) – 152 mm Length (uncapped) – 141 mm Length (cap) – 68 mm Length (section) – 22 mm Maximum width – 12.5 mm Minimum width – 9.5 mm Maximum section width – 10 mm Minimum section width – 8 mm Conclusion The ASA i-Will is a quintessential design that has existed for over a century with periodic resurgence in popular imagination. Such a longevity would not have been possible had it not been for the elegance, beauty, balance and convenience that such a pen offers. Combine that with modern niceties such as a cartridge-converter system and outstanding nibs from Schmidt or Jowo, and you have a writing experience bar none. It is little wonder therefore that the model is so popular and has been oft reviewed before. I would definitely recommend this pen to others and more so for the ebonite version of the pen given the light weight and tactile nature of ebonite as a material. Go ahead and grab one if you already haven’t. This pen will put a smile on your lips.
  14. drmukherjee

    Asa Monal - A Custom Beauty

    Recently I found myself to be using more pocket pens than bigger pens but I lacked any good custom pocket pen. So I went to Lakshminarayanan Subramaniam of ASA Pen who suggested me to look into ASA SWAN ,I liked the model and thought how to spice things up .. I recently acquired only 1.5 rods of the very illusive and sold out Conway Stewart Flecked Amethyst and thought to make a custom pen based on ASA SWAN out of those blanks .. The end result http://i.imgur.com/QGnOBg7.jpg THE ASA MONAL 1. Appearance & Design:- The pen is a rod shaped pen .The body and the section is made from Conway Stewart Flecked Amethyst blank. The cap is made from black glossy Indian Ebonite and te cap finial is also made from the CS blank. I opted for this custom design mainly for two reasons . Number one being there wasnt enough CS material available anywhere to make a full size cap and number two this design shows off the fusion between EAST and WEST .. http://i.imgur.com/BH5UPPj.jpg The fusion between EAST and WEST Here the gorgeous CS blank weds the Indian shiny ebonite .. I also made a smaller cap from the CS blank ( still in making process) 2. Construction & Quality : As always ASA made a fantastic job with the CS blank. The finish is world class ,devoid of any tool marks or imperfection . I cant even feel the joint where the black ebonite meets the Flecked Amethyst finial on the cap . http://i.imgur.com/LKaYidd.jpg The cap opens in very convenient one and half turns . The section is a nice and smooth hourglass transition from the barrel and the threads are perfectly smooth http://i.imgur.com/UyESpOB.jpg The smooth barrel to section transition with hourglass section 3.Comparison :- As this pen is based on the model of ASA SWAN a comparison with it only fair. Both pens are almost equal in length when capped . However the barrel of the ASA MONAL is a little bit thicker and has flat ends . http://i.imgur.com/shct06r.jpg ASA MONAL AND ASA SWAN CAPPED Opening the cap of both of pens reveals hourglass section in both , ASA MONAL has slightly thicker section diameter which I enjoy a lot .. http://i.imgur.com/DdUe9K8.jpg ASA MONAL AND ASA SWAN UNCAPPED 4. Nib & Performance: - IF you ask anyone from India the best Indian nib , I am sure they will come up with KANWRITE .. The ASA MONAL is custom fitted with KANWRITE #35 M FLEX nib unit ( same unit in noodlers ahab) The beauty of this nib unit is that not only it writes super smooth out of the box but also you can swap the nib unit with inexpensive nib units from KANWRITE with the range of EF,F,M,B,BB, RTOBLQ,LFTOBQ ,STUB in regular line and F,M,B in flex lines . This gives an amazing adaptability of the pen .. EF TO BB just in one quick screw in and out http://i.imgur.com/DVBEg2L.jpg KANWRITE #35 M FLEX AND SCHMIDT M http://i.imgur.com/KIPa9Nu.jpg ASA MONAL DISASSEMBLED WITH #35 KANWRITE NIB UNIT TO give an size comparison of the ASA MONAL with LAMY 2000 http://i.imgur.com/DHFlzt7.jpg ASA MONAL AND LAMY 2000 CAPPED http://i.imgur.com/OFxqsKh.jpg ASA MONAL AND LAMY 2000 UNCAPPED 5. CONCLUSION AND WRITING - The ASA MONAL is an example of true custom beauty ,an wonderful writer and superb craftsmanship of ASA .. I am very much delighted to possess this beauty .. http://i.imgur.com/5eMgc0s.jpg
  15. Introduction The cigar shape has been an all-time fountain pen classic. Whether it is the Sheaffer Balance of 1920s or modern Meisterstruck or KOP, the shape has an enduring appeal and is often the signature design for top of the line pens from their respective pen marques. The shape and form have morphed into being a hallmark of quality exemplified by such storied models such as MB 149, Sailor KOP, Namiki Emperor or even the platinum president line. Not all cigar shapes however are created equal and there are many variations within the broader design. Intrigued, I dug a bit deeper and this source provided an enlightening education on the topic. To summarize, there are two basic cigar shapes: "parejo" and "figurado." A parejo is a cigar that has straight sides and a rounded head.A figurado is any shape other than a parejo.http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/Parejo_zpsulicy0zv.jpg We can further classify figurados into Belicoso: A figurado shaped cigar that tapers sharply at the head like some kind of munition.Pyramid: A pyramid starts tapering right at the foot of the cigar.Torpedo: A torpedo has a longer and more gradual taper than other figurado designs. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/Torp-Beli-Pyra_zpskt0vci95.jpg There are many torpedo shaped fountain pens. These tend to be cylindrical in shape with smooth tapering towards rounded ends. Nothing exemplifies the genesis of this shape than the classic torpedo shaped Sheaffer’s pens such as the Balance and the Sovereign series. There are many contemporary pen makers who are churning out excellent torpedo shaped pens. From top of the mind recall, a few like Ranga, Edison and Guider come to mind. I wanted a few such pens to be made from different materials and requested Mr. Subramaniam of ASApens to make a variant of the torpedo shape. This was the genesis of the pen I am about to review. Fellow FPNers Kapil (@springrainbow) and Pradeep (@pdg84) christened the pen “Santulan” which means “Balance” in Hindi and is an obvious homage to the pioneering model of this design language. Design In case my rather lengthy and rambling introduction doesn’t make it clear enough, the Santulan is a cigar shaped pen. To be a bit more pedantic it is a cigar shaped pen with a torpedo like barrel and a pyramid like cap. There is a discernible step between the barrel and the section with a fairly large area where you have the threading for the cap. The section itself is long and comfortable. It is a new design by ASA and is mildly concave with the diameter at the barrel side being just a tad larger than the diameter near the nib, thus allowing for a gentle inward slope. The material used is the Conway Stewart Red Whirl acrylic. It’s a beautiful shade of emerald green with hues of pearlescent effect. The red swirly patterns add to the mystique and brilliantly complement the Stahl Rot (“Red Steel”) nib that has been used with this pen. The entire pen has been buffed smooth and gives off a nice shine. Trims have been kept deliberately to a minimum and there is just a clip for utility purposes. It’s a beautiful regular sized, light and robust pen that is meant to be used daily. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2037_zpsbikd6ct5.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2042_zpsvft7oudt.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2040_zpsmxrptdar.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2041_zpsy69fe6hc.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2048_zpsbjvqy8k4.jpg Size and Balance At 153mm capped, the specifications may indicate that this is a heavy oversized pen. Nothing can be further from the truth. This is one of the lightest, slimmest and most comfortable ASA pen that I have ever used. Partly the reason for it’s lengths is the inherent length required of torpedo and missile like shape at the two finials. But a very slim barrel width of 10mm and section width of 8mm should leave no doubt about the fact that this is firmly an EDC (Every Day Carry) pen. This is the slimmest section in an ASA pen that I have ever used and should put to rest any concerns that anyone might have with regards to the thicker than normal girth of Indian handmade pens. Not only the thickness, but also the shape of the section is meant to accentuate the feeling of comfort. Nothing beats the feeling in hand once you start writing with it and realise feather-light weight and the comfort. Needless to say, the pen is well balanced and provides comfortable writing for extended periods. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2051_zpsoexo6bjv.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2049_zpsjnj5vh21.jpg Nib Lately I have developed a fascination for experiencing nibs made of different materials. Given that The Bock 250 triple system seems to have the widest range of conceivable material options, its hardly surprising that I have embarked on developing a collection of different Bock 250 nibs. For the Santulan I had opted to use the “Bock 250 Stahl Rot” unit in medium width. This is essentially a steel nib with an anodized red coating. The coating process gives the nib a matte red outer appearance. The nib colour brilliantly complements the red whirl finish of the material. A big thank goes out to fellow FPNer Tervinder (@romee_win) and his brother Rajdilawar who took great pains and got it for me from Germany. Filling Mechanism Like most pens that I order, the Santulan too comes in a Cartridge-Converter system and accepts standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. In my opinion this provides the the optimum combination of value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility. The pen comes with a Schmidt K5 convertor out of the box. Build Quality The Santulan exhibits the standard ASA quality attributes. As usual, the fit, finish and the tolerances are excellent and the joints are seamless. A lot of attention and care has been put into polishing and buffing to ensure a very high quality of the finish. However one has to keep in mind that it is an entirely hand-made pen and there is likely to be some fine trace marks under minute inspections. Writing Experience Bock is one of the most (if not the most) renowned independent manufacturer of nibs in Europe and worldwide. Their clientele include who’s who of leading pen brands in the world. Naturally expectations were very high from the nib. Unfortunately, out of the box the nib was extremely dry and maybe even a bit scratchy. While the initial experience was underwhelming, Mr. Subramaniam assured me that once properly tuned, this nib would be a joy to use. True to his words, he has done magic with this nib. Post tuning, the nib is smooth and glides over the paper. There is just a hint of feedback and that too the sort that is usually so enjoyable and adds character to the writing experience. I am very happy with how the pen writes now and can heartily recommend a tuned Bock to all. The only additional ask if I may add would be a slightly increased ink flow which would make things perfect. The nib does not have any softness or flexing characteristics and can be considered a nail. Overall, a great nib and a wonderful writing experience. There has been one major drawback of the tuning process which I feel compelled to highlight. While flossing the nib and adjusting it, the nib started to loose its red anodized coating and some flakes of paint have chipped off revealing the steel nib underneath. This is a big disappointment and severely undermines the aesthetics of the finished pen. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/ASA%20Santulan%20Review/IMGP2050_zps0rtjibja.jpg Price and Value The Santulan was a limited run based on orders given by myself and a few other group members. While we each paid a premium for our pens, much of that premium went towards the special material and the nibs that we had ordered. ASA however made it easy thanks to the affordable pricing for making the pens. The price reflects the price of components and the effort that goes into making each pen. To summarize, the pen represents good value at an affordable price point. Specifications The measurements shared below have been taken with a simple ruler and my bare eyes. While they may lack precision, they should still be adequate to give you an overall picture of the size of the instrument. Length (capped) – 153 mm Length (uncapped) – 137 mm Length (cap) – 71.5 mm Length (section) – 23 mm Maximum width (cap) – 11 mm Maximum width (barrel) – 10 mm Maximum section width – 8 mm Minimum section width – 7 mm Conclusion Mr Subramaniam of ASA pens has been very gracious in entertaining the Santulan order even though it is not part of the standard line. The very few who have owned or used this pen, have appreciated it’s balance, comfort and overall writing experience. It is an elegant pen oversized pen this is still lightweight. The design lends itself to using most #6 nibs that are available. With the risk of inherent bias clouding my judgement, I would still have little hesitation in recommending this pen to others. I am sure all of you would enjoy it too. The only caveat I would add is to opt for other standard Bock or Jowo nibs and not the Stahl Rot colour due to the fact that it’s a poor performer out of the box and while tuning it is likely to suffer flaking or loss of coating during tuning. Useful Links Conway Stewart Red Whirl blanks from www.theturnersworkshop.co.uk Bock 250 Stahl Rot nib from www.starbond-europa.de Bock nibs are also available at www.beaufortink.co.uk Pen made by www.asapens.in
  16. I recently bought my first Ebonite-bodied pen. It is not the first Indian-made fountain pen that I have bought, but it is the first one that I have bought that was not at the low end of the price scale. The pen is the ASA Gama Revolution (link to vendor's page; as I understand, "ASA" is the name of the vendor and "Gama" is the name of a line of fountain pens made by said vendor). I had to wait a few weeks, during which time I assume that the pen was being made, but once it was dispatched by air mail, it arrived in about a week. It came with plenty of packaging: from left to right: outer envelope, bubble wrap, plastic envelope, velvet pouch, cellophane envelope, and inside this last, the pen itself. Ordinarily, I would not have much use for a velvet pouch for a single pen, but as I have heard that Ebonite pens are bleached by exposure to light over a long period, I expect that I shall be using this one to hold the pen when it is out of use. It is a large pen. In fact, I would call it a very large pen, though I know that there are larger ones. This should be evident from the two photographs that follow, in which I have placed it between a Platinum Century 3776 and a Lamy Vista. The dimensions, as given on the vendor's Web site, are as follows: Length, capped: 148 mm Length, posted: 170 mm Average barrel diameter: 14.5 mm Average section diameter: 12 mm Average cap diameter: 16 mm I got the pen with a medium nib. The nib, according to the vendor, is made by JoWo. It is plated in two colors. To my eye, this is rather unfortunate. The photographs on the vendor's site show the pen with a uniformly chrome-colored nib, which seems to me to harmonize much better with the black body and the chrome-colored clip. The nib, as I understand, may be unscrewed from the body for easy replacement, though I have not yet removed it myself. An interesting thing about the feed is that you can actually see right through the vents to the underside of the nib. I have tried, with only partial success, to show this in the photo below. The pen is advertised as having a "3-in-1 filling system." This means that it can be used with cartridges, with a convertor, or with the barrel filled in eyedropper fashion. This option seems to add quite a bit to the price, as fountain pens of similar materials and design are offered by ASA at significantly lower prices. Having heard of the phenomenon of "burping" to which eyedropper-filled pens are prone, I chose to pay a higher price to have the option of using a convertor. The convertor (on the left in the photo below), said to be made by Schmidt, is slightly larger than a standard convertor (on the right), though I don't know if its capacity is any greater. So, how is the pen to use? I will start with the feel of it. Ebonite looks and feels on casual inspection like plastic (or perhaps I should say, like other plastics), but on closer attention seems somehow less hard to the touch than plastic, even though it is assuredly a rigid and unyielding material. To me it feels somehow more hand-friendly than most other materials. So that's one attraction. The cap is not made for quick removal: it requires two and a half turns to remove and to replace. So this pen is not well suited for jotting down short notes. The pen is fairly lightweight, weighing 24 grams with the cap on and the convertor installed and filled, 16.5 grams without the cap. The pen is not unwieldy with the cap posted. I myself tend to prefer to post, and tend to prefer a weight over 20 grams, but I find myself inclined to use this pen unposted. The grip section is wider than those of most pens. I have never yet felt a grip section to be too wide, though I have had many pens whose grip sections were too narrow for my comfort. But for me this pen is right at the limit. I can hold it comfortably enough, but at times I find myself wishing that it were just a bit narrower. Those with smaller hands (mine are of medium size as adult male hands go) will almost certainly find this pen too thick for comfortable use. I find the nib to be reasonably smooth—nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to complain about. Likewise, though not particularly springy, it yields enough to make for comfort in writing. In sum, good but not outstanding. As far as starting ability goes, I have found the pen, so far, to be fairly compliant. If I have used it previously in the day, I can count on it to start laying down ink either immediately or within a few millimeters of the first stroke of the point. If it has been unused overnight, then a stroke or two is required to get it to start. I have never yet had to shake it or tap it to get it to start, though I have not yet left it unused for days at a time. I have left the topic of the appearance of the pen for the end. The plain, nearly featureless design and polished finish are among the distinctive features of the pen. If you don't find these to be attractions, then this pen can be of no interest to you. Gama makes other Ebonite pens with a matte finish. That finish was not an option with this model, but that was fine with me. It is my impression that Ebonite never has that "spanking new" appearance that most new pens have. At least, this pen never had it, and no amount of rubbing with a soft cloth seems able to give it such an appearance. Ebonite just doesn't get that shiny: it seems to look a bit "used" by nature. This, to my mind, agrees with its peculiar feel, so that the pen can seem on very first acquaintance as if you have already had it and used it for a long time. I don't know if it is universal among Ebonite to have tiny flaws in the finish, but this pen has them. That is a feature that pushes the pen from hominess toward shabbiness. What is more, the pen lacks symmetry. This is plainly visible in the clip, which is of a shape that recalls those of Pelikan pens, but its thick part extends further to the left than to the right. What is more, the cap does not align perfectly with the body. Both asymmetries can be seen in the photograph below. In summary: The pen has a distinctive design and material and is agreeable to write with. But in consideration of the flaws in its appearance and construction, I am not convinced that it is a particularly good value,
  17. Prithwijit

    Asa Halwa Review

    Introduction Halwa / Halva (Bengali: হালুয়া‎) is a famous and traditional sweet of India which is slightly gelatinous and made from grain flour, typically semolina. The primary ingredients are clarified butter, flour, and sugar. So why would anyone name a pen after a confectionary item? The story behind this is really funny. It starts with me acquiring my first set of acrylic pen blanks called “Seasons” and sending a photograph of them to Mr. Subramaniam of ASA pens. Image: Seasons acrylic pen blanks Imagine my shock when he replied that the picture reminded him of Halwa. At first I was a bit miffed but then he shared a picture of a pack of Halwa and I found out more pictures of Halwa’s ready to be devoured. Image: Box pack of Halwa’s Image: Halwa’s ready to be devoured I couldn’t help but notice a certain degree of similarity in the colour themes and was amazed at the connection between the two. Ever since then, we kept on referring to these blanks as Halwa blanks and the pen that was made naturally inherited the title. Design The design brief I gave ASA for the Halwa was quite simple. I wanted it to be based on the ASA Popsicle but having ASA Daily size with an ASA I-Can section. For those of you who may not be familiar with the ASA catalogue, this essentially means that I wanted a simple and classic cigar shaped pen with the external dimensions of an ASA daily white still taking #6 nibs like that of ASA Popsicle (a larger cigar shaped pen in the ASA line up) with a section that is designed like ASA I-Can / I-Will which in my experience is extremely comfortable. The section gradually tapers from the barrel towards the nib before starting to flare out about 7mm to 8mm before it ends. As the images will stand testament to, ASA managed in delivering to me exactly what I wanted. The shape of the pen is a classic cigar shape with gradual tapering of the barrel and the cap towards the end filial. The entire pen is beautifully polished smooth and shines brilliantly. The pen comes with a chrome plated teardrop shaped clip which is similar to the one used in the ASA Daily. I wanted to see the impact of the beautiful material and contrasting colours and thus deliberately kept the design simple. As you can see, the colour combination has indeed come out very nicely. Whether posted or unposted, the interplay of the colours comes out clearly. The only fly in the ointment is the slight mismatch in colours between the cap filial and the cap itself. I reckon it has happened due to paucity of material of similar colour being available, but nevertheless wish this could be avoided somehow. Size and Balance The Halwa is a full sized pen comparable in length to the ASA Daily, MB 149, Sailor 1911 L, etc. Despite being a full sized pen, the Halwa is quite light has an amazing weight distribution making it extremely well balanced. The writing comfort is incredible and it promises hours of stress free writing experience. The light material and the cigar shape both contribute to the comfort negating any apprehensions that might be there due to the length and the diameter of the barrel. Nib The pen was paired with a Jowo/WIN #6 steel nib with Ruthenium plated finish with a medium tip. The nib is smooth and lays down a consistent medium width line on the paper. Filling Mechanism I prefer pens that accept standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. I find them to provide the best proposition around value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility. The Halwa has the aforesaid filling mechanism and comes with a Schmidt K5 convertor out of the box. Build Quality As is usually the case with ASA, the fit and finish of the pen was superlative. The final polish and the attention to detail in obtaining the desired finish is impressive. It is however a hand-made pen, so there is likely to be some fine traces or quirks if one inspects very minutely. They are not visible to me with naked eye. The only area where there is still some likely room for improvement is where the cap filial meets the rest of the cap. Apart from the slight colour coordination issues I mentioned earlier, the clip ring is not flush fitting with the rest of the cap (About 0.5mm difference in diameter) and ASA can look into bettering this aspect of the design. Writing Experience The combination of the Jowo nib with WIN feeds and sleeves is very well known within the community and is usually considered a winner. The pen is smooth laying down an acceptable line of medium width. Where I found this nib a bit lacking was on the flow and it seems a bit dry to me. This is quite surprising since I have a lot of other Jowo/WIN nibs and I have generally found them to be excellent wet writers out of the box. I haven’t done any tweaking or tuning yet, but might do some simple stuff to try and increase the flow just a bit. Price and Value The Halwa was not sold as such to me like a commercial sale. Rather Mr. Subramaniam took a modest remuneration akin to cost of any pen in the ASA Stellar collection towards getting the pen made. Nib and blank costs were obviously extra. This is a great value because I am not aware of anyone else giving one off custom pens at regular pen prices and that too at the value end of the spectrum. Specifications I will put in my usual disclaimers here. I don’t have access to precision measurement instruments such as Vernier calliper and you would have to settle for the approximate measurements I made using a normal ruler and my eyes which means there might be a little bit of deviation due to parallax effect. However, given these pens are handmade and there are small piece to piece variations anyway, the measurements I am providing should give you a clear indication of what to expect from the pen. Length (capped) – 157 mm Length (uncapped) – 140 mm Length (cap) – 75 mm Length (section) – 25 mm Maximum width (Cap) – 15.5 mm Minimum width (Barrel) – 14 mm Maximum section width – 13 mm Minimum section width – 10 mm Conclusion This is the first pen I should have reviewed given that this was my first custom / semi-custom commissioned pen done from ASA. Needless to say that I am thrilled with it. Both as a writing instrument as well as a visual object or art it is superlative. Friends who have got a chance to play with my pen have commented positively on its balance, comfort and overall writing experience. Postscript Ever since getting this pen made, I have been pestering Mr. Subramaniam to release it as a regular product. I am happy to let you all know that he has finally agreed to make a small set of limited edition pens (approx. 10 to 15 pieces) using similar rainbow themed acrylic blanks. The design will be an updated/modified version of Halwa and the product is getting a proper name called “Santulan”. Let’s hope he can releases it before Christmas.
  18. Casein (from Latin caseus, "cheese") is a milk protein which we widely consume in various forms such as cheese and as a food additives. An interesting anecdote in the story of Caseins is that it was a popular ingredient for making some of the earliest plastics called Casein plastics. For a very brief period of time, casein was a popular material in fountain pen manufacturing. This was in early 1920's when it was the only plastic that could be coloured. With the advent of celluloid which was a superior type of plastic, casein quickly fell out of favour. Pens made of casein are quite rare and I have never seen an Indian pen made out of this material. So when Vince Coates (http://theturnersworkshop.co.uk) made available some casein material, a bunch of us quickly seized the opportunity to get some unique pens done. The material we received was supposedly the same used by Conway Stewart in their brief sojourn of using Casein and hence we naturally opted for getting a few Azaadis made with these imported blanks. Below are the pictures of the ASA Azaadi made of Casein and also a side by side picture with it's cousin made with normal celluloid acetate. We did not use any rings on this pen since the material was considered too soft to attempt the heat setting method of inserting rings. Also the surface was kept largely untreated (except applying emery paper) in order to retain and exhibit the natural characteristics and property of the material. Hope you guys liked the pictures. Should you8 guys wish to read my review of the ASA Azaadi, then please click here. Regards, Prithwijit
  19. Prithwijit

    Asa Sniper Review

    Introduction The sniper is a pen with very interesting history and one that has very close ties with FPN. The pen was launched as a group buy back in February 2015 by as a collaboration between ASApens and Vaibhav (@Mehandiratta) as just a concept without any drawing or prototype. Many enthusiastic FPNers rallied behind the concept of a hooded nib hand-made pen and the momentum was formed. We got to see the initial prototypes and the evolution of the design till the final shape took place and the pen was launched as a product. So in many ways this is a pen that has been conceived in, laboured within and delivered from the womb of FPN. Because of a variety of reasons the principal of which being my ignorance, I had not got the pen at the time. I had been meaning to remedy this for quite some time and when the opportunity arose earlier this year, I decided to go for it and get one sniper for myself. Design Much has already been written about the Sniper’s Lamy 2000 inspired design already. The key USP of this pen is a semi hooded/covered nib that looks strikingly similar to the way Lamy 2000’s nib is covered. Beyond this superficial similarity however, the pens are very different. It doesn’t use a proprietary and model specific nib like the Lamy and instead is designed to accommodate any Jowo/Win #5 open nib. This gives us a range of nib tips to choose from (EF, F, M, B, 1.1 and 1.4 italics) as well an option to have gold nibs instead of steel ones should your wallet so allow. For my personal pen, I opted to use a pair of purple twist blanks obtained from theturnersworkshop.co.uk to add a touch of exclusivity to my pen. Besides, I already had most of the standard ebonite colours in my other pens and wanted something different. Size and Balance At 152.5mm capped, this is clearly a full-sized / oversized pen. Normally such pens tend to be heavy and are meant for signing or occasional brief use for their heft. Thankfully the Sniper is not a heavy pen that imposes such restrictions on regular usage. Part of this lightness bonanza comes from it’s miserly usage of metal in it’s construction. It is a completely kitless pen with no metal other than in the nib and the clip. The pen overall is nicely balanced and the section design is sublime which adds to the comfort factor. The pen can be written both posted and unposted, but I prefer to use the pen unposted since posting does add a small element of rearward weight bias. To summarize this is a nicely balanced and light writing instrument designed to provide comfortable writing for extended periods. Nib The pen is designed to accept Jowo/Win #5 nib units. I believe the right SKU number is either 5-42 or 5-11. Since I have already have a small collection of Jowo nib units including everything from EF to 1.5mm italic nibs, I opted to get the one nib which I didn’t have, which is the 1.4mm italic nib. It’s a polished steel nib which is largely hidden from view by the hood of the section, except for the tines and the tip which obviously need to be exposed. Filling Mechanism It’s a cartridge converter pen that accepts standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. In my opinion, this is the best possible filling system and gives the best proposition around value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility. Build Quality Being the current flagship model from ASApens, the pen obvious exudes the finest in quality that the marque has to offer. The general fit and finish and the tolerances are impeccable for a handmade pen and the joints are seamless. Attention has evidently been put into polishing and buffing to ensure a very high quality of the finish. Keep in mind however that this is an entirely hand-made pen and there is likely to be some fine trace marks under minute inspections. There was one small finishing issue on my pen however and that is the alignment of the nib with the hood. For whatever reasons, the alignment is just off by a couple of degrees and the result irritates my obsessive compulsive nature. I fully intend to reach out to ASA and request them to rectify this. Writing Experience By design, Italic nibs are supposed to have sharp edges and tricky to use unless you have the absolute right grip and hold the pen at the exact angle. Thankfully, this nib isn’t one of those cursive italic nibs and despite having no tipping, it is quite smooth. More than any technical aspect, what I would like stress upon is the fun aspect of writing with it. It gives your penmanship (or in my case lack of it) a flair that just begs to be experienced. You would smile after writing with this nib and it will encourage you to write more as you keep getting surprised how your own handwriting looks like. Beyond such simple pleasures, this is a highly competent calligraphic pen that helps in a host of writing styles such as Italic and Gothic. I am however not competent in any form of calligraphy and I would leave it to the experts to weigh in with their thoughts and opinions. Price and Value The Sniper is the current flagship of ASApens’ stellar collection. I find this entire series priced very attractively since the entire ASA line is such an affordable manner. The price is fully justified given the effort that goes into making each pen and that no compromises were made in using components within the constraints of what’s available in Chennai especially the nib which is the most important component. To summarize, the pen represents great value at an affordable price point. Specifications My usual disclaimer applies. The measurements in this section have not been taken with any precision instrument or laboratory techniques but should suffice to give you a fair idea of the size of the instrument. Length (capped) – 152.5 mm Length (uncapped) – 134.5 mm Length (cap) – 66 mm Length (section) – 37 mm Maximum width – 13 mm Minimum width – 8.5 mm Maximum section width – 5.5 mm (at the root of the exposed part of the feed) Minimum section width – 8.25 mm Conclusion The sniper is a beautiful looking handmade pen that exhibits a unique design. It is very light, comfortable and comes with a fabulous nib with a wide choice of tipping options. There is very little not to like in this pen and the price is just right. No wonder then that I strongly recommend this model to other connoisseurs of handmade fountain pens. Useful Links Purple Twist blanks from www.theturnersworkshop.co.uk Pen made by www.asapens.in
  20. Prithwijit

    Asa Namenlos Review

    Introduction The story of this pen begins ironically with the story of my perception of a completely different pen brand which happens to be Pelikan. For quite some time there was a lot of enthusiasm in the “Fountain Pen Pals India” WhatsApp/Telegram group with people espousing the greatness of the brand and how Pelikan pens were the next best thing to sliced bread. I have been known to have a healthy dose of skepticism against any form of brand adulation and for some reason I found it very difficult to accept a steel nib lightweight M200 as being a much better pen than a Sailor 1911 standard or other pens of the same price point (we are talking street prices in India). My brief experience with a M400 and a M600 had not left me too impressed. A friend of mine was smitten with the M205 in white and I argued with him that he should preferably look elsewhere to get better deal for his money. Given my stated aversion, I was advised en masse by group members to try out a Pelikan to help change my mind. While I was open to the experience, I still wasn’t willing to spend Sailor 1911 money on a Pelikan. An opportunity arose when fellow FPNer Kapil Apshankar (@springrainbow) offered to get me a Pelikan M 200 nib unit from Europe at a cost that was substantially less than that of the entire pen. This was too good an opportunity to refuse and soon I was the proud owner of a M200 steel nib unit with medium tip. With the nib in hand, the next question was what pen to put it in. As is usually the case with me, I made an elaborate design of a beautiful pen using a mix of different acrylic rods. Unfortunately, making custom pens is a lengthy process and that design is yet to see the light of the day. I was however getting restless and reached out to Mr. Subramaniam of ASA pens to see if he has a quicker solution to the conundrum. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that this is not the first time he has encountered this request and he has in-fact got a design ready for precisely accommodating Pelikan nibs. Without any further ado I put in the order and within a few week time the Namenlos ended up in my mailbox. Design For those of you who are familiar with the ASA catalogue, you would immediately recognize the Namenlos as an adaptation of the ASA Genius. In fact the Namenlos is a slimmer version of the Genius with Cap and barrel diameters being about 3 mm less than the latter. The slimming down gives the pen a much more balanced and purposeful look and the silhouette closely resembles that of the Duofold Centennial. Like the classic Duofold this is a straight line design with only a slight tapering of the barrel and the cap towards the end filial. The top of the cap and the bottom of the barrel are flat and polished. The body of the barrel and the cap are brushed to give a bakul (matte) finish. The edge of the cap where it meets the barrel is bevelled and the polished bevelled edge provides a nice visual contrast to the matte finish. The section design has been patterned on the ASA I-Can / I-Will which in my experience is extremely comfortable. The section gradually tapers from the barrel towards the nib before starting to flare out about 7mm to 8mm before it ends. The pen comes with a chrome plated clip which in my mind resembles the shape of the beak of a Pelikan. This is probably unintended since ASA uses this clip on a number of their designs but I found this design cue very interesting. Size and Balance At 132 mm, this is a classic small pen. For the purpose of comparison, the length of the pen is very close to that of Sailor 1911 standard and the Parker Sonnet. Being made of ebonite and not having any complicated filling mechanism inside means the pen is extremely light and hence very comfortable to use. From top to bottom - Parker Sonnet Mk I, ASA Namenlos, Sailor 1911 Standard, ASA Rainbow, Kaigelu 316 The balance of the pen is very nice and can easily provide comfortable writing for extended periods. I must also make a mention here of the section design which is the best in the business from ASA and contributes immensely to the writing experience. This is one of those pens which can be used both capped as well as uncapped. Since the pen is very light, capping the pen does shift the balance a bit. I found it is great to use the pen capped when it’s fully tanked but it’s best to use the pen uncapped once the ink level goes down. My personal preference is to use the pen uncapped and enjoy the minimal weight. Nib The pen is fitted with gold plated Pelikan M200 nib with medium tipping. This is the same nib that comes in the Pelikan Souveran M200 line of pens Filling Mechanism My normal preference is to have pens with feeds that accept standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. The Pelikan nib system naturally doesn’t come with such support since it is meant to be used with a piston in the back of the barrel. I deliberated having a piston system in Namenlos but eventually for the sake of simplicity, economy and greater ink capacity, opted to have an eyedropper instead. This is where I wanted to talk about how going for an eyedropper paid off and the superior Pelikan feed with its high tolerances negated any occurrence of burps or other typical ED maladies. The unfortunate reality in my case has been exactly the opposite. While Pelikan must have designed the feed to have high enough tolerances, the ink capacity of a piston pen and an ED are just not comparable and the feed was not able to cope up. As a result I encountered all the problems of an ED while using the pen in terms of burps and ink dribbling once the ink in the barrel dropped below the halfway mark. I had taken some poor quality phone camera photos of the issue when I encountered them and am sharing them to illustrate the situation. Build Quality The pen exhibits the typical hallmark of ASA build quality. I had opted for a bakul (matte) finish and the attention to detail in obtaining the desired finish is impressive. At the end of the day however it is a hand-made pen, so there are bound to be some fine traces of tool marks visible under minute inspection. Writing Experience We have an entire section dedicated to Pelikan brand of pens in the forum with many threads and posts talking about the M200 line. So I won’t get too much about the details but would instead delve into my personal perception. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the nib. It is adequately smooth with a hint of feedback and leaves a nice wet line on the paper. Having said that, this is not a nib I would recommend to anyone. While it was good, it wasn’t great. There was nothing in this nib that would leave a smile on my face. It was a good all-rounder, but a solid middle of the class in all the subjects. I find it difficult to justify the 200% price premium that Pelikan charges over comparable #5 nibs from Schmidt, Bock or Jowo. I have a solid collection of nibs from these brands and almost all of them are comparable if not better than the nib I have. To ensure that I hadn’t got a lemon, I tried out a few more M200’s. Most were very similar to mine and exhibited similar neutral characteristics. However, fellow FPNer Hema Koppikar (@Hema) had a vintage M200 whose nib just blew me away. It was amazingly smooth and wet with a writing experience that leaves you hungry for more. I wish my M200 nib similar to hers but the sad reality is that it isn’t. Price and Value Mr Subramaniam charged me as ridiculously low amount for the pen (sans the nib of course). While the actual transaction happened in Indian rupees, translated in USD it was around $15 (may go up to $20 depending upon conversion rate applicable at that point). If this is not a good value, I am not sure what is. To the best of my knowledge there is no other proper nice ebonite pen with such a large ink capacity which is capable of using Pelikan nibs at such a price point. In case, there are such pens available, kindly let me know and I shall happily stand corrected. Specifications I will put in my usual disclaimers here. I don’t have access to precision measurement instruments such as Vernier calliper and you would have to settle for the approximate measurements I made using a normal ruler and my eyes which means there might be a little bit of deviation due to parallax effect. However, given these pens are handmade and there are small piece to piece variations anyway, the measurements I am providing should give you a clear indication of what to expect from the pen. Length (capped) – 132 mm Length (uncapped) – 123 mm Length (cap) – 66 mm Length (section) – 24 mm Maximum width – 13 mm Minimum width – 9 mm Maximum section width – 11 mm Minimum section width – 9 mm Conclusion The pen is beautiful. It is very light, very balanced, comfortable, great grip, well built and will definitely prove to be comfortable for long writing sessions. I can doubtless recommend this pen to all those who have the need or desire for such a pen for using Pelikan nibs. I am less enthusiastic about recommending the need for such a pen though since I am not sure what great element having a M200 nib brings to the table. I may have to wait to use a M800 and M1000 nib with this pen first to come to a conclusion on the subject. In the meanwhile, if you love Pelikan and would love to have a 2nd, 3rd or nth pen for your collection of Pelikan nibs and are adept at handling eyedroppers, please go ahead and get the Namenlos. It’s a steal and a very good one at that. Postscript I had considered calling Mr. Subramaniam of ASA pens to find out if he had any name in mind for the pen. But by then I had already taken a fancy to calling it Namenlos and decided to skip the step and continue with the prologue section that I had drafted.
  21. Prithwijit

    Asa Bheeshma Review

    Hi everyone, this is my first attempt at a fountain pen review and I have decided to review the ASA Bheeshma which is a custom design that ASA pens has made based on my request. Since this is my first effort, please go easy on the brickbats. Constructive criticisms however are always welcome. Introduction The story of Bheeshma has to start with the discussion one day that we were having in the “Fountain Pen Pals India” WhatsApp group when someone introduced me to a picture of a Scriptorium pen in Lava Explosion blank. I was stunned as to how amazingly pretty the material was and how beautiful the pen looked. Without knowing it then, I was smitten and hooked. Days passed and my urge to possess one went up in leaps and bounds. Unable to resist any further, I reached out to Eugene Soto of muttblanks.com to enquire about blanks in larger than five inch sizes for kitless pens. He suggested using two five inch blanks or he could make seven inch blanks as a custom order. I am not sure why, but I chose the second option. Maybe, in my mind I thought since I am venturing into something new then why not stretch the envelope. Anyways, after 3 excruciating weeks of waiting, the blanks finally managed to pass through the hoops of transatlantic flight and customs clearance to land up in my mailbox. The next challenge was what pen to design for the blanks. Given that I had opted for small seven inch blanks, a large pen with clips and all paraphernalia was out of question since we simply didn’t have enough material. Fellow group members and FPNers Vaibhav (@mehandiratta) and Pradeep (@pdg84) chipped in and we decided to make an adaptation of the Onyx design that Pradeep had but with some modifications to the specifications. Vaibhav was kind enough to make a CAD based on the design ideas and the outline of the pen was ready. He even christened the concept Bheeshma based on the powerful thespian from the epic Mahabharata. When it came to the question of the pen being made, there was nobody else I could think of other than Mr. Subramaniam of ASA Pens. Not only had he helped me gain knowledge on all pen related matters, but I knew I could trust him to look after my dream and nurture it like as if it is his own. So off went the blocks to him to get turned (pun intended) into a pen. Design The design is inspired by the Onyx which in itself is inspired by the classic Nakaya Piccolo design. This is a classical design that starts as a cigar shape, tapering down towards the end filial and terminates with small conical end pieces at each side. The cap is flushed with the barrel with a small step down design where the cap and barrel meet. The section design has been patterned on the ASA I-Can / I-Will which in my experience is extremely comfortable. The section gradually tapers from the barrel towards the nib before starting to flare out about 7mm to 8mm before it ends. The design is clipless, i.e., doesn’t have a clip to put in your pocket and is also designed to be used unposted. This allows for a better control over determining the balance point and is set to provide comfortable writing for everyone. Without further ado, I will let the pictures do the talking about the design. . . . . Size and Balance By classical norms this is a large sized pen at 147mm capped. But those of you are familiar with Indian handmade pens would recognize the fact that it can almost be passed off as a medium sized pen amongst its peers. Since the material used is very light, the barrel could be made a bit thicker and stronger without compromising on the weight or balance. The pen is extremely well balanced and can easily provide comfortable writing for extended periods. The section design is the best in the business from ASA and that only adds to the pleasurable writing experience. Please note that the pen has been designed to be used uncapped and that is exactly how I have used it. Nib Originally the pen was designed to accommodate a #5 Jowo nib. But once it was made Mr. Subramaniam insisted that a #6 Jowo/WIN unit would be best fit for it. I am a sucker for large nibs and happily agreed to the recommendation. We finally paired the pen with a dual tone #6 Jowo steel nib with Medium tip. Filling Mechanism I am committed to using pens that accept standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. I find them to provide the best proposition around value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility. Unless there is a compelling justification to do things differently, all my pens tend to have the cartridge convertor mechanism. The ASA Bheeshma is no exception to this rule and has the aforesaid filling mechanism. Build Quality The build quality of this pen is impeccable. The quality of polish is excellent. Given that it is a handmade pen, there are some fine traces of tool marks but they are only visible under minute inspection and the overall build is not much different from a normal injection moulded pen. I am given to understand that normally Lava Explosion or similar aluminite material benefits from a lacquer coating to highlight the shine. I had requested for no such coating and yet I am very happy with the lustre which is evident in the pictures. Writing Experience Mr Subramaniam doesn’t profess to be a nibmeister but on ample occasions he has given ample hints that he does tune some nibs. I am not sure what he has done here but this nib is magic. It is incredibly smooth yet not glassy and leaves a nice wet line on the paper. I had inked the pen with Bril Violet ink to match the ink colour with the pen colour and the combination has worked real well. There are no skips or false starts and the impression it leaves on the paper is of a nice smooth medium line rich in ink. Overall, a superb writer and amongst the better Jowo nibs that I have in my collection. Price and Value Since I had procured the blanks myself, Mr Subramaniam charged me just for the nib and for making the pen. The cost is comparable to the prices of recently launched pens of the ASA Stellar collection. Personally, I found that incredible value since he had to disrupt his normal production schedule and incur significant downtime to get this pen made. Specifications This section is for those of you who thrive on hard numbers. Unfortunately I do not have access to a Vernier calliper or other precision instruments. You would have to settle for the approximate measurements I made using a normal rules and my (admittedly weak) eyes. Length (capped) – 147 mm Length (uncapped) – 143 mm Length (cap) – 62 mm Length (section) – 27 mm Maximum width – 15.5 mm Minimum width – 12.5 mm Maximum section width – 12.5 mm Minimum section width – 9.5 mm Conclusion I am extremely happy with this pen. I started with an abstract desire and my friends and ASA have given it a concrete and excellent shape. Everybody who have written with it have only been impressed with it. It is an excellent design that is very balanced, comfortable, light and ideal for long writing sessions. It would be great if ASA considers bringing it to the market as a regular product.
  22. Hello! I would like to exchange the JoWo nib unit on my ASA Nauka with another different JoWo nib unit (of the same size), but I have been neither able to unscrew it from the pen section nor pull out the nib & feed from it. Please, does anyone know whether it's possible or not? And, if possible, how should I do it? I understand that JoWo units are screwed on the pen section, so I have tried to unscrew it... but I have exerted quite a force without it moving any millimetre! It seems to be glued or "fused" to the section... Thank you!
  23. aswinsainarain

    The Asa Popsicle 3-In-1 Fp

    The ASA popsicle is the first non-eye dropper Indian handmade pen in my collection. Made in Chennai! It is a lot of fun, as the name suggests! [A copy of this here: https://fpensnme.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/the-asa-popsicle/]
  24. Prithwijit

    Asa Azaadi Review

    Introduction Often in life one learns to appreciate the value of something only after the object is long gone. In my case, something along the same lines happened for Conway Stewart pens. One fine evening in July of 2015 I chanced upon a store selling off the last few Conway Stewarts they had in stock and I was mesmerised by their beauty. One look at the price tag however quickly brought me back to my senses. Modern CS pens were never known to be on the value end of the price spectrum and the huge custom duties and other applicable taxes in India meant that they were well outside my grasp. I was however acutely aware that CS pens would soon not be available anywhere anymore and was desperate to get a piece of the pie. Once back home, I resorted to trawling the internet and found the source for last few CS blanks being made available from their liquidation sale by Vince Coates (www.theturnersworkshop.co.uk). With the help of fellow FPNer Kapil Apshankar (@springrainbow) I managed to source some materials in sufficient quantity to make a few pens. I did not bother receiving the material in hand and instead had those sent directly to Mr. Subramaniam of www.asapens.in with full faith that he would help me make something nice out of them. I also found out that CS essentially used Bock 250 nibs in their pens and grabbed a small collection of nib units as complete triple system from www.beaufortink.co.uk. We worked on a design that was original and yet paid homage to CS and especially their flagship model Churchill. Once the outline was worked out, we launched the pen in the “Fountain Pen Pals India” WhatsApp/Telegram group on August 15th where it was received with incredible enthusiasm. After some ups and downs, we stabilized at around 30 orders within the group. That’s quite an achievement considering the fact that at that point of time, the group has fewer number of members than 30. While everybody didn’t necessarily book one Azaadi, there were quite a few members who opted to get more than one. Since it was launched on 15th August which happens to be India’s Independence Day, it was only fitting to call the pen “Azaadi” which means “Independence” in Hindi. It was also a cheeky repartee to Churchill whose opinions about Indians and the notion of Indian Independence weren’t necessarily very appropriate. Design I knew that I wanted an original design which would not be a rip-off of any existing Conway Stewart model and yet should provide some kind of a homage to the brand. We all know that the concentric circles on the cap filial of Churchill gives it a distinctive crown like look and decided to incorporate a similar crown in black ebonite in the pen we designed as a homage element. Other than that, it is a solidly utilitarian design that combines the best of the breed in a number of areas. Size-wise, we designed it to be approximately the same size as a Lamy Safari and fitted it with the section design from ASA I-Can / I-Will in black ebonite which is a personal favourite for the comfort it offers. The end of the barrel is also made using black ebonite and the barrel end was also tapered a bit as another homage clue to the CS Churchill. The clip used was a special vintage ball clip made of brass which is quite unique in itself. Design wise it’s a classic with simple straight lines for the cap and with only a slight tapering of the barrel. The top of the cap and the bottom of the barrel are flat and polished. The body of the barrel and the cap are polished smooth and shiny. The concentric golden bands on the cap add a touch of flair. All in all the pen was designed to be regular sized, light and robust with the two ends having design cues that pay homage to CS. Final CAD drawing of the pen design that went into production Since we didn’t have CS blanks for all, the pen was launched with the option of using a broad set of acrylic materials. Unsurprisingly, the pearlescent acrylic blanks used in the ASA Rainbow turned out to be the most popular. We were pleasantly surprised how the shine of the acrylic blanks was nicely complemented by the muted colour of the ebonite components helping offset the monotony. The materials and colours complement each other and their interplay enriches the design whether posted or unposted. Size and Balance At 140mm capped, this is the perfect size for an EDC (Every Day Carry) pen. The shape of the pen and especially the section design is also meant to accentuate the feeling of comfort. But nothing beats the feeling in hand once you start writing with it and realise the comfortable. Needless to say, the pen is well balanced and provides comfortable writing for extended periods. Nib While I did get a set of different bock nibs, the quantity available wasn’t sufficient to satisfy 30 orders. Hence the pen was launched with two nib options excluding Bock. One could get a Schmidt (Model FH 452) nib in F/M/B or else go for a Jowo/WIN nib (Model 12-56) in EF/F/M/B/1.1/1.5 tip options. Since I already have a considerable collection of Jowo nibs, I opted to get the pen with a Schmidt nib with a broad tip in golden finish. From a design standpoint, the clip nib and bands complement each other quite nicely thanks to the golden colour. Filling Mechanism I am a stickler for pens that accept standard international cartridges and compatible convertors since in my opinion they the optimum combination of value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility. It is therefore hardly a surprise that the ASA Azaadi supports the same and it comes with a Schmidt K5 convertor out of the box. Build Quality The Azaadi exudes the usual hallmark of quality from ASA pens. The fit and finish and the tolerances are fine for a handmade pen. The joints are seamless and only discernible due to colour variations. It is obvious that the pen has been made with care and a considerable amount of time has gone into polishing and buffing to ensure a very high quality of the finish. The only improvement area that I can think of are the bands used in the cap. It isn’t as if the bands aren’t fitted properly, but rather I wish ASA had access to better (read thicker) bands to go with this pen. Writing Experience Schmidt is a renowned maker of triple units and their systems have a large user base thanks to a number of brands that use them. Such widespread adoption wouldn’t have been possible if the nibs weren’t of top notch quality. It is little surprise then that I am very happy with how the pen writes. Being a broad tipped unit means that the nib appears extra smooth and glides over the paper laying down a nice wet line. This nib however isn’t soft or flexible and is quite rigid or nail-like. We have to accept that as a characteristic of the nib and be happy about the excellent writing experience that it provides. Price and Value The ASA Azaadi is poised to be one of the flagships within ASA’s line up and its price is currently perched as amongst the highest in the line. That however doesn’t mean much in cost terms since the entire ASA line is so affordable and the pens so wonderful. Personally to me the price reflects the effort that goes into making each pen and that no compromises were made in using components within the constraints of what’s available in Chennai. AT the end of the day, the pen represents great value at an affordable price point. Specifications Since I have the benefit of having access to the original CAD drawing, I will be quoting the specifications from that. Actual production pens are likely to have small piece to piece variances given the nature of making handmade pens. The measurements should suffice to give you a fair idea of the size of the instrument. Length (capped) – 140 mm Length (uncapped) – 135 mm Length (cap) – 65 mm Length (section) – 25 mm Maximum width – 16 mm Minimum width – 10 mm Maximum section width – 12 mm Minimum section width – 10.5 mm From top to Bottom - Jinhao 159, ASA Azaadi and Lamy Safari Conclusion It is not very often that one gets an opportunity to be involved in getting a fountain pen design. It is even rarer to get an opportunity to direct the design and see the pen getting launched as a regularly available product in the vendor’s catalogue. For that reason alone the Azaadi is very special to me. People who have got a chance to own this pen have been very positively impressed by it’s balance, comfort and writing experience. The pen has been designed from the ground up as an EDC (Every Day Carry) pen and in my opinion it fulfills that role in a fitting and stylist fashion. I have no hesitation in recommending this pen to others and I am sure you would enjoy it too.
  25. abkudva

    Asa Athlete

    The ASA Athlete was my first ebonite pen. Purchased in mid 2015 from the ASA pens website, it has me hooked onto Indian ebonite pens since then. So what do i love about this pen- the light weight: despite its large size the pen is actually very light to hold and one does not feel it's weight at all when writing- the lovely green color of the pen. The pen is a regular in my pocket and has been a great conversation starter every single time i meet new people. - the super smooth and sharp nib. The nib is a total pleasure to write with. In fact far superior to any other pen i use- the huge capacity of the ED body. Despite my heavy use, the pen easily lasts me 2-3 weeks (about 50+ A4 sheets)My only real complain with the pen is the challenge with most India ED pens - it is occasionally susceptible to leaks and overflow from the nib. Despite all my love for the pen, I have to switch to a ball pen or a Parker when I need to sign a document or fill important forms. Hopefully once i get my hands on some silicone grease this issue would be resolved. Overall I would give this pen a 7 out of 10.





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