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My Karas Kustoms Fountain-K arrived in this morning's mail. I opted for the gold-anodized aluminum body, silver (or clear) anodized aluminum grip section, and a Fine nib. So, here are some quick first impressions. . . It is, in fact, a compact pen. It's not tiny, but it's smaller than the Bexley that I've been carrying in my vest pen loop, and it's fatter-but-shorter than a Sheaffer Targa. The cap, in particular, is slimmer than a lot of screw-on caps and, closing flush with the body, it can't hang it up when slipping the pen into a loop. The knurled top makes it easy to pull out, too. The pocket clip works much better than I expected. I'd heard about how stiff these are, and I usually avoid very stiff clips. However, the shape is ideal, it doesn't have sharp edges, and it slips into the canvas loop easily, and it holds firmly. The gold color is attractive. The finish isn't super slick, but to me it has exactly the right luster that anodized aluminum ought to have. I can put it under the loupe and find a couple of flea-bite sized dings, but for a pen of this material, style and price point, it simply looks good. The cap can be posted. It can actually go on pretty securely, but it hangs way out on the end of the barrel, and I'd worry about wear to the finish. I think most people will choose not to post it. The cap give me some concerns. The threads are very "loose", and the cap can wobble and rattle all the way down until its lip snugs up against the shoulder of the pen body. When you screw it all the way down, a sort of wedge forms with threads pushing one direction and the lip pushing the other direction and locking it shut. However. . . If any bump or jostle were to break that wedge loose, there is no more friction, and the cap would immediately come unscrewed -- in your bag, in your pocket, wherever it is. It does not seem secure to me. Also, I have some doubts about the cap seal. As already mentioned, the threads are quite loose. There is no inner cap. There is no O-ring. There is basically nothing to seal the cap except the lip wedged against the shoulder of the pen body. Only time will tell if this is sufficient to keep the pen from drying out. The No. 5 nib and feed and converter are all off-the-shelf standard parts. I would normally prefer a screw-in converter, but I don't think it matters in this case, since the interior of the pen is so filled that there's no space for the converter to shift around. It also fits snugly onto the feed. After filling the pen and starting to write, it immediately burped ink onto the page! Oops, did I not wipe off the nib properly? I grabbed a paper towel and wiped it. Then started to write again. . . and it immediately burped more ink onto the page! What the hey? I wiped it again and gave it a minute to settle down, then started writing again. I got about two words in, and it suddenly became super-wet as if it was just about to burp again, but then it went back to normal and started writing well. Smooth, good flow. . . I'm still trying to figure out what happened. Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat. I am concerned that grabbing the pen may warm it so quickly that it creates a slight over-pressure inside the pen body and pushes out a burp of ink, which is more than the (rather small) ink collector can handle. I'll have more to report later. Eventually I'll work up an actual review.
I want a Karas Kustoms Fountain-K pen. They are sold through Goulet now, so that should be easy, right? Wrong! They are offered in many choices of material and finish: copper, brass, raw tumbled aluminum, and aluminum anodized in a wide range of colors. I know I don't want the copper or brass, but what color of aluminum I should get is driving me nuts. There are several that look really good to me, although exactly how dark these colors look in "real life" is hard to discern exactly from photos shot under varied lighting. I almost went for olive green, but then saw that color is out of stock. Blue, gold or gray all look good to me. Silver, black, or tumbled raw are viable options. They don't even have a photo of the orange one yet. . . I almost went for blue, then thought. . . If I got blue, I would find myself only wanting to use blue ink in it. But then I thought, I like blue ink. I have a lot of blue ink here. Is that so bad? I think this would be a good looking pen almost without regard to the chosen color. There is no "wrong" choice here, and that somehow makes it so much harder.