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  1. 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.

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