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  1. I've used fountain pens for years now but didn't get "the bug" until the beginning of this year when I found this dangerous-for-my-wallet site. I started exploring and lurking heavily and discovered the world of custom pens. I read about the pens Shawn Newton was making, found about his scholarships and all those other factors that made him the right person to attempt to produce the idea I had at the time. There's a few things that I wanted in a pen: One was no clip, my pens always travel in a case and I never clip them or carry them in my pocket. Because the pen didn't have a clip I decided on the flat so the the pen wouldn't roll off the table when resting. The second one was that as a norm I find the traditional cigar shape boring. Don't get me wrong most of my pens have that shape and they're ok but I wanted something completely different to that standard. The third was that I thoroughly enjoyed the matte look of ebonite after I saw a Ken Cavers bamboo pen. The fourth thing I decided was that the pen wouldn't post. I prefer long pens that don't require posting because I've usually found that the balance changes for the worse when posting. So with those specs in mind I started drawing what I wanted in Illlustrator. The first idea I sent Shawn to see if it was even possible was this: http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n200/Inguz72/PenDiagrams-01.png Shawn seemed amenable to the challenge, he said that he had never done a straight cylinder and he would have to figure out a way to make the flat facet which he had never done before either. He quoted me a price and told me there was time to make revisions to the pen before placing the order. I thought about other materials for the end caps, other colors of acrylic, etc. But the more I looked at it the more I wanted to something even stealthier. So I revised it to this: http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n200/Inguz72/PenDiagrams-02.png I called it the Shinobi, which is the japanese word for Ninja because it's stealthy but it ends in a bloody surprise. I also elongated the body and the proportions so it would fit well in hand. I placed the order in February but Shawn is highly in demand. By the time my number came up he had received a new metal lathe and this was one of the first pens that came out of that lathe. His communications at this point got very detailed which was awesome because I could see progress and make slight adjustments. His first attempt had a more translucent red acrylic and although it wasn't ideal I was ok with it but then his threads for that one were a bit tight and in fixing them he ruined the cap so he asked me if there was anything I would like different so I chose a more vibrant "ferrari" red acrylic and after a week for the acrylic to arrive he started on a second pen which was almost done but the dremel ate through the pen on the flat. D'oh! Third time was the charm and he let me know the pen was done and sent me photos to show me. So here goes: Pen closed: http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n200/Inguz72/_MG_2181Closed.jpg This is exactly what I had in mind so obviously I can't complain, it's after all the exact shape and size I asked for when I first designed the pen. The pen came well wrapped in a large USPS box. He included a lovely grey and black wrap his wife made for it that works beautifully with the pen. If you want to see the wrap he has a photo of them here. The bonus was that he sent me one of the destroyed models and his working sheet with dimensions, little sketches, measurements and details. It gave me an idea of the process and made me feel a part of it. The pen is a cylinder with a flat bottom in matte ebonite. It's extremely understated except for the thin red line where the cap meets the body. Very stealthy and smooth. Matte ebonite has a distinct, very organic and warm feel in the hand. New ebonite smells of brimstone and eggs, the smell will dissipate in a couple of week I'm told but phew! The cap takes two and a quarter turns to unscrew, quad threads would have been incredibly difficult in this pen to make the cap and the body match the facet which this one does perfectly. If it wasn't for the red line I have feeling the two parts would blend into each other seamlessly. That's the kind of precision with which he manufactured the pen. So kudos for Shawn for that as well as for the sharpness of the ends and the facet. They're all very precise and all the surfaces on the pen are smooth. The pen uncaps to a vibrant red section. http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n200/Inguz72/_MG_2238Open.jpg The flat rests on the web between my index and thumb finger and holding it by the section or the threads are both comfortable since the pen is long enough for either. It's a light pen since there are no metal parts except for the nib. Shawn uses the same nib units that Edison, Franklin Christop and others use. This one is vested with a steel nib in fine with the letters "NP" on it. It is perfectly dependable with no skipping or flow issues, it produces a fine smooth western line. I have a few other units including a gold medium from FC and changing the nibs units is very easy so I have multiple grades to choose from now on. Detail of flat and section: http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n200/Inguz72/_MG_2262Detail.jpg Size comparison: http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n200/Inguz72/_MG_2275SizeClosed.jpg http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n200/Inguz72/_MG_2277SizeOpen.jpg From left to right MB149, Lamy 2000, Omas and Shinobi. As you can see it's a very large pen with a hefty circumference. Perfect for my hand. I hope you enjoyed my unorthodox review for an unorthodox pen. If you've ever considered having a custom pen done I recommend Shawn, he was very easy to work with and his craftsmanship is excellent. I would also recommend that you get bold with your designs the worse a pen turner can say is no.
  2. Shawn is having a sale to raise funds for expanding his shop (to increase production) and other projects. He is offering discounted pricing for 3 of his models in several materials with many nib options and a few other variations, including a couple of Jonathon Brooks' resins. You can find the specifics here: https://newtonpens.com/fundraiser-time/ David
  3. The middle of the 20th Century saw an italic handwriting and calligraphy renaissance in the U.K. and the U.S.A. Alfred Fairbank was the leading proponent in England of italic script as the best choice for handwriting. In the United States, Paul Standard (on the East Coast) and Lloyd Reynolds in Portland Oregon were leading advocates. In fact, the majority of professional calligraphers I have met on the West Coast to this day were students of Reynolds or students of his students. The fountain pens that were most available for italic writing in that era, at least in the United States, were the Osmiroid models and those made by Platignum, both from England. Both of these companies went out of business in the late 1970’s, but Osmiroid pens and nibs remain quite available on internet auction sites. Complete sets - a pen and six nibs of different widths - are found fairly often, many never used. Sets of Osmiroid italic nibs included the following widths: Fine, Medium, Broad, B2, B3 and B4. A “F inter M” width was also made. These sets came in Straight, Oblique and Left-handed versions. Osmiroid also made quite a variety of round-tipped nibs, but I am not going to discuss those. The most popular Osmiroid pens were the Model 65, a lever filler, and the Model 75, a thinner pen that was a small-capacity piston filler. Late in its life, Osmiroid produced a C/C filler with what they called “Easy change” nibs. These nibs came attached to a feed and section which screwed into the pen’s barrel. It used International Standard cartridges and converters. With the “Easy change” model, Osmiroid produced a series of shadow nibs of various widths, in addition to the round nib and italic nibs for which they were known. An Osmiroid Italic Set. The pens are a Model 75 in back and a Model 65 in front. Besides a pen and six nibs, the Osmiroid Italic sets also came with a product catalogue and a nice little instructional booklet for Foundational and Gothic lettering in some packages and for Italic in others. Osmiroid nibs are 23 Kt plated steel. They are un-tipped. In my opinion, they are among the best writing italic nibs ever produced. Osmiroid pens were always inexpensive. I suspect they were meant primarily for the student market. They certainly were not meant to compete with Parker, Conway-Stewart, Onoto, Mabie-Todd, Waterman and the like. So, we had excellent writing nibs in cheap pens. My very first fountain pen was an Osmiroid 65 I bought in the college bookstore my Freshman year. it came with the set of 6 italic nibs described above. I bought it to learn italic handwriting. Now, more than half a Century later, my taste in pens and my means are both quite different. I don’t recall exactly how I got the notion of having a pen made for me that accepted Osmiroid nibs, but I asked Shawn Newton to make me a piston filling pen with two sections - one that would accept Pelikan M800 nibs and the other that would accept Osmiroid nibs. This worked so well, I asked Shawn to make two more extra sections for Osmiroid nibs to fit two other pens of his in my collection. Now, Osmiroid nibs for the Model 65 and 75 have a nipple on the end of the carrier, and they did make a converter in the day. It was a little push-pull device of mediocre quality. They are not easily found today. I have been unable to find another make of converter that fits on the Osmiroid nib without modification. The nibs work well in piston fillers. Shawn’s suggestion for a less expensive alternative was to attach a squeezable bladder to the section - essentially a bulb-filler. I thought we should give that a try. And it works just fine! Close-up photo of the nibs, showing the carrier nipple, as described. The two new sections that make it possible to use Osmiroid nibs on Newton Pens. One section is installed (on an Ebonite Bamboo Eastman) and the other un-installed, allowing a view of the attached ink sac (for an Ebonite Quapaw). My old nibs now have a new life in rather upscale digs. They will be used a lot more than they had been in their original pens. I know many FPN members (at least those of mature years) with interests in italic writing or calligraphy first learned using Osmiroid pens, as I did. Chances are, unless the pens have been restored, the more common Model 65s have seriously deteriorated sacs. I am delighted to have found a great way to keep these marvelous nibs in use. I am happy to share it. Happy writing! David
  4. Hi guys, I am not sure if I am posting this question in the right place, so please let me know if it should be moved. Shawn Newton is making a pen for me. He can make a section around a nib and feed as long as both are in a threaded housing (Sailor uses threaded housings, for example). I saw Bookman's full section dissasembly of his Pilot 74. Do any of you know if the Pilot 742 can be dissasembled in the same way? If so, I am pretty sure Shawn could build a section since that metal flange acts a sort of threaded housing, right? (Bookman's pic from his original post) (I had also considered of provide him with a Platinum 3776 nib and feed, Joey Grasty (Flexible Nib Factory) makes threaded ebonite housings that are shaped on the inside to accept Platinum nibs and feed, but the problem is that the rest of the housing is shaped like a no nipple Bock housing i.e. the housing does not accept converters. This would force me to use the pen either as an eyedropper (no thanks), and asking Shawn to make the pen with one of the several filling systems is not an option either. I just find converters to be much more easy to clean, use, etc.) I hope someone can help me. Thanks
  5. I'll do a full review after I've had more time to use it but I wanted to share some of Shawn Newton's most recent work. Some of the pictures were taken by me, others by Shawn. Shawn's photos are being used with his permission. http://i.imgur.com/iwZMEoY.jpg A while back I had the idea of having Shawn make me a pen like the Hemingway except with solid 14k trim. Shawn was totally up for it and when he and his jeweler started making nibs, he asked if I wanted one. It was a risk - I was the first customer to buy one of these nibs so I had no idea how it would write. I trusted that Shawn would make sure I got nice writing pen. I wasn't disappointed. http://i.imgur.com/YkkJSi3.jpg All the metal (the nib, and all the trim) are all solid 14k gold. Writing sample http://i.imgur.com/kFL1jCV.jpg This is the coolest part: It writes just like a vintage flex nib. It even has the responsiveness of vintage flex and the tines close quickly after letting up on the pressure. Shawn Newton has an amazing thing to offer with these handmade nibs. The ink used in the writing sample is Iroshizuku Ku-jaku. I have a Romillo Essential #9 with a semi-flexible Fine nib coming in a few weeks - I'm really excited to get to compare the two handmade nibs to one another. http://i.imgur.com/rKQgZKV.jpg Here's a good look at the feed, which Shawn cut by hand out of ebonite. http://i.imgur.com/jYuCmf8.jpg Handmade Newton nib compared to a Bock nib on an Eboya Kyouka, medium-size. Comparison with other pens http://i.imgur.com/RZuiRej.jpg From top: Romillo Eo #9, Edison Pearl with Karanuri urushi, Shawn Newton custom, Eboya Kyouka - medium-size. http://i.imgur.com/tDIDOfq.jpg It's a true piston-filler. Shawn makes the piston-filling mechanisms in-house. Here you can see the blind cap unscrewed.

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