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Gama Raja First Impressions


thatotherguy1
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Moderators- if this post is in the wrong forum, please move it to the correct one. Thank you! :)

After using my Gama Raja for a little over a day, I've formed some tentative opinions of it. With the somewhat scarce information on this pen here on FPN, I'm hoping that my thoughts will help someone that's undecided about it.

 

First off, I'll comment about the seller and experience I had with them. I ordered from ASA Pens, and being new to the Indian pen game I didn't know what to expect with my order (again, not too terribly much information that I could find). I couldn't be happier. The order took just under three weeks from ordering to receipt, including having Mr. Subramaniam test the pen before dispatch. It was very well packaged. I don't think that the pen would have been harmed if someone jumped on it (but I'm not willing to try :yikes: ). I'm in the U.S. by the way.

Upon opening the package and taking the pen out of its velvet slip and excessive (not that I'm complaining) bubble wrap, my impressions were very good. The pen is large (prior to this, the largest pen I owned was a Jinhao X-750), deep matte black, the trim is nice and shiny and golden, the pen has simple, clean, elegant looks that remind me of the Parker Duofold and other 30s-40s American pen designs. It's a very nice looking pen to my eye.

 

Pros-

-The fit and finish of this pen is superb, especially for the price. The threads, though single start, are well cut and mesh smoothly, the finish is even and well done, the polished ends are also well done, the trim is well set, the nib is set as it should be for a #6/35mm nib, and the Gama logo is nicely engraved.

-The feel in hand (I have a medium mens' glove size according to Mechanix) is very good. The section is large to be sure, but it's comfortably cut with a nice, abrupt flare to keep your fingers off the nib. The pen itself, while long, is very well balanced and actually very light. It honestly doesn't feel any heavier in hand than a featherweight Lamy Safari. The ebonite feels good in the hand; it really is a warm feeling material. It doesn't feel like a plastic or metal or wood... it's unique. While the pen can be posted, the cap doesn't post very deeply, leaves marks on the barrel, makes the pen very long, and throws off the balance of the pen.

-The writing, when the feed is saturated sufficiently and you're in the sweet spot, is superb. As I stated before, I had the pen tested before shipping and it paid off. After a little alignment (I was probably the cause of the issue to be honest) the pen (with the stock nib and feed) is wet, starts well with zero pressure (and I mean ZERO pressure), is very smooth with a TINY touch of feedback and the stock IPG duotone EF/Indian fine (I've seen it called both) writes a good, firm extra fine (compared to a Lamy fine).

-The ink capacity is HUGE. As someone that's used to C/C pens, I was blown away by the ink capacity. I haven't measured it, but I wouldn't doubt an estimate of 3-3.5ml.

 

As you may be able to tell, I quite like this pen already :)

 

Cons-

-The stock, unmodified nib on my pen (one example) has a fairly small sweet spot. When you're in the sweet spot, it's as smooth as I've felt as of yet, about on par if maybe a little under a JoWo (which costs, by itself, more than half of the asking price of this pen), but the moment you get out of the sweet spot there's a fairly significant amount of feedback.

-If the pen is agitated and warm, say in a gesticulating hand or in a shirt pocket, a little ink seems to want to burp into the cap and get on the nib. It isn't a big deal, but it is slightly annoying. This issue could probably be fixed with a new feed.

-When the pen was in my shirt pocket for a while, the feed dried up somewhat. It took a bit of tapping on the page to get it started again.

-It smells like tires, which doesn't bother me and will dissipate, but the smell may offend some people.

-There's some minor scratching on the very shiny clip and one of the cap bands is a teensy tiny bit wonky (I'm picking at nits at this point)

 

Overall, this pen is an amazing pen, especially for what you pay for it. I'm in love already, and I'm hooked on Indian eyedroppers now. :wub:

ETA- Sorry for the long post! I tried to make everything as detailed as possible to make up for the lack of pictures.

Edited by thatotherguy1

Here to help when I know, learn when I don't, and pass on the information to anyone I can :)

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It's great to read another review about an Indian ebonite pen! Nice review, and a good list of pros and cons for decision making, though it seems like you have a very positive impression about the pen! I have been considering this pen, but will instead be soon receiving a similar Gama Saral pen modified by Hari.

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Thanks for the review. I like my Raja very much but I switched out the stock nib, you may read about it here:

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/262197-my-gama-padpad-aka-raja/

I'm very well acquainted with your review, Hari, I've read it more than once. In fact, your reviews on Gamas made me want a Gama and that post in particular pushed me towards getting a Raja :) thanks for the kind words, both of you! It means a lot to me :)

I just knocked out the nib and feed and replaced the old feed with a modern Sheaffer No-Nonsense feed from a Viewpoint, in an effort to ward off burping later in the pen's ink usage and to try to lessen the inky nib phenomenon. It's still untested as of yet, but hopefully I can enjoy this pen until it's dry with a clean, shiny nib :)

Here to help when I know, learn when I don't, and pass on the information to anyone I can :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good review.

About the smell of tyre. I don't think one would feel it unless smelled from very close quarters?

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Good review.

About the smell of tyre. I don't think one would feel it unless smelled from very close quarters?

During the first two or three days I could smell it a bit when writing. I do, however, tend to write with horrible posture; my habit is to slouch over and therefore my face is probably closer to the pen than most. Also, the fact that this pen is matte finished and the pores of the ebonite are open because of it might contribute to a stronger smell. After two weeks or so of use I can't smell anything even if the pen is literally touching my nose.

 

Time for a bit of an update- I used this pen with Noodler's Liberty's Elysium (I just reinked for the first time about an hour ago) heavily on a daily basis for about two and a half weeks. Near the end of the fill, I had some flow issues- the No Nonsense feed tended to run a bit dry for a line or so, though the pen itself was not at fault. I didn't extensively use the stock ebonite feed, so I can't comment on how it behaves when the pen is low. For those of you wondering whether a person in a locale with a fairly low ambient temperature (and therefore more of a heat shock when the hand heats the air in the pen) is able to use an eyedropper with a No Nonsense feed from a donor Sheaffer pen without burping, I can personally attest to the fact that this feed buffers ink admirably. I used the pen to the bitter end of the fill (I literally wrote it dry- there was about one drop of ink left when I cleaned the barrel) and, though there was a surprising amount of ink in the feed at some points (the feed was totally saturated), there was no burping to speak of.

The nib is still a nice writer, nice and smooth, and with all the use the cap threads have lost the initial manufacturing burr and are buttery smooth now. The 3.5 ml or so ink capacity is incredibly nice for people who write a lot and don't want to fill or clean the pen every few days.

All in all, I'm still enamored with this pen. Highly recommended :)

No affiliation to Gem Pens, ASA, or any party profiting from the sale of these pens. Just a happy customer.

Here to help when I know, learn when I don't, and pass on the information to anyone I can :)

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Related to the last post, I just finished a full tank of ink in my Gama Eyas coupled with a Sheaffer feed. No problems either.

 

However, the Sheaffer feed is a bit dryer and I find I prefer the wetter ebonite feed so I'm not sure if I'll bother getting more Sheaffer feeds for my other ED pens.

This is my first winter (I live in Canada and get lots of cold weather) with ED pens and I've really had little to no problem with ebonite feeds as long as the ink level is somewhere above the 1/3 fill line.

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Related to the last post, I just finished a full tank of ink in my Gama Eyas coupled with a Sheaffer feed. No problems either.

 

However, the Sheaffer feed is a bit dryer and I find I prefer the wetter ebonite feed so I'm not sure if I'll bother getting more Sheaffer feeds for my other ED pens.

This is my first winter (I live in Canada and get lots of cold weather) with ED pens and I've really had little to no problem with ebonite feeds as long as the ink level is somewhere above the 1/3 fill line.

I didn't have a problem with flow with the Sheaffer feed. Admittedly, I did take the feed out of a 1.5mm calligraphy pen, so it may have been tuned by Sheaffer to be a little wetter, and I did set it to be a bit wetter than Sheaffer had it in the donor Viewpoint. Other than the dryness due to a low ink level, I never had a problem.

The main reason that I switched out the feed early on (before I could see how it functioned near the end) was that I tend to move my hand rather violently with my capped pen in my hand, and the basic ebonite feed tended to leak a drop of ink into the cap on occasion, which in turn inked up the section, which transferred a goodly amount of ink to my fingers.

Here to help when I know, learn when I don't, and pass on the information to anyone I can :)

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  • 10 months later...

Is there a reason to have the section smooth and shiny while the rest of the pen is matte? Wouldn't it look better if it were all matte, in your opinion?

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  • 1 month later...

Is there a reason to have the section smooth and shiny while the rest of the pen is matte? Wouldn't it look better if it were all matte, in your opinion?

Sorry for the late reply- I haven't been on the forum in a while.

 

Honestly, I've never put much thought into the difference between the section's and the barrel's finish. While the pen is capped, you don't see anything but matte ebonite, and when the pen is in use, you don't notice that the section isn't matte, so it doesn't bother me aesthetically.

 

Perhaps, and this is a pure and total guess, the reason that Mr. Kumar chose to polish the section when designing this pen was one of long term writing comfort. The matte ebonite is somewhat "grippy" and I could see it being irritating to the fingers after a long writing session, while the polished ebonite has no such problem. However, I honestly have no idea what the actual reasoning behind the choice is.

 

EDIT: Over a year after this review's writing, I still love my Gama Raja :)

Edited by thatotherguy1

Here to help when I know, learn when I don't, and pass on the information to anyone I can :)

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The Matt section is prone to dust and sweat from fingers

While you hold the section, it also generates little heat.

Its not conducive for long life.

After a few years of use, the grip portion will look bald if it was Matt finish.

 

This is the reason

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Well... you could have said me that when I ordered a custom one with a matt section.

But anyway, I'm happy with the aesthetics, and if in a few years does not look that good I'll still be able to live with it.

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Dear Feanaro,

 

When its custom pen, its more so on individual liking.

 

Anyway, when a new section is needed, will make it for you without any charges.

 

Just refer this thread.

 

Regards

Subramaniam

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