Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Allegory Pens Precision Collection "The Cap" Fountain Pen

This beautiful handmade fountain pen was a custom pen made for me by Chad Shumacher of Allegory Pens. Thank you Chad, for this little piece of art! Located in Chicago, Allegory Pens makes handmade wooden pens using reclaimed, ancient, and historical woods.

From Allegory Pens's Kickstarter page:
  • Our motto: Pens with a legacy, so you can leave yours. All our writing instruments are made with woods that have a story which is intended to connect with your story, so that you have something personally meaningful right out of the box.
  • All the woods we use are reclaimed or salvaged, none are fresh cut lumber.
  • We plant a tree through The National Forest Foundation for every 10 pens we sell.
  • All the refills in our pens are popular models that are readily available from multiple sources.
  • Each pen comes with an insert that explains the stories behind the woods.
  • We are die-hard believers that carrying well-made, personally meaningful objects with you on a daily basis can make your day better.
ABOUT
 
Brand: Allegory Pens
Model: Precision Collection "The Cap"
Body Material: Bethlehem Olivewood & Antique Walnut ("light scheme")
Trim: Gunmetal
Origins: Made in U.S.A
Length (capped): 5.5"
Length (posted): 6.25"
Nib type: German-made stock 0.7 mm
Nib material: Iridium
Weight: 49 g/1.8 oz
Barrel design: Round, normal
Fill type: Cartridge/Converter
Price: $90 via Kickstarter  (Will be available to the public, contact Chad for more info!)

PACKAGING

The pen arrived in a triangular box, with "Allegory Pens" written on it. The pen was nestled in the little felt bed. The packaging is simple and effective at protecting the pen. The price of the pen reflects its unique materials and handmade nature, not the presentation. I have kept my box for easy organizing.
Allegory Pens Packaging
Allegory Pens in Packaging
Did I mention the box has a magnetic flap? Love.
APPEARANCE

Allegory Pens
Allegory Pens
I requested the light scheme for my Cap fountain pen because I absolutely love olivewood, making this a custom piece. In the light scheme, the antique walnut is mixed in with the olivewood, with the olivewood dominating. The pen has the Allegory Pens logo carved (I think?) into the antique walnut on the cap. It's quite neat and looks good. The gunmetal complements the warmth of the wood well. I am also a big fan of the magnetic capping and posting mechanism. I heart magnets. Clearly this pen combines a lot of things I like.
Allegory Pens Logo On Cap
Allegory Pens Disassembled
There is no real grip area to speak of, so your writing comfort will really depend on the way you grip a pen. If you need a large grip section or a soft squishy one, well, you're out of luck. The body goes straight into the magnetic threads, then nib. So you either have to grip the magnetic section or the body itself. Whatever works for you. I personally prefer a more tapered barrel towards the nib so the sudden step from the barrel to the nib is new to me, but I have I am able to easily adjust my grip (which explains why my handwriting can look like 10 different people wrote it...). 
Allegory Pens Uncapped
The clip is metal and works well enough although with the weight of the pen, I worry that the pen might slip off whatever it's clipped to. The clip works fine for securing the pen in a pen case or in a pen loop. 
Allegory Pens - Cap
The clip is attached in a very neat way.
NIB & PERFORMANCE

The nib is a simple looking nib, with some writing on it (iridium point) and a few little swirls. Nothing outstanding but not entirely plain. It looks a little small for the size of the pen but it performs quite well. It is smooth and ink flow is wet. For an unadjusted stock medium nib, I was pretty pleased with the performance of the pen. The feed keeps up well with the ink demands of this nib. I did find I had to knock some ink into the feed after the pen sat around for awhile, or dip the nib in water to get it flowing again. This is not uncommon with caps that don't seal tightly though. My guess is the magnetic closure isn't tight enough to prevent the ink from drying out.

I personally feel the pen is comfortable to write with, both shape and weight wise. It is a substantial pen with a good, solid feel to it in hand, which makes for a pleasant writing experience. I write with this pen uncapped all the time, both because it's a decent length without the cap, and because when it is posted, I find it a little top heavy.
Allegory Pens Posted
When combined with the right ink, this wet medium nib is capable of producing really nice shading.
Allegory Pens Writing Sample

CONS

One thing to note about this wooden pen, and I'd suspect with most handmade pens that use old woods, is that it's a natural product and as such, the nature of the wood can result in cracks along the grain over time. When the pen first arrived, it was completely solid and I noticed over time, the cracks developed. They are small cracks and look quite natural to me, therefore I didn't realize they were even cracks. For $90, this may deter some folks.
Allegory Pens Cap
Don't step on the crack.
Allegory Pens End

OVERALL

Allegory Pens has done a great job of designing attractive fountain pens using historic woods. I very much like their motto and approach to environmental sensitivity. Depending on what kind of fountain pens you like, you may think $90 is steep for a fountain pen, but do consider it's handmade and a lot of work goes into it. I really like my Cap fountain pen, I love the color scheme, and I am pleased with its performance.

Full Disclosure: I offered Chad some suggestions in the makings of his fountain pens, and he kindly offered a Cap fountain pen to me. I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions here are my own! And thank you Chad for your generosity!

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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