Body Material: Aluminum
Trim: Metal (holder)
Holder Type: Universal Prongs
Length: 170.1 mm/6.69"
Barrel Diameter: 9.8 mm/0.38"
Section Diameter: 9.8 mm/0.38"
Weight (all): 18 g
Price: $ 36.00USD
Where to buy: JetPens | Shop Nibs
The Kaweco Special dip pen is presented in a simple squared plastic tube. The back end of the holder is held by a hole in the cap/plug. In place, the nib does not reach the end of the container, and the pen body is held secure. It is a nice box because it wastes little space, it protects the aluminum pen, and most importantly, it protects the nib at the end.
The downside to this set up is if your nib or holder is wet and you store it like this, in an enclosed, inevitably humid environment, it will likely rust faster. Be sure to dry it well, or only use it for storage without the nib/long term storage.
The Kaweco Special dip pen is part of the Special line up - it includes a lead holder, fountain pen, etc. It is a long pen with an octagonal body, and a smooth, tapered point at the end. The tip tapers to a chrome end with the metal collar and four prongs set inside the barrel. The barrel is engraved with "Kaweco Special Germany" in silver. Otherwise, the whole barrel is matte black aluminum.
At this price, scrutinizing the finish seems silly - I'm more accepting of cosmetic/finishing issues when it isn't an insanely expensive pen. However, the holder looks pretty good. There is a small seam visible where the tapered end is attached to the back of the barrel, but it's quite minor and doesn't affect function. Overall, it's a simple, attractive dip holder.
PERFORMANCE & FEEL
The nib that is supplied with this pen is a Leonardt 30 pointed nib. It is a silver colored metal nib with a single slit, an elongated oval breather hole, and long, thin tines. The base is engraved with: Leonardt England.
Before using a dip nib, it must be prepped - dip nibs leave the factory with an oily coating to protect them. Not surprisingly, this repels ink when you try to use it, and results in skippy, inconsistent writing to varying degrees. Sometimes it's worse than others. There are a few ways to prep a nib, including using toothpaste, potatoes, and/or dish soap. I have heard the potato method is superior to the dish soap method, but what if you don't have a potato on hand? I use the boring method of dish soap and hot water:
- Put some hot water and a few drops of dish soap in a small container.
- Let sit for a minute.
- Carefully remove nib from container and flush it thoroughly with clean water.
- Dip the nib in ink once or twice, wipe the ink off.
- Dip again and write!
No doubt, you can find different ways to clean nibs online but this is just what I do. The nib comes installed but obviously, you may remove it to clean it. To insert the nib in the holder, place the base of the nib between the prongs and the metal collar. That is, not inside the prongs, but on the outside. They are snug and springy and will hold your nib against the collar. I am no dip nib expert. I use them and I have fun with them casually, but they have a lot of potential and are well worth getting the hang of. So, that said, prep your nib and put it in the holder!
You can use many types of media with dip nibs, and that's what's so fun. The thicker inks are easier to get the hang of. I tried fountain pen ink but I found the nib fairly sharp and wanted something more lubricated. I was moderately successful with a bottle of J. Herbin Calligraphy Ink - it was not bad but didn't feel smooth enough. Of course, your miles may vary. My favorite dip pen ink is Daler Rowney Liquid Acrylic, in this case, Process Magenta. I didn't dilute the ink and I found it flowed well and held on to the nib well.
The nib offers some fine lines and decent line variation with medium flexibility. It's scratchy but works with a light hand. Remember: use a light hand for upstrokes and only apply pressure on the downstrokes. It's a lot of fun for hand lettering, calligraphy, drawing, and whatever else you may come up with!
I like the design of the pen and it doesn't roll away because of the facets. That's a good thing! It's comfortable to grip for use, but since it is an aluminum body, I felt my hand tiring after awhile of use. The metal pen is a bit heavier than the wood and plastic holders I am more used to. It's also a bit longer so there's more weight added on. I'm sure some users will find it comfortable and it is, but for lots of writing and practice, it's tiresome for me.
- Attractive aluminum design.
- Easy to clean material - minimal ink staining and it can be wiped off.
- Doesn't roll away!
- Matches Kaweco's Special models.
- Packaging is useful, minimal, and easy to store.
- Affordable pen.
- Universal holder - you can put larger nibs in (like this one) as well as smaller nibs.
- Decent nib - not too soft so that it feels difficult to control, but offers medium flexibility for fun line variation.
- Great for trying out pointed pen calligraphy.
- Can use a variety of inks - India Ink, gouache, liquid acrylics, etc. You are not restricted to fountain pen inks.
- I find the length and weight of the holder tiresome during longer writing sessions.
- Nib is scratchy - at least this particular one is. It's also a fairly fine nib, so it may require some getting used to.
- Nib can catch on paper, resulting in feathering and fibers collecting in the tines.
- Holder is more expensive than a plain plastic one.
Pros definitely outweigh the cons here. For casual, fun use, most dip nib holders do the job. This one is a little nicer and still affordable. The universal holder lets you use a variety of nibs, and it's safe and easy to store. Thumbs up!