Cult Pens Mini Fountain Pen Black Edition Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

When Brad sent me the Cult Pens Mini fountain pen to review, the first thing I noticed was the BB nib. I'm kind of disappointed to say it's my first time writing with this size nib, but I'm glad I had the chance. It's not nearly as wide as I thought it would be, but it's so, so smooth.

Anyway, we'll get to the nib a bit later. Like I said, Brad sent me this pen to review and I was pretty excited to put it to use. So, who makes this stylish black pen? Cult Pens designed it, but it uses Kaweco nibs. In my opinion, a great combination. 29 pounds (about $47) is a fairly good price for a metal pen with a nice Kaweco nib. So, how does it stand up against other mini pens? Not bad, but it might not be for everyone.

First off, this pen really is mini. It's nearly the same exact length as a Kaweco Sport, but much slimmer. The black body and silver metal accents give it a classy, elegant look, and the small size makes it even more interesting to the eye. When you pick it up, it has a nice weight to it without being hefty. You can tell it's made of metal, but it's still lightweight and solid. The one thing that put me off initially about the look of the pen is the Cult Pens logo on the top of the cap opposite the clip. It's a bit large and the spacing between the letters seems cramped. Also, the typeface could be more elegant. It doesn't seem to match the overall style of the pen. But, those are minor niggles.

The cap screws onto the pen, and the threads feel good. No squeaking or harshness in the turns. Like most Kawecos, I can't use it without posting the cap. The cap posts solidly on the bottom of the pen, and it turns it into a decent length for writing.

Everything is good for me so far, but then it takes a major hit when it comes to the grip. Personally, I love metal grips. This is a metal grip, but it's just too thin for me. I can't get a comfortable grip on the pen because my fingers are too close together when writing. Also, I'm not a huge fan of the scoring in the grip – four rings around the grip that don't seem to help my grip problem.

This is usually a problem for mini pens – when creating a small pen, there will always be trade-offs. This won't be the pen I use to write a 5,000 word essay in class, but it is a great pen for everyday carry and jotting down quick notes. And, if you like small grips, this might be perfect for you. There's nothing wrong with the grip, it just doesn't fit my hand and writing style.

Moving on from the grip, the section unscrews from the body to reveal a nice interior. Again, this pen does not feel cheap at all. Everything is made of high-quality metal and machined precisely. Of course, it takes the same cartridges as any Kaweco, plus any international shorts or short converters.

The clip is strong, which is important for a mini pen that will likely be put in bags, pockets, purses, and so on. If you clip this pen to something, it's not coming off by accident.

Now, to the writing experience. I'm so pleased to say that this is the first Kaweco I've used that was fantastic out of the box. Being a BB nib, it's a smooth, wet line that is probably 1mm at its thickest point. Writing with this nib is a pleasure. It's a bit thick for thin-ruled notebooks, but it's so smooth that it makes up for this small problem. I've really enjoyed this nib, and I'm almost convinced that I should try out some more Kawecos – but not quite yet.

What I am definitely convinced of is that I need to get out of my rut of nib choices. I generally always go for a fine nib, which is good most of the time, but also pretty boring when every pen I own is the same tip size. Trying out the BB nib was a great experience, and I need to branch out more into medium (of which I own a few) and also purchase my first B nib. Ya know, for comparison's sake.

I wish I had a Kaweco Lilliput to compare this pen to, but I don't. I can only assume it's very similar. But, the design of the Cult Pens pen is much different, which will appeal to a different set of customers and writers. If you're into mini pens, this is a great place to start. This is a well-built pen that won't let you down.

(CultPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on December 17, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Kaweco, Pen Reviews.

The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 133 - A Banana Explosion

So apparently I am addicted to things other than pens.

I thought this would be a pretty straightforward episode with me and Myke talking about a few of the bags we carry. It started that way when I began to put together the show notes. Then I wanted to talk about the bags I own and no longer use and why. Then I wanted to talk about the bags I have been wanting to check out because who can have too many bags! Then I had to cut myself off.

Also, Starbucks Field Notes.

Show Notes & Download Links

This episode of The Pen Addict is sponsored by:

lynda.com: An easy and affordable way to help individuals and organizations learn. Free 10-day trial.

Artsnacks: Your monthly serving of the best art supplies.

Posted on December 16, 2014 and filed under Podcast.

The Mythgard Institute (Sponsor)

“The story grew in the telling.” So starts The Lord of the Rings, one of the most influential books of the twentieth century. Given that the works of J.R.R Tolkien were created over not one lifetime but two (his son Christopher has devoted many years to deciphering and assembling the unpublished and prolific writings of his father as literary executor of the Tolkien estate), this statement is a gross understatement.

Tolkien hand wrote and annotated most of his writings, and we know that he used a dip pen with an Esterbrook #314 nib. How many of those nibs he must have gone through as he created Middle-earth and its history, who can know? And what of other writers? Did Arthur Conan Doyle indeed write at least some of his Sherlock Holmes stories with a Parker Duofold? Science fiction author Neal Stephenson uses fountain pens to write the first draft of his books.

Want to dig deeper into the people behind the pens? The Mythgard Institute began as a place to study the two-lifetime library of Tolkien works. It has since expanded to offer courses focused on other fantasy authors as well as science fiction. With three tiers of course offerings from free and open to the public to a Masters program in Literature and Languages, Mythgard is the place for considered study of the likes of Neil Gaiman (TWSBI 540 ROC, Lamy 2000, Pilot 823 Amber), Richard Adams (who wrote Watership Down with a fountain pen of unknown variety), and other pen wielders.

This post is sponsored via Syndicate Ads.

Posted on December 15, 2014 and filed under Featured Sponsor.

TWSBI Micarta Review

I'm feeling guilty about this review for many reasons.

One, this pen was loaned to me by the wonderful Ionsomnia many a moon ago. This is his pen in the review, we discussed it and the additional nibs he sent with it several times, and I sent it back in a timely fashion. But I never posted the review, because...

Two, the TWSBI Micarta was discontinued. Version 1 only came with a gold plated nib and clip, plus it had some feed problems that TWSBI wanted to correct. Version 2 corrected the feed issues and added a clipless version to go along with the gold furniture model. Now we are talking.

Three, I bought the clipless model, swapped in a silver steel crispy bold cursive italic nib, and fell in love. And you can't get one now, at least not easily through direct channels.

But this is a great pen and it deserves to be talked about, so here we go.

What the heck is Micarta? That is probably the most often question asked about this pen if I had to guess. I had no idea either, but learned from Wikipedia that it is "a brand name for composites of linen, canvas, paper, fiberglass, carbon fiber or other fabric in a thermosetting plastic". To me, that sounds like scrap repurposed to make a new material, and that is kind of neat.

You can see some of the material and texture in the Micarta pen body, and it has a feel that is warmer than that other acrylic pens. I found myself just holding it on more than one occasion because it felt so great. That is also partially because the barrel shape is fantastic, fitting my hand as good as any pen I own.

These partially natural materials do have some downside though, primarily the ability to be stained by ink. Kind of a problem in a pen, huh? Ionsomnia found that out by dipping the pen in an ink bottle to fill it. I found out by having a bad feed in mine. As you can see below, a crack caused the ink to spread, soaking the inside section threads and the front exterior edge of the grip section.

TWSBI replaced the feed for me, which works fine now, and I didn't ask them to replace the pen. Why? Wabi-sabi. Old me would have had a conniption and would have wanted a new, pristine pen as a replacement. New me has found the beauty in acceptance of imperfection. That acceptance is why I was finally able to purchase my first Nakaya and not worry if it might get dinged or scratched. It's my pen, and things happen, and it's ok because the pleasure of using a pen far outweighs being afraid to take it out of the pen case.

So my Micarta is not perfect, but it is mine, and I love it. That's why I'm guilty about this post, because I think a lot of you would love this pen too. Maybe TWSBI will surprise with a Version 3 one day.

Posted on December 15, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews, TWSBI.