Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

The Kaweco Skyline Sport is one of Kaweco's many diminutive fountain pens. Only 4.1 inches long when capped, the pen lengthens to 5.2 inches posted which makes it comfortable for writing. The pen's body is made of plastic, and the nib is steel. The Skyline Sport comes in three colors: gray, black, and mint. I chose mint because it is an unusual color and reminds me of spring. I don't really see much of a difference between the Skyline Sport and the Classic Sport. JetPens says that the Classic is 5.3 inches posted vs. the Skyline at 5.2 inches, but they look the same length to me. The only other difference I could find is that the Classic comes with gold-plated nibs and the Skyline with chrome-plated.

The packaging is nothing special--just a simple black, cardboard box with the pen in a plastic sleeve. The pen comes with one blue cartridge, so if you buy a Kaweco, plan on ordering additional cartridges and/or purchasing a converter to use your own bottled ink.

The pen is simple but beautiful, with clean lines and minimal adornments. The cap has a metal medallion on top with the Kaweco logo, and "Kaweco Sport" is engraved on the pen's body.

The pen does not come with a clip, though you can purchase one for $6.75. The clip I bought for my original Kaweco Sport isn't very functional. If you exert any pressure to clip it to a notebook or a pocket, it slips right off the barrel. I like the design of Kaweco's new deco clips, so I might buy one just to enhance the Skyline's appearance.

Because I don't like being limited to cartridges, I purchased Kaweco's squeeze converter ($3.00).

The converter is tiny and is impossible to fill without a huge mess. I tried filling the converter first, dipping its opening into the ink and squeezing, and I wound up with Diamine Mint all over my hands. Then I attached the converter to the nib unit and tried filling through the nib. No matter how many times I squeezed the converter, I could only get a tiny amount of ink to go in the sac. So, I resorted to squeezing, pulling the nib out, turning the tip up, tapping on the sac to get the ink to go to the bottom, and quickly dipping and squeezing again. After several attempts and very inky fingers, I was able to get the converter mostly full.

To put it bluntly, the converter is a pain to use. It might be better to purchase a syringe to fill the converter or to fill empty cartridges. Or you can easily convert the Kaweco into an eyedropper by putting silicone grease on the threads and filling the body of the pen with ink. One other thing I discovered about the converter: dark inks stain the plastic sac.

I was looking forward to trying Kaweco's broad nib. My Kaweco Sport has a fine nib that writes quite well. I wanted to see if the broad nib offered more line variation. Unfortunately, I'm disappointed with the broad nib.

After writing with it for a day, my hand grew tired because I had to put a good amount of pressure on the nib to get the ink to flow. I soaked the nib and feed in some pen wash while I was at work, rinsed, reassembled, and let the pen sit for a while, nib down, to let the ink soak into the feed. This seemed to help, at first. I got good ink flow and the pen wrote smoothly. But after a few pages, the flow petered out, and I was having to use some pressure again. The nib probably needs adjusting.

I don't really expect much from a $23.75 pen with a steel nib. But my other Kaweco writes quite well, and I don't have to use any pressure at all. From what I've read on the fountain pen forums, Kaweco nibs vary in quality from pen to pen, which is unfortunate.

Interestingly, the difference between the fine and broad nibs isn't all that noticeable. I expected the broad nib to be much wider than it is. When put side-by-side with a fine nib, the broad nib looks substantially larger.

But when you write with it, the portion of the broad nib that actually touches the paper is small.

Writing samples from the broad and the fine nib just don't look very different. The broad nib seems more like a medium, if that.

The Skyline Sport is made of plastic, and it feels rather cheap in the hand. The plastic has a few rough spots, but overall the grip is smooth and the threads aren't annoying.

However, as you can see in the photo of my older Kaweco Sport, the plastic scratches easily with everyday use. Posting the cap leaves indentations in the barrel.

One advantage of the Kaweco Skyline's small size, is that it fits easily into a pocket or purse. My Kaweco Sport kept getting lost in the depths of my bag, so now I keep it in the zippered plastic pocket of my small Midori notebook (it won't fit in the pen loop because the cap is too big).

Pros

  • Small, convenient size
  • The Skyline model comes a unique mint color as well as black and gray
  • Inexpensive. but you get what you pay for
  • If you are lucky enough to get a decent nib, the Kaweco writes quite smoothly

Cons

  • The pen seems cheaply made, has some rough spots, and the body scratches easily
  • The cartridges hold a small amount of ink
  • The converter is fiddly and messy to use
  • The broad nib, so far, writes dry and requires pressure to keep the ink flowing

You can purchase the Kaweco Skyline Sport Mint at JetPens for $23.75. Cartridge refills cost $2.30 for six. The Kaweco squeeze converter is $3.00. And a chrome Sport N Clip is $6.75.

Posted on April 24, 2015 and filed under Kaweco, Pen Reviews.

The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 151 - Wabi-Sabi

Myke and I have returned to our respective podcast lairs, so far, far away from each other. After tears were shed, we dug a little deeper into all of the pen show topics we missed last week, and talked about a very special pen at the end of the episode.

Show Notes & Download Links

This episode of The Pen Addict is sponsored by:

Harry's: An exceptional shave at a fraction of the price. Use code PENADDICT for $5 off your first purchase.

Dudek Modern Goods: Use code 'PENADDICT' for 10% off until May 8th.

Warby Parker: Glasses should not cost as much as an iPhone.

Posted on April 23, 2015 and filed under Podcast.

The Pen Show Experience

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

The Atlanta Pen Show was just this past weekend, and I'm already looking forward to the next one. This was my second pen show, but a totally different experience from the first. Through the incredible community we're lucky to call home, the year's show was an incredible example of how utterly fantastic the pen community is. Yes, there were numerous pens and stationery products, but the real treat and highlight was the people.

One quote comes to mind that perfectly sums the weekend up for me:

If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.

— Kurt Vonnegut, In These Times

It all started for me on Friday afternoon with a 4-hour drive through the backcountry of the Alabama/Georgia hills. After driving right by the Nock shop on the first try, I eventually parked and made it inside out of the rain. As many probably felt, it was surreal to be in the shop and see the people that resembled their avatars.

After about 10 minutes, I shook off the "I know you but it's super weird to actually see/hear you in person" feeling and started talking to people. I've met people from the internet 3 times now, and it's only gotten a little easier to comprehend in those first minutes. But, after a short while everyone is best friends and having a grand time.

There were several friends from last year that I already knew, but there were so many new faces this time. I was really excited to meet Myke and Ana since they're practically our cult leaders, and all the people I knew would be making the trip. I had the pleasure of meeting both Brad and Jeff at last year's show, but I was pleased to also meet Jeff's beard this year, as it wasn't able to attend last year. You can get lost staring into that thing...

The Nock party was fantastic. It was a bit rainy, but that didn't stop us from having a great time. There was pizza, beer, and so many great people. It was awesome to look around the room of people who only just met and see that everyone was lost in conversations about pens and other random topics. Don't know about everyone else, but it was extremely easy to find common ground outside of our shared fascination for writing instruments.

To be honest, I'm terrible at taking pictures at social gatherings. I get lost in a conversation and don't think to pull my camera or phone out for a quick snap. I didn't take any photos at the party, but luckily some other attendees had that covered. My Instagram is full of photos from the night, and Ana's Flickr page is full of awesome goodies.

Now, on to the pen show. Saturday was about the same size as I remember from last year, but there was a Nock booth in the first room to mix things up. I started off at the Franklin Christoph table to check out a Model 19, only to discover that it was a lot bigger than I had anticipated. After trying one out, I decided against it — which is a huge advantage of shopping at the show. Sometimes you have no idea that a pen is huge, tiny, or just awkward from the pictures you see online. This is a great opportunity to try things out and form opinions for later.

I stopped by the Karas Kustoms booth to check out the Ink (I hadn't bought one through Kickstarter or their store yet). It didn't take me long to pick out an Ink model — Joe Lebo commented on a red pen that I had picked up to try out. He said it was the Ironman, which confused me until I uncapped it and saw the copper section. It was an instant sale. Oh, and it was awesome to meet Dan in person. Super nice and funny guy.

After the Ink purchase, I headed over to the Nock table to say hello and pick up a few items. One of my favorite items was the Nock tri-camo TechLiner (short model). I never really saw the appeal of this pen until I handled one in person. It's such a cool pen because of the magnets and feel, and it actually is really comfortable to write with.

To speed things up a bit, just imagine walking between two large banquet halls several times and looking at hundreds of pens, inks, papers, and accessories while also talking to a couple dozen people along the way. It was exhausting. Once it was time for lunch, I had also acquired a nice Akkerman No. 8 ink - Deep Water Blue (gorgeous).

At some point, I had the pleasure of going to lunch with Dave, Sarah, and Doug. Everyone was super interesting and a pleasure to hang out with. In my mind, most conference-type events you attend are solitary. You go to the events and participate in any of the event-led discussions and then retreat back into your own world. This isn't the case at the pen show — you're always surrounded by friends.

Saturday afternoon/evening was all about showing, borrowing, trying, and talking about pens. We had a 15-foot table full of stuff. Like Brad explained on the podcast, it didn't matter what kind of pen it was, everyone was free (encouraged) to try it out and pass it along. Ana had her collection of Esterbrooks and Esterbrook nibs, there were $3 disposable fountain pens, dozens of inks, and even several Nakayas at some point. The full gamut of fountain pens was represented at this table. We love our pens, and we also completely trust each other with our treasures. It was a fantastic time, and we spent hours at that table talking and playing with pens.

For me, that was the highlight of the show. Hanging out with a dozen or so people at a time and talking about pens and life. The pens brought us together, but there was a deeper connection than that, and that was amazing and completely enjoyable.

I stuck around for a couple hours on Sunday morning before heading back. Like I told several people, I had mentally cut myself off from any more purchases on Saturday, but I somehow walked away Sunday morning with a new Franklin Christoph Model 40 Pocket (with a Masuyama fine cursive italic) and a Masuyama-tuned Ink nib. Not really sure how that happened (that's more story, and I'm standing by it).

The 2015 pen show was phenomenal, and easily one of best things so far about my 2015. It will take a lot to top this. I had so much fun meeting everyone and talking about the different things that came up outside of pens and paper. So many great memories, and I look forward to next year with happy anticipation.

In case you're wondering, here's what I walked away with after the show:

Posted on April 22, 2015 and filed under Atlanta Pen Show.

The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 150 - Live from the Atlanta Pen Show

The first ever live and in person Pen Addict Podcast recording took place this past Saturday at the Atlanta Pen Show. This was the one event this past weekend that I was the least nervous about, and I think Myke, Ana, and myself delivered one of our best episodes yet.

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.

Pen Chalet: Use the code PENADDICT to save 10% on your order or click the ‘podcast’ link at the top of the website and enter the password 'penaddict' for even more savings, as well as your 10% off.

Massdrop: An online community for enthusiasts of all kinds.

Posted on April 21, 2015 and filed under Podcast, Atlanta Pen Show.