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.

Three Questions With Ian From Pens! Paper! Pencils!

Ian Hedley is part of the ever-growing British contingent of stationery bloggers, bringing us wonderful reviews and artwork via Pens! Paper! Pencils! and Pennaquod, the pen blog searcher. My thanks to Ian for answering Three Questions.

1. What role do analog tools such as pens, pencils, and paper play in your day to day life?

I have a busy job with lots of meetings which, if I'm honest, I sometimes have trouble staying focused in. Taking notes with a nice pen and ink, on good paper, gives me something to do. It helps me concentrate and remember what was discussed.

I also keep a diary (journal in American) which I write in every day. Often I'm writing about pens because that's the kind of person I am. As well as the diary, every morning I write down three plus one good things from the previous day.

Recently I decided I needed to watch every episode of Star Trek in order. I write a couple of sentences about each episode after I've watched it. Another excuse to use a pen.

The most useful tool I've ever found isn't a pen or a pencil, though, it's a homemade set of 43 folders called a Tickler File. I can't understand why everyone doesn't use one.

2. What are your favorite products you are currently using?

I've settled on my favourite paper – Calepino and Rhodia. I've also settled on a favourite ink – Sailor Jentle Apricot – so I felt very sad when it was discontinued. I can't get enough new inks though. My favourite pencils for sketching are Tombow Mono 100s.

With pens, though, my favourites change week to week. My Platinum #3776 Sai, Twiss Marmalade, Franklin-Christoph M02 and Kaweco Liliput are usually in there somewhere but ask me again next week and it might be different.

3. What post are you the most proud of on your blog?

My most favourite pen review would have to be the Twiss Marmalade but to be honest it would be impossible to write a bad post about such a beautiful pen. The sketch I'm most proud of to date is Going for a Walk. But I try to make each post better than the rest so, while I don't always manage this, some of the posts coming up over the next few weeks I'm really quite pleased with.

Posted on December 13, 2014 and filed under Three Questions.

Pen Chalet

Have you taken advantage of the special 15% off all items promo that Pen Chalet is running just for Pen Addict readers? This deal stacks with any other discount already in place so stock up while you can!

My thanks to Pen Chalet for sponsoring The Pen Addict this week.

Posted on December 12, 2014 .

Pentel Hybrid Technica Gel Ink Pen Review

So did the Pentel Hybrid Technica vanish from JetPens, or is it such an average pen that it never really went away and I only noticed it again when the 0.4 mm tip sizes popped into the new products feed? Knowing myself the way I do, my money is on the latter.

Average is ok in my book though, as that places it ahead of most pens that you find in the office or out and about. To put it into perspective, I consider the Pilot G2 an average pen. The barrel is strong and sturdy and the ink flows well. What keeps it from being in the top tier with pens like the Uni-ball Signo DX is that the line is not quite as sharp and the grip is slighty waxy. These are things I can feel when writing and are noticeable when compared to its peers.

As an option, I added the 0.3 mm refill to my order and that refill is superior to the 0.4 mm for me. It's cleaner and sharper, which stand to reason being a small size. Regardless, it was better to write with and going with the 0.3 mm barrel from the get go would have been the better choice.

One bonus if you are considering the Pentel Hybrid Technica is that they fit the Pentel Slicci perfectly, as in it is the exact same refill size an shape. An excellent option for those who want a wider Slicci barrel.

Overall, this is a solid pen, and if you are a fan of Pentel pens and inks you won't be disappointed.

(JetPens is a sponsor of The Pen Addict and this product was received at no charge.)

Posted on December 12, 2014 and filed under Hybrid Technica, Pen Reviews, Pentel.