I can’t believe it has been less than two years since I first heard of Woodeshed Pen Co.. I may not have heard of Mike Allen and his company back then either if it weren’t for a reader asking me about a certain “Cracked Ice fountain pen” project on Kickstarter in the middle of 2017. I’m glad I got tipped off to it, because I have been able to enjoy my Woodshed pen, and make a new friend along the way.
The materials were what sold me on Mike’s first fountain pen Kickstarter. He started out as a kit pen turner, who transitioned into turning his own fountain pens. It was a small start to be sure - I was one of only 26 backers of the project - but the quality of the end product set Woodshed off on the trajectory he is on today. Onward and upward!
Today, Mike continues to turn pens in off the shelf materials, and has begun mixing his own blanks as well. On top of that, he is trying to perfect the coating of black fountain pen nibs. That’s a tough challenge to be sure, and is what prompted me to write this review.
But before that, let’s talk about the pen, and specifically, the barrel shape. Woodshed Pen Co. offers just one. That’s it, and I can appreciate that decision. Luckily for me, that one shape is right on the money. You could be tricked into calling this a small pen, but in reality it isn't at all. It is “just right sized” in my book. The overall length may fall short of some of the standard pens in your rotation, but it is plenty long enough for most people to use unposted. The pen diameter falls in the standard range as well, including the grip section.
I think the section it what makes the entire pen body work honestly. It is slightly longer than you would expect for a pen this length, and makes for a comfortable writing experience for all grip styles.
My second, and newest Woodshed Pen does have a slightly different body shape than my original Kickstarter model. The overall length is shorter by about 1/4”, and there is no taper towards the ends. I prefer this current shape for the overall size of the pen. While my original is great, the shape made it feel like a bit of a tweener in it’s overall size. The newer shape is perfect.
The fit and finish of the pen is perfect as well. It takes pen makers a while to get everything dialed in, and I’m sure many will say that they never do, but my Woodshed pen feels complete. The edges are smooth, the threads are clean, the polish is even and shiny - it’s a real joy to use.
So about that black nib. Mike asked me before this year’s Baltimore Pen Show if I would help him test a coating he is working on for his black nibs. For any of you that have used black nibs in the past you know that the coating wears down over time, or during repairs, showing a lighter grey, down to silver, color once they get worn.
That’s has never been an issue for me. I’ve always assumed the finish of any coated nib would wear over time, and that was part of the deal when owning one. Mike, on the other hand, wasn’t happy with that result, and has set out to stop, or at least slow down, the wearing effect on black nibs.
I’m only a month into my testing, which isn’t nearly enough time for a test like this, but the black nib Mike gave me for this pen looks brand new through a few different inks and cleanings. Mike is taking things a bit further with testing than I am, and is committed to get this right. I certainly applaud the effort, and I’ll keep hammering away at mine as well and will keep everyone updated.
If there is any hangup with Woodshed Pen Co. right now it is that Mike doesn’t make it easy to buy a pen from him. You can see his latest work and make a purchase through Instagram, or catch him at a pen show, like Atlanta in two weeks. But I’m taking this opportunity and platform to implore him to get that website up and running. Get those pens into our hands Mike!
I’m a Woodshed Pen fan, and I consider Mike a friend, so read this review with that in mind. But good products review themselves, and make my job easy. This is one of the good ones.
(I paid full price for my Roses and Violets Woodshed pen, and Mike gave me the green model, which I call Wildfire, at no cost.)
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