Review – Kaweco Allrounder

Kaweco is probably best known and highly respected for their extensive SPORT line of pens. They are great pocket size pens that when posted yield a very comfortable write. I own 4 in different flavors and I count myself as one of their many faithful followers. Today I’m reviewing one of Kaweco’s more conventional size pens and I walk away impressed with the German company’s willingness and skill at producing other models outside their SPORT line. This example is the Kaweco Allrounder.

The Pen:OpenerUncappedKaweco Allrounder Fountain Pen

  • Red Anodized Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel BB Double Broad Nib
  • Street Price: $96.00
  • 5.3” capped
  • 4.75” uncapped
  • 6.3” Posted

Filler overall1Packaging

Packaging is 100% Kaweco with their uber cool retro tin box. Think Altoids mint container but with cool designs printed on it. Effective marketing tool but like most packaging not much use if you’re going to use the pen.

Overall Appearance

I really like the matte anodizing appearance. The red is bright without being too fire engine reddish that would jump off the table. It also comes in black, blue and silver. The blue would be a close second choice for me. The coin type cap on the very top and the small divot on the bottom of the pen give it a few distinctive styling touches. Some have commented that the nib, ported over from the SPORT line, looks small for this conventional size pen. After my study I could agree but it took somebody else pointing it out for me to even notice. It doesn’t look overly out of place to me.

Ergonomics

The Allrounder is a traditional cigar shape with tapered bottom, bubbled mid-section and a slight expansion in the cap. The section is large enough to keep the threads out of the way for my grip and with the length of the nib I get a good finger to nib measurement for comfortable holding and writing. I like the section’s slight concave shape and I think it subconsciously guides my fingers to the right area. I always wonder what the real intentions of some design elements like this were for but ergonomically it works very well for me. No fidgeting or hesitating finding the right grip as soon I as I pick up the pen.

I’m not a cap poster so overall length for me unposted is right at the minimum for my large hands but that’s ok. The anodized finish is smooth without being slick and after a couple of pages of writing I had no stress or strain at all.

Construction and Quality

The Allrounder’s body, section and cap are all aluminum. Clip, fittings and other furniture are made from brass that has been chrome plated. Beyond the usual warnings for anodized finishes and the pen battleground patina risks the aluminum construction and brass parts make for a sturdy pen that should hold up well in daily use at the desk, in a bag or traveling around in a briefcase. Cap threads are well cut and after my thread frustration with another pen of mine I’m really starting to pay attention to cap threads. The Allrounder does not disappoint.

The anodizing is complete and consistent all the way to the nib and through the threads on the section. There was no machining marks, chips or inconsistencies in the finish. Any marks reflecting in review pictures here are a result of my substandard photography skills.

Cap

cap cap2The screw on cap is well executed and fits with the aesthetics on the rest of the pen. Threads are smooth and engage perfectly every time I recapped the pen. Inside the cap is finished in black and equally well done.

The chrome band across the bottom looks nice without overdoing it and the printed branding at the top of the cap is well placed without being in your face every time you pick up the pen.

Clip

clipThe clip is attractive with a high spring tension. Entrance and exit ramps are good so clipping and removing is straightforward and it will stay put. Nice curve on the clip and the ornamentation is not over done.

Filling System

The Allrounder comes with a Kaweco ink cartridge which I found to be very pleasant performing ink. It will also accept international short format cartridges or a converter that is not included.

Overall apartNib

Besides the aforementioned size critique the nib it is as attractive as described in most SPORT reviews. Decorated without being gaudy. I’m not sure if the size and the feed are up to the required flow of a double broad ink line. I found mine occasionally running dry and needing some time to catch up. I checked the tine and feed alignment and they looked good. When the ink is flowing to paper it is a beautifully smooth experience leaving behind a nice thick line of your favorite color.

NibCost and Value

At under a $100 you get a German quality pen that is easy for Kaweco to put their name on. The all-aluminum construction, brass furniture and fit and finish lines up with anything I’ve seen in this price range. Plus I just love the red and blue versions.

To help even further with the cost you can use the discount code MYPENNEEDSINK at Pen Chalet to save an additional 10%.

Conclusion

I like this pen. I would probably opt for the medium nib so I could stay away from any flow issues and medium is just a more widely used size in my stables. Kaweco quality, great looks and impressive construction. All good check marks in my book.

Have you tried any of Kaweco’s offerings outside their SPORT line?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Storied Pasts and Screwed Up Caps

The mystic beauty of enjoying many pens, mostly of the vintage nature, is sitting and pondering what those implements have recorded on paper. The stories they could tell the sorrow and joy they might have witnessed in the hands of their masters I have very few storied pens but I have found myself pondering the brief past of one of them.

I found this Levenger Facet Fountain pen in the discontinued Oxblood color late last year on eBay. I got caught up in a minor bidding war, stayed up past my bed time to win it and even blogged an article about the whole adventure.  I loved the look in print and when I finally got my hands on it I love the aesthetics even more. A really great win for me. With a lot of good relationships we experience a few bumps in the longer term courtship. I inked it up immediately and though it was a decent writer I did experience some hard starts and the occasional first stroke missed. Additionally the cap didn’t always cooperate. I couldn’t return the pen and I still love the way it looked so I relinquished it to my antique ink well display case. I think it’s that pretty but I will always wonder why my pen was returned, the cap? The hard starts? Neither?

Recently I did an overhaul of my daily carry and I wanted to give this one another try as every time I walked past my display case the pen catches my eye. Happily it is one of the few pens I own that the more I exercised it the better it wrote. Now, after a few miles, it’s a really fine writer with just an occasional hard start after sitting more than a day or two.

The annoying part, and now I wonder if that is why it was a return, is the threaded cap. There are several philosophies about the time it takes and almost the ceremonious effect of removing and replacing the threaded cap of a fine writing instrument. A precursor while thinking of what you’re going to write and recapping both the pen and your mind after you have written your thoughts. Removing the cap is perfect but putting the cap back on is holding about a 50% success rate. I can’t find the right maneuver to get it to go on right 100% of the time. Here is the cap half way on and stopped: gap

Here is a full capping:

no gapFrequently the threads start but about half way down it stiffens up and stops. Wax, silicone grease, silicone liquid, WD40, nothing helps. In my mechanical mind I call it cross threading but something else more technical may be happening under that cap. It’s frustrating because I enjoy the pen so much but we fight after about every other encounter throughout the day.

I suspect there is no easy fix since there are very few chances to cut threads in a cap and body. I love how the pen writes now and I will keep it but the valuable lesson I learned is always check the cap threads multiple times ON and OFF when shopping for a pen in person.

Any cap threading stories or ideas on how to fix my Facet?

Remember…..Write Something Nice…..

Review – G. Lalo Correspondence Cards

I have read about G.Lalo stationery and have seen it sold in several online outlets that I throw money at so it was a welcome receipt when Exaclair sent me over a box of G.Lalo notecards to try.

Overall2

I loved the color which instantly drew me to the product.  Reading more about the company on the Exaclair website G. Lalo is more esteemed than I could have imagined in the international stationery arena. They coin themselves the social stationery from the heart of Paris.

“A Parisian social stationery manufacturer since 1920 G. Lalo provides the royal courts of Sweden, Holland, Belgium and Monaco with handcrafted stationery. The hand gilded stationery is still prepared one sheet or card at a time. Each Motif is stamped in Gold by hand.”

Overall1Product Label

Logo

 At 250 g card weight and matching tissue-lined envelopes the recipient that receives these from you will be impressed. The cards I tested are called the Double Bordered Correspondence Set. Pricing comes in at about $14 for ten cards and ten envelopes. Easily competitive with other higher end stationery lines.

I like them a lot. The envelope and the cards accepted any of the fountain pen ink I tried with no feathering.

Ink Macro

At 250 g bleed through won’t be happening any time soon. The border around the cards is neatly printed and matches the envelopes perfectly.

Corner Macro

With darker envelopes I like to you use my white inked UniBall Signo UM-153. I think it popped very nicely addressing this note White Ink

Writing on the card itself is enjoyable with no drag or slick coating, just the right amount of feedback. An interesting feature is some very light horizontal lines that you can minutely feel running your fingernail across. I’m not sure of the intended purpose of these lines but they made it easy to keep my lines of scribble straight without distracting from the blank card look I enjoy.

The envelope is well assembled with good glue joints keeping the envelope together and no foul tasting glue on the flap (you know you were thinking it). A tissue lining on the inside to keep your musings private and a tasteful G.Lalo logo printed diagonally right where the flap comes down. All very well thought out and executed.

Inside tissue

I’ll be looking for some more G.Lalo soon. You can pick up their whole line at European Paper Company.

Have you tried G.Lalo or what’s your favorite?

Remember….Write Something Nice….

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Why I Journal

I enjoy time with my pens and inks so much that in the past couple of years I have actively sought out reasons to use them. I know many people, such as attorneys, writers and other professions have a genuine need to write a lot of information down in the course of their business. My profession pits me with a keyboard and 24” monitor most of the day. During the building of my fountain pen empire I read a lot about journaling and it took me a long time to convince myself I have anything interesting to write down in a journal. I lied. I started slow with some pictures and a desire to write down some of my fond memories of growing up. I got about 10 pages in and with so many stories in my head I got overwhelmed and stalled. Looking back I think it’s some of my personality and brain wiring getting in the way as I want to do everything in order. I know in the end it doesn’t matter and would be impossible to date each memory so this has probably been my hardest effort to continue. Along the same time I wanted to test a new journal I had received along with a new pen. I had purchased the blank journal but still figured I couldn’t possibly fill up a whole journal with my boring life. As I enjoyed the new pen I filled up a page with just mundane happenings of the day in a very short period of time. I tried it again the next day and the next and pretty soon here I am with nearly 3 years of journals filled. For my current tenure on this earth that is not real impressive but I did start and enjoy it every day I’m able to. All kinds of different colored inks, line widths and topics makes flipping the pages a look into my pen world. I vowed to always stay positive in my scribblings. There is enough pessimism to go around for sure but I am so blessed and there are so many positive things that I can write about every day. No value in burdening any future generations that may want to read this written portal into my daily life.

Today my active journaling include these editions:

None of these are really voluminous as I journal about a page a day. As you can see from the sample below the subject matter is typically light and will probably help confirm to future generations how kooky I am if any of the these pages actually ever see the light of day on the way to a burn pile.

Img_1268 I do hope one of my children take time one day to sit down and read some of these. Maybe they will maybe they won’t care but recently I was able to enjoy the fruits of my journaling labor, though 20 years before I started. My 20 something daughter is a true love in my life. We were blessed to have been able to adopt her at birth. It was a difficult process spanning over a year and across multiple states. In the midst of the adventure I kept a word processing file for reference of conversations, who I talked to, steps along the way, etc. It really became a journal of sorts. Earlier this year I found it and converted the file from an old word processing format to something that could be read on today’s laptops. It brought tears and joys as I read through it. Some funny total random entries like the second one below:

screamsMy daughter really enjoyed this crude writing trying to pass for a journal. I hope there is some comedic value in the Rhodias, TWSBIs, Miros and Moleskines I’m filling up today.

How about you? Journaler? Want to start?

Remember….Write Something Nice……

Review – Odin Leather Goods Notebook Cover

With all the smart phones, tablets, watches and now smart glasses I remain guilty of a pen and paper to do list type personality. I own an example of most of the major electronic gadgets and have tried their To Do list functions but it just doesn’t cut the mustard for me. My little book gives me an excuse to use pen and paper to record my thoughts and also serves faithfully as a general note placer if I need a window measurement for my home store visit or when I need jot down a phone number while running errands.

I love the 3 ½ x 5 ½” size and although I originally carried it around in my pocket it got beat up pretty bad so I have resorted to leather covers I have found on Etsy and through Instagram friends. My latest is the subject of this review. A simple execution of the genre by Odin Leather Goods.

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Odin calls it a Field Notes/Moleskine Notebook Cover in Dark Brown English Bridle. Price is right at $35. Shipping was prompt and the product I received was a beautiful quality example fitting my bill perfectly.

The leather is thin without being flimsy or vinyl feeling so it lays over and closes by itself well. Equally important to me is it’s not plywood thick. I’m not in the popular camp that thicker leather means higher quality. I like the balance Odin has chosen here. The inside is rough leather which I like as it serves as a semi anti slip surface to keep the notebook in place. The top of the inside front and back pocket is a smooth polished leather by the name of Dark Brown English Bridle. A tasteful maker’s mark is stamped on the inside left that contributes to an accurate perception of quality. Odin is proud of his work, as he should be, and it shows.

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Threads are black, heavy and evenly spaced to compliment the overall look nicely. The threads extend over the spine that seem to serve no functional purpose but balances the aesthetics nicely.

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Edges are well polished and the overall finishing of the outside and inside pocket faces is very consistent and a beautiful tone.

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If you use one of these popular sized notebooks and want a bit more protection for it you can’t go wrong with this notebook cover from Odin Leather Goods.

Remember….Write Something Nice….

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