The Dignitary Fountain Pen by Allegory Goods

First off, a special thanks to Massdrop for sending over the The Dignitary fountain pen by Allegory Goods for review.  They have a drop currently in progress for the pen so definitely take a minute to check it out.  If you are new to Massdrop, take some time to check out their other selections as they have really increased their offering for the likes of our people... (pen/paper nuts)

Allegory Goods is a pen and leather goods manufacturer that I have seen in the past, but hadn't heard too much about.  They originally got their first funding start through a Kickstarter campaign back in 2013 and have been making their handmade goods ever since.  A neat outfit from Chicago that specializes in making items from reclaimed and unique woods from around the world.

The Dignitary is on the slightly higher end of Allegory's pricing model coming in at $125 for the fountain pen.  They also have a rollerball version of the same design. (keep an eye out for that one at a later time...)

The pen is turned from two different woods which makes it quite unique: Bethlehem Olivewood and preserved Bog Oak.  

The trees which the Olivewood comes from (in Bethlehem) have been pruned and nurtured for over 2,000 years and have considerable religious and historical significance.  As the tree branches are clipped, the wood is preserved and offered to craftspeople.  Pretty neat stuff.

The second material, Bog Oak, is something that I was pretty excited about as I've always wanted to see and handle some.  Maybe someday I'll get a piece to make a pen holder from....  Bog Oak is found throughout parts of England, Ireland, and Europe and is the remnant of once vast oak forests that were ultimately trapped in peat bogs that were created after the end of the last ice age.  The wood was preserved in such a condition that it can be found and harvested and still used to make jewelry and other crafted items.  The Bog Oak can be as old as 3,000-5,000 years.

Seriously, super fascinating!  A seemingly odd blend of unique woods that come together nicely.

The Olivewood is the lighter wood with beautiful swirling and striping dark grains, while the Bog Oak is a dark (really dark) uniform brown (from being preserved in mud sludge for 5,000 years...) and has some very distinct grains.  Both woods are are smooth and have a very subtle, oiled finish.

If you are familiar with turned pens, there is often a common "bulbous" shape that seems to trend among craftspeople.  Not your traditional straight lines or subtle shapes; these pens generally are pretty curvy to accentuate the grain and color of the wood.  Probably not for everyone from a completely aesthetic perspective, but if you enjoy these types of pens The Dignitary doesn't disappoint.  

The pen tapers from being wide on both ends and narrow in the center near the threading break.

The hardware of the pen is a shiny black, like hematite, with several gold/brass rings and accents including a hex bolt on the cap.  I generally am not much of a gold person, so the furniture isn't entirely to my tastes, but still looks nice overall with the striped contrasting light/dark design of the wood.  It actually pulls it off pretty well in my opinion.

From a branding perspective, the Allegory Goods logo is laser etched on the cap just opposite of the clip.

The nib of the fountain pen isn't anything overly special, a gold plated steel Iridium tipped found standard in pen kits, but writes decently and inked up right away.  The nib did see skipping and some slow starts periodically while writing.  In a pen like this my thoughts are that the nib isn't something to be overly picky about; you are paying for the craftsmanship and unique materials and it writes well enough to enjoy the overall experience.  The pen came with a plastic international converter and an international short: I opted for the cartridge.

The cap does post, but I find that doing so makes the pen too long and somewhat odd shaped.  Unposted, the barrel and section are a slight bit short, but the pen still fits into the fleshy part of my hand.

In contrast to the pen barrel, the section is very narrow, straight, and slick.  If there is an ergonomic complaint, that would be it.  The bulbous turned design is manageable, but the narrow section made it a bit more difficult for my hands to grip.  There are some pens with traditionally thin sections like the Kaweco Sport, but there is a slight concave shape which gives your fingers something to rest into.  The straight and slick surface of The Dignitary section isn't the most comfortable unfortunately.

All of that being said, I think The Dignitary is a super neat pen from a craftsmanship and unique materials perspective which I know a lot of people would really enjoy.  Please check out the drop currently running on Massdrop and stay tuned for something special with The Dignitary rollerball...     

Special thanks again to Massdrop for providing the pen for review.  


NAPKIN Forever Pininfarina Cambiano Inkless Pen Desk Set - Walnut

You may have seen this "pen" around and wondered which part of the future it decided to drop in from.  An inkless pen?... Made of metal?  Sounds pretty crazy.

Ron from Pen Chalet was kind enough to send me the NAPKIN Forever pen to review (from his personal collection no doubt), so a special thanks goes out to him.

In a nutshell, the NAPKIN Forever pen is a writing instrument that is neither pen or pencil, but is a really slick and futuristic looking mesh of metal and wood that writes via the oxidation produced from a metal tip.

I must admit, this is a work of art.  It is beautifully made, extremely eye catching, and is bound to start up a conversation with every person that walks into your office.  I assure you, no one is likely to pass this "pen" up from the perspective of unique curiosity.

The pen display set comes in two distinct parts: the pen and the stand.

The stand for this particular model is made from walnut (which I have a thing for) and is quite lovely.  

A block, rectangular shape, the stand has an angled hole drilled into the top as well as a slight routed rest either to lay your pen on or to act as a sort of shadow imagery underneath while it is propped up at attention.  In the side of the stand is a small plastic sliding door that reveals a hole for the pen to be placed in during transit or for storage.  Super neat.

The pen itself really is fantastic looking.  The overall form is made from cast metal which has been coated in a matte black finish and on each side are inlaid contoured pieces of walnut with "pininfarina" etched in.  It really is a sexy thing to behold, like something out of a really cool futuristic sci-fi movie (although they likely wouldn't use wood?...).

Weight wise the pen has some heft but feels good in your hand.

Now the real question: how does it write?  In all honesty, not super great.  The tip is quite grabby (almost scratchy) as you transfer the oxidation from the tip to the page but, lets face it, WE ARE WRITING WITH METAL.  No ink or graphite to smooth things out, so the expectation shouldn't be that it is going to be a silky experience.

That being said, I don't really think that is the point.  The purpose of creating something like this is for its artistic design, placement as a desk accessory or novelty, and maybe for a quick and short note.

The pen does leave a surprisingly good mark on the page, although very light.  I would put it close to a 4H-6H range graphite pencil.

I tried to write some full pages and it was pretty daunting.  The grabbiness of the tip mixed with the weight made it a bit of an uncomfortable experience.  If the plan was to use something like this to jot a quick note on a small card or Post-It, perfect.  Definitely not something ideal for journaling or writing long winded notes.  

The pen isn't overly cheap coming in at just under $100 (through Pen Chalet who has it at a decent discount), but for what it is I think this price is pretty good.  It is a beautiful piece of desk art that would make a lovely showcase and offer some optional writing usage.

Thanks again to Ron for sending it my way for review.

Ink Bottle Series - New From Dudek Modern Goods

I'm pleased to announce the three newest offerings from Dudek Modern Goods!  Coming up on the second year anniversary of the brand, I am extremely grateful for all of the tremendous support I've received from around the globe.  Thank you for letting me make these pieces to share.

The three new products are part of the Ink Bottle series: The Main, The Writer, and The Workspace.  The goal was to create elegant desk pieces that allow you to keep your favorite ink(s) close at hand as well as pens and possible notebooks.


The smallest of the three, The Main holds one included 60ml amber bottle for your favorite ink and three writing instruments you want to keep close at hand.

Approx. dimensions: H 2.5" - W 4" - D 3"   


Slightly larger, The Writer provides space for two included 60ml amber bottles (so you don't have to choose only one favorite ink) and 9 of your writing instruments.

Approx. dimensions: H 2.5" - W 8" - D 3"  


The largest piece in the Dudek Modern Goods line, The Workspace should provide ample room for all of your writing needs.  Included are two 60ml amber bottles, room for 9 writing instruments and two slots for your favorite pocket notebooks or index cards.

Approx. dimensions: H 2.5" - W 10.5" - D 3"