Karas Pen Co Cigar Style Ink Fineliner - and Giveaway!

Lately, I've been a huge fan of the Schmidt Fineliner refill. Anything and everything I can swap one into I seem to be...

One pen that came to mind as a candidate while on a recent visit to my pals at Karas Pen Co was one of their newer, all black, cigar-style Ink rollerball pens, and, I've not been disappointed that's for sure.

If you are unfamiliar, the Fineliner refill is a porous, felt-tipped refill which provides an extremely expressive line. I write in all caps generally in my print, so it provides a sort of cartoonist/architect feel on the page. Also, it is great for when I'm doing doodles of diagrams or wireframes of things at work. As a cheaper, throwaway alternative I also use the Papermate Flair, but when I want to carry something a little nicer and substantial, the Fineliner paired with a machined barrel does the trick.

The Ink by Karas Pen Co is their larger, "full-size" pen in the lineup coming in just shy of 5.5" in length while capped. It is considerably larger than their earlier capped model, the Render K, but fits really comfortably while writing. 

One thing I really like about what Karas has been doing with their capped pens is making them more of a modular system.

The Ink can be fitted with either a fountain pen or rollerball tip in a variety of materials and now limited colors (black being one of them...). This allows you to buy one pen, in essence, and then customize depending on your preferences.

Pilot G2? Got you covered.

Fountain pen with a titanium nib? All good there too.

This particular pen is made from all aluminum, but they can also come in copper or brass.

Why I like the cigar-style, clipless model is that it makes for a larger "pocket" pen if that makes sense. Lately, I have found myself doing more of the jeans pocket carry so this was a solid fit.

A bit on the larger side when compared to others like the Kaweco Al Sport or others in this category, but I've really been enjoying it.

The Ink doesn't post, but with a pen of it's size I'm not certain I'd want it to.

Karas Pen Co has generously offered to sponsor a giveaway as well of this exact model, an all-black, clipless Ink fitted with the Schmidt Fineliner to a lucky reader! See details below of how to enter.

GIVEAWAY RULES (the "fine print"):

- Giveaway will run through Friday, March 24th and will end at 11:59pm Arizona Time, USA.

- To enter, leave a comment below (limited to one entry per person; no cheating!): do you have a favorite pen from Karas Pen Co or what type of pen would you like to see them do next?

- I will arrange the entries in numerical order and randomly select a winner.  The winner will be announced on the blog on Saturday, March 25th and will need to connect with me within a week to claim their prize. 

- This giveaway is open to both US and International readers.

Special thanks again to Karas Pen Co for sponsoring!


Galen Leather Extra Large Moleskine/iPad Cover

Sorry for the small break from the blog. The past month has been one of the craziest and most busy in awhile! I've got a whole lineup of products to review and share, so stay tuned.

But this has been an item I've been waiting to review for awhile now... 

Galen Leather out of Istanbul, Turkey was started by a duo of creative people, Zeynep & Yusuf, who began making small leather goods as a hobby but eventually turned it into their full-time work.

I am a sucker for new leather goods on the market and they kindly offered to send me one of their extra large Moleskine/iPad covers to review. Thanks so much!

I would consider the cover to be more along the lines of a "folio" (although it doesn't have a clasp or zipper of any kind) as it not only holds the notebook, but also has pockets, sleeves, pen loops, and slots for cards. It isn't overly complicated in design like some brands which I kind of enjoy. I think with too many hooks, loops, pockets, carabiners... you get the picture, but it can be too much.

Sometimes less is more.

One of the first things you notice about the cover is how thick the leather is. Not quite as thick as belt leather, but pretty darn close. This provides substance to the cover and it definitely feels sturdy. I absolutely detest thin, flimsy leather. It feels cheap, usually looks cheap, but the Galen cover is neither of those things.

I requested the black version (which is a bit of a variation for me as I usually enjoy brown), and it looks great. There were no noticeable blemishes in the cover when it arrived, but it will certainly age over time with nicks and dings from normal use. Also, with the thickness of the cover I'd wager it will last a long time.

The stitching is a lighter color which contrasts strongly against the leather. I don't have a real opinion on this, but I think that with some of the darker leathers they might be able to incorporate some red or blue stitching if they wanted to stand out, or, go straight black for a more sleek aesthetic. It looks great as is though, and the stitching is even, uniform, and strong.

To hold the notebook in place the cover has an attached elastic strap that is about 1.5" wide. The back cover of the notebook slips under the strap to secure it in place and there is also a loop from the elastic that can secure the cover shut while in transit.

Also inside is a single elastic pen loop which fits in between the spine of the notebook and the cover's fold so your pen is nicely protected and won't smash into the cover or run the risk of getting damaged.

There are also two inner sleeves that are the full size of the cover where you can safely tuck away an iPad Air. Now, if you have a protective cover on your iPad, this likely won't work unless it is extremely thin. So, those indestructible, bomb proof, Otterbox cases... probably won't fit.

Also for holding a small pocket notebook and some credit/debit cards (or business cards), they have included some slits cut out of the left inner section. If this folio were to turn into your carryall type of setup, these would be super handy. Personally, I haven't found myself using them only due to them not fitting into my daily need.

For what you receive with the Galen products I feel their pricing is extremely good. Solid quality, craftsmanship, and materials. This folio/cover runs under $100 and international shipping is only $13 to the US. I've been following them since last year and they have quickly been expanding their lineup to also include zipper cases, covers for Rhodia and Leuchtturm1917 notebooks, as well as many other products.

Again, special thanks to Galen Leather for sending this my way! Definitely give them a look.      

Karas Kustoms Copper EDK - Knox Series (shipwreck)

A now well-known staple to our community, Karas Kustoms (AKA Karas Pen Co), has just released a new series of some of their copper and brass pens called the Knox Series. Karas has been creating a full line-up of machined ballpoint and fountain pens in a variety of unique designs now going on five years, and this edition is something I was pretty taken aback by when I first laid eyes on them... 

They were kind enough to provide one of these new pens for review so special thanks to them for sending it my way. The pen I received is one of their smaller, pocket friendly retractable pens called the EDK in copper.

If you are unfamiliar with the EDK it is a portable, around 5" total in length, rugged pocket pen that is built around the popular Schmidt P8126 rollerball refill. It uses the same knock mechanism as their other "click" pen, the Retrakt, but just in a much more compact size. 

Also, the EDK has machined into the grip section concentric lines to add texture and interest. The copper version is a weighty pen, coming in at just over 2oz which could make it a little heavy for some.

The best way to describe the Knox Series is like if we went scuba diving in the Caribbean and stumbled across the remnant of an old sunken ship from the days of the Spanish Armada. Littered about are various artifacts like cannons, coins... oh, and a copper retractable pen, all of which have been corroding and aging under the salty waves for centuries.

I would give the Knox Series a nickname of "shipwreck' as it seems to describe perfectly what the artist they've partnered with, Don Knox, is trying to convey in his work.

All across the pen, the copper is eaten away exposing various nooks and crannies all now filled in with blue and turquoise colored oxidation. Except for a few parts which seem to have withstood the tests of time and are still shiny and brilliant; a stark contrast of old and new.

If I am being a bit artistic in my language, it is on purpose. Pens like these I would consider to be just that: art. Are pens like this practical or does their appearance in any way improve function or utility? Certainly not, but that isn't the point.

Not every pen can be this way, but at least some can. I feel like Don has done such an amazing job of transporting this pen to somewhere I know it doesn't belong, but does so incredibly well. I look at it and it tells a story that isn't real, but could be, which is is pretty fantastic.

With heavy use, I'm not certain how the finish on the pen will hold or whether the greenish/blue will eventually wear off, but even with just the corroded metal it would still have a cool aged appeal.

Now, the pricing on these pens is a bit steep when compared with again, more "practical" options, but being that they are all individually hand treated and altered, they are all unique in their own way and warrant the price for the buyer that is looking for something just like this.

Since these are small batches and are each different, they are sold as one-off listings on the Karas Kustoms blog rather than on their main website. If interested in the selection they have of of not only EDKs, but Bolts, and Render Ks as well, definitely give these a look.

Thanks again to Karas Kustoms for sending this one my way to review and share.