TiScribe-Pencil Review - Brass

Back on Kickstarter is a new project from Kelvin of Urban Survival Gear called the TiScribe-Pencil, an all metal, hefty, and durable mechanical pencil to fit the rest of the TiScribe line-up.

Kelvin was kind enough to send me a sample prototype version for review, so many thanks for providing an opportunity for a hands on look.

*Note - While Urban Survival Gear is a current site sponsor of The Clicky Post during his campaign, my review of the product will be honest and objective. 

The TiScribe-Pencil is an obvious and well designed pairing with another of his recent projects, the TiScribe-Bolt which shares the same overall shape, size, and clip. I've been following Kelvin's work for a couple of years now and it has been fun to see his products evolve/enhance overtime.

Above is a "family photo" of a series of pens he's created which all share a common aesthetic, with the pencil being on the far right.

With any machined pen/pencil, the first thing I did (don't we all?) is take it apart to look at the internal mechanism to see how it worked.

The pencil mechanism inside is made by Schmidt, a company that produces many of our favorite pen refills, pen parts, and apparently mechanical pencil parts as well.

What I like about this mechanism is that the tip threads into the tip of the pencil itself which ensures a snug, tight writing experience. The click to extend the lead isn't really a "click", but more of a smush with some sound/feedback, but you can tell when it is working. More of the sound seems to come from the metal parts coming together vs the mechanism.

The tip of the pencil mechanism does not retract, so it will always be visible. Although, it has a somewhat lower profile being a conical tip vs other pencils (take the rOtring 600 for example) that have a permanently protruding pipe that is prone to catching on things or bending.

Still, it works great and as designed and pushes close to 2-3mm of lead per click. The provided model is a 0.7mm lead width. 

To make the click happen, rather than using a knock at the end of the pencil like most, he turned the clip of the pencil into the "clicker" that extends the lead. A cool design that helps to maintain the consistent look shared with the bolt pen.

The edge of the top of the clip does have a bit of a sharp corner and if there is a piece of feedback about comfort, this would be where it is for me. I spend a lot of time in a wood shop for my Dudek Modern Goods brand so my hands are used to rough surfaces, but I did find the edge of the click to be a bit sharp during use.

Not sure if there is a good solution to this without potentially reshaping the clip, or maybe just softening that edge a bit more. I did find that alternating from a top click approach to more of a side click approach did work and resolve the issue, but wasn't the natural way of going about it.

The mechanism on his bolt pen uses the same process, but it hasn't been something I've noticed I think due to the fact that the spring tension seems less.

As mentioned, this version of the pencil is made from brass and weighs in around 1.3 oz (not a total heavy weight) in comparison to his titanium bolt pen that comes in at 0.8 oz.

The pencil is also a comfortable length of roughly 5.75" which is in line with most retractable pens/pencils. If I were being super picky, I'd say it could be about 1/2" shorter to be the perfect length for my hand, but that is just me being a diva. It feels great and well balanced in the hand.

Branding on the pencil is subtle, merely a small etching on the clip of the Urban Survival Gear logo. There is an engraved logo on the finial of the pencil, but I believe Kelvin mentioned these will likely be omitted during final production.

I really enjoy the products that Urban Survival Gear puts out and I think Kelvin did a fantastic job in creating a well executed pencil to go alongside his recent popular pen. If you enjoy mechanical pencils, definitely give his Kickstarter project a look.

Thanks again to Urban Survival Gear for providing the pencil for review! 

Aurora 88 Demonstrator Fountain Pen

Aurora is a brand that has seemed to take the community by storm as of late. It seems we're always hearing about new special editions and models which no doubt is helping them become more of a household name.

A sort of flagship of the brand is a model called the "88" which has seen numerous variations and limited editions. One of these said variations is simply called the 88 Demonstrator, which is what I'll be reviewing today. 

I was kindly loaned this pen for a review by Pen Chalet, so many thanks to them for sending it my way.

The 88 Demonstrator is a full-size, piston mechanism fountain pen that is, quite honestly, a stunner, but not in the traditional way. No fancy acrylics or textures, but the overall aesthetic is a bit edgier than your average demonstrator pen.

The style of the pen gives me a bit of a "space" vibe, like some sort of futuristic capsule. Against the clear acrylic pieces Aurora chose black hardware which I think was a fantastic choice which only adds to the appeal.

There are small details like how the pieces on the piston and finial connect together on the cap and barrel in a sort of gear pattern which looks cool.

I inked the pen up with some Bungbox blue ink and the piston was smooth and and worked easily. The pen comes with a black, PVD coated 18k nib which writes extremely stiff, like a nail, and is definitely on the dry side.

But, I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing for the right person. For me personally, I do tend to prefer nibs that have some slight softness, but I found it to be enjoyable to use. It made the lines of my writing crisp and clean in my Leuchtturm1917 (preferred) notebook.

I found the nib has tended to burp/splash ink into the cap quite a bit, but I'm not sure if this is a consistent thing with Aurora pens in general.

One of the most noticeable things about the 88 is how solidly built it is. It doesn't feel cheap and doesn't feel flimsy. Unfortunately some acrylic pens do. Another pen that surprised me like this was the Pilot Custom Heritage 92 when I reviewed it awhile back.

The biggest catch on this pen is the price unfortunately. Coming in at a retail price of over $1,000, it is a bit steep to get your hands on one.

Is this price unreasonable? Honestly, any pen that starts to clear the $300-400 range in my opinion has a price to value ratio that is completely subjective. So, for the right person with the right budget, this pen is unique, sturdily built and may be completely reasonable.

While this pen may be a bit out of reach for most of us, if you've been meaning to try an Aurora pen there is a pretty broad range of models/prices to check out and Pen Chalet.

And, special thanks again to Pen Chalet for sending the pen to review!

TiScribe-Pencil by Urban Survival Gear - Kickstarter (Sponsor)

If there is a guy who has been creating A LOT of great stuff over the last two or three years, it is Kelvin from Urban Survival Gear. I'm always excited to see when a new project of his goes live. 

Following up from the success of his recent TiScribe-Bolt pen (love mine), Kelvin has just launched a new TiScribe-Pencil project on Kickstarter to create a matching set.

One thing that I love about Urban Survival Gear is that the pens/pencils are all machined in-house by Kelvin and his team out of their shop in California. Buying from them is supporting small business, and by them doing the manufacturing themselves it provides a level of quality and oversight that may not come from other brands.

I've been extremely impressed by the quality of the pens produced by Urban Survival Gear and have enjoyed supporting his brand.

Definitely check out his most recent campaign for the TiScribe-Pencil on Kickstarter, and thanks again to Urban Survival Gear for sponsoring this week!