Was Jim the "first" to do machined pens like this? Likely not, but he has been doing it for some time now and his brand has clout. This pen is one I've had my eye on for years and am so excited to finally have my hands on one and to share my thoughts.
With most machined pens the first thing you think of is how rugged and tough they are. While this is true for most as that is what they are going for, upon seeing the Maxmadco I can't help but think how elegant it looks. Honestly, it is a work of art. Super sleek, almost futuristic in design that has a very clean, but commanding presence.
I'm not really sure what took me so long to purchase a Maxmadco, but when I saw that Jim had manufactured a limited run of the pen out of titanium (possibly not to be made again), I figured now was as good a time as any. It upped the price a bit, but I still took the plunge and am glad I did.
Traditionally, the Maxmadco bolt action pen has been made from either stainless steel or aluminum. The stainless version comes in at around 1.75 ounces in weight and the aluminum at 0.75 ounces. The titanium version comes in between at 1.0 ounces and is about a perfect weight. Jim has also released a bronze version as well which I'm sure is fantastic.
The pen is smaller than one might expect, or at least the diameter is a bit slimmer than a lot of the machined pens around. Most are made in the 1/2" or slightly larger, while the Maxmadco comes in at 3/8".
The main barrel and grip section of the pen are a perfect cylinder without taper which one might think may be a bit uncomfortable or bland, but with the reduced diameter it is perfect. The tip of the pen is machined to a nice cone which makes for some interesting geometry as well as provides a nice writing experience.
The end of the pen has a sharp and pronounced chamfer (looks fantastic) and carries the Maxmadco logo engraved deeply into the metal. Seriously, this pen is so slick.
The clip is made of steel and surprised me at how strong and sturdy it is despite how thin the metal is. It has flex, but I don't fear that it will bend out or wear over time. Its look, shape and design mesh so well with the fit and finish of the pen.
The clip is affixed to the pen with two stainless steel torx screws. These screws are domed which minimizes distraction from the overall design and sleekness of the pen.
The biggest question: how does the bolt action feel? Fantastic. To extend and retract the tip of the pen is so smooth and is almost effortless. There is a springiness to the bolt action that seems to catch at a certain point to take over for you. You have to use your thumb to simply get it past the edge of the flange and the spring finishes the job. This makes for a really great experience and ease of use.
The pen takes a "Parker style" refill which allows for quite a few options: Quink, Parker Gel, Fisher Space, Schmidt EasyFlow, etc. Jim has started including the Itoya gel in a 0.7mm needle which is actually quite good. This was my first experience with this brand of refill and I was pretty impressed. I will likely keep a fine, blue Fisher refill or a Schimdt EasyFlow 9000 in there as they are my go-to Parker styles.
I really can't say enough about the Maxmadco. I had built up its greatness in my mind prior to buying and can honestly say that I have not been let down in the least. The machining is fantastic, the design is exquisite, the feel is great, and it also supports a small business which I'm all about.
In the machined pen world the Maxmadco is up there in price a ways, but not outlandishly so and I feel it is worth it. If you're in the market for a new machined pen I'd put some heavy consideration on this one.