It's pretty hard to believe that Karas Kustoms (AKA Karas Pen Co) has been creating and making pens for close to 6 years. Still one of my all-time favorite pen designs is their original Render K in an aluminum barrel.
For the last few years Karas has introduced some new models and variations on their all metal pens like the EDK, but their most recent pen soon to hit the market is a dabble into an entirely new world for these guys altogether. They call it the Decograph and they were kind enough to send me over one of the first production models to review here on the blog.
The Decograph is Karas' first step into the acrylic barreled market like those you'd find from Franklin Christoph, Edison, or private makers like Shawn Newton, but still with a very "Karas" feel to it.
If starting at the experience, what you receive the pen in is pretty extraordinary, and something I've really seen no other manufacturer do (unless you're heading into the really pricey territory). They've machined (yes, machined) a custom aluminum tube that acts as the pens safety "capsule" for delivery and it is awesome. I was actually blown away by how cool this was! On the capsule are machined a couple of decorative lines and a "K" shield logo.
After a few turns of the capsule, the Decograph emerges, standing at attention within a foam insert that prevents it from banging around inside the tube. With a good firm tug, the pen is removed. Usually pen packaging is either cheap or on that fine line of "do I throw it away?.." Not this packaging. Nope.
Holding the pen, it looks like a Karas pen, although is a lightweight in comparison to the aluminum, brass, and copper models we're used to but it feels sturdy and well made. All inked up it comes in at just 0.7 oz.
One thing I'll note about this pen is that it looks manufactured, but not mass produced. I'm not exactly sure how to describe it, but it is a good thing. Like, even though it is produced using machines, it still has an element of subtle character (not flaws) that makes it stand out. It is a polished execution, but it still seems to have some "makers soul" to it.
For starters, Karas will be offering just a couple of acrylic colors, but I received a glossy black with aluminum accents. The black is shiny, but not a mirror finish and the aluminum accents have a soft metal look to them.
With about 3-4 turns, the cap comes off to expose a generous section and a #6 steel Bock nib. New to Karas Pen Co is the ability to post the cap to the barrel (it is designed to do so) and it fits snuggly. Generally, unless a pen is pocket sized I don't post my caps even if they are meant to be. Call me weird, but they usually make the pen to long or too top heavy.
While using the Decograph, going unposted puts the barrel, section, and nib at just around 5", but posted jumps this up to around 6.5" which could be a considerable amount for some people. For me, I wouldn't say posting is uncomfortable, just not preferred due to the length.
For the nib I went with medium steel Bock and loaded up the included converter with Bungbox Blue ink and it has been a perfect writer from the get go. On my Leuchtturm 1917 notebook it is a wet writer with some subtle feedback.
The clip of the pen is a large, monolithic structure (in a good way) that is a two part system. The main outward facing piece a faceted, machined aluminum that is really impressive. There are subtle angles, edges and tapers that make it to be a work of machined sculpture almost on its own. This piece is then riveted to a piece of bent steel that is then held in place by the aluminum finial.
Referring to the "character" of the pen above, I feel like the clip is a key piece to that aesthetic.
The pen is finished off with a subtle makers mark, the "K" shield logo being engraved into the small aluminum end cap that wraps up the barrel. This is the first time that Karas has put their logo on a non-limited edition pen, and I think they did so with class.
Pricewise, the Decograph with a steel nib is said to be running around the $160 range which I feel is a fair ask when comparing to other pens of this kind. This being Karas' first attempt into the acrylic pen world, I feel they hit the mark pretty well.
These aren't available right this minute, but I've heard that they'll be releasing to the public this coming Friday the 15th. Keep tabs with Karas Pen Co as I'm sure they'll be making some announcements.
Thanks again to Karas Pen Co for providing the Decograph for review!