There are times when someone is willing to do something perhaps a little bit crazy to attempt something new. I would say that Kelvin from Urban Survival Gear has broken the mold a bit and done just that...
Some history, Kelvin is the owner and proprietor of Urban Survival Gear, a relatively new name to the scene that released the TiScribe machined pens to the Kickstarter world in 2015 which were a hit. He has a strong and loyal following, his gear is well made, and he has a great sense of humor which shows in his videos. A guy doing what he enjoys which is fantastic.
Back to breaking the mold, Kelvin has been working the last several months on his newest project, the TiScribe HL which launched recently on Kickstarter (HL being for highlighter). If you're putting the puzzle pieces together, Kelvin created a machined highlighter! Let that sink in a bit.
He was kind enough to send me one of his brass sample prototypes of the TiScribe HL, which I'd like to offer a big "thanks" for sharing one to check out.
As a sort of semantics thought, the name "TiScribe" on a brass pen/highlighter seems a bit of an interesting choice, but I wager BrassScribe doesn't quite have the same ring to it. Regardless, it doesn't take away from the experience and I'm just going down roads of branding philosophy questions.
The TiScribe HL capped comes in just shy of 14cm. A good size considering the weight is just about 1.4oz. The diameter of the pen is quite slim around 1cm which makes it quite comfortable in the hand.
The cap does post via an o-ring nestled in a groove at the end of the pen, but oddly enough I found it a bit on the weighty side when put on there. The cap is small, but takes up a surprising 30% almost of the overall weight of the pen. Not uncommon with metal pens though it seems. The Lamy 2000 stainless model cap comes in at around the same ratio. Still, I find that posting it adds a hint to much weight to the end. Can I write (or, highlight rather) with it posted? Certainly. It isn't uncomfortable or unbearable, but not ideally balanced which I'm sure is a feat.
This particular cap came with the magnet option. It doesn't serve a purpose on posting the pen or securing the cap, but more to have a place to stick the cap (on something metal close by) as to not lose it. Or, could mount the whole pen somewhere I'd wager.
There are actually three o-rings on the HL (four if you include one used to snug the refill in). We spoke of the one near the tail end that holds the cap, another that fits inside the end cap (which holds in the refill, and the other by the section which acts as a seal for the cap.
The overall machining quality of the HL is quite nice. Edges are clean, chamfers are sharp, and the threads work well. The brass always help to create a smoother threading experience.
The texture of the cap machining is different than that of the barrel. It has a physical machined "groove" along the surface which you can see and feel. The barrel is super smooth which is a bit of a contrast. When parts are machined, the speed at which you cut and the tools used produce different results, so not sure if they are done to different specs or he completes the part with varying finishes. Whether intentional or not, the machined "groove" on the cap provides some grip.
All TiScribe models come with machined grooves in the section for design and added grip. They are soft to the touch with no sharp edges and provide some texture to hold onto.
The refill used is for a Montblanc highlighter which, how to put it, is an expensive highlighter refill. Retailing around $10 a pop, if you highlight a lot of stuff you may have some higher than normal refill budget requirements when using the TiScribe HL. Granted, there aren't a ton of great highlighter refill options like this on the market, but just something that needed to be brought up.
I don't use highlighters in my day to day very often, but this refill works extremely well. It has a nice, sharp chisel tip which makes working in smaller word spaces easier.
In addition to the HL, when Kelvin reached out to me I asked him if I could also buy one of his TiScribe 1.5 titanium model pens which I've been enjoying as well. The pen could see its own review sometime in the future, but he has made these newer models available as part of the Kickstarter if backers wanted to add one to their pledge. I've been using the Schmidt Fineliner in mine, which was new to Kelvin!
If you love machined pens or are a fan of Kelvin's work (and use highlighters), this may be a perfect product for you. The pledge levels are actually quite inexpensive ranging from $46 - $54 (brass - titanium) which surprised me.
Thanks again to Kelvin for sending me a sample of the TiScribe HL and definitely check out his Kickstarter campaign if this is up your alley. The campaign is only up for about another week so make sure to take a look before it closes.