I received a handmade pen (Manaslu model) from JEB's PENS a while back! It was fun experience because I got to pick the materials (alternate briar and jade) and do a bit of customization (e.g., make the pen cap postable, ask for a specific section/grip diameter, etc.). We wrote each other back and forth to solidify the details and clarify what I wanted/what he felt was possible. I was both picky and very unpicky at the same time. The feeling I had was I don't want to mess with a design that isn't broken just because of my whims.
In the end, I think we landed on something that was pretty similar to the base model's measurements (haha). The look of the pen changes since the pen blank material had different striations and colouration depending on the side of the pen you were looking at—it can look creamy/caramel at some angles!
John provided guidance and sent a lot of photos along the way, which I appreciated. Mine has a gold plated steel Jowo #6 broad nib (tuned by John) with a cartridge/converter filling system. The nib is hard but writes smooth and wet. There are some endearing details with the unpackaging experience, but I won't spoil it! From initial outreach to receiving the pen in the mail (USA to Canada), it took about 3-4 weeks! John also does completely custom work too.
It's pretty hard to tell that this is a handmade/hand turned pen because the finishing is amazing. Very shiny polished and no abrupt edges or machining marks that I can see. I can't stop admiring it!
Over time I've come to recognize that I like stubby looking pens—ones that are flat top-ish leaning, and vintage-looking. I'm also more into gold tone hardware, but that does depend on the pen body colour. John has a lot of vintage inspired models with a variety of clips, but I chose the Manaslu because it was shorter and would still fit a long international cartridge. This particular pen has a soft taper to peaks on both ends of the pen (an homage to the double peaks of Manaslu mountain)! I like that it looks like the fake verison of its intended natural materials (briar wood and jade), but is more low maintenance. It is a very special pen to me!
When I got the pen I wondered what ink to pair it with. At first I used Pennonia's Zuzmó. It's a pretty close match with the jade portion (I think the jade has more yellow, while the ink is cooler toned) and I enjoyed it for a while, but sometimes the ink isn't dark enough (depends on the paper).
I got the Wonder Pens ink primarily for...souvenir reasons since it's a shop I've patroned/visited IRL in Toronto. As I was using Writing Desk I noticed it has some similarities to Waterman's Absolute Brown, which was the very first bottle of ink I ever bought for myself. As far as I can tell, Writing desk has a bit more shading and yellow/orange undertone to it, and of course, has a bit of green sheen.
Well, now I have these two bottle of brown inks. I try to justify it to myself by saying that the Absolute brown is safer when paired with the vintage Waterman W3.
Today's music post: Sean by Aya (Lysa Aya Trenier).