Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kaweco Sport Classic


I apologize for the photography in the review; these pictures were taken while I was at the cabin, and there was some undesirable weather up there (northern Minnesota). Until the Kaweco Sport, the Lamy Safari was pretty much the only other pen that I was willing to trust not to leak in my pockets. The Kaweco Sport also has a threaded cap for extra protection, which provides additional confidence that a pool of ink wont suddenly appear through my pants. The paper I used for this test is 80 gram Rhodia paper, and the Kaweco felt silky smooth. While some fountain pens only feel smooth on higher-tier paper, the Kaweco feels quite smooth on even the cheaper grades of paper that I have tried. Yep, I am really loving this one. 


What is not visible in this photo is the scratches on the barrel that were inflicted by my car keys. Either way, keep this one  away from sharp metal unless you feel that scuffing and scratchers adds character to your pens. 


The scuffing I was talking about actually shows up a bit in this image. Look near the back of the barrel. Do you seen the spot that looks like a finger print or a smudge? That happened on several areas of the pen. At $15.00 (U.S.), I might just get a second one that is meant for home and bring this one out and about. According to JetPens, the nib is a 23 karat gold-plated nib. Here is their product info:

"Kaweco is a German company that has been manufacturing fine quality writing instruments since 1883. The sporty and compact look of these fountain pens transcend fashion time and are just as attractive today as they were when they were first created years ago. Each pen is made of high-quality, colorful plastic and is compact when capped (approx. 4.1 inches long), but very comfortable when posted (5.3 inches long). Thus the Kaweco slogan "Small in the pocket, great in the hand". Each pen features a screw-on cap for extra security and a 23 KT gold plated stainless steel nib with an iridium tip. The Germany-made pens reveal a Kaweco metal logo on the top of the cap. One free blue ink international short cartridge is included, more ink colors are available separately at JetPens. Included cartridge will be inside pen upon receipt."



Besides the photogenic view of the nib, this image also gives a better idea of what the ink looks like. It is a light, soft blue. It is not very saturated at all, and the overall properties remind me of a J. Herbin ink: well-behaved, dries quickly, and doesn't stain or create concern about potential clogging. 



I understand if you don't like the opulence of a gold nib, but you might want to let go of that aversion for this one. 


Okay, so the one major downfall of this pen is that the size more or less prohibits the use of a converter. I've heard rumors that there are some converters small enough to fit this barrel but, in an effort to save on money, I will probably just refill the cartridges or convert this pen to an eyedropper. JetPens has a tutorial on the eyedropper conversion, and you can get a cartridge refill kit at the Goulet Pen Company. I've written quite a bit with the included short international cartridge, and it looks like I've barely used any, so it's not like you'll have to replace the cartridge after just a few pages. 


In short, I highly, highly recommend this one. I think this one is a must for your collection, or it would be a perfect starter pen if you want to see just how amazing a fountain pen can be. 

17 comments:

  1. I have one of these in transparent, with a B nib. It has to be the best $15 fountain pen. It is so smooth... I'm really on a fence if I should convert it to eyedropper or not.

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  2. I am looking forward to seeing your review, too. I am curious about how much ink the broad puts down. I'd say converting it would be worthwhile, but be careful; the threads may not be big enough for an o-ring, and then you just have to trust that the silicone grease will hold.

    If you do convert it, I would recommend using a less saturated ink to prevent staining. While I've read that the Kaweco is ABS plastic, it does not hold up as well as a Lamy does, at least in terms of scratch resistance.

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  3. This is a great little pen. My one has few fine scratches and I wish the surface would be more scratch resistant.
    I'm thinking about to buy the converter (5$), just to use other inks easier. "On the road" I use Pelikan's 4001 in different colours but I would like to use the brown and this is not available.

    The other cartridges (Visconti or J.Herbin) are a bit more pricey - if one like other colours than blue.
    Otherwise it makes no sense. A pack of 50 blue/black cartridges costs about 2.50$ and Pelikan's koenigsblau cardridges in a glass of 100 around 5$.
    And for a travel pen ... I wouldn't like to travel with an ink pot or a syringe on a flight.
    Two extra cartridges for a week or two is enough, for me. And before is describe something in detail, I just handle it as follow
    "A picture is worth a thousand words".

    At home I refill the cartridge with a syringe. My chosen brown: Waterman Habana and Diamine Saddle Brown.

    The next order includes the case and an Inkroller or Ballpoint.

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  4. Thank you for posting about this fountain pen. I've been wanting one for a while, but live in a rural area and pretty much have only the internet to shop from. It's been hard to figure out what to get when I really don't know much about them yet. I think I'll try to find this one and give it a try. A nice price for a beginning pen. Thanks again!

    Sharon

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  5. The Monteverde "Mini" Converter supposedly fits this pen. The Monteverde converter is reported to be around 2 3/8" (60.4mm) long. I prefer to just refill cartridges with a blunt syringe.

    JetPens says Kaweco is forcing the price of this pen UP 40% in the U.S. starting Monday 12 June 2011, from $15 to $21 each. There are price increases for the other pens in the Kaweco line too.

    Regards, David

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  6. Marc - I absolutely agree that this pen should be more scratch resistant. ABS plastic or not, this pen doesn't seem nearly as scratch resistant as a Lamy, or many other pens for that matter. I didn't know about the case, but I think I would like the rollerball, especially when I've recently read about an eyedropper conversion (JetPens). It sounds very interesting. And yes, I do not prefer traveling with an ink pot or a syringe, and I don't think it would be possible given travel guidelines/restrictions.

    I have been on a bit of a brown kick lately. I should try the Waterman Habana and Diamine Saddle Brown. Thanks for posting.

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  7. Happeningsonchaosranch - Apparently the cost is going up (see the comment below yours) but, even so, this is a fantastic pen to start out with. I have tried most of the entry level fountain pens in the $25 and under range, and I think this is the best. If you can find a Lamy Safari with a good nib, you will also have a great pen for the money. The problem is that Lamy seems to have terrible quality control; I have purchased extra fine nibs that have varied from super dry and scratchy to a near medium size. I have also purchased a fine that was finer than an extra fine, which is a huge problem. But I still love Lamy pens.

    At any rate, get either a Lamy Safari or a Kaweco Sport, or both, and let me know what you think. But be careful, because you might find yourself using your food/rent/necessities fund on pens, and it will happen... and it will be great!

    Thanks for posting.

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  8. David - I have heard about that converter fitting. I think I will stick with a syringe (since I have one already), but let me know if you try that converter. I have been eyeing up the Monteverde Invincia Stealth, though, especially since Office Supply Geek and Pocket Blonde both love theirs.

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  9. I'd like to do an eyedropper conversion of my Kaweco Sport Ice pen with silicone grease and o-rings...but I need to know the exact size of o-rings since I need to order them. The places that sell every conceivable size of 0-ring require one to buy ~25 or 50 so getting the size right is a bit vital. http://www.mcmaster.com/#metric-o-rings/=cvf1o4 even has metric sizes.

    Does anyone know the exact size for the perfect o-rings? would the inner ring be smaller than the one used for the outer threads? all help appreciated!

    And any insights into silicone grease? eBay has the Dow Corning 111 heavy for sale stating it is ideal for pen conversions but I do not know if the stuff sold on amazon or Home Depot are heavy or lighter. The pen companies seriously mark it up so prefer to buy elsewhere. Ditto for o-ring pricing!

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  10. I am not sure about the size of the o-ring, but I would certainly be curious to know, too. The silicone grease that I bought at Home Depot seems to be working perfectly in my Platinum Preppy conversion, which you can get in the plumbing section.

    Keep me posted on your results!

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  11. Monteverde converters work great on my Kaweco sport. Use a #5 O-ring for best results when converting to eyedropper.:)

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  12. 15$ for this pen? I paid 27$ at jet pens.com?? I don't understand how over a period of one year this pen could increase in price by 12$!! Doesn't make any sense? That's like almost double the former price! Someone tell me why...

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    1. This is all Barack Obama's fault! Vote for freedom Romney 2012!!

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  13. Regarding to Eye Dropper conversion, I tried using teflon tape and some kind of silicon dielectric grease for automotive application. Neither worked out. If I remember correctly they leaked. I ended up having red or blue fingers. My last and current solution is Permatex #9 Tack and Seal, gasket sealant. This isn't the reusable sealant for Rolls Royce jet engine but close enough for me. I expect to be able to disassemble, refill with ink and reassemble without reapplying the sealant.

    I do however have blurb problem when the ink level went below about 40%. Seems if I hold the pen upright with warm hand for some time before writing with it, it would not blurb.

    I prefer Kaweco Sports over Lamy Safari. Safari lasted for about a year in my pants pocket. Then the cap became quite loose. I do not expect Kaweco to have the same problem since the cap was fastened with thread. It takes extra seconds to remove the cap but the Kaweco cap is much much more durable.
    But my bright yellow Safari is cool looking. It stays at home though, and Kaweco gets to travel with me.

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    1. If it's that much of a hassle, I'll probably skip the conversion. I've done it with the Platinum Preppy, but my paranoia about the barrel cracking grew to the point where I dumped it out...

      Thanks for sharing your experience with the conversion - you've likely saved me some time (and a headache).

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    2. My experience with the ED conversion is just the opposite of Rich's. I have 4 Sport Ice models that I converted over a year ago, I use them almost daily and I haven't any problems. O-rings are not needed, just a little silicone grease.

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    3. My experience with it was good. I purchased it from http://www.truemarkercolors.com and had no issue.

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