Oh, Micarta

Sometimes you splurge, and regret it. Other times…

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I have been eyeing this beautiful thing for months. It’s over my normal per pen allotment, and I am trying to rein in my spending, not just on pens. But a week or two ago something clicked and I found myself realizing I’d dropped a little over a hundred dollars for the TWSBI Micarta, clipless, with an EF Nib. I half expected, once I’d ordered it, to have the excitement wear off, but instead I watched the UPS site shift my delivery date, moving it closer and closer, obsessively checking multiple times a day. I was excited for this pen.

It’s a simple silhouette, and the TWSBI nibs are good, but not life changing in my limited experience. But even so, there was something about the material, and the overall look that stuck with me. The roughness of the threading, the variations in texture and finish all over, and the material telegraphing it’s construction in the final form. Everyone who sees this, in pictures or in person, immediately asks what it’s made of, and half the time guess something along the lines of its actual construction. That clarity, from material to manufactured product, is beautiful.

TWSBI package it up in a notebook. The paper is nice, too. Perforated sheets, leaving a permanent nook for the Micarta, and it takes fountain pen inks well. I opened the notebook and there it was.

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Now, as much as I love fountain pens, at work I tend to switch between my Monteverde Artista Crystal and a couple of rollerballs. The rollerballs are easy, fast writers, good for notes and quick scribbled things. This means I don’t keep ink at work, and in general when I get a new pen I’ll open it at work, but it sits uninked till I get home, and sometimes it’ll sit for a few days before its first time. But not the Micarta.

I brought a syringe and some Noodler’s Burma Road Brown (adding in a few "surprise me" ink samples on every Goulet Pens order is a gift that keeps on giving) with me to work, and as soon as I had the pen out set to work filling the converter. It took a bit to get the ink through the feed. Long enough that I was starting to worry I’d gotten a bum feed, but a bit of patience and some gentle pressure via the plunger solved it. In hindsight I should have probably flushed the nib and feed to be safe, but I just couldn’t wait. And after that initial delay it was writing beautifully. And still is writing beautifully.

As much as I love how this pen looks, it writes like a dream. If I leave it uncapped for a few minutes it’ll take a bit of nudging, but otherwise it’s smooth and consistent. The EF was wider than I expected at first, too, but over the course of the first couple days it was worn in a bit. Now it writes a clear, consistent, thin line every time. There’s not much flex at all, but you can get a tiny bit of variation with some pressure, in practice I don’t do that though.

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It’s rocketed to the top of my list. Just right to the very top. It’s not an every day carry. I take it with me to work some days, always living in the Micarta notebook, but for me this is a pen for longer writing. I love it most when I can take the time to write more than some meeting notes or an offhand thought. Letters, journaling, those times when I want to really enjoy the experience and the utility is somewhat beside the point. It’s an incredibly useful, and usable pen, don’t get me wrong. But the material feels so good in your hand that I am happiest when I can stretch out the experience. The last week and a half it’s become the go-to for letter writing (something I am finally doing with some regularity after years of talking about getting back to it).

It’s a splurge, and not even the splurgiest pen on my wishlist, but a splurge nonetheless. But this one, I don’t regret at all.