Karas Kustoms has really made a name for themselves in the pen community over the last few years. Their innovative designs, materials, and durability have helped build a loyal fan base of their products. Located in Mesa, Arizona, about 20 miles outside of Phoenix, their products are all manufactured in the United States and they control everything from the design to fabrication. Needless to say, their quality standard is pretty high. The review today is of the Karas Kustom Fountain K, but this isn’t the normal Fountain K, this model has been upgraded with a Bock Titanium Flex Nib. This was sent to me for review by the fine folks at Karas Kustoms.
I really like the packaging that Karas Kustoms uses. The pen comes in a simple folded cardboard box branded with the Karas Kustoms logo, pictures of their various models, and the phrases “Fully Machined in the USA”, “Quality writing instruments”, and “Dozens of satisfied customers” and their website karaskustoms.com. I am not a huge fan of wasteful over-engineered boxes that take up drawer space, and I like that if I choose to keep the box it takes up little space or if I decide to get rid of the box, I can recycle it. Inside the box is the pen, instructions and product info, as well as five ink cartridges, a Schmidt converter, and a really interesting spacer and spring which can be used to hold the cartridges in place.
My first thoughts are that this pen is beautifully designed and has a great industrial look. The weight and finish of the Fountain K, make it feel like it will survive any conditions you take it into.
The Fountain K comes in a number of finishes, materials, and colors and you can customize the body and grip sections to get the materials and colors you would like. This model is subtle glossy black anodized 6061 aluminum with a black anodized aluminum grip section. Since it is aluminum, it is very light weight but it feels robust and strong. The cap is a screw on and is triple start threaded and secures with only 1 ½ turns. The threads are not sharp and are barely noticeable, even if you grip the pen higher when you write. The grip section on the Fountain K is smooth but there is a slight taper outward at the end which works like a finger stop. The cap does not post on the Fountain K but they are postable on other models. Even without posting the pen is a good length and fits nicely in my hands without being too short or too long. My favorite parts of this pen is the top of the cap and clip. The cap has checkering around the top which helps to grip when you are unscrewing and screwing the cap on and off. The clip is held in place by two screws, which makes me feel like the pen will stay where it is clipped. The clip is tight but very usable and slides on and off of shirt pockets easily.
Now on to the nib, this is where things get interesting. The standard Fountain K comes with a stainless steel Bock #5 nib in: extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1mm, and 1.9mm. You can choose to upgrade your nib to include: a black colored nib for $5 more, a 14k medium or broad nib for $90 more, or a titanium nib in extra-fine, medium, or broad for $35 more. I had the extra-fine put in this one for the review to get a pretty good amount of line variation. There is a little bit of feedback as you write which is pleasant and lets you know you are writing. The titanium nib has a great amount of flex and appears to go from extra-fine with no pressure up to almost a broad or slightly larger with decent pressure. The feed keeps up really well, even with fairly “dry” inks, but does railroad if you push it too far. A simple tap on the paper helps get the ink flowing again and you are ready to start writing again. In my opinion the $35 upgrade for the titanium nib is worth every penny and it has been a delight writing with it. I have had a few friends, both fountain pen users and non-fountain pen users, borrow this pen and they all agree that it is a wonderful writer for daily use and for giving a little upgrade to your writing with the flex.
The pen accepts standard international cartridges or a converter. Due to being all metal it is not possible to eye-dropper the pen.
The base price of the Fountain K is $80.00 USD, with the upgraded titanium nib the pen becomes $115.00 USD. I think this price is well worth it for a well built, machined aluminum, durable, fountain pen with a flexible titanium nib. This nib outperforms many of the steel nib and even gold nib pens I have used at the same or even triple the price point. I would highly recommend this pen to anyone looking for a “Next-level” pen that is reliable and can take anything you throw at it.
Hi I am Eric. I am 31 years old living near Baltimore. I became interested in typewriters and pens in high school and fell down the fountain pen rabbit hole in 2011. My knowledge and taste in pens, ink, and paper has grown and changed extensively over that time. I love to travel, read, write, collect things, and above all else…. learn. Even if it is something I have seen or read a hundred times, there is always something new to learn.