New Pen Day: Kanilea Hanauma Bay

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

Here’s one of the pens I bought at the Chicago Pen Show, in fact the last pen I bought at the pen show. It’s the Kanilea Hanauma Bay.

I really tried not to buy this pen. I tried to be sensible. But it was like going to a puppy adoption event, casually. You just want to “see the puppies.” You start playing with the little guys. Of course. Puppies are cute. Next thing you know, you’ve got little Bernard in the back seat, and you’re wondering if your husband will actually divorce you for this.

Except a fountain pen will not chew the baseboards and shred the curtains. So this was a comparatively sensible decision. Plus, it was my birthday, so the rules do not apply.

However, if you want to avoid succumbing to temptation, at least now I can help you. I can point out exactly where I went wrong: I picked it up. And then I really looked at it.

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

I kept looking. And then, it was too late. It was my puppy now.

The Hanauma Bay resin is a mixture of swirly bits and sparkly bits and even translucent bits, in blues, blue-greens, white and oranges. From every angle, in every way, it’s beautiful, and interesting.

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

The Kanilea Pen Company makes fountain pens designed around custom-made resins by Jonathon Brooks. The family behind Kanilea are Hugh and Karol Scher and Matt Baldwin, and they work with Jonathon to come up with resins that reflect elements from their travels in Hawaii. Together they’ve created eleven Kanilea fountain pen materials. This is the latest, named after Hanauma Bay in Hawaii.

There are all kinds of ways to customize a Kanilea pen, since they make five different body styles, and you can get it with a clip or clipless. Mine turns out to be the classic flush design, with a medallion in gold-plated sterling silver.

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

Even within a particular material, the resins, and thus the pens, are slightly different. This is mine.

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

I like pens in one of two categories: minimalist and modern, or colorful and fun. The pen body may be minimalist, but the material is very colorful. And very beautiful. In some spots, it makes me think of Van Gogh.

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

The material has depth. It repays your attention. You see something new every time, and on every part as you rotate it.

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

And no matter how it looks in photos, it looks much better in real life. I’d seen the pens before, in Kanilea’s wonderful product shots. That didn’t prepare me for how great they look in person.

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

It’s not surprising for a pen made in small numbers, with this care and attention, and with custom-designed material, but these are expensive. Mine was $395 with a steel nib. It’s a cartridge-converter pen, and you have a choice of steel nibs from extra-fine to stub. Or you could upcharge to a gold nib if you wanted. Hugh adjusts the nib to your liking. Mine has the steel stub.

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

A pen in this price range isn’t an impulse buy, or at least it wasn’t for me. But I had sold some pens and could buy this. And I haven’t had any second thoughts — in fact, the opposite. I feel pretty lucky to have it.

The nib writes well after Hugh’s ministrations, and the pen body is lightweight and a good size, with a comfortable section. I enjoy writing with it. But the bottom line is, it’s just gorgeous. And very time I pick it up, I’m delighted.

Kanilea Hanauma Bay

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Artwork by Mary Jo Ernst, sketched at the 2018 Chicago Pen Show. Mary Jo can be found on Instagram under @mysteriousmannequin.

17 thoughts on “New Pen Day: Kanilea Hanauma Bay

  1. I’ve held the pen owner by Mr. Fountain Pen Day – and I loved the substantial feel of the pen. Not too light weight and the medium nib he had on that pen was tuned perfectly. One thing he said is that the body of the pen is the nib holder of your favorite nib. The last two years I glanced over at their table but I’ve always kept on walking. Enjoy your pen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That’s a very good way to look at it, with so many interesting #6 nib options now available, including some with modifications, like those from Franklin-Christoph, or Ralph Reyes of Regalia Writing Labs.

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  2. Oh, my. That’s lovely. Brooks knows his materials and Hugh & Carol know how to craft a stunner.
    And, I’m going to use the “well, no, I didn’t need a new pen but it is cheaper than a dog/cat/gecko/etc”. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that one really is a looker! I can imagine how it would stand out from the crowd, in a sea of “normal”pens. And it was your birthday. (Happy Birthday by the way!). What a lovely way to mark the occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it is! 😊
        I have just been looking at the Kanilea pen company web site and reading about them. I see that there is currently a 10 to 14 week wait, so you did well to get one. It is a joy to have a fountain pen that lifts your spirits every time you pick it up.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Cool! That makes it all even more sensible, then! πŸ˜† Although, might that be the wait be for one that’s custom-made? Where you pick the material and the body style and then they make it to your specifications?

          It might be worth emailing them. I could have bought about six different pen designs — there was one modeled on the volcano that was amazing, and the blue ones were all gorgeous, I thought. There was even a brown and white one that was beautiful beautiful. Well, they were all amazing; it just depends what appeals.

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          1. Yes, on their web site, you can select one of the five profiles, whether to have a clip or medallion, nib width and nib material so it seems these are custom made to order, unless they have your choice in stock. It is nice that every one is unique due to differences in the resin patterns.

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  4. It doesn’t hurt that Hugh and Karol are such nice people, too. I haven’t purchased one of their pens but I’ve certainly spent some nice time chatting with them at shows and I’m very happy for them with the success of their venture. “Bernard”. Indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a glorious post on so many levels… stunning pen, great photographs, detailed write-up, even the background artwork is great.

    “… like going to a puppy adoption event, casually.” Ooooh, that’s so right. How do you think we ended up with seven cats? There was nothing casual about it πŸ™‚

    PS. Did you ever get your Sailor cap issue resolved? I feel your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

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