New Pen Day: Charleston from Jonathon Brooks of Carolina Pen Company

Jonathon Brooks acrylic Carolina Pen Company

Because a thing is not worth doing if it’s not done to excess, I had no sooner plucked my urushi Charleston from Jonathon Brooks’s table at the Chicago Pen Show, than I found another.

This one is a Charleston in acrylic that Jonathon also made. It became my second purchase at the pen show, all in two minutes of shopping. That is because I am perfectly normal and sensible. Not because pens are shiny.

Jonathon Brooks acrylic Carolina Pen Company

I could say I bought “only” two. Because I liked a lot of Jonathon’s pens. I was especially tempted by one in multi-colored acrylic. But even I couldn’t justify that. “Not three,” I said, virtuously.

But I kept a yearning eye on that one for the rest of the show. Until some wonderful person with very good taste bought it. Not all heroes wear capes. Thank you, friend.

Jonathon Brooks acrylic Carolina Pen Company

This one is amazing. The material is black with sparkles, interspersed with a few clouds of dark blue. It’s very interstellar. Jonathon had a second that was similar, but with green, based on the Northern Lights. That one looked great, too. This one was my choice because blue is my favorite color.

This comes with a steel Jowo nib of your choice, and I picked the 1.1 mm stub.

Jonathon Brooks acrylic Carolina Pen Company

That’s very nice to write with, like all Jowo 1.1 mm stubs.

It’s a cartridge/converter pen, and Jonathon once again inked this for me with the very attractive Robert Oster Soda Pop Blue. I’ve grown fond of the ink. Perhaps from now on I’ll only buy pens inked with Soda Pop Blue. Take that, boring brown American soda pop.

Jonathon Brooks acrylic Carolina Pen Company

This pen cost $175. That’s expensive compared to my Safaris, but I think it’s a good deal. Aesthetically this pen is a little like my beautiful urushi and gold Charleston. It’s sparkly, it’s made of special material, and it’s subtle but with depths that repay close attention.

Jonathon Brooks acrylic Carolina Pen Company

For specifics of the Charleston model, I refer you to the prior post. It’s a large pen, and lightweight, with a comfortable section. It posts securely, but I like it unposted.

Jonathon Brooks had a hand in all three pens I bought at the show this year, since he also makes the gorgeous resin that Kanilea conceived for the Hanauma Bay pen. I love the work Jonathon does, and the work Hugh and Karol and Matt at Kanilea do with him. And they are all great people, as my friend Jon has pointed out. Which is nice.

In the end, I’m chuffed. Three amazing pens. I’m very fortunate I could swing that. But I’m surprised that I wanted to. I have been selling off pens for a while, and I haven’t had much interest in buying. Until these happened.

New Pen Day: Urushi Charleston from Jonathan Brooks of Carolina Pen Company

Jonathon Brooks urushi Carolina Pen Company

This is the first pen I bought this year at the Chicago Pen Show. It’s from Jonathon Brooks, it is urushi with gold flakes, and it is something.

Jonathon makes gorgeous resins for penmakers like Kanilea Pen Co. and Franklin-Christoph, but he also makes his own pens, from various materials, through his Carolina Pen Company. This is the Charleston model, which he finished in tamenuri urushi with gold flake.

I really like the pen design. Barrel and cap are tapered, and a little curvy, with pointed ends. The Charleston’s shape calls to mind the Nakaya Piccolo and the Edison Pearl, though unlike those pens, the Charleston cap is slightly wider than the pen body.

Jonathon Brooks urushi Carolina Pen Company

And there are the gold flakes.

I just like looking at the finish.

Jonathon Brooks urushi Carolina Pen Company

It’s so nice-looking.

Jonathon Brooks urushi Carolina Pen Company

The gold flakes are subtle, with colors ranging from reddish to yellow.

Jonathon Brooks urushi Carolina Pen Company

But, we can also talk about practicality. Because as nice as this pen looks, it actually is just as comfortable to use. It’s lightweight, with a relatively long pen body, and a long section, and a nice girth. Because the cap is a little wider, there is only a tiny step down to the threads and section. And the long section is easy to hold.

In fact, the pen’s size and weight is one reason I picked this one instead of a urushi pen one from bigger, better-known brand. Another reason is the personal touch. I like that Jonathon makes his pens on a smaller scale. He only had four urushi pens on his table, all different. And as much as I like traditional urushi, raden and makie pens, it’s also nice to see innovation. This pen isn’t exactly traditional. And I like that about it.

Jonathon Brooks urushi Carolina Pen Company

The nib is a #6  Jowo 14k gold nib, marked with the Carolina Pen Company logo. Mine is a fine, but you can swap in any other #6 Jowo nib, even those made by Franklin-Christoph or Edison or after-market sellers of interesting nibs.

The Jowo fine gold nib is a standard Jowo fine, slightly on the finer side, which is exactly how I like it. It writes well. Jonathon filled mine with Robert Oster Soda Pop Blue, which I’d never used before, and really like.

The pen came with a pen rest and a pen sleeve; I picked pink for the sleeve.

DSC_6675

It’s a cartridge-converter pen and uses international cartridges, which is an easy-to-clean filling system allowing a lot of flexibility.

And, again, the pen’s size really works for me. Here’s a comparison to other well-known pens — from left to right, a Montblanc LeGrand (146), a Lamy Vista, the Charleston, an Aurora Optima and a Pelikan 400.

Jonathon Brooks urushi Carolina Pen Company size comparison

Here are the pens uncapped. Notice the Charleston’s nice long section.

Jonathon Brooks urushi Carolina Pen Company size comparison

I find the pen perfectly comfortable to use unposted. Though I have smaller hands it seems large enough for people with larger hands, too.

Despite the gold flakes, the pen isn’t really blingy. It catches your eye, and invites you to look closely to discover why.

DSC_6683

It’s a lovely pen. It’s another pen I just love to look at, even when I’m not writing with it.

I really have nothing that isn’t positive to say. The craftsmanship is flawless. The finish looks beautiful and the cap screws on well. I like writing with it. I like seeing it. And I like having a pen by Jonathon Brooks: he’s a first-rate pen and materials maker, but he seems like an even better person. And I feel very lucky to have this beautiful pen.

DSC_6712