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A Pen by Ryan Krusac


I didn't put this pen's name in the title because this model doesn't really have a name (you'll see one like it at the bottom of this link). It's design that I kept seeing at pen shows and I kept resisting. Then, at the end of the Raleigh show this year, I stopped resisting. This cool, hour-glass-shaped pen is made from cocobolo wood. I don't think I've seen anything made of cocobolo that wasn't really beautiful. It's a reddish wood that tends to be very durable and swirly. Plus, it's a fun name to say. Try it out:  "cocobolo."

So, check out this awesome Ryan Krusac pen!



Capped - 5.21"
Uncapped - 5.10"
Cap - 2.16"


Section closest to the nib: 8mm
Section just before the threads: 9mm

Top end of the cap: 17.4mm
Bottom end of the body: 20.4mm


Ryan's pens come in these display cases. This sort of pen usually has a custom-carved hole in the foam to accommodate its unusual shape, but I got this one at a pen show, and it fits well enough in the slot that I didn't want to have him take the time to carve out the right shape. He offered, though.

  It's the only pen box that I've left out on my desk.


In a word: beautiful. The wood is rich and reddish. It's very smooth to the touch but not slippery at all. the asymmetry of the design is really pleasing to my eye, and the chrome ends and waist break it up beautifully.

The section is metal, and it slopes down from the top to the bottom of the section. You can see the threads on the section there, but they're shallow and flat. Even if you grip on the threads, they hardly feel like they're there. A metal section is a no-no for lots of people, but the extra weight of the barrel and the width of that barrel really help to keep the section in my fingers. Anyway, it doesn't feel slippery. 

This is the only marking on the pen, and it's Ryan's logo. I love minimal branding. 

Here are all the of parts. It's  pretty standard on the inside. Metal threads, so don't eyedropper it. Also, I'm not sure that the inside of the pen is sealed, either, so you know. Don't do that.

Nib performance

It's a Dayacom nib, which I'm not familiar with. I don't thin I saw this nib on his other pens at the last show, so he may get the nibs from some other vendor or he may just be customizing the ones that he gets from Dayacom. I don't know the answer to that one.

Anyway, it's a smooth nib that never fails to start. I've actually had the same ink in this pen for a few months, but it's never dried out or evaporated, so the cap must have a really solid seal on it.

Check out the video review for a live writing sample.

How's it feel?

It's pretty great in the hand. It's weighty without being heavy. The nib glides. The wider end of the pen fits really well in the web of my hand.


From left to right: TWSBI Eco, Lamy Al-Star, Krusac, Faber-Castell Loom, Bexley Phoenix, Pilot Custom 74.

 You can't post this pen, so I didn't bother with a posted comparison shot. This pen is pretty much the same length as the most popular pens out there, though it's going to be heavier in the hand than either the Eco or the Al-Star.

Video Review


I really like this pen. It's beautiful to look at, it feels nice in the hand, and it writes every time. What more can you want?

**I bought this. Not a review sample or anything. Just a cool pen. **

Franklin-Christoph Urushi Red


 It's another new ink from Franklin-Christoph, and this one has a bunch of shading to it. Urushi Red is a dark reddish ink that shades from a thin pinkish red to a pretty dark brick hue. To my eye, it looks like some of the really awesome urushi pens out there.

If you're not familiar with what urushi is, well, it's lacquer. It's pretty hot in the pen world right now (and has been for a while) because the pens that are lacquered with urushi are awesome. The lacquer is applied in dozens of thin layers, and this means that you end up with an incredible depth of color on the pen. Sometimes different colors are used in those layers It also means months of hand-work per pen, and that means a high cost. The other thing is the that urushi lacquer work is meant to last for centuries. Those amazing Japanese lacquer paintings that you might think of when you think of antiquities are done in urushi. Yeah.

Expect to pay four figures for an urushi pen. I was really tempted by the one I linked above, but I didn't buy it. Four figures is about one figure out of my comfort zone right now. Maybe one day.

This is a picture from the Chatterly Luxuries site. They have lots of beautiful urushi pens.

I had this in three pens (and 4 nibs), and I never had any issues with the flow of this ink. No hard starts, and no skipping. It does seems a little thinner than I'm used to in a Franklin-Christoph ink. This was what made me a little skeptical of the ink at first. It's just not as satisfying as a really saturated ink when it hits the paper. I was underwhelmed.

When it dries, though, it looks really good. The shading and hue that you see in the pictures below is really excellent, and I shouldn't have been so hasty in my estimation of this ink.

Written Review

I'm just noticing that the bottom left corner of the above picture is out of focus. Darn. Well, you'll see the better pictures below anyway. Document photography ain't easy. 


I'm going to give you some different angles to capture the character of this ink.

There's just a little bit of sheen in the picture above, but I wouldn't expect to see that in your regular writing. Maybe if you used a dip pen or something, but I don't think that would work well.

Color Comparisons

 I don't like the nib that is in the Black Swan pen. It's just not been acting right. That's my excuse for the weird handwriting, anyway.

Various Papers

 These two (above and below) are in my Ink Journal with Tomoe River paper.
 The picture below is in a Currently Inked Journal from Pen Habit's Matt Armstrong. I think it's wheat paper of some sort.

Copy Paper Test

 There are some spots of bleed-through in this picture, but keep in mind that 2/3 of these nibs are broad, wet, stubs. That's pretty good performance for a wettish ink in a nib like that.


I didn't notice it before, but there's just a hint of violet at the top of that chromatography. Neat!

Water Test and Review Video

Yeah, really no water resistance. Not a shock. Most red inks don't have much of that for some reason.

Okay, so you can find this at the Franklin-Christoph web site for $12.50 in either the regular or the eye-dropper bottle (that's what I got, and you can see it in the video). Both (contrary to what I said in the video) are 2oz bottles.

***Special Circumstances: As you probably know, my wife works at Franklin-Christoph. I'm going to keep reviewing their pens and inks. You can, I hope, trust in my objectivity. In any case, what you see in the pictures and video is my experience with the ink, and I ain't gonna fake anything. This wasn't a review sample, though. It was just about the only thing I bought at the DC show.***

Papier Plume Garden District Azelea


This is the last of the New Orleans Collection from Papier Plume. Garden District Azelea is a soft pink ink that really captures the pink blossoms of an azelea. Thanks for sending this one out for review, Papier Plume!

It's a very limited edition, so if you want to get your hands on one of the 60 bottles that will be sold you should set an alarm for 11am CST on Friday 9/16 and click this link. 
This is Papier Plume's picture. Not mine. Fancy, right?

Written Review


Yeah, I messed up the word "Vanishing" above. I forgot the last "n" and then messed up the "g" while was trying to shoe-horn it in there. Oh well. You get the idea.

There's a pretty big difference between the fine nib and the medium nib on those two pens, and you can really see a big difference in the appearance of the ink.

It's a nice pink ink, but it's a little thin, and so it ends up looking better on more average paper. Check out the Pen Habit Currently Inked sample below. The more-absorbent paper makes the ink look better, I think.

Color Comparisons

This is really cool. That streak of high-lighter yellow at the top was a total surprise.

Copy Paper Test

The behavior isn't great. It's got some bleed, feather, and spread on the 20lb copy paper. You're not all that likely to use an ink like this at work, though, so you'll probably keep it on better paper. So, not a huge deal.

Pen Habit Currently Inked Book
I think it looks best on this paper, really.

Ink Journal (Tomoe River)

You can really tell how thin the ink is on the Tomoe River paper, and its not a great look. It comes off under-saturated.

Bonus Action Shots

Video Review and Water Test