(This is a guest post by Cody H. Cody works in the agricultural sector and is a hockey and baseball player. He first discovered fountain pens over 2 years ago and has since become an enthusiast. You can find more from Cody on his blog The Pen Haul and Twitter.)
The Kaweco Sport has been on the radar for me for quite sometime. Even though it is very affordable ($25) and is different than what I already had, I still couldn’t find myself ordering one. Originally, I didn’t like how the pen looked with the tiny body and huge cap, but after seeing many pictures on social media of people saying how much they love theirs, it started to grow on me. After growing very attached to how the brass Al-sport looks, I thought it would be time to try out the cheaper option first to see how I like it.
My first thoughts when I first received the pen was “wow, this pen is light.” I know the specs and other peoples comments/reviews and specs are easily found online, but you can’t really appreciate just how light this pen is until you have it in your hands.
When I was browsing Pen Chalet’s website and finally decided to go with the Sport, I had a hell of time deciding which colour to go with. The blue looked nice, the clear would be awesome as an eyedropper, the bordeaux was just stunning, but the green was just calling my name. Since it has a gold plated nib and gold trim, I decided to add a gold plated clip as well. For $4, how could I not. I know gold is not everyone’s favourite trim colour, but in my opinion, it goes very nicely with the green. You can also pick up one in rhodium trim if that’s more your style.
This is advertised as a pocket pen and functions to do exactly that. Capped, It takes up very little real estate. The cap is a screw cap, but only take 1 1/4 turns to come off and pushes to post. This means you can get writing quite quickly after you take it out of your pocket which gives it an edge over the TWSBI Mini in the “quickness” category since you don’t have to screw it on the back to post before you start writing. You do need to post this pen to write comfortably since the barrel is so tiny, but I suppose if you were writing something super quick like checking a box, you could survive without posting. I didn’t realize how tiny this pen was without the cap (and not posted) as most pictures are of the full pen, so I thought I would share a few.
One thing that I wanted to mention about posting the cap is that it stays on the back very securely. It does require a fair bit of force to pull it straight off, so I found that twisting it slightly makes the cap come off much easier. Because of this, I have noticed little lines on the barrel where the threads touch when the cap is posted. They are not very noticeable since you can’t see them when capped or when it is posted, so if you can deal with looking at them when you are in the process of uncapping and posting your pen, you should be fine.
Like I mentioned before, the Sport is super light and small, which makes it the perfect pocket/purse (I’m guessing) pen as it shouldn’t get in the way to be too noticeable. The cap does have a hexagonal shape to it, so it won’t role off the desk if you don’t have a clip, so the only benefit of the clip is if you want to clip it on to things. Imagine that! I was concerned about the clip slipping off the pen since all you do is slip it on to install it, but after carrying it in my pants pocket for weeks, it is still very secure.
Here are a few more pictures to show you the size of this pen next to others.
This is where the pen loses a few marks in my books. First, I chose the medium nib, which was a mistake since I use this pen when I am out and about where I need quick dry time, so a fine nib would have worked out better for on the run notes. I have also started using Field Notes as my back pocket carry. For those of you familiar with Field Notes, you know that the paper is not the most fountain pen friendly, so a fine nib would have been better for that too, but I guess hindsight is 20/20.
Side note on Field Notes. The Clairefontaine pocket notebook that I reviewed earlier is a higher quality notebook in almost every way (besides dry time), but there is just something about the colours editions that they come out with quarterly that just draws me in. The Snowblind edition was the first instabuy when they were release since they are so cool with the cover that changes colour in the sun. Even with the lower quality paper, I still find that I can use fountain pens on both sides of the page. There is some bleed through, but not enough to throw me off when taking quick throw away notes. Back to the review.
The second, and more concerning issue is how the nib actually performs. Once I get going, the pen writes great with it being decently smooth with a touch of feedback. However, getting it going has been a reoccurring issue for me with hard start after hard start. At first, I thought it was because I never rinsed it before inking it up for the first time, so maybe there was manufacturing oils still sticking around, but after cleaning it and changing inks, the problem persisted. The two inks that I have used so far in it are Kaweco Palm Green and Private Reserve Avacado.
To make the pens actually write, I have begun gently tapping the nib on the page to get it going, which seems to work, but that is not how a pen is supposed to write. After talking to a few people online, the nib may suffer from a little thing called “baby’s bottom.” Check out these links to learn more about baby’s bottom, Richards Pens, Pen Addict, and SBRE Brown). There seems to be a fairly simple way to fix it with some micromesh (check out the links), but I currently don’t have any. Maybe it is time to purchase some for myself since I have a few other pens that could use some work, but in the mean time, I might drop it off at my local “pen guy” (Raven’s March) if he is able to take a look at it for me. The few videos I have seen about fixing baby’s bottom appear to be on Kaweco pens, so maybe this is more common than I had originally thought.
The last thing that I wanted to lump in with “writing experience” is the filling system. We already know that this is a small pen, so what ever is going to fill the pen has to fit inside that tiny barrel. It is a international c/c (cartridge/convertor) filling pen, but the standard long convertors and cartridges to not fit! What are we going to do!!! Well luckily Kaweco makes short cartridges that fit very nicely inside and actually has some pretty nice ink. There are also other brands such as Private Reserve, Diamine, and J. Herbin that makes short cartridges as well, so your colour selection won’t be limited to black and blue. If you really want to use your bottled ink, there are mini converters that you can buy to fit in the barrel, but your ink capacity is going to suffer. You could also do what I did and just clean out a used cartridge and fill it with a syringe. That way you can still use your favourite ink and have a slightly higher ink capacity.
To get even more ink capacity, you can convert this pen into an eyedropper, which just means putting the ink directly into the barrel. I will probably never do this to mine because of a few reasons. 1) there is more potential for ink to leak all over my pocket, 2) you can’t check to see how much ink is left (unless you have the demonstrator), 3) it might burp while writing and get ink all over the page, and 4) I like to switch ink often and more ink means waiting longer.
Besides the obvious disappointment of the hard starts, I actually quite enjoy the pen. It looks good with it’s overall shape and colours. The green and gold colour scheme just works for me! The weight and size, along with the ability for a quick post makes it perfect for being a pocket pen and being able to take quick notes. The brass Al-Sport would obviously be heavier than the plastic Sport, but I am sure that I would get over that detail rather quickly. Just look at that beauty!
For only $25 USD, you can pick up this pen at most retailers and it is quite a good value if you get a nib that works properly. For my Canadian peers, you can pick one of these up at Wonder Pens for only $28.75 CAD, which is a much better deal when you take the exchange rate into account. I will update you guys once I deal with my nib problem, but in the meantime you should check out the reviews of my fellow pen bloggers on this same pen: