TWSBI 803 Micarta, Version 2: The Saga

TWSBI Micarta, v2
TWSBI Micarta 803, v2 (EF nib, clipless version)

I stumbled onto the FPGeeks podcast about a year or so ago, and it became an immediate staple in my car when I was driving to and from anywhere. I didn’t really understand the lingo (in fact, those first conversations often reminded me of my early days in calculus class, where the professor’s voice devolved into one long unintelligible hum). What was a twizbee? What was micarta? UNLIKE calculus class, thanks to the geeks Eric and Dan, pen knowledge seeped into my brain and pores, and before long I knew I wanted a TWSBI (oh…so THAT’S how it’s spelled) Micarta. Their descriptions of the look, the feel, and even the reportedly odd/strong smell intrigued me.

BUT, the price tag was a little steep. So I waited.

TWSBI Micarta vs. Lamy AL-Star (posted)
TWSBI Micarta vs. Lamy AL-Star (posted)

I entered the FPGeeks contest to win a Micarta, but I didn’t win. And I still didn’t buy.

TWSBI Micarta nib
Extra-fine nib

But I didn’t lose interest. I kept poking around online and reading reviews, and noted that an ever increasing number of those reviews talked about the nib being really dry. Like “it won’t write” dry. More hemming and hawing.

Months passed, and right around the time that I was finally going to go for it, there was news of a new and improved TWSBI Micarta in the works. The reports noted that the nib issue was going to be addressed with the new version. NOW I KNEW I wanted one.

Version 2 of the TWSBI 803 Micarta was released in late May and I pounced on it as soon as it was available. I’m so happy that I waited (and waited and waited). This is one very cool pen.

For one thing, it’s packaged not in a BOX, but in a TWSBI notebook. A bit of brilliance there.

TWSBI Micarta v2 packaging
It’s a pen wrapped in a notebook!

I haven’t written in the notebook yet so that’ll have to be a separate review, but I can attest to the fact that this nib performs perfectly. The EF line is crisp and quite fine (finer than a LAMY EF), with just a hint of feedback, but is in no way dry. I’ve had no issues with hard starts or skipping. Loaded with Iroshizuku tsuki-yo, it’s perfect for everyday writing in my Field Notes notebooks and Moleskine calendar.

New and improved
New and improved

Before I had the pen in hand, I pictured it feeling a little coarse or rough…like something woven…but the Micarta is smooth and warm and very organic feeling. I love the simple lines, the quiet branding, the earthy color. This is a pen that looks and feels like it could’ve been grown and harvested rather than manufactured…it’s that natural looking.

Lovely Micarta
Freshly picked Micarta

TWSBI branding
A bit of quiet branding

Micarta symbols
I cannot translate, but I like it anyway.

This a cartridge/converter pen and requires a word of caution. Because the Micarta material can reportedly stain, it’s best to fill the included converter on its own THEN install it in the pen, rather than dipping the nib and section into the bottle of ink. I’ve used this filling procedure and all is well.

Along with the improved nib, the TWSBI website states that the inner sealing cap is also “all new,” which should prevent nib-drying issues. These improvements, coupled with the notebook packaging, makes me very glad that I waited for version 2. (Though in true TWSBI fashion, folks experiencing issues with their original Micarta can swap their nib for the new one. Customer service is obviously TWSBI’s strong suit.)

There’s a sticker on the notebook’s package that offers this quote:
Cheerful, Constructive, Gentle
Enrich your life by cheer of writing

I’d go one step further…enrich your life by cheer of writing with a TWSBI Micarta.

Micarta end cap
The distinctive Micarta, in a sea of Lamys

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6 thoughts on “TWSBI 803 Micarta, Version 2: The Saga

  1. My fine nibbed Micarta V2 is very dry and scratchy, using Noodler’s Polar Brown. I may have to try it with another ink at some point, but up to now I’m extremely disappointed by my Micarta 2.

      • I contacted TWSBI.

        Result : they immediately airmailed me a replacement nib and feeder, which took 3 days from Taiwan, and now my Micarta likes like an absolute dream.

        Awesome customer service!

  2. Pingback: Link Love: 2013-07-29 - Ink Prone

  3. Great to hear! I’ve been very impressed by their customer service when I had a couple of minor issues. Just super!

  4. Great review, Mary. I went with the same options and absolutely love mine.

    One thing – I haven’t been able to put a non-brownish ink in mine yet. I’m glad to see you’re not suffering from that neurosis ;)

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