Kudos: Handcrafted Pen Made From Exotic Wood by David Allred

Exotic Wood Pen
Exotic Wood Pen made from Zebra Wood

David Allred’s pen was a Kickstarter first for me. While the majority of Kickstarter projects come in weeks or even months later than originally projected, David’s pen arrived EARLY…significantly early. Though I wasn’t expecting to receive my pen until January 2013, it surprisingly arrived on November 23rd, 2012. Wow!

Though David’s Kickstarter project has closed, you can read about his pens here. In short, he can create pens with a variety of exotic wood (desert iron wood, padauk, purple heart, cocobolo, goldfield burl, etc.) and metal components. The hardest part is picking a wood/metal combination because there are so many intriguing options. All pens are twist-style and take Parker-style refills.

Exotic Wood Pen

After much hemming and hawing, I chose Zebra wood and the black metal trim. (David calls this “gunmetal,” which is different than my idea of gunmetal, but I settled on this choice after a few back-and-forth emails with him to clarify the various color options.) The pen is hefty, but not unwieldy, and is very well-balanced. It arrived with a Parker-style ballpoint refill, which wasn’t bad, but I recently swapped in a Moleskine rollerball 0.5mm refill, which, I think, elevates the pen yet another notch.

Zebra wood pen
Zebra stripey

You can see a sample of the wood/metal combinations available on David’s Kickstarter page. And though, as I’ve said, his project is now closed, I encourage you to contact David if you’re interested in getting your own “exotic wood” pen.

Exotic pen w/ David's info
How to contact David

I can personally attest to his impressive workmanship and work ethic.

Kudos, David. Kudos.

Kickstarter #2: The Troubadour by Allegory

Out of the blue, I got it into my head that I’d like a wooden pen, and then whattayaknow, one popped up on Kickstarter. Great timing. Pen karma, it seems. After a couple of delays (fairly minor ones, as far as Kickstarter delays can go), my pen arrived last week, and it’s a beauty.

The Troubadour

Chad Schumacher, of Plainfield IL, is the creator and craftsman behind Allegory, which produces a line of pens “handcrafted from reclaimed, ancient, and historical woods.” Pretty cool. My pen, the Troubadour, is made from Sinker Cypress and Picklewood Redwood, which means it has its roots in pre-Industrial America, when logs were floated down rivers and pickling vats were used to preserve food. You can’t say that about your Bic Clic, or even about your Mont Blanc. The wood is smooth and warm, and makes me think about the stories it could tell. You can feel the history.

For a small additional pledge, I selected Allegory’s Maple & Rosewood gift box. It’s a gorgeous storage box which then opens on a hinge to become a beautiful desk stand. The set looks right at home on my mission-style desk.

Maple and Rosewood gift box

Where the pen, and the history, lives

The Troubadour is a twist-style ballpoint that takes a Cross refill. Cross refills are not stellar, but they’re not bad, either. The black fine point refill is acceptably smooth and dark enough. It’s not a Jetstream or a Vicuna or a Surari, but I enjoy writing with it. There’s a bit of streakiness in the line, but nothing terrible. The feel of the wood, combined with the gunmetal accents, makes this pen a winner, even without a top tier refill. I’m a fan. I may, in the future, swap in a Cross-style Fisher Space Pen refill to bump up the writing performance a notch.

Troubadour writing sample

Did you miss the Kickstarter project? No worries. You can read about, and purchase, Chad’s full line of handcrafted pens on the Allegory website, where the motto is “Pens with a legacy, so you can leave yours.”

I’d best get writin’.

Thanks, Chad