I'm going to come right out and say it... I love Carolina Pen Company. And If you read my previous article about my adventures with Carolina Pen Company, this will come as no surprise. If you didn't read it, then here's the rundown:
Carolina Pen Company, owned by Jonathon Brooks (@brooks_803 on Instagram*), is a small, custom pen company in the historic equestrian town of Aiken, South Carolina. Running the company from his home, Jonathon creates custom pens in any shape, size or color you could imagine. To make the customization process just a little bit easier, Jonathon makes his own pen blanks (the rods of material from which a pen is turned) and has the ability to create any color you could ever want. It's pretty much a one-stop shop for all of your custom pen needs.
Recently, my wife and I decided to make the 2-hour drive from Sumter to Aiken to spend the day with Jonathon and his wife Shea (and their charming little miniature horse, Escapade). Yes, they have a miniature horse. Yes, I got to pet it. Yes, I squee'd. While we were there, Jonathon gave my wife the opportunity to pour her very own pen blanks, giving her a front-row seat of the process and also giving her the opportunity to fine-tune the color herself. Way cool. And I got to pick up a pen I had ordered from Jonathon some time ago.
One of Jonathon's signature materials is his Ghost Koi Alumilite. A rich, mesmerizing swirl of royal purple and ivory. I told Jonathon I wanted a clipless pen with a slightly tapered cap and barrel and he delivered with a gorgeous pen. As with other pens from Jonathon, this pen is perfectly made, hand-turned on a Delta lathe, and every tiny detail has been planned out and addressed. From the slightly conical ends to the seamless cap and body, this pen is top-notch. As a little added bit of flair, I requested a translucent purple section which Jonathon made from the exact same purple he uses in his Ghost Koi mix, but he changed the make-up of it slightly to make it translucent and then polished it inside and out for a perfectly clear appearance. Huzzah!
For the nib, I went with a modest, single-tone, polished steel medium nib. Boring to most of you, I'm sure, but I'll likely have this ground to a stub or cursive italic at some point in the near future and a medium is my favorite place to start for a pen that will get a custom grind as it suits my handwriting and style quite well and affords me decent line variation out of an italic or stub. Jonathon surprised me with a completely unmarked, unadorned nib. No makers mark, no branding, no stamp, nothing. Just a clean, bright No. 6 nib which I think matches the pen perfectly and doesn't detract from the stunning material Jonathon created.
This pen is oversized and is actually the largest pen I own, coming in just a hair longer than my Newton Pens Moody. However, despite its large size, the pen is extremely comfortable to hold and use thanks to the generous section size, which has a gentle taper down to a rather lovely "collar" at the end. Jonathon took the time to roll the edges of this "collar" slightly so as to avoid any hard or uncomfortable edges. And just look at that translucent purple!!! Yowza!
The pen does not post due to the fact that the body and cap are seamless, but this doesn't detract from the usability of the pen because its large size makes it perfectly sized for writing without posting. In fact, even if it did post, I wouldn't.
All-in-all, this pen is incredibly well-made and is incredibly beautiful. The material is perfect and Jonathon picked a really incredible set of blanks for this build and the translucent purple section is as awesome to look at as it is to write with. I'm a big fan of custom pen makers. I've got several from different folks around the country, but Jonathon is one of my favorites. It doesn't hurt that he's a super nice guy and he makes super good barbecue, too.
If you're in the market for a custom pen, check out Jonathon Brooks at Carolina Pen Company. He is doing great work down there in Aiken, South Carolina.
Thanks for reading,
*I cannot be held responsible for depletion of your bank account after looking at Jonathon's Instagram account. Proceed at your own risk.