Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Dunnstor

The Dunn Pen company in New York made pens during the 1920's. One of the key features of their pens was the filling mechanism, which was patented at the time. It was a simple plunger based filler which worked more like a syringe filler. I had recently come across one of their models called the "Dreadnaught", which was their largest pen. These are extremely rare to find and whenever it show up for auction, it can easily fetch hundreds of dollars. I like different filling mechanism and I wanted to recreate this pen in my own way. So, here it is:

For this first prototype, which I am calling the "Dunnstor", I used materials that were easily available and also helped highlight the key features of this pen. The barrel is made of clear acrylic. The plunger itself is made of black ebonite and it is completely closed on the other end making it totally leak-proof. It has dual "O" rings that provide the best possible vacuum for pulling in ink. The simple plunger mechanism is operated by the knob at the bottom of the barrel. A few strokes of the plunger fills this pen up to an ink capacity of slightly more than 2.5ml. I think the ink capacity can be further increased by reducing the size of the plunger.

The end knob and plunger is guided by a simple stopper made in ebonite. This also secures the plunger and stops it from being pulled out of the barrel:

Another key feature of this pen is the cap itself. While filling the pen, the plunger itself has to be operated several times, which may result in an accidental damage to the nib. To avoid this, the top half of the cap unscrews to reveal an ink window for filling:

This ink window protects the tip of the nib from hitting the ink bottle while filling. The downside is certainly staining of the cap which I believe has to be washed every time the pen is filled. However, the section always remains dry because of the inside stopper.

One of the modifications I made was the addition of a silver band at the seam to make it invisible.

This kind of a filling mechanism requires nib assembly with long breather tube through the feed so that air can go out during the down stroke of the plunger. It is difficult to add a breather tube to the standard nib assemblies designed for cartridge/converter type filler. For this, I chose a nib assembly from Kanwrite which now makes 14K gold nibs with Ebonite feeds. This is a screw in type nib assembly but has a breather tube at the bottom of the feed instead of the C/C filler spigot. These nibs are available in many tip sizes, starting from Extra-Extra fine to Bold.

Here are the overall specifications of this pen:

Length: 160mm (can be customized)
Uncapped: 142mm
Barrel Diameter: 15mm

I am looking forward to making this as one of my standard models.

Thursday, 2 March 2017


Hello Folks!!!

What started as a weekend hobby for me about three years ago has now become my full time profession. Thanks to all of you who have supported my passion for pens. Crafting each pen by hand, one pen at a time, is certainly a time consuming activity. With all the variations in material, shape, nibs, silver bands, clips etc. makes it even more challenging. Although, I enjoy making every one of them.

This activity came to a temporary halt on February 17th when I developed a heart condition which needed immediate medical attention. I am glad that I was able to get the medical treatment in time and be able to recover. Due to the severity of the condition, I have been told to take rest for a few more days, until I can resume the pen making activity.

I know that many of you have been waiting for weeks and months for their pens. I hope that I find a way in the future to deliver more quickly and efficiently while maintaining the same quality.

Thanks once again for all your support and patience. I can't wait to get back to work and fun.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Fast Track order processing update

It has only been 4 months since the Fast Track order processing was launched and many of you have availed the Fast Track option so far. As a result though, the regular orders have been pushed back and many of you have been waiting for upto 5 to 6 months now for your pen. Knowing that there is only so much I can do to speed things up, I felt that there was a need to make a change which will benefit everyone.

In the modified system, Fast Track orders will be placed after every 2 regular orders. This will still allow the Fast Track orders to be processed within a reasonable amount of time, while making progress on the regular orders.

I have a lot of loyal customers and Thanks to all of you, that base is growing. I would be more than happy to introduce a loyalty based points system, wherein, your order can be bumped up once you accumulate a certain number of loyalty points. This will require more work from me and coordination with all of you. I may not be ready for it yet, but this is something to look forward to in the future.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Important Update: New Presentation Boxes and Packaging

All Fosfor pens so far have been offered with a presentation box. The latest boxes were made from MDF material which was laser cut. It was an innovative approach, but had it's own pitfalls: 1) the boxes were fragile and were getting damaged in transit and 2) making them was a time consuming process.

To address the above, I have now switched to professional boxes. This is what the new presentation box looks like:

These are single pen boxes with lacquered exterior and velvet interior. They are strong enough to protect the pen inside. They have a magnetic lock so that the box doesn't open inadvertently. Every box is engraved with the fosfor logo.

Apart from this, I have also added the option of telescopic packaging. This is a cost-effective approach aimed at providing the best value in situations where a presentation box is not required.

Here is how these options are going to work:

  1. All pens going forward will be shipped with Telescopic packaging.
  2. Worldwide shipping will be reduced to $9 for Telescopic packaging. Those who may have made the purchase online will get a refund once your order is processed.
  3. The presentation box will be offered at an additional price of $6.99.
  4. Worldwide shipping will continued to be offered at $12 with the Presentation box.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Launching -> Fosfor Fast Track & Order Tracking

Thanks to all the pen fans around the world, there has been an overwhelming response so far. This has kept me busy not only in the pen making activity, but also in responding to messages across various online channels, including emails. Many of you are curious about when your pen will be ready. This ends up creating more work for me to respond to those messages and takes time away from the pen making activity. So, in order to help achieve best results, I am launching two programs: 1) Online Order Update and 2) Fosfor Fast Track.

1) Online Order Update

This is a log of all the confirmed orders I have received so far. I will be updating this log on a weekly basis. This order log will be available online. Only a brief description of the pen will be provided in this log. An estimated start will be indicated. It will also indicate the order that I am currently working on. Most of you will be able to locate your order in this log. However, I will start communicating individual order numbers soon.

2) Fosfor Fast Track

As evident from the order list, the wait time for some you may be beyond what you'd expected. Hence, I am launching a new program called "Fosfor Fast Track". This will essentially allow you to get your pen made quicker. A detailed description of how this program works is provided on the new ordering page. Those who are interested in participating in this program, please email me and I will take care of you.

I am hoping that this will help streamline the communication and make it easy for you to follow-up on your orders.

Here is a link to both the programs:

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

New for 2016: what's in the tray

Hello Pen fans,

Thanks for the overwhelming support in 2015 and a great beginning for 2016. I know many of you are eagerly awaiting your turn.

When I start working on a pen, I inform you about it and then send out a series of email updates as I make progress. I wanted to do something more engaging and also involve others in the process.

So for 2016 and onwards, I am launching what I call "What's in the tray" with a twitter hashtag of "#fosfortray". The way this will work is as follows:

1. I will inform the individual when I am about to start your pen.
2. You can then subscribe to the Twitter hashtag "#fosfortray" where you will get updates on your pen, which will be a photo of my tray with the pen parts that I am working on.
3. Others can also see what's going on at any give time. I will put daily updates as much as possible.
4. Once the pen is ready, I will inform the owner again via email.

I hope this helps achieve the objective of engaging everyone and also makes it easy for you to follow the progress.

So what's in the fosfor tray right now?

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Fosfor Tikona: the Triangular Pen

I like challenges and when Sanjay from Bangalore approached me to make a triangular pen, I gladly accepted the challenge.

All of my pens are made on a manual lathe machine which can only turn round shapes. In order to make the triangular shape on a lathe, it required some innovative thinking and a lot of R&D (essentially trial and error). After a few failed attempts, I was able to get the accuracy I wanted so that I can produce a pen that somebody would want to pay for.

Here is the very first Fosfor Tikona:

Tikona or actually Trinoke means a Triangle. There is also a hill fort near Pune which bears the same name Tikona and is actually pyramidal in shape. Although the pyramid is missing from this pen, the triangular shape is very much prominent. If the ends of the pen are brought together, we will get a three faceted pyramid, however it is difficult to achieve.

For the first pen I made, the barrel does not have threading for the cap, but instead the grip section has threading which secures the cap. There are a couple of reasons for this design aspect: 1) the shape of the pen appears to be more unified starting from the section; 2) it is possible to have smaller diameter threads for the cap so that the base of the cap can be thin and 3) it allows for a longer section than usual so that the triangular edges of the barrel don't interfere while holding the pen. The section is secured onto the barrel using an O-ring so that while unscrewing the cap, the section is not removed inadvertently.

The making of this pen does require lot more manual work especially in getting the triangular alignment right and then while polishing the pen. All of the polishing has to be done by hand and those who make hand-turned pens would know how time-consuming it can be.

I was convinced that this experiment was successful when I received this note from Sanjay:

"Friends are awestruck at the beauty of it
Everyone thought it was impossible and u pulled u r magic card out and blew everyone away
I am still amazed by fit finish and the cap aligns perfectly on line with the barrel. 

Thanks a Ton literally mean it"