Solano Custom Clipless Fountain Pen
in Desert Ironwood with Ebonite Accents.
(Click each photo to view larger views)
Scroll down to the bottom to see the specs and other info about this pen.
About the Solano:
This pen was suppose to be a one-time project for a new client. He sent me a photo of the style, picked out the colors and made the decisions on the overall size. But once the project was finished, I liked the pen so much that I ask him if I could add it to my standard line. He approved, so I decided to break away from my usual naming scheme and name this pen in his honor.
The client had the final call on the dimensions for the Solano, and after a few mock-ups we had the final overall size and shape nailed down. The pen is nice and hefty, but I think the dimensions are perfect for the large size pen, because it looks unique, but feels perfect. The shape has a nice feel in the hand and the pen is very comfortable to use. It has a capped length of about 6" (152mm), and 5 1/4" uncapped. The maximum diameter is a bit unusual at about .67" (17mm). at the joint, and tapers down to about .35" (9mm) at each end. The key to the design is the shape. It looks simple enough, but was actually very hard to achieve the subtle tapers to get the shape just right. The pen uses a 1" long straight style section with just a slight taper back to front that makes it comfortable to use. The acrylic center-band is about .14" (3.5mm) wide. The client wanted his band on the cap side, but the pen can be ordered with the band on the barrel side.
New Midi Version:
I now offer a slightly smaller Midi version of the Solano that's available as a fountain pen or a rollerball. The Midi is 6.0" long with a maximum diameter (at the joint) of about .63" (16mm). The rollerballs are made to fit a specific type of refill, but it can be adjusted to fit a most of the commonly available refill types/brands. The rollerball are offered with two sizes of metal nose-cones. One is a full length metal, whereas the other is a short metal with an intermediate acrylic spacer (both styles are shown with the black mock-up). The small nose-cone is available in 18k gold, rhodium, or nickel. The long nose-cone is only available in 18k gold.
Whenever I have a new pen project like this that's for a new style, I first like to work out the initial shape and size of the parts using a drafting program. Then once the size and shape is established, but before committing to the final pen with any special ordered materials, I'll next make a solid black mock-up pen. The mock-up pen allows me to work on the subtle shapes of the parts, before committing to the clients pen. The solid black allows me to see the contours of the shape without having any interference from a colored pattern.That way I can make any final adjustments that might be needed before making the clients pen. In this case though, the style called for an accent color to be used for the acrylic accent band (on the cap) and section. so I used the bright orange crush so I had a high contrast to easily judge the width of the band. The "London Fog" pen was the material I ultimately used for the clients pen. The gray acrylic has a slight smoky transparency that allows a slight glimpse of the contrasting colored section through the cap while the pen is in the closed position. Look for more colors to come or choose your own custom colors.
This style pen uses a Cartridge/Converter inking system with the larger #6 nib. Nib finishes available for #6 STEEL nibs are: 2-tone, polished steel, and Black Oxide. Current tip sizes are x-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1 and 1.5 italics. 14 & 18K Gold nibs are also available as a special order.
Solano Options and Upgrades:
The unique style of this pen stands on it's own, so it requires few upgrades or options. One upgrade that the original client wanted was an accent band behind the section. I've also come up with one other upgrade that could be added--a HOODED nib. I've always been fascinated by the Parker® Nib Hoods. After searching for a few years, I finally found a source but after buying a few, I found they were too small for my larger pens. So I decided to see if I could come up with my own. After some trial and error, I can up with a hooded nib I could use wit a standard #5 Jowo, and it looks perfect on the Solano (see the Black & Orange pen page).
I also offer a variety of hand-made Pen Props and Pen Buttons. You can order a Pen Prop in a material to match your pen, or any one of the wooden styles made in a variety of stained or dyed colors. The Pen Buttons are available for any of the clipless pens.
About this Pen and Material:
This pen was made from real wood! The wood used here is commonly called Desert Ironwood, which is a common name given to a perennial flowering tree known by the Latin name of Olneya tesota. The tree is an evergreen native to Southwest US and northwestern Mexico. It's called Desert Ironwood because it grows in the desert. And although it's referred to as a bush, some can grow up to 33 feet. If you want to know more about Olneya tesota (the tree), you can find it at Wikipedia HERE. If you want to learn more about Desert Ironwood (the wood), you can find it at the Wood Database HERE.
Secondary Material... Wood has a nice warm feel as opposed acrylics. The downside though is that due to the short grain fibers, wood doesn't work well for the fine threads used on pens, even in the hardest of woods. So I use a different material for the threads, typically acrylic or ebonite. Small plugs are made then epoxy into both cap the barrel. The barrel plug has a short tenon that's glued into the wood blank, whereas the cap plug is completely recessed for the internal threads as shown in the photo above. Here I used black Ebonite to highlight the black grain pattern in the ironwood.
This Pens Specifications:
Color / Material: Primary Desert Ironwood /
Secondary Black SEM Ebonite.
Length: Capped 6.0" / Uncapped 5.28".
Diameter: Center max .67".
Weight (gms) Capped 24.3 / Uncapped 15.6.
Nib: Fine tip Smooth-face Polished Steel #6 Jowo.
Filling System: C/C.