Posted in Pen Review

The Bolt in Action – My trip to Karas Kustoms and a Review

The Bolt
The Bolt in all its glory.

Karas Kustoms Bolt

Schmidt easyFLOW 9000M

Some time ago I won this Karas Kustoms Bolt. I did have the intention of reviewing it earlier but I could not find a good refill for it. I know that is not the fault of Karas Kustoms or the Bolt. Let me just say that if you are using Parker Quink Gel refills or Pelikan Refills, you owe it to yourself to try the Schmidt easyFLOW 9000M refills!

The Bolt
The Schmidt easyFLOW 9000M Refill

I recently drove to Phoenix, with a friend, for a training class we had to complete. We stopped at a rest stop just west of Benson, Arizona. I took a picture of some rock formations and posted them to Instagram. A short while later, Dan Bishop of Karas Kustoms (designer extraordinaire) was inviting me to stop by the shop. The following Tuesday, I was up to my eyeballs in brass and copper pen parts, machinery that could take your eye out and more awesome pen parts. Pen talk dominated the conversation.

Dan Bishop
Dan Bishop

On to the Bolt. My Bolt came as a two tone model not available for order. Dan explained that they ran out of the black Bolt (what I wanted) but he could give me the section of a black Bolt and the raw aluminum “knock”. It makes for a rather attractive combination. The bolt is made from a solid rod of aluminum (or brass/copper depending on what you want.) These are shaped on computer controlled equipment the size of a small car.

Buttons! Can I push one? Please?
Buttons! Can I push one? Please?
The Brushed Look-O-Matic
The Brushed Look-O-Matic
Pen Part Rejects
Pen Part Rejects
One Strong Clip!
One Strong Clip!

The brushed look of the raw aluminum is achieved by placing a semi completed pen in a device with a chuck, similar to a drill press, and a small spinning platform. The pen spins and someone uses what looks like a Brillo pad up to the pen to lightly give it the brushing. I just know I am over simplifying the whole process.

Moving to the clip, it is solid! It reminds me of what some of my pocket knives have. Dan told me there is talk of actually testing how much weight the clip can handle on its own. I hope they actually try it. I would not be surprised if it handles more than 25 lbs. The clip is held in place by two hex screws. Solid is all I can say about it and I already did. 🙂

The Bolt gets its name from the “bolt action” style mechanism used to push the refill out to the writing position. It is easy to operate and I can deploy it with one hand even with the minor twisting involved. The mechanism operates smoothly but I had a little grit get in between the metal parts making it rough but I took the pen apart, cleaned it and it was fine.

Render K Caps
Render K Caps
Exploded View of the Bolt in Brass
Exploded View of the Bolt in Brass

That brings me to the hex wrench included with the pen. It seems like Karas Kustoms took a page out of the TWSBI book and made the pen to be user serviceable. I would suggest not over tightening the screws. Keep in mind that you have steel screws going into aluminum. You can strip out the threads if you are careless. (You can thank me later Dan. 🙂 )

Yes, that is Dan Bishop next to me after a long day at work.
Yes, that is Dan Bishop next to me after a long day at work.

There are other possible refills that could be used with the Bolt but you might need to modify the refill. Parker style refills drop right in with no issues. Karas Kustoms provides some plastic tubing to help as a spacer. You just cut it to whatever size you need.

From the left, Mike Dudek, Myself and Dan Bishop
From the left, Mike Dudek, Myself and Dan Bishop
Ready to Write!
Ready to Write!

The aluminum pen while solid, is fairly lightweight. This does not apply to the brass or copper Bolt pens. The weight of the aluminum Bolt in combination with the size and shape is ideal for my hand. Combine this with the Schmidt refill and you have yourself a quality writing experience. This is coming from someone who primarily uses fountain pens. You can keep this pen in your pants pocket without thinking about it. As Dan told me, he wants a pen that can slide across pavement and keep on writing without issues. Dan, I think you succeeded. It’s quality Bro!

Right now you can get 15% off any Purchase by using the code “Holiday2013” at check out.

Thank you for reading.

Ivan
The Fountain Pen Sith Lord.
Bolt hand written
Bolt hand written
Bolt hand written
Bolt hand written

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Author:

God and family. Stationery. Ink. Fountain pens. Electronic gizmos. I adjust and grind my own fountain pen nibs. Ubuntu Linux user since 06.10. Minidisc fan. Audio enthusiast. Contact me on Twitter: @inktronics or email: ivan at inktronicsblog dot com

4 thoughts on “The Bolt in Action – My trip to Karas Kustoms and a Review

  1. That is so cool to be able to visit the place where they make the pens. The black and silver combination makes the Bolt look really cool.

    That is very interesting to hear you like the Easyflow refills…coming from a fountain pen user. I have not found
    a refill that is as good as these. The kind Schmidt folks are making a broad point Easyflow now also if one wants even more ink on the paper.

    Great pictures and write up …thanks for sharing with us.

    1. Indeed, very cool. Meeting Dan Bishop and Mike Dudek was awesome.

      So far, The Schmidt refill is the best I have used. I would still like to modify a Uni JetStream refill to fit in one of KarasKustoms pens.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. 🙂

  2. I really want to get my hands on a Karas Kustoms pen. Unfortunately with the extra shipping and customs charges to the UK the price doubles. Still maybe one day…

    That Schmidt refill looks really nice. They also make a pressurised refill to turn any pen with a Parker style refill into a “Space Pen” that can write in extreme conditions. I doubt it’ll write as well as the easyflow, but that seems like a good pairing for such a tough pen.

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