ZPIII Zait Jerusalem Olive Wood Ballpoint Pen

11 02 2014
"ffv" That is the caption my cat wrote by stepping on the keyboard as I uploaded this sample. I've decided to honor her literary genius and leave that caption

“ffv” That is the caption my cat wrote by stepping on the keyboard as I uploaded this sample. I’ve decided to honor her literary genius and leave that caption. She wanted to add a bunch of apostrophes & closing brackets too, but I’ve got to draw a line somewhere

Where to begin when my heart is so full of delight? First, a thanks to Zait Pens for providing this sample to review. They also included an amusing little letter for me, and noted that though this pen comes in a lovely gift box, they sent my sample in a velvet pouch so as not to inundate me with boxes that I don’t want to throw away. THEY’VE BEEN PAYING ATTENTION, YOU GUYS! My heart is a basket of warm fuzzies.

I might need to bust out my top hat for this one.

I might need to bust out my top hat for this one.

I love art deco. I think I may be morally obligated to sign all checks underwriting my speakeasy with this pen. I don’t own a speakeasy. Maybe I should.

Maybe I should have ordered them by size. Well, it's too late now and too much Photoshop would be required to fix it. Pictured: Zait Olive Wood Ballpoint, Zait Olive Wood Fountain Pen, Pelikan M150, Parker Rollerball, Sheaffer Taranis, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pilot Prera, Kaweco Liliput

Maybe I should have ordered them by size. Well, it’s too late now and too much Photoshop would be required to fix it. Pictured: Zait Olive Wood Ballpoint, Zait Olive Wood Fountain Pen, Pelikan M150, Parker Rollerball, Sheaffer Taranis, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pilot Prera, Kaweco Liliput

This pen isn’t necessarily small, but it cultivates a diminutive feel to its appearance—and my love of the compact pen runs deep. In spite of seeming small, it’s as thick as an ordinary pen and has a good weight to it that feels evenly balanced.

The pictures don't even do the inlay justice

The pictures don’t even do the inlay justice

The body is Jerusalem Olive Wood with hand-laid Carob Wood inlay (which apparently comes from a magic tree, because it shimmers different shades of brown as I turn it), with 24kt gold plated finials and black chrome accent band on the nosecone. It’s an attractive package. It makes me happy just looking at it. Can you be in love with a pen design? Perhaps I should see a doctor or registered psychologist.

Clockwise to deploy, counterclockwise to retract.

Clockwise to deploy, counterclockwise to retract.

The deploying mechanism is twist action, with a satisfying feeling of locking in place with the last bit of twist. The refill is accessed by unscrewing at the black chrome band—it comes with a Dayacom brand ballpoint but takes any Parker-style refill.

Tungsten carbide ball! I don't even know what those metals are but they sound cool!

Tungsten carbide ball! I don’t even know what those metals are but they sound cool!

The Dayacom refill (with tungsten carbide ball) is a pretty standard pre-supersmooth type of ballpoint. They’re really great for drawing and shading, and good enough for writing. No blobs, ink comes out steady once you start writing—dark gray, rather than black—it’s not super smooth, but it’s also not choppy or too terribly slow. That said, I’ve already gone out to inquire on what other options are available in the Parker-style refills department. I’m currently testing out a Private Reserve Easy Flow 9000 black refill…it’s not quite a Jetstream, but it is pretty dark (darker than a standard ballpoint) and fairly smooth.

Ledger entry 00143: accounts payable to 200 flappers for expenses listed as follows: 15 gallons of premium Mississippi hooch, assortment of bloomers, 600 renditions of the Lindy Hop....

Ledger entry 00143: accounts payable to 200 flappers for expenses listed as follows: 15 gallons of premium Mississippi hooch, assortment of bloomers, 600 renditions of the Lindy Hop….

I feel a little bit more classy just holding this pen. This model retails for $85.00, including standard international shipping and handling charges plus the box. Quite an eye-catching pen!

ZPIII Handmade Jerusalem Olive Wood Twist-top Ballpoint with Carob Wood Inlay at Zait Pens





Zait Jerusalem Olive Wood Fountain Pen

25 01 2014
The purple looks even better in person. A little more dusky I think than this scan could capture

The purple looks even better in person. A little more dusky I think than this scan could capture

I think I’ve found the exact embodiment of what ordinary people are thinking of when they think of a fancy fountain pen. Though I didn’t exactly find it—Zait contacted me to see if I would be interested in one of their pens, and without any idea what exactly I’d be getting I agreed. Thanks to Zait for providing this sample to review

Orange background plate brought to you by my favorite coffee shop, Joe Van Gogh.

Orange background plate brought to you by my favorite coffee shop, Joe Van Gogh.

Imagine my squealing delight when I opened the box and unwrapped the bubble wrap to this beauty. The beautiful wood (Jerusalem Olive Wood I’m told, though ‘TREE!’ is about the finest recognizeable distinction I can make when it comes to types of wood) goes perfectly with the chrome accents. The black nylon-coated threads to post the cap are visually balanced by a black ring between the wood and the chrome at the top of the cap and the black background of the floral center band. It’s a good looking pen.

Let's play a game called what color is the wood, really. The answer is: I cannot Photoshop to save my life.

Let’s play a game called what color is the wood, really. The answer is: I cannot Photoshop to save my life.

To post or not to post? I can’t decide. The weight of the posted pen is solid and reassuring, but with the size of my hand borders on becoming unwieldy. The pen is certainly long enough for me to write comfortably with it unposted…but there’s some ineffable quality that the extra weight adds. The faceted grip looks great, but picks up my fingerprints like crazy (so if you’re looking for a pen to star in a crime drama…). Any white residue on the nylon-coated threads is just a protective wax applied before shipping, and wipes away with a soft cloth.

Majestic mountains!

Majestic mountains are no match for the goat!

The nib is a gilded stainless steel iridium tipped Bock fine/semi flex. If, like me, you live under a rock you might not have known prior to a little Googling that Bock is a major nib supplier to a lot of companies. Though I no doubt own many pens with Bock-made nibs, this is the first I’ve seen with the Bock branding. Look at the little goat. Why a goat? Because Germany.

Just enough flex to make me feel bad for not being able to adequately utilize it

Just enough flex to make me feel bad for not being able to adequately utilize it

The semi-flex fine nib is a lot like the nib on my old Pelikan M150 in terms of both fineness and flex. It makes for a great everyday writing pen (I find fine nibs typically have the most success in random paper encounters) and, being both fine and a little bit flex, good for drawing. I did have to adjust the tines just a smidge* (one was a fraction of a millimeter high) but this is a fix so quick that it’s worth learning for every fountain pen user. Once the tine was in place it was smooth sailing—a nib with a nice tactile feeling on the page, excellent flow and no problems with starting, skipping, ghosting, or anything. Now, the aesthetic choice of a gold-colored nib on an all chrome-accented pen is another matter…

Not only is there a wax seal on the box, but there's a wax seal medallion INSIDE the box! IT'S LIKE THE ARCHDUKE OF FANCY WRITING IS HERE AMONG US

Not only is there a wax seal on the box, but there’s a wax seal medallion INSIDE the box! IT’S LIKE THE ARCHDUKE OF FANCY WRITING IS HERE AMONG US

These pens are handmade and hand-assembled. The Jerusalem Olive Wood is sustainable and sourced locally to the company’s production plant in Jerusalem. It comes with a converter and takes standard short international cartridges. This pen retails for $100, which includes registered international shipping from ISRAEL! Which probably isn’t very exciting when you live in Israel, but here in America I’m always excited when something comes all the way across an ocean. All in all, a very satisfying fancy pen that would make a handsome gift—for you or for someone else.

Jerusalem Olive Wood Fountain Pen — model ZPXXI — at Zait Pens

* When advised that I had to adjust the tines a little on the nib, Zait Pens told me the following: “We were very surprised by the non-alignment of the nib tines. Each of our fountain pens are ‘Road Tested’ for at least two days by our resident calligrapher to ensure that no problems arise with nib function. After each two day writing test the nib housings are dismantled, washed, re-polished and re-assembled.  Now you have alerted us to this problem we are reviewing our re-polishing and packaging techniques in case either of these may be responsible.”

I was very pleased with how responsive they were to the problem!