Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from the Karas Kustoms Family to you and your family.

 During the year we put a lot of hard work and time into our products. But during the holidays, we feel it’s important that our employees get to spend as much time as possible with their families. Because of that, we shut down the shop from December 24th through January 4th, to get some much needed rest and relaxation. That doesn’t mean we stop selling items. You can still purchase any of our Fine Writing Instruments from our website, but they won’t ship until we return from the holiday break.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season and we will see you in 2016!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Karas Pen Co Superstition Special Edition Set - COMING SOON

The time has finally come for us to release our inaugural Special Edition. Earlier this year we rolled out our first W.A. Karas Signature Limited Edition pens. But during the process of working on those pens, we started to brainstorm ideas around Special Edition pieces as well. The idea was to include some other companies that had similar a similar outlook on being American “makers”. It wasn’t hard for us to decide on Nock Co. as our first partner. It also helped that they were in the works creating yet another stellar pen/notepad case. So our brainstorming began to take on a more focused approach. The stars pretty much aligned when Dan sat down and started work on designing the Karas Pen Co notebooks. As he finalized the Arizona state flag onto the notebook, we realized a great first Special Edition would take on an Arizona theme. 

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that we take pride in the “Made in America” branding. But we have always felt that “Made in Arizona” is another equally important descriptor of Karas Kustoms and Karas Pen Co. With that in mind and our new Arizona themed notebooks we set out to create an Arizona themed Special Edition. An edition that carries elements of the Copper State laid out in a manner that fits both Karas and Nock Co. The Karas Pen Co. Superstition is the culmination of all of this hard work.

This special edition takes its name from the Superstition Mountains, a range of mountains that run just east of the Phoenix metropolitan area. They are anchored by Superstition Mountain itself, a large mountain that is a popular tourist and hiking spot. The Superstition Mountains are famous for their central role in the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, as the mine itself is said to be hidden somewhere in the Superstition Mountains. Nock Co. has gone out of its way to name their cases after well-known Georgian land features. With that in our minds we wanted to pay tribute not only to Arizona but to them and we affectionately named our version of the case The Superstition. 

The special edition features the starting piece of this project, the Karas Pen Co Arizona State flag notebook. But we went and added some other touches of the Copper State. The Superstition has a custom Karas Pen Co logo with the Arizona State flag stitched into it. It is lined and stitched in blue that brings to mind the blue on the state flag. The pen included is a custom Karas Kustoms EDK, with a copper lower barrel and red upper barrel. The red is reminiscent of the red rays on the state flag. To top it off we are adding our first foray into bead making with a nice copper lanyard bead that can be used as a zipper pull. 
The case is one of our personal favorites. It is designed to hold three pens and two pocket sized notebooks or a stack of 3x5 notecards. It can also be slightly expanded to hold two additional pens, though it’s not specifically designed for that. I have also successfully carried my cell phone in it. It’s a pretty versatile small case perfect for carrying around a few pens and some paper.

Keep your eyes glued to our blog and Instagram accounts for the official release date of the Karas Pen Co Superstition special edition. This special edition is a limited run of 120 sets. Once these sets are sold we will not be doing another run.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Karas Kustoms INK and Fountain K Release

For those of you that don't follow us on Instagram or haven't signed up for our newsletter, we had some big news this past Monday. After nearly a year, we re-released the INK fountain pen and added the INK clipless fountain pen. We have talked about the design changes so I won't go into full details, suffice it to say they look amazing. One thing we didn't go over was the addition of black anodized sections. Once they come back from anodized, we will have them added to our line-up. Really a cool design feature.
But we didn't just stop there. Today, we released the production Fountain K in Tumbled Aluminum, Brass, and Copper. The Silver Aluminum and full colors will be added in the following weeks. We have finished the overall design changes on this pen as well, increasing the grip section width was the main objective while also redesigning the section to fit the Bock .060 nib unit. We feel it is a complete success and can't wait for all of our awesome customers to get a chance to try it out.
We still have plenty of EDK pens available. Our Massdrop Exclusive was a success, as well as our initial release via our own website. We really appreciate all the time several of our reviewers put into testing out this pen. It was kind of a labor of love for us to get this one done. We love the pen design and the functionality and have been putting a lot of effort into finalizing it. If you haven't checked it out, you should give it a whirl.
We aren't completely done with the surprises yet. We have one more left before we close out the 2015 calendar year. Probably the most exciting one yet (for me anyway). Our W.A. Karas Signature pens were a big success, those were some of my favorite pens this year. Getting the INK and Fountain K back in stock is a big one. And the EDK actually making its way onto our website is the icing on the cake. But all cakes need a cherry on top, and the cherry we are working on is gonna take the cake to another level. So keep your eyes peeled to our social media platforms and if you haven't signed up for our newsletter, make sure you do that. You are NOT going to want to miss out on our final goodie for 2015. Just trust me on that one!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fountain Pen Day Giveaway

Fountain Pen Day falls on the first Friday of November. Guess what, that's this week! In honor of Fountain Pen Day and due to the fact that we have a few of our Karas Kustoms INKs back from the anodizer, we are giving one of them away. Plus we know everyone loves free stuff. On to the details.

We are giving away Karas Kustoms INK "Arizona Edition", red anodized with a copper section and clipless cap. This pen will be the first INK to leave the shop since we made design changes from the original run. To briefly go over the changes, here we go. We switched from a Schmidt #5 nib to a Bock #6 nib. This allows us to offer EF nibs as well as provide a high quality writing experience. The nib is semi-recessed in the section to give the pen its own aesthetic look and as an homage to some of the early recessed nibbed pens. We added copper and brass to the mix when we expanded from just using those materials on the grip sections to complete barrels and caps, so now you can get an INK that is completely copper to dazzle your friends and family. We changed the inner threads on the section to add some stability (it wasn't necessary but just ensure the section screws in nice and holds the converter in place a little better). Finally we are adding the clipless cap to these pens due to many people expressing a desire for that feature.

Three Runner Up prizes will be awarded randomly and will include Fountain Pen Day bookmarks, buttons and a Karas Kustoms notebook along with a mystery gift for each of the runner ups from our box of random giveaway items

So here's the lowdown on the giveaway. To enter you will need to post a comment below. In the comment tell us your favorite fountain pen, first fountain pen, or why you want to get into fountain pens. All entries will be assigned a number and the random number generator at will be utilized to pick a winner. The winner will be chosen on November 9th, at 5pm Arizona time.

We will announce the winners on the blog as well as via the @karaspenco Instagram if you follow us there.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


EDK, it’s pretty much here. The Massdrop release date is finalized, 26 October 2015. The Massdrop poll is currently up and if you haven’t voted, please do so. You are going to see some nice photos of the material/color combinations listed on there. I will give you a brief rundown of our thoughts on this pen and why we are allowing more customization on it.

Massdrop will have access to the following versions of the EDK: Tumbled Raw Aluminum, Matte Black Aluminum, Brass, and Copper. Combinations of those will be available as follows: Tumbled Upper+Black Lower, Tumbled Upper+Brass Lower, Tumbled Upper+Copper Lower, Black Upper+Tumbled Lower, Black Upper+Brass Lower, and Black Upper+Copper Lower. Pricing will vary depending on material combinations and is still being finalized. Likely the pricing won’t be available until the day the drop starts. This is an initial Massdrop offering and while we will eventually have these pens available direct, we don’t have a timeframe for and EDK release via the Karas Kustoms page. So snatch them up now.

In other Karas news – the INK, for a short time referred to as INK 2.0, will make its reappearance in early November. We will be adding full copper and brass versions as well as the brown and olive anodized versions. There are a few other special features that will be given out closer to the release date but for now I will just go down the list of functional and aesthetic design changes/additions we made for this version of the INK.

Starting at the top and working down. After feedback from quite a few of our initial fountain pen users, we decided to add a clipless cap. The cap retains the INKs characteristic angles and single line design, but without the clip is more symmetric and smooth looking. Apparently many people don’t need or use clips and some people are downright anti-clip. That’s fine with us, we are happy to accommodate both sides of the “clip” debate.

Another piece of nearly universal feedback we received was in the size of the nibs we chose for the original INK. We settled on the #5 Schmidt nib as it was easiest to source and used on quite a few pens. But early users of the INK commented that the size of the nib didn’t quite match the size of the pen. So all the way back last year Dan began looking at what design changes needed to be made in order to use a bigger nib. We had to source a new nib manufacturer as Schmidt doesn’t make a #6 nib, and after much research and testing we settled on Bock as that source. Then came redesigning the section length which became a dual benefit as it needed to be lengthened for the new nib unit to work and adding length to it allowed us to stabilize it with added thread depth. 

During this process we looked at the aesthetics of the nib and section together. It became apparent to us that we really wanted to try something different. Something that harkened back to hooded and semi-hooded nibs popular in the fifties, sixties and seventies. What we ended up being able to accomplish is slightly recessing the nib back into the section. This doesn’t affect function at all but makes the look of the nib and section a little more uniform by not having the plastic “collar” showing when the nib unit is seated firmly. Meh, let’s call it like it really is, it’s just plain cooler.

As mentioned above we had to change our threads on both the sections and the caps. This means that the original INK parts are not compatible with this version of the INK. This was not done intentionally, we attempted to retain as much backwards compatibility as possible but it quickly became apparent with the change in nib sizes we would have to alter the section and cap threads.
We are will be maintaining the colors from the original INK, though there may be some variance in hue. We will be adding brown and olive to these pens to give a wider range of colors. When you purchase the ink you will have the option of swapping sections with material types. So if you wanted a brass pen with copper section, you could get that. Aluminum with brass section, no problem. Copper with aluminum section, yep that’s available too. 

The date for this release is quickly approaching, and we can’t wait to get these out the door and into your hands. The changes we have made were relatively minor but in the end we believe the final product is indicative of who we are as a company. We adapt and make changes when we need to. We listen to feedback and value our customer’s voices. We aren’t afraid to admit we can make something better and we jump at the chance to do just that. We hope you feel the same way when your INK shows up. And when it does, write us a note and tell us what you think.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Burnt Orange Cube and Dubonnet Skyline Winner and other news

So the giveaway went splendidly. We had quite a few entries. 40 to be exact. That's is quite a few for our first time doing this and the format we used. We would like to thank everyone that participated, I loved all the thoughtful and funny notes that got sent my way. I will be featuring some randomly on the blog here and there and keeping them for future "random" giveaways.
Here is the winner Derek's entry into the contest. It is quite a nice photo, showing a real need of a Cube. Thankfully we can take care of that.

In other news we are now shipping all of our pens assembled with a cartridge. We have been debating this, and recently decided it was time to make the change. Pens that take multiple refills will ship with an EasyFlow 9000 and G2 only pens will ship with a Pilot G2 refill, both will be black. We will continue to sell the refills individually via our website, but you will not need to purchase one at the time of payment in order to have a working pen show up to your doorstep.

So that's the quick news and notes.  I will have more exciting news later this week, an INK 2.0 update, news on the EDK release as well as the final date for the production Fountain K release. All of that news will be hitting you in the next 14 days or less, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

W.A. Karas Signature INK 29 Limited Series

If you follow us on Instagram you have seen No.1 in this series. Here are the other 5 Signature INK 29 pens. And with them I will go into a bit of the background of the pens.

As a way to celebrate reaching 10,000 followers on Instagram, Bill decided to create something truly special. The idea to do a limited series release has been a goal for us for quite some time. It just seemed like the stars aligned and we could actually do something to move forward with this plan. During one of meetings, we came up with the idea to basically put it all on Bill's plate on what to do. We had just received our brown and olive samples back from the anodizer, and Bill worked those into his design. We didn't know what to expect, but the finished product is absolutely stunning.

Bill decided to create something we hadn't officially done before, a clipless version of one of our pens. But he didn't stop there, he added his own flair to it by creating a cap ring of hand hammered copper. The effect is quite striking but also shows off how "one of a kind" these pens truly are as none of the patterns are even close to similar. He spent quite a few days working them over to make sure the caps were consistent with our standards before he finally signed off on them.

We recently partnered with Mark Bacas (@mbacas) of Nibgrinder to get some Cursive Italic nibs ground. Having had a chance to write with one of his Medium Cursive Italics, I knew these would be top notch. Once we got them back, I made sure to set some aside as I knew they would be a perfect fit for this series of pens.

The pen itself came together quite nicely with the copper merging with the brown and olive quite well. We just had to come up with a name. As no one wanted to be the decider on naming rights, I went with something pretty basic. This is a limited series of our INK fountain pen. But it features copper in a way we haven't done with the INK yet, in the form of the cap as well as the grip. The atomic number of copper is 29, hence the INK 29. Not particularly glamorous but it works.

These pens will be sold via Instagram auction one at a time, with the first auction starting October 9th, 2015. Details on the auction will be listed in each post.

As an aside, we are still taking entries for the Burnt Orange cube and Eversharp Skyline Giveaway. Refer to our older posts for details on how to enter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Karas Collaborations: American Made Innovation and Manufacturing at Its Best

Over the past couple months, we have had the distinct pleasure of teaming up with a bunch of small, American businesses during our 10 Week, 10K Giveaway. I figured I would take a little time to go back and feature some of the companies we worked with and touch on why we, or I, like them so much.
First off, one of our oldest collaborators is Jason Crespo (@paperstaxproject) founder of PaperStax Project (Facebook). PaperStax Project is as much about Jason’s heart as it is about his products. PS Project arose out of loss and now it helps build the minds of young people and provide much needed introspection and escape through journaling and writing in general. But don’t take it from me, read their mission statement: “The Paperstax Project is committed to inspiring self-actualization through journaling. We do this by designing and manufacturing pocket notebooks, then donating those notebooks to--and creating curriculum for--organizations working with young people to achieve measurable success--especially in the arts.” Jason and PaperStax epitomize the community-oriented nature of the people of the United States, the desire to improve no matter what and to make a lasting impact on those around them. We feel like that’s a pretty good reason to do just about anything and have had a wonderful working relationship with PaperStax Project often featuring them in our giveaways and sending people interested in reliable pocket sized notebooks in their direction. If you haven’t checked them out you really should change that.

What do you need to have in order to carry around a Karas Kustoms pen and a PaperStax notebook? A pretty rugged and reliable case, enter Nock Co (@nockco). From the minds of Jeffrey Bruckwicki, Master Seamster, and Brad Dowdy, the intrawebs most powerful and prolific pen blogger, came the idea to create bags, pouches and cases specifically for the pen loving outdoorsman. What has since emerged are several wonderfully designed and manufactured items that are perfectly suited for everyday carry as well as rugged outdoor travel. Strangely enough they are all named after geographical locations in Georgia. Probably because both Dowdy and Bruckwicki are Georgia boys. We have supplied Nock Co. with custom combinations of our Render K (the Red, White and Blue) and look forward to future collaborations with them. And to be honest half my pens are sitting tucked away in one of their cases and I couldn’t be happier about that.

We recently started a bit of a collaboration that has less to do with our pens and more to do with our facial hair. You see over half the guys that work at Karas Kustoms have beards, and we kind of take our facial hair seriously. Low and behold we had a men’s facial hair blogger reach out to us at one point in time, Brian Furby from Title Beard (@titlebeard). He wanted to review a few pens, we thought about it and after some deliberation and back and forth, we worked out a swap. He sent us some products from CanYouHandlebar (@canyouhandlebar), as he works as a representative for the company. What we got were some killer facial hair products like beard balm, mustache wax and beard oil. CanYouHandlbar is the brainchild of Doug Geiger. He has some very pointed views on facial hair, views we feel are pretty dead on the mark. But he puts a lot of time and effort into his product and it shows. I have had compliments from numerous people, including my barber, on the quality of the Doug’s products. So we feel that if you are going to grow some man hair, you should adequately groom that facial hair and that means using CanYouHandlebar products.

These are just three of the numerous businesses we worked with in the past two months. More than anything what these companies have in common is their desire to be makers and innovators of American made products and ideas. We feel that it is important to have that goal, and more importantly to work with people that have a similar vision when at all possible. We would hope you would support our friends in their endeavors just as much as you support our endeavors. If you need a good pen case, notebook or facial hair product, please consider our friends as your first choice when doing your shopping. Drop them a line, and let them know that you heard about them from us. Together we can start to make American small businesses relevant again.