Product Review: Magna Carta Denima Fountain Pen

I’ve been using fountain pens for over 15 years now. And even though I considered it more as a habit, it—in a way—continued to pen the story (pun intended) of the long-cherished hobby of writing.

This new pen from Magna Carta caught my attention when—this was just before the Baltimore pen show last month. “A pen that’s made out of old, worn-out denim… so many stories might reside within the layers of it,” I thought to myself. Of course, the intention was never to buy the pen to unfold those stories but to buy an experience of using a pen that’s made out of a material less thought of.

The Construction

The pen is made entirely of denim—almost entirely, that is. It seems layered denim bound using resin and ground and semi-polished into a smooth-surfaced pen. The pen has quite a girth. And, because it is made of stacked, bound, and lathed pieces of denim, it is a bit on the heavier side, as well.

Here are the dimensions of the pen:

  • Capped: 149 mm
  • Uncapped: 137 mm
  • Cap length: 69 mm
  • Section length: 25 mm, excluding the threads

The top finial widens as we continue to travel down from the top of the cap to the bottom of the cap. The cap’s end is marked with a shining stainless steel ring that dons the name and logo of Magna Carta Pens on either side. But aside from that one adornment, the pen lacks any branding—a good sign.

The nib screws into a lipped section that widens and meets the well-rounded steel threads that fit the cap. I like the posh, soft touch of the threads. The combination of steel and denim gives it just the right kind of look that I’d to carry to my office every day.

The barrel begins to taper down till the end. Such a design choice is both time-tested and well-thought. However, you cannot post the pen. I wouldn’t recommend it anyway, given the girth and weight of the pen. Besides, the threads inside the cap don’t allow you to post the pen. Overall, the design is such that it might just remind you of a pen you’ve seen before… in denim this time.

The Nib

I asked for a Titanium nib with a Medium point. Within the limited testing I’ve done, I’ve found the nib to be performing quite well out of the box. So far, the pen is a joy to write with. There isn’t any hint of a hard start or skipping.

A fountain pen, by definition, must write under its own pressure. This means, that when the nib meets the paper, it must create a gap for the ink to travel down from its feed, through the tines, and onto the paper. It does just that, with understated ease. It is my first titanium nib. So far, I’d say it writes a lot smoother than the stainless steel ones (the out-of-the-box experience). I would have liked to see the Magna Carta branding on the nib, too.

The nib unit is manufactured locally (Magna Carta is manufacturing titanium nibs!), and the nib is sufficiently wet. The ink flow is smooth and consistent, and the strokes are uniform. Also, the nib has a nice sweet spot to suit your writing style. Although I’d not recommend reverse writing. It successfully fails at that; and for good. You can create thinner strokes, but there is barely enough on the paper for us to call it writing.

By design, the pen supports #6 international nibs and nib units. But the pen is thick enough for the manufacturers to experiment with a #8 nib unit as well. Anyway, given that they have begun manufacturing #8 nibs now, it could be a matter of time before we see that.

Here are a few images of the nib. I compared the nib with a Parker Frontier #4 size nib and a Kanwrite Heritage pen with a #6 international size nib. Both Kanwrite and Magna Carta nib units are equipped with an ebonite feed. Even though I like the ebonite feed from Magna Carta, I am attracted to the Kanwrite nib shape for some reason.

The Initial Impressions

The pen opens in exactly 1.25 turns, which is way less than what I am used to. So, all is good there. The threads do not get in the way of the writing experience.

When I filled the ink for the first time, the section absorbed a bit of it. And I see that some of the ink has also spilled onto the inner walls of the cap. Because it is made from denim, I am sure that the section will eventually change its color. Magna Carta could have resorted to applying an additional layer of epoxy resin or a binding agent to avoid such things.

Also, there were tiny holes throughout the barrel in the unit I received. It may be a standard across Denima, as there might be air bubbles. Applying a layer of resin could have resolved this issue, as well. But I could be happily wrong.

The pen arrived in a poorly packaged, broken box. The box was practically unusable and had shattered into pieces even before I unwrapped the foam, self-sticking plastic, and sticky tape. Somehow it held itself long enough to protect the pen. There wasn’t any branding on the box, and the cartridges were missing too. Basically, it seemed a hurried, lackluster job from the person who sent the parcel. Although when I opened the box, I could see that the pen did come with a standard international Schmidt converter, it was insufficient to console my broken heart (and the broken box).

I am told that this is a limited edition pen, and there will only be about 250 pens of such a kind. I assume the manufacturer will use the feedback to improve the quality of the product. But, given its asking price, I’d wish the manufacturer to supply me with a well-thought, matured product and leave the testing part for their internal reference.

Also, because the section absorbed some ink after I filled it for the first time, I ran out of ink by the end of the day. It might be because of air gaps and other reasons that remain undetected. Still, I’d be curious to see how the section fairs over time—after absorbing some ink, that is.

The Next Impression

After I reported it to the manufacturer, Mr. Hardik Kankhara, they sent me a spare barrel and cap. As is, I choose to retain the new ones, for they are a bit better. The manufacturer spoke to me and listened to all my complaints with all their intent. He listened to what I had to say and addressed every single issue I had raised. Overall, I am satisfied with the response.

A few points continue to grab my attention as I use this pen every day:

  • The overall build quality and nib feedback leave little to yearn for. That’s fantastic. The pen is a SMMOOOTH writer.
  • The clip aligns with the brand name on the ring. Those little things matter. Also, the clip is functional, tight, and yet easy to slide over shirt pockets.
  • The lathing is done such that the grains on the cap align with the grains on the barrel. A nice little touch.
  • The overall fit-and-finish is top-notch. The nib unit sits absolutely flush with the section—neither a thread more nor less.

The Opinion

For me, the pen comes at a relatively higher asking price of 9500 INR (including standard shipping across India). Recently, some really enthusiastic pen manufacturers are coming up with futuristic, cool, or different designs. And, undoubtedly, Magna Carta Pens is very much a promising member of that list.

It is a nice addition to my collection. I feel that I will need to carefully choose a suiting ink for this pen. As of now, I am using Parker Quink with it. But I feel it is a little too dark for the pen.

This has been quite a journey to pen so far: The absence of cartridges, the broken box, the visible holes, and the overall delay in shipping just made the experience shift from first apprehensive to worst, and then from worst to worth-another-look. A

As I mentioned previously, the manufacturer noted all those points with the utmost care, for he sent another pen to me after personally ensuring that all quality checkpoints were met.

These little somethings always interest me, or anybody, for subsequent purchases. But that is a long way ahead. Speaking of purchases, you can visit them here in case you are interested:

  • Magna Carta Pens (Website): I don’t see the pen on their website, yet. But you can contact the owner and buy it from them directly.
  • Instagram channel
  • Hardik Kankhara (Instagram channel)

In summary, it is a king-sized pen for my medium-sized handwriting. For now, I can only hope that the pen is as rugged and tough as my good-old pair of denim. But then, isn’t that the main selling point?


Published by

Suyog Ketkar

He is a certified technical communicator. He believes that writing continues to be an easy-to-do-but-difficult-to-master job. In his work time, he proudly dons the “enabler” cape. In his non-work time, he dons many hats including one of a super-busy father.