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View Full Version : The Bolt Review and My Visit to Karas Kustoms



KrazyIvan
December 12th, 2013, 09:22 AM
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2819/11310227676_d7b3da7e6b_z.jpg

As always, the full set of images can be found on my blog. (http://inktronics.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/the-bolt-in-action-my-trip-to-karas-kustoms-and-a-review/)

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!

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.

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.

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.

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. :) )

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.

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.

Finalist
December 31st, 2013, 01:02 AM
I just purchased a Bolt G2 and and I'm using a Pilot Hi Tec C Cavelier .3 black refill. I love the bolt action and the very clean lines of the pen. The Hi Tec C .3 is amazing too. My only problem is I highly don't recomend putting this pen in your pocket. The bolt action will very easily bring the refill down and you'll end up with an ink stain on your pants. I wish there was a way to lock the pen into the closed position.

BillZ
December 31st, 2013, 10:04 AM
My son gave me one of the AL models for Xmas. He included 3 Fisher Space Pen refills wit it. They come with a plastic adapter that slides onto the blunt end so it will work in the BOLT. Cool pen

KrazyIvan
December 31st, 2013, 10:08 AM
I just purchased a Bolt G2 and and I'm using a Pilot Hi Tec C Cavelier .3 black refill. I love the bolt action and the very clean lines of the pen. The Hi Tec C .3 is amazing too. My only problem is I highly don't recomend putting this pen in your pocket. The bolt action will very easily bring the refill down and you'll end up with an ink stain on your pants. I wish there was a way to lock the pen into the closed position.

The way to get around the pant pocket issue is to clip the pen to your pocket. I have not had any issues.

KrazyIvan
December 31st, 2013, 10:12 AM
My son gave me one of the AL models for Xmas. He included 3 Fisher Space Pen refills wit it. They come with a plastic adapter that slides onto the blunt end so it will work in the BOLT. Cool pen

Yes, you just cut down the tubing to fill any gap that may be needed to be filled. You drop that into the "knock" section drop your refill in and close it up. To measure how much tubing you need, I put a Parker style refill next to whatever refill I want to use (In my case it was a Sensa Pressurized refill) then measure the difference. Assuming it is smaller than the Parker Refill, that difference is the size you need of the plastic tubing.

Finalist
December 31st, 2013, 11:52 AM
I did clip it to my pocket. I must have leaned against a counter or something that pushed the top down for a few seconds. I ended up with a nice little ink dot.