As The Indian Marmalade Company has now been operating for over two years the board and I met and when I say met I mean I talked and the board opened one eye, washed her paws and went back to sleep. I took the lack of opposition as the board’s approval for me to make the investment and acquire an official company pen.
About the same time Mr Kandan, of Ranga Pens, was advertising a group buy on Fountain Pen Network (FPN) and I noticed he had some marmalade acrylic and wrote to him asking if he could make me a one-off model 8B in the orange marmalade acrylic. Mr Kandan said ‘Yes’; I grinned as the board slept on and the order was placed, and the company pen has now arrived.
Being an existing owner of an ebonite Ranga 8B, that featured in the review ‘Stationery For The Devil’, I had complete confidence that Mr Kandan would deliver and deliver he has.
The company is now the proud owner of a wonderful one-off pen; what’s really nice about this is I was able to directly ask Mr Kandan to make this pen and it was no problem, there was no additional cost because I was asking for something outside the current range (most 8B’s are made using ebonite). This is the kind of response you only get from people committed to their customers.
The first thing you notice when you receive a pen from Ranga Pens is that it arrives wrapped in a cotton envelope and inside this it is wrapped in newspaper and once past the packaging you get to a nice, very sturdy pen box. Inside my pen box Mr Kandan had included an eyedropper and an Oliver Exam pen; the eyedropper because my requested version of the 8B is the cartridge/converter version which will also function as an eyedropper and the Oliver because this is what Mr Kandan does.
Before I go any further, I would just like to digress for a moment or two to talk about the Oliver Exam fountain pen. Oliver is essentially a converter with a section, nib and a cap; it’s not made from expensive materials, but it’s not meant to be. It’s the everyday pen you toss in your bag, drop in your pocket and go about your day and when you need it to scribble a note it’s there. Sure it can be a bit scratchy and you’ll get a hard start now and again but you know what, Oliver is, in my experience, both reliable and fun to own; so if you are lucky enough to get one load it up and play with it.
Back to the 8B. As you can see from the picture, below, the 8B disassembles into it’s key components, the cap, barrel and the section; when I first took the pen apart I noticed a very light layer of silicon grease on the section thread which definitely makes it easier to take apart and put back together.
The nib is a No.6 Jowo medium nib which can be easily replaced if you so wish; it writes very smoothly, and I’ve had no issues with skipping or hard starts and to test this I have left it over a week unused and it worked straight away. It’s a good stiff steel nib which means it doesn’t really offer line variation.
The orange acrylic is something special; it doesn’t really come across in the images but it really is like looking a chunky marmalade in a jar and when you hold it up to the light you get a real glow from it and it’s just translucent enough to be able to see the ink move in the converter. For its first trip out, I loaded it with Diamine Orange; a bit predictable I know but it’s a colour I like, and it seemed appropriate.
Finally I added a roll stop in the form of a cat which looks an awful lot like my logo over at charlierufus.com; however I can’t take credit for this as that belongs to Bobje (another member of Fountain Pen Network) who ran a poll to help him decide on a roll stop and this cat was one of them. I saw it and immediately knew it was what I was looking for and ordered some from an eBay seller. The roll stop is really an adjustable ring and they are available in many different designs and are ideal for clipless pens.
Would I recommend the Ranga 8B and which would I recommend, acrylic or ebonite?
Definitely, the 8B is a wonderful mid-sized cigar shaped pen with a well sculpted section that in either material is light and very comfortable to use for long periods of time.; but if I was pushed, I would probably say I prefer ebonite.
My final thought is this, when you consider the large range of pen designs, materials, the outstanding build quality and the massive list of options Ranga offer, buying a pen from Ranga is just good sense because you get a pen that is made for you.
I paid $89.00 USD for a bespoke pen, what a bargain.
Disclaimer: The pen was purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.