Review: TWSBI Micarta 803, Medium


It’s been a few months since I first bought my first TWSBI, and I wrote about how my TWSBI Diamond 580 gave me my first truly pleasurable writing experience with a fountain pen, leading me to take my new-found hobby more seriously.

Sometime back in August, one of my new FP-collecting pals informed me that Scribe Writing Essentials will be selling some TWSBI Micartas soon and that they were accepting reservations. I Googled what a TWSBI Micarta looked like and it was definitely love at first sight. I went to Scribe, placed my order for an 805 (the version with the gold-plated clip on the cap) with a broad nib and waited. A couple of months after, I finally got the text I’ve been waiting for. The TWSBI Micarta has finally arrived.

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This pen is even more gorgeous in person. I ordered the 805 but I decided that I liked the clipless version (803) a lot more, so I changed my purchase to that, with a medium nib.

The minimalist design of the pen reminds me of the form factor of some Japanese pens that I like.

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The TWSBI Micarta is really quite beautiful, and (for the lack of a better word to describe it) kind of zen. Someday, I hope to acquire a Nakaya in an urushi finish, but for now this is the best that I can afford. I must say that TWSBI did a good job of coming up with a well-designed pen and keeping it within a good price point.

TWSBI Micarta (803)

Ermahgerd! So purrrty!

The TWSBI Micarta has been discontinued, however, and retailers are just selling the last remaining pieces available. Aside from difficulties producing this pen within a budget, the first iterations of the TWSBI Micarta was plagued with several issues. Many customers complained of hard-starting, pens not writing at all unless they are tuned, ink drying up even when capped, etcetera. It’s a good thing the issues were addressed in the second version of the pen. I’m just sad that it’s being discontinued now.

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The pen I got from scribe came with an awesome TWSBI notebook with a rectangular cut-off along the spine that fits the pen perfectly. So essentially, the notebook is the pen’s box. 

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I think that’s pretty cool, although I still wish the pen had an actual box for future storage (if needed). The notebook is fountain-pen friendly, of course, and actually quite pleasant to write in. Shows off the ink’s shading perfectly and isn’t too slippery or smooth (see the writing samples at the end of the entry).

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When I took the pen out of the packaging, I was happy to note the pleasant weight and dimensions. The pen’s weight is about 24grams, it’s about 5.34 inches when capped and a good sized 6.69 inches when posted (which is ridiculously long for my hand, so I don’t post it at all). It fills up with a converter (included with the pen).

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The cap has a stamped logo of TWSBI and a few Chinese characters (I’m assuming the equivalent of 803?) on the other side of it. Fun fact: TWSBI means Hall of Three Cultures. 🙂

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The top of the cap has a stamped logo of TWSBI on it. The cap screws on and off and shows a bit of fuzz where the cap screws to the section.

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It’s not very concerning, though because the material feels solid enough. I read that the fuzz will eventually wear out as you continuously screw and unscrew the cap during use. So far there have been no complaints of wearing out the threads of the screw.

The pen smelled a little like glue when I first got it, but the smell quickly faded away. By the time we got home, there’s no smell on it anymore. The body is made entirely of a material called Micarta (hence the name). It’s a combination of fiberglass, linen, canvas and other materials in a thermosetting plastic. The finish of the pen gives it a wood-like feel, and the patina on this pen will make it look darker and glossier as time goes by.

I picked the model without the cap because I find the seamless design to be intriguing. I never put my pens on hard surfaces so I don’t really have a problem with it rolling away. I always put it in a pen wrap or I spread my pen wrap on the table and put the pen on it, that way the barrel will never be scratched. I understand the Micarta is practically difficult to scratch, but I still don’t like putting it on hard surfaces. For people who like to put pens in their pockets or on tables, be warned that the clipless model will most probably slip out of your pocket or roll off the table if you’re not careful.

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I admit the pen is pretty substantial in girth, so people with small hands will probably find it hard to get a comfortable grip. I have averaged-sized hands so the pen sits comfortably in it and is nice enough to use for long writing sessions.

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The nib is on the large side (compared to my other pens) and is gold-plated steel. It’s not exactly what I’d call rigid but not springy either. It’s firm, and that’s part of the reason why I love TWSBI nibs; it suits my writing style best. The design isn’t very flashy. Just simple filigrees and flourishes.

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A comparison of nib sizes between TWSBI Micarta and 580

To say that I enjoy writing with this pen is an understatement.

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It’s a complete joy to write with. I inked this one up with J. Herbin’s Cafe Des Iles (also from Scribe, a gorgeous shade of coffee brown), and I think it fit the color of the pen nicely. Here’s a video of the writing sample:

It glides so effortlessly on paper. It’s such a wonderful, wonderful pen to write with. Unlike the version 1 of this pen, version 2 didn’t have issues with starting. Mine worked right after inking. Since I don’t want to stain the finish on the section, I filled the converter with ink, inserted it into the feed and primed the nib instead of dipping the nib into the ink bottle. Works like a dream. No hard-starting at all, no skipping or railroading. It’s just a pleasurable writing experience, and I love it.

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All in all, the TWSBI Micarta is a pen that I would recommend new collectors to have in their collection, especially if you just like moderately springy nibs and wet writers. TWSBI Micarta is a beautiful pen that performs wonderfully at a very good price. I consider it the best addition in my modest collection so far.

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5 thoughts on “Review: TWSBI Micarta 803, Medium

  1. Helen Kelley says:

    Joshua 1:8: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is in it, for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

    Psa. 19:7-8 – “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes”

    It was such a blessing coming to your website and seeing one of my favorite scriptures in your writing sample for the TWSBI Micarta.

    Helen from FPN

    Like

    • Pao says:

      Hi Helen,

      I mentioned in FPN before that I used to think fountain pen inks only came in black, blue, red or green. Part of the reason I’m overjoyed that’s not the case is that I use different colored inks to color-code my favorite verses. I use red for Jesus’ words (or verses that describe or talk about Jesus), green for promises, violet for proverbs and verses about wisdom, etcetera. 🙂

      Like

      • BunnyJean says:

        That is an excellent idea. I have never thought to do that. My poor Bible is so marked up with yellow, pink, green and orange markers with no specific coding technique.. Once I left it at a friends church and they knew that it belonged to me. My name was not in the Bible, but they said that I was the only person they knew who would had the entire Bible marked up with notes written down the side column, and personal scriptural commentary on those blank pages in the front and back of the Bible. I like your idea better! Much more orderly.

        Like

  2. Pao says:

    Hi BunnyJean, I also write my notes in my Bible, though I use a very fine Parker 51 or one of those Artline markers with archival ink. Enjoy your quiet time. 🙂

    Like

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