Fountain pens

Silverburl Pens: a hybrid beauty

I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing John Sanderson’s pens for a United Inkdom meta review, (, and since then I’ve been pondering what I’d like John to make for me – a decision not to be rushed, as there are many factors to consider, such as clip design, material, rings, size, well, the list could go on.

In the meantime I keep a beady eye on his social media and two new designs really grabbed my attention. A resin and shell pen (yes, real shells), which I have commissioned him to make one for me, and his latest hybrid pen.

John, in his infinite kindness, sent me one of his new hybrid pens to review and (spoiler alert) I love it.

This is a resin and wood pen, well, I guess that’s obvious, ’cause hybrid. Anyway the wood is Afzelia Burl, a beautiful golden/reddish brown paired with shades of sea green, pale yellow-green, warm brown and white swirled resin. The wood makes the resin pop and to my mind very complementary.

The other four pens he has made are done with Splattered Beech and Curly Karelian Birch, which are also very attractive.

John told me that the main difference between this type of hybrid, as opposed to the the conventional natural edge type, is that you don’t have to have a lump of wood with a natural edge to make the transition between wood and resin. This not only looks good but it gives the join lots more strength! This is a great improvement because if you have a piece of wood that you find particularly attractive, or has sentimental value, but you can’t use it because it has no natural edge, or is too short, well this method of making blanks makes all those previously disregarded woods useful and, as we are all aware, we should use what we have to help save our planet.

So, find that kept piece of wood and talk to John about make a fabulous pen out of it.

The section is entirely resin which flows seamlessly into the barrel, amazingly matching up, which pleases my little OCD heart no end.

This original design incorporates four diagonally cut and graduated wooden half rings in the cap and barrel that seem to float in the resin, which shows off both the resin and the wood to glorious effect.

I couldn’t imagine how he came up with that and to execute it so flawlessly so that the cap mirrors the barrel, is quite something.

Now I’m natural curious soul and I was intrigued by how John accomplished these floating half rings, so I shone a light against the cap. I initially figured they might be connected to the main wood, but they actually are free floating pieces of wood.

Can you imagine what a delicate process that is to get them lined up just so? Mind blown!

When the sun or bright light hits the resin the shimmer brings a lovely depth to it. I could quite happily sit and turn the pen gently back and forth for ages. It’s mesmerising.

This particular pen weighs 20.2g capped and 15.4g uncapped, so it’s light but doesn’t feel fragile. Length is 154mm capped and 145mm uncapped and the section, which tapers, is 11.5mm at its widest and 10.2mm at its narrowest. However, John can adapt the sizes to suit your particular preferences.

It’s a very comfortable in my hand and though I can feel the threads between the barrel and the section against my thumb they are not sharp and when writing I don’t notice them.

The section is 28mm long and tapers to finish with a ridge to help stop your finger slipping off. The nib is a #6 stainless steel medium Bock and writes very nicely. Again, sizing and nib can be adapted, so that it meets your own preferences.

This pen will cost £150, which I think is a great price considering the workmanship and originality of the design.

You may feel I have been overly effusive about this pen but it’s only because this is a genuinely fantastic writing instrument that will always bring pleasure to the user and, because it is handmade with care and attention, makes the experience that much more special.

John is not one to rest on his laurels and continually comes up with new designs and ideas, so do check him out – links to his Instagram, Facebook and website below.

Just drop him a line and he’ll be more than happy to discuss your ideas and work with you to create your unique pen.

NB: I am not affiliated in any way to John Sanderson and my views are my own.

EDIT: I like the pen so much I bought it, just so I didn’t have to give it back.

By jomatthews

Colour, that's what I love and I get my colour fix from fountain pens and because they provide practically every colour under the sun the possibilities for use are only down to the limits of your imagination.

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